Friday, December 1, 2017

FLORIDA-Post #1

I went to Florida for an epic vacation recently. And now I'm going to write all about it.
Yep.
Prepare for picture overload big time.
So, for my birthday this year (yes, many months ago) I asked Frank for a trip to Florida to go to Harry Potter World and Disney World. I didn't want him to come because 1-he hates Disney and 2-I wanted to really enjoy that place without worrying about him enjoying or not enjoying himself.
So, he got me a ticket to Florida and I asked my friend Annavon if I could stay with her.

Day 1-travel
I flew across the country and watched movies on the plane.
I had the day off work and it was the beginning of 7 days off.
So, yeah, awesome.

After I arrived we planned what we would do for the visit and bought tickets to Disney and Harry Potter.  Dang, that was painful, not gonna lie. That was a lot of money.

Day 2-DISNEY WORLD
I have never been to Disney World and I have always wanted to go.  I wish we would have gone when the kids were little, like we told them we would when we moved to PA.  But it was always too much money and, as I mentioned, Frank isn't crazy about Disney.  So we did other vacations and I'm sure the kids wouldn't complain about it if we asked...but I always wanted to go.

The entrance was totally different than what I expected!
You have to take a boat or train to the actual entrance.
What the heck?
I thought I was there and then, turns out, I wasn't really.


But, the castle sure looked cool in the distance.


We took the boat.
I was excited.

We went on November 1st so I wasn't sure what I though it would be like...maybe decorated for Halloween still?  Or fall?  But it was decorated for Christmas!  Even the characters were wearing their Christmas clothes.  That was fun.





I just wanted to walk around and soak it all in.
We didn't rush to any specific rides, just enjoyed.


They had these pins for people celebrating a birthday or anniversary or for...
first time visitors!!
Yes, I took a pin and wore it proudly all day.



At one point we met a nice guy from France who was at Disney by himself.  We struck up a conversation about how he just had to visit Disney since he was in Florida and how it was my first time too.  He was funny and nice.  At one point he pulled one of these pins out of his pocket and, when I asked him why he wasn't wearing it like me, he said, "I thought they were for kids". But of course he took one anyway!  ha!  I told him to wear it with pride!



Just loved everything.
Every. single. thing.


Because it was not the busiest time of year, the lines were not bad at all.  We rode everything we wanted to ride, except Peter Pan.  Why does that ride always have such a long line?


In the spirit of the name of the blog, I will admit that I had one of Annavon's protein shakes for breakfast and my body did not like it at all.
So in addition to taking all the ambience of Disney, I also visited just about every bathroom in the place.  That was fun. Did you know that even the bathrooms are themed?  
Disney knows how to do it right.


The tile work in the castle was amazing!


I really loved my day at Disney!


Something to be thankful for November 2017

Nov 1: Flying to Orlando Baby! Visiting Annavon, my buddy from MA and getting to see Disney World and Harry Potter World.  So excited for a week long vacay!
Nov 2: First day ever at Walt Disney World. No explanation needed.
Nov 3: First day ever at Harry Potter World. Oh man, so excited!
Nov 4: Beach!
Nov 5: Austin is here to visit for the weekend.  It is so good to see him!  We also went to a nature reserve and saw lots of cool wildlife.
Nov 6: Airboat ride to see alligators. Yikes they scare me.  But it was lots of fun and really great to hang with Austin, Annavon and Nick.
Nov 7: Back for a second day of Harry Potter.  Yeah baby!
Nov 8: Flying back home.  Sad the vacation is over but it was really really great.  Thankful for the ability to fly home in only a few hours.
Nov 9: Back and work and thankful for my coworkers who are acting like they missed me. ha!
Nov 10: Friday!  Carter came home and we went to a movie so that was fun.  We also have house guests: old friends from PA! Kim Hales and her son Thomas.  We stayed up till midnight chatting and I never stay up that late anymore! ha!
Nov 11: Carter helped me put up the Christmas lights and the weather was nice for it too.  No, I didn't turn them on yet!
Nov 12: Really great talks at Stake Conference today!
Nov 13: Monday, fun day! ha! But seriously, just glad to be alive and health-ish (cold coming). amiright?
Nov 14: Book club at my house. Even though I'm coming down with a cold, I had book club at my house and I loved just having the girls over and talking!
Nov 15: Watched too much tv and made some gross tasting soup. ha!  But it felt like a relaxing evening so it was all good.
Nov 16: Frank's coming home from his business trip today!  Also I had chic-fil-a for dinner, so yeah.
Nov 17:Got my hair cut and I'm liking it
Nov 18: I finished putting up the Christmas lights along the walkway and in the back yard.  I put up my outdoor Christmas tree.  AND I turned the lights on!  Yes, it's early and yes, it makes me happy.
Nov 19: I only went to one hour of church because I'm still sick as a dog but it was a nice relaxing day.
Nov 20: Not too busy at work and also 3 days till thanksgiving!
Nov 21: Got my windows cleaned today.  They look awesome! Also, it cost more than expected so...fewer Christmas gifts for me I guess.
Nov 22: I asked for a change in my schedule at work to get one day off per week. I didn't get my request but they offered me a half day one day.  I'm kind of excited about that.
Nov 23: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Looking forward to dinner with a bunch of family today! Also pie.
Nov 24: Day after Thanksgiving hike with the family. Fun day!
Nov 25: Got our Christmas tree and did some decorating.
Nov 26: Dinner at Doneen's with Danielle's family (and all the Utah crowd of course). I'm really enjoying all the family time!
Nov 27: It's the last night that Danielle's family is here so we went to Temple Square to see the lights and enjoyed dinner and hot chocolate nearby.  Beautiful night, gorgeous weather, family togetherness...doesn't get any better!
Nov 28: Crazy day at work but I had my brownie leftover from last night which I ate for lunch with my Thanksgiving leftovers.  Sometimes a little delicious food helps on a long day. ha!
Nov 29: Feeling like the days are more relaxed after all the family time, running around and decorating.  I enjoy a low key day!
Nov 30: Should I admit to another day of too much couch time and too much tv? I'm still thankful for it, even if it makes me a sloth.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I've been MIA

I've been MIA and I know it.
But I don't know what to do about it exactly because it is what it is.
But here's some stuff that's been going on.

Organizing pictures: just deleted over 50 blurry pictures of the same sunset that I was apparently trying to capture while riding in a car.  Here's one I must have taken when the car had slowed or perhaps stopped, so it is less blurry (but still not great).


_____

I have a cold.  When I get a cold, I get A COLD.  I have a sore throat, headache, cough, body aches and every time I cough my left ear hurts.  Oh yeah, I have an ear infection too.
I'm also a whiner when I'm sick so it's lucky that Frank has been out of town for this, especially because HE GAVE IT TO ME.
I also haven't taken off work because I'm trying to save my vacation days so I can maybe someday take some days off when I want to, not when I feel sick.
That's been fun.
_____

Now that we have the whole daylight savings thing, I am not driving to work during the sunrise.
I miss it, but I can see it out of my window before I leave, which I really enjoy.


_____

I went to Anthropologie with my cousin Sara awhile back.
When we were there I bought myself a cute apron.  I like to wear aprons when I work in the kitchen but we laughed when I bought it saying that I would probably be afraid to use it because it's so cute.
Yeah, that's not me!  I'm gonna use that cute apron!
I have had numerous opportunities to use the apron and what I do is I pull it out, put it on, and then think "you know, I"m working with food that might stain it" so I decide to put it back into the closet and pull out the old apron that is already stained.
 Yep, I still haven't used that apron.  But it's darn cute.


_____

I'm getting some new curtains in my family room/kitchen area.  So a couple of weeks ago I moved the curtain rod up to where I want it.  My perfect sister is making my curtains because, well, she's perfect.  I'm kind of afraid of large swaths of fabric and she isn't.  Anyway, while we are waiting for the new curtains, I decided to put the old curtains up so that we have some kind of window covering. The old curtains definitely don't fit on the new rod and whenever people visit, I feel like I have to explain that I don't have horrible taste when it comes to curtains.


Yep, it's quite a look.




Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Something to be thankful for October 2017

Oct 1: We spent the morning as a family watching conference and eating Doneen's cinnamon rolls. We all brought soup for lunch.  It was lovely being with all the family!
Oct 2: Lovely crisp weather today that made me happy.
Oct 3:We had a lovely walk in the park tonight...enjoying the crisp weather.
Oct 4: I've been texting Ryan a lot lately, since his move, and I have to say I LOVE that we are talking more.  I hope he keeps it up after he makes some friends in his new place. :-)
Oct 5:Spent the evening with mom...watched Pride and Prejudice (which neither of us ever tire of)
Oct 6: I actually started working on painting the little table I got at the garage sale.  I miss projects!
Oct 7: Carter was home! We also got to go to the BYU Spectacular and it really was spectacular.  Amazing talent-singing and dancing.
Oct 8:A wonderful get together with the Petersons and Peters!  Man it was awesome to see them all!
Oct 9: Another amazing sunset today!  I love a good sunset and sunrise.  The mountains are also looking really beautiful.
Oct 10: Frank and I went and worked out and it was pretty fun.  We are trying to get back in shape...he is being more diligent than me because some days I just want to lay on the couch!  But I'm doing ok.  Skinny, buff Debbie on the way?  Ha!
Oct 11: Today we went over and helped Mom and Dad figure out what to remove from their condo as they've decided to sell it and move in with Doneen. I like that I'm closer and can help.  Austin is also working to get a day off so he can come down and visit me when I'm in florida so I'm excited about that.  Ryan had a couple of good job interviews too.  Lots to be thankful for!
Oct 12: Spent the evening with Frank, Diane and Dion helping Mom and Dad get their place ready to sell.  Makes me want to have less "stuff" but also makes me glad to have an evening with my siblings helping our parents out.
Oct 13: I got a haircut and color.  Getting rid of the gray hair (even if only temporarily) is always something to be thankful for! ha! Plus I enjoy talking with Cynthia, my hair stylist.
Oct 14: Making applesauce with free apples from a neighbor!
Oct 15: Sunday school lesson went well and it's a beautiful day!
Oct 16:Dinner with the Forsyth's from MA! (no pictures...what??)
Oct 17: Frank made dinner and we worked out. Go us!
Oct 18: Well, it must have been a pretty relaxing day because I have no memories of it! ha!  Glad I have some days that are obviously NOT full of drama. ha!
Oct 19: Spent the evening with mom, which, even though I was tired, was good!  Neither of us ever get tired of Pride and Prejudice
Oct 20: Frank and I actually went out to a movie. Lately we've been total home bodies so that in and of itself is impressive.
Oct 21: Stars at night in the middle of nowhere! One of my dreams and it is amazing. I want to do it again and again.  And bring my camera one time...
Oct 22: Spent some time in nature in Moab/Monticello and it was a lovely time.
Oct 23: Oops...didn't write anything on this day and I have no idea what happened. But I know there was something to be thankful for!
Oct 24:Ditto ha!
Oct 25: Started feeling kinda sick today...but spent some time chatting with my sister after work followed by a relaxing evening. I love a good relaxing evening.
Oct 26: Came home from work early because I felt sick...but OH MAN I loved being home early. HA!
Oct 27: Worked out with Frank after work.  I'm glad we are doing this even if I am half-hearted about it sometimes (often?)
Oct 28: Saturday. Enough said.  We accomplished a lot around the house too, so BONUS.
Oct 29: Frank and I went into the canyon for a drive.  It was a beautiful day!  We decided to walk around the lake and ended up doing more of a hike than we thought. It was funny and fun though.
Oct 30: Just another manic Monday. haha.  Glad to be alive.
Oct 31: Potluck and costumes at work, so that was fun!


Friday, October 13, 2017

The Commute

I have about a 30 minute commute each way now.  Overall I haven't minded it...I use the time in the car to listen to scriptures in the morning and my favorite podcasts in the afternoon.  There are usually lots of cars on the road but it has never really been a traffic jam.  Traffic moves at a good pace.
Every single morning there is someone pulled over on the side of the road getting a ticket.  This kind of baffles me.  Are they commuters like me? Do they not see that this is happening every single day?  I set my cruise control for the speed limit and stay in the middle lane until my exit.  I have always been a rule follower so this is not a problem for me.  But, seriously, the speed limit is 70!  That is not 55 like the old days, people...relax and don't get a ticket.
I also drive during the sunrise and, man, I have seen some gorgeous sunrises!  The sun peeks over the mountains and gives off glorious color.  If there are clouds on top of the mountains it just adds to the beauty.  I often wish I could pull over and capture the sight.  They have been pink, orange, yellow and sometimes just bright rays of sun coming over the mountain peaks. Gorgeous.
Yesterday I quickly snapped a photo while driving (and imagined the cops that are always nabbing people seeing me and giving me a ticket).  I know it isn't a great idea but it was quick and I kept my eyes on the road.  Ok, I'm justifying.  I won't do it again.  Plus, the pictures are not great anyway! ha!



By the time I get to work the sun is up and the pretty photo moment is over.  Perhaps the next time I have to be at work early I will get a photo from the parking lot.

That is my morning commute.

And here is a sunset, just for fun.
I was home for this one, don't worry! No driving involved.



Saturday, September 30, 2017

Something to be thankful for September 2017

Sept 1: Got the house sprayed for bugs.  We've been seeing too many spiders lately (plus a dead mouse that I haven't mentioned) Ew!
Sept 2: Frank and I spent the day just doing stuff that needed to be done.  He spent the entire day outside doing a variety of yard projects and I got the entire house cleaned!  It's really been falling apart since I started working so I'm really glad to get it back in shape before the next week begins. I even cleaned up/organized Carter's room and the guest room so now it's ready for people to visit again. Come on over!
Sept 3: I know I'm a bit of a broken record about this but today I am thankful that it's a 3 day weekend and I don't have work tomorrow! ha!
Sept 4: A day off!  Made a huge batch of chili.  HUGE.
Sept 5:Walking in the evening with Frank.
Sept 6: My group at work won the August contest for working out, drinking water and also our stats for calls.  We got a pizza party and a $20 gift card each. Woo Hoo!
Sept 7:Frank got sick today.  He is rarely sick and when he is, he rarely lets it stop him. This time he was laying in bed, moaning and groaning and was having a hard time keeping his blood sugar up.  It was hard to see.  But I am so thankful that he was able to manage his blood sugar and that he's doing better now.
Sept 8: Frank and I had a lazy evening at home since he's still feeling under the weather. I'm thankful he's on the mend and that we could just relax together.
Sept 9:Carter came home for the weekend (for my Mom's birthday party)and it's been so fun to have him here.  ALSO big news...Austin and Katy got married today!  He hasn't sent me any pictures yet so I am anxiously waiting for some.  I'm thankful he and Katy found each other, they are very cute together.
Sept 10: Today is my mom's 80th birthday! I'm thankful to have had such a great mom and I'm thankful to live close to her now.
Sept 11: I can't help but be thankful for first responders on this day...for brave people everywhere, for people who overcome loss, for people who put other's lives ahead of their own.
Sept 12: I spent the evening at Thanksgiving Point gardens and it was a lovely evening with the women from church.
Sept 13:I'm thankful for the amazing quacasalsa that I buy at the grocery store (fresh salsa combined with guacamole)  It is literally the thing I think about as I drive home every day.  It's a yummy treat for myself after a day of work.
Sept 14: I'm thankful that Frank fixed dinner tonight!
Sept 15: I'm grateful for the food truck that came to work today. ha! I ate a really yummy and warm baked potato and it was amazing on this cool, rainy day.
Sept 16: I'm grateful for Frank's bountiful garden today as I made another huge batch of chili, prepped green beans and processed lots of tomatoes.
Sept 17:I got to hear Corey talk in church and then Frank also talked.  It was a nice Sunday.
Sept 18:We bought tickets for Branden and Amber to come for Christmas!
Sept 19: Apparently today was international talk like a pirate day.  Ha! I love dumb holidays and I should really get serious about celebrating them.
Sept 20:Taco day at work and I brought my garden tomatoes.  It was super yummy.
Sept 21: This morning's sunrise was SO AMAZING. I wanted to take a picture but I was driving to work. There were clouds over the mountain and the sun turned them orange and then there were rays of light coming through. Just breath taking.  I'm thankful I saw that today.
Sept 22: Frank and I made an attempt to be social and invited a couple out for dinner with us.  They had a family emergency at the last minute.  So I invited two more couples, both of which couldn't go. Why is this my thankful post for the day? Because, astoundingly, we still went out! Go us!  We have become real homebodies lately so I was proud of us.
Sept 23: Carter came home for the weekend. Yay!
Sept 24: It feels like fall (almost winter) today.  I brought out my winter clothes and enjoyed an afternoon relaxing with Frank and eating delicious gluten free zucchini bread that I made.
Sept 25: We got invited to dinner at a neighbor's house.  We had a nice time and even played some ping pong and scrabble.
Sept 26:I got to talk to my son, Branden, on the phone today.  We don't talk often enough but I always love it when we do.
Sept 27: My visiting teachers came today and I talked their ears off.  I guess I need friends.  ha! But I enjoyed it!
Sept 28: Carter sent me the nicest text today.  Thanking me for sacrificing (by going to work full time) for him.  It was pretty much the best thing ever.  I've also been texting Ryan more lately and I love it.
Sept 29: Payday!
Sept 30: Carter came home unexpectedly and we had a lovely day of watching conference as a family!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Back in the day...

When I went to college, my family lived in New Mexico.
It was about an 8-10 hour drive to get home and I didn't have a car, so I didn't come home that often.  A few times I came home for special occasions or when someone I knew was driving down that way.  What did I do when I came home?
Visited my friends, went to parties, hung out at friend's houses.
I vaguely remember my mother mentioning once that it would be nice to see me when I came home since I spent all of my time with my friends...but I don't think she made a major issue of it.
And I certainly gave it no thought.

Now, I have a kid in college and he will occasionally come home for the weekend.  But I know he isn't coming home to see me.  He comes home when his girlfriend has some time off work or when he has a friend to see.  I don't begrudge him this but it sure takes me back.
And suddenly I am in my mom's shoes.  Poor Mom.

I'm going to try not to make a major issue of it. Ha!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Grandma's dishes

I finally got around to putting out my Grandma's glassware on the shelves in my eating area. I love the old glassware so much and some of these pieces really bring back memories for me.

We drank out of these glasses regularly, they were grandma's normal glasses from what I remember...although she also had some plastic glasses for daily use, but when we ate dinner, these are the ones that went on the table.

The fancier ones were for special occasions. I remember using them a few times as well...and I didn't get to visit my grandma all that often over the years as we usually lived far away. But I guess our visits were considered special occasions.


The small ones were for ice cream.
I vividly remember eating a single scoop of chocolate ice cream in these dishes. Even at the time, I loved these dishes so much.
Remember when we used to have a single scoop of ice cream in a nice dish and that was dessert?
Now I think everyone would look at me like I was crazy if I offered them this.  The guys in my house want a big ol' bowl full of ice cream, not a little scoop!

A few of the pieces were in Grandma's china cabinet and I don't remember ever using them.  But I remember loving to looking her china cabinet at all of her glassware.
Some of the pieces are also finds from garage sales.  I just got the jar this year.
So even though they weren't my Grandma's dishes, they were someone's grandma's dishes and they give me that same nostalgic feeling.

One of the bowls was my Grandma's and my mom had it for years. 
Whenever my mom comes over she always notices it and says, "I used to have a bowl just like that!" and I have to tell her that it is her bowl.   
She is always glad it has a good home.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Guacasalsa

I bought this product on a whim one day while grocery shopping...it is a container of fresh salsa with guacamole at the bottom.  It looked yummy to me so I bought it.

(Here is what it looks like after I've eaten some of it...it's full when you buy it.)



Anyway, buying that little tub of heaven was the beginning of a big problem for me.
I am obsessed!

Honesly, it's not that cheap.  It's like 6 bucks for that little tub!
(It went on sale one week for 5 bucks and I was ecstatic.)

Whenever I grocery shop I go in saying to myself "I don't need the salsa this week. I will skip it.  It's too expensive"
And then by the time I leave the store I'm  saying "Oh, what the heck, just one more time"
I mean, in the scheme of treats, this one is pretty healthy right?

This little tub is the thing I think about as I drive home from work every day.
It's my treat to myself for making it through another day.

Even though I arrive home at dinner time, I have a spoonful of this stuff with a few chips before I start thinking about dinner.
It's just my favorite thing.

Because I'm obsessed with the guacasalsa, I have started testing out all the different varieties of chips to see which ones are the best.
Can they hold up under the pressure of dipping or do they break?
(so annoying)
Are they salty enough?
Is round better than triangle?

Here is my current bag:
So far the round shape is winning and these chips are fairly heavy duty so no breakage.


Anyway, the other day I went in to get some medication at the pharmacy that is inside my grocery store so I grabbed a tub on my way over.  The pharmacist sees me holding it and asks me if it's good.  She has been intrigued but never bought it yet.
I told her "Just don't ever buy it.  That way you won't become obsessed like me"
We laughed about that and then she's like
"what chips do you eat with it?"
So i tell her about my quest for the perfect chip.
She responds by getting kind of excited and telling me that they have the most amazing chips in the store and I HAVE TO try them.
She logged out of her computer and left the pharmacy to show me the chips!
ha!!!
I seriously need to become friends with this person.

We walked all over the store looking for this chip.
She asked some of the store workers and when they didn't know where to find them she said (in a joking but snarky tone) "Well, thanks for nothing!" 
Seriously, it's the most fun I've had in a grocery.
I'm not sure I have ever had fun in a grocery store before actually...what's fun about grocery shopping?
But this time was fun!

She saw another worker and asked her about the chips and this worker knew where they were...
so all three of us go over to find them.
We are talking about the guacasalsa and the quest for the perfect chip and we were all laughing.
It was a little crazy but fun.

We found the chip and I bought a bag to try so we shall see how they hold up to the competition.
_____

I've been eating really healthy lately and I've given up gluten (90%...had cake at my mom's birthday for instance but don't eat it most days) and I'm mostly sugar free as well.
This little chip/salsa habit I'm starting doesn't seem like a good idea long term.
I'm wondering if I would like it just as much if I had, say, crunchy veggies to dip into it.
I'm going to give it a try.
I don't feel the same excitement when thinking about dipping a carrot as I do a salty chip but my 50 year old body will probably thank me.
It better.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mom turns 80!

On Sunday, September 10th, we had a little family party to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday.  It was really fun for everyone.



 Diane decorated her house with balloons and streamers and she made two cakes as well.
They were AMAZING and she may be asked to make all of our future cakes from now on.
We have all been watching The Great British Baking Show lately and it's affecting our cooking...
she went all out and we were all impressed and delighted!
I brought an apple pie made by a neighbor as a little nod to the absence of my oldest brother Darryl.  Apple pie was always his favorite and he had it for his birthday instead of a cake.


We ate delicious food together and enjoyed Diane's wonderful yard and the company of family and friends.






After dinner, we had singing and cake and ice cream and took some family pictures


All the kids who could come:


Kids and spouses:
(hopefully someone has a decent picture because I sure don't!)


Greg, being Greg.






Oh wait, maybe this picture is decent:


Mom posed with her cakes before we dug in:


Singing:


Blowing out the candles!


We skyped with my sister Danielle who lives in Alabama.
We missed having her  and her family there as well as my brother David and his family that lives in CA.

That's an awesome picture of both of us. 
You're welcome.

For her present, we gave my mom a book of letters filled with memories from family members.
We read each of ours to her as well as the ones written by her brothers.

The book has lots more


It was really great to sit in a big family circle and read these letters and reminisce about what a great mom we have.




Of course there was crying and laughing involved.

I'm thankful for my mom.

Happy 80th Birthday!