Thursday, December 13, 2012

Worth your time

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

My dad suggested this TED talk, which is about our concept of work and happiness and how we view them both.  Not only is the guy funny, but the information gives you a lot to consider and reflect on how you view happiness.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Visitors and Fun!

Look at this deliciousness...  maple syrup! (Did you think it was something else??)
My sister and her husband came to Chicago for work and we got the chance to play a little!  It was a blast to be together and just spend time enjoying the cold weather and great shopping in this city.

Erica and me
Karl and Erica (I never got a picture of Karl!  Didn't help that my phone died early in the day)

 We ate a very delicious breakfast at Meli Cafe.  

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
Yummy Hot Chocolate
Walking downtown, we crossed the river just in time for the sailboats to come through.  Since their masts were so tall, they had to raise the roads, one by one, and then lower them to allow traffic to pass through.  It was neat to watch.

Shopping was awesome.  Chicago is replete with places to go to spend money.

These are all rugs and various fabrics.  I couldn't even walk inside because it was too tempting.

We went down Michigan Avenue and checked out a few stores.  This got my sister and me all giggly....

 At first I thought it was just an unfortunate mannequin.  Then, we saw this.
If mannequins have the same problem as half of America in keeping their pants covering their bums when they sit down, I'm thinking it is time to make pants that don't have as much gap across the rear.  Or, the people dressing these statues could just pull their pants up? 

Further down Michigan Ave, we took our time looking at Tribune Tower.  This building has all different pieces of various buildings and structures from all over the world.  Really interesting to see. (Sorry about the many pictures of me.  This is the result of your phone dying and your sister hating pictures of herself being taken.  I took one for the team).

Hey yo! 

 Our next stop was Millennium Park.
I'm never going to be a model. 

 We went to see the bean, and the gobs of people that had the same idea.  I met some new friends.  

There were a group of young guys, waving frantically at the bean.  I started laughing, and naturally they saw me laughing at I tried to recover enough to ask them why they were waving.  Was there a friend across the way?  "No, we're waving to ourselves so we can see our reflection."
This is me laughing AFTER they explained why they were waving.  I think they were laughing at me at this point, too. 

Wanna know how to not make friends??!!  Don't laugh at them waving at themselves! can thank me later.  (I swear I do comb my hair and get sleep at least a few days out of the week)
It was time for lunch, and Hannah's Bretzel was lovely.  You can't go wrong when this is the first thing you see.

Just in case it's difficult to read - it's CHOCOLATE.  Not just any chocolate, but that from Belgium and Germany and Switzerland.  America is the land of the free, but Europe has claim on being the land of the Chocolatiers.  Erica didn't believe me until I purchased a few delights and she was able to sample the goodness.  She quickly understood.  Karl agreed, but isn't a lover of chocolate, so he wasn't too concerned either way.

Once we got back to the parking garage, we came to this door.  We weren't sure how best to proceed.


It was a wonderful visit, and we were so happy to see them.  Thanks for coming, K & E!  Next time it's only pictures of YOU!

A few weeks later, we celebrated the beginning of fall break with some friends.  Poor Bryan made the mistake of wearing socks with holes in them.  He left with bigger holes.  I'm not sure how it happened.

Sometimes socks that have been worn a little too much end up ripping open out of sheer exhaustion.  They need to be put to rest. 

Definitely a fashion statement

And, lastly, I finished my craft/second bedroom!  The wall color was scary at first, but with all the shelves and other business, it doesn't bother me a bit.  Now, I'm rather keen to it.

I still have labels to make for the boxes, curtains to hang, and a few odds and ends to sort out, but it feels welcoming and full of potential for new projects.  It's nice to be rid of the stripes...don't miss them a bit.

Not only did we finish the craft room, but we hung pictures!  It took us almost three years to hang anything in our first place.  I guess we're improving.

These are prints Reid gave me as a wedding present a mere eight years ago.  They've been carted around and hummed and hawed over, as how best to display them.  I love them, and I'm not a terribly sentimental soul, but these have a special place in my heart and they have never found a place on the wall....until now!  

The Mesa, Arizona Temple

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Fall - and I can't sleep!

Well, hello there!  It always takes me so long to write on this blog. I feel like I have little to share, and what I do have to share isn't nearly as thrilling as a Tom Clancy novel. But, whose life is really thrilling??? It's also 2:47am and I've checked the news, checked FB, Pinterest, listened to a book on tape and had to stop because I'm at a scary part and I am a chicken, read scriptures, rolled over several times, and am resigned to the fact that sleep is far from me. Why not update the blog?!

Reid is getting close to finishing a few more months of school and we are both EXTREMELY excited for a break. School is cool, but being out of school is the coolest! We actually see each other and live for a week like a normal family. Strange how things get so out of whack with school and weird work schedules and stress and yeah... Fall break can't come soon enough!

I'm working normal hours - still overnights, but only 36 hours a week. This has proven good and bad. I've always wanted to push myself to work more since I think,"I've got nothing else going on - why not work more?" Only, working more means I have no life, no friends, and no time to do things that would be fun. So I have decided to work a normal amount for a while. The only bad part is my sleep (or lack thereof) and inability to return to a life when the sun is up on my non-working days. This usually means I spend the first day off SO excited I'm not working for four days, that of course I can't just go home and sleep??! I should go shopping!

I then go to various shops and after about four hours, am so delirious and hangry, I move through the store in a zombie-like stupor, wondering if anyone would notice if I laid down on that really comfortable looking hardwood floor and took a nap. One would think after about a week or two or doing this, I would just go home and sleep that first day, but alas, it is hard to control that excitement! Once I finally get home, I catch a second wind, and stay awake for the rest of the night (if you're counting, this makes about 36+ hours of being awake).

Day 2 of being off is ugly. I go into a deep depression because I am overly tired, wishing I never had to step foot in that hospital again... I'm a real peach to be around, and, out of pure exhaustion and because the Lord knows I will probably go crazy if my brain doesn't shut off soon, I FINALLY fall asleep....and my depression is cured!
By the weekend, and Reid is home, I remember that life is good and I can be happy once more. One day I will figure out how to break this cycle...

Lovely days

Since the last posting, we moved to a new place! It is bigger, more affordable, and right next to an awesome walking path! I wish all our friends lived in this little neighborhood. It's the cutest. What isn't the cutest is the ridiculous HOA....but that's for another day. We now have two bedrooms and two baths, a single garage where Reid can do some car fixing, and space to move around.

Awww - welcome to Aurora!
I could walk all day down this awesome path.  
We also got a fun visit from Becki and Rich! It was awesome to talk and remember old times. We went to Wrigley Field and watched a great game. Reid dropped us off near the entrance and drove about a mile and a half away to park the car (we miss the $15 parking in downtown Colorado....i never thought I'd say that).
Becki and me
So, on the walk to the field, Reid was hit by a taxi as he tried crossing a street...poor guy. Thankfully, he is agile like a cat and simply did some roll/jump maneuver on the hood of the car without suffering too much damage. After somehow landing on his feet, he was tempted to raise his arms and say, "du-duh!" Reid said the driver and passengers were horrified since the driver was at fault, but it made for a great story. Getting a text from Reid that said, "LOL, I just got hit by a taxi," was both humorous and scary, but he is fine. He said he made a good sized dent in the hood. Better the hood than his skull.

We celebrated Halloween twice this year, and missed the actual day completely! We had a great time scaring the children at the ward's trunk-or-treat. The best was hearing little ones yell,"HOW CAN YOU SEE ME!" Apparently, the fabric on the eyes was dark enough that we could see out and few could see in. Now, I have these lovely costumes and they're taking up a good portion of the living room. They might become part of Goodwill's inventory soon.

Maybe I could hang them on the wall? 

Most recently, we decided to tackle the second bedroom. The debate has been making it a guest room or a craft room. Reid really wants a craft room. Hehe. Ok, maybe I really want one. So, anyone wanting to visit, you are still welcome! You just have to share it with the sewing machine and fabric. Currently, it is a disaster since I'm trying to paint the walls. I'm not sure when green and tan stripes have ever matched all that well, but we are wishing them a hearty farewell.

It doesn't look any better in person - trust me

And, an update on the lovely surgery. My tiny incisions didn't heal as smoothly as planned, and I had some oozing and yuckiness for a while. I thoroughly enjoy disgusting bodily fluids, so this was a pleasant time for me (I cringed and gagged almost daily). Eventually, they healed and the doctor wanted us to try naturally to get pregnant. Well, naturally didn't work. Then, to make matters worse, the doctor that performed the surgery decided to move to the city and focus on robotic surgery? Really? Didn't he understand we needed him?

So, we were back to square one.

I don't like being back to square one with this issue. Not only do we have a less-than-glamorous history of multiple miscarriages, infertility, PCOS, a rare liver disease, and we are getting, I get to add ovarian surgery to the list. It's hard to find an OB/GYN that's welcoming to such a "special" history. I thankfully had the opportunity to speak to a midwife at the hospital where I work and she gave us some ideas of what to do next.

We are meeting this week with a fertility specialist and hopefully figuring out the next steps. We have already gone the fertility specialist route and got plenty of testing done and chromosomes checked and poked and prodded, so we feel a little more prepared this time around.

I am realizing that I need to stay positive throughout the lengthy process and not get so easily discouraged. Reid and I have learned a lot and have really grown to love our lives. I look back a few years and realize that the process of waiting to become parents and hoping the day would just happen and we would be part of the "in-crowd", took away a lot of happiness that was available at that time. Yet, I longed so much for a different life that I couldn't enjoy the one we were living.

Even though moving here has been hard, it was a needed change from watching so many friends welcome their first, and second, and third, and fourth child. We miss everyone of them, and often think about moving back home and rekindling all those cherished friendships. But, being away has given us (probably more me) a break from feeling so broken. Granted, nearly all of our friends here have plenty of children, so we are still a little odd, but the move forced a lot of growth, and life is good. We are understanding more of why the Lord's timing is what it is, and I am grateful for the chance to sleep whenever I want, or walk around like a zombie for hours in a store.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

A First

One of my favorite people asked me to be a part of our ward activity and I agreed because I thought she was just joking.

She wasn't.

The Supremes - Kandy, Jill, and me Mary, Diana and Florence
The MC and me

What a funny night!  I don't get on stage unless I get lost in a new church building and end up there.  Thanks, Jill, for forcing kindly asking me to do it!  We had so many great acts and I haven't laughed that much in forever.    


I had surgery two weeks ago for my ovaries.  Crazy, huh?  It's called ovarian drilling, and essentially, they 'popped' the multiple cysts I have on both of my ovaries.  They did it laparoscopically, which was a new one for me.  I've never had abdominal surgery, and after this one, I don't really want to sign up again.    

 We got to the hospital on time, got ushered back to the room, got into the gorgeous hospital attire, and then it was time for the IV.  Yikes.

This is after the first attempt at an IV.  The sweet nurse tried again on the next vein over and that didn't work either.

So a new nurse came and tried in the other hand.  Can you see the big bump growing under the tape?  This one also didn't work, and the nurses were stumped.  
With only two hands, they decided to try in my wrist??!!  Thankfully, the fourth attempt was successful, and they taped that baby down!

See my excited face?  The gown said 'one-size-fits-all' and it lied.  I had to get up to use the facilities and it was breezy, to say the least. (No picture needed for that)

Here's the damage (sorry for the belly pic)...  

  And the damage to the hand...
And the damage to my mood.
 It has been a not-so-happy time over in our abode following this procedure.  I'm not sure what did it, but my mood has been anything but positive.  The surgery is supposed to help me get pregnant naturally, and it's anyone's guess if it worked until we actually get pregnant.... so time will tell.  Let's hope time is kind.  And that my mood improves.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Date Night and an Incredible Weekend

Reid and I got a chance to see Jim Gaffigan in Chicago on Friday night.  Mr. Gaffigan is one of our favorite comedians, and if you've never heard of him, allow me to introduce you

Here's a little clip of his stand-up

Needless to say, we laughed. A lot.  

This was our quick bite to eat.  I can't tell you the last time I ate a Big Mac.  Opening up the box and checking out the burger made me wonder what we were doing...and then that first bite reminded me... so good!  I can't say I felt incredible after eating the burger and all the fries, but I'm searching for balance in my diet and this helped round out the corner of less-than-nutritional food :)

These pictures crack me up because we both look so silly!  Probably our giddiness in being there.  My favorite part is the girl behind us in the second photo because the flash on our camera is almost seizure inducing.  A little like a strobe light packed with the brightness of the sun. I'm glad we can keep her cute little face forever and that she survived the moment with us.  

It was also General Conference this weekend.  If you don't know what General Conference is, it's a special meeting held twice a year where our prophet and other leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints speak and give testimonies of Christ and his teachings.  They give words of encouragement, of counsel, and of guidance of how we can improve ourselves and help those around us.  Here is where you can check out more if interested. 

As much as I enjoy laughing with Reid and sharing those fun times together, I was reminded how much more I enjoy sitting together and being uplifted by men and women testifying of our Savior.  The talks were so amazing - poor Reid had to listen to me say, literally after almost every talk, "Wow, Reid, that was really good."  

A theme that seemed to permeate throughout the various topics was our need to be kind to others, to not judge, and to be grateful for our many blessings.  How applicable in a time where being greedy and rude seems to reign.  

Not only did we get the chance to listen to Conference, but we also watched several episodes of one of my favorite shows, "Turning Point." 
 It's one of the neatest little shows that highlights the efforts of individuals that, after having a 'turning point' in their lives, have changed the world for the better.  One episode really touched me.  It was about a Jesuit priest that desired to help those less fortunate and despised in the community.  He co-founded 'Homeboy Industries' that includes now six businesses that serve as both a gang rehabilitation facility and training program.  The priest related the following at the beginning of the show: 

"A dream shared by a gang member began with he and I in a room that was pitch black.  He knows I'm in the room, but we're both silent.  Suddenly I take a flashlight out of my pocket and shine it on a light switch on the wall.  I hold it steady there, and the gang member knows only he can turn that switch.  Tentatively, he reaches for the switch and turns it on.  
The room is flooded with light, and at this point, the gang member is sobbing as he is relating his dream. He said, "The light is better than the darkness," as though he never knew that before. 
It was really a touchstone story.  I think prior to this I had tried to turn on the light switch for people.  I tried to save them.  But you can't really do that.  What you can do is know you own a flashlight and you happen to know where to aim it."

Profound.  As another person on a different episode said, "one person can make all the difference.   Actually, one person makes all the difference."  

Life is good, my friends.  We have much to be grateful for and so much room for improvement.  I'm glad we get the chance to do better and try harder.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!!

We had a busy December, but a great time as well.
Phoenix was GORGEOUS!  A little chilly, but so pretty. 

How wonderful is this Christmas tree?  We got a chance to stay with Reid's sister, Alyson.  Christmas morning is so different with kids.  We were woken up to Alyson and Will's little one exclaiming, "AAAAHHHHHHH MOM AND DAD - SANTA CAME!  Love it.

We had so much to celebrate over Christmas break - a new baby in the family, a marriage, birthdays and our Savior's birth.  It was a great trip

This was the view as we neared the airport in Chicago.  I suppose Illinois has some beauty too :)

New Year's Eve was full of fun, too!  We went to Wicker Park and ate brunch at The Bongo Room with some friends. 

They have a great menu and quite eclectic food.  I had an omelet with goat cheese, spinach, and butternut squash - A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  

 Then off to Sprinkles for a little treat.  Very cute place.

Lastly, I've been inspired by so many creative friends and family and want to do more decorating for the holidays.  My anti-clutter attitude and inability to save things makes this difficult, but I love the feelings that come with celebrating.  Here's the latest project in progress..... They're going to be conversation hearts for Valentine's Day.