"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The 10-minute Timer

So...I'm not the most organized girl on the planet, and I'm not the most efficient at getting things done. And there's always so much more that I want to do that I feel overwhelmed and just avoid my whole to-do list, and then I'm even more behind than before! I also have this terribly unproductive habit of starting off my several hours of work with a few minutes of play...which ends up being mostly play and then I still have all my stuff to do at the end because I'm still procrastinating. So my current solution that I'm going to try is a 10-minute To-Do list. I can handle 10 minutes. That's short enough to not be horrible, and 10 minutes every day adds up and establishes habit! Yay! Plus, if I start off with just 10 minutes of something productive, those 10 minutes are much more likely to end up being longer and even more stuff gets done :)

My 10-minute To-Do list for every day this week is as follows:
- 10 minutes of stretching
- 10 minutes of one of my many exercise regimens on my Pinterest board that I have yet to try
- 10 minutes of dishes and kitchen beautification
- 10 minutes of project downsize and organize
- 10 minutes of planning and packing a healthy lunch (eat better, and a less-stressful morning
- 10 minutes of good solid uninterrupted scripture study
- 10 minutes of self-improvement (piano, reading, learning to use my camera, etc.)

So there it is. Just 70 minutes a day in 10-minute bites, and several important bases that I'm trying to cover at the moment get at least touched on! And hopeful more than that! One week from today, we'll see how much more awesome I can be :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

One Day During Lunch...

During lunch today I said something at the same time as Trevor. Being the very mature, well-behaved gentleman that he is, he shouted "Jinx!!!", and our lovely conversation came to an abrupt halt. I guess all the stress of being a married man now with a big-kid family ward church calling, and a hard job, and all the grown-up things he's having to do for graduation and graduate school applications has made him forget elementary school or something, because once he jinxed me, he couldn't remember how to un-jinx me.

I, however, have not forgotten. Unfortunately I was jinxed so I couldn't tell him. And because I am not so very grown up that I have forgotten the seriousness of being jinxed, I went for over 2 hours this afternoon without saying a single word :) It sure does make for a pretty quiet day when it's just a guy and his mute jinxed wife hanging out all afternoon.

And then I forgot that I was jinxed for a second and accidentally said something. So I figured since I already broke the rules, I might as well tell him how to un-jinx me. And now I can talk again! The end :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Our Theme Song

Once upon a time, me and my roommates wanted more dates.

Solution: make "Kiss the Girl" our apartment theme song, but we re-wrote it and changed the lyrics to "Ask the Girl" and it was about asking girls at BYU on dates. It even got made into a music video, that's how awesome it was :)

That was the definitely one of the most date-intensive school year of my BYU experience! And it culminated with me and one of my roommates both getting boyfriends half-way through Winter semester.

So 6 months later when we had both just ended failed fairly serious 6-month relationships, one of our other roommates had broken up with her boyfriend just a few months earlier, and our other roommate was also single, we were all feeling a bit negative about the whole boy situation.

Solution: make "I Just Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble our new apartment theme song!

Less than a week later, I met my husband. No joke :D

My initial disinterest in my Trevor quickly subsided, and in less than a month I was hopelessly smitten and boyfriended again! About 2 weeks into our official datingness, Trevor decided that we needed a song to be our song. So we started flipping through random radio stations to get ideas as we drove to Sammy's (LOVE!). Just as we pulled up, we happened upon a new song neither of us had heard before and both of us liked. A couple of lines later the song got to the chorus...and it turned out it was "Marry Me" by Train. So then we started joking that it was our song.

And lo and behold, we got married! Clearly there is something to this whole theme song prediction of the future thing!

Right now Trevor is heavily swamped in the marshlands of homework, work, GRE, grad school applications, capstone project stuff, job applications and interviews, church calling stuff, research, and all the millions of other things that are going on, and we're trying to make it through with good grades and good career and/or grad school options because our future financial security and job security, and the direction of our lives, and overall life happiness and everlasting bliss and all that will hinge greatly on what happens and what gets decided in these next few rough months.

SO. We need a theme song! A good one about success and awesomeness!

Both of us thought of "If I Were a Rich Man" immediately. But...I don't really want a yard full of ducks and turkeys and geese, or a proper double chin.

Trevor's current theme song of choice is "Survival" by Muse. I hate that song. It gives me a headache. But the video really is a lot like what this final semester feels like! So until we find something better, Trevor's gonna survive, and he's gonna win, yes, he's gonna win!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Girl Who Wore Dresses

Once upon a time there was a little girl who like to wear dresses. All the time. Because she was a princess :)

I think it's pretty safe to say I have a princess complex. And if I see a princess dress, I HAVE to buy it!! And wear it!! Ok so maybe it's not quite that bad. I do understand the limits of my budget, and all my dresses except 2 (my wedding dress, and my first dress :) were pre-owned and were marked waaaay down (the most expensive one was $50), so despite my entire closet full of princess dresses, I really haven't forked over that much money.

 But still, I own far more dresses and costumes than any normal girl should, and I love it! Few things make me happier than getting all decked out and fabulous! And so, in honor of Halloween approaching, and in tribute to my wonderful dress collection and the many other lovely costumes and dresses I have had the privilege of wearing over the past 4 years, I have put together this compilation!

 First off, one of my absolute favorite dresses! My Gisele dress! A white designer quinceanera gown with exquisitely intricate beadwork on the gown and bodice, and a monstrously huge petticoated skirt! (I added the tacky poofy sleeves myself for my costume, and it looks blue because I was at a blacklight party:) I looked it up online, and it's worth around $400-$500, and I got it like-new from ebay for $50. That was a good day in my life!

 Can a skirt be too big? I don't think so.

Ok so this next one isn't really a dress. Just a skirt. But it also functions as a blanket, wings, hideout, tent, etc. Soooo fun to wear! And it's hot pink! And it made a great gypsy costume!

Those $6 were well-spent if you ask me.


And of course I can't leave out my lovely wedding dress :)

 And my competition ballroom dress! (the red one :)

And my dress that I wore when Trevor proposed!

...and then had panels added to the skirt so I could wear it while for our ballroom first dance at our wedding! Definitely another one at the top of my list of favorites! Oh, and did I mention I bought it on a whim from the thrift store for $12? Quite the awesome find! Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue, all in one :)

Next up, an old-school prom dress! $10-15. Love it, love it, love it!

And speaking of old-fashioned prom dresses, lets not forget this beauty! Unfortunately, I don't own it. But my sister does, and it's awesome!

 And here is yet another wonderfully shiny dress that I don't own.

 ...And this isn't really much of a dress...but it's still cool(ish), so I thought it deserved a picture too :)

Random tea party, anyone? Thrift store. $5.

 Sometimes you just have to frolic. You just do.

This red costume was designed specifically for me by one of my ridiculously talented friends, and made from an actual vintage dress from back in the who-knows-when's. She fitted it to me, added the trim on the ends, and made the wrapped skirt part :) 

And along the costume thread...(ok so they're really pretty much all costumes) I bought this used authentic BYU Cougarette costume for $3, and have definitely made it worth my money!

And of course we can't leave out the many beautiful ballroom gowns I've worn!

And of course there are some less-costumey dresses too. This shimmery sparkly coral dress was the first one I bought. And I even ended up getting my name and picture in the newspaper the first time I wore it :)

 And this blue-purple chrome dress with simple elegant beadwork and a lovely corset back was a brand-new-tags-attatched-still-in-the-plastic-bag-from-the-manufacturer thrift store purchase! $35 for a $100+ new dress? Yes please!

The pictures really don't do this pink and black dress justice! There's a lot of intricate sparkly seed bead detail work, and the fit really is much more flattering that it appears thanks to this not-the-best pose. And I got this dress for $40 because the zipper was starting to rip out. A couple stitches, and good as new!

This little black dress has been another one of my favorites just because it's so comfy, easy to move in, and versatile. I bought it on sale for $15. Bargain hunting is what I do.

 Since it's so easy to move in, it got worn to many a ballroom dancing event, including a replacement "Homecoming" dance me and several ballroom friends put together. I went with my now husband as our second date :) It went rather well, I'd say!

Continuing on with awesome dresses for dancing, the list just isn't complete without adding some of the dresses I've worn for ballet costumes this past year! These are from Pioneer Legacy.

And Swan Lake.

 And the Fairy Tea Party.

And a ballet-themed bridal shoot. 

...and last, but definitely not least, here is an honorary space for my future pictures wearing my 3 dresses I still have yet to wear! A pale pink and yellow princess costume with a big yellow sash, a bubblegum pink tule dress with a lovely ruched bodice that is just begging to be worn with my huge petticoat, and a big swooshy purple and white tule skirt in need of a bodice :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

...And All the Awkwardness of 10 First Dates

So this one time this really cool guy I like asked me out on a date. Halloween was coming up and he wanted to make an awesome costume, and I wanted to make an awesome costume, and we needed to buy stuff for our costumes. Dinner and dress-up shopping with a cute boy. Not a bad date!

He had a lot of homework, and I had work, so we couldn't start our date until lateish, and we were both starving and the stores were closing soon. The 'dinner' part of our date was the drive through at Taco Bell. Cheap, yummy, fast!

We started eating in the car on the way to the Halloween costume store and discovered that Taco Bell got our entire order wrong. Instead of the fresco sauce stuff like we requested, they gave us cheddar on everything. I'm lactose intolerant and he's a cheddar hater. Problem. After picking out a bunch of the cheese, I started to just eat it anyway, and realized as I finished my last bite, that greasy, juicy, orangy taconess had dripped through the wrapper and all over my seat belt and my shirt, tank top, and jeans. (Which were fresh out of the wash, I might add! Yes, I did attempt to look somewhat cute for my hot date :) Gross!! And we hadn't even started the real part of our date!

My attempts to clean myself up a bit with the napkins and water weren't incredibly effective. And I ended up accidentally spilling water all over my lap in the process. I accomplished this wonderful feat just as we pulled up to the parking lot of the Halloween costume store...only to discover that it wasn't the store we thought it was...and it was actually a temporary haunted house that wasn't even open for another week or two.

We opted to go to the craft store next door to look for supplies, and actually found a lot of cool stuff! Too bad I looked like I peed my pants, and had orangey grease stains on my shirt, and smelled like an old taco the whole time! Geez, can't take me anywhere! Good thing we're already married since I'm clearly not so great at being impressive on dates.

But all's well that ends well though I suppose, and after a successful supply shopping trip, our comedy of errors finally ended with a phone call to Taco Bell about the incorrect order, and they told us to come back and they gave us our correct order totally free! Aaaand they even threw in some of those delightful cinnamon twisties for free too :D

Sunday, September 23, 2012


When I was little, I wanted to be a unicorn. Like I really truly wished I would turn into a unicorn, or that someone would someday discover that I really was a unicorn and had only been transformed into a little girl temporarily. I would daydream about it ALL THE TIME. What can I say? I had a vivid imagination.

Now that I've grown up a bit, I'm perfectly happy knowing the reality of the situation is that I'm not a unicorn. But there are sooo many things I still want to be! Or learn to do, and become good at. Me and my Trevor did a bit of Halloween costume supply shopping this past Saturday and perusing the craft stores brought on fresh reminders of things I think would be soo much fun to try! Unfortunately, I can't do them all. Because stuff cost money, and money requires work, and work requires time, and time spent working means not enough time to sit around and do crafty cool fun stuff all day. Vicious cycle. Plus you can't really focus on everything at the same time...hence the word 'focus'...

So for now, here's my list of wonderful fun things that I'm just dying to try, and can't wait to learn to be good at.

My Unicorn. 

- photography!! (I even have a camera and a couple books and resources right at my fingertips! Time to get over my fears and put in the time to start learning!!)
- teach ballet (I taught a few classes earlier this month while a teacher was at a wedding, and assisted with several others and I LOVED it! Now I just need to get more experience, learn more about how to be a good teacher, and get busy teaching!)
- make progress on the piano (I had incredible training when I was younger and can still play well, but I haven't taken lessons or practiced regularly in years. So much going to waste!)
- learn to sew awesome cute stuff! (fabulous decked out dresses, costumes, alter clothes to fit me better, add cute stuff like gathers or other stuff to things to make them better, etc)
- bake awesomely! (as in delicious cuisine, and super cutesy fun stuff! there are sooo many awesome baking and decorating supplies! and awesome shaped cake pans and great recipes begging me to make them!)
- make beaded jewelry (this is a super new one. I love dangly sparkly wonderful earrings and clinky bracelets and such, and after looking at stuff people had made and were selling at one of those events where artists set up booths to sell their stuff, I think I would really like designing jewelry like that)
- be good at ballroom (I've had a ton of classes, but I want to hunker down and really learn my stuff)
- learn contemporary (my dance repertoire growing up was mostly just strictly classical ballet. My body wasn't made to do such things, although I do love it more than just about anything. I don't like most modern, jazz isn't for me, tap...haha no way. But I do think I'd really like to branch out more into the contemporary/lyrical realm.)
- choreograph. (I used to do this all the time when I was younger. Honestly, my choreography was probably absolutely dreadful, but I loved being able to hear music that inspired me and translate that into dance. I want to do that again :)
- and of course, last but not least, I want to be better about blogging! haha I've been slacking off reaaaally bad lately, and I've missed some important things! I need to change that soon :)

And now I'm off to bed, so I can get up early and go to work and earn money to put towards becoming my newly defined unicorn :D

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Burping Machine

There are so many other much more important and interesting things that I really should have given blogging priority over this, so I feel slightly ridiculous writing this post...but for whatever reason it's on my mind and I feel like blogging! So here we go!

Chances are, if you don't know me well, you think I'm a quiet, perfectly well-mannered little girl. If you know me reasonably well, you've probably heard me burp a couple times. And if you've ever lived with me, or know me well at all, you'll know that I burp a lot. Like, a LOT. Story of my life. There must be something a little messed up inside of me, because I seriously can't not burp like 15-20+ times a day, and it's often on the louder side. As in like a chest-rattling, from-the-depths-of-your-bowels kind of belch. (My little brother referred to it as "atomic belching")

Lucky for me, burping usually relieves my nausea considerably if not completely! Not so lucky for me, burping is not very polite.

When I was little (ok, actually I was in high school), my parents decided to do something about my constant burping. They made a list of 6 different chores to do as punishment, and each time I burped I had to roll a die and do the chore with the number I had rolled. That didn't quite work out as well as intended since my body just burps no matter what I do. It's kind of like trying to get your kid to stop using the bathroom by punishing them every time they go. It's just not going to happen. They might get better at holding it...but they'll never stop having to go. And since I burp much more after eating, and especially after drinking anything, of course most of my burping happened while we were still around the dinner table when my parents were right there to hear it, even when I was doing my best to hold it in. Needless to say, I rolled that chore die a lot.

Then I got to college, my roommates and I kind of did our own thing for food and didn't really have sit-down meals, so I got a lot more careless about trying to tone down my never-ending belches. The consequence: the burping bowl. We put out a small glass bowl, and every time I burped I had to put a penny in it. And if I burped really loud I had to pay a nickel. There were a lot of coins in that bowl. But one day some people came around collecting spare change door-to-door to donate to feed starving children in Africa, or for the Invisible Children, or something like that, and we donated all my burping money. So at least some good came of it :)

When I'm in public I usually try to be as discreet as I can (sometimes I'm a bit more successful than others), but every once in a while I forget. Or it's just too sudden to stifle. The usual response is something along the lines of, "that was YOU?", "how did something like that come out of such a little girl?", or "not again".  One time I was practicing the waltz with a ballroom partner and one just slipped out. I actually didn't even realize. (We weren't dancing at the moment, don't worry, I didn't burp in his face. We had taken a break to get a drink) My partner just stood there for a moment in awed amazement, and then told me if he could burp like that he would be the envy of his roommates. Another time, I went to get food with my boyfriend at the time, and a few other friends. Several chili cheese fries and a few sips of Sprite later, my body decided it was time for another "atomic belch", and for whatever reason my brain didn't register that I was in public and should try to tone it down. Oops. The guys we were with were very impressed though, and one of them even said if he had a girlfriend who could burp like that in public, he would get down on his knee right then and there are propose!

I'm guessing my amazing perpetual belching abilities didn't influence my husband's decisions to marry me...at least not positively haha, but he did still decide I am worth it, burps and all :) And interestingly enough, he is incapable of burping. Go figure. But it's ok, I more than make up for the both of us! And, as I said at the beginning, burping helps relieve my never-ending nausea...so let the belches continue!

Monday, August 13, 2012

7 Minutes

I found this on my facebook newsfeed today. It's a 7 minute clip from a BYU devotional given on May 14 1996 by Elder F. Enzio Busche, and it's basically everything you ever needed to hear. It's wonderful!

Just watch it and see for yourself :)


Monday, August 6, 2012

Well Begun is Half-done

My sleeping, water-drinking, nutritious food-eating, and over-all good health practices have been moved to the back-burner lately it seems. One nice thing (well, one of the only nice things!) about not feeling well all the time is that it makes me be careful to not eat too much. So...now that I've been feeling a bit better overall lately, I've been eating junk like crazy! And getting too full with junk, and not having room in my stomach for drinking water without feeling sick. And being wired or not wanting to sleep because I'm too full, so not sleeping much or not sleeping well. And then not wanting to workout or be active because I'm too full and dehydrated, and ending up bored and feeling like blob of gross. It's a downward spiral.

So, I woke up this morning determined to make today better. Then I got on facebook and this was one of the first things I saw:

Ok, so it's a bit on the cheesy side, but yes!! This is what I plan to do this morning! Get it started out right by keeping in mind what I want to accomplish today, and how I want to feel, and acting accordingly. So yoga, fresh fruit breakfast, lots of water, house primping, scripture study, and quick warm relaxing shower, here I come!

...and then off to work. I'm closing tonight. My favorite!...not...but at least I'm going to start things off right today :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Happy Pioneer Day...Ducks

One of my very first posts on this blog was this one about how we celebrated Pioneer Day last year - our first year as a married couple. We got to spend time with Trevor's family and do what they were doing and it was great! This year we're out here in Ohio on our own with no ward Pioneer Day activity or family or Pioneer Day parades or anything, so we got to start deciding what our own traditions that we want to start with our current/future family will be.

After some discussion and searching Pinterest and Google for ideas, we concluded that Pioneer day traditions and plans will be way more fun once we have kids, but we still came up with some ideas to do this year, and build on in years to come. We decided to make corn bread and homemade butter, and while we shook up our butter and waited for the cornbread to bake, we'd both choose an aspect of pioneer life or something to research online for about 15 minutes (what they wore, how they preserved food, what they did on a typical day, how they did laundry, etc), and present our findings to each other while we ate our yummy pioneer snack and appreciated the convenience of modern living!

But this is me and my husband we're talking about. So of course our wonderful idea didn't turn out quite how we planned it. Story of my life.

Pioneer day fell on a Tuesday this year. I didn't end up getting home from work until about 7:30, and I was greeted by my wonderful husband putting together the final preparations for dinner! Hawaiian haystacks! Which has to do with Pioneer Day because...the pioneers probably thought about Hawaii every day of their journey across the plains and wished they were there instead. Ok, dinner actually wasn't part of our plan, but it still felt like a celebration :)

So, after our scrumptious feast, we made cornbread. I thought I had my mom's recipe that I love, but it turns out I don't, so we just used the Betty Crocker one. You can't go wrong with Betty Crocker, right?

Well, 2 ingredients away from finishing the batter I realized that we don't have baking powder like the recipe calls for, just baking soda. Blast. Trevor offered to run to the store and get some, but I was feeling lazy and didn't want to waste the gas for 1 thing, especially since we had already made an extra trip because we forgot to get cornmeal. So I just looked up a conversion online, and it said about 3 tsp of baking powder for each tsp baking soda. The recipe called for like 3 or 4 tsp of baking powder, so that's like 9-12 tsp baking soda. Problem solved! So I started dumping baking soda in, and realized several spoonfuls too late that I had the conversion backwards...

Yep, our cornbread was going to rise to the moon! (not one of my finer moments in math, I must say)

Please note the use of the past tense in "was". Our oven had a few things to say about that.

Our oven doesn't like me much. The first time I tried to bake cookies (oatmeal chocolate chip!! :), it wouldn't heat up enough and I had to turn it up to 500 degrees and leave the cookies in for a half hour to bake. It was dumb. So I said something to the maintenance man on my way to work one day. Apparently the oven didn't like that I called it dumb and broken, and decided to take revenge.

The cornbread was supposed to bake for 20-25 minutes. After 10 I could smell it so I checked it and it was burned. So I pulled it out and gently tapped the top to see if it was done and the whole thing fell like I punched bread dough or something. So I turned the oven down 150 degrees and put it in for a little longer to un-rawify the middle.

It ended up looking like this.

A bit too dark on the outside, but definitely not the ugliest cornbread ever, right? Just really dry and crumbly. So I dished myself up some and started eating. The first bite wasn't that bad.

But by the second bite...SOO GROSS!!!! It tasted like there was some chemical or something in it, and I couldn't even force myself to swallow it. I spit it right out, and kept on spitting for like forever until I finally got the taste out of my mouth. It turns out baking soda really doesn't taste that great in large quantities...

And so, we decided to celebrate that we have enough food to not have to eat our icky cornbread/baking soda bread, and go find some ducks to feed it to instead. 

But then we couldn't even find any ducks. So I guess this should actually be called happy Pioneer Day to the trash. Oh well, at least it'll be pretty easy to top our cornbread tasting experience next Pioneer Day!

Friday, July 20, 2012

How to Be

I found out yesterday that an old man I know from home passed away earlier this week. His name is Chuck Barron.

Death of a close loved one is not something I have experienced yet, fortunately. But there is still always a sense of loss that follows the death of someone I know, and gratitude for the life they lived. Especially for this man.

Honestly, I have hardly thought about him at all for the past few years since I haven't been living at home, and had all but forgotten about him until I heard that he had passed away. Then I started thinking back and remembering all the things he did for me through the years and the difference he made in how I felt about myself.

Whenever he saw me - even if I was at the other end the long church hallway - he would light up and take off towards me as fast as he could with his cane and give me a great big hug and an even bigger smile and tell me how beautiful I was and how glad he always is to see me.

I realized yesterday that I'm pretty sure he's the first person I remember ever telling me I was pretty. And he's definitely the only person who ever told me that consistently growing up and made me feel like I actually was. I'm sure my parents told me I was pretty at some point, but they really aren't the type to hand out touchy-feely warm fuzzy compliments like that - or weren't that I remember back then - plus I was a rather unfortunate-looking little girl for quite some time, so that made it all the more meaningful to me. How can you not feel special when someone makes an effort to talk to you at every church event, and sometimes comes rushing over to catch you right before you leave and tell you he just couldn't let you leave before he got a chance to say "Hi" to his favorite beautiful girl and give you a hug and tell you how lovely you looked that day?

And even more than just making me feel special and happier, he did that for everyone. I read through some things others posted about him on facebook, and it was really touching to see how he affected all of us. What an amazing man! These words about him are posted on facebook where they'll soon be replaced with new posts, but I want to remember them, so I'm including some of them here.

This first one is from me.

"For as long as I can remember he used to joke about his bald head and tell me and my sister we had such pretty long hair, and say we should teach him how to do his hair like that sometime. I'm pretty sure every girl will agree, he had a way of making us all feel noticed and loved and special and worth being complimented. He was always teasing and flirting and smiling and telling me I was beautiful, and joking that if he was just a half a century younger he would ask me for my number :) He made me birthday cards and Christmas cards on his computer each year, and after I left for BYU he started sending me funny/cute e-cards periodically. Since I rarely ever saw my real grandparents growing up, my parents deemed him our adopted grandpa, and he used to come and watch my ballets, and come share holiday meals with us, and stuff like that. He was one of those people who just made you feel better when you talked to him, even if it was just for a minute, and I'm pretty sure he always left people happier than he found them. Or at least he always did for me." 

And I'm leaving the rest anonymous. If you see something you posted and would like your name added or your words removed, just let me know.

"He was a very special person, and I know not to just me...I consider him my adopted Grandfather. He loved and took care of all of us C2 kids though. Brother Chuck Barron is very loved and will be missed very much!"

"He was like a grandfather to all of us. He sure knew how to make a girl feel beautiful"

"Chuck Barron, you are an example of strength, endurance, and grace amidst immense adversity. Your kindness to my family and so many others' challenges us all to serve our fellow man charitably. Love you." 

"He will be truly missed. I'm sure there was a great homecoming on the other side."

"One of my heroes passed away today. Chuck Barron, a man who went out of his way to let me know he cared. To most it'd be a small gesture, but at that point in my life it meant the world to me and I will never forget it. The world has lost a great man."

"Sundays won't be the same without your smile, hugs and kind words."

"A great man, honest, true and humble! God speed Brother Barron the Lord's kingdom is brighter with your smile and open arms. May we always remember you..."

"I loved that man!!!! He was so dear and always so cheerful!!! He will be missed!!!"

"We will miss you terribly. Thank you for your love of those that most often went unnoticed to everyone else. You always made everyone feel special."

"I have a feeling not only his funeral will be packed and filled with loved ones and people whose lives he touched, but his welcome home was also packed with the same! He was truly an angel on this earth. To me...his countenance already reflected Christ in his interactions with his fellow man...Always willing to help and speak kind words!"

"Dear Brother Barron, I will forever have fond memories of your kindness, your sweetness, and your unconditional love to all. You will be missed, but I know you haven't gone far. You just finally figured out the best way to give all of us a hug at once. We love you."

The world lost a great man this week, but he touched and bettered SOO many lives while he was here! What an inspiration to us all! I hope I can be just like him (well, except hopefully with more hair :) and bring sunshine so memorably and consistently into the lives of those around me!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Home Away from Home...Away from Home

I know, I know, another ballet post. But dancing is so great how can you not blog about it? :)

I just got back from ballet. My first class in Ohio, and my first time dancing since Swan Lake over a month ago! It's been far too long! And I really loved how much it reminded me of home. Not just because it's ballet, but everything about it. The heavy engulfing heat and humidity reminding me SOO much of dancing in Maryland! I was sweating by tendus, not from exertion, just from the heat! And it made my arms and body feel all sticky and slimy the whole class. I haven't felt that way in a dance class in years, thanks to the dry climate of Utah. I guess it's really not something I particularly enjoy or miss, but it's just so familiar it was just good. I don't know how to explain it. Maybe kind of like that friend you have who has some habit or something they always do that just drives you absolutely crazy, and you don't see them for years, and then you see them again and they still do that annoying thing...and you still don't like it, but at the same time it almost makes you happy because it's so familiar and you know it means you're with your old friend again...if that even makes any sense.

Another thing that reminded me of home and I absolutely LOVED was that the class was taught by a man. Several of my ballet teachers growing up were men (Vyachesalv Mesropov, Vadim Pijicov, Urie Nikitenko, Jan Dijkwel, Frank Galvez, Charles Abel, Jonathon Stafford, Scott Thighberg...) as well as my favorite teachers at Summer intensive camps, but it's been about 6 years since I had a ballet class taught by a guy and I miss it! It was great! I don't even know how to explain how it's different, but it just is.

And after class I got to talk to the teacher for a bit while I signed up for a Summer punch card for classes, and found out he used to dance with Ballet West! So that reminded me of my Utah home and dancing in Utah, and we talked and reminisced about Utah for a bit and that was cool.

And now my body is tired, but happy I danced, and I'm stinky and disgustingly drenched in sweat.

Yep, a great way to start the day off, and a great way to kick-off the beginning of my brief Ohio ballet Summer :)

Oh, and the teacher gave me a compliment in class. Not just a generic "good" in my direction, but a good solid, "Karin, that was really nice" during a pirouette/waltz turn combination :) It's a good day!

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's Time

It's high time I blogged again! It's been over a month, and so so much has happened!!!! I don't even know where to begin! For starters, today is Friday the 13th. I got off work a couple of hours ago; now I'm sitting here on our nice plump couch with the AC blowing in effort to combat the heavy humid heat, relaxing my sore quads, thinking about how I should sweep up the salt I spilled on our hardwood floors, and I don't feel sick. That's...all very different from what I would be doing right now under normal conditions!

First off, work? Yes, I got a job :) Just a temporary position in retail (blech!!) for the next few weeks while we're in Ohio (oh yeah, did I mention that we're in Ohio now?), but hey, a job means income and it gives me something to do. I'll take it!

Second, a nice plump couch? One of the many many perks of living in my Grandparents' basement is that we don't have to buy much furniture. They already have an old couch and arm chair that they keep downstairs and let us use and it's great! One downside, it's pretty old. The springs are broken, it looks awful so we always keep it covered with mis-matched blankets, the cushions don't fit it right anymore, etc. All that being said, once we got out to Ohio with only as much stuff as we could fit in our car to drive cross-country (which means absolutely no furniture other than an air mattress...well unless you count the flat-topped cooler we've been using as a kitchen table, or the subwoofer that Trevor has been using as a desk), we were reaaaaally missing that couch! So, how did we end up with an awesome couch in Ohio? Well that's another story I'll have to tell later :) For now suffice it to say, we have one, and an armchair, and I LOVE them!

Next, air conditioning and heavy humid heat. Ohio heat is NOT the same as Utah heat. At all. And there's been this awful heat wave for the past like 2 weeks making things miserable, especially since we didn't have power for almost an entire week right in the middle of it!! So the air conditioning is WONDERFUL!

Sore quads. Dance? Nope. I wish!! But no. Running. That's right, I went running :) I only ran a mile and walked about another mile, but for anyone who knows my exercising habits when it comes to cardio, that's saying something. And I'm proud of myself. There's this incredible ice cream place/bakery almost 2 miles away from our apartment, and Trevor said when I can run all the way there without stopping or walking, we can go get ice cream again! So that's my goal, and I'm sticking to it! And I might even go out for another job tonight!

And then there's the matter of the salt-covered hardwood floors. Well I guess me spilling food isn't anything new, but the hardwood floors are, and I absolutely LOVE them!! The entryway, kitchen/dining area and living room are all connected, and are this lovely happy shade of wood. And windows span nearly the entire length of one of our livingroom walls, so the light comes streaming in and it's amazing! I have my own ballroom/ballet/yoga studio right in my own home! And the whole not having furniture thing just means more room :)

And last, but not least, I don't feel sick? What?!?! Since when has that happened regularly? Since I came to Ohio, that's when. I don't know what it is, but I have been noticeably more well since we got to here. I really wish I knew why! Part of it I'm sure is because I've been careful about not eating too much dairy, since I'm pretty sure I'm lactose intolerant. Not 100% avoidance, but being really careful and smart about milk stuff. Also, There's not too much stress. I didn't really have much to do until just recently when I got a job, so I got to do whatever I wanted. Plus it's warm, so it kind of forces me to relax, and sunshiney weather does wonders for me. It really does. Another possible factor, maybe there was mold or something where we were living before that was contributing to me not feeling well? But what I really think it comes down to, is that this is a fresh start out here. There's so much to do and explore, and there's just something magical about new beginnings!! I love familiar things, and I'm happy we're going back to Utah in a couple months, but I just really love how inspiring it is to be out here trying something new for a change!

And speaking of all the new changes I've been trying, I have waaaay more adventures to tell in blog posts to come!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Once Upon a Lake of Swans...

There are definitely too many memories of Swan Lake from this past weekend for me to write them all out and do them justice, so here's a simplified list for the sake of remembering.

Remember when...
- Thomas got injured the week before the show and couldn't dance so Sam had to learn all of the prince's part last-minute and we had to get a new guy to replace Sam 
- we showed up Saturday morning for the first show and the Odette and Odile costumes weren't finished, and our princess dresses weren't sewn
- the CD stopped working randomly and we had to stop the show for like 20 minutes while they got new music
- like pretty much everything went wrong with the first show
- we were watching the end of the 3rd act in the dressing room while changing costumes after feeling like the whole show was pretty much a disaster so far, and Jocelyn and Sam did AWESOME for the black swan and we were cheering and screaming at the screen like the whole time and counting fouettes and were just so happy that finally something went so right!!
- Phyllis lifted up her dress so she wouldn't trip walking up the stairs like she did for the first show, and didn't realize she was lifting it up several inches above her knee and flashing her queenly thighs to the entire audience
- we were all doing the pointe shoe I-hate-my-feet waddle from dancing and not taking our pointe shoes off literally all day
- we all sat around and tried to make those feathery headpieces look pretty, and most of us just made a gluey feathery mess. and I got feather bits all over my black leg warmers. 
- I bought BYU ice cream barf buckets to put in the wings on both sides
- me and Sam discussed how much our feet hurt and how cute all the little girls' dances were while we stood around onstage in pain for most of the 3rd act every show
- there was all that awesome dry ice fog on the stage for the end of all the shows...oh wait...I mean, remember how there was supposed to be, but wasn't
- I got confused when we switched to the second cast and did like half of the poses wrong, and everyone on my side had to just follow along because I was in front
- April drank a bunch of that chocolate milk that had sat out all day right from the gallon in the wings
- I was super freaking out and feeling sick before act II and Anne came over to pray with me in the wings before we went onstage
- the pas de trois became a duet
- at least one little girl dropped a prop (flute, flower, etc) during act 3 scene 1 in all 4 shows and Brianna ran and picked it up every time
- the shows kept taking too long and there was only like a 5-10 minute break between when one ended and the next one started so we couldn't take off our shoes or take a break to eat or anything
- April made us awesome sparkly underwear
- we all wanted to chop our feet off and die becuase we were so tired and our feet hurt so bad...and we still had 2 more shows to go!
- the maypole came down from the ceiling for the second show and the ribbons were still all tied up, but they danced with it anyway
- like 3 headpieces fell off during the maypole dance
- Bridget's tendonitis was crazy bad and she iced her feet in a lunch cooler
- during the dress rehearsal we couldn't find the crossbow, so we brought out a feather duster to give to the prince instead. and a hanger.
- suddenly there was a scrim on stage for 'angry birds' and no one knew what to do so we ran around and looked stupid and were really late, and my side didn't even come on for part of it
- I went to help Sam the dark with his 10 second Rothbart costume change, and each show I tried to help by getting him his black feathery mask, but he couldn't ever get it on in time so he would just hand it back to me and go on without it. and I was useless.
- Sam the dark was practicing his pirouettes and creeper Rothbart faces and his broken heart mime in the wings with us
- the wrong song came on...like 5 times...each show
- we had to stand around awkwardly doing nothing while the wrong songs kept playing
- Sam and David came up with some awesome improve to make the most of the wrong song
- our feet were dying and hurt so bad we all layed down in the wings and put our feet up while we waited for the curtain call after the third show
- Brianna and her mom took a ton of pictures of everything
- Sophia's shoes were like the deadest thing anyone had ever seen
- April saved the day and gave Sophia an old pair of her pointe shoes to wear for the last show since hers were basically socks
- I had to wear that horrible nightgownish costume for 1st act because my dress was still just un-sewn pieces of cloth even after the show had started. and it still hadn't been finished by the last show
- we started lining up for Act 3 scene 2 for the fourth and final show and I saw Sam in the wings and we both realized that we were just 5 minutes or so away from being DONE and we started freaking out we were so excited!
- me and Ammon talked in British accents while we waited around onstage during the 1st act
- we took pictures with that random creepy mannequin girl in a cowboy hat with a white arm and black hand and face, holding an energy drink
- the curtain went down after bows for the last show and everyone started bawling their eyes out...except for me and Whitney
- I realized after the last show ended that I had forgotten to take off my sparkly underwear from April that I put on over my costume to take pictures, and I accidentally wore it onstage for angry birds
- we all made it through 4 shows of Swan Lake in 1 day and lived to tell the tale?!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Magic Truck and the Good Samaritan

I have a magical truck that has a way of forcing me into getting what I want, in a way I didn't expect. And teaching me about selfless service at the same time. You may recall my post Be Careful What You Wish For / How to Get All the Boys. I wanted to go on a walk since the weather was so perfect, but I knew I probably wouldn't get around to it, and then my truck broke down about a mile away from home and I had to walk the rest of the way. So I got my walk in after all! Just not under the circumstances I expected. 

Well, today at the end of rehearsal someone asked me what I was going to do tonight. I responded that I was going to go home, eat leftover spaghetti, make lemon cupcakes, and watch Drop Dead Diva on Netflix. And I fully intended to. But despite my practical side telling me leftovers should be on the menu for tonight, I was really craving Subway, and have been for a couple days now; and I was really hoping for some more interesting Friday night plans than watching TV alone in the basement. Aaaand cue the magic wish-granting truck...

All I had eaten all day was a half slice of bread, like 7 fresh strawberries, half of a blueberry crisp Clif bar, and like 3 crackers, and I had finished eating all that by about 1:30, and our 4-hour Swan Lake rehearsal didn't end until 8:30, and I was SOOO HUNGRY! Like that weak starving empty low blood sugar type of hungry where you just don't even know if you can keep standing much longer without passing out or something. Some food needed to happen soon! So I packed up fast and headed out to my truck to drive home fast and get some food back in me!

But first I noticed one of my tires was going pretty flat. I knew it was going to be time to replace it soon, so I debated dropping it off at a tire place before heading home, but decided against it because I was just waaay too hungry. Instead of taking the highway home (the faster route) I chose the longer route. In retrospect, I'm not entirely sure why. But it was definitely a good move. Less than 2 miles later I could hear my tire making a weird tapping noise. I pulled over and looked at it to find this!

Bad news! This tire situation was more serious than I thought! And you can't see it in the photo, but there was a crack about 3/4 inch running down one side of the hole. Good thing I didn't take the high way or my tire very well may have blown out before I had anywhere to pull over!

I called my uncle and he said there was a spare, so to just change it. Easy fix! ...Except not...I've never changed a tire in my life. Plus I was wearing shorts and my ballet stuff, and getting down on the ground in your tights is really not a good idea. So I called up my cousin, who happened to be free. All the while I was getting hungrier and hungrier and wilting more and more...and there was a Subway just a couple blocks away taunting me! I could see it from where I was parked! I debated just walking there and back while I waited for my cousin to show up, but I was just so weak I didn't know if I could do it. Plus I'd have to run across 4 lanes of traffic. Twice. So I decided to brave my nearly-blown-out tire and drive to Subway! And so I did! Just like I wanted! And I made it safely, and I bought myself a nice $5 footlong (oven-roasted chicken on toasted Italian with lettuce, tomato, peppers, onion, and honeymustard :), and I was just 2 glorious bites into it my cousin pulled up.

Unfortunately, changing the tire proved to be far more of a challenge than any of us anticipated. We couldn't figure out how to get the spare to drop from the bottom of the truck bed, and were in the middle of trying to figure it out when another car pulled up. A man and his wife, also heading to Subway for dinner. I never asked for help from them. I didn't have to. The man just popped open his trunk and brought over a tool kit, lug nut thing (I think?), LED flashlights, and set to work on my truck. It took awhile, but he got that tire free. And then he got this thing out of his car to pump it up some more. And then he went over to the dumpster and got out a collapsed cardboard box to lay on, and started jacking up my truck and changing my tire. It was incredible. And I felt so useless just standing there while he was grunting and sweating and swearing and doing exactly what needed to be done. I don't know how we would have done it without him.

Then once the spare tire was finally on and all the stuff was put away, the hood wouldn't latch all the way. I thought it was probably good enough, but he said he had been driving the same model and make once and the hood did the same thing, and it flew up and shattered the windshield and completely obstructed his view, and he refused to leave until he had fixed it for me. He willingly spent an hour and a half of his personal time to help a complete stranger without being asked, and went far above and beyond the call of duty. And went home with grimy dirty clothes and hands, and was so busy helping me that he almost didn't make it inside Subway to order before they closed. I couldn't believe it. I don't even know his name.

Me and my cousin both thanked him profusely during and after his huge act of service, but the man simply shrugged it off and said he just did what he hopes someone else would do if the girl in trouble were his sister or his mom. And then he asked us to pass it along. He said right now he was going through the hardest times of his life, and his father told him to help other people. So for the past week he had been looking for opportunities to hold doors, help people carry groceries, and whatever he could, and that it has really been making all the difference in his life.

Well it made a difference in my life too! And I can't wait to pass it along!! I want to be more like him. I just think it is so cool that he was so willing to drop everything and put all that he had into helping me and making my situation better. It wasn't easy either, and it took a sizeable chunk of time. And I guess part of what makes it even more poignant for me is that he wasn't some nice clean-cut Mormon guy like you would expect. You could tell he was pretty rough around the edges. If it weren't for our car encounter and instead I had just seen him and his wife in line behind me ordering at Subway, I honestly probably would have written them off as kind of white trash. And yet, he was so completely Christ-like. The moral of this part of the story: don't judge others.  I've been learning an arrangement of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief on the piano, so the words have been more fresh in my mind this week than normal. Especially those last 2 lines, "These deeds shall thy memorial be; Fear not, thou didst them unto me."

So anyways, now that the motivational, learning, inspiring part of my story is done, here's the humorous shorter version of the rest of the story...

Brief recap followed by the story: I was starving and wanted Subway, and my tire broke and I coincidentally ended up in a Subway parking lot! This was around 8:30 p.m. Then I waited for my cousin to come help my change my tire, and a random stranger helped us. I wasn't a ton of help because I know nothing about cars (or trucks in this case) and I was wearing my ballet tights so I couldn't really get down and dirty. It took forever, and was confusing and hard work, but we finally got it changed in the end. And then the hood wouldn't latch. Finally like an hour and a half later, it was fixed and the tire was changed, but the spare tire was kind of flat. So I drove to a gas station to pump it up and my cousin followed. We pumped it up only to find that there was an air leak in the spare even worse than in the first tire. Soooo I drove it and parked it by someone's house. It looked like it was doing ok though, so I decided to try to make it home to deal with the next day. Maybe a mile or two further I could hear this wump wump wump wump, and knew I was done for. So I parked by a random person's house, and left my poor little truck. Ben was the rescue car and started driving me home when his car started to break down. There was this awful burning smell almost like tupperware melting on a stove, and the car kept lurching and bucking. He drove the rest of the way to his apartment in first gear, and then we called my uncle to come pick me up and drop me off at home. I didn't walk in the door until after 11:00. Apparently I'm bad luck for cars. But all's well that ends well right? And now I'm home safe and sound and I'm falling asleep as we speak/read, so I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Awesomely Dairy-free Day #2

Today was one of those days. The kind you look back on and think "dang, today was awesome!!!" Sooo many good things to write about I don't even know if I'll remember them all! But I shall try :)

First, I slept in nice and late. It felt WONDERFUL! I finally did the dishes that I've been procrastinating, and decided to skip breakfast since it was lunchtime anyway, and ate a deliciously healthy dairy-free lunch in my newly-clean kitchen :) A mesquite marinated chicken breast on a hamburger bun (our leftover ones in the freezer happened to be dairy-free!) with lettuce, tons of thick juicy especially good tomato, onions, and thousand island dressing. Mmmmmmm! I felt a little sick after eating, but not too bad. Then I got to spend a good long time practicing the piano for a musical number I decided to do this Sunday! I haven't exactly chosen a song yet...but I sure have been having a good time playing like every hymn arrangement I can get my hands on trying to find the perfect one!

Then, off to observe ballet classes! I'm going to start teaching in the Fall, so the director said to observe a few little girl classes to get some ideas. Most of the class time was spent going over their dances for the performance next week. During the last class I watched, the teacher realized she had forgotten to choreograph the end of the dance so the kids had no clue what to do. Her solution: "Karin, do you have any ideas?"...so I got to choreograph the end of their dance! And it looks super cute and the director liked it :) I'm so proud of myself! And now I'm excited to see them perform!

I ate a bit of a snack and then went to the Tuesday adult ballet class like usual, but with one exception...I didn't feel sick. I actually felt pretty great! Nothing super momentous happened in class, but it was WONDERFUL to be able to just dance and not be thinking about my upset stomach!

And then I went to social dance club for the first time in about a year and it was so so so fun!!! I was really worried that I wouldn't get asked to dance much. Being married and not knowing many people there kind of tends to have that effect. But my worrying was in vain! It was great! And so I have compiled this list of criteria.

How to know you had a great time at social dance club:
- you dance almost every song
- you get to Viennese Waltz with Ben
- you get to teach a beginner new stuff
- that guy that's older than everyone else that no one really knows but he always comes asks you to dance and he compliments you profusely, tells you he is making up all the steps with you as his inspiration, and tells you your spins are "sublime"
- you get to catch up with old dance friends
- you start some new friendships
- you fall on the floor at least once
- you get asked to dance so much that you can't even catch your breath between dances
- you can't figure out what to do to at least one song so you end up doing a west coast/chacha/salsa/swing mashup...or an interpretive viennese inspired waltz something-or-other
- you do the two-step to Crush by David Archuleta
- you make up like 50 million steps on the spot because you forget them or weren't led well or just totally didn't even know the step that was being led
- your feet and ballroom shoes end up reaaaaally stinky
- you go home exhausted and feeling that awesome afterglow!

Yep, that hour of my life was definitely well-spent! Then afterwards I got to catch up and chat with a friend for about an hour or so, and go grocery shopping for some produce and non-dairy snackish foods and bread to hopefully help stave off my cravings for chocolate and other delicious foods I can't eat during this elimination food trial thing. One sad thing, my Trevor went to bed before I got to talk to him, but he did let me wake him up to talk for a bit. I love him :)

And then I came home and messed around on my computer for a bit and ate some snacks. And then I realized, I actually feel good right now. I don't just not feel like I'm about to puke, I really, truly feel good. And it is like the most incredible feeling EVER!!!!!! And not only that, I actually felt pretty good for most of today! I'm only on day 2 of the no dairy diet, but...could it be that lactose intolerance is really the cause of all my misery? Part of me really hopes no because I really really want to be able to eat all my goodies and butter and cheese and sour cream and chocolate and everything that I love!! And the other part of me really hopes yes, because as hard as that would be to go without dairy...I would absolutely love love LOVE to be able to feel like this all day every day! What would that even be like?! I can't even remember, it's been so long! But I imagine it must feel like heaven. Not even kidding.

Chances are it was probably just a fluke of a feel-good day that I just haven't been lucky enough to have in a long long time, but after so much suffering and frustration and disappointment and money for expensive testing and medications and copays, I'm really hoping this is FINALLY a step in the right direction! I'm ready for some hope of having a normal life back. Not one that is controlled by my persistent bouts of nausea. Knock on wood!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dairy-free Day #1

The doctors still don't know what's wrong with  my body and why I'm sick all the time. So...the latest idea they've had is for me to start an elimination diet. No dairy. And take it from there.

At first I was like ok, no big deal. I love cheese, but I can do without for 2 weeks, and I don't really drink milk like ever anyway, and I haven't had ice cream in forever. It won't be too hard. And then the doctor started listing other things I couldn't have...like no creamed soups, no creamy sauces, no creamy salad dressing, no butter, no milk chocolate (what?!!!!!!!!), no bread made with milk ingredients, no frosted breakfast cereals, no granola bars with dairy, no cake mixes with dry milk... and so on. Dang, now that I'm looking at labels, there are milk products in EVERYTHING! And I'm allergic to soy and almonds, so those milk alternatives are also out. So basically I have to make do without any of my comfort foods and yummy convenient snacks for the next two weeks. It's going to be a bit harder than I thought.

For breakfast today I couldn't have toast with butter because both the bread and butter have diary. No scrambled eggs with milk and cheese mixed in, no breakfast cereal, no yogurt smoothies or parfaits, no biscuits. Sad day. 

But I've been making a mental list of foods that are dairy free that I already have around though, and luckily I happen to have 2 sleeves of Bubba's Bagels and they don't have any dairy! Bread substitute! I can't put butter or cream cheese on them though, so I mixed up a mashed ripe banana, cocoa powder, coconut, peanut butter, and a touch of salt and sugar and made my own kind of chocolatey healthyish spread. Not amazing, but hey, I don't feel like I'm about to puke right now, so at least that's good!

Other foods/meals in my house that I've discovered to be dairy-free as of yet: Town House original crackers, oatmeal, Fiberone original cereal and Dulce de Leche (go figure?) cheerios and Chex Mix dry, fresh produce of course, Cliff bars (it says "may contain trace amounts of dairy" but they aren't ingredients), Tina's frozen burritos, mayonnaise and ketchup, homemade hamburgers (I have to find dairy-free buns still), chicken salad, and I'm sure I'll discover many more as hunger strikes and I start getting desperate :)

So now my quest for a happy stomach continues with this new dairy-free chapter of life!

And if it turns out dairy isn't the culprit, I'm eliminating corn syrup next.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Coolest Kid in the Sunbeams

It's Memorial Day Weekend!! That means lots of people on vacation! Which means, lots of help needed in Primary at church! So I got asked to help out with the Sunbeams class (4-year-olds). After it was finally over the teacher apologized and said it was about the craziest today that it's ever been. Whatever! I thought it was like the best day ever!

I got to build cages and slides for zoo animals to appease the kids that wanted me to play animals with them and the kids that wanted me to play blocks with them at the same time, and the bear was safely barricaded away from the mommy pig so no animals died. The skirt I randomly grabbed after waking up late happened to be pink and sparkly, which was a huge hit with the girls. Speaking of which, one of the girls decided we should have a princess party at my house and invited everyone in the class. And not one, but three kids decided I absolutely HAD to sit next to them around the table for the lesson and snack. Sitting up to the table next to three kids at the same time is hard. One of them even gave me both of the stickers she had on her hand to try and buy my affection.

Oh and I have a new boyfriend now. I caught him quietly staring at me from his chair on the other side of the teacher during Sharing Time instead of singing like he was supposed to. He gave me his paper bracelet handout they gave all the kids and built zoo cages with me and sat next to me, or on my lap, the whole time and never left my side. He even unbuttoned his shirt so I'd have to button it back up for him. And after class was over, he even invited me over to his house to play. Yep, that's true love right there!

My goodness kids are SO cute when you just have to feed them snacks and play with them for an hour or two and then you can just send them home :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Healthy No Bake Cookies!!!...?

I'm so proud of myself :) Discovering a healthy way to eat my dessert!

I found this wonderful blog http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/ on Pinterest and was totally captivated! Tons and tons of lovely pictures of decadent treats like strawberry-chocolate truffle pie, German chocolate fudge bites, pumpkin cream cheese bars, berry crumble bars, cake batter ice cream, sugar cookie milk shakes, chocolate brownie batter dip, pumpkin pie parfait, snickerdoodle blondies, carrot cake shakes, chocolate raspberry fudge cake, you name it! Mmmmmmm......aaaand they all claim to be healthy low-fat, low-cal, sometimes sugar-free recipes that taste just like the real deal, if not better!!! No way!!! It's almost too good to be true!!

So I tried a couple of these delectable goodies.

Yep. It's too good to be true.

They tasted...pretty gross. My husband wouldn't even touch them. Lets be honest here. When you blend together raisins, peanut butter, vanilla, and cocoa powder, it doesn't taste like cookies. Even if you call it that, go on and on about how good it is, and have a pretty picture. It tastes like peanut butter, raisins, and dirt. And when was the last time you mixed up only raspberries, coconut, cocoa powder, and 1 Tbs sugar and expected it to taste like raspberry chocolate fudge cake? Most likely never.

*I must clarify though, her recipes are intended to be more for gluten-free, no sugar added, raw food, clean-eating purists, vegans, or people with food allergies...not for people like me who eat sugary, fatty, rich, preservative-laden, artery-clogging junk like it's going out of style. So to the audience for which the food is intended - and compared to the normal diet of such people - they probably taste divinely delicious; whereas to me...not so much.*

I guess that means it's time for a healthy wake-up call!

SO, yesterday took the recipe I was trying to make at the time (healthy chocolate peanut butter fudge!) and modified it a bit...and I LOVED it!! Aaaand I didn't even add any sugar!! (just snuck in a couple chocolate chips...hehe) For those who want it, and to give proper credit for my inspiration, the original recipe is here .

I'm so proud of myself :) My own little recipe for healthy no bake cookies!

And here it is (approximately):
- 1 very ripe medium banana, mashed
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 1/2 Tbs cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 2-4 Tbs coconut if desired
- 2-4 Tbs chocolate chips (mini milk chocolate chips work great :)

Just mix it all up and eat it :) It's gooey and never sets up so use a spoon, or you can chill it in the fridge or freezer and cut it up and eat it like fudge how the original recipe intended for it to be.

NO this does not taste exactly like no bake cookies. Of course not, silly. That would require a lot of butter, sugar, salt, all those deliciously unhealthy things. So if you're looking an awesome dessert recipe, this isn't it. But, if you're looking for healthier way to abate your chocolate cravings, fill you with appetite-satisfying and sustaining protein and natural fats and sugars and healthy carbs, pacify your sweet tooth a bit, and sneak in some extra fruit and fiber, maybe give it a try :) I sure thought it was tasty enough!

Oh, and yes, you can taste the banana. It's the natural sweetener, along with the chocolate, of course. If you're not a banana fan you could also substitute raspberries or strawberries and just add a couple tsp of sugar (or honey?), or for a more no-sugar-added approach, substitute finely chopped raisins or dates for the fruit.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Such Beautiful Torture

Those stupid shoes! Those awful, painful, expensive, agonizing, torturous, tight, abrasive, wretched, stinky, pink pointe shoes!!!

Don't be fooled by the pretty shiny pink satin. When I quit ballet, one of the things I was most eager to leave behind was dancing on pointe. I even took a picture of my retired pointe shoes and toe pads.

So long pointe shoes! And good riddance!

But now, after a 5-year break, once again I am putting on those dreadful, hated shoes to dance in Swan Lake.

Why do we put ourselves through this??! Who's terrible idea was it to invent these horrible shoes and make us all suffer and endure the endless blisters and bruised, broken, and lost toenails on the way to developing crippled deformed feet riddled with arthritis and bunions by our early 20's if not sooner?!?!

This is what the audience sees. Exquisite, perfect, weightless, graceful, unearthly, effortless.

What they don't realize is that it feels like this...

And this...

Every day. 

Hour after hour after hour. 

And yet, we all choose to do this to ourselves. Why?! What is wrong with us?! Talk about the worst hobby ever! I've only worn my new pointe shoes a few times and I've already gotten several hot angry blisters on top of my old scars and places where my massive calluses used to be, not to mention the beginnings of bruises under the tips of the corners of my big toenails from forcing the weight of my entire body onto a tiny oval less than 1/2 inch in diameter, or the stinging painful ache of bunions. Ugh. 

I found the picture above on this site http://www.the-perfect-pointe.com/Agony.html along with this quote: 
The Ballet toe shoe is one of the few instruments of torture to survive intact into our time. ~unknown
 Truer words may never have been spoken. Except for maybe "beauty is pain". When relating to ballet anyways. 

That being said, it really is beautiful. And as much as it hurts, and as hard as it is to master, there is something wonderful and liberating about dancing on pointe! Being taller and longer than you really are. Such a love/hate relationship! Before I quit ballet several years ago, I never got strong enough on point to feel like I was working with my shoes instead of fighting against them. Maybe this time around will be different. I know more now, and I don't have the same pressures and stresses I did before, so maybe I'll learn to like my pointe shoes a little more. 

...and maybe I won't, and I'll do the bare minimum to get me through Swan Lake and then quit again and just watch other people dance on pointe. It won't hurt like the dickens that way :)