Thursday, March 22, 2012

part of the job

I'm talking about sacrificing the one thing I crave, love, adore, and NEED more than practically anything (even more than food), for the sake of my teenager's happiness and well being.

SLEEP.  Yes, I'll sacrifice my time, energy, attention, dessert . . . whatever the kids need at any time of day.  But sleep??  The days of giving up those precious hours of shut eye were over the minute my babies could make it through the night.  Well, forget about it tonight.  Caroline and crew didn't have a ride home from their long anticipated midnight premiere and guess who pitched in to drive them home at 2:30am?  You got it.

So, I figured if I'm going to be up I might as well have some fun myself and grab a ticket to attend my first ever midnight movie since college . . . that is if I can stay awake until the credits roll.

Let the games begin!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


St. Patrick's Day is coming to a close and I know my days of making holidays exciting and fun for the kids are slowly dying off. Poor Liza, she didn't even wear green . . . as a matter of fact, I don't think she even KNEW it was St. Patrick's Day!  We were just too busy today, and with it being a Saturday I didn't need to worry about green clothing or creative lunches (there was a point in my life when I sent lunches with sandwiches prepared on green bread :-).

I did, however, think about good luck and how sometimes you are just plain lucky every once in awhile. So, in celebration of this glorious Irish holiday, here are a few things where luck has been on our side . . .

  • we've made it through the winter without any of the kids getting sick (just watch - this next week someone will get the flu ;-).
  • although Utah has had one of the worst ski seasons EVER, we were lucky enough to ski the only good powder day of the year (so far - let's hope we'll get at least one more).
  • on the other hand, we skied the WORST day of the year today and were lucky that no one broke a leg on the two runs we did before deciding to call it a day and come home.
  • while browsing the shoe aisle at the Rack the other day, I happened upon the perfect pair of spring coral/red ballet flats . . . lucky me!
  • this week Ryan received his first Ivy League admissions letter (from Columbia) asking him to consider applying.  He's still thinking BYU, but loves the recognition - lucky kid.
  • the dog has yet to discover the two pet hamsters Liza is keeping in her room - lucky hamsters.
  • pretty lucky that the police officer who pulled me over for speeding down Parley's Canyon this morning at 92 mph, wrote out the ticket for only 5 over ;-).
  • Chris just informed me that he has another conference in Monterey in May, which means another trip together to the central coast.  Plus, he has to go back to Shanghai in June and I get to go - lucky us!  This makes up for the absolute NO LUCK we had in getting airline tickets for the family to Kauai for spring break for under $1200/pp.  I guess luck can only stretch so far.

Good luck isn't really that hard to find, not nearly has hard as a four-leaf clover in fields of clover - believe me, I've looked!  We are the luckiest people around to be surrounded by family, good friends, love, laughter, and beauty each and every day.

May the luck of the Irish be with you all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


This looks familiar . . .

When I ran across this yesterday it made me smile because if you know me well, you know that there is fine and then there is Julie fine, which my family will tell you means: absolutely "NOT FINE." 

Make sense?  Absolutely not, of course it doesn't.   It's what we optimistic people (mostly women) say when life isn't great or something is wrong and we don't want to pull anyone down into our dismal black hole of emotional distress.  That is precisely why this image hit home because apparently I've some fellow comrades out there. 


So, how do you know which people on the planet that say "fine" truly mean they are fine and dandy, or which people are who say it are just Julie fine??

From my standpoint, a sincere "are you sure you're really fine?" will allow a friend to possibly open up and relate how they are feeling.  Or, on the other hand, really confuse someone who literally IS fine as they try explaining to you that yes, indeed, they are great and will you stop probing already!

Monday, March 12, 2012

eight years

Our miss Liza Lou turns eight years old tomorrow and is so excited for her big day that she's having a difficult time getting to sleep tonight.  I love how she still holds on to that giddy, childlike anticipation surrounding her birthday.  For one day, our Liza, who is content to let everyone else share the "front and center" Cantera stage, gets to be the star.

She didn't want a birthday party this year and thinks that her baptism in May and the big family gathering that accompanies that special day will be a big enough party for her.  Until that day, we have several little family birthday traditions and Liza has been oh, so thorough in her requests:

Birthday breakfast:  crepes w/strawberries and whipped cream, sausage, and grape juice.

Birthday dinner:  homemade pepperoni pizza, salad w/cucumbers, avocados, carrots, croutons, and "Wild Coyote" Ranch dressing, and ginger ale.

Birthday cake:  chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting . . . from scratch (unfortunately my children refuse to eat store bought cakes - Caroline made her birthday cake this year - thank goodness for older sisters).

Treat for school class:  Shamrock sugar cookies

Birthday wish:  her very own pet panda, but if it's too hard to get one from China, she'll settle for a hamster (she has been BEGGING for a rodent ever since Santa didn't follow through on her initial request - sigh), so tomorrow after school we're surprising her with a trip to the pet store!  As for the Panda, I found the FAO stuffed variety ;-).

a look back . . .
Welcome to the world Liza . . . March 13, 2004

Liza's blessing - Mother's Day 2004

So loved by her big brother and sisters . . .

One Year Old
just before her birthday she fell down the stairs and flew into a wall - needed 16 stitches - ouch!
Happy 1st Birthday Liza!

Two Years Old
Favorite things at two: 
wearing Caroline's ski helmet (must have been a sign of things to come), playing with "little people," and streaking.

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Three Years Old

Four Years Old
Celebrating with friends at your favorite place - "The Splash Zone" (Still best friends with Gracie!)

Oh, how I loved you at four - never a dull moment . . .

Five Years Old

Magical age - between 5 and 6 - Liza can ski with the family!!

Six years old
becoming quite a little lady

Celebrating your 6th birthday with friends and a visit to the aquarium

Seven Years Old
 Still making us laugh

Happy 7th Birthday Liza - oh, how we adore you!

Seven and a half years old

What a journey it's been with our Elizabeth Jane.

HaPpY 8th Birthday!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

my new mantra

What's not to love about that?

Smile and make it a great day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

living wholeheartedly

"Don't ask what the world needs.  
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Howard Thurman

I LOVE this!  Isn't it a beautiful reminder about what brings positive energy into our lives?  It's just one of the insightful quotes from the book I am currently reading by Brene Browne, The Gifts of Imperfection.  I thought I'd take a moment to write a little blurb on the blog after my yoga instructor mentioned the author's Ted Talk this morning which led to a discussion surrounding the essence of her observations and how these intuitive moments of awareness are reflected in our yoga practice.  If you haven't had the pleasure of watching, please take the 18 minutes and treat yourself, it's wonderful . . .

While reading, I found myself skipping around and finding the morsels that seem to fit my needs at the moment.  Isn't one of our greatest desires to live an authentic, connected, compassionate, spiritual, and joyful life with our whole hearts, everyday?  So, why do we hold back at at times? Brown's book delves into what prevents us from opening our hearts and allowing others to see our imperfections, our weaknesses, and our struggles.  To live each day wholeheartedly is to have the courage (which literally means to speak one's mind by telling all one's heart) to open our hearts, despite our vulnerability, and also allow our children to present their pure, authentic selves to the world.

I connected with her definitions of the critical aspects of humanity that are so important to each one of us and thought I'd share a few. . .

Connection: the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
Love: we cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.
Authenticity: the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.  Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable . . . exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are ALL made of strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough.
Spirituality: recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.  Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose into our lives.
Joy: Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy.  Joy is not constant.  It comes to us in moments--often ordinary moments.  Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we're too busy chasing down extraordinary moments.  Other times we're so afraid of the dark that we don't dare let ourselves enjoy the light.  A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy.  That would eventually become unbearable.  I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.
Calm: creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity . . . 
Stillness: is not about focusing on nothingness; it's about creating a clearing.  It's opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question. In our increasingly complicated and anxious world, we need more time to do less and be less.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

we ski

It's that time of year again when my brother-in-law David and his family come into town for a long weekend of cousin time and skiing fun.  We all look forward to this annual tradition when we get to spend some quality time together on the slopes.  The kids also get to miss a couple days of school, which sweetens the deal even more!

I wanted to post some pictures from last year's adventure, but can't seem to find them, so I'll put a few camera pics from this season in anticipation of another GREAT day tomorrow . . .

Liza riding the lift with Mom - and yes, she can ski pretty much everything I can ski

After our adventure down an ungroomed Honeycomb Canyon, um, ya, Sophie wasn't too pleased
 (with Sophie's friend Carli)

Liza ready for her first day of ski team at Solitude

Caroline goofing off at the Bird

 I get to host the boys on Snowbird's opening day and powder days - they sleep over to get a jump start up the canyon (with a big breakfast to boot) - I love having them over!

Ryan at Snowbird

On Friday, after leaving the little girls to their own devices, David and I took to the traverse in Honeycomb in search of the perfect fresh track runs . . . we weren't disappointed!

too easily pleased?

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”