Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wow. A Post!

I did something today I haven't done in awhile. I looked at a few friends blogs. I love how interconnected the world is. We have friends from our ward in Delaware who now live in Texas. They are friends with a family that lives in our new ward in Utah. Following a few links, I found some blogs of new friends that I didn't know about and even saw my poor neglected blog on someone's blogroll. Thus the inspiration to come back here and write a few words.

My last post was about my first experience playing the piano in church. Thank goodness it was the toughest one and it's been easier ever since. I'm becoming more and more comfortable in this calling. Not perfect, but ever improving.

We had another busy month with lots of visitors--my sister from Seattle, my brother and family from Virginia, cousins from Idaho, etc. I am so happy we are here.

The one sad element to this move has been leaving Jeff's parents behind. We hope that we can get together with them for a wonderful visit this year. I have not done much in the way of photography for aeons and my poor mother-in-law is starved to see some pictures of her now thriving grandson. I hope I can fix that.

I miss the weekly Sunday pictures I used to do. He is looking pretty good these days (well nourished) and is feeling well. I hope to do a basketball photo shoot of him this spring with all of his BYU outfits on. He is a huge Jimmer fan. We bought him a hoop and he's been practicing his shot. He's pretty good already. Yay for the inspiration of BYU basketball.

My nephew is attending BYU right now and it has been wonderful to reconnect with him. He went on a spanish speaking mission and cooked us some wonderful mexican the other night. He is such a great person. I am so glad we're here when he is.

We are slowly but steadily getting our house in order. It was hard for months since I was working and not home a lot. I have rearranged my life so that I am here most of the time, especially when Reilly gets home from school and in the evenings. That is helping. It sure feels good to be on top of things.

Life is good.

Gratitudes for the day:

1. We are still so happy we made this move. I can't keep the smile off of my face

2. My tulips and daffodils are coming up

3. I get to help my mom in her incredible garden tomorrow get some early cool weather crops in. So excited for growing greens.

4. Reilly is motivated to earn some money for something he wants to buy. We'll be doing extra chores and things this week to help him achieve his goal.

5. BYU made it to the Sweet Sixteen!!!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Experience with the Piano

Well, today was the day. The first day that I accompanied the Relief Society at church on the piano. I could have conducted today instead, but wanted to dive in and get my feet wet with playing for people to sing. Kind of break the ice.

Let's back up a week. I was set apart last Sunday for this calling. I went home and went to work. I know that I can play the piano, especially if I practice--which I did. I practiced and practiced until my fingers knew the music so well that my brain had nothing to do with it. I really put in as much effort as I could have on my part. I prayed and put my performance in the Lord's hands, knowing I had done as much as I could.

Playing for people to sing has never been my strong suit. I am honestly really excited for this calling because I don't know of a better way to improve dramatically than to just jump in there and do it. There is something said for gaining experience. There are so many others in the ward more qualified than I, but I am still excited that I have this opportunity to grow as a pianist.

Ok, back to today. I went in to church early to practice on the piano I would be playing. I did fairly well. Jeff sang as I played. Then when it was time for Relief Society, I had to play some prelude music. I had put all of my efforts into the songs I would be playing for the singing that I didn't practice anything else for prelude. I pulled out a few hymns that I hoped I could play off the cuff. I did and did it well. Phew.... I was grateful for that.

Before I knew it, it was time for the opening song. And did I ever struggle. Usually, if I would stumble, I had practiced carrying on and keeping on going. I did so badly on the first verse that there was a part with no music while they sang as I collected myself and got back on track.

The closing song was even easier for me to play, but there was no time at the end of the lesson, so I didn't have a chance to redeem myself.

Usually, I would be humiliated or embarrassed by such a public display. I do worry too much about what others think about me, usually. That was not the case today. Mostly, I was incredibly disappointed. I had worked so hard and I really knew the music well. I came home and played through it perfectly, just to see if I hadn't imagined that. I had hoped to do well or at least much better than I did. As a friend at church told me--baptism by fire. I'm sure it wont be too long before I can do this and do this well. Growing can be painful at times, but always worth it.

I shouldn't be too hard on myself since I have never had this calling and opportunity before.

Anyway....that was how that went. Wish me luck for next time. I'll be practicing--lots!


Friday, January 7, 2011

The Best of 2010

I am going to keep this short because one of my resolutions is to simplify. I obviously didn't follow up with my previous plans for weight loss coverage on my blog over the holidays. All I can say is I am grateful for the New Year and a New Start.

In that light, here are some high points for 2010

-MOVING TO UTAH!!!! This has been the best thing we have ever done.

-I am healthy. (another biggie)

-Jeff and I have done more active things together in the 6 months we've lived here than we have in our previous 12 years of marriage.

-Reilly was baptized.

-My nephew got off of his mission and is now here at BYU

-Becoming close friends with my cousins who live 5 minutes away

-Taking piano lessons (thank you Leslie!)

-Having a private concert by my ever so talented opera singing friends. It was a thrilling experience for me.

-Having before mentioned talented singing friends become some of our closest and bestest friends.

-Sunday dinners at Jeff's parents house (we sure miss you guys!)

-our new ward

-Lunches with my parents and brother

-Hanging out with my brother and his family

-Reilly is doing so well in school and he loves it here

-working for Raw Melissa

-Date night

-Having George Durrant as a neighbor (yes, my fellow ward members, I am still a bit star struck by that--I've been a Durrant fan ever since Devin played for BYU and later, after reading many of Brother Durrant's books)

-Reilly walking or riding his bike to his new school

-Catching up with old friends who lived with us back East but have also relocated to Utah (there are still a few we are trying to catch)

-Having lots and lots of company stay in our house

-Feeling happy the majority of the time

-Getting to know Stephanie "NieNie" Neilson a little bit

-Finding lost friends on facebook

-Seeing "The Scarlet Pimpernel" in the theatre

-Rooftop concerts in Provo


-our new house

-our new car

-Gardening with my mom

-Getting my family to dance to Just Dance on the wii (especially my parents, brother-in-law, etc.)

-starting to wear fun stripey socks

-Jeff designing and tailoring his Halloween costume to perfection

I could go on and on, but I have already passed the brief post that I intended. I really don't know how to be brief. I'm trying.

Here's to 2011 and the best year YET!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Yay for Losing!

Just a quick note to check in.

I missed last week's Weight Watcher's meeting. I went today and found out that I have lost 4.4 pounds over the last 2 weeks. I am right on target with my goal to lose 10 pounds by the end of the year.

We had plans to go to Boise to see family for Thanksgiving. We ended up staying home instead. It turned out to be a really nice thing. Thanksgiving day was spent with my parents, but other than that, we worked really hard on getting our home in order. I finally reorganized my entire kitchen. I didn't unpack it and have wanted to do this since we moved in.

We've been enjoying the snow and the beginning of the holiday season.

I'll check back in soon.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Progress and Macaroons

Well, I did gain 1.4 pounds from my week of overindulgence. Could have been worse. But, then again, it usually takes about 2 weeks for the full effect to show up, so we'll see.

I am happily back on plan. Weight Watchers is changing their program dramatically by the end of November. I am just hoping that all of the fun weight watcher's cookbooks I have will not become obsolete. Of course, I could always use the recipes and convert to the new plan as they helpful for losing weight and are delicious.

I worked at Raw Melissa's kitchen last night. We made macaroons and key lime pies, more sandwiches and spring rolls. Speaking of spring rolls, they come with the most delicious Thai Nut Sauce. The recipe is in her new cookbook-- Faves.

Later...I started this post a few days ago. About time I finished it. Well, I have not done as well as hoped with tracking the last few days. I don't know why it is so hard sometimes. Having said that, the only thing I can do is recommit to track everything that I eat today.

We did a family photo session with my cousins. I have been having fun processing those photos. It was overcast so we thought we wouldn't be able to capture the golden/pink time of the evening. Well, we learned a lot about timing. Next time I would do more poses as well. It's all about experience and learning from, right?

Here are a few of the ones I have been playing with.

After this photo session, we went back to their house, had dinner from kneaders (thus my difficulty tracking....) and then cleared out the living room and danced. Rob and Tina are both great swing dancers. I want to learn how to dance in the biggest way. I struggle with following. I danced once with Rob--he attempted to teach me some things. I felt like I made a fool of myself. I need to cut myself some slack and become teachable. The great thing in all of this is that I, Maren, was dancing. Even though it was not skillful, what a dream come true.

Being November and all, reminded me to bring back my daily gratitudes.

1. Living in Utah. I love it here. I am happy happy happy that we made this move.

2. My health. I am still improving, but I have practically come back from the dead that I am grateful for what I can do every day.

3. Working with Raw Melissa. What a wonderful opportunity. I am loving every minute of it.

4. Theatre. Seeing the Scarlet Pimpernel a few weeks ago and watching the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Miserables in the theatre. Musical theatre moves me and I love it.

5. That we are now a two car family and our second car is darling and one I have wanted for years.

Life is good.

-love you all!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yes, I know......

being a witch goes great with Christmas themed background. I just like this picture. Maybe I'll have some good Christmas ones to choose from before the season is over.

A Whirlwind and a Resolution

I've already put some of this on facebook, so for my facebook friends--please forgive the repeat. I've added something new on the end, I promise.

Jeff and I were starting to notice that having another car might be a helpful thing. Now that I am well, I am out and gone A LOT. (*hooray!!*) Having one car has really worked for us since Jeff telecommutes and I wasn't getting out much. That is changing and we are both getting more involved in activities.

So, we started looking online for fun. We found a Mini Cooper that looked promising, so we went to take a gander at it. Right next to it was my dream car from about forever--a Mazda RX8. Jeff has also been wanting something sporty, but thankfully, this car has a back seat so it is more practical.

Buying the car took a bit, as it does, so we had Reilly go over to some friend's houses. (thank goodness for church, I do love our new ward). When we got back, the boys went out to see what we had bought. It was really cute. Reilly's friends were oohing and ahhing. Reilly kept saying "this is the best day of my life". Funny kid.

Anyway, here is a picture.

And for my resolution. Today is Wednesday, which also happens to be the day that we go to Weight Watchers. This particular Wednesday at Weight Watchers is not going to be a fun one (I kinda wanna skip!). I had a bit of too much pleasure this past week eating pastries and desserts from Kneaders--and it's not even the Holidays yet! I really do hate throwing away weeks and sometimes months of hard work, yet I didn't consider that when I was indulging. oops.

I had mentioned in my previous post that I was looking for something to focus on and blog about. I think I will do what was suggested and come up with different themes monthly or so. I might even start a separate blog for that. I wont officially get started until the new year though.

However, there is one goal that I really want to work on now and I am having trouble with the accountability part. We are now entering the tastiest time of the year. I would like to commit to keeping track of my weight watchers points--all of them, from a little nibble or a taste here to meals. I am allowing myself to go over my allotted points if I choose as long as I write them down, but when I track I rarely go overboard. My goal is to do this daily and be accountable to the blog for it. For the purpose of having something finite, I will do this on my blog through the end of the year, with the intent of losing 10 pounds from today (so, I guess I do need to go to my meeting.........). If I can lose 10 pounds through the holidays, that will be quite a feat.

The beauty of this is that weight watchers works. Whenever I track my points, I lose weight. I has never failed. And, I can still eat yummy things, it just takes more work since I need to make lightened up recipes. I have yet to find a weight watchers recipe that I don't like.

So, to make this doable, I am starting today, Wednesday November 17th 2010. The final goal will end on January 1st, 2011. I want to break it down into manageable pieces. My tracking week starts on Wednesday, since that is the day of the meeting. My smaller objective is to track every day this entire next week (and I'll be traveling over Thanksgiving to make it a bit trickier to do). Even simpler still--I am going to start by tracking today. I love breaking things down into daily tasks.

I just had another idea that will probably motivate me to eat healthy food. I'm sure no one really cares, but if I have to put on the blog what I ate, I just might think twice before eating something too refined. Mostly, it will be dinner and snacks. I usually have some sort of cereal for breakfast and a green smoothie for lunch with a vitatop. Having my green smoothie daily is also very important to losing weight. I usually lose when I have them daily (did I this past week? nope!). They are healthy but they also fill me up and I don't crave or want to eat too much.

Anyway.....I have rambled FAR too much about this.

I'll check back in with the damage report and how things are going.