Sunday, October 31, 2010

Love, not Fear

I had an epiphany today as I contemplated the sugary halloween candy that I was consuming. When I consider eating sugar, I usually make the decision not to because I am *afraid* of the physical ramifications the next day. I picture myself not being able to walk or worse. I realized today that I am tired of making my decisions because of fear. I am tired of trying to make good choices only because I am scared of what will happen if I don't. I want to make my choices based on love instead. I would like to choose to eat healthy because I love my body and want to be as healthy as I can so that I can have more children and take care of my husband and the son I already have. What a difference that point of view is. I am tired of the media and even the alternative medical folks (and western too, for that matter) who use fear as their primary motivating force. It's time for me to change the intents of my heart and get my motivations in line with my priorities.

On that note, I found this clip interesting.


Happy Halloween!

Here, in Utah, we had trick or treating last night. Jeff and I haven't handed out candy for years. Jeff was always out with Reilly and I was in bed, unable to participate in this fun holiday. We more than made up for it yesterday. I went a bit overboard in buying candy and then the rain made the night slower than it would have been, so I have lots of leftovers that I am not sure what to do with.

We had a lovely day. Jeff and Reilly went to our cousin's ward Halloween party Friday night. I stayed home to get some much needed R&R. After the busy month we've just had, Jeff and I slept way in on Saturday. What a luxury.

I spent much of the day cooking and straightening up. We had my parents and my cousins family over for dinner before trick-or-treating. It was loads of fun. Have I mentioned how much I love being here? One of the things we most treasure about our lives now is how much we are doing and participating in life, rather than just watching it pass us by.

I have also volunteered to help in Raw Melissa's kitchen. I am very excited by this opportunity.

Ok, back to Halloween. Jeff has been talking and dreaming about coming up with amazing costumes for years. It never made it past the *thinking about it* stage. This year he went all out. I am married to the most amazing man. We went all out and bought Reilly a Harry Potter costume (he read or rather, listened to, the first book this year). Unfortunately, we forgot to put his glasses on for the photoshoot or for the trick-or-treating. Oh well. I am full of tangents this morning. Jeff found this picture of snape and decided to design his own costume.

He went at it as an engineer would. He completely designed and made the costume himself, without a pattern. He even fabric covered the buttons. It turned out great. He is quite the tailor. What an impressive feat.

Backing up to Friday again. We went to Reilly's school for the costume parade. It was very cute. And, Reilly was able to go with my Aunt to her son's business for some fun trick-or-treating. He's been having a ball.

We had my parents and my cousins family over for dinner, as I mentioned. It's been years since I've done much in the kitchen, but was pleased to find out that I haven't lost my touch. I am still a good cook (*yeah!*).

Then while the kids and some of the bigger kids (their parents) went trick-or-treating, Mom, dad and I played cards in between answering the door.

I should mention also that I have the most amazing and talented cousins. They were dressed up as Alice in Wonderland characters. My favorite part of the evening was my cousin, the Red Queen, answering the door. Besides scaring the really little kids, most everyone loved it.

Here are pictures of our costumes.

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Company and Halloween

We have had quite a week. In truth, it has been wonderful and a dream come true. We have the space and were able to host my aunt and uncle and all of their children at different times during the week. My cousin is a marine and recently returned from Afghanistan.

On Saturday, I was able to go to their family's photo shoot and meet a professional photographer friend of theirs. He was very generous and talked to us for awhile. He even, occasionally, needs volunteers for photo shoots. This is another dream of mine.

Then, we went to Lagoon. Lagoon is a local amusement park that I have not been to since I was 7. Reilly had a fantastic time. I even did really well. Jeff and Reilly both surprised me with how much of a daredevil they were. Since we've been married, I don't think we have ever done so much together or had so much fun. I do get tired, but I am going strong and doing more than I ever thought possible.

I am behind on my photo editing, so I didn't take many pictures of this week with my cousins. Did I mention that we won a copy of Adobe Photoshop CS5 deluxe in an auction at Reilly's school? Now I am playing with that, seeing what I can relearn about it.

Also, today, Reilly dressed up as Harry Potter for school and we went and saw him in a parade. It was very sweet.

He had a blast this week with his older cousins who also like video games. From what I heard, he is able to keep his own pretty well. Not a surprise.

I have a few pictures from the darling Mad Hatter birthday party we went to earlier in the month. I will have more pictures from that soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Long Time, No Post

I just realized how long it had been since I last posted. It has been one busy, busy month. We have had lots of family come to town and had a wonderful time with that. That is one of the ever so many reasons I am so grateful to live here now.

Then, we had my cousins 2 oldest daughters stay with us while their parents went on a vacation. We had a great time. They are wonderful girls. We carved pumpkins, made crafts, went to a couple of parks, the girls made incredible lego creations and we played and played. It was a lot of fun.

We have more company coming to stay with us this weekend. I've done a lot of sleeping the past few days.

I haven't had a chance yet to parse through the many photographs that were taken over the past month. I do, however, have some pictures that I took of my cousins youngest two. My brother-in-law, Ed, is a fabulous photographer (he's done it professionally). He brought his big and expensive equipment and was so generous to let me play with it. I got to ask him lots of questions. I'm still looking for a local mentor. I'm also looking into taking some distant learning classes. Haven't decided yet. I haven't found anything local (classes) that seem a good fit. I'm sure if I look harder, I will.

But for now, I leave you with these 2 cuties.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wow!!!! What a night!

I am so filled with gratitude right now. My older sister and her husband are here picking up their son from his mission. We got together tonight with them and my brother's family and my parents. It was such a good experience for me. I realized later that my usual worries and concerns about how my body is (mis)behaving didn't even come up in my mind AT ALL. It's hard to explain how miraculous and different that is. I usually, no matter what I'm doing, still have some struggles. It's been my way of living for so long, I almost didn't know how to overcome all of it. I would always be somewhere near Jeff (my safe person--yes, this is anxiety). I would be aware of my body and how it was feeling the majority of the time. I often became uncomfortable and would change locations, sit on the floor or whatever seemed to help. Tonight, not a SINGLE thought about my health, how it appeared to others, or how I was going to make it through entered my head. In fact, I didn't sit near Jeff for most of the night. We told stories and laughed and had a fabulous time. I feel closer to my family than ever before. Jeff said that it was good for him to see me right in the thick of things, telling stories and engaging with the whole family. Usually, I am more of a "sit on the sidelines" and hope to make it through the evening kind of person.

It's neat--my doctor out here, who I love and has only seen me twice so far, told me this week that I am not the same Maren that I was. He is so right. So many good things have been changing and happening for us, I am filled with joy.

I just wanted to share. It was such a lovely night and I am feeling so blessed and grateful that so many of my dreams are being realized.

On a side note--our dog, Kyle, has fallen in love with my oldest sister. I have never seen him take to someone like he has her. She really has a way with animals and they know it. That has also been a happy thing to see.

Anyway, it is late. My other sister's family are on their way here from the airport right now. We are just missing my younger brother. This is being a great reunion for the Larsen Clan.

I'll have pictures to post soon.



Sunday, October 3, 2010

Conference and Reilly of Days Past

We are enjoying watching General Conference for our Church with my parents and an Aunt and Uncle.

I have taken a short trip down memory lane and looked into the pictures I have taken over the years of Reilly. I miss those cheeks and that natural smile. I hope to see them again soon!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reilly's Baptism

Reilly turned 8 on August 2, 2010. He was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on September 4, 2010. He was baptized on the same day as 4 other children from our ward (local congregation) who also turned 8 in August.

He was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church by his father. Reilly, who doesn't like water on his face, did awesome. We baptize by immersion, so everything must be under water or they need to do it again. Reilly did have to go through it twice, for that reason. He was a trooper. I am proud of my growing up son.

It was a lovely day. We even had some friends from Maryland, who have moved here, come to celebrate it with us.

Here's a few photos.