Saturday, April 13, 2013

I'm Writing On My Blog!

 Oh, this is so exciting!  I have the opportunity to write on my blog and I still have a couple miles' worth of energy in my tank!  Such an unusual occurrence!  I'd better spit it all out quickly... iiinnnhhaaaale...


Just kidding.

But yah, things have been really good lately.  Did any of you actually do the love dare with me?  It's hard, right?  Hard enough that I regret to report that I did not totally "do it"  like I planned to and like I told you I would.  Some of the dares I just wasn't able to do because of varying circumstances.  However, I did do the dares that I could, and I did read them all.  And I didn't just read the parts I was posting on my blog.  I read a good part of the supporting discussion offered in the book as well.    And you know what?  Just reading those things for 40 days changed me.   You know why?  Because it was a constant 40-day reminder to stop being selfish and instead to focus on Brian.  It was a reminder to stop arguing.  It was a reminder to compliment and express appreciation.  It was a reminder to have some faith.  It was a reminder to serve.  It was a reminder to not get offended.  True love does not take offense... Why is it that for 34 years I have demonstrated my hurt feelings by becoming cold and short the hopes of Brian (or whomever) recognizing my feelings and feeling terrible and coming to offer me love and apology while hugging me and doing whatever it takes to make me feel better?  Whom on earth was I kidding?  Like guys are gonna wanna hang around for that.  Did that ever in 34 years work?!  NO!  (Remember us talking about that, Melissa? :) ) So, for the first time in my life--or certainly in my marriage--I am learning to brush off hurt feelings or offense quickly and walk back into the room, cheerfully, and just act normally.  And guess what?  THAT works.  The tension immediately dissipates.  Who knew?  So anyway....Do I think it is just a coincidence that I did the love dare a month or so ago and a month or so ago things started to be really good with Brian and me?  I would like to think not.  I would like to think my efforts have mattered--mostly because they have mattered to Brian.  And really, all it takes is a little effort with Brian--and he more than makes my efforts worth it.  So I'm super grateful.  And I plan on re-reading through the love dare from time to time, just to get my head and heart back to the right place.
Other than that, our family has really struggled to have peace in our home.  There has been a lot of fighting.  But just in the last few weeks, especially, I feel like we have made some real progress.  And I think a lot of that is because Brian and I have been getting along so well.  It's not so much that we were fighting a lot and now we're not, but rather that we are better handling the the kids' constant fighting  because we feel more unified and happy with each other.   And I think Brian and I have both realized that in order to help our kids to fight less, we have to be super proactive about getting them outside, interacting with them, keeping them busy, etc;  and we have had to be absolutely determined not to lose control ourselves.  So I think we're really making progress.

In the meantime, there are still plenty of reasons to love and adore my kids, of course.  Camp has been absolutely Harry-Potter obsessed over the last couple months.  He has now read all the books (minus some of the fifth since I caved and let him see the movie), and can easily rattle out 12 hours or more of Harry Potter trivia.  He still loves legos, too, and is currently working on a number of pieces that will be a part of the museum that is to become of his room.  I love that he loves legos and Harry Potter.  The boy's got good taste.  Janey is, of course, loving school and is constantly updating the "school room" that is her closet.  She's got homework pages, and sight words, and prizes,  and charts, etc.  The girl is never more ecstatic than on those occasional days when she actually has a child who is willing to play school with her.  And she just ran her first 5k by herself.  She got first place out of the one girls that ran in her age division :)  And Shugee ran in the 100 yard dash and won, too.  Man, that girl.  She's got some serious sass.  And she is strong--the only child in her gymnastics class that can climb to the top of the rope.  I wasn't surprised.  And Skip is at that stage where he does little wrong in our eyes.  We all adore him.  We can manipulate him to do and say anything that we do, and that is always hilarious.  He recently learned to pedal his tricycle and if you ask him his name, he'll say, "Two."  (Please excuse my bragging.  I need to do some so that my kids will enjoy reading this in years to come.   I promise to be willing and interested to hear all of the wonderful things your kids do and say as well.  I'm serious.   Thank goodness we all have moms to be proud of us. :) )
Janey drew on some awesome eyebrows...maybe a little high :)

Janey made this blanket with a lion on it for Skip for his birthday

It's no little thing to get these 20 hairs into french braids


That second to last word is supposed to be "courage"

Hmmmm...what else?...In honor of lent and as a practice in self-control (and because I had become addicted to sugar)  I decided to go 40 days without treats--i.e. candy and/or deserts.  I did take two days off for Brian's and my 12th anniversary trip to Portland, but other than that, I totally did it.  And I can't say that I felt totally different during those 40 days; nor can I say I lost any weight (on the contrary, I actually gained a couple pounds).  BUT,  I can say that I definitely noticed not being as tired.  AND, as it turns out, my girls weren't the only ones to get first place in their Shamrock Run races.  Heh, Heh.  I just happened to reach a new P.R.  (22:38) in the 5k and got my very first overall women's first place.  Pretty cool, huh?  (Please don't ask me how few many women ran it, Ok?) First place is first place, alright?  It's all about winning.  :)  But anyway, I accredit it all to having gone without sweets.

Oh, and last weekend, I joined my sisters and mom for our annual girls reunion.  So fun.  We ate fish tacos (did you know those are my favorite food?),  attended a dance party in honor of Sarah's 36th birthday, went to an interactive museum, talked and laughed a lot, and....went to a karaoke bar cafe.  (We were in Utah, after all :) ) I had never done karaoke before, and I spent most of the evening squirming in my chair, watching all my cool sisters and sisters-in-law, and MY MOM get up on that stage and sing away like it weren't (I'm trying to say 'aint' in the past tense) no thang.  I really wanted to be that confident.  I really wanted to escape the last of the insecurities that still plagued me from my youth.  And guess what?  I did it.  I did it.  I sang karaoke.  By myself.  In front of a crowd (of like 10 people including my mom and sisters. :) )   So I've totally emerged from my 30 year cocoon, transformed into a beautiful butterfly--or at least a brown moth.  But I've got wings!

I really love my mom and sisters--both those who share my blood, and those who married my brothers.  They are each unique and interesting and entertaining and enjoyable and hilarious and I love and learn from every one of them.  I have felt so grateful for these reunions, because it really has been the only time I get to really develop my relationship with most of them.

You may notice my new sister-in-law (Seth's wife) Alecia!  
And please tell me any one of you ever cares to hear about my decorating news?!  I get discouraged that I do not measure up to any decorating blogs out there.  But you guys--I love to decorate.  On a regular basis, I will stand just staring at one of the rooms, or walls, or shelves in my house--trying to imagine how to improve it.  I was so thrilled a couple months ago to special-order some nice fabric that I then made into new toss-pillow covers.  You see, I had ordered a new orange polka-dot rug from Joss&Main, and when it came, I was totally disappointed because it clashed with the pink stuff I had added to my front room for Valentine's Day (because it turned out to be much more of a burnt fall-type orange than a bright spring orange).  However, once I got rid of the pink stuff, I decided I quite liked it, and I ran out to buy a bunch of fabric to make new toss pillows to coordinate with it.  :)  And I love them.  The fabric is great and I even did zippers.  That kind of decorating energy seriously gives me steam for like 4 weeks.  And then I just want to go out and get more fabric for curtains!  Oh, and I also got a new duvet cover.  My old one was, and still is, great; but I accidentally bleached out the stitching on the matching shams.  Crisis.  So I sold a bunch of old bedding on eBay and bought 2 euro Z-Gallerie shams and Pottery Barn's Sienna Paisley king duvet--also on eBay.  Score!   Doing all that required that I change the drapes in my room to the green ones that used to be in the family room.  What do you think?  Do you like the bright hydrangeas on my dresser?  They're fake!  Brooke shared with me the secret of this weird little drugstore place on the way to Eugene that has the best selection of artificial flowers.  They're a little expensive, but those suckers don't die!  I love them.  OK.  I'm boring you.  Moving on....

See the new fabric on my canvas boards next to the armoire?

Oh, and I got my first padded sports bra!  Before, you couldn't tell the difference between me and any other GUY on the treadmills; but now, if you look closely, you can see my A's worth of difference.  So that's cool.

And finally...guess what!  After spending an hour on the phone with Applecare on Wednesday, I am finally able to successfully upload videos to my blog again!!  (In case you're interested--the first video I posted was that caroling one I had tried to upload in January.  See my previous post)  Yay!

So here's a little treat for you:


Heather said...

What a good read.=) I love your blog and that I know you in real life!! Also, your house is gorgeous. I love decorating blog but it doesn't translate to motivation for my house to look like that. Mostly because my kids are crazy and wild and three at home (again) is a handful. I do have lots of fabric for pillows though that I intend on doing asap! And you are so skinny and beautiful after 4 kids. It's so great! My parents will still be in your area for 6 months. They hear about you guys through other families sometimes and would love to see you.=) I can send the info if you want.

kathy said...

Love this blog anner! I loved being with you all. I think we need to have a girls reunion two times a year.

Rob and Marseille said...

I love your blog. I really should have had this comment box open while I was reading. well, lets see, what were all my thoughts. 1. fireproof is an awesome movie. full of good reminders. 2. awesome job for everyone in running! (you are so skinny. I'm thinking I needed a padded sports bra too...i've got some cute running shirts, but i think the regular t-shirts look better bcuz of my sports bra :/) oh, and the arguing thing...i think i need to start a fb discussion about how my son turned into a teenager the day he turned 8. seriously. what happened to my kid (he thinks he's not a kid anymore...) 4. 5?6? forget the numbers...I am jealous of your sister reunions...guess I should plan some for my fam & just copy yours :) lastly, your house is amazing. i just don't have ideas or drive.

Ann said...

Thanks for your comments, guys. Comments shouldn't matter, but they DO! So thank you so much!

Audge said...

LOVE this whole post and all the pictures. SO MANY amazing pictures. That one with Skip on Brian's shoulders while he mows the lawn? Seriously priceless. Like Mona Lisa priceless.

Tyler + Zahara said...

I'm sure I tell you this every time but i love your blog. It's so real and I love that you post the good and the bad. Helps me get back to Earth and know that if there are problems, it's normal at times. PS I love reading about your kids successes! Skip is a heart melter! That smile!

Hala said...

I can't tell you how much I adore you and your family. I know I say this every time I actually post a comment on your blog. :) I think Camp and Will would be total best friends. And I love the picture of Brian mowing the lawn. And I WANT your zebra rug. I have wanted that rug for so long. Also, I am terrified of karaoke and I'm amazed that you did it. Why does your mom look so awesome in every one of those photos from the girls' weekend that I'm so envious of? Probably because she is seriously radiating with joy in every one of them. Also, I get the comments thing. I have a sort of new and sort of secret blog that somehow already has 600+ views according to my 'dashboard' thingy but not a single comment. Go figure.'s not the point of it- but I think you'd probably like it. Your ability to be honest and candid without worry about others' comments and opinions simply because you're being you is part of what got me to go ahead with it. :)

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