Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016 Resolutions (and a 2015 resolution recap)

Resolutions time!

But first, a recap of last year's goals and a grade for how well I did at sticking to them:



* Go the temple quarterly  (A - I think we ended up going pretty much every other month; at least 6 or 7 times)
* Daily scripture study (C - arghhhh, why is this so hard to accomplish?  I do well in spurts and then usually get sleep deprived by a change in the girls sleeping habits and this is the first thing to go, which is totally wrong)
* Weekly FHE (B - it was our best year for this yet, I would say)

* Exercise outdoors at least once a week (D - I totally didn't do this.  I did exercise plenty and on a regular basis, I just didn't do any of it outdoors)
* Lose weight (B - I had specifics in mind when I posted this and I definitely did lose weight last year, although I have already gained some of that back (not all but enough that I need to continue working on this again this year)) 
* Look into braces (A+!  I've had them for about 8 1/2 months now and my jaw surgery is scheduled for April)


* Date night 2x/month (A -  we have been lucky to have other couples who were also interested in a babysitting swap, and we have finally identified a couple alternative paid babysitting options - it has been great and I have especially loved the times when we have gone out to restaurants in the city)
* Travel outside the U.S. with the girls (A+!! - see previous posts about Thailand and Cambodia)
* Remodel the kitchen, living, and family rooms (A - this past winter/early spring; there is some finishing work to be done but by and large we are finished and it is so nice!)  


* Read at least one book each month, maybe two.  And read a variety of literature - something classic, some non-fiction, a play, YA, etc. (A- I definitely got the number of books in but I didn't read as much variety as I would have liked. 
* Find other avenues to expand my mind and talents - practice the piano more, listen to podcasts, try something new (I learned to do handstands in 2014 and LOVED it), learn to make panna cotta, go skiing, see  play, swim in the ocean, etc. (A - I finally got hooked on the "This American Life" Podcast, which is awesome.  I also practiced cooking new things after a fun experience auditioning for Masterchef in LA as one of the Top 100 applicants.  And late in the summer I took a photography class where I learned how to shoot in full manual and have been practicing that and doing some other photography study/classes/groups since then)
* Get more sleep (C - yeah, this didn't happen.  Maybe 2016 is the year for better sleep now that the girls are a little older and sleeping in the same room together)

Now on to 2016.

I have never done a "theme" for the year before.  They always sounded fussy and overly complicated and I just never felt inspired enough by one word to feel like it fit for what I had in mind for my new year's resolutions.  But this year the word "clean" keeps popping into my head and it seems to fit with the majority of my goals for 2016, so I think I am going to go with that as a theme for the year.  I hope to dedicate 2016 to eating clean(ish), maintaining a clean house, and having a clean mind (this is more related to turning off or staying away from things that detract from the Spirit and embracing things that are good and praiseworthy, etc.).

Most everything in my "list" of resolutions falls within one of these three categories.  In no particular order, these are things things I plan to work on/accomplish this year:

1. Do Whole30 #2 (we're starting January 1 to knock this out and kick the year off right!)
2. Read all conference talks from October 2015 and both sessions of 2016 (I always want to do this but I never do)
3. Read Book of Mormon start to finish (both personally and as a family although probably using a modified approach for the girls)
4. Attend the temple every other month (last year the goal was once per quarter and we made it 6 or 7 times - the best we have done since before the girls were born)
5. Run a 10k (I haven't run in ages and ages but have been thinking for a while now that I would like to reincorporate this to some extent in my regular exercise regimen)
6. Figure out and stick to monthly savings account goals
7. Revamp and stick to the monthly budget
8. Learn to cook at least 3 foods from the following cuisines (mostly related to our ancestry) - Danish, German (spaetzle, apfelkucken), Swedish, English (I saw a Harry Potter cookbook which sounds kind of fun although I have no idea whether the recipes in it are any good), Scottish, French, Iranian (baklava), Mexican, Thai (mango sticky rice, pad thai, yellow curry (is it even Thai?)), Cambodian (red curry, crispy chicken wontons) (okay, those last two are just because of our trip and I want to learn how to make more dishes from those countries)
9. Cleaner house - get on a schedule for mopping, dusting and cleaning bathrooms 1x week; sweep daily, empty sink and clean counters at night, toys put away each day, laundry picked up from floor each day, clean laundry folded as soon as it comes out of dryer
10. Get Clara on a cleaning/helping schedule - by the end of 2016 I want her to be able to help dust, sweep, make beds every day, put away toys, empty and load a dishwasher, and even cook simple things.  She will only be 5 but I would like to move toward me helping her and not the other way around, and besides, she is at an age where a lot of the time she really LOVES helping - I think it empowers her and makes her feel good about herself - so why not give her those opportunities?
11. FHE - more consistent and with better planning.  We did much better on this in 2015 (maybe 70% of the time I would guess and with a pretty consistent structure of music, prayer, lesson, activity, treat but we definitely have room for improvement - this is another thing that the girls love so why is it so hard to do and stick to?)
12. More mother/daughter activities/experiments at home - more of the hands-on stuff or crafting things or nature walks or cooking lessons; less television and movies
13. Start reading chapter books with Clara - Little House on the Prairie, Illustrated Harry Potter maybe?
14. More reading with both girls - maybe designate a particular time of day as a reading time or make it part of a nightly routine since right now our reading is random and happens at all times of the day but never as a consistent part of a routine
15. Meal plan each week
16. Attend book club at least 3 times
17. Read 2 books per month
18. For Clara - learn to ride a bike with no training wheels
19.  Make a signature block for CM (a photography group I have been involved with for a few months now)
20. Apply for CMPro by end of year (more for the growth that will hopefully happen by having this goal, not necessarily because I think that I will be ready to be a CMPro by then - to accomplish this, stay active in the prep and challenge groups I have signed up for)
21.  Complete a Project 52
22. Complete a 365 project (still not sure whether I am going to go for this one but I'm putting it on here for now because I am thinking about it still)
23. Go camping (we didn't make it last year but I definitely want to take the girls outdoors more this summer now that Rose sleeps so much better and could handle it)
24. Date night at least 2x a month
25. Paul asked that I set a goal for both of us to learn a guitar/banjo duet to play with him

I think that is it for goals/resolutions for 2016.  Or at least that is the list for right now.  It seems long and crazy but all doable.

As part of my reading goal, I've been gathering titles of books to read as they have been recommended to me.  If anyone reads this and has a good book to add to the list, let me know!

Books to read in 2016:

  1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  2. What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
  3. Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
  4. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  6. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  7. Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
  8. Lake House by Kate Morton
  9. What Alice Forgot
  10. Master & Commander Series
  11. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
  12. These is my Words by Nancy Turner
  13. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
  14. Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls
  15. Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
  16. Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker
  17. The Ghost & Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick
  18. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  19. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
  20. Wayward Pines Series
  21. A Husband's Secret
  22. Big Little Lies
  23. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  24. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
  25. Me Before You
  1. Glitter & Glue by Kelly Corrigan
  2. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  3. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
  4. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
  5. Everybody was so Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill
  6. My Life In France by Julia Child
  7. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  8. I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali
  9. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
  10. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  11. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
  12. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  13. The Creative Fight by Chris Orwig
  14. Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson
  15. Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup
  16. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  17. The Truth About Eden by Alonzo Gaskill
  18. Sacred Symbols by Alonzo Gaskill

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Thailand & Cambodia Leftovers from the iPhone

Okay, so these are all going to be inserted into their appropriate blog post but I realized I forgot to upload and include most of the photos I took with my iphone.  For anybody who cares to look at them (I'm guessing our moms, Deborah, and Jennie), here they are together so you don't have to go back through the previous blog posts I did on our trip.  

On the plane flight to Thailand:


Taxi selfie with Clara dealing with jetlag and Rose wide awake.  They loved not having to ride in carseats.  I hated it, not because it felt unsafe (which it did) but because they climbed all over the place the whole time and restraining them felt nearly impossible.

Eating an ice cream sundae at Swensens.  It's an ice cream place that is originally from San Francisco and Paul grew up on it.  They have since closed all their locations except the original tiny one in the city, but apparently it is big in Thailand and we found them in a couple of different places where we randomly stumbled upon them.  This one was in the mall right by our hotel in Bangkok.  We went there to exchange money at the bank and pick up a curling iron for me that had the proper electrical wiring rather than bring my good one from home and fry the circuits on it with a faulty adapter (has happened more than once in past travels).

At reception in Cambodia.  The resort put these pretty cloth scarf things around our necks, like leis in Hawaii except made from Cambodian textiles.

This is a photo we posted on instagram from Ta Prohm - one of the ruins in the Angkor Wat area.

There were geckos everywhere at the resort and we kept seeing them in the evening hanging out on these light fixtures so during the day time Rose had to stop at every one to see if the geckos were hiding in there.

Having fun at Don Mueng Airport waiting for a plane.

 I did take a picture of the bed in our villa in Chiang Mai!  You can barely see Rose asleep taking her nap.

And one the way to see the elephants Rose got a little sleepy and laid her head in Clara's lap.  It was so sweet.

My view for at least part of the time while we were riding the elephants.

And a view looking down at Rose's little legs dangling off our elephant's head while we plodded through the jungle.

Snack time between riding and washing elephants.

This is the rice snack that I have got to figure out how to make.

Some images from cooking class.

We got to fly first class on one of our flights and it was wonderful.  Why can't I fly like that all the time?!


Thanksgiving dinner.  The mango sticky rice was amazing.

The girls and their Orange Fanta obsession.  Clara's face in the second photo when she was worried that Rose was going to drink all of the Fanta they were supposed to be sharing.

I made a ton of food in my second cooking class.  The resort ended up just sending it to our room so that Paul and I could eat it together while the girls were still napping.

I wish that the cooking class had included a lesson in how to make this mango sticky rice because it was THE BEST.  Seriously, so, so good.

Enjoying a movie  while eating room service for dinner.

Checking out from our last hotel.

And riding the trolley at the airport while waiting to check in to fly home.