Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy Now-Feb. 27

Whew!  It's been too long.  I've tried to pick out the top 10 moments from the past three weeks.  Here are my Happy Now 10:

1. Hugo 3D--Darren and I weren't initially interested in this film.  When I called my parents one night a few weeks ago, however, I caught them on their way home from seeing this movie and they raved about it.  With such a high recommendation from my parents (who insisted that we see it in 3D) and knowing that it had been nominated for Best Picture, we decided to go for it.  We were blown away!  I loved the message of each person needing to find what their unique purpose and contribution can be in life.  It was a beautiful film.

2.  Love and Logic Book--The third book that I've read this year was Sornson's Creating Classrooms Where Teachers Love to Teach based on the philosophy of Love and Logic (okay, I technically started this book in 2011, but I finished it in 2012 so I'm counting it).  It was a very insightful book with some great practical advice that I could start incorporating into my classroom immediately.  My current class has challenged me as a teacher more than any other year I've taught.  Reading this book has added some much-needed tools to my teacher tool-belt.

3.  Birthday gift planning for Darren--Darren's birthday is coming up in about a month and I have had fun planning a little birthday surprise for him. :)

4.  Great Grandmas--I have been thinking a lot about my grandmothers lately and the kind of women they were.  They were both such elegant and accomplished women.  I remember thinking how much I wanted to emulate certain traits that they had, and how much I wanted to make them proud.  I loved the way that my Grandma Sonne's house was always filled with the smell of something cooking/baking: bread, meat, cookies, etc.  It always created such a warm, homey environment in her home.  I would love to be able to create that in my home in the future.  My Grandma Hubbard (Mama Di) loved animals and I cherish the moments in which I was able to bond with her over this mutual affection for our furry friends.  She had such a gentle, warm heart.  Below are some framed photographs of my grandmothers on their wedding days that I had framed at our reception.  I feel very blessed to have had these women in my life.

5.  Writer's Workshop--One of the 5th grade teachers I work with mentioned that the Provo Library will be hosting a writer's workshop in March.  I am REALLY excited about this prospect.

6.  Visit with Shelley and Stephen--Katie and I were lucky enough to visit with Shelley while she and her family were in Park City recently.  It was the first time we had the chance to meet her darling little boy, Stephen.  I see so much of Shelley in him and know that this is the beginning of a great little life and family!

7.  Sleepless in Seattle--Darren recently took an overnight trip to Seattle to take a tour of Seattle University School of Law campus.  He had a great time overall, but he cracked me up when he called me Thursday night from Seattle.  We had picked the cheapest hotel we could find by the airport for Darren.  When he called he had just been given a new room since the lock was broken in the first room they gave him--but apparently the second one wasn't much better.  Darren was laughing as he called me and described it as the "mangiest" room he had ever seen.  Needless to say, he didn't have the deepest of sleeps, but it certainly helped to make sure he was early for his appointment the next morning.

Darren in front of Seattle University after a less than ideal sleep.  He's still looking pretty handsome, though, if I do say so myself.

8.  Valentine's Tulips--For Valentine's Day, Darren got me a bouquet of my favorite flowers.  Isn't it amazing how flowers immediately brighten a space?

9.  Hosting Book Club--I volunteered to host the February Book Club meeting at our little apartment this month.  As excited as I get about playing hostess, I also get just a little bit stressed.  This apartment has never been so clean as the two times I've hosted book club.  The hostess is also in charge of preparing a little refreshment, which also sent me into a tizzy.  For the days leading up to the meeting I had extravagant desserts planned in my head.  What did I end up making?  Brownies--which I tried to jazz up by cutting with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and sprinkling with powdered sugar.  Sheesh.  And as a side note, I'm REALLY excited about our new book club book: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

10.  Lunch with G.G. Vandagriff--I first met G.G. in my BYU Hampton Court Ward in which her husband was serving as our bishop.  She is a woman who I greatly admire for several reasons, not the least of which is that she has published several books in which she shares her testimony and the life lessons she has learned.  She is currently working on a Regency for which she has asked me to be an alpha-reader (which totally made my day).  It was so great to catch up with her over lunch last Saturday!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Happy Now-Feb. 6

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to read at least two books a month.  Twenty-four books in 2012 would definitely be an improvement over last year.  I know to some of my friends and family who are avid readers, this may not seem like a very lofty goal.  As much as I love to read, however, it is not something for which I always make time.  Unfortunately, I am already a 1/2 book behind, but I plan on catching up to stay on track.  Fortunately, I did not make a resolution about making regular blog posts. :)  Here are my Happy Now 10 for the past couple of weeks.

1.  Rock Climbing--In my last post I mentioned that Darren chose rock climbing for our next activity.  This was definitely a new experience for me.  I started to get nervous when we stepped out onto the padded, blue floor beneath the rock climbing walls.  We started by having an instructor show us how to tie the proper knot and what to do should your partner start plummeting to his death while climbing.  I wish I could say that I totally jumped at the opportunity, rolled up my sleeves, and sprinted up the rock wall on the first try.  It definitely took more than one try, and my forearms have never been so sore after grasping desperately to the hand grips, but I did eventually make it to the top and actually really started to enjoy myself by the end.  I was lucky to have such an encouraging partner who kept the rope taut and sent words of motivation up to me while climbing.  I was the first to suggest we go rock climbing again soon.

2.  Dessert with the Grossarths--I grew up with Jeanne through elementary school and jr. high until her family moved to Utah after our freshman year of high school.  While I haven't been able to see her as often as I would like, we have kept in touch and I have loved watching her beautiful family grow.  Darren and I were able to have dessert with Jeanne, her husband Kevin, and their three adorable kids about a week ago.  It was great to talk with Jeanne and Kevin, and Darren and I were both charmed by the kids, especially their oldest little boy.  Such a fun evening!

3.  Classroom Comics--For Christmas I received a tear-off daily calendar of teacher-related comics.  One day last week Darren came to pick me up at school and help me sort some papers.  Before leaving, he noticed the comic for that day on my desk and decided to try and draw it on the board for my students to see the next day.  I have to admit, I didn't know my husband had such artistic talent.  My kids loved the comic and I definitely gained some "cool points" just by being associated with Mr. Myler.

4.  Geneva Memories--In 2006 I was lucky enough to spend some time in Geneva, Switzerland on a BYU internship.  While in Geneva, I was able to meet some amazing people and life-long friends.  One of those people was Afton Beutler, my internship mentor.  Afton has dedicated the past several years of her life to the Worldwide Organization for Women.  She has worked tirelessly to unite women and their cause for good throughout the world.  I felt privileged to join in her work, if only for a few months.  In December, Afton e-mailed me that she would be visiting Utah in January and wanted to see me and meet Darren.  We met Afton for dinner last week, and it was SO great to see her.  I was flooded with some wonderful memories from my internship and was, again, so inspired by the work she and the NGO are doing.

Me with Afton and some others from the UN on the International Day of Peace in Geneva in 2006

Dinner with Afton 2012

5.  Death Comes to Pemberley--My first book of 2012 was P.D. James's Death Comes to Pemberley.  Mystery is probably my second favorite genre, after historical fiction.  When I heard that a well-known mystery writer decided to set her next novel among the characters of Austen's Pride and Prejudice at Pemberley, I knew I had to get my hands on that book.  I was only able to figure out part of the mystery by the end, and enjoyed being kept on my toes.  What else did I enjoy about the book?  The author twice snuck in peripheral mentions of characters from  Persuasion (my FAVORITE Austen novel) and Emma.  She made several of Austen's characters seem like contemporaries whose lives occasionally intersected.  Love it!

6.  Personal Quote Book--My Dad has encouraged my brother and me to keep a book of favorite quotes we come across.  It becomes our own, personal source of gathered inspiration.  I was reading through some of the quotes I've gathered over the past several years and was, again, touched by the power of words.  I love how these words of wisdom and inspiration continue to affect the lives of those who read them generations after they were written.  Here are just a few examples:

  • "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." (~Thoreau, Walden)
  • "Oh who can tell, save he whose heart hath tried." (~Lord Byron)
  • "I gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which I must stop and look fear in the face ... I say to myself, I've lived through this and can take the next thing that comes along ... We must do the things we think we cannot do." (~Eleanor Roosevelt)
  • "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (1 Nephi 21:16)
The most recent addition to my quote book came just today when I read this quote on the inspiring blog of a dear family friend, Karen Holmes: "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." (~Teddy Roosevelt)  Thanks, Karen!

7.  Dryer Faux Pas--I was helping Darren fold some laundry over the weekend when he came across a sweater of mine that I had left in the dryer a little too long.  We just had to laugh.  Perhaps it could work as a shirt for a future daughter?

8.  Greek Yogurt--I have been wanting to try some greek yogurt for a while.  I came across a simple and delicious-sounding breakfast idea that involved greek yogurt, honey, and a variety of berries.  I decided to try some this past weekend and loved it!  It was really sweet, so Darren and I had some for dessert tonight, as well.  I think we've found another favorite!

9.  Movie Night--Darren and I went to see our first movie of the year in the theater two weekends ago.  I love the whole experience of going to the movies--there are no distractions and, for better or worse, you can become completely wrapped up in the on-screen action.

10.  Dreaming with Darren--I love talking about the future with Darren.  Talking about the immediate future fills me with excitement about the realistic changes we can anticipate.  Sometimes Darren and I venture into the unknown distant future and talk about, ideally, where we would like to be several years from now.  We talk about the design of our dream home, the land we would want surrounding our home, and our future family.  Most recently we got on the subject of future pets.  Fortunately, I have married someone who loves animals (almost) as much as I do (he stops short of hamsters and mice :).  Today over dinner we were talking about the pets we would like to have, and I went ahead and chose names.  Darren decided that he would at least need a horse and a dog, and I proposed that I would need my own horse, dog, and cat.  Here are the names I'm currently considering (pictures from pinterest):
  • Horse: Indie

  • Golden Retriever: Atticus

  • Orange Striped Tabby Cat: Scout

Now to make that idyllic future a reality. :)
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