Sunday, June 25, 2017

Define Your Dash # 25: Occasions I Celebrate Each Year

New Years: We sleep in and sometime hike. Nothing super dramatic.

MLK day. We celebrate by eating ice cream and other dairy products because Alisha and I once looked at the calendar and thought it said milk day.

Valentines Day: I have always liked Valentines Day because there has always been chocolate involved. When I was little my parents would give us secret Valentines. Now that we have our own house we build a fort, eat pizza in it, and watch a movie (as a family).

St. Patrick's Day: We celebrate my dads birthday and Links birthday.

Easter: Big dinner with the family and an Easter egg hunt for the kids (not necessarily on the same day).

Fourth of July: Fireworks, home made ice cream, danger of some kind, traditionally but not always with the Conders.

September 4th: My birthday (what happens changes).

Halloween: Ward Halloween party, costumes, pass out treats, eat pizza with my family.

Thanksgiving: Turkey and Family very traditional.

December 4th: Nicks birthday

Christmas: Varies but we always see a lot of family. Sometimes we stay home sometimes we go to Arizona. I prefer Arizona because I don't love having a white Christmas. I prefer eating dinner on the deck.

New Years Eve: Fireworks and cheeseball :)

Define Your Dash #24: Things, Places, and Quotes that Remind Me of My Dad

Music. There a certain artists and songs that always make me recollect my childhood. When I read this question the first thing that came to mind was Basia (I had to look up how to spell that). Apparently she is still making music but I have only ever heard the music that my dad played. Huey Lewis and the News as well as Billy Joel and Toto always remind me of my dad. I remember one family dance party in the early nineties when my dad got a new Huey Lewis CD. I guess stereos also remind me of my dad.
On another music not (see what I did there) there is a Natasha Beddingfield song (Unwritten in case you need to visualize) that I can't hear without thinking of him bursting into song and surprising/scaring everyone in the car.

His Art. Now my dad really is artistic, we had a picture of the temple done in pointillism hanging in my house most of my life. However, the art work I remember is the same mountain scene that he draws on everything. It is like three very basic mountains, some trees, a sun, and some line birds... This is his signature artwork and I wish could explain it better.

Marriott. He has worked at Marriott as long as I can remember and that brand name has always been associated with him for me. When I was little (before I could read) I thought that Marriott said Keith. To this day I still think that the Marriott M looks like a K. Yeah, just stared at it for a while and it takes conscious effort to see it as an M.

Spider Solitaire. I remember seeing my dad at the computer playing spider solitaire after work or dinner countless times. Games in general remind me of my dad but this is the one I associate most with him. (Other than Dragon Master which he is always the Dragon Master of.)

Bear Lake. I don't know how many times I went to Bear Lake with my parents. I only remember one. My mom wasn't with us. We drove up, looked at the lake, got a raspberry shake and, I got a pebble to bring home to prove to my mom that we had been in Idaho. I just remember it being out of the ordinary and a lot of fun.

Lake Blanche / Lake Mary. Back when I was fat and lazy and young and didn't like to hike, my dad used to get up early on Saturdays and go hiking without us. My how times have changed.

Basketball. Dad has gotten up early several days a week to go play basketball for years. He often came home injured in one way or another. That is a rough sport.

"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things."


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Define Your Dash # 23: Most Beloved Teacher

Narrowing down the many teachers I have had to a favorite is kind of an impossible task. Is this questions referring to school teachers, or church teachers, or family members? I dunno. . . So here are my top five favorite teachers.

1. Mom
Lets be real. If you are lucky enough to have a parent who gives up their career and life as they know it to stay home and raise you, then that person is going to have a more profound impact on the person you become than almost any other (even if it is just by the default of accumulated hours spent together). That person is your primary example, your playmate, your teacher, and many other things. I was lucky enough to have a mom that not only gave me her time and attention but the benefit of her teaching skills. I knew I was loved, I was taught many things (spiritual, physical, emotional, and academic), and was set a wonderful example to follow (and still do). Mom is my most beloved teacher.

2. Dad
Dad was my other most beloved teacher. He wasn't home with me constantly like mom was but it was because of dad that mom could be there. That in itself was a huge gift and sacrifice on his part. Nick and I were just discussing the possibility of me working and he told me that no amount of money would be worth missing the time that I could be with Link. He told me that going back to work after Link was born was one of the hardest things he has done but he did it because he knew it would keep me home.
My point: My dad was not my primary teacher but he set an excellent example of love and hard work by letting my mom be that person. And, even though he was not home with me all of the time he made our family the priority and I learned many things by watching and talking with him over the years as well.

3. Mr. Hunter
Fourth grade teacher extraordinaire. He was not an especially good academic teacher but I learned more from him socially than I did from any other teacher in my public education. He made us sing, and play, and gave us nick names. He loved art and very much encouraged everyone's creative side. And, he helped us cheat on every spelling test all year (I am not lauding that just reminiscing).

4. Mrs. Boulton
Twelfth grade AP Lit teacher. Academically this woman taught me more about insight and writing then any other has (I know you wouldn't know it from this blog). She pushed us and molded us and taught her subject so explicitly that it was difficult to miss what she wanted us to know.

5. Pat Swenson
Young women's leader. Now, I can't tell you what she taught me exactly but I know that she always supported me and listened to me. Sometimes after sitting through an 8 hour day of being talked at, it's nice to have an adult who will just listen and help and support. The support is what I remember and sometimes that makes the best teacher.

6. Bonus: Lauren Liang
College professor. Made me feel like I could do it (education, teaching, numerous other career options, graduate, etc.). Loved her subject. Made us love her subject (children's literature). Knew me as an individual (that makes a world of difference in college).

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Define Your Dash # 22: Valuable Lessons I Learned at School

As a Student:
  • Hard work pays off.
  • Having good friends is imperative.
  • You can do things that are difficult, scary, and that force you to leave your comfort zone.
  • The way you treat people effects many aspects of your life.
  • When you try your hardest effort is recognized even if it isn't in the way you hoped for.
  • There is more to life than tests but the tests have to be taken seriously since they effect scholarship opportunities.
  • It is okay to change your mind.
  • Your choices and actions are your own. Claim them.
  • Act. Don't be acted upon.
  • You don't have to read the whole textbook. . . .
  • College is a survival of the fittest kind of thing. You show your potential employer that degree and they think to themselves, Wow, this person knows how to persevere.
  • It's possible to work and do school at once and be successful in both.
  • True love can be found in band class.
  • True love can be found at 12 (not recognized but found).
  • Go on vacation on pig fetus dissection day.
As a Teacher
  • Kids with parents home (or heavily involved) are more likely to succeed academically and socially.
  • Teachers can't do everything a student needs. Parent involvement is essential.
  • Testing sucks for everyone.
  • Hard work pays off
  • Having a good friend makes all the difference.
  • The way you treat people matters.
  • Effort is recognized and you get more responsibility . . .yay . . .safety patrol . . . . . .
  • Be flexible.
  • Never confront someone you are currently super angry with. Cool down first.
  • Never confront someone who is super angry with you or at life in general. Let them cool down first.
  • Taking responsibility for your actions is a sign of maturity. Do it.
  • What is best for someone might be entirely wrong for someone else.
  • There is a time for asking and a time for telling.
  • You don't need 50 kids on Safety Patrol it's superfluous.
  • Do your best to get along with everyone. You might need them even if they drive you nuts.
  • Teachers are some of the best people on the planet.

Define Your Dash # 21: Dabbling in Many Hobbies

Okay, so the prompt this week is, do you like to dabble in lots of different hobbies? If so what are they?

I feel like this is my life. I would like to say I'm a jack-of-all-trades but I don't think that would be accurate. They seem to have many useful skills. I'm more like a Bob-of-all-trades (Bob is Jack's less useful younger brother who has excellent test taking skills but can't convert his book learning to anything practical. But, Bob is highly ambitious, would like to know how to do many things, and just can't seem to settle. So, here is a list of my many many hobbies.

Bam. Other than, you know, Link and Nick. . .hiking is my hobby. I love being in those mountains and breathing fresh air and climbing on boulders (I kid you not). Thank goodness I have a mom who loves it as much as I do.
I am getting so buff from this backpack!

I love a good book but my time is limited right now. There have been times in my life when I have read multiple books in a week. Currently I'm lucky if I can read one or two a month.

I read this like eight times yesterday . . . not to make you jealous or anything.

Thanks to me mum, I have grown up doing arts and crafts in all forms and thoroughly enjoy them. I even completed a whole year of art school before I decided I wasn't talented enough at it to make a career (especially in the bottom of the recession). Life is tough. I picked money over art and went into teaching (stellar choice btw). . .
Despite nixing it as a career I still enjoy painting and crafts. However, I have not been able to do much in the way of creating a piece since Link got tall enough to reach the table.

My basement wall full of art from "the good old days" 

Super Creepy Nic Cage Pillow. . . Yes, I knew you were wondering.

Bike Riding
Tricky with Link but he seems to like it if we go before his trailer turns into an oven.

I suck at gardening but keep trying. I will one day have a beautiful yard full of living plants that are not weeds. For now, I'm happy if Link isn't eating dirt while I endlessly weed our giant three plant garden.

Home D├ęcor
I enjoy this but feel that I have unusual taste. Mostly I like bright colors and tree themed things. I'm not so much a beige decorator (I'm not one hundred percent sure what beige is). I knew I was in good company however, when Nick asked if we could paint a room teal. Our house is going to be tricky to sell one day . . . it's very much us.

Graphic Design
I desperately want to be good at this but apparently not enough to pay big bucks. I'm more of a free training skip the pitch at the end kind of girl. This was what I was going to start after my one year of art school but the U's program scared me away for multiple reasons. Right now I am learning more than I have in years but I can't do anything to technical.

I have several blogs (this one included). I enjoy putting my thoughts down and improving my writing. One day perhaps, I will be typo free. This blog is primarily a journal. I share most of my stuff but I do have a handful of posts that just sit there waiting to embarrass me in front of my posterity. I have a blog I wrote with Alisha about Thailand. I have a blog that I have written for Lincoln that chronicles the experiences I have had being his mom. And, I just started a blog that I hope to monetize eventually called Mommy Practice (this has led to a new host of hobbies).

This has always been a casual interest but I have been paying more attention to it since I started the blog. I think I may buy a camera not attached to a phone someday. . .I know, I'm getting serious. I'm not in a hurry though and want to learn a lot more about both cameras and photography before doing anything rash.

Social Media Marketing
Is only a hobby based on the definition that a hobby is something you spend your free time doing. I don't love it but it has been fun to learn about a concept that I never got to hit on in school. When I started my other blog I actually had to make a Twitter and Instagram account because I had never bothered to use them . . .

Community Service
One of my goals this year has been to find more ways to serve. More than anything else that has meant feeding people (missionaries, new moms, new members, etc.). However, I have also been able to participate in teaching some English classes to immigrants and refugees.

I freaking love cupcakes (and books in which the main character makes cupcakes. . .I know weird). But it is a dangerous hobby. When Link was first born I made a new gourmet cupcake recipe every week for months (which made me gain back the baby weight that I had already lost, how annoying is that). So, I have to make them sparingly now since it is expensive to make loads of gourmet cupcakes and bad for my self-esteem to eat them.

This is one of the only hobbies I have that I feel I am legitimately good at (which I think is fair after earning a degree in it). I use it on Link, in the English classes I sometimes help with, and in relief society.

Another hobby that is just something I spend a lot of time on. Link and Nick are a full time cleaning job and I am a bit anal about having a clean house. If the house is messy I can't sleep or focus on other stuff. This is something I think I need to chill out on but don't know how yet.

Movie Watcher
I'm not as into this as I once was because time is so scarce. When I do get a minute, I tend to watch inspirational crap that makes me bawl because I love being splotchy and congested.

Harder with Link but I still love it and have a list of places that I want to see in the flesh before I die. Canada Ahoy.

And there you have it. A condensed list of my current hobbies. Focus is not one of them. . .

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Define Your Dash # 20: Active Goals

I had my big huge list of goals I wrote out in January and I am doing alright with some of them and failing miserably at others. For example, it is hard to exercise with a toddler. I'm still going to get in shape but it is requiring some serious creativity. On the other hand, I have kept up with these posts and am being more social with my ward and finally got up the courage to start my other blog.
So, I want to talk about that for a minute. I started a blog called Mommy Practice which, despite what all of the tutorials I have read recommend, is not a very good niche blog. It is all over the place. But for now that is okay. I purchased the domain and hosting in September and didn't get going forever because I got so bogged down in having everything perfect before I started.
I was obsessed with the idea of monetizing it right away in order to help bring in income. I have calmed down, realized we are okay financially, and am now using it as a learning experience. It has been so fun to write, and take pictures, and learn about graphic design and marketing (something I never did anything with in school). It has also caused much introspection and been a part of the reason I go out of my way to make my days more interesting and eventful.
I would still like to monetize it (or a version of it once I figure out what I am like the most) someday. But for now, I am progressing. I am learning. I have a hobby that I enjoy.
My new goal is to have a decent source of income from the blog by the time my youngest child goes to kindergarten (provided the government doesn't irreversibly screw up the internet).

Define You Dash # 19: First Best Friend

How do you define best friend? I know I have had a handful of people in my life that I would have considered my Best Friend at a given point.

When I was little it was probably Nathan Conder. We were raised side by side and spent crazy amounts of time together. Yes, we are still in contact and see each other at least a few times a year.

I had a best friend in first grade named Michelle Bodkin. I have no idea what happened to her but I do remember her being my first good friend who was a girl.

When I moved to Sandy my best friend was probably Miranda Peterson. We were good friends from second grade until fifth grade when she moved. I remember that being very hard and for a while, I drifted a bit. Lots of acquaintances, no best friend. We are facebook friends I think.

From sixth grade until the end of middle school my best friends were Karin Nizguritzer, Kelsy Jordan, Katy Ogden, Franklynn Stott, and Alisha Larson. The amount of time I spent with each as my best friend and the closeness of the relationships fluctuated quite a bit. I am Facebook friends with them still but I only have real relationships with Franklynn and Alisha at this point.

My best friends in High School were Alisha Larson, Franklynn Stott and Tara Smith. High school was a little bit different though and I feel like I had a wide variety of people that I got along with and hung out with. There were lots of weekend get togethers and Frisbee games. I worked with Franklynn and Alisha though and other than my family I would say I have spent more time with them by choice than any other people in my life.

Towards the end of high school, Nick became one of my best friends. He had been an acquaintance and casual friend for a long time but it wasn't until that last year that I started spending as much (or more) time with him than Alisha and Franklynn. I married Nick (and he is my very best friend), am still in fairly regular contact with Franklynn, and pester Alisha with texts almost daily since she moved away.

The first year of college was tough. Nick went on a mission, Alisha went to Idaho, and Franklynn and I spent so much time together that it is a miracle that we can still speak to each other. After floundering for a bit, I made some good friends in my singles ward, Ashley Kimball and Alicia Anderson (among others). I still see Ashley all of the time.

My best friends now (other than Nick), and they have always been there even if I didn't think of them as my best friends, are my family. I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my Mom the past couple of years and have enjoyed getting to know her as an adult. I also see me dad, brother, and sister frequently and have excellent relationships with all of them.

I feel that I have been blessed with great friends throughout my life and have always had the relationships that I needed when I needed them.