18 December 2013

Some Thoughts . . .

After dropping the kids off at school This morning I decided to use my new bike and bike ride to volleyball in Penasquitos. It was a great idea, but I had a hard time getting the tag-along bike (for Courtland) attached to my bike because it is made to work with a bike with a thinner seat post.

So I gave up on that idea and instead hooked up the bike trailer. I got Courtland all ready, and we started off (although we left later than I would have liked after taking the time to get the bike all set up). After riding for about 15 minutes and having the bike trailer hardware come loose from the bike two different times, I finally admitted defeat and decided that the mounting hardware for the bike trailer does not fit with this bike. And I decided that if we kept doing at that rate we would miss volleyball entirely, which I didn't want to do, do I reluctantly headed back home. So we only got in a 3 mile ride today, but I guess 3 miles is an ok ride. 

So we hopped in the car and hurried to volleyball a little late, only to arrive at the building and find that they were painting the ceiling of the gym and volleyball was cancelled today. 

So Courtland and I changed plans again, and we decided to take the dogs to the big dog park to get their energy out -- they have been outside all week in preparation for Michael's parents to come this weekend for Christmas, so we could really thoroughly clean the floors for Michael's mom who is allergic to animals. So this week I've been really good at walking the dogs or taking them to a dog park every day so they don't get too bored while they're banished from the house. So we went to the dog park, and it was fun. Brax found stray tennis balls and found people to throw them for him repeatedly the whole time we were there, surprise, surprise. And Harley did a lot better this time than the last time we went to that bigger dog park -- last time he was trying to jump on all the other dogs (and some owners don't like that), and today he just played and ran and had fun without jumping all over all the other dogs. He found a couple dogs that would play chase with him, which he loved!  He is so much more social with other dogs than Brax is. Also, every time I called him at the park he came to me right away, so that's a big improvement too. I think we got lucky again -- Harley is adjusting well and I think we ended up with another good dog. 

After the dog park we came home just in time to meet Camden and Isaac arriving home from school, and since then the kids have been doing their piano lessons, working on homework, and cleaning their rooms (I bribed them with promises of popcorn for dessert if they finish their rooms today -- thanks for the canister of popcorn, Mom). 

And tonight we are going to Chipotle for a school fundraiser night (they're donating 50% of the profits tonight to the school, which is a pretty good percentage compared to most of the other restaurant fundraisers).  So that means I don't have to worry about making any food for dinner. And later on Michael needs to make cookies for a cookie exchange at work. And maybe we'll get in an episode of Downton Abbey -- we just started season 1 together last night. 

I'm so glad that I decided to get all my Christmas preparations done before December started this year!  Last year I put things off, and then when family came into town I was mad at myself for having to spend time at stores or the post office when I would have rather been spending time with our relatives. So this year I decided to be done, all the way, in November. So I finished our shopping, wrapping, shipping, helping the kids to shop and wrap, decorating, and Christmas letter writing before December started. And it has made a huge difference. Although I still have lots of stuff that I need to get done (that's life, huh?) I feel pretty relaxed and am taking time to just enjoy the season. I've even had a chance to sit down and read a book a few times this week!  

And it helped that we really thoroughly cleaned the downstairs of our house earlier in the month in preparation for a little Christmas caroling party, because since then we've really tried to keep the house clean (and it sure is easier to maintain it than to get it clean when it's a mess!)  This week I've mopped all the floors downstairs, cleaned all the surfaces in the kitchen, and thoroughly vacuumed all the carpets (I know, some of you are thinking, "I do that every week," but I don't get all that done all the time, so I'm doing pretty well this week). So hopefully we are rid of any remaining dog fur from the house so my mother in law can breath easy when she arrives. We are looking forward to them getting here, and being able to hang out with Michael's sister, Annette, and Jennie & Dalin's family for Christmas. And hopefully it will work out to do a dinner with any of my extended family that is in town too. 

And even though I haven't kept up on the blog very well at all the last several months.  I still need to go back and upload any photos from our old camera before I go through the photos from our phones and add them to the blog -- and as time goes on and more photos accumulate, the idea of going back and catching up on the blog becomes increasingly overwhelming. But I decided to post some thoughts and a few pictures to the blog today anyway, even without being all caught up, so that feels pretty good too. (Everyone has been asking me what I'll do with all my free time next year when Courtland goes to kindergarten {can you believe after all these years of little kids that my baby is going to school next year?  Inconceivable!}  And when they ask that, I tell them I guess I'll use my time to catch up on everything I've put off the last 10 years. So I guess one goal for next year is to catch up on updating the blog all the way, and to continue printing our family books from the blog content. Once I get caught up, it'll be much easier to keep the blog updated since I can just post straight from my phone whenever I have a chance (I guess that's kind of like maintaining the cleanliness of my house -- easier to maintain than to get cAught up). Anyway, that's in the plans too, eventually. 

So right now I'm feeling pretty content. I'd have to say life is pretty good. We're lucky to have our boys, a home, a good job, and good health, and to be able to go to church and practice our religion. 

I've been trying to focus on things that are important, like spending time with Courtland this year while he is our only one home from school before he starts kindergarten, reading our family Christmas letters from years past and reflecting on how our little family has turned into a not-so-little family in just a few years, our recent habit of getting the whole family up early in the morning to read scriptures together and watching the younger boys improve in their reading.  And there are lots of little (less important) things that make me happy lately too: playing volleyball, sitting in front of the fireplace on a cool day (yes, last week it was cold here), going on bike rides with family (and taking my dogs), putting up lights in the back yard to decorate and light it up after dark (which I'm sure will come in handy after we set up the trampoline on Christmas Eve), and going for our weekly family walks around the neighborhood on Sunday afternoons.  We have a lot to be thankful for!  

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