30 good things

Well hey, so I had this really original, super unique idea that I’m positively sure no one has ever thought of before that I would start a gratitude/one line a day notebook.  I’ve thought of doing it before but never really stuck with it, so I thought a good motivation and reminder to do it daily would be to post the list on my blog every month.  I also thought it might help motivate and encourage others to do the same thing.  I have a notebook that for a long time I’ve written down things that I love, that make me happy, “counting my blessings” if you will, but I really have liked trying hard to do it on the daily.  Instead of just the really good things that are obvious and easy to notice, it makes me dig a little deeper.  Miracle of all miracles, I think it really does make me happier on the really down days to have to stretch and look and think “Ok, today was pretty terrible but what happened that was good?”  It’s encouraging to realize there’s always something.  In fact, there are always many things.  Having this habit of seeking out specifically some good thing to write down, makes me see those good things more readily, and gives me reason to linger on them, enjoy them, soak them in a little bit and feel grateful.

So, if any of you already do this, or would like to start, do it for February and when I post my list next month you can link yours up too!


(A lot of days have multiple items.  I’m apparently just bursting with gratitude.)

1~my in-laws.  I really do have amazing in-laws



3~the person who returned my coat!  (at the wedding I attended on the 2nd, I hung my coat on the guest coat rack and it was gone when I came back and I was reeeeally sad because a) i love that coat and b) it’s my only non-ski coat.  Someone called the next day and had just mistaken it for their own)

lazy days with my husband

4~ hanging out with old friends

5~ friends that help you even when it’s inconvenient

also, my husband making it back alive from his mountaineering expedition

6~ Grandpa Burkes prayer (I kind of love hearing old people pray.  That might sound weird but I think it’s awesome listening to them address God.  It’s like they’ve lived so long that they are well practiced and comfortable in prayer.  By now, they’ve dealt with their trials and their doubts, and they may have thanked God for the same things 100 million times, but they just sound like they really really mean it.)

7~holding sleeping newborn babies (such a joyful thing, no?)

8~for access to friendly, competent, educated dental care and for insurance that helps me afford it.  Oh, and for local anesthesia.

9~fresh flowers in my apartment in the middle of winter (which I may or may not have told my husband to buy for me after having a crappy day at the dentist.  Much better than just wishing he could read my mind.)

10~a working heater

11~ the fact that we are renters and the dripping ceiling is someone else’s problem

12~the opportunity to SKI

13~people at church who incessantly compliment my child (if she could understand what they were saying she’d be oh so very vain by now.)

14~making new friends who I have a ton in common with and who break up the day and whose house is warmer than mine

15~my husband telling me to please stay awake because it completely makes his day when I’m still awake when he gets home from work

16~getting excited for projects

17~Really awesome friends–Bristyl is home from the middle east. yay!

18~days when I get to go to sleep with Tanner (I absolutely hate going to bed alone.)

19~a clean car

20~I’m grateful that yesterday is OVER

days when i get to sleep in while Tanner takes Camryn @ 6 a.m.

my bishop

frosting cupcakes

21~for the rare night that I get to rock and sing my baby to sleep without her squirming away

22~Sweet words from my husband

23~ My little baby turning 1!

Heather finding my wallet (see how me loosing everything makes for opportunities to be grateful?)

24~grateful that I’ve been able to breastfeed this long

25~ Motivation from the Etsy workshop.  It was fun! Grateful to Karleigh for teaching it and glad Mandy could come with me.

26~plenty of time out of the house on my own this weekend

27~Good things to look forward to (trip to Courtney’s cabin and roadtrip to Huntington Beach!  Absolutely can. not. wait.)

28~whoever folded my laundry at the laundromat

every last bit of sunshine and blue sky that graced us with it’s presence today

29~ beautiful snow

30~learning to embroider


Only in Provo

Someone folded my laundry today at the laundromat.  An anonymous good samaritan someone.  Creepy?  Yes.  Kind of awesome?  Also, yes.  Normally, I’d lean a whole lot closer to the creepy end of that spectrum, but if you’ve seen me at the Wash Hut lately, you’d probably fold my laundry anonymously too.

I probably look like a big ridiculous mess–making 3 trips in and out the door before I even start a load, hauling overflowing laundry baskets on one hip and a baby on the other, and opening the door with. . . which hand?  who knows, it’s kind of a magic trick.  Once inside, I kind of push the baskets around with my foot while lugging Camryn around (because the place probably doesn’t have the cleanest of floors for her to scoot around on).  I’m lasting about two weeks between laundry days which in single-student land is amateur, but in married-with-a-baby land is quite a feat and yields a lot of wash.  Once the triple loaders have been loaded, it is toddler entertaining time complete with throwing in the air, walking practice (killer on your back) and spinning in the laundry basket until it’s time to switch to the dryers.  And by the time the dryers are running there is no way on heaven or earth that Camryn is lasting until they are done so we trek the whole production home for lunch, crossing our fingers that all our clothes don’t get stolen while we’re gone.

Well, obviously today some kind soul was watching this whole thing thinking that lady needs help. (is it that obvious?)


When I came back for my clothes 2 hours later,  my colors were neatly folded (seriously, way neatly) and stacked in one of those wheely basket contraptions which was resting in front of the dryer still filled with my whites (read: underwear/garments) which they had not folded (at least they were creepy in a tactful sort of way right?).  Not only that, but the shirts  that needed ironing were hung up, there was a dollar bill between the stacks which looked like it had been through the dryer which they did not steal and I have a habit of being cheap and not putting enough quarters in the dryer and returning to still damp loads that need another quarter or two, so chances are they provided extra quarters.

Again, I was a little bit confused/weirded out, but mostly really really really grateful (and amused).  So here I am sending a big fat THANK YOU out onto the internet that they will probably never see.  But just in case–thank you.

a wintry mix of precipitation


You can thank weather.com for that lovely title phrase.  I guess they feel like if they need to predict misery, the least they can do is do it poetically?  Who can even start a blog post these days without ranting about how the weather is being such a jerk lately?? Not I.  And not many others either, apparently.  If you feel so inclined to spend some time wallowing in the bad weather blogging blues, do let me direct you: here  (Nat the Fat Rat on being bored icicles with cabin fever), here (my friend Lane on wishing and waiting for warm summer evenings), here (my friend Mandy on dementors breeding in her backyard), (dana, what’s with all the alliterations??  don’t know.  sorry)  here (Nat the Fat Rat again really just really hating on January) here (last one, promise, my friend Mary on -2 degree morning walks to school and how they suck all the motivation out of your soul)

See, my favorite thing about blogging is that you get to peek into other peoples lives realtime and see that you’re not in it alone.  If you are depressed silly by the weather, you know you’re in good company.  Oh, and you also have other people  to remind you to look on the bright side like Steph here (on how the bitter cold is refreshingly crisp) and Sam here (on how blizzards make her heart glow with happiness) and my pre-end-of-January and still participating in fun winter sports self here –though with a phrase like “refreshingly crisp” I think Steph might possibly just be in denial, am I right?

It’s possible I read too many blogs.

A few people have mentioned to me or asked me lately if it was ok to link to my blog/mention me on their blog or things like that but they didn’t know if it was ok because some people are weird about that/only write their blog for sisters, grandmas, and old roommates.  I just want to say in a hopefully not awkwardly self promoting way that I’m definitely ok with anyone who reads my blog doing that.  If you like a post or know someone who might like my blog, by all means, share it, link it, or whatever.  I write here because I like having an avenue to write where people will actually read and respond, and the more readers the merrier.  And that’s all my business for the day.  Have a lovely rest of your weekend all.

Havin a birthday

Let’s just post an insane number of pictures of Camryn on her birthday numbero uno, shall we?


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so thrilled out of my mind it’s my birthday

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she knows exactly where this shoebox full of pencils is and beelines for it every time my door is open.  Just for today we decided to let her go at it


and then. . . the cupcake

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She proceeded with caution and confusion

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then once she got a taste, confusion ended and mauling began


this girl doesn’t mess around


she’s happy about this whole thing, I swear

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the-cupcake-is-gone rage


and the dazed aftermath


Happy Birthday darling!!

The Birthday

Guys, this time one year ago I was hugely, painfully, 9 months pregnant, and would only be pregnant for about 9 more hours.  What the what!?  I have a one year old child??  Today the word birthday has a whole new meaning to me.  Birthday.  As in the day your mother gave birth to you.  I’ve been thinking all day about this day last year.  It is beyond weird to think of myself with that big old belly.  What does (did) that even feel like?? How was it to have that little baby moving around inside, kicking and hiccuping endlessly with her elbows and knees jutting out at odd angles giving my belly a funny shape?  When I think about it, it’s like I’m looking at a movie of someone else.  On this day, 2012, I was working from home in our old place, insanely uncomfortable at my little “office” desk in the kitchen, wondering if today would be the day but fearing it would another week entirely.  I had all of these new baby things that hadn’t been worn, slept in, bathed in, sat in, shaken, drooled on, peed on, pooped on, or sucked on.  I could only wonder what this little girl would look like and hope that she had Tanner’s beautiful brown eyes.  I knew of the experience of labor only what I’d read in the books and heard from the doctors, and I couldn’t even remember what it felt like to be thin.  Or run.  Or sleep comfortably.  

And then I started having contractions and fretting over my hospital bag.  I curled up on the floor trying to decide if it was time to call my husband home from his night class.  I was excited and nervous and holy cow, they weren’t lying, contractions hurt.  I went to the hospital.  And a few (thank heavens only a few) hours later, this little baby came out of me!  They put a little beanie on her head, wrapped her in the foot-printed receiving blanket and gave her to me.  And she was tiny and beautiful and I couldn’t get over how pretty she was and how little she was and how mine she was.  

I think I need at least ten more babies.  I don’t know how anyone ever makes the choice that they don’t want children, or that they are done having children.  How do you decide you don’t ever want to experience that day again?  That birth day.  

And now it’s been 365 days.  And I kept her alive for every single one of them (tanner helped, too :)).  And now I have a one year old that most certainly is not her little newborn self anymore.  Happy birthday Camryn!  We love you to the stars.  

Pining for spring and other things

What do you do when your baby who already has a ridiculously early bedtime of 7 p.m. falls into an exhausted, nursing induced slumber at 6 p.m.?  No one will ever convince me that waking a sleeping baby is a good idea for any reason, so. . . we’re just going to cross our fingers and see how this one turns out.  Midnight might find me feeding her dinner.

I don’t have much to say today.  Be warned.

Forget everything I said two posts ago about not complaining about winter because I’m about to hypocritically turn on every word.  I am so over winter!!!  It is so bloody blasted cold!!  Could we please please please just break 30 degrees?  I can’t remember a winter where everything was so permanently frozen without even the occasional day of above freezing temperatures to melt a thing or two.  Do you think my obsessive viewings of the 10 day forecast will make it get warmer faster?Even if I’m willing to brave the cold for a walk, Camryn is not too fond of the bumpy ride that is a result of the folks who don’t shovel their sidewalks and now have several inches of frozen solid packed-down-by-sporadically-foot-printed snow.   Can that just please please melt??

Saturday I had what you might call a breakdown (as close as I come), resulting from a perfect storm of  having not left the house much in the last few days, having little prospect of leaving the house for the next few days, not exactly wanting to leave the house because of way way too many frigidly cold days in a row, and a teething Camryn who didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to sleep, and mostly just wanted to whine whine whine to mom all the live long day.  Also, the fact that I had mentally dreamed up a Tanner-filled day without consulting Tanner, and was sorely disappointed to realize he had a date with the anatomy lab for most of the day. I at least got to spend all late afternoon/evening with him, which definitely didn’t have anything to do with me calling incessantly and sending multiple crazy-woman texts telling him he simply must come home immediately or I might loose my mind.  (a-hem.)  So.  part of that night included us going through a car wash and I won’t even tell you how embarrassingly long it’s been, but our little pontiac vibe deserved an apology and some much needed TLC.  We took it through the wash and accidentally drove too fast through the blow dryer part leaving our car covered in water, which obviously immediately turned into a thin,  glaze-like layer of ice.   Which actually made it look really shiny and ridiculously clean as we proceeded to drive around town ridiculing all of our fellow Provo citizens with despicably filthy cars.  Come on people, pull it together.

Tonight I am feeling the comfort food like never before.  I started with hot chocolate, learned all about properly caramelizing onions while making a wannabe version of this grilled cheese sandwich, and now I’m dying waiting for my breadmaker (that I LOVE) to finish making me bread so that I can eat it with my leftover Wisconsin Cauliflower soup.  (I spend my nights compensating for all the calories I miss during the day when Camryn doesn’t want me to eat).  Apologies to my pinterest friends who were inundated with gourmet grilled cheese recipes, but I think I decided that’s what I want for dinner everyday until April.  I’m going to do some experimenting.  (And when I am rich, I think my fridge is going to be well stocked with about 10 different varieties of cheese at all times.)

Until next time, may you be warmer and less cabin fevery than myself.


Audio books anyone?

Do any of you listen to audio books?  One day at the library I wandered over to that section in search of something Spanish to listen to because I realized my skills in that department are majorly deteriorating (Which I hate, why can’t languages be like riding a bike?) and I got the idea to listen to an audio book while I’m bookbinding.  And that seemed like a really great idea because I’m all about multitasking and all sorts of full of media guilt if I watch t.v. for hours on end even if it’s while doing something else productive.  I also have more books on my to-read list already than is probably possible for my whole lifetime, and audiobooks seem like an awesome way to get through more books.  (Not that reading books for leisure is some drudgery to be gotten through, but you know)  My uncle is an artist and one of the smartest people I know, which I attribute in large part to his habit of listening to books on tape (and npr) all day long while he paints.  Imagine how many books you could “read” that way if every moment of your workday was also reading time.

Anyway, with all of that said, I don’t like it.  I tried really hard to like it, I promise.  I’m listening to Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, also read by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I’m already wishing that I was reading it instead of listening.  I can’t quite pinpoint why, but it kind of feels the same as when I attempt to construct an argument for hard copy printed books vs. ebooks.  The case for ebooks is lengthy, practical, and concrete.  They are more convenient, less cumbersome, better for the environment, and less expensive.  The case for print books always sounds ridiculous and romantic even as I say it–“they just–uh–feel better.  I like the paper.  I like holding it.  It’s just better.”  By all means, you ebook fans, carry on with your loving Kindle relationship.  I support your, I respect you, I’m even happy for you, but that is just how I feel.

The audio book just feels wrong.  Maybe in part because reading shouldn’t be a multitasking activity?  (unless you’re eating of course) Maybe in part because the particular one I’ve chosen is read by the author and I feel like the whole writer/reader relationship has been compromised.  In traditional reading, the writer writes and has their own time and relationship with the words.  They fuss over metaphors, they deliberate over word choice and sentence structure, they rewrite, they edit, and then they pass their work onto you, the reader.  Like a baton, it is given up, out of their hands, at which point the reader spends their own time with the words, in their own space, forming their own relationship, interpreting their own version and meaning.  Listening to the author read me her own story feels like I’m intruding on her writerly space, and that she is intruding on my readerly space.  Since parts of the story are pretty deeply personal and confessional, I feel like I’m spying, while without her own voice in the room, it wouldn’t feel that way.

Have you ever had the experience of a total stranger telling you something very personal?  Something secret that they wouldn’t or haven’t told anyone close to them, but since you are an outsider to their circle, it doesn’t matter?  Like how the first person (besides my husband) I told about  my pregnancy was the girl who cuts my hair.  It was still a secret from my family and friends, but since she didn’t know anyone I know, who cares if she knows?  That’s how I feel when I read personal memoirs, no matter how personal, it’s ok because I’m a stranger.  When I don’t actually know the author, it feels like they’ve kind of put their work out there without a face.  You can confess whatever you want when it’s anonymous or lacking in physical human contact (maybe the reason why so many people are comfortable posting their whole lives online?).  But when I can hear her own voice telling me about her painful messy divorce and her deep depression, etc., I’m almost embarrassed for her to be sharing such things.

Another thing (if I haven’t already bored you away) is that I can hear in her voice when she knows something is funny.  It’s like how for whatever reason, a comedian laughing at their own jokes is just kind of pathetic, I can hear when she’s trying to be funny or clever or knows that this sentence is really epically beautiful–which kind of takes away the funny, clever, or beautiful and leaves me cringing.

The thought of reading my own work out loud is just plain embarrassing, even work I’m proud of (hands down the worst part of college creative writing class).  Reading my blog posts aloud?  No, thank you.  I would rather spend my own time with the words and then pass them along to you.


So, obviously my blog is having an identity crisis.  But isn’t it kind of exciting how every single time you view it, it’s totally different?? Turns out I really truly cannot handle large font.  This may be stupid, but it just made me feel like everything was trivial and childish.  1st graders handwriting–huge.  Serious publications–12 pts or smaller.  Would the New York Times or the Atlantic use 18 pt. font?  No.  Absolutely not.  And since I take this oh so seriously, I found an interface witha reasonable font size.  Can’t say I won’t change it again, but it should last at least a week.