Sunday, March 4, 2018

what i wish i had known in college

i recently wrote this handout for a mutual night with my laurels and i selfishly want to share it for when my own kids go off to college. of course by then it'll be irrelevant because they'll be traveling through tubes, jetson style, and will live at home forever.

What I Wish I Had Known Before College

Grocery Shopping
·      Never go hungry or without a list. Keep a running list of things you need and try not to go more then once a week. Organize your list by grocery sections.
·      Walmart is your best friend. Grocery stores have better quality but higher prices. The Dollar Store isn’t always a better deal on items. Take your time to do the math and price it out.
·      Know how much room you have to store the items. You’ll be sharing that space with other people.
·      See what your roommates wants to do about food. Share certain food items? Keep everything separate? Take turns making meals? That’ll help on cost and time.
·      Plan at least an hour for your trip. Look for marked down meat and breads. You can freeze these items.
·      Meat and cheese is EXPENSIVE. Cut things in half or make meatless options. Shredded chicken goes a long way.
·      Almost always buy generic unless you have coupons. Use Ibotta or Walmarts saving catcher app to save money. *Or steal things from your parents when you come home!
·      Prepared or prepackaged food always cost more so buy those sparingly. Peel and cut your own carrots. Make your own pizza.
·      Only eat out once a week.
·      Loss leaders: items that go on deep sale once a week to draw customers in and spend more. Typically chicken, cereal, chips, soda, canned goods. Watch the circular ads and buy those things at Walmart. Their price will be cheaper and if not, they’ll ad match it.
·      Know the shelf life of some items, how to extend them and how to store them. Ex: celery lasts longer wrapped in tin foil. Bananas do better spaced out.
·      Eat a lot of filling and cheap items. Ex: rice, pasta, potatoes, beans.

Meal Planning
·      Breakfast: Cereal can get expensive unless you buy it as a loss leader. It’s also not very filling or healthy. Oatmeal, cream of wheat, eggs and toast, protein smoothies, yogurt with granola.
·      Lunch: Leftovers, sandwiches, quesadillas, salads topped with grilled chicken.
·      Dinner: Most meals typically have a carb, protein, and vegetable component. IE: pasta, chicken, and broccoli. Rice, beans, and tomatoes. Pair these three things together to make healthy and hearty meals.
·      Snacks: package your own items and bring them along. Buying things on campus will add up. Bring your own lunch. ALWAYS have a snack on hand. Bring your own water. Institute has cheap snacks.
·      Don’t gain that freshman 15! Keep yourself active. The gym on campus will be affordable or join a campus club. Try to eat 2 fruits a day and 3 vegetables.
·      Freeze as much as you can. Make your own pancakes and waffles to freeze. Bean and cheese burritos. Make a full recipe and freeze half or just the sauce.
·      Plan what you’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert a week at a time.
·      Splurge on things you love, skimp on things you don’t like. Juice and soda is not a necessity.
·      Eat at the free or discounted events offered through school. There’s ALWAYS events where you can eat for free or pick up some snacks.

·      Get your own checking account and credit card. Don’t use the CC unless you can pay it off every month. Use it to build credit.
·      TRACK where your money is going. Put yourself on a budget. I use
·      Make a budget and keep to it. Items to typically budget for: Groceries, Eating Out, Gas, Entertainment.
·      Learn how to manage your money NOW while you have your parents as a safety net.

Roommate Tips
·      Get an idea of each other’s schedules so you know about when to expect her coming and going.
·      Lay down ground rules of the apartment. What time should “quiet” time start? Share food? When is rent/utilities due? Who will clean what? What’s the rule on boys in the apt?
·      Make sure you have each other’s numbers and know how to get a hold of their parents in case of an emergency.
·      Get to know each other and each other’s friends early on. They’’ll become your friends too.
·      Be honest. If it’s not working, don’t be afraid to mix it up next semester.

Grown-Up Things to Do
·      Dentist 2x a year
·      Doctor/gynecologist checkup once a year
·      Eye doctor once a year
·      Continually apply for scholarships. It’s not just a thing for freshmen!
·      Get your oil changes every 3 months or 3,000 miles. This will save on costly repairs down the road!
·      If you’re going to a cold climate, learn how to drive in the snow and how to take care of your car. Ice scrapper, snow tires, anti-freeze, etc.
·      Sit down once a week to plan that week. Your meals, homework due, visiting teaching, study time, when you’ll grocery shop, go to the gym, get your car worked on, etc.

Get a Job
·      Apply for jobs before classes begin. Get there a week or two early to get used to the campus and people. There will also be more jobs available.
·      Write a resume. Ask for help when needed and get three great recommendations.
·      Think of these small jobs as building blocks towards your future. No one becomes CEO overnight. If possible, choose jobs that help you learn valuable skills (coding, account receivable/payable, cash, etc). They’ll also be able to give you better references in the future.

Other Tips
·      Buy your textbooks used online then sell them back. 9/10 you won’t use them again. You can wait until the class starts to actually buy the book.
·      Choose a career, not a degree. Now is the time to figure out what to do with your life. Take chances and make mistakes!
·      Plan your summers out a year before. Internships, travelling abroad, whatever you want to do. That’s an important time to get ahead of the game.
·      Don’t bring everything you own. Simplify. And put your bed on cinder blocks to create more space.
·      Always make at least one friend in a class; to help with notes, homework, study groups.
·      Sign up for Institute. It’s SO much better then Seminary. Great FREE parking, free food. There’s a reason why the church spends so much money with YA.
·      Get a planner and write EVERYTHING down. Do your work sooner then later.
·      Group your classes together back to back to cut down on how many times you have to go to campus. Try to limit it to 2/3x a week.
·      USE and ABUSE your parents! Don’t be afraid to mooch. Take leftovers, use their Netflix login, make them take you to Costco.
·      Get yourself some pepper spray on your key chain.
·      See what services are available on campus: health offices, counseling, tutors, computer lab.

·      You don’t need a notebook per class. You WILL need a printer.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

galentine's day 2k18

galentine's day has always been one of my favorite holidays, i'll even say it, my FAVORITE holiday. before parks & rec, valentine's day took top tier but i've got to say, i love the idea of LOVE and celebrating female friendships. two of my favorite things! leslie knope has given the world many a wonderful things but this has got to be my favorite, next to TREAT YO'SELF!*

anyways so this year i wanted to go big and not go home. i have been to two spas in my lifetime** and loved the experience so i thought it would be fun with my gals. the thing is, you really have to carve out some time. like a LOT of time. like 6-10 hours. i'm not kidding. spas are fantastic because the purpose of them is to be naked, wet, and relax- my three favorite things!! i love swimming, especially without kids. i love hot tubs. i love just laying around reading and eating. i love working out. if only they had better snacks...

i invited my best gals and a good mix were able to come. those near and far from me received their SWAG bags and love notes. thankfully target's dollar section this year was right on point. seriously, galentine's day has hit mainstream which is super cool! but then at the same time not so cool because then it looses it's specialness. just know that i'm the one who started it. or at least improved it. ok i just continued it's existence in an inferior way.

we picked the JW marriott because it's fairly close to us and it was off-strip [aka cheaper]. icing on the cake was there was a groupon for it. one of my yw is doing her senior year online so she was down for babysitting mine and a friend's kids. we were gone for 6 hours and it was not nearly long enough. after checking in, we got naked and hung out in our robes waiting for our treatments. the massage was great but the image of me in a thin white robe was not quite as wonderful. after changing into my swimsuit for the first time in 2018, we jumped headfirst into the amenities. i had just finished reading a book about the ancient roman culture*** so it was fun to somewhat to pretend i was at the roman baths, minus the prostitutes [well, at least a whole lot less of them]. we hung out at the pools until everyone was done with their services then hit the buffet for lunch. girl talk and a lot of calories later, we went back to the pools for some communal fluid sharing and gossip. before i knew it, it was time to shower and pick up the kids.

we had such a great time and thankfully, the groupon we got had two return vouchers with it. so i GUESS i'll have to return there again. poor me. whose coming with me?

*although that's technically tom & donna's contribution.
**the first time was for my company's christmas party because there was only 3 of us in the office. that boss is my FIL's girlfriend. it still remains the best spa i've ever been to. the second was with my BF kayla when she was engaged.
*** a voice in the wind, which i reviewed here.
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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

favorite things: i always write about food

did you know it's been 2 years since i wrote about some of my favorite things? imagine if oprah went that long! i know there's been rioting and uproar but i'm sorry my beloved fans, i've been busy. in actuality, i was at a lost on what to write here. i want to get back in the habit but things used to just come to me. since i've been out of practice, my mind is a bit jumbled. that's when i looked at some of my previous blog labels and saw this one. so without futhur adu...

chocolate muscle milk
my friend holly is big into having a shake for breakfast so i started making fruit smoothies most mornings. then i started adding chia seeds to those but they still wouldn't fill me up. so i added spinach and ground flax seed [christmas smoothies, as my kids call them] but i was still starving. my FIL gave me some of his protein powder and kodiak cake mix to make some muffins and i really liked them. that's when i started trying out protein powders. i've tried some and most taste GROSS. i tried some fruit flavored for fruit smoothies but those were so so gross. i figured muscle milk is a huge name brand so they must be pretty safe and i was right. now i make one with frozen bananas and crushed ice almost every morning- and it keeps me full until lunch.

let's play music
i've always known i wanted my kids to learn how to play piano. my cousin's wife was the first person i knew that taught this and i thought it was pretty neat but she lived far away. then a new friend moved in my neighborhood and i tried out a class. i love it! it introduces some harder or more intimidating concepts to kids early on in a fun way so they're not scared later. it's a 3 year program and by the end of that time, kids will not only play the piano but any instrument (because they'll have a solid musical theroy background) and will actually COMPOSE something. isn't that insane? after that i'll have him take traditional piano lessons. my kids can stop taking lessons when they can play every song in the LDS hymn book. anyways i just love this program and the music is so fun and catchy. and it's pretty reasonably priced too!

skinny popcorn and apple chips
i'm *trying* to be healthy and these are some of my favorite go-to snacks. most varieties of pre-popped popcorn are delicious. i was hesitant because popcorn is pretty cheap to make on your own and i was afraid it wouldn't be salty enough for my liking but that's not the case. a giant bag is actually pretty reasonable at club stores and this way i'll just have a little and not feel guilty about eating a whole bag of it. plus it keeps fresher then normal microwave popcorn.
apple chips i started on when my mom brought me a #10 can of them from a company up by her in brigham city. they were so delicious! i buy a big bag from costco when they're there for $10 and those are pretty good too (my mom's company is better but also more expensive). they're a guilt-free snack for me!

step and body pump
i've always like body pump classes by les mills so that's nothing new. they're challenging every single time i take them, no matter how in shape i am, and they're fun! they keep you engaged mentally so you don't dwell on your fatigue. step i have historically hated. i tried it a few years ago and was so inept that i swore i'd never go back. now it's been a few years and my friend convinced me to go again. it was still VERY challenging but now doable. again, it's one of those classes that you have to pay attention and keep your mind in the game but i like those. plus it kills on those calves, which is historically the sexiest part of the body [at least in the harrison home].

betsey johnson's kitty bag collection
i've always loved kitty cats and thankfully they're back in vogue now. her collection (found at ross stores- heck yes!) are super adorable! i want them all! i have a travel bag and makeup bag (my friend has a backpack i'm dying to steal from her). so cute!

'the greatest showman' soundtrack
so many people raved about this movie on facebook that i wanted to go see it in theatre. i was blown away! i love it so much! it's a great, wholesome film with even better music and dancing. plus zac efron; can't go wrong there. the music is so catchy and i've had it on repeat ever since. i even paid the $10 to download instead of ripping it from the library's copy. THAT'S how much i love it.

TV shows
we really in the golden age of television my friends. there is just so many wonderful programs to watch! here are some of my recommendations:
teen dramas: riverdale, the runaways [hulu]
comedy: black-ish, fresh off the boat, goldburgs, the good place, mindy project [ended but not forgotten], brooklyn 9-9, great news, superstore, speechless
mystery: broadchurch, stranger things (netflix)
drama: the crown (netflix- 2nd season has more nudity), the good dr, scandal, alias grace
family: this is us,

galentine's day
created by leslie knope, immortalized by me. valentine's day has always been my #1 holiday but i love the idea of girls celebrating girls. i'm so lucky too that i have so many gals that i love! and if you haven't noticed, target's dollar spot has picked up on the trend so i'm not the only one. this year i'm going with some girlfriends to a spa on a WEEKDAY and just relaxing and eating together. how amazing is that?! this is the first year we've gone OUT for our celebration. usually it's at my house eating dessert waffles or doing a nail party at home.

magnetic phone mount
this is an attachment for your car and i've really liked it! i got it as a gift for christmas and i'm really surprised how much i like it. there's a magnent in your phone case [or one your phone] that matches with the one on the mount so your phone can be in an easily accessible place while you drive. it's nice for when you're following directions or listening to music but i also like it because it helps me not forget my phone [or forget it on top of my car, drive away, then smash it.... not that that has happened to me]. this is the style i have but i bet you can find them anywhere.

*i also have some adult's only recommendations if you are so inclinded but those i won't post about on the internet! justin may run for president one day. so message me for those ones.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

kid update: porter the four-nado

age: 4

poundage: 48lbs

what porter loves: snuggles. as my mother put it "you don't need a girl, you have one!". he is so affectionate and physically needy, it's a struggle most days. a blessing and a curse. it's my favorite thing about him except when he's losing his cool and can't figure life out. he loves treats but has recently started being ok with fruit smoothies, salad, and apples. otherwise, he is not a healthy eater. he LOVES ninjago and watches it almost every day during quiet time. he loves to be outside and legos for days. his love is most likely fueled by his older brother's obsession. poor middle children just kind of get jipped on some things. he loves caring for things. he has a couple of stuffed animal dogs that he loves and adores. and talks about. he'll often tell me that one of his puppies is too shy to come to school.

what porter hates: people [like his brother]. he likes to stay at home and is pretty selective on who he wants to be with. landon is constantly asking for friends over and porter hardly does. he hates sharing more then anything in the world [wonder where he gets that from?]. he will always tell me that something is REALLY REALLY SPECIAL to him. in that same vein, he's taken birthday privileges to the max. 'i get to go in first because I'M the birthday boy". that a million times during the day. dude HATES butter with every fiber of his being. granted, he loves it when there is butter on things and he doesn't realize it [noodles, toast, waffles] but if he senses it on there, he will NOT touch it. and crust. he's not a big bread fan either but he will not deal with crust.

what porter can do: ride a bike. we had an old bike that didn't work well so he got a new* bike for christmas and it has made all the difference. it still just looks so weird seeing my pooh bear up on a bike like a big kid! when did that happen? poor guy is so neglected. he is actually a smart kid and knows a lot of his letters. he's doing better on writing his name. he knows our address and phone number [sometimes]. he can wipe his booty ok-ish. he's really good at playing by himself, which is great because he doesn't have a lot of friends. at least not ones that are independent of his brother. he says that kellan is his best friend but that's probably not true.

*new to him; it was landon's old bike. he got the new one. poor porter.

what we're working on: getting stronger on the bike, more letters and numbers, we've started on 'teaching your child to read in 100 easy lessons'. not digging in his underwear: so freakin' gross. controlling his emotions. he is easily angered and lashes out by hitting or biting. sleeping through the night dry.

what we're looking forward to: preschool! a different preschool then me next year. i've got him signed up with someone close by [a plus] and who will teach him when i'm teaching [a double plus] and who has some church friends/neighbor/family members who can help with carpooling [i'll give you a senior citizens discount because this is legit AAA plus stuff].
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Saturday, January 13, 2018

new phone, who dis?

as my sister so pointed out so kindly, I* have been greatly missed in the blogging sphere**. well no more tears my friends, I am still here; busier and fatter then ever! honestly, the reason I don't write anymore is because I only have a finite amount of computer time at night [after the kids are in bed, during our Netflix time, and before bedtime] and I'm usually writing lesson plans during that time. not fun stuff but it's necessary.

so what have I been up to? I honestly have no idea. living? breathing? surviving? that all seems quite right. here's a quick update on us [not the Christmas card edition; that business goes out to Justin's colleagues].

Justin was pretty sick the last few months of the year and took a lot of time off work [insert enthusiasm here]. because of that, a lot of house projects [aka my grass] has been on hold. however he still managed to make me a bookcases so I forgive him for being sick. he's been on a lego-craze along with my boys and bought a billion [no exaggeration] mini-figures from china so that's been fun.

Landon, my firstborn in the wilderness, has turned on me and become quite the little ....poop word... I just don't understand him sometimes. he wants my physical affection but when I give it him, he usually will bite/pinch/hit/tongue [yes, tongue] me. like, whats the dealio? when I was complaining to Justin about this, he said 'that's just boy love' and honestly that was the wisest thing Justin has ever said. I never realized that before but it's so true. he still needs me but like a typical boy, can't just give me a sweet hug. he's also been a bit of a brat with tablet time, homework, music classes. my friend said first grade is a growing year and her boys struggled then too. everything is just a fight! he used to be so obedient and helpful; now he lies and threatens to punch everyone.

porter is turning 4 next week and I'm hoping this will be the end of his growing year. that kid, he sure is exhausting. physically. he has some temper problems and can't control his emotions very well. that being said, he's also very physically needy and needs snuggles all. the. time. [which is wonderful and terrible at the same time]. I've been pleasantly surprised to see how much he's learned academically this year [he's better then some of the older kids in his class] but having me as a teacher has been rough on him. hopefully next year with a neutral teacher, he'll do better. sharing is not his strong suit. he's really taken to power like Darth Vader did. "the birthday boy gets to go first!" or "it's my special toy and I don't have to share" or "if you don't give me candy, I'll tell on you to daddy". dude, calm down.

griffin, my golden child, has gotten a bit tarnished in the past year. he's starting to realize he's spoiled more so... that's been great. it's been fun seeing his personality grow and how he interacts with his brothers and other people. he's a pretty easy kid right now [knock on wood]. I'm thinking I'll let him come to my preschool next year [to avoid babysitting charges to help him grow academically].

Image result for remember when you prayed for what you have nowand me? last year was a hard year. I went off my crazy pills in anticipation of getting pregnant and despite my mother in laws rumors, I am not. that plus my school and Justin's medical needs, I've gained 30lbs. so I wear a lot of leggings and stretchy pants. I'm committed to changing my eating habits this year and I've done pretty good so far. I'm back on crazy pills [that I can take while I'm pregnant] but it's not my preferred drug so I've had some not fun side effects. I got called to young woman and I honestly don't know why. the president doesn't like me [like, openly critical of me in front of the girls] but at least the girls do. I don't feel like I'm the typical YWs leader because I don't want to lie. I am who I am. it took me long enough to accept that and I'm not going to change that for anyone. that doesn't mean I can't be an example to teenaged girls. still though, the constant meetings is a bit rough but I've survived. I cannot say the same thing about girls camp. let's just pray I'm pregnant by then and can get out of it. I still love school but it was nice having a break during Christmas. my only qualm about school is that I still don't have grass and dirt is just miserable in my house.

whew! are you sick of my complaining yet? the other day I saw something like this on instagram. that hit home. my life isn't perfect and nobodies life is. it's still pretty fantastic though. I married the man of my dreams. I have three healthy and handsome guys. I live in a giant house that I love [even if I don't have grass]. I have two jobs that make me feel fulfilled and busy. I am healthy. I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. I have friends who'll workout with me then be up for donuts after. I have family who would do anything for me. that's pretty fan-freakin-tastic.

that being said, I really wouldn't turn down some grass***.

*I recently found out that young people turned off their auto-capitalization on their phone because it's the cool thing to do. so basically I started a trend.
**excuse some of the capitalization. I have a new computer and it automatically fixes those kinds of things. doesn't it know I have a reputation to uphold on my blog?
***real grass. like in the ground. not marijuana.
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Friday, October 20, 2017

party in the 202 - WASHINGTON DC

*this post isn't loaded with pics because i seriously overgrammed it*

if you follow my instagram, you know i went on a vacation of a lifetime lately to washington dc with my handsome sailor. it seriously was amazeballs so i just wanted to share a few highlights. justin's work goes to DC every year and this was my time to go. Not pregnant, not nursing, no babies- it was on! this year proved to be their biggest flyout ever and they even offered a spouses package. we left early friday morning so we could have some time together before justin had to work.

his work had us staying at the marriott marquis which was right next to the DC convention center. this hotel was ginormous. easily the largest hotel i've ever seen. it had two restaurants, two bars, a breakfast diner, their own fedex and starbucks. we started our vacation with a night bus tour to help me get a baring on the city. also, i knew i didn't want to spend too much time on the monuments and i wanted to keep my taxi rides to a minimum. i'm so glad we did it this way. our bus was pretty small, the monuments weren't crowded, and they were so beautiful lit up at night.

my favorite exhibit: at the newseum, they featured all of the pictures that have won the pulitzer prize since it was started in the 1940s. this exhibit affected me more then anything else. the pictures were amazing and the stories that accompanied them were so profound. Here's a link with some pictures.

my favorite moment: monday night we attended an opening gala and i was pretty worried about what to wear. i couldn't find an affordable, modest, and beautiful gown anywhere! especially when you don't look that hard... i went out on a limb and ordered one off a chinese website where i usually get my party/school supplies [aliexpress]. i was getting a bit worried about the arrival date [i had cut it close and only ordered it 6 weeks out] but thankfully it got here on time. the dress fit and while it's not my perfect cinderella dress, it was beautiful, modest, and affordable. i fussed over my shoes, makeup, handbag and took a lot of advice from friends on how to look the part. thankfully it all paid off. that's not my favorite moment. my favorite part was justin surprised me and arranged for the company photographer to come with us to the lincoln memorial [along with other work colleagues] and take nice photos. so sweet and very unlike justin. he hates work events, photos, and even more so, stuffy suits. he's a keeper. i still haven't gotten the fancy pictures back yet but i'll prob. post them on instragram or facebook when i do.

my favorite place: there's so much history and beauty in washington dc and you can't throw a stone without hitting some historical marker. all of the buildings were gorgeous and no doubt, millions have been spent on keeping them that way. i loved seeing all of them but the one building i was in awe of, the one that i was taken back physically, was the capitol building. it was so ginormous! and gorgeous! and that was before i even went inside. i had heard about the tunnels and those were very important to me. i convinced my intern from the state of UT to take me down and it did not disappoint. i know there are even more cool tunnels but these ones did the job. more importantly, the tunnels had a cafeteria and in that cafeteria was a DUNKIN DONUTS! and a BASKIN ROBBINS! can you imagine? it was amazing. i feel a bit crazy town being so excited for that but it was pretty cool. the other parts of the building were pretty amazing too. it was here that i met...

the most famous person i met: vice president mike pence. i was touring the dome when crowds started flocking to the roped off walkway. i'm not big into politics so honestly i didn't even know who that old white guy was until my intern told me. he took his time shaking people's hands, posing for pictures, and saying hi. that was pretty cool of him. he crossed to the other side of the rope when he got near me but thankfully, a soldier was right next to me and drew his attention. it was pretty cool. i also met anthony scaramucci who was the white house communications director for only 10 days. he spoke at the gala and was pretty honest, open, and entertaining. even cooler, he spoke to them for free which is pretty legit for political figures. i also met some state senators but that's not nearly as cool.

the coolest way i travelled: i took my first solo taxi ride and solo uber ride but the best way to travel was the metro. let me tell you, that thing terrifies me and i don't think i would have braved that alone. it was so confusing and crowded but also very downtown and cool. there was a street performer, the old and young, wealthy and poor. i loved it. also terrified me because no doubt, so. many. germs.

the most somber place: so many places featured those who scarified for this country. arlington was pretty cool and massive. so much history and made me feel very patriotic. visiting the holocaust museum was very impactful. people were very respectful and quiet throughout the museum. the pictures were so horrific and stories were heart breaking. i can't wrap my head around how many people were murdered. in so many hateful ways. what breaks my heart the most is the people that have gotten lost in the massacre and the children harmed. i couldn't handle seeing the children harmed. my favorite part of this museum was a wall that featured so many names of people who helped others. it had short stories about their impact and efforts. in almost every case, people said that they didn't think twice about what they were doing, it just seemed like the right thing to do, and that they would do it again without hesitation. i spent the most time here and it was time well spent.

the worst part of the trip: missing my babies came close but i've got to be honest, the bug bites were the worst! i seriously cannot stand them. i hate the itching, the raised and enlarged bumps, the discomfort. i just cannot deal. one night we went on a bike ride and i ate so many bugs and got so many in my eyes. so gross. i love pretty green places but i can't handle bugs. i just can't. also, i didn't have a bathtub so yeah... life was rough. oh, and losing $50 worth of cupcakes. we waited an hour for the georgetown cupcakes only to have to bike back to the hotel in the afternoon heat [DC was hotter then vegas this week. of course]. i think the heat and bike ride was just too much for those fancy cupcakes. i still ate them but they weren't quite as pretty.

coolest artifacts: i loved seeing church history in our nation's capital. brigham young has a statue in the capitol from the state of utah. there's a painting of joseph smith and brigham young at the national portrait gallery. an original book of mormon at the smithsonian of american history. when i was at the holocaust museum, i kept thinking how these poor people were not lost to our Heavenly Father. He loves us all so much and knows us. He's with us through everything and was with these people during their struggles and in the last moments of their lives. that was the biggest comfort to me and i hope they felt that love when they were at their darkest.

we seriously had a blast in DC and i'm so glad justin and i were able to go alone. more then that, i'm grateful my mom was so fantastic to come and watch my kids for a week. they absolutely adored having so much for her attention. i truly am #blessed.
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Monday, October 16, 2017

living the dream

*why oh why do i get my best blog post ideas while i'm laying in bed at night? i know it's because my body is settling down and can process my thoughts/feelings from the day but still. i like to go to bed early. stop giving me inspiration at 11pm!

what do you want to be when you grow up? it's a common question we ask young kids all the way through adulthood. i wanted to be a rodeo singing cowgirl whose horse played soccer, all while managing my 7-11s via a headset. justin wanted to a beach bum in hawaii. landon wants to be an army man and porter told me he wants to be a police. it's funny how when you're younger, you think you'll just be that ONE thing for the rest of your life. i guess some people are. some people have a dream early on, pursue it, achieve it, and maintain it, but i don't think that's the norm.

i never thought of myself becoming a mom. i guess i knew i would be one but i never liked kids, only my nieces/nephews [for the record, i still don't love kids. well, i don't love ON kids. i love teaching and interacting with them, but i wouldn't say i'm a kid person]. my new calling at church is to work with the oldest young women, so juniors and seniors in high school. these girls are on the precipice of life, looking ahead to their future and planning on how they're going to achieve it. some of them have ideas, most don't have a clue where they'll end up.

when i started college, i didn't have a clue. i knew i loved writing, the human anatomy [insert penis joke here], and coaching- i love coaching. when i transferred to SUU, i was set on what i wanted to pursue. a coaching degree. not the most solid plan in the history of education but definitely not the worst. i was a super star student. i got things done on time and got them right. i studied and i excelled, but somehow i didn't logically think it out. while i love my degree in exercise science, it's worthless. i thought about going to physical therapy school but i wasn't really interested in that. justin was coming home from his mission- i wanted to get my MRS degree. and that i did.

at this point in my life, i knew i needed to do something else to fall back on so i toyed with getting my teaching license [still am]. then the babies started coming and the mortgages and  what i wanted to be and who i became were different. my dream was no longer to be a rodeo star or coach lacrosse, i wanted to be a mom. a GREAT mom. and i did.

i guess what i'm trying to get at is 'the dream' we all talk about and pursue, we never really talk about how it changes and evolves into different things. and i do think i'm living the dream. i love my life and i wouldn't change anything [ok, maybe a few things]. so who did i grow up to be? a mom of 3. a preschool teacher. a wife. a soccer coach. a youth leader. a party planner. a short order [and terrible] cook. it wasn't what i dream of but it really is THE DREAM.

i wonder what i'll grow up to be in 10-15-20 years. right now i would say i want to be exactly what i am now but that most likely won't be the case. i want to be with my family and friends. i want to be happy and make other people happy. and that's enough.

although i am still eyeing a 7-11 franchise ownership, in case you were wondering.
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Friday, October 13, 2017

kid update: landon is 6!

landon loo
poundage: 54

grade: 1st

what landon loves: legos, nerd guns and other weapons, star wars, playing outside, soccer and other sports, playing on the ipad, pokemon and power rangers [even though i have since banned that show],     creating spaces [like building forts or making workspaces. he loves having a special place of his own], taking charge and leading the way. he loves friends [tanner and riley are his best friends] and always wants to be on the go. he loves getting the mail but doesn't really cherish the letters he gets. he loves face timing his cousins in arizona. cheese pizza and maple donuts. costumes and dressing up, although he doesn't do it as much as he used to.

what landon hates: homework, especially writing, not hitting his brothers [he loves being the authoritarian around the house and punishing his brothers when they don't follow the rules]. he doesn't like doing chores but he always does them. smiling for pictures with his teeth.

what landon can do: ride a bike without training wheels, reads pretty well, soccer superstar, helps me around the house, starting to do "tricks" on his bike and scooter [ie. closing his eyes or lifting up one hand], get ready by himself 100%. swim and dive to the bottom of the pool.

what we're working on: letting us be the bosses and not himself, controlling his temper, especially his violence. better attitude about homework. tying his shoes. math and reading chapter books. handwriting.

landon is seriously the sweetest kid. he is a great first child and loves to help me out. he can usually follow instructions pretty well and is pretty independent. he's sweet enough to hold my hand and give me lip kisses in public still. when he sees me sad or crying, he'll give me a hug. he's sensitive to the spirit and will often talk about heavenly father and will be the first one to tell us we need to pray for help [usually when something is lost]. he is so full of energy and life. my friend noted that landon must be my favorite child because i usually throw him the better of the parties [so true]. he is my favorite in that regard. he is the most fun to shop for and talk to. he is so interesting and notices a lot around him. he has a tender heart and is a good friend and brother [except when he pummels them to the ground, which is often]. this is such a great age for landon. i hope he always stays this sweet and kind. don't grow up baby bear. but if you have to, promise you'll always love on me this much.

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

landon's birthday interview: 6

age: 6
weight: i dont KNOW!
favorite color: red and green
favorite movie: the lego ninjago movie [which he saw last night]
favorite food: crepes and ravilois
best friend: tanner and riley
favorite tv show: lego ninjago and pokemon
favorite book: pokemon
favorite toy: star wars legos
favorite place to visit: legoland
favorite thing to do with daddy: go watch a movie [which is what they did last night]
favorite thing to do with mommy: go swimming
favorite animal: solgaleo [a ground type pokemon]
favorite sport: soccer
when i grow up, i'm going to be: a security guard
favorite person: riley
favorite song: we will rock you [by queen]
favorite drink: sprite
what are you really good at: soccer and building legos
where do you want to go on vacation: florida
what would you do if you had $1,000: buy lego sets
favorite flavor of ice cream: chocolate and vanilla
favorite treat: sour stuff
who is your hero: daddy
favorite scripture story: the strippling warriors 
what do you want to do before your next birthday: go to gravady [we've been promising him that we'll go but it hasn't worked out yet. sadly this is what he said last year too. i promise we've taken him this year but we don't go as often as we used to]. 

5th birthday
4th birthday
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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

life lately: where in the world is the harrison family?

man, it's been forever hasn't it? i think i've somewhat ignored my blog and started to write a lot more on my instagram. i've just been so busy, especially this summer. after the kids are in bed and i've taken a bath, i usually have an hour to kill before i need to go to bed. and that's when i'm planning my lessons. or facebook stalking. you know, the important things in life. so here's a quick life update before i do life lately.

justin, our resident hero, has been hard at work and enjoying the summer hours his work has [they get off early friday afternoons]. that plus several vacations this summer have really let us hang out with our favorite guy a lot more. it won't stay like this but we're sure enjoying it while it lasts. my preschool is in full swing and i love it! more so then i did summer camp. i compare it to corralling kittens. they're just so excited and sweet but also mischievous and crazy. we have a fun 5 hours together each week. the biggest challenge is teaching porter but hopefully he catches on quickly. i got released from my primary position over cub scouts and got called to young womens. let me tell you, i almost said no. teenage girls frighten me and i get a strong urge to ditch the third hour every week but i don't. hopefully i'll catch on soon. landon started first grade and has told me it's too hard. he is a sweet kid who works hard so i know he'll continue to excel. he's reading like a champ but is also quite aggressive and wild. he's starting soccer and music classes pretty soon. porter is starting his first season of soccer too and i'm already weeping for his coach [me]. he is a little better with landon gone all day. that kid still tries me but also makes me laugh. he is so funny and so snugly. my baby griff is talking so much and is my sunshine. he has developed a lot of his brother's habits [mostly bad] and is just as wild, crazy, and loud as them. he most recently has stopped having me snuggle him before he goes to sleep and i am heartbroken. why do kids grow up so fast. right now we are preparing for a lot of house projects so keep your eyes and ears posted!
 life lately has been full of celebrations for this boy. i seriously feel so sad that my baby is so big! and it's weird that i don't have another baby in his place! i've never had a 2 year old without a baby or a baby on the way. it's oddly nice.
 lately the boys are either best friends [10% of the day] and then worst enemies [90% of the day]. they love to wrestle each other but i don't understand why because it always ends up in tears and fighting. i'm so glad school is back in session.
 i seriously love being a boy mom. i don't like a girl could love me the same way my boys do. they are not snuggly all the time and they'll often wipe their boogers on me or call me fart face, but the love they have for me is so sweet and pure. they'll often fight over whose mommy i am and who gets to love on me. unless i want to be loved on, then they run away from me.
 august and september are huge birthday months for our family. for tanner's birthday [landon's best friend since birth] had his party at the adventurdome this year and we had a blast. it was so fun being with just the big boys and going on all the rides.
 i don't want to write a full blog post on our trip to washington because it was kind of the worst but i am really glad we went because we got to be there when lynsey, justin's sister, was endowed and sealed to her husband and baby blakely who passed away last year. she's due with my first nephew on the harrison side in september [of course] and his name is harrison!
lastly, our life lately has been soaking up the last bits of summer while we can. this is the time of year i love. it's hot but not too hot. we can go to school then swim after [and i don't have to deal with fighting all day]. we can actually go outside at night and still eat popsicles. it's divine. spring and fall in vegas is a dream. until next time!
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

toddler update: griffy goo is turning 2!

griffy goo bear
age: 2

poundage: 30lbs

teethage: all there but wonky as all heck. his teeth are going to cost me justin a fortune! no 2 year old molars yet but i bet those are on their way

what griffin loves: mama! he's not as snuggly as porter but he is very territorial of me and doesn't like to share. whenever he can't find me, he'll wander the house calling for me. he loves daddy but he's a far second. he loves landon and will often tattle on porter. he's very much like landon. he's talking so much which is funny because at his first birthday, he hardly talked at all. he's a very vocal kid. he loves bread and yogurt. for breakfast, he usually begs me for 'roll' and then asks for butter on it. he loves lucky charms, even though he only had it once but still asks for it daily. he loves smoothies/slurpees. he loves his blankies and stuffed animals [esp the fox] and HAS to go to bed with a million of them. never enough. and the thing he loves second only to mommy, BALLS! he LOVES balls. specifically basketball but he loves all balls. he's got a pretty good shot too. that's why he's getting a sport's themed party. he is constantly throwing and catching. it's adorable. he loves 'goodnight moon' but sadly i lost my copy so i'm getting him another for his birthday. like most boys, he loves being outside and riding his big brother's bikes.

what griffin hates: brushing his teeth. it is a HUGE fight every single night [yeah you read that right. i don't brush his teeth in the morning. i just can't handle that battle two times a day]. he's a big scardy cat and is scared of a lot of things [daddy, dogs, cats, landon sometimes]. poopy diaper changes. he cries out "gross! oww" the whole time. he has had diarrhea since the day he was born. seriously, he always has the poops. i've had him tested for allergies and nothing. so he always has a tushy rash. and poops like 4x a day. it's rough. he doesn't like to be scared or held unless it's his idea to be held. he really is scared of a lot of things.

what griffin can do & 
say: he can climb and is really into jumping off things these days. couches or particularly in the pool. he likes to help me unload the dishwasher. he can say most animal names and sounds, except he insists that flamingos are really peacocks and cannot be swayed from that decision. he can find his own shoes which is a lot more helpful then you'd think.
say: roll [bread], stop it! daddy scary [justin loves to tease and scare him. and now landon loves to as well]. fishy. 'pedo [torpedo toy for the pool]. baby lyla [he LOVES baby lyla]. he loves saying names and knows a lot of them pretty well. he just recently started saying his name but only says "griff". i guess i need to start calling him his whole name. he mimics super well and will usually repeat whatever i asked him to. of course his favorite words are "NO!" and "STOP IT!". he loves "we will rock you" by QUEEN and "popcorn popping" but he won't sing the songs by himself, he wants people to join in.

what he's working on: sentences, putting on his shoes now that he can retrieve them. not making as many messes. no biting brothers and mommy [i am 3/3 in the biting department]. potty training- when i ask him if he wants to pee on the potty, he adamantly tells me no. not screaming. following instruction. moving into a big boy bed but i'm in no hurry.

what we're looking forward to: school beginning and fun times. fall and sweater weather. santa!
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Sunday, July 16, 2017

kid update: pooh bear

age: 3 1/2

what porter can do: he is becoming quite the big boy! he gets dressed by himself [often backwards but hey, he does it himself!], he's learned how to buckle his own seatbelt. he is potty trained but still has pee accidents often because he gets lazy. he doesn't nap but will fall asleep in the car sometimes. he can count to 15 no problem which is better then landon did at this age. he can recognize some letters and is really excited to learn. too bad his mom is so lazy. he is also starting to write his name which is fun. he loves to sing and can sing a lot of songs, although he is very shy about it. porter is usually the first one to tell us that "accidents happen" or "no more yelling". which is ironic because he fights quite often with his brothers. he is pretty good at patterns and plays really well independently. his new thing is, "mom, i have a question to tell you" and then he tells us a statement. sometimes he'll tell me, "don't forget your favorite pooh bear!".

what porter loves: he likes counting and can do it pretty well for a three year old. he loves puzzles, reading, and playing outside. some of his favorite shows are dino trucks, animal mechanical, and nexo knights. poor kid doesn't have much that's his own interests because his brother is pretty dominant. he likes his teddy bear and beanie bag puppy. he loves his treats and snacks, not so much his meals. he loves his brothers [as soon as we pull away from dropping landon off at school, he says "i miss landon"] but his daddy and mommy are #1. daddy is his favorite but only because he indulges porter. porter and justin are quite similar. he loves to ask me questions and most of the time they're nonsense or don't make sense. usually when we're driving. i'm glad he is inquizitive but it sure takes a toll on you. he loves snuggles and is a very affectionate little guy. he knows his age and will usually only give me 3 kisses because he's 3 years old. he's recently acquired his own friends. granted, they are his brother's friend's brothers. he tells me his best friend is ryan and kellan. he only likes me to sing ONE song at bed time but lots of snuggles. he has a sensitive soul and doesn't like it when people say mean things to him or exclude him.

what porter hates: waiting turns or sharing, like most kids. he doesn't like when i force him to eat things. he RARELY eats dinner because of this. he hates getting his teeth brushed but he's getting better. he doesn't like it when i have to help him with things. he is as slow as molassess and is always the last one with his shoes on, out the door, or buckled in his carseat. that being said, he sometimes tells me when he's taking too long buckeling his seatbelt,  "am i wasting your time mom?" that just breaks me heart. i keep telling him, "you're the reason i have time! you're not wasting it" but he doesn't quite understand what he's saying or what i'm saying back. i don't know where he heard that because i for sure never have told him he's wasting my time but still, the things kids pick up.

what we're working on: not being the last one ready, eating food, especially fruits and vegetables. i seriously have to force him to eat one piece of fruit a day [that isn't applesaue]. learning letter names and sounds. writing his name. not chewing on his nails. sleeping through the night without a diaper [i have to sneak it on him once he's asleep]. pedaling a bike and learning how to swim.

what we're looking forward to: preschool with mommy in the fall, summer vacations, and lots of 'nuggles and treats.
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