Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween from the Paper Doll Family

Last Friday was my husband's Halloween party. 

On Thursday night, while falling asleep last week I finally decided on a costume. So Friday morning of last week I ran to get the supplies, before a scheduled lunch date with friends. I had time to sketch out the girls skirts, and my outfit, and start painting mine, before I had to go get the girls from school, and take them straight to ballet. By the time we got home it was close to 5pm and we were supposed to be at the party. Thankfully, the girls had a blast painting their costumes. We didn't get to the party until 7pm.




Dude. We cut it close.




So here are our costumes. If I had more prep time, I could've done so much more... but that's the expressive personality in me. We're the big dreamers.








It's raining for the hours of trick-or-treating tonight. So we are pulling a Gilmore Girl move. (Can you tell I've been binge watching?) We've bought all sorts of junk food, both salty and sweet, and ordered Chinese take-out. We're planning on a Harry Potter marathon, and handing out candy, when we feel like it, if there are any trick-or-treaters. 





What are you wearing and doing tonight?


Happy Halloween!


Cheers!

ps. Here's a peek at last year's costumes... and past Halloween posts.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Give Yourself a Pep Talk

....often

I do it all the time.

I am a generally happy person. Sure things will annoy, aggravate, or drive me crazy from time-to-time, each and every day, but my underlying foundation is happiness and gratitude.

I really believe that one of the reasons why, are my internal pep talks.

Do you do it too?

 Sometimes baking in an apron just makes me feel peace.




Simple things run through my mind all day...

  • Yes, kids are in their classes on time!
  • I have made lunch every day of this school year, they haven't had a single school lunch - go me!
  • I feel energized running to and from my car, and it's faster.
  • Today, I did four loads of laundry. I will fold them tomorrow. 
  • I spent hours helping the kids with homework, and I made dinner, I can't wait for some quiet TV time.
  • This skirt I had from before kids is fitting loosely, yahoo!
  • I learned a new thing today listening to NPR. So cool.
  • I helped ---- today, and it felt awesome.
  • Look at me making beds and taking names.
  • I can't wait for the girls to see what I did, when they get home. 
  • I cleaned the bathroom today.
  • etc...


Simple stuff. All day long I talk to myself. I pump myself up. If I walk past a mirror on my way to the bathroom, I say in my head, "looking good today." The constant positive reinforcement, and focus on the good, totally lifts my spirit, and feeds my soul. When I focus on things that I am grateful for, that I've done, or am doing, it's like I'm storing up all this good stuff, so that I forget about the nit-picky, negative things.

I've always believed that if we want to be successful in life, we surround ourselves with people, ideas, images, and things that enrich us, inspire us, and encourage us to be better. Things that drag us down, or fuel negative, corrosive attitudes and behavior need to be discarded.

Same with our minds, we need to fill our minds with encouragement. We are our harshest critics. Yes, that irritating critic in my head likes to escape out of my maze of happy and say mean things to me too, but I just knock it back with more cheers for the little, simple things I do each day.

I'm grateful for my body. When I walk upstairs I often think "wow, I'm so lucky that my body can move so easily. My knees still work!" When my body hits the 4pm wall, I think, "dang girl, you do this all day, every day without any caffeine, that's awesome." When I collapse into bed in the evening, I think "Whoo hoo, you really went to town on your day and conquered."

I work hard not to think about how if I could lose just three more inches off my waist I'd be back to my waist size in college. It's difficult, but the gratitude talk I give myself helps to keep it at bay. I work hard to not crawl into my bed in the afternoon because I'm exhausted, and instead focus on how I do all the things for my kids, and people without any stimulants. I work hard not to think about the other half of my "to-do" lists I haven't finished at night, so that I can relax and revel in all the things I did do.


I love this bracelet Made With Code by Google and Shapeways.


Key here is not comparing myself to others. Comparison is a rotten, scoundrel who likes to steal happiness. I have no time for those ridiculous antics. None. Also, I hate inefficiency, and comparison, jealousy, envy are utterly worthless. I set my own standards, my own goals, my own little happy things. I don't worry about other people's standards, those standards are theirs, and we each deserve to choose our own path. So, if you're going to pep talk yourself - don't worry about what other people do, it's none of our business. We are too busy living our own life and coaching ourselves, yo!

When it comes down to it, our minds are incredibly powerful. We choose how we use that power. We can reprogram the way we look at the world ourselves. Simple pep talks, that constant internal dialogue can help us to be happy, grateful people. Our brains are CRAZY, powerful. We are in charge. So take the reigns and giddy up. 

Then again, don't take my word for it, try it yourself.


Cheers!



Monday, September 22, 2014

Say What?

Is this thing on?

I know I haven't written in what seems like ages, and it's not like I haven't intentions to, it's just the stuff of life has kept me from sitting still enough to type away.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I'm always moving.

A few weeks ago I finally got my hair colored again. The white hairs were nearing two-inches long and it was time. I love hair color because it allows me to do something different, and have fun. I don't particularly like blending in with the crowd, I like to walk my own way. So, this bit of color is always my chance to break the mold.



Saul from Hoshall's, has been coloring my hair since forever it seems, or maybe 8 years. 


At my oldest daughter's soccer practice that night my little one was busy blowing bubbles, and finding ways to amuse herself. Both my girls love the colors and are always begging me to let them color their hair. I may let them, as a reward for hard work at school once the report cards come home. We'll see.

When you first meet my little one, you're likely to find her a bit shy. She's more amiable, and always needs time to adjust and get to know others. Once you get to know her, she's a little ball of sass, and I love it.

M: Mom, I love your hair.

QS: Thanks, I like it too.

M: When they colored all your white hair, did they smooth out your wrinkles too?!

Of course, she asked her rhetorical question with that mischievous smirk in her eyes.  Her mind is quite quick witted. It made me laugh. I love to laugh.

Because they wanted to have a girl sleepover, we decided we fit better sleeping sideways on the bed.


Moments like these, make me rejoice to be a mother.

Cheers!

ps. Who knows when I'll post again, this week we have two birthdays, a combined birthday party, four soccer practices, two performing group practices, voice lessons, ballet, two soccer games, and I host activity days at my home for 8-9 year old girls. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

On Blood Clots, Moments, and Just in Cases

I don't really want to write this.

I'm a bit a superstitious.

I'm actually feeling sheepish for admitting my silly feelings towards believing in the universe's signs... but sometimes, I wonder.

I developed a subclavian deep vein thrombosis blood clot on the night before my family and I were to fly home from Hawaii. It was April 13th. I spent that afternoon reading on a lounger by the pool while my devoted husband took my girls snorkeling on the beach at the Fairmont Orchid.



It was maybe only an hour or two until my husband returned to the pool with the girls, and I noticed that my entire left arm, shoulder, arms, fingers were swollen to a ridiculous amount. My first thought was, "have I eaten too many cookies and creme macadamia nuts?" I mean, a bag and a half on my own is already insane, but could that be it? I took some Benadryl that evening. I had a weird thought in my head of a possible blood clot. Only person I knew with one,  was before I had kids, she was pregnant and had her arm wrapped up.

The following morning, with no relief, or change, I called the hotel doctor who told me that I was not to get on the plane, but head straight to the ER.

The ER in Waimea, HI

That's how they found my blood clot. There's an entire saga at the ER, a kind bishop who came to help my husband give me a priesthood blessing, and a place to spend the night. There's also a story about how ridiculous our insurance is about resisting giving patients drugs they deem too expensive. There's also the story about my vascular surgeon quitting the practice and my husband putting his foot down to get me a surgeon and a date to take care of this stupid clot.

I'll share those with you - when I recover.

I go into the hospital tomorrow.



In the moments since discovering this blood clot, mortality feels a bit more delicate. I used to think I really enjoyed the tiny moments, but in the days since this clot, I feel my eyes linger longer on my husband's face as he entertains my daughters. I feel my heart swell longer as my daughters smile, giggle and snuggle into me. The sun shines warmer on my skin, and the breezes seem to caress me more gently.

I'm either getting towards, or at the age where some doctors look much younger than I am. It's this stage where, while I still feel young and energetic, pretty serious medical stuff starts happening to people I know and love. It's new, and unsettling.

I saw the tail end of Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays. He does a bit in it where he talks about the cards he's been dealt in his life. Father died when he was 10, has his mother his whole life, achieves his dream of a comedian, has a wonderful wife, and great kids and grandkids... it touched me. We are all dealt different cards in this life. Sometimes the first cards we see aren't ideal, sometimes they are. Sometimes the cards we get last aren't great, but sometimes they make the first few seem unimportant. We never know how long we have here. We can make the best of the time we do have.

Today I took a drive to run errands. I wanted to make sure my girls had some yummy lunches while I was out having surgery. My friend Kirsten is taking my girls tonight, and taking them to and from school tomorrow. I'm very grateful. As I was driving on this gorgeous, sunny day, I could of easily taken my thoughts and gone dark, and moody, but I didn't want to be gloomy, I wanted to be sunshiny. So, even though my arm is aching, I did something I normally would do on glorious sun-shining days, minus the clot. I dropped the windows, opened the sun roof and turned up my tunes, and I sang at the top of my lungs. It always makes me happy. I put my playlist on shuffle and I heard in succession, Wake Me Up by Avicii, Demons by Imagine Dragons, Trouble No More by Mindy Gledhill, Happy by Pharrell Williams and I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles. Not a bad way to go if you ask me.

I will admit to singing Happy with tears coursing down my cheeks. That song for me says who I am.
"Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah, Well, give me all you got, and don't hold it back, yeah,Well, I should probably warn you I'll be just fine, yeah,No offense to you, don't waste your time... here's why..."



After school my girls asked if we could go for ice cream. We have four different flavors in our freezer, but we don't have the bubblegum kids love so much. So, since it is the day before my procedure, I'm likely to agree to anything. Plus, Baskin Robbins' Pralines 'n Cream is the best flavor of all time. It's been my favorite since childhood... and my loyalty has never wavered. In fact, I expect it to be served at my funeral party. When it is my time, I expect it to be a dance party, I want Happy playing, and I want there to be joy. That's all.

During this trying time, I've felt my heart full to brimming with gratitude. I didn't realize I had so many people who were rooting for me. That has been so delightfully surprising, and humbling.

To my dear friends and family, thank you. You mean the world to me.

To my parents, I forgive you, and hope you'll forgive me. To my brother Chris, I miss you. To my brother Tim, I'm so grateful for the chance we have to be buddies. To my sweet sister, Jessica, the best sister a girl could have, you better tell me if you're not getting up for seminary... and make sure you remind me of this later.


Trunk Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands


To my husband, Ry, thanks for taking a chance on me, teaching me empathy, compassion, and showing me what patience, and love look like. You've changed me for the better, and I'm yours. To my Kalea, you are my joyful babe, and my thoughtful girl, you are a bright light in this world and I am eternally grateful to be your mother. You have taught me how to be a mother, and what fun it is. To my Melia, you are my darling cuddle bug, my mischievous sweetie pie, you bring laughter to my life, and I am so lucky to have you as my daughter-friend. I love that you always smell my scent, like you're hoarding it away in your memory. You are strong and that makes me so proud. I am so grateful God gave me two stunningly brilliant girls to learn from and to gently guide. I hope you'll forgive me for my grumpy days, and mistakes, and know that you two are my most precious, most important gifts in all this world, and in all eternity. Motherhood is the best role ever.

Hawaii


Well folks, this post is getting a bit long now. If you couldn't tell, I'm a bit nervous. Hey, I'm covering my bases, I'm preparing for just in cases, and I'll be off memorizing these simple moments.

Cheers!

ps. Hey girls, guess what?


I love you!

pps. If you want to stay updated on my progress, I'll likely share over Instagram (QueenScarlett), Facebook, or Twitter (@QueenScarlett). Prayers, good thoughts and happy vibes appreciated.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Oral Interpretation

The last nine weeks have led to this day.

This afternoon I will join 19 fourth and fifth graders from our elementary gathering with students from all over the area in the 36th annual Festival of Oral Interpretation for grades 4-8. These young kids have chosen to participate in a group during their short lunch period each week to select, memorize, and emote their selection.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to volunteer as their coach. 

Last year my oldest daughter's teacher told me that my daughter needed to preform. She said the school had some sort of group, she wasn't sure what, but the kids memorized something and went to a festival where they were judged. She told me I had to find out what that was and have my daughter join.

So, I decided I would find out what it was and I would volunteer my heart out.





You guys. 

I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved giving myself over to these kids.

I did speech and debate in high school. My favorite out of Lincoln-Douglas, Oxford debates, and solitary speeches was the Oratory category. I loved it. Of course at university I was a broadcast journalism major. I dig speaking and interacting with audiences. There's something about writing your own words, expressing them, and capturing the audience as you pour out your soul.

We had 21 kids to start with. Two dropped out. Not all the kids are naturally outgoing. Most of them were nervous, unsure, and had never attempted anything like this before. It was fun showing them how by just using your voice, your eyes, your body language, the audience can be mesmerized.

I'm extremely proud of these kids. They chose to walk outside of their comfort zone to do something most adults are too terrified to do. They've worked hard, they've been teachable, and they will rock the socks off those judges today. 

Me?

Man. There's something intoxicating about working with kids, and all their potential, and watching that grow, and shine. I think this is one of many reasons I prefer kids to most adults. Kids are eager to learn, willing to change, and open and honest with the world. They're not afraid to be vulnerable, yet. Having the chance to be amongst these kids reminds me always to revel in each new day.

My darling daughter memorized one of our favorite picture books, Big Sister, Little Sister by Leuyen Pham. This is a video I recorded of her last night. Watching this makes me smile each time, my daughter is a natural.



Do you volunteer too? What do you love about it? I also teach, in both my girls' classes art of the masters, help out each week. I am grateful for the chance to be there, to get to know the kids, and to serve.

Cheers!


UPDATE:
Here's the video from the Oral Interpretation Festival. We find out the points tomorrow!






Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy

Today's the International Day of Happiness.

I love choosing happiness.

A couple years ago when I was at evo '12 I met the lovely Lucrecer. She had a theme song, and encouraged me to find mine. It took two years, and thanks to Pharrell, I have my theme song.





For those of you that know me, you know that I do believe that happiness is a truth. If you see me having spasms while I'm driving my bright orange Kia around the neighborhood, relax, it's just me dancing in the driver's seat to Happy.

Music gives me that little oomph to get happy. Sure, I could worry about how I appear to others dancing, and grooving, but I choose not to, I choose how to celebrate my happiness, and I work to teach my girls the same.

Just this past Wednesday I was at the gym. My friend Cory who teaches the class asked to use Happy off my iPhone for the last song we'd workout to. The happy lady running up and down the stairs clapping her hands to the song, yours truly. Hey, when you feel it, you gotta let it out.

Why do you choose to be happy? 
How do you focus on the good?

Cheers!



Monday, March 17, 2014

Keep Shining

Yes, you should sit down.

I'm back.

Sort of.

No, I'm back.

I think.

I needed a break.

I've been blogging about my family, my thoughts, my opinions since 2005. I think I've suffered some fatigue. I know that I needed this time. I'm grateful. I've focused my energy into doing more at home; more meals, more fun, more quality time, more quiet. I've spent more time at school, volunteering and watching the kids grow and shine.

I believe that we all need to take time to regroup, and remember the reasons we do things, and why we started in the first place. I hope you'll stick around, and if you're a new reader, welcome! Let's chill.

Today I wanted to share some thoughts that have been marinating in my mind since I last visited my blog. My girls are very aware and very sensitive when it comes to equal treatment. It's comical. My husband and I do our very best to make sure they each get as much fairness as we can muster, and then when it's impossible, we explain, that's life.

When we compliment one on some achievement or good behavior, the other one immediately gets upset, or sad, or frustrated, as if our compliment to one, somehow diminishes the other.

I see this same behavior in our lives, both on and off-line. It saddens me.

My love language is definitely service and time. So I show my love, and my appreciation by doing things for my family and those that help me, and serve my family in some way, or form. I may bake, cook, create or do something with my time and abilities to show my gratitude. I like to take pictures and share what I've done, mostly so I don't forget, because I always forget, and also, to share ideas with friends. I love learning from other people. I love sharing good ideas so that we all benefit. So whenever I see someone else do something above and beyond, or creative, I get excited.

However, I've noticed that some folks have attitudes where they take it as an insult, as if someone doing something great somehow diminishes their standing, when it has nothing to do with them at all. It makes me sad. We shouldn't tear people down, or mock them, or take it personally when someone does something lovely, or succeeds. Instead we should be genuinely happy for them, or excited to learn from them.

Perhaps, if our reaction is so negative to the positive in the world, we need to take a step back and have a little internal check-up to find out why we're so upset with the lovely.

In this life there are limitless opportunities to learn. I know that life is exciting to me for all the things I have yet to learn. If we look at the world with curious desire, we are always eager to learn, and grateful for those around us that can teach us.

Sometimes those that are unhappy, insecure, or upset that someone else has done something lovely, can diminish the light of those lovely, happy people. I would ask that we share more joy, and encouragement with each other, and together we can all keep shining.

Cheers!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry, Merry Christmas!



Happy Christmas!

This is the first year in 12 years of marriage that we have not been in our home for Christmas. We are visiting with my brother's family this year. It's actually been lovely. We even squeezed Disneyland into the mix.




We are grateful for our blessings, but mostly grateful for the people in our lives. That includes you. Thank you for reading, for sharing in the joy, and for spreading cheerfulness in the world around you.

As we do on the years we remember to send Christmas greetings, below are our favorites. Want to see what our favorites were in the past? Here's 2011. Need more Christmas posts? Of course you do. Here.

As for this amazing 2013 year, below are our individual favorites.


Cheers!




M, age 7
color: pink
movie: Frozen
tv show: Charlie Brown, Arthur, Strawberry Shortcake, Horse Land
food: pizza, noodles, vegetables/salad, lentils, chicken, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, Mongolian BBQ
toy: stuffed animals, American Girl, my blanket and pillow
place: Legoland, Disneyland, Europe, Hawaii, Bahamas/Atlantis Resort (I really want to go to Disney World)
song: Frozen songs (In Summer, Let It Go, Reindeers are better than people, For the first time in forever, Love is an Open Door, etc)
best part of being 7: My teachers in school
what makes you laugh: Minions (bottoms heheh)
what do you want to be when you grow up: an artist
favorite part of Christmas: presents and my Elfie Star




K, age 9
color: black
movie: Frozen
tv show: Arthur, Animated Hero Classics
food: Indian and Italian
toy: American Girl, rainbow loom
place: Europe, Bahamas/Atlantis Resort, Beach, and home
song: The First Noel (because I can play it well on the piano)
best part of being 9: I'm wiser than I was a year ago.
what makes you laugh: tickling, or dad being crazy
what do you want to be when you grow up: artist, or singer
favorite part of Christmas: seeing Elfie Star and giving service to others




S, age 36
color: last year was orange, this year teal/aqua
movie: About Time, Frozen
tv show: Walking Dead, Scandal, The Good Wife, Elementary, Sleepy Hollow, Downton Abbey, Parenthood
food: all the food (fresh, quality, lovingly prepared food)
toy: winnie the pooh (36 years young, and missing fluff, but sweet and loyal)
place: anywhere we're traveling as a family
song: Christmas in the Sand, Pocketful of Poetry, Wake Me Up
best part of being 36: Feeling at home in my own skin, willing to choose my own style, and choosing joy, not cynical conformity
what makes you laugh: pure, unadulterated laughter from kids I manage to make giggle
what do you want to be when you grow up: the grandma who dyes her hair purple, has a sassy sense humor, deeply involved with her daughters, and is an enthusiastic presence as she runs around with grand kids
favorite part of Christmas: the pure faces of belief in Christmas magic and hope






R, age 39
color: green
movie: Saving Private Ryan, No Country For Old Men
tv show: Game of Thrones, SJ Sharks, 49ers, SF Giants
food: spicy
toy: Settlers of Catan
place: Hawaii, Italy
song: whatever the girls are singing
best part of being 39: Not being 40
what makes you laugh: Kalea + Melia
what do you want to be when you grow up: old
favorite part of Christmas: giving gifts





Monday, December 9, 2013

Pear Tree Greetings

Are you like me? 

If so, you're scrambling to get a Christmas card together. 

Just last week we squeezed in a few family photos, taken by my talented friend Tony. Thankfully, the folks at Pear Tree Greetings have delightful options for fun cards to share with family and friends. Right now they're running a Jingle Sale!



In fact, I selected a magnetic card. It's something different, and something I'll keep. I have a sneaking suspicion the grandparents will keep it too. I was keen on the magnetic card option, as I could use my Instagram photos that automatically post to my Facebook account. Pear Tree Greetings can access your Facebook photos, as well as your photos saved on your computer. It makes creating a card convenient for those of us crunched for time, which means, all of us. Plus, instead of writing out our highlights for 2013, I used pictures. You know what they say about the worth of a picture...


What about you, which Pear Tree Greeting card would you like to personalize for your family? Why? You get a chance to win $40 towards the cards of your choice. Sweet! Since Christmas is rapidly approaching, this giveaway is a short one. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Cheers!

This is a sponsored post. Pear Tree Greetings gave me $40 towards a card order. All opinions are my own, I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my cards. All images from Pear Tree Greetings.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#GivingTuesday





Today is #GivingTuesday! Let's get together and do some good.

So I tried to organize a last-minute big, huge service project to coordinate with the lovelies at Mom It Forward, but the shelter I chose to help didn't seem to want my help. There's only so many messages, and voice mails I can leave before I get the hint. They're just not into me. That's okay, I'll start elsewhere, with baby steps. My enthusiasm will not dampen.


Now that I know about #GivingTuesday, you better believe that next year, I'll start pestering organizations to let me help them in October. 

You live, you learn, you find other ways to help.

So today, I'm headed to the store for new, unwrapped toys to drop off in the Toys for Tots boxes scattered throughout my community. Why? Every kid deserves a little something that thrills them, keeps their joy and hope alive. If a bit of whimsy and frivolity will do it, I'm onboard. 




Want to help? Find your Toys for Tots drop-off location here. Check us out. We're organizing our own virtual service project. Sweet!


I'm taking my daughters to help me do this because we've been blessed with much, and teaching them to give is my responsibility.




So, join me. If there isn't a big group of people near you to join in doing something for #GivingTuesday, find something going on, and do a little bit. Many hands with full hearts doing good, change the world.


Cheers!


Post Edit:

Other worthy causes to donate to. Bear in mind, donations make great gifts for loved ones, who really don't need more stuff.

No Kid Hungry - help raise 25,000 so no kid has to go hungry
Nothing But Nets - send a net, save a life