My life is a balancing act.

Life requires balance.

My dad used to marvel at the fact that we are the only species that walks solely on our two hind legs. Others may do it from time to time but not all the time as we do. He said that this is just another illustration that we as humans require balance in all things.

I remember a time I called my dad for advice. I was struggling with wanting more out of life. I felt I had some talents that I wasn’t developing or wasn’t sure how to necessarily develop but wanted to work on. I was working for a mortgage company and didn’t feel that was what my skill set was and that I wasn’t doing what God had intended for me.

He told me that he struggled with this same concept. He was very talented musically. He loved music, singing, writing songs, practicing the guitar, piano and most of all the banjo. He was amazing. He said that he also loved being a dad. Being a provider and being there for his kids. If he were to really pursue his dreams as a musician he feels under the circumstances he wouldn’t be able to spend enough time with his kids. My parents were divorced so he already had time with his kids as a disadvantage, being that he didn’t live with us.

He said this is why he really loved his band Ridin The Faultline. He could sing, play the banjo, Dobro, perform and yet be there for his kids. It was his perfect balance.

I struggle with balance everyday. How much time and effort do I put in one particular area vs. another. I want a spotless house but when I am home I spend all my free time with my kids so the house isn’t in the order I would chose. I want to pursue opportunities that come my way yet I want to always be there for my husband and kids. I want to rest my body yet I want to workout and stay healthy and active and let’s face it SANE.

I teach for what we “Mormons” or Latter Day Saints call Relief Society. It’s the third hour of our meeting and it’s where all the women gather while the kids are in primary and men are in their meetings. It’s a great calling for me b/c I don’t get to go to church every week since some weekends I work and can’t get back in time for my 9am ward meeting. This helps me really focus on gospel topics and do greater studying of gospel topics so I can try and teach what I have learned. ๐Ÿ˜€

Our lesson on Sunday was on perfection. Although perfection is nothing one can obtain in this life, it focused on being perfect in the areas we can be and being better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today. I love this. Life is a journey. As long as we have our goals and sights set on wholesome activities, building up others, being Christlikeย  and kind and always wanting to improve our skills, being the best version of ourselves we can be….than we are well on our way.

I try and keep this lesson in mind while I am trying to gain balance in my life between being a wife, lover, mom, sister, daughter, teacher, instructor, friend…it all requires a serious balancing act. I will try to gain this by being better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today…this is the goal at least. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  I haven’t done Miss B’s hair today yet so I’m still somewhat pulled together. lol Give me an hour or so and we shall see where I am at..and there is always tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜€

Paranoid

There are many things I wish I was or wasn’t. I’d love to be a better cook, more patient, I wish I had one of those hard belly laughs that could burst out at any time. One thing I really wish I wasn’t is paranoid.

We are driving home from Arizona and I am totally on edge. My stomach is all curled up and I’m watching the road like a hawk, so worried we are going to spin out, over correct and roll… why are my thoughts so morbid??? I’m only writing this post to give Brian a little break from my requests to slow down and be careful.

The roads are sloshy, icy, and nothing I like driving in. We got a flat tire a couple hours ago and although that stinks I have to be so grateful there was a tire shop open on a Sunday night in Beaver Utah.

I used to check the locks on the doors more times than once and same with the windows. Not gonna lie, there are many times I make a second round just for peace of mind but at least I’m aware of the problem right??? Brian asks me “who do you think went and unlocked the door since you last checked it?” My answer??? Don’t know. No one really just my imagination.

I try and think logically about my worries and most times I can talk some reason to myself but right now, in this car ride I’m not having much luck. I just looked up and there was a white out and we were side by side an 18 wheeler that looked far too close by anyone’s standards.

My last trip to NYC was a joke. My paranoia was making a full court press. As I think I mentioned before I swear those cab drivers are asking for trouble, weaving in and out at the speed of sound but I bite my tongue, close my eyes and pray.

I wonder if I’m alone in this. Are you afraid of certain things? Things you know you shouldn’t be? Or do you feel justified in your fear? What makes you concerned, worried or paranoid? I’m glad plane rides don’t make me too worried bc that would be a serious inconvenience. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ok-back to the drive. Thanks for the vent sesh!

Kass

Family time

Just wrote a long post and it deleted so my options were one of two things. 1. Throw my phone out the window. 2. Re write what I could remember and fight the urge to scream. I’m sticking with options 2 but I don’t know how long this will last so here goes nothin.

We are road trippin in the red mini van all the way to Arizona. I’m loving being in the car with my three favorite people. I have been working so much and there’s nothing better than being “trapped in a small space” together.

Bri’s little sister is getting married Friday to a great guy. He’s funny, smart, kind, mad about her and I’m so excited for her to come to the dark side of being hitched, tying the knot and being someone’s old ball and chain. ๐Ÿ˜‰ actually, I constantly think of how lucky I was to make such a good decision as such a young age. Mostly due to the man Brian is. He makes marriage what I had hoped it would be… ๐Ÿ™‚

We aren’t the liveliest bunch at the moment. D and B are watching movies on the iPads and Bri and I are singing along to Glee songs.

I really needed this family time. February is one of those survival months… We just gotta get through Feb. I had trainings in Iowa this past weekend followed by a trip to NYC for the Wendy Williams show. I got home last night then had a millions things to do before leaving this afternoon for the wedding. After the wedding is a work meeting in LA then the LA Zumba Instructor Conference. Then I’ll be home a few days and then I have trainings in Indiana. Did I lose you there? Yes me too. Without this all written down I don’t know where I’m headed next. I’m so grateful for my job and truly wouldn’t do it unless I enjoyed it. It’s not easy and work is work but to really love what you do I believe is a unique gift I have been given.

NYC is one of those puzzling places. Every time I go there I am shocked at the busy hustle and bustle pace the city maintains. I feel lucky to have survived every time I’m heading back home.

Taxi drivers I’m sure have a quest for speed and danger. They speed up, slam the breaks, thread the needle, honk, yell, all while I’m about to scream of fear in the back seat. I’m reminded of just how used to my Utah life I’ve become.

I’m getting car sick so that’s it for now but I do have an interesting story about my flight home ready for my next post.

Until next time,
Kass

2013 latest and greatest

I can’t believe it is the year 2013. I remember when there was serious worry about the year 2000 and then 12/20/12…yet we are still here pushing on. Good thing. There is much more of this life I am ready to live.

Highlights:
Christmas was AMAZING!!! our kids are to the age where they are literally our best buds. We plan things around their fun, which brings Bri and I happiness which creates what we call “happy family moments”

Favorite Christmas present???
Santa brought us tickets to WICKED!!! Have you seen this amazing play? It blew us away! Brian surprised me with front row tickets for my big 3.0. in the Summer. Once we got home and downloaded all the songs that night, our kids fell in love with the music too and have been hoping for a chance to go. We have discouraged them from putting too many eggs into the “wicked” basket b/c it’s expensive and NOT in Utah anymore…as we looked around at tickets and did a little more research we found it was in MO while we would be there for Christmas. So, a few talks with Santa and it was well on it’s way. It was worth every penny. One of my favorite moments to date.

New year, new goals, new focuses:
My 2013 is going to be more simple. Maybe I’ll be working just as much and traveling just as much but I am going to simplify where I can. I have a goal to be more present to whatever is happening. If it’s family time it’s family time, if it’s time to work it’s time to work. I think doing one million and a half things all at once– most of 2012 caused it’s fair share of breakdowns. lol. My plan to keep on top of laundry will definitely help in this plight. (it’s still January but I’ve got my fingers crossed)

Confessions of a shoeaholic:
I love to shop…I love finding a good deal. ESPECIALLY high tops and Zumba shoes. Sometimes I need it most times I don’t. So…cutting on spending is a goal of mine. I don’t need a closet over flowing of tennies…I really don’t. I will remind myself of this to give me strength in hard times. haha.

Another goal for 2013 is to make cleaner food choices… Cutting calories of foods that leave me feeling sluggish. I love a good treat and something large and processed but are those foods helping me keep up my energy??? NO, therefore I am focusing on filling my body with foods that will help me maintain my crazy schedule of wife, mom, sister, neighbor, relief society teacher, Zumba instructor-education specialist-and presenter…to name a few…with more sustainable energy.

Here are a few confessions, highlights, and goals for this upcoming year. more to come. What are you goals?? What are you hoping to change this year to better yourself? What healthy habits are you hoping to continue? Tell me, I wanna know! ๐Ÿ˜€

Until next time! Kass

Santa’s helpers

I have always loved this time of year. Yes I spend way too much money, yes, I always end up finding myself the perfect gift when I’m struggling to find the perfect one for others, and yes! it takes SOOO long to get ANYWHERE due to the hustle and bustle of the season. But there is such beauty in all of that.

I love seeing the streets busy with people and cars all going to the stores to get gifts for others or on their way to a party to celebrate the season. I love the music, the decor, the lights. One of my favorite things to do in the evenings is drive around town looking at the festive homes.

A favorite memory of mine around Christmas was when I was about 10 years old. We had fallen into some serious financial problems and didn’t have too much at the time. One night we all went out to do one thing or another and when we returned our entire family room/kitchen area was decorated to the hilt with gorgeous Christmas decorations: place mats, table clothes, candles, bows, evergreen trees, throw blanket, little Santa and Reindeer…this facelift of our home instantly brought in the spirit of Christmas. It was beautiful. I don’t remember what gifts we got that year or what we didn’t get. I do remember feeling so lucky that someone had seen the need of our family and come to our aid. Those decorations continued to go up year after year and always brought a feeling of peace into my heart.

I realize that I too can spread this same joy to others. I have picked Sub 4 Santa names and items off trees here and there from the gym or mall and it is such a good feeling to know that I can bring that same feeling of happiness I received as a child for someone else in need.ย 

-Kass

Highlights for today

Today was my “recovery day” from Thanksgiving feasting (all week really), traveling, the business of the holiday and black Friday shopping…or so I thought. I was gonna just take it easy until I saw the number on the scale which definitely reflected the candy, pie, turkey, rolls, corn dog and junk on the ride home…That little voice in my head said “Rest??? I think not. It’s time to get your butt to the gym.”

I love attending other Zumba classes. I get new song ideas, choreography ideas…and let’s face it, it’s fun to not always be in charge of the class. Wrong foot? who cares??? Wrong direction? who cares??? it’s awesome! lol. After class I hit up JCP. Yes JcPenneys. They have revamped their store and a friend of mine was wearing a darling shirt I. JUST. HAD. TO. HAVE. I thought about hiding it from Brian so he didn’t make me wrap it up and stick it under the tree. I needed this shirt now. ๐Ÿ™‚ turns out he going easy on me this year.

I have been avoiding emails and responsibilities so I could focus on family during the break so today was make up for my lack of paying attention as the notifications on my phone were increasing over the week. This ended up taking forever!!! BUT the satisfaction that I actually knocked a bunch of them off my list was great.

After errands and work we went to eat at our favorite place with my brother and his family. Cafe Rio is the BEST place. Easy, fast, delicious, affordable…so many things I love about this place. Talking over Christmas lists and what the kids want this year, what the holiday plans are was fun. I love being with family. My brother is 10 years older than me but they have kids my kids ages and as you grow older that 10 years seems so insignificant. It’s a strange twist since growing up he was out of the house by the time I was 8. Don’t remember “growing up” with him but our kids will grow up side by side.

It’s time to get off the computer, blast the Christmas music and put up the Christmas tree. One of my favorite nights of the year. Fun family times. That’s where it’s at.

Until next time
Kass

Drive or fly?

Are you the type of traveler that hates road trips? Do you prefer to fly or do you love the fun of driving miles and miles along the freeway to new places?

Bri and I have not taken a flight with our kids since we had to pay for D. You have to pay for kids over the age of two and he’s now 8. So as you can see, it’s been a long time.

B has yet to be on a flight. She was so colicky as a baby we didn’t dare bring her on a flight where people paid good money for the luxury of flying. (plus we are frugal and figure we can just log more miles on our trusty red mini van) She would have been that dreaded screaming infant in the back…or toddler…she is definitely coming into her own now and we trust she would behave at the age of five but until recently it was truly not an option.

With this in mind it’s a good thing Bri and I love road trips! We sing, play games, tease each other, eat junk…it’s all part of the vacation. We have taken loads of road trips within our almost ten year marriage.

I enjoy it. It’s fun…that is, until the ride home. Right about the time we have two hours left I get super antsy and just want to snap my fingers and appear in the driveway! If only that we’re possible!

We are driving home from Arizona. We have two hours left… I am antsy. I just ate a corn dog from a gas station which I’m not even sure is sanitary. My stomach is in knots from the bad food choices I have made (unfortunately it goes further than just a corn dog) but I have “Wicked” playing in the background which always perks me up.

I love this music! Have you seen the play? Heard the music? It’s clever, witty, I think it’s written beautifully.

My first exposure to this musical was when my friend Ashley Lefrandt (Anderson) showed me a few songs in her red jetta after she had seen the play. I liked it but didn’t get bitten by the “wicked bug” quite yet. A few years ago my dad was introduced to the music and fell in love with it so naturally being the daddy’s girl I am I listened to it and got a kick out of seeing him smile at the catchy song “p
Popular” (B’s fave as well-not surprisingly). Another song he loved was “For Good” which we put on his tribute video. It’s a beautiful message. Go-listen to it. Download it. You’ll love it.

Brian surprised me with tickets to the traveling broadway show when it came to our city this summer, front row, for my 30th birthday. Awesome right?! He’s crafty like that. From that point on I have been in love. Our kids now have every song memorized and I love to hear their sweet voices sing along.

We listen to everything from oldies, Beach Boys, Ozzy, Celine, current radio hits, Maroon 5…what are your favorite road trip soundtracks, CDs, musicals? What passes the time??? Maybe blogging at the 2 hour left mark will help pass those painful miles a little faster.

Something fun this road trip…our trusty red mini van rolled over 200,000 miles.
This things runs like its brand new. It’s got a few dings and battle wounds but it’s held up wonderfully and I’m thinking we can log many more miles with our upcoming road trips this winter and spring. Pretty impressive right? Yes, I agree.

Thanksgiving feast!

Wow! What a day! This year we celebrated with my in laws in Arizona for Thanksgiving.

We started the day with a hike up Pinnacle Peak. It’s gorgeous! It was so crowded. I loved seeing the people, single, couples, families, kids…working out and getting healthy. I wanted to give everyone high fives. I thought about just trying it out and seeing the responses but then decided against embarrassing myself or others. ๐Ÿ™‚

After the hike we put together what remaining dishes we had left to work on and went out to the pool.

This house is a dream! Having a pool right outside (and kids who can fully swim) is awesome! (otherwise I’d have a heart attack) the sun was out and felt great on my body! I felt like Timothy Green (“Odd life of Timothy Green” -great show. Rent it) soaking up much needed vitamin D.

Ok folks, It’s feasting time!!!

We ate delicious ham, turkey, home made rolls, sweet yam dish, stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole (personal fave) veggies…the list went on and on and so did my waist. Thanks goodness for the elastic in my skirt.

By the time desserts were being served I felt like I was going to go into a food coma. But…I managed to squeeze what little room I had and ate more!!!

One of my favorite treats on Thanksgiving is the Martin’s slush. I love this slush (recipe below) its tart, cold, refreshing and since I became a Martin I’ve made it year round for a light dessert. Yummy!!!

After dinner we headed out to the theaters to watch “Life of Pi.” I love watching movies, especially at the theater. It’s fun to get away, let your imagination soar for a couple hours. This movie was great! Such adventure! The visuals were beyond this world and the story line-heart felt. The kids were glued to the screen as were the adults.

I won’t give any spoilers since its just out but it’s definitely worth seeing.

We are enjoying our last couple days in sunny Arizona. Lots of lounging at the pool and shopping to do today as let us not forget…LEFTOVERS!!!

Slush:
One cup hot water
One cup sugar (can use Splenda or another no calorie sweetener)
Let sugar dissolve. Add-
One cup water (equalling 2 cups water)
1 can crushed pineapple
1 can grapefruit
1 lil bottle maraschino cherries cut into fourths.

Add all this in and freeze in a 9×13 pan or gallon ziplock bag laid flat.

Cut into cubes and add the sprite or diet sprite.

Deliciousness!!!

Until next time-
Kass

Thanksgiving

Feeling very grateful for my life, family, health, job, friends. It’s always good to have a holiday that focuses on being grateful.

In church on Sunday the speaker was giving a talk on gratitude. It was wonderful. He was speaking about a student from China who was living in the states, alone-without his family, or comforts of his home, learning a new language, no car, didn’t have a good job or girlfriend, he did not have the material things of the world that we sometimes associate with happiness but always had a smile on his face. When asked “Why are you always so happy?” He answered “I am so blessed. Everyday I see the ways God has blessed me”

Many in his situation would be thinking, “Why can’t I have a girlfriend or good job or money to do the things I want to do?!!” I love his positive outlook and seeing the things he does have rather than what he feels he’s lacking.

Another speaker-a youth boy about 16 years old, talked about how when he focuses on how he doesn’t have a car or the motorcycle of his dreams he starts to feel down and bad for himself but when he looks at the bright side of things like the fact that he lives close to the school and it takes only a couple minutes to walk to school and that he’s saving money on car expenses…he starts to feel happier. Glass half full right?

Just yesterday my son said “Things are all about how you look at it. When B drinks half of my drink I could think “it’s half empty” or…I could think “it’s half full” and that makes me feel better. It’s all how you look at it”

I thought this was so deep from an 8 year old. Of course this was the same 8 year old who as we were walking out of Costco yesterday was fighting with his sister about her finishing off the cup of frozen yogurt. I reminded him about the glass being half full and looking at life on the bright side and he said “that’s impossible. It’s gone! So actually it’s not half full at all it’s completely empty!” Guess he didn’t fully get the concept. ๐Ÿ˜‰

These talks and stories were so great to hear especially with Thanksgiving this week. There is so much to be grateful for. Always.
-Kass

Adventure here we come!!!

Our favorite day was zip lining through the jungle with Vallarta Adventures. Bri and I signed up for the zip line having no idea really what we were doing. I thought we were going to a building or park area and doin some easy breezy zip lines. Not the case.

In the 45 minutes bumpy car ride up to the mountainous jungles of Mexico the couple to the left of us was telling us the rip roaring details of what was to come. My attitude wasn’t superb. I was hesitant and nervous. But…I could see the excitement increasing in the eyes of my hubs so I kept it to myself.

When we arrived at the adventure jungle area, we were suited up with bandanas (to help us feel tough and rugged) helmets (for more protection than I thought I was going to need when I woke up that morning) and all sorts or harnesses and straps.

After a introduction of “Don’t think about touching any of the equipment” (which was fine with me) “Let the professionals do their job to keep you safe” (again, fine with me) we were off on our adventure! What ever that may be. No turning back now!

We had never done anything like this before together. It was AWESOME!!! It’s not everyday that parents, married for 10 years, get to feel like Tarzan and Jane.

It was everything the couple prepped is for and more.

There were multiple zip lines-all ranking in length and speed depending on the slant, rope walking high above the ground, repelling…I felt like a champion-facing my fears and reservations of going outside my standard “playing it safe mode”.

The end zip line was over a mile long, shooting through the air like Iron Man, it was incredible! My cheeks were sore from smiling so big! There was a tunnel of cleared branches where you got a glimpse into what it must feel like to be a bird. Free, Exhilarating. What a rush!

Once the rush died down a bit we ended the adventure with the fastest and surely most dangerous water slide on the planet. Keep in mind-you’re still wearing your safety helmet, without which my head would have not recovered. I was like a bullet coming out of this tube and felt relieved I had oxygen again and could see the sky.

Again, Brian and I had no intention of signing up for anything extra. We were going to park ourselves at the beach and pool with a cold beverage and just chill for the week, so these activities, and this day in particular really changed the whole vacation for us and added a new level of excitement and renewed zest for adventure. We loved it!!!

We went back to the pool that afternoon and relaxed. The “kids” pool always had exciting things happening. We usually hung at the adult pool but once in a while there was an activity we couldn’t miss. The parrot show was awesome and I got to hold this feathered friend. I am smiling but know that I didn’t trust this bird for the life of me. But something new for me.

If I wasn’t in sunny Arizona right now, recounting this trip might be too depressing for me missing the beautiful weather of PV. ๐Ÿ˜‰ we never wanted to leave. We wish someone would fly our kids to us and extend our trip a few weeks. Paradise!