Sunday, January 23, 2011

Christmas Break - Part 2

We didn't take many pictures during the first half of our trip. We hardly took ANY pictures during the second half. (Family... please send us pictures!)

Bret wrestling with the nieces and nephews
(This was the #1 thing he looked forward to on our break. I'm not sure why... it looks like he's loosing pretty bad! I guess he's a little outnumbered!)
Sweet Briley with uncle Bret
This is what happens at the Wardles' house when we all get together late at night....
Yes, we leg wrestle (Marissa and I shared the championship title - I think flexibility counts more than strength) and play other silly games like Telephone Charades and Moffia.

This is us with my Gradmpa and Grandma Wood. They are so good to us and we sure loved seeing them over the holidays. Wish we could have spent more time with them.
We loved going home for Christmas and can't wait for our next chance to see our wonderful families. We are so blessed and can't wait follow their examples and raise a happy family of our own. Thanks mom, dad, Jay, Millie, and all our family for making our holidays so full of joy.

Christmas Break - Part 1

We aren't very good picture takers... we like to let our family take pictures for us... maybe that should be a New Years' resolution? Here are some of the pictures we took over our Christmas break.

The night we got home was the third annual Richards' Family Candy House Contest. If you have ever had doubts about our sanity, this contest will prove you right. We use more cardboard, plastic, and hot-glue than candy or frosting. This year we were up until around 1:00am working on our masterpieces. The theme was "Disney."

Lauren's Wedding Shower
(aka- friends get together to eat, craft, and catch up)

These are the cute blocks we made together for Lauren and Nate's future home. Turned out pretty good, don't ya think?!

On Christmas Eve it is a tradition for all the kids to sleep in the same room. We had lots of fun staying up playing "Catch Phrase" together. Jackson was nominated MVP with his theatrical interpretations of words such as "sign language", "ache", and "______".

This is Mr. Jack-man the next morning. He hasn't quite graduated to the traditional family stockings...

Pictures from San Antonio

You thought we'd never post pictures again... so you stopped checking our blog because reading my occasional thoughts is rather boring... BUT SURPRISE! We decided to post some pictures! (We were having troubles loading pictures onto our last computer but our new computer is perfectly cooperative! Yay!)

These are our favorite pictures from our trip to San Antonio (way back in September):

The Sunken Japanese Gardens

The Alamo
(a bit of a let-down, to be honest)
The beautiful "Riverwalk" - our favorite part of San Antonio.
The San Antonio Temple
(we can't wait to go back!)

I hope you can appreciate how cool this picture is. The hotel we stayed at had a texas-shaped waffle-maker you could use for complementary breakfasts. Mmmm. We carefully placed the fork where our lovely little town of San Angelo is... well as best we could! Don't mess with Texas!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let us Meditate...

On Monday I got a call from a friend in the ward who asked if I knew anything about meditation.
"Sorry, no."
She proceeded to tell me that the Laurels wanted to do meditation/relaxation for their class activity this week. What they really wanted was an excuse to take a nap, and while she wanted to let the young women be involved in planning their activity, she wasn't sure that showing up to sleep for an hour would be worth everyone's while. So she asked if I would be willing to come and help them relax, breath, meditate, stretch or whatever.
"I guess I can pretend I know what I'm doing."

So I just got home from an hour and a half with 4 Laurels and I not only feel relaxed (even though I led and didn't really participate) but I also feel so inspired to know that there are good, fun, wholesome, well-manered, fun-loving high school students here in Texas. There are parts of my job at Lake View that I love, but it gets extremely overwhelming when I see how far off-track (behavior, lifestyle, education, etc) the vast majority of these students are and I feel totally powerless to help them change. I can't do much else besides be a friendly face and a person they can look up to and trust. Tonight I feel like these sweet girls lifted a bit of that burden and gave me hope that maybe smiling and speaking kindly can make a difference. More than anything else it reminded me that even if I can only do a little in the lives of these struggling Lake View students, I can do a LOT to affect how my future children grow up and the kind of people they become.

...and they thought I was helping them relax!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spring in January

Yay for 3-day weekends! We did spring cleaning early and our house is so organized and clean now. I guess Mother Nature liked the idea because she sent us some nice spring weather... warm and sunny. Poor Utah friends. Monday also involved Kickboxing at the church lead by my wonderful friend Lori, going for a fun walk with Maddie, and watching a movie with Mr. Wonderful. Life is busy but fabulous and having an extra day to breath made me realize just how lucky I am.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daily Bread... one crumb at a time

Last week was a shock to my system. I went from spending all day with family to spending hardly any time at home. I felt like I a million projects were piling up on me and I was going to get buried. Somehow I have reached the surface and I feel so much better! Planning, preparation, and pep-talks from Bret have made it happen, but I also really appreciated a little "tender mercy" that came as a surprise on Sunday. We got invited to watch the CES fireside at a friend's home (we didn't know there was one) and while staying home and relaxing was tempting, we decided to go. What a blessing! Elder Christofferson spoke about "Daily Bread"... doing the most important things each day and taking one day at a time... even one activity at a time if need be. He reminded us that looking too far ahead can be overwhelming and discouraging, but if we can make it through one task at a time, we can make it. It was just what I needed and I have felt so much more joy and peace so far this week. I am grateful for word of the prophets that help us in our daily lives. For anyone who is feeling a little overwhelmed, I suggest you look up his talk and remember to take your daily bread... even if it is one crumb at a time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Numbers

Yesterday's number: SEVENTEEN

Do I like the number seventeen? No. Like thirteen it is odd and ugly. However, yesterday it actually meant something good. I was feeling very overwhelmed and I decided the best way to calm down would be to spend some relaxing time with Bret. We cooked dinner together and watched "17 Again" which we both really like for some reason. It was over by 9:30 which still gave me time to do what I needed to do, but in a much happier state of being.

Today's number: FIVE

Even thought I calmed down last night, I think my brain refused to shut off. It subconsiously kept planning, organizing, and stressing over stupid things. I think I woke up at least once each hour. At 5:00 I got out of bed 15 minutes before my alarm and went to the gym. It was great. I planned an aerobics class that I'm teaching to some of the LakeView faculty and then took an awesome Body Pump class. I wasn't one bit tired. (Now that its noon, I'm starting to get sleepy-eyed.) I like starting the day early... but next time I'll try to get more thorough sleep the night before!

ps- I have a hunch that tomorrow will be number one... one more day until the weekend, one "one"derful modern dance class to teach, one project closer to sanity, one husband to hang out with.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


13 is a bad number. It sounds ugly, it is a prime number, and I can't really connect it to any good even numbers (yes, I'm prejudiced against odds). Friday the 13th is unlucky and I'm sure there have to be other bad things associated with it. Today I added one more thing to that list: 13 hour work days. Tuesdays, here we go again. 7:30-3:45 at the high school, 3:45-8:15 at the ballet. Technically I should have an hour for lunch, but today I got 20 minutes... barely enought time to use the restroom and get my food. I ate most of it on the bus to Ashley's job site. I should have had an hour break to plan classes and eat dinner, but I ended up meeting with the ballet director instead. I have to be honest and say it was a pretty darn good day, but 13 hours of work after getting home from vacation after 1:00 am = one very tired girl. (At this point you are probably wondering, as I am, why I am writing this instead of going to bed. Good question. Bed sounds nice.) So dear number 13, I am glad I won't have to see you for another week. Hope Mr. 11 is nice to me tomorrow. :)
PS- We have lots of fun pictures from our holiday vacation. Stories and pictures soon to come... but not tonight!