Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Will the Germs Please Lay Off Already?

I got sick on Dec. 23.

Since then, we've had five days with everyone healthy. Count 'em.






Five out of thirty-four.

That leaves twenty-nine days of sick.

And tomorrow will be thirty.

First we had weeks of the real flu (influenza). Fevers. Coughs. Chills. Aches.

Then there was the stomach flu and all the glory that entails.

And then there was the stomach flu again.

And now there is still the stomach flu.

By the end of the month, Ben will have attended ONE day of preschool.  It should go down in history as the most expensive day of preschool I've ever paid for. $130 for 2 1/2 hours of playtime?  Them there's some pricey play.


(Secretly, I don't mind sickness so much on a here and there basis. I don't mind snuggling up with my kiddos, giving them some Sprite, letting them watch too much TV and read lots of books. Nope. In fact, I quite like it. This, however, has gone on just a wee bit too long, and I'm ready for some health. On the bright side, thanks to all the sickness and cancelled events, I've had lots of needed (very VERY needed) practice time. More than four hours today for the first time in eons, as a matter of fact, and yes, I am proud of myself.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2010 Resolutions Check-In

Remember how I made this crazy list of resolutions last January?

Truth is, I'm still glad I made them.  I'm pretty sure I failed more than I succeeded, but I still succeeded in plenty.  And on the balance sheet of life, that's enough to make me happy.

Here's the last check-in.  There won't be any this year, because as you may recall, I have made only three resolutions this year.  And really, there's only one: get into the U Piano DMA program and stay happy while doing it.



Attend the temple at least 10 times (YES)
At least one page of the Book of Mormon every day (No, but I think I finished it twice.)
Read Old Testament. (No, but I read some of it.)
Keep journal of spiritual impressions.  (Yes.  Kind of.  It could use some tweaking, because I mostly use it while I study the scriptures.)

Home Life:

Family scripture study daily (Way more regularly, but not every day.)
Teach children responsibility (We may have made some progress.  Or not.)
Picture of the day (I did very well until my computer crashed and I got discouraged.)
Help Josh achieve his Deacon Duty to God (No.)
Work on Josh’s scouting. Get ready for his Eagle in 2011.  (We did more work on merit badges.)
Kitchen and great room clean nightly (Nope.)
Breakfast on the table at 7:25  (Nope.)
Menu planning (Sometimes.  But mostly nope.)
Food storage improved (Yes.)
Deep cleaning daily (Not really.)
Teach Josh and Sophie piano every week (Josh quit piano and Sophie is taking from Bridget.)
Clean desk every day (For a while.) 
Clean car every week (Also, for a while.)
Pay bills and be aware of the money situation every week (More aware, for sure.)
No fines at the library (Absolute and total failure.)
Functioning mudroom (Much improved, but still home to an old, smelly dog, so mostly not used well.)
Organized storage room (Better.)
Fun family outing monthly (Sad, but no.)
At least one family vacation (Yes. Family reunion at Cascade Lake.)
At least one camping trip (Yes. See above.)


Daily service (Kind of.)
Weekly date night with David (No.)
Weekend getaway with David (No.)
Birthday cards to family (No.)
At least 2 dinner parties a month (Mostly.)
Visiting teaching complete every month (No.)


To bed before 11:15 consistently (This so did not happen.)
1010 miles in 2010 (I decided not to keep track.)
20000 crunches in 2010 (Didn't keep track here either.)
5 pull ups in a row (And a big no.)
Lose those last few baby pounds (I did well for a while, then the holidays hit, but I'm still on the right track.)
Run a mile in 7 minutes (Yes yes yes!  And made it up my hill without stopping a number of times, too.)
Add more strength training (Yes.)
Run some race some time (Yes.  Snow Canyon half.  In under 2 hours.  Yeehaw!)


Read one good book a month (Mostly)
Writing...not sure what yet.  (Only the blog.)
Photography classes. Improve skills to better record family life.  (Took a class.  Didn't improve my skills.)


Recital? (No.  But I started our Piano Group and have practiced more than I have in 15 years.)
Have 20 pieces memorized (Close, if you count separate movements to be separate pieces.  That's my way of saying not really.)
Arrange 2 pieces for beginning piano trio (I did one!  Armies of Helaman.  And it was fun!)


Pay tithing on the Sunday after the paycheck EVERY TIME (Almost always.  Very exciting.)
Create working budget/envelope system/allowances (Nope.)
Be proactive (Again, I must just ask, what on earth did that mean?)
Don’t use credit cards (We mostly avoided them.)
Get out of debt (Nope.)


The goals I'm most proud of:  paying tithing on time, achieving my running goals, starting piano group, going to the temple regularly, having Sophie take from Bridget, and finishing the piano trio.  I would have liked to have done better in the relationship goals and Josh's scouting and Duty to God award, but nothing says I can't keep working on these things, even if I DON'T make them my New Year's Resolutions.

New Year's Sick Eve 12.31.2010

I had the flu.  I gave it to David just before we left California (and my dad, and my brother, and eventually Josh and Ben.)  We traveled home miserably.  David was sick the rest of the week.  Josh picked it up the day after David got better.  Ben picked it up the day after Josh got better.  And Ben's just about better now...I'm worried who might be next.

All that flu talk is just to explain that rather than party like it was 1999 (which, as I remember, was not the most exciting New Year's for us anyway since David had to work and I was home with a 3 year old and a 3 month old), we spent a quiet evening at home to celebrate the New Year.

While we were downstairs playing games, Ben disappeared.  After a little while, we heard a clatter and wondered what trouble he was creating.

He had been eating candy on the kitchen floor (big surprise) and decided to clean up his wrappers all by himself.  Love that boy.

So Happy New Year!  My pictures of the day are done.  I missed many many days towards the end, but I still am glad we have a little slice of life to remember 2010.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas Morning 12.25.10

Christmas morning.

We told Santa to put the stockings upstairs by the kids' bedrooms so they could open them while we waited for Bri, Mike and Celia to make the drive from LA.  I'm pretty sure each of the kids snuck down at some point to see the presents, but the stockings kept them pretty occupied.

When the LA contingent arrived, we had family prayer around Mom and Dad's bed and then the wild rumpus started.

Steven shared present duties with Josh.

Ben got Geotrax.

Kate got Elizabeth.

Christina did a beautiful job of collecting many of our memories and putting them together with pictures for Mom and Dad.

Santa's Little Elves brought Chad a sweet do-rag.  I hope he wears it to work every day.

One of the most unexpected parts of Christmas morning was Mike and the cinnamon.  He heard the boys talking about the cinnamon challenge.  Mike...the guy just loves a challenge.  Let's just say that downing a teaspoon of cinnamon is WAY harder than you'd think.  Way.

It was one of those quiet, slow Christmases where you stay in your jammies half the day (OK, all day), the kids play happily with their new toys, people talk and laugh, and you sleep a lot because you have the flu and you feel sicker than you've felt in years.

It was a good Christmas.  It really was.  Other than the flu.

Christmas Eve, Part Two 12.24.10

Really, are any other pictures necessary?


But here they are, anyway.

We were supposed to have a bad sweater night and do our White Elephant gift exchange, but most of us forgot.  Kurt did NOT forget.  His bad sweater should win a Major Award.

And look...his outfit gets even better (speaking of Major Awards...)

Briana was the proud recipient of some really large, really frayed jeggings.

And David got an Ironman 2 suit, courtesy of Eric.

Kurt was very excited for Dad to open his present, which turned out to be little blue pills of one sort or another.

Everyone enjoyed Dad opening that present...

(Seriously, I think I laugh more during the Youngberg White Elephant exchanges than I do the rest of the year combined.  My cheeks were ACHING afterward.)

Eventually we settled down with reruns of Christmas Story to finish the last-minute wrapping.  Normally I'm up until 3 or 4.  I did MUCH better this year, and was in bed before 2.  Aren't you proud of me?

As we headed up the stairs to bed, I had to take in the scene below me.

It may look like a lot of loot to you, but to me it looks like a lot of love.  I love this family of mine.  I kind of adore them.

Christmas Eve, Part One 12.24.10

So we braved the 12 hour drive to join with the family for Christmas.

The whole big enormous not-so-quiet family.

Two years ago, we decided that we needed to have another Christmas with the whole crew, so we got everyone to rearrange the in-law schedule so that we could have a wild Youngberg holiday.

I wasn't sure if it would really happen.  We had lots of things get in the way.  But happen it did.

Here are all the grown-up girls:  Nana, Ananda (+1), Christina, Chelsea, Briana, me, Ashleigh.  (And Ash, look how close we are.  I was totally breathing on you.  Aren't you glad you escaped the flu monster?)

Our dear friends, the Knights, brought over their traditional shrimp platter, but added a ridiculous (and ridiculously delicious) amount of king crab legs.

Kate and Will were darling, as usual.

Mike (with carrot tooth) and Bri.  Just wait to see what Mike did Christmas morning...

And Ben walked around the entire day with this penguin and this backpack.  Neither belong to him.

Chelsea ate a lot of appetizers.  (Well, we all did.)

And then, once we were full on appetizers, we got ready for dinner.

We gathered for family prayer, and all achingly felt the hole left by Brent.  But I know a few of us also felt him close by.  The night felt strangely blessed, sweet, and holy.

After dinner, we played music and acted out the Nativity.  Baby Jesus lasted a little while, but finally walked back to his mom and dad.

The first part of the night over, we tucked the littles into bed, kissed them goodnight, and got ready to party.

Leaving the Old Dog 12.23.10

It's really evident how much I gave up on my pictures of the day, isn't it?  When this is the only picture between the 18th and our trip to California?  In December, arguably the most picture-worthy time of the year?

So yeah, this is all you get.

We had to leave our dear old dog at home, in the care of our wonderful neighbor boys.  She looks sad about it, doesn't she?

Heber Christmas Party 12.18.10

Our annual Green Family Christmas Party was a highlight of the Christmas season, as always.

We had soup and breadsticks and lots of desserts, as always.

We caroled to Mom's neighbors, as always.

We had a Christmas devotional, as always.

And as always, I was reminded how blessed I was to marry into a family full of so much love (and so much laughter.)

Since Paul and Cindee are here so rarely, we wanted the girls to steal as much time together as possible, so we decided to sleep over at Mom's house.  We played a white elephant game, but with candy bars, and we opened Christmas presents, and we stayed up really late.

Wouldn't you want to stay up late with people like these?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Softened Heart

I've been thinking a lot about my last post and how easy it was to label the year, how simple it was to sweep the good away and focus so sharply on the pain and struggle.

I think it's fair to say 2010 was one of our hardest years. Even if the rest of the year had been dream-perfect (and it wasn't), the loss of my brother would color my memories of the year.  Although we've lost people we love before, we've never experienced anything like the shock and grief of Brent being taken from us.  And even after Brent's death, we were bombarded by deaths of loved ones and tragedies all around us.  I attended way way way too many funerals.  Life has never felt so fragile.

When compared to this depth of loss, the rest of our challenges seem petty.  But even petty things weigh you down when loaded one after another after another:  the really old dog, depression after the move, financial struggles, loneliness, the slowly potty-training boy, other parenting struggles, so many broken things, more financial struggles, car problems, losses of relationships, house problems, weeding (I know that you may think including weeding is so silly.  You haven't tried to weed this yard), $600 water bills, the loss of my hard drive (which included the loss of more than 2 1/2 years of pictures and writing), personal inadequacies, and finally, suffering from challenges that must be kept close and private.  These quiet griefs are often the loneliest and heaviest kind.  Because they're unable to be shared, no one shoulders part of this burden, no support is offered as there is so abundantly during a public grief.  It's been a hard, hard year.

And yet...

This is what the spirit has been whispering to me this week while I'm about my usual business, while I'm studying scriptures, while I'm quiet, while I'm practicing.  "And yet..."

A part of me doesn't want to admit to the good, to the growth.  It's the part that says, "How can you even consider happiness when Brent's not here anymore?  That's so selfish, so small-minded, so forgetful."  How can I reconcile his loss with ANY gain?

I can't.

And yet...

There is gain.  Irreconcilable as it may be, I have grown this year, despite AND because of the great losses.

I have witnessed hearts opened wide to me.  I have felt the support of prayers.  I have received inspiration.  I have seen beauty.  I have made new friends and deepened old friendships.  I have moved forward on dreams.  I have experienced miracles.  I have laughed, loved, and learned.

And my family has changed as well.  My children are happier than they were at the end of last year.  They're finding their footing, growing into themselves.

We never know what waits around the corner of each year.  I never would have guessed what 2010 held for us.  I don't know what 2011 holds.  But I know that we must have sweet and bitter, this terrible and great duality, to truly live.

My great challenge, then, is to face the future openhearted and full-faced.  To accept that great pain waits for me and so does great beauty, and to not flinch as it comes.

It's a beautiful journey.

It is.

Even when it's hard.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Post

2011.  Whew.  We made it.

I have lots of posts in the works.  I will finish the rest of my Pictures of the Day for 2010.  And I will comment on my 2010 resolutions.  I also have a Year in Review post AND a Decade in Review post coming up.  So totally exciting.

But first let me say this.


OK.  Now that that's over with, here are my New Year's Resolutions:

1.  Prepare for my audition in February.
2.  Get in.
3.  Be happy as often as possible for as long as possible.

That's it.  Not quite the same as last year, I know.

I wish I could say I was totally excited, but I'm a little more petrified than excited.  Give me a few (hundred) more hours of practicing, and the excitement will be there.