Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Iris!

Today is Iris Mae's 3rd birthday. It is hard to believe that it's been 3 years since she came into and changed our lives. She is so much fun. Here are some of the things she is excited about at 3:
Pretty much anything girly
The Alphabet
Playing outside
Her daddy
Baby dolls
Her friend, Zoe
Any Disney movie
Talking on the phone
Playing games on Daddy's phone

Some of my favorite Iris sayings:
"Mom, my belly is hungry."
When asked her name, her response,"Princess Iris Big Girl Giraffe."
When asked how much she loves dad or anyone, her response, "Huge!"
"Smarshmellows" aka marshmallows
"Cinnewewa" aka Cinderella
"I love (fill in the blank)" whenever she see something that she likes or even when asking what something is this is how the conversation goes:
Iris: "What's that?"
Me: "Paprika."
Iris: "I love Popricka."
She loves Everything!

We had her birthday party on the 28th. It was supposed to rain (that would make 3 years in a row of rain on the day of her party.) But luckily we had nice weather and had a wonderful bbq with some family and friends. She wanted pink and princess for her cake so this is what I decided to do. I actually didn't make a cake. It's Rice Krispie Treats covered with some frosting and marshmallow fondant. It was surprisingly easy to make and actually edible, unlike real fondant. She was so excited while I was making it. She kept saying,"Ooooo, Mom!" I gave her some fondant to play with while I worked on the cake. She was loving it. It actually turned out pretty cute. Just don't look too close!

I also made some cupcakes for the guests. I piped white chocolate into different shapes like hearts and crowns and stars then sprinkled them with sprinkles. Made strawberry cupcakes (pink) with cream cheese frosting and topped them with the chocolate shapes.

All the other pictures of the actual party on the other camera so I will get those on the computer and posted on here soon. I realized that I didn't post any pictures of her 2nd birthday so I wanted to make sure and get them on this year. 

She is such a special little girl and I feel so blessed to be her mom.

Happy Birthday Iris!!

Week 22

*For explanation of The Happiness Experiment" go HERE .*

Last week's secrets:
Learn to use a computer.
Try to think less about the people and things that bother you.

Secret #43
Keep your family close.

"As family members scatter across the country, it becomes easy to forget to include them in your thoughts and in your time. Keep up the contact, share with your family the news of your life. They want to know, and you will feel better if your bond is maintained."

The book states that "...being apart does not have to mean being distant from each other." I liked that. It has been hard keeping in touch with my family as they are all spread out now. But like I was talking about in the last post about computers, it is now so much easier to stay updated on news and events that are going on with others. Blogs and Facebook help us stay in contact with each other. Of course, it's great to make a phone call once in a while too, but the internet is such a quick way to get the updates. We just need to make the effort to include everyone.

"Studies that examine the importance of family to senior citizens as compared to adults not yet entering middle age show family relationships to be an equally crucial component of life satisfaction for both age groups."

Secret #44
Eat some fruit every day.

"Fruit eaters feel good about what they eat, are less interested in eating junk food, and ultimately feel better about themselves."

An interesting fact that I learned from this secret is this: "Our bodies crave sweet tastes, which originally was an evolutionary advantage, for it led early humans to consume more fruit. Only in modern times, when sugary sweets have become available to us, has our taste for sweets had  negative consequences." I have really been buying a lot more fruit. I love the spring and summer when all the delicious fruits are in season. Evan bought me a food dehydrator and I have been running that thing a lot. Dried fruit is such a simple snack. The kids gobble down the apples and mango (or bango as Iris calls it). And I have enjoying all the melon and peaches that are so perfect this time of year. And it does make me feel better to have fruit. It makes you feel healthier and there are so many benefits.

"Eating fruit is associated with a number of positive life habits that contribute to both health and happiness, and eating more fruit is associated with an 11 percent higher likelihood of feeling capable and satisfied."

Keep your family close.
Eat some fruit every day.

The secrets this week are simple but challenging at the same time. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Week 21

*For explanation of The Happiness Experiment" go HERE .*

Last week's secrets:
Busy is better than being bored.
Satisfaction is relative.

Secret #41
Learn to use a computer.

"Whether they are eight or ninety-eight, people who use computers experience the wonders of technology and of the world."

The book uses examples of how military families use computers to stay in touch with each other and their friends after multiple moves. I love being able to keep in touch with people I haven't seen or talked to in person for years. It's a great way to keep family updated on events and photos. It's a great way to look things up and stay up to date on current events. I love my computer. Now, I know that I could definitely live without it, but it does make me happier having it.

"In a study of senior citizens introduced to personal computers, self-esteem and life satisfaction were found to improve by about 5 percent as a result of computer use."

Secret # 42
Try to think less about the people and things that bother you.

"There are in infinite number of thngs you could spend your time thinking about, but many of us concentrate great attention on those things that we find most upsetting. Don't ignore what bothers you , but don't focus on it to the exclusion of the things you enjoy."

Are you willing to sacrifice a friendship or other relationship because you can't get over something that the other person does that bothers you? Think about it. Think about the future with and without that person. Is that thing really that bothersome or are you just overthinking it and letting it bother you? Is it something that maybe you can overlook and let go? It goes back to positive thinking. Thinking about the positive things in a person is going to bring out more positive things. But negative thinking has the opposite effect.

Those who regularly ruminate over negative subjects and unhappiness are 70 percent less likely to feel content than those who do not."

Sorry to my regular reader(s) for all the late posts lately. I started out doing them every Sunday and lately have been letting slip until later and later in the week. I almost didn't do this one and was going to just do two tomorrow but I got after myself and made me do it. I'm always glad when I do. It gives me something new to work on and think about for the next week.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Week 20

*For explanation of The Happiness Experiment" go HERE .*

Last week's secrets"
Don't let your entire life hinge on one element.
Share of yourself.

Secret # 39
Busy is better than bored.

"Find something to do, because the feeling that we have too much to do is much more pleasing than the feeling that we have nothing to do."

I don't know what I would do if there wasn't anything on my to-do list. Even though I complain about the list never ending. About checking one thing off just to put another on. But honestly, it feels good to keep checking things off. It gives a sense of accomplishment. Even if it is just cleaning out the microwave, it feels good to get it done.

"In studies of college students, those with more demanding schedules were 15 percent more satisfied with life. Despite the more demanding schedules, the individuals studied did not experience any more stress than those with less to do."

Secret #40
Satisfaction is relative.

"Your happiness is relative to a scale you yourself have created. If you measure your satisfaction right now against the two or three greatest moments in our life, you will often be unhappy because those moments can't be duplicated. If you measure today's satisfaction against some tough days you've had, you have all the reason in the world to appreciate this moment."

When you have a bad day, is it bad compared to your wedding day or other celebration? Or is it bad compared to last Tuesday? It's all relative. Is your work life good or bad compared to your home life or vice versa? You need to compare your work days to other work days, not days at home. Happiness, I'm learning more and more, has a lot to do with your perspective.

"Not surprisingly, surveys find that happy people tend to have more positive experiences that unhappy people. What is striking is that, objectively, their lives aren't really much different. Studies find that happy people experience much the same range of events as unhappy people. The real difference is in what they define as positive and negative. Happy people are those who use a lower threshold in order to label an event positive." 

Busy is better than bored.
Satisfaction is relative.

20 weeks now. Are you happier? Even just a little? I think I am. It is a constant job reminding yourself of all the secrets and trying to stay positive, but if it can help change some habits and way of thinking than it is worth it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Funny

Iris was looking at a picture of when I was pregnant with Donevan. I tried to explain to her that there was a baby in my belly in the picture. That it was Donevan in my belly. She looked at me and said, "No. Donevan is in the living room."

Oh. My mistake.

Funny girl.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Week 19

*For explanation of The Happiness Experiment" go HERE .*

Last week's secrets:
Develop some common interests with loved ones.

Secret #37
Don't let your entire life hinge on one element.

"Your life is made up of many different facets. Don't focus on one aspect of your life so much that you can't experience pleasure if that one area is unsettled. It can become all you think about, and it can deaden our enjoyment of everything else--things you would otherwise love."

If you were to think that the only way to be happy is to have a perfect relationship, or to get that promotion at work, when that doesn't happen, you'll never be happy. The book says to "diversify your hopes". Many different things can make you happy and should. Focusing on just one area is limiting the happiness you can feel. Family life, work, school, friends...the list goes on. 

"In an experiment in which subjects were asked to discuss the life satisfaction of others, subjects tended to calculate likelihood of happiness on an "averaging" scale. That is, happiness was associated with people whose lives were generally positive in multiple areas that mattered to them."

Secret #38
Share of yourself.

"Don't hold inside your feelings, your thoughts, your hopes. Share them with your friends and family. People who hold things inside tend to feel isolated, believing that others do not understand them. Those who share feel both supported and more content, even if events do not go exactly as they wish."

Our loved ones can't read our thoughts. If only they could. But they can't, so we need to tell them how we feel. I had a really hard time with this for a long time. I would always hold things in. But over time I have learned that in order for people to know how you feel, you have to tell them. Otherwise, they are just gonna keep going on not knowing what is bothering you or why something bothers you. Share your hopes and goals and you may find that someone is trying to accomplish the same thing and might be able to help you or you can help each other succeed. Open up!

"Individuals who tend to be socially open rate their overall life satisfaction 24 percent higher than individuals who do not."

Don't let your entire life hinge on one element.
Share of yourself.

Is anyone still reading these? Not that I need 100's of comments, but 1 or 2 is nice. Is this helping anyone at all? At least made you think? Please talk to me. (I know that sounds a little desperate, but I am thinking about not finishing this experiment, because it is just boring everyone and has made you stop coming to my blog.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Evan's birthday was the other day. (Cinco de Mayo) We had such a great time. The night before we had a spur-of-the-moment barbeque because the weather was so nice. If any of you don't know, we are bbq fanatics. If the weather is at all nice..."Let's have a bbq!" That was fun. Got to sit around and make s'mores at the fire pit too.

The next day, we dropped off the kids (Thank you Stephanie and Brandi) and headed into town. Months ago Evan purchased a two night stay at one of the hotels here in town at a silent auction at an event he was photographing. So we cashed it in and checked into the hotel. Then we became tourists in our own city. We ate at nice restaurants and saw a good movie. (Date Night is hilarious. I was crying I was laughing so hard.) We got to go to the temple. Did a little shopping. (Sportsmans' and Cabela's. It was Evan's birthday after all.) All in all it was very relaxing and enjoyable to be just the two of us for a while. It was nice not to worry about work or what needs to be done around the house or yard. We even got to sleep in a little bit.

So I just wanted to say thank you to Evan for having a birthday and for letting me be a part of your life. I am incredibly blessed to have you. I know that I drive you nuts constantly, but thank you for putting up with it and continuing to love me in spite of me.

You are the most amazing father. Your kids just adore you and light up when you are around. I don't blame them. You care so much about them and their well-being. Thank you for that.

I just wanted everyone (Evan included) to know how much I love him. My life has been so great since I met you. I'm not saying we've never had hard times, but through those times is when we really see how much we love each other.

Happy Birthday Evan!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Week 18

*For explanation of The Happiness Experiment" go HERE .*

Last week's secrets:
Little things have big meanings.
It's not what happened, it's how you think about what happened.

Secret #35
Develop some common interests with loved ones.

"Common interests can make it more fun to be around your family and friends. They can allow you to see that your bonds are much deeper than just circumstance."

Until I married Evan I had been to one or two professional baseball games. But now, I've been to countless. I don't have a team. I usually cheer for whoever he does, but it has drawn us closer and it is so much fun to take the kids to games now and enjoy that time together. It's become something that we look forward to. I think there is probably something like that for everyone that even though it may not interest you at first, you may be surprised that you really enjoy it. Or you may just enjoy all that time together.

"Each common interest between people in a relationship increases the likelihood of a lasting relationship and results in an increase in life satisfaction of about 2 percent."

Secret #36

"Don't spend your time evaluating humor, asking yourself, "Is it really funny?" or "Do others think it's funny?" Just react and enjoy it."

We've all heard that laughter is the best medicine. I believe it. I've always thought that laughter was very important to one's health. You need to be able to laugh. Even when you don't feel like it. Especially when you don't feel like it. When I was younger I had a notebook full of things that made me laugh. Cut out of magazines like Reader's Digest and others. Just things that made me smile. I need to start doing that again. It's nice when you're in a not-so-nice mood. A reminder that life isn't that bad.

I'm not sure what class it was that Haley was taking or why they were studying it, but I remember that she had a bunch of us do some laughter exercises that she had learned in class. It started out just fake laughing. Laughing the vowel sounds or saying the names of fruit without showing any teeth. It always ended in tear-streaming laughter. Our sides hurt. I loved it. I don't know why we stopped. Maybe I should make that a weekly even daily exercise. Laughing is an incredible ab workout.

"In studies of hundreds of adults, happiness was found to be related to humor. The ability to laugh, whether at life itself or at a good joke, is a source of life satisfaction. Indeed those who enjoy silly humor are one-third more likely to feel happy."

Develop some common interests with loved ones.