Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A New Me

I came home from my trip early and it has been a really great thing because...

1. I really appreciated when my husband came home and realized how much he does to help me keep sane.

2. I got some time to relax without the routine of school and other demands.

3. I was more ready to start the new year.

I did have to deal with Jane being sick when we got back, but it was 24 hours, so it didn't last very long. I struggled to cope with taking care of the girls on my own, but it really was good for me to start asking myself some hard questions.

I gave the lesson in Relief Society (a woman's organization at my church). Two of the questions in the talk that I used for the lesson were "Am I truly happy?" and "Are my efforts leading me to the highest spiritual goals and values of life?" (Talk titled "It Works Wonderfully!") I took a good long hard look at myself and I knew that something had to change or I would continue feeling stagnant in my personal growth. I received some impressions about what I should be doing, what things I needed to improve on and or cut out of my life. I need to be reading God's word with purpose, praying more sincerely, cutting out phone and computer wandering, and doing things that bring me joy and peace personally so that I can offer more to my family.

Then I read another conference talk,  "What Lack I Yet?" This talk spoke straight to my heart. I remember being impressed by this talk when I listened to it the first time, but it was very powerful to study it as I read it. I am so thankful that I can get direction on what I should be doing. I have received more powerful impressions about ways that I can improve. I won't give you all the details, but I can tell you that I have started 2016 better than I have in a long time. I think it helps that I am preparing for a baby...nesting!

Here are a few things that I have been doing that have invigorated me and helped me to feel more prepared for the new year:

1. I planned our family home evening lessons and activities for the year.
2. I organized my desk area, pantry and finances.
3. I have been reading and studying general conference talks everyday.
4. We made cookie plates and delivered them to neighbors.
5. I created a chore chart for Jane and have the prize waiting for her when she accomplishes her goals.
6. I have done my dishes everyday at lunchtime instead of waiting for them to pile up.
7. I have created meal menu options that I can reference.
8. I have written down the things that I want to accomplish each day in my task manager on my phone.
9. I have stayed away from social media and began projects that have been on my list.
10. I spent time talking with my husband about my personal goals and our goals as a family.

What have you done this new year that has helped you?

I hope you are enjoying a hopeful and meaningful new year!


Christmas 2015


1. I got to visit with my oldest sister. It was short, but it was great to be able to talk with her. 

2. My Grandma Panganiban came from California to visit and I got to visit with my Grandma Pingree that lives in Utah. 

3. My sister Joanie and her husband McKay stayed at my mom's house too, so we got to visit, play games and cook together.

4. I got to spend the day with my older sister Holly and her cute family. We went to see their new home in Saratoga Springs, played at The Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point, and ate at Pizza Studio. It was a great day!

5. I got to spend the evening with my roommates from Las Vegas and BYU-Idaho. We visited, ate yummy food, and had an ornament exchange. It was so fun to catch up with them. The evening went too fast. 

6. Cody and I got to do some Christmas shopping together. 

7. We went to the movies with my mom and two of my siblings on Christmas day...a long-standing tradition.

8. I finally saw and held two nephews (Cody Lytle and Joel Wharton) and my niece (Hannah Thornton). They were all born while we were in Wisconsin!


1. I got terribly sick a few days before Christmas and ended up in the hospital. I had to have two bags of water through an IV to stop contractions. I threw up and suffered through all that comes with having the flu seven months pregnant. 

2. I didn't get to eat much of the delicious food that my grandma and family made and I felt crummy for the remainder of my travels. 

3. I didn't get to see the Christmas lights at temple square because I ended up changing my plane ticket to come home earlier, so we went to Alamo, NV sooner than we thought we would. 

4. I didn't get to spend as much time with my husband's family as I would have liked. I cried when we left because I knew that I would not be seeing my in-laws and my nieces and nephews for a long time. It is especially hard to think about missing their growing up. Thankfully we have ways to still see each other through technology, but it isn't the same as being close.

A quick video my sister Holly took of Christmas Eve.
This is me trying flapping at The Museum of Natural Curiosity.
Cleaning up after my brother's luncheon.

Me, Julie, Jackie, Linds, and Candace at our roommate reunion. So much fun!
Here are just some of the cousins at Adam and Connie Lytle's home. Jane and Maurie had fun playing with so many cousins.

I got to take pictures of my sister Joanie and her husband Mckay. They celebrated their two year anniversary and Joanie graduated college. We love them so much!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Another Sibling Married

So, my trip home was eventful and not how I pictured, but I am glad that I went.

The first reason I went was for my brother's wedding. I am so glad I got to see them and celebrate with them.

I didn't get any pictures of the bride and groom together, which is lame, but I did take a few photos of the girls before we went to the reception.

 The reception was Friday evening at a beautiful mansion. They served hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls. We took the wedding photos there. I felt pretty foolish in the photos because I had to put my hand on belly to signify that I was pregnant and not just fat. ;) Jamie and Alyssa were stunning. They had beautiful engagement photos set up and the flowers and decor were lovely. That evening we went to eat and ended up going home early because the girls were beat. Everyone else helped set up the luncheon for the next day. On Saturday morning Jamie and Alyssa were married in the Salt Lake Temple. It was a very busy day. There were 84 weddings that day, 28 which were going to be in a 4 hour period. It was my first time going inside the Salt Lake Temple. The girls stayed with Alyssa's cousins and did well while we attended the sealing. I enjoyed listening to the sealer's message of unselfish love and service. I was reminded that I need to let Cody know more often how much I love and appreciate him. I got to meet and visit with Jamie's long-time roommates and I even saw two of my students from BYU-Idaho. I didn't speak with them, but one of them had got married and looked very happy. It is always fun to see past students.

The luncheon was a bit stressful at first because there was a lot of preparation, but it turned out really well. The food was delicious and the company was even better. I got to visit with aunts, uncles and cousins that I have not seen in awhile. I was especially nervous about giving a gift to Alyssa that would help her live with Jamie easier. It is a tradition in her family, and however nervous I was, I thought it turned out well. I gave her a pillow and talked about how Jamie and I had played "binga belly" which is a game where we would run at each other as hard as we could with pillows on our stomach and see how far we could bounce the other. Since Jamie is younger, he would usually bounce back the farthest, but I tied it all together by sharing with Alyssa that when life got tough and Jamie got too serious, that she should remind him that getting set back means that they can bounce back and even have fun doing it. All of the siblings did a great job with their gift and message.

I am very happy for Jamie and Alyssa! I look forward to seeing how their family changes and grows.

Flying with Small Children

Traveling with small children is a challenge! I wanted to share some of the things that I learned on our journey. My daughters are four and one years old. My oldest had her own seat on the plane, but I had my second on my lap. On the way to SLC I had to get on three different planes. I was seven months pregnant and had two small children, so I learned a lot!

1. Do not try to carry much! I ended up carrying three coats, a baby carrier and a backpack and it led to me losing the baby carrier and adding more stress to the process. I also had packed Jane's backpack too heavy, so I was worried about her as we trekked across the airport twice. Check all the bags that you can and carry only the most necessary items with you on the plane. There is not enough room. Also, a word on types of bags to bring...pack a bag that opens and closes easily. One of my backpacks was hard to open and retrieve things from and when you are already in a tight space, this can be really annoying. One of the other moms that was traveling had a bag that essentially did not close at the top, but stayed upright and fit under the seat. She had a much easier time on the plane, but she only had one child and had a direct flight, so she was probably not worried about packing it far. My daughters pack could be strapped to her and my husband also attached a "leash" before we left so I could keep her close.

2. Snacks. Pack light and meaningful snacks. I brought mandarin oranges, raisins, chips, fruit pouches (4 oz), pretzels,some Starburst for when they really needed some motivation, and empty water bottles that I could fill before boarding the plane. I did not have any problems with TSA on any of the baby items that I needed to bring.

3. Age appropriate activities that is saved specifically for the trip. For example, my older daughter had never colored in the coloring book before and the toys were bought and saved for the trip. For my one year old, the stickers, the dry erase board and the play-doh were a hit. When she didn't want to sit on my lap I pulled those out and she was entertained enough to keep her in one spot. I did also walk up and down the aisles a few times when the fasten seat belt light was off. My one year old also ate a lot of snacks and that kept her happy. My four year old colored, played with Disney princess figurines, molded play-doh, watched a movie on my I-phone (apps are good to have downloaded ahead of time too), read a few board books and did a puzzle. She also enjoyed helping me entertain my younger daughter. I used whatever distraction I could. She was incredibly helpful and good during our eight hours of traveling on the way and thankfully slept half of the time on the way home. Think of activities that your little one is consumed by at home and see if you can modify it enough to bring aboard the plane. I had enough variety to switch snacks and or activities throughout the trip and this made all the difference. Even one of the passengers that my one year old waved at throughout the flight commented on how I had come prepared. It made me feel really good.

4. Be flexible with yourself and stay positive. During the flights and the switches I praised my children for how good they were, stayed polite and grateful with all the flight staff and talked with fellow passengers. Each time we switched planes or got through a certain amount of time I checked it off in my mind as a victory. Sometimes it also helped to imagine the alternative to my flights which was three days of driving. I flexibly accommodated my children's wants and needs as best as I could without worrying about how I would do it. Don't get too bent out of shape if they want to sing or say hello to people around them. This is better than crying and tantrums and most of the people we encountered were charmed by my children's outgoing personalities.

Most of all, prepare ahead of time by talking with your children about what to expect and having the right stuff with you.

Travel safely and have fun!
© Lucy Jo. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.