Sunday, November 12, 2017

Turning 40

39…it was a gloomy number for me. I was dreading what came next, big time. Other people seemed to have no issues with it and it didn’t seem to be such a big deal. But for me, it meant I had to take the plunge into the next decade and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it! I think I had this image of a 40-year-old that didn’t match at all what I thought of myself. It just seemed there were things that should have been accomplished by now or things that I should have figured out by now that I hadn't done or figured out.

I have never looked my age. When I was graduating from college, people thought I was just graduating from high school, and I was 26! I never appreciated that I looked much younger because I didn’t see the advantage. If all the guys thought I was too young for them then none of them would ever consider me. In reality, I was older than them!! In the end, I married someone who is 3 years younger than me, so maybe there is some sense in there somewhere.

I decided to make some goals to work towards which might make my crossing into the next decade a little more enjoyable, a little more positive. I called it “144 Days to 40” with no particular significance other that it gave me a few months and it was catchy.

I’ll share this list with you. I didn’t want it to be a stressful thing that I would feel defeated if I didn’t accomplish it. Some things I finished; others didn’t even get touched. And it doesn’t include anything spectacular either. I wish I could report that I was able to come up with something grand and life changing. Many ideas came from my family and a few from friends. A few came from my own brain. Maybe something will be useful for someone who passes by.

So here goes:

1. Find a better bra solution. It’s just time.
This one took a good chunk of my 144 days. I am small chested. It has always been hard for me to find something that I like. I wear whatever bra that works day in and day out, rarely washing it (just being honest) because I didn’t have a backup. Then, of course, I let too much time pass and forget where I got it or I didn’t want to spend the money. What I needed from a bra was comfort, not too tight around the rib cage, straps that stay put, a little bit of padding for protection and shape. I didn’t want it to make me look bigger than I am.

I tried the popular internet bra, ThirdLove. It didn’t feel any different to me than any other store bought bra. Memory foam and stretchy straps included, it was nothing special for me. Sent it back.

Next, I went to Dillards to be measured (every woman’s dream) by the pros who actually go to bra fitting school, only to be told that they didn’t carry my size and they could order it in or I could go to the teen section. I went home with a couple bras, Wacoal brand, that you pull over your head and resemble a nursing sleep bra. In the end, they went back.

Next, I visited Victoria Secret. They claim to know just what a woman wants in a bra. I had been told by friends to just bite the bullet and go get a Victoria Secret bra. They measured me, didn’t have my size, ordered and shipped it to my house. I wore it for a day and returned it.

Last I tried a couple bras from the internet company Knixwear. One with padding and one without. The one with padding is the one that I’m sticking with. It works for me because it isn’t too tight, it covers and protects, and it fits just right. $55 a piece, but sometimes you just gotta spend it for a good bra.  

I’ve stopped searching but that doesn’t mean it is the perfect solution. I didn’t try any companies that specialized in small chests. So, if any of you in my same boat have found a good solution, please share!!

2.  Complete Personal Progress
In my church, there is a program in the Young Women (ages 12-18) called Personal Progress that girls work on to help them strengthen their faith in God and Jesus Christ, learn skills that are useful, etc. There are 8 areas called values that they focus on: Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue. When I was a Young Woman, I was not able to accomplish this program. With each virtue there are experiences and a 10+ hour project. Now as a leader, the requirements are a little different.  I had to complete all the experiences but was only required to do 3 projects. By the time I figured this difference out, I had already started and made plans for 6 of them.
My projects were as followed:

Faith: Memorize “The Living Christ” document. We did this as a family, all those that could. It has been an incredible experience, learning the words of latter-day prophets and teaching my children what they mean. They are powerful words that teach about Christ. We will make a family video of this soon.

Divine Nature: I learned about making different kinds of breads, trying recipes of friends. I taught my daughter, Rosie, to make artisan bread.

Individual Worth: I participated in a production of “Journey to Neverland” which was put on by Julie Moffet Ballet School. I was a tap dancing star fish.

Knowledge: Learn to grow a better garden and start a compost. In our new house, there were a couple square foot garden boxes already made. So we just mixed up our own soil, following Mel’s Mix recommendations found in Square Foot Gardening. I’m not sure I learned anything spectacular other than I just kept at it, watering daily. We reaped the fruits of zucchini, yellow squash, many sweet Japanese cucumbers, lots of kinds of lettuce, sugar snap peas, green beans, yellow wax beans, short carrots, green onions, beets, and zinnias. I unfortunately didn’t get a compost going. We don’t have a lot of space outside so I wanted to buy one of those rotating ones. Still need to do that.

Good Works: An excerpt from my journal—“I spent 2 days giving my constant attention and time to my daughter, Lorelai [3], helping her potty train. This was something that I was putting off and dreading doing. This stretched me in many ways causing me to use great patience when I would normally be very frustrated. This is also a life skill that she will use every day for the rest of her life. Dab.”

Virtue: Read the Book of Mormon

After completing the Personal Progress requirements, I can now wear the Young Women medallion. I still need to get that.

3. Learn and practice mindfulness. My friend, Renee, introduced me to Tibeten singing bowls and also gave me one for my birthday. I love it and am still just learning what it means to meditate and calm my mind.

4. Start using a menstrual cup. This was another Renee recommendation. Learning to use this may be the best thing out of all my “144 to 40” goals. I don’t know where this has been my whole womanhood. We should all be doing this!! Zero waste, so it is much better for the environment. I only need to change it twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. If you can do a tampon, you can do this. AND, we should all have one of these in our emergency kits for ourselves and all our daughters. A tip: I got the Diva Cup and did have to trim the tip a little bit. I have another no-name cup as a back-up but haven’t had to use it yet. There is a tiny bit of a learning curve so stick with it and you’ll be glad you did!! Give it a try!

5. Paint a self-portrait. I haven’t done this yet. Maybe I’ll get some lessons from my artist brother this Thanksgiving. I have the canvas though!

6. Become friends with a homeless person. This opportunity has not yet come along.

7. Reconnect with someone from my past. I tried and tried to find my friends Becky and Adam Witt. I knew them in college at BYU about 14 years ago. I tried Facebook, Google, and the BYU alumni directory but have not been able to find them. I will continue my search. Anyone out there that can connect me to them??

Instead, I had a much overdue lunch with my good friend, Natasha, from high school. She is the kind of friend that picks up right where we left off 20+ years ago.

8. Write life history so far. This will take much longer but at least I have a start. I would like to copy and paste these stories into the FamilyTree app where I can keep them in a central location to be enjoyed for years to come.

9. Get a bike and use it. This was a goal that was dependent on money or the lack thereof. This will have to remain something for the future.

10. Compile recipes from 40 friends and make a book with my favorite memory of each one. I started making a list of friends I would want to include in my book and the list surpassed double that number. That is where this project sits for now.

11. Invite people over for dinner 1-2 times a month. For me, inviting people over for dinner is a big deal. I’m not a party planner but I would love to be! I think we did this 3 out of the 5 months. Not bad. Definitely room for improvement.

12. Write a bucket list for the next 40. This was a fun and easy one. All I had to do was list everything that I want to do for the rest of my life. When I reach 80, I’ll make another one.

13. Lose 5-10 lbs. I lost 7. I hiked with friends during the summer and started doing a daily green smoothie. Gained a few back during my trip to San Francisco. Easy go, easy come?

14. Get rid of insecurities and self-consciousness. Ha! Yea right. That’s a lofty goal. But I can say that I am letting things that would normally get to me, roll off my back at lot easier. At some point, I have to be willing to accept myself for who I am, lumps and moles and veins and all. My quirks are my own. We all have them. I’m trying to be nicer to myself and cut myself a little slack. It’s way overdue. If I can’t make someone like me, well, then it shouldn’t affect how I feel about myself. I’ve found myself giving myself little mental pep talks to get me though moments of insecurity. “Just stand up straight and smile, Shell.” “You’re doing just fine, Shell.”  

I do a lot as a mother of 5 young children. I keep them alive and fed. I do my best to teach them correct principles. I do my best to love them the way they need to be loved. I’m a work in progress. 40 is not the age to have it all figured out, as I may have thought it was. There was a bit of panic that set in when I realized that a significant portion of my life was behind me. What have I done? What have I learned? Have I influenced anyone for good? Have I made good choices? Has my life been worthwhile? I’m glad I don’t have to answer those questions finally and that the verdict is still out.   

To celebrate my 40th birthday, my husband and I took a fabulous trip to San Francisco to see sights and visit all the lighthouses we could. It was great. Now, that the clock has ticked over and past 40, I can say that I’m happy with this new decade and am embracing it, ready for the next 40!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Is this blog dead, or what?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Favorite Things Friday #10

Dave's birthday was a week ago so I'm a little behind. But I've been wanting to post this and I'm taking the opportunity today.

A little bit about Dave:
He is a genuine big kid. He loves sugar cereals. He loves getting the t-shirt or other special offers on the back of the sugar cereals (one of the very few things he ever asks me to do for him). He is a collector of hats (mostly of the beanie sorts). Come winter time and we start digging through the hat/glove bin, I'm always amazed that we probably could clothe the heads of an entire elementary school.

His words, "Now we can be a modern family!"

He is such a good father to Charlie and Pete. He gets down on their level, ya know. He understands them, he loves them, he entertains them. They love him too. Recently, Charlie has been clapping and cheering when Daddy comes home from work.

He loves what he does at work. He loves the people he works with. That makes me happy. He is currently re-reading the Harry Potter books in his free time.

Never is a complaining word uttered from his mouth. He is gracious to me for everything I do. He is thoughtful and considerate. He is nonjudgmental. He is a man of integrity. He is practical, incredibly intelligent, and thrifty. He'll eat anything I make, except for some squash I made when we were dating but I apparently didn't cook it enough, so....

He has a few really good friends, whom of which will be his friends for life. He has a soft spot for cats because of his childhood, long-living friend, Silver.

And, he is a great dancer---the real reason for which I married him. Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Favorite Things Friday #9

I love free giveaways. Emergency Essentials is a neat website where you can order just that...emergency essentials. They also have a blog that gives little tid bits about food storage, what you need, that sort of thing. Last year for Christmas, my parents gave us Emergency Essentials gift certificates and I just barely ordered a bunch of #10 cans of food storage. If you get hooked up with their e-mails, they let you know when they are doing giveaway contests. I've already posted their button on my family blog and I got a $10 gift certificate in the mail about 3 days later.

And here is, yet, another chance to get a $10 gift card. Try out their food storage analyzer. It is free to set up an account where it asks you how many people are in your family. Then you enter what you have in your food storage. It calculates how many days your food storage will last, the nutrients available in the food you have and the kinds of foods you need to add. I thought it was very useful! With my little family of 4, we could survive 35 days with what I entered in the analyzer! Pretty neat, huh?! Check it out and get your $10 card.

Gift Card Giveaway

Friday, September 11, 2009

Favorite Things Friday #8

Jelly Bellies!

My favorite flavors are:

Pink Grapefruit
Root Beer
Black Licorice
Dr. Pepper

What are your favorites?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Garden update

For those of you who haven't heard me rant and rave about Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, well, just go to his website, get the book at the library and contemplate the possibilities. In a weekend, we got our garden up and running. We planted from seed: beets, radishes, two kinds of lettuce, carrots, onions, beans, sweet peas, cucumbers, squash, and green peppers. Then we transplanted our three tomato plants. We are learning what things we like to grow and where to strategically plant them so they don't take over the sunlight of some poor unsuspecting lettuce plant. Here is what it looked like when things were just starting to sprout in May:

And here is today:

That monster in the middle there is apparently a bush tomato plant of the grape variety. It looked so small and innocent when I bought it at Lowe's. It is taking over and we keep having to support it up and up. Ya, probably not going to get that kind again next year. Or maybe we'll have to make that support system Mel talks about.

Another view. We replanted some more lettuce and sweet peas because we want more of them. And our green peppers are a little slow to grow, that's what the little ones are.

Our carrot box is doing so-so.

Here are just a few pictures of our harvest, though tomatoes, peas, beans, and lettuce are not included because we are constantly harvesting them.

Look closely and you'll see two tiny frogs playing in the lettuce. We love that the frogs like our garden and hopefully they keep the bugs in check.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Favorite Things Friday #7

I had the best tasting, most tender, melt-in-your-mouth nectarine today. I'm pretty sure they are my favorite fruit. Nectarines are said to be a "mutant" peach. They are genetically identical to peaches but nectarines have a recessive gene that makes them fuzz-less.

If I like nectarines so much, then other people must like them too. Why, then, are there not nectarine-flavored things like yogurt or candy or recipes for nectarine pie or crisp? Nectarine-flavored gum, jelly bellies, fruit juice, ice cream, jell-o, or chewy vitamins.

Someday I'd like live in a place where I can grow nectarine trees and pick them perfectly ripe. That would be nice.