Monday, November 29, 2010

Very Merry Christmas Cards

This year, I am longing to try out Shutterfly's holiday cards. It has been years since I sent out cards - the cost plus the need to have a good family picture have precluded it. But this year, I have an opportunity to get 50 free cards from Shutterfly, and I am going for it! (Although with Shutterfly, the cards are so cheap anyway that I might have done it!) They are offering the free cards to bloggers, and so here we are. 

There are so many great cards to choose from that it may be difficult to decide!!! I really like the message on this one, along with the use of pops of color:

I would love this one, maybe with a picture of the whole family in the middle and one of the boys on one side and the girls on the other:

And this one is just fun with the snowflakes and the colorful letters against a black and white photo, whether I use a family picture of one of just the kids:

Or, finally, this one, which is a folded card, and which I think is just so simple and beautiful:

I also like the gift options that Shutterfly offers, especially the calendars, which I am thinking might make a good gift for certain family members:

So there are my top picks from Shutterfly for this holiday season - what are yours? If you blog, head on over and fill out the form too! It is one way to make your Christmas a little merrier!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

Let me start off by saying that I dislike the song whose lyrics are composing my title this morning. As a matter of fact, looking back to yesterday, I referenced another song from that production in my title as well. I actually do not care for that movie. I know what you are saying on the other side of your computer screens. "What, does she kick puppies too?" No, I don't. Well, except for that one time. But he was asking for it...

The reason I chose those lyrics for this post is not because I am thankful for raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but rather because that song is composed of a seemingly unending list of what the singer's favorite things are, and after missing a few days of posting, that is what my list of things I am thankful for is starting to feel like. So let us catch up to today, before it gets any more out of hand.

Over the weekend, I came down with the cold that I have been fighting off in Anna for the last week and a half. It was inevitable, I suppose, but my 6th day found me grateful for health as I was saying goodbye to my own.

Sunday was the 7th day (how appropriate,) and the weather here was rainy and cold. I was thankful for the rainy day, when I was able to just stay inside, in comfy clothes, on my bed, fighting the cold and rading and playing Lego Harry Potter on the Wii (don't judge - it is an addictive game.)

Yesterday, Monday, day 8, I was thankful for being able to get up and make breakfast for my kids. Most mornings I work out early, and the kids have already fended for themselves by the time I get home. Since I was still kind of sick, I didn't workout, but instead made the kids French toast. (I hate French toast, but they love it.) They had bellies full of warm food, and that made us all happy.

That brings us to today - number 9 in the lineup. Today I am thankful for a combo - vitamin C, zinc, and Airborne. Thanks to those, and copious amounts of water, I am pretty much over my cold - a record 2 1/2 days in length - and was able to go to the gym this morning and run my first-ever 5K on the treadmill.

Ah, I am all caught up (can I be grateful for that too?) What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Hills Are Alive

Tonight, I get to do one of my very favorite things. I get to go and see one of my favorite bands play live in Sacramento. They are an independent band from Arizona, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, and they play at Harlow's, which means a smaller crowd than the big bands get, which means that if I choose, I can be right up in front of the stage. Typically, that is where I go, but the last time we went to see the band, Jon ended up feeling ill afterward, and came down with the swine flu the next day, which he conveniently blamed on being too close to the stage (something about his height and being too close to the speakers making it worse for him than average size people - have I ever told you that he blames everything on his height???) Anyhow, he has determined that he no longer wants to be up in the crowd, but rather back at a table where he can sit (does he sound old or what?) So we will see if I end up on the floor alone or back at the table with him - last time I was waiting near the stage before it started and Jon wasn't with me yet, and some guy complemented my shirt while staring at my chest. I'd rather not be alone in the crowd ;)

Anyhow, this all brings me to what I am grateful for today. I am extremely thankful for music. I LOVE music. I love to sing (I sang tenor in high school and was in a musical where I was a gospel singing nun.) I love to dance. Music makes me feel lighter and happier when I want to, or it embraces my melancholy when I need it to. I love lyrics and melody. If I had to make the horrible choice between being deaf or blind, I would have to go with blind, because to never hear music again would make my life miserable. So that is what I am thankful for today - what about you? Oh, and here is a picture of the guys I will be seeing tonight - I'm not sure the picture does him justice, but the lead singer is hot. Just an added bonus to how awesome he is live.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jamie, I'm so glad you're mine

On my fourth day of counting my blessings, I am thankful for my sister-in-law Jamie, who came to save me today when my car ran out of gas on the freeway. If it were not for her, I would, at the very least, still be walking home. Not only did Jamie save me from possibly being picked up by a random trucker, but she has done many great and wonderful things for my family, besides the fact that she is just funny and fun to hang out with. She is more than willing to dance, sing, or just do other random crazy things, bringing some spontaneity into anyone's life. And so I am grateful for Jamie Sartain.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sweet Child of Mine

I am finding so many things to be grateful for that it is hard to choose which one to use which day.

On day #3, I am thankful for my youngest, 3 1/2 year old Jonathan Neil Joyner. With the other three in school all day, he and I get to spend a lot of time together. He is extremely cute, just ask any of the women who he charms each week at church. He flirts with women shamelessly, at the store, the library, the school - any age, any shape and size - he is equal opportunity! Jonathan constantly tries to talk his way into/out of things, starting sentences with "How about" or "I know!" and raising his eyebrows repeatedly at you to try to get you to do what he wants. I am completely immune, unfortunately for him. Since being potty trained earlier this year, he is determined to mark his territory, asking me at every place we go "Do they have a bathroom here?" I have started telling him no, just because I can't take going into one more bathroom when I know he is forcing himself to go (he also has amazing control over that!) He can be cute and cuddly or independent and willful, and I love watching him figure things out each day. One of my favorite things is the fact that he can pick up almost entire songs the first time or two he hears them, and I will catch him singing parts of them while I am driving or while he is playing (makes you pay attention to what he hears - he was singing "Highway to Hell" from the backseat a while back.) I am thankful for all that he adds to my life and our family.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thank you, thank you

Today as I sit at my desk, making phone calls for dental appointments, calling for support for our upcoming hospital stay, and checking in with family and friends, I am thankful for Mr. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. I know that there are days when I wish that the telephone wouldn't ring anymore (last night, when all the politicians kept "calling" me to secure my vote is a good example) and I long for a trip to a desert island where no one could find me, but this morning I find the telephone to be an invaluable invention.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Counting My Blessings

Somehow it is already November. I have no idea where it came from, or where the year has gone, but there it was this morning, waiting for me when my alarm went off. As we all know, the big deal this month is Turkey Day. Also known as The Day We All Eat Too Much. Or The Day Before Black Friday. Or, for some of us, The Day We All Get Dressed Up To Go and Fight With Our Families (I haven't experienced that one, but have heard stories.) But, officially, it is known as Thanksgiving.

This month, in order to keep  my blessings at the forefront of my mind as our family is going through some hard things, and in order to truly remember to give thanks for those blessings, I am instituting the 25 Days of Thanksgiving. Every day I will post something that I am thankful for. I encourage you all to do the same, whether you post it or not, just take some time every day through Thanksgiving to write down one thing that you are thankful for. Keep the list to look at when times are darker. Or if your times are dark now, use that time every day to find a shaft of light to follow. Surely in this world, where we are all alive and surviving, where we have food and clothes and roofs over our heads, we can find just 25 things to be thankful for.

So today, on the 1st of November, I am thankful for a body that is able to run (even if it doesn't like it) and then go and take a workout class without passing out or throwing up. What are you thankful for?   

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Anna Marie Joyner

Well, by popular demand (hey, to me, 4 people makes it popular!) I will continue with the family blog, and try to do better at posting things and such.

I expected this post to be a little more fun, and had another subject matter planned, but then yesterday happened and suddenly my thoughts are consumed with what is coming.

As most of you know, Anna has scoliosis. She has been wearing a brace for it 23 hours a day 7 days a week for the past couple years, not to correct it but to prevent it from getting worse. Anna, who has always been an overachiever, has not one but three curves in her spine, ranging in severity. The worst of the bunch has been measuring in the 50 degree range, and from the beginning we knew that if that curve reached the 60s, surgery would need to occur. Surgery was always inevitable, we were just putting it off as long as possible to give her torso time to finish growing.

Every three months we go to see the spinal surgeon so he can measure her spine with is little level-y thing, and every six months we take new xrays with us. And every visit, nothing has really changed. And so the cycle has gone, until yesterday. Yesterday, the doctor paused over the xray, and took a little longer measuring with his level, and I knew. We are usually in and out in a matter of minutes, but not this time. This time we spent a half hour in the exam room, and when we left, we had a date for surgery.

Friday, December 3rd, Anna will be admitted to the hospital for surgery to attach a rod to her spine. The surgery will be long, followed by a few days in the hospital and then 6-8 weeks of recovery at home. Once again, we are headed into new territory with this girl - sometimes I wish she wasn't such a trailblazer. There are comforting things about the whole process: we have THE BEST surgeon, internationally known for his breakthroughs in spinal surgery. People try to get in to his practice and fail - he fell into our laps two years ago. Anna has already stayed in this same hospital for several days when she was diagnosed with diabetes, so she knows a lot about it and isn't worried about that part. The surgery date falls right before Jon is scheduled to go and open the new restaurant for Noodles, meaning that he should have no problem getting a few paid days off to be there for all the hospital stuff. We are blessed. Now we just pray and wait out the five weeks before the surgery, and then take a deep breath and go with the flow.

This morning I am heading to the temple to center myself and prepare.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

To blog or not to blog, that is the question. Lately, it has obviously been the latter. I have been posting pictures to Facebook instead. So, those of you who read this blog, (in the past tense - why are the present and past tenses of "read" the same? It is confusing. But I digress...) should I start my blogging up again? Do you really want to hear the stories that go along with our pictures, or are they cute/funny/traumatizing only to me? Let me know - if you want some blogging, I will do some. If not, that's ok too.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TRULY honest

Ok, so I was tagged about a month and a half ago by my sister-in-law Lindsey to post ten TRULY honest things about me, and it has taken me this long to sit down and do it! So here goes:

1. I LOVE to read. I got started before kindergarten, and haven't stopped. I can read a 700+ page book in a day if I am really into it. I have a stack from the library beside my bed at all times, usually compiled of at least 6 books to be read. Jon had to build me a little two shelf bookshelf to go beside my bed just so that I can keep things from toppling to the floor.

2. I like cartoons. Disney cartoons are my favorite, but I like a lot of other ones too. It is something I have never gotten over since I was a kid. I have rented Ducktales from Netflix for my kids, and I often end up sitting and watching them too. (On that note, I know the songs to all the Disney Afternoon cartoons that were on when I was a kid.) 

3. I MISS coffee. Mochas, lattes, coffee with cream and sugar. I dream about it sometimes. I love to walk down the coffee aisle at the store, and I have occasional battles with myself over whether or not coffee ice cream is acceptable under the Word of Wisdom (so far I have not been able to win that argument with  myself, and thus haven't had any coffee ice cream goodness.) In heaven there had better be something that tastes EXACTLY like coffee that I am allowed to have in excess.

4. I always think that people don't like me, and am always worried that I have said or done something to offend someone. I want everyone to like me, even people who I don't necessarily like. I have issues, I know.

5. I am a sucker for Irish guys. The accent gets me every time. Jon knows that if I ever meet a relatively attractive Irish guy who wants to sleep with me, my hands are tied.

6. I have a tattoo, and if I hadn't joined the church, I would most likely have another one. I have never been ashamed of it (thought I do not go around telling people that I have one because I do not enjoy being judged.)

7. I love to sing. I was in many choirs in high school, and also in the Northern California Honor Choir. I was in a musical about 5 nuns - I was the gospel singing one.

8. This goes along with #7 - when I was in high school I wanted to be a black gospel singer. Not going to happen, I know, but still something that I always wanted to be.

9. I have a soft spot for 80's movies, especially John Hughes movies. Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Say Anything, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Some Kind of Wonderful. Footloose,  Dirty Dancing, I could go on. I can watch these movies any time, and they always make me feel like a teenager again. And they are the ultimate girl's night videos.

10. Each guy that I either a) had a severe crush on or b) dated in high school had at least one main trait that Jon has: two were very tall, two were LDS, one was a musician, etc. If I had added them all up, I would have known what I was looking for!  

So there you go, my ten truths. I am going to tag:

Raimi Krupp
and Erin Greene

Friday, March 26, 2010

Count Your Many Blessings

Today seems like a good day for counting my blessings, before I get too far down the road that leads to "I don't have anything good in my life," which starts with "why do they have/get/deserve that/those and I don't?" So here goes:

1. This guy here always makes the top of my list:
2. Then there is this girl:
3. And her:
4. Can't forget this guy:
5. And my other favorite Jonathan:
6. There are these two, who I love and always have fun with:
7. My husband is currently employed:
8. Next week Jon and I are going to see this for our 30th birthdays:

9. We just got season passes to here:
10. And in April, my dad is taking my sister, niece, and I here:

Ok, I am feeling better now. And those 10 are just a handful of all the blessings I have in my life right now. What are your top ten today?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pretty Irish Girl

Mora na maidine dhuit, or top o' the mornin' to you! Today is St. Patrick's Day, which is definitely in the running for being one of my favorite holidays. I am part Irish, so it is obviously already a prerequisite to love the day. I am all about wearing green and I love shamrocks. I plan one year to carry a bag full of St. Patrick's Day buttons or green ribbons or something to hand out to all those people who aren't wearing green. Ireland is on my list of places to go in my life. My husband has also been forewarned that if I ever come across a cute Irish guy who is interested in me, all bets are off, because I can't resist that accent!

In addition to all these reasons to love St. Patrick's Day, there was something else...what was it? Oh, that's right - it is also my birthday! This particular year I happen to be turning 30, which I am actually pretty happy about. It feels good to be entering a whole new decade of life, and to know that there will never be a 2 in front of my age again. In celebration, this morning I met my dad for breakfast, dressed wearin' my green, of course (in my family, it is a punishable crime to not wear green on St. Patty's Day, and I enforce that rule!) I gorged myself on a strawberry Belgian waffle and hot chocolate (it's a good thing calories don't count on your birthday!) This evening there are some plans in the works that I am not privy to, and I love surprises so I am excited for that. My kids sang to me this morning, and my husband had also made a video of them singing. Here is a link, since for some reason I can't get it to post here:

Well, I hope that you all are enjoying the day, and wearing your green, and that luck is smiling on you!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When Irish Eyes are Smiling

I keep losing my way back to the world of blogging. I think about it from time to time, and know that I should update, but I just don't get around to it. I click on here everyday to check out what the rest of you have blogged about, and have been known to become somewhat indignant when you go without posting for a while, but apparently the hypocrisy of that is lost on me. I have decided not to do any updating this time - I get tired of catching up when I am this far behind. So I will begin anew once again, and try to keep it up to date. I can hear your scoffs of disbelief through the computer...

So let's begin with the fact that I love St. Patrick's Day (in case you couldn't tell by the new background.) I actually think I may have to keep this one up for a while. You see, my birthday just happens to be on that wonderful day, as was my Grammie Battles' (great-grandmother on my mom's side - I have her nose, the one feature I wouldn't change about myself if I could,) plus I am Irish, so I pretty much have to love the holiday. Every year I go shopping to find a good green shirt to wear, which is not always a successful endeavor as there are MANY unattractive shades of green in the world. This year I found a really great one that I can't wait to wear. I was recently asked what my signature color is, to which I had no response as I am neither 50 or Southern, but I have since decided that I think it will be green. Pretty shades of green that is. As such, I have been hunting around for some good green jewelry as of late, but have been largely unsuccessful. I will keep looking.

This feels a bit rambly, so I will end it now. I will try to return soon...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Like a Rolling Stone

Last night we went to a church activity for another ward with some friends of ours. Normally I am hesitant to crash other people's parties, but this was an exception. Who can pass up free roller skating? We went to Roller King in Roseville, a place that Jon used to skate at growing up, and which, he assures me, still smells exactly the same. Just walking in to a roller rink brought back waves of memories from my childhood.

I was excited for my kids to have the chance to go skating, since we have never taken them. We strapped on their skates and then I got mine on, (Jon was slow to get skated for himself, and then when he finally did, the guy had to get up to the top of the skate racks and all the way in the back to find his size.) At the point when I actually had my skates on, I got a little nervous, seeing as how I hadn't been on skates since approximately 1989 (when skating was still cool.) But after a couple of trips around the rink, I was feeling more confident, and I managed to not fall the whole time. I was never any good at stopping, and that hasn't changed, but I did alright.

Richard and Jon

Brandi and I on the floor

My children, on the other hand, had a really hard time getting their skate legs. The older ones have a pretty severe fear of injury, and couldn't get past the possibility that their faces, arms, or butts might meet with the floor in a painful way. Once or twice around the rink was enough for them. Which turned out to be good for Jon and I, because we were able to skate at our leisure while they played in the arcade. It was made even better by having our friends there to skate with. The Lammies are always lots of fun, and then to top it off, the Hunts drove in straight from unloading their moving van. It was good times.

I look like I am totally concentrating

Some of the pictures didn't turn out so well due to the motion and the lighting, but you get the idea.

You Gotta Have Friends

You may remember I was missing some pictures when I made my Christmas post. Well, they appear to be gone for good. I can't for the life of me figure out where they went to, or how they just disappeared, but there you have it. I even tried some photo recovery software, but to no avail. Since some of those pictures were ones that I really liked, including some pics of Jon and I on our anniversary (no, not those kind of pictures - geez) I have been in a funk as far as blogging goes. I have just felt irritated and sad anytime I have picked up my camera and remembered what was lost. But today I am going to try to push through and put up some pictures.

This is a little out of order, but one of my Christmas traditions has been to get together with a group of my girlfriends from high school who come into town to visit for the holidays. The last couple of years it has been on Christmas Eve, and we go out to lunch or to a coffee shop, or both, and just visit and catch up. We don't normally all make it - my friends are travelers and rarely is everyone home at the same time. But whoever is around does their best to make it. Somehow, over the years, I have become the one to organize this thing, which used to be our friend Lori's position. She was always good at making plans and getting everyone involved. I think that my taking over the job has something to do with me being the one who continually lives here and has four children who have to be organized and scheduled all the time. I am not nearly as good at it as Lori always was.




Genny, Lori, Lydia, me, and Patricia

These girls are some of my best friends in the world, in the sense that no matter how far apart we spread, at some point we will all come back together, and it is never awkward or boring. We may not share each others daily lives anymore, or have that much in common anymore, but we love each other and have a bond that is lasting. I feel very fortunate to have them. I have known Patricia since before kindergarten, Lori and Maia (who wasn't there this year) since elementary school, and Genny, Lydia, and Heather (also not there this year) since high school. I had some great times with them in high school - trips to Tahoe, San Francisco, sleeping in a cow pasture, dressing up and going to a Goth club, sneaking out in the middle of the many memories. At one point we adopted the group name the Femme Coalition, and other girls have come and gone, but we have managed to keep in touch, and I am so glad we have.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's the Holiday Season

Or it was about a month ago...

I meant to blog about all of this sooner, but I just didn't get around to it. Somehow the lure of reading was stronger than that of blogging. I have been watching my friend's blogs, and for the most part they have been slow on posting their Christmas pictures as well, so I figured I was ok. But one by one they are catching up, and so I suppose it is time for me to do the same. A rainy Sunday seemed to be a good time to do it. (*Note - I swear I had more pictures, but upon searching for them on my camera and the computer, I can't find a bunch of them. I know I had a recording of Jon doing the Hannukah Song, plus pictures from Christmas Day, and yet they are gone...I have tried to find tham but they seem to be gone for good...)

As in years past, we spent Christmas Eve with the Joyners and their long-time family friends the Alstons. This Christmas Eve tradition is centered around a Mexican-Italian feast, complete with tamales, beans, rice, ravioli, Caesar salad, and garlic bread, among other things. As per usual, the children dressed up as the people (and animals) from the nativity story, and there was a brief reading of scripture. (As the professional costumer of the nativity, I had my hands full!) Following the spiritual thoughts, the program progressed in the typical fashion - Jon playing his guitar and singing while some of us joined in. (Normally Jake plays too, but he wasn't here this year.) One thing that was not typical, however, was a special visit from Santa Clause. It turns out he knows the Alstons personally, and wanted to pay a visit to the children (although I suspect he was in it mostly for the tamales!)

After the party we came home and hustled the children to bed in order to precipitate the readying of the presents for Christmas morning and the arrival of a certain man in red. The kids all donned their traditional Christmas jammies - Jonathan, upon being handed his, took in a sharp breath and then said "Jammies - I don't believe it!" with his hand over his mouth like it was the biggest and best surprise ever - despite the fact that they weren't wrapped. While the children were nestled all snug in their beds, there were no visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads for quite a while. We had to bide our time while we waited for them to drop off to sleep just in case they came out while we were preparing things. While they slept, Santa decorated the living room with tinsel, white garland, and snowflakes. He also ate the tamales left for him (in the Joyner house we figure he must get tired of all those cookies and need something a little more filling.)

Christmas morning was spent in the hustle of unwrapping and went by in something of a blur. I had to keep asking the kids to wait to open their next present, both to stretch out the time (since there wasn't a ton to open) and also so that I could actually see them opening the things we bought them. It was a nice morning, though busy and quick.

After breakfast, we got ready and headed up to my dad's for Christmas Part 2. We have an early dinner there - prime rib that is absolutely WONDERFUL. It was a very nice afternoon, and bled into the evening with some visiting and playing of games. By the time we left for home, we were all sleepy and ready to find our beds. It was another nice Christmas, though it did seem rather like a hit and run. One of these years I swear that I am going to have everything ready and the way I would like it so that I can enjoy it throughout December...