Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hangin out

Can't wait til Spring Break, when I get to see these guys:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Resolution report... and requests

We made family goals at the beginning of 2009. We've reviewed last year's goals in preparation for creating new Resolutions for 2010 (please read the request for recommendations at the end, even if you skip past everything else!), but we thought we'd post them here too with a statement of how we did and what we learned. We didn't keep all of our resolutions with perfection, but improved a ton overall, and became confident in our abilities to make more changes for 2010. There are a lot of LDS references here that I'm not going to take the time to explain further, so sorry for those who feel a little in the dark with what I'm talking about.

1. Temple attendance: Monthly at ward temple night. The part about attending with our ward was added later, which made keeping our goal super easy. It was already scheduled for us every month - we didn't have to make the decision monthly, a no-brainer.

2. Fast Sunday: Plan ahead for a purpose, read talks about fasting before fast Sunday. Overall, we did better with preparing for Fast Sundays than we had done prior to 2009, but we definitely weren't perfect. Setting an alarm on our cell phones for Saturday reminded us to not eat (much) past dinner on Saturday and start our fast that night.

3. Sabbath Observance: Read lessons ahead of time, take notes in church, better media choices, leave early for church, discuss the lessons after church. We really enjoyed preparing for Sunday lessons throughout the week, although our habit of doing so tapered off in the second half of 2009. Our stake president suggested that a good activity for Sunday afternoon is to discuss the talks and lessons that we heard at church. So, we started that while eating lunch or on our drive to family dinner and have learned a lot from each other in Gospel discussions that stemmed from reviewing the day.

4. Get to know the ward: Invite couples for dinner, deliver goodies to new families once/month. We invited a few couples to our house for dinner at the beginning of 2009 - that was the beginning of some wonderful friendships that have strengthened since. I think we managed to deliver goodies only 3-4 times, but as we welcomed other new families, we've also grown to love and feel at home in our ward.

Budget: set up a budget, review budget monthly, track expenses. We set up a budget through, which we totally recommend. Well, I wouldn't really call it a budget - but at least we track our expenses. Once we tracked for a few months, we were able to make decisions about how much extra $ to put toward paying off my school loans and contribute to various savings accounts. Actually sticking to a budget... that's still a goal for 2010!

6. Emergency Preparedness: set aside $ monthly, prepare for the winter, 72 hour kit. Oh how we love emergency preparedness! We're not pros, but have enjoyed getting 72 hour kits ready and have some good ideas of a food storage that works for our small family and small space. Like all of our resolutions, we have a ways to go but know we'll be blessed for the efforts we've made.

7. Review goals monthly: first FHE of the month. A definite must for keeping so many resolutions! Most months we reviewed our electronic copy of our resolutions, crossing some off, adding ideas for how to keep others, and highlighting those we were going to work on for the month. Spoiler for 2010: we're reviewing our goals weekly during Nyland Family Council!

I'm not going to post all our goals for 2010, but I do need some recommendations for a couple that I made. First of all, I want to read more books this year (I won't mention how many, it's a little embarrassing how low the number is... okay, it's 6). I feel like it's been really long since I've read a book that I could put on a "favorites" list. So - all you readers out there, here are a list of books that are my favorites. If you've read one that would feel at home on list, please share!
- The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
- My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
- Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card (the only sci-fi on the list, but I still think it fits)
- The Life of Pi, Yann Martel
- Chocolat, Holy Fools, etc. by Joanne Harris
- The History of Love, Nicole Krauss

The second resolution I need help with is to learn a new skill. I just don't know what skill... it's scary for me to think of learning something new, but I think I'm too content with the skills I have now (as few as they may be!). I just need a lot of ideas that I can choose from. I have really low attention to detail, so crafty/artsy things make me the most nervous!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Animal Kingdom

Our second and final Disney park was Animal Kingdom, home of Expedition Everest! It was a really fun day because the park is great, the weather was awesome, and Jacob and Lisa came along!

Here are the Florida Farrars at the start of Expedition Everest. From their seat in front of us, they were audience to all of my laughing (I laugh, not scream, on thrill rides). This ride is so stinking good.
I don't know whether to describe Animal Kingdom as an amusement park with a zoo in it or a zoo with lots of awesome rides. It's like the whole zebra debate - is it white with black stripes, or black with white. Speaking of zebras - we saw those on the safari ride:
Look how close we are to the elephants! The young elephants were actually playing with each other in the water - squirting water out of their trunks and everything. That Disney, always pulling out all the stops. Jacob and Lisa have been on a real African safari, and they still think this is cool.
A shot from Jacob and Lisa's backyard in Florida.

Here is the crew - near the base of the Tree of Life


Sharing a Triceratops (just like the Dumbo ride). Look how much we all love Disney!
This picture is to remind us it was Christmas.
We decided not to go to Magic Kingdom while at Disney World because we're going to Disneyland really soon, so we didn't want to waste any time or get tired of the park before we're headed there again (for those who don't know, Magic Kingdom is Disney World's equivalent to Disneyland). However, we were a little disappointed about missing out on a few things about Magic Kingdom, one being a Dole whip - right outside of the Tiki Room. You can imagine how excited we were when Jacob and Lisa told us that at the Polynesian, a Disney Resort (one of many - seriously, Disney World is so crazy), we could build our own Dole whip!

Here's Lisa at the Dole Whip station. Since it's self-serve, the challenge is to get more than your money's worth (abt $3.00)

I was very proud at my first attempt. Proud that I totally (Dole) whipped Lisa's Dole Whip in the pants! I won't show hers here, I'll spare her the shame :) Mmm.

Later that evening, after trying to brave both of Orlando's crazy outlet malls, we were ready to eat again! The four of us shared a feast-for-four consisting of huge portions of chicken, pork, beef and ribs plus three large sides. It was very tasty, but way too much food. Jacob, the herbivore, didn't help us put any of it away, so we were left to massive amounts of left-overs - 5 lbs or so.
Thus concludes another day in Orlando. Thanks Jacob and Lisa!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More of Orlando

On Tuesday, we woke up early to hit the first of two parks that we went to at Disney World --Epcot Center. Epcot is the park I was most excited about because I really didn't know what to expect.

One thing I didn't expect was for me to be cold. Here are Steph and I bundled up in Winter Orlando!

If you haven't been to Epcot, the park is broken up into two areas: Future World and World Showcase. We spent most of the morning hitting all of the rides in Future World. Test Track was fun, Mission: Space made me sick and never want to be an astronaut, and the ride inside the big silver golf ball was also pretty cool.

Here is a video that was made of us inside the big giant metal golf ball:

I wish we had taken more pictures, because there are some really cool adult oriented rides like Living with the Land, but we were too busy enjoying ourselves.

One thing that was totally dope was Coke drinks from around the world -- for free. Here is Steph drinking some weird Japanese stuff:

The other part of the park is called World Showcase and has areas that are devoted to parts around the world. Here is Steph before we boarded Maelstrom, a pirates of the Caribbean type ride set in Norway:

This is me eating Haribo in Germany:

In Morocco:
Eating a Moroccan meal that we waited 40 minutes for:

We'd really recommend Epcot if you are going to visit Florida. There are a lot of cool things to explore and is super fun for geeky adults like me.