Thursday, February 24, 2011

Infertility Never Leaves You - Just Ask Nicole Kidman

"Anyone that’s been in the place of wanting another child or wanting a child knows the disappointment, the pain and the loss that you go through trying and struggling with fertility." - Nicole Kidman

nicole kidman and keith urban at the 2011 golden globes posted an interview with Nicole Kidman regarding her fertility struggles.

I kind of love Nicole.

She has somehow discovered the fountain of youth. She seriously doesn't ever age!

She has impeccable style.

She is married to the sexiest guy in country music - maybe any music!

She is a mother to four great kids and her children came to her in different ways - adoption, biologically, and through a gestational surrogate.

She also reminds us all that even though you have children through whatever means (even biologically after a huge struggle) the pain of fertility never goes away. I am miraculously a mother through adoption. But there are days when my infertility hurts so bad that I still cry myself to sleep at night. Last night was one of those nights. The pain doesn't go away!

Check out her interview here. She has such emotion and love for the surrogate who carried her newest baby girl. It so reminds me of the love I have of Jocelyn's birth parents.

"Children are children — you’ll die for your children,” she says. “And when you feel that as a parent — that’s the unconditional love."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Biggest Loser Inspiration

kaylee and moses

I have never really watched The Biggest Loser before, but this year our neighbors are on the show and we've tuned in for every episode. Tonight's episode had a theme: parents protecting their kids from elimination.

My neighbors are Moses and Kaylee, formerly of the Gray Team. They are a father/daughter team. Kaylee has lost enough weight that she is circling in on her target weight and it is harder and harder for her to pull big numbers.

Today's episode had a twist - a double elimination. As usual, the losing team had to vote to send someone home. In addition to that, the person with the lowest weight loss percentage - even if they were on the winning team - would be eliminated.

Many parents were afraid of their child being the contestant forced to go home. Three parents took the same path in order to keep their children on the show to reap the benefits of education, training, nutrition, etc. Three parents purposely gained weight in order to be the person with the least progress.

Moses was worried about keeping Kaylee on the show. He obviously knows how important this journey is to her health and her self-esteem. But instead of purposely gaining weight in order to make sure Kaylee wouldn't be the contestant with the least progress, he did something different.

Every morning, before 6 a.m., Moses, dressed and ready for the day, dragged his daughter out of bed and the two of them went to the gym and worked out. He pushed her hard. They were the only two up. And then they faced a day of who knows how many hours of regular workouts with the trainers. And they hit those as hard as they could too.

They had less sleep than everyone else and worked harder than everyone else.

And that's why Kaylee had the highest weight loss percentage.

And Moses had the second highest.

Moses wanted to protect his child, like the other parents. And he did. But rather than throwing the weigh in and sacrificing himself, he set an example of hard work and excellence that benefited them both.

I don't judge the parents who cut their journey short to keep their kids on the show. That's noble too in it's own way.

It just hit me that no other parent besides Moses thought to push their children harder to make them earn their place.

This man is an example as a neighbor, ward member, friend, father, and so much more. I feel so inspired.

I know now more than ever that as a parent, it is our job to set the example. To lead the way for our children. To take their hand and guide them where they need to be.

Thank you, Moses, and GO TEAM GRAY!!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Six Weeks to a New Me

I have not been happy with my body for awhile. December 2009, I was trim enough to fit into my wedding dress from 2001. Fast forward a year later, and there is no way I could fit back into that...let alone half my wardrobe from 2009. Sad.

Time to stop moping and do something about it.

I signed up for the gym at work.

My gym at work is unique. It has a monthly fee, but as long as you go for 30 minutes at least 2 times a week and a minimum of ten times a month, you get all gym fee refunded, making it free. And money is a huge motivation to go to the gym!

I have signed up for the gym before, but the problem is that I go to the gym as minimally as possible. I gotta get my 30 minutes in to get my money refunded, but when you factor 10 minutes changing into my workout clothes and 10 minutes changing back into work clothes (yes, I dawdle), so I will only spend 10 minutes on the treadmill. And I do it on purpose. Really. Because I HATE WORKING OUT. Especially cardio.

So I have a plan.

I bought this mp4 player that will play videos. So, I uploaded season 1 of Criminal Minds onto it and I've made this commitment. I will only watch Criminal Minds while I work out - no cheating! Hopefully this will get me excited to keep going back to the gym so I can watch another episode. And hopefully, watching an episode will keep me on the treadmill longer.

I did it today, and it seemed to work. I was on the treadmill jogging for 45 minutes straight. I think this plan will help me do more than just the minimum to get my money back.

And here's the other part of my plan. Six weeks. They say six weeks before you can see any difference. So I weighed myself today and I won't even look at a scale for six weeks. I hope this will help me avoid that instant gratification trap when I get all bummed when I don't lose 5 pounds the first week.

Okay. So that's my plan. I'll keep checking in with my motivation and progress.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fire and Ice

A couple of weeks ago, it was Uncle Jon's birthday. Grandma and Grandpa came for a visit too. We went to Lava Hot Springs during their town festival aptly named the Fire and Ice Festival (get it? hot springs in the dead of winter? hehe). Although the festivities sounded entertaining - running down main street in only a swimsuit, marathon snowball fights, and a river float parade with people actually in the freezing river - we skipped any of the "ice" related stuff and went straight to the "fire" - the relaxing hot pools.

A toddler's idea of hot fashion

uncle jon, joci, justin, and haiden (it was haiden's first time swimming)


at dinner afterwards

watching finding nemo - grandpa is always just one of the kids

happy birthday, uncle jon!

joci was crazy about the cupcakes

a little dessert cheese from haiden

i just love this picture - what a sweet face

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vinyl Wall Hanging Tutorial

I went to the craft store today to get some paper - and I came back with a bag full of odds and ends for a project. This happens a lot to me at the craft store. :) I saw these cute wall hangings made from 12 x 12 canvases and things like vinyl or felt or whatnot. I decided to give it a try.

The plan:

1. paint edges of the canvas with black tempura pain
2. use Mod Podge to paste down a 12 x 12 piece of purple scrapbook paper
3. apply vinyl
4. apply embellishments
5. victory!

Now, if this were any other Mormon Mommy Blogger's tutorial, steps one through five be executed flawlessly. Now, since I am Lara, it happened a little differently. And this is pretty normal for me. And I believe that crafting is a little bit harder than most tutorials make it look, so I am going to post EXACTLY what I did. :)

Step 1: paint the edges of the canvas with black tempura paint.

I check my paint drawer. I have blue, metallic red, and gold glitter paint. No black. So I use my expensive acrylic paint. No big.

Step 2: use Mod Podge to paste down purple paper.

I spread Mod Podge thinly on the canvas. The paper isn't really sticking. Use more Mod Podge. The edges keep popping up. But the great thing about Mod Podge is that you can smear it on top of stuff and seal edges. Realize that a 12 x 12 painting canvas and a 12 x 12 piece of scrapbook paper are not the same size. The paper is a bit bigger. I take a pair of scissors and trim a little off the edge. My cut is jagged a crooked. That's what I get for trying to cut a piece of paper glued to a canvas. :) The Mod Podge is still wet...maybe if I peel the paper off and then cut it.

I peel the paper off.

Oh, it's a mess. There's no saving this project.

Check my bag of goodies I bought from the craft store. On the back side of a piece of blue paper I bought is a pretty pink pattern. Time for a do-over.

Part of the problem is that a flexible surface like canvas just doesn't work with Mod Podge. And all-over glue is not the answer. Also, the applying the vinyl on top of the flexible canvas is gonna be a disaster too, I can just tell. This is my second chance to rethink a few things.

Step 1: Touch up edges with black acrylic paint

Step 2: Trim the edges of my 12 x 12 paper with my fancy Xacto cutting board for a guaranteed straight line

Step 3: Apply vinyl and add embellishments

The embellishments I used are a ribbon and paper flower stickers and pink rhinestones stickers I found in the scrapbooking section of the craft store. I used hot glue to attach these. 

Step 4: Use a very small smear of hot glue on just the edges to apply paper to canvas

Step 5: Attach ribbon to top of canvas as a cute hanger

I was able to add this step when I switched from purple to pink because I just so happened to have thick pink ribbon.

Sorry these pictures are kinda lame - it's hard to take pictures of crafts that take two hands. :)

I cut two long lengths of ribbon and used a lighter to briefly heat the edges, melting the ribbon fabric so it won't fray.

I then tied the ribbon in two knots at the length I wanted.


I tied the ribbon in a bow

And I did it again to make a double bow

Then I took a length of the ribbon and pulled wrapped it around the knots of the bow to make it look all nice and smooth and pretty. I glued this wrapped around ribbon in the back with a dot of hot glue. Then I trimmed off the excess ribbon. 

 Step 6: Victory!

Once I figured out the kinks, it was actually quite easy and I think it turned out really cute. Can't wait to make a purple one. :)

But now, seriously, fess up. Are your craft projects more similar to mine or to the perfect tutorials you see all over the blogosphere?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Best "Toy" for a Toddler

$1 pack of stickers (and some free stickers from the mail)

Endless entertainment for $1. Love it.

My Biological Advantage of a Room Temperature Brain

After handing out all the Jamba Juice smoothies at a celebratory meeting with the 40 people from my department, my supervisor quieted the room by taking a poll.

"Is there anyone in this room who hasn't ever experienced a brain freeze?"

My hand shot up.

Instantly, my coworker "friends" turned on me. "Chug! Chug! Chug!"

My supervisor hushed them again. "There are people who never get brain freezes. It has to do with the position of a large nerve near the roof of the mouth. For most of us, the nerve is located closely to the roof of the mouth. It feels it when we eat or drink something ice cold and sends survival signals to brain because it thinks the body is freezing to death. Blood vessels in the brain restrict. A moment later, the body realizes it isn't freezing and a huge rush of blood pushes through those restricted blood vessels and creates that momentary intense headache. For some people, like Lara apparently, that nerve isn't as close to the roof of the mouth so they don't ever get brain freezes."

"Wow. It's like you have an evolutionary advantage," the art director quipped.

"Too bad I can't reproduce," I chimed back cheerfully.

The room goes silent. I go red. Awkward laughter ensues.

There's a reason why they call me the queen of awkward conversations at work.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Legendary Lovahs

Orpheus and Eurydice

Antony and Cleopatra

Guinevere and Lancelot

Romeo and Juliet

Pocahontas and John Smith

Scarlett and Rhett

Mickey and Minnie

Johnny and June

Barbie and Ken (who are now officially back together - SQUEEE!)

Kelly and Zack

Buffy and Angel

Lara and Justin

The stuff of fairytales.


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