Saturday, June 17, 2017

Waunder Lust Wall

I am not a decorator.  In the world I come from, you throw a painting on the wall and call it home.  Luckily I am very fortunate to have quite a few amazing paintings so at least my walls aren't bare.  Anyway, obviously I also love to travel and take pictures.  So I figured it was time to hang up some of my pictures.  But when I looked at the prices of frames I decided against it.  Sure you can find frames at IKEA for $5ish but times that by 16 pictures, plus printing the pictures and that's quite an investment!  (Like I said, I am not a decorator! So spending any money on making a home more aesthetic is completely foreign to me.)

Then we helped clean out my grandparent's home.  More frames than anyone knew what to do with!  So I took as many as I wanted.  Then came the hard part of trying to figure out what pictures to print???  I went through all the pictures of my travels and narrowed it down to about 30.  Then I made my friends look through and select their favorite 16.

Jason helped me paint all the frames white.
I went through and organized how I wanted the frames to look on the wall. (Ignore the folded laundry)

Although you can't tell from the picture, my mom (the framing pro) helped me clean all the glass and frame all the pictures.  (In the picture she was busy watching one of her BBC shows)

And then of course I had to have Jason help me do the hanging.

And although once again, I am not a decorator, I think it turned out pretty darn lovely!  Of course whenever anyone comes over it turns into a guessing game of where each picture was taken.  Do you want to try?

Some are relatively easy, some are quite difficult.

Starting on the left.  Then going top down.
1. Old City, Dubrovik, Croatia
2. Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
3. Mesa Falls, Idaho
4. Victoria, Canada
5. Siena, Italy
6. Dinkelsbuhl, Germany
7. Prague, Czech Republic
8. Havasupi Falls, Arizona
9. Florence, Italy
10. Grand Tetons, Wyoming
11. Castle, Prague, Czech Republic
12. Avalon, Catalina Island
13. Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
14. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
15. Waimea Falls, Hawaii

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Returning "Home"

The idea of home is such an interesting concept.  Some people feel home one place will always be their home while others feel it everywhere, but there are some who feel it no where.  It is so different for everyone.  Even the word gives off such an air of emotion.

I always seem to forget the emotions that come to me about the area between West Yellowstone, Montana and Idaho Falls, Idaho and from Jackson Hole to the Mennan Buttes.  I could call it the greater Snake River Valley or I could call it "Idaho" but really for me, so much of it just feels like Home.  My dad would call it God's Country.  And it's hard to argue that.

As I was driving up to "Idaho" this week, I was just flooded with so many emotions.  Although I spent birth to 5 years old in this area and many scholars would argue that this is where the most important learning of life takes place, I feel my second time in Idaho was even more important.  The years I grew up.  Ages 18-22.  Growing up is hard.  It's a maze of exploration and of wrecking balls that haphazardly swing at will.

For better or for worse, I feel the years I spent in Idaho settled and cemented the person I am today.  So every time I head north towards this land of farm land, sunsets, and an unbelievable amounts of mosquitos I get nostalgic.

As I spent the peaceful moments of the 4 hour drive while Brad slept I played through my mind all the memories, all the heart aches, all the struggles, but of course all of the love that was developed through my years in these lands.  There will always be a very special place in my heart for it.  It's like calls to me.  Almost like a pilgrimage I have to take at least once a year.   So when Erica told me she was going to be hanging out in Idaho for a week I jumped at the opportunity to go hang out with her.  I feel like I have a check list of all the things I need to do when I go to Idaho.  One of the most important: go for a walk at golden hour to watch the sunset as the day starts to cool and the smell of alfalfa rings through the air.  Brad even met some cows!

Brad is obsessed with all things wheels right now.  As long as it has wheels he loves it.  Oh and buttons, any buttons to push or pull or turn.  So Brad and the tractor quickly became best friends.

The next morning I went for a glorious run around the farm fields of Teton.  Oh how I love Idaho.

And of course those glorious Teton Mountains.

Erica and I and our boys went to reminisce in her old stomping grounds, St. Anthony.  I feel like St. Anthony is such a hidden gem.  It is absolutely beautiful with it's one stop light, beautiful parks, and the glorious Snake River running right through town.

The purpose of our trip to St. Anthony was to eat at one of the 3 eating establishments in town, Big J's.  We shared a pizza bomb.  And I must say, I had very low expectations and it was absolutely delicious!

But my favorite part of the whole experience watching the people of St. Anthony.  The people of St. Anthony give me so much hope for the world.  The table behind us was filled with 7 farmers from 3 different generations.  Some in overalls, others in cowboy boots, all with farmers tan's and baseball caps.  I absolutely loved listening in on their conversation.  One was talking about a high squeal pitch and I was afraid they were complaining about Brad.... so I listened closely.    Sure enough, they were talking about some piece of machinery and how to fix it.

Later we also went out to the Mennan Buttes to visit Franci.  Because of my European adventures last summer, I didn't get to be with Franci last summer and oh how I missed her!  She had another baby since I last saw her making a grand total of 5 girls!  She isn't much into technology so if I want to communicate with her, I have to be with her, which I don't mind a bit.  But here was the crazy thing in this world of technology of ours.... As I was talking to Franny, I got a message on Facebook from our cousin Sharla, who currently lives in Aukland, New Zealand.  She had seen something on Facebook about a house in Mennan and she was afraid it was Franny's house.  So she messaged me, is Franci okay???  And I sent her this picture.

As Erica and I were looking through Franci's fancy dancy cookbooks we saw a recipe and thought, uh oh.  It was a completely different recipe for French Macarons!!!!!  So of course we had to make them.  (I updated my previous post about French Macarons and included the recipe because they WORKED!)

And Erica and I are ABSOLUTELY thrilled to finally have created a perfect macaron so we can move on to another delicious treat!  (Hopefully one that is a little bit easier.)

The Parson Trio.
What was Brad doing all this time you ask?  He was in straight up heaven!  He loved all the kids around AND of course in a house full of girls, he found some wheels.  (If you look at his face he is making the motor sound as he pushes the stroller around)

And he got just as attached to Idaho as I am!  He didn't even want to leave.

When the nostalgia kicks in and I am thinking about Idaho I am just bursting with emotion.  Of course it is darn near impossible to describe all of this.  It's so overwhelming and almost too personal to even try.  But of course you know me, I want to try.  And the best way I can think of to describe it all is through songs.  So here is a list of all the songs that remind me of "Home."

Kristin Parson's Idaho Playlist:

The Beetles - Good Day Sunshine
Simon and Garfunkel - The Boxer
Counting Crows - Mrs. Potter's Lullaby
Weezer - The Good Life
Simon and Garfunkel - Homeward Bound
Jewel - You Were Meant for Me
Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
Dashboard Confessional
MxPx - Without You
No Use for a Name - Room 19
Rancid - Journey to the End of East Bay
All American Rejects - Swing Swing
Taking Back Sunday - The Bike Scene
Toby Keith - Shoulda Been a Cowboy
Tim McGraw - Green Grass Grows
Good Charlotte - Girls and Boys
Norah Jones - Come Away with Me
Jewel - Near You Always
Yellowcard - Only One
Blink 182 - I Miss You
AFI - Sing the Sorrow album
Madd Caddies - Good Intentions
No Use for a Name - International You Day
Jimmy Eat World - Just Watch the Fireworks
Montgomery Gentry - Speed

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

If you saw the tittle and said, "Uh oh, here we go again.... another person jumping on the 'get rid of everything' minimalist bandwagon." you are absolutely right.

I just read this book and it completely spoke to my soul.  Well parts of it.  Parts of it I think she is a bit extreme or even crazy.  But parts of it literally made my heart sing.  I realize every summer how much I hate stuff A. When I have to move it. (this is the first time in gosh I don't even know, 8 years? that I haven't moved in the Spring/Summer) B. Every summer when we go on our adventures we try and limit what we are going to take.  Every time I get home from such an adventure, last year being the most extreme when I only had less than 1 backpack full of clothes, that I don't need a lot of stuff.  I don't like a lot of stuff.

The whole idea of the book, in case anyone hasn't heard of the book and the Marie Kondo method, is the idea that things bring us down more that make we think.  To de-clutter our lives we should visualize what we want our surroundings to look like, then go through each and every thing we own.  Hold it, feel it, and decide if it brings us joy.  If it does, keep it, if it doesn't, get rid of it.  And then and only when you have gone through every single thing, find a place for it.

This is something that my mom taught me at an early age, "Everything must have a place , if it doesn't have a place then get rid of it."

So this blogpost is going to be the on going journey for me to de-clutter my life.  Two things will make this difficult and I don't she fully addresses this in the book.  1. My husband loves stuff.  And it is not worth putting a wrinkle in my marriage to touch his stuff. (She suggests that decluttering is contagious and that he'll start doing it to if I do my stuff.  Yeah right.  That idea doesn't stand a chance.)  2. I have a child and I am hoping to have more children.  So I need a lot of stuff.

But I am going to try to do all of this with any of "my" stuff.  So I am going to document this.

That being said there is one area that I completely disagree with her on.  Personal history items.  She says to throw away all letters, pictures, and such.  Although I am sure after my mom's experience of cleaning out my grandparents 5,000 square feet house, she'd probably agree more than disagree with this idea. But I know she has learned and appreciated her mother in different ways by going through and reading all the letters my grandma kept.  I am sad about the fact that I feel like so much personal history has been lost in our digital world.  But that's a blogpost for another day.

So like I said, I am going to get started.  I am going to start with my clothes.  Now once again, here lies another problem that she doesn't address.  Maternity clothes. I would hope they don't bring anyone real joy... No one loves being the size of a whale.  But obviously they are necessary.  And postpartum clothes are also necessary. Ugh.

But here we go......... I will be documenting the whole process.  The pile of clothes.  The keep pile.  The give away pile.  Wish me luck.

The idea is to put every single item you have of one category, in my case clothes, in one big pile.

She said don't listen to music, don't want tv, just go through each item and decide if it makes you feel joy.  (Once again sounds kinda hocus pocus) but I was shocked how I had feelings about each item.  Some items, even things that I use or wear very often, I have very negative feelings about.  So I did it.  I got rid of it.  Even my running shoes I had worn yesterday!  They are a half size too small and they make my feet hurt.  So even though I thought loved them every time I wear them I remember that I hate them.  So I just got rid of them!

I tried listening to music at first but I ended up turning it off quite quickly because it really did distract me.  Also something I actually started doing that I also thought was completely hocus pocus.... was items that were hard to part with, I thanked them for their service.  I know.  Weird.  But it worked.  Like my old Disneyland shoes?  Gone.

This is when I was almost finished.  The pink tote was maternity clothes, the pile on the right is the get rid of pile, and the pile on the left is the keeper pile.  (The clothes on the couch were maybes.  Most eventually ended up in the get rid of pile)

Here is the get rid of pile in the end.
6 super heavy garbage bags filled. (Forgot to take a picture)

And then I did the craziest thing.  When Jason finished his 8 hours of studying for the day, I made him help me load all of them into the car and we took it to the closest thrift story. I felt anxiety.  I felt guilty for not giving people I know the opportunity to have them first.  I felt guilt for not trying to sell some of the items somewhere.  I don't even want to think about the hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of clothes in there.  I knew if I didn't follow through completely there was a chance of a backslide.

So we did it.  We took all 6 garbage bags filled to the thrift store and I feel great.

Here's what I kept.

I know I know, I wish I had a before decluttering picture too.  I probably got rid of 30 shirts, 15 pairs of shoes, 5 dresses/skirts, and 5 pairs of pants.

I then went on to my "bathroom" stuff.  Make up, hair products, lotions, and such.  Half used products I hate, lipsticks from 2002, even jewelry that I never wear.  (Once again I felt guilty about throwing it all away but I knew I had to get rid of it today)

Once again, it felt great.

Up next?  Books, DVDs, and other things in our living space.

Then the kitchen.....

Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Plans for the Summer of 2017

Well I guess I should make the announcement.  I'm sure you've been on the edge of your seat wondering....

Every summer since 2007 I made an announcement of the fun things I had planned for the summer.   Let's do a review just for fun....

The Summer of 2007 or the Wanna Be Door to Door Sales Girl. (Atlanta to Annapolis)

The Summer of 2008 or the Raw Foodist that realized she HATES statistics. (BYU Masters)

The Summer of 2009 or the (500) Days of Shane.

The Summer of 2010 or The Introduction to Chi Town.

The Summer of 2011 or Lovin' in Los Angeles.

The Summer of 2012 or Cruising around the Mediterranean while my heart was in Provo.

The Summer of 2013 or Livin' off Love - the return of the Student Life Style.

The Summer of 2014 or Red Rocks, Rock Climbs, and Dixie.

The Summer of 2015 or both Jason and I living out our dreams in California!.... him as a dentist and me at Disneyland!!!

And of course the most epic of them all....
Summer of 2016 - the summer of Europe.

Which brings us to the Summer of 2017.
Jason is in clinic.  Which should mean SMOOTH sailing as far as Dental School goes... For most dental students the last two years of dental school is awesome.  They go into work every day at 8ish and come home around 5ish.  No more studying.  No more tests.  Just working and practicing to be a dentist.

But of course we can never take the easy way....  Jason is considering specializing.  What does that mean?  He has to take a test that is equivalent to the boards Med students take after their first 2 years of Med school.  What does that mean?  In Jason's free time, so from 5:30-10 every night and every Saturday Jason has to learn all the material covered in Med school.

Yes this sucks for all of us but we are so excited about the opportunities this could mean for Jason and our future. So.... the summer of 2017?  It'll be me and Brad conquering Salt Lake Valley and the surrounding lands.  There will be lots of stroller runs, swimming in our "pool", trips to the library and the park, and hikes in our new baby backpack.  Oh and hopefully stealing Daddy away every once in a while to go out on the boat. Although my heart hurts a little bit, yearning to go out and adventure, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Summer of 2011

I am like a puppy dog.  An eager to please, needs attention and praise puppy dog.  There is nothing that makes me happier in this world than a good, deserved "pat on the head."  It's what I live for.

(insert a whole paragraph here about the 5 love languages and how words of affirmation are what makes my world go round)

Although I came from a very very supportive, loving, wonderful family.... words of affirmation and praise were not high on our list of things to do.  
In steps the summer of 2011.  The summer I went to live in Glendora, California in a "words of affirmation" paradise.  Truly when I think of my experience of living at the Lindstrom home in the summer of 2011 that is what I think of - paradise.

The winter of 2010-2011 had been a period of rough transition and challenges.  All of which probably made the summer of 2011 even more glorious.  You have to experience the bitter to value the sweet, right?  The gloriouness of why the summer of 2011 was so wonderful all started with Lars.  Lars and I got to be best friends.  He was just coming out of an awful rough period filled with divorce and a Rexburg winter.  (Rexburg winters are enough to make the strongest of persons crumble) Lars had just graduated and was waiting to start grad school in the fall. I was finished with my masters and my 6th year of teaching.  We both had nothing to do all summer besides visit Disneyland, rock the Glendale singles ward, bike to the beach, and most important, search for the meaning of life as we healed our souls.

We had a full house that summer.  Well, let's be honest, with Nils and Raine's fun, inviting way of life, almost always their house is a full house.  But that summer was even more so.  Lars' sister Brita and her two girls were also living at the Lindstrom home because her husband was deployed to Iraq.  If there was one quality of Brita's I wish I had. it is her ability to laugh so easily.  It is such a wonderful quality.  It makes everything more wonderful and made me feel so funny!  With the love and support from Raine, Nils, Lars, and Brita I felt like a total rock star!  Like I said, we did lots of really fun things all summer but that isn't what made the summer of 2011 so wonderful.  The most impressionable moments of that summer were sitting in the house or out in the backyard after a delicious meal, just enjoying each other.

I really believe this summer changed me.  It changed my perspective on life, my purpose and drive, but most important it changed my view of myself.  The summer of 2011 in that "words of affirmation" paradise I grew to love myself.  I want to remember and look back at this major turning point in my life.  The place where things changed because oh how glad I am that they did.

"Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging." - Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Boat

There are two types of people in this world.  Boat people and not boat people.  I could even make this genres larger by calling it "Toys" people and not "Toys" people.  I grew up in a family of a not "toys" family.  Why?  Because "Toys" are work.  And not to say my family is lazy by any means.... but some could characterize us as sloths....

Toys are work, they are stress, ESPECIALLY for people like my family that aren't mechanically oriented.  You want us to talk art, philosophy, history, science, and sports we are champions.  I guarantee it would be darn near impossible to find a family that could beat us in Trivial Pursuit.  But ask us to fix any mechanical thing..... we are dead.  Seriously dead.

I married the king of the Toy world.  And as much as my family doesn't understand him and that concept, he is equally confused by us.

But we, my whole family, are so grateful he is around.  And that he is so different from us.

So a few months ago my dear second cousin, can we just call her my cousin?  My dear cousin Laura came over for dinner.  She told us how excited she is that she bought half of her dad's boat.  She is a huge "toy" person too.  So she was super pumped to have a boat and get to start boating in Utah.  Of course Jason was thrilled about the idea of us finally really knowing a "Toy" person.  (because obviously I am not one, and don't even know any)

Well comes to find out the engine of this boat seized on it's last trip to Lake Powell.  The entire engine needed to be replaced.  This would take a ridiculous amount of hours and thousands of dollars if a boat mechanic did the work.  In steps Jason.

I mean hey, it's not like Jason doesn't have a million more pressing engagements....

But Jason volunteered.

Yes, Jason bought a used Chevy pickup truck engine in Cleveland off Ebay, had it shipped to our house, used a deer lever thing to hoist the old engine out of the boat in our garage, and completely replaced an entire engine in a ski boat.

Yes, this took almost the entire winter.

Yes, sometimes I was frustrated when Brad and I hadn't seen Jason all day and then he spent all night working on the boat.

But here is the most insane thing.  HE GOT IT TO WORK!

Jason single handedly did it all.  Well of course with the help of Youtube and a few calls to my long lost great uncle that lives in the middle of the desert Nevada.

He did it.

We thought Brad would love it!  The excitement of something new, all the new toys!

So one pretty cold and VERY windy Saturday we decided to give the boat a try.  Of course we had no intentions of actually getting into the water, Jason was excited to see if the boat worked!

Of course Jason is going to make me a "toy" person whether I want to or not.... I am learning to back up trailers... (insert eye roll emoji here.)

Something we probably didn't take into account well enough is.... Brad hates any type of restriction whatsoever.  We hoped that the excitement of the boat and the water and the new scenery would distract him from the huge awful life jacket.....  no such luck.

It was full on tears almost the entire ride.  Even through the binkie.

By the end he calmed down a little.... well when the motor was turned off.

I'll tell you what, Timp rocks my world every time.  I love that mountain.

We were hoping that Brad's hate for his lifejacket was drastically increased because of his coat and the cold water hitting him in the face through the wind.  So we had high hopes the next time we took the boat out.  It was a beautiful warm evening after school.  We brought Jason's study buddy friend with us so they could wake board.

But as soon as the boat started Brad lost it.  Cried the entire time the motor was on.... so I wrangled the flag and a screaming toddler for 90 minutes..... sounds like a blast right? (You wanna come with us next time? ;)

But they did has a blast and every time I am surprised when I see Jason wakeboard.  It's like he's a fish that finally got back in the water.  Is that how the saying goes?

Oddly enough the only time Brad wouldn't cry was when Jason held him while he drove the boat. 

But it was a beautiful night, and there is just something about a beautiful sunny day on the water with the smell of boat exhausted that makes me excited about summer... maybe one of these days I'll confess to Jason that I have never even attempted to wakeboard before.  Never.  Seriously.  Remember, we aren't "toy" people.  So when I finally did go out on boats with people, I didn't want to waste their time and my humiliation to try and learn.  So maybe this summer will be the time.  But who knows, maybe not.  Maybe I'll just stay content being the flag girl. 

But here we go........ the start of our journey as boat people.