Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Suspense... dum... dum... duummmm

I was hoping to post a picture of my bangs today to show you how they turned out but had a bit of a set back so you'll have to wait until tomorrow.

I pulled a muscle or something at work in my right shoulder so I've been slower at doing stuff like getting ready, cooking, cleaning, ect.  Things like doing my hair well when it hurts to reach back to put it in a pony tail and fix the bangs up took a lower seat on my priorities, let alone getting photos.

But never fear!  While it took two days of stocking shelves as the one-armed super stocker, my arm is starting to feel a bit better.  I still can't extend it while holding anything but I can now move it around while I talk with much less pain.  (I tend to dramatically overuse my hands while talking for those who have never met me.)  I was very diligent in putting ice on it multiple times a day, keeping up with an anti-inflammatory, and most importantly, trying not to use it.  I have the next two days off so hopefully it will be much better by the time I go back to work on Tuesday.  At least, I'll be able to do my hair a bit better tomorrow.  :)

Another thing I forgot to take pictures for was my first SPANISH NIGHT here in Ithaca!

Una Noche del ESPAÑOL

I hosted a Spanish night tonight where I borrowed the rules at the FLSR where Xan and I used to live.  Basically, inside the apartment, one is only allowed to speak Spanish.  You can ask how to say something in Spanish, but the entertainment and conversation need to be SPANISH.  (I also borrowed the rule of stepping outside to have a quick English conversation anytime we just wanted to have a quick catch up chat.  LOL!)  It was a lot of fun!  Thank you for all those who came!

I will DEFINITELY remember pictures next time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beating the Blues and Reviving Bybee

 Beating the blues has been tough for me for the past 6 months or so.  I just haven't felt like I've been able to keep up with life.  I kept getting sick.  I crammed all this organizational structure into my life.  And, I've kept trying to figure out what foods I'm sensitive to with a series of on and off elimination diets.

On top of that, like many newly married women feel, I've lost part of myself.  Lets face it.  Xan and I didn't have a normal first year of marriage, and unfortunately, it carried through the next year or two.

We were supposed to leave for Iceland just weeks after getting married middle of August but instead ended up living in relative's basements and thinking each week that this will be the week we'll leave.  That week didn't come until nearly the end of November.  Iceland was FANTASTIC but we didn't share a room because we couldn't afford a mattress, and while everyone in Iceland was really nice and hospitable, I had no job, very few possessions to keep me busy, and there was still a present language and cultural barrier that kept me from really opening up and connecting with people.

And let's face it.  I LOVE my husband.  I do.  But he can be rather intimidating with his expressionless face and blunt way of speaking.  (Just look at the majority of pictures I have with him.  In our 4 1/2 years of being together, I have about 15 shots of us where he is smiling with me.)  I'm not sure if I've ever shared this story on the blog, but it is one of my favorites to tell because its really funny now... though definitely wasn't at the time.  It happened the day of our wedding.

We were sitting in one of the rooms in the temple with our sealer while our family was in the sealing room waiting for the ceremony to start.  The sealer left to finish off some paper work and then was going to come back to take us to start the ceremony.  When we were alone, I turned to Xan and said, jokingly, "Well, last chance."  I made a little laugh, trying to ease my own nerves but was NOT prepared for his response.  He turned to me, his face pale and serious, said, "Don't tempt me."  And then looked forward and wouldn't look at me until the ceremony started.  Needless to say, I was PETRIFIED!  I knew Xan's mind and personality and knew that he was only taking our being sealed-together-for-eternity-before-God thing VERY seriously.  I knew he wasn't unsure of his feelings for me but only calculating in his head if he was really ready to commit to this marriage since once he was committed, he would be committed.  But that did not keep me from being TERRIFIED that he was going to say no.

Happy ending, he said YES, obviously.  But I wasn't able to call myself his wife or him my husband in front of him for months and until I had heard him call me his wife or him my husband at least 20 times.

You can laugh now.  I find the whole story funny now and I am so glad he took everything so seriously because he can never say he didn't sign up for life with me, right?  LOL!

Back to my main point, though, I did loose part of myself through everything that we've been through.  I've been relieved to hear that I'm not the only wife out there saying this as I've chatted with friends and family.

But, ENOUGH!  I'm bringing back some of my old self from college back into my life.  My crazy free spirit who loved making life fun and didn't care so much about what other people thought of her.  I was known as Bybee then.

Isn't it funny at how much a name change can do?  I grew up being called Ashley.  Then, in high school, around the time that I was starting to feel a bit less awkward and a bit more like a girl with friends and potential, I became really good friends with another girl named Ashley.  That's when people started calling me Bybee (my maiden name), to differentiate which Ashley people were talking about.  I grew into that name and took it with me to college.  I still have friends who don't know my first name is Ashley.  But, somewhere in getting married and moving to Iceland, I went back to Ashley.  And whether coincidental or not, I started to revert back into that awkward, more recluse girl I was growing up.  Hence, my verbal usage of reviving Bybee.

So far, I've decided I'm going to be more serious about my daily scripture study.  More diligent in saying both morning and nightly prayers.  Better at eating a complete, wholesome breakfast before 10 am.  Finding time to meditate, paint my toe nails, and read all your blogs (I'm MONTHS behind but I can't play catch up or it turns into a chore so I'm just starting from today).  And I'm going to make sure I'm enjoying myself while I do the chores and cooking around the house.

What do YOU do to beat off the blues?

How Should I Cut My Bangs?

I'm scheduled to get my hair trimmed and bangs styled on Friday.  I'd like to get some of your opinions, if you have one.  I have really long hair and a job that requires bending over to pick stuff up or put stuff on a shelf.  My hair is up and out of the way about 85% of the time to keep it from trailing on the floor or getting caught in the packaging tape.  I like bangs because they let me still feel like I have some type of hair style.  But, I have a hard time getting bangs cut because of a strong cowlick on my left side.  I found a stylist I love who did a great job with my last bang cut (see below) so I think I'm ready to trust him to do a bit more.

I've spent a bit of the morning looking up photos and finding some that I like.  What do you guys think?

From left to right, top to bottom
Option A: wispy but spread out without a clear side part
Option B: A solid bang with the sides slightly longer
Option C: A bit longer side-swept with longer sides
Option D: Thicker, short side-swept

Any thoughts?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's all about tomorrow

Cornell has a VERY long Christmas break.  Xan had his last day of school somewhere around the 12th of December and while he had finals and papers to do still, classes don't start up again until tomorrow.


It's been nice to have him home.  My work schedule doesn't usually coincide with his school schedule very often so we took the opportunity to spend time together and work on projects we've been meaning to get done.

But lets face it.  It is frustrating to the both of us to always have him home.  Seriously!  He's ALWAYS home.  He's going stir crazy just sitting around the house and trying to motivate himself to work on school.  It has thrown me off my routines, made me cranky, and ruined my newly formed habit of going to bed earlier and getting up before 7 or 8 in the morning.  We both need time alone.  He's been able to get it while I'm gone at work.  But me?  Not so much.

I cannot wait for life to get back to normal when he goes back to school tomorrow.  This event is somehow magically going to put us back into routine and me back in a productive mood.  ;)

In the meantime, I'll continue to try to motivate myself to make some dinner... a project I've been trying to get myself doing for the past 4 hours.  It's even all planned out: Sage flavored pork loin chops with seasoned beets and carrots on the side.  I was going to add mashed potatoes but I'm not even sure if I'll get to any of the menu plan.  Maybe we'll just have soup tonight.

And next year?  We're going to plan better.  Maybe we'll go somewhere after Christmas...

How about all of you?  What kinds of things disrupt your family life?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Photos: Something a blog reminds you to do

Last October, Xan and I got ourselves a new camera for Christmas (a bit early but totally worth it).  We've LOVED it.  Especially Xan.  He's been getting books about photography from the library - hence the improvement some of you have noticed in our pictures we've posted.

The problem, though, is that it is big and bulky.  It is not the sort of camera you can easily fit in a purse and pull out spontaneously.  Therefore, my picture taking has almost dropped to nothing.  My own camera, the small one we used before that is the perfect size for spontaneousness, has a battery issue.

But I'm no longer going to use the problem as an excuse.  From now on, I am going to be better about taking photos.

Thank you blog for helping me keep taking pictures and memories.  Without you, I probably wouldn't have captured so many memories.  :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Final Resting Place

I'm the type of person that likes to explore all the options in a very impulsive way.  When I first decided to write a blog, I signed up through blog spot without really looking into all the blog options with my original address of xanashley.

Then, I discovered Word press that had so many options that Blog spot didn't.  It let me do pages, tracked my traffic, and had cool templates. Seduced, I moved over that way and created stepphousehold.  But, there were things that I didn't like about it once I moved there.

One of the things Xan is teaching me is to research and think before acting.  So that's what I've done.  I've looked into other blog sites.  I researched options and features.  I found how much blogspot upgraded and added during my one year or so absence and THEN made my decision.  It's also one of the reasons I haven't really blogged in a while. 

I have created my final blog site and address.  One that isn't too big that I get lost in all my ideas and pages but that is flexible enough to grow with whatever situation that life throws with us: a move, new jobs, new pets, a larger family.  Who knows what's next!

Welcome to a blog all about the Stepps.  (I even got a bit of a pun out of it!)