Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 2009: Question Day

So its Wednesday, Question Day. If you have been following this week, you will know that I have been asked to be the "Spotlight" for a local Mom's Group I have joined. Despite being having its difficulties, I have enjoyed remembering some of the fun & crazy things that have happened in my life:-) Today is your chance to participate in this Spotlight. The mom's in the group will be asking me questions based on my Spotlight and 30 Random Facts. If you would like to ask me questions too, I'll be happy to answer. You may never get the chance again:-). Some of them have already asked me some, so I'll post those in the comments.

Tomorrow is picture day, that should be revealing:-)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 2009: Random Facts Day

Ok, so Day 2 of this spotlight. Tuesday is Random Facts Day. I had to come up with 30 random things about myself. It was a tough thing to do. It was actually kind of fun to remember all the "random" stuff that has happened in my life when forced to do it. I have never filled out one of those emails that I get forwarded that ask you all kinds of questions (I apologize because I'm sure some of you have sent them to me) because then I'll have to make a decision about whether I'm a cake or ice cream person. Why should I have to choose? This random thing is much better, no pressure to fit my answers into any sort of category. I'm sure some of these may be familiar to you:-) So here they are in random order:

  1. Had to have knee surgery after a skiing date went awry.
  2. I’m California royalty.
  3. Knocked out my front teeth when I was eight. A comedic novel could be written about my teeth problems.
  4. Love to travel-been to Paris 2x, French Riviera, London, Barcelona, Italy & Mexico City
  5. Been in 2 car accidents- one involving a dirt jump & the other a concrete wall
  6. My husband read Harry Potter 1-4 to me and did all the different voices and accents
  7. While giving a talk at church in front of the entire congregation, a haggard looking man who had walked in from off the street began approaching me on the stand proclaiming to be Jesus. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t him.
  8. Hate to cook, but luckily married a man who does, he even goes grocery shopping
  9. Love to play games and create new ones for all sorts of occasions
  10. Want to learn to sail before I die
  11. Never colored my hair, the day is sadly approaching I’m sure
  12. Save everything, can’t bear to throw things away
  13. Extremely accident prone –once got my shoe stuck under the door while saying goodnight to my date. People often say, “It could only happen to you.”
  14. Favorite tastes: balsamic vinegar, mushrooms, pesto, avocado, my mom’s strawberry shortcake, a good bread, banana & nutella crepe
  15. Can’t live without music
  16. Dated an Italian foreign exchange student one summer
  17. My cure-alls: sound of the ocean waves, ice cream, Peachy-‘o’s, Skittles, delphiniums
  18. Created wallpaper in my dorm room from all the Skittles I ate; came home w/ five cavities
  19. Love being surrounded by color
  20. Sewed all my boy’s nursery & bedroom bedding because I couldn’t find any I liked; LA’s Fashion District is super fun
  21. Always manage to pick out the most expensive item when shopping, it is now a game with my husband at the store (thanks Mom, I inherited that from you)
  22. Love to dance, my parents hired a DJ for my 30th b-day party
  23. In high school I drove a Honda Civic bought in Compton with ground effects, fixed muffler, heavily tinted windows, and a removable steering wheel. Loved it!
  24. My first job was at In N Out - still carry the huge safety pin as my key chain, was once almost confiscated at the airport but I was pregnant & cried so they let me keep it.
  25. Always wanted to play the guitar. Hubbie skipped lunches for months to buy me one, now all I need is lessons.
  26. Absolutely love to take photos. Have a nice camera but don’t know how to use it.
  27. First met my future in-laws with my face completely painted blue & white.
  28. Fall is my favorite season (in locations where 4 seasons actually exist), love the sound of the breeze through the different colored aspen leaves.
  29. Wish had more excuses to do new things or at least things I used to do:-)
  30. A mix-tape of my life, Side A:
    September- Earth Wind & Fire
    Together Forever- Rick Astley
    To Be With You – Mr. Big
    Estoy Aqui - Shakira
    Groove Is In the Heart – Dee-lite
    Canon in D – Pachelbel
    Come What May – Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGregor
    When You Say Nothing at All- Ronan Keating
    Sweetest Thing – U2
    Only You –Yaz
    Come Back Down - Lifehouse
    Stolen – Dashboard Confessional
If any of you would like to participate in this spotlight week that I have been subjected to, than tomorrow is your chance:-) Wednesday is Question Day where you can ask me...well, questions. :-) Please be nice.

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 2009: Spotlight and Spoiler

I joined a local mom's group back in February. It has been a great way to meet people & have others come up with fun things for my kids and I to do together:-). They have a "member spotlight" feature where the moms take turns sharing about themselves all week. Craziness, huh?!, to have to talk about yourself for a full week. Well I've really enjoyed learning about these other women and it has now come to my turn. Writing a bio about yourself is a tough thing, what do you include when you only have so much space? You don't want to bore people & I hope that is not what I have done. So much is left out, but oh well, its done. I decided I might as well share it on my blog.

Spoiler warning: Since I am so far behind on my posts, things are revealed in this bio that I have not shared yet, so if you want the full story you may want to wait until...well I'm not sure when I'll get around to updating, hopefully soon.
Here's one version of my life so far:

My story begins on March XX, 19XX in a little town called Orange, CA. I was born a ninth generation Californian to the greatest parents, Russell & Teresa. I am the oldest of 5 kids: 3 girls & 2 boys. I loved growing up with lots of siblings. My parents raised us all in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons:-). My Dad was in the oil business so we moved lots while I was growing up. I went to 5 different elementary schools. K- lived in Yorba Linda where I remember learning to ride my red bike in the cul-de-sac. 1st – moved to Denver, CO where my mom gave me a home perm that left me unrecognizable even from my teacher & where I accidentally got on the junior high bus instead of the elementary school bus-what bus driver can’t recognize a 1st grader from a 7th grader-I was so traumatized. 2nd-4th – moved to Anchorage, AK where we played badminton on our front lawn til 10 pm in the summer sun and climbed our Mt. McKinley, the large mound of snow left in our cul-de-sac by the snow plows, in the winter. I can truthfully tell my children that I walked uphill in the dark with flashlights in the snow & ice to school:-). 5th- moved to Dallas, TX where I was so embarrassed by a little boy who liked me and would buy me teddy bears and necklaces. I don’t know what he saw in me, it was a really bad fashion year for me, 1989:-). 6th – moved back to Cali, to little old Wildomar, where my mom told us we would only live for 1 year (my parents finally moved from that house in 2006). Jr. High was awkward but also full of fun- drill team & science club trips to Catalina.

Except for my freshman year, I loved high school at Elsinore High, go tigers! I got up at 5:30 every morning to attend early morning seminary (scripture study) before school. I was involved in so many things which I loved and hated at the same time. I think this is the time in life I realized my true talent for sleeping. I could fall asleep anywhere and get a great sleep. One time my mom found me asleep sitting in my desk chair with my head on my bed & the rest of my body suspended in air. I filled my time to the max-volleyball, track, AP classes, student government, CSF, Spanish, Yearbook, church youth group and leadership, and then boys on the side:-). My real driving force behind the madness was to be able to get into the school of my dreams, Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. It is extremely competitive to get in and I studied so hard to be able to do well in class and on the ACT. All of my effort paid off and in the fall of 1996 I headed up to beautiful Provo, UT a college town about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City. I was initially very intimidated by the amazingly talented people that I met, all of them having to be great at what they do to get into the school. I was just me in a sea of 30,000 phenomenal people. I soon overcame my insecurities and began to embrace & learn from others instead of being intimidated. I forged life-long friendships with people who shared & understood the same core beliefs I did and who knew how to have fun- the straight-laced way:-).

I learned how to study in high school, but I learned how to play in college. Yes, classes were challenging, but I had already developed good study habits so I didn’t feel too overwhelmed. I entered BYU as a Spanish major. I had always been interested in studying the language of my mother’s family. My grandmother is full Mexican but her father, my Abuelito, believed that they were American, so they should speak English. He did not teach his children Spanish which I find so intriguing, what a different era they lived in. I found a new love my first semester in college, Humanities. I could not believe that I had a class where my homework would be to attend concerts, go to museums, watch foreign films, and create art. I ended up double majoring in Humanities and Spanish teaching. Learning to play was lots of fun. Attending a large university has some definite benefits: lots of fun & new activities and lots of nice, smart, cute boys. I did my share of dating in high school but college was a whole new experience. I went out multiple times during some weeks and was able to really see some of the characteristics I wanted and definitely did not want in a partner.

After my Freshman year I came home to work 2 jobs to save up to attend study abroad in Spain. At the end of the summer I went up to school early to be a counselor to the incoming Freshman. It was during “training” that I met Mike- Pre-Law, dry, witty sense of humor, confident, horrible fashion sense, but very impressive & romantic. We both had bad first impressions of each other, but that soon melted away to what I can only explain as a fairy tale courtship. I was definitely whisked away. We were engaged in October and married in January 1998 in the majestic San Diego Temple for time & all eternity:-). I continued to attend school a little distracted but graduated with my teaching degree in 2000. Although I did not make it to Spain, Mike promised me that he would take me to Europe, which he did in 2001. I was in heaven amongst the architecture, sculpture, and paintings.

In looking back on our 11 years of marriage, it is amazing all that we have gone through together. We live our life faith-based and believe that what has transpired is God’s will for us. In our darkest hours, this has been tested but hopefully I have passed those tests. Mike has had various jobs some of which have ended in extreme financial difficulty. We have relied on the generosity of good friends and family to make it through. My family is incredible and I am so happy that most of us live so close. We are quite the crew together, seeming to fall back into our pre-adult selves. Despite several medical complications, we have enjoyed the blessing of 3 darling, active boys: Owen 7, Eyan 4, and Tate 2 and are happily anticipating the arrival of baby number 4 in March. We are a tad hesitant since each time we have a child, we end up moving. When O was 3 months we moved to So Cal; when E was 6 months we moved to UT; when T was 2 weeks we moved back to So Cal. Most days I feel blessed to be able to stay home with my boys :-). We have a busy crew; lots of wrestling, dirt digging, bike riding, lego building, lightsaber dueling, and tons of eating. For the most part the boys play well together and would all sleep in the same room if we’d let them.

I have also had opportunities to explore some of my interests and talents. I have had my own floral business, began training as a yoga instructor, and had, until this past Feb, my own company as well as one with my sister selling handmade children’s and women’s products online and to boutiques. I have too many interests for rooms and boxes in the house. I love projects but am not great at finishing them unless they are done in one sitting because I am always overly ambitious as to the undertaking.

The past 6 months has been a difficult time for our family. In summary, beginning in April my husband was no longer able to swallow food. For months he went to drs without answers as I watched him shrink and almost starve to death. Before this all began we had decided that it was time to try for another baby. I ended up miscarrying. On the same day Mike finally got his diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, we found out we were pregnant again. As you can imagine finding out that the person you love the most has a crippling disease that could take away all of his functions is beyond heart-wrenching. I was actual grateful that I had discovered I was pregnant that same day despite the wonder if this baby would know the amazing man and father as I know him. Knowing I had a child developing inside of me forced me to gain control of my convulsive crying. Since then my extremely optimistic husband, my supportive family, encouraging friends, and my loving God have helped me to work through fear and despair. The realization of having this disease has only brought out the best in my husband, he is truly the most inspiring person I have ever known. This helps me to want to be that for him. I am not sure what our future holds but I know God’s hand is in it and I pray it brings out my true character as I move forward as a wife, mother, and friend.

Hope you're not asleep, thanks for letting me share:-)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

September 2009: Hair Cut Day

Ok, so I know I have A LOT of catching up to do on my blog posts, but I just had to interject into my chronological flow to get some tips from all your pro moms. So today is Saturday, I'm thinking a walk with the kids, some catching up on some abandoned chores, updating my seriously behind blog, returning long overdue emails, and giving the boys needed haircuts. Well little did I realize that today would simply become "Hair Cut Day".

Yes my boys will be grateful later in life, and I'm sure their wives and children will be too, that they have great, thick hair that grows rather quickly, but for Mom a.f.t.b.k.a. Stylist Extraordinaire (a.f.t.b.k.a. = also forced to be known as), not so much. Yes its marvelous for our family photos to have kids with great hair:-) but not when you are the one having to practically straight jacket your kids to get them to let you wash their hair, then have them sit on an unsturdy makeshift barber chair comprised of a folding chair and toy bin, wrap a way-too-big plastic covering around their neck, and ask them to sit tall and hold their head still for an amazing amount of time while water drips into their eyes as you comb their hair forward and then the itchiness starts on their nose and neck from all the cut hairs. I might as well have been using a hacksaw, I've got to get a good pair of scissors.

Well that was my Saturday, and all that not just for one boy, but for all 3. It took me 4 hours to wash and cut their hair today. Just for Owen, it was 2 hours. [Ok so truthfully he has the most hair and he wanted to go from surfer long to the tousled faux-hawk look:-) He has so much hair that the clippers wouldn't even work on him.] This time I even opted to forgo the convenience of cleanup on my kitchen floor to letting them sit in front of the TV in hopes of this speeding up the process. Overall I think the boys hair turned out pretty good, but Sharky's Cuts for Kids is looking pretty tempting next time. Mom can't compete with sitting in a mini-Hummer while getting your hair cut.

Please tell me you guys have some great solutions for "Hair Cut Day". I'd like to make room for other things on that day. Even solutions on how to help your kids overcome the fear of clippers.

Just have to add that no blood was drawn in the process today, so that is a plus!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

August 2009: Eyan Starts Preschool!!!

Eyan is soo excited about starting preschool. He did not attend last year and is more than ready to go this year. Through my Aunt Michelle I found this amazing preschool called "Lil Ranchers". It is a developmental preschool that studies concepts such as the alphabet and numbers through "doing". They have music, yoga, horsemanship (Eyan's favorite), Spanish, sign language, organic gardening, cooking in addition to all the other preschool type learning. He is really loving it. Here he is on the first day of school in his favorite t-shirt. He goes to school with his cousin Bronson and his buddy, Charlie. His teacher Miss Val is someone that you can just feel their enthusiasm for kids and teaching the moment you talk to her. I was so concerned about finding the right preschool for Eyan that we could afford. I am grateful everything came together.

The first week they did a Pre-K assessment test. He passed everything with flying colors - Miss Val said he's already ready for Kindergarten academically, another sharp kid I've got, except that he didn't know his birthday and he answered some questions a little differently than expected:-)
Q: Where does meat come from? A: Boxes
Q: Where does milk come from? A: Bottles

He has also been a great little missionary at preschool. During music time his teacher asked the children to share with her some songs that they knew. Little Eyan and his bud Charlie stood up and sang all the words to "Called to Serve", a church hymn he learned in Primary, in front of his entire class. Miss Val was so impressed that she asked for the music to the hymn and will be attending the special Sacrament Meeting Program in which all the Primary children perform all their songs they have learned throughout the year. Charlie's dad also spoke in church recently and shared their experience. He had asked Eyan and Charlie come up in front of the entire congregation to sing it again. Eventhough they have practiced during the week at the church, I wasn't sure Eyan was going to do it. Even I would have been nervous. Mike walked him up to the front and as soon as the music began and Charlie began to sing, Eyan chimed in singing all the words. Everyone was teary eyed listening to them. It was a wonderful moment to watch as a mother:-) He really is musically-inclined. We had people coming up and telling us that Eyan was on perfect pitch. We've got to get him in some music lessons or something. Any suggestions?
For now preschool will do the trick!

August 2009: Recipe 2: Dinner Sausage Sensation

First of all, love the name, "Dinner Sausage Sensation". Anything with the word sensation in it must be good!

Dinner Sausage Sensation
as submitted by Courtney Blackwell

Turkey sausage or kielbasa (I used Lite Polska Kielbasa)
Favorite vegetables (I used red potatoes, red peppers, and green onion)
Garlic, minced
Olive oil
Pasta (I used whole grain penne)
Parmesan cheese
Marjoram (Didn't have any)
Added green onion too
Directions per Courtney:
Slice and heat turkey sausage or kielbasa (you can do this in the microwave or the skillet). Saute your favorite vegetables (I use frozen, and just stick them in the skillet while I'm heating up the sausage) with minced garlic and olive oil and dashes of parmesan cheese, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper to taste.

Sounds easy enough, right?! Well it truly would have been a breeze had I used the frozen veggies, but me wanting to use what I had instead, added some extra work. Always taking the long cut that's me:-) (Its in my genes, muchisimas gracias Abuelito:-) ) But with extra work, came extra taste. I loved the combination of the vegetables I chose. Since I'm inexperienced I cooked the potatoes too long but it ended up acting as a type of sauce:-)
My long cut turned out to be a good idea
I loved that the sausage was already cooked and all I had to do was slice it and heat it up. I forgot how much I love kielbasa. That was the boys' favorite part too!
Owen is such a great eater, he loves most vegetables. We're still working on Eyan and Tate:-)
My actual favorite was eating the leftovers the next day and adding my favorite BBQ sauce to it, oh it is soooo good. The name says it all, "Bone Suckin' Sauce". We like the thicker style. It was so yummy mixed in with those veggies, definitely a Sausage Sensation!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

September 2009: Making of it an Opportunity

It has been awhile since I have posted. I have so much catching up to do, but I have been very sick, on which I will expound on at a later time.

Something I reread this morning has brought me to write. This is unique for me to want to record my thoughts in this way, please forgive me. This journey over the past many months has definitely had a variety of twists and turns, with some ups, believe it or not, and some downs. I am not sure how I feel today but I am definitely in thought. I have been reading this book entitled "All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience" by Neal A. Maxwell. For those not of my faith I would like briefly explain the significance of this author and this title to me. Elder Neal A. Maxwell was a man who I believe to have been called as an apostle of Jesus Christ until is death in 2004 from leukemia. He was a man who stirred my soul with the way he had mastered the English language to describe things with such vibrant clarity. This title he chose comes from a scripture in the Doctrine & Covenants Section 122, Verse 7. The Doctrine & Covenants is a volume of scripture which includes modern day revelations given by God to the church through the Prophet Joseph Smith and other latter-day Presidents of the church. This particular verse was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he was wrongfully imprisioned in Liberty Jail. He had suffered a great many things in his short life and would endure more after being released from prison. God revealed to Joseph that if all these terrible and trying things shall happen, "know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

I found it very interesting that Elder Maxwell had written this book prior to having cancer. Perhaps God was preparing him for what would come. This book is full of amazing thoughts and scriptures on life and how to navigate through "all these things" that come to each of us. I have gained so much comfort and enlightenment from reading it. Today I reread a few paragraphs on page 38 that really stood out to me in regards to Mike. He says, "There are some things allotted to us in life that have been divinely fashioned according to our ability and our capacity. When we see individuals coping with what seems to be a tragedy and making of it an opportunity, then we begin to partake of the deep wisdom in the Savior's response concerning the blind man." This blind man is the one spoken of in John 9:2-3. "A disciple of the Savior said, 'Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither, ' said the Savior, reassuringly, 'but that the works of God should be manifest in him.' "

As I think of my courageous and faithful husband I think of these words. Mike has truly created an opportunity out of what seems to be a tragedy. I would love for the words of this scripture "that the works of God should be manifest in him" to demonstrate in Mike's life a parallel to the life of this blind man who was healed of his blindness. Although he has not been healed completely, we have already seen miracles of healing such as him being able to eat again. But for me what has outshone the rest has been the way the works of God have been manifested in him in a different way. His faithfulness, his testimony that God's hand is over all, his optimism, his discipline, his courage, his humor, his love, ...all of these things are manifestations of how the works of God can heal our hearts, can lift our eyes, can grant us true direction and purpose. I am grateful that I have seen these works of God in Mike which gives me strength as we continue on our journey.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...