Thursday, December 31, 2009

reflection.



I can't believe 2009 is almost over. I can't believe we are entering into a new decade. It seems like just yesterday we were "partying like it's 1999." This year has gone by fast, but it's been hard.

Every Christmas, I think "Next year will be different. Our situation will change. Things will be better." And they never are. I don't mean to be pessimistic, but it's the truth. This year, we were broke. Last year, we were broke. The year before, we were broke. See a pattern? It sucks. I keep hoping that we will somehow be able to better ourselves each year, but something always gets in the way.

Here's the low-down on our "bah-humbug" of a Christmas:

Christmas Eve was wonderful. On Christmas Eve, we went to Rob and Hilary's for a delicious feast of beef tenderloin, cheesy potatoes, and cranberry-apple crisp, and of course presents. There was even a surprise visit from Santa! It was a lot of fun, but we were up way too late. The girls were completely awful on Christmas Day. They whined, cried, argued, and the whole spirit was just missing. Next year we are planning to buy them even less. What's worse, is that our dear Aunt Sharon was terribly sick, so the Sexton tradition of breakfast on the ranch was cancelled. I swear, it has been going on for 50 years, and this is the first year ever that I remember it being cancelled.

So we planned to just do our own breakfast with my parents, but my mother did her famous flake-out, so I ended up cooking at my house, and then going to their house to find that she had done nothing, so I had to cook everything else there, too. Grrr! We were so angry. We basically ate and ran back to our own house, where the kids continued to be complete brats.

I've been thinking about how difficult life has been for us this past decade, and I want to be able to change it in some way. There are so many things that cannot be fixed, but I am hoping that the new year will bring us more strength to endure.

I am always reading blogs, and I saw this quote on one of them today:

"Everywhere in nature we are taught the lessons of patience and waiting. We want things a long time before we get them, and the fact that we want them a long time makes them all the more precious when they come."
~Joseph F. Smith

Patience and waiting. There is so much that I want out of life. I'm afraid those things will never come. But I know that I need to be patient. And hopefully, one day, those things will come, and they will be sweeter than anything I could have ever imagined.

Monday, December 21, 2009

the best day.

Yesterday was the BEST Sunday EVER! I want to remember it forever. We made it to Sacrament on time, which we don't always do. The choir performed a beautiful Christmas program that took much more time than we usually have allotted in that meeting. It was amazing. I cried tears of joy, sadness, and awe. One of our good friends Billy, sang a song about Joseph, the carpenter. He could barely get through it, the Spirit was so strong. Then there were songs of Mary. Words cannot describe the feelings that were felt. The congregation was invited to sing along at times, and each hymn that was chosen was so inspired! The program ended with "Peace, Peace" while the congregation sang "Silent Night." *More tears.* I felt so much peace. I have been sending letters to an eight-year old boy who is dying of cancer. I wanted to wrap up the peace that I felt, and send it to him and his family. The Spirit touched me in ways that cannot be described. I am forever grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ, and for the season that celebrates His birth.

We also had the opportunity to take a less-active member and her new husband to church with us that day. I am so glad that I volunteered to give them a ride! They were AMAZING! So kind and friendly, and you could feel the Spirit working on her husband as we talked about the gospel and shared our knowledge with him. I love being a ward missionary and am so blessed to be a part of the work.

Today alone showed me how much I have to be grateful for. My ward is AMAZING. The Spirit is so strong in our new building. And I have the chance to meet so many new and wonderful people each time I go out with the missionaries. We went to a baptism on Saturday, for a man whom I had taught. He is a choice spirit. His confirmation was done right before the choir performed. It was the perfect start to a perfect day.

That night, Terry was in such a good mood from the events of the day. He had a good day, too. It made me so happy to see him happy. It is not something that we see too often, and it was wonderful. He even told a joke, corny, but I loved it and we laughed and laughed. I asked him what movie he wanted to watch with me, because I wanted to spend some time with him. He said "I think I am going to watch the movie 'Inside of My Eyelids,' rated G for Goodnight!" Hahahahahahaha! That is the Terry I love. We did end up watching "The Devil Wears Prada," just because it was on TV. Yes, today was the best day.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

enjoy yourself.

A few days ago, we was eating at Szechuan Palace, one of our favorites. We were tired and the girls were grumpy, but it was so late that we just wanted to eat something decent and quick (not fast food) for dinner before we went to bed. We happened to be seated in a corner of the restaurant where we have never sat before. In this corner, there was a little sign that said "Enjoy yourself. It is later than you think." At first I thought it was talking about drinking and how the drinkers should hurry up before the bar closed, but as I continued to eat my yummy deliciousness, I kept thinking about that sign. My eyes kept returning to it, reading it over and over again. And I came to the conclusion that it was in fact NOT talking about alcohol. Instead, it was talking about life. MY LIFE.

I have been glum. Since before Thanksgiving, I have been fighting depression. Some days are good, others not so much. Lately it has been hard to fight it. I sit at home and watch Terry sleep, day in and day out. I feel hopeless and helpless. Our closet collapsed a few days ago, so there was a whole other mess of things to add to the already covered floor. Our new apartment is just too small for us. But there is nothing we can do. We have gotten rid of most everything that we could. When we finally called maintenance to fix our closet, I was left alone to move EVERYTHING out of the way so that the job could be done. It made me sad. It made me feel overwhelmed. I wanted to just throw it all away. I actually got down on the floor and cried. I begged Terry to get up. I felt like a two year old throwing a tantrum. It was ridiculous, I know. The cat came over to see if I was ok, then I got up and started to try and clear out the closet. Terry would not get out of bed, and I had to put everything somewhere, so I just piled it all on the bed on top of him. Then I started bagging things up. I was going to throw things away. But just at the last second, when I thought I couldn't take anymore, Terry got up and helped me. Maintenance soon came, and I took the girls and left the house. It felt good to get away with just them.

Back to the sign.

Seeing those words made me realize that I don't have forever to be happy. It is later than I think. Time on Earth is short. We know that. It should not be wasted feeling angry or sad. We should find "joy in the journey." This is hard to do. But at least I have recognized that I need to try and find some happiness, even if it is just a smidge, each day. Life is too short to be depressed all the time.

I don't know where that sign came from. Perhaps my great-grandfather put it there (he is known for his "trinkets") or maybe it is something that the restaurant owners found. Either way, I am grateful that it was there to lift me up. Thank you, little sign.

Friday, December 11, 2009

happy birthday, trinity!

Today is Trinity's 6th birthday. I simply cannot believe it. It seems like only yesterday she was a teeny tiny infant, and I was as confused as ever, not knowing what to do with her! But she was my miracle baby, the child I was told I would never have. Today I love her even more and am still incredibly grateful that I got to be her mommy. Trini, this tribute is for you...

You are so amazingly SMART. You are currently in Kindergarten and can already read. In fact, your teacher has told me that she is going to start you at a First Grade reading level in January. You can do math, spelling, and tell me little tid-bits of so much information. I am so proud of you. You love science and educational programs like shows on the Discovery Channel. You are eager to learn all that you can, and you never stop asking questions about the world around you.

You are BEAUTIFUL. Everyone says so. You get frustrated with your curly hair and say that you wish it was straight, but it really is pretty, and people love it. Your blue eyes are so sparkly, and even though you are still tiny, your personality is not! You love to model in front of the camera, and take pictures, so this year we bought you a digital camera of your own so that you can take all the pictures you want.

You are FUNNY. You are always coming up with jokes and ways to make people laugh. You are very dramatic, and the other day, you said to me "Look! I'm in a box!" and then proceeded to act like a mime in a box! Daddy and I are hoping to sign you up for acting and singing lessons next year.

You are KIND. If someone is feeling sad or scared, you give them a hug and try to make them feel better. If someone gets hurt, you ask if they are o.k. You take such good care of your little sister Natalie. You stick up for her, and though she sometimes annoys you, you always play with her and look out for her well-being. It makes me so happy to see you act so loving and caring towards others.

You have a TESTIMONY. You love going to church and learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ. You always ask to bear your testimony in Sacrament on Fast Sunday, and you get excited when you are asked to give a talk in Primary. You love having Family Home Evening. You love to pray, and you have even told me that you would like to serve a mission one day. It brings me so much joy to see you learn and grow in the gospel, because Trinity, the gospel is true.

I know that sometimes it is hard to be the oldest, because so much more is put on your shoulders. But I also know that you are an amazing, strong, wonderful little girl, and you are the best oldest child anyone could ever ask for. I love you all the way to the moon and back, my little deedles. Happy Birthday.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

swine flu vaccine.

Well, even though I am SURE that I have already had the infamous swine flu, I still got vaccinated-just to be 100% completely covered. The health department was offering the vaccine for free, so the girls and I went. Terry had class, so he couldn't come, but will be getting his next week. It turned out to be a bigger ordeal than I could have ever imagined.

They had a great system in place, so there was no waiting in line. That part was easy. It was the girls who were hard (big surprise!). They had some anxiety about getting the shot, but I kept telling them that it would only hurt for a minute and that they would be protected from the swine flu. I decided to go first and show my bravery. Perhaps that was my mistake.

Trinity went next, but she tried to fight me. I had to hold her tight on my lap while she screamed "NO!" but the nurse was able to do it quick and then Trinity was fine. She's just dramatic. But while all this was going on, Natalie was getting more scared and more worried. When I looked at her to tell her it was her turn, she turned and ran out the door! I jumped up and caught her, and then she started screaming and crying, and made herslef SO heavy that I could not lift her. I dragged her back into the room, and kept trying to pick her up. Nothing. Man, this kid is SOLID! I finally got her up on my lap and was trying to hold her down, but she struggled so much that the nurse couldn't do it. By this time, the WHOLE office was looking at us, and you know how much I HATE that!!! No other kid was crying or screaming, lucky me. Oh, and this whole time, I was actually laughing! I'm not sure why-I think it was because I was embarrassed, and because Natalie had NEVER, EVER done this before over a shot, and I couldn't believe it was happening. I couldn't believe she could make herself so heavy that I couldn't pick her up!!!

Finally, a male nurse that was nearby offered to help. The female nurse that was helping us asked me if I wanted to just not give her the shot. She said she didn't want to traumatize my daughter and then another lady piped in and said she can't risk getting her nurse stuck with the needle. That I understood, but I wasn't going to leave without my child vaccinated. So I asked to male nurse if he would help me hold her down. He agreed, and while even he couldn't hold her completely still, the female nurse was able to get the job done!

What an ordeal! I was dripping with sweat, and Natalie was dripping with tears, but they soon stopped because the nurse gave her a lollipop. And the whole building must have heard her screams, because on our way out at the other end of the building, she was offered another lollipop, which she promptly put in her mouth, so she had two sticks coming out of her mouth! We were also offered words of encouragement, and people were cheering for her, since she had gotten the shot! This was by far the craziest doctor's visit I have ever had.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

brats.

I can not stand brats. And I'm not talking about the kind you eat, either. (You know, bratwurst.) Today my kids were TOTAL brats. They've acted this way before, but I am just getting tired of it. They are old enough to understand the difference between good and bad.

After I picked them up from school, we headed to *gag* Walmart to buy some treat bags for Trinity's birthday party, along with some other things. Everything started out fine, until Nat started doing her usual "run away from mom" thing, and she was going FAR. This kid will just take off like she's in a race or something. And sometimes I don't even see her leave. She has no concept of "strangers" and doesn't care to listen to me for anything. It makes me furious. I asked her numerous times to stay close, but she kept leaving. She did this through the entire store, and then the girls started fighting. So I stuck Trinity in the cart. This led to Nat running around the cart and up and down the aisles, teasing her sister. Trin just couldn't ignore it, so she stuck out her hand and hit her sister in the face as she ran by. Then the screaming started. AHHHH! Why can't my kids just listen?!

I finally started with the spanking and then I realized that the whole front of the store was looking at me. That's when I lost it. I just can't take the embarrassment that comes with having bratty kids. I had to get out of there-FAST. I dashed to the checkout line and paid for everything-except the treat bags that I came there for in the first place. It was probably $20 worth of goodies, but I was so ticked that I put them back. I told Trin that I was not going to buy her anything else for her party because of her behavior, and that if she did it again, her birthday party was cancelled. They say you have to follow through with your "threats" as a parent, or else it doesn't work. Well, this time I followed through with not buying the goods AND I am going to follow through with cancelling this party.

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they didn't do this very often, but they do this EVERYWHERE we go! The mall, Target, Walmart, you name it! It's like going out in public means it's time for a "free for all." It drives me crazy. I feel like a bad parent. I feel like I have bad kids. I hope they read this one day and realize all the hell they put me through as kids!

Monday, November 30, 2009

chosen!

Last semester, Terry learned how to use photoshop. This is where he met Walt. This man is amazing! He is super talented, has had numerous years of graphic design experience, and has countless connections in the professional biz. He has mutiple academic degrees and could be doing ANYTHING with his life. Yet he chooses to teach at our little state college and help his best students become marketable and find a job. He is Terry's mentor. And the part that I love? Walt is a Mac fan! Anyone who uses photoshop, or illustrator, or any other software used in graphic design should know that Apple makes the BEST computers for the job. And in this family, we believe that anyone who believes that a PC can get the job done just as well or better, is just plain wrong. In case you haven't figured it out, we love Apple computers. :)

Anyway, the assignments in that class consisted of making posters. Posters that represented future performances at the Sunrise Theater. There were posters for Kool and The Gang, ABBA, a ballet company, a Russian circus, and a few plays. Terry did a poster for a play called "I Love A Piano." And guess what?! HIS poster was chosen to be used as the actual poster that would advertise for the event! How cool is that?! We are so proud of him! Once again, it proves that he has found his niche. He loves doing graphic design. He is so creative and is doing so well in his classes.

A few days ago, we all went together to see his poster at the theater. Here he is, happy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

giving thanks.

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. I've been glum, and while I kept trying to come up with things to be thankful for, I just couldn't. It's been a rough year, especially the past few weeks. Moving really took it out of me, and I still have to unpack. Natalie has been sick, and now I am sick. Again. Maybe I've got some depression trying to settle in. I've definitely been slacking in the prayer department, which never leads to any good. And while I know they're not, things just seem so hopeless right now. Terry has been sleeping for days. He is always so tired. It makes me feel sad and lonely. Still, I tried to make yesterday memorable with my girls.

While Terry stayed home and slept, the girls and I went to my parents' house for breakfast. They started putting up their Christmas tree, so my girls got to decorate it. I also brought some crafts to their house so that we would have something to do: we made two wreaths and started making little angels out of clay pots and wood. That really was fun. The weather was perfect-cool and breezy-and we had all the windows open. The parade was also on TV, and it felt a little like my childhood. (We always watched the parade when I was little.)

Here is Trinity, decorating herself instead of the tree!



Later that day, Terry finally got up just in time for us to head out to Aunt Sharon and Uncle Sean's house for a turkey dinner. We always have fun there. We got to mingle with family and their friends, and the feast was amazing! They had ham and turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, collard greens (a Sexton tradition), sweet potato casserole (made by me), and fabulous desserts that included a cream cheese pumpkin log and the traditional pumpkin pie.

While at the ranch, the girls got to help feed an orphaned calf. We traveled deep into the pasture, and found the adorable little one mingling with some other cows. It didn't have a name, so Trinity named it "Lola." Truthfully, we didn't know if it was a boy or a girl (and I forgot to ask Sean), but Lola it became!



By the end of the night I did feel better, probably because I had had so much fun just talking to everyone. Our bellies were full, and we were all ready for bed. The only downfall was that I was coughing up a storm! I guess nothing can be perfect.

I AM grateful for my family. I am grateful that we had someplace to go on Thanksgiving day. I'm grateful for my girls and the joy that they bring me. And I am grateful for the things that we DO have. I know it could be worse. Here's to hoping next year will be even better.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

halloween.



Yeah, this is late. But I wanted to document it. This year, Halloween was a blast! We had DAYS of fun and festivities. It started with a school field trip to visit the old folks. The kids got to wear their costumes and parade around, then they performed some Halloween poems and songs, followed by passing out treat bags to the adorable elderly, who loved every minute of it, by the way. The home that we visited gave the kids cookies and juice after, and I had the best time just driving the kids to and from the scene!



Our next event consisted of going to the pumpkin patch. It was another field trip, so again I got to drive a group of kids and we had so much fun. At the pumpkin patch, we got to make a craft, listen to songs and stories about Halloween, and then the best part of all...we got to pick out a pumpkin! Last year they had a hayride too, but this year the tractor was broken. Still, we had a great time.









Then came the Halloween party at school. I volunteered to run one of the games, "The Spider Toss." There were about 5 different games for the kids, each run by a different parent. We then "paraded" around the school, going room to room for "trick-or-treating." All the bigger kids loved looking at the little kids' costumes! We then stuffed our faces with candy, cupcakes, chips, grapes, popcorn, and juice, and that was the whole day of school!!!





The night before Halloween, we attended the ward chili cook-off and trunk-or-treat. There was a contest to see who made the best chili--and it was all soooooooo delicious! And there was TONS of candy! I have never seen so many "trunks" participate in the ward trunk-or-treat, and some trunks were really decked out!





Finally Halloween came, and by this time I was getting tired! We went to the mall, which had really good candy this year. And honestly, we could have stopped there. But girls' Pre-K teacher lived just down the street from us, and they really wanted to stop by her house. So we did almost two blocks of our street. The night turned out to be such a success! In fact, the whole week did! The only thing that I felt was missing was the snow-I know, weird. But back in Utah it would snow EVERY single year on Halloween, and I missed it this year. It was so HOT! Maybe in the future we will have chilly Halloweens once again...









Oh- and what did we dress up as? I was a "mad" scientist, with germs pinned to my scrubs, and Terry was my assistant/subject. Trinity was a "pumpkin spice girl," which she picked out all on her own, and then got embarrassed at school because everyone laughed at her because they all thought she was so cute. The teachers showed her off to all the other teachers, and the kids were all excited about her wig, because no one else had one. Natalie was a combination of costumes. I originally bought her a big blue princess dress that she picked out, but then she lost it, so she dressed as Snow White one day, Tinkerbell another day, and then on Halloween night she peed in her dress so I put her in a black velvet church dress, with Halloween tights, and black shoes. We then raced to Target and bought her a witches hat. So it was all good.

Friday, November 20, 2009

a new era.









Some truly AMAZING things have happened here in our little one-horse town this year. I didn't even think it was possible, but once again, God has prevailed! Several months ago, it was announced to our ward that we would be getting a new building! Everyone was so excited. But there was a catch; we HAD to have AT LEAST 200+ people in attendance for Sacrament meeting for a couple months solid. Everyone was ready to try. An attendance chart was made so we could all see how we were doing. Each week, we anxiously checked the board, looking to see if we were going to get that new building. And for several Sundays, we did have 200 or more people there. But there were also several Sundays where we didn't. The Sister Missionaries were working hard and baptizing like crazy, but it still wasn't enough. Then, just when we thought it might not happen, it did. We were going to get a new building!!!!

One of the COOLEST things about this new building was that it was being built RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the old one. You could literally watch the progress every Sunday, Wednesday, and any other day that you happened to be at church. It was awesome. Now that it has been built, the old church building has been torn down, and in its place there will be a parking lot.

The old building was built in the early 1980's. I couldn't get an exact date out of anyone, but it was around 1982 or 1983, which was right before my mother joined the church. I grew up in that building. I was baptized there when I was 8 years old. I grew a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel in that building, with the help of my church "family." I had many good times there, and I had heartache there as well. It was that building that I came home to when I got engaged to be married in the Temple. And I spent countless early mornings there learning about the gospel in Seminary. My husband Terry has a history with that building, too. It was there that he learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ, there where he was also baptized, and there where he became a part of the church "family" too. We were sad to see it go, but excited for the future that the new building would bring.




Our new building is beautiful. Magnificent. The Spirit of reverence abounds. The Open House is going to be on December 12th. I can't wait. I have so many people that I am going to invite.

The building itself is huge. It has room for 3 wards! THREE! We have three Bishop's offices, a large Primary room, a large Relief Society room, a mother's room (which we never had before), a very large kitchen, a large Family History Center, AND a 3/4 length basketball court! Our so-called "basketball" area in the last building was really just the overflow section of the chapel, with a single basketball hoop attached! I know that Heavenly Father must know that His church is growing, and that it is only going to continue to grow. The building has been built to be "green." The lights go on and off automatically when you enter or leave a room, and the air conditioner is set on a timer so that it does not run constantly. We also have electric organs and pianos, so that if we don't have someone to play, we can still sing a song with music! In fact, the organ we have is a new design and is the first of its kind in the state of Florida!

I have since been called to be a Ward Missionary, and I love it. The Sisters have worked so hard and have planted so many seeds. There are many new members in the ward. And I get to be a part of it. I love sharing my love for the gospel. I love teaching people about my faith. I am so grateful for this new building. We have been so blessed as a ward, and I believe that we have grown stronger because of it.







Thursday, November 19, 2009

ten years: a marriage evolved.



You may wonder who it was that said the above quote-I have no idea! But I like it, and it goes well with my post for today. On November 5th, Terry and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary! And by "celebrate," I mean that we were packing, loading, and unloading boxes. Yes, for such a milestone, we did nothing but move ten years worth of junk from one home to another. And we have yet to go out on the town, but hey, we've got eternity to do something! I have been thinking about what to post, and came up with a list of things that we have accomplished in the last ten years together.

In the last ten years, we have:

moved 8 times,

attended 3 colleges/universities,

had 2 children,

earned 1 bachelor's degree,

worked at ten different jobs,

lived in 2 states,

had numerous arguments,

had numerous good times,

become food junkies,

grown spiritually (and around the waistline!),

been devastated by 2 diseases (PCOS and MS),

learned to deal with above diseases,

and we still continue to DREAM BIG!

With all that we have been through together, we still have high hopes. We are enduring, we are dancing, we are smiling, we are living. Together, with God, we are sealed as an eternal family. We have plans for the future, near and far. And while I still don't consider myself an "expert," I think that I'm pretty darn close. ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

we've moved. again.



Last week, we went from a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a one-car garage, and moved into a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom apartment with a one-car parking space. Why? Because we are broke. We thought being in a house would be no problem, but apparently we didn't think things through because for the last year we have struggled to pay our bills. Sure, we are both in school, which does account for a lot of our expenditures, but we thought the VA benefits would be enough to cover any excess costs. Well, it turns out that the VA can be a little screwy when it comes to paying for school (Who am I kidding, the VA is screwy any way you look at it!). So, in order to try and cut costs, we have moved for the third time in the past two years. It sucks. The girls aren't happy about it and I'm not happy about it, but it had to be done. Let's just hope that we actually DO cut costs and that the move wasn't done in vain. It looks good on paper, but so did moving into that house last year. I guess we'll see.

All in all the move itself went pretty well. We had help packing most of our things (Thanks, Rachel!) and then got most of our stuff out on Thursday, with the remainder out on Saturday. Pretty quick, right?! We still have a couple things left in the garage and we have to clean this week, but other than that we are done. Now I just have to muddle through all of the boxes that were stuffed into our tiny apartment. We owe a big hearty thanks to the men who helped us with the heavy labor: my fabulous brother Brian, and some great elders from the ward, Brother West, Brother Bray, Brother Olcott, Brother Kubesh, and Brother Volsky. THANK YOU!!! :)

it's snowing!



Ok, not really, but yesterday morning when I was leaving to take the girls to school, I noticed a faint drizzle coming down that looked just like snow falling! It was cold outside too, so I decided to pretend that it really was snow, and that it just wasn't sticking. I never thought I would say this, but I really miss the snow. It is always so hot in Florida. Don't get me wrong-when we were in Utah I was constantly missing the warm feeling that you get when the sun shines on your skin, but I miss the changing seasons that we had in Utah, and the awesome feeling of wearing shorts in 60 degree weather. I hope that we can someday get back to a place where the seasons change, where it isn't hot all year long.

Monday, October 26, 2009

cheaters.

Guess what I just caught my girls doing??? CHEATING!!! Natalie had homework and Trinity did not. All Natalie had to do was trace the letter "C" and then write a few of her own. Well, she kept insisting that she could not do it, while I kept insisting that she could. This went on for more than an hour. Later I left the room to blog, and when I came back, the girls were eating Halloween candy and playing. I looked around for Natalie's homework and found it in her folder, completed. As soon as I saw the "C's," I knew that they were not written by Natalie. I went to ask Trinity if she did her sister's homework. She said "No," but it was written all over her face. So I asked her again, and told her to tell the truth. This time she said "Yes." I still don't really know what to do when it comes to punishment, so I talked to her about how it is important that her sister does her own homework. She agreed with me, but I am very worried that this could happen regularly in the future! Imagine the switching of homework that these girls could do in high school!!!

h1n1.

The swine flu. For months now it has spread across the globe like wildfire. Scaring everyone into wearing masks every time they leave their house, making people obsessively disinfect themselves AND their belongings. I admit, I was a little freaked out when it became a "pandemic," but then I learned more about it in my microbiology class and found that the word "pandemic" only means that it is found everywhere-not that everyone is dying from it. I was also informed that h1n1 is not as terrible as its cousin, the h5n1 (AKA bird flu), which struck a few years ago. Because of this, I was not afraid. In fact, I often even played with germs in my micro class and liked it! And just in case you're curious, this is what swine flu looks like under a microscope:



Darling, isn't it?! Well, it turns out when you actually acquire this little guy, there is NOTHING darling about it!!! Back in September, I got sick. At first I thought it was a cold, or my allergies acting up. Then I seemed to feel better. But then a couple days later I was hit HARD with a fever, aches, chills, cough, and congestion. I felt BAD. Bad enough that I went to the ER to get tested for this "pig flu." When I got there, they immediately handed me a piece of paper that stated that the state of Florida was no longer testing people for swine flu. This confused me. They did the normal vitals and checked me in, made me wait for forever, then when the doctor came in he was like "Why are you here? You just have a cold." Then he gave me some steroids and sent me on my way. He was an ass. (Excuse me.) (And by the way, if the state of Florida is no longer testing for swine flu, how are they coming up with all of these statistics that the news people keep reporting?) Anyway, I did not get better, and I knew that I did not just have a cold. Days went by and I got to the point that it hurt to breathe. Just walking the short distance to my bathroom to pee was exhausting. I have NEVER in my life felt as bad as I did. My body ached, including my spine, my neck, and my head. I was having hot and cold flashes. For one week straight, I had a high fever of over 101 that would not break. I really thought I was dying. I almost wanted to. My mom finally talked to me on the phone one day and thought that I sounded so bad, that I had lost the will to live (I don't think I really had, but whatever.). So she somehow got her doctor Trish to see me on her day off. By this time, I was so dehydrated (both food and drink tasted terrible to me) that she hooked me up to an IV right in her office. They gave me Tylenol to try and break my fever (it did not go down the whole two hours I was there) and they tested me for the regular flu. It was negative. I kept saying "I know it is the swine flu." I had all the symptoms. She gave me a shot of antibiotics, plus a prescription, and told me that if I did not feel better in a day or two, to go to the ER again.

Well, surprise, surprise! I did NOT feel better. I was WORSE. I don't know how it became even possible for me to feel worse, but I did. I went back to the ER, but to the one on the other side of town (really, it is in the next town over) because their reputation is better, they get you in and out fast, and we know a nurse there. They took one look at me and knew I was not doing well. I could barely walk. My fever was still high, even though I was already taking Tamiflu (which I think I was allergic to because it made me itchy, but I finished it anyway), along with antibiotics and a cocktail of other over the counter drugs. They ran all sorts of tests on me (still not the swine flu test), gave me something to stop the itching and make me sleep, and then got my x-rays back and told me I had pneumonia. AHA! The swine flu causes pneumonia, among other things respiratory! Ok, that isn't really proof, but I just know in my gut that is what I had at first. Besides, my teacher said that there were others in the class with it. Anyway, I had the choice of going home with my meds or staying in the hospital. I chose to stay there. And I am glad I did. I got round the clock treatments and didn't get any sleep that night, but I finally started to feel better, after more than two weeks of being sick, including being sick on my birthday.

My IV antibiotics and breathing treatments were what did the trick. The next day I was told again that I could stay longer if I wanted, but I felt better and was so tired that I decided to go home. It still took me awhile to get back to normal, but I think I am finally there now. I was short of breath for weeks after, and I was still very, very tired. In the end, I ended up missing so much school that I had to drop the semester. I cried, because it means that I will not be able to apply for my program for another year, but my health is more important.

So to those who are in fear of the infamous swine flu, I say, be smart. Get vaccinated. (I'm going to.) Don't freak out, but do wash your hands a little more frequently than normal. I survived and you can too!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

31.

Childrens Birthday Party Bird Cake

On September 19th, I turned 31. Don't you love my cake pictured above?! Just kidding! I'm obviously not "1", nor is my name "Piper." But I do LOVE this cake! I am really into birds and owls right now, and this cake kind of shows the look that I am always admiring in craft stores or on Etsy. I actually found this cake on a super COOL blog. Seriously, if you LIKE to watch Duff and his crew at "Charm City Cakes" on The Food Network, then you will LOVE the Pink Cake Box. I spent FOREVER going through their blog, admiring all of their beautiful cakes.

And by the way, I actually did get a beautiful cake of my own for my birthday this year. I only wish I had photographed it! My awesome mother-in-law Tina got it for me from The Fresh Market, where she works. It was all white chocolate with pieces of white chocolate on top. Unfortunately, I did not get to enjoy it the way a birthday cake should be enjoyed. I actually only took a small bite of it, and that was it. If you know me, then you know that this is quite unusual behavior for me. All you have to do is say the word CAKE and I AM THERE. But this was not the case on my birthday. I was sick. I mean, sleeping all day, all night, only waking up to take more drugs kind of sick. I was down. Out for the count. Gone. I have never been so sick in my entire life. It is actually a whole other post in and of itself, so I will not say anymore about it. Let's just say I knew I had my birthday, but I didn't care. It didn't even hit me that I had turned a whole year older until AFTER my whole sickness ordeal.

As I realized that I was no longer just "30" but now "in my thirties," I began to cry. Stupid, I know, but I was finally feeling better after being so sick, and I had so many emotions that needed to come out. I cried because I knew I was getting older, because I didn't get to enjoy my birthday, so I felt like it came and went without me, and that is not supposed to happen!!! I also cried because I did not get to enjoy my beautiful cake. While I was sick things did not taste right, so I just told my family to eat it. And they did. Then, as I was pondering this post, I tried to think of happy things that are associated with the number 31. Here is what I came up with:

1. October 31st is Halloween! This is one of my FAVORITE holidays!

2. Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors of ice cream! Who can go wrong with that?!

3. January 31st is New Year's Eve! For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed ringing in the new year with parties, festivities, fun, food, and the ever-popular ball drop in NYC!

Ok, so I could only come up with three. But those three are enough. I am 31 and I am happy. Happy Birthday to me!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

moo-ve over!



So a couple weeks ago, we were headed to the VA. We like to take the back roads to the freeway, because it always seems faster. But not this time! Much to our surprise, the cars were at a halt, and further up the road we could see police lights and trucks swerving from left to right. As usual, we were running late for our appointment, so we really didn't have time for whatever was going on. But as soon as we realized what WAS going on, our annoyance turned into hysterical laughing and delight. You see, there was a COW running down the road! Hilarious, right?! The police, animal control, and probable owners were all slowly driving next to it, trying to coax it to go a certain way. The poor thing was looking a little confused, as he stopped, went one way, then another. When we finally got close enough, I took this shot...

My grandpa has a cattle ranch and my parents, along with two of my mom's siblings, all live on it, so we pretty much love cows here. As a child I used to run around in the pasture, and now my husband and kids do too. It's great. There's nothing cuter than a moo-moo!

Friday, August 28, 2009

the story of the one man.

One day, there was this one man, who went outside, and walked down his one street. He walks by his one streetlight. He looks across the street and sees a polar bear, looking in the window of a restaurant. He walks up to this one big polar bear and asks him what he is doing. The polar bear replies, "I am so hungry. I am just imagining eating the food in the restaurant." And so the one man asks the polar bear if he likes Italian food. And the polar bear says that he likes any kind of food. So the one man invited the polar bear to have dinner with him, at his favorite one Italian food restaurant. And the polar bear joined the one man at the one Italian food restaurant, and they both ate lasagna. The polar bear got full as well as the one man. The polar bear thanked the one man, as they parted ways. And the one man went home, inside his one house, through his one front door, up his one set of stairs, into his one bedroom, where he lay in his one bed, and went to sleep.

Every night before bed, Trinity asks her daddy to tell her the story of the one man. If for some reason he can't, she flips out. She loves this one man. He has many adventures, and his story never ends, because every night he does something new. Terry invented this "one man," but Trinity will sometimes decide what direction the one man story will go. It is often jumbled and sometimes doesn't make any sense, but as long as it is about the one man, Trinity is happy. We sure do love that daddy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

finding a niche.

For years Terry has been trying to get a college degree. He has had several majors throughout his college career, too. He has attempted a degree in Information Systems, Information Technology, Computer Science, Internet Security, and General Academics. Maybe there are more-I can't really remember. What I do remember is that while he enjoyed his classes, he was never really able to finish some of them, mostly due to his MS. He was also never truly happy with what he had chosen to do with his life. So he took class after class, and pretty soon he had all these credits and student loans with no degree to show for it. He finally just gave up. He figured he wasn't meant to get a degree. He figured he'd just stay home and do nothing with his life. Then we moved back to Florida. Again, he tried to take classes, this time to get an insurance license. Again he failed. This is where I finally stepped in. I have known for a few years now that the day would come, where I would need to leave the home and start working to support our family. I have had many mediocre jobs here and there, but never anything I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. So when the opportunity to go back to school presented itself, I couldn't say no.

You see, after we moved back to Florida, Terry's VA disability was finally increased to 100%. Some may see this as a bad thing. For us, this was a good thing. This meant that the girls and I could now have health insurance. This meant that more benefits were available to Terry. And most importantly, this meant that I was now able to go back to school, and the VA would help pay for it. It truly is a wonderful blessing. I am now working towards getting my ADN, or Associate Degree of Nursing (RN). But this post isn't about me. It is about my personal hero, my husband.

I started going back to school in January of 2009. I had so much fun, and Terry could see that. So as the semester was ending and I was preparing to take summer classes, Terry decided that he wanted to join me. Not in the sense that he wanted to take the same classes as me, but in the sense that he too wanted to go back to school yet again. I was a little worried. We'd been down that road so many times, only to find despair and disappointment. But he insisted that he could do it. And he did. He signed up for digital media classes--classes that would get him a degree in Graphic Design. And he LOVED it! Never had I seen him so excited about school. Two semesters later, he is still going strong. At first I was worried. I kept asking him, "Are you sure you're going to finish this time?" And he would reply with "Yes. I told you, I'm going to finish school this time, no matter what." He's determined to finish. It's what he's always wanted. He will be the first one in his family to earn a college degree when he's done. I am so proud of him. He has finally found his niche.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

back to school.





On August 24th, Trinity, Natalie, and I all went back to school. Trinity is now in kindergarten, Natalie is in pre-k, and me, well, I am still working on my second degree.

The girls were so excited that morning, especially Natalie. She would watch Trinity do her homework last year or come to a school party where family was invited, and be so envious of the place that Trini got to go to everyday! Now that she gets to go to school everyday too, she cries when it is time to come home! She has just barely decided to use the potty, and I am so grateful that she is doing so well so that she can go to school. Trini loves kindergarten so far, and there are only a handful of children in her class. Yet another reason why I love Suncoast so much and hate the public school system. We know most of the teachers there and for going up to the eighth grade, the school is surprisingly small. I feel so blessed that we are able to send our girls to a private school, where they can get more one on one attention, and where school feels like family.

As for me, I am taking Anatomy and Physiology I and Sociology. I have the same professor for A&P that I had for Biology and Microbiology, so I am hoping it will be a breeze. We'll see. I am not sure where I stand with Sociology, but I am hoping it will be an easy "A."

Terry is also going to school this semester. His class started tonight. He is working on a graphic design degree, which he seems very adamant about. I am really hoping that he finishes. He's taking three classes (Quark, Illustrator, and Intro to Digital Media), but is lucky in the sense that they are block classes. So he has one for 12 weeks and then two others for 12 weeks. I wish mine worked out like that!

There are many people who have contributed to furthering our education. One of them is my wonderful great-aunt Jacqueline. I know that my Heavenly Father has opened the doors for me (and my family) and I am so thankful to the people who are helping us get there. Coincidentally, the visiting teaching message this month is about furthering your education and being committed to life-long learning. I never thought that I would NEED to go back to school, but I am happy I did. I love learning, reading, and filling my mind with knowledge. It is, after all, the only thing that we can take with us when we die. I hope that I have instilled my love for learning into my children. As of right now, they both love to watch educational programs on television, including shows on the science channel and the discovery channel. What kid normally watches that?! I don't know many.

Unfortunately I have also seen the effects of the mind crumbling due to disease. Terry is far from stupid, but his mind is not as it was. I have seen what challenges life can bring, and I know that it is important to do what you can, while you can. Maybe that is why I am always in such a rush? Either way, education is important. Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. May we grasp the chance to learn while we can.

Friday, August 14, 2009

making potions.

Trinity and Natalie love making "potions." They will often spend hours at a time cutting up little pieces of paper and throwing them into the "pot." They also add whatever they can find lying around the house: i.e. twist-ties, bits of plastic, small toys, etc. I'm not sure where they got this idea, but it is one of their favorite pastimes. That is, until last week, when Trinity decided that she needed to cut a piece of her bathing suit up and add it to her potion. I was livid! The suit was new and Natalie has one that is just like it, so they referred to them as their "Aquamarine" mermaid swimsuits. They just HAD to have them, and convinced us to buy them a month or so ago. Well, their days of using scissors have ended, and thus they can no longer make their beloved potions. (I later found out that Trinity had also cut a square out of her sheet, which only confirmed to me that taking the scissors away was the best decision.) Uggg! I was so mad.

Needless to say, the girls found a way to make their potions without scissors. Today while they were playing outside, they made one. Sure, you may think that it sounds ok, since no scissors were involved AND they were outside. WRONG!

THIS is what happens when you leave your children alone outside for too long!



Alas, a mud potion was made, holes were dug in the middle of the yard, and the girls were covered from head to toe.



I would have posted a picture of Trinity, but she is getting very wise beyond her five years-she managed to tip-toe into the bathroom and get into the tub before I even knew what was going on! The only evidence she left were black footprints down the hall. (I know you can barely see it, but it really was enough to make me get out the mop, and we all know how often I do that!)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

can't you see?

I have been going out with the sister missionaries alot lately. Going on exchanges is something that I have been doing since I moved back to Florida, and am so grateful for the opportunity to go. I did not serve a mission myself, though I really wish I had. Terry and I plan to go on a couple's mission when we are old and the nest is empty, but for now, I see this as a way to serve. I have fallen in love with these wonderful women who have given up everything so that they can be representatives of Jesus Christ. Their testimonies are so sure, so strong. Unwavering. When they come across a non-believer, someone who starts to persecute them and try to tell them that they are wrong, they stand up for what they believe in. I have seen them in action. I would have caved. Completely crumbled. I have a testimony too, but for whatever reason I find it hard to profess my love of the gospel the way that they do.

But the last few times that I have gone out with them, I have met some amazing people. First, there was Kathy. She was so sweet the first time I met her. It was a super hot day and she gave us ice pops! I was so grateful and taken back by her willingness to share with someone she didn't even know. Since then she has been baptized, just three weeks ago. Then there is Lizzie. This woman was searching for the truth and had been everywhere looking for it. When the sisters knocked on her door, she knew the truth had found her. I loved visiting with her and went to her baptism two weeks ago! Now, I have been out twice to the house of Michelette, a wonderful man from Haiti. He has invited the sisters to come back a third time, and I am hoping that he will want to be baptized as well.

Of course, there are times when I have been out with the sisters when the investigator does not understand what they are telling them. It drives me crazy. Not crazy like they are making me mad, but crazy like I can't believe that they don't see what I see. We try to spell it out for them, in plain English, and they still just don't get it. The proof is there in front of them. The Bible is used so much to back up the Book of Mormon. It's true! I KNOW IT IS! I just want to scream it from the top of my lungs! I had a testimony before, I always have. But it has grown even stronger since I have started going out with the sisters. And I have been blessed that I would derive such strength from serving a mission. Maybe I am not a "full-time missionary," but I am definitely a "member missionary," who is gaining strength, truth, charity, and much, much more from doing this. I have known of the gospel's truth from a very early age. My father is not a member and my mother is inactive, but I remained faithful. Why? Why did I go to church all alone? Why, as a teenager, did I not participate in things that my friends were doing? I wanted to participate, but I didn't. I COULDN'T. I knew. It was always there, in the back of my mind. For four years I went to early morning seminary at 6:00 am. I had to get up at 5:00 am, then go to seminary, then go to school. It was hard and made for a long day, after dance classes and drama practices. But I did it. People thought I was crazy. But I wasn't. I had the vision. (No, I didn't have a "vision.") I got the message. I had been told it was true and I just knew.

I don't know why this has hit me so hard, so many years later. It was like an "Aha!" moment. It was missionaries that got my mother into the church. Because she joined, I was there, learning in Primary. She may have faltered, may not have been strong enough. But I am. And I thank God for that everyday.

I want to hereby declare that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the one and only true church on the face of the earth today. And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

P.S. If you happen to stumble onto my blog one day and read this, great. But please, if your opinions are negative, derogatory, or hateful, keep them to yourself. You will not change my mind.

potty time!

So, it has taken me two years, but Natalie is FINALLY willing to use the potty!!!! Hooray! It's potty time!!! I am so excited. It started a couple weeks ago, when I was changing her diaper and she was having a fit. She was crying and screaming and just throwing a tantrum (I can't remember why) and when I went to put on her new diaper, she screamed "I want panties!" And that was it! I got her some, told her she HAD to use the potty if she was going to wear them, and she said ok. She had a couple accidents, but did really well the first day. I wondered if it would last. Day 2 turned out to be the same, and then Day 3. She was DOING IT! I couldn't believe it. She was really proud of herself, too. We went to the dollar store a month or so before, and tried to bribe her to use the bathroom with about $20 worth of toys. Each time she used the potty, she got to pick out a new toy from our closet. It made her so excited to use the potty! And when she had an accident, she knew that she would not get a toy that time. Well, it has now been about two weeks, and while she is still having an accident here and there, she is SO much better than she was. We are out of dollar store toys, but her enthusiasm continues, as does ours. She really wants to be a big girl, and knows that she has to be for Pre-K, which starts in just a couple weeks. I was so worried that she would not be able to go, and that I would have to keep her home one more year. But she is coming through. Pictured below is Natalie, with one of her dollar store toys. Trinity was jealous and wanted one too.



even the kids want one!

...a little brother, that is! No, I'm not pregnant. No, I'm not trying to get pregnant. But Terry and I have discussed having another baby in a few years, when I have finished nursing school, and the girls have told us many times that they want a little brother. I often wonder if they are receiving promptings from the Spirit that I have chosen to ignore. I have plenty of excuses to not do it: money, still needing to lose those extra pounds from my last baby (which was four years ago!), school, money, oh, and did I mention money? Yes, we are too broke to invest in another child. It wouldn't be fair to the rest of the family and adding more weight to myself wouldn't be fair to my poor body. So in my opinion, those are VERY good reasons to ignore any prompting that I may or may not have. BUT...

Tonight, as I was putting Natalie to bed, she said something to me that made me laugh and made me think. It goes something like this:

Me: Did you know Jesus is your brother?

Natty: Yes, but he's my older brudder and I want a younger brudder.

Me: (laughing) Really?

Natty: Yes, and mommy? Can you and daddy get married again so that you can have a baby in your belly? I really want a little brudder.

Me: (laughing hysterically now) No, mommy and daddy don't need to get married again, because we already did. Getting married doesn't put a baby in your belly.

Apparently, I need to figure out a way to discuss the birds and the bees to a four year old. My five year old could use the talk too. We have told them that they can not have babies until they are married (in fact, they have been told that they can't kiss boys or see boys naked and vice-versa until they are married), and we have told Trinity that she is our miracle baby and that we prayed for her and that Heavenly Father sent her to us. So now Trinity thinks we only need to pray for a baby to appear in my belly, though I have told her that it takes a little more than that. And Natalie thinks that we just have to get married to get a baby in my belly. Oi! I am in for one heck of a ride!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

elliott museum and the house of refuge.

On July 24th, which happens to be Pioneer Day in Utah, we made another long, boring trip to the VA. Terry's appointment was first thing in the morning, and it was a short one, so we had the whole day left. I was antsy to do something fun, but we didn't want to spend alot of money, and Terry nixed my beach idea right away. Then I remembered this place that my mom took me to when I was little. I made a quick call to my parents, and my dad told me how to get there. The place was called The House of Refuge, and just down the street from that was the Elliott Museum, so you could tour both places at a two-for-one price. We were delighted!

We went to The House of Refuge first, located right on a strip of land that falls right between the beach AND the river on Hutchinson Island. The beach there is rocky, so the waves look so cool crashing into the rocks. And there was a movie being filmed there! It was neat. We took the tour, and learned that there were several "houses of refuge" located up and down the Treasure Coast of Florida. Back in the day, there was one person who stayed there, called a "keeper," and it was their job to look up and down the coast after a storm for shipwrecks and sailors who were lucky enough to survive and make it to the beach. They would then take the sailors in, feed them, clothe them, and nurse any wounds. It was a difficult and lonely job, but if not for them, the shipwrecked men would have had no hope. Today the house that we toured is the only one that is still standing, and I feel lucky to have seen it once more. And while I sort of forgot that it was Pioneer Day, I was happy later on to realize that I had taught my children a little something about some of the pioneers in Florida.

We next made our way to the Elliott Museum, where the learning of more pioneers continued! Named after the man who I presume started the museum, he contributed greatly to its contents, as many of the items inside were his. The special display was all about the circus, and there were tons of miniature circus events placed throughout the first room. As we traveled through the rest of the museum, we saw an old general store, an old-fashioned kitchen, and even a whole collection of old baseball cards and a baseball, complete with autographs from people such as Joe Dimaggio. Then at the end of the tour, there is a garage filled with cars, ranging from the first early models right through 1975. It was amazing to look at how vehicles have changed! There were even electric cars, which I hadn't realized had been invented so long ago.

All in all it turned out to be a very educational, fun-filled day. I am so happy that we thought of something fun to do as a family, and the fact that it all ended up happening on Pioneer Day made it even better.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

the fourth of july.


The fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I love America and everything it stands for, and I love the spirit that this holiday brings out in people. Terry is especially fond of it too, seeing as how he served our country in the United States Air Force.

Last year we were a little disappointed with the way the day turned out, because we had been spoiled by all the festivities that occur in Utah, whereas Florida doesn't seem to do much of anything. So we went to Aunt Hilary and Uncle Rob's house in Hobe Sound, because they have a huge party that half the town comes to, and Rob puts on a display of fireworks that is so big, you'd think it was put on by the town in their own back yard! Patriotic music blares as the fireworks are lit from the backyard, while the spectators sit in the front yard and watch them burst high in the sky. It really was awesome and we had a great time there, but when we left we got about a mile down the road and realized that someone had made a HUGE crack in our windshield, the size of a #10 can, completely circular! I have no idea how it was done, but since the whole town was present, there was no way of knowing who did it. Well, we got the windshield replaced, but it wasn't the same after because it would leak water and the job just wasn't done right, even though the company came twice to repair it. Lucky for us, we ended up selling that van to my parents (hehehe). Sorry mom and dad!

This year we didn't want to risk that one again! Our ward was having a BBQ on the beach, so we went. It was a BLAST! So fun! The beach was perfect that day. The water was clear and calm-flat, but not too flat. Beautiful. The food was great and the girls had a ball digging in the sand, splashing in the water, and throwing water balloons at people. We stayed for a few hours and then decided to leave, since most of the members had already left and Terry was getting hot. But then on our way home we remembered that one of Terry's old high school buddies was going to be in town, and he and his family usually throw a big party at Riverside Park, where the town does fireworks. We found him, and had yet more food and fun. The girls played with another little girl that was there and went swimming in her little pool. Terry and I talk to all who stopped by, and when the fireworks finally went off, it was gorgeous. Nothing like good old "Stadium of Fire" of course, but it was a nice show for this small town.

Now, this may seem like the perfect day, especially when hearing about last year's events, but it didn't start that way. Let me give you some background information. Sometime last year (I can't remember exactly when), Trinity was playing in her room and then came to us, saying she had something in her nose and needed help getting it out. We thought it was just a big booger, but no, it turned out to be a bead! She is a very smart little girl, so we couldn't understand why she would have done such a thing, but she did. Needless to say, we couldn't get it out, so we had to go to the emergency room. We took her to a small hospital that is in the town just next to us, because frankly, the one here stinks. So it was a bit of a drive, but we were glad we went there. The staff was quick to get us in and everyone was very nice. And it turned out that a member of our ward was there and he was the one who worked on Trinity! He couldn't work the bead out either, so he made up this little vacuum, out of some tubing and I don't know what, and stuck it up her nose. Soon after the bead emerged! Hooray for happy endings. Back to the present--wouldn't you know, our youngest daughter Natalie did the EXACT same thing on the 4th of July?! She came to me and said she had something in her nose, right when we were about to walk out of the house and head down to the ward party. I thought "Oh boy. Here we go again." Thankfully, I WAS able to maneuver the bead out of her nose this time. I swear, there is really NEVER a dull moment at the Mann house.

Monday, July 20, 2009

butterfly birthday.



On July 18, 2005, my unplanned blessing whom we call Natalie Elise was born. At the time I had no idea what I was going to do with two children. I was still getting used to my first child when I found out I was pregnant with my second. I had a very hard time adjusting, but after a couple months I was so in love that it didn't matter anymore. Today I know that Natalie was sent to me from my Heavenly Father for a purpose. She was meant to come to our family, I am sure of it. I love her so much and she will forever be my baby.

Flash-forward four years and here we are, celebrating Natalie's fourth birthday! I can't believe how fast time has gone. She loves mermaids and princesses, Hello Kitty and butterflies, and she decided that she wanted to have a "butterfly birthday." So we had our family and neighbors over and had a yummy meal of sloppy joes (courtesy of grammy Tina, who makes the best sloppy joes ever!), potato salad, and of course, a butterfly cake, made by me. I tried my best, but it really didn't come out as good as I had envisioned it. But the party was a success and most importantly, the birthday girl had "the best birthday ever!", so she said.



Gifts included a butterfly drawn by Great-gramma Hildy, a Disney Princess lunchbox, a Barbie that allows you to "cut" and style her hair, and her favorite, her very own Leapster 2! Trinity has had one for a couple years now, but they always fight over it, so we decided it was time to buy Natalie her own, and we got a great deal on e-bay. This kid also cleaned up in the cash department, getting a total of $15 for her birthday! She knew just what to do with it--buy her Barbie doll a prince charming, of course! So a couple days after her birthday we went to Target and purchased a very handsome "wedding" Ken doll, who looks like the perfect prince charming.

I love this little girl so much and am so happy she came to our family. Happy fourth birthday, Natalie! Thank you for being my baby girl.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

good fortune?


Last night we went to one of our favorite Chinese restaurants for dinner, Szechuan Palace. It was built by my great grandfather Waldo Sexton and thus has a highly eccentric atmosphere that is adored by many. We ordered a tofu dish, which Natalie adorably calls "fufu," as well as some sesame chicken, and a new chicken and vegetable dish that I had never tried before. Everything was amazing! It all came with won-ton soup (they have the best), egg rolls, and those yummy chips and duck sauce. And as expected, we all received a fortune cookie at the end of the meal. I never eat mine because I once read the calorie content and was horrified that such a small thing could have so many calories, so I usually just open it up for the fortune and pass the cookie on to my girls. But that night was different.
As I opened my cookie, wondering what my fortune would be, I saw that it was empty! I was in shock and disbelief, as that had never happened to me before and I so wanted a little fortune! (Don't ask me why. I really don't know.) Well, needless to say, I came to the conclusion that I have no future. Depressing, right? But it's kind of the way I've been feeling lately, so I took it at face value. But that's not even the best part of my story--Terry then opened his cookie and found the funniest fortune I have ever seen--"You will have some new clothes." Seriously?! That man is such a clothes hound-you wouldn't believe how many articles of clothing he has! So to us, it was a hilarious fortune. Then the kids both got some fortune about wisdom and grace, the typical fortune you would expect. All in all, it was a funny moment for us that night. Something I thought was worth noting.