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!