Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Busy

I feel like I've been super busy lately.  But, instead of being frazzled busy, I'm happy busy.  Or at least I am tonight.  I feel much more peace and true contentment than I have felt in a long time.  I'm happy busy.  I'm doing a lot lately.  

preparing for Christmas (and yes, I'm all done shopping!  awesome.), visiting teaching, teaching at church a lot, attending meetings, looking at real estate, tutoring, celebrating birthdays and holidays, preparing for this summer's Girls' Camp, working on our adoption, working on some smaller scale projects, doing therapy with Sammy, working on a book, starting to plan for Sweatin' for Sammy 2012...

There's a million things, big and small, going on lately, aside from the everyday stuff.  But I feel good.  A few months ago, I think I would have been stressed.  So, I'm not sure what has changed ~ maybe between Thanksgiving and Christmas soon approaching, something has changed.  I'm more centered?  Am I getting all zen-like?  Maybe.  I guess, perhaps the thing that is supposed to happen to us during this time of year is really happening to me.  Ahhh, who knows?  All I know is I'm enjoying it.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Someone here sure loves them

...even on the bottom of her dirty feet. 
Stickers.  Always makes life better.


Wow.  Thank you for all your comments, emails, facebook messages, and love. 

Though it seems like this should be very terrible (and it was a few weeks ago when we received her initial email stating that she was going to go with placing her baby with her own mother ~ I think that's when most of the emotions got worked through for me), I feel peace.  And I feel love.  I hope good things for them and that little baby. 

I am, actually, feeling fine.  I'm afraid that I sent off a different message on my facebook status -- I was sad, but it wasn't the deep sadness that I felt weeks prior.  That sadness I carried privately (and with a select few).  That was a difficult time.  That was hard. 

But now, I'm not sad as much as I'm just tired.  Physically.  Emotionally.  I feel drained.  And it's easy to confuse feeling sluggish with feeling sadness.  But, it's not sadness I'm feeling anymore.  I truly believe that the Lord is in control.  It's all in His hands.  And for whatever reason, Heavenly Father allowed this all to happen, knowing that it would be for our good.

This is all for our good.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful 12: Family

Seeking Serendipity

Today a good friend sent me this article: Why Serendipity is Better Than Control.  It's really fantastic.  First of all, I love Linda and Richard Eyre.  I have loved everything they've written that I've read.  They are LDS and New York Times #1 Best-Sellers ~ so though they hold true to the values that I grew up on as a member of the church and want to instill in my own children, but these clearly are not values exclusive to Mormon households.  The teach true principles of parenting.  

I found this article to be wonderful for 2 reasons.  

1. They taught a true principle.
2. It resonated with me.

Isn't that great?  They talk about how we naturally want to be able to control our lives, but that what we should really seek is the true definition of serendipity -- not the "dumb luck" definition that seems to be replacing it.  I know this.  And, I'm grateful for my faith that has really helped me the past couple months.  Really, it has been the scriptures, prayer, and a lot of other things that has helped me feel peace, and even excitement, during a difficult time.  HOWEVER.  I needed this reminder.  And after reading this article, I feel re-energized.

Again.  I'm grateful for friends who pay attention and act on the promptings that they feel.  Thank you Lisa.

Here's my favorite part of the article:

This marvelous word has been oversimplified and even corrupted quite a bit lately in popular culture, becoming the name of ice cream stores, boutiques, clothing lines and even the title of a major movie. Serendipity is often defined as "dumb luck" or having something good happen to you by chance

Its true definition, though, is much more interesting and quite extraordinary. The word was coined by a 19th-century English author named Horace Walpole, who loved an ancient Persian fable called "The Three Princes of Serendip" (Serendip being the early name of the beautiful, teardrop-shape island off the southern tip of India that the British called Ceylon and that we, today, call Sri Lanka).

In the fable, the three princes each go out in search of their fortune. None of them finds a fortune, but all of them, through their acute awareness and perception, find things that are better than a fortune — love, truth and opportunities to serve. They are able to make these discoveries because they notice things that other people miss, and thus find unexpected joys and opportunities.

Walpole, reading the fable, said to himself, "We do not have an English word that expresses that happy ability to find things that are better than what we think we are looking for." So he made up the word serendipity and defined it as follows:

"A state of mind whereby a person, through awareness, sensitivity and sagacity, frequently finds something better than that which he is seeking."

The fact is that we control so very little, and that God controls all. His gifts are all around us, along with his opportunities and incredible beauties, and we just need the awareness and spiritual sensitivity to see them. We can cultivate this awareness, and we can ask him for it. As we do, we use our agency to take the spiritual initiative that allows God to bless us and inspire us and guide us. Guidance is infinitely more valuable and more worthy of our pursuit and quest than is control. And serendipity is the mind-set or paradigm that can get us to guidance.

Control can seem motivating because it appeals to our lust for power and dominion. But it is a dangerous kind of motivation because it is unbridled by humility and can lead to the worst kind of pride.

With a serendipity paradigm, we are motivated by our desire to discover and deliver God's will into our lives. We begin to see life as a great adventure where our challenge is not to control but to perceive and to understand. We become as interested in learning to "watch and pray" as we are in learning to "work and plan," and the two sets of skills complement and enhance each other.

I feel like throughout this process, I have tried to put it all in the Lord's hands.  I've tried to let go of that control.  And it has helped me throughout the 2 years of waiting for this next adoption to happen.  Evenstill, I feel sadness when things don't go how I'd like.  Already, this morning I woke up feeling better knowing that He is in control and that the right baby goes to the right home.  But again, this article gave me a different focus.  And I so much look forward to that something...and in our case, someone...better than that which we are seeking. 

I know it'll happen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Adoption Woes

I've mentioned we've had our trials lately, and as of about 1/2 hour ago, I feel comfortable writing about it.  I have been wanting to write, but I just couldn't...until now.

We started the adoption process a couple years ago.  This time around has been far different than it was with Callie.  Everything was so fast, and smooth, with Callie.  This time, however, every step has been long and drawn out.  Getting our background checks took months and months before they came through.  We were finally approved for adoption this past February.  And I honestly thought that our baby was right around the corner.  I was so naive.

Time went on, and discouragement would peak its nose in every now and then.  But I have always felt that the Lord is intimately involved in our lives...and adoption placements are not exceptions.  I remember one afternoon talking with Peggy, my mother-in-law, in the kitchen.  She asked how I was feeling, and I replied, "I actually think it's going to be a long time and then...boom twins."  Life continued, and though it was very eventful, it carried on without a new baby.

While we were in Utah for Samantha's therapy, we were contacted by 2 sets of birthparents.  Two sets.  What?  I remembered that small discussion I had that day in the kitchen.  Was this supposed to happen like this?  Practically twins?!  It seemed absolutely crazy, but I was excited about the thought.  Sure, the next 5 years, at least, would be a challenge, but if this is how it was supposed to happen, it'd work out.  Both birthparent's situations were complicated.  Birthparent A had some medical things we were a tad concerned about.  We also were only working with a volunteer caseworker because she didn't want any contact at all.  Birthparents B wanted a very open adoption, the baby is already born, and they are living overseas.  We were feeling really good about adopting both babies, but we were growing a good relationship with couple B.

We prayed.  We fasted.  And we decided, and felt good about talking to both sets about adopting both...but that if there were any problems with that, we felt good going with couple B.  When couple B said they felt uncomfortable with us adopting both babies, decided that we would "choose" them.  How strange is that?  We discussed our adoption plans.  They told us they were committed to us and they realized that we were turning down another baby for their daughter.  It's strange, but as happy as I was to be moving forward with them, I felt a huge loss.  I felt like I had lost a baby, but I felt peace about the decision.  It was a weird experience to feel such great sadness and peace at the same time.

Things progressed.  There was a lot we discussed, and we were preparing for a 2 month old baby to enter our family.  A little girl.  A little girl with a white father, black mother -- curly hair and green eyes.  When we'd talk, sometimes we'd hear her squeaks in the background.  It was so cute.  And with each day, and especially each Skype session, I was growing more love for this birthmom and dad.  The truth is, we click.  Really well.  She expressed how peaceful she felt about us, and we were excited.  Happy.

The day before we were leaving for Disneyland, we got an email from her.  She stated that she had talked to her mom and that she was going to have her mom adopt the baby.

I was crushed. At first, I was shocked.  I didn't cry until my dad called to see how I was.  Then the tears came.  And I couldn't hold it together.  The crying-so-hard-you-can't-make-any-sound cry.  The "Jen, are you ok?  Are you still there?" from Dad cry.  That doesn't happen often.  I was devastated.  I cried.  On and off all day, I would just break down.  Then came the massive migraine.  My arms actually went numb.  And I became physically sick.  I vomited throughout the night, but felt better in the morning...and off to Disneyland we went where I felt so so blessed.  I felt such gratitude for my little family.  Yes, I want a baby so badly, to hold a new little one in my arms, to wake up in the evenings to feed him, to do it all again...but for that day, all of that didn't cross my mind.  I was so in love with Callie's bright smile and Sammy's soft giggles.  I felt ok.

When we returned home, there was an email in our inbox from our birthmom.  She apologized and felt like she had acted too quickly.  If we were willing, she and the birthfather still wanted us to adopt their little girl.  We began skyping and trying to get things straightened out.  We wanted to make sure she really felt good about everything.

I can't imagine what it's like to be a mother who then decides that adoption is the best for her baby. Can you imagine?  But she truly felt she wasn't in a position to raise her baby and felt that this would be best.  But, who should take care of her baby?  This is now what she had to decide because things became complicated when she told her parents that she had a baby.

We've talked a lot, each time fantastic, but we've just never known exactly what she was going to decide.

Tonight, we got our answer.  It was a relatively short chat.  She told us that she had decided that she was going to have her parents take care of the baby.  They won't be adopting the baby, but rather taking care of her.  When she is ready, she can go back and start taking care of her baby herself -- in a five years or so.

I guess deep down we knew this was going to happen, or that it was very likely.  And most of my emotional reaction I think I got out when we received that first email.  But when she told us, I got a pit in my stomach and I'm just sad.  I'm really sad.

I still feel like there's a baby out there for us.  Somewhere.  Sometime.

Tonight when I logged on, I was surprised to see so many emails from friends and I haven't talked to in awhile.  Not a ton, but enough to make me think that the Lord was behind it.  Enough of you asking me how things were going and how we've been on your mind.  He is intimately involved in our lives.  And as soon as I get over the initial sadness, I think what I wrote the other day -- those feelings of peace will replace this.  Probably sooner than later.  At least that's what I hope for.

I told our birthmom tonight that I believe things happen for a reason, even if we don't understand why...there's a reason.  I'm not sure why this happened.  But I do know that my perspective of adoption has changed.  Our experience with Callie was very...near perfect.  I always looked at adoption through rose-colored lenses.  Perhaps now, after going through this, I can better empathize with others who go through this as well?  Or maybe we'll be that much happier and filled with joy when our baby does finally come.  OR, maybe this is all for Samantha, or Callie, or or or...

All I know right now is...I love my family.  I love the way Samantha curls up to me.  I love how Callie will only read books with me if my arm is wrapped around her.  I love how both of their eyes light up when Marcus or I enter the room.  I am so so grateful for what I have.

But I'm also really grateful tonight for my friends who emailed me, maybe prompted to do so.  And I'm grateful for Modern Family.  I needed that laugh.   

Thankful 11: Disneyland

A few weeks ago we went to Disneyland.  It was awesome!  Here are only a few...yes...a few...of the pictures we took.  I want to preface this photo essay of Disneyland with the following: we needed this trip.  Only the day before we were feeling discouraged and Disneyland...the happiest place on earth...really helped us focus on our family.  We had so much fun together.  Pure fun.  I was reminded of how much I love these little girls and how much Marcus means to me.  I felt blessed.  The entire time we were there (even when my migraine hit), I felt immense love and gratitude.  It was awesome.

At the hotel, waking up and ready to go to Disneyland.  Or, at least Callie is.

Disneyland in October is pretty cool.  They go all out Halloween.

The Haunted Mansion

Quirky Callie

I believe this was the Snow White ride.  Callie's face looked like this almost the entire time we were there...except for the above picture.  That was a moment of weirdness...but then it went right back to the smiles!

By Snow White's wishing well

Patiently waiting in line.

Callie LOVED this ride.

Jungle Cruise.  Samantha was happy.

But Callie just couldn't get enough.  Evey animal she saw went something like this: "An ELEPHANT!!!  LOOK LOOK!  An ELEPHANT!"  "AND LOOK MOMMY, a GIRAFFE!  LOOK LOOK." 

Callie and I battled Splash Mountain together.  I really was no interested in getting wet, but surprisingly she wanted to do it.  Normally Callie doesn't like to be splashed, but she liked it.  She sat in the front seat while I sat behind her.  I didn't like that at first, but I was able to hug her seat and keep her really tight and secure, so it worked out well.  She was such a trooper.  This is her thumbs up.

We used Samantha's handicap pass which got us on the rides pretty quickly.  But for Dumbo, even in the handicap line, we waited about 35 minutes.  It was rough.  Sammy was frustrated, but Callie wanted to go on it so badly.  So, we waited.  And waited.  I felt really spoiled that we were struggling waiting for a ride only a bit over 1/2 hour.  Nonetheless...

Callie with Snow White.

While we were there, we met up with David and Andrea and Sue and John.

It's a Small World.
Samantha was really interested in all the lights and figures.

And though this is horrific, I thought it was so funny.  I mean, you can't plan a picture that looks this bad.  I had to include it.  It makes me laugh.

Yeah for cousins!

I've never been to Disneyland before.  Disney World, yes.  But not Disneyland.  One of the biggest differences Marcus said I'd notice is the castle.  He told me it was smaller.  But holy cow, it's WAY smaller.  But it's still beautiful and magical.

Ready to get on the ride: Space Mountain.  Yes.  We took our 3.5 year old on Space Mountain.  She fit the height requirements and really wanted to go on.  So, we let her.  Little did we know that they had changed it for Halloween, so it was really monster scary-like.  She got off and held on to me so tight.  "Mommy.  That was too scary."  She has since told me that she'd do it again sometime when there weren't monsters.  I felt like such an irresponsible parent when the ride was over and we walked off with her.  ahhhh  I felt so bad!

Samantha was only interested in chewing Marcus' hat for this picture.

John hanging out with Callie while my Excedrin kicked in.

Ohhhhh.  Here's the sign we wished we had seen before taking Callie on Space Mountain.

Leaving the park after the firework show ~ Sammy near comatose and Callie out like a light.

Good night Disneyland.

This night before heading to Disneyland, Bart came by our hotel with his girlfriend Christy.  It was so fun to see Bart ~ we haven't seen him since our wedding.  And we both really like his girlfriend.  I could have stayed up all night talking (how unlike me).  I was happy for the few short hours we did have to catch up.

It was a fantastic trip and worth every penny.  I'm already planning our next trip, maybe next December during Christmas.  How fun would that be?!  Disneyland, I'm sure thankful for you.  It would have been fun no matter what, but it came at a perfect time for us too.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful 10: Scriptures

I haven't always been great at reading my scriptures.  It's been one of the many things I have to continually work on.  However, last year I decided that I didn't want to have to "work on it" anymore.  I wanted it to become such a part of me that it was natural, no longer a struggle, no longer an afterthought: Oh, I should read my scriptures.

This year has been a difficult one.  We've had a lot of family trials and there has been a lot of uncertainty.  Most recently, the Marcus and Jenny family has been through a lot.  I have felt tossed around in the whirlwinds of life.  I have cried and felt downright depressed at times.  But, surprisingly, I have also felt overpowering peace.  Even in my moments of sadness, I felt peace.  That's a strange thing to feel at the same time...but it can happen.  During the past few months, as we've struggled with uncertainty, I have somehow felt an abundance of peace that has seemed almost inappropriate.  In fact, just last night I was talking with some people -- including my husband -- and after a negative experience I was able to tell them, "I'm not excited about what happened, but I feel an excitement and energy that seems completely inappropriate.  I should be really sad.  But I'm not."  I attributed it to the Spirit.  I'm not sure why certain things are happening, but there's a peace and calmness in my life right now.

The other day I finished reading the Book of Mormon again.  Upon finishing, I thought about what I had read and began to reflect on my past year...and in particular, the past couple months.

Elder Richard G. Scott during October's General Conference said: Scriptures can calm an agitated soul, giving peace, hope, and a restoration of confidence in one’s ability to overcome the challenges of life. They have potent power to heal emotional challenges when there is faith in the Savior.  

It occurred to me, as I pondered, that the words Elder Scott said had, in fact, happened to me.  My agitated soul has been calmed.  I have felt peace, hope, and confidence to overcome this obstacle.  My emotional challenges have been healed as my faith in the Savior has been strengthened.

When I've read the scriptures before, intellectually I knew that 1 + 1 = 2.  If I read the scriptures (obedience), I'd be blessed with increased faith, etc.  But, for maybe the first time I've seen it and felt it ~ more immediately recognized that process.  It's the daily reading/studying of the scriptures has given me that added amount of strength that I needed during this time.  I know it's the scriptures that have helped me right now, and I have no doubts about that.

I'm thankful for the scriptures.  Instead of frustration and pain (which I have no doubt felt), I have felt increased love and compassion.  I dare say that charity, along with the words of the prophets, has entered my heart.  And I'm grateful.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thankful 9: Hair Product

Well, you all are always asking me about Callie's hair.  Here we go.  The secret, and what I'm thankful for today: Hair product.

Silly?  Perhaps.  But if you are a white mama to a black child...learning the ropes isn't easy.  One thing I did learn quickly was that boy are those hair products important.  Because let me just tell you uninformed parents out there -- African American hair is far different than your own.  It's beautiful, and it sure takes a lot of care. 

I just finished a 2 hour hair session on Callie. She went straight to bed, otherwise I would have taken pictures.  Basic twists, but 2 hours of twisting and I can't tell you how great it feels to type now!  Seriously.  It's like shaking out your legs after long run.  Even two years ago I wouldn't have believed that she'd sit through me doing her hair without screaming bloody murder.  I was certain our neighbors were going to call Child Protective Services a few times while trying to brush out her hair.  And what could I have told CPS?  "I can't deny it.  I'm torturing my child.  I'm desperately trying to pick through her hair.  And she hates me for it."  (sigh)  But I stuck with it, and she's so much better now.  What do I have to thank?  MPP y'all.  Movies. Popcorn. Product.
So, after trying too many different products to even count, here's what I have settled on (for the time being).  I don't claim to know it all ~ with what I know, if I really did know it all, Callie would have a pretty grim future ~ but this is what I use and what I'm thankful for.  (With that said, if anyone stumbles across this who knows more than I do...I'd be thankful for that information as well!)

Shampoo and Conditioner
Shampoo, shampoo, shampoo.  I have gone through more shampoo and conditioner for Callie than I've used for myself my entire life!  Callie's hair is Thin.  Fine.  Tight curls.  Black hair -- and curly hair in general -- gets dry.  So, you don't want to over wash.  But you still have to have clean hair.  All shampoos I used, I felt, just stripped her hair completely.  Then I'd load up the conditioner.  LOAD up.  The best conditioner I could find for her was the kind in my mom's boxes of L'oreal after she'd dye her hair.  She'd mail me the little tubes.  Those really worked the best for Callie...but I was still unsatisfied. 

Until.  One beautiful, glorious, late night infomercial.  It's true.  I was so immersed in each demonstration.  And when I saw that Holly Peete Robinson used it for her and her kids ~ I got giddy.  Could this really work for Callie?  I didn't call or go online to order.  I didn't want to be that person who bought some stuff from an infomercial.  I sheepishly mentioned it to a friend who readily said, "Oh, I have that stuff.  Do you want to try it?"  Um, yeeeeaa-aahhh.  I was sold.  I ordered it up and life hasn't been the same.  This stuff glides through Callie's hair.  It's a cleansing conditioner.  With this one step, I'm washing and conditioning her hair.  I am in love.  My finger run through her hair, and when they don't, I give a little wiggle, and ssswish...there they go.  Knots?  Not really.  Love it.  And, I use it for myself too.  Noooo.  "But your hair is so different than Callie's," you say.  Yes.  That's the beauty of this all-natural product.  I don't get it, and I don't care. 

What is this heaven in a bottle?  Wen.  Changed my life people -- or rather, Callie's life.  Whatever.

Deep Conditioning
I do it from time to time.  I've tried some packets that I get at the store.  They were fine.  I did Callie's hair once with a deep conditioning packet of gunk and wrapped her head in saran wrap!  She looked so cute (I wish I could find that picture right now).  But now, I use Wen, again.  They have a deep conditioning mask and I do that about 1x a month for her...for that extra moisture, especially during the winter.

Styling Product
Wen.  Is this getting boring?  I use the sweet almond mint styling product, BUT, I also use, and love a few others. 

Mizani's line I actually still really love...believe it or not, Wen isn't the only thing out there that I use for her.  Mizani's Coconut Souffle, in particular, I use as I put in twists or ringlets.  I've also used their Rose H2O products.  It's fine, but I like the Coconut Souffle better.  It really makes styling her hair so much easier, and her hair soft.

But a friend of mine also led me to some old school Vo5 conditioning hairdress.  Seriously, I love this.  It works wonderfully and is much less expensive than Mizani.  I recommend it.  It is greasier, but when I take her hair out of whatever hairstyle I have it up in...her hair is so soft and shiny still.  (Here's a nice blurry picture from the internet.)

Daily Moisture
I'm not as good as this as I should be.  I go through phases.  But in the winter, when the weather is especially dry, I am much better.  So, each day I need to add moisture to her hair to keep it hydrated and shiny.  Here are 2 of my favorites.

Even though D'Tangle is for detangling conditions it as well.  I like the way it smells and it's easy for me to spray it on Callie's hair for quick hydration.

And coconut oil.  Who knew?  Right there in the grocery store, as I pick up my almond milk and coconut yogurt...I can get some coconut oil for Callie's hair.  I also use this for her skin each day.  I rarely use lotion anymore for her...just a dip into the coconut oil jar.  Again, overall inexpensive, and it's great for her hair and skin.

So, there you have it.  I'm so grateful for these things.  Now, I neglected the different combs, brushes, hair bands, etc that are fantastic as well.  But, this post is already long enough.  These products have made the time I sit with Callie enjoyable.  She gets excited to get her hair done.  Yeah, that's probably the MPP over the "yea, Mom's doing my hair"...but oh well.  It's no longer something I dread (like from the fear-of-CPS days).  It's become something that I often, truly, look forward to.  And now that I have the products I like, I've been able to focus more on the actual hairstyle than the haircare.  And really, that's the fun part! 

Right Callie?


Condoleeza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me

Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and MeCondoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me by Condoleezza Rice

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It flowed very well and could be considered a quick read, even though I didn't do it that way. I was initially interested in ready this autobiography when it came into our home last Christmas because I was curious. Secondary to her involvement in politics and her prodigious background, Condoleeza Rice is a black woman of influence. I figured it wouldn't hurt to know more about her so if one day Callie asked about influential black women or men, I'd know at least a few and more importantly, WHY they were influential.

I was so impressed with Condoleeza Rice...rather, I AM impressed. Whether you agree with her politically or not, she is an incredible woman. She is intelligent, talented, compassionate, organized, and truly loves her family. I found reading about her life inspiring. I often thought of ways I could incorporate her mother and father's parenting philosophies. They were great people as well...and as the saying goes "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

It was a good autobiography and I'm glad I read it.

View all my reviews

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thankful 8: Progress

Today I wrote about I'm grateful for change.

Tonight, before putting Samantha to bed, I was relishing in being her mom. I loved every moment of getting her ready for bed. I am currently, sort of, working on her using the toilet. Tonight, she did. She peed in our potty. She's no where near "potty trained," but we are taking small, very very small, steps.

As I cheered for her and she giggled (and then tooted), I realized what I'm grateful for, in conjunction with CHANGE is PROGRESS. Often change can be an indication of progress, and it certainly has been for us on many occasions.

I'm grateful for progress -- no matter how small.

Thankful 7: Change

I love change. Sometimes, in the moment, I don't always love it...but after it's always been a good thing. Recently, we've had some changes.

I went from this

someone needs to photoshop those heavy duty bags! woa. freaky.

to this.

scary Jenny, but you get the idea -- shorter and darker -- though it's not too obvious in this here picture

From this

struggling in her movements

to this.

better body control

From this

curious little girl

to this.

a beautiful princess

Change is good. In my life, change is welcome. Sometimes change is big...sometimes small. But either way, change allows us to sluff off the old...get a new perspective and move forward. Try something new. Give a different approach. Change can be the one thing we fear the most, but need more than anything else. So, I choose to embrace it. Even when the change has been difficult, it's always transformed me in a better way. Hey, I figure if I want to exfoliate my face -- get rid of the old cells that are hiding fresh, new, alive, and YOUNGER looking cells {in essence, change my face} -- it's got to apply to my overall life, right?

So, today I moved Samantha and Callie's furniture around, and I'm fully expecting to look better. younger.

Here's to CHANGE.

I'm sure grateful for 'ya. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Buttercream Frosting

The best buttercream. ever.  I keep losing the recipe (as simple as it is) so I'm posting it here so I don's lose it again.

1 c. butter, softened (if it's not soft, cut it up into smaller pieces.  it blends fine)
8 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. milk

In a mixing bowl, cream butter.  Beat in sugar and vanilla.  Add milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.

Thankful 6: Self-Regulation

hmmm not sure how to title this one.

Samantha and Callie have been waking up super early. And, unlike Samantha who has a hard time adjusting and will just be upset when she's tired, Callie takes matters into her own hands.

Today, at 10am, Callie decided she was tired. And went to bed. It's not 11:30. She needed a nap and knew it. And is still sleeping.

Callie has always understood that when she's tired, sleep is what she needs. As a baby, she'd go to her room, grab her blanket (gankie) and pacifier and come out to show us, indicating she wanted to go to bed. What baby does that?! I'll tell you: only the SUPER angelic ones. I lucked out. Yeah, she's a kid and so she gets grumpy when she's tired and she'll have tantrums, but overall, she understands when she's tired that sleep will help.

So, here's to self-regulated sleep. I love that girl of mine.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful 5: Friends

I have always been blessed with great friends. Always. Though I have always had many guy friends, it's my girl friends who are dear to my heart. Girls need girls. When I was young, Emily was my conjoined twin! We were pretty much inseparable. And throughout elementary, middle, and high school, my friendships with other continued to grow and be strengthened. Our interests may have changed, and maybe we didn't always hang out as much as we used to, but we remained friends.

College was incredible for me. I went to BYU alone. I didn't know anyone else there. I had a good roommate but it was the 2 girls who were my neighbors who I connected with the most. After that freshman year, Marci, Reagan (and Becky until she got married), lived together up until the day I left for my mission. We were more than friends, we became sisters.

On my mission, I met wonderful ladies. Some of my companions were phenomenal and I grew a lot from their example. But Rose, that girl and I just clicked. She was my companion in the MTC, and whenever we saw each other, I just got so excited to talk and catch up. We became roommates after our missions and she became one of my best friends.

We've lived in many different places. Since we've been married I have met some people that, no matter how far apart we live from each other, I will always hold a very special place for them in my heart.

This past weekend, I went to Santa Cruz with some friends. We took a Girls' Weekend and it was fantastic. I was so much fun! I haven't laughed that hard in ... a long time. I was crying from laughing so hard. We went to dinner, danced, talked all night long...just what we all needed.

I'm grateful for friends. I'm grateful that I've had the blessing of being about to surround myself with others who share my same standards, who are fun, and who can have a good time! 

Amy, me, Elena, and Sonia

Me, Elena, and Elaine

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful 4: Music

I've always loved music.  When I was young, I'd record songs off the radio onto little cassette tapes and I'd listen to my favorites over and over again.  The total of "mix" tapes recorded off the radio are innumerable.  This past year, while at home, I ran across some of these tapes...and notebooks.  Written on those lines of paper were lyrics.  Yes.  Lyrics.  I'd sit and listen to a song, line by line, pausing in between and rewinding if I had to, and I'd write down what the words were -- or at least what I thought they were.  I didn't just like songs, but I wanted to sing along with them, so I had to know the words.  I no longer write lyrics down, but I do look them up online from time to time and I often listen to my new favorite over and over and over nauseum.

I've found that I listen to far less music since living with Marcus' parents.  I think it's because I want to respect their peace (um, if that were the truth, maybe I wouldn't even be living here in the first place?) or maybe it's because our computer (which holds most of my music) is in our bedroom and not in our daily living quarters.  Even though I don't listen to it as much, it still has the same impact on me...I've often clung to music in times of sadness or frustration, and have used it's rhythms to be an added spark of energy.

I've shared some of my feelings about some songs that have touched me about Samantha, in particular, on Kidz.  I wrote about Smallest Wingless  and how it triggered deeper feelings of gratitude for Samantha.  It also urged me to reflect on how much I've learned from friends who have lost children, and how because from their pain, I've learned a lot about love and loss.  I wrote about Closer by Joshua Radin (love that man) and how I interpretted it to fit my life with Samantha.  I even wrote about So Long, yes, from Winnie the Pooh, and how I imagine Sammy singing this to me.  (sigh)  Obviously many songs have reminded me about my journey with Samantha.  And while these songs remind me of Sammy, it's songs like All the Single Ladies by Beyonce, So What by Pink, and Say Hey by Michael Franti that remind me of Callie.  Odd?  Yes.  But it makes me smile.  What can I say, these were her favorites for a long time and they will always remind me of her.  She energetic, full of enthusiasm for life, and spunky.  I'm getting off course here...

Point is: I love music.  And I'm grateful for it.  Case closed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful 3: Hat for Sammy

Today I'm grateful for hats. Samantha has never really had a hat that truly fit her. When she was a baby, I went to Build-a-Bear and bought a hat there for her. It was summer and after her surgery I needed something to cover up her head. Build-a-Bear it was. It was a cute hat with cherries on it. It was a hat made for a small stuffed animal bear, and it was the closest thing to fitting her that I could find. We've had a few other hats that people have made for Sammy. Every time someone would give us one, I'd cry. They were happy tears. I was so touched that people would think of Sammy. I mean, after all, it's just a hat. But it was so much more.

Recently while visiting my brother and his family, my sister-in-law, Peggy, told me that she had something for Sammy. Yes. It was a hat. Not only is it darling, but it actually fits. Sammy's tricky because not only is her head circumference small, but she doesn't have much of a forehead. And this hat....I mean, look at her. She's darling.

So, again, today I'm grateful for hats -- or just this hat. Because in this hat is patience, love, charity, service, Peggy, and Sammy. I think it's quite possibly the best hat. Ever.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful 2: Pie

Apple Pie. I love it. When I was a kid, I hated cooked fruit so I wouldn't touch it. As an adult, I'm questioning if that was the truth back then or if the idea of cooked fruit didn't appeal to me. No matter. I love it now. And today, though I shouldn't, I indulged in a piece leftover from last night's enrichment activitiy. Thank you Costco. Sometimes it's these little things that can make your day.


Related Posts with Thumbnails