Monday, January 30, 2012

San Diego and Saudi Arabia

Mike made it home from his annual trip to the middle east. I can't say it gets easier... but I don't worry as much as I did the very first time he went. He said he won't be going back next year. (But that's what he said last year... so I'm not counting on it) I try not to watch shows like 24, or turn on CNN. I pretend he's in Florida.
I learn a lot about myself when he's gone for long periods of time. I realize more of my shortcomings, and surprise myself with some of my capabilities. I get scared of what my life would be like if I ever lost him. There's that thought in the back of my mind that thinks "maybe I won't see him again" or "What if something happened?... would I feel like I made the most of our time together?" I realize that I take him for granted. I also gain a great respect and appreciation for the wives and mothers who have husbands gone like that a lot. I feel blessed that he doesn't travel too much anymore.
In the month of January he was gone more than he was away... which is hard on him, but I got to go with him to San Diego for a few days before he left for Saudi. Thanks to my Mom, who came up here and stayed with the girls... I got some R & R while Mike worked. I looked at the ocean every morning I woke up and every night as the sun went down. (and multiple times during the day) The view of the Bay from our room was beautiful. Our hotel, the Omni was amazing. Funny thing... there was a club in Provo called the Omni. It was an interesting place, and I have some pretty crazy memories from there... so I had to giggle a little every time I would say it.
The minute we walked off the plane I felt the humidity as I breathed... I looked at Mike and said "THIS is the type of air I am meant to breathe!" It was an amazing 72 degrees, one day we had a little chill, but nothing like Utah.
Our hotel was incredible! We had some type of gift in our room every night. A plate of fruit and cheese, chocolate dipped strawberries, one night we came home to a bottle of nice wine. The service was great, the sheets were high thread count, and the bathroom was very modern. (I love hotel rooms that have cool bathrooms... don't know why, but I do!)
That first night Mike took me to an amazing place for Indian food in the Gaslamp District, called Masala. It was delish. I'm a little obsessed with Indian/Nepali food and culture at the moment... not sure why. (Mike's co-worker from Nepal had our entire family over for dinner recently. His wife made some incredible dishes. I was proud of my kids for trying everything... they surprisingly liked most of it. Indian and Nepali food are very similar... but Indian food tends to be spicier)
The next day Mike and I went to the USS midway. We had fun on our little self-guided tour. My Grandpa is a Sonar engineer and inventor, he spent a lot of time on submarines... I can't imagine living in such close quarters... It makes me nauseous just thinking about it! Mike couldn't stand up in any of the rooms! He took 80% of the tour bend over. I couldn't even stand up in many of the areas. The jets were really my favorite. I think we just were happy for some alone time together. We started thinking... and the last time we spent ALONE time away from the kids was our trip to Miami Beach/Mexican Cruise we took in March 2010. It kind of seems like a lifetime away. We ate dinner at a nice Piano Bar... good music and good food.
Mike had to start working the next day... so I explored the a little more. The Gaslamp was right out the front door of the hotel. There were fun shops and boutiques. Of course I made it over to Horton Plaza... the best mall.
Tuesday I took a bus up to Old Town. I heard great things about the Mormon Battalion Visitors Center... and boy did it live up to the reviews. It was incredible! The missionaries were so cute, and the history was really enlightening. Even if you are not LDS, it is a great part of Western US history! I walked up to Heritage Park and went into a really cool old church. I did a little shopping... found a Buddhist jewelry shop. I got a dorje pedant, and some OM symbol rings. The jewelry came from India, Nepal, and Tibet. I took myself to a fabulous lunch at Casa de Reyes then headed back to the hotel.
That night we went out with Mike's co-workers. I was the only spouse... but it wasn't too bad.
I spent the first day exploring the Gaslamp District, that's where we stayed... so it was easy access. It was fun, with lots of little shops and fun restaurants.
I found a PM school and scheduled an appointment with a Phase 2 student. It was fun, and nice to talk with someone who knew PM education... she did a great job!
That night Mike's event (PCMA) actually closed down Gaslamp's 5th Avenue for a party and concert! All the restaurants had free food along the street. There was an amazing ice bar with oysters. I tried so hard to get Mike to eat them... but he wouldn't. Darn allergies, I totally would have tried it! The concert was Kool and the Gang, a little too old for me, but the atmosphere was a ton of fun! I got to hold a wicked looking python, Mike doesn't like it when I do that stuff... but it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
The next day we went home. It was an nice trip... and so good for us to spend some time together. Mike really is my best friend, and trips like these always make me look forward to growing old with him.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cori's #12

It's the strangest thing... I can say that I gave birth to her, then turned around the other day and saw this beautiful young lady!
I'm so proud of that little muffin. She has always been an incredible person, I knew she was special from the minute I held her in my arms. I love that she was born such an old soul. I know that she was sent to me to teach me so much... and I have honestly tried so hard not to dim her light. There is so much of Mike in her... so logical and smart. She has such a warm and loving heart and is so caring and thoughtful of others. She's never been one to have a set circle of friends, and always wants to include everyone. She is such a good example for her sisters... and for me!
I decided when the girls were little that I would only give them a 'friends' party every few years... on big milestone years. I thought that 5, 8, 12, and 16 would be great years to have the big parties. I didn't think through their age differences, or I might have realized that Cori would turn 12 three days before Addi turned 8. Oops!
When Cori wanted to invite the entire 6th grade over for a party, and I about choked! I thought about it, and knew that logistically there was no way we could accommodate something like that in our house. That kind of party would involve another venue. So after some thought I told her that we could probably do her school class. She was so excited!
As I thought more about it I got nervous. I made her invites and she passed them out. Two days before the party I asked her to ask her classmates if they were coming so I could get an idea of how many kids we would have. She came home and said that EVERYONE she asked was coming! Whoa... okay, there's no turning back at that point!
My AMAZING bro-in-law agreed to come and sing. I thought the kids would have a blast with him. He is so talented!
So I ordered 8 pizzas, got 4 Costco bags of chips, Swedish fish, M&M's, and filled our giant cooler with ice and 48 cans of soda. I made a towering pyramid with ding-dongs and put candles on top! We set up the Wii downstairs, PS2 upstairs, and had our game table upstairs. The kids ended up playing group games altogether... human knot, lap game, wink-em, telephone, telephone charades and our favorite...mafia. Kyle came and rocked the house with some Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, One Republic, and Tom Petty. The girls adored Kyle... swooning. By the end of the night they were playing 'truth or dare' and just decided to tell each other their 'crushes'. It was hilarious!

A few eye opening surprises for me...

#1 The amount of kids at the party with cell phones... and how frequently they use them... and how late they used them! (who are you texting at 11:30pm?)

#2 How open they were... boys and girls... about who they liked or had 'crushes' on. One boy started the telephone game with "So-and-so is the most beautiful girl in the world" I was like REALLY? I don't remember a boy being that bold about his feelings until High School!

#3 The click of girls (whom I affectionately call 'plastics' because of one of my favorite movies) They all have phones, they all have boobs, they all look about 16! I found out they text each other in the morning and decide what to wear... in 6th grade! Wowza!
(The funny thing was that I was torn between wanting my daughter to be accepted by those girls, and so glad that my daughter wasn't like those girls. Totally my own issues surfacing!)

Needless to say... It was a really fun night! Cori had a blast, the kids were so fun... and I learned a thing or two about how much things have changed since I was in 6th grade.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fancy Addi turns 8

Addi turned 8 and had a fabulous 'Fancy Nancy' Party. (I am still finding feathers around the house from those stinkin' boas!)
No, it was a super fun celebration of Addi in all her dramatic glory!

For lack of a better description... it looked like the tooth fairy threw up in my house. Everything was fluffy, frilly, pink and purple. There were balloons, beaded necklaces, rings, bracelets, pearls, diamonds, boas, crowns, cupcakes... and fancy glasses with sparkling cider!

The girls all came dressed up, and when they got here I handed out a bunch more costume jewelry. There were pearl necklaces hanging from the chandelier. We had so many little treats, fun games, presents, and toasts! (Yes, we sang Happy Birthday to Addi and toasted our plastic fluted glasses filled with bubbly)

There was one little girl who was cracking me up! She said "Oh! Oh! I have never toasted before!" She was so excited, she toasted with everyone at the table. Afterward she said "How come they don't 'clink' when we toast" I told her it was because they were plastic... not glass. She said "Well... I will just say 'clink' when I toast" Then she proceeded to again toast everyone at the table! She accidentally spilled and started giggling so hard, it looked as if there was more than cider in her glass! As I filled her glass up I leaned in and whispered "Make sure it get's in your mouth this time" She busted up laughing! She was laughing so hard she couldn't drink it!

Addi was in heaven! It was so fun to watch her... and she just couldn't believe that "all of them came! Mom! All of them came!"

One of my favorite moments, was when I was in the kitchen making petite PB&J sandwiches... Addi is leading the girls in a game of 'Nancy Says' (Simon Says). I hear Addi saying the typical game commands... "Nancy says... touch your toes" "Nancy says... clap your hands" The next thing I know I hear "Nancy says... say "I'm SOOOO beautiful" and a choir of girls chime "I'm SOOOO beautiful!" Then I hear "Nancy says... say "I'm jealous!" and again, the girls altogether "I'm jealous!" I quickly rushed over and saved the game with running, stomping, shaking booties, wiggling fingers, and flapping wings. (I'm jealous??? It was too funny)

The girls guessed how many candies were in the glass jars filled with M&M's, licorice, Hershey kisses, and more. It was funny the range of guesses... and one little girl won almost every game and guessed closest on almost every candy jar! It was funny because she is such a shy and quiet girl... doesn't like attention.

Addi, being the drama queen she is, thanked me over and over, she must have said ten times "Mom, this was the best Birthday party EVER!" It really was fun!

I'm excited for her baptism in a few weeks. She is so happy, and looking forward to it. Oh... and she got her ears pierced! Craziest thing... she actually wanted them pierced. She even picked out some cute little pearls to wear on her baptism. Cute girlie!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012... moving forward and looking back

I've tried to challenge my myself with a few things this year. Ironically... not new things, things that I have fallen away from and want them back! One of those things is blogging.
I picked up the book I had printed of my first year and a half of blogging. It was so great to see pictures and read through the events happening, and emotions I had. It was kind of strange, in that much of what I read sounded foreign... like it was written by someone else. I think that I've missed myself. I didn't realize how much I've changed, or just maybe how 'out of touch' I am with myself.
It was something that happened slowly... along with other things. I fell off track with taking care of myself physically. This month marks one year of working from home. It's been a love/hate relationship... in all aspects. I didn't realize how much it would change my life to begin working more hours a week. The things sacrificed for this change have not always been good.
So my goals this year are focused forward... but for the first time, my goals are also strangely focused on getting back to some things I seem to have let slip away.
As in years past, my yearly goals are based from Luke 2:52 improving my life "in wisdom, stature, and in favour with God and man"

To increase my wisdom:
Not that writing about myself makes me smarter... but writing in general is good for me. I want to get back to tracking my life and creating a journal for myself and a family history for my children.

To increase stature (physical goals):
Weight loss.
Not that I need to 'increase' my stature... but I need to better it. Sadly... this is my physical goal every year.

To increase favour with God (spiritual goals):
Sacrament meeting attendance.
For me... but mostly my children. The jump from 1pm to 9am might be the death of me... but I need to grow up about it. Quickly! I know I will better fulfill my calling as well. I love working with kiddos, and I know that after a great year with my Primary class last year... I can make this year even better!

I'm not feeling as ambitious as years past with two goals in each category, I figure that by making one goal I might be able to focus a little better.
I have a lot of catching up to do with blogging. I have a lot of exercising and counting calories to do... and I've got to start getting to bed really early Saturday nights! Honestly the tasks seems daunting right now... but if I want to make it happen I can. After all... nothing in this world worth having comes easy. (Sure wish it did!)