Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Devyn Malaya

I feel like such a neglectful mother since I haven’t posted anything about Devyn’s 1st birthday and that was over a month and a half ago now. So, to make up for it I’m going to give you a little glimpse of her.

  • Devyn is extremely obstinate. When told “no” she will look at you, wrinkle her brow and then go right back to what she was doing in the first place. Sometimes she will ball up her fists and let out a very unapproving shriek before going back to whatever she wasn’t supposed to be doing in the first place. She never takes no for an answer. You always have to physically remove her from the situation. Sometimes when she gets really upset she does what DH refers to as the “angry penguin.” She stomp/waddles away while wailing to show her utter disgust. She will also do this while giggling with delight when she is really happy, so I guess it could also be called the happy pengiun too.
  • Going right along with her obstinance is her determination. She doesn’t let anything deter her when she has her mind set on something. This has the potential to be an amazing gift throughout her life if it doesn’t drive us crazy first!
  • When caught getting into something she knows she shouldn’t she immediately offers whatever it is to you seeming to say “here, I was only getting it for you.”
  • She is our dancing queen! (So of course I have to sing the ABBA song to her often:) Anytime any music comes on, and it can be for literally 5 seconds on a commercial or something, she will start to shimmy her shoulders. She has been doing this for months now and it would be hilarious because you could be flipping through channels on TV and if there was music in that two seconds before the channel changed again she would start to shimmy and then look around for the source of her entertainment. She also loves to sing. She usually only sings to ballads however, fast songs are for dancing and slow songs are for singing. She has been loving all of the recent Christmas music. She will just croon way in the back seat of the car, but usually stops if you look at her, it’s adorable.

  • She lights up whenever Ari enters the room. An enormous grin will spread across her face and she’ll look at me like “is it really her mom?” She loves her big sister and definitely lets it show.

  • She loves Dante, loves to terrorize him, but is also just a tiny bit afraid of him when he’s walking toward her. Like she does with Ari, only not quite so much, she smiles whenever he enters a room. She loves to pet him, although usually it’s more like pounding on him. He always just looks away seeming to say “if I don’t look at her maybe she will go away.” But, when faced with an oncoming Dante in the narrow hallway she sometimes gets a look of “what do I do now” on her face and tries to head in any other direction so as not to get knocked down, which she often is by him.

  • All things worth eating must stick to her finger! Every time we put some type of new food on her high chair tray she must try poking it with her finger to see if it will stick. She will usually try with one type of food a few different times before she gives up and just continues to eat picking it up. She will again try again the next time she has said food, just in case it’s sticking properties have changed in the last week or two. This all started when we had some gnocchi. When going to pick up a piece it ended up sticking to her finger and from then on she was hooked. She finished the evening eating only what would stick to her finger and has continued this tradition of trying ever since.

  • She loves to share! She will even share her bottle or food from her mouth, which is saying something since she is a very food driven child.

Here are a few of her more recent accomplishments (the videos are really dark, but you get the picture):

folding her arms...

and blowing kisses.

And of course the obligatory pictures :) I made this cake to match the caterpillar she got (see in the above picture). We call this the "snow bunny" outfit.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Listening Preferences

My first real job upon graduating from college was as a marketing coordinator for a small non-profit. One of my responsibilities was to purchase all the advertising for our events.

One day I was at one of the local radio station offices talking to the sales rep about the target markets of the three different stations run out of this office. We were discussing the demographic of who was listening so I could decide how much and where to advertise. Many of our events were targeted to young families, so obviously I wanted to concentrate my small advertising budget on the stations they most listened to. During the course of this conversation he mentioned the station that was my station of choice in the area and said that their demographic was too young for what I was looking for. He said almost like clockwork people changed their listening preferences starting at about 27 years old and no longer listened to this station. He and I had worked together on a number of projects so I felt comfortable in retorting that I was 28, a parent and I still listened to this station. He laughed and said, “That will change, mark my words. You will change the type of music you listen to within the next few years.”

I contemplated this conversation wondering if he was right and if I would soon move on to a station with a much more mature listening audience. Eight years later I can now say that he was only partially correct. For better or for worse the stations I listen to depend upon who is around when I’m in the car. I don’t listen to the actual lyrics most of the time. It could be one of my most favorite songs and I couldn’t tell you half of what it was actually saying. I don’t know why I’m like this, but I am. Even if I know the general message of the song I tend to overlook inappropriate lyrics and such. Back when I was 27 and had a very young daughter I didn’t think too much about what I was listening too. I think it was when she was 4 or 5 and she knew all the words to a Nelly song by heart that I determined it was time to monitor what was entering her little brain. Now that she is 10 years old and she very definitely listens to the lyrics I tend to be a lot more careful of what is playing on the radio. I still listen to those stations that the sales rep said I wouldn’t listen to anymore; I just do it when I’m by myself in the car. Country is one of my stations of choice when the kids are with me because the lyrics don’t tend to be as bad.

So What - Pink
I was listening to and thoroughly enjoying this Pink song the other day and wondering if I was too old to be listening to that type of music anymore, which reminded me of this conversation. So, how about you? Did you like clockwork migrate to a more mature station at 27 years old? Have you changed your listening preferences over the years and if so how come?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

when you care enough to hit send


Totally inappropriate and not very politically correct cards, but some of them are hilarious. Enter the site at your own risk however; some of them are pretty crass.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Way more than you ever wanted to know about me!

Ok, it's been forever since I posted anything and since National Adoption month is long over I'm going to finally do the tags that people tagged me for months ago. Oops!

Nicole tagged me with the following list:

I am: A wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter
I think: I’m a good person at heart
Everything in life: Happens for a Reason
I want: To make a difference in someone’s life
I have: More than probably 90% of the world, but why does it seem like I never have enough.
I dislike: When people judge others without having walked in their shoes
I miss: My best friend Nicole, who lives too far away, and getting to go home for Christmas
I fear: For the future and of what the world will become for my children.
I feel: Worn down from life right now.
I hear: The hum of my space heater keeping my toes warm. Maybe I should stop wearing sandals until Spring.
I smell: My Gardenia hand lotion that I just put on.
I crave: Good friendship because I don’t have any really good friends here.
I cry: a lot more since becoming a parent
I search: For my sense of self
I wonder: If my son will ever want to meet me.
I regret: Trying to be who others want me to be.
I wish: I could see what God sees in me
I love: My Family
I care: Too much for my own good sometimes.
I always: Try to be caring and understanding
I am not: An organized person, although I wish I were.
I remember: How easy and carefree it was to be a child and I wish it could be like that now.
I believe: My husband loves me
I sing: Only when I know no one can hear me.
I don't always: Make the best use of my time
I argue: Rarely, I don’t like contention.
I write: To work things out in my head
I win: Never…if I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all
I lose: My temper too easily.
I listen: To literally almost any kind of music. R&B, check. Country, check. Showtunes, check. Hip Hop, check. 80s, check. 90s, check. Top 40, check. Classical, check…and on and on it goes.
I don't understand: Why everyone can’t just get along.
I can usually be found: At work or at home.
I need to: Learn to like myself.
I forget: To enjoy the little things in life because I’m so worried about the squeaky wheels (like bills to pay)
I am happy: When either one of my girls’ gives me a great big hug.

Heather tagged me with the 8 things tag and Tina tagged me with the 6 things tag so I combined the two and if I could think of 8 I put 8 , if I could only think of 6 then I put 6. You get the picture.

6 TV shows I watch
My Name is Earl (one of the best shows ever although probably a little crude for a lot of people)
Desperate Housewives
The Biggest Loser
All of the CSIs (but only when I happen to catch them on)
So You Think You Can Dance

8 Favorite Restaurants
Cheesecake Factory
Red Robin
Costa Vida (unfortunately we don’t have one here)
On The Border
Thai Nakorn
California Pizza Kitchen
Texas Roadhouse

6 things that happened yesterday
I actually made it to work on time which is a feat in and of itself for me
I talked to Nicole on the phone which I haven’t done in a long time
I made grilled chicken salads for dinner and Devyn loved the veggies in the salad more than the chicken :)
Devyn walked around terrorizing the house and Dante (but that’s nothing new)
Ari and I watched the end of some Christmas show on TV
I stayed up too late and now I’m tired today

8 things I look forward to
Having the extra time at home with my husband and my girls for the Holidays
Going on dates with my husband
Moving back closer to family and friends (although maybe this should be on my wish list)
All the great movies that come out around Christmas

6 things on my wish list
Meeting my son
Being a stay-at-home mom
Quitting my job (although it's a really good one so I can't complain)
DH getting into (and then finishing) PA school
Buying a house
Becoming independently wealthy so we could travel the world doing humanitarian projects

Then Heather also tagged me with 6 Quirky Facts about me and Sue tagged me with 7 Random facts about me so I have combined them because they are kind of the same.

Quirky Tag Rules:
1. List person (s) who tagged you
2. Mention rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular Quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers

1. Heather, I couldn’t disagree with you more…the toilet paper has to be coming from on top of the roll, not under. You have it all wrong!

2. This one Heather got right…I do not like leftovers, with very few exceptions. Although my husband has gotten me out of this one a little bit because he made me feel guilty for wasting food. That’s what happens when you marry someone who has lived in third world countries.

3. I will not touch a public bathroom door handle. I will open the door with a paper towel and then hold it open with my foot and use my insanely good basketball skills (ha ha ha) to lob it into the garbage can, wherever that might be.

4. I’m an insanely picky eater. I could probably share dozens of examples, but these are just a couple of examples. I will not eat any pressed meat…no chicken nuggets, no hot dogs, no sausages…none of it! I also pick the little white things out of the eggs before I cook them and won’t eat eggs that others have made because I'm sure they haven't done this because they aren't as anal as me.

5. One of my life goals is to climb the Tetons and ever since I mentioned that to my professional mountain guiding husband it has now become one of his goals for me as well :)

6. My dream when I was younger was to become a fighter pilot for the Navy and fly this little beauty. I even started college as an engineering major, but that only lasted for about a year and a half before I changed my major. I'm glad now though, who would want to spend all that time away from their family. I would still love to get my pilots license though.

7. I love shoes! Heels are my favorite, the taller the better since I like to pretend I'm not short. Although at 5'4" DH likes to remind me that I'm not short but average to which my reply is why settle for average?

Wow, I almost hate to post this one because those first few makes me sound a little crazy!

I tag everyone who reads my blog so I know I’m not the only crazy person out there. If you don’t have a blog of your own, feel free to just post your answers in the comments :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

National Adoption Month

You may or may not know that November is National Adoption Month. What I find a little interesting is the way I’ve seen it being promoted. I read a lot of blogs that have to do with adoption, some from all sides of the triad, because so much of who I have become has been shaped by being a first mom. Most of what I have read concerning National Adoption Month has been from adoptive families who are promoting adoption, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but in a way that I don’t either see as 100% ethical or what the month was intended for.

National Adoption month was created in 1976 in Massachusetts as an Adoption Week because there were so many children in foster care that needed permanent loving homes that they wanted to highlight the situation. That same year President Gerald Ford decided to make a National Adoption Week to highlight the same problem nationwide, which then turned into National Adoption Month in 1990.

Let’s face it, you don’t need to encourage adoptive families to adopt healthy infants in this country…there’s a line out the door and down the street of willing families ready and able to adopt and love any healthy infant placed for adoption in this country. I think it’s a shame that the true intent of this month is being overshadowed because there are hundreds of thousands of children right now as I type that don’t have a place to call home. They don’t have a family that they can turn to and know that they have someone to be there for them when the chips are down and that’s what this month is all about.

On the government child welfare website it states:

November is National Adoption Month, a month set aside to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care. This year's theme of adopting teens from foster care builds on the Ad Council's new public service announcement (PSA) campaign of the Children's Bureau, the Adoption Exchange Association, and The Collaboration to AdoptUsKids.

Go here to find out more about it.

Just an FYI: If we had a big house and I could convince my husband I would definitely be adopting older children from foster care. I believe every child deserves to have a family that loves them unconditionally. I'd also like to adopt from Haiti for the same reason and to get children out of the Hell that they live there, but DH has been to Haiti and said that if it means he has to ever go back that won't be happening!(I’ll continue to work on my husband *wink, wink* so one day if we get a big enough house we’ll fill it with kids too :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Don't you wish you worked with me?

My birthday is next week. When I arrived at work on Monday morning this email was in my inbox (in a beautifully scripted text that I can't get to come through on blogger):

Dearest Desiree,

If you are not yet spoken for, your devoted co-workers ardently wish to dine with you in the luncheon hour of Wednesday next, the nineteenth day of November, at the eating establishment of your choice, to commemorate the approaching anniversary of your celebrated nativity.

Respondez s’il vous plait regarding your availability on the date in question. We await, tremulously and with bated breath, the desired response.

Fondly and Ever Yours,
The Collective Researchers of UC Davis

Of course I couldn't respond with just a simple yes so the following was my reply:

Dear Collective Researchers of UC Davis,

I would be honored to indulge in culinary delights in the presence of such great women. I am pleased to accept your invitation for the nineteenth day of November and look forward to an hour of feasting and heartfelt conversation.

With sincerest appreciation,

And finally, the invitation to the office:

Dear C.R. of UCD (sadly lacking our studious friend Flora),

Your presence is requested at the nearby Applebee’s Restaurant between noon and 12:10 pm tomorrow, or as soon thereafter as you may happen to arrive. None would be turned away from these festivities for some mere shift of schedule or trick of timing that may prevent absolute punctuality – six chairs shall be reserved for six hale and hearty comrades well met.


Although I'm not overly thrilled about having a birthday, not because I care that I'm turning 35, but because I thought I would be at a different place in my life by 35, it was a wonderful time and a very thoughtful gesture.

Now I just need to come up with a thank you as well thought out as the invitation. :)

Friday, November 7, 2008


I have to admit, I’m a costume snob!

There I said it! No one likes to admit their flaws, and being a snob about anything would certainly be considered a flaw, but if the shoe fits.

All growing up my mom made my sisters and my costumes. She is an excellent seamstress and can make anything her heart desires. Me? Not so much! In recent years I’ve tried to fumble my way through a project or two and it’s only because my Mom tried to teach me about sewing when I was younger, to no avail, but I think a few things stuck so I’m able to muddle through.
Anyway, luckily for me my Mom only has two grandchildren, so she is willing and able to make costumes for us. She has made all but three of Ari’s costumes, and one of those three, she actually did make a lot of and I just helped. Only two of her eleven costumes have been purchased.

Purchased costumes are just not the same!

Every year Ari has gotten rave reviews from everyone we see about her costumes and this year for both of my girls was no different. Devyn wore the costume that my mom and I made for Ari when she was one and looked just as adorable.

Please refer to the following pictures to illustrate where my snobbery comes from:

Please note that in my opinion the costume includes the overall effect including hair and make-up. You certainly wouldn't go to an event that required an evening gown and then throw your hair in a greasy poney tail and not do something with your face now would you? he he he

Oh, and please don't hate me because of my costume snobbery...I really do think your kids are cute all dressed up and having fun. And I'm really only elitist about this one thing, I promise!

DH has also told Ari that she is NEVER allowed to wear make-up because of how grownup she looks when she does (even if it does include black lipstick)!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How I know my husband loves me: Reason #527

There are so many different reasons why I know my husband loves me, but here is just one.

I hate for things to die! So when DH picked me up for lunch today, we were driving down the road when we drove over the top of something, not realizing until we were going over it that is was a snake. DH could see in the rearview mirror so I immediately asked him if it was still alive and he said he couldn’t tell. We backed up making sure not to run over it. DH got out and sure enough it was just sunning itself and lifted its head and started tasting the air with its tongue to check out DH. During this multiple cars drove by narrowly missing the snake. I told my husband that we couldn’t just leave it there to die, he rolling his eyes at me but got an umbrella out of the trunk. After the snake tried to strike about a dozen times, DH finally got it to the side of the road where it slithered off into the trees. Not every man would stand out there in the middle of the street to save the life of a 2 foot long snake, but DH did because he loves me and he knows it makes me happy. Isn’t he sweet?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Can of Worms

Note to self: Don't post on something as controversial as Prop 8 and then go on a business trip and not check your blog for 4 days!

Since I rarely get more than a couple of comments on my blog and I got 15 on my last post it's obvious I opened up a can of worms with this one, but obviously with how controversial Prop 8 has been I'm not surprised. I want to give all the comments on my last post the attention that they deserve, and since I was away from work for a business conference I have a lot of work to catch up on. Therefore, I will reply to the comments, but it may take a day or two.

Oh, and thank you for keeping it respectful. I welcome everyone's opinions, but when people start to be disrespectful I don't want them in my little corner of cyberspace.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stepping up to the Prop 8 table

I’m about to get a little political on you. I don’t get political around here very often because politics are personal and totally opinion based. I have my opinions and you have yours and that’s ok. I may think you’re an idiot for believing what you do, but hey, just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

So, yesterday I posted about parents that were keeping their kids out of school to make a point to the California Teachers Union. The California Teachers Union gave $1 million to the No on Prop 8 campaign.

For those of you who aren’t from California, because if you are from California you would have to be living in a cave to not know that Prop 8 was, it is a proposition to amend the state constitution to make marriage legal only between a man and a woman.

My church has taken a very strong stance on Prop 8 and has asked member to vote for it and campaign for it and to do everything in their power to get this Proposition passed. I get that. It goes against what my church teaches and believes, but this proposition is an issue that I have struggled with a great deal. I had a horrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when they read the letter in church asking for people to vote for this measure. My church has never specifically asked me to vote for one thing or another and I like it that way. I personally don’t care if gay people get married or not. I have gay friends that are in significant long term relationships and I don’t see how what they do in the privacy of their own home affects me. I also truly question whether homosexuality is a choice verses something that people are born with, and if it is something they are born with then why shouldn’t they have the right to marry the person that they love. Yes, the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong, but it also teaches that we shouldn’t judge other people. That’s where I sit on the issue. I try to love everyone no matter what and if it is wrong then Heavenly Father will deal with it, not me. I didn’t want to be put in the middle. During the multiple times when this has been discussed in church I hated the fact that I live in California at this time because I didn’t want to have to make that choice. My church and the Prophet have asked me to do one thing, but I feel for gay couples and their desire to be able to get married, so I was initially just not going to vote on the issue so I didn’t have to choose between my head and my heart. Now I’m back to being undecided.

As I said before, I don’t care what people do in the privacy of their own homes, but when it starts to affect me, like telling me what my children have to learn in school or by churches tax exempt status or the ability of religious adoption agencies to exclude gay couples because of the religion’s beliefs, that’s when I start to have a problem with it. And by the way, Ari already has read books in school about gay couples. When we first moved here and she was in 2nd grade we picked her up from school and she started telling us about some story they were reading. DH and I looked at each other and used it as a wonderful teaching opportunity that our religion doesn’t believe that Heavenly Father meant for men to marry men or women to marry women, but that we do need to treat everyone nicely and not judge them. So again, I don’t have a problem with her hearing things like that at school because it opens up teaching opportunities at home, but I would like the option to opt her out if I see fit, and a warning before hand so I know what I should be discussing with her.

The No on 8 campaign says that it won’t change churches tax status or what is taught in schools or anything like that, and of course the way it is written it doesn’t. But in Massachusetts where gay marriage is legal it has opened the door for things such as this father who got arrested for trying to opt his first grader out of learning about gay marriage in class. Parents have the right to teach their children what they want or to opt them out of lessons that they don’t agree with, plain and simple and I don’t like the fact that legalizing same sex marriage could make that happen. I also have an issue with the fact that Catholic Charities of Boston had to either place children in same sex households or close their doors, so they closed their doors. If first parents choose to place their children with same sex couples, that is their choice, but a religious agency shouldn’t be forced to do so just because gay couples are allowed to marry. It is because of reasons like this that I’m now leaning toward voting for Prop 8.

My point in sharing all of this relates back to my question of yesterday and the California Teachers Union. So we saw on the news Monday night that there was a state-wide call for parents who were for Prop 8 to keep their kids out of school to oppose the $1million donation. As I said, I’m not totally for or against Prop 8, but I’m really annoyed that the Teachers Union is donating money to a cause that has nothing to do with education. So DH and I talked about it and decided it might be the right thing to do to take a stand. We talked to Ari about all of it and let her make the choice as to whether or not she wanted to stay home from school yesterday and the reason for it. She initially wanted to go to school because she said she would be “bored” at home so she headed off. A couple minutes later she called DH and said she had thought about it and decided she felt like it was the right decision to stay home. I was proud of her for making that hard decision. DH even ended up having a good conversation about it with the principle of her school. I got a call 7 minutes into the school day asking about Ari’s absence (talk about being on top of things) because we hadn’t called yet, and I explained the reason for the absence. Well, she didn’t understand so the Principal called back to find out exactly why Ari wasn’t going to be in school that day and DH told him why we were doing what we did. He hadn’t heard of the donation or the protest (we live in a VERY liberal community) but was supportive of our decision as parents.

All this rambling to say, we live in interesting times and I think it’s good for Ari to learn to stand for what she believes while she is still young.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

California Parents, Are you keeping your kids home from school?

Have you heard about the protest against the California Teachers Union in regards to Prop 8 and are you keeping your kids home from school today? I just caught the article below on the late news last night so I haven't heard much about it and I'm curious if others are doing it. Let me know.

Parents Organize Prop. 8 Support Protest In School
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ― In response to a controversial contribution by a California teachers union, some parents are organizing an effort to keep their kids home for the day and cost public schools money.The California Teachers Association says their members are fighting to keep gay marriage legal because they stand for equality. With cash contributions to anti-Proposition 8 efforts falling short of the opposition, the union injected $1 million into campaign coffers to continue the ad blitz.Supporters of Proposition 8 now have a proposition of their own: They're behind an online effort to keep kids home from school Tuesday. The organizers say for every student who misses school for personal reasons costs the school money, and are banking that high numbers will send a big message.The e-mail says, "Many Calfiornia [sic] public school students are going to be sick and absent from school on Tuesday, October 21st… Many are puzzled why the professional group hired to educate them is spending so much money to push their own social agenda."The chain e-mail also urges teachers supporting Proposition 8 to send a statement of their own: "With all those students out sick, many California public school teachers intend to demand $300 political refunds from their union dues."The CTA did not comment on how much they've donated to other California propositions for this election cycle.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


A couple of my friends had quizzes on their blogs recently so I thought I’d play along.
My friend Nicole posted this one. I am not the dream housewife of the 1930s, but my husband loves me anyway so that will have to do :)


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

(Please note that this is 52 out of 100 so it's not that great)

My friend Shauntae (her blog is private or I would link you) posted this one. All and all it’s fairly accurate, especially considering it trying to figure out my personality from my feet!?!

What Your Feet Say About You:

You are pretty average in your expressiveness. You can express yourself well, but you don't always want to.

You are a very passionate person. You are highly charged and easily inspired.

You are an assertive person at times. You'll pull out all the stops to get what you want, if it's worth it.

You take a while to fall in love, but once you do, you stay pretty attached to your partner.

You are not easily frightened, but you have a few strong phobias.

You are intellectual and philosophical. You are more concerned with thoughts than action.

You are an amazingly hard worker. You aren't spoiled and you don't mind getting your hands dirty.

You are easily influenced by other people. You're quite impressionable, so you should only be around people who are a good influence.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dedicated to my husband

Listen to this song (it also includes the lyrics if you want to read along)!

This is exactly how I feel about my husband!

I didn't post on his birthday (back in September) and I feel a little remiss about that, but in my defense, he NEVER reads my blog so he doesn't know if I blog about him or not. Quite honestly that's a good thing most of the time since he is a very private person and wouldn't be happy that I post about him at all...so yeah, don't tell him ok!

Anyway, I was just listening to some random songs on my mp3 player when this song came on and I knew I had to post about what an awesome husband I have. He is thoughtful and kind, yet incredibly strong when I need him to be. He is also very sarcastic, just like me. He's a great Dad and a wonderful protector.

He would do anything for me too. The other day we had walked to Ari's soccer game which was about a mile and a half away. Not far, but I jokingly complained about walking home after sitting out there in the 95 degree heat and asked my husband if he would walk home and get the car to pick me up. He said "sure", I was of course kidding, but Ari said quietly to me, "that's so sweet, do you think he'd really do that?" I replied "I know he would, because he loves me," and he would have too if I'd been serious. That evolved into a whole conversation about how it's a parents job to teach their children and make them into strong human beings (because he said he wouldn't do it just for her)but his he guessed that meant it was his job to make me soft and weak :)

Anyway, listen to my little dedication to my husband. He is wonderful and he deserves it and so much more.

Friday, October 3, 2008

11 months old

I can’t let the day go by without acknowledging that my baby is 11 months old today. Where did the time go? It’s kind of surreal… on one hand I cannot believe that she hasn’t always been a member of our family. She fits so perfectly and I can’t remember a time that she wasn’t a part of us, and yet it seems like just a couple months ago that she was born.

She is an amazing baby, people at church or at my office who see her on a fairly regular basis ask if she ever fusses or cries because they have never heard her. I can attest that she does get fussy if she is tired, but she is just such an amazing little girl. She does have a temper on her though, and we call her angry as a nickname at home because if she doesn’t get what she wants she will kind of ball up her fists with her arms straight out and clench her jaw. I figure we’re in trouble with this one as she grows up! We figure nicknaming her angry probably isn’t the nicest thing to do though, but have thought of figuring out how you say angry in another language so that not everyone knew what our nickname meant :) Do you speak a foreign language and have any suggestions?

In August Ari, was 9 and Devyn was 9 months so I took their pictures together, so then last night I realized that it was the last day to get pictures of my 10 year old and 10 month as seeing as Devyn turned 11 months old today, but alas, she was tired and I got no good pictures. Oh well!

(Can you tell she's getting tired?)

Calling all First Parents...

This post is in regards to adoption. For an explanation of the term First Mother, check out what Michelle has to say. It’s an older post, but she says it so perfectly that I thought it was easier to link to it than to reiterate what she has to say.

Now that you understand the term, if you are one, go here. It is a survey for anyone who is either a First Mother or First Father who have relinquished a child. "The purpose of this survey is to apprise [sic] the long term effects and attitudes of mothers (and fathers) who have lost children to adoption, particularly in terms of any “promises” or expectations of confidentiality. Accurate data regarding attitudes, perceptions, beliefs and practices affecting parents in these situations is vital in formulating upcoming legislation in areas of family preservation, foster care and adoption. We hope this survey will be the most comprehensive study of parents who surrendered parental rights or whose rights were terminated resulting in their children being either adopted or remaining in foster care."

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What does Diversity mean to you?

To be honest, growing up in Idaho I wasn’t exposed to a whole lot of diversity. Idaho Falls is a little more diverse then a lot of the state because of the INL that brought educated people from around the country, which in turn brought people of different races, ethnicities and nationalities, but unfortunately that’s still not saying much. The LDS church is also the predominate religion in the area, and being a member of that church I was yet again not a member of any minority.

My parents weren’t all that keen on me learning about other religions either. In high school a friend of mine was Catholic and invited me go to the Christmas Midnight Mass with her. I thought it would be fun so I told my parents I wanted to go, but I think my mom cried the entire time I was gone because she thought I was going to convert. I’m not blaming my parents for this fact, they did what they thought was best, I just believe knowledge is power. I have now attended Catholic Mass a few times in my life and because of that experience I have a greater knowledge of my own faith and what I do believe. I have also attended Baptist and Presbyterian congregations as well, and if anything it has only enhanced my beliefs in my religion.

So, along this line of reasoning, I find it important to expand my horizons and knowledge of those who look different, think different or act differently than I. I also want to expose my children to all types of different people and cultures, and last Friday night we had one of those opportunities. In 2001, right after the events of September 11th the Muslim Student Association (we live in a college town) wanted to share their beliefs with the community to help people not familiar with the Muslim people or religion to have a better understanding of who they are and what they believe because of all the negative backlash from the terrorist events. They created an event during the month of Ramadan called “Fast for a Day” and it has turned into an annual event that everyone in the community has the opportunity to attend. From what I understand it has grown immensely over the years (we didn’t live here when it first started) but I was definitely still one of the few blonds (well, it’s getting dark blond now, but that’s not the point) in a sea of black hair. This was sad to me because it’s such a wonderful opportunity to go and mingle and learn about our fellow brothers and sisters in this human race.

They suggest that you fast for the day between 5:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on the day of the event, because during Ramadan Muslims fast during daylight hours to “strive to purify themselves through extra acts of worship, self-restraint (thus the fasting), charity, and other good deeds.” This is to help you better understand the culture and religion, and also to help put you in the right frame of mind. DH and I fasted out of respect for those who were putting on the event (we didn’t feel that it would be necessary to have Ari fast because her concentration at school would have plummeted). I’m guessing not a lot of non-Muslims do the fasting part because one of the hosts was chatting with us and said something to the effect of “you probably didn’t fast” and when we responded that we had he was seemed shocked and asked us about our experience. Later I thought I should have used that as an opportunity to help him better understand our religion and should have explained that we too fast, monthly, for our religion, so it wasn’t a new experience to us. However, that would mean I was quick thinking, which I’m not, I always think of good things to say once a conversation is over. I blame it on my shyness. I have a hard time carrying on a conversation with strangers to begin with.

Anyway, this was the second year we went (last year I didn’t fast because I was pregnant at the time and we had to leave early because Ari had previously made plans with a friend so we didn’t get to stay for dinner) and I am in awe of how spiritual of an experience it is. During the call to prayer, the melodic chanting (I don’t know the correct term for it, but I’m sure you’ve heard it on TV or in movies, where they are almost singing in Arabic) is beautiful and I can definitely feel the spirit in the room. I believe there is truth in most if not all religions and whether we have it all right or not, I believe God knows the true intentions of our hearts and loves each and every one of his children.

Dinner was good, and that’s saying something since I’m not all that adventurous when it comes to culinary adventures, but DH was disappointed because he said the dinner we missed the year before looked and smelled amazing. Since he’s been to the Middle East/Asia on many occasions and he loves to try new foods he was looking forward to having some authentic food. I was just glad it wasn’t too unusual ;)

Now, all this being said, it does not mean that I plan on ferrying my children around to a different church every week so they can experience every religion there is. I have found the religion I believe in and the beliefs and values I want to raise my children with, so we go to our church every Sunday. But, I will continue to seek out opportunities to show them that ours is a world full of differences that are wonderful and good and to be accepting of everyone else for who they are and what they believe.

So, what does diversity mean to you…is it people who look differently than you, act differently than you, think differently than you and what if anything do you do about it? Do you like learning and getting to know those that are different than you or is it a scary unknown?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

( I couldn't find a picture of just my mom, so here she is with my Dad and my two girls!)

I just want to post a quick note to say Happy Birthday to my Mom. She is far and away the best Mom anyone could ever ask for. (Just ask Ari, she tells me she wants me to be more like my mom :-)

I love her so much and I'm so grateful for all she did for me and all that she taught me growing up. (Click here to read a little more about her)

Have a wonderful birthday Mom, and know that we are missing you today.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

School Fundraiser

I know we all have kids that are doing their own school fundraisers, so this post is geared mostly to family, but feel free to participate if you so choose!

If you go to this website and put in Ari's student number, which is R37298D, you can then shop and order. Ari thanks you for taking a look :)

Ari asked me to put this post up on my blog about her school fundraiser. It opened yesterday and it closes on September 22.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Someone to watch over me

Are you ever just going along with your day and then realize that you are truly being watched over?

Last night was a pretty typical night for us. We only have one car which can make life extremely difficult at times. I work from 7:30 to 4:30 so DH can then take the car and drive to the next town over for his night classes (pre-requisites for PA school). Taking the bus or riding bikes is not an option because there just isn’t enough time between when I get off work and he has to be at school and somebody has to be home to watch Devyn. So last night Ari had Euro-soccer practice. Every year the soccer league she plays in brings in these guys from Ireland or Scotland to work with the kids on their soccer skills. (Because, you know, Europe and pretty much every other county in the world does soccer better than us). Anyway, we live close to the field where Ari has her normal soccer practices, but the Euro-soccer was a ways away. There just wasn’t enough time to get home from work and bike to her practice in time. Therefore, we dropped Ari off at soccer, I drove DH to the next town over for class, then drove back to pick up Ari, feed Devn, fix dinner and do a few odds and ends before turning around and going back to the next town over to make a trip to Target (because our liberal town doesn’t have one) before picking DH up from class.

Yes, I know this is a long story and it’s about to get longer so bear with me.
So we’re on way home and DH is driving on a couple country roads because it’s a more direct route than the highway. I was reading The Time Thief (The second book in The Gideon Trilogy, which I HIGHLY recommend by the way) so I wasn’t fully aware of what was about to transpire.

*Just a side note, have I mentioned that we love to read as a family? Every time we are going anywhere where we will be in the car for more than 10 minutes at a time we read. I love this habit that we have gotten into and we’ve found some great books that we all enjoy this way. Sorry for the interruption, I just thought I’d share that with you because it’s a great pass time in the car.*

So, we’re driving down a pretty deserted road that has a huge field to our right, and have to slow down to make a left turn onto a road that T-bones into the one we are on. No sooner had we cleared the intersection than I heard tires squealing and then I hear my husband say “Oh Crap! Somebody’s going to be hurt.” I of course had stopped reading at this point and I’m craning my neck to see what DH can see in his rear-view mirror. It’s dark out so all I can see are red taillights way off the road and dust flying everywhere being lit up by the headlights and taillights of that car. We turned around and pull over. DH is a certified EMT, and although he doesn’t actually work as an EMT, he always carries a medical kit in the car for emergencies. He grabs his kits and takes off, while I stayed in the car with the two girls and dialed 911. The car literally went all Dukes of Hazard and flew up in the air before landing a hundred feet away (true story, the police even paced it out), probably rolling twice (according to the police when they got there, because we were, after all, going the opposite direction and it all happened in a matter of seconds.

The two guys in the car are probably late teens early 20s and are beyond drunk and were getting all combative with DH. DH stayed there to flag down the emergency vehicles with his flashlight and talk with them about what had transpired since he got there. DH is on the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) team here in town and knows some of the firefighters, so he got pretty much the whole scoop of what was going on. To make a very long story a little bit shorter, they blew at 3 times, yes I said that correctly, 3 TIMES the legal limit of alcohol.

(Our view as we were waiting for what seemed like forever)

After all was said and done and I really stopped to reflect on the situation after sitting there for an hour waiting for the police to take our statement and everything I was pretty upset that the irresponsible actions of a couple of kids could have very easily destroyed my family. As it is, we are all fine and our lives go on like normal, but if we had been literally two seconds later I’m not sure any of us would still be here. According to the police they were traveling at around 85 miles per hour when they hit the ditch on the other side of that road. They flew for over 100 feet and rolled at least twice. Can you imagine what that would have done to us if they had broadsided our car? DH said the driver was very thoughtful and concerned and said he was sorry and just kept saying things like “my mom is going to kill me” and “I’m going to jail, I’m going to jail” and I do feel for him because I know that we all make mistakes, but when his mistake almost destroyed my family my compassion lessens a little. Luckily neither one of them was seriously injured, and they were both taken away in handcuffs. When we got home we thanked our Heavenly Father for watching out for us last night as it could have so easily ended with a different outcome.

I wonder how many times we are being watched over when we don’t see the eminent disaster by way of squealing tires and almost accidents so we have no idea that we were being watched over in the first place. So today I’m grateful for all those times when Heavenly Father has made everything ok and I didn’t even realize it!

Are you picky when it comes to matching?

Remember the shoes at the end of this post?

I loved them so much that I had to get them, but Devyn had nothing to wear them with. So what do you do when you have a pair of shoes and nothing to match? Why you make something of course! This is no small feat for someone who is NOT a seamstress, but I’m picky enough that I had to try.

I found a really cute eyelet lace material that looked good with the shoes and found a pattern that said it was easy and away I went. I had to make it harder than it should have been of course because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make everything I did harder is some way or another. By choosing the eyelet I had to line the fabric, and since the edge was just finished with biased tape I couldn’t quite figure out if I should sew the material to the lining first or what. So, I called my mom, who is an amazing seamstress and got some advice before moving on. Then came the biggest challenge of all. I couldn’t find a dusty rose colored biased tape and didn’t like any of the colors I could find. So what did I do? I made my job even harder, that’s what I did. I then attempted to make my own biased tape out of the scraps of dusty rose colored eyelet fabric. I was cursing myself through that process, but in the end I’m glad I went to that extra effort. And I think it turned out pretty cute, for a non-seamstress, if I do say so myself!

Friday, August 29, 2008

We've Come a Long Way Baby

I love, regardless of my political beliefs, that as of this November we will see either a minority as The President, or a woman as The Vice President.

Anyway you look at it, history is being made. One of the things I love the most about it is that I get to share it with my 10 year old daughter who is biracial like Obama and a woman like Palin. It's a little affirmation to her that anything is possible for her.

No matter who you believe in or who you vote for I think it's pretty cool!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back to School

New Clothes: $200

New Shoes: $100

New Backpack: $30

New lunchbox: $15

School supplies: $20

Meeting your teacher and gearing up for a new year: Priceless

Disclaimer: These prices are purely estimated and not in any way intended to be a true representation of the actual prices. If you cannot find these items for these prices Do Not think you can sue me for misrepresentation!

And lest you think that Ari was happy about me taking her picture on the first day of school this is her when I told her I wanted to take a picture of her first day.

Then I told her to at least try and look happy and I got this!

The thrill of the chase? OR Afraid to get caught?

This cracks me up every time I watch it so I just had to post it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Double Digits!

I am a little tardy in wishing my sweet Ari a happy 10th birthday (so I’m back dating this to her actually birthday). I wanted to put together a cute little slide show of my favorite pictures of her and post it on her birthday but I didn’t get it done and I don’t have most of my favorite pictures of her scanned into my computer (my pre-digital days) so here are just a few shots of her though the years.

Ari and I have an amazingly special relationship. It was just she and I for the first six years of her life until DH and I got married. She probably grew up faster than most kids because she was my best friend. One time when she was 4 or 5 years old I she overheard me talking about my struggles with money being a single parent. She came in and dumped two hands full of change into my lap and said that I could have it because I needed money. Oh course I let her know that it was very sweet of her to offer, but mommy wanted her to keep her money.
We did everything together. As much as I love my husband and now Devyn, sometimes I miss those days that it was just she and I. We were so much closer then and she would tell me everything. I know she is growing up and that separation is just a part of her becoming more independent, but I miss the closeness sometimes.

Ari is amazingly smart, sweet and caring. She LOVES to cook and has always been “creative” in the kitchen. Grandma was always better at letting Ari make a mess in the kitchen while making her “experiments” then I was, but she is now turning into quite the chef.
She is very thoughtful too. I remember in 1st grade when her teacher told me that Ari had been volunteering to stay inside during some recesses to help a fellow classmate who was special needs to work on math together. Ari had never mentioned it because to her it was no big deal. To me as her mom I was so amazingly proud.

Ari and I are both very bull headed so we definitely butt heads sometimes, but she is the most amazing daughter and I am so proud to be her mom!

As for her actual birthday celebration we ate sticky buns (I know, I know, my husband makes fun of my family's name for them but they are a birthday tradition and sooo good) for breakfast, then opened presents. Aside from going to see Wicked in LA, she got a skateboard (have I mentioned she's a tomboy?) with all the protective gear (I know, but I'm a mom and she has to have it), some books, a new outfit and an I-dog from Devyn! Devyn loves the I-dog almost as much as Ari. I should get a video and post it, too cute!

Then we went to the California Pizza Kitchen for lunch and the Cheesecake Factory for dessert (her choices, but I totally agree with them :)

After that we finished the day going to see The Longshots. Not the greatest movie in the world, but inspiring for a young girl, which was nice.

The next day she had her party at the swimming pool. I loved it because they take care of everything.

  • pizza

  • cake

  • party favors

  • drinks

  • plates, cups, napkins

  • decorations

  • hostess who runs around and plays with the kids

I know it costs a little extra, but not much when you figure in all you get. It is totally worth not stressing over getting it all done myself. Not to mention we don't have a yard and a townhouse to boot, where would I put all those kids anyway?

Anyway, it all turned out really well and I think Ari had a great time. Happy Birthday sweet girl and welcome to double digits!