Sunday Reflection

I’ve been absent from writing for a long while and am starting to crave the release of writing through my thoughts and trying to make sense out of them. A LOT has changed in the past year or so. We got married, moved in together, blended a family, learned that one of our children is autistic and has sensory processing disorder, subsequently changed schools for her, went through a surgery to get pregnant, got pregnant (now 33 weeks), welcomed my husband’s parents and grandma in a move from CA to AZ, and forged through other tough decisions and realizations. We are doing really well considering how much we have been through. More on that another day.

What inspired me to write today was church service this morning. We have been going through a series called Plan B, which is based on the book by Pete Wilson. At the beginning of the series I thought…is anyone really still on Plan A…or B for that matter? I feel like I’m on plan Z and I’m only 32! I love what my life has become and I’m completely grateful to God for turning a very hard season in my life into something spectacular. But it is something I never imagined for myself growing up or even when I was in college. I knew I wanted a family and kids and a husband and some sort of career, but the way I got to this place was a very patch-worked path that was messy and unorganized.

We had the privilege to hear directly from Pete Wilson at church this morning. He said a few things I wanted to share and remember.

“The greatest illusion in life, is the illusion of control.”

This struck me because of its simplicity and obviousness (not sure that’s really a word), yet it’s something we forget on a daily basis. We have little to no control over the things that happen TO us. We do on the other hand have some control over how we view and react to circumstances, challenges, or successes. Some other things he said that I wrote in my journal:

“If nothing else good happens to you in your life ever, you STILL owe God everything.”

If we pray, and pray, and beg for help…. for a new job, or to keep a job, to change our finances, to repair relationships, or to save our children from hardships, or keep them safe…..and God does nothing to help us, we still owe Him our lives with faith and dedication to his glory. He gave His son to save us from our sins and so we would have the ability to spend eternity with Him. We owe Him, not the other way around.

“The hardest part is knowing God is completely capable of doing something but accepting that He sometimes chooses to do nothing to change the situation we are in.”

We’ve all been there, begging, asking for a sign, pleading and crying…..and wondering where He is. It shakes your faith to hear nothing and to feel no relief from pain, embarrassment, or crushed dreams. My plans and expectations have changed many times and when I think He isn’t listening and didn’t help…I look back weeks, months, years later and see that even though it wasn’t part of my plan, it was part of His. No one ever grows up and says I want to get married, then divorced, and have my family ripped apart and then go on to live in a blended family with more challenges than one could ever imagine. That’s not picture perfect, you don’t dream of struggling and going through heartbreak. But “” happens and God and make those terrible seasons in life worth it and has the ability to make life beautiful again.

Pete Wilson gave an example of when kids throw fits and fight and scream that they want the other parent to instead of the one they are with. The child doesn’t really want the other parent…they want what they think the other parent is going to give them. It’s like our conversations with God, we are begging for help, for more or less of something. More often than not we aren’t begging for more time and love from Him, when that is what we should be doing.

He asked a question that makes me question if my actions and choices conflict with what I believe to be true? How can I trust His plan more and release from the chains of my own? What is He asking of me and how can I say YES?

“What would you do if you were absolutely confident that God was with you?”

My answer…..a lot more.

Potty Training….

《Insert BIG sigh》 pee’ing is no problem; got that down. Number 2…..oye. I have now resorted to keeping him naked so he cant go in his chonies and either has to hold it or forces an accident. With 2 daughters this is not ideal to have a boy running around naked. But it is what it is.

We have now been sitting in the bathroom for about an hour. I have the laptop set up in the bathroom so he can watch tv…..he is now over that and want out.

Why does every parent have to struggle through this?? Lol

Internal struggles

I went from being a single-mom of a 3-year-old boy, to married (to love of my life) and trying to parent two additional children. I knew it would be hard, extremely hard, I just wasn’t sure how or how often it would be. I started doing research, trying to grasp at any straws of information on how to co-parent, how to handle girls and who were also older than my son. I had missed what happens from the age of 3 to 7….jumping in feet first. I have so many questions and even more prayers going up to God. Researching blogs of parents of step-children, of girls, of adopted children….anything. Honestly it just left me with more questions. Are my expectations too high? How do I approach difficult situations when their dad is not around…and even when he is standing in the same room?

We had decided before we got married that the biological parent would do the discipline. As parents we would talk about the problem and then whoever “owned” the child would handle discipline. We have a general house rule of “Be Respectful” which covers a lot. So, if we need to address a situation, we can, without having a full on parenting discussion. Those are kind of left for the “major” situations. We have adjusted and readjusted our approach on everything multiple times.

I want to be an example of someone living to be Christ-like, as a wife, mom, and just a person in general. I want to teach these values to our kids (which we agree on whole-heartedly). But how much do I rely on leading by example and how much do we sit and talk as a family about what it means to trust and rely on God? I don’t want to shove it down their throats, I want them to choose it for themselves.

I have been looking for advice on blogs and at church through pre-marital counseling and parenting conferences. I guess only time will tell if I’m doing anything right. Like most parents, I wonder if I’m made for this…wonder if I can raise 3 kids and have them turn into God-loving people…wonder if they will think as adults that I did a good job….wonder if I can ever live up to how great the parents of my own were (are).

I know this blog has been about something kind of different but it really is just my journey in life. I want to look back and see my growth or maybe where I can improve and areas I still need to pay attention to. Not sure really where I am going with this….eh, we will see.

Blog that I follow that have been helpful and inspiring that may help others in their own journey. 

Lil Blue Boo

Chatting at the Sky

Ashely Ann Photography

The Best Day of Our Vacation by FAR! (get ready it’s a looong story)

engagementFriday 5/28/13

  • 3:00 am wakeup call – I met Mr at his house to pack up and boogy
  • 4:00am We arrived at long-term parking…. and tried to figure out where to go…there is a new tram and “getting-around” system we weren’t too sure about
  • 4:30am…We realized we could have parked right outside our terminal…instead we took the tram and a bus and 30 minutes to get there, grr.
  • 5:00am Waited forever for the slow-as-molassas-agents to hurry it up so we could check our bags in…only to be scolded that we were running late. No kidding, really?!?!
  • 5:30am Waiting in security line, CRAP, we are going to miss our flight…”please, can we cut, I’m so sorry, we are going to miss our flight” — thank you to our fellow travelers for taking pity on us…speed ran to the terminal right before they were closing the doors
  • 6:00am …take off
    • Miss Terrified of flying and Mister Claustrophobic get ready to face their fears.
    • Actually I only cried once during takeoff, the rest of the flight and even the propeller plane, easy! I was so impress with both of us. I barely noticed Mr’s freak out on the first flight because I was too busy forcing myself to stay on the plane. Kudos to both of us to keeping together.
    • 9:30am …shuttle to Victoria B.C. – the driver was a prior tour guide so we received a lot of touristy information for free J Did you know that Victoria is 300x300x100 miles in size? Did you know that Steve Nash and Sarah McLaughlin are from Victoria?
    • 10:30am we arrived at our final destination for the first part of the trip! Pacific Grand Hotel! Ah-mazing! The location is stellar, the accommodations are great, and the gym was pretty dang good! (yes, we went to the gym on vacation)…if you are ever there, go to the coffee shop and order the White Chocolate Latte…best I’ve had by far. Starbucks aint got nothing on it!!!
    • Lunch – We ate at Red Fish Blue Fish; he got the cod fish n’ chips and I got the halibut fish n’ chips. SO GOOD! I can see why it was featured on Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives.
      • Funny story – we sat relatively close to a pair of older couples. When one of the women got up and asked if anyone needed anything, of course Mr. say’s “no thanks, I’m good” LOL — we all got a good laugh out of it.
      • Afternoon Stroll – we wandered around, looked in shops, were super g. a. y. and cuddly….could have been a scene from a romantic movie to be honest, perfect. We eye-balled the buggy rides and thought that would be fitting since our nicknames for each other are “buggy”. Talked about possibly taking it for a ride.
      • We decided it was appropriate for naptime and went to relax for a while – Mr stared at me as I slept…he was full of anxiety and excitement and he couldn’t fall to sleep. He told me that he was going to go downstairs and workout real quick and then we could go to dinner.
      • While he was working out, I couldn’t manage to wake up so I meandered downstairs to find the coffee shop….I couldn’t find it and knew he knew where it would be so I went to the gym to find him….nowhere to be found, “weird” I says to myself – I ask for help and get myself a coffee
      • Jump ahead – We get ready for our super romantical date night that we had planned to go on before we came on vacation. I wore my orange and blue and white polka dot dress with a black H&M jacket and super high black heels. He wore his amazing blue and white gingham dress shirt and jeans and his grey pea-coat (love that coat).
      • We went downstairs, hand in hand, and I saw the buggy. My heart started to race because I thought “this is it, he’s gonna ask”. We hop in, have a few pictures taken by our super helpful, happy, co-conspirator-to-the-engagement plan, Darin, and we were off.
      • The buggy took us on a tour of the bay and adjacent neighborhood. Such beautiful Victorian homes….”yes, please, let’s retire here”.
      • I’m getting butterflies again as I write this.
      • We turn down another street and he says “well, I was looking for the most perfect place to do it” and I’m trying hard not to jump to conclusions so I don’t get disappointed if he doesn’t ask…but thinking if he doesn’t ask now, he’s crazy, and I’m going to ask. This is the most romantical moment we have ever had…..and we’ve had a lot!
      • I turn to look at him and he asks “will you marry me?” “YES!” …and he shoves the ring on my finger, lol. I didn’t even look before I said YES, all I could do was hug him and say “YES!”
      • It was really cute because he said “oh wait, I told Miss H. that I would get down on one knee” – so he moved over the blankets and somehow managed to get on one knee in the buggy and propose for a second time. This lucky girl got proposed to twice! ….and a few more times since then.
      • I finally looked at the ring and was STUNNED…amazing, the most beautiful ring I have ever seen and so….ME. He knows me better than I know myself that much is clear! It is rose gold with a center cushion cut diamond with smaller diamonds all around it and down the sides of the ring, antiqued style and had little “S”’s scribed on the sides. PERFECT!
      • We talked about how he planned it, how nervous he was, all the anxiety building up over the past few weeks, the sneaking around to go get the ring and then pick it up, asking my parents for their blessing (granted)….this all makes sense now why he spilled sugar all over the kitchen this morning! Our faces hurt from smiling so much, we couldn’t stop. The whole day and this moment was PURE BLISS.
      • The buggy dropped us off at our dinner reservation at Pescatore’s Seafood and Grill – Dinner was delicious! We ended up being there till around 10pm if I remember correctly! We walked back to the hotel around the harbor after dinner. It was the perfect proposal and perfect day. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Incredible! I get to marry my soul mate and love of my life!!! We are so blessed to have found someone who compliments each other so perfectly. I love you buggy, I can’t wait to marry the heck outta you!!!

President’s Day: Tortilla Flats and Goldfield Ghost Town

We took the girls to the Goldfield Ghost Town on President’s Day and to the restaurant at Tortilla Flats. I think Mr. 72 had a better time than the girls did but it was fun to go explore a little bit. It is just a neat old west town with some shops, a chapel, jail, train rides and a mine you can tour. We didn’t do the train ride or mine but plan on coming back to do it! The girls got a tad scared when the horns blew and the train “choo-choo” was too loud for E’s liking. So we just played around and looked at the gift shops and hat store and then threw H in jail for a picture.

We took them to the restraurant at Tortilla Flats which was super busy but we got in quick. They decorated the place with dollar bills and the usual old west town memorabilia. The bar stools were old saddles too! The ladies bathroom was a bit concerning because the door was short so you could see the person in there….just their head, but still. The door also had a woman’s body painted on it to make it a tad more awkward for everyone involved…even the passerby’s since they did not have the door closed to the entrance of the bathroom…they may want to rethink this business plan.

Anyway, it was a good President’s Day. We came home early so I could go pick up little man, then had some relax time at the park and home and tacos for dinner. All in all it was a memorable day 🙂

Buggy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Buggy!

Wow….just looked back over the past year, what a year! We have had so much fun I can’t believe it was all jammed into one tiny year. Although this year won’t be as eventful, I still want to take time to say I LOVE YOU and so happy you were born and are here in my life. I must say, I think you get better every year and can’t wait to see where this next year of living goes! I hope you had a fantastic birthday!

Dinner at The Dhaba in Tempe…it was spicy and delicious. I can see why it is so popular! Don’t let the exterior building throw you off…go in, dine, review for yourself.

I also gave buggy a horseback riding present scheduled for next week. Read about it here.

I love you!

Last Years Birthday – Biff and Rabbit Tail and 40 Reasons

Fun that has been had

Fun. The last two months have been fun…a tad stressful at times, but overall FUN. A quick update in pictures 🙂

1: We went to a Foals concert on 4/18/13 at Marquee Theater in Tempe. Super good band, check them out if you haven’t already!

2: My sister was in town for the weekend in April. We got a chance to go out as an adult couple group. We went to Tapas Papas Frita and another hidden swanky bar after. If I could remember the name of the bar I’d tell you but …it escapes me at the moment. It was pretty cool, they had couches everywhere, it was dark and keg-like, plus live music and slow dancing. Next time me and the Mr. go, we are definitely dancing when sibling eyes are making fun of us, hehe. It was fun watching my sister and her hubs try after 5,000 attempts to get a picture they liked at dinner, lol. Such good looking family I have 😉

3: We met the family at San Tan Flats on Saturday for lunch. This is cool place for kids; cowboys, ranch, fire pits, things to climb on…even smores at night!

4: Summa-summa-time! Yup April marks the start of summer in AZ. Get ready, it’s about to get SUPA hot!

Life progression

Holy Cats! Life changes fast!Picture1

I got a new job, put in my (very early) notice at a job I’ve been at for seven years, started exercising regularly, enrolled my baby into daycare full-time for the first time in his life….and what else…oh ya, moved back in with the rents. But it’s all good changes that I am very happy about.

I went and observed my soon-to-be co-worker yesterday in the classroom and I am so excited! I’m less nervous and quite stress free at this point in time, lol. I think this is going to be a great starting point for me. The classroom is very structured and the kids are incredibly behaved. The lesson plans are done….done. I was really worried about that. So I think my main challenge will be building the classroom culture and earning the student’s respect. I’m feeling positively jovial about the change though.

I started exercising at during lunch at the work gym. I haven’t lost any weight but feeling better about life in general. LOL. Also, I finished a “30 year old Bucket List” item today. I ran a 5K!!! Normally, ya, not that great of an accomplishment, but I’ve never done it…on purpose. I’ve ran over 3 miles at time but not entered into a race. Let’s also not bypass the fact that I am sick; slight fever, head cold, and cough. When I came across the finish I sat down ready to yak. Of course with my luck the President of The Educator was right behind and mildly worried. My manager said my face was drained of color….makes sense I was trying not to die the last 10 minutes. Either way; proud of myself.

We Are So Proud of Them

Smiles is going to day care. I’m nervous but I think it’s time. Our beloved nanny had to make some changes which resulted in us having to make a hard decision. We adore her and Smiles thinks GG is his mommy (I’m not offended, I get it). Reasons aside, we found a place that we are comfortable with and they seem like they will take amazing care of him. Plus, it’s right behind the small airport by our homes and he is OB-sessed with planes, so he will be happy for sure. They do sprinkler and slip-n-slide Friday’s as well during the super hot AZ summers!! Kind of wish I could take Friday’s off and go slip-n’slide…. I hope he enjoys it and makes some friends. I think with him turning 3 this summer, it probably is time to “set him free” a little more.

Usually I’m not a big fan of change. But these changes are good and they are leading to a life I am dreaming about. I am so excited for the life I have and the life I imagine it to become.

It’s Official

I accepted a TEACHING POSITION yesterday!

I will be working at a local charter school that is super close to where I live. I am excited, terrified, hopeful, nervous and overwhelmed. I will be teaching 5th grade general studies. I start the teacher training on July 15 for 2 weeks, then 1 week of in-service meetings and meet the teacher (ya, That’s ME!) and then school starts! The school is “back to basics”; the students face forward, learn cursive, stand when reading, and the environment is very structured. They use the Spalding method which is the training I will be in for those two weeks. It reminds me of private school…minus the religion factor. I really like this style for me since I feel like that is where I did the best learning when I was growing up. I appreciate the public school style but as a new teacher I think structure is going to be very important for me to get my bearings.

My parent’s, Mr. 72 and Smiles took me out to dinner to celebrate with some Mexican food and margarita’s at Casa De Mina. (If you haven’t been there and you live in the area….you are missing out!).

THANK YOU to everyone who pushed me to take a chance on this and believed I would be a good teacher so I could have the confidence to finally reach a goal of mine. I’m always so scared of not completing goals that I generally don’t start….maybe this will be the starting point to taking more chances and pushing harder. It feels weird, I have to admit but great all at the same time.

If anyone out there has ideas on how to successfully reach, teach, and connect with 5th graders….I’m all EARS!

I’m so grateful that I got this job and that they are willing to take a chance on me. I can only hope I live up to everyone’s expectations.