6.06.2017

So there's this band...

I've always loved attending concerts and have done so since I was a teenager. My first ever concert was with my dad to see The Monkeys. They performed from a revolving stage and it was magical. Just magical... Speaking of magic, have I told you about the band I am sooo in to right now?!?! You know the one, Magic Giant? (see what I did there?)

Plan for this to be a moderately lengthy read because I am hard pressed to say enough awesome things about this stellar band. I will start you off in the infancy of my love for them.
The moment Kate turned 13 years old and was deemed a teenager, I was stoked. No, I am not smoking anything- I really do love teenagers.  I just have always felt like one of the rites of being a teenager is to attend concerts. Because of my history, I could.not.wait. to start bringing Kate to concerts! After much anticipation, I had finally planned her first concert date. I basically planned it the way I would an epic first date. Japanese hot pot restaurant, VIP tickets, new outfit, fabulous makeup. Seriously guys, this was a big deal. Upon opening her gift, Kate was less than jazzed. Being the optimist I am, I persisted. True that I am an optimist, I am also an extrovert (surprise, surprise- ammaright?)Kate is neither of those things. That would you lead you to believe that she may not like a group full of sweaty people pushing in on her personal space, loud music that prevent any type of quiet reflection and huge room where the fire exit is only a suggestion. Well folks, you would be right. She may have had a shock to the system on this first go round, but this was most definitely the concert to cut her teeth on.
We went to see Eric Hutchinson, one of our very favorite singers. He was amazing. his talent is off the charts. The band playing before him was one I had never heard of called (here it comes...) Magic Giant. Watching them run their equipment check made me awfully nervous.
You see, they were full on hipster.
Like, FULL ON.
Man buns, check.
Ponchos that looked like navajo blankets, check.
Tight, tight, tight jeans, check.
Faux fur, check (because hipsters are very into the environment).
Upcycled merch table, check.
It is my duty as a mother to protect my children from hipsters. And then, guys... they played. I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing their show was! AMAZING. Freaking amazing. I have been to so many concerts in my life time. But the experience with this band was the best audience experience I have ever lived. The band was engaged and energetic. And happy.  And their music was GOOD. In the church I attend, there's a job called 'Primary Music Leader'. Their job is to get all the kids singing and happy to be there. They have skills that get even the most grumpy kid to participate in singing about popcorn growing on fruit trees. Primary Music Leaders have special powers. The lead singer of Magic Giant has those same special powers. He had us dancing to his count, singing background and stooping to the ground at a whisper while slowly rising as the music got louder. It really was like I was personally participating in this performance. Even though I love Eric Hutchinson, I was sad when he came on because Magic Giant had vacated the stage. Eric Hutchinson is so musically talented. But he did not have a banjo, harmonica, fiddle, huge bass drums and a CELLO ON A GUITAR STRAP that was played while running around the stage. I am telling you, it was pretty epic. And it has been my personal mission to share the good news of this fabulous band since that fateful evening. I have since seen a concert in Santa Cruz and have tickets to one in Napa.  Excitement is too small a word for the emotion I feel.
Now, yes, the music is pretty incredible, but the way the music came about is the real artistry. This band recorded their debut album from a travelling solar powered shuttle bus turned recording studio. Some songs were performed on an airstrip in a field of daisies. One song was recorded inside a redwood tree. You read that right, INSIDE a redwood tree. An underground bunker was used to capture the perfect sound of drums. And a two and a half mile long tunnel helped with the reverb. I'll be honest, I'm starting to really dig hipsters. Because Magic Giant also planted a tree for every album they have sold. One of the members of the band was hit by a car as a young teen and fell into a coma only to awake with the musical brilliance he still carries. The lead singer starting composing music when he was 11 years old. And one member of the band is an accomplished salsa dancer and son of Persian refugees. Those are only small blurbs about the intricate and passionate lives the band members choose to live. I know I am a grown woman and mother. The way I am gushing sounds so stalkeresque. I am not a stalker. I promise. It is so incredibly rare to find real music being made these days. Music with meaning, passion, depth. My daughter has grown up in a generation with some pretty questionable singers and songs. Here is a band I can let her listen to when I'm not in the room that is not that embarrassing KidzBop crap. When I am driving all the teenagers around, we roll down the windows, open the sunroof and sing at the top of our lungs. That they and I both like the music being blasted? Now, that's real magic.








5.28.2017

Sacrament Meeting Talk

Jimmy and I have been married for almost 16 years, we have 2 children- it used to be 6, but our foster children were recently reunited with their parents. I love hiking, playing tourist in our town, a good garden tomato and going to concerts. I hate green bell peppers with a passion and just like everyone else here, my life is hard.

Even though we can all agree on the fact that our lives are hard, and may even participate in venting sessions with friends proving this fact, we have not been left alone in our difficulties. True that it is a remarkable time we live in, but an extremely challenging time as well.  No one is immune from the influences of the world. The Lord’s counsel keeps us on guard. Throughout the scriptures there are many passages to warn, guide and direct us. Think of some of those warnings now, “Take heed, watch and pray” “Beware lest ye be deceived” “Be watchful and careful”

The road of discipleship is not for the faint of heart. Regardless of how we choose to live our lives, there are difficulties on each path. What I always say to my teenaged daughter, “Pick your hard.” You can be righteous and faithful. The path of righteousness is not an easy one. Or, you can choose the path of unrighteousness. This path is also a difficult one. The difference between these two paths are the end result. What do you want in the end? What is the end goal? What kind of hard are you willing to endure? Pick your hard.

When I was preparing for this talk, of course I was prayerful. The very first time I knelt in prayer to choose a topic, I was struck with a feeling to share the things I have learned in the addiction recovery program provided by the church, also known as the 12 step program.  I literally said out loud while kneeling bedside, “Really, Heavenly Father? You want me to talk about that??” Rather than heed the answer I had received, I went about my day trying to find a topic on which to speak. I listened to conference talks and sang hymns. I kept waiting for a different answer than I had already so strongly received. After days of this unfruitful pattern, I picked my daughter up from school while listening to a conference talk in the car. She asked about what I was listening to (because it is a longstanding habit of mine to listen to conference talks while driving). I answered with my struggle to find the proper topic to address you today. She stated, “Why don’t you speak about the addiction recovery meetings?” And so, here it is.

Let me tell you a little about my journey. Many years ago, when the 12 step program was first adapted to an LDS  format, the missionaries assigned to lead the discussion group toured our stake to speak in sacrament meeting about this inspired program. When I heard the benefits associated with the program, I was all in. Learn more about the atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ? Sure, I’m in! Learn how to apply this atonement in my daily life? Yes, I’ll do that! I love self improvement classes. So, imagine my surprise when I tried to recruit friends to join me at this meeting and had many responses in the negative. It seems that this 12 step program has a pretty strong stigma. No one actually wants to admit that they are not perfect. I am hard pressed to find someone shouting from the rooftops, “I need help!!!”  So, even though I was more than willing to join this discussion group, I was too much of wimp to participate because I had no one to go with me. You know us girls, we go to the bathroom in packs. And because I have already shared with you how busy our life can be, I forgot about the program and moved on with my regularly scheduled life. I continued to struggle through addictions that I had no idea even existed.  

We all have something. We all have a back story. A struggle that is real. A temptation that seems to take on it’s own persona and sometimes is so great that it feels like a literal person standing next to us. For some it is substance related. For others, this temptation is cerebral. Some are codependent. Some are helicopter parents. Some refuse to forgive their shortcomings. Some choose to take offense easily. As David A. Bednar once stated.  (quote) Offense comes in many costumes and continually finds it’s way on stage. “People we believe in disappoint us. We have unanticipated difficulties. Our life doesn’t turn out exactly the way we were expecting. We make mistakes, feel unworthy, and worry about being forgiven. We wonder about a doctrinal issue. We learn of something spoken from a church pulpit 150 years ago that bothers us. Our children are treated unfairly. We are ignored or underappreciated. It could be a hundred things, each very real to us at the time.” (unquote)

When I was a young teenager, my parents got divorced. We had recently moved from California to Rhode Island and my mom chose to move back to California while the rest of the family stayed on the east coast. The feeling of abandonment that came with her choice scarred all of us. It took many years for me to forgive my mother for leaving us, for not being there when I was a teenage girl in a house full of boys. I thought that I was really good at forgiving. I easily forgave others of their misdeeds towards me. The reason I found ease in forgiveness to others was because I was holding on so dearly to the hurt inflicted in my adolescence. I could brush off the harm done because I let the hate buried deep inside me to fester. On the outside, I was happy and optimistic and hardships evaded me like a water to a duck’s back. My heart was aching. There was a disease eating through it because I couldn’t forgive my mother for leaving me. My brothers and I all held this position. The damage worsened as I became a mother. I looked on my precious new  baby and could not fathom how a mother could ever leave her children. As the love for my growing child deepened, so did the cavern in my heart that could only be healed by forgiveness. I did not see the toll holding on to the anger had taken. When one aspect of my life had come unmanageable, I finally realized the canker that was halting my progress. It took much prayer and study to finally approach forgiveness where it really mattered. My mom was staying at our home for the holidays and I stayed late into the night talking to her by the light of the Christmas tree. I finally gained the courage to bring up her decision to leave our family. She explained her side of the story, which I had never heard in all the years since the initial blow. Her reasoning was real. I may not have agreed with it, but that’s not what forgiveness is about. I listened with an open and soft heart. I used the atonement of Jesus Christ in a very real way that night when I looked at her and said, “I forgive you.” I meant it. I still mean it. That moment was a springboard to the rest of my life. Because when I uttered those words, the sense of relief was indescribable. I did not realize the heavy burden I was carrying until it was lifted. By holding onto my anger, I was in a weakened state. As Neil Anderson states, (quote) “In our weakened moments, the adversary seeks to steal our spiritual promises. If we are not watchful, our injured, childlike spirit will retreat back into the cold, dark crust of our former bloated ego, leaving behind the warm, healing light of the Savior” (unquote)
Because my spirit was injured and childlike, just as Elder Anderson described, I had let the anger control me by way of  addiction. When I forgave my mother, the anger was gone. I had released it. And thus, I became spiritually strong which led me to master my addiction. It wasn’t until fairly recently I actually realized the addiction even existed. And it was like all the pieces leading up to my first meeting fell into place. I talked openly about wanting to attend meetings resulting in many encouraging responses, “What a great idea. You should do that! I should go with you!”  This went on for months. I never attended a meeting. And once again, my life fell into busyness and I returned to my regularly scheduled life. And then when my soul was ripe for progression, a friend approached me and asked to join her in the meetings. I answered yes so quickly that she was actually startled. We attended our first meeting together where I learned an incredible amount about the love my Savior has for me. I have grown up in the church. I have been to countless classes, firesides, devotionals and sacrament meetings. I have relearned Lehi’s dream so many times that I could probably recite it from scripture word for word. But I have so. Much. to. Learn. Attending the addiction recovery program has taught me so much about the atonement of Jesus Christ. It feels like a Sunday School class geared towards using the Atonement in our lives. Who doesn’t need that? Who is too good for the Savior of the world? Addiction recovery meetings had become a regular part of my week when we had the missionaries over for dinner one night before said meeting. We love our missionaries and have them over often. We are thrilled to participate in the missionary program and do anything we can to helps the missionaries succeed in our ward. I think they feel our love for them and see us as helpmeets to their goals. I think they may admire us as much as we do them. Imagine their surprise when they attended a meeting and saw Sister Graham walk in the door. It took all the courage I had to attend that meeting. You see, we had spent the evening with them. The missionaries left our house, I left our house. I arrived at the church first and was sitting in the parking lot catching up on social media. (don’t judge, we all do it) The missionaries arrived and saw me sitting in the parking lot and thought I was there for a different church related meeting. We chatted it up and I let them go into the church. This Sister Graham sat in the car and had an internal conflict so intense, it started to come out in an actual outloud conversation with myself. The verdict reached between the two parties was this: practice what you preach. Be humble. Put on your big girl panties and do this thing.  
You guys- I walked into that meeting. It was so hard and incredibly humbling. The humility required to progress can come in two ways. Choosing to humble yourself before the Lord or being compelled to humility. I prefer the former to the latter. I know. I have experienced both.

Ether 12:27 reads, “And if men come unto me I will show them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble. For if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Simply living life can be and is often a humbling experience. Accident and illness, the death of loved ones, problems in relationships, even financial reversals can bring us to our knees. Whether these difficult experiences come through no fault of our own or through bad decisions and poor judgement, these trials are humbling. If we choose to be spiritually attuned and remain humble and teachable, our prayers become more earnest and faith and testimony will grow as we overcome the tribulations of mortal existence. Spencer W. Kimball says, “How does one get humble? To me, one must constantly be reminded of his dependence. On whom dependent? On the Lord. How remind one’s self? By real, constant, worshipful, grateful prayer.”  I feel like I could give a whole talk on that last sentence. Prayer that is:
Real.
Prayer that is Constant.
Prayer that is Worshipful.
Prayer that is Grateful.

When our prayer reflects those four attributes, that is when true humility occurs. And what is the result of true humility? Growth. Progression. Knowledge. Power. If you really think about it, the most powerful people are also the most humble. Jesus Christ led through humble example. He did not force anyone to follow Him. Natural leaders carry with them humility that needs no coercement to gain followers. In the book of Helaman, Nephi was troubled because of the wickedness of the people. He prayed and pondered what to do. Nephi heard a voice saying, “Thou hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will. And now, because thou hast done this, I will bless thee forever, and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed. Yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.” (Helaman 10:4-7) The rest of the story teaches us that Nephi asked a famine to come upon the people to bring them to humility. It sure takes a lot of power to produce a famine throughout the land. So we see here that Nephi’s great humility brought great power.

Just think what you would be able to accomplish if you completely submitted to the Lord’s will. Who would you call? (You're not allowed to answer ghostbusters) How would you speak to your coworkers? Your family? Your friends? What would you post on social media? How would you choose to spend your spare time? If you chose to be humble enough to listen to the Lord, what would He say?


I don’t know if I could ever adequately express my gratitude for my Father in Heaven. I love Him. Because He gave me life, the tools to grant me success, amazing blessings and His beautiful son. Heavenly Father sacrificed so much for my joy. I want to return to Him someday. I want to look up at His face and confess in all honesty that I did my very best. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

2.18.2016

Good company

Jimmy and I went on a much needed date tonight. It was just so wonderful. We laughed and laughed.
We tried a new place called Ciccio. Oh my. The best pizza I think I've ever eaten. And the worst broccolini and I have ever tasted. Quite possibly one of the worst things I ever put in my mouth. Ever.
When the waitress brought the plate to our table, it looked gorgeous. I took the first bite. And for the very first time in my life I held a strong poker face. The bitterness was so awful, I nearly lost my breath. But I wanted to see Jimmy's reaction. So I slyly pushed the plate over to my sweet husband and said, "try some", with nearly no intonation. I wanted to watch his face. If this was the only time I were ever use a successful poker face in my whole life, I am glad it was then. Because the very second Jimmy put the foul food in his mouth- all of my hard work paid off. It would have been even sweeter if I had gotten a picture of his reaction. I'm still new at using a poker face, forgive me.
The tables at this particular restaurant are very close to one another. Meaning that we could not prevent overhearing the neighboring diners order the same broccolini. But, we were done with our meal! How were we to know if theirs was as awful?! Our curiosity caused us to ignore our stuffed bellies and order dessert. For the sole purpose of spying on the table next to us. We are weirdos, I know. But we're fun weirdos. Our gelato arrived well before the couple's broccolini- so we ate very slowly. Fortunately our patience paid off. We  got to side glance the poor victims and witness their first bite. It was hilarious! The wait was worth it. I am glad to be married to someone that is willing to be weird with me.

2.17.2016

In the smart house

It's been a difficult transition for me to have two toddlers.
They are both such bright girls.
Which makes things very difficult.
It reminds me of someone telling me all about how their Jack Russell Terrier made a mess whenever they left the house. Because the dog was smart. It got bored easily...
If I am to use that as a basis for my toddlers' IQ, then they are borderline geniuses.
Cleaning one thing or room multiple times a day every single day is starting to wear on my nerves. And so it is today that I chose to post this ad on Facebook:

Two children for sale.
3 year old- sassy pants with her knickers in a bunch. Comes with fresh tantrums and a custom eye roll package.
20 month old- face that refuses to stay clean as well as mud soaked outfit. Only one shoe because the other is still stuck in the mud puddle, but still good.
Serious inquiries only.

Kate is a smart girl too. She clearly sees my resistance growing weaker. In fact, it has been so crazy lately, she has been hiding in her room. Literally. The toddlers have almost defeated us all.
But Kate ushered in one last ounce of strength and chose to use it to bring me breakfast in bed. Isn't that sweet? And the note read:

Upon delivery, she returned promptly to her room and I haven't seen her all day. The kind gesture has made me let her hide out in peace. Because she deserves it after doing so great for me. Hey, wait a minute...
Maybe I have three borderline geniuses...

2.16.2016

Let them eat (lots of) cake!

At the group I get to together with every Tuesday night, there have been many birthdays. And birthday celebrations require cake. I have been letting baking things start to grow on me. Baking cake is now quite a joy to me. Which is saying something...
Well, at one such birthday celebration, I made a flourless chocolate cake with passion fruit caramel and coconut whipped cream, coincidentally on the very same night we planned on going to see the movie, "Brooklyn".
Well, rather than try to keep these things separate- we brought the cake into the movie theater.
Where I drizzled the caramel in between previews and dolloped the cream during the opening credits. And because I want my food to be thoroughly enjoyed, it must be served on real plates with real silverware.
Which tends to bother other movie theater patrons.
Just a tad.
Not enough to feel guilty because eating the rich cake brought the guilt on all by itself.

And it was delicious.

2.15.2016

Meeting Charlotte

My friend Lauren (amazing, beautiful, funny, brilliant and then some) just had a sweet baby girl and I got to visit in the hospital! I think the part about seeing brand new life on this earth might be one of my favorites.

2.14.2016

Beach Vacation

What a great way to spend the holiday weekend. At the beach house with my sweet little family. It was so nice to enjoy the PHENOMENAL weather. 74 degrees! In February.
You can tell by the quality of pictures that I just had too much fun- I enjoyed rather than worrying about taking great pictures- and it was fabulous. 



2.13.2016

CHOCOLATE!

I went to an amazing chocolate making class today!!!
I got to wear a hair net.
Rather then try to explain the awesomness of this experience, I will just show pictures. Because that's really what it's all about anyway... the pictures.



2.12.2016

But the gas is cheap...

I got pretty immune to the rough edges around the town that is Vallejo because I was driving Kate down there twice a week for a whole school semester. The things that bothered me before were justified and I seriously got good at glossing over things that could potentially bother me.
I drove through Vallejo today because I needed to go to a store there and happened to pass the gas station that I would frequent on my drives down here. Only because it was cheap gas. Very cheap. A whole fifty cents cheaper per gallon!
The place is a little sketch Mcgetch, but fifty cents!
Today when I went to fill up, in the middle of pumping my gas, there was a suspicious looking character in the parking lot. But it was okay, because there was a cop car with a K-9 unit in the same parking lot. I had some curiosity, but my blinders had prevented me from being afraid of any potential troubles.
Dude, my blinders did their job today!
Because that suspicious character got closer to our car and I just shrugged it off. And then the K-9 started barking and growling.
I kept pumping gas.
It was when the suspect was pinned to my car and being handcuffed that I thought maybe I could quite possibly be in a dangerous place. My awareness of the situation mounted when I had a need to play peek-a-boo through the car window so the littles would not see the criminal now being dragged away from my van and then re-cuffed to the fender of the police car. It was when I got back in the car and had to move it to make room for the backup officers that I finally realized- maybe it's worth an extra fifty cents to get my gas elsewhere.

2.11.2016

Book of Mormon Challenge

One of my friends recommended I try to read the Book of Mormon in a week...
I did it.
I had to read almost 80 pages per day to accomplish the goal.
I did it.
I listened in the car.
I listened while cooking in the kitchen.
I woke up early to read in bed.
I stayed up late to finish what I started.

Here's what I came away with:
I know I have time to read scriptures every day, it needs to be a priority in my life to make scripture study a daily habit.
Emotion was really brought to the surface during the week. I cried extra.
I can do hard things.
It was really exciting sharing the goal while I was in the midst of it, but I was nervous I wouldn't finish. Now I can say I did it!
I did it!

2.10.2016

Way to make an entrance

It was my very first Relief Society activity as part of the new Napa 1st Ward. I sat with people I knew, but some unfamiliar faces. I did well being bubbly introducing myself and getting to know the people I had never met. I sat across from this adorable young mom. We were laughing and enjoying the conversation when one of my friends mentioned I was a gourmet chef. The moment that new information was shared, the woman I was talking to started explaining how bad of a cook she was! And I just kept saying, "I'm sure you're great!" and "You can't be all that bad" Things of that matter. She continued to tell me how terrible at cooking she really was. And then gave me an example of a dinner she made for her family. By this point, our animated conversation had brought the attention of all who sat at our table. The peak of interest was when she went into detail about a particular dinner and most people reassured this young mother that it sounded great. Then, with expectant eyes, she looked to me for approval and I just shrugged my shoulders and made a little bit of a disgusted face, "Meh.", I said. Because, honestly, the dinner she was describing sounded pretty bad. I have a horrible poker face. Horrible. But I said, "Meh."?!?!?! What is wrong with me?!I should have lied to her about what I thought! I tried to fix my faux paux by giving some tips on how to fix that dish, yet the damage had been done. Already, my first activity and I offend someone, greeeeat...

2.09.2016

What it's like to be a flake

It's quite relaxing, really.
You wake up, take the littles to the gym
workout while they play
meet other moms at the park and leisurely watch as the kids continue to play
then take the long way home with the windows down because it's just a gorgeous day
and daydream about putting the kids down for a nap the moment you get home
drive up the driveway and wonder why there's a car in the driveway...
Then it's a mad scramble to get the kids out of the car (who are filthy, by the way. Homeless looking after playing so long and hard) because you recognize that car. That car is the social worker who is coming to inspect your home. The home that you left so nonchalantly this morning (nonchalantly=messy) And you fumble through all explanations as to why you're late, why the kids look homeless and why the house is in it's 'nonchalant' state.
You see, being a flake is a roller coaster of a ride.
There's moments of pure bliss- when I forget what I'm supposed to be doing.
And pure panic- when I finally remember what I was supposed to do an hour ago.
However, I like rollercoasters... only when they're nonchalant.

2.08.2016

It was good while it lasted

I take an amazingly difficult, fun and exhausting fitness class at the gym called Body Combat. It's my favorite, really.
The moves are great, the energy high and, well, the instructor looks like a model.
He sweats pretty.
Nobody sweats pretty.
Except for John. Sweet Johnny.
I always stand in the same spot, ugly sweating (because I do that) and huffing in the back trying to just keep up. It's a blast. But, honestly by minute 42 of our 60 minute workout, I have given everything I can. Then darling John comes and gets in my face insisting I punch harder.
And I try. I give it my all.
But what I really want to do is tell this instructor all about my life story. I want to explain that I have lost a ton of weight before, I can do this. I want to tell him that my foot is broken and that's why I hold back. I want to say that I am a kind and loving foster parent who wrestled two littles to even get to the gym.  I desperately want to share how funny and talented and happy I am- that it is a joy to be in my presence.  I do not do that. I just grunt. And work hard. Someday, John will see me in Trader Joe's- no, Whole Foods- and I'll have perfect makeup, a great outfit with even greater shoes and just casually wave at him. And then, my next class will be a breeze. And he'll just it on his exercise mat and be in awe of how far I've come. And then I snap out of it. I'm happily married. And John's gay.

2.07.2016

Super Bowl 50!

Why not celebrate with the best (worst for you) food ever, right?!
My favorite addition to this year's menu:
Betty's Blush Fluff:
the most delicious and tacky fruit dip in the world.
Mix together cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, chopped maraschino cherries, almond extract and toasted coconut. It was an unnatural pink dip that was ridiculously yummy. Enough with that, onto pictures!





2.06.2016

Favorties with one of my favorites

Vivy is on the mend- no stitches!
My feeling is that this will not be the only time we visit the ER with that girl.
My mom came into town to visit and celebrate Christmas. Because it has taken us this dang long to find a weekend when we were both not busy... kind of.
I have an event tomorrow, so Mama and I spent the day cooking up a storm!
And we threw in a fun time shopping for makeup and eating at one of my favorite restaurants. Gosh, I love doing all those things with my mama!!!

2.05.2016

Not fun.

Today was a day filled with shopping and eating and talking and a horrible accident.
My poor little Vivy!
My friend and I went shopping all over town.
We did it successfully with the littles.
Then, I needed to drop off my car for an oil change.
We went across the street to shop while the car was being done. It was an uneventful walk around the store until the three year old (from inside the cart) pulled on a rack of clothes and pulled the whole cart over.
The two toddlers toppled out of the cart.
I knew something was wrong when they fell, but I REALLY knew something was wring when Vivy did that long inhale before screaming. You know the one. The when you keep willing them to just breathe. Well, I picked little baby up and saw blood covering her whole face. It was bad. I had blood all over the front of my shirt, in my hair. When I was finally able to get a good look at Vivy, I saw the damage. Poor baby bit all the way through her lip. And there was a huge bruise on her gums. I tried not to panic when I called the shop to check in on the status of my oil change- not done. They have my car seats! Called Jimmy- he left work immediately and got the car seats and met us to take little one to the ER. It was awful. Just awful.
I hate it when things like this happen. Lets just hope she gets better soon!

2.04.2016

Food Pictures

Because there are not enough on this here blog!







2.03.2016

All I did was answer the phone...

In the short time I took to stand up,
walk to the phone,
say, "Hello?"
and walk back into the bedroom shared by my two toddlers,
this happened...

If there was a 'before' picture it would include:
A nicely made bed
A fully intact curtain rod 
Curtains 
And not a toddler in sight

2.02.2016

The Painted Lady

I have been in and out meeting the social worker for a few months now.
We meet often enough that she and I really get along.
And we know each other pretty well.
I thought.
Because I went into the office to talk to the worker and stood at her office door for some time before she would even acknowledge I was standing there. In fact, she kept making that strange 'who is this crazy lady' face at the other social worker sitting in her office. I just kept standing there smiling and awkwardly waving at our social worker while she was making more faces at her co-worker. Things were starting to get ridiculous, with all the non-verbal communication, I was starting to think I had read the signals wrong.
I said a chipper, "Hi!"
The social worker gasped and covered her mouth in surprise. "It's you! Hi, Stephanie!"
You guys, she hadn't recognized me before I spoke.
I was a creeper that was just standing at her door because the social worker had no clue who I was!
Strange, huh?
It's because I was finally wearing makeup.

2.01.2016

First day jitters

Kate had her first day of public school today.
We made the decision to stop homeschooling because much of the time was spent on the road for different enrichment classes. Also, I just couldn't hack it.
I had Jimmy drop off Kate's paperwork for enrollment last week. He also scheduled testing for today...ish.
When I brought Kate in to the office, they were not expecting her. At all.
Because Kate's father told the school she would not be starting for a few weeks.
So the school had not made preparations.
Or set up classes.
Or set up testing.
Or even knew who Kate was.
But we got it all figured out and the first day jitters will just have to continue tomorrow...