Kate's class this year is a tad unorganized. When I asked the week of Valentine's Day what I could bring to the party, the teacher had not even thought about it. I mentioned that I would be happy to teach a craft, do a cooking demonstration, run some games. Really, anything. Rather than take me up on any of those, she asked that I bring cupcakes. No biggie. I will happily bring cupcakes if that's all that is required of me. So, the room parents sent out an email stating that a family had already signed up for cupcakes and punch and that other things would be greatly appreciated.
Six other families volunteered to bring cupcakes. Seriously? I was just a little miffed that those parents obviously did not read the very clear email. So I decided to be a little competitive and bring the best darn cupcakes. I know it's juvenile, but I was already a tad perturbed that every single party went this way- no plans, I offer to do something fun and am shot down, the kids end up just eating treats and watching an inappropriate movie for the party...
When my one contribution was being challenged- I took the bait. And this is what I brought:
Dark Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla mint frosting and chocolate ganache. They were pretty awesome and completely blew the other cupcakes out of the water... eat my delicious dust.
On Valentine's Day we went to go see The Lego Movie with Kate.
To be honest with you, I went almost begrudgingly, but wanted to appease everyone. Plus, it was kind of the only kid movie in the theater and we really wanted to take Kate out.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this movie. It was really cute. I liked the message at the end. When the moral of the story is good, it makes me feel better that I just let my kid veg out in front a ginormous screen eating junk food...
I loved the cast- so well chosen.
I have to admit that the plot was a little grown up- not in that it was inappropriate- but it was pretty involved. I can imagine a little kid having problems trying to understand what the movie is all about. The fun music (that I cannot get the freak out of my head) and special effects more than made up for the over-the-kids'-head story. It was a movie that had enough humor for adults to enjoy. Kind of like Disney movies- they are meant to be enjoyed by all, not just mundane kiddy fluff.
Jimmy and I were surprised at the twists and turns and truly enjoyed taking Kate to see The Lego Movie. The true test was how did Kate like it? She says (and I quote), "I think sometimes it didn't make any sense, but it was really good and it had a really good twist at the end." Aaaaand she is singing the theme song when I might actually at some point get it out of my head. It's a catchy tune, but I am awfully sick of it.
I have been thinking about something quite often lately.
Something that I would like to share my thoughts on hoping to receive understanding.
I have some dear friends, made at different stages in life, that have chosen to not to continue their church attendance. In each case, it has felt like a personal blow to me. That sounds harsh. But what it means is this:
I have had personal experiences with these people that seemed to cement parts of my testimony of the Savior. I have experienced amazing things in their presence. Miracles, really. Some small, some large. It's hard for me to fathom that those experiences did not do the same for them.
However, that is not at all what this post is about.
I may have experienced miracles with these people, but I have not experienced everything with them.
I was not there for the moments that brought them to "the line", I like to call it.
This is totally doctrine of Stephanie- I believe there is a 'line' or moment/moments/experiences that lead you to a point of despair when you have to make the ultimate choice. The choice is whether or not to continue on your current path.
I often wonder what my 'line' is...
I do recall a time when Jimmy and I were driving to the emergency room on a Sunday after an already extremely difficult and trying week. I was beyond my tolerance of frustration, it felt.
I remember saying these words out loud, "If it wasn't the Sabbath, I would drive to the liquor store and drink myself into oblivion."
It may sound funny now- even typing that sentence was humorous- but I was serious. I have never had alcohol before. But I was so angry at God for the hand we had been dealt that I was willing to do something to get back at Him. I suppose I wasn't angry enough because I was willing to disobey the word of wisdom but not one of the ten commandments. I felt very close to the line that day.
From the friends I have talked to openly about their choice to leave the church I have gained a sense of understanding. Mostly understanding that it is never and will never be my place to judge. Thank goodness. I don't blame these friends for their decision. I would be lying if I said it doesn't hurt, but it doesn't make me love them any less. In fact, I have an overwhelming compassion when they experience discrimination from those who don't agree with their choice. It hurts me that there are members of this church I hold so dear that choose to treat my friends with contempt. Well, that's definitely not one of Christ's teachings!
How can I explain this more clearly?
I feel like I am walking around the point that is so very cut and dry in my head. In my head I feel this:
It is not my place to judge anyone's choices.
When I choose to discriminate against anyone for their beliefs, regardless of how different they are, I am not choosing the right.
Christ's love is all encompassing, to all people.
Just because someone does not share my beliefs, does not mean they are a bad person.
Those sound like such simple truths.
But I have watched in all forms of media multiple violations of these truths.
Discrimination in all forms is wrong.
When I am persecuted for my beliefs it is no different than the persecution suffered due to sexual preference, race, gender etc.
It boggles my mind the amount of ridiculous lawsuits pointing blame for the pursuit of retribution. Retribution does not come from a settlement. Or a messy court battle.
Retribution comes from moving on and being the bigger person.
I do believe that in some instances, legal intervention is necessary.
But suing someone for giving you the wrong sauce with your chicken nuggets?! Please!
I hate that I live in a world where people are afraid to speak out because of the backlash they receive.
There are people being fired for being gay.
There are people being fired for believing that being gay is wrong.
Do you see how wrong this is?
In both cases, don't you think the best thing would be to agree to disagree?
The differences in people are what make a beautiful world.
My favorite color is purple, I love ribeye- cooked medium rare, the ultimate perfect day is spent with my family hiking, I find peace reading the scriptures and I hate fennel seed.
There are infinite things that make me who I am.
There is a list of feelings I have, opinions I hold and experiences I've lived.
I do not expect anyone to feel exactly how I feel about any one thing. But I do have a hope that people will over look my flaws as best they can to see all that makes Stephanie.
This Stephanie. The imperfect, crazy woman who loves fiercely and holds much close to her heart. I promise to do my best to over look your flaws and see who you are- and love you for it.
Jimmy and I have never been a big Valentine's Day couple.
I honestly can't give you a reason why.
We do make a big deal of birthdays- I suppose it's more personal.
Valentine's Day seems to be a day where you're forced to show love.
I am not knocking V-Day, but we just don't make a big deal out of it.
Last night, Jimmy handed me a gift bag.
Inside that bag was an album I had been coveting ever since I had listened to every song on YouTube.
Bastille!!! (picture to come when Blogger stops throwing a hissy fit about posting images)
I might be late to the party on this band- but I am smitten. It has been a long time since an album has touched me so deeply. I love the style of music (which I just recently learned has no guitar!)
and the story behind the front man is just so endearing.
Well, he also is quite nice to look at (picture to come when Blogger stops being jealous of Dan Smith, Bastille's hot front man)
When Jimmy gave me this gift, I jokingly said, "you should have waited to give it to me until Friday!"
"Then it would look like I got it for Valentine's Day, not because I was thinking of you today." He responded.
I pick and choose when I am the crafty mom. Some days I'm lazy and send in store bought cupcakes (or send nothing in at all- judge me)
But in the moments I get a burst of energy or inspiration via Pinterest, I go ahead and do something about it. So Kate and I made her valentines last night. They are going into baggies with a little saying, "you're one in a minion, valentine!"
It was only after I left the house that I realized my exercise pants had a huge hole in the inner thigh.
And it was only after I took a sip of my homemade smoothie on the way to work that the yogurt I had used was expired... expired yogurt is bad, but expired greek yogurt is death.
Work had its normal ups and downs...
well, except for the part where one kids emptied out the ENTIRE bookshelf while I was cleaning up the previous mess he just made.
Oh, and the part where another kid shattered my *gasp* precious Starbucks cup.
And then how about the time another kid had a total melt down at lunch meanwhile leaving a trail of snot in her wake?!
It was a doozy of a day. I think I could have handled it all if I wasn;t supremely cranky from pregnancy to begin with. But folks, you'd be proud of me. I didn't yell. I kept my calm Miss Stephanie voice.
Only because I knew that Safeway carries the precious Starbucks cup year round when other stores only have stock in the Summer.
And so after the epic beginning of my day, I felt it only right to treat myself to a fabulous lunch. This day was past any chocolate craving and far beyond a Whopper Jr. at Burger King. Oh no, this required the big guns:
That's right- filet mignon.
If you see me hunkered down over a steak, please know that it is a cry for help. Although I am into all the fun trendy foods, there is nothing quite as comforting to me as steak and potatoes with sautéed spinach. I know it's strange, but I don't drink...
p.s.- I also got a delivery on thin mints and samoas. This day is really looking up.
My dad was a pro with school projects when I was growing up. He got right in there and helped make our projects (and Halloween costumes) the best in the class.
Well today I was a carbon copy of my father. Kate and I worked on her Valentine's Day box. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture. But I will tell you this- it was epic.
Rather than go the traditional route and recover a shoe box, we actually constructed a custom box out of 3-D foam board. This box was completed with gems, glitter, hearts and horses. Let me tell you- it was gaudy. And fantastic. Perfect to impress all the fourth graders in the world.
After putting so much effort into this box however, I really was quite useless for the remainder of the night. That's okay, though. I've got the glitter coating my body to keep me company...
Because I just dropped some serious change for that sweet little one at the Vacaville outlets.
Kate had a birthday party in Vacaville at the ice rink. Because I didn't want to drive the 45 min, drop Kate off, drive home, drive back to come home again- Jimmy and I decided to make a date of it. A date in this case was shopping. First stop was the maternity store. Total bust. They only went up to a size large and the clothes were hideous/wicked expensive. Also, the sale asscociate. pretty much stalked us the whole 10 minutes we were in there. The lady approached us five times. I am not exaggerating FIVE times!
Off to the children's stores where we hit gold, folks:
Jimmy and I are licensed foster parents. As part of that responsibility, we man the receiving center once a month .The receiving center is a wonderful place that houses foster children until they get placed in a foster home. It is comforting for children to wait in a home environment rather than a police station.
When we staff the center, we can get calls in the middle of the night, especially on holidays. Either that, or on a weekend. We received such a call on Friday afternoon. Because of our last experience (which was a leeeetle scary...) I was kind of a nervous wreck. But when the social worker stated that we would be caring for 6 children, I was in full blown panic mode. I knew what I had signed up for, but I had never worked the center while I was expecting a baby. So Jimmy and I rearranged our schedule and knelt down to pray immediately. I just wanted to be protected.
When I got to the center, the kids weren't there yet. So I sat stewing about what to expect. Bad idea. I should have played a game on my phone or something. When the first four kids arrived, I was smitten. All children are sweet, but these four little ones just captured my heart. I had begun to rearrange our house in my head to accommodate the little darlings. The teenagers hadn't come yet, surely they would be tricky... not so- sweetest teenagers ever. And they doted on their siblings like responsible parents.
It was an actual joy to care for these children. The hardest part was saying goodbye. Especially to the oldest. I had a real connection to that one- watching that teenager be placed separately from their siblings was gut wrenching. I cried with that child and held them. And although it is probably not ok, I shared my testimony of prayer with that child. I sat in a room and taught a teenager how to pray. The spirit was so strong. That child may not remember how to pray, but I hope they remember the spirit felt when I talked about it.
When Jimmy and I got home, I was emotionally spent. I just prayed and prayed for those kids. I have a friend who also does foster care. She recently posted an experience with a temporary placement. This friend explained the way your heart fills with love for a child you know nothing about and the resulting heart break when they leave. I get it. I understand. I believe that the ability to love someone so unconditionally is a true gift from God. He lends His compassion to us. He lets us borrow His grace. It is a very humbling experience... and one that I plan on continuing.
I am scheduled to work at the daycare every Tuesday and Friday. I love my job. I love the kids. This morning I was really looking forward to the day. Looking forward to it so much, that I failed to realize it was raining. You see, my boss at the daycare usually cancels her time at the equestrian center when it rains thus, leaving me free for the day.
So, when I was sitting in my in-laws driveway about to go in their house and kill time before work started, I got a text from my boss reminding me that she would not go out today. At first I was pretty sad- I really love those kids. But then, as most of you might feel on a snow day- the clouds opened up to all the possibilities that lay before me.
I am dressed for the day.
I am already out of the house.
What shall I do?!?!
And so I spent the day meandering around Trader Joe's, Fresh and Easy, Target and ended up at Home Depot in the paint swatch collection.
Seriously, what kind of dork does those things on a 'free-day' ?!?! This dork.
Some days with an unexpected opening I call a friend for lunch. Or go to the library. Or take a hike. But today I spent my time nesting in a way. Because all the things I got were in preparation for our new arrival. Food storage, maternity jeans, bedroom paint selections...
It was a nice day.
It was a fabulous day, y'all!!! Spent nearly all day here:
Where I got things for Kate's new big sister equestrian bedroom:
And baby girl's nursery:
And headed over to Babies R Us looking for cribs... Didn't find a crib BUT I did find a stroller/car seat set for $61.98!!!! You can't really see the original price, but it was $350.00! I wonder if I chose a recalled model or something...
THEN, off to Joann's fabric to find inspiration. There are already turquoise walls... Pinterest was no help, but I found this set and ordered more to match. I am super excited!
I know that it has been an incredibly looooong time since I last posted. I feel like I quit cold turkey right before Thanksgiving... get it? I crack myself up.
But seriously, I just got out of the habit. There is too much going on in this here house for me to not write on the blog anymore. This is my best form of journal keeping and I have been slacking off!
As most everyone knows- we are expecting a sweet little girl.
Most everyone knows because I have not been able to keep my big yapper shut regarding this new addition. I am just thrilled. Mostly because we have been waiting a whole decade for this blessing.
In another post I will write more about our reaction, but for now, I need to take baby steps (I keep them puns a comin'!)
This post is dedicated to the ever controversial: NAMING OF THE BABY
I have a short list:
Kate has a short list:
and Jimmy has an even shorter list:
As you can tell, Jimmy and I have drastically different lists. I finally had a heart to heart with the man... my husband was honest when he stated he would probably never jump up and down about any name. Something I feel so passionate about, he is like... eh.
There you have it folks, the name will probably come from one of the girls in the house's list.
And so it continues... poor Jimmy is still going to be outnumbered.