Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Today

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Today I’ve been hanging out with C.  She’s like the nursery rhyme, the girl with the curl.  ‘When she’s good, she’s very good indeed, but when she’s bad she’s horrid.’  This girl has a temper, and sometimes it can get the best of me, but she’s been doing much better since getting her tonsils out last month. 

Today she was as good as gold, and I enjoyed every minute with her.  I took advantage of Gabe’s naptime & tried to sneak a quick nap in, too (long night last night/super early morning/normality these days), but C was so sweet to play with blocks while she finished her favorite show for the 200th time (Little Mermaid) and sang her heart out with Ariel.  I know I’m probably bias, but her singing voice is getting good!  The best is when she belts, “part of your LIFE,” which is totally NOT how it goes, but it’s cute to hear her try.  She rubbed my head, told me to wake up in case I missed Gabe waking up (big event), and informed me that her toenail was hurting. ;)

Wednesday is always gymnastics day, and I love watching her whip out the moves; her fearless heart amazes me every single time.  She loves the bars best, and her little biceps are just too cute.  She must take after her Aunt Sarah – (not sure how that works sis-in-law, but the thought of her possibly having your skills is just too good). 

I love this little girl and feel beyond blessed to have her spunk in our home.  Love you C!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

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With Love,

The Blue Monster, Izzy the Pirate, and Peter Pan

Monday, October 21, 2013

October busy-ness

Life is busy right now.  So many schedules, so little time.  The days keep rolling by.

We’re in the thick of it, but I wouldn’t trade it; we are loving our new chapter.  I desperately keep trying to find some time to update our little space here on the web, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day, I say.  I love this time of life right now.  First grade, ballet, harvest, soccer, settling in, teaching piano, taking care of a baby – not to mention the dishes, diapers, homework, meals, yard, laundry…the joys of motherhood, everything.

I’m having major camera issues these days, so I have a little something on my wish list for Christmas this year (wink, wink), but I was able to dig up these gems for now – much different backgrounds from our last environment, same beautiful faces. :)

Both AnnMarie & Carlie have gotten so good at riding their bikes sans training wheels.  It’s so nice to have an outside patio area for the kids to play on.  All smiles. :)

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The end of our road happens to be the last bus stop before it heads to school.  I feel grateful for this little fact, and for the good group of kids that meet at our bus stop every morning.

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We decided to get AnnMarie involved in soccer this season - she’s been loving it.  It’s been amazing to watch her progress & improvement over the course of the past two months.  She’s all about defending – check out her move (no. 22, pink socks).  I must say, she looks pretty intense out there.

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Carlie had surgery a few weeks ago.  We were finally able to get those monstrous tonsils & adenoids removed.  She is still recovering, but doing much better this past week.  My mom came up a few days after her surgery to help with the healing.  Carlie loves her Grandma J (so do I). 

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I’m taking C back to pre-school tomorrow for the first day post-surgery, but I took a risk last week & took her on the pumpkin patch field trip.  She’d been talking about it non-stop, and I couldn’t bare the thought of having her miss out on something she was so set on.  We went on a hay-ride and enjoyed the hay-bale maze & petting zoo.  I’m pretty sure it boosted her spirits. 

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Now if that little boy’s facial expression doesn’t make your day, then I don’t know what will!  

Happy October!

                                and a very Happy Birthday to my dear brother, Kyle!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

SLC in July and Motherhood

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Every year in July, Jared & I have the awesome opportunity to go to SLC together for three days…alone.  ;)  It’s definitely one of the perks of his job, and it’s becoming a fun tradition we look forward to. 

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I loved the dark bright July colors scattered throughout Temple Square.  On two of those days, I had some alone time during the morning hours to enjoy the peaceful sunshine on the temple grounds. 

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Hey look, it’s us!  j/k – this couple reminded me of Jared & I not so many years ago.   

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Only our hair’s not as bright anymore, darn it. 

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The Creekside Shopping Center is gorgeous… 

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and tempting in every way.  We pretty much ate our hearts out as much as we could.  We’re still adapting to all this rich ‘n creamy ‘n yummy food everywhere we go.  In particularly, the dairy is totally different, so we have to take it easy. 

Everything is over-abundant in so many ways, and sometimes it makes my heart sting to think about how much we have here on this side of the globe.  We’re slowly getting everything organized into our new home, and with every little box I’m thinking, “OK, why do we need this again?  Let’s find someone in need that could use it way more than us,” and just as I’m thinking that, my little 6-year-old is saying that.  I’m missing the service opportunities that surrounded us for two years, but I know we can continue to serve and lift others in a new way than before.

I can’t help but think of this beautiful piece I came across on temple square – one that I’ve never really noticed before.  It’s tucked away in a corner – away from the limelight. 

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It’s a young mother with her children - her head held high with the sun on her face.  She looks strong.  She looks empowered with knowledge and eternal perspective.  She looks tired, but dedicated.  Her baby clings to her as her daughter follows close behind.  Her part is accomplished in quiet ways without fanfare, yet she carries on with confidence in her selfless role. 

This piece spoke to me in so many ways one peaceful morning on the temple grounds, and I knew once again that the greatest service I will ever do will be here in my home…wherever I am on the map. :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ruby Lous for Ruby Jane

Throughout the entire month of August, Abby at Sew-Much-Ado is going to donate the full profit of all Ruby Lou Doll Pattern purchases to the Ruby Jane Foundation.  Basically, this foundation is set-up to save lives.  It’s remarkable.

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I’m not sure when it all started. 

Maybe it was in 2012 when I read Ani Taylor’s winning essay from The Nie Nie Dialogue’s Motherhood Essay Contest.  I was pregnant at the time, expecting our first son.  I’ve never been able to forget Ani’s little Ruby Jane who passed away at almost 7 months old.  I remember trying to envision my unborn baby boy at 7 months old.  He turned 1 year old this summer.  The thought of losing a child evokes heartache beyond compare. 

Or maybe it was last August when I promised AnnMarie that I would learn how to sew.  She was determined to make a doll for her sister Carlie, no particular reason.  I was living alone with my 2 little girls and newborn son – my husband in a foreign country.  I remember thinking that life was pretty hard for me back then…but I had a new sewing machine, and I had a promise to keep. 

The first doll pattern I found was The Ruby Lou Doll Pattern by Abby at Sew-Much-Ado.  I loved it.  AnnMarie loved it.  I didn’t think my beginning sewing skills were cut out for it, but love at first sight stirred powerful motivation. :) 

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And then, I had an idea.  I couldn’t shake the connection between Ruby Lou and Ruby Jane…so I contacted Ani, and I contacted Abby. 

Now…I’m contacting YOU. 

August marks the anniversary of Ruby Jane’s passing.  Is there a better way to honor and contribute to her legacy then by purchasing a Ruby Lou Doll Pattern in August?  I think NOT!  It’s perfect.  I’m so over the moon excited about this.  Abby has also made it possible to purchase the pattern as a gift.

If you’d like to donate your completed Ruby Lou Doll, Ani will be donating them during the holidays to the sweet girls that are in the hospital where Ruby was.

Simply send your Ruby Lou Doll to:

The Ruby Jane Foundation
PO Box 505
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678

But most of all, love the littles in your life a little more than you did before.  Forget the to-do lists and be present.  We never know when the moments we share with our loved ones will be our last. 

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gabe’s First Hair-Cut

Gabriel experienced his first big boy hair-cut yesterday.  He probably appreciates the fact that his head can breathe now.  I’m a little embarrassed that his hair was like this, but we’ve been kinda’ busy.  ;)

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Step aside Justin Bieber. 

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Change in a BIG way

I can’t believe that we’re sitting here at the end of July.  It’s been a whirlwind, but I think I’m finally starting to catch my breath. 

We flew into the Pacific Northwest almost a month ago.  AnnMarie went to school up until the day before we flew out.  I had to hold back the tears when I picked her up; her teachers cried a little.   

But AnnMarie’s friends didn’t cry.  They held her hand & said, “Goodbyes are not forever.  We’ll see you someday soon!” 

Then I cried a little, too. 

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I’m sure I didn’t take enough pictures, but sometimes the moment is enough.  Sometimes pictures just don’t capture the feelings that are forever ingrained in our hearts and oh-so bittersweet. 

The morning of our last day in Argentina started off with a rude awakening at 2 AM to a bunk bed covered in diarrhea.  Poor Carlie had a bug, and there wasn’t a whole lot we could do – our bags were packed and we had a plane to catch.  Suffice it to say that the following 35 hours of traveling were not easy, but we did our best to keep her comfortable…and we made it. 

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But not without some help in Buenos Aires.  I love these men.

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In addition, Gabe cut his first tooth on the red-eye midnight flight to Atlanta - classic.  He was pretty happy to get off the plane.

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Tri-Cities greeted us with a warm welcome (112 degrees warm – yowzer).  A series of events starting in April allowed us to move right into a home that I’ve fallen in love with.  We had just enough time (1 week to be exact) for all of us to catch Carlie’s bug, move our ‘stuff’ out of storage, AND get a vehicle before we had to get Jared to SLC for his annual seminars.  Thanks to my cousin, sister-in-law, and parents, we made it happen despite the revenge of that nasty South American flu that attacked us with full force. 

We just got back from Idaho a few days ago, and wow, there’s a lot to do, but I’m taking a moment to reflect on this rollercoaster we’ve been on.  I’ll probably need a month or so to decompress – maybe a year…that sounds about right.  I think yes. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ruby Lous for Ruby Jane

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I’m not sure when it all started. 

Maybe it was in 2012 when I read Ani Taylor’s winning essay from The Nie Nie Dialogue’s Motherhood Essay Contest.  I was pregnant at the time, expecting our first son.  I’ve never been able to forget Ani’s little Ruby Jane who passed away at almost 7 months old.  I remember trying to envision my unborn baby boy at 7 months old.  He’ll be 1 year old this Saturday.  The thought of losing a child evokes heartache beyond compare. 

Or maybe it was last August when I promised AnnMarie that I would learn how to sew.  She was determined to make a doll for her sister Carlie, no particular reason.  I was living alone with my 2 little girls and newborn son – my husband in a foreign country.  I remember thinking that life was pretty hard for me back then…but I had a new sewing machine, and I had a promise to keep. 

The first doll pattern I found was The Ruby Lou Doll Pattern by Abby at Sew-Much-Ado.  I loved it.  AnnMarie loved it.  I didn’t think my beginning sewing skills were cut out for it, but love at first sight stirred powerful motivation. :) 

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And then, I had an idea.  I couldn’t shake the connection between Ruby Lou and Ruby Jane…so I contacted Ani, and I contacted Abby. 

Now…I’m contacting YOU. 

Throughout the entire month of August, Abby at Sew-Much-Ado is going to donate the full profit of all Ruby Lou Doll Pattern purchases to the Ruby Jane Foundation.  Basically, this foundation is set-up to save lives.  It’s remarkable.

The best part is yet to come.  If you’d like to donate your completed Ruby Lou Doll to a little girl in need of an organ transplant, Ani has a connection with Child Life at UCLA in California.  The timing would be great before the holidays.

Simply send your Ruby Lou Doll to:

RJF
PO Box 505
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678

But most of all, love the littles in your life a little more than you did before.  Forget the to-do lists and be present.  We never know when the moments we share with our loved ones will be our last. 

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(Feeling grateful for the lessons both Ani and Abby have taught me over the past year.  Sending BIG love their way…my new blogger friends.) ;)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Little Happenings

Our apartment is kind of empty.  We’re enjoying the ‘lasts’ of a lot of different things around here.  It’s been fun. 

Gabe took three whole steps on his own yesterday.  He’s growing out of his clothes which is NOT good since clothes are out of this world expensive here. 

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I think he can wait another week…maybe…until we move back to the good ole U.S.A.  He says “bye-bye bug”  a lot - not sure where he got that from - and when I ask him his name he says, “Bob.” 

I love little babes this age.  I love little Gabe. 

We had a week of nasty colds earlier this month.  I had to laugh when I came across this picture of Gabe with Marcelo (a member of our church here that is seriously, so great).  I had kept him in his wild Monster’s, Inc. pajamas that day since he wasn’t feeling too good.  People were thinking his ‘outfit’ was a little freakish. 

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I think AnnMarie is getting abnormally good at crafts. :)  We had some help from an Eco-Craft box Grandma Julie sent her, but AnnMarie is such a thoughtful, creative little girl.  She insisted that we deliver this craft to a friend “who needed it.” 

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My 29th birthday decided to sneak up on me last Thursday.  It was the perfect day to celebrate a birthday, really.  June 20th is a National Holiday here in Argentina (Flag Day), so lucky for me, Jared didn’t have to go into the office, and AnnMarie didn’t have school.  I just told AnnMarie that school was cancelled for my birthday – she didn’t buy it. :)

Something that I’ve been grateful for during our time here is the chance I’ve had to feed the sister missionaries weekly.  It hasn’t always been convenient, but I recognized the need early on and decided that that was something I could do - even if all I had were sandwiches, apples, & tang sometimes. :) 

I’ve said it before, but the Argentine culture is a late culture.  Most people eat dinner between 9 & 10 pm, so members are asked to feed the missionaries during lunchtime.  It’s become a special time for Carlie & I, too, since AnnMarie’s at school and Gabe’s usually taking a nap…our little lunch date with the missionaries. 

Anyway, I fed the missionaries on my birthday.  Love these girls so so much.

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Later that day, around 4 pm, our door buzzer buzzed – that thing scares the heck out me every time, it’s not normal – but it was a friend from church stopping by to wish me a happy birthday.  Within the hour, there was another…and then another…and then another…and then another…without the other knowing…until our empty apartment wasn’t so empty anymore.  It brought tears to my eyes and made my whole heart spill over with love…and gratitude. 

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This ‘winter’ birthday of mine was one to remember, and I’ll always be so grateful for the women here that have warmed up to me when it wasn’t always comfortable for them.   

As the Argentines say - a strong hug, a little kiss, friends for always. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Early Birthday Celebration

For the past few months, we’ve been anticipating a birthday celebration for Miss AnnMarie.  Technically, her birthday isn’t until July, but since we’ll be in a different country by then, we thought it’d be perfect to celebrate here in Argentina with the friends and faces she’s known for the past 2 years.

I had a lady from our church make this cake for us; it turned out beautiful.  She really put a lot of effort into it for us - what a talent.    

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I finally finished the Ruby Lou doll I was working on for her – much more on that later.

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We rented a party place here in town called Saucecito.  There are so many party places here - it’s big business!  AnnMarie was beyond excited.  It was perfect to have a special gathering with all of her classmates and close friends before we leave. 

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About 6 weeks ago, a family (originally from Rosario, Argentina), moved here to Venado, but they’ve been living in the United States (Georgia) for the past 3 years. 

I’m in awe of Vera, their daughter AnnMarie’s age.  She speaks English so well.  Her and AnnMarie have become such good friends.  Together, they speak English and Spanish,  it’s amazing – and cute to see Vera so excited about being in her home country.  It’s almost like she’s prepping AnnMarie to return to the States – so incredible these tender mercies that come into our lives.

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Our sweet neighbor from downstairs came – love this girl.  AnnMarie was completely preoccupied about Juan Patricio ruining her cake.  Oh, I could fill a book with Juan Patricio stories…but I won’t.  ;)

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This little guy filled AnnMarie’s pocket with tiny cut-out hearts the other day.  She thought they were paper scraps…until I looked a little closer.  Oh boy…I can only imagine what 10 years will bring.

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Back to the party…

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I will miss these ladies so much.  From the beginning, they’ve been extra supportive and helpful.  Because of them, I will always be more aware of a foreigner’s needs.  They went the extra mile so many times, especially in the early days when I could barely communicate. 

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Hopefully, friends for life.  Oh, such sweet memories.

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Happy Birthday AnnMarie!