Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Eggciting Weekend and Spring Break Monday

We had a terrific time this past weekend. We enjoyed General Conference with my in-laws, niece, and nephew. Saturday was extremely busy day! My first grader woke us up around six o'clock in the morning. Grrrr! We watched conference, my girls went four wheeling with their cousins, we dyed easter eggs, made a birthday cake for Manoel, we had lunch with Matt and Chiaki's family and went shopping. We ate the traditional easter weekend lunch: ham, cheesy funeral potatoes, green beans, bread, and a Waldorf salad. My mother in-law made an amazing cheese cake for dessert! While the guys were at priesthood session, we went to Cedar City to Walmart. Audrey and Savannah got to pick out their birthday presents from Granny. Nani got Manoel some missionary essentials for his birthday. Then we went to Ladies Night at Desert Book. We were all entered in a drawing to win books. We all got a free stationary set for coming to the store that night as well as some light refreshments. My mother in-law had us pick out some books since there was a major sale. I got The Remarkable Soul of a Woman by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. The other book was a Jack Wayland book which I read over the weekend. Days later my niece found out that she won a free book from the drawing during Ladies night! After priesthood session, we celebrated Manoel's birthday. We are eagerly waiting for his mission call to show up in the mailbox any day now!

On Easter morning, we went across the street to the park for the Easter Egg Hunt. The girls found a lot of goodies and met the Easter Bunny. Audrey was hesitant to sit on the Easter bunny's lap. She rolled her eyes at me when I told her to do it, lol! I suppose she is too big for the Easter bunny's lap! We continued our spritual feast by listening/watching general conference. I made Audrey's fruit pizza which is a sugar cookie base, cream cheese frosting/cool whip for frosting, and fruit toppings. We had lunch and celebrated Audrey's birthday. She opened her presents and ate her cake! After conference, John requested a father's blessing and I got one as well from John. We both have been discouraged lately and was glad we decided to receive a blessing.

As for the first day of Spring break, it was a dark rainy day on Monday. Mother nature is not ready for spring yet. It was my oldest daughter's birthday on Monday. She was disappointed that we had no plans since we celebrated it a day early. So her Aunt Karen (my sister) called me and we all decided to do a "girly" movie together. Karen surprised Audrey with some Sweet Pea Bath and Body lotion and body wash for her birthday present! Since Audrey and I read The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks, we decided that would be the perfect chick movie. So I stuffed my big purse with water bottles and candy. We bought a huge popcorn to share among us. The movie was amazing! We absolutely loved it. Both of my daughters were crying during it as well as Karen. I was touched by it too but I didn't cry even though I wanted to due to the fact I hate showing emotions in a public place. I was impressed how it touched my daughters though. It is an example how sensitive my girls are and they are not afraid to show it. I would have to say The Last Song is one of Nicholas Sparks best book of all time. It is a beautiful story about love, forgiveness, and heartbreaks. My daughter and I totally recommend the book and movie.

The Book and DVD

Happy 11th Birthday to My Fifth Grader!

Dear Daughter,

I cannot hardly believe that you turned eleven years old yesterday. We celebrated your birthday at Grandpa and Grandma Free's house over the weekend with your cousins Manoel and Eliane Silva. Manoel and you both share the same birthday. I recall him being very upset when you came on his birthday but years later he has enjoyed sharing that special day with you. You requested fruit pizza for your birthday "cake." We got you a few things such as jeans, earrings, a peace book bag, a ken Barbie, a shirt, and jacket. Granny Free got you some bras and a beautiful blue flower shirt!

Fruit Pizza

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening, add milk, egg, and almond flavoring. Knead flour enough for a rolling consistency. Grease pan very lightly and press down onto it evenly. Be sure there are no thin spots. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown. Set aside to cool.

4 oz of cream cheese
1/2 cup of whipped topping

Combine the cream cheese with the whipped topping. Spread onto cool cookie crust. Top with fruits (strawberries, grapes, kiwis, bananas, mandarin oranges, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, apples, peaches, and so forth).

I cannot believe you are growing up into a young woman already! I wish there is a rewind and pause button in life so that I can cherish my moments of you longer when you were a baby, toddler, child, etc. You are growing up too fast and before you know it you will be experiencing life on your own.

I would like to share with you some of my favorite memories of your life. The doctor induced me a week early due to me feeling so uncomfortable during the last couple weeks of pregnancy. I went to the hospital in the morning and was in labor with you all day long. I remember watching Law and Order during the last few minutes of labor and when the news was on at 10:16 PM on April 5,1999 I finally got to meet you. You were 7lbs. 13oz. and 19 1/2 inches long. To our surprise, you had dark hair like your daddy but months later you hair fell out and light brown came in.

You are a mirror image of me, your mother. It amazes how similar we look alike but our personalities are the opposite. You changed my life the moment you entered the world! I could no longer be selfish after you came into my life. Your needs came first before mine. I loved kissing your cheeks when you were a baby. You blessed my life with joy! Having you taught me patience, love, and the important responsibility of being a mother. I loved you the first moment I held you in my arms. I recall you having a difficult time sleeping as a newborn baby. Daddy and I took you on rides in the car to help you fall asleep. Also we figured out that placing your car seat on the dryer while it was going helped you fall asleep. You were a happy and curious baby. I found you under couch all of the time. You had a large collection of pacifiers in your crib at night. Daddy and I could hear you (through the child monitor) throwing them on the floor and yelled "daddy" to come in a get you up out of bed in the morning. You fell asleep many times while eating in your high chair. You were loved by many cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends of our family. As a toddler, you loved painting, playing dress up, house, and baby dolls. Your favorite movies/shows were Veggie Tales, Barney, Strawberry Shortcake, and all the Disney princess movies. I loved it when you fell asleep in your doll cradle! One of my favorite memories of you when you were two years old is when I was having a difficult day. I recall feeling overwhelmed about something (crying) and you comforted me by saying "Jesus Mommy"! You reminded me to pray and ask for help from Heavenly Father and Jesus. You were always sensitive to the holy spirit at a very young age and still today you carry on that strength and desire to do what is right.

As you grew up, your fun outgoing personality blossomed. You had many friends when you were a young girl. It was hard for me to keep up with your social gatherings. You were invited to so many birthday parties, play dates, sleepovers, etc. You loved being a big sister and were excited to meet her on April 15, 2003. You loved nature, animals, and playing outdoors. One day after a early morning rainstorm, I found you making mud pies in the driveway. You were not afraid of getting dirty. You collected so many stuffed animals and had a hard time letting go of some of them during spring cleaning. For a couple years, you were a tomboy playing with boys, wearing your hair short or back in a pony tail. I recall you enjoying the fishing trips with daddy.

You were full of questions! You once asked me: "Mommy how can you tell which snail is a boy or girl?" Once you brought a worm in the house and made a bed for it by using Barbie furniture and a blanket. I kindly asked you to take it back outside before it died. Also, you brought tiny lady bugs inside the house to watch. You were even a lady bug for Halloween when you were two years old. We got some gold fish when you were five years old, which I gave you the responsibility of feeding them everyday and you did a wonderful job helping daddy and me clean the fish tank out too. Unfortunately, on accident you feed the fish too much tank cleaner (you thought it was food) and they died the next day. That was the first time you experienced death. You were very sad that they died and we decided to not have any more fish after that experience.

You have many TALENTS! You love to SING I often hear you singing in the shower or bath tub! You took a couple years of piano lessons as a young girl from your aunt Marilee. You signed up for choir every chance you could get. I recall you singing a small solo during a primary program. You absolutely love music and for years you loved watching American Idol with me.

You have the wonderful talent to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. You are friends with everyone even if some people are unkind to you. I like how you don't sweat the small stuff especially when someone teases you at school. You try very hard to not let it bug you. You remain confident in believing in yourself and associate with those that uplift you.You are the best big sister in the world. I appreciate how kind you are to your little sister. I am so impressed how well you and little sister get along. I see amazing qualities in you! I love the way you nurture your sister and play well with your younger cousins. I bet you will be a great babysitter!

I was so HAPPY and PROUD of you on May 5, 2007. You were baptized that day and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Your daddy baptized you and your grandfather Free gave you the gift of the Holy Ghost. Many friends and family was there to celebrate your great accomplishment! Granny and Grandpa Free gave you your first scriptures with Grandma Free's testimony written down on the front two pages.

You are an INTELLIGENT girl. Last quarter you made the honor roll for the first time in your life. You didn't believe you could do it but you worked very hard and did it! You love to read. We often find your light on late at night and you buried in a book. You love learning new things.

You love to SERVE. You like to help me around the house with simple duties such as dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, changing the laundry, and taking the garbage out. In addition, you love to help me or daddy cook. You are an excellent babysitter to your sister! Outside the home you have participated in serving others too. You enjoyed having a secret grandma when you were nine years old. You and two other girls in our ward did special acts of service to this sweet lady. She was so happy to receive your treats and cards. You recently helped tie quilts which were donated to the Ronald McDonald House in SLC. I hope you will continue serving others.

You are an OBEDIENT child! I appreciate how you listen and do what you are told. You strive to keep the commandments of God! You enjoy going to church, having family scripture study, and family home evening! You are a beautiful child of God and He loves you! Never forget that! I have been truly blessed to have you apart of my life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your mother. I love you very much.

Love, Mom

Friday, April 02, 2010

Past Due Blog Entry

Wow, February came and went so quickly! It could be that there are only 28 days and now March is done and over. Ack! Time is just going by so quickly and I have failed to update my blog due to life being a roller coaster for me the last couple months! We had some highs and lows. First of all, I will share some of our highlights!

Yesterday was my fifth grader's state report. She did her state on Vermont since we have some family who live there. I wanted her to do Massachusetts but it was spoken for by another student. We had a lot of fun researching together and gathering pictures. We put a lot of hours into it mainly me who is more organized. We found some maple syrup from Vermont at our local grocery store. We were surprised to find out that Ben and Jerry's Ice cream headquarters is located in Vermont. So we had a great excuse to buy some ice cream so she could use the empty container for her visual aid. In this past week, we probably put 12 hours into finishing it. She was assigned this project back in January and procrastinated to the last minute (like me we work better under pressure apparently).

The best memory we had in February 2010 is when we went down to Paragonah, Utah to visit my in-laws on Valentines Day and President's Day weekend. The girls were out of school and John didn't have to work on President's Day. We had a lot of fun spending time with granny and grandpa. We watched a couple Olympic events together, went to eat at Apple-bees, went sledding in the foothills, went four wheeling, and enjoyed the quiet small town away from city life. I was able to read a Nicholas Sparks book The Choice. It is always an adventure at their house!

On the way home from my in-laws (my first low for the month), my brother called and told me some bad news. My mother was in the hospital again! Her health has been slowly deteriorating these past few years (diabetes, mental illness, and congestive heart failure), but to our surprise this time she may have had a small stroke. On Friday February 13th, she was weak and could not move off the couch at all. She felt paralyzed on one side which concerned her and my step dad Dennis very much. She was sent to the hospital by ambulance and they ran all sorts of tests to determine or prove that she had a stroke as well as evaluated her condition. Dennis contacted me three days after she was admitted in the hospital. GRRRRR! It concerns me that nobody contacted us until days later!!! Luckily my brother Nate was able to get a hold of my step dad to find out what was going on because he and Karen were planning to see her on Monday (President's Day)afternoon and were getting worried because they could not get a hold of her. Thankfully, she was discharged later in the week. They didn't find anything wrong with her. Her brain scans were clean and there was no proof that she had a stroke. It is the strangest thing unless it was a small one that cannot be detected. She received physical therapy and was visited by a nurse a couple weeks after she was discharged from the hospital. What a scare! She is fine now but I fear her time on this earth is almost up.

Another great high for me was doing a girls night with my niece Stacy. We went to see a "girly" movie When in Rome and we went to eat at Iggy's Sport Restaurant. We had a lot of fun talking and girl bonding! It was fun to get all gussied up and go out on the town. That is something I don't do enough or at all lately. The following weekend my family went to my niece and nephew's house (Stacy and Ryan)for dinner. Stacy's little boy loves playing with my girls. In addition, Stacy is a hair stylist so I got a haircut. My hair is now a "mom's hair do" about shoulder length with lots of layers! I absolutely love it! My hair is so much healthier as well as easy to style. There are photos of my new hair below! :)

The big low hit us a couple days after the trip to southern Utah. John's company was cutting down in each department. Since he was the last one hired, he was the first one on the chopping list. It was devastating to me especially since he has been through a couple lay off these past couple years. In his field of work (real estate and tax liens), these jobs have struggled in this economy. Thankfully, Heavenly Father answered our prayers. He was able to interview and start a new job a week after he was laid off from the previous job. Thanks to my brother who put in a good word for John. My brother's friends are the owners of the new company John works for which is an installation company. John is a salesman. There are rebates from the electric company etc that people can take advantage of if they upgrade their installation. At this point with encouragement from my mother-law, I got some blood work done and talked to a doctor about my anxiety and depression. I have been struggling with the following symptoms lack of concentration, memory loss, weight gain, moodiness, headaches, anxiousness, depression, tiredness, etc. The doctor prescribed me on antidepressants right away since I was feeling worse than ever due to the major stress of John loosing his job AGAIN. I am not sure if the pills are working yet these past five weeks but it may take a couple months to notice the difference. I truly hope to feel peace and joy again. I also had my thyroid checked, blood sugar checked, and iron levels checked. I anxiously waited for the results a day later. What they found out is my blood sugar was elevated. So I went in to have a Ac1 blood test done. The results were 5.7 a pre-diabetes. I am at risk of developing it in the future but I want to avoid that by being careful with my eating and exercising.

As for March, on St Patrick's Day we went roller skating at Classic Skating. It was free family skate night for Grovecrest Elementary students. We each got a meal for $2.00. It has been over 15 years since I last put on a pair of roller skates! I never forgot how to do it and didn't fall at all! We had a great time (the girls and I but John is not a fan of skating after falling down three times). Poor guy! He took some pictures and enjoyed watching us. The kids liked the scooters better than the skates. I loved skating when I was a young girl. I went to Classic skating a couple times a month when I was a teenager. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. FUN TIMES!

Lastly, today is crazy hair day at the girl's school! We had fun doing some groovy hair do's this morning! After school today we are packing our bags and heading down to see Granny and Grandpa in Southern Utah for the Easter weekend! We look forward to watching General Conference and relaxing with our loved ones! The girls are out of school next week for Spring break although it doesn't feel like spring because Mother Nature won't stop snowing! Grrrr! I cannot wait for warmer days to come! :D