Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Day After

We can't believe Christmas has come and gone. It is the day after Christmas. It is Saturday. Our hearts and bellies are full. The house is a mess. There are toys and games everywhere. There are a plethora of treats covering our counters.  We are all in sugar commas. We love Christmas. We loved the month of December. We loved the feelings of love and service we experienced this month.

With all of the hustle and bustle of the season, I knew I wanted to shift the focus of our activities and the feelings in our home.

There is a fairly new company called the Giving Manger. I was so excited to stumble upon their company on Instagram. We have had a similar tradition/story that we have read over the years. However, we did not have the manger, Baby Jesus or our story(which is different than theirs) in a bound book.  I loved THe Giving Manger story and that it came with a little manger, pieces of straw and baby Jesus. The idea is that each time you perform an act of service, you put a piece of straw into the manger. The goal is to fill the manger with lots of soft straw by Christmas so Baby Jesus has a soft place to lay his head. The boys were all over this!
Our month was spent serving each other and those around us. It added such a nice spirit to our season.



The other activity that added so much love to our December was the service project on behlaf of the John Still Elementarty school in Sacramento(just 45 minutes away from our home). John Still is a school that has some amazing teachers/employees who help provide the basic needs for alot of their students and their families. My freind Tracy was collecting clothing and food items for the school in late November. When she mentioned that there were about 50 children/families who were homeless and would be without food/meals during the holiday break, I could not sleep. There were even a few nights where I actually cried myself to sleep.  I felt like I needed/could do something to help.I decided to post about the school and their needs on my Facebook page and provided our PayPal account so friends and family could donate/participate. The response was overwheleming and brought me to tears many times. In 6 days, we collected over $500.00 and our our entire entry way was filled with donations from friends and families who wanted to help. Again, I was so overwhelmed...in the best possible way.

John, Garrett(he wanted to be pulled out of school to help) and I headed to Wal*Mart and Costco to purchase lots of food...the basics. It was so much fun shopping, all the while keeping these sweet children and their families in mind.
This was just day #1 after posting on FB.





We had it all organized and loaded into our cars. We headed down to John Still on the Wednesday before the students would be getting out for the Christmas break. Our car was loaded. Tracy's car was loaded.
While we were at the school, unloading all of the food and clothing, I held it together. I was doing a good job, holding it all together until I saw a group of 7 children (kindergarten/first grade age) who were shopping in their little store. Their teacher and a volunteer helped them shop, finding them some "new to them" clothes. They walked out of the little store with their brown paper bags clutched to their chests and huge smiles on their faces. I lost it right then and there and quickly put my shades back on. What a bunch a sweethearts. 

Their little set up was amazing and very humbling. My freind texted me later that day, letting me know that they were able to fill 150 bags of food to give away to famiies that needed it most. Again, I lost it.



i am looking into volunteering down there on a regular basis. If at anytime you would like to drop clothing/food items off at my house or donate via our PayPal account, I will make sure that it is taken to their school. It was so fun to do this service project together, as a family. It really did set the tone for our Deceber.
 
This quote by President Monson (the Prophet of our church) sums it all up perfectly.


 

 


 

 

 


 


 

 


 


Sunday, November 8, 2015

ummmm...hello?

Ummmm...hello? Is anybody there/here? 
When I started this blog, 8 plus years ago, I swore I would always keep it up. I was not going to be one of those bloggers that stopped blogging. Here we are, a year and half later without a blog post and I am happy to report that I am back. There is no specific reason why the posting came to a halt other than the fact that life ran its course. It has been a busy course, but a happy course. 

Thought I would start simple and give a run down/update on my sweet family. 

John has been busy with work at Intel( 19 years strong), his church calling( EQ presidency) and watching all of the sports/games that the boys play. He seriously is their biggest fan. He will watch tapes/video of their opponents and give them tips for game day. He recently purchased a new bike for himself and has been getting some riding in. 

Tanner is 16 (2 months away from turning 17) and a junior. He continues to remain on the honor role and carries a 4.0 GPA. After he learned that he had a fractured vertebrae, he gave up his spot on the high school football team and tried out for the Varsity soccer team and made it. He had a phenomenal season and was happy to be back in the soccer field. Tanner got his drivers license and a car this year. We have slowly gotten used to the idea that we have a child old enough to drive. 

Carter is 14 and a freshman. He loves high school and all that accompanies being a teenager. He made the honor roll and continues to thrive and excel at all that he does.  He just finished his freshman season of football. He had an amazing season, playing corner and kicking/punting for the team. They finished the season 8-2. He is excited for basketball try outs that begin tomorrow. 

Garrett is 11 and started middle school this year. It is so crazy that he is in the 6th grade. This boy keeps us on our toes and does not miss a beat. He is very aware of his surroundings and everything that is going on. Garrett made the Woodcreek All Star team again. It was a summer filled with baseball, bleached hair, heat, practices, travel and games. It all paid off! Garrett and his team won the District, Section and State titles. Out of 297 teams, they won the whole thing. After baseball, he moved right onto football. It wasn't a winning season for his team but Garret worked hard and had fun! 

Brody is 8 years old and in the 3rd grade. It is all about Comp soccer, multiplication facts, baseball, basketball,Cub Scouts, toothless grins,  AR reading and keeping up with his brothers. Brody was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in May. We are proud of his choice to do so.  I just met with his teacher for parent/teacher conference and she had nothing but kind, wonderful things to say about him. She even said that he was one of her favorite students of all time. Made this mamas heart proud. 

As for myself, I am busy trying to stay one step ahead of all of them, at all times. This is no easy feat but I am trying.  I stay busy running boys to various sports activities, cheering at those very same sporting events. I still enjoy volunteering at the elementary school and in our Community. I have been serving as the Relief Society President( women's organization at church) for the last three years and love those ladies and all of the good that they stand for in this world. In my spare time I love to read, craft and get a pedicure here and there. Life is amazing!

*family photos by Meredith Carty 

We got a little crazy last year and adopted a kitty right before Christmas. Meet Maverick. AKA Mavers, Mav, and  Mavy Mav. We instantly fell in love with him and can't imagine our home without him. 



What have you been up to?


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Yosemite Adventures

Tanner just got home from backpacking through Yosemite for 6 days. What an adventure they had! Upon  arriving home, he said "that was the hardest thing I have ever done to date", referring to climbing Half Dome. He has amazing leaders who took time away from their jobs and their families to take these boys on this great adventure. Those leaders helped Tanner get to the Top of Half Dome, something he did not think he would do. It scared him. 





They hiked all of the days they were there and even had to slow down for a few hours while it rained. Upon coming home, he also shared that his only  hope for the trip was to see a bear. What??? Well, they saw a bear. There was one about 30 feet from them. They sat and watched him eat. He said he wanted to take a selfie with it! Oh my!!!! Thank goodness there  is no selfie...15 year old boys!!!! He learned some good lessons along the way. Things like rationing your food out so it lasts  the entire trip. Those 9 hours stuck in a tent while it rained got the best of those bored boys. 
It really was a fun trip for these cute boys/friends. A trip they will remember forever. 


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Back Streets Back...alright!

Another fun concert is in the books. My friend Amy found an awesome Groupon  deal for tickets to see the Backstreet Boys. We jumped on it and decided it would be a fun date night. Super glad that I have a husband who is willing to go along for the ride. If you ask him, he will tell you that he had a good time and that he especially liked Avril Lavinge, who opened the show for them. 

We stopped for burgers on our way out to the show and enjoyed visiting. We listened to some BSB on the way to the concert to get us pumped. We got there and could not believe how long the line was to get into the venue. We has never seen the line so long. It was hot, the hottest day to date. We jumped in line and made our way to our seats, which thankfully were in the shade. Amy texted our friend Luseane to let her know we were there. Luseane's son works for the BSB. She told us to meet her after the show and we could say hi to Andrew,( her son) and meet some of the BSB. 

When we met up with Luseane, she told us to meet her after the show and we could go Backstage. So much fun!

We had to get lots of photos.

Avril was good. Wished she had played more of her older songs.

Up next, the BSB!!! The crowd went wild. I don't think I have ever heard so much screaming...and I have been to a lot of concerts -LOL! Those boys still have the moves and were so much fun to watch. It was fun to sing along and dance to their fun music. Not gonna lie, kind of felt like a teeny bopper, like I was 19 years old. Then, reality set in, realizing that I am just months away from turning 40. 

 Here are some fun highlights.



The boys left the stage and the crowd starting chanting "BSB. BSB. BSB!"
And they came back on stage for their encore.  At that point, Luseane came to get us and told us we could go down to the front row. She said she misunderstood Andrew and we could have been down there the whole time. What??? We loved the time we got to
be down there. So close and it was so loud -ha!



After the show, we got to head backstage and hang out. All of the tour buses were lined up and people were coming and going. 

One by one, the BSB were making their way to an after party with fans. It was so cute and very sweet,  they would stop and talk to Luseane and tell her how great her boy was and give her a big hug. We were able to get our pictures taken with a few of them.
Up first:
Howie. How stinkin' cute is he?
He was super nice and friendly. So much fun!

Then we got to meet AJ.

Again, so nice and so cool that we are taking photo with AJ from the BSB. 

Next, Nick came walking by. So cute and so nice. 
After meeting the boys, we got to chat with Andrew for a little bit. Seriously, he is one of the nicest people ever. John and I are huge fans, we love and admire Luseane and the boys she has raised. I hope I can do half the job she has done, with my own boys. I snagged this photo off of Luseane's  FB page( hope she doesn't mind). Some of the nicest people I know. 

Such a fun date night, with Awesome friends and fun music. We agreed that we need to do it again, soon. 

As Sunday morning rolled around, and I had to get up for an early morning meeting, I realized that I  getting too old to stay out so late and that I am not 19 years old anymore. 


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

Happy Mother's Day!
My Mother's Day started with church...just how I like to start my Sundays. I think it could have been a little more enjoyable had I not been asked to give a talk on Mother's Day. I  told John that I could really enjoy my day, once the talk was given. Honestly, it wasn't so bad. I was just happy to have checked that off of my "to do" list.
 




John and the boys spoiled me. I received very sweet cards from each of the boys. The fill in the blanks are my favorite. They also gave me a gift certificate to my favorite nail place so  I can get a pedicure. I also received a new swimsuit and skirt to match/cover up. I had finally found the perfect suit while out shopping with my Mom. I had put it on hold and told him about  it. He listened but forgot which store I had found it out. Poor guy had to hit a few of my favorites stores in the mall before finding the right one. I love him even more for going on the hunt until he found it.

They made me dinner and homemade peach cobbler. YUM!!! It was a wonderful day.

I am thankful for my own mother and her kindness, love and Christ like example. I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to be a mother. I love my boys and am thankful that Heavenly Father trusts me enough to send these amazing boys to our home.

I love this quote from Gordon B. Hinckley. It reads as follows.

“Most of you are mothers, and very many of you are grandmothers and even great-grandmothers. You have walked the sometimes painful, sometimes joyous path of parenthood. You have walked hand in hand with God in the great process of bringing children into the world that they might experience this estate along the road of immortality and eternal life. It has not been easy rearing a family. Most of you have had to sacrifice and skimp and labor night and day. As I think of you and your circumstances, I think of the words of Anne Campbell, who wrote as she looked upon her children:

You are the trip I did not take;

You are the pearls I cannot buy;

You are my blue Italian lake;

You are my piece of foreign sky.

You [mothers] are the real builders of the nation wherever you live, for you have created homes of strength and peace and security. These become the very sinew of any nation.” Gordon B. Hinckley, “Women of the Church,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 67
 
Thank you for being the quiet examples and builders of our nation. May you feel the love of our Heavenly Father and know how important each of our roles, as mothers and women are, here on this earth. Happy Mother’s Day to each one of you!



W.I.W.S. - What I Wore Sunday


 Here is the Mother's Day edition of W.I.W.S.. John is so good about catching me each Sunday(to snap some photos) before I change out of my church clothes. I am usually the last one home. Sundays are usually filled with meetings for me. I originally started these W.I.W. S. posts in hopes of getting back to blogging on a regular basis. I have the photos but not the consistent blog posts. I still love blogging and catching up with friends via their blogs. Hint, hint to those who need to update their blogs.  I am hoping to do better!
 
My Mom came up to visit, a week before Mother's Day. She insisted that we go shopping to find my Mother's Day present. She is my Mom, but always buys me a Mother's Day present. So fun! We hit Target and the mall. I ended up finding this new navy blue skirt at Down East Basics. She bought it for me and I bought myself the top. The cardigan in from Old Navy and the necklace is from, wait for it... Wal-Mart. They had the cute bauble necklaces on an end cap, in all of the super fun colors. They were only $5.00. I may or may not have picked up a couple -LOL! For $5.00, I was sold.
 
Happy Mother's Day to all of you fabulous women. Thank you for being wonderful examples to me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Break - part 4

We packed up camp and headed back to my parents  to visit for a little bit.





 After showers and clean clothes...our best orange and black, we headed to San Francisco. John picked up tickets for the Giants vs. Dodgers game. Our tickets were in our favorite section, upper deck. We love the upper deck because we have a birds eye view of the game and we can see the Bay and all of the action that goes on out there.


We got there early enough to watch warm up. The boys were able to get their hats and tickets signed by Gregor Blanco. I loved seeing Sergio Romo
 



 
 My nephews happened to be at the game that night. The boys loved hanging out with them before the game. They were hoping for a ball but the Dodger players were only giving them to the Dodgers fans.

 






This boy had the best time. He was up dancing to the fun music and shouting "BEAT LA! BEAT LA! BEAT LA!" He was so into the game and was already asking when we could come back.
 
 
 Nothing like being in the  park with all of the other fans! This guy got the crowd going!



 
Family selfie...it has become tradition.
Our Giants beat the LA Dodgers. Go, GIANTS!