Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween..... and more :)

Ava was lucky enough to go trick or treating with her cousins! I had to work so I missed all the fun :( I was really bummed, but it was fun to hear all about her trick or treating adventure this morning. Thanks Katie for taking on an extra hoodlum!

I may be a little biased but I think they are the cutest trick or treaters ever :) I knew my old cheerleading uniforms would come in handy one day.

In other news I got glasses today! Trying not to let it make me feel old, haha.

This song has been playing most of the day around here. Love it! Love the message. It's so true. Everyone has a "sign" but its the way we view our own trials that makes or breaks us. Life is good!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beautiful People

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

I love this! I am so thankful for the many people who fill my life with their beauty everyday. I am made more aware of how much I rely on other people's strength and wisdom to get through life. And it's true, Beautiful people don't just happen. True beauty really does evolve over time!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Thought........

I always wonder what touches and helps other people grow their testimony. This is something that has brought me comfort this week. So thankful for loving prophets who can guide and direct us.

"All of us have problems. We face them every day. How grateful I am that we have difficult things to wrestle with. They keep us young, if that is possible. They keep us alive. They keep us going. They keep us humble. They pull us down to our knees to ask God of heaven for help in solving them Be grateful for your problems, and know that somehow there will come a solutions"
"Just do the best you can, be sure it is the very best. Then leave it in the hands of the Lord"
- Gordon B Hinkley

The young women in my ward sang this song in sacrament meeting today. I loved it! Enjoy :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where's Waldo




My ward does a young women and young men combined activity every year called Where's waldo. Basically they ask people from the ward to go in disguise to the gateway. Sharon, Ava and I got to go this year. It was actually pretty fun. Ava could have been an obvious give away because she didn't keep the blond wig on very long, but even with her tagging along only 2 groups found us.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A glimpse at my reality.....

Single Mom. I am growing to hate the term. Yes, I am a single mom, but lately I feel like we should replace that title with a much more telling one. Double parent. See, doesn't it make sense? I am both parents. I am the one who makes the decisions around here. The one who worries endlessly about how I am EVER going to make it all work out perfectly in the end. ME. Just me.
Yes, I do know that there are sooooooo many people who help and shoulder part of the worrying. But really, at the end of the day, I am all alone during the sleepless nights.
I feel like usually I do all right with everything. BUT, there are times in this single mother craziness where I am made very aware that I am truly alone. When these moments hit I feel over come with paralyzing fear. Ya know, tight chest, can't breathe kind of fear. I hate it. I don't like feeling that scared. I don't like being forced to think of all the things that could go wrong and shake my world to its very core. I don't like feeling so vulnerable. I am supposed to be the tough, strong woman who gets the job done. Not scared.
I am in the middle of one of those times. I am standing in the refiners fire so to speak. And I am feeling the heat in a major way. Here's the problem. I work at a residential treatment center for teens. I love my job. I have felt blessed this past year to work at a job that not only pays the bills but full fills me as a person. For the first year I worked swing shift (2:30 - 11). It worked well when Ava was in kindergarten because I could spend the morning with her, take her to school then head to work. All summer I prayed for getting moved to the day shift (6:30-3) or to find a new job. A week before school started I was moved to day shift. It really felt miraculous at the time with all the shifting of employees that took place to make it possible. For about 6 weeks my life felt pretty perfect. BUT. A few weeks ago more changes were made at my place of work and as of last Sunday I am back to swing shift. This means that during the week I only get to see Ava for a little over an hour.
Its breaking my heart. Every time I really think about it my chest gets tight, breathing becomes difficult and it takes all the discipline I have not to cry. It sucks to just have to work full time and rely on so many others to do the one job that my heart is aching to do, but when I only get one hour of it, I don't know how to survive. I am looking for a job, and I know that everything will work at as it should in the end. BUT, it is the getting there that is tough. I don't want to have to go through the hard part.
I know that it in the end my life will be blessed for it and I will be a stronger woman, but doing the work is hard. I wish I had someone to hold my hand and help me make decisions. I know that my Heavenly Father hears my prayers and knows what I need and what I am feeling. I worry that he may get tired of my begging for a light at the end of the tunnel. My begging for an end to the "double parenting". I know He has a plan and that right now my job is to do everything in my power to meet my needs and that He will do the rest. I know He is watching out for me and standing beside me every second. It is times like now that I am most grateful to know that I am daughter of God. He wants me to be happy, but He also wants me to be all that He created me to be. I also know that there was a time when I felt confident enough in my ability to go through these "hard" things and to pass a test made specifically for me. I CAN to this. Right?
It is times like now that I am grateful for words of comfort from living prophets and from prophets of old that speak to me through the scriptures. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. It really does provide comfort and peace in times of trial and in times of happiness. It is during times like these I have learned to take joy in the small things. In the small moments that I do have with Ava. Even if it is just the kiss on her cheek when I lay her in bed. Every night after I lay her down I whisper in her ear I love you. I pray that in the following weeks when I am not with her as much that she really does now that I love her. I love her more than I could ever adequately express through words. It is that love that makes times like these worth it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nightmare on 13th......

Went to Nightmare on 13th last weekend....... That's all for now, everything else right now just feels to "heavy" to talk about. So, I am just focusing on the happy things!


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

If you sweat the small stuff, you might miss the big picture.....

Katie and I went to the temple together this morning. I was so happy that she could arrange her schedule to come with me! We made plans to meet in the chaple for the 9:30 session. As I was walking into the temple I had a memory of putting on a black bra this morning. I quickly checked to verify and sure enough, black bra. I panicked for a minute, knowing that I could only wear white in the temple. I didn't want to not show up after Katie had to arrange sitters for her two youngest and beside that I REALLY felt the need to be in the Temple today. So, I decided to just buck up and go with out. I rented an extra slip and got a "baggier" temple dress at the recommendation of the cute lady working this morning. It actually wasn't too obvious, but definitely awkward. We had a few chuckles over my situation through out the session, but it ended up being a really great morning.

As I was thinking about this tonight I realized that it was just one of those times where getting worried and stressing about something really small could have kept me from something important. I spent a little over 2 hours in a public place that highly values modesty with out a bra on, and probably not one person noticed. Its a small thing that I could have let keep me from something I really really needed. And besides that one day when Katie and I are little old ladies we will laugh about it. How could I deny us of another story to laugh our guts out about?

Moral of the story: if you spend too much time sweating the small stuff, you might miss the big picture. Life is too short not to find something to smile about and make you stronger everyday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

30 flirty and thriving!

I have had a lot of mixed emotions about turning 30. But as people keep asking me how it feels to be 30, the answer would be, AWESOME. I am happy, and while there are definitely things I would change about my life, I am working on it. And that feels pretty good :) Honestly it was one of the best birthday's I have EVER had, hands down. Big THANK YOU to my sister Katie for making one of my "dreams" come true. Here is what we did with a little background first:

I have a blog that I LOVE to read. I just feel like being a better person after reading it. It's called Joy for you Journey. About a year ago I read on this blog about spending a 4oth birthday doing 40 acts of service. I loved this idea! I mentioned it to Katie and she remembered and we did it for my birthday. Best day ever! We had so much fun! Here is what we did:
Katie started with helping me dress in my birthday attire:
complete with a button that said "it's my birthday wanna spank me" and Katie made sure plenty of people gave me a good spanking :)

Here is the crew that went:

Started with each of us writing a letter of appreciations to someone.
Then we made a little note with a treat to leave for the mail man:
Next we each wrote a letter of appreciation to someone. That was kind of a tough one cause I suck at card writing. After that we took sodas to all the girls who work at 39th Street Salon. Our friend Torey owns it and it is her I have to thank for turning me back into a "natural blond" every few months ;) Katie made sure she had the opportunity to "spank" me. Torey got out her brush and gave me a good paddle, haha.


After the salon we took cupcakes to two people:

Then we headed to Smith's where we bought 10 balloons and handed them out to kids. That part was really fun!


Then we headed to Costco. We got 4 take and bake pizza's and 3 bouquets of flowers. What's more fun than giving a complete stranger a bouquet of flowers? Before we left we taped envelopes on the vending machines that had $1 in change with a message that said " Hi, I'm Julie. Its my 30th Birthday and I wanted you to have a treat on me". On our way back to the car we helped people put away their groceries and shopping carts. Everyone seemed so surprised that I would be doing something for them on my Birthday. It was so much fun!

On our way to lunch at Kneaders we stopped with cold drinks for a work crew. Katie was almost brave enough to ask them if they wanted to spank me, but thankfully she didn't! I even got a sparkler in my cupcake!
Later that night a few of my friends came to dinner at Ruth's Diner. Love, love, love that place! Such yummy food and outside seating at the summer is awesome!

Wish I would have got a group picture from dinner! Over all, I don't think 30 will be too tough. I actually think it's going to be a darn good year! Bring it on :)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Saturday is the big day......

The first time I decided I wanted to run a half marathon was in 2009, but I wimped out. It got hard and I didn't push myself. The second time I thought I would do it was with Katie last October, and I gave up again. My hips hurt so bad for days after I would run and I let that keep me from doing it. Finally this year I asked Katie if she would do it with and FINALLY on Saturday I will accomplish a goal a long time in the making.

It has been an interesting 16 weeks of training. There were many mornings I did not want to get out of bed and drag Ava to the gym so that I could run. I wanted to stay in my warm bed and sleep. BUT I didn't (well, sometimes I did) and gradually running wasn't so bad. I have actually grown to love it in my own way. I think because my intentions were different this time. I wanted a goal that would help me be stronger, mentally and physically. Katie found this quote when researching a training schedule for us and I thought it summed it up perfectly.
"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired." George S. Patton, US Army General, 1912 Olympian.
When we started running I also didn't know that I would soon face some of my most challenging times. It has been an interesting few months, and running has helped me sort through a ton of emotions and thoughts. It has given me time to reflect on what is important to me. It has given me time to myself and time to just feel my emotions. I could run because I was happy, angry or sad. I hate crying in front of people and I have shed a few tears on the trail where we run, because it was a place I could go and just be in my own head for an hour.

Running has also given me time with my sister. We start out together but after a few miles I can't see Katie any more, but I know that she is there, and that she will clap for me when she passes me on the way back. Having her with me on our "long" runs has given me the drive to go the distance.

Saturday Katie and I will run a half marathon in Bear Lake. I can't believe the day is here all ready. I am really excited and nervous, but I know I can do it. It might be hard and there will definitely be moments when I want to stop, but I won't. My goals for Saturday are to finish, run/jog the whole 13 miles, and SMILE :)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Kindergarten Graduation




Would I sound like a broken record if I said I can't believe school is out? Cause really I am wondering where the last 9 months have gone. Or for that matter where the last six and half years have gone. When I first started this whole single Mom thing I would tell myself "just make it to Kindergarten and then things will get easier." All I can do is laugh about that one. I guess it just goes to show that things never happen the way we imagine them cause the last 9 months have been some of the toughest I have had.
Ava has done an amazing job in Kindergarten. She has made friends and also experienced what it is like to have an "enemy" or as Ava has title her, a worst nightmare. It has been interesting for both of us. There was one girl in class that Ava just clashed with. Most likely because they have pretty similar personalities. There were many days when I just didn't even know how to approach the situation and I am sure her teacher did too! But everyone survived. Ms. McGary had Ava and Amarri do a poem together at the graduation, and they did great! I found it hard as a Mom to always encourage her to try and do the right thing, but I did my best :)
Ava's personality is blossoming everyday and I love to watch it happen. Sharon mentioned on her blog that a few years ago at Ava's preschool graduation she wouldn't sing or participate at all, but at her graduation on Wednesday she was all action. She sang so loud and danced crazy when she sang tootie tot. Funniest part of the graduation was that one of the boys in her class would not do the tootie tot dance and stood the stage with his arms folded looking at everyone like they were looney. It was awesome!
I can admit that I did feel a little teary eyed, but as usual I stuffed it down. I am excited to see the changes that happen for Ava in first grad, but feel sad that my baby is growing up. I try and cherish all the moments I can with her because what if this is the only time I get to do this? I want to just freeze time so that I can remember everything perfectly the way she is right now. I hate that I have missed so much, but cherish more than words I can say the moments I do get. Motherhood is definitely bittersweet.
Good job Ava, I am so proud of you!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What I think about while running......

This year I wanted my goals to center around self discipline and mind over matter. Basically I wanted to do something that would help me realize my strength and my ability to do things that are personally hard for me. I want to overcome some of my weaknesses in a way that is visible to me and will improve my self worth. One of those goals is to run a half marathon. The big day is June 4th. So, obviously I am having to make preparations.
Katie is taking on this task with me (it is her second time, and she is way faster than me so I will be running alone, but it will be comforting to know she is just a little ahead of me). We have been going to the rec center a few mornings a week for our "short" runs. I love to get a treadmill on the third floor because I can see the temple while I run. For some reason I just like to be able to look at it. It just brings me comfort.
A few weeks ago I got on the treadmill and looked up to see and I couldn't see it. It had snowed the night before and the temple was blending in with the snow covered mountains. Once I had found it I started to think about how this experience was a perfect example of what happens in life sometimes. There have been times in my life where I lose focus. Times when it seems easier to focus on things that I want right now and don't have. Times were I can't see the "big picture". Times when I forget about what should be the most important focus in my life. Times when I forget to set my focus on the temple. I thought about how I don't want to ever go through a time in my life that includes not having my path lead to the temple. Why? Because I know, without a doubt, that the most important thing I can do on this earth is be worthy of the blessings that come from the temple. The most important thing for me is to be worthy and ready when the time comes for me to take Ava there and become an eternal family. I don't know when the way for that will be prepared, but I do know that if I do everything I need to do to be worthy, the day WILL come. The hard part is accepting that it is not on my time, it is on the Lords time. That is the hard part. I need to have patience and faith.
Today when I was running outside on the trail, I looked over and saw the temple and the most amazing feeling of peace of comfort washed over me. Peace to know that I will be all right. Ava will be all right. My family and the people I love the most in this world will be all right. Everything will be all right, but I just have to let go and let God do things in his way. Even more importantly I have to have faith that He will make everything all right. And I know He will, because His plan is perfect.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Adversity.....

This quote has been on my mind a lot lately. It if from one of my most favorite books, Memoirs of a Geisha, and is probably the reason why that book is a favorite. The author sums up adversity perfectly, at least for me.

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.
-- Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

It seems like every time I am going through some thing sad, heartbreaking, or just plain "hard" this quote comes into my mind, and while I am going through each particular trial I discover something that cannot be torn away from me. Right now I am learning that the love I have for my family is one of those things that cannot be torn from me. I love my parents, my sisters, my Ava, my niece and nephews no matter what. The best thing my parents ever gave me are my two sisters. They are my sunlight, and I don't think I could do life without them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Its that time again.....

Ava had her first soccer game tonight. She jumped right back in and got 3 goals tonight. It is so fun to go watch her and see her get better every game!
video

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pierced Ears.....

We drove to Arizona to visit my Mom for the week and the first thing Ava wanted to do was get her ears pierced. My Mom was a good sport and took us right to the mall to get it done. Ava was pretty scared when we got there, but I told her before we left that once we were at the mall there would be no turning back. She did great! I was worried that she would scream bloody murder, but she didn't and only cried a little. Once it was done and the stinging had died down she was one happy girl.

Signing all the paper work. Starting to get nervous.....
Holding onto Mom's hands really tight. She was shaking so bad!
The first one is done!
She was a little more calm for the second one, but still pretty worried

All done....
video
I promise she was smiling after she was done crying :)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Just a few more from October

I finally got around to uploading the pictures from my camera last night and found a few cute ones from Ocotober. We hiked up to donut falls and had a great time! The kids loved exploring and eating a picnic after.


Ava was also VIP in October. She made her poster all by herself and did a cute job. She was so excited to have the spot light for the whole week. I had to work so I wasn't able to go to her class, but Katie was sweet enough to fill in for me. She did a great job! Here is what Ava wanted her class to know about her:

Favorite color: Blue and Pink
Favorite food: Corn on the cob and watermelon
Favorite cartoon: Curious George
Favorite Movie: Father of the Bride 2
Ava's Favorite things to do are: play with her cousins, dance, play dolls, ride her bike and her scooter and reading books. Ava loves to do art and is very good at it. She likes to help her Mom make sugar cookies. She loves being in Kindergarten and making new friends.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Yes, I am still alive :)

I have been a very neglectful blogger for the last four months! Sorry to all my faithful followers. I am going to try and catch you all up on all the excitement we have had as of late:)

Starting with October......

Halloween was different for us this year. I work the 2:30 - 11:00 PM shift so I wasn't able to take Ava trick or treating. I was really bummed out about missing all the excitement until the big day arrived and it rained the whole two hours the kids were out. Thanks to my AMAZING bro in law who let Ava tag along for some cold, wet, fun. We had quite the dilemma with costumes for Ava this year. Her first costume pick was a Vampires, but my nephew Cooper wanted to be a Vampire and wouldn't hear of having a girl with the same costume. So, we compromised and Ava was a Vampires for our church party and lady bug for trick or treating. Sharon got some great shots of Ava in her Vampires costume. It was so funny to see her demeanor change when she got her costume and make up on. It was quite different than the usual princess routine, but still so much fun to get her all dressed up.





Sharon was sweet enough to watch Ava for a few hours on the day before Halloween (which was trick or treat day due to the 31st being a Sunday) so Ava got to see the twin in their adorable lion costumes. She LOVES to hold the "babies". Here she is with Blake....
Doesn't Caden have the cutest grin?
Of course we did our traditional trip to Garden Village for a ride to a witch's house. The kids had a ton of fun!

Tyler and Kelsey also got married in October. I loved just being in the temple and was so thankful for the spirit I felt during their sealing. Kelsey was a beautiful bride and Ava couldn't get enough of her. She was so nice to give her lots of attention and include her in their special day. I am thankful for the example that their temple marriage was for Ava, and for me.



My sister Katie also ran a half marathon in October. She had the coolest idea and dedicated each of the thirteen miles to an influential woman in her life. I was honored to be picked for mile 10. If you're interested you can go here and read what she wrote about me. It just worked out that we picked a spot between mile 9 and 10 to cheer for Katie as she ran by. I had to choke back tears when she ran by us. I was so proud of her for accomplishing something as daunting as running for 13.1 miles straight. Katie has always been an amazing example to me of setting a goal and sticking with it to the end. I am excited that we have made a goal to run the Provo half marathon together in June. It is going to be quite an adventure!

And last but not least, my nephew Cannon turned one in October. I can't believe is all ready one! I can't even explain how much I love this little guy. My favorite memory of him is of him trying to get my attention so he could give me a kiss. He finally got impatient and put a hand on each cheek, turned my head to face him, and laid a slobbery kiss right on me. It was too cute!