Thursday, April 17, 2014

That one time I spent the night at Seaworld.

One of my favorite places to go when I was growing up was Seaworld.  I was a girl scout, and one year one of the prizes for selling cookies was a sleepover in the Wild Arctic exhibit.  You had to sell 1,000 boxes of cookies.  I don't like to brag, but....I totally did it!  Proof that if you find the right motivation for me, I WILL conquer!!  (A big thanks to my mom who worked tirelessly to expand my market, and ordered and consumed so many cookies.  It really was worth it.  A night to remember!!)  I rolled out my sleeping bag with my fellow Brownies and Juniors and Cadets right next to the Beluga Whales!  I was so excited I don't think I did much sleeping, but how can you when a freaking WHALE is right there next to you??  To a ten year old, Seaworld was a place of dreams.  It inspired me.  So yeah, even though the Shamu show is kind of hokey and slams you over the head with its commercialized save-the-earth message, and even though it has changed a lot since I was kid, I am still a fan.  It is magical.

My point of all that reminiscing is that Seaworld was a HUGE part of my childhood.  And so it was wonderful to take my girls.  We got to go with some of our good friends earlier this month. (Military gets in FREE!! Yay!)  We almost didn't go because there was a forecast of rain--I am SO glad we did.  The San Diego weather did not disappoint.  Beautiful sunshine, barely any crowds, minimal London meltdowns...seriously a perfect theme park day.  Gives me hope since we are hitting up at least two more parks before we move next month.

I can't even handle the cuteness in this picture.

London had so much fun with her two BFF's, Landon and Avonlea.  Can't believe we only have a month left with them.  Our three families have become our dental school extended family, and I actually start to have little panic attacks when I think about life without them, so let's not dwell on that right now. :)

Juliet borrows her daddy's hat to hide from the sun.

I posted this on instagram, but I just love these flamingos!

Checkin' out the penguins.
 Thanks Seaworld for yet another incredible day of memories.  We'll be back.

You know it was a fun day when 10 minutes into the drive home you have this.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Drumroll, please.

We finally know where we are moving!  As lots of you know, Dan has a scholarship through the army to pay for school.  After he graduates in May, we begin our three to four years of payback. 

Dan had gotten into a special one-year program for the first year, and there were only six different bases we could be stationed at:

1. Fort Lewis, Washington State
2. Fort Carson, Colorado
3. Fort Sill, Oklahoma
4. Fort Campbell, Kentucky
5. Fort Jackson, South Carolina
6. Fort Benning, Georgia

I had resigned myself to thinking we were going to Oklahoma, since it was at the bottom of our list.  I didn't want to get my hopes up, and I have been on pins and needles the last few months waiting to hear where we would be spending the next year of our lives.  It's so frustrating to know that you WILL be moving in only a matter of months but to not know WHERE you are going.

But like I said, the waiting is finally over.  Dan will be reporting for duty at the end of the summer (after his basic training), to Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

I am totally jazzed about this!!!!! This was our top pick, and honestly kind of a blessing, since it is one of the bases closest to my parents and we were hoping and praying we would be able to move closer ever since my dad's diagnosis.  I am already obsessed.  I have always loved the Carolinas, and I have a never-ending love affair with the South.  I am beyond thrilled to be moving back there, even if it is only for a year.  And you never know, maybe the Southern charm and hospitality will convert my Southern California boy.  It could happen, right?? ;)

The latest obsession in our household is house hunting.  Since we are most likely only going to be there for year, we're only going to rent.  But man, after four years of living in LA, it is refreshing to see how much bang for our buck we can get elsewhere.  We are going to be in a real house! With a yard, and a garage!!!

Honestly, all my feelings can be summed up in this clip from Tangled (one of London's favorites):

Belt it out, sister, belt it out.

So, anyone know anything about Columbia, South Carolina? 

P.S. Paige, hopefully next year there will be an opening in Europe for us so we can join you on all your amazing adventures!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

London's Birthday

Kind of nuts that I have a two-year-old.  But facts are facts and I've now been the mother to one for the past two days.  I love this dreamy, stubborn, joyful girly-girl of mine. 

We took it kind of easy this year--we just had family and a few close friends over for a birthday dinner and cake.  But it was still a whole bunch of fun, and I know London had a great time.  That's what really counts isn't it? 

So what is two-year-old London like?  She still loves The Little Mermaid.  She loves princesses and dress-up and jewelry.  She sings and dances anytime music comes on. (And I mean any time.  If a commercial on the tv has a good beat, you can always count on London to turn it into a dance party.)  She is most definitely a girly-girl, but she also loves to run and jump and be outside.  Her hair is always a mess, and if she could swing all day she would. 

Coloring is a daily activity, as is snuggling with her sister.  She always wants to change a doll's or stuffed animal's diaper when I change Juliet.  She loves to take pictures on my phone (usually of the ground, but every once in a while they are actually kind of cool).

She thinks every color is the color green and every letter is the letter c--but we are working on that.  She is constantly surprising me with how quickly she learns things.  All of a sudden she is speaking in little sentences, and repeating everything I say to try out the words on her own tongue.  New words are learned literally every day.

Even though she is a total stinker and completely mischievous, she also is so sweet.  Little moments I have with her make me so grateful to be her mom during the times I have put her in time-out for the tenth time in an hour.  When Dan was out of town a couple weeks ago she kept saying to me, "miss Daddy.  Miss Daddy." Over and over again--it's enough to break a momma's heart.  But in a good way.  The other night I was saying the blessing on our dinner, and after I finish she looked at me and said, "Mama, Papa better!  Papa, better!"  She remembered that we ask for her Papa to get better and not be sick anymore every night in her bedtime prayer, and she wanted to make sure that I didn't forget it.  It is inspiring to me that such a little body contains such a big heart.

London, you give me a run for my money almost every day, but I'm already proud of the sweet, resourceful, and clever little girl you are already becoming.  I can't wait to watch how much you grow this next year.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What happens when you're planning something else

Oh. My. Goodness.  You guys. 

Life has been rough the past little while.  But, my dad always says that "Life is what happens when you're planning something else."

Getting so big already.

My favorite mess-maker.

So despite the curve balls and constant roller coaster of emotions I have been experiencing, as I write this all I really seem to feel is gratitude.  Because even though this past month has contained events that I never imagined I would experience, it also has contained some of the sweetest every-day moments I've ever noticed.  And maybe that's what being confronted with your loved one's and your own mortality does--it helps you to see the beautiful little things that make up a life. 

Snuggles with babies, hot baths, a kiss from my husband, London giggles and dress-up high heels.  Sunshine and rainstorms and friends who bring dinner.  Chocolate chip cookies and Disney songs belted at the top of your lungs.  Finger paints, perfectly organized binders, resolutions, crisp new paper.  Pinterest (I so went there).  Unexpected messages from friends and family.  Date night, sweet dreams, Sundays, a new book to read.  Smiles from strangers--people who let you in when you're trying to merge. Going to bed after a long day, chocolate from a hidden stash, hearing the words, "I love you."  Saying the words, "I love you."  Inside jokes, reminiscing, the feeling at the end of a workout, and chubby baby thighs.

Picnic with friends.

London's view 1

London's view 2 (please ignore our seriously disgusting carpet!)

I have to tell you, despite the extreme lows and the unexpected highs this last week, I have never felt so wonderfully and gloriously alive

P.S. For those of you who missed the big facebook announcement, my dad was just diagnosed with lung cancer.  Please remember him in your prayers, he is truly one of the most inspiring men I know.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On a more serious note.

When I was in high school and blogging my life away, I had absolutely no problem broadcasting my latest drama to the universe (albeit in a decidedly cryptic manner, usually interspersed with song lyrics).  I find that as I've gotten older--dare I say, more mature???--I've started to hold my cards closer to my chest.

But friends, I am thinker.  I am goofy a lot of the time, but sometimes I have serious thoughts.

And sometimes I have a heavy heart.

I have one right now.

It's hard for me to talk about openly on here, since it is not really my story to tell.  I will try and just describe my emotions surrounding this whole situation.
Sadness.  Love.  Helplessness.  Heartbreak.  Frustration.  Confusion.  Hopelessness.  Sorrow.

Someone I love is suffering.  They feel hurt and frustrated ten times more so than I could feel.  And what is so much more difficult about it is that I cannot do anything to help them.  I cannot change their circumstances or make decisions for them.  I cannot shelter them from consequences or cruelty or suffering.  I must watch and hope for miracles.  I do not know how to act sometimes because this is uncharted waters for me and almost everyone I know.

I have grown up hearing the question, "What would Jesus do?"  It seems like often the answer to that question is supposed to be straight forward.  I have been learning over and over lately that life is messy.

Life is messy.  This question of  "what would Jesus do?" keeps repeating over and over again in my thoughts, bouncing around in my head as I mull it over and over again, and try to decide.  I simply cannot stand when my mind works in over drive and all it comes up with is, "I don't know."  What would Jesus do?  If my Savior were here and placed in this situation, how would He act?

I can testify to you that the Lord knows our thoughts and our hearts.  Despite teetering on the edge of despair these last few weeks, I have felt comfort.  I have had hope that things will work out.  And the past couple days, I have had experiences that have answered that specific question that I have pondered in my mind and heart.

Tonight I was scrolling through my facebook news feed, and a link to a blog came up.  As I read it, I was intrigued by what the author had to say, but not necessarily absorbed.  Then I read this:

"In the Christian community, we often ask, “What would Jesus do?” That’s simple: He would be a voice of hope, He would make weak things become strong, and He would reach out in compassion without reservation or fear of “condoning the sin”.

And just like that, I knew exactly how to act.  There are some things only our Lord and Savior can do, some things only His Atonement can heal, but my friends, while we are here and standing in His stead--we can show love and hope.  We can resist the temptation to judge, to ignore, to belittle, and become strong in His love.  This is so much easier said than done. I am still navigating how exactly to do this and to not become entangled in questions of where to draw lines and what nuances and connotations and hidden meanings words and rhetoric may have.  But I am leaning on my Rock and singing softly to myself that "I truly need Him every hour, most gracious Lord."  I am striving to leave myself open to His promptings and letting His love inside my heart that it may shine out.

I am not perfect at this, not by any stretch of the imagination.  But tonight I go to sleep not lost in questions of what-if's, why's, and how-do-I's, but at peace with the knowledge that God knows us, loves us, and answers prayers--even unspoken ones.

And one thought continually rings out in my heart:  My God is a God of Miracles.