Saturday, May 28, 2011

Super Super Busy!

Hello all,

I just wanted to give you a quick update.  I have been stretched pretty thin as of late.  I just finished a class that took some serious time from my hands.  We had a group project that I was elected leader on account that no one else would do it.  I ended up doing someone else's work for the project... so, I had been doing double duty.  Not to mention the other things that I am trying to get done.  Since school has been out, it seems like things have even sped up.  Now I am finding projects for the girls to take part in during the day, while Baby K continues to grow.  He is coming up on four months!

I will get caught back up into my blogging schedule soon (hopefully starting Monday).  I started a History class, and the reading content is quite heavy, so I might miss a post here and there.

I hope you all are doing great!  I'll be back on Monday!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Feature Wednesday: Baby K

Baby K has been growing like a weed! I can't believe it... alright, maybe I can, since both of his big sisters did the same thing.

He is such a sweet little guy, and he has blessed our little family greatly. Upon his arrival, we were turned upside down, but his spirit has brought so much joy into our home.

Baby K is very shy. I knew this even before he was born. I may have mentioned this before, but when K would move around in my belly, I would try and get Hoss or the girls to feel his movements. As soon as I mentioned that he was moving, or as soon as someone touched my belly, he would stop! I think Hoss felt his movements only a handful of times. So, from the beginning, I knew he would be shy.

Now that he is out of the womb and experiencing the world, he is doing it quietly. He coos softly and laughs occasionally. Who knows, maybe I'm not as funny as I thought! :) There have been only a few instances when we could catch his laugh on video... and before he was laughing, it was difficult to even catch his smile on camera!

Baby K is very perceptive. He takes in everything around him. Even now, as I type, he is watching his sisters intently as they play. I can see the intelligence growing in his eyes each day.

K loves to kick and play in his bouncy seat, on the floor, or being held. He is extremely strong, especially in his back. Most of the time he arches his back in order to see everything.

K's Milestones:
*He has been smiling since very early on.. so I don't have the exact date.
*He first laughed on April 2, 2011... at least that is the first laugh we heard.
*He first found his hands on April 30, 2011. It was funny, because he saw his hand and immediately went cross-eyed to really focus on it.
*The next Saturday, May 7, 2011, he saw his foot for the first time...he was mesmerized.
*He has been sleeping through the night for about one month now! Yaay us!
*He is currently working on rolling over... he seems to be close!

Now, while Baby K is shy, he also has an obvious temper, and has since he was first born. (I think he gets it from his daddy! he he he, jk :). If he is hungry, tired, bored, or uncomfortable, he just wails until his problem is solved for him! Especially in the car. That is one place that Big T and Little H would calm down. Not Baby K, if he is already unhappy, he will wail until we stop and take care of him. Oh the life of a baby!

Needless to say, we love him so very much! We love all three of our children very much! They definitely keep us rockin' and keep us entertained!

I took all of these pictures today - May 18, 2011

Here are a couple of videos of him.

As you can see in the video, K's laugh is very quiet, and it only lasts for a short while...but it is worth every second!

I was too slow to catch Baby K laughing, but it is still cute!

this is some micro fleece

it happens to be K's favorite thing to snuggle

Thanks for reading!  Please pass it along!

Monday, May 16, 2011

How To Monday: Buying Grapes

I have been thinking... I know it could be dangerous... There are some things that I have learned in the last ten years that should really be passed on.  In all seriousness, I find it satisfying when I figure something out all on my very own!  Now I sound like a three year old.  So this series is for me to share those things, and for me to learn new things to share with you!  I realize that I am posting this late at night, but I have had other things to occupy my time today.
I love grapes.  They are one of my most very favorite snacks or sides.  I love the green ones the most, because they are a little bit sour.  They are a great way to get some good antioxidants too!

When Hoss and I were first married, I would get the grapes home, wash them, and put them in a bowl in the fridge.  Every time I did this, they would mold!  Talk about a waste of money.... so I stopped purchasing grapes for a while.

However, a few years ago, I learned a few tricks to picking out grapes and storing them, and I thought I would share those tips with you!  Maybe you already knew all of this, but I'm sure there is someone out there who is wondering just how do you know which grapes to pick.

Buying them:  Here is the little trick that ensures I buy fresh grapes that are going to last more than a day or two.

Always pick out grapes that have very green, fresh, and moist looking stems.  This is a sure sign that the grapes are fresh.  Once those stems start hardening, you are not going to get much time out of them.  So nowadays, I never, ever buy grapes unless the stems are green, because we like to eat them over a few days time.

Choose grapes that are firm.  They should not be too soft, otherwise, they will go bad a lot quicker, and in my case, they end up in the garbage... wasted.

Storing them:  I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I would get the grapes home, wash them, put them in a bowl, and place them in the freezer... I just have to say, "mistake mistake and mistake!"

Keep your grapes in the bag they come in.  Those bags have holes in them that allow the grapes to breath.  This helps prevent mold.  Once you wash those grapes, for some reason (this I don't know), they begin to ripen even faster.  So make sure you are planning to eat them when you wash them.

A childhood treat!  My mom used to freeze green grapes for a yummy little treat during the summer!

Coming soon!  New blog names for my family!  I am finally getting creative... sort of. :)  Have a great Tuesday!

 What did you think of this post?  Do you have any great ideas, or things you've learned that you would like to share as a guest on my blog?  Let me know!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Feature Wednesday: Sweet H

It is that time of the week again.  My how the time has flown!  It seems like it should still be Monday!

On with the post!

Little H is currently in Kindergarten, and she has the most awesome teacher ever.  She is strict, well structured, and most of all, fun!  She has been teaching for a few decades (I say that, because I am unsure how long exactly--I'll put it this way, she probably taught kids my age), needless to say, she knows what works and what doesn't.  Little H loves her teacher very much!

H has come home many times excited to show us the dance that her teacher taught them.  They practice it daily so they don't forget it...and to get rid of their wiggles.  Then, they invite the parents to come and watch them perform.  The first few times they did this, I didn't know that we were invited to come, so last Friday was my first time visiting for one of their dances, and I am glad I did, as it was the last one of the year!

Here is a video of their newest dance!

Hailee after dancing; having snack.

The boy she is pointing to is Alijia, supposedly her "boyfriend."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bonus Post: Mother's Day!

The other day, all five of us were driving in the van.  I do not remember where we were going, or what time it was.  I only remember the fact that Baby K was so upset; he was screaming his head off.  He was fed, and he was changed... he was just sleepy, and he wasn't going to give up easily.  He was in the seat directly behind mine (the passenger seat, since Hoss was driving).  I was twisted around so that I could give Baby K his pacifier.  While trying to sooth him, I began to sing to him.  I sang about five or more songs, and he began to quiet shortly after I began.
Cuties that I am blessed to call my kids

Once all was quiet, I glanced to the very back of the van to see Big T and Little H watching me intently.  I'm going to be honest with you, at first, I was a little startled.  I smiled at them and winked before turning around in my seat.

Big T and Little H were so quiet and careful to listen, because they love to hear me sing.  I don't want to sound like I claim to be an awesome singer, because I do not claim such a thing.  I can carry a tune, that's about it.  :)  The girls ask quite often if I will sing them a song at bedtime (mostly Little H), but I don't do it very often.  But since having Baby K, I have been singing a whole lot more, because he loves to hear it.  Much of the time, when he is upset, it is the only thing that will calm him down.  He will even try to sing with me by cooing and making cute sounds while I sing... so needless to say, I have been singing a lot more since he was born than I have in a long time, so its no wonder why T and H stopped to listen.

I pondered the incident in the van, and I thought back to my own childhood.  I loved to watch my mother sing.  I loved to hear her voice.  It was just one of those things that made me happy, and helped me feel safe, warm and loved.

My wonderful, talented, and beautiful mother Kathy!
I have a memory of sitting on the kitchen counter when I was quite young... maybe a little younger than Little H.  My mom was singing a song that she wrote.  I was trying to sing along with her.  The only part that I can think of right now is the part that says, "Someone's spilling milk on the floor."  *Mom, you did write that song correct??*

My mother is a wonderful woman.  She is the reason for all of my good qualities.  She taught me how to work, to have a love for music, and a love for our Savior Jesus Christ.  She taught me what it means to serve and love our fellow men.  She taught me through example to have faith in the Lord, and to put all trust in Him.  I have a wonderful mother, who I have patterned my own mothering after.

So, Happy Mother's Day, mom!  I also want to extend the wishes to my Grandmothers Charlotte and Mary Lou, my sister Kendra, my sisters-in-law, and last but not least, my mother-in law, Dixie.  After all, she did raise my most wonderful husband!

T & H's personalities: Princess & Goof
Well, I had better get going, the dinner won't cook itself, the baby won't feed himself (yet), and the girls are calling for my attention!  Who was it that said, "A mother's work is never done?"... I wish they were wrong!

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Begging, and The Power of Discernment

Where to begin.

Ever since being here in Roswell, I have come to notice that nearly every time I go to a store, I encounter someone asking for money.  Sometimes, it is someone who looks like the world chewed them up and spit them back out, leaving them with a sign, and usually a dog.  Other times, they look, not quite so harassed, but definitely lacking.  And sometimes these people are passively sitting on the side of the road, or walking around the store parking lot.

Picture Source
When do you know that these people are the real deal?  Personally, I don't like to be tricked into giving someone money who doesn't really need it.

North of town, by the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, is where you typically see the beggars with their signs, sitting and hoping for someone to help them.  If find it interesting, that there is an frequenter there.  I've seen him many times over the last year.  He always looks the same, but I can't help but wonder, "Is he the real deal?"

What Would You Do? video clip.

 I have three examples from my experiences that I want to share:

1.  When we were first in Roswell, Hoss got a second full-time job at a Sprint dealer.  He worked long hours, and was often unable to leave on time (we had one car at the time).  One long wait of nearly one hour, I sat and watched one beggar.  He had approached me when I first pulled up, but once he realized that I didn't have any spare change (I almost never carry cash anymore), he left me alone, but stayed in the area.  I watched as he flagged cars down, asked for money, and collected.  About 45 minutes into my wait, I watched as he pulled out a cell phone and began talking into it.  He then proceeded to a fairly nice car, in which he got into and drove away.  Fraud?  Or did he just hit a rough patch in his life?  Either could be very possible, but my judgement leans toward fraud... partly because as he was walking past my car, I gave him a quizzical look, and he merely laughed heartily and continued on his way.

2.  This encounter happened just a few days ago.  I went to Albertson's to get some ice cream, and some change for Big T's and Little H's field trip to the movie theater next week.  As I was walking to my car, a woman sidled up to me.  Once she had my attention, she began her rapid speech of having kids at home alone (out of town I might add) with no gas to get there.  She was determined to sell me anything... her watch, her ????.... I don't know what else she said, because it was a slur of words.  She was teetering, and she could not focus.  I've been around enough to see when someone is intoxicated, and that she was.  My 'spidy senses' told me "No!  Do not give this woman money!"  So I politely told her that I did not have spare change (which I did not, remember, the cash was for T and H).  She grumbled and walked off.

3.  This is the encounter that prompted this whole post.  Today, after getting a snow cone for T and H, a man came up to me as I was getting ready to leave.  He asked me if I could get him some food.  He was meek, like this was his last resort.  He didn't have a long flashy tale to share with me about how and why he got to where he is.  He was hungry, and he asked.  I did not know what to say.  Due to most of my experiences, I am kind of skeptical.  My internal thoughts went from, "Well, I'm not going to buy him food from a restaurant... I don't have money for that, to I could take him to the grocery store and buy him some food."  However, I found myself ignoring the prompting to help this man.  I, like most people, do not like being put on the spot, and I felt rushed about making such a split second decision.  We have a tight budget.. down to the penny, and plus, I would need to check with Hoss first... I do this before purchasing anything.  So what did I do?  I said no.

Now, before you start thinking that I am a stingy person, please, keep reading.  At this point in the evening, Baby K was hungry and screaming his head off in the van.  But I could hardly hear him.  The only thing that I could hear was the silence within, and the scripture, "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: [...] Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (Matt 25: 35, 40)."  I called Hoss at work as I began to turn around.  It took everything I had not to break down on him over the phone.  I explained what happened, and that I had made the wrong choice.  I mentioned that I was going to go back and buy him some food... like I should have.

It took me no more than ten minutes to get back to where he was.  I drove all around, and up the street.  I even looked in the restaurant that was next to the sno cone shack.  He was no where to be found.  I dejectedly drove back home, close to tears for failing as a disciple of Christ.

My lesson?  Never ignore the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  I do not feel bad for denying the first two examples of money, but this one, leaves me feeling the need to repent.

PS for the most recent episode of Sora"s Journey click here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Feature Wednesday: Lovely T

I am trying to be a more avid blogger.  I want to keep long distance relatives updated on my family, and I want this to be more of a journal of the happenings in my life, as I see them.  So, I am creating Feature Wednesday.  Each member of my family will rotate each Wednesday.  Today?  Its Big T!

Big T took it upon herself to prepare a Family Home Even Lesson a few weeks ago.  I had a paper due for my Communications class, so I was preoccupied with that... I hadn't even thought about FHE (as I look down shamefully).  She created a collage picture of a temple and taught us about them.  She is a dynamic little girl, and I am so glad that she humbled me.  She remembered what was important.  Her words were, "I wanted to make a picture of a temple, but then a thought came to me, 'plan a Family Home Evening lesson too!'"

What a sweet little girl.  I am sure that this will not be the only lesson I learn from her, especially since there have been so many others before hand.

 Family Home Evening is a program that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has encouraged each family to take part in.  Basically, Family Home Evening is a time that the family gets together to learn, play, and grow closer as a family.  We typically have a lesson on a gospel teaching.  We pray, sing hymns, and counsel each other on how we can do better.  The prophet, President Thomas S. Monson encourages each and every family to set aside this time each Monday night.  That is a day that no Church meetings are held, so as to encourage this time.

PS There is a new post on Sora's Journey.  Check it out!!

20: Confusing Feelings

Witold sat in a small windowless room, on a flimsy metal chair with his hands patiently in his lap.  The walls were made of light stone blocks, which gave the room a cold feeling.  There was a metal door with a small window toward the top.  Witold was told that this was where he would be staying while in the human realm, all though there was no bed.

He stood up and walked to the door.  He reached for the door knob to ask Jess how long until Sora would be back, when he realized that there was not a handle.  The only thing there was a circular plate.  The door must have opened from the outside only.  Witold pressed his face up against the glass window to try and see Jess.  She was no where to be seen.

Witold had played off the stories about humans as a story to scare little Kiswan into doing what they were told.  If you didn't do what was expected, then the humans would come and get you.  Even Jess seemed to tiny and harmless, that he immediately put all thought of dangerous humans out of his mind... until now.  He began to pace the room looking for a way out.  He was not going to get this far and lay down.  If tiny little Jess could make him feel so comfortable, then turn around and lock him up, what might she have done to Sora?

That thought stopped him in his tracks.  He hadn't thought about that.  Was Sora alright?  He pulled the stone out of his pack and cradled it in his hand like it was a delicate flower that was beginning to wilt.  The glow that came from it was brighter than it had ever been.  Sora had to be close!  But what if something bad had happened to her, and the stone was left behind?

Picture Source
He marched over to the door and began to pound on it.  The sound echoed through the entire building, but no one seemed to be around.  Where had Jess gone?  What was she going to do with him?  She was so tiny that he could have lifted her with one hand and tossed her aside.

The turmoil inside was alarming to Witold.  He had never had such hostile feelings toward anything.  His heart was pounding in his chest.  He had to break free!  He began pacing again as he felt his adrenaline building up.  Unsure of what he was doing, Witold walked up to wall next to the door and kicked it with all of his might.


As they waited, Sora and Justin sat on the tailgate of his truck.  The wind had begun to pick up, and in the distance they could see a brown haze.  The trees put off a fragrance that permeated the air, showing off its lush healthy foliage.  Had it not been for an odd twist in events for the day, Justin would have been completely content.  He had never met a girl like Sora before.  She was so down to earth, and exotic.  Her drive alone was an intriguing feature about her.  She never seemed to stray from what she was supposed to be doing.  He admired that about her.  Ever since Sora had seen her friend Witold, she hadn't said much at all.  She seemed to be thousands of miles away, yet she sat right next to him.

Even her sweet aroma trumped that of the lush trees in whose shade they waited.  Justin leaned back in order to pull an apple from the ice chest.  His heart pounded with excitement as he sat back up.  In the split second it took to retrieve the apple, he acted upon impulse.  Justin quickly put his arm around Sora.

She removed her attention from the gravel road and looked Justin directly in the eyes.  They seemed to glow, with the flecks of gold adorning the beautiful brown eyes.  Before she could say anything, Justin leaned in, his cheeks flushing... the sun must have gotten hotter... He paused slightly...

Jess's voice could be heard shortly before it cut out completely, followed by the purr of her little car.  Sora hopped off of the tailgate and dashed through the trees only to see the tail lights of Jess's little blue car.

"Justin!"  Sora called back toward the truck, "She left!  Let's go get Witold!"

Justin slowly slid off of the tailgate and whispered to himself, "Right... Witold."  He wondered why he felt like Witold was more than just a friend to Sora.

Sora was apparently impatient, because she ran back toward the truck, nearly bumping into Justin.  "Let's go in!"

"Wait!  Hang on!"  Justin couldn't help but smile at Sora's percistence.  "We need to go in slowly and quietly to make sure no one else is in there.  The last thing we need is for the mayor to call the police on us for trespassing."

"Trespassing?  What's....." Sora was interrupted by Justin.

"Trespassing is when one person goes in another person's house our yard without asking first."  Justin crouched down next to a bush in order to observe the building.

Justin looked up at Sora, "Well, come on!  You don't want to be seen!"

Sora obediently crouched down as well.  "How long do we have to wait?"

"Well, we need to make sure that Jess is not coming back."  Justin took a bite of his apple and chewed then swallowed.  "We need to give it at least ten minutes."  Another bite..... "Then we'll go in."

Sora sighed and leaned against a tree.


Sitting across from Justin, Sora had time to reflect on what had just happened.  She knew that she liked Justin, but something about the feelings felt so wrong.  She absentmindedly picked the bark off of a stick.  She wanted nothing more than to choose a partner that she loved, not just the partner that she was told to partner with.  Something strange had happened just before Sore had left the Kiswone Nation.  It was unsettling, and she had tried as hard as she could to push it out of her mind.... until she actually saw Witold riding in Jess's car.

Needless to say, Sora was very grateful for the distraction that prevented Justin from kissing her.  She had to focus on her task at hand.  If she didn't succeed, it wouldn't be very long before no one would be able to fall in love.

Sora timidly said, "Justin, I..." she stopped, "I can't," was all she could get out.

"Why?"  Justin's voice sounded truly hurt.

"I don't know...I just have to focus on my quest."  Sora tossed the stick aside and stood up.

Justin remained squatting down, giving himself time to think.  "Well, I suppose, now that your friend is here, you won't be needing my help."

Sora was very confused at the change in Justin's tone.  Humans were very sensitive beings... even if Justin had Kiswan blood running through his veins.

Justin interrupted his thoughts, "Look, forget it...we can go now."

He climbed the fence and turned around expectantly waiting for Sora to follow.  Once she was over, Justin looked back and forth, and began to stealthily walk toward the building.  Before he could take two steps, they heard a loud crash come from within.  Both Sora and Justin forgot about being sneaky and sprinted, closing the distance between them and the building much faster.  Justin tried the doorknob, and oddly enough, it was unlocked!  He turned the knob, and pulled the door open, trying to see inside through the dim lighting.

Sora stepped through the doorway first, pausing to let her eyes adjust to the sudden darkness.  There was not one light on, and there were not any windows in the large room.  Sora glanced down each wall, and found a short hallway scattered with broken cinder blocks.  Emerging from the hallway was Witold, a fierce look in his eyes.