Category Archives: Gratitude

Spring Break 2015- The Main Event!

I know the amount of content and photos regarding our spring break has been LARGE, to say the least!  But the real reason we headed to the states for spring break was for Sophie’s baptism.  In our church you are baptized at the age of 8, we believe that before this time you don’t truly understand your actions, and aren’t accountable for the mistakes you have made.  So at 8 you are baptized and made clean from all past sins and start fresh, with knowledge of what it means to sin.  This is a decision that each person needs to make, to decide if they want to be baptized or not, and we are so proud that Sophie made the decision to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  With Sophie being the first grandchild on both sides and all the grandparents wanting to celebrate with her, we knew that the best way to make that possible would be to have Sophie be baptized in the US… there was no way everyone was going to make it to Angola, nor would that be logical or cost efficient!  So, despite the fun trip to Costa Rica and Disney, the real reason for our trip was happening this Saturday, April 18.

Before I start with the many pictures of the day I just wanted to journal a little about Sophie at 8.  First of all, I can’t believe I have an 8 year old, it feels like such a big age, and she really is such a big girl now, not a little kid.  She has opinions about what she wants to do, read, wear and everything else, regardless of if she should have opinions on the matter or not!  At this moment she loves comfy clothes (soccer shorts, comfy knit pants, t shirts and leggings0 and doesn’t care if it is the cutest/prettiest thing around.  She is such a smart girl, but takes a lot of motivation to get her to do her homework, or practice.  She loves being with friends and hates being left out of things.  She is a good big sister, but has her moments, but really plays so well with her little sisters, I love when they all play together nicely!  Sophie has been in the highest math and reading group at school and currently (though not at the time of the baptism) is reading the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.  I love that she is finding her love of reading on her own terms, though I have a hard time letting her find her own way, why doesn’t she just listen to me in the first place?  She is not a humble person, but she is compassionate and caring and thinks so seriously about things- she likes to know how everything works together and why things are the way they are and I love that she asks those questions, I just don’t always know how to answer them!  She is brave so many times, though her shyness still comes out occasionally.  She had her baptismal interview with the branch president (President Jamba) here in Angola, and she walked right in there and answered all his questions.  She did all the adventurous things in Costa Rica and is not scared of doing school programs any more.

We really do love this girl, and we are so grateful for her in our lives, she is a great part of our family.  OK, time for the actual baptism.

We showed up Saturday morning to set up, fill the font and get things ready.  Jeff and his mom picked up the catering for lunch (El Molino, yummmm) and it wasn’t as stressful as I was expecting.  Holly did all the flower centerpieces, and Rachel had helped me put the frames together the night before.  Megan created the programs and I had several helpers with the cookies over the days beforehand.

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It was so nice how many people came to support Sophie and this life event.  We had so much family there, so many friends, Mrs. Perona (Sophie’s old preschool teacher), and even friends from Angola.  We are so blessed to have these amazing people in our lives.  For the records, my mom gave the talk on baptism and Kelly gave the talk on the Holy Ghost.  They both used cute visual aids and it was sweet and touching.  Also, Andy performed the musical number and Megan and Justin led/played the music.   Sophie wrote cute welcome signs on all the chalkboards where we had lunch, it was too cute!  Also, the food was delicious and I would have eaten more had there not been so many people to chat with!

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That night was spent relaxing and hanging out watching basketball games.  Andy gave me my birthday present of a selfie stick and I spent a good amount of time convincing people to take pictures with me!  It was a great day all around, and full of so much love and warm feelings.  I felt so blessed.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I just wanted to give a little shout out to my Valentines today!

My sweet Violet… who is such a silly girl, and so sweet and tries so hard to make everyone happy- especially her sister.  She is such a good sport, she goes to all my classes, hangs out with my friends and is becoming such a social butterfly.  She is just the sweetest little thing.  I can’t believe she is getting so big!

My Sophie… Who is such a big girl now!  She is such a great girl!  She is such a honest soul, but she also is desperately stubborn- it is such a conflict in her.  She is always trying to do what is right, she always wants to be a part of things and help out.  She is so helpful with Violet and so excited for the new baby- she keeps saying that she is going to be the best baby sitter ever!

To Jeffrey… holy goodness- where life has taken us!  2 1/3 kids, Africa, goodness knows we never could have guessed that we would have been here- but how great it is that I get to do it with him!  He is so good to me, he spoils me, makes me laugh and is such an amazing Dad… I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the blessing of Jeff and my girls!

Happy Valentine’s to the loves of my life!  Life is so much more exciting with the 3 of you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am told by the calendar that today is Thanksgiving… it sure doesn’t feel like it… 90 degree weather, Sophie is at school, Jeff is at work… but the part that I like best about Thanksgiving (besides the obvious food and good company) is that it allows for me to reflect on the many blessings that I have been given.  So I thought that I would take a little bit of time this afternoon to list some of the many things that I am grateful for right now.  I tried to find pictures of most everyone, but some are on the hard drive, some are lost somewhere… but just cause there isn’t a picture of you doesn’t mean you aren’t on that list (I apparently don’t always pull out the camera… too much fun to be had)- but it was fun going over pictures…

First up for all my extended family… both sides, all of them (even if they aren’t in the pictures… Sorry Just and Rachel!), they are all fabulous, supportive and we love them all!

I am super grateful for all my friends at home.  We have such great friends from everywhere we have lived: friends from BYU, friends we have had since we first moved to California (some that Jeff has had since before he can remember), newer friends that are permanently part of our lives… we have such fabulous friends!  PS April- this summer we need a new picture of the 2 of us where one of us isn’t pregnant!

I am super grateful for the new friends I have made in Angola… if I was bad with pictures before… oh man, I see these ladies almost everyday and just don’t pull the camera out… maybe at the Thanksgiving dinner Saturday…  These ladies have made Angola fun, exciting, interesting and livable.  Because we all live so close I see them most every day… in fact if I go more than 3 days without seeing someone it is weird and I feel like it has been too long- oh the Monte Belo bubble!

I am so grateful for the beautiful country I am currently living in.  Angola has surprised me with the beauty of the countryside- we are so excited that we get to explore this new place for the next 3 years.

I am also grateful (along the same lines) for Jeff’s job, and for the opportunity that he has to be employed, and to provide for our family.  What a blessing that is during this time of economic insecurity…

I am ever so grateful for the Gospel in my life- for the truth, calm, love and knowledge it gives me.  That it gives me an eternal family, a compass to my life and the Priesthood in my home.  Even with the stress of a new bunch of callings I love the Spirit that is felt at church, and that I am finally starting to meet people and feel more at home there.

Lastly, I am so grateful for these guys:

It wouldn’t be worth it to be across the world from the rest of family if I didn’t have this small bunch of crazies with me!  What joy and happiness they bring into my life- living in Africa is starting to feel like home… and it is all because of my little adorable family!  How THANKFUL I am for Jeff, Sophie and Violet in my life- they make it all worth it!

I hope that you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving- eat some pie, turkey and yams for me!

Oops… Forgot this one!

I am pretty sure that I forgot this goodbye because I am in denial!  I can’t believe that over 1 year ago I was first called to be Young Women’s President.  I was overwhelmed, stressed and worried that I wouldn’t do a good job.  I have truly loved being in YW this past year, despite the meetings, the hours of stress and the administrative part of being in charge.  I love my counselors, they are awesome, inspired women who would help take my crazy ideas and make them happen.  They kept me sane and were my sounding board for so many problems (why are there always problems?!?!).  And then there were the girls… what a fabulous group of amazing girls we have.  They released me last Sunday.  The Sacrament program was 9 Young Women talking about girls camp and then me.  I sat in the audience, waiting for Jeff to show up and watch the girls and saw those girls sitting up on the stand as they released me and I was done!  I just cried… never good to start crying before you even start speaking!  I told the Bishop from the stand that it was so mean of him to make me speak on that day- it was hard to say goodbye… but those girls were great and I learned so much in this calling.   I made all the girls take pictures after church (I have one of all the leaders with the girls, but it is on my other camera, and I don’t have the cord to transfer them… so these will have to do), because I just needed to have one more look at all of them!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last year I loved doing my 30 days of Thanks… but this month has been hectic, crazy and I am just really glad I kept my head on straight!  So, instead, I am going to celebrate with a list of my greatest blessings!  In no real order…

  • A house over my head and food on my table.  I am so grateful for the jobs that Jeff and I both have that provide the basics (and more) for my family.  I am also so grateful that Jeff and i both like our jobs, we don’t come home miserable and we don’t complain (besides the occasional bad day).
  • My extended family.  Especially my parents in law who live nearby and help out with babysitting so that I can go visit patients at home… go to appointments and fulfill church callings.
  • My family.  My parents who are so supportive of Jeff, me and my children,  who play crazy, silly games over and over again to make the girls happy and excited.
  • My cutie patootie nephews (and how fun that they are all here this weekend!)
  • Delicious food… oh so yummy!!!
  • Living in this gorgeous place (really I love being in Northern California, we went to the zoo on Tuesday and did NOT wear jackets!!!)
  • Great books to read.
  • Good friends- near and far.
  • The gospel- oh how I love being a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints… it gives my life purpose, direction and I am a better person because of it.
  • My Young Women (who don’t read this, but, still).  This calling has been the most stress inducing thing I have ever done (and that includes being ward organist)- but I love those girls and the example they are to me. 
  • My counselors- who support me in my crazy schemes and who will do anything I ask of them and support me in my calling.
  • A living Prophet on this earth today.
  • My sweet, kind, loving and handsome husband.  10 years together and I am still not sure why he picked me- but I sure love him and the person that he is, he inspires me to be a better person, to be a better mom and to stretch myself and grow.
  • My princesses!  Those girls are the best thing I have… I love them so much and can’t believe that they haven’t been around forever!  They try my patience, run me ragged and make me a little crazy some days- but they are the best things in my life and the people I like spending my time with. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  Count your many blessings and have a great day celebrating with family and friends!

2010 Recap…

I really like how some of the bloggers I read have little recaps of their year, month by month, I am not sure if it bores other people, but I like looking over what I have done, and what has happened over the last year.  Last year was full of ups and downs.  I did some great things (started running, for example) and some bad things (decided that during the holidays running was unneccessary and I could eat everything I wanted… oops!).  I feel like our family has gotten stronger.  We started having scripture study with the girls, and now it is a regular part of our night.  I have started cooking at home more, and trying to cook healthier meals.  I have been really happy this past year, and, for the most part, glad for the changes that we have made.   On to the recap!


Apparently, nothing happened, but I posted a cute picture of my girls!


THE surgery.  This was a crazy time for us, we are so grateful for the medical advances that are available to us.


A trip to Disneyland, Pneumonia, an UTI, scabs falling off… it seems to have been pretty eventful!


Big Girl turned 3!


OGO came for a visit, was featured on ESPN 2, a dance recital and I ran my first 5K.


Andy gets married (we love our Auntie Daisy)!


Baby Dean arrives… first cousin, and I am finally an aunt!


Kristy and Kylie came to “nanny!”


I have a preschooler!  And baby girl turns the big O-N-E!

(I know, 2 pictures, but my girls are adorable!)


Jeff and I had a vacation without girlies, Vegas Baby!


Camping and a fun trip to St. George.


Celebrating, surviving and loving my girls!

Bring on 2011… we are looking forward to fun times!

Gratitude: Day 25

Today I am grateful for a whole lot… it is Thanksgiving after all!  I am so thankful for my family, and my in laws… for my fun brothers, awesome sisters (I am going to start calling them that… I don’t have any other kind!), and all 4 fabulous parents.  I am so grateful that we get to be in this beautiful place surrounded by gorgeous scenery.  I am grateful for all the yummy food we have been eating, and all the food we have yet to eat (turkey refroze in the fridge).  I am especially grateful for my husband who is supportive, loving, fabulous, and a lot of fun (though the theater room is making him a recluse this week), and my girls, who make being a mom everything I could have ever imagined and more, I can’t remember life without them, and I am ok with that!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude: Day 24

Today I am grateful for my adorable girls.  The dealt with 4 hours at the airport yesterday (we were so worried about security we got there early only to find out our flight was delayed) and then flew in, were only mildly cranky as we picked up the rental car and then slept as we drove into St. George.  Those girls are so good and sweet (mostly) and I can’t imagine my life without them.

Gratitude: Day 23

Today I am grateful that we are flying to Vegas, and then headed to St. George, to spend Thanksgiving with my family (for the first time in 5 years!!!).  I will be even more grateful if the airport doesn’t look too crazy, and everything goes well!

Gratitude: Day 22

Today I am grateful for Violet’s teeth.  She just cut an incisor and a molar… I hope we are done for a time, but I am liking that she is sleeping better again and that her runny nose seems to be going away.  Until another tooth!