Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Plain Old Katie

P.S. Can you START with a "P.S."??? well-- I am going to.

P.S. I have NEVER referred to myself as Plain Old before.... it is almost PAINFUL to write...

Plain Old Katie

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon alone. I was on my home from the Temple (so I was dressed in a skirt and heels and even jewelery -- since my one year old wasn't around to suck on it or pull it out of my ears) I wasn't on much of a time constraint (like I usually am when running errands) and I was suffering from a mild case of FRUGAL FATIGUE. (you know the stress you feel when you are in search of something you NEED but you want the BEST DEAL??--"Frugal Fatigue") and I decided for Old Time's Sake I would stop by a 7-11 for a Good Old DIET COKE.

It has been roughly 4 years since I entered a 7-11. Ok, that is an exaggeration. But since I have had to UNLOAD and UNBUCKLE CHILDREN for EVERY PIT STOP, I have taken to abandoning "convenience stores". ( not to mention that my children have inherited my obsession with said stores and their abundance of overpriced necessities like Diet Coke, Peach Rings, and Cheetos) But this was a SPECIAL OCCASION:


I noticed something peculiar, yet strangely familiar in the 7-11. People were friendly to me. One guy let me go ahead of him in line. (This is NOT peculiar for me-- I frequently find people at Costco diving OUT of line to let me and my cart filling children go first. They say things like "I remember those days" or "Looks like you have your hands full, why don't you go ahead" or even "the natives are getting restless, huh?") But this guy let me go ahead WITHOUT CHILDREN! What?! On my way out of the store (after handing the cashier the correct amount of change without holding a baby on one hip and digging in my purse with the "free" hand that is trying to keep Blake from EATING the 10th piece of candy he has pulled off of the shelf) another wonderfully Familiar PHENOMENON happened:

Two men, who stood in conversation at the door, moved quickly to it to OPEN it FOR ME! I was shocked! I practically sang THANK YOU as I hugged and kissed the stranger. Ok, I didn't hug or kiss him - just wanted to see if you were still reading this blog that has gotten increasingly longer than intended... The man's reply to my delighted gratitude was "It's not every day I get to open the door for a Beautiful Young Lady". NOW is when I KISSED HIM! ok, I still did not kiss him. But I couldn't believe what shocked me MORE--- that he called me a YOUNG LADY or that he opened the door for me AND NOT because my arms were full of 6 gallons of milk, or because I was corralling my small army of kids, or even because I looked so exhausted that I may not be able to PUSH the door open myself. He opened it for PLAIN OLD KATIE. JUST FOR ME.(and maybe my sassy heels)

I spent the entire day REVELLING in the pleasure it was TO BE ME. To remember how much I use to love an Ice Cold 7-11 Diet Coke. To remember the JOY of walking in HEALS without worrying about tripping with a 20 lb baby in my arms. To remember the FEEL of JEWELRY that dangles - free of slobber and crumbs. To remember a day without the time constraints of nap time, potty brakes, and bed time. To just be me.

OF COURSE I will add that HAVING those little slobbery fingers on my earrings, the potty breaks at EVERY store, and the nap times right in the MIDDLE of my day- do actually MAKE MY LIFE WONDERFUL. In NO WAY do I regret ALL of the HAPPINESS and JOY I receive from those little "natives" that fill my life. It would feel EMPTY without THEM. That is NOT what I am saying.

SIMPLY put- sometimes I like to BE JUST PLAIN OLD KATIE... however UNPLAIN that actually is.

Monday, May 23, 2011

the second date AND Bolivia

For our second date (I am not counting the dinner I mentioned in my previous Blog about Mother's Day - since that was Sunday Dinner at his family's house and Jt's attempt to keep me from going out with the other guy I had previously been dating.. so it doesn't count) Jt took me to help a friend move (in true Elder's Quorum President fashion) and then out to a movie. After the movie we sat in his car talking. (yes, TALKING, NOT Kissing)

We all know the story of how I chased him. How I loved seeing him serve in the church and found myself thinking how I wished I could find a guy LIKE him... and then realized I shouldn't keep looking for another guy LIKE him, I should just go for HIM! I had no idea at the time how perfect for me he was.

As we sat in the car talking, I immediately realized he was DIFFERENT then the other guys I was dating. When he talked about his mission his face lit up. Many of the other guys I found myself dating had all but forgotten their missions. And most thought I was crazy for how much I still talked about mine. I could find guys who were active, and some who were even faithful in their callings, but few who still had that Missionary Glow. Our conversation turned from the missions we had served to the missions we WANTED to serve. To the desire we both had to be back in the mission field with our future spouses. (yes, Jt was already HINTING that it would be me-- once I got him to ask me out- he moved quickly!) We talked of the places we would like to go, and the people we would like to serve. We weren't dreaming of "growing up" and being rich. Of having a boat or a giant house. We were dreaming of holding hands and traveling around the world. Of returning to Madagascar to build orphanages and teach life skills. Of going to South America to speak Spanish and build schools and clean water. And even back to Africa to hold sick babies and comfort mothers. We talked about the things we may have to sacrifice to live these kinds of dreams. Of possibly moving with our children, or spending our retirement on medical supplies rather than cruises. But it was obvious how sincere we both were and excited to find someone who shared our same dreams.

We didn't know then what we know now. We had no idea then that Jt would want to change careers. He was successful at Real Estate and enjoyed the freedom of being his own boss. We didn't know that it might be possible to start living those dreams before we are retired.

So here we are- almost 7 years since that Second Date. A LOT has changed. But some things never change.

We are planning our trip to Bolivia with a group of Doctor's that JT's brother knows. We will be helping with the Children there. Hopefully with their schools, educating them about Malaria and Dengue Fever and who knows what else! We will be leaving our own children for over a week! (which sounds crazy!) But we really WILL be LIVING a DREAM!

I still can't believe it. It seems unreal to do something like this. Especially right now! But I am excited to see that the Boy I fell in love with almost 7 years ago is still the same boy. He is even better than he was on that date. (mostly because he doesn't drag me along to help people move on our dates anymore!!)

It has been a TOUGH couple of years as other dreams have remained JUST out of REACH. So it is refreshing to remember that we have 3 beautiful children (I just had a typo that said 2 beautiful children... that could have been awkward!), a house in a ward we love with inspiring friends, and families that love and support us. SO apparently LOTS of our dreams have already come true!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

... only a Mother could love....

We've all heard the Phrase:

Well in honor of MOTHER'S DAY-- I give you a Face that ONLY My Mother could love:

It gets better.... wait for it....

That is right, My Mom LOVED Jabba the Hut! Or as my Family actually called me "The Michelin Man" because my arms and legs and tummy and neck, ok EVERYTHING looked like it was made out of tires like the Michelin Tires Man!

And Now I give you: THE MOTHER that LOVED THAT FACE, and neck, and legs....

There she is, the woman who gave me LIFE (and maybe a little too much to eat! just kidding). This is the woman who let me wear a Tutu EVERYDAY (accept at Disney Land, and I am still a little bitter about that) when I was five just because I wanted to. (I owe her my free spirit for that) This is the woman who made the best birthday cakes of any mom I knew. (I owe her my love of Cup Cakes and the joy of piping frosting) This is the woman who taught me funny songs around the camp fire on family camp outs. (I owe her my love of music... or at least the funny stuff!) This is the woman who helped me highlight my hair when she caught me skipping school having a REALLY REALLY BAD DAY even though coloring our hair was against her rules! (I owe her my understanding and flexibility to not sweat the small stuff) This is the woman who opened my Mission Call and told me over the phone when I was scared to go that she had read it and KNEW that "in ALL the WORLD this is where My Katie should go". (I owe her the strength to open my already opened mission call and GO on my mission - which has been one of the BEST DECISIONS of my life) This is the woman who called home from her Mission in Washington D.C. when Riley was born to tell me she would be able to come home for a weekend and see my newborn baby! I don't think she knew how much it meant to me to show her my new baby girl. (I owe her a lot of tears for that one)

She did ALL OF THAT for that "little" baby girl with a Face that only a MOTHER could love.

Now, she is not my ONLY MOTHER.

I have one more. This woman gave me my GREATEST GIFT ever. A WONDERFUL HUSBAND.

This is JT with his Grandpa Davis (Shauna's Dad) Whom we named Blake after (Blake DAVIS)

JT is the bottom left :) sorry, I didn't have any Baby Pics- so he just gets toddler pics!!

JT is on the left with the cool hat, his little brother is on the lawn mower with the pizza! too cute to pass this one up!

And now I give you the Mother who gave me her son:

There she is: The woman who gave me the Love of My Life. (and because of him, 3 beautiful children- so I owe her a lot of my happiness). This is the woman who I fell in love with first. (that's right, on our 2nd "date" I met his mom and fell in love! I HOPED I would fall in LOVE with JT so that she could be my mother in law! So I guess I owe her the fact that I even Love her son!) This is the woman who welcomed me into her home and family after only 3 weeks of dating her son! (I owe her my immediate acceptance and comfort in her home) This is the woman who shares my talent for weeping! (she may be the only person who tears up more than I do! I owe her a few tears for that!) This is the woman who invites me to sing around the piano with her on Sundays or Holidays (which is better than dessert for me! and that is saying alot. I owe her the love JT has for music) This is the woman who has been an example of Quiet Dignity. (something I strived to attain on my mission with little success-- obviously. I owe her my desire to keep trying!) This is the woman who lets me lay around her pool all summer long, or at least the 3 days that it is warm around here! (I owe her my Vitamin D and the 3 freckles I get each year!)

So there you have it. My Mothers. How blessed am I to have two wonderful women to look up to, be friends with, and love??

Happy Mother's Day. Thanks for "Loving Our Faces."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

90 Day Goal... over

So, I couldn't go to the 90 Day Goal Finale, which has REALLY been bothering me! I remember an elder on my mission saying "you are only as good as your follow up"-- I love this. You can set goals all day long, but if you are never accountable, if you never "follow up" to see how your commitments are going - you are never truly successful! So since I could not follow up with the Goal Group - I will Follow Up with all of you!

Attend Dave Ramsey 13 Week Seminar
Focus on Budget

How I did: **** (that is my star rating 4 out of 5 stars)
We went to the Classes and LOVED them! I learned alot and it really helped to get my mind thinking differently about money. (my "new" jeans from a Thrift Store, going on Free Dates with my man, trying to "live like no one else so I can live like no one else" as Dave says) This has been challenging. I still have not been as diligent with my budget as I would like, but I am improving. (and the stops by Target have significantly decreased!)

Go to my Scriptures with a Question Each Night
Attend the Temple twice a month

How I did: ***** (five out of five)
I obviously feel REALLY GOOD about this one! I only missed a handful of days with my Question Journal so I now have an amazing Journal of questions and answers I found daily in my Scriptures. This has been Life Changing for me. I am AMAZED at the process of Kneeling in Prayer and Asking Heavenly Father what Question to ask in my Scripture Study that night. ( I have intentions of a Future Blog Post with some of those experiences) I will say that my understanding of Heavenly Father's WILLINGNESS to answer our hearts' questions has increased, my confidence in my own ability to receive Revelation on a DAILY BASIS has been reignited, and my love for the scriptures has deepened.

We also did Pretty Good at the Temple Attendance. I went 5 times, I aimed for 6 - so I fell short, but still - 5 times in 3 months is not bad!!

Work out 5x a Week
Train for a Half Marathon
Eat TWO Veggies a Day
Eat One Treat a Week

How I did: **** (4 out of 5... sorta)
This is a HARD one to rate. I only had ONE WEEK where I DID NOT work out 5 days!! (and that was last week when my kids were sick, and having surgery and stuff!) So I TOTALLY NAILED IT! I feel SO GOOD! It has been a strange Roller Coaster at the with working out. In training for the Half Marathon I have had a LOT of knee problems. (which have included me hobbling down the road 2 miles from home crying because it hurt so bad and because I was SO angry to feel like a quiter and embarrassed because about 10 of you drove past and honked and waved and I must have looked so pathetic!!) Anyways- I am still wrestling with the Half Marathon thing... I have been in denial that this is a "real" problem, but I am starting to become aware that it is. I feel sick to my stomach that I am not running a Half next week like I planned. I feel like a quiter. I feel like a wimp. And yet, when I have run lately, I feel such an intense pain I can't continue. This is ALSO something for a future blog post...

On to the Eating Habits... this really gets about ** stars... Mostly because it was the HARDEST part of the 90 Day challenge for me. (emotionally difficult) Not very many weeks that I was 100% successful at this. And I was really trying hard!!! (my finger accidentally bumped the @ sign just now, so it looked like this !!!@... which looks like a swear word -- which is how I have felt!!) I have learned alot about my eating habits. I think I eat Treats to fill a void left by Hubbie who is gone in the evenings. I have found myself tormented by the NEED to have a handful of skittles at night, or to eat some ice cream while doing laundry alone. BUT I have noticed that the cravings have dropped SIGNIFICANTLY in these few months. And my will power has increased! And the amount of treats in our cupboards and freezer has dropped to almost non existent! Yeah! (this may be the FIRST time in our Marriage that we DON'T have ICE CREAM in our FREEZER!!) I am REVISING this to add a * (making that 3 stars!) this WAS SO HARD- I need to give myself a little more credit. We have come a LONG way-- and that was through TWO CANDY HOLIDAYS!! Valentines and Easter!!!

The Veggies... a definite IMPROVEMENT! I was not a Lunch Time Veggie Eater- and that has improved a lot. I can do better, like all things. But I feel pretty good knowing there are Celery and Peppers and Carrots in my fridge right now JUST for snacking!

Learn Spanish

How I did: "ratsy be" *** (3 out of 5)
That says "very bad" in Malagasy. That is because - My Spanish is still so poor that I am THINKING IN MALAGASY! When I hear ANY foreign language my mind AUTOMATICALLY SWITCHES to MALAGASY! I have had GOOD months and BAD months with this goal. It has been challenging to Self Motivate and Self Direct with a Foreign Language... I think I need a CLASS or at least a better PROGRAM to keep me on task. I also think it was a big one to bite off, as far as time is concerned. Focusing on an hour or so at the gym each day, my daily routines, eating better, and organizing my pics, scripture study, etc doesn't leave me with a lot of FREE time for studying more... With that excuse out of the way- I will admit I could have/should have done better. I think this is the one I am most disappointed in. When I set this goal, it was with the hope that we would be moving to Puerto Rico, I think I lost some momentum when we didn't get accepted... With that excuse out of the way - I have to say--I STILL NEED TO LEARN SPANISH!!!! so-- this is going back onto the pile for the next round of 90 Day Goals.. I will just need to tweak it a little.

Organize my Pictures
Wake up at 7am
Pray Before I leave my Bedroom in the morning
5 mins of Daily Planning

How I did: **** (4 out of 5)
This SHOULD have been 5 stars. But this last month just kind of fell apart for me on some areas. (mostly the planning, which is weird since I LOVED the planning the first two months!!) I also struggled with sleep this past month, so waking up at 7 was harder... and Riley has been sleeping in so I was being lazy and waking up with her. :(
BUT UNTIL THIS MONTH- I WAS ROCKIN IT! I LOVED waking up early and getting going on my day! I loved having my days clearly planned out and felt much more successful.
The prayer thing has gone well too. It also helps me make my bed, which is nice.

This is a BIG ONE. My pictures have haunted my for YEARS! I have been overwhelmed by them. Digital Pictures are a dangerous combination of some of my biggest weaknesses! Technology and Organization! AAAGGGHHHHHHHH!! The more I tried, the worse it got! So I am HAPPY to say that I OVERCAME all of my Debilitating Anxiety about "where to start" and just dove in! I have organized hundreds of pictures, I have even downloaded pictures from my camera to my computer within days of taking them (usually I FILL my camera card with hundreds of pictures before I am willing to download them to my computer - all because I never knew how to organize them, so they were safer on the camera!!), I have labeled pictures, and even PRINTED pictures!

I think that the big victory on this is NOT the pictures themselves. (although it is wonderful!) The Victory is taking something that is TRULY MY WEAKNESS, something that HONESTLY GIVES ME ANXIETY, and something that BRINGS ME GUILT because I don't WANT to be the Mommy who DOESN'T POST PICS to facebook or my blog or ANYWHERE and the one who makes cute photo books for my kids and has memories of us in our home, AND I have LOOKED all of this in the EYE and CHANGED IT!! I tried something HARD. Something that OVERWHELMS me. And I did it. It really gives me the courage to TRY SOMETHING else!

Here is a Picture we took a week ago and now it is on my blog! I am a SUCCESS!!! P.S. this is our SECOND EVER picture of the Family where EVERYONE is LOOKING at the CAMERA!! THAT is a SUCCESS!

So- there you go. 90 Days.
It was HARD. It was WONDERFUL. It really was LIFE CHANGING.
I need a few weeks to recover, to get back to some of the things that had to be neglected at the cost of accomplishing other goals, but I am looking forward to doing it again.