Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Word 2013

The moment you have all been waiting for... Drum Roll Please....

That's right, it is the end of January and I am finally blogging about the Word I chose for this year.  (If you have no idea what I am talking about, you should check out my friend Aubrey's blog.  She gave me the idea for The Word in 2012 and now again in 2013.  And you should go back and read my Word from last year and my post to recap how it went (if you haven't already). And then you should come back and finish reading this post, and then probably check on your kids- because if you have had time to read four blog posts they have had time to surf down the staircase on their mattresses, eat three bags of Goldfish crackers washed down by a gallon of grape juice, and tied up the youngest child in the closet.)

I told you that this was the moment I was going to reveal my Word.  But actually I am going to explain my word, then reveal it.  Tricked you.

As a kid I wanted to grow up to be an actress.  A "movie star" to be exact.  I wanted to wear thick fur coats, live in Hollywood, have a dark mole on my upper lip, smoke a cigarette from a long cigarette holder, step out of limousines and sign autographs. Spoiler alert: I didn't actually become a movie star. Wah wah.  In fact, I really struggled to believe that I deserved to be a movie star- or anything amazing and fantastic.  I felt pretty ordinary. (I hate that word) And I felt like I was pretty much destined to do ordinary things.  Sadly, I gave up on most of those big dreams pretty early on in High School.  It wasn't until half way through my mission that I had a huge paradigm shift.

My mission companion and I were working hard and studying hard.  We learned a lot from each other in the few short months that we served together.  And of the many things we learned (besides eating "rafitoto", how to hide undercover in torrential rain storms, and the thrill of hanging out the back of a speeding taxi van through the streets of Madagascar) one thing stood out that changed my life.  It happened on November 20th - I remember how wet we were from the pooring rain that night, but how big we smiled as we sat on our beds with our new realization.  It was simple.  But to it us it was profound.  Somehow in those months working together we had discovered that there was something inside of us much bigger than we ever expected.  Something that was so big it even frightened us. It was potential.  The potential to become something bigger than we were, to be part of something amazing and life changing and exciting.  It stretched beyond our missionary work (which actually was big, and amazing and life changing) and gave us a glimpse into the women we could become after our missions and the things we were capable of if we could just do one simple thing: dream.  Not just dream- dream big.  It was our motto. It was our guide and strength and our goal.  It changed my mission and my life.

Anyone who has served a mission knows that pieces of it fade with time.  The first thing to go is the gift of tongues and our memory of the foreign language we spoke, then we forget names of those we met, we tuck our journals and photos in a box somewhere, and we gradually slip into our old selves again. 

I am frustrated to say that I have found myself sliding back into the ordinary (shudder at that word) person I was before my mission.  Don't get me wrong, I am pretty cool.  That is why you are reading my blog, right?  But I will not be stepping out of a limousine any time soon. I am that person who didn't become a famous movie star.  Whose autograph isn't framed on any wall.  Who doesn't smoke from a long cigarette holder.  (OK, OK, that is a good thing.  Where did I get that idea from anyway?  Darn Big Tobacco making cigarettes look elegant! It was probably Cruella DeVille.)

For as frustrating as it was to become me again and lose sight of my potential it wasn't until I watched Riley playing soccer that it started to bother me.  I looked at Riley and suddenly felt a need to give her every opportunity to live up to her potential.  I wanted her to be able to live her dreams. Does she want to play soccer at the Olympics? Let's get her on a team. Does Blake want to be the drummer in a rock band?  Let's get the boy drum lessons. Does Macie want to walk on the moon?  Let's... er, uh... I have no idea what to do about that one... maybe we will focus on potty training this year.  Even that can be big.  I don't want to live my dreams through them (Ok, maybe I do, but we will work on that next year with my therapist) but I want them to believe something that I never did: it is OK to dream big!

The past few years of my life with Jonathan, our focus as a family has been getting him in to P.A. school.  Everything has been on hold waiting for that.  Even my own dreams and interests have taken a back seat (or are hanging off the back of taxi van in Madagascar praying for their dear life).  I have been happy to support him and focus on him.  (After all, my future financial stability depended on it.) But now in 2013 I am ready to dream again.

So, can I get a drum roll please?

What?  Your kids set the kitchen on fire while you were reading this super long blog post?  Can't the oldest take care of it?  I am about to get to my Word!  Oh, the oldest got locked in the closet this time?  Fine.  We'll wait.  Go put out the fire and then start back up here:


In 2013 I am going to dream again.  (And not the dream I had the other night where I had to choose between marrying my husband and Seth Rogan.) I am going to search out my own potential.  I am going to find things that I love. (I am surprised how much of myself I have already forgotten since I have become a mom.  Someone asked what kind of music I like to listen to the other day and all I could think of was Caspar Babypants and the ABC's!) I am going to do something I never thought I could.  I am going to accomplish something amazing.

I am also going to watch my children, and listen to them.  I am going to find out their dreams (not the ones that include giant ice cream cones or getting a puppy) and help them believe in those dreams and learn to live them. 

This may seem like no big deal to a lot of you.  Some people are natural at living their dreams.  I have always envied one of my close high school friends who told me years ago about the desire her son had to be on T.V. and how she went to work to make that happen.  She is one of those people who lives her dreams.  But I am not.  (Remember, I didn't even know it was acceptable, let a lone possible, until I was 24 and on my mission.)  I am going to dream big.  I am going to do something amazing. I don't actually know what that is yet, but I am going to start dreaming again.  I am going to erase the word "ordinary" from my vocabulary and spend the year living up to my potential.

Wish me luck!

And call the fire department already before the rest of your house burns to the ground!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Missing Puerto Rico

I promised that I would finish writing about our vacation, and then I never did.  The blogging world is in an uproar.  It seems that everyone is dying to hear how the last few days of our trip went.  Ok, already, here you go.

Our last full day on Puerto Rico was jam packed.  We woke up early and took a little ferry for an hour long trip out to a remote island called Culebra.  (I would highly recommend it if you ever go to P.R.)  We thought the beaches were beautiful at our hotel- but these beaches were even better!

Even though there had been a big windy storm (that turned up the surf quite a bit) the water was still crystal clear.  It was amazing. We snorkeled on this beach, completely alone, for hours.  I have never had a beach all to myself before!  We loved it!

Then we walked a trail across the island to a different beach.  This one didn't have snorkeling, but it was even more beautiful than the first!

Have I mentioned I am not a photographer, and I have a little point and shoot camera- so these pictures do not do the sky and the ocean justice.  It was gorgeous.

I got pounded pretty good by another wave and gave up and came on shore while JT played.  Later I would find out that that wave would cause another bulging disc at the bottom of my back :( pretty miserable way to end a vacation.  But I didn't know that at the time, so I was still having fun!

This video is not anything exciting...unless you are me or Blake (who loves this video) and you worship JT and love watching everything he does.  And if you are not me or Blake it would be weird for you to adore JT as much as we do.  But you can still watch a video of him standing out in the waves so that you can see the beautiful beach at the end :)

At the end of the day playing on our deserted island we took the ferry back to Puerto Rico and turned around to take an excursion to the Bioluminescent Bay.  This was amazing!  I didn't have a waterproof camera so I don't have pics :(

We took a tour at night (in the dark) where you take a kayak from the ocean into the Bio Bay.  Because it was the night before the new moon-there was no moon so it was extremely dark and the tour winds for a mile or so through a narrow canal surrounded by giant mangrove trees.  It was cool to be paddling in the dark with only a tiny glow stick on the kayak ahead of you to lead the way.  (And for the those not married to Boy Scout who loves to kayak, there were lots of people running into the trees.) As we got closer to the Bay there were tiny sparks of light in the water.

The Bay itself was beautiful.  Pitch black, with a few scattered stars, and completely dark water- until you touched it.  The Bioluminescent Bay is filled with a bunch of teeny tiny microorganisms whose only defense is the light they emit.  It was like a million tiny sparks of lightning bugs.  Every disturbance to the water causes these bursts of light.  As we paddled, or dragged our fingers and toes in the water it was lit up and glowed!  It was really indescribable. (the tour took pics of us, but I can't find their website to get those pics! lol)

Our tour group sang Happy Birthday to me- which was nice, since I missed having a party or anything being gone on my Birthday (Which actually makes me think I don't need to count this Birthday and I can stay 33 for another year.  Sorry Ash, and Lolly, you will get old without me this year.).  It was a wonderful way to spend my Birthday and our last night on the Island.

The last day we woke up and took a walk along the beach, of course.

Loved the resort and those palm trees

It was 85 degrees when we left :( I miss it so much!!

Notice the back up swim suit??

We saved $ by not having a beach view, but I loved the rain forrest view from our balcony just as much!

This was the giant Gingerbread House at the Hotel (to remind us that even though it was 85 degrees, it was still December) I loved the smell of Gingerbread!
These were the guys singing at the last restaraunt we ate at, they were awesome.  That is a little Puerto Rican instrument "guiro" that looks like a squash.

Camarones and Tostones. Ahhh Delicioso!
I know this just looks like a pair of hot, tan legs with a beautiful pedicure... but it is actually the wheel chair I had to be pushed around in at the airport when my bulging disc was killing me :( 

So there you go.

Our vacation was absolutely wonderful. I couldn't have asked for a better trip.  OK, I guess I would have liked to come home with my tankini bottoms and without a bugling disc and five pounds of tostones in my thighs...  But even with all of that- it was the best vacation with my favorite person.  I loved it and I can't wait to go back!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Liebster...the only German world I know, besides Snhitzel


Last night, when I went to bed, I was having a rough night.  (Stay tuned for more about that later)  So JT suggested I start blogging again.  That was a great idea- accept for the fact that my mind was completely blank (more about that later... but really later, like in a later post.  See how I did that?  I just hooked you with a little tidbit that makes you want to come back and read my next post to explain why my mind was blank.  Like a commercial for a new T.V. series that makes you want to come back the next week to get sucked in to a new addiction show.)

So when I sat down, hoping for some inspiration I was surprised to see a nomination for an Award called the Liebster Award.  Which was really thoughtful, especially knowing my recent let down.  (If you heard the 2013 Oscar Nominations, you know that I, once again, was not nominated for anything.  It is an extremely difficult let down.) Thank goodness for people who nominated me for this Blogging Award to lift my spirits.  (I am expecting the Nominators to present me with a gold plated statue if I "win")

What is a Liebster?

According to Amanda (and Ashlee who copied Amanda, and me - who is copying both of them) it is the German word for "favorite".  (Now I know two German words.  I grew up eating "Shnitzel" a German pork dish- which is one of my favorite words because whenever my mom said it we thought she was saying S*@!, which is the funniest thing for a kid to hear their mom swear.  At least in my house.)  This award is passed from one blogger to another as a way to tell them that you enjoy reading their blog--and they should keep it up! Here is how you accept your Nomination:

1. Post 11 random things about myself.

2. Answer the 11 questions my nominator set for me.
3. Create 11 questions for my nominees.
4. Nominate 11 other bloggers with fewer than 200 followers (no tag-backs).
5. Go to each of their blogs to tell them about their nominations.

11 Random Things About Myself
1. I speak Malagasy. (Or at least I did 10 years ago... I think I still can.)
2. I got to hold baby lions cubs on my mission at a Game Park in South Africa.  It was cool and scary.  One of the little cubs bit a pretty big hole in my  favorite sweater, which was a  obviulsy a tragedy.
3. I dream of having a maid one day, and a cook.  My favorite thing in the world is when other people cook and clean up the dishes for me.  (When it is good food, I am sorta picky.)
4. I always wear toe nail polish.  Always.
5. I love to bake.  (But again, I want a maid to do the dishes after me.)
6. I am madly in love with Jonathan Tyler.  He is not perfect, but he is the perfect guy for me.
7.  I don't know how to use the computer.  And I never thought this whole "internet thing" would actually "catch on".
8.  Someday I plan to go back to school and get my Bachelor's Degree.  Or at least take every possible elective class to decide what I want to do when I grow up.  This probably won't happen till my kids are all well into school, since I love being a stay at home mom right now.
9.  I think I am really funny.  Like, really-funny.  Like, funnier-than-you-funny.  I know that sound conceited, it isn't. It is just my perception.
10.  "Passion" soda is my favorite beverage on the planet.  I haven't had it in 10 years (since Madagascar) but not a day goes by that I don't miss it.  Maybe that is what they mean when they say "not a day will go by that you don't think  about your mission".  So true.
11.  I am an Art Docent at Riley's school.  It is so much fun.  It is my favorite title right now.

I was nominated twice (take that, Academy, who needs an Oscar?? I was nominated TWICE!) so I took half of each of their questions so that you wouldn't be reading my blog for the next 4 hours.  (Even though you want to.  Go ahead, read some old posts.  Leave some comments.  Enjoy yourself.)

Amanda's 6 Questions
1. When was the last time you cried? Last Night. (Remember the foreshadowing at the beginning of this post?) My back is hurting pretty bad, again.  I miss running, lifting weights, carrying my kids, sleeping at night, and feeling like myself.  It's been a "why me" kind of week.  I just want to get better.
2. What is your favorite outfit? Anything with my new brown boots. Oh and the grey dress that everyone at church loves. (thanks for the compliments, it makes my day :)
3. What is your most recent triumph? Being calm and tender when Riley had a big break down the other day.  I held her while she cried, and listened carefully, and helped her feel safe.  It may be one of my biggest triumphs ever.
4. Where have you always wanted to visit, but haven't yet? Europe. (How have  I lived this long without being to the Musee d' Orsay??)
5. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? A movie star, with a dark mole on my lip, a long cigarette holder in my left hand, and a mink fur draped over my shoulders.  And a brunette.
10. What talent do you wish you had developed in your youth? Math. Is that a talent? Ok, Piano- because it uses Math.  I always hated it when they said "you will use this someday" to calculate if a train leaves New York at 10:00 am and a bus leaves Miami on Wed and all I could think about is how I have never been to either of those places but that I would really like to go and I would just take a plane if I did go, and I would hire a travel agent so I wouldn't have to worry about the time.  And if worse came to worst I would use a calculator, or just ask someone wearing glasses (because we all know that wearing glasses makes you smart).

Ashlee's 5 Questions

2.  What was your GPA when you graduated from High School? Seriously?! I have no idea.  I think it was a 3.5, which was probably my best GPA ever since I had broken up with my boyfriend, dropped Math, and was taking Guitar and Art.
3.  What is your favorite form of exercise? Running and weight lifting and yoga.  Ok, I don't have a favorite.  I miss it all. :( Thanks for bringing it up, Ash, now I will probably have to cry again and change my answer to Amanda's first question.
4.  Do you care what way the toilet paper goes on the holder? Yes!!
10.  What is your biggest fear? Spiders.  And JT dying. (Even worse: JT dying because of a Spider!)
11.   What is your favorite vacation spot?  Puerto Rico just pushed it's way in to the top of my list.

Questions for the Nominees.
1. What is so cool about the person who nominated you?
2. What is your biggest regret of 2012?
3.  What was the highlight of 2012?
4.  Who do you wish you still kept in touch with, but haven't seen in awhile?
5. If you could meet one famous person, who would it be?
6.  What is the best part about your "job"?
7. Where is your favorite place to eat? (Restaurant.  Not "over the sink" or "in the tub")
8. What is your dream job?
9. Who is your hero, and why?
10. What is your lucky number?
11.  What was the last book you read?

Now to nominate some friends.   Have I ever told you I am terrible at keeping up on blogs?  (even my own)  So here are some that I read.  If I didn't mention you- don't hate me.  And please still vote for me so that I get a golden statue! What?  You don't think there is an actual vote and award for this?.........

Aubrey @
Meg  @
Jenny @
Wendy @
Ashley @

Remember how my mind has been going blank lately? And how I have 3 kids and two of them are now awake and one will be at the bus stop soon?  And how I have been icing my back the whole time I  typed this, and now it is accidentally numb?  I gotta go.  Can I come back and nominate the rest tonight?  oh, good, thank you Liebster Panel for not disqualifying me.