Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My Birthday

As I sit here reflecting back on yesterday's occurrence, I am reminded as to how blessed I truly am. There are people in my life that deeply care about me and just how thankful I am for that is indescribable. Over the many months, there were some days I felt utter pain where I felt alone and weak inside, dropping to my knees wanting to give up. Yet there are those people in my life that would help me back on my feet and stand strong in any situation. While on those occasions when my children's behavior sends me to my wit's end and I want to cry, they rest their head on me and say, "I love you Mommy" as if God took control, holding their hands with peace in mind as they realize their wrongs. Or when I feel my family is not close or understanding me anymore, they embrace me and show me their support and unconditional love.

Yesterday was my birthday, a day (28 years ago) that God put me in this world (not to be of it but in it) with hope and desire that I follow his teachings and guidance. Poor choices have been made, lessons have been learned, laughter and joy have been right there all along, pain and tears have regularly been experienced, but His blessings continue. In every situation, He is always there either leading the way or helping me get back on the right path.

Although, I don't want to experience pain or loss in life, I don't like learning things the hard way, nor watching my physical features age with each new year, I truly am blessed to have another birthday!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I never imagined the intense varying feelings I would experience when I watched my "Baby" Girl go to Kindergarten. As Draven and I walked Elora through the halls for the first time, Draven proudly and protectively stayed at her side while she smiled in excitement to be at the "big kids" school with her brother, seeing her long-time friends along the way, yet still nervous and attached to me as she continued forward. In reaching her locker, Draven eagerly and patiently explained to her how to "use" it and what not to do with her things. Yet Elora showed more interest in listening to her very excited locker neighbor and classmate, Calvin Ureda, along with showing off her new princess backpack to her friend across the hall, Adel Cathey. Although Draven should have left our side and gone to class with the first bell, he wanted to ensure Elora's happiness and ease her mind by walking through the classroom door with her. Mrs. (Ellen) Fischer welcomed Elora with the warmest smile and "Good Morning!" a child could ask for. With other parents in the room, some relaxed, some anxious with cameras, and one with tears of happiness, the children gathered to the colorful rug giggling and chatting with their friends. Draven knew it was time and called to his sister, "Bye Elora!" Her eyes lit up and she waved joyfully as if saying thank you and responded, "Bye Dwaven! Have a good day!" Draven left the classroom with his head held high and smiling confidently as if knowing he did his big brother duty and can now go to class.
The final bell rang and I knew it was time for me to let my Baby go. I gave her one more hug and kiss, waving "I love you" and blowing kisses back and forth with her until I was no longer visible. It was a new day, a new chapter in Elora's life, and the first of many educational experiences ahead as her future unfolds. This was only the beginning and it is called...Kindergarten.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Second Grade

Although I am not sure how the time passed so quickly, Draven proudly began his descent through the "big kids" hallway leading to his 2nd Grade classroom, while Elora and I trailed behind. Along the way, he received hugs and high-fives from friends he has not seen since the end of last school year. On one side sweet Gretchen, with the most descriptive facial expressions I have ever seen in a child, began chatting in excitement about where their seats are located (second row, next to each other across the walkway), while on the other side was Cousin Jason full of content, yet both boys walked in silence (as if they were speaking to each other with their body language and eyes, but no voice, while they walked proudly together). In reaching his locker, he opened it and paused, almost seemingly unintentional as he looked into it for the first time of many ahead, familiarizing himself with its location, excitedly pointing out that it was next to Storm's locker, before he placed his belongings in it. Upon entering his classroom, he says, "Hi Ms. Keller" and looks around at his new classroom, quietly absorbing everything within it before I ask where his desk is; he so diligently begins reading the names on each desk until we find his, located next to Natalie Gilbert. I stop and reminisce for a moment with Mrs. Keller (previously known as Ms. Gunion) as it feels like it was not that long ago that I was in the same classroom but as her 6th Grade student. Well as the last of the children entered the classroom and the 8:10 a.m. bell rang, it was my cue to say goodbye. With Elora at my side, we walked outside the classroom and waved goodbye to Draven saying, "Have a good day!" As if we were already forgotten, he kept his attention focused on his teacher at the front of the classroom and the voices around him of happy children on their first day of school. Today begins the new chapter of learning, friends, and memories in the 2nd Grade at Hermon Hutchens Elementary School.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Life Brings

Sometimes life brings unexpected pain. You have a choice to either control the pain or let the pain control you. Sometimes life brings unexpected change and you can either accept it or fight it. Sometimes life brings unexpected choices and you can either stand strong in the choice you have made or always question if it was the right choice. Sometimes life brings happiness in the most unexpected way and you can either take hold of it or let it pass you by. Sometimes life brings unexpected confusion and you can either take the challenge to work through it or you can attempt to ignore it is there. Sometimes life offers growth in the most unexpected way and you can either grasp it, even it hurts, or watch someone else take the opportunity. Sometimes life brings wisdom in the most unexpected way and you can either absorb all that it offers or turn away from it.
Over the past four months I have learned a lot about myself and the people in my life. I have learned that love can be so blinding you do not see all that is wrong and unhealthy. I have learned that the people in life that I thought were always by my side were never really there to begin with. I have learned that the people in life I never thought cared, have been caring for me all along. I have learned that having strength is so much more than physical. I have learned that all things in life happens for a reason, whether I fully understand the reasoning or not. I have learned that no person has the right to judge and condemn the next. I have learned that my value/worth is so much more than I have been made to believe.
Many days I feel like fighting back in the same way it comes at me; many days I feel emotionally exhausted; many days I feel like giving up on this new path; many days I feel I am too weak to stand strong; many days I feel I cannot bear any more pain; many days I feel so lost and confused; many days I feel like I am all to blame; many days I feel the words are like stones being thrown to make me fall where I have been made to believe I should be...
I then remember that with the strength God provides, I can continue to stand.
No matter how painful the unexpected might bring, I must remember that I am here for a purpose and I have choices to make. With Him in mind and by my side, I choose to flourish.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Many Faces of Elora

Offering new faces all the time, I can't help but laugh at all of them...even sometimes when she cries. Don't get me wrong, I would much prefer her laughing and giggly looks and attitude most of all; however, as parents, we are thrown curve balls regularly. Whether it is Elora throwing a tantrum, stomping those feet, and showing me her "sharper" looks; or her picking on her brother and offering that "mischievous" look like she knows what she is doing is wrong but she is enjoying it; or when she gets hurt and she gives the look of "pity me"; or my favorite, when she is full of joy and Draven makes her laugh, she gives the look of utter "happiness", a Kodak moment that I wish would never end. I could honestly spend hours writing about the many faces Elora has but even words can't fully describe every detail to her many expressions. So each one, even the ones that cause me frustration and make me want to pull my hair out, are priceless in their own way.
First Grade

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 was Draven's first day in the First Grade. Walking him in those big red doors again as the first day of school is here another year, I see my son's excitement. To see classmates he hasn't seen all summer, showing confidence in this new chapter as a first grader, and hugging friends he has missed, Draven's first day of First grade is here. Waving "I love you" hand signs to one another, I wonder when he will think he is too old to that anymore or when I am no longer asked to walk him to his locker. Until then, I cherish these moments as Elora tells Draven that she loves him and in her continuing pronunciation of words she adds, "Have a good day Draben!" As that final morning bell rang, Draven's teacher, Mrs. Derifield, welcomes the students into her classroom of mysteriousness and adventure as this new world of the First Grade begins to unfold.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Draven - "The Teacher"

Since the beginning, Draven has found ways to teach his sister, Elora, the facts of life. In her earliest years, he would offer a "visible lesson" by grinding his teeth, grunting, and many times forcefully taking back whatever it was she walked away with that belonged to him. Other times, he would throw her toy as a "mental lesson" reminding her not to throw his toys. Even more so on other occasions, he would knock her diaper-butt down as a "physical lesson" to not bite him/pull his hair/pinch him/etc. When she reached age three, Draven began offering more "emotional lessons" by holding his ground, awaiting her 'Please Draven...' in a happy voice, even through her tantrums, stubbornness, many aggravated tears, and refusal to be nice. But then, at the turning of age four, he introduced "verbal lessons" to her. Whether it was yelling right back at her or mimicking her every word, only to annoy her as much as she did to him earlier that day, he was bound to teach her.

However, it is nice to see that his "teachings" actually do have many times of loving, patient, and caring moments. Whether he bites down and painfully yet "nicely" explains how to do something, for the fourth time; rolls his eyes to her continuous questions of curiosity, yet answers them patiently as if it was her first question versus her tenth one; or physically beats himself up just to put a smile back on her face in the time of aggravation, he has become and always will be not only Elora's big brother, but also her teacher.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sticks & Stones

The saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a complete lie. The truth is that broken bones may heal but painful words leave deep, unhealing scars in the mind and soul.

Over the past many years, I have been battling with a demon disguised as a friend, a financial assistant, an ear & shoulder to lay my troubles, an aid in life, and much more. The higher I was able to hold myself up, the harder this unsuspecting demon made me fall. Looking back on the years, I only wish it was "sticks and stones" that broke me because by now, my body would have been healed. However, it was the sharp words poisoning my heart and mind, the deceitful friendship, and the unnecessary cruelness behind every smile and word filled with hidden meaning.

I let it all go though...I broke free from the constant pain. Even knowing that I would jeapordize my name to those that were drawn in by that demon, I accepted the suffering and closed that door in my life. For once, I felt completely humble and joyful. God had been my shield and armor when I though there was no way out. Even through the spiritual agony and many tears, He showed me peace. Life has been grand with the demon away. I have been happy, my family has been happy......but why then do I feel like Eve in the Garden of Eden through the temptation again being offered by the demon? I tell myself that I will be stronger this time; I will not fall under the trickery ways this time; I will only let this demon in far enough to help ME this time; I will end it as soon as I reach my goal this time...and the excuses keep flowing. My dear husband laid it all out and I saw the truth behind his every word to if I let this demon back in my life. BUT...(as I think to myself all of my previously listed excuses) husband stops me and says, plain and simply, "Jacquelyn, you need to pray more." Yes, I must before this demon consumes me again.

So here is my story, as the fine pain of needles on my soul slowly try to seep back into my life. Behind the demon's crooked smiles, words of sweet nothings, and hidden agendas, my strength weakens. I begin to pray a prayer in hopes to defeat this demon for good and to not lose track in my life's purpose here for Him. The question is now, since I am Eve in the Garden of Eden and the demon is tempting me, once again, I reflect back wondering, have I taken a bite of the sweet nectar or but a nibble...?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Journey

Where did the time go? Life just happens and time passes without control. So many moments I have wanted to capture with written words or through a camera but instead I let it slip right by me thinking, “I will be sure to capture it next time.” However, that “next time” never seems to come. I so badly wish I could press the rewind button in life just so I could cherish those moments I seemed to have forgotten the fine details about or let slip right by me without truly appreciating it or just capturing it somehow.

A couple weeks ago I had been desperately seeking the “right” choice in determining whether I should continue with my college education (at one class per semester for many years to finally see light in reaching my goal of a two-year, AAS Degree, late 2009) or spend my evenings devoted to God and my family. Just as I began looking through the PWSCC course catalog for spring 2008, I happened to look over at my husband sitting at the computer, flipping through random digital pictures of our children. I looked at photos of Elora between the ages of one and three and became teary-eyed at how I had forgotten those years. I have many memories of Draven transforming from a baby to a toddler, a little less memories of him as a preschooler, and now he is a Kindergartner. However with Elora, life seemed to have sped up because I remember her as a baby, vaguely recall the years in between, and now know she is a preschooler. Sadly, I have let time slip by me and the baby stages of my children are forever gone! Due to full-time work, always taking a college course, juggling children’s extracurricular activities, my pitiful addiction to watching movies (we do not have television), devoting as much “spare” time as possible to my husband and children, in the end, my priorities just have not been in the right place.

The what-ifs fill my mind around the use of my time. I mean, how could I possibly have missed so much in my children’s life when I spend time with them every day? How could I think that watching movies oh-so-often is truly worth my time? How could I possibly think that obtaining my degree was more important than those precious moments with my children and raising them as God would have me? How did Draven go from a dependant, snuggly, giggly, gibberish speaking, one year old babe to an independent, logical speaking, too smart for his own good, school-aged kid? Furthermore, what happened to my overly-kissing, with a need of at least nine hugs before bedtime, completely adoring her brother’s every move, baby girl to a sassy, competitive with brother’s every move and word, Mommy and Daddy mimic, preschool child? How could I have possibly given up all those opportunities to spend every “spare” moment with these two amazing gifts given to me by God? How can I do God’s work though and let Him shine through me when I do not even provide my focused attention and the necessary time for Him in the first place?

So on my knees, I turn it over to Him praying for strength (as I struggle with fear, social pressure, and feeling the need of a college degree for job security and stature), compassion (so that I may raise my children as He would have me full heartedly), hope (just as God has for me), peace (as a mother and between my children), patience (just as God has for all His children in this world; be quick with love and slow with anger), faith (to completely trust God in guiding me to serve my purpose and giving all else to Him), and love (to provide my children with the comfort, security, and the ultimate love as He does for). There is so much more in prayer and praise for Him that I have yet to even scratch the surface. I need Him as #1 in my life; now if only I can change my priorities to show it that way. The journey continues…

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Birthday Weekend Marathon
Two birthday parties, one sleepover, in one weekend equals a birthday weekend marathon that I am proud to say that I succeeded in crossing the finish line!

It all began Friday evening, October 12 between cleaning our house and baking Elora Danan the ultimate princess cake for her 4th Birthday Princess Party the following day, I didn't get to bed until 3 a.m. Saturday morning. With the final touches to the cake to be made, snacks to be prepared, decorations to be hung, and laundry to be put away, I was on the go from the moment I awoke...barely 9 a.m. The many dressed up princesses arrived around 2 p.m. and the party was immediately underway, beginning with playtime in Elora's room. Between the princess crown craft, place the jewel on the crown sticker game, and free time in Elora's room (which became scattered through the house), the girls were famished. Thus, the snacks and princess castle cake were a hit. Although, I will admit that it was rather painful to watch my many hours of creation be devoured in only minutes. After much fun, the princess party came to an end around 4:30 p.m...leaving me just enough time to take down decorations and clean up the "princess" mess before the sleepover began.At 6:30 p.m. Draven's three friends (from left to right in first picture, Moe, cousin Jason, Draven, James) and Elora's one friend, Layla, arrived for the first Olson home sleepover. It was an exciting night filled with painting, glow cords/necklaces, imaginary play, camping out on the floor (air mattress style), and relaxing with movies and popcorn. With the last pair of little eyes to close and lights out just before midnight, I was granted quiet time to bake Draven's birthday cake for the following day. Sunday morning was an early one as Moe was up and getting the other boys up to play at 7:30 a.m. After much play and a big pancake breakfast, the sleepover had come to an end but I was informed by all the boys that it was the "BEST sleepover EVER!". Shortly following, Draven, Elora, and I were out the door "delivering" children to their homes so that we could make it to church by 11 a.m. followed by rushing to the pool to decorate for Draven's birthday party.
After rushed decorations and food preparation, guests for Draven's 6th Birthday Pokemon Party arrived at 2:30 p.m. for fun in the swimming pool. I don't think those kids knew how exciting it would really be when Draven's daddy stepped into that kiddie pool. Draven was so proud of his daddy, as he took on over half of the kids in the water that continued to jump, climb, and latch onto him. I will have to admit that it was rather impressive and I too am proud to have such an interactive dad, father our children. Well after much wrestling, climbing, jumping, and swimming in the pool, the 20 children were more than ready to eat. Once dressed, we gave the children 15 minutes of quite time to eat snacks and watch the beginning of a Pokemon movie (or maybe is was for my sanity...?), which was then followed by the "coolest" Pokemon cake that also was painful to watch be devoured so quickly. Lastly, the sugar had kicked in, the present opening was chaotic, and parents arrived shortly before I was ready for them. However, thanks were given, children went home, the mess was cleaned up, decorations were taken down, and at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 14, I was granted the "beginning" of my relaxing weekend...with work to be following that next morning at 8 a.m.

Thus, although it was a weekend of short-lived appreciation, minimal sleep, and much time lost, I succeeded as my children told me it was the "BEST", their smiles/excitement were priceless, and just knowing I do not have to do another birthday like that for a whole year, makes all the difference.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Driving 101

Lesson #1) Windshield Wipers are on the left side of the steering wheel, not the right.

Lesson #2) In a 2001 Dodge Ram truck, your foot does not have to be on the break to change gears.

Lesson #3) The "safety" beeping sound that activates when putting the truck in reverse does not seem to apply if one puts it in Reverse and then Drive, quickly enough.

Lesson #4) Even on level ground and no gas applied, a vehicle can surprisingly move forwards and backwards with ease.

Lesson #5) Although a child may prove himself "old enough" to be your automatic start in any such vehicle, do not assume they will never have an "oops" day.

Last Tuesday morning was like any other morning with getting ready for work while getting my babes ready for school (Draven - Kindergarten; Elora - Preschool). In addition, as almost every morning for the past three-plus months, I asked Draven to start the truck while I helped Elora get her coat and shoes on. However, this particular morning went a little different than I foresaw. My mother, being seconds away from pulling into my driveway (which is a rare occasion before work), wonders what I am doing, as she sees the reverse lights on our truck turn on and off repeatedly. It was as if I was debating whether I wanted to pull out of the driveway or drive forward. Well just as she pulls into my driveway and exits her car, Elora and I are walking out the door, beginning our descent down the stairs, when all of a sudden I hear my mother curse ("OMG!") so loudly I think the neighbors heard, as she hurries around the truck. Only a second after her words, I yell "DRAVEN!!!!!" His face peering through the windshield contained complete and utter fear with his words of "Mommy, HELP!" as the truck gradually moved forward four feet before being stopped by our rock wall. As most may already know, our rock wall is small, thus, the vehicle was moving rather slowly and only had to bump it before coming to a complete stop. However, to a five-year-old in the driver's seat of a moving vehicle caused by him, with the door wide open, no seatbelt, grandma rushing around in panic, and Mommy's voice hitting its loudest note - it was quite the traumatic experience. Thus, we BOTH learned something that day. Thank you God for such painless, damage-free, yet valuable lessons.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

First Day of Kindergarten

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 was Draven's first day of Kindergarten. I can only imagine the many thoughts running through my son's mind as we walked through those big, red front doors to the Hermon Hutchens Elementary School. Although he was barely recovering from a chest cold and pink eye, his excitement shined through as he said hello to his fellow peers at every other locker along the way to his own at the end of the hall, where all the Kindergarteners reside. He located the locker with his name on it and I walked him through where items from his backpack were to go (gym shoes at the bottom of the locker, extra set of clothes, snack, and lunch at the top of the locker) as well as explaining that his coat and backpack needed to be hung on the rack not just shoved to the bottom of the locker. Next, Elora and I walked Draven into his classroom to allow him to show us his table and assigned seat while saying, "Good Morning" to his new teacher, Mrs. Walker. She had just begun explaining to the children what it means when she asks if they are having "cold lunch" or "hot lunch" when the 8:10 a.m. bell rang. As the bell rang at 8:15 a.m. to inform the many lingering parents that school is now in session, Elora hugged her big brother goodbye, said "Have a good day Draven", and expressed through body language how proud she was of him on his first day at the "big kids school" as she walked away with her head held high and a pleased smile on her face. Draven gave one last look our way, waving an "I love you" with his hand and an excited smile on his face as we left through the door, leaving him to venture into the world of Kindergarten.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

*Picture to be posted this weekend*

To be able to sit back and watch Draven ponder over the correct pronunciation of words in his book and then comprehend what he is reading, is truly a heartfelt moment. I humbly listen to my son as he pronounces each letter individually to then combine them as one in creating the sound of a word. I am so blessed to get the opportunity to watch my son's mind hard at work as something so small becomes so grand.

As I write this Blog, Draven asks what I am doing so I explained to him that I was telling others about his reading and how I wanted to share something he knows how to read. Draven immediately started flipping through the pages of a book he happened to be reading tonight and chose the following sentence for your reading pleasure. "The cat sat on the pig's hat." Thus, I hope you enjoyed his enthusiasm about it and the sentence he chose for you all, as much as I did! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Day With Daddy

With Patrick's new summer schedule, he has the opportunity to spend Fridays with our little ones. Although work calls him in regularly on those Fridays off or something needs to be completed around the house or errands need to be done around town or...whatever it may be. Not this day though, all those other "needs" were set aside. It was a beautiful Friday and he spent it with our children exploring. Between the streams, the Valdez graveyard, mini-waterfalls, and the old Chinese graveyard, they had an adventure. Time with their daddy is always fun because he has the heart for exploration and exciting quests outdoors. That Friday with their daddy was just for them, there was no pressure of having to be somewhere else nor did Patrick have a desire to spend his productivity in any other way...he spent the day with our children and they loved it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Playing in the dirt, talking to the runner on the other team instead of paying attention to the ball coming your way, long pauses and perfect positioning of the body before every throw, jumping in excitement on the bases, battling with your teammate over the rolling ball, and getting hit with the ball while running (because the other team thought that throwing the ball at the running player is what the coach meant when she said, "tag him") is all part of the game in T-Ball.

This is Draven's first season at playing T-ball but he seems to really enjoy it, even when the other player threw the ball at him to "tag" him. At first it was really hard to watch these four to six year-olds be totally confused as to why they can't play with the other team member while on the base, which way they need to run, when to run, where to throw the ball, why they have to throw the ball, and having to swing the bat vs. "chopping wood" to hit the ball. However, I was reminded that it is a fun time for the children, whether or not they are doing it the right way, and the parents get a good laugh out of it. It is also funny to watch Elora interact as the social bug with younger siblings of the T-ball players and Draven's support ("Good hit Draven" or "DRAVEN! Get the ball!"). Next year she will be able to play too, yet I am unsure if I want to deal with the drama of competetive siblings on the same team!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Random Moments

#1) At bedtime, Draven picked out a book for Daddy to read to him, "Noah's Ark". Patrick responded to Draven that they had just read that book the night before and asked out of his whole bookshelf full of other books if would he like to pick out a different one. Draven said, "No, I think God will be happy if I read this book."

#2) Draven and I were practicing one of his Bible verses for AWANA one night and I gave him the first word to the verse as I always do with his verses. This time though, the first word was "God..." and from around the corner, in the other room, Elora yells, "God loves me!" I couldn't help but laugh yet feel warm inside as that is the AWANA Cubbies Motto which Draven [and obviously Elora] learned the first week of AWANA back in September. Children really do hear everything that is being said around them and for being so young, their memory capacity astonishes me.

#3) Elora was playing with her babies when she turned to me and said, "Mommy, you know what?" "No sweetie, what?" I responded. "God loves know why?", she confidently states. "You are right, He does love you but why?" I so interestingly reply. "Cuz I'm nice to everybody", she almost snobbishly sounding and self-assuredly explains. She then immdiately turns back to playing with her baby dolls as if the truth was made known and life could go on.

#4) Sitting in church one recent Sunday, Draven and Elora were playing on the floor with Magnetix while Pastor Ray began his sermon. Shortly in to it, Elora asked, "What did God say?" I intriguingly asked her where she heard God's voice and she pointed to Pastor Ray. Draven laughed and said, "That's not God, he's just his helper." I then asked Draven to explain to Elora where God is. "Elora, God is everywhere. He's invisible but he's right there, and right there, and right there, and...." Draven confidently tells her. But just to be her argumentative-self, she replies, "Nuh-uh, he's not right here!" as she points to the floor directly next to her foot. Draven attempts to argue back when Mommy steps in to briefly explain to the curious three-year-old that God could even be sitting on her shoulder or giving her a hug and she wouldn't even know it because we can't see Him. She just needs to believe in Him. I have to admit that I was rather impressed with Draven's confidence about God AND his ability to whisper his argument to his sister! :)
When I grow up...

The other day, Elora turned to me and said, "Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a teacher." I asked her why she wanted to be a teacher and she explained to me how nice they were and that they teach the ABC Song. Prior to that day, I also remembered her telling me, "When I grow up, I want to be a Mommy because then I can take care of real babies too."
Draven then turned to me and said, "Do you know what I want to be when I grow up? I want to have a Ninja Store so I can sell ninja weapons and teach good guys how to be ninjas to fight all the bad guys everywhere."

Although my children are not expressing a desire to be a doctor, our nation's peace keeper, or the President, I stop and think to myself that I must be doing o.k. as a parent because my children have a desire to do good in this world. I mean, Draven could have said he wanted to be a bad ninja to fight all the good people, right? To be honest, I am one of those mother's that regularly criticizes my own parenting skills and fears how bad my children will turn out due to my parenting inadequacy. However, days like this where Draven and Elora express what "good" kind of people they want to grow up to be, is one where I just sit back and smile reminding myself that life is great.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


When I think of Christmas, although my head is filled with the debt and shopping stress it brings, my heart is filled with warmth for the family gathering, smiling faces, our ability to give to others, and most of all, God's gift to us [his Son].

On Christmas Eve, a wonderful skit was put on by the children of my church to remind us that we all have the ability to give to others whether it be by lending a hand, providing food to the hungry, or opening the door to our home even if for only warmth from the cold. Every year I stress about the money we have to spend for "substantial" gifts. However, I recieve more satisfaction and am humbled by Him when I give a gift through an act of kindness and not a materialistic one. Again though, I don't feel it is substantial enough for the person receiving it and don't want them to be disappointed. I realize I dwell too much on how others perceive me and what they think when in reality, I should be more focused on how I am perceived in God's eyes. Although it is a continual struggle for me to not worry about how I am being judged by those around me, I pray that I can teach my children that His perception on who we really are is all that really matters.

If Christmas took place on a more regular basis, I would more easily stay focused on what is most important in life...RECOGNIZING/PRAISING/SERVING HIM!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


As I went for the Medieval look, Patrick was my Dark Priest. On the other hand, Draven was my Ninja boy, and Elora was my Fairy Princess.

Although we did not take them trick-or-treating around the neighborhood; they did get to visit all the local businesses and ended up with more candy than I had I was the one who ate most of it! ;)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Birthday Fun

On October 15, Elora turned three years old and on October 16, Draven turned five years old. This year, I provided the sprinkles and candles but gave them full rein on how they each wanted their cake decorated. It was so much fun watching their creativity come through! However, I had to continually help Elora stay focused with more "decorating" on the frosting and less "eating" of the frosting. By the end of the decorating fun, I only had to touch up a few bare spots with new frosting. :)

Although it worked very well to combine Draven and Elora's birthday for the family to come over; I have decided that it is the last year I will combine their birthday parties! Seeing that they both now not only attend preschool at their daycare center, but also at the Christian-based, SmallFry Preschool, you can only imagine what it is like to pick through FOUR classes of kids to make one birthday party! I noticed though how much easier and more convenient it seemed for parents of Draven's classmates to hold a birthday party at the swimming pool, so I wanted to give it a try. However, it was not until it was time to get out of the pool that I realized how the "easy" part referred to the older children in Draven's class. While most parents just dropped off their child to the birthday party, it became rather difficult to get 10 three and four year olds showered, dry, dressed, and out of the lockerroom all at the same time for cake. Thank goodness for the two mothers that stayed for the party; otherwise, I would have been one completely wet mom and a full-of-stress wreck! To top it off, when it came time for cake and presents, the older children towered the younger ones and easily (although accidently) knocked them down or pushed them out of the way. I felt overwhelmed as I continually tried to keep the children focused and out of mischief, in addition to making sure the party moved along as planned. In the end, I was more than happy to send all the darling children with their parents. And although I was complimented as to how well I kept it together and how the party was a success, next year, I choose to have two controlled parties over one chaotic party!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Holding On to What is True
These past couple of months between work, school, business trips out of town, and visiting friends out of state, it has been busy, busy, busy and go, go, go. Although I enjoy traveling for work and thoroughly enjoyed visiting old friends; I looked forward to down-time with Patrick, Draven, and Elora in October. However, as I loaded new pictures on to my computer from my Reno and Six Flags Marine World vacation (visiting friends), I realized that I missed out on capturing two months of memories with my children. Does that mean I did not have time for them? Does that mean they were moved from the top of my priority list due to my work and selfish motives such going to school and traveling alone? Although some may think two months isn't very long or how it is understandable because I was "busy"; I have to wonder, how could two months slip right by me and I vaguely recall it happening? Times like this make me feel I should stop going to school while the children are young and with me working full-time but instead, actually spend all that missed valuable time with my family because in the end, isn't that is what is truly important? I am regularly torn with this dilemma because I keep telling myself, “If I could just obtain my two-year degree (one class per semester – six years later and barely over one year complete), I can get better job opportunities and job security which will then provide me with enough money to keep us out of financial stress living only a mediocre lifestyle and then be able to provide more for my children than I ever received growing up.” Does this statement sound familiar? I have heard time and time again about parents wanting to provide better for their children when really, children will actually benefit more in life if they had that extra bonding time with mom & dad instead of mom & dad being gone all the time making money, which then can only provide material things. Therefore, why do I seek for better status in this world when I should actually be seeking ways to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, through Him?

Over the past couple of months, I have felt as if I was missing something or there was emptiness in my life. However, I could not grasp what it was because I thought, “How could I possibly be missing something when I already have a full plate?” Then, the other day, a friend’s writings opened my eyes to see what is has been there all along but somehow I just didn’t see it…it was Him I needed. With all my busyness, God’s word has been put on the backburner and I was unintentionally keeping Him from filling my hunger and emptiness. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" Psalms 46. A friend told me, “When you are empty, turn to God for strength, because it's only through Him that you will truly feel FULL.” I want to live a life FILLED, because of His Love. My family will be stronger, my marriage will be stronger, and my children will grow to live a life that is FULL. Through God’s words, love, and guidance, I am truly rich and am so thankful for His reminders. I pray I never allow the real world cloud my spiritual world values. GOD IS GOOD!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Summer's End...

Summer's End... Valdez was cheated a warm and sunny summer this year because the rain is still coming and summer is at its end. However, I am thankful for the fun times in which the wet summer has provided for my children. I have come to notice that the older I get, the faster the year passes me by. I look at my children and think, "What happened to my babies?!" They are growing so fast, that I can't seem capture the moments quick enough. Although I have no spare time, I have recently began reading two books named, "Loving and Letting Go!" and "Parenting with Love and Logic." {Again, I have no spare time so hopefully will have at least one of these books finished by the end of the year!} If only I could take better mental notes and apply them more often, I would have perfect, well-rounded, successful, and rich in God's goodness, children! Therefore, I only hope my practicing as a parent pays off! I just love to sit back and watch them play together though. So innocent, pure, happy, and loving...most of the time. Of course, as all parents do, we have had (and still have) many days of tattling, copying to no positive end, pushing, biting (thank goodness Elora got over this!), yelling, and arguing. For example, this past weekend we went to the State Fair and Draven did his great brotherly duty of watching over Elora. He cheered her on as she nervously got onto a ride that Draven was too tall for but also had no problem leaving her crying while he went on a ride that she was too small for. When it came down to the last of the tickets, each child stood there ground to who deserved the last ride more. "I'm bigger Mommy, so can I have the last turn?" Draven asks while Elora proclaims, "No, me bigger too Mommy! Me want turn!" However, although the age difference of exactly two years makes bickering more convenient, at the end of the day it has also given them each a best friend, no matter what.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Having Fun
To sum up Valdez weather for the past month would be as follows:
Drizzly, foggy, cloudy, and non-stop puddle making kind of days, yet still beautiful.
Of course it depends on who you ask (e.g. most adults vs. my children), this weather could be seen as nothing but end of the summer, gloomy days in Valdez or it could be seen as fun puddle-jumping days to end a wonderful wet summer. I try to choose the latter of the two so that I do not sound pessimistic and turn my children's views to mirror my own, in such a situation. With that in mind, I decided to partake in this splashing fun with a long-time girlfriend of mine. As we ended our cold and wet, but fantastic, fishing adventure during the Women's 2006 Fishing Derby, we found the biggest puddle possible in the parking lot of the boat docks. By the count of three, we had jumped so hard into it that even my hair was splashed upon. I then remembered as if a child to why my babes find so much enthusiasm and excitement with Valdez weather. However, as a responsible parent in trying to keep my children from catching a cold in such weather, we have spent most of these wet days indoors while finding other creative ways for entertainment. For example, last night, Patrick came home with a bag full of balloons and although I just saw them as cluttered array of colors all over my floor calling at our dog, Kyanna, begging to be popped; Draven and Elora spent many hours using a mind-full of imagination to what the balloons could be (e.g. playing catch with the dog and one another, arrows to be shot at mommy and daddy, colorful balls of fire, etc.). In addition, due to the rain today, we were able to explore the idea of activities in the kitchen with mommy. Although, baking cookies can be completed less messy and quicker when done alone; I wanted quality time with my babes, in addition to keeping them from getting irritated with one another while having been indoors and so closely joined most of the weekend. Since we were already in the kitchen, we decided to adventure onto creating Blue Raspberry Jell-O Jigglers, for the first time. It took a moment for them to grasp the contradiction that although mommy and daddy enforce no playing with food, they are allowed, in this case, to actually not only use their hands but in fact, also, play with it as it heads toward their mouth. I can already see a future statement arising as Elora tests the boundaries of food handling during dinner, "...but me play with Jell-O!?"In the end, our kitchen escapade ended with sticky fingers, messy Jell-O and cookie dough faces, blue tongues, and a chaotic countertop; yet very blissful children. Therefore, I attempt to stay relaxed and positive during this drizzly time at home, in Valdez. Because God created it, I know there is beauty in it, even if it is harder to find...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

~ A Siblings Love ~

If I could turn back the hands of time,
I'd relive our childhood years
Take less for granted and appreciate more
give it my all even when it brought tears.
A siblings love is so very different,
the safety of knowing you’re not on your own.
The sibling jokes, the rivalry, the fights,
the "get away and leave me alone's."
If I could turn back the hands of time,
and know what I know now.
I'd tell you that I love you,
Hold you close, and never turn away.
Time goes by and we grow up,
we go our separate ways.
But the love we share will always be there,
the memories are here forever to stay.
The fights over toys,
The nights we got scared,
and climbed into each others beds.
The rainy days we spent inside,
the Christmas mornings.
The embarrassment at school,
The friends I didn't like.
A siblings love is so very different,
the person you grew up with
the One you didn’t know always cared.
We take for granted this kinder love,
when growing up we were so blessed
Parents that guided and loved us
When we didn’t give our best.
Now as I'm getting older
I've learned to appreciate things much more
I'm thankful for your uniqueness
And each of you I adore.
Today I want to say to both of you
I Love You with my whole heart,
I'll Love You beyond this lifetime,
And my love will never stop.


I have recently come to notice how much Draven actually goes out of his way to teach Elora. For a few months now, Draven asks Elora questions, in the middle of conversations, as if to test her listening skills or to prove a point of being correct/incorrect.

Draven: "We aren’t going inside to brush our teeth, we are going to eat dinner first and then get ready for bed. Elora, are we going to eat dinner first or brush our teeth first?”
Elora: “Eat dinner first.”
Draven: “Right. Are we going to get ready for bed after dinner or play outside?”
Elora: “Play?”
Draven: “No, remember, we are going to get ready for bed after we eat.”
Elora: “Oh, ya…”

She looks up to him and depends on his sibling love, whether it be talking quietly with him, laughing/tickling one another, yelling back and forth until Mommy or Daddy intervenes, or just being in the same room for when she has questions, that we as parents don’t take the time to thoroughly expound upon. However, Draven also looks to her for encouragement and praise. For example, as of this past weekend, Draven can now ride a two-wheel bicycle (thanks to the simplistic and straightforward advice by Howard Roth through his ebook, Bike Riding Made Easy). While Draven practiced balancing and pedaling, Elora shouted from her bike or standing in the street, every couple feet he made it without having to catch himself from falling, “Good job Draven!”, “Wow, good job!”, “Draven, you o.k.? Good job!” It is one of those milestones that I am so grateful to see Draven achieve. He is so proud to make it down the street now, as we cheer from the sidelines. However, Elora has also learned from him on how to criticize…“Come on Draven, go faster so we go to the park!”, “COME ON!!!” while she speeds down the street on her tricycle or being pushed in the stroller.

As I watch my two babes play great together one minute, and yell at each other the next; clean up their toys when asked yesterday, but show pure defiance as they look in my eyes and tell me no today; or happily eat all of their dinner without complaint last week, but get so worked up with exasperation that they gag on anything put in their mouth this week; I begin to whine (yep, sadly, my children learned from the best I have come to realize!), I become emotional, and frazzled with everyone in the house as I feel like an inadequate parent. My dearest husband, Patrick, is right there expressing his own bedrock confidence in my parenting skills and stating how another mother could not love her children more than I already do. He reminds me of how perfect our life truly is and how I need to lighten up so that I too can enjoy the ride. As I recently heard someone say, “Taking life too seriously just really sucks!” Thank you Father for the many blessings in my life in which I so often seem to forget and the loving reminders you plant around me.

Monday, July 24, 2006

My Sweetest Hearts
My Sweetest Hearts in all the world
I think of you each day
I love you both so very much
More and more every day

When you wake each morning
Your smiles are all I see
My heart is filled with joy
You both mean so much to me

You fill my days with love
And feelings I cannot explain
I hope you feel my heart
And know I’ll never be the same

The days I knew you were true
And growing safe inside me
I begged the Lord for His guidance
To always make you happy

We shared one body for so long
And have a bond no one can break
My heart is yours forever
Not anyone else’s to whom can take

How did I get to be so blessed
That God picked me for you two
I am so very privelaged
My Sweetest Hearts – I love the both of you!