Wednesday, May 27, 2015


We've been dealt some interesting endings in the past few weeks. Read on...

Today is the last day of school!  Hooray!!!
I've never been as excited as this year.
Our oldest daughter has been such a trooper. She's been getting up at 4:40am to get ready for school...well, her alarm goes off then.  She has learned the fine art of napping - which she never before appreciated (except when she was 0-5).  Sleep deprivation at it's finest.
She has gotten herself up (most of the time) so that she could attend Early Morning Seminary which translates as early morning bible study.  Mind you, it wasn't all her choice. There was a pre-existing agreement. Something about a flute, and if she was involved with marching band, then she had to attend seminary.  I know.  Mean mom. But she made it through.  Just 6 more years of early morning seminary for our house!
Really, I was so thrilled to sleep in.  So thrilled in fact that today, on her last day of school, she was so quiet getting ready that I didn't even wake up to help her get out the door with breakfast and lunch.  (She gets really hangry, and I usually get up out of self preservation, knowing that we are all much happier when she eats regular meals). She did say that she will be okay though - she got a lollipop in Spanish class.  The good news is that she will be home by 11:30, and she will make up for her missed breakfast.
Anyways, she made it through the year!! Hallelujah for summertime!

I did in fact get our youngest daughter out the door...this could also be related to the fact that her school doesn't even start until around 9:30 am.
 Here's her first day of school last fall...
 All chipper and excited, not knowing what the future holds.
And here's her last day of school. Wiser, not quite as innocent (middle school teaches all sorts of things...girl drama, things aren't as they seem, and lots of new cuss words (not that she uses them)). 
I'm happy to say that she still lets me play with her hair in the we did this fancy updo, I did it while she watched Mr. Bean. Her photo speaks in come on mom, I've got to go!

Next ending. 
The last time I blogged (two weeks ago), I got everything updated, and then my husband called me and came home. He was laid off from his work.  He was hired for a position that was split in half because the responsibilities were so great. 4 months later, his boss left, and his reports changed from 9 to 19, and from 19 hospitals, to 31.  He is really great at producing stability.  He was in a historically high turn over job for 4 years. During that time, he had 4 different bosses.  His most recent boss came in and decided that he wanted something different, and so he let my husband go.  
It's an interesting place to be.  We weren't expecting it. 
But, we've been praying that my husband would be able to be in a job where he could help many people, and would be well respected.  So...our paradigm has changed. Do we stay here for our kids? They like their schools, although they aren't completely tied to them with the best friends in the world.  They have friends, but I think they'd be okay if we had to move. 

I'd be ungrateful if I didn't state first of all that we've been so blessed.  I decided to start keeping a journal, and recording the blessings that we are seeing in our lives everyday. I know that they come from God.  There's no way I could say that they aren't. 
In the past week, I picked up 3 new music students.  One literally walked in my door.  
I feel peaceful.  
My husband and I have both been on a long hard road.  Of personal healing. Neither is at the end of our road, but we've picked up some skills along the way.  One of which is more reliance on Heavenly Father.  
This keeps reverberating around in my brain: 
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 
We are buckling down and settling in for the ride...and as we do, we see His hand in our lives, every day and feel a Father's love for his child. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Where upon the fine viewers of this blog see lots of photos and a verbal commentary of the past 3 months

I guess you could say that I took a sabbatical.  For the record, I did come across several half baked posts, that never made it all of the way.  
As such, here's a really long post, with 44 pictures that depict what we've been up to in the most recent past.  Not necessarily in any chronological (or logical) order mind you. 

For several (many) years, we've been looking for a painting. We know exactly what we want, but just haven't been able to find it.  Spanish tile and stucco walls, possibly ocean, and tons of bright bougainvillea.  
This one is the closest to what we want, but it isn't right.  after going to every single shop we could find, (several times in the past 3 years) we narrowed it down to a few that were maybes.
Suprisingly, this random abstract painting spoke to me, and now sits upon our wall.  
Not exactly the landscape we were imagining :) 
This is a really good book I've been reading.  It is like, change your world good.  
I had to speak in church a few weeks ago and pulled some thoughts out of it.  
Along with speaking in church, I've been going through some personal and emotional healing.  
Both my husband and I have. I'm a really good suppressor, and I've supressed and bunch of junk for like, my whole life.  Somehow, my pandora's box opened, and I've been doing a LOT of self healing since mid-January.  I found a fantastic group that has been helpful to me, and we've really had to slow down and examine our marriage and relationship, and we've had to really work very hard.  My healing did involve a month of bland numbness, and a lot of "just being".  I've been reading one to two books a week along with my scriptures, and have been very grateful for the healing that I've been finding.  Not fun, or pretty, but slowly healing.  And the good news is that we are still married! 

Here are our ghetto curtains. 
Yep - that is a bed sheet. High class people. 
Someone yanked the curtains out of the wall somehow. It looked awesome. 
And I'm glad our handyman friend could fix it for us...

My daughter and I went for a leisurely Saturday am bikeride.  
Except that we ended up at a garage sale. 
And we ended up buying this grill. 
Grateful to our neighbor for his willingness to help me get it home since my husband was out on a run, and this was a hot garage sale item!

At some point in time (it's all a blur), we were asked to help out with the catering of a state wide single adult church conference.  We had to leave by 4:15am to get there by 6:00 am.  
Part of the entertainment (this is Florida folks) was when "Fluffy" was brought out for some fun pictures.  
This little gal was a trooper. We were dead on our feet. 
They held church in the rodeo grounds the second day. It was pretty cool to be sitting in the bleachers, receiving the sacrament, and hearing the sand hill cranes, woodpeckers, and braying donkeys and cows while we took the sacrament and contemplated the Savior's atonement for us.

Here's just a cute shot of our youngest. Both girls got new glasses and prescriptions. 

And here's a picture of our dinner. 
That's right, it does look like funeral fare! 
Our eldest daughter was being very specific about her desires for her funeral. So, we held a plan your own funeral Family Home Evening, and enjoyed funeral potatoes, ham, and green jello for our exciting funeral themed evening. And we bought a fire chest, and planned our funeral services. Yeah, a bit morbid but prepared.

Both of our girls participated in, and received Superiors for flute solos at Solo and Ensemble in February.

During spring break (when it was beautiful and in the 80's and perfect beach weather) we headed North. And once again realized, we REALLY don't like the cold. 
We spent time with my brother's sweet family. (So sweet that we didn't even take a photo with them - what is wrong with us!?)
We spent two days visiting sites in Washington DC. 
Here are the girls enjoying the azalea installation at the National Art Gallery (my pick)

It was so incredibly beautiful!

On our way to the science museum, we discovered an outdoor ice skating rink. It may have been the girl's favorite. They were even nice to each other. And this photo is definitely for posterity's sake. 

We visited the National Archives. There we saw the Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights. But we have no proof. They wouldn't let us take photos. 
We also visited the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. All in all, we walked back and forth, totalling 7 miles that day. 

Outside her future home: 

Lunch in the park. And no, the boots, hats, and cute scarves were not fashion accessories

Thanks to some food recommendations from my sister and her husband (foodies), we had an early dinner at Old Ebbit's Grill - right across from the White House. It was a fun venue (we were in the courtyard), and the food was great. We were very glad we'd gotten there at 5 because there was a huge line out the door by the time we left!

After spending some time touring "Dutch" country, we decided to take advantage of my brother living so close to the Canadian border, (6 hours is close right?) and we all drove up to Niagra Falls. 
My brother has some great tips on how to cross over, and return to the US with a family van full of people, and no passports for anyone, but he will have to tell that story. 
We were thrilled that they could see the falls with us despite not having their passports. 

On our way back to my brother's home, we drove through New York, and stopped in Palmayra. 
We spent some time at the Sacred Grove - the area where Joseph Smith went to the woods to pray, to ask which church to join. There he had a vision, and God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph.  From this experience and others, he was called as a prophet of God, and the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth.  

We also visited the hill Cumorah, where Joseph had been directed by an angel, and where he found golden plates which contained a history of the people and prophets who lived on the American Continent, with records dating back to 600 BC. Joseph later translated these records, and it was published as the Book Of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ. 

Finally, just before leaving, we were able to visit the Washington DC Temple, which is known for it's beauty. 

We got home and celebrated Easter

Our traditional Ukranian Eggs decorating - some of this year's creations:

Our eldest daughter competed at State Solo and Ensemble, and received a Superior
Here she is with her phenomenal accompianist, my friend Lorette.

Lorette is pretty amazing. She put together the piano part in a day, but it would have taken me a full month of heavy practice.  She recently moved into a new house and she has single handedly painted the entire thing - huge ceilings and all. I've been amazed.  I showed her several faux tecnhiques, and helped her paint a wall in her entry.  I came away inspired, that I too could paint my house, and I finally hit the emotional point where I was able to tackle such a project.  So...for several recent weeks, these have been my projects.
Bedroom accent wall - copper penny, faux leather (plastic sheet) and sponge (filler). This was after the first time when I ragged it, but we decided that we didn't like it very much. 

I also stained the chest, and the bed.
Then, I repainted, and ragged the walls again, since I didn't like how they had previously turned out.
At the end of the day, the copper wall received 5 coats of paint!
We wanted a terra cotta/spanish feel, and so I also pulled out a Guatemalan bedspread, and pained the quilt rack blue and added some bright blue accents.

Our daughter had a birthday - she postponed it so friends could come, and then the day of, only two showed up. She was pretty bummed, but had fun with those who came. 
She gave me a months notice when she requested this cake. 


I got to spend a fun day with these two special ladies - my counselors in the primary presidency. We started our day out with breakfast at the new Beauty and the Beast castle. It was pretty amazing. Our food just magically appeared! 
And, we found some beautiful tiaras :) 

Old friends came to town, and we enjoyed catching up with them at Universal City Walk

I tackled painting (and finally digging through the old boxes and pulling out pictures and decorations) our family room. Bringing it from nasty dingy brown to a bright creamy yellow. 

And I had another birthday. My sweet husband made me breakfast (with Mangoes!) and decorated the room with yellow streamers, and balloons painted like bees since he gave me a beehive for my birthday. 

We celebrated Mother's day this past week - so grateful for these two girls who made me a mother, and this past week has been "concert week".  We've had a lot of school end of the year concerts. 

And, we've battled two bouts of a cold (or something more sinister, we just chose not to go to the doctor). 

 Finally, here's a photo from earlier in the year of our primary kids and teachers. We have encouraged the kids to share the gospel and their testimonies with their friends. Each time they did, they got to put a pebble in our jar - representing a ripple that they may make in someone's life.  They got 654 ripples last year!  It's been really awesome to hear them share their experiences.