Saturday, May 7, 2016

Oh, Happy Day!

This is what I saw when I signed on to my computer this morning and logged into Google and found this with a Happy Birthday, Sondra message.  I had no idea they did this!  How cool is that?!!  Thank you Google.  Or should I say Thank you Alphabet!  Alphabet is the new parent company to Google as of October 2015.  It's weird for me to see Alphabet instead of Google now at work sometimes.  

About a week ago my friend Bev sent me a message inviting me to go out to dinner with her.  She wanted to take me out to dinner for my birthday today.  How sweet is that?!!!  So, last night her and I went out to dinner at Zupa's.  I've never been to Zupa's and have heard wonderful things and I jumped at the chance to give it a try.  I know, I'm a little late in checking Zupa's out.  Oh my goodness!  I know, old news...something you all already knew.  The food was awesome!  I got soup and a salad, which always comes with bread and a chocolate covered strawberry on the side.  We also got deserts too!  I could only eat my soup and a little of my cake.  It filled me up so much!  We both ended up taking our salads home.  I can't wait to have it for lunch today!!  Bev and I talked and gabbed about this and that.  It was so nice to get out with a wonderful friend and just talk.  Then at the end of our dinner she handed me a card and a box with goodies in it.  I have to tell you....Bev is quite the card maker.  She made me another one of her amazing cards and gave me this box full of chocolate....one of my favorite things for sure!  Thank you Bev for a lovely evening.  You are awesome!

This is Zupa's

They have all kinds of soups, sandwiches, and salads.
This is what I got....

Tomato Basil Soup

with

Then I had this chocolate cake for dessert.

And the chocolate Covered Strawberries!
Oh my goodness! 
Bev got the 
cauliflower soup
and the strawberry harvest salad
with the cheesecake with fresh berries.
Can you say, Yum??!!  It was all so good.

For today, I don't have anything planned, just spending the day with my husband and children and that's about it for today.  Just doing whatever comes my way.

 Tomorrow though,....we get to talk to Curtis!  

That will be fun.  I'm excited to hear from him.  Lately his letters have been a little longer and I can tell that he truly LOVES his mission and the work that he is doing.  That's what I'm excited to hear about tomorrow.  Yes, it's fun to talk to him and he cracks me up every time we talk, but it's the experiences he has had that I love to hear.  Plus just seeing that boys face always makes us all smile.  We miss our Curtis with all of his silly comments and come backs.  He is the one child I always thought felt left out at times.  He and Lexi were my easiest babies out of the four, and just seemed to grow up so fast.  It seems like a flash before my eyes some times.   

I have to say, while he was a toddler he spent a lot of time hanging out with his older brother and sister and for a while there I think he thought he was just as old as they were, because he expected to be able to do everything they did.  As you can imagine, here was this 2 or 3 year old hanging out with his sister and brother who were 9 and 8.  There's a big difference between 3 and 9 and what you allow them to do, but Curtis went everywhere with his sister and brother. He would sneak out of the house at 2 and 3 just to be with them.  One Sunday morning he scared me to death!  I couldn't find him anywhere and we were living in an old farm house that was spread out a bit in downtown Mesa.  I searched high and low in that house for him and eventually went outside.  He was no where to be found.  Then after I freaked out crying and was a complete mess worried on my front porch I spotted him in the arms of a lady I had never seen before across the street.  She was trying to take him home to his house but he wouldn't tell her where that was.  When she asked him where he lived he just pointed in our homes direction and so she picked him up and just started walking with him.  
That morning I had come home from working the overnight shift.  Kevin had to work that Sunday (which we both hated) so I said goodbye to him and locked the door.  We even had a latch at the top of the door because we knew Curtis liked to try and get out.  I fell asleep on the couch in the living room for a bit so I could get up when the kids woke up.  Well, Curtis woke up first and was very quiet and he (remember he was only 2 or 3 at the time) pulled a chair up to the door, unlatched the door, and off he went at around 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning.  We lived on a busy downtown Mesa street in the heart of Mesa.  All of my neighbors were all gone that morning to church.  Here I was with a missing child and all alone and I couldn't even turn to my neighbors for help that morning.  That was scary!  Needless to say, after that scare I felt like I needed a leash for that boy just to keep him home and safe.  Well, we moved from that home just after I became pregnant with Lexi to the east side of Mesa.  Then he did it again!!!  Right after I came home from the hospital with Lexi, Curtis did his escape thing.  He pulled a chair up, unlatched the door (yes, we had another latch at the top of the door again....something we would install first thing in every home until he was probably 12), and took off to find his older brother and sister.  Well, again he scared me to death.  I had just had a C-section and was home with a new baby recovering and sore, and now I had to go hunt for Curtis.  That was not fun.  I couldn't find him anywhere and I freaked out.  I looked everywhere and eventually he came home and then I received a visit from a police officer telling me I needed to keep a closer eye on "the" boy.  I told the officer I had just had a baby and had been home from the hospital less than a week and he pulled a chair up to the latch and took off.  He wasn't very sympathetic to me.  He just told me I needed to watch him better.  I was so frustrated and I felt overwhelmed and embarrassed by his visit too.  Needless to say, Curtis was in big trouble by that time.  He was quite the escape artist then.  Later on, when he was older, he still was good at sneaking out.  He didn't do it again until his little sister was about 6.  He was a good big brother and took her with him.  (Keep in mind, this was less than a year after Lexi had her open heart surgery and I was very protective of her, as you could imagine, right?!)  Well, there was a birthday party the kids ended up crashing in our neighborhood one Saturday night.  Kevin was home and we couldn't find either one of them.  We had just bought our first home, moved to the neighborhood, and didn't know many people, and here were my kids at a birthday party for some kid in the neighborhood we didn't even know.  This time, Curtis and Lexi were told to stay and play only on our street and not to leave.  That information fell on deaf ears because neither one of them remembers me telling them that.  After calling and calling for both of them, Kevin and I decided to start knocking on every door down our street and then the streets on both sides of ours, but we didn't find our kids.  So, we came back to the house and were just about ready to call the police when here comes Lexi and Curtis walking up the street like nothing had happened.  When we asked them where they had been, Curtis proceeded to tell us about the birthday party they crashed with the bounce house and everything.  Oh that boy!  I use to call him my little escape artist.  It didn't matter what I did, if he wanted to go somewhere, he wasn't going to listen to me and he was going to do what he wanted to do, no matter the consequences.  This has been a common thread throughout his life.  His sense of flight issues.  Even when he got older in high school.  He would just go and do whatever he felt he wanted to do.  I guess the key words here for him are "Go and Do".  Curtis just likes to keep busy and enjoys going and doing whatever it is.  He loves to explore, learn, meet new people, and go where ever the wind takes him.  I guess that's why he hasn't just taken off on a companion on his mission,....yet.  He is exactly where he needs to be just going and doing the things he feels he needs to do....and he is obeying mission rules too.  I'm kind of surprised after all the "fun" he put me through growing up, to be honest.  I'm just kidding!  He was just a little boy and a little sneaky.  He got a lot better about telling us where he was going.  In fact, it became quite the opposite and he told us everything.  I'm very proud of him and happy that he has found a way to use his sense of adventure to his advantage on his mission.  He loves to explore, learn, and grow as a person, as well as grow relationships with people.  In my opinion, Curtis is in his element.  His mission truly is an adventure for him and he is loving every minute of it!  What more could a parent ask for?  We are thrilled he is having so much fun and loving the people and loving to serve them in every way imaginable.  Serving and loving it is what makes me smile every time I hear him talk about all the different ways he has served. 

 From the time Kyle and Curtis were young Kevin would take them with him as he served as a home teacher, as he served in his various Scouting and Young Men's callings, and when he had projects at work that would allow him to take the two of them with him.  So, my boys know how to serve and in my opinion, lead by their example because of the things their father taught them and because he lead by example too.  Kevin also spent a lot of time bearing his testimony to our boys (and our girls too) when they were growing up.  He would do it in a way that our kids didn't even know that that was what he was doing, but I knew what he was up to.  He would get them talking about a subject and they would discuss it and then Kevin would always finish it up with his testimony.  He has a way of teaching and sharing with our kids that they craved.  We would discuss and explore some very deep gospel topics, scripture passages, and conference addresses from time to time.  It was fun for all of us.  The kids would thrive on it and would even start the conversations when things would come up in church or seminary.  It was awesome because they didn't even realize their dad was actually teaching them while we all discussed things.  Home Evenings were always fun discussions, and a time to study and learn.  Family scripture study was like that too.  I remember thinking I married this return missionary and I am a lucky girl!  Kevin  still can do that with each of our children and it is awesome to watch and listen to, and once in a while Mom gets to chime in with a few things too.  To this day, I love that our children enjoy spending time talking to both Kevin and I.  Kyle calls home every single day on his way home from work just to talk to me or Kevin if I'm not around.  Danielle calls just to talk to Kevin or I too.  Lexi always wants her "Mom time" or her "Dad time" too.  Curtis does it too.  Every once in a while I get letters addressed just to me checking up on me and asking me things.  I love all of this!  What a blessing it is to have these relationships with each of our children!  I feel that our children can talk to us about anything.  Sure, there are short moments when our kids may feel like they cannot come to us, but that usually never lasts for very long....like the time Curtis decided to quit the football team, but never told us, and we had to find out when Kevin figured it out and called his football coach.  That was not a good time to live in our home.  Not because Curtis quit football, but because he tried to hide the fact that he quit, and didn't fess up and let us know.  In a sense, he lied to us.  That was a very big teaching & learning moment for all of us.

 Kevin has this six sense when it comes to our children and knows exactly when things are not quite right with them, then he sits back and waits for the right moment to get involved.  It has always been that way.  There is a mother's intuition, but a father can also have that same kind of thing and when you have a father with that kind of inspiration it is a huge blessing to us as parents, but can also be a curse to your children because Dad always knows.  He can read our children like a book.  He can tell when they are hiding something and when they are struggling and things are not quite right.  I love that about him!  He is always right on, every time!  This is what I mean by it taking both a mother and a father to raise a family.  I know I could never pretend to raise our children without my husband, and he knows he could never pretend to raise our children without me.  We need each other and our children need both of us as well.  I love that man!  I love my children!  And I love just spending time with them.  
So, if it sounds like we are not doing much this weekend to celebrate my birthday or Mother's Day, that is not true.  We are busy spending time together making memories, laughing and just enjoying each others company, and that is perfectly fine with me!  While I do enjoy getting out and doing things, I do not need big parties or a lot of anything to make these two days special for me.  Besides, I don't want to be the kind of mother that makes my family dread my birthday or mother's day because I expect something big from them.  Just acknowledging and wishing me a happy day is enough for me.  Sure, I love spending time with my husband and kids, believe me I do!  I guess what I'm trying to say, if you have to place expectations and demands on your family to remember these special days with you, then something isn't right here.  I am not a "high maintenance" Mom or Friend.   Friends and family just wishing me a Happy Birthday or Happy Mother's Day is awesome for me.  I love it and I so very much appreciate it.  The well wishes mean a lot!  

I'm rambling again.  

Right now, Lexi and Kevin are sleeping.  Kevin had a rough night and was in a lot of pain, so he is making up for it now.  Lexi had a migraine last night and I ended up going out around 10:30 p.m. to pick up some soda so she could get some caffeine in her to help ease up the pain from her headache.  She can't take anything more than extra strength Tylenol for her headaches because our doctor will not prescribe anything for her.  I can appreciate that.  She's still too young for all of that.  Although an Urgent Care doctor prescribed Imetrix for her one time and that worked really well.  So, we may need to ask for that eventually.  Lexi was physically ill from the pain last night and I could tell it was a bad one.  That poor girl!  She spent the night in pain and she too is making up for the lack of sleep now.  I'm just glad both of them are able to rest.  That is always a good thing.

Well, so far it's been a Happy Day!  Here is hoping today is a happy day for you too and that tomorrow is a Happy Mother's Day for all the ladies.  Even those that do not believe they are Mother's.  I know that we all take part in raising children in one way or another, some of us raise them from the time they are little babies, some of us are raising them in more creative ways....by teaching, training, or inspiring through the things that you do.  Keep doing it, and remember you do make a difference and you should be proud of the work you do, because no one can do the things you do or influence others in the same way that you can.  You are loved, appreciated, and needed more than ever!  I subscribe to the concept that it takes a village to raise strong families today, and I need those good strong influences to help me to continue to raise mine.  That means all of you strong, hard working, caring, and loving women.  You!  Sincerely,.....thank you for all you do!  You are amazing!

Take care my friends and I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and we will talk again soon.

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