Monday, March 20, 2017

Anonymous Door Decorator

 I posted about our engagement on Facebook yesterday, and we have almost 400 "likes" and 175 comments! It means so much to me that family and friends both near & far are excited and happy for us. During lunch today I went and got my car washed, b/c it was FILTHY! I went to this place that does the whole inside and outside for $23! My car is so SHINY & clean now.

 After work/school we went over to Mom & Dad's. Dad & Nate had been working hard all day putting down mulch at their house & at Nate's. Nate was all hot & sweaty and wanted to jump in the pool. It's still a little bit too cold to get in but he did anyways. CRAZY!

 We had Family Home Evening together, and had a great gospel discussion about what we can do to prepare for General Conference coming up in a few weekends. It's so sad to think this is one of our last FHE's w/ Mom & Dad before they leave on their next mission. What will we do without them?!?!?!

When Autumn & I got home tonight, someone had stopped by and anonymously decorated our front porch & garage w/ white wedding decorations and congratulations balloons! I am so beyond blessed to have THE BEST family & friends in the world. Thank you 1 million times over to the anonymous decorator for making me feel so loved & so special!

Sunday, March 19, 2017


 I got up at 7:30 this morning and started making pancakes for breakfast. I was so shocked when Frank walked in the garage door at 8:30 am! I thought he was coming around 9:30. It was so great to get to spend some time w/ him before I had to leave for a 9:00 Scout Board of Review. I LOVE getting to do those, b/c Sis. A who runs them makes them such a spiritual experience. She said that they're like the "truffle" of the Gospel. Not many people know about them, and they're so delicious and sweet.

 By the time I got home, Sis. M and her kids and packed up and left. Autumn & Frank were sorting, cleaning, and coloring some of the seashells she found in Galveston. Frank & I were sitting on the couch talking when we heard glass shatter! We looked over, and Autumn had been organizing the glasses in the cabinet and one fell and hit the counter. Luckily she was up on the counter and not on the floor. So, we hurried and grabbed our shoes and got it swept and then vacuumed. I'm glad no one got hurt!

We had lunch and then got ready for church. Mom & Dad came to our ward today, b/c Dad had missed taking the sacrament in there ward b/c he was on the phone w/ the current medical adviser in South Africa. It was fun to have them sit w/ us during church. After sacrament meeting, Dad & Frank walked out to the pavilion in the back area of the church to have "THE TALK." Mom & I were freaking out, b/c they were out there for an hour!

I handed out the binders in Relief Society and then ran to use the restroom before we started. When I got done, I noticed they weren't out at the pavilion anymore, so I had one of the young men go get Frank in Priesthood for me before they got started. We sat on the couch in the lobby and I asked Frank how it went. He told me all about it for the next hour. We sat there together while holding hands, and the tears were freely flowing! The Spirit was so strong & it was so special & sacred.

 We came home to change clothes & grab a few things. We were walking out the front door to get in the car, so I turned around to lock the front door. When I turned to go get in the car, he was down on one knee and was holding a ring! He asked me if I would make him the happiest man on Earth by marrying him. I said, "YES! OF COURSE!" Then he put the ring on, stood up, and we just hugged and cried for the longest time! It was so emotional, and again ... the Spirit was so strong!

 WE'RE ENGAGED!!! I'm so happy that he did it right in front of our home. Now every time I pull into the driveway, I'll look at that spot and remember that that is where he proposed. We don't have a wedding date yet, b/c we have to wait on Frank to get a clearance letter (we don't know how long that will take) so we can be sealed for time AND ALL ETERNITY! We don't just want to be together "until death do us part." As soon as we get that clearance letter (I'm guessing a few months), we'll get sealed in the temple.

 I happened to have his ring in my purse, so I went ahead & gave it to him after telling him some sweet & tender things that I felt in my heart. He works at a job that has a lot of high traffic, so this way the women he encounters will know that he's already taken!

 I had no idea what the ring would look like, b/c all he asked for was my ring size. I absolutely LOVE it!!! It's gorgeous & perfect!

 We went over to Mom & Dad's house for dinner and didn't tell anyone right away. Autumn couldn't stand the suspense and went and told Mimi so she came running over and started jumping up and down with joy and she wanted to see the ring. After that, it was hugs and happiness all around! The whole family is ESCTATIC that we're engaged. Welcome to the family, Frank!

After dinner, we took Mom & Dad's car for a spin to see if we want to drive it while they're gone on their mission. Frank told me that before he proposed to me, he had asked Autumn if he had her permission to ask me. She told him absolutely and that it was about time he asked me! LOL!

We stayed & talked to Mom & Dad for a little bit, and then had to head home so Frank could get on the road back to OK. He left at 7:30 and I was going to talk him the whole way home since he had been up since 5:00 am. But, Autumn had a MAJOR MELTDOWN b/c she had procrastinated doing the homework her teacher had given her to do while we were in Galveston. She hasn't had a meltdown that bad in a long time. 

I sent her to her room and once she had calmed down a little bit, we had a good long talk. I thought she was acting out b/c of my engagement to Frank but she said it's b/c she feels dumb and is worried she will get held back in 4th grade. It broke my heart to hear her talk like that. I reminded her of all the AMAZING qualities she has and that grades are just one small measurement of what she knows. I talked about how if they gave a tree climbing test to a monkey & a fish that the fish would think it was dumb. But if they gave a swimming test, the fish would win hands down. That seemed to sink in & make a lot of sense to her. I'm thankful that she was able to sleep peacefully after that.

It's crazy to think that Frank & I have known each other for less than 2 months, and we're already engaged. But we are both older, we both know what we want, and the hand of the Lord has been in our meeting, getting to know each other, and dating. There have been so many "divine signs" that we both just KNOW this is right. Also, we've logged so many hours on the phone in conversation that we  know so much about each other. I can't even begin to express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father (and other angels like Tara, his friend Matt, Rufio, Grandma Johnson, etc) that have led us to each other. "My cup runneth over."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sis. M & Crew

 I got up this morning, got ready, and took Autumn over to Mom & Dad's house so they could watch her while I went to the temple. I haven't done an endowment session since before I met Frank, so it was awesome to hear the words & promises w/ a new perspective and having him in mind. It was so nice to sit in the celestial room & cry tears of gratitude instead of tears of sorrow & heartache. It's amazing that my longing prayers of 9 years have finally been answered.

 I got back to Mom & Dad's house, and they had prepared a full on FEAST! We had turkey breast, potatoes & gravy, and stuffing. YUM! Curt came over b/c Dad needed to use his trailer, so he sat down & ate w/ us. He hasn't done that in a long time since they moved from being our back door neighbors. It was so great to talk to him & catch up w/ him and what's going on w/ them.

 Autumn & I hung out there most of the day just to spend time w/ Mom & Dad since our time together is getting short. Then at 4:30 Autumn & I went and picked up some Little Casears pizzas and headed home. Sis. M & I both got to serve missions in Slovenija. We never got to be companions, but she did live w/ me & my companion for 3 weeks before going home. Anyways, she and her 5 kids were driving through town on their way to San Antonio. She asked if they could stop by and say hi. I told them to plan on staying for dinner (hence the pizzas). We ate, and then the kids were restless from being in the car so we went to the park to let them burn off some energy.

 She is SO.MUCH.FUN and we had a blast catching up w/ each other, talking about the mission, and watching our kids play together.

 They were going to try and find a hotel room between Dallas & San Antonio, but nothing was available for that many kids. So, I told them to just stay w/ us! We took the kids to Winco so they could pick out some treats for our super fun & spontaneous sleepover.

 You can't tell from this picture, but our coffee table was COVERED in a bunch of bags of different candy that the kids had picked out. We ended up watching The Sandlot while the kids snacked on their treats.

Sweet Berrett fell asleep in my arms, which was heaven. He's the most relaxed & easy going baby! I finally called it a night when Frank called after he got off of work. I went into my room to talk to him & by the time I got off the phone, everyone had put themselves to bed. What a FUN day!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Galveston Vacation ~ Day 5

 We got up this morning and went straight to work packing up the house. We had a quick breakfast and everyone was like busy worker bees. We had to be out of the house by 11:00, but we were packed and loaded and ready to go by 9:30. We had to get one last group shot before we all went our separate ways.

 It was an especially tender goodbye for Lexie's family, b/c this is the last time they'll see Papa & Mimi until they get back from their mission in a little over 18 months!!!

 Autumn had fun playing w/ some Snapchat filters on the drive home. She looks so AMAZING w/ this Indian Princess filter, b/c she IS an Indian Princess.

 Of course we had to stop at Buc-ee's on the way home to get some lunch & refuel.

 We all got our food and then ate together by the cars. I can't get enough of their melty ham sandwich!

 We got home about 3:30, unloaded the cars, and started to unpack. I looked up the showtimes for Beauty & The Beast & they had one starting at 5:00. So Nick, Savi, Autumn, & I went through the Wendy's drive thru to grab a quick bite to eat and then we went to see the movie. I didn't realize it was 3D, and I'm not a big fan of 3D. But it was actually cool to see this one in 3D. It's an excellent movie and one I would see again & buy when it comes out on DVD.

We came home, unloaded our stuff from the car, and then I got Autumn to bed. She was exhausted and went right to sleep. I took some time to relax, catch up on recorded shows (This Is Us), and I also gave myself a pedicure. I'm liking my pretty pink toes.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Galveston Vacation ~ Day 4

 We got up, had breakfast, and talked about what we wanted to do today. We had said we might go to the Children's Museum, but then we realized that it wouldn't take very much time. So, Papa & Mimi decided to take everyone to Schlitterbahn. Lexie was NOT on board w/ that, so Lexie & Nick & Savi all decided to stay home and enjoy the peace & quiet. We loaded everyone else in the cars and hit the road.

 We staked out a place inside where it was warm & not windy. Then Dad, Andrew, Autumn, & I went to go down these slides. We went down the yellow/green ones but Autumn decided at the last minute that she wasn't doing it. I'm glad I did it once, but it gave me a big huge wedgie and once was enough for me.

 It was nice that we could be inside so the babies & kids weren't freezing. This is what the picnic table area looked like. Everyone kind of went off and did their own thing, which was nice.

 Then we all met back up for lunch. It's nice that we were able to bring in our own food & drinks. We had packed stuff for sandwiches and also brought chips, Gatorade, and water.

 Adam cracks me up w/ his cheesy Cheeto crumb face. He & Papa have such a special bond.

It was fun to spend time w/ Autumn!

We pretty much spent the whole day in the CRAZY river. It's supposed to be a lazy river, but this one was also a wave pool. These HUGE waves would come and push you along down the river. The waves were strong enough that Autumn, Jackson, & Olivia all got thrown off the rafts at different points and were thrown into the river. The time Olivia went in was really scary b/c she didn't have on a life vest. But we saved her in time and all is well. We had such a good time and the kids kept saying, "one more time!"

We finally called it a day b/c the little kids & Spencer were exhausted and the adults were ready to go home. Jon had set out these frozen rolls this morning to thaw for the meal they were making tonight. Mom LOVES raw bread dough and had to sneak a bite.

Lexie & Jon made Navajo tacos for dinner, and they were super good! All of the dinner meals have been excellent on our vacation.

There was some leftover dough, so Riannon had the idea to let the kids play w/ it like playdough. They had such a good time! Since we didn't have flour, we used baby powder instead to keep it from sticking to the table.

After dinner, everyone took some time to relax or take a nap.

I went & took a shower b/c I felt disgusting. I laid down on the couch & Nate climbed up on the back of the couch and copied me. LOL!

Dad gathered everyone together & said he'd like to have a little Family Home Evening before we have to go home tomorrow. It ended up turning into a big testimony meeting/cry fest! He shared his testimony (the tears were freely flowing) and then Nate shared his, Nick shared his, Lexie shared hers, and I shared mine. Then each of the spouses shared theirs, and even Andrew shared his. The Spirit was so strong and I think this is my very favorite picture from the whole trip b/c of what a special & sacred experience it was!

After all that emotion, I needed time to think & process so I said I was going to go down to the beach for a walk. Everyone else wanted to come too, so we all put on our shoes and headed down to the beach since this is our last night in Galveston. The sunset was so pretty tonight!

I LOVE this group of people so much (Adam stayed at the house b/c he was asleep & we didn't want to wake a sleeping bear). This has been such an amazing vacation & everyone has gotten along so well. I'm sad it has to end tomorrow.

I decided that Autumn is a "Siren Of The Sea." She LOVES the ocean and couldn't stop collecting as many shells as she could on our walk.

She reminds me of Moana, so I'm going to start calling her "Moautumn."

I don't think I've ever seen a BLUE jellyfish before. There were a few of these guys washed up on the beach. We picked this one up w/ a stick & threw it back into the water. Hopefully it will live!

It was so peaceful & calm to walk along the beach at sunset and have the waves wash up on my feet. I gained some good clarity I was looking for & had a good spiritual experience. As I walked along & had a prayer in my heart, this thought kept coming to my mind ... "Be STILL." (Mark 4:39) It was a good reminder that Heavenly Father is in charge and that I need to let things happen in His own due time.

We came back to the house, got the little kids to bed, and then we played the "Watch Yo Mouth" game. Basically you put in these dental cheek expanders and you have to say phrases and others have to guess what you're saying. I'm actually really good at it and am easy to understand. We were CRACKING UP when Lexie & Savi tried to talk. It was sooooooooo FUNNY!

After that, we played Mexican Train dominoes. It was so fun to spend time w/ just the adults and end our vacation on a funny note.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Galveston Vacation ~ Day 3

 We got up around 7:30 again this morning & had bacon, eggs, toast, and bagels for breakfast.

 We were talking about makeup and how I never wear anything other than lipstick. Riannon wanted to put some makeup on me, and I was more than willing to let her. Then Lexie busted out her makeup bag and did eyeshadow & eyeliner.

 It's subtle, but I think I look pretty. I MIGHT (big might) have to look into wearing makeup more often.

 We knew it would be too cold to go to the beach in the morning, so we loaded up in the cars and headed for Seawolf Park. It was so windy that Dad had to cover his ears b/c it was hurting his hearing aid!

 The kids headed straight towards this fun & colorful playground.

 Some of the adults huddled together to keep each other warm & try to stay out of the wind gusts.

 We had SO.MUCH.FUN on this orange sphere looking thing. I climbed in there and then Nate & Dad pushed me. I wonder how many G forces I was under b/c it was crazy & I had to hold on for dear life & keep my head propped against one of the bars so it wouldn't just wobble around. It was awesome.

 I loved watching the waves crash up against this seawall. Nature is so gorgeous!

 After playing on the playground for a while, we walked over to the Undersea Warfare Center to check it out. 

We got to check out the USS Cavalla, which is "a World War II submarine that sank a Japanese aircraft carrier that was involved in the Pearl Harbor attacks." 

 The movies always make submarines seem so cool & like living on one would be so glamorous. After walking through this submarine, I am SO THANKFUL for the men & women who protect us and live on these tiny vessels. These doorways were so small to squeeze through, and I don't know how 2 people would fit in some of the hallways if you had to go opposite directions. The thought of being stuck in there for months on end would make me go crazy!

Can you imagine having this as your bed each night? Sleeping right over the top of a missile/torpedo? And can you imagine how loud and hot and stinky those machines are?

 Once we finished touring the submarine, we went over to the USS Stewart, which is "a World War II destroyer escort which is only one of three left in the world."

 The kids had such a good time listening to the self-guided audio tour as they walked around the ship. I think they all learned a lot of new things.

 I would much rather be on a ship like this than on a submarine. The hallways were wider, the ceilings were taller, and it felt more open and airy.

 It's crazy how these huge & heavy metal things can actually float and move through the water. So fascinating. As I walked around, I tried to picture all the men & women that served on these vessels, what their lives were like, how much they missed home, and what it felt like for them. Powerful stuff!

 We HAD TO get a silly "Titanic" picture together at the front of the boat. LOL!

 Papa with some of the grandkids sitting on a torpedo!

 We left the park and came home to eat lunch (sandwiches & chips) b/c everyone was hungry.

 I went to the upstairs level of the house to have some peace & quiet so I could get some work emails taken care of and talk to Frank. I had only been up there for about 3 minutes when everyone decided to come upstairs too. UGH! Jon was giving adjustments & Nate wanted me to hold his loaded gun while he got one.

 We're so thankful that Jon is willing to share his talent/gift with us and give us adjustments. I think pretty much everyone got one and we all felt so much better.

 Once I finished my work emails & Autumn did some homework, I let Autumn & Andrew play some computer games on my laptop. Nate & Riannon were in charge of dinner tonight and they made a delicious creamy pasta dish w/ leftover chicken from Savi's meal w/ some yummy veggies added in.

 I wanted to go lay down and talk to Mom since I don't have very much time left w/ her before they leave on their mission. Pretty soon we had a whole bed full of girls. I love it that we're all spooning and have our arms around each other. I'm thankful for the sisterhood & friendship that we share (Savi was upstairs taking a nap, which is why she's not in the picture).

 We got the little kids to bed and then busted out the games. Autumn was a Jenga MASTER (who knew???) and pulled out some crazy pieces w/out knocking it over. We were all super impressed w/ her mad skills.

 After several rounds of Jenga, we got out the Disney Sorry game and played that. It's fun to play games and talk and laugh together. What a fun (and windy) day!