Thursday, August 25, 2016

I've Lost 45 lbs Since April!

I have lost 45 lbs since April, but I couldn't post anything on Facebook or my blog, b/c I wanted to surprise my parents when they got home from their mission. Now that they're home and have seen me I can finally post some pictures of my progress.

  I still have another 55 lbs to go to reach my goal, but I'm THRILLED with the progress that I've made so far. I feel much so much better.

 Autumn is my motivation for sure. She said to me the other day, "Mom, finally your tummy doesn't stick out more than your chest does!" LOL.

 I have done ZERO exercise to achieve these results. It's been strictly through diet. I'm doing Medifast meals through a company called Take Shape For Life. Basically I eat 5 of the Medifast meals each day, and then I have one "lean & green" meal. It's great b/c I'm eating 6 times a day so I don't feel deprived. I also drink about 96 oz of water every day!

Free Sno Cones & Life Is Good

 As soon as I got Autumn from daycare today, we went over to her school for "Popsicles On The Playground." They had a sno cone truck there for parents & students to enjoy. We each got a sno cone for free, and I liked this truck b/c you were able to put your own syrup flavors on your sno cone.

  Dad's only been home for one day and is already busy doing projects out in the yard. Mom went grocery shopping today (she was SO HAPPY to shop in a normal American grocery store again), which led to them cleaning out the pantry, which led to Nate & Dad dumping all the old/outdated food into the compost.

 These are the flowers that Liz & Liberty left for Mom & Dad on their counter. I hadn't noticed before tonight how the hot pink flowers on the left of the picture are fuzzy and kind of look like a brain. COOL!

We keep joking that Dad is "homesick" for South Africa b/c he keeps looking at pictures & videos on his phone. He was trying to keep Olivia entertained while we made dinner by showing her some Primary kids in South Africa singing a Primary song. He's helping her "lead the music." It's so WONDERFUL to cook with Mom again in the kitchen. We make a great team. I also LOVE getting to sit around the dinner table together again!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

They're Home! They're Home!! They're Home!!!

 I could barely contain my excitement at work this morning! I left for the airport and made sure I had all the signs that Karri let us borrow. We were all lined and ready and waiting for Mom & Dad when they walked through the doors.

 I can't believe they're finally home! I have missed them so much, and can't believe they've been gone for a year and a half! What a JOYFUL reunion.

 I had asked Mom if there was anything she really missed and she mentioned Sonic ice and Dr. Pepper Ten. So, I made sure we had both of those things ready and waiting for her (in her favorite cup) for her to enjoy on the ride home. I went back to work, and couldn't wait for 5:00 so I could leave and go home and spend time with them.

 Autumn couldn't hold back the tears when she gave Papa & Mimi a hug. She's missed them so much, b/c they've been such a major part of her whole life.

 Autumn & Olivia enjoyed looking at pictures & videos that Papa shared w/ them of South Africa.

 For dinner Nate made a pork roast w/ carrots, potatoes, and gravy. We also had a nice green salad. It feels like everything is right with the world again now that Papa & Mimi are home and sitting in their chairs around the kitchen table.

 After dinner, Papa gave Autumn a Father's Blessing since it's the start of a new year. We're so thankful that Uncle Curt was able to do it last year. And we're super grateful that Papa is home to do it this year. After Autumn's blessing, I asked for one as well since it's been a long time since I've had one. It was a very spiritual experience and my tears flowed freely.

 At 9:00 Pres. Jones came over to officially release Mom & Dad as full time missionaries. The Spirit was really strong and there were more happy tears spilling down our cheeks.

Mom & Dad both got certificates of honorable service & release. We're so PROUD of them and all the amazing service they gave in the Johannesburg, South African temple. Funny side note ... Dad didn't have any clean white shirts to wear b/c they were all in the washing machine. So, he just wore his Ski Africa t-shirt. LOL! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Yard Work Angels

 After I got Autumn from daycare this evening, we went over to Mom & Dad's to wash their bed sheets and make sure everything is 100% ready for them since they come home TOMORROW! They actually got on a plane to come home today, but it's such a long flight that they won't get here until Wednesday. Also, today is Jackson's 5th birthday. Anyways, we were eating dinner when I heard a motor sound by the front door. I went outside to find a few guys from Mom & Dad's ward doing yard work. I hurried and put on my shoes to go out and help them. 

 They had planned on coming over Saturday morning to spiffy up the yard, but it was pouring rain. I didn't know they had moved it to tonight, so I'm super glad we just happened to be at their house. Nick & Nate were great about keeping the lawn mowed while my parents were gone, but there was so much to be done like trimming the bushes, edging the lawn, pulling weeds, etc.

 Autumn was a GREAT helper and walked around w/ ice water and cups in this wagon to make sure everyone stayed cooled off and hydrated.

 At one point I think we had 11 men there helping! We FILLED at least 9 of the tall brown yard waste bags. It made me teary-eyed to think that they would give up their evening w/ their families to come and serve my parents.

 Even though it was hot and we were all sweating, it was nice to have a little bit of a breeze, it was cloudy, and we got to enjoy this gorgeous sunset. We got soooooooooo much accomplished in 2 1/2 hours. There's still A LOT of work to do, but that's good b/c my Dad will need projects to keep him busy.

Autumn & I were so gross and hot and sweaty and covered in dirt and grass clippings that we went and stuck our feet in the pool for a little bit. Sis. J came over and dropped a meal to put in the freezer so my parents can just cook it instead of having to prepare a meal one night. Liz & Liberty came over too to drop off a note, flowers, and this Texas shaped cookie! Liberty's face in this pic cracks me up! My cup is full to overflowing with love and gratitude!

Monday, August 22, 2016

My Baby Is A 4th Grader!!!

 My baby started 4th grade today!!! How is that even possible since she was just starting Kindergarten last week!?!? She was soooo excited, which is a nice change b/c in all the past years she has been anxious and nervous and worried.

 She has been planning for WEEKS what her special hairdo would be for her first day. She ended up choosing the Dutch Flower Braid by Cute Girls Hairstyle. Sis. Garcia gave her this GORGEOUS headband at church yesterday, and Autumn was THRILLED to add it to her hairdo today b/c it made her feel like a princess. Autumn made sure we got up early today so I had time to do her hair and take pictures before leaving for school.

 We also left the house earlier than usual so I could park and walk her into her classroom. I'm so glad she still wants me to do that instead of being embarrassed. I'm glad I did go in with her, b/c I had prepaid for her school supply package back in May. But, it wasn't in her classroom when we got there today! Her teacher said to go down to the front office to see if they had an extra one. We went down there, but they said we'd have to send an email to the PTA president about it. I was SUPER FRUSTRATED b/c Autumn was going to have NO school supplies, but kept it inside b/c I didn't want Autumn to be upset on her first day of 4th grade.

As soon as I got to work, I emailed the PTA president to let her know about the situation and I included the email I got showing that I had paid in May. Luckily, she emailed me back within a few minutes saying they had an extra 4th grade supply packet and they didn't know who it belonged to. She said she would go deliver it to Autumn in class before lunch. WHEW!

I was so excited to pick Autumn up and hear all about her first day. She said it went great and she really likes her teacher. We came home, had dinner, and then decided to go see the new Pete's Dragon movie. We talked Nick into going w/ us since he was home. As we were driving out of the neighborhood I asked him if he and Savi have a back up plan in case she's not able to come back to the USA w/ him after they are married. He FREAKED OUT and ended up unbuckling himself, opening the car door, and climbing out while I was driving! Luckily I was driving slowly since we were in the neighborhood and I was able to slam on my brakes before he got all the way out of the car.

Autumn & I still went and saw the movie without him, b/c I knew he wanted to be alone to have time to cool off. He wouldn't answer my phone calls (I knew he didn't have his keys and wanted to make sure he had the garage code so he could get back into the house), and I couldn't text him b/c his phone can send out texts but can't receive them for some reason. I finally had to call Nate and have him call Nick to make sure he had gotten back into the house.

The movie was OK, but poor Autumn cried through half of it. I think she's dealing w/ changing hormones but on top of that she's very sensitive and sweet. She cried b/c she misses Rufio and the movie was about loss and letting go and family. It's not one I would see again, although I enjoyed watching it once. I prefer the original Pete's Dragon.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

BYD & Pita

Today was a busy Sunday for me. I had ward council in the morning, I taught a lesson in Laurels, and then tonight there was BYD. The Bishopric did a great job giving some words of advice & encouragement before school starts. For dessert the Beehives provided ice cream sundaes.

My lesson in Laurels was about "How Can I Strengthen My Family." I took a different approach and we talked about things we LOVE about our families and things we would like to CHANGE in our families. We also talked about things they can do NOW to prepare to have the type of family life they want in the future for themselves. We discussed how there are some MESSED UP families in the scriptures (Cain killing Abel, Joseph's brothers throwing him in a pit and then selling him as a slave, etc). To end with I gave them some Lego candy and we talked about how to build up our families one piece at a time. I LOVED this quote I found from the blog "Desiring God" ...

"Family harmony is a good desire and something to work toward. But in God's plan, it may not be what is most needed. What may be most needed is for our family to be a crucible of grace, a place where the heat of pressure forces sin to surface, thus providing opportunities for the gospel to be understood and applied. And when this happens, THE MESSES BECOME MERCIES."

After I got back from BYD and got Autumn to sleep, I watched part of the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. Once I saw Pita Taufatofua up on stage dancing, that was all I needed to see and I pretty much fast forwarded through the rest of it. I'm sad he lost in his match yesterday (16 points to 1), but he was still the highlight of the Olympics for me.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cheer Camp, Costco, Eyebrows, & A Free Dinner

 It was hard getting up early this morning since we had such a late night last night. But, we got up and I dropped Autumn off at cheer camp at 8:45 am. It has been raining A LOT the past few days, so we left a little early to give ourselves enough time to drive slowly in the torrential downpour. After I dropped her off, I decided to stop by Costco to stock up on some things for our house and for Mom & Dad's house. They will be coming home from their mission next week, and needed things like toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, eggs, milk, bread, etc.

I got there before Costco opened, so I went and got in line to have the rotation and balance done on my tires. Then I went and did my shopping while I waited for my car to be done. I still had some time to kill after I had finished all my shopping so I grabbed a book and sat on one of the display couches to relax and read.

 I went and got Autumn from cheer camp and then we grabbed some lunch & went to Papa & Mimi's house to eat and drop off their stuff at their house. Then we went to my nail appointment at 2:00. I had them wax Autumn's eyebrows b/c her eyebrows were scary looking! You can see how red it was above, below, and between her eyebrows where they had to wax. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get a few things I needed that Costco didn't have.

 Next up was a stop by the D's house to pick up some missionary signs to take to the airport when Papa & Mimi get home next week. Their son just came home from a mission a few weeks ago, and they had some signs we could use. I'm glad Kylie was home, b/c she is leaving to go to college next week and we won't get to see her again before she leaves. She has been such an ANGEL to Autumn, and is someone that Autumn adores and admires. I'm so thankful that Autumn has such incredible young women to look up to for examples. We're going to miss Kylie big time!

 At 5:30 we went to a new restaurant that is opening next week for a free meal. I saw a thing on Facebook last week saying they were giving away free meals if you would come and review the restaurant before it opens. That way their workers could have a "practice run" before the Grand Opening. This meal would have been around $10, and it was great! It fed both of us, and we even had a little bit left over to take home to Nick. The chicken (which is their specialty) was really flavorful and tender. We'll definitely be coming back as customers once they open.

 Since Autumn had lice last week, we did another treatment again tonight just to make sure we didn't miss any. I gave myself one too ... just in case! I'd rather be overzealous about the treatments than not! LICK SUCK!!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Boba Drinks & A Dive-In Movie

 Since school is starting next week, this is the last day that Nate & Riannon are watching Autumn for me. In celebration of the last day of summer, we all met up to get "Boba drinks." Boba are "tapioca balls and are derived from the starch of the cassava root."

 After dinner I was doing up dishes when Autumn came running out of her room and told me to hurry and come look at a lizard in her room. I went in, and there was a gecko on her wall. We LOVE geckos b/c they eat bugs, but I don't like it when they're INSIDE the house. So, I used Autumn's hamster ball to capture it and then took it and released it outside.

At 8:00 Donna & Abbey came over to pick us up for a "Dive-In Movie." The local pool was showing "Inside Out" and even though we've already seen it several times, we went more for the experience than anything else.

 The girls had fun going down the big water slide while Donna and I sat and visited. It was so great to catch up w/ her and hear about all her adventures since she got married and moved to California 2 months ago.

The girls kept begging for me to jump into the pool w/ them, so I finally gave in. It was COLD! I had fun swimming a couple laps and treading water for 10 minutes to get in some exercise and warm up b/c the water was so cold. The movie got over at 10:30, and we finally got home and climbed into bed at 11:00! It was a late night, but was so worth it.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Meet The Teacher Night

 Autumn was so excited when I picked her up tonight, b/c it was Meet The Teacher Night. We came home, grabbed a snack, she changed clothes, we threw together a little gift bag for her teacher, and headed over to the school.

 Autumn was excited to meet Mrs. P and see what her classroom will look like for this year. In years past, Autumn has been really anxious and nervous about starting a new school year. This year, however, something has changed and she's just excited. I'm so glad!

Her school is focusing on the Olympics this year as their school theme. I can't wait to see what great and wonderful things are ahead for Miss Autumn this year!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lice Are Not Nice (Round 4)

 For Activity Days the girls met over at Sis. P's house to bake bread. I had to have Autumn there 30 minutes early b/c it takes a good 2 hours for the whole process. We were so happy to come home and have warm, fresh bread out of the oven w/ butter and jam for dessert.

 I noticed Autumn kept scratching her head tonight during dinner, and I figured it was dandruff. So, I checked it out and found ... DUN DUN DUN ... a few lice nits! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I think both Autumn & I cried when we realized she had lice AGAIN! I have no idea where she would have gotten them this time, b/c I don't have them, and Nate & Riannon don't have them, and she isn't in school or daycare. So, we had to do a treatment and then spend the next 3 hours combing through her thick and long hair in tiny sections w/ the lice nit comb.

We also had to gather up all of the sheets, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, clothes, etc to wash them or put them out in the garage in a garbage bag. It's such a pain & inconvenience. But, then I have to remind myself how lucky we are to have quick treatments and washers and dryers. There are people all over the world that live with lice on a daily basis and have none of those luxuries. I had to snap a picture of her looking so sweet & angelic after she fell asleep.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cupcakes & Clearing Off Junk

 After I picked Autumn up after work, we went over to the house of one of my Young Women. She is trying to earn money to get a cell phone, so she has been baking cupcakes and selling them. Liz bought some the last time this YW made cupcakes and Liz said they are AMAZING! I bought 2 this time, so after dinner Autumn & I each ate one. They are Andes mint chocolate cupcakes w/ chocolate ganache in the middle. They were super good!

After dinner we didn't turn on the TV like usual, b/c we both needed to clean our rooms. I'm annoyed that I didn't take a "before" picture of my dresser, b/c it was COVERED! You couldn't even see the dresser top b/c it had so much stuff on it. It took me about an hour and a half to put away and organize all the jewelry and stuff that was on it. Looking at it now, I still need to clear off that left hand corner b/c it still looks junky. But, this is a HUGE improvement from what it was.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Full Circle Time Out On The Stairs

Tonight for FHE we had Nate & Riannon & Olivia over to our house. We had taco salad, and then just hung out and talked. Olivia was doing something Nate had asked her not to do several times, and she ignored him. So, he got up and told her she had to sit in time out on the stairs. I HAD TO get a picture, b/c we have come FULL CIRCLE! The fact that Nate is now putting his own child on the stairs for time out made me laugh. He used to log HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS on the stairs for time out when he was little.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Cop Giving A Talk In Church

 Autumn was so excited to wear some of her new clothes to church today. She looks so grown up!

During the 3rd hour, I skipped Young Women's and we went to Nate & Riannon's ward. Riannon was going to be giving her very first talk in sacrament meeting ever, and we wanted to be there to support her. But, I guess she was too sick w/ being pregnant and texted Nate an hour before and asked him if he would do it. He was working, but said he could take his lunch break and do it. He did a WONDERFUL job and I'm glad we were there to hear his talk. It was funny to see him up at the podium in his police uniform.

After church I stayed for BYC and then dropped the girls off at home after the meeting. I ran & picked Autumn up from Liz & Liberty's (they were so great to take Autumn home w/ them after church so she didn't have to wait for me while I was in my meeting). Then we went out to Aimee's house b/c she had a car load of clothes and books to give us. She is SO GENEROUS and we're so thankful that she saves her kids' clothes that are too small and gives them to us. I think she has single-handedly clothed all of Lexie's boys.

Autumn & I got home at 6:00 and were DONE! We spent the rest of the night eating dinner, snuggling on the couch, and watching The Parent Trap.