Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Do I Do?

I have recently been lost in thought about what it is that I do.
What do I do?
If today were the end of my life and I was asked:
"what is it that you did?"
What would I say?

Would I say that I performed in some shows?
Maybe I could say that I had the magical ability to take the most random ingredients and create awesome casseroles.
I could say that I spent lots of time leading a youth group for my church.
I guess I could also say that I loved to sew but had no idea how to follow a pattern.
I had a baby once.  That was awesome.  I did that.
I've traveled to several countries.  I did that, too.
I pinned lots of things to Pinterest.  That must be an accomplishment.
I was able to help lots of people learn how to sing.
Somehow, I convinced a man to marry me.
We even have fun together.  I suppose that could go down on my list of 'what I did'.
Perhaps I could say that I took some mediocre photos and used some filters to create a beautiful Instagram account of my life (the last few years of it, anyway).
I could also say that I have eaten approximately 9,000 spoonfuls of peanut butter since my birth.

I've got a feeling that whoever I check in with once death occurs isn't really going to care about my casserole skills.
Unless, of course, there is a Heavenly Iron Chef Casserole competition on the day I arrive.

But seriously, 
WHAT DO I DO?!?!?

While I don't want to be defined by my actions, I am.
I would rather be judged by who I am
BUT
it turns out that we BECOME ourselves by what we DO.

SO, WHAT IS IT THAT I DO??????

I don't know the answer.
I hope you have the answer to that question for yourself.

Because, I think that
when it's all over and done, it won't matter what I did.
I think that what will matter is how I left the people I came face to face with.

I guess I can just keep doing what I do
but focus more on the humans than the spoonful of peanut butter.
And focus on the humans more than their facebook status
or political beliefs
or sexual orientation
or belief in God.

I believe in humans
and I believe that we are here to be friends with other humans.

So, I'm not sure of what I've been doing
but I've decided that I'm just going to be your friend.
Maybe you could be someone else's friend
and then they could be someone else's friend
and then the whole world could be friends.

So that at that one dinner party we can be like
"oh!  You know him?! He's a friend of my friend's friend's friend's friend."

If my life ended right now, I'd wish that I could report that instead of sewing 2 trillion maxi skirts,
I could report that I made peace and friends.

I think that's what I'm going to do.
Join me?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Plateful DIY


I dream in plates.
I had been mulling around the idea of a plate wall from the moment we moved in.
Plate walls are the perfect way to add color and texture to a wall without spending much of anything!


^^^Our wedding plate from Spain is so beautiful and it needed a good home.
My plated dreams became more of a reality when we received the beautiful hand-painted plate in the bottom left corner from a dear friend in Albuquerque
AND THEN
I was wandering through IKEA and found the darling hot air balloon plate 
and it was a done deal.
The plate wall began consuming my every thought.

I searched the WWW here and found some really beautiful and a few really horrible plate walls.
Sometimes, plate walls are for grandmas.
The cashiers of the stores I would buy a stack of random plates from would ALWAYS ask what I'm doing with them.
The Target cashier responded this way when I told her I was working on a plate wall:
"like...a grandma plate wall?"
"Yes.  A grandma plate wall"
I replied.

This project was SO fun and SO easy! 

There are lots of ways to hang plates.
There are these hanging things:
but I didn't want little metal things showing around all of my plates.
Besides, those things are too pricey.
I have friends that have super glued safety pins and paper clips to their plates.
That works if your plate doesn't weigh much.
Infact, I used that classy paper clip method on my teeny tiny plates and it worked really great!

^^^kinda trashy...

The real secret to a perfect plate wall is displayed below:
THE DISC!
This thing is magic.
You wet it, attach it, and let it sit overnight.
Voila!
And it doesn't show a bit.
Available at Hobby Lobby...the happiest place on earth.

My plate collection came from a little bit of everywhere.
I started at D.I.
You can start at Goodwill if you don't have a D.I.

Below are the D.I. goods.
5 plates for $5
Some of them needed a little paint.
Spray paint, a piece of lace, and the plastic end of a makeup brush fixed that problem in about 10 minutes.

Next, I found myself in the clearance aisle of Hobby Lobby.
$1.80 for each of the plates below:

I also bought a large stack from Target, but ended up returning all of them when they didn't quite work.

Once you've assembled a wonderful collection, lay them out on the floor.
I did this for two days.
I moved them from one position
to another
to another.
Finally, Celine started picking up the plates and dropping them on top of each other.

That's when the planning phase was over and I rushed to throw these suckers up on the wall.

You can REALLY over think this.
Just decide how much space you want between the plates and then get hanging.
If it looks horrible, you can always add more...
for example:

^^^This was what I thought was the finished product
but it didn't look so good
so we added more.
and more.
and more.
Until we ended up with the plate wall of my dreams.
Thanks to the Mister for being the hammer and nail specialist.
Happy Plate Wall-ing!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dear Baby: You Are ONE!!!

I am at a loss for words as to how this has happened. 
One year ago right now, we were going to bed for the last time as simply husband and wife. 
The next morning we became Mommy and Papi. 
YOUR Mommy and Papi. 
It was impossible for us to understand, at that time, the amount that our hearts would swell. 
We couldn't imagine how deeply we could feel for another person. 
We were unaware of our capacity to love. 

 Because of you, little one, we now know. 

 In this year you have learned to open your eyes. 
You have learned to use your hands. 
You can hold up your own head. 
You have learned to sit up. 
You have learned to get around. 
You have learned how to tease. 
You have learned how to say "uh-oh, Mama, Papa, bye-bye, hello", and our favorite "UNO!" 
You have discovered how fun it is to have people. 
You have learned, perhaps even more than I have, that simply noticing someone's existence can make them feel like a million bucks. 
You understand conversation and how to make it. 
You sing in your head-voice. 
You holler like a Spaniard. 
You play with your curls. 
You have discovered the enjoyment of throwing things.
You give loves 
and you kiss. 
You are an expert Skype talker (thanks to your parents moving you far away from family) 
You have traveled on upwards of 30 flights and several road trips. 
You have moved from New Mexico to Arizona. 
You make friends wherever you go. 
 You make us 
 laugh more
 cry more 
sing more 
hug more 
dance more 
love more 
and know our Heavenly Father more. 
 I see Him and His angels in your eyes. 
Your purity and goodness comes through loud and clear. 
I want to be like you in every way. 
 Thanks for making me a Mom and thanks for making it so much fun. 
Happy Numero Uno!

Photography by the incredible Aimee Hernandez
contact me for her information

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I've been thinking about maps

I would love to decorate my whole house in maps.
I like roads and I love cities.

I like that we are movers.
We move.
Lots of times.
Someday this will get old.
For now, I find it delightful to create our own list of favorite places and things.
I long for those places of homes past.
Wegmans
Slate Street
Niro's

But more than that, I have a recurring pit in my stomach because of all of the dear people we've left in each place.
It makes my heart pound.
I miss all of those people and I am so thrilled to have each of them imprinted on the story of our lives.

Every day I wish that all of the incredible people that have made us US could all move to the beach together and live in beach houses all in a row.
And we could eat dinner together,
and walk in each other's front doors without knocking,
and let our children stay out late playing night games while we sit on the porch and play cards and drink Pellegrino.

Maybe that's what we'll do in heaven.
Until then, I'm just going to have to cover my walls in maps and remember how lucky I am to have so many people in so many states and countries to love.

I love all of you people.
I'm pretty sure you should know who you are.
If you don't, I've failed miserably at sharing with you how much you mean to me.

You mean a lot.

xoxo

Monday, June 3, 2013

Becoming the Mister and Lady


We are always getting asked how we met considering that we were born and raised an ocean apart.
Literally.
It was September of 2009 and a very good friend of mine coined the phrase
"I'm going to find your husband for you."
This friend felt that since he knew my family and had known me for years he
"knew what I needed."
And he reminded me often.

One day, I was sitting in the cubicle I worked in on Brigham Young University campus when the cubicle walls started to shake.
I could hear the thundering footsteps of Jamie James (my own, personal matchmaker).
He burst through the cubicle opening and said, grinning ear to ear
"I found him.  He's coming to meet you in 30 minutes."

I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry.
I tried to be discreet as I glanced to the full length mirror.
My hair was unusually frizzy that day.
Perfect.

I asked Jamie who this mystery man was and told myself that there was 
NO POSSIBLE WAY
that this international-student-coming-upstairs-to-meet-me-after-a-photo-shoot-of-international-students
was my future husband.

I decided that it was just fine that my hair was extra frizzy.

Thirty minutes later a dark European walked into my cubicle.


Jamie introduced us and then VERY AWKWARDLY stated that he would "give us some time to get to know each other" and told everyone to get out of the cubicle.
I got lost in his green eyes and his very subtle accent.
And then I caught another glance of myself in the full-length mirror and remembered that 
I had frizzy hair 
and that he was a foreigner 
and that it wasn't going to work out anyway.

After a few minutes, he left.
And he never asked for my number.

I did my best to forget him.
The following Tuesday, I was standing in the produce section of Smith's at 11:15 in the morning when I looked up from the navel oranges and saw him.

Without even thinking, I rushed over to him and 
HUGGED HIM.

What?

Followed by my word stumble that went something like: 
"I'm so sorry. I don't know why I hugged you.  I don't even know you."

We chatted for a minute and then he said
"Hey, I failed to get your number the other day, could I have it?"

I gave it to him
(and found out later that he already HAD my number, he was just pretending.)

Thus began 4 weeks of turning him down on dates.

He had gotten it in his mind that he wanted to take me Salsa dancing.
I'm a dancer, but I dance 
on a stage
by myself.

I was horrified that if I went with him, he would think I was a horrible salsa dancer and would never want to see me again.

I used excuses like 
"I have to go to the gym"
and
"My trainer can only meet with me at 10 pm on Thursdays (at the same time as salsa dancing)"
and
"I'm slammed with homework."

Four weeks later, I was sitting at CPK with my family and I received another text asking me to go with him that week.
(I later found out that he had decided that this was the last time he would ask.  If I said "no"...he was outta there.)
I told my parents and brother and they asked me what I had to lose?
(What did I have to lose?!?!  I was risking public humiliation here, people.)
"Maybe he'll stop asking if you just go with him."

So, I did. 
I frantically looked up Youtube videos that teach how to salsa dance
and borrowed my roommates strappy heels that were too big for me
and I met him at the salsa club.

He took my hand and walked me out onto the dance floor and said
"if you were so nervous about coming, you could have just done some YouTube videos"
and then he laughed...like it was a joke.
I followed up with an awkward giggle to which he responded
"you did YouTube videos, didn't you?"
"Um...yep...three."
I was ready to shove the heel of the shoe that was too big for me down my windpipe to put me out of my misery but then he started dancing.
And I got lost in his eyes and made a fool of myself.

The date ended at 12:30 am and I called my mom to tell her 
"that was the most romantic date I have ever been on."

I was pretty horrible at salsa dancing, but he didn't seem to mind.
We both continued to date the 3-4 people we were regularly seeing and at night, 
after our dates with other people,
we would meet at my apartment and talk about what we did and how they went.
And sometimes, we would kiss each other.
We became best friends,
finally got the courage to ditch the other folks,
and one year later, we became the Mister and Lady.

And we still salsa dance in the kitchen.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dear Daughter,

Someday, you might not get asked to Prom.
Go anyway.
We'll go buy a pretty dress and you can dance the night away surrounded by all of the people that wish their date would disappear too.
The best part is that you and I can go and eat ice cream afterwards and not be embarrassed when we've eaten so much that you have to unzip your dress.

Someday, you might not make the high school dance team.
It's ok.  I didn't make it either.
Just promise me that you won't stop dancing.
Dance wherever and whenever you want.
I'll even dance in the aisle of the grocery store with you, if you want.
Just keep dancing.

Do me a favor and don't wait around for others to let you into their clique.
Be the letter-inner.
Remember that you make friends by being a friend.
Being popular means nothing.
Being kind means everything.
Don't ever confuse the two.

Don't follow the trends, set the trends.
Remember that those that carry themselves with confidence are usually the trend-setters.
Be proud of who you are.
Don't apologize for it...ever.

Be nerdy.
Remember that your Nana prayed every night that her children would be nerdy.
She says that nerdy people are the most sure of themselves and happy with who they are.
Nana speaks the truth.

Read books.
Google everything.
Live in wonder.
Be friends with the teachers.
Be proud of the good grades that you earn.
Remember that every person in the world knows something that you don't.
Find opportunities to learn from everyone you meet.
They've got a lot to offer you.

Don't be afraid of hard work.
Big dreams require big work.
Don't wait around for someone else to make your dreams come true.
You've got this.
Don't be afraid of failure.
Failure is a sign that you are alive.
If we never experienced failure, success wouldn't be sweet.

Don't be a follower.
Be a leader.

Make it your goal to bring happiness to the world every day.
There are people crying in silent desperation all around us.
Let's find them and help them be happy.

The most important thing for you to know is that your parents are your biggest fans.
We spend so much of our day loving on you and kissing you that I'm not sure we'll ever be able to break that habit.
Sorry about that.
We will try to contain ourselves at some point.
That point is not anywhere in the near future.

If you ever wonder if I love you, come back and read this.
I love you so much that it makes my insides feel like exploding.
I can't describe this kind of love.
You'll understand it when you have a daughter of your own.
Until then, just trust me.

There will be disappointment and heartache during this thing called life.
That just means you are alive.

Love,
Mom

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

11

Dear Baby,
I just don't even know what to say.
You are 11 months old.
That means that the next birthday post will be for a one year old.
MY one year old.
How is that even possible?

This month was filled with exciting things.
You and I are still bff (but only when Papi's not around)
(truth be told, you are looking at Papi even in this picture...I am truly the third wheel)
Your excitement for, well, everything is contagious and oh-so-funny.
You giggle nearly nonstop.
It is the most wonderful joy bringing sound I've ever heard.
You are still really into taking self portraits.
#selfie
This month you proved that you truly are my daughter by seeking out the Diet Coke in the house and dumping it all over yourself and Nana's carpet.
Well done.
Nana bought you a phone.
You talk on it all day long.
I'm concerned about our future phone bills.
This month, you and I went on night swims almost every night.
It's our therapy.
You and Papi continued to fall in love.
Day
after day
after day.
You scored your first very own drink on one of our infamous Sonic runs.
Watching you drink out of a straw makes me feel like you are such an adult.
Knock it off.
You were especially helpful this month by helping me teach voice lessons.
You conducted the music while my students sang and made sour faces when they made sour sounds.
I celebrated the happiest Mother's Day of my existence this month.
You are I shared a Sandia con Menta popsicle and Papi whisked us around the city for the perfect Mother's Day date.
You made me a Mother and for that, I owe you one.
But perhaps my favorite part of this month was your new found obsession with the piano.
I park you here at least once a day and you serenade me.
It is really quite fabulous.
You are the best concert giver and I am a pretty stellar audience.
We are a good combo.
Our world continues to revolve around you and life has never been better.
Thanks for letting us kiss you incessantly and squeeze you to bits.
Let's go ahead and slow the next month waaaay down.
Love you, sweet one.
Love,
Mama