My friend Sonja, posted this poem on her blog a few days ago. I found it rather fitting then, and I find it especially applicable today...
No sun--no moon!
No morn--no noon!
No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
No sky--no earthly view--
No distance looking blue--
No road--no street--no "t'other side this way"--
No end to any Row--
No indications where the Crescents go--
No top to any steeple--
No recognitions of familiar people--
No courtesies for showing 'em--
No knowing 'em!
No traveling at all--no locomotion--
No inkling of the way--no notion--
"No go" by land or ocean--
No mail--no post--
No news from any foreign coast--
No Park, no Ring, no afternoon gentility--
No company--no nobility--
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member--
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds--
I hear people (especially people from Arizona) talk all the time about how they just love the dark, rainy, cool, cloudy days. I don't. I guess I don't mind some rain from time to time...but why does it always have to make everything seem so bleak and dismal? I went to Portland once. I was there for 4 or 5 days, and it rained the entire time! By the end of the 1st day, I started feeling a little down...by the end of the 5th day, I practically wanted to slit my wrists. I'm just a sunshine kind of girl I guess. I like things that are bright, and beaming, cheery and illuminating. That's why I posted the picture of the flower (taken today in the pouring rain), I guess as a reminder that if you look for the sunlight in the clouds...that's exactly what you shall find.
Farewell November...desolate, bleak, gloomy, November!
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I decided to post a few pictures of my little Ruby...maybe just for me. After pulling the entire Christmas tree on top of her (resulting in a pile of broken ornaments), tipping over my topiary (leaving a mound of moss and other junk to clean up), and then opening a container of mints and dumping them all over the floor, I guess you could say I was at my wit's end. She had most definitely pushed me to my limit. After a day like today...I think I just needed to look at these to be reminded of how much I love and adore her. I mean really, do you think I could stay mad at that face for too long?
Posted by nicole at 8:45 PM
I was tagged, and I'm finally getting around to posting 6 interesting things about myself...
1) I love kids. If it were physically possible to have a million of them, I would...and I would love them all. One of the very first things that attracted me to John was the fact that he loves children too. Before we even started dating, his entire family (in town for his brother's graduation) came into Nordstrom to visit him while he was working. I remember how cute he was with his nieces and nephews, and I remember thinking wow, what a catch...I think I'd like to date that boy! To this day, one of the things that brings me the most joy, is watching John interact with children; whether it be with Ruby, or our nieces and nephews, or the neighbor kids down the street. Sometimes he even acts like a kid, and I love that about him too.
I took the following pictures a couple weeks back while we were at the park for Bennett's birthday. While most of the adults were conversing at one of the tables under the covered pavilion, there was John, playing on the playground, and entertaining the children...
2) I can't ever leave my shopping cart just loose in the parking lot after loading my groceries in the car. I have to either return it to the inside of the store, or run it to the nearest shopping cart return station located in the parking lot. In the same vein, after trying on clothes, I always hang up all of my items and either leave them nicely in the fitting room, or return them to the salesperson. As a kid, we couldn't even leave a restaurant until I had stacked all the plates (one on top of the other, with all the leftover food scraps in a neat mound on the top plate), pushed all the cups together, forming a tight circle in one corner of the table, and used a napkin (dipped in water), to clean off the surface of the table. (I was a strange child.)
I guess I just hate to make other people clean up after me, or do something that I easily can, and most certainly should, take care of myself.
3) One can always tell, by the way the cord is wound up, who was last in our house to vacuum. John always takes the time to neatly wind it, while I always gather it together in a sloppy bundle and hang it on the hook. I have never seen the point in taking the time to wind and unwind the cord each time, when I'm vacuuming on a daily basis!
4) I love to read, and I love to read aloud. I can always get more out of what I'm reading if I read it out loud. I also love to read to people. Whenever John and I travel to and from Utah, I always make sure to bring a book along. It makes the trip go by faster when we're both enthralled in a good story line. I also have a special love for kid's books; and take advantage of any opportunity to have an audience. I really get into it, and enjoy changing my intonation and accent while impersonating different characters in the story. I really think the kids love it too.
5) I hate to call myself a quitter, but there's really no other word for someone who easily gives up in the face of difficulty. I have always had great desires to try new and exciting things, but very rarely have I ever stuck with something once it became a true challenge. Growing up I took dance (tap, ballet, jazz), piano, gymnastics, art classes (oil painting, drawing), Karate lessons, voice lessons, tennis lessons, ice skating lessons, swimming lessons, softball, etc, etc, etc; and to this day, I can honestly say that I stink at every single one of those things. As soon as something became really difficult, I simply gave up. I didn't even finish college...actually, I didn't really even start (one measly quarter surely couldn't count for anything). After all of that, you can imagine my elation upon successfully finishing an honorable LDS mission. It was by far the most difficult, challenging, arduous, and demanding thing I had done up to that point in my life...and I did not quit (although at times I felt like it), I did not quit! And I wouldn't call living the gospel a cake walk, and I'm still here, doing that...so, well, I guess I'm not a complete failure.
6) I may have mentioned this already at some point, but I hate hospitals. My mom died in a hospital, and I gave birth to my stillborn son in a hospital. I know that hospitals are good, I guess I just hate that they elicit the return of the most painful moments in my life.
Posted by nicole at 9:20 AM
Sunday, November 25, 2007
While we were decorating the house on Friday, and setting up the tree, John made an interesting comment. He said, "you know what I love most about Christmas? I love that it's a magical time. A time when people are generally happy and good natured towards one another. A time when the whole world celebrates and rejoices together". I then responded with "John, have you completely forgotten what it's like working retail during the Holidays?" We both laughed at that one; and anyone else that has worked retail will probably laugh at that too. Unfortunately, it's also a time that can bring out the worst in people. Impatient people, selfish people, greedy people, and downright mean people...everywhere. Thankfully, I'm at home this year, and I can go on feeling and enjoying the magic of the season. Although it can be a crazy time, it's also a time of peace, and joy. A time of celebration. A time of family togetherness...a time of love.
My mother-in-law was in town this weekend. I love spending time with her. Yesterday we went to one of the many ourdoor malls that they have here in Arizona. It was fun to spend time together as a family. It was so wonderful to be on the other end this time. Rather than rushing around helping customers, clearing out fitting rooms, folding boxes, and ringing up gift cards, I got to soak it all in...stroll along at my own pace, browse, enjoy...but most of all, feel the love that one only feels in the midst of such a magical season.
We all got the biggest kick out of watching Ruby push her own stroller around the shopping plaza...
Posted by nicole at 2:28 PM
I love the Holidays. I especially love Christmas, but I refuse to acknowledge the onset of Christmas, until Thanksgiving is officially over. I feel like it's important to celebrate each Holiday to it's fullest, and to not cut one short for the excitement and anticipation of another. One of the things I loved most about working at Nordstrom was walking in the day after Thanksgiving, to find the store adorned and ornamented, embellished and trimmed...everything screaming It's Christmas! I love that unlike other retailers (that have Christmas stuff up at Halloween), Nordstrom waits until the day after Thanksgiving to unveil it's holiday decor, also feeling the importance of celebrating one holiday at a time.
I can actually remember one year convincing my mom that we should put up the tree before Thanksgiving. It was the year that we had found out about her cancer. Because the chemotherapy had caused her to be so sick and weak, we were unable to host Thanksgiving dinner as we had in years past. Due to the fact that we wouldn't be having any company over, we decided to go ahead and break out the Christmas stuff early. That was the Christmas mom died. I'm not sure if that's the reason I'm so adamant about waiting, or if it's because it's just part of longstanding tradition, but I think I will always wait until Thanksgiving has passed to welcome the commencement of Christmas...
Posted by nicole at 12:20 PM
Thursday, November 22, 2007
This morning I was reminiscing back to a moment in my childhood in which I was sitting on my dad's lap. I remember him telling me that he was the richest man in the world. He went on to list several of the blessings for which he was grateful, and then explained that to him, being rich had little to do with his monetary blessings, but had everything to do with the spiritual ones. Just another of the many important lessons that my father taught me in my childhood.
Today I feel the same way. I truly feel like the richest person alive. I am constantly in awe of the blessings the Lord has given me, and frequently ask myself what have I ever done to deserve all of this? A Savior. His infinite atonement. The Gospel in it's fullness. A loving, eternal family. Kind friends. Good health. Just to name a few.
This morning John left early to go play in the Turkey Bowl, and Ruby, bless her little heart, slept in until 9:00...allowing me some quiet moments alone to pray and to ponder and to be grateful. Truly I recognize that this was a gift from my Heavenly Father, and I'm grateful that he allowed me this opportunity to reflect...and to fill my heart with gratitude. Truly I am rich.
Posted by nicole at 12:08 PM
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
that's what little girls are made of. Thought I'd share a few recent pictures just to reiterate how completely "girl" this little girl is...
The other night I pulled out a bunch of my bracelets for Ruby to play with...and she ended up adorning her entire arm with them!
Lately she's demonstrated a complete infatuation with any sort of lipstick or gloss. She has learned how to get into my makeup drawer (if she stands on her tip toes), and usually feels around until she's found the tubular container of shimmery lip gloss. She then will hold it up to me and ask (and sometimes even beg) for pretties? After I've applied it, she instinctively begins smacking her lips together. It's a total crack up.
Last night she spotted aunt Julie putting on some chap stick, and without delay, she outstretched her arms while supplicating, pretties?...pretties? Off and on (but mostly on), throughout the night she'd run back to Julie and ask mo pretties? mo pretties? Finally Julie just ended up giving it to her! Can you tell how proud she is, and how pretty she looks, upon receiving her very own chap stick?
By the end of the night, the tube was completely hollowed out. Half of it smeared all over her face...the other half inching it's way through her gastrointestinal tract. Gross. I know.
Posted by nicole at 8:56 PM
Sunday, November 18, 2007
We had some of our nieces and nephews over on Friday night for a special "cousins" slumber party. I can't remember the last time we had so much fun, acted so dippy, ate so much junk, and laughed so hard. I felt like I was a kid all over again. Not only that, but Ruby was completely beside herself with all of her cousins. They ate, danced, and played the night away...that is, until it was time to put her to bed. Poor girl, cried...and cried...and cried...till she finally fell asleep. (She didn't want to miss out on a minute of the action!)
A few pictures from our night of fun...
Ruby guzzling her soda
During the movie
Loving the sundaes
And finally...what little angels!
A few videos too...
obsessed with the Barbie song
Amy the Robot...
The dance off...
Ruby and John join in...(Watch Ruby on the floor in the very beginning...hilarious!)
Posted by nicole at 10:06 PM
Friday, November 16, 2007
I heard a loud "thud" from Ruby's Room this afternoon...followed by a hysterical squall. As I burst through the bedroom door, I found what I had expected, but also had so greatly feared - and that was Ruby's little body, laying on the floor, at the base of her crib. My heart literally sunk at the sight. I quickly scooped her up into my arms, and it was then that my own tears began to flow.
She's been so active lately. Darting here and there. Discovering. Exploring. Experiencing so many firsts. She recently figured out how to climb up onto the couch by lifting her leg up, and then using it as leverage to hoist the rest of her body up. I'm sure that's what she did in this case too...but this time there was nothing to get up on to, only the cold, hard ground several feet below.
At first I was mad at myself. I felt responsible for what had happened. I should have been able to stop her. That's my job as a mother right? To keep my children from danger. To warn them of the consequences of making wrong choices. To steer them clear of harm's way. To protect. I was supposed to protect her.
Sadly, many of us, even children, can be warned and forewarned. We are taught, we are encouraged, we are admonished, we are advised; but the only way we can really learn, is after we've fallen once or twice. Often times, by making our own mistakes, and then picking ourselves up again, we learn the greatest lessons.
I sure hope Ruby learned something from all of this. I desperately hope this experience rocked her little world. I hope she understands the consequence of her decision, and I hope and pray that she never ever tries that one again...
How must our own Heavenly Father feel with His children? He has provided us with commandments to follow, scriptures to read, prophets who lovingly admonish, other leaders, parents, and the Holy Ghost to guide us every step of the way. How must he feel when, after all He has done to protect us, we still fall? Disappointed? I'm sure. Worried? Of course, he's our Father. Would it be right for Him to interfere, to try and prevent us from ever making another mistake? No, for often times we don't learn and grow until we've fallen a time or two, and then picked ourselves back up again...and of course, we can always expect our Father - our Heavenly Father, to be there to scoop us up in His loving arms.
Although Ruby's fall was one of the scariest things that has happened in the short time I've been her mom, I'm grateful that she's okay... and I'm grateful for the little life lesson I learned today.
Posted by nicole at 5:37 PM
Thursday, November 15, 2007
It was one of the first things she learned to say. She knows her outfit is not complete until she's got her shoes on; and when she's not wearing her own - she's wearing her mom's, or her auntie's, or even her dad's...
I kid you not, this was every bit - her doing...even down to the lip gloss.
Struttin' around in aunt Dorothy's shoes...
...and aunt Kim's.
Posted by nicole at 10:43 PM
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I don't know many kids that aren't crazy about cookies. My Ruby is obsessed. She recently learned how to say cookie, although, when she says it, it ends up sounding a bit more like cokie. I find it rather humorous the different times of day that her cookie cravings hit...and boy does she ever let me know when they do. All I hear until she has that cookie in her mouth is "Cokie? Cokie? Cokie?...'nt cokie, 'nt cokie...peese...peeeese...peeeeeese momma, COKIE! COKIE!! COKIE!!!" I hate to always buckle under her perpetual beseeching, but c'mon, she's just too cute to resist. Yesterday morning, her fist words upon waking were - 'nt cokie (I want cookie). I think it's safe to say that my little Ruby's obsessive demand for cookies...just may have transcended that of the cookie monster himself!
Posted by nicole at 9:35 PM
Monday, November 12, 2007
We were in Utah two weeks ago; and while the primary purpose of our trip was to be there for Rachel's farewell talk and open house... we managed to squeeze a few more things into our schedule.
Due to some prior commitments and obligations at home, we couldn't even leave Mesa until about 7:00 pm. Our original plan was to drive half way - to Page, and then to stay the night in a hotel. By the time we reached Page, however, we were feeling pretty lively, and therefore agreed to keep on driving, and stop in the next town. The next town was Kanab; and the hotel we stopped at, had no vacancies...if you can believe that. Other places we checked with were charging an arm and a leg for an old crappy room. At that point it was like 1:00 in the morning, and we couldn't justify paying that much for just a few hour stay. So we kept on trucking...to the next town, where we couldn't find anything open. And that's pretty much the story of our entire night. Going from one small town to the next, trying to find a vacancy, Searching for an open sign, hoping to find a decent price; but coming up empty handed every time. Well, before we realized it, we were in Nephi, and hey, we had made it that far...what was another two hours, right? We arrived at my dad's at about 6 am, and slept until about 9:30 or 10. I guess one good thing about doing it that way was that Ruby slept the entire trip. So while she was active, bright, happy, and well-rested that next day - we were, well, struggling to merely keep our eyes open...
Posted by nicole at 5:52 PM
As I mentioned before, after we arrived at my dad's house, we were only able to sleep about three hours or so. After we got up and got ready for the day, we decided to pay Grandma Judy a visit at school. She works only a couple of blocks away from my dad's house, and happened to be on her lunch break when we got there. We hadn't told her that we had decided to drive straight through, so she wasn't even expecting us until later that afternoon or evening. She was pleasantly surprised to see us, and spent the next half hour or so snuggling with Ruby. It was the cutest thing to witness. As soon as she picked her up, Ruby pressed her cheek up against Grandma Judy's, and literally remained in that position the entire time. She sure loves her Grandparents.
From there we drove to Orem to see Carol and John, and their new baby, Mark. I am still just so happy that they were able to adopt this little guy. He is just perfect, and the light of his parent's lives.
It's impossible to be in Orem without making a stop in Nordstrom. For that's the very place John and I first laid eyed on each other...and shortly after, fell in love. Well, I guess that's not really the reason we stop in. We go so that we can reconnect with all of our Nordstrom friends!
Brittany and Karissa - my bp friends
Dan - our friend from women's shoes
We then made a stop at David and Leigh's, and enjoyed a nice visit with them and their adorable children.
Jayce and Ruby really took to each other!
Bryce playing the drums.
And then to Paul and Amy's...
And if you think that was the end of it, you're wrong. We then met up with John's family at the Bonsai Japanese Steakhouse to celebrate David's Birthday!
Singing Happy Birthday!
Paul - ready for the shrimp catch
John, Nicole, Amy, Paul, David, Scott, Judy
And then it was home sweet home. We arrived back at my dad's just as Aaron and Dorothy were getting in from Boston. We spent the rest of the night visiting with them and just hanging with the family.
Posted by nicole at 5:50 PM