Friday, September 1, 2017

Ode to Comfy Jeans

 LuLaRoe may have taken over my wardrobe in the past year. It swooped in quite flagrantly, emptied my wallet and shoved all other clothing items to the dark recesses of my closet to keep the cobwebs company. It even claimed its own deep drawer in my dresser and sent my jeans packing to a rarely used lower drawer to hibernate for an undetermined length of time. Of course I reasoned that, in light of the embarrassing amount of money I spent on it (though have since wrangled in due to necessity), that I better be wearing the clothes quite frequently! Which has sadly lead to the neglect of other clothing items, not least of which are my jeans.

 I used to be a jeans girl. I wore jeans all the time, everywhere. And it was difficult for me to send those old favorite pairs of jeans off to better lives somewhere else as my body decided to turn against me and outgrow them. Or in those tragic cases when a hole developed in a less then desirable- or repairable- location (*Like the seam of the crouch*), and the jeans had to be laid to rest within the lonely confines of the trash bin. Otherwise, I would wear my jeans, or in general most of my clothes, until they were undeniably beyond hope. Believe it or not- I still have some clothing items from my high school days! Of course they aren’t my jeans- I don’t think I will ever fit in another pair of size 5 or 7 jeans, even with weight loss- nothing will force my hips back into their pre- ‘three large babies’ shape. But I have shirts that I have hung on to and worn for 14+ years. It helps when as a teenager you had body image issues and swore off most tight fitting clothes. But once my LuLaRoe craze hit, that all changed, and after long years of wearing pretty much the same old faithful clothes, I turned against them for a while.

 Now a days, I try to make it an even mix. Leggings are harder since I need shirts that are long enough to cover my bottom & thighs somewhat- besides for modesty, those body image issues haven’t improved in my post babies body. I do enjoy the leggings though for the fact that they have personalities all their own, depending on the print. When I am enjoying a rainy day, I may put on my leggings with raindrops and umbrellas dancing across them. Or during certain holidays, I feel extra festive wearing some silly jack’o’lanterns or decking my legs out in boughs of holly just as I would my home- only this holly is incredibly comfy and isn’t prickly. And best of all, no matter which pair of leggings, they are all very forgiving. They forgive me for the extra piece of pie at dinner, or the 3rd helping of spaghetti after an exhausting day. I don’t have to unbutton them just to get comfortable after that large meal. And those are great qualities, and definitely something I need sometimes, yet there is still something about jeans that leggings can’t quite live up too.

 I can slip into a pair of my favorite jeans- and I am super picky, my best, most faithful pairs are all Arizona jean company in the juniors department of JCP- and just enjoy the most comforting embrace. Sure laugh all you want, but my comfy jeans hug me in all the right ways. I’m not talking about my ‘fat pants’, you know those pairs that you hang onto in a size or two bigger then your usual ones, the ones you save for those days when you are losing the battle to bloat. No, I am speaking of the pairs that fit you like they were tailored especially for you. And they may not forgive in ways leggings can, but thats because they just want to give you the tightest embrace they comfortably can, and its incredibly satisfying.

 Recently, on the coat tails of the hottest, most humid summer I have ever experienced in the 32 years I have had the privilege of being alive, I just couldn’t wait to don my jeans again in the fall and I took a pair out from its lonely drawer, shook off the dust, and slipped into them. It was amazing! You may think this lady is crazy for finding so much joy in putting on a pair of standard denim jeans, but isn’t life really about the simple joys and pleasures that we frequently take for granted?

 Now getting into the physiology of it, I honestly believe part of it can connect to the same logic as why a weighted blanket can be so soothing and comforting to anyone, but particularly those who may struggle with mental disorders (autism) or even just emotional turmoil and stress. Its like how research shows that hugging can reduce stress and release the ‘feel good’ endorphins in your brain. The feeling of snug jeans, can help you feel grounded and secure. Throw on a warm, heavy sweater or hoodie, and you are set! Thats why everyone loves fall so much- its like one huge, cozy hug as we all pull out our favorite, comfy jeans after a long hot summer!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Finding the Beauty Again

Its been so long since I sat down to write something. Too long. (And I know in 2012, I had a post with a similar start that lead to another 2 years before this one with no posts in between!) I have tried in the past 3 years since we moved back stateside from Guam- can’t believe it has been 3 years already! It’s something about moving, being somewhere else, getting into a different rhythm from place to place. Thats not to say I still don’t feel a passion for writing & sharing. I certainly do. But with 3 kids, especially now that my oldest is in school here and participating in extracurriculars, has kept me busier then I ever expected. Funny, I thought as they started school it would be easier but its actually just a new kind of busy as you go from toddlers & preschoolers who you are constantly chasing around, to sending them off to school & driving them to all the different functions & after school activities! I can’t believe this fall I will have 2 in school, though again- no less busy I am sure! I have been thinking about how different it is here compared to Guam too. I miss the little things. Even though on Guam I had 2 young children to keep me busy, life seemed somehow slower there. I had a conversation once with one of the amazing friends we made (who I dearly miss!) while living in that little piece of paradise. I had never thought of it much directly until she brought it up, but it was true, island life somehow felt slower. You notice things more. You are more open to seeing the beauty & wonder of God that is surrounding you. Not just in that it was a tropical island either, because honestly, while nice sunny days are awesome, I have always been much more of a Washington girl! I like my hills & mountains. I like the truly long stretches of roads through forests of evergreen trees. And I especially love the warm glow of autumn trees with their scarlet & golden leaves. Fall is my season and I pined for it horribly when we lived in Guam. Also Christmas- I know plenty of places around the world don’t typically have a white Christmas- even Washington rarely boasts an actual white Christmas (more often just the wet variety), but a warm Christmas, in a tank top & shorts? Not my idea of getting into the spirit of the season. Despite all that though, I marveled at the revelations God would show me when I just opened my eyes. I always felt His presence so much more on that little island then I had ever before though I know He is always with me no mater where it is we may go. It’s me that changes, that grows closer to Him, or slides back & gets caught up in the hectic ways of the world, as my vision of His greatness gets dulled by the everyday. He doesn’t change though.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. ~James 1:17 (NASB)
As we prepare to (finally!) make a decision about membership in a new church, I am reminded I need to get my focus back where it belongs. I need to see the beauty more, I need to see through the eyes of Christ, especially when it comes to people. I need to find the good, instead of simply judging flaws and overlooking anything else in my blindness. I hope I can be a better light for Him, as He has always been the Light for me in my own time of trials. I don’t know how often I will get around to writing about it, because with 3 kids now (verses 2 when I started this blog), plus a fairly new puppy dog, I am kept on my toes quite a bit. But I know I want to try at least semi regularly because I like to I feel like just maybe I am helping someone out there with just a little bit of encouragement on their own walk with the Lord. Even if its just a little bit for one person.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I know, I know... it has been a long time since I have written anything. And even that is an understatement! I feel like I go through seasons. Sometimes I want to spend every waking minute documenting the lives of my beautiful children through photography. Other times I switch to a scrapbooking mode, when I try to express myself through creating fun & festive pages on which to display the hundreds of photos I take. Then other times I enjoy making hair bows for my little girl who seems to want to outgrow them- but I am in denial about that one! And of course there is a certain time of year when it seems we have birthday after birthday, and I become immersed in party planning. I love all my hobbies. I put my heart into every bit of them. But I believe my longest lasting, most satisfying, and biggest personal passion is truly writing. Not a surprise for those who know me I am sure. I L.O.V.E. to talk & express myself. I crave being able to share my thoughts & emotions with someone, with everyone! And when I do sit down to write- whether it's a letter, an email, a blog, or just journaling- I have to really pull myself away because I just never want to stop. If it weren't for the kids and necessary trips to the bathroom, I would write for hours on end!! All that said, I would like to be able to sit back down again and blog a bit more regularly for a while. Not sure how often that will be right now. A lot has happened and we have been quite busy since I last was writing. Including a new addition to our family- Alexander, only 2 months old at the moment. Actually he was part of my inspiration to sit back down and write. I wanted to share his birth story as I had once shared Natalie & Zachary's. My next blog though will probably be just a 'brief' (however brief I can actually make it!) update of our activities since my last blog. For now though, here is a picture of our new little guy at just a few days old.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lock-Ins Where We Weren't Locked In

Some of my favorite memories are from my time at church, in our youth group. In particular I loved being apart of the lock-ins. Staying up all night long, hanging out, playing games and munching on snacks, what teenager could ask for more?!

(This was much of our youth group, I was one of the youngest- in yellow, in front of the building we used most often for our youth group meetings. It actually burned down, though I can't remember which year- I think it was when I was 17 or 18. The roof had caught fire and it was bad enough the building became unusable- at the time I was in charge of our AWANA store also housed in that building. I remember going through everything and it reeked of smoke, we couldn't use any of it.)

One of my favorite games was a form of hide and seek. Though the concept of a lock-in is being locked inside the church, our church was actually four buildings spread out over the church grounds, so we usually just took it as being 'locked' into the church grounds. So in the dark night, we would have 1 person go out and hide somewhere- inside or out. Then we all go out in search of them. The first person to find them is officially the winner, but once they are found instead of announcing it, you would join them in hiding until pretty much everyone was hiding there. One time when we were playing, it was my friend, Coley's, turn to hide. He found a great spot because we were completely at a loss and eventually had to start searching for him for real- game officially over. As it turned out, he had fallen asleep where he was hidden!! From then on we only played in partners.
At another lock-in, when we were playing that same game but in partners, it was Steve and Joe's turn to hide (at least I think it was those- but really any of the guys in youth group would've had this exact idea!). On our church property there was a huge back lot where a new building was always planned to be built (as of now I still don't think it has happened yet!). The ground was very uneven. Mounds of earth here and there, between ditches. During our normal youth group time each Sunday evening, we would often play capture the flag up there. It was perfect for it. Well the lot is surrounded by woods. Well Steve and Joe went out to hide, and pretty soon we all went out, in pairs, to search for them. After not too long, we started hearing this loud crack, I mean really loud hard to ignore, and if I remember right, there was also a bright flash of some sort. It seemed to be coming from the back lot, so my friend Shannah who was my partner, and another pair of girls, Deanna and Emily, all went up to the back lot. Of course it was dark and the ground was uneven, so it was creepy back there, but we walked along the edges, though not getting too terribly close to the woods. We were talking about how they better not be back in the woods, because that would be out of bounds. And then all the sudden they jumped out from the trees (well, not so much jumped as, set off whatever toy they were using to make the loud noise and bright flash of light, and they yelled something from up in a tree right at the edge- in daylight they would've been completely visible), catching me and the other girls off guard as we screamed and jumped back- me unfortunately into a huge puddle! I wasn't very happy at the time, but I smile when I look back and think of it now.
Why can't adults have lock-ins and play games like that?!! I totally miss it!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: My Plans While We Are HOME!

I am home for my sister's wedding and some much needed time with family and friends, most of whom I have not seen in 2+ years!! So while I plan to be checking in occasionally and maybe blogging a little, Jon and I have a lot of things we want to cram into a 3 week window while we are home. We aren't planning another visit to the states until our return home in mid 2012! Here are some of the many things we hope to do during the 3 weeks:

1. Obviously, I will be doing all the wonderful duties of not only sister to the bride, but a bridesmaid. Including throwing a bridal shower myself, attending another pajama party and a ladies luncheon in my sister's honor- complete with getting my nails done at the salon with the ladies before the luncheon, the rehearsal and dinner, then the actual wedding itself!

2. At my sister's request, we will be having either a double date with our men, or just some sister bonding time. I believe we will be going to Seattle!

3. At my insistence, Jon and I will be getting a date night of our own. If finances and timing permit, it will be a dinner cruise that we have both longed to go on. In fact, it the same one he had hoped to propose on if I hadn't been so impatient!

4. This is not only a trip to go for the wedding, but also our own family vacation. We haven't been on one of those in a long time!! So we are hoping to take the kids up to the Woodland Park Zoo in the Seattle area, which I have never been too. As well as the Aquarium which is in downtown Seattle- though they will probably need to be separate trips, because we will take the ferry on foot for the Aquarium. Though Jon was disappointed I had taken Natalie on her first ferry ride the last time just us girl visited, this time it will be Zachary's 1st time and we will all go!

5. Family pictures!! I already found and bought coordinating outfits for all of us, to do some in studio pictures at JCPenny. This is were we used to do all our pictures of the kids and family, but there isn't one in Guam! I have this framed print from them in our hall from right before we left, but it is missing our newest member- so we really hope to get something similar to add beside the earlier one when we get home! (Though I am still hoping to also do family pictures on the beach in Guam before Jon leaves for 3 months next year, I don't think you can ever have too many pictures!!)

6. A girls night, or day, with my best friend, Shannah!! We have been best friends for over 10 years, and I miss her a whole lot!! I plan on spending as much time with her as I can between all the wedding stuff and other plans, as well as have Natalie spend some time with Shannah's 3 girls!

7. We will be celebrating Christmas on Thanksgiving with my family! I am looking forward to it, even if there won't be a tree or many decorations up yet, we will still have the big meal surrounded by our family, and exchange gifts all together instead of through the mail!

8. A tradition my mom started when I was young, was that every year we would go see Zoolights at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. In general I spent a lot of time there growing up with my mom and sisters, so it will be a great blessing to now share that with my kids. Zoolights is a lot of fun, it opens the weekend after Thanksgiving and the whole zoo is decked out with Christmas lights! We bundle up, go buy hot chocolate and walk through the maze of displays lighting up the night! I have missed that, I haven't been to it in about 6 years!

9. I will be getting my craft on! I am looking forward to not only trying to creatively and inexpensively decorating for my sister's bridal shower, but also picking up the stuff I want/need in order to decorate Zachary's toddler bedroom- monkey themed! I almost all of the decor in my daughter's ladybug themed bedroom when we switched her to her toddler bed and took out the old nursery decor, and I can't wait to do the same for my son as he approaches 2 years old! And also I will be finishing up last minute touches on the homemade Christmas gifts for my family. We don't have a very great craft store here on Guam- there is one, but the selection isn't great and it is seriously expensive, so this is a big priority for me, I miss running to Michael's (or even Walmart sometimes) for all my crafting needs!!

10. I will also be trying to visit with many other friends I haven't seen in a while, including my friends Chris, Victoria, and Bethany. As well as family, my brother Daniel and my niece Miranda, and all the family attending my sister's wedding.

This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Another New School and Meeting New Family

A new year and another new school. Shortly after my mom had us move from the nice big blue house to a small 2 bedroom apartment, I started at a new school, and not just any new school, a brand new, just built, middle school! It was only a year or 2 old and the first school I would be attending without my younger sister Carolyn. There was 5th through 7th grade here before moving up to the high school which started at 8th grade. To prepare us for high school, we actually had our classes set up a little differently then I was used to here. Our teachers were in pairs, and as my home room was Mrs. P, she would have us most of the day for math, geography, and history, we would go over to Mrs. S room next door for her to teach us reading and writing, while her class was in our room learning the math and history from our teacher. Our classes did a lot of the other 'extra' stuff together as well, like art, typing, library time, etc. I had great friends in both rooms, though my closest circle of friends was in Mrs. S's homeroom. Actually overall, I liked Mrs. S better then my normal teacher. Not that Mrs. P wasn't nice enough, but I found her boring- though it may relate to the material she was teaching as well. I adored Mrs. S, she was more personable, kind, uplifting, encouraging, and she taught my favorite subjects! She was probably the earliest teacher I remember having that really helped me develop my love for the written word- both the read and write.
Though I had many more friends in this new school, I was still not very good in the social area. I often was teased as I would wear the same over sized white Halloween sweatshirt, over one of 2 turtle necks with one of 2 pairs of stretch pants I owned, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Don't get me wrong they were clean. Every 2 days I did a very small load of clothes. But this was a time when jeans were the 'in' thing to be wearing, and fashion was becoming quite the social status as we entered the preteen years. To me, jeans were the most uncomfortable piece of clothing ever. I couldn't stand them, and being comfortable was more important to me then being socially accepted- though I longed for that too. Luckily I did have some very good friends who didn't care what I wore!
There was Lydia, she was in Mrs. P's class with me. She was a wonderful artist, she could draw a perfect picture of Bambi completely freehand! I thought she was amazing, but she wasn't a fan of my ever changing mood swings, and we often weren't talking for one reason or another.
There was Shardae, she actually lived in the same apartment complex as me. She was also in Mrs. P's class but she was a social butterfly, and between her and another friend of hers named Jenna, we too were on and off a whole lot. It didn't help that her brother who was 2 years older didn't like me and often threatened me. Funny because honestly if anyone was the bad influence it was her, not me! But she did teach me how to roller blade which we would do a lot in the parking lots of our huge apartment complex.
Then there were my friend's in the other class, the ones that were truly my closest friends that year, Rachel, Katie and Katie. I remember once going to Rachel's house for her birthday. 2 of us (me included) decided we would head bang for as long as we could- don't ask me why. We head banged to some music I wasn't familiar with for an hour straight. That was when I had my first migraine I believe and I ended up going home SO sick. I threw up more then I ever did with the flu in that one time!!
Katie M. was the one I would end up missing the most when we moved yet again at the end of this year. I always thought she was so pretty with her dark short hair, and she was the sweetest girl I had ever met. Before I moved away she even made me something she said she was going to put on a pillow but ran out of time, one of those yarn things (you knot it onto a piece of plastic?? Not sure what it is called but I still see the kits for it at craft stores now) with Winnie the Pooh's face on it. She also gave me a large Mickey Mouse she had gotten at Disneyland the year before, so I could have something to remember her by (I collected stuffed animals). I was so sad we never ended up keeping in touch, but I think we both knew it wasn't likely.
Half way through the year, we actually moved again. This time to a bigger 3 bedroom unit and either my grandma moved in with us or just visited A LOT!
Over spring break this year, for the first time, I went on a trip to see my dad's parents. I had not spent much time with them up to this point, so this was a new experience. They owned an RV, so they came all the way up from California to pick up my sister Carolyn and I and drove back down. I enjoyed the road trip most. I had never been in an RV before and I thought it was the coolest thing. We had to stop for something to be fixed on the RV in Oregon and my Granny taught us how to play Rummicub. We also stopped in southern Oregon again were my Papa went fishing and we picked blackberries. It was beautiful were we stopped in Brookings. I think it was by a river in this RV site, and I only wish I had had a camera back then!
When we finally made it too their house in California, we met our Aunts and Uncles for the first time. There was Aunt Jane & Uncle Leon who lived on the same property (there were 3 houses on the property). Then Aunt Leila who lived out in town and we didn't see much of. Our cousins, Mary, Leon, and Elizabeth came over to play often though. We even went to one of Mary's swim meets.
This is also where I learned almonds grow on trees! In fact my grandparents had at one time had acres of almond trees. Unfortunately most had died and the land was sold, but there were still a few trees behind my Papa's shed. They also had citrus plants in their front yard with oranges, lemons and limes. And my granddad (Granny's father) who lived in another of the houses on the property, had his own garden which grew pretty much everything I could imagine! There were even little fig trees (though they looked more like bushes to me). I tried one, but I thought they were disgusting. The thing I enjoyed most were the grape vines though, those I definitely ate and loved!
Another new thing I learned about on our trip was black widows. Now I had grown up with a healthy fear of spiders (still very active today in fact!), and in the RV on the way to California, we had seen a show about some of the world's smallest but deadliest predators, one of them was the black widow. I was terrified! I imagined seeing them all over the place when we got there and wondered how anyone survived living in such a place! My grandparents warned us about not putting our hands places we couldn't already see first, particularly when we were outdoors. But I had so many nightmares of them the whole trip.
Another part of our trip was going to visit my Aunt Terri and Uncle Nelson. I loved Aunt Terri from that very first time I met her. She is my dad's older sister, and she lived hours away from my grandparents. At her house was a pool, and we went swimming and had virgin strawberry daiquiris. During the day at one point I made a comment that I really liked her little green flower earrings, so she took them off and gave them to me! I felt very special and instantly her kindness comforted me and I felt closer to her then any of the other relatives I had met.
When it was time to go back home, my Granny talked to my mom, then to us girls. She wanted to fly us back, but we had never been on a plane before and I was scared of heights and flying in general! Eventually she convinced us, how could I pass up being home in a few hours verses a few days? We left from the Oakland airport. This was of course when others could walk you all the way to the gate, and wait with you. We waited and I watched the airplane get hooked up to the tunnel with much anxiousness but also excitement. I was scared of it, but it was a new experience and seemed so grown up, especially since we would be going alone, just me and my sister. All I remember about the flight is that we didn't sit together. We both wanted a window seat, so she sat behind me. I remember the rows were like 4 or 5 people in on each side of the aisle. And though I have never seen this set up in a plane since, there was a table and every other row faced each other. So I was sitting in a seat across from a middle aged woman. Ideally my sister would've sat opposite me, but we didn't board in time to find any seats like that both with windows. After that I don't even remember taking off or landing, accept that it was difficult to get off once we did land as EVERYONE was trying to get their bags down and rush off the plane, so we had to wait.
That following summer we moved back into my grandma's house where we had lived from 1st to 4th grade.

To read more about my relationship with my sister Carolyn and what NOT to do with scissors, check out my 5th grade post from last session. (I promise it is shorter then this one!!)

This is the 7th post in a series of 12 I am doing to record my youth to share with my children and grandchildren someday at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shaking the House Down!

Fourth grade was first year we moved that I remember actually being effected by it socially. From 1st through half of 4th grade we had been living at my grandma's house, not far from my school. I had so many wonderful teachers at the school, and great friends from my years there, I don't know that I was 'popular' but I was comfortable for certain. Then we moved as my mom and stepfather tried to reconcile, he even bought me a puppy at Christmas and my little sister a nice CD player, which I always suspected as a way to get back on my mom's good side. And apparently it worked, as we moved closer to their job, a computer type of business (think Kinko's)about half an hour away.
My sister and I began attending a school we had passed many time in the past and always thought looked old fashioned and run down compared to the nice, new and clean facility our prior elementary school had been. I don't think it was a bad part of town, but the school hadn't been updated in a long time, evident by one example- they still used the card system in the library instead of computers. Our old school had taught us how to use it, but only as a formality because we rarely ever had too.
Growing up at my grandma's house, I remember always being jealous of the kids who lived so close to school they could walk. We were close enough, but not quite that close. My feelings towards that all changed when we had moved just up the road from this new old school, and now I actually did have no other choice but to walk. It was also the first time I had to worry about carrying a house key with me since my grandma didn't initially live with us, so we came home to a big empty house most days.
It was another big blue house, one of the biggest and nicest I remember living in, with a huge fenced in back yard and a basketball court too. I remember being excited about it, but then rarely going out to play. I was definitely an indoors kind of girl.
As for school, I was in a split class. I was in the older group of 4th graders which was just a handful of kids compared to the 3rd graders in our class. I don't know if its just a part of the 'oldest sibling' syndrome, but I was very upset at the fact that I was better friends with the younger 'little' kids then those my own age. Apparently at this school, by 4th grade most students had already learned about the 'birds and the bees' but I hadn't yet. I was considered very naive by my 4th grade classmates, and I always felt so small in that class. Thankfully it was the one and only split class I was ever in, but it began a pattern of a lack of self confidence in myself which continued and contributed to the rest of my school years.
At home, it didn't take very long for my mom to decide that her marriage was beyond reconciliation. I barely remember my stepfather being around when we lived in that house. One night, I think it was somewhat stormy outside, so my mom decided we would all sleep on the pullout sofa in the living room for fun. I don't remember if it was just me and my sister Carolyn or if the 2 youngest of my siblings were there too, but we waited on the couch as my mom ran upstairs to get some linens. Then there was an earthquake. Not surprising for the area, and to a kid it was great fun! And from upstairs my mom yelled down to us- "Hey girls, stop rough housing, you're shaking the whole house!" And we were just sitting on the couch laughing at our little secret because we knew it had been an earthquake and she didn't! We told her when she came back down, but I remember wondering how she could possibly have thought it was us since everyone knows you can't shake the house from the downstairs, just the upstairs!!
Well at the end of the school year, since my mom could no longer afford to for us to live in such a big house, it was time for another move. This time to some apartments in a different part of the city, where we would go to a brand new school, and I couldn't be happier!

This is the 6th post in a series of 12 I am doing to record my youth for my children and grandchildren to read someday at