Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mom, can we stop and kick the leaves?

Sometimes all you need is a crisp pile of leaves...

Thank you to my sweet little boy who simply asked on our jog...

"Mom, can we stop and kick the leaves?"

I hadn't even seen them there...over in the corner of the street.
It was such a quintessential fall moment watching the jubilation of my two youngest as they launched handfuls of leaves into the air.
I was grateful to Tate in inviting me to take a moment to slow down.
It reminded me of this video that I shared in a previous post, "Moments that Matter Most"
It makes me teary-eyed each time... seeing the Mom in the rain with her kids, the college son running home to the outstretched arms of his mother, the expression on the doctor's face...
I can watch it over and over.
I pray I will remember its message as I begin this hectic holiday season.
The message can be summed up by these 3 quotes from the video:

moments are the molecules that make up eternity.
Elder Neal A Maxwell

its not so much the major events, as the small day to day decisions that map the course of our living.  
Pres. Gordon B Hinckley

we would do well to slow down a little, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes and truly see the things that matter most.  strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light.  it comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most. diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the World 
Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Becoming a redhead...ish: my first hair coloring experience

So it was time...
Time to finally do it...
Time to hide those greys away.
Pulling them out one by one at night before bed just wasn't going to cut it anymore.
They were aging me and I felt it.

No big deal you say, its just coloring your hair.
Well this 33 year old has never, not once, colored her hair.  Not even wanted to.  Never was one of those teenagers who wanted to use her hair as an accessory.

The truth of the matter is...I like my hair.  Its one thing I've always liked about me.
The other side of the story is...I'm lazy when it comes to me.
My speed:
30 second hair style and some hastily thrown on make-up whilst hurriedly driving off somewhere
{I'm a professional girls. Don't try this at home.  Learned from the best,  Thanks mom!}
The thought of my hair not looking like me and the realization that I would have to keep it up once I started really prolonged the time before I gave in to coloring my hair.

Then I decided that if I couldn't look like me, why not choose someone better to look like, such as:
Amanda Seyfried or Scarlett Johansson

Well, come to find out, it takes a lot to look like these ladies:)  Surprise!
Nevertheless seeing these 2 ladies inspired me to try something I've always wanted, to be a red head.
Nothing quite so dramatic yet, but I can feel it coming...

'Cause as it turns out, its not so scary afterall...
And I may have caught a little...'ooo,this could even be fun' bug too.
As Mike asked me to document my experience, I thought I'd share a little of my first hair coloring experience.

Before and After...
Well, frustratingly I have been unsuccessful in getting a photo in which the red in my hair actually shows. Believe me, in the sun, its red, well maybe a touch on the violet-red side, but red nonetheless.

Ok, so for most of you the following series of photos will seem mundane, a familiar scene you see on a 6-8 week basis, but try and look at them through new eyes, through mine.


{side note: bought these boots from my fashionista friend Erica's shoe company Twigg...everything is 25% off today for Cyber Monday!!!  getting Felicity these!}

color of choice...a dark red- no copper, no violet, true red
igora royal...the color of imagination...ooo
lots of red goop...felt as if my hair was somehow transforming into the molded plastic do of a Ken doll
hair dryer...hot hot hot, thankfully remembered to bring my earbuds - listened to Fictionist and Andrew Belle, read a great article from Elle Magazine actually {isn't that what you are supposed to do wearing a shower cap under a hair dryer?} called "Control Freak-out by Rachael Combe about willpower, actually thinking about buying the magazine just to read the rest

so many things wrong with this picture...thinking a little too Jersey...not to mention that I'm not an animal print gal

as I was sitting there I kept having this weird, creeping sensation that at any moment a band of hairstylists would encircle me, enthusiastically clapping and singing some sort of celebratory song commemorating my first hair coloring.  thankfully it didn't happen.

as i sat down, i expected to look in the mirror and be shocked at my reflection.  fortunately and unfortunately i did not.  i don't know what i would have done seeing my hair bold red, yet i felt like i went through all those steps i should have some sort of dramatic unveiling and result.

all in all i think Jaclyn was very wise to steer me toward a slight change my first time around.  however, i've already been thinking about what color i want next.  stayed tuned for our next episode.

Here are a few attempts post-salon in capturing the color with my I-phone quite unsuccessfully:
{Yes, I'm a horrible squinter, and yes, I'll admit it, one of my eyes squints more than the other...annoying!}

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Home, not Hospital, for Thanksgiving

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about how different my life is this Thanksgiving season than last year.  Last Thanksgiving our family ate our meal in the basement cafeteria of a hospital. 
Vending machines, visitor passes, cafeteria meals, recycling bins, wall-mounted hand sanitizer, and the absence of Daddy, all marked a stark contrast to our normal comfy Thanksgiving Feast.
Attempts were made by friends and family members who sent homemade rolls, muffins, pies, floral arrangements, and even tablecloths and candles, to aid in making it feel a little more homey.  The cousins still played and we all helped them create a Thanksgiving Tree to bring up to Daddy's room later that day.  They each traced their little hands, creating handprints as leaves and wrote things they were thankful for in the centers.  

We came together...mother, sons, daughters, in-laws, uncles, aunts, grandmother, grandchildren, cousins...to buoy each other up in the face of the dire state of my poor Daddy...in pain, unable to think properly, feeling helpless, wondering, waiting to see if he would improve enough from his cancer to be able to come home soon.  

25 days he was in the hospital.  An absolute test of faith.  Moments of utter fear, moments of anguish, moments of tenderness, moments of miracles.  It has been a long journey for my father this year and he has quietly lived it, drawing little attention to himself. But his is a story of triumph and deep faith, one I pray that he will fully share with us one day.  One that deserves great recognition and emulation.

This past week I received a text from him letting me know that the protein level of IGM,  the cancer in his blood which crowd out his healthy cells, has decreased to 2060 from 2316 last month.  This is such amazing news to hear that it is continuing to drop after reaching its height while he was in the hospital at 9000+.  A healthy person's level is around 200.

What a miracle is has been that this medicine has been helping!  Such a miracle in fact, that he was able to travel to Europe last month to bring my sister Elizabeth home from her mission for our church in Switzerland and France, something he had been looking forward to for months.  Yes, you see, my sister had been serving the Lord away from home the past 18 months.  It had been difficult having her gone during such a trying time, but we received strength from her service in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the very message we were striving to live, faith in His plan, faith in His love, the power of His Atonement.

As you look at these photos, you can see the joy in my father's eyes.  The gratitude for His life.  The depth of His faith.  It lightens my soul to see my Daddy's smile.

What can be better than that?...the sound of his laugh.  Anyone in our family would tell you the same.  There's nothing like listening and watching my Daddy laugh.  From the sound, to his squinty eyes, to a full body tremor, to the way his skin goes completely red.  Truly infectious.

So this Thanksgiving season I am thankful for...{just to name a few}:

*the return of my Daddy's laugh
*not needing a Visitor Pass to see him
*a home cooked Thanksgiving Feast, of all our favorites, in my parents' home with my family {miss you Bub, Jani & Abigail}
*the safe arrival of my baby Sis
*a declining IGM level 
*the unconditional love of my husband
*four charming children who love playing outside and dance parties
*living next door to my parents and close to most of my family {come on Bub, everybody's doing it}
*continued prayers from friends and family
*friends who invest their lives in mine
*a testimony that God loves me and that whatever we have experienced this year, "God meant it unto good" {Genesis 50:20}

{to read more about My Daddy click here or on the label in the right-hand column}

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Destined to play a little footie

It really was inevitable.

With a husband who was willing to stay up with the baby at 3 am to watch World Cup Soccer and who can understand Jane Austin movies without subtitles because he watches so much English Premier League 'footie', {and i guess you could factor in that he played on a soccer team clear through the early years of our marriage},  our boys were destined to play soccer.

Owen first tried his hand at it when he was four...which was very entertaining to watch.
And then...
A looooong break.
I have to say that I really struggled with wanting to hand over my family time to sports.  I, for one, would have considered myself an athlete in high school and to this day love sports and see great benefits from participating in them.  {I even met my future in-laws for the first time at a BYU Football game with my face painted blue and white.  Great first impression by the way!}  I was just scared to what it would do to our family time.  I knew it was inevitable, I just wanted to hold out for as long as I could...enjoying watching my boys with their backyard football games, cardboard clubhouses, bike rides, and living room forts that so often accompanied our late afternoons.

Owen did flag football a couple of years back and it was intense.  He really enjoyed it and was an incredible exercise in patience for everyone involved.  We did not continue on with football for my reasoning listed above...time.  Football for 9 year olds involves Tuesday through Friday practice with a game on Saturday.  No thank you!  I realize that a lot of people commit to that, but for a family of four little kids, it just would have been too much.

This year both Owen and Eyan wanted to play soccer.  They really wanted to play.  After discussing it with Mike, he completely left it up to me, knowing I would be the one taking 4 kids back and forth practice after practice, game after game. Not to mention the gear...water bottles, chair, cooler, umbrella, blanket, coloring book, crayons, and endless amounts of snacks.

One of the aspects of MS that I continually forget is the temperature sensitivity.  I always forget that temperature is a factor in the sort of activities that Mike can be around for or participate in.  His body can only function properly if it is within certain ideal temperatures, think San Diego weather, no extreme or even moderately hot or cold temperatures.  The heat factored in with long walking times to and from the field, make for a bad combination of elements for him.  This has been difficult.  Not to be able to see his sons play the game that he loves to his core.  I was grateful for the 1 game and the 1 practice that he was able to attend.

A short time after Mike was diagnosed with MS...{Mike stop reading}... he tried to give away his cleats, shin guards, and soccer socks.  It absolutely broke my heart to see them tossed in a box beside other 'unwanted' or 'unneeded' items.  I knew it had been difficult for him to realize that he could not play anymore, that as much as his mind told his legs to run, his nerves would not correctly communicate that series of motions to his muscles.  It pained me to see him try...and often fall.  Those legs that I once watched out-sprint any opponent, now faltered, stammered, gave way.  Despite these realizations, I could not let him give away his prized, worn soccer things.  I still have them hidden in my closet.

{ok Mike you can read again}

Over the season as I found myself locked into practices with the kids, being at parks instead of at home with chores, a computer, and other various distractions, I recognized that I was truly enjoying the time that I had just to be with my other children distraction free.  Time seemed to slow down for a bit instead of speed up as I thought it would.  Yes, there were plenty of crazy moments, moments of sheer shrieking and racing out the door.  And yes, our usual unstructured family time was consumed.  Any yes, I look forward to its return.  Yet, I am grateful for the snuggly of my boys on my lap under a blanket, listening to the giggles of a baby sister being pulled around on a blanket by her brothers, watching little feet scampering to kick a ball to their brother, as well as the confidence booster it has been for my older two boys from caring coaches in addition to an opportunity for them to share in the love for a game that their father prizes so much.

I have enjoyed seeing Mike get outside a little more lately to kick a little footie around with the boys.  Despite his struggles, he hasn't let that get in the way of putting a few goals past them.

{to read more about our journey with MS click here or click on the label in the right hand column}

Monday, November 14, 2011

Backyard Date Night Corsage: a little tutorial

Once upon a time, as you may recall, I had a floral business called, A Rose is A Rose.  Now in a different stage of life, I cling onto any opportunity to use my floral brain.  I adore cut flowers.  They change my mood instantly.  I am a richly spoiled woman who receives bouquets of fresh flowers from her husband weekly because, well...he loves me and he knows how much I love arranging them.

I was honored to be asked to create some corsages for a dreamy 'backyard movie' birthday bash for my dear friend Leslie, mother extraordinaire and blogger of 'my happily ever after' amongst a million other things.  I was so giddy using my floral brain again that I decided to create my first ever tutorial over here at Sweet Dreams are Made of These.  So bare with me as I get my feet wet in this richly saturated tutorial blogging world.  

I present to you the...

perfect for that dreamy event in which corsages for your guests would be a surprising treat.  A little touch of femininity.  What girl doesn't want to wear a corsage with her hunky man escorting her!

Supplies to have on hand:

1. and 2. Spray or sweetheart roses in an array of colors
3. Large mass flowers for a single dramatic impact {shown - a dahlia, one of my favorites}
4. Filler flowers and/or greenery, including good size leaves to mask the wristlet {shown - green coffee bean}
5. Burlap {shown - on a large roll bought in garden dept at Home Depot, but you can use any kind}
6. Lace {shown - 1/2" wide}
7. Ribbon {shown - fibrous ribbon 1 1/2" wide cut into 3 fiber wide strips}
8. Wristlet {also used the fun slap bracelet kind - you know we loved those!}
9. My new frenemy, floral adhesive {what is not pictured is my awesomely gooey hands}

Additional supplies:
scissors or knife to cut flowers and ribbon
paper or cellophane to place on countertop for easy clean up
iron to press ribbon
corsage bags for storage

Preparation for corsage assembly:
*Cut fibrous ribbon into 4 1/2" piece.  Cut ribbon into strips of 3 strands each. {as shown above}
*Cut 2 pieces of lace - one 4" and the other 18"
*Fold 18" piece of lace into 3 3" folds and iron in fan formation {as shown below in step }
*Cut burlap into 1 1/2" x 4 1/2" piece {I cut along the finished edge of the burlap for more durability}

Say farewell to clean hands!!

Get your floral adhesive ready.  
It will become a love/hate relationship I promise you. Anyone with any tips on how to use floral adhesive, would love to hear them!!  

Tips for using adhesive: From what I learned, hold the item you wish to adhere down for a quite a few seconds.  If it seeps through, try using your non-gooey finger to hold it down while you lift up your gooey finger.  Wow, super technical advice.  I also periodically peeled the glue off my fingers in the sink as it began to drive me crazy having all those layers of glue on.  Despite these drawbacks, using adhesive instead of wiring everything seems to give more creative license in your corsage.

Corsage assembly:

1. Apply adhesive to metal portion of the wristlet.  {Watch out the adhesive comes out fast, so apply just a small amount.} Press 3 leaves onto the adhesive...can I just call it glue?..ok..glue in a fan-like formation.  Make sure to place glue in between each leaf to hold them together.  Make sure none of the metal is showing.

{Note: If you are using the slap bracelet wristlets, for the beginning stages, remove the bracelet from the plastic portion.  You can reattach it once the foundation of the corsage is made.}

2.  Glue your burlap piece at an angle across your leaf foundation.  {Feeling your fingers getting stickier?}

3.  Glue your pressed ribbon fan onto the center of the burlap.  It is rather tricky getting it in this shape on the corsage and then trying to get it to not lift up with your finger {see glue tip listed above}, but you'll get it.  

By this stage you are covered in glue.  For this reason I apologize that I did not take the next few steps in a series of photos.  Trying to photograph whilst protecting your camera from an abyss of glue is quite difficult.

I found it was helpful to put on my corsage for the final steps.

4. Cut a sprig of your filler flower and glue it on top of your fanned ribbon, taking care to glue down any other leaves connected to the sprig as well.  

5. Choose three roses varying in sizes. Cut your rose stems very close to the flower head.  Determine where you would like to place each one.  Glue them down in a circular pattern to cover your filler flower, making sure that the lowest flower head is toward the right diagonal of the corsage.

6. Group 4-5 strands of your ribbon together in your hand, varying their lengths on each side.  Determine your center and pinch the strands together.  Glue down the center just below the lowest flower head with the curving shape of ribbon toward your roses.  

7. Glue the center of the 4" piece of lace on top of the determined center of your ribbon grouping.

8. Glue a single leaf at angle towards the right, overtop the center of your ribbons and lace. 

9. Glue a small sprig of your filler flower overtop your last leaf.

And voile!!!  your very own backyard date night corsage.  Now off on your hot date with you.  Oh, you should probably peel the glue off your hands first:)

Other corsages that I made using these very same steps:

For the birthday girl who loves white!

On their way to the dreamy party for all the lovely ladies...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Coupled with Eternal Glory - For my Gramps. Love, Sweet Bri

As part of unpacking our home this time, on our 13th move, I promised myself that I would go through all of my boxes.  Every single one of them.  Most benefiting from this decision will be those boxes which have collected items over the past 13 years of marriage and even before then.  Mike prides himself on the fact that when we moved into our newlywed apartment he brought his things in 2 apple boxes only.  I, on the other hand, had multiple boxes collected from my short, yet memory rich, 19 year old life, all with sweet notes written on them such as... "HEAVY.  Careful Honey.  I love you!"

As I was sorting through some letters and cards I came across one in particular that immediately brought tears to my eyes.  A real treasure.  A small square card given to me on my 30th birthday by my grandpa, my Gramps.  I did not need to open it to know who it was from.  The two word inscription was all I needed, 
Sweet Bri

Ever since I could remember I was my grandpa's Sweet Bri.  He related to me several times throughout my life that it was a nickname given to me because I was so sweet.  {It was a deviation from the name of the character Swee'Pea from the 1930s cartoon Popeye the Sailor.}  I always knew that my grandpa loved me.  His whole face would light up every time he saw me and I could hear it in his voice on the telephone, "Its my Sweet Bri."  His Spirit left this Earthly life in January of last year, 2010.  At a special memorial presentation following his funeral, it became apparent that I was not the only one who felt grandpa's love.  Each of his grandchildren remarked on how grandpa had always made them feel special, loved, and as if they were his 'favorite'.

As a young girl I was privileged in having a special relationship with my grandparents as each summer I would go visit them in their spectacular home in Park City, Utah.  A home that felt as comfortable to me as my own.  {It was there in my teenage years that I set my record for most consecutive hours of sleep, 14!}  Oftentimes we would go camping, hiking, and venture out into nature as my grandmother is as close to Mother Nature personified as anyone on Earth.  One of my most vivid memories of my grandfather is when we went on a camping trip to Yellowstone National Park when I was 10 and he was teaching me how to fish.  Two snapshots below depict the ill fate of my fishing line.  There with a huge grin was Gramps wading out in a freezing cold stream, rescuing my line from the stubborn rocks.  I can close my eyes and still see his jubilant smile and hear his resounding chuckle.

This past Memorial Day my mother invited us to join her and my Daddy in visiting his grave.  It was a reverent and pleasant experience for all of us.  The boys made paper airplanes to place at G-Gramps' grave {Great-Grandpa} as he was an av8r, a marine and a commercial pilot.  The most difficult part was watching my mother by his grave, visibly reminiscing and missing her Daddy.  After she had her moment, she took the time to sit down with her grandchildren and talk about grandpa and his exceptional qualities.  I was grateful to have my own Daddy with me and thoroughly enjoyed watching him with Felicity.

Oh how grateful I am that I know that our souls are eternal, that there is a life beyond this mortal existence.  Those we have loved here on Earth who have moved on to the next step in His Great Plan of Salvation, the Great Plan of Happiness, have not been separated from us for good.  How could it be a plan of happiness without being able to continue those same relationships that give us joy on Earth?  
And that same asociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with beternal glory...  {Doctrine and Covenants 103:2}

Although my heart ached a little today as I saw a man that resembled my grandpa in the grocery store, I know that the joy of our reunion will surpass any feelings of sorrow I may have experienced from our temporary separation... for it will be coupled with eternal glory.  What could be better than that??!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...