Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pretty Amazing

There is an amazing scholarship opportunity put on by Seventeen Magazine. The winner receives a $10,000 scholarship and a front cover magazine offer! The deadline is today. I misread the essay guidelines and wrote a 1,000 word essay. It's due in a few hours, and I just re-read the guidelines to see that the max is 1,000 characters! So, while I'm cutting down my beautiful, lengthy can read the original. I needed to write why I am "pretty amazing..."

Amazing. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines amazing as causing amazement, great wonder, or surprise. I believe that there is a little something in all of us that is amazing. For some, it is a special talent that they possess. My mother is an amazing quilter and my father is amazing in his work with computers. For others, it is great life experiences that they have endured. My nephew near-drowned and has made an amazing recovery, while my husband was a miracle baby at his birth. Another form of amazement is personality characteristics. I believe that I have a certain personality trait that makes me amazing. I am dedicated. I actively participate in my family, my career, my education, and more. My dedication has brought great wonder and surprise to those that I know. Like every other person out there, I am pretty amazing.

My own family began in 2007. I began dating my husband, Christopher, in the summer of 2005. We were married in July 2007 in the Sacramento LDS Temple. I had just finished my first year of college at CSU Sacramento as a Liberal Studies Major. In January 2008, I found out that I was pregnant. What an amazing blessing! I continued to attend school throughout my pregnancy. As I was due in October, I planned to take a year off and return fall of 2009.

October 17th arrived. I delivered a gorgeous, healthy baby girl of 9 pounds 8 ounces. Emery. She had the most beautiful big blue eyes. Her head was full of soft sun kissed brown hair, with golden bronze highlights. I could not take my eyes off of her. Even without accomplishing anything in this life yet, she was amazing. I could not believe that I had created something so wonderful in this world. This little girl, this beautiful baby in my arms, was from me. I knew instantly that the most important calling in my life was to mother this child.

The months went by swiftly. She grew up; much too quickly it seemed. She was my life. I stayed at home with her and did not return to school. I yearned to continue my education, but struggled with the idea of being away from her so often. I was determined to raise my daughter, to teach her, and to learn from her. I knew that I would someday complete my degree, so I stayed at home and marveled at the beauty of my toddler.

In the summer of 2009, I became Drill Team Coach at Elk Grove High School. This was the high school that I graduated from in 2006. I was filled with such excitement when I was offered the position. I had been on the team for 3 of my high school years, and was a Captain for 2 of those years. I had and still have such a passion for the team. Coaching the team requires a lot of time, and the development of several different skill sets. Duties include attending practice, choreographing routines, cleaning routines, organizing performances and events, planning and attending fundraisers, and more. We practice at least 4 times a week, with two practices after school and two at 6:00am before school. I split the practices with a co-coach, and today have an assistant who splits practices with me.

Many of the challenges of this job were worsened at the fact that I had a small child and lived 40 minutes from the school. The early mornings were especially difficult. However, at every practice and performance, I look at the team of high school girls that I lead. I remember how much the team meant to me, how much I looked up to my coach, how much I dreaded when she left, and how those feelings are still within me. I am extremely dedicated to my team as a whole, and to each girl who gets up early in the morning when I do.

In May of 2010, I had a baby boy. I delivered my 9-pound, 9-ounce Averson at 4:44am without an epidural. Now everything else in life is a piece of cake! Although I marveled at his beauty like his sister before, I was more entranced by watching my kids together. To this day, I absolutely love the moments where I can sit back and watch my kids play together. This is not always the case, as anyone with siblings would know, but it is pretty amazing that I helped create this family.

I took about a month off when I had my son, but returned to my job soon. I missed my drill team and was anxious to return to them. To this day, I am still coaching the team, spending time with my family and anxiously awaiting my chance to return to school.

I will be returning to school this summer. I am elated at the opportunity that I am going to have to finish my schooling. It took 3 years to finally get back, but I knew that it would happen. My goal is to teach high school math at a school where I can also coach drill team. This dream job of mine would allow me to teach and educate, coach and express my passion, and work when my kids attend school so that we all have evenings and summers together as a family.

Dedication is defined as devoting or setting aside for a particular purpose. I set time aside to coach. I set time aside to play with my family. I will set time aside for my schooling. I am passionate about my family, my career, and my education. I have no doubt that whatever life will bring my way, that I will find time to do what I enjoy doing. I believe I am an ordinary woman. The thing about ordinary people is that they are all extraordinary. When you get to know any one person, you will find that they are, simply put, pretty amazing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Abbie's Fairy Tale Bridal Shower

THE FOOD: Each item was named after a princess which inspired it.
RAPUNZEL- long hair? Fettuccinne alfredo. Get it?
CINDERELLA- Pumpkin Pasta. Recipe from my friend Amber. Delicious! Don't knock it til you tried was a favorite at the shower.
SNOW WHITE- Apples and caramel. Yum. No poison in these apple either!
JASMINE- Pita and hummus.
MULAN- Fortune cookies. Some of the fortunes were amazing. Like the one the bride got saying that she would marry someone huh?
BELLE- French bread. So simple, so scrumptious. Even managed to get an entire baguette home. Not that there is still an entire baguette in my home. =o
Strawberry lemonade. Seemed princessy, ya?
Gorgeous manzanita decor that I helped my sister in law make. But Christa definitely did the bulk of it. Isn't is gorgeous?
My flower wands. They caused a bit (my husband would say more than a bit) of frustration. So it made me feel good when the girls thought they were so cute!

The complete for a princess?

Carry Abbie like a princess fitting.
Carry Jeannette game...I like this one!
<3 her!

Flower Wands

My longest friend Abbie is getting married next month. I've known her since I was born. I threw her a Bridal Shower yesterday and made the wands on Friday as shower favors. Her wedding reception will be held at Fairy Tale Town, so I stuck with that and threw a Fairy Tale Bridal Shower.

The wands are easy. This was my first attempt, and I'm sure with every attempt I could make them look cuter. If you want to attempt, there are several ways, but I will share how I made mine. You need:

wire cutter
floral tape
ribbons, any number, color, or length
I don't remember the size of dowel I used. I just looked at the choices. Found two that would be good size, and bought the cheaper one. My husband cut the dowels into 3 same size pieces. You can cut to your prefered length.
Use the wire cutters to cut the flowers off your bunches. You can use one or multiple flowers on a wand. Leave a few inches so you can attach to the dowel.
Hold the flower next to dowel so flower will be sitting on the top when attached.
Wrap in floral tape. You could also use hot glue, or a combination.

I then painted the dowels. I painted from the tips all the way up to the flowers, although in this picture the tape is not yet painted. You can leave the tape alone if you like the natural looking. I was not going for natural, I was going for princess. I used 3 coats of pink acrylic paint.
When they were done, I tied ribbon around them. I used variety of length in pink, silver, and white. They were all tied different. This was the hardest part for me...making the bows and knots look good. You can hot glue to hold ties or bows in place, but I did not.

Voila! A bouquet full of princess wands for Bride-to-be Princess Abbie!

Someone found the cheetos!

He wanted to share. I said "No, thank you."

Wilkin's Easter Egg Hunt

We were invited to a wondrous egg hunt at the Wilkins last weekend. Emery had a blast. It was fun because there were cousins on both sides there as well. My sister Jennifer was there with her kids, and Chris' brother Greg was there with his family.

Trying to get a group picture of the kids and count them all to decide how many eggs per child. You can see Emery and Bailey in the center, with my sister Jen and her Ethan off to the side, and Chris and Avers in the top left corner.
Emery with cousins Ethan and Emerson preparing to hunt down eggs.
Showing off her beautiful handmade basket.
The search was hard to get cute photos because her eyes were always down.

Everytime she saw one, she would yell "egg!" and then run and get it. So cute!

Checking out the goodies...


Emery and Bailey.

Easter Baskets

I decided to do homemade easter baskets this year. They turned out pretty cute!

I just wrapped ice cream buckets with fabric and then decorated. Averson got a deep blue dragonfly flower fabric.
I added thick ribbon around the top, tied black ribbon around the center, and added clusters of sequins. I just put a pile of hot glue, and dumped the sequins on to see what would stick.
I used green and blue buttons to put his initials--AC.
I wrapped the handle in ribbon. A ribbon handle adds a lot!
Emery did most of her own decorating. I wrapped it and let her go crazy with shape stickers.

I made her a ribbon handle, a ribbon top, and together we added some sequins all over the basket with elmers glue. When she was done and away from the table, I hot glued all her stickers so they would stay.

Ribbon handle. :)
On the bottom of the basket, I hot glued EM <3 in sequins.

Both kids love their baskets. I dont expect them to last too long, maybe not even until next year...but it was a fun project and I used only what I (or my mom) had around the house!