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Antique Partying!

Fun Fact:

We are in love.
Not only that, but we both like antiques!
We go on dates to antique stores...
And we are in love!
How about that?!

Last weekend while meandering around a sale outside The Brass Armadillo
I found this Gonzo for $10!!!
I collect Muppets in case you didn't know.
He was a real treat to find!
Gotta love his classic chili tie!

I also found fake pink pearl bracelets for a quarter each...

Found any neat antiques lately?
Or better...
any Muppets? :)

Pinterest Hubby

So yeah,
I know how a lot of people who like Pinterest,
And a lot of people who want to do stuff they see on Pinterest,
And a lot of people who wish their husbands would do stuff on Pinterest,
So let me take a tiny moment to brag.

I like Pinterest.
My husband likes Pinterest even more.
He likes to create things and build things.
So yep, 
you guessed it. 
He actually likes to help me make things from Pinterest. 
In fact, they could make a website called Lanceterest, 
Because he likes to randomly create things that other people should Pin.

When we first moved into our house,
He took to doing little projects that he saw on Pinterest to give our home
special little touches.

He completely created this garage door button hider.
All you have to do is tab the pretty knob on the outside! :)
I love it!

I took to creating frames to hold our instagram pictures.
They turned out nicely!

Just recently,
my hubs thought that our guest bathroom mirror looked lonely,
so he built it a custom frame!

And to my great delight,
together, we created the masterpiece below.
We don't have a headboard so we wanted to create something to make it feel like we did.
$10 for IKEA curtains, a rod, and twinkle lights later...
We had this!

So I guess the point is that I feel lucky to have a husband who is creative,
encourages creativity,
and likes to make our house more into a home.

Oh and P.S. I cannot wait to go to the AZ Blogger Meet Up tonight at Sweet Cakes Cafe in Mesa tonight. I had this yummy cake pop a week ago and it was so good! I can only imagine how great the yummy treats and fun will be tonight!

Lil Red

I've always loved my truck.
She's a '93 Toyota Pick Up.
When I was 15, my dad taught me how to drive her.
She drove me to high school, friends homes, to college...
She was my getaway from my wedding.
She's never steered me wrong :)

In fact, about a month ago,
my little brother (8 years old) was assigned to write an autobiography,
from someone else's perspective of their life.
He decided to write the story of my truck.
He actually wrote the story from my truck's perspective.
I was surprised that it made me remember just how sentimental I am about Lil Red.

So back to the present...
On Monday I had my first accident.
I was slowed to 40 mph in a rush hour back up on the freeway when I was suddenly T-boned at 70 mph by a driver trying to veer into my lane who hadn't seen me or the slowing traffic.
I was between the car and a concrete wall so, to be honest, I don't have any idea how I kept control of my steering wheel when he hit me. My head slammed against the door window and I had an adrenaline rush the likes of which I'd never felt before.

As the other car managed to get out of my driver side door and pull over in front of me, I realized what had happened and faces came to my mind. My husband, my family, my dogs... I needed to get to them.

A police officer pulled up behind me on the side of the road and walked up to tell us to pull off the freeway. I was able to do this since the driver had hit my door, not my engine. When I parked off the freeway, I realized that I couldn't open my door. I could hear air blowing through it.

Clambering out through the passenger side door, I ran around my car to see the damage. When I saw it, I gasped and tears welled up in my eyes. 

I couldn't believe it. Now, I don't have any fancy new car. 
In fact, my car is pretty scratched up in places and the carpet has Dr. Pepper stains.
But  I have worked pretty dang hard to take care of Lil Red.
I have replaced the entire air conditioning, 
the radiator, 
all of the window clasps, 
the catalytic converter,
the belts multiple times,
replaced many other parts,
changed the oils and tires myself,
gotten a stereo system and speakers, 
and taken great care not to scrub the remaining red paint off of the exterior.
You could say that I love my truck.
And you would be right.

Even though she's old,
she's always kept me out of harms way.
Now looking at the my door completely impaled and not even able to seal at any part, 
I felt hot tears run down my cheeks.
Not just because I was sad about my car either.
One look at Lil Red and I had a terrible feeling that I wouldn't have survived without her.
The police took one look at my door and said,
"It's a good thing you were driving an old metal truck because if you had a newer plastic car, 
you wouldn't be standing here right now."

Terrible feeling confirmed.
 After all of our years together, 
Lil Red had saved my life this time.
Granted, I know my Heavenly Father was the one watching over me,
but I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming gratitude to this truck that had always given me her best.
I went home and felt so blessed to snuggle my dogs and be held in my husband's arms again.

The next day I woke up with a bruise on my head and arm,
a sore neck, 
and as I walked outside to head to work and saw my truck, I thought,
"Thanks Lil Red.  I wouldn't be here without you."

As I looked back at the story that my brother wrote, 
the last page took on an entirely new meaning for me. 
"I still work hard to protect Siri."
She does.
That she does.

My Valentines

Can I just say that I love Valentine's Day/Week?!
I know that people love you all the time, 
but I am someone who loves reminders of that fact.
Valentine's day does just that.
My sweet hubby got me flowers and my choice of a great book at an awesome price!

I am the primary chorister (music leader for the little kids ages 2 - 11) and my littlest kids painted a sweet Valentine's box for me with kisses as a thank you. I adore them!

In school, my class made little puppy Valentine's bags to pass Valentines out to each other. I was gone on the day for my friend's father funeral, but when I got back the next day, I found these goodies waiting! My kiddos do love me! :)

Best of all, I got to spend my Valentine's Day with my Valentines. They are the biggest blessings in my life! I love them so much!

A Few Moments

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I was sad the days leading up to it.
Because I teach third grade four days a week. 
I have a full day of ASU classes one day a week.
Guess which day?
I was going to miss partying with my kiddos. 

Then I got some news that changed the plans for the day.
My best friend, Cori is currently serving a mission for the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
in Indiana. 

She is the best missionary and an incredible friend. 
There really aren't words to describe my gratitude to her for her friendship over the years.
I received word that last week, her father passed away,
so his funeral was yesterday
on Valentine's Day.
It was a bittersweet reminder about love. 

Cori was able to come home just for the funeral
and then go back to Indiana the next day. 
I was anxious to see her as it had been 7 months since I had seen her last,
but sorrowful that it was under these circumstances that we would meet.

When we (my good friends Heather and Mark were with me),
got to the church for the viewing before the funeral,
I walked in and saw my Cori there.
She was shaking hands with every guest.
Her face was a radiant smile as she greeted them cheerfully.
She reminded them,
"He loved you very much."
Of course he had.
He had been a loving and funny man, treating everyone he met with kindness.
Obviously, he passed these traits on to his daughter.

I watched her in all of her grace, strength, and poise
for a few minutes before I dared approach her.
Finally I couldn't stay back any longer and quietly I walked up and waited for her to notice me.
After shaking someone's hand, 
Cori looked up and our eyes met.
Within seconds, my eyes had filled with tears that tried to tell her how sorry I was for her pain.
Her eyes filled with tears telling me how grateful she was that I'd come. 
We embraced each other and for a few moments, 
all I felt was a pure and perfect love for my best friend. 
I felt as though I could never let her go,
I wanted to protect her.

Then I felt something else.
I felt as though someone else was hugging both of us.
Holding us together right there for a minute of two.
I don't know who it was.
It may have been our Savior comforting us.
It may have been Cori's father.
But I felt them.
My heart was filled with love and comfort.

I watched Cori sing at the funeral and then sat with her through lunch.
I was astounded by her courage as she comforted everyone who had come.
She's always been a strong one,
but as I watched her all day,
my love for her grew and I learned more about the greatness of my friend.

She told me stories about her mission,
and I thought how lucky I was to see her before the year and a half it would have been.

Finally it was time to go.
I wouldn't see Cori for at least another year.
I hugged her and said goodbye.
Then walked outside and hugged her and said goodbye again.
Then as I turned to walk  away,
my eyes welled with tears as I though about parting for my friend.
I turned again and hugged her.

And there I had a few moments of Valentine's Day happiness,
that I got to hold and comfort my sweet friend.
It wasn't your normal Valentine's Day,
but it was sweet nonetheless.

And I can't wait to see here again.

Back to the Blogging Board - I Can Take a Challenge

So... it's been a long time since I've blogged like I used to. 
I used to be really good. 
Now I am a teacher and a full time student. 
That = no time. 
At all. 
But I've really made an effort to finish typing the posts about my dogs, 
and it reminded me
why I love blogging. 

I love it because it reminds me what I love about my life. 

So it's back to the blogging board for me. 
I need to make the time for blogging because it's that important. 
So here's something that I feel needs to be shared.

Before the posts about my dogs, the last post that I wrote was for Lance's birthday.
It was awesome.
I planned a surprise mustache bash.

After it was over, there was just school and more school.
Let me explain:
After 17 years of school,
and only 21 years of life,
I was feeling pretty resentful toward school.

This led to me being pretty upset about other things as well.
School took all of my time so I felt like couldn't eat right or exercise,
so I didn't like the way I looked.

One day in October, I decided that enough was enough.
I grabbed my keys,
ran out the door,
drove to the grocery store,
bought every fruit and vegetable in sight,
and then came home and asked for my husband's help.

I did it all really fast so I didn't have time to doubt myself.

I had decided to try the juicing challenge,
although in my case it should probably be called the smoothie challenge
since I don't have a juicer.
I just used a blender.

For sixty days, I drank only blended up fruits and vegetables.
I ate them raw too.
I ate toast with peanut butter to get some protein.
Heck, I even had 1-2 cheat meals every week.

But I forced myself to keep going.
My husband helped me every day by making the smoothies when I couldn't.
He made most of them actually.
He cheered me on.
But when it came down to it,
I was home alone a lot,
and I had to do it on my own.
I had to choose to keep being healthy.

By the time I finished, I had lost 16 lbs.
Yep 16.
Most people asked me, "Where do you have 16 lbs to lose?"
This made me feel glad, but I would secretly think,
"In the places that I see when I look in the mirror."

I was so proud of myself,
that I kept drinking my smoothies.
I still drink them for 1 - 2 meals a day.

Now I've lost 21 lbs.
Yep 21.
Realistically, that number bounces up and down depending on the day,
and whether or not I'm on my period.
But I made it to 21.

And I'm still going.

I took back my body from all of the student teaching,
late night cramming,
unhealthy snacks because there wasn't time to stop writing a paper and cook,
sleepless nights,
stressed out brains,
and all that other good stuff.

Is my body perfect?
(Well don't tell my hubs I said that)
But do I love my body?
I earn it every single day.

I was that person who was like,
"Pshhh drink fruit for two months. Yeaaahhh righhht."
But I proved to myself that I could be a stronger person.

And do I still eat cupcakes, fettucini alfredo, and pizza?
You bet.

But I eat a whole lot more good stuff,
and my body and me,
well, we like that.

Four Dogs?!? Yeah, The Ones Who Changed My Life - Part 4

The last and final part to my story, of the four dogs who’ve changed my life, is possibly the most important one. At this point my husband and I had gotten Saga and were a month and a half into seeing how our lives were changing with a dog. With each command or trick that she learned, my husband danced around and held her like she had won a national dog champion contest. I had never seen this side of him before and I realized in full, just how wonderful of a father he would be someday. 

It was heartbreaking, however, to leave each morning with Saga reaching up and peeking over the dog gate whimpering for me to stay. 

I knew that she needed a companion to always be with her while we were away. So we arranged to get another chocolate Labrador from a different breeder to be her lifelong best friend and another addition to our family. He was the only boy in a litter with four sisters. When the breeder sent us pictures of him, I could tell which one he was because he had small white marking on his toes and his chest (as is a unique and special quality of pure bred chocolate Labradors) just like my Bou Bou had.

I was excited to meet our little boy pup when we the breeder let us visit him two weeks before we were to bring him home. We had discussed what to name him and finally settled on Bamse. Bamse is the most popular Swedish comic book character. He is a little bear with blue overalls and when he drinks his Thunder Honey, he becomes the world’s strongest bear. He is always (and this is important) the world’s nicest bear though. He is never mean. The breeder had told us how big Bamse would probably get, so we thought that the name suited him. I expected the vigor and playfulness that we had seen in Saga, and I knew I was much better prepared since I already had a puppy.

I was gravely mistaken on both accounts.
When I saw Bamse for the first time, he was a tiny dark chocolate ball on the ground and was chewing on a little brown football. 

When he saw me walk into the room and sit down, he galloped over to me, as gracefully as a six week old puppy can. I picked him up and he promptly wrapped himself around my arm holding on with both paws.

My heart was in a puddle at my feet and I didn’t know how I could leave him for the next two weeks. The breeder remarked, “He’s pretty mellow, but it sure looks like he likes you.” After a little while, all of Bamse’s sisters had collected at our feet and were pushing and shoving each other around. Lance and Cori (a best friend of mine) were having a ball petting tons of puppies! They were certainly all adorable, but I held the one in my arms who I could tell didn’t want to be anywhere else. 

Finally, the breeder asked if we wanted to meet Bamse’s father. We nodded yes and within a few moments, the largest Labrador that I have ever seen in my life galloped into the room. He stepped over the couch without needing to clamor and stuck his nose a few inches from my face. He was magnificent, even taller than my Spot had been. He was a yellow Labrador with the chocolate gene that gave him chocolate skin beneath his fur and a chocolate nose. I looked down at my little chocolate Bamse in my arms and wondered if he would grow as large as his father.

We finally left, reluctant to leave our chocolate boy. The next two weeks were like torture, but finally we got to come back and bring Bamse home. Before I even sat down in the car with him, he was comfortably asleep in my arms. 

That day our little family became a little more complete. We had a new best friend who loved us and trusted us to take care of him. 

When we got him home, he was timid as Saga sniffed him up and down. Two weeks older than him, Saga was like a giant compared to him, though we knew that he would eventually catch up and surpass her in size. Bamse's adjustment to our home was very different from Saga's. She had cried being alone in the night, but Bamse never cried because he had Saga to snuggle close to. It was only a matter of days before they were inseparable. 

I also realized more and more how different my puppies were. Saga was ever alert, wanting to sniff every inch of the perimeter and room and before settling down. She liked to sit and stand rather than lay down. Bamse never cared about anything, but Lance, Saga, and me. If I stop moving, Bamse wrapped himself around my feet. If I sat on the floor, Bamse buried himself in my lap, never moving until I had to get up. I realized how glad I was to two such different puppies. I loved their individual personalities and their special qualities. 

Bamse came into my life and filled the maternal part of my heart. He has taught me to love in a deep and sweet way. He is always happy and always ready to do a front roll into my lap and snuggle me to death. He has grown tremendously and learned so much!

He makes me feel special and it's made me remember how important that is. Every person needs to feel special. When I have children someday, I want to make them feel special, but I know that Bamse will help me a lot with that. I am so grateful for Bamse and how he has changed me for the better.