Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's funny how that works

I have to admit the main reason I ever write posts is because I want to show off my new background. I know it may seem really silly to everyone else to have their background change with every season but to me it's awesome.
Besides having a super cute new background I have some pretty cool stuff happening around me that I want to share. So here I go...
I know that compared to most people out there the time that Michael and I have been in school is NOTHING compared to what you've gone through. I know that our two measly years out here in California don't even stand up to the eight or nine years that you have been doing it. But, despite all that, student life has been really hard on Michael and I. I have, at times, worked two jobs just to keep ourselves $150 short every month. I have eaten nothing but tortillas and ice cream that I would get free from work so that Michael could get in a real meal so that he could keep going at school. I have been so tired that I don't even remember driving to work, pretty sure I slept, just to work a couple of hours of over time so that we could buy just a little bit more groceries. I've had to choose between paying the credit card or the car payment or buying gas. And I have stayed at jobs where I am treated so badly but couldn't stand even one day with out work so I would stay. I have plenty more stories that match those but I'll stop.
I used to think that God was punishing us. I used to be really crazy with my money and I thought this was his way of saying , "Alright, you're done. Thanks for trying." I would cry and beg for more money and wait and wait for nothing to end up happening. I just couldn't understand why we weren't getting more money. What I didn't realize was my wonderful blessing in disguise. I look back over the last two years and wonder how in the heck we even survived. I wasn't exaggerating when I said that we were $150 short each month for a little while. Yet, we were never late on a bill. Even when I had to choose between payments and I didn't make payments on the DAY they were due I never went OVER due. Recently a credit card payment was made but the money never came out of my checking account...I have no idea how it was paid. On top of everything else I have learned to live inside a very tight budget. Even though, I think, Michael will make a lot of money one day I'm still happy to know how to live on such a tight budget. I think that it will help me to not go back to crazy spending once we have the money to spend. Most of all I know that I will forever understand, fully understand, Michael and his stress when he becomes the bread winner of the family. I would have never been able to appreciate Michael taking care of his family if I didn't have to take care of us now.
I think that all of you amazing people reading this blog already know and recognize all the blessings that you are receiving in your life as your spouses go to school BUT you should still look back at the last how ever many years and count your many blessings.
By the way....
147 DAYS and we are DONE!!!!
June 23rd; mark your calendars.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

That sister-in-law

After my last post I think it may have left some open questions about my sister-in-law. Let me explain:
*This may be boring to those that are not a part of my family; I'm just warning you now.
Not only is my mother in law the best....the whole in-law family rocks.

My father-in-law is a dad for me. Which is great since I'm working on the relationship with my real father. He has given me hope and inspiration. I remember when I was a kid and my teachers would have me write a paper on my hero, I never knew who to write about. Don't get me wrong, my parents are great people, but we were going through a lot as a family and having a hard time holding it together for a little while. This thought of not really having a hero would "haunt" me at times. Not knowing who you really look up to makes it hard to follow an example. Thanks to my father-in-law I now have someone to look up to and to follow their example. It's so refreshing to have a dad that is setting such a great example.

Sarah and I got along from day 1. We met through my roommate at a salsa class. I remember wishing my hips could move like hers. I think, though, she was just born with a dancing gene that my family didn't have to pass on. We both often recall when we first met; we both thought that it would be really cool to get to know each other better. Even though we weren't best friends she was still someone I always hoped to see. Needless to say, it was nice when I had my first dinner with the family to see her sitting at the table; it made me feel comfortable.
The other great thing about Sarah is that she was engaged at the same time as me. So, we have gone through the exact same things at the exact same time. It was fun to talk about the hardships of being engaged and the fear of the wedding...night. We cried together when we were having a hard time getting pregnant and laughed together when we would talk about how weird marriage is.
Sarah and I are at different points in our life now. She has two babies while Michael and I are waiting just a little longer to start trying. Her husband is just now starting school and Michael is just finishing. But, I still feel that she is someone that I can go to because she understands where I am at in my marriage. We are both going through the new couple struggles and trying to figure out our Mikes. She is also someone who I think really understands me. Which, in reality, is one step ahead of my husband. ;) A lot of struggles we went through in life were similar and I think we still face a lot of struggles that are similar.
Sarah...Know that I love you and I'm so grateful you are my sister. I'm so proud of you and the hard work you put into your family. I'm grateful for your example and the strength you give me by just doing what you do every day.

So, my other two sisters-in-law both thought they were that other sister-in-law I was talking about in my last post...that's funny. Sorry, Erin...or Jeigh...however you look at it but I was talking about Jeigh. This is why:

I want to let all of my sisters know that I think you are all super cool and creative in your own way. You each make me smile and you each make me laugh. I admire you all for different reasons (Erin I'm still getting to your awesomeness). But for some reason I really idol Jeigh. Jeigh is someone I always wanted to be. Ever since elementary school I wanted to be someone like her. She is quarky, funny, creative, sweet, sensitive, and a good member of the church. Right from the first moment we met I was intimidated...don't ask why. It could have been that she thought I was some freako girl who was obsessed with her brother; thanks Michael, for that. She was really confused of why I was invited to Sunday dinner because Michael did not let his family know that we were dating let alone falling in love and thinking about marriage. It's a guy thing..I guess. So when we were holding hands she was really confused and I think that because of that she was a little stand offish. I was also confused why her children and herself where calling Michael Fatty (it's a family thing). Because of all this I was pretty worried. You see, I pretty much knew I wanted to marry Michael by the time I was meeting his family for the first time and I thought I had my work cut out for me; little did I know how well we would get along.
I don't know what happened or what made things flip but now it's funny to think I was intimidated by Jeigh...Jeigh?!? Jeigh and I lived in the same complex for the first few months of my marriage so she was easy to get to. We were in the same ward so we struggled with a lot of the same...people?...that's the only word I can think of. Through time Jeigh and I have become really close. I have called her for about every problem I have. She has always known what to say to make me feel better and make me realize that I'm over reacting. When we laugh together we usually end up crying. We can read the one another's mind.
Jeigh...thank you for being such a great sister. With out you I would still be stuck in a lot of ruts. You make me want to be a better person so I can "match" you. I love you and I'm so glad to know that we are related.

The only word that I can think of when I think of Erin is amazing. I was really nervous to meet Erin because she was the "other" one. She lived far away and I don't know why but it was scary. I think I just built it all up in my head so much that I let it get out of control. But Erin is great and sweet; there was no reason of why I should have been worried.
Like I said Erin is amazing. She is a mother to three and lives on the tightest budget. She is really on top of her genealogy and I envy that. She dehydrates her own food, makes her own laundry detergent and I think soap, she even made her own rug for her bathroom. She used to home school her kids while still trying to be a great wife. She has a lot of insight to marriage that I use on a daily basis. She is also super smart. I always worry whenever I write her an email or a blog. If you couldn't tell, I'm awful at grammar; I have a math mind. Erin, on the other hand majored in English and kicks butt when it comes to this grammar crap.
Erin and I hit it off and became really close really quickly. I hate that Erin is kind of hard to get a hold of; it's because she's too busy being an awesome mom/wife. I email her for advice that I don't trust with anyone else. Whenever we are together, which isn't enough, we get into the deepest conversations and I don't want them to end.
Erin...I love you. You work so hard at your marriage and your mothering skills that I sometimes wish I had that drive. You inspire me to be better at following the Lord's commandments, even the ones that are only "kind of" important. Thank you.

So that's family. They are so awesome.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let me tell you about this awesome lady I know.

Have you every met someone and when you meet it really feels like you are being reunited with a long lost friend? Your heart swells with joy and you step just a little bit lighter knowing you are with a long "lost" friend. Well, that's how it was when I met my mother in law.
I will never forget during good news moment in Relief Society when I mentioned that I was nervously meeting my boyfriend's parents. A lady in my ward, Radene Barker, instantly jumped out of her chair and with her hands in the air yelled, "You will LOVE his mom, Suzi." Since I put a lot of trust in Radene I knew my dinner that night would go well but I was still nervous. You see Michael is the youngest child and the only boy...see my dilemma?
To my surprise, though, I ended up meeting Suzi about one hour later; we ran into each other at church (small town, small church). She met me with a smile and mentioned that she was excited to get to know me better. This lightened the tension in the shoulders at the same exact time it made me a little bit more sick to my stomach.
After changing out of my church clothes I drove the long drive to Michael's house, took a deep breath, and walked in the front door. Once again, there was Suzi with a big smile welcoming me into her home. Since I wasn't being caught off guard I was more aware of her warmth and the sweetness of her smile. Needless to say the rest of the night went great. Instead of getting the impression that Mom was going to get rid of girl taking away baby child, only son; I got welcoming arms. The only person I had to "worry about" was my sister in law, but that's another story.
After a really fun night I had to go home because work was the next day for Michael and he had to get up early. Suzi and Mike (Michael's dad, who is also awesome and I love him just as much but this story is focused on Suzi) were standing at the door ready to say good bye. Suzi instantly took me in her arms and gave a huge hug and said that she couldn't wait to see me again. Just typing that makes my eyes water.
Since that moment things have only gone up. Suzi, I call her Mom now, has helped me through the hardest trials of my life. We are so much alike it's easy for us to share tears. The great thing about Mom, though, is she can share tears with anyone. I honestly believe that if every single person could spend one day with Mom the world would be a better place. She always is uplifting and brings you so close to the spirit that it's impossible to be upset at anything. Not only is she a great listener and up lifter she is also stronger than anyone I know. She has been through trials that you can't even think of but yet has come up on top.
Right now Mom is going through an especially hard time. I know, though, that she will come out on top. I'm so glad I was reunited with my long lost friend. It feels so good to hear her voice and her hugs are OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD. If you ever run into a Suzi Hardy, THE Suzi Hardy, make sure to stop and talk to her and maybe, just maybe, you'll be lucky enough to get one of her hugs.
Mom, the likelihood of you actually reading this are slim. But I would still like to tell you that I love you so much. I am the luckiest woman because I have the best mother in law in the whole world. XxOOoXxOXox

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas post

Since I have a blog I think that I'm required by law to have a post dedicated to how our Christmas was. I guess that's fair and fairly easy so here it goes.
Michael and I were fortunate enough to have his parent's come down and visit us. They arrived on Christmas Eve at around 6:00Pm. Mom and I hurried our butts into the kitchen and started making a very traditional Christmas Eve dinner (malibu chicken, for those that don't know). After eating a very scrumptous dinner we started into some Luanne and Michael new Christmas traditions. It started out with all of us acting out the nativity. Luckily, the primary had just done the same thing and so we used their script. It was fun because it was a little different because there were only four of us. But it included some Christmas hymns and was very enjoyable. We then got to each open 1 present. Since Mom and Dad had very few presents they didn't want to open one of their gifts so Michael and I got to open two presents! Mom and Dad had gotten us a game, The Game of Things to be exact, and we played that until I was so tired I couldn't even keep my eyes open. I should also mention that Mom and Dad let us "open" another present because it wasn't wrapped. We got their old TV! They had, now we have, a very nice HD TV. It was nice and new but apparently not big enough for them. So they upgraded and we ended up with a nice new TV.
Christmas morning started about 8:00 AM. I am starting another tradition where we have soup on Christmas morning. So I went and turned on the soup so it would be nice and warm for us while everyone else went potty and brushed their teeth. We were excited to find out that Santa had come to visit us the night before! *We each stuffed our very own stockings the night before. I do have to say, though, there were two presents there that Michael and I had not yet seen and we were super surprised to find out that they were ours. As tradition goes in Michael's family (I'm still getting used to this one) we opened our presents one at a time and Michael started. He decided to open mysterious present #1...a WII!!!! As soon as I saw that I ripped into my package to find a WII FIT BALANCE BOARD!!! The rest of our presents from Mom and Dad consisted of Wii things and boxes of popcorn. I was excited about the popcorn. They bought me some of that pour over cheddar and you can't find that here. :) Our other presents were from my grandma and they were quite nice as well. We got some comfy jamas, socks, I got a nice watch, and some more Christmas decorations that Grandma is passing along.
After a fun filled morning of opening presents we dug into some soup and started to hook up our Wii. We played the Wii for a long time but than a very important basketball game came on and we couldn't miss it. While it was on Mom and I started Christmas dinner. We had ham, potatoes, and carrots...YUM. After dinner we went up to the temple to look at the lights and go up to the lookout point on the temple to lookout at all three cities; Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco.
Mom and Dad stayed until Tuesday. I won't go into all the nitty gritty details but the rest of our trip consisted of eating, shopping, going into the City (San Francisco), going to Piedmont Cemetery so Mom could get pics, and a lot of movie watching. We are so glad they could come down and spend some time with us. It's hard, sometimes, being this far away from everyone so a weekend visit is perfect to fill up our hearts for a few months.