Friday, May 30, 2014

Date Night Done Right: Graffiti Summer 2014


For all you love birds out there wondering what to do on these hot summer nights....Graffiti Summer 2014 is here!

So grab your best girl (or guy) and head out to revel in some of this summers most nostalgic and wonderful activities.

Kick off your Graffiti events by taking a picnic dinner to the Mancini Bowl for the always free, MoBand Concert on Thursday June 5th.  A romantic way to have a great date!

You can twist the night away watching the Graffiti Classic Car Parade (finally back) on McHenry Ave this coming Friday June 6th at 7pm.  Pick your spot along the street early!  You can find the parade route in the  Modesto BEE pullout all about Graffiti Summer.  But basically it runs down  J street to McHenry to Orangeburg.

Here is a list of all the cool Graffiti Events going on this summer...

June 1
9th Annual Graffiti Classic Car Show
Modesto Area Street Rod Association’s 9th annual classic car show. Raffles, music and more from 10am - 3pm. Free admission to spectators, Car entry fee $25 ($30 the day of the event) - includes lunch for two. Sponsor awards & more. A portion of all proceeds go to local charities. At McHenry Village, 1700 McHenry Ave. Call (209) 521-6607for more information or visit www.graffiticlassic.com.

June 2-5
Mid-Valley Chevy Club Park n' Shines
All car shows are free and will be at a different location each night from 5-9pm.


Monday - American Chevrolet, 4742 McHenry Ave.

Tuesday - Liquid Trends, 500 Glass Lane
Wednesday - Downtown Modesto
Thursday - Cool Hand Luke’s, 2505 Patterson Rd.

For more information, please call Mid Valley Chevy Club at 209-495-8626 or visit www.midvalleychevy.com.

June 4
Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame Unveiling
Please join us for the celebration at 7:00pm Special appearances by Candy Clark & Bo Hopkins! The Mid Valley Park n Shine will be displaying classic cars. For more call 209-526-5588.

June 6
Official Kiwanis Classic Car Parade
The annual Classic Car Parade route has expanded! The route will remain through cool Downtown Modesto but this year it is expanding to go down McHenry Ave. to Orangeburg & back to downtown. The parade will feature close to a thousand classic cars, hot rods & street rods starting at 7:00pm in Downtown Modesto. You do not want to miss this amazing event! 


Route map coming soon! 


June 6
MoBand Concert in the Park
Moband's annual summer concerts in the park series, with music from the 50’s & 60’s. Spread out your blankets, bring a picnic & enjoy the sounds of Moband. Admission is free and the concert begins at 8:00pm at Graceada Park, get there early & enjoy. Visitwww.moband.org.

June 7
The Hit Men

Featuring the Former Stars of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons!


The 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were a golden era for songwriting and during that period acts like Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Tommy James and The Shondells, and other big name chart-busting groups created beloved hits that have been heard for generations and are woven into America’s consciousness. Now, after decades behind the scenes, some of the greatest artists who were instrumental in the success of these fabulous songs have reunited to form THE HIT MEN. Show starts at 8:00pm at the Gallo Center, 1000 I Street. Call 209-338-2100 for tickets or visit www.galloarts.org. 

June 7-8
American Graffiti Car Show & Festival
This 16th Annual event is presented by the North Modesto Kiwanis. Friday night, June 6 will once again feature the Classic Car Parade Downtown at 7pm. The car show & festival is Saturday, June 7 from 9am to 5pm & Sunday, June 8 from 9am to 3pm. Check out the classic cars, stroll through hundreds of specially selected food, craft and specialty booths. Live music throughout the festival each day; 
At MJC WEST Campus, 2201 Blue Gum Ave. 

June 14
21st Annual Back to Graffiti at the Fruit Yard
Annual Classic Car Show with 50/50 raffle, music, vendors and more! The Fruit Yard’s Mesquite BBQ available throughout the day and VIP dinners for the cars. For more information call the Fruit Yard at 209-577-3093.

June 14
Sing-a-long Grease
Dress up as your favorite character from the film, compete for prizes, & dance in the aisles with Rydell Highs most famous graduating class. There will be fun giveaways, drink specials and contests from prizes. Showtime 6:30pm. Tickets $5. State Theatre, 1307 J Street. 209-527-4697.

June 20
"HOPPING AT THE HANGAR" Sock Hop
Put on your poodle skirt, slick back your hair and get ready to rock the night away at the Hop-"HOPPING AT THE HANGAR" sock hop: The CAF Central Valley Squadron will be holding a fundraiser at Hangar 1-S , 700 Tioga Drive. Admission to "Hopping at the Hangar" will be by advance ticket purchase only. Cost is $25 per person, includes BBQ Hamburgers/Hot Dogs and all the fixing’s. Dancing to 50's/60's music surrounded by classic WWII planes, makes for a magical night. No host bar and soda fountain. For tickets call 209-605-4313. Doors open at 5 pm - close at 10 pm. 21+ to attend.

June 20-21
Graffiti Night with the Modesto Nuts
Take me out to the ballgame to enjoy action packed baseball, 50’s and 60’s music, root beer floats and fun contests. Modesto Nuts take on the High Dessert Mavericks. Game time 7:05pm. Fireworks after the game. 572-4487 or www.modestonuts.com.

June 29
The 7th Annual Rod & Custom Car Show
Classic cars, custom hot rods and music(DJ)! Food and beverages available for purchase. Proceeds to benefit Modesto Elks and Alzheimer's Foundation. Admission is FREE! Car show starts at 10:00am. Car participants parking is 7:00-9:30am. Car registration $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show and lunch for two. Awards will be presented at 3:00pm. Elks Lodge 645 Charity Way. For more information please call 209-524-4811.








When I was a kid, we lived off of Roseburg and McHenry and never missed a Graffiti night. We used to be able to cruise McHenry back then and we would all pile in the station wagon and get stuck in traffic with everyone else for hours, honking and laughing and Ooing and Ahing at all the cool classic cars. Even after we had gone home for the night I used to lay awake in my bunk bed and listen to the sounds of the fun being had streets away as engines revved and teenagers wolf whistled at each other. I am really excited that the parade route will, again, take in part of McHenry Ave. I am hoping to sit exactly where we sat as kids and share this night with my sweetheart.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Oven Baked Mexican Rice

{Oven Baked Mexican Rice}



I have been searching for a great Mexican Rice recipe to rival those at my favorite Mexican restaurants for years.  Time after time other recipes left me with soggy rice, rice that was too spicy or too sticky or very dry.  THIS RECIPE is amazing.  It is tasty and has just the right texture for my liking.  It makes quite a bit with minimal effort.  A great addition to any fiesta!  Super in burritos or as a side to enchiladas or tacos.

Oven Baked Mexican Rice
Ingredients:

12 ounces tomatoes canned or fresh (if fresh remove seeds and core and add 1 TBS tomato paste)
1 medium white onion
3 medium jalapenos
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil
4 minced garlic cloves
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 lime



Directions:


  • Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350.
  • Process tomato and onion in processor or blender until pureed and thoroughly smooth. Transfer mixture to measuring cup and reserve exactly 2 cups. Discard excess.
  • Remove ribs and seeds from 2 jalapenos and discard. Mince flesh and set aside. Mince remaining jalapeno. Set aside.
  • Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear- about 1 1/2 minutes.Shake rice vigorously to remove excess water.This step removes the starch from the rice so it will not stick. IF YOU OMIT THIS STEP YOUR RICE WILL NOT BE DRY AND FLUFFY.
  • Heat oil in heavy bottomed dutch oven or other high sided cast iron stew pot. Drop a few rice grains in and if they sizzle then it is ready. Add rice and fry stirring until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Be careful that the oil doesn't get too hot too fast or the oil will splatter.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and 2 minced jalapenos and cook , stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Stir in broth, pureed mixture,tomato paste, and salt. Increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.
  • Cover pot and transfer pot to oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30-35 minutes.Stir well after 15 minutes.
  • Stir in cilantro, minced jalapeno to taste, and pass lime wedges separately

{Quotes to Cook By}


“I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2000 of something. ” 

“A simple act of kindness the size of a rice grain can weigh as heavy as a mountain.”
― Feroz Bham




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #58

#58 It Always Comes Back to Flossing...


*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #57

#57 Spaghetti Uh-O's

Some people have it.  Some don't.

That ever useful, always in style, uber ability to decipher just what a toddler is trying to say.

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away I was watching my niece.  She was buckled in her high chair and I was singing every Disney song I knew for her while I prepared lunch for us.  She clapped and babbled along, saying a word or two when she knew it.   The picture of happiness.

Out of no where she began to cry and gesture to the cabinets repeating the same non-nonsensical rambling.

Try as I might, I could not understand what she wanted.

I tried to repeat what she was saying to help me figure out what she wanted (worst game of Mad Gab EVER).

I tried pulling things out of the cabinets to see if any of them would help soothe her.  After all, I was going for Aunt-of-the-Year here.

Nada.

With crocodile tears of frustration rolling down her cheeks, I called in back up.  Not sure what else to do and with no real faith that he could do any better than me, I called the Aussie in from his office to try and take a crack at it.

She repeated for him what she had been saying to me and pointed to the cabinets.  He walked to cabinet and handed me a can of Spaghetti O's.  She clapped with relief.



Then she turned to me and in her best scolding voice she said, "Therew is somfing wong witf you."

Hahaha.  Out of the mouths of babes.

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #56

#56 The Dress Debacle of 2014

I can't help but laugh.

Standing amongst all the racks of clothes at Target, I have tried on literally EVERY dress they have in stock on the women's side of the store.  And guess what?  They are all either too short, hitting well above my kneecap. Scandalous! Or they are lacking sleeves which means to wear it and feel comfortable I would need to wear a shirt under it adding extra bulk and/or a cardigan over it adding extra heat.

Nothing makes an infertile girl feel better about herself than strutting around in her new dress while looking like she has gained 5lbs and also like she is about to sweat out 5 lbs.

Flop.
Sweats.

That's what I'm having after being crammed in that infernal dressing room with the back to back mirrors and bad lighting.  My toe touched something icky on the floor in there, it may have been a slug.

I frantically scan the racks looking for one dress, just one.  That's all I need.  Just something to wear to church, something casual enough to wear out on a date with my husband.

Then, across the room, I spot it. I don't know how I could have missed it.  It is a blue and white stripped gem, a nod to the nautical, fancy free, sensational summer months to come.  It has short sleeves and looks, from this distance, to at least go to my knee.  My hope soars!

I practically dance my way between the racks towards it, sweat stinging my eyes, I brush the sticky hair from my face and touch the fabric.  It is a cotton dress, with a little bit of lycra for stretch.  It is a perfect dress.

I skip to the dressing room (careful to select one without a slug on the floor) and try it on.  It fits like a glove.  The length is perfect and the sleeves make me feel comfortable.  There is a tiny bit of weird ruching on the sides but it is hardly noticeable. A small price to pay for such a lovely dress.  A dress that makes me feel lovely.

I head to the check stand to make my triumphant purchase, the air conditioning cooling my flushed cheeks and billowing my hair behind me.  I pass the rack with my lovely dress on it and then I see it.

MATERNITY

The dress is from the maternity section.



I bought it anyway.  I wore it the first Sunday home.  I spotted at least two vastly pregnant girls in my ward wearing the exact same dress that Sunday.  We all looked FAnTasTiC!

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #55

#55 Stalking the Stork



AKA Top 9 Ways to Annoy A Girl Who Can't Get Pregnant

1. Pregnant girls who don't care to research being pregnant.  If you are lucky enough to be pregnant then at least have the decency to act like you are interested in baby and the birth. Okay? Okay!  If I have to tell you what trimester you are in then we just can't be friends.

2.  People that have kids and are terrible at parenting.  Licensed to breed?  Nope. Letting your kid knock over all the canned goods at the grocery store and climbing up the shelves while you flirt with the bag boy?  Feeding your baby a bottle full of Mt. Dew?  Leaving your kid in the car so you can booze it up with your girlfriends?  I'm lookin' at you!

3.  People handing out retarded advice like it is free candy.  Don't tell me to just relax!  You relax.

4.  Accidental Pregnancies.  So you go catting around with your hus-band and now you are pregnant?  We have a word for people like you...MOM.

5.  Pregnancy tests - they are always so NEGATIVE. If I wanted to feel badly about myself I would, well, take a pregnancy test.

6. Girls pretending to be infertile.  Will the real slim shady please stand up?  A few months of trying does not an infertile make.  Don't whine about how you were once infertile for 6 months.  Just don't.

7.  Pregnant girls who don't look pregnant but feign getting fat.  How about I share some of my "get-fat-quick" fertility medication with you and then we will see who is crying about how their jeans don't button anymore!

8.  Get Preggo Quick Girls.  What's that you say? You just had a baby and now you are pregnant again?  Well I wonder how that happened.  Ha ha ha.  Ha.

9.  People who whine, "I just fold my husband's underwear and I get pregnant!"  If you don't like it then stop doing the laundry!  I hate folding clothes, maybe that's why we can't have kids.


*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #54

#54 And These People Get to Have a Baby...

Sometimes I walk around, in public, and can't help but wonder how so many stupid mean unfit *people* are having babies.  We try to be courteous, to be responsible, to be educated and we still come up short.

I know a girl who took all her diaper money and used it for cigarettes and booze and put paper towels wrapped in a plastic produce bag on the baby, her friends call her "The BEST mom I know."

How about "Octuplet Mom"?

What about all those women on Toddlers in Tiaras?

Don't even get me started on Honey Boo Boo's mom, who loves to pass gas in public.



Maybe we are going about this baby-making thing all wrong.

Maybe we need to spend a little less time at college lectures and reading and more time downing slurpees at the Wal-Mart?  When I say we have tried everything to conceive, I lied, we haven't tried that.  (I'm sticking my tongue out as I type this).







*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #53

#53 Problem Child


Why is it when
Friends say, "Don't worry, you can have one of mine!"


They are always talking about this one...




Yet, still you wish they weren't joking.

9. “Don’t worry; you can borrow my kids!”  LDS Living: What Not To Say to Childless Couples
This comment not only devalues the blessings of parenthood but also implies that “borrowing” children would resolve the grief of infertility. Not wanting to “borrow” children, however, does not necessarily mean not enjoying being around them.
Some childless couples are in a place of healing where they can interact and be around children, but some aren’t. Baby showers, baby blessings, children’s birthday parties, and the like can be salt in an open wound. Childless couples appreciate thoughtful invitations to child and family events, but please let them know they can decline or leave early without giving offense. Allowing childless couples to heal at their own pace shows great support and compassion and can be very helpful to them while working through their grieving process.


If you are going to jokingly offer us your kid, at least offer to let us have the well-behaved one! ;)

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday's Matter: As American as Memorial Day and Scripture Baseball

At our house, and millions of others around the world, Monday nights are reserved for families.  A Family Home Evening (FHE)!!  What makes up your Monday?




What is Memorial Day?  At our home, sadly, it is mostly just a 3 day weekend to BBQ or camp, a time to take a break before the heat and hustle and bustle of the summer months (and most years, it is a time to can the peaches on the tree), and sometimes it is a good sale at the department stores.  

Today, I thought, would be a great time to discuss the meaning behind Memorial Day.  Knowing the real meaning behind the holiday is an important step to honoring those who have sacrificed for our freedom.







{READ}

From TIME Magazine for KIDS
Technically, summer doesn't start until June 21. But many people consider Memorial Day to be the unofficial start of the season. This year, we celebrate the holiday on May 26. Many families will heat up the grill, head to the beach or take in a big blockbuster movie. But Memorial Day has the word "memorial" in it for a reason.
Soldier Donnie Terrell, a member of the U.S. Army, carries his daughter Hailey during a parade at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Florida.
EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN—TAMPA BAY TIMES/AP
Soldier Donnie Terrell, a member of the U.S. Army, carries his daughter Hailey during a parade at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
The holiday got started on May 30, 1868, when Union General John A. Logan declared the day an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. Twenty years later, the name was changed to Memorial Day. On May 11, 1950, Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. President Richard M. Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May. It is an occasion to honor the men and women who died in all wars.
Remembering Those Who Served
It is customary to mark Memorial Day by visiting graveyards and war monuments. One of the biggest Memorial Day traditions is for the President or Vice President to give a speech and lay a wreath on soldiers' graves in the largest national cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia. Most towns have local Memorial Day celebrations. Here are some ways you can honor the men and women who serve our country:
- Put flags or flowers on the graves of men and women who served in wars.
- Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon.
- Visit monuments dedicated to soldiers, sailors and marines.
- Participate in a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.
- March in a parade

{WATCH}  The History Channel: History of the Holidays, Memorial Day



{TEACH}
It is a time to remember all those Americans who have fought in the past to keep this country safe and free. It is a day to honor and respect the armed forces, those who have already died, and those who continue to serve our country still today. Of course, remember to teach children that this day isn’t just limited to honoring and remembering those in the armed forces. It is a wonderful time for personal remembrance as well, remembering family members and friends that have been lost. It is a day to reflect upon the losses of those who have made our lives better.

{DISCUSS}
Make a list of ways your family might observe Memorial Day next week.  Who can you thank?  Who can you honor?  How can you honor?


{Decide how YOUR family will observe Memorial Day}



{Relate It To Your Family}
Ask if your family know of any family member who has fought in a war.  If not be prepared to teach them who it was and what war they fought in.  If possible, obtain a picture of each person and display it for the week as a reminder of this lesson.

{Activity}
What is more American than Baseball?

Scripture Baseball: Prepare ahead signs that say 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Home, Pitcher. Place signs around the room in the shape of a baseball diamond. On index cards write approx.15 questions based on the scriptures with answers referenced. Difficult questions are labelled Home Run. Divide into teams, each with a pitcher selected who chooses the first question from the stack and reads it to his first batter. If the batter gives the correct answer, he moves to first base and the next batter is up. If the next question is also answered correctly, batters each move ahead 1 base, etc. until one comes home to SCORE. If a player misses a question, his team is OUT and the other team is UP TO BAT. Team with the highest score wins.


{FHE doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to BE}

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie for Two


I recently acquired bought at a yard sale some Pyrex individual casserole dishes and have been looking for any excuse to use them.  Sunday, I decided to make some individual pot pies, which meant double duty because I had already agreed to make my husband's favorite Spicy Honey Chicken and corn on the cob, but all my hard work was rewarded with the most amazing Chicken Pot Pie I have ever made!  It is creamy and delicious, with tender veggies, flavorful chicken breasts and a flaky brown top crust. And when I was done, I had enough crust leftover to make an individual apple pie!

Ingredients (Makes 2 Pies):

1 Recipe Pate Brisee (Martha Stewart's is the BEST) I did not refrigerate mine before I used it but the doesn't mean you can't.


  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large chicken breast, skin and bone removed, cut into same size pieces as the veggies
  • 1 C fresh or Frozen Peas
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken
  • 1 C Sour Cream
  • Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder to taste
  • 2 sprigs fresh tyme, stems removed
  • 1 TBS olive Oil
  • 2 TBS butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In large cast skillet melt butter and oil.
Add potatoes and carrots and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender and slightly browned.
Add chicken to skillet and cook until browned (does not have to be done, it will finish in the oven).
Season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.
Add cream of chicken soup and sour cream, reduce heat and stir until well combined.
Stir in peas and thyme leaves and remove from heat.

Roll out pate brisee, flip your individual pot pie pans over and cut a circle in dough about a 1/2" bigger than top of pie pan.

Flip pie pans back over and fill with pot pie filling.  
Top with crust, making sure to crimp edges to pie pan and cut a few vent holes in the top.

Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crust is done and filling is bubbling.

Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before serving.

{Quotes to Cook By}



Since as far back as I can remember, watching my mom and dad make pies together every fall as a young boy, I have simply loved pie. I can't really explain why. If one loves poetry, or growing orchids, or walking along the beach at sunset, the why isn't all that important. To me, pie is poetry that makes the world a better place.” 




“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” 



“People don't know how chickens can turn on you, but they can -- just like mad dogs.” 





Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #52

#52 Raising Money For Adoption


{Question:  What do YOU think about Fundraising for Adoption?}

Some friends are in the process of adopting two children internationally. Early on, they had a garage sale with the proceeds going toward the adoption. I was excited for them and wanted to help.
However, this was soon followed by more requests — for yard sale donations, two more garage sales, the “opportunity” to buy expensive coffee online, a fundraising dinner and then a solicitation to provide a “virtual shower” of plane ticket money.
I have never been asked for money for the same thing in so many different ways in such a short time. I am increasingly disgusted and put off by their continued pleas for money. Am I wrong to be so upset about this? — A Little Ticked Off

Recently, a family member of ours was telling us about a few couples she knows from church who are funding their adoptions through a website called Go Fund Me where people can make donations to reach a goal.  She suggested we do the same and even offered to manage it all for us.

When I think about adoption it makes me have anxiety and want to eat Ben and Jerry's.  

Something so beautiful, something we want so much, something that COSTS SO MUCH MONEY. The graphic below is from 2009, costs have significantly increased since then but it gives you a good idea.  From talking to experts and friends, church adoption is about half the cost.



I don't know how people do it.  Where do they get the money?  I know after trying infertility treatments we have very little money left over, much less the tens of thousands of dollars it costs to adopt. (For various reasons, the virtually free Foster-to-Adopt programs are not for us at this point and time).

Then I think about everyone I know personally who has adopted (privately and through the church) or had successful infertility treatments and I am reminded of ALL the financial help they received from others along the way.  The grandparents who left money, the parents who refinanced houses, the brothers and sisters who took up a collection.  These are not options for us.  Yet, we still don't know how we would feel asking people to contribute so that we can have a family.  Heck, we felt guilty registering for gifts for our wedding.  

In fact, we didn't even register for a complete set of dishes at Target because the Aussie thought it was too much to ask of people and he was shocked that our registry printed out to 5 pages.

Would we be free loaders?  

Would people hold it against us or think badly of us just for asking?  

Who would even donate to these kinds of things?  

Is it wrong?

Is it the only way?  We aren't getting any younger.

Would people enjoy knowing they helped us to have a family?

We don't know.   We have been thinking about it ever since it was mentioned to us.  

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Please be honest.  We are not easily offended and genuinely would like your opinion.

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!




Adventures in Infertility #51

#51 Chocolate Covered Kindness



This year, I was excited about Mother's Day.  Which doesn't really happen.

My mom isn't really "around" and my husband's mother passed away of cancer years ago.  Sure we know plenty of great mom's but the day is always a little bit...underwhelming and sad for us.  We miss our moms, we miss not being able to have kids...underwhelming and sad.

But this year!  This year I was actually excited.  I can't tell you how much being able to talk to someone (you, dear reader) about my adventures in infertility has helped me.  I had no dread about attending a 3 hour block of church focused on motherhood, I had no awkward feelings regarding how to respond to all the "I'm so sorry"s I usually hear on this day.  I just felt...Good.  Normal.  Hopeful?  Except I have a terrible, phlegm filled, chest cold that makes me cough like a smoker.

My sweet and caring husband, after calling me Doc Holiday listening to me cough like Doc Holiday all night long, suggested that we stay away from church as not to get other's sick and to rest up, but I just couldn't.  We had missed the week before because  we were on a family trip to Disneyland and I couldn't miss two weeks in a row and I didn't want others to think we felt sorry for ourselves or our situation.  So we went. At least for the first hour.

**Don't worry** we sat in the back and I didn't shake anyone's hand, I coughed A LOT during the meeting (stupid, useless, cough drops) so people got the idea I wasn't feeling well and stayed away.  But boy am I glad I went!!

Not only were the speakers fantastic, the primary kids adorable and the pews filled with mom's and daughters but I got CHOCOLATE!  Well, to be fair, every woman got chocolate.  A beautiful, individually boxed See's Candy.  But I got EXTRA Chocolate.

A good friend of mine found me at the beginning of the meeting and gave me a King Sized Symphony bar.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  I mean, I know I said it would be nice but I never, in a million years expected anyone to bring me chocolate.  It made me feel so special.

The Bishop came over and chatted with me *I told him I was sick and coughed for proof* he told me he had a little something for me at the end of the meeting.  It made me feel so special.

After the meeting had ended, and we were singing the closing hymn, the youth came around to pass out chocolates to all the women of the ward who were "out of high school."

**This part I usually dread.  It just makes me feel so sorry for myself**

But you know what? I was excited to receive the gift!

The bishop's son came over and wished me a "Happy Mother's Day" and handed me an individually wrapped See's chocolate AND a GIANT Hershey's Chocolate Bar.  I'm telling you, besides my wedding day, MOST. EXCITING. DAY. OF. MY. LIFE.  Not just because of the chocolates and the kindness they represent but because I didn't spend Mother's Day feeling sorry for our situation.

It is amazing what a few simple acts of kindness can do.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Y'all are wonderful.

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday's Matter: FHE This Day In History

At our home, and millions of others around the globe, Monday nights are reserved for families.  A Family Home Evening (FHE)!

The Aussie and I love history.  We love to go to museums and to read and learn about the past.  I have a particular fondness for the history surrounding the American Revolutionary War and the birth of America. 

 Learning about history is a great way to spend a Family Home Evening!



Did you know that On This Day In History (check out the link for daily historical news) the American troops suffered the worst defeat of the Revolutionary war at Charleston?

After a siege that began on April 2, 1780, Americans suffer their worst defeat of the revolution on this day in 1780, with the unconditional surrender of Major General Benjamin Lincoln to British Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton and his army of 10,000 at Charleston, South Carolina.
With the victory, the British captured more than 3,000 Patriots and a great quantity of munitions and equipment, losing only 250 killed and wounded in the process. Confident of British control in the South, Lieutenant General Clinton sailed north to New York after the victory, having learned of an impending French expedition to the British-occupied northern state. He left General Charles Cornwallis in command of 8,300 British forces in the South.
South Carolina was a deeply divided state, and the British presence let loose the full violence of a civil war upon the population. First, the British used Loyalists to pacify the Patriot population; the Patriots returned the violence in kind. The guerrilla warfare strategies employed by Patriots Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter and Nathanael Greene throughout the Carolina campaign of 1780-81 eventually chased the far more numerous British force into Virginia, where they eventually surrendered at Yorktown on October 19, 1781.
Having suffered the humiliation of surrendering to the British at Charleston, Major General Lincoln was able to turn the tables and accept Cornwallis' ceremonial surrender to General George Washington at Yorktown on October 20.
Read or Watch and Discuss:
A talk given by Ezra Taft Benson  The Constitution - A Glorious Standard
"Yes, this is a land fertilized by the blood of patriots. During the struggle for independence, nearly 9,000 of the colonist forces were killed. Among those fifty-six patriots who had pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor by signing the Declaration of Independence, at least nine paid that price with their life’s blood.
At the close of the Revolution, the thirteen states found themselves independent but then faced grave internal economic and political problems.
Washington wrote of the defects of this loose federation in these words: “The fabrick which took nine years, at the expense of much blood and treasure to rear, now totters to the foundation, and without support must soon fall.” (John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., Writings of George Washington,Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1939, 29:68.) Because of this crisis, fifty-five of the seventy-four appointed delegates reported to the convention, representing every state except Rhode Island, for the purpose of forming “a more perfect union.” Thirty-nine finally signed the Constitution."

Activity:

Play a game of Nine Men's Morris, HERE  is the skinny on this Colonial board game.
Take The Constitution Quiz!  You can take it online or print it out on paper
Play the Road to Revolution Game at PBS online
Or just watch your favorite movie that has something, Anything, to do with government any excuse to watch DAVE!

10 things to know about DAVE

{FHE doesn't have to be Perfect,

 It just has to BE!}



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #49

#49  It's Called "Mother's Day" not "Mothering Day"



In our ward, on Mother's Day, at the end of our Sacrament meeting, just before Sunday School starts, the Bishop asks all the women 18 yrs and older to please stand to be honored with a little gift.  It has usually been an individually wrapped chocolate, a beautiful little token of appreciation for all the women of congregation.  And although it makes me a little upset, I know they are just trying to be nice and so I am grateful.  After all, they day is to honor Mothers, not "those who have mothered."  If it was the same thing then why do so many aspire to have babies, to be mothers, if babysitting or teaching kids in Sunday school or being an aunt or uncle is exactly the same as having our own kids?

I guess it would be a little awkward if they called out (in my head I hear Oprah's voice) "You get a chocolate!" "You get a chocolate!"  "You get a chocolate!"  "NOT you barren girls!"  "But YOU baby makers and adopters, you get a chocolate."  I am grateful.  Really.  But you know, I think the gift for mothers and for the barren should be different.  Might I suggest something that will last me through the 3 hour block? Maybe something, a little bit like this....






*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #50

#50  M-Day

It has come around again, The-Day-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named Voldemorte?  That's right, Mother's Day is just around the corner.

A day when more people tell me they are "Sorry" than any other day.

A day when I get sad and guilty looks from friends.

A day when I feel people tip-toe around the fact we don't have children.

A day for me to step it up, forget about myself and go to work to make all those Mom's feel extra special.

My wish for all of you mother's out there is to have the love of your children and the appreciation of your families for all you do.



My wish for all of you hoping to become mothers is to have patience and laughter and fun in the meantime. Do not waste one moment of this precious life.  Someday your dreams may come true, but if that day does not come and you look back, may it be a look back on a happy life irregardless of the hardships and trials you have faced.

“Happy Mother's Day”
It comes around every year;
but when you have empty arms,
it's very hard to hear.

It's a day to celebrate a mother,
for all that she done;
and a reminder to an infertile
of the battle she has not yet won.

But what really makes a mother,
Is it just conception and birth?
Or is there something more,
that shows a mother's worth?

It's putting your child first,
in everything you do;
it's sacrifice and determination,
and love and patience too.

An infertile woman makes all her plans,
around a child not yet conceived;
she loves them even though they aren't here,
more than she ever could have believed.

She appreciates and understands,
what a blessing that children are;
she works hard for just a chance,
that motherhood is not that far.

All odds are stacked against her,
and yet she still has hope;
everyday is another struggle,
finding ways to help her cope.

So even though her arms are empty,
she can still be a mother too;
So say a special “Happy Mother's Day”
for those waiting for their dreams to come true!
Author Unknown

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #48

#48  I Saw The Sign

"Aw! Look at the cute stick figure family!  Can't wait to get one for our car", said the infertiles 14 years ago...



After 14 years, here are some of the car window decals I'm considering...









*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!