"If you live to be 100, I hope to live to be 100 minus 1 day so I never have to live without you." - Winnie the Pooh

Sammi's Motto

Live your life so that there will be "standing room only" at your funeral.

"A heart is not judged by how much you love but by how much you are loved by others." -Wizard of Oz

Monday, December 19, 2016

You know it's not going to be a good when your son comes into the room holding his head and starts with "Mom, we were playing a game we should not have been playing....". I didn't even hear the rest of the story. I just gave him an ice pack and sent him on to play. Cracks me up how they always end up telling on themselves!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

    I was overwhelmed in worship today as I had my arms around my children - in awe of just how good God is. I am so blessed to have been able to have stay home all these years and raise these two children (and a few others along the way). God called me to homeschool these two in Kinder. I never planned on homeschooling. It never crossed my mind until one day I just knew I was suppose to. It took a couple of days to fully grasp that one! I have been able to be the primary influence in their life, not the world. I have been able to not only raise my own children but totally enjoy them. I've been able to spend each day them, teaching them, loving them and in turn laughing with them, having fun and along the way building trust and love. Don't get me wrong, it's not all fun and games. It takes effort, dedication, wisdom and countless hours of prayers for guidance along the way. BUT, how amazing it is to reap the benefits of that effort when I have my arms around my babies during worship and seeing all that work pay off.
   In the world today women are being called to embrace the feminist movement. There is a so called "war on women". There is indeed a war on women - it's the lie that women need to be out in the world trying to keep up with men to feel feminine and powerful.  I have had a high power, high pressure job. I have had a successful career before I had my family. I've experienced the praises of a supervisor for a job well done and the delight of a huge bonus and raise in salary. But I have never felt more feminine and powerful than in my role as a wife and mother. The structure of a family is built around and relied heavily upon the one who loves, nurtures, serves, teaches and keeps. Talk about the ultimate CEO. I feel purpose in my calling and empowered in my giving. I am making the world a better place when I put my effort into teaching my children to hold dear to our Christian values and morals; to love the orphans and widows, to love others as yourself; to feed the hungry and serve the lost and the lonely, teaching them there is power in a strong education, how to show compassion, live out humility, be selfless rather than selfish, and serve rather than be served. How could any woman NOT feel empowered by that?
   The day I married and yielded to my husband was the happiest day of my life. I spend my adult years after 18 taking care of myself, being responsible for living expenses, and living an independent life. Oh how happy I was to finally be able to say to someone,"Here you go. You take the reins. I am tired of being the one driving. I am tired in being the one in charge and responsible for all." It was finally time for me to rest. To let my husband be the "head of the household". There was great relief in that for me. Fortunately I married a Godly man who knew his responsibility in this pact. In return, he loves me, serves me, respects me, cheers me on in my ventures, rubs my shoulders when they are burning from the days work, provides for us so I can stay home and take care of our family and is truly my biggest fan. It really is a well oiled machine when ran as designed.
   I am aware that this is my opinion and cannot serve as a blanket statement for all. I understand that our callings are not all the same. But I can tell you that when you find your place and you live it out there is true joy in it and you don't care what the rest of the world is telling you.
  Lately I've been feeling that our religious freedoms are under attack. Feeling like the world is allowed to have their convictions and beliefs, going so far as to take others to court and sue them to try and make them comply to those convictions and beliefs. But I, as a Christian, am not allowed to live out my beliefs and convictions without ridicule or being labeled as "intolerant". Our freedom to celebrate the birth of our Savior is being challenged at every turn. I have felt extreme frustration and I have felt stifled. But today in worship all I felt was complete freedom, complete joy and complete peace. It's in these times that I am reminded that I am on the right track. I am reminded to hold strong to my faith and not worry about what the world says.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Our visit to the V.A.

Recently I accompanied my dad to the Veteran's Center to set up his health benefits. As my bumper sticker proclaims, I am a proud daughter of a Vietnam Vet. I was excited to get my dad the benefits the VA offered but was expecting a major headache in doing so given all of the publicity centered around veteran care lately. I am happy to report that our experience was a very pleasant one. The doctors, nurses and staff were incredibly helpful and a few even went way out of their way to make sure my dad had everything he needed. The service went so well that I was able to see a bit of humor in this guy...

Yes, this guy. "This guy" has an office. With a door. On that door is a written sign that says something to the effect of knock and I will wave you in when I am available. You knock and then stand looking in the tiny window until he waves his hand over the computer screens. You enter and there are two chairs that face his desk. Above is the view from those chairs. The desk is set up in a counter-like manner butting up to walls on both sides. "This guy" greets you with "what 'cha need?" or "why the hell are you bothering me?". Okay, maybe not the latter but that is his general attitude. His duties include general customer service such as entering your application in the system, answering questions about applying for health benefits with the VA (on our first visit) and taking a picture for your VA card once approved and giving you internet access to your VA records(our second visit). Never does "this guy" attempt to make eye contact. He asked my dad for his drivers license and social security card and my dad had to reach around the computer screens to hand them to him. He made no attempt to make the process easier. Me, being me, surveyed the area to see if his desk was set up this way because logistically there was no other way to have the two computer screens within his view. Inside I was really hoping that was the case - at least it would make ME feel a bit better about the disrespect. Nope, not the case. Plenty of room on each side of the counter/desk to move the computer screens apart and have an open space in the middle in which you conduct your "customer service" business. Had I been alone I would have no doubt asked "this guy" what was up with me having to stare at the back of two computer screens while answering his questions. But being as my dad and I had been there for four and a half hours already I wasn't about to rock the boat. My dad has his picture made, we set up his internet access and we went on our merry way. 

Maybe next time "this guy" will surprise me by saying," Here you go, sir. You are all taken care of. By the way, thank you. Thank you for giving up your youth, on your own volition, to go tromp through the jungles of Vietnam and serve your country in ways that most men will never know. Thank you for the sacrifices you made. We know that no one returns from war the same as when they left and I understand what that sacrifice cost you. Is there anything else I can do for you today?

Maybe...maybe not. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Minka loves to join us for homeschool. She just finds the most comfortable spot in the room and falls asleep. The funny thing is these pictures were taken months apart. I haven't blogged about Minka yet. She is my little chi-weenie. We've fostered for the Humane Society on and off for about 3.5 years.  She and her brother came to us at about 4 weeks old back in March of this year. By 7 weeks old she was learning tricks in about 20 minutes. I was amazed at her smarts and eagerness to please. We bonded quickly and have been inseparable every since. She is such a joy for me. No one in their right mind needs 3 dogs but if you keep reading you will quickly learn I never claimed to be "in my right mind".
 The kiddos had "Book Character Day" at their Tue/Thur school. I can't believe how fast they have grown. I look at the older pics from this blog and can't believe how fast it has all gone by. I'm so thankful I was able to stay home with them and enjoying watching them grow.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Time flies when you're having fun! 2016

Where to start?! It's July 2016 and Mommy's babies aren't so much babies any longer. Caroline is now 12 and growing into a beautiful, sweet young lady. She still enjoys being a kid and playing but has a sweet maturity to her that is so much fun. The older she gets the more we enjoy our "girl" time painting nails, looking at clothes, reading shared books and such. My sweet Josiah is now 11. He has grown from a timid little guy into a courageous young man embracing his love for football, swimming, shooting guns with Momma, basketball and riding bikes. He has done an amazing job of conquering his fears knowing that "he was not given a spirit of fear but power, love and a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7. I could not be more proud of him. We continue in our homeschooling adventure. Caroline is going into 7th grade and Siah into 6th. This past year was the most fun year for me so far. We are getting into some fun math, history and things I'm sure they didn't teach me when I was in school (it's slightly possible I was too busy laughing with Shelly and missed it). The kiddos are still attending their Tue/Thur University model and have lots of fun and friends. This past school year Caroline graduated from elementary into Jr. High. Such an accomplishment for both of us. When I started homeschooling in Kinder it was year by year and through the years at times became semester by semester. As we continued I gained more confidence and we continued to have fun. It has been the most amazing experience for all of us. It's allowed me to enjoy raising these children to the fullest and has given us the opportunity to enjoy each other as a family with the extra vacation time (like our cruise this past April) since we are not tied to a typical school schedule. With our flexible school schedule we've spent a lot of time at my dad's as well. This has allowed the children to enjoy fishing, shooting, and being able to play outside in a small town while exercising some freedom. We are enjoying this summer to the fullest before we head back for another year. Steve and I celebrated 14 years of marital bliss this past June. He is the love of my life and each day brings new laughter and adventure. We've settled into our new home after downsizing since we are no longer fostering. I LOVE it and continue to add things to my "List of things I didn't know that I didn't know how to do". I still have a few more sizable projects but I'm getting there. This house overlooks a creek bed at the bottom of our backyard so I say this is the last time I'm moving "Lord willing and the creeks don't rise". Speaking of the Lord - He has blessed us beyond measure and all of the above is all credited to Him; esp the marriage. He is good - ALL the time! I have lots of pictures to post and will do so soon!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Big day tomorrow!!

Tomorrow is a day we have waited for for a very long time! Both of our children are being baptized. For us the most amazing part is their Daddy gets to do it. What an honor! I am so excited i can barely sleep.I love that the timeline worked out well. They do everything together so it was so special that they finished their classes at the same time. WHAT A GREAT MEMORY FOR ALL OF US!And as always i am super proud of my husband!I will post pictures tomorrow. Life is slowing down and i might get to blog again!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Alma Mater

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One of those mornings....

It was one of those mornings where I took my make up remover and tried to remove "smeared mascara" from under my eyes only to realize there is no mascara under my eyes...that's always a bummer. Lot's of concealer today!  I'm getting old.  :(

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My music review

I've been listening to the new Lionel Richie album "Tuskegee". This is basically a recap of some of his greatest hits along side some of today's top country singers. I've always been a huge Lionel Richie fan and some of his originals are on my Ipod. Given that, I was thinking how could you possibly go wrong by putting Lionel Richie with Kenny Chesney? I have a wide rage of taste in music so combining these two really worked for me. Few things are better than the original but "Sail On" with Tim McGraw is fantastic. Their voices worked beautifully together. "Easy" has always been a favorite but I wasn't crazy about that one (with Willie Nelson). And Lionel Richie and Jimmy Buffet - just plain fun! How could it not be fun with Jimmy Buffet? They sing "All Night Long" together with the perfect touch from the steel drum - classic Buffet!
It's been a hard couple of months for me. I've been physically exhausted from chasing our 18 month old around the house and emotionally exhausted from dealing with the fact that she will be will be leaving our home in June after being with us for a year. The emotions running from one extreme to the other has left me feeling quite blue at times. When I'm all talked out and just want to be alone with my thoughts music is the one thing that really helps me relate with my own feelings. From sitting quietly alone and worshiping with a great praise song to just throwing all of my cares out of the sunroof of my car with some classic rock, music seems to have a way of helping me cope with the curve balls life throws us. Having a "new" sound to some of my old favorites really gave my Ipod a much needed boost - and me as well. Now if I could just combine that album with some sand and sun I'd be set! :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

swimming with the Beluga Whales

Cannie and I had our trip to Sea World today to swim with the whales. What an amazing experience!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Daddy/Daughter Dance

Our little girl waits the entire year for this night. About once a month she will in some way mention the annual Valentine's Daddy/Daughter Dance held by our church. She is such a girly girl. She loves picking out the dress, fixing her hair and putting on jewelry. Nothing like her mama at that age - I was out gigging flounder and shooting rabbits (no e-mail from PETA please. I have repented and now only use products that are not tested on animals!). She asks "Mama, do I look pretty?" I answer, "Yes, baby. You look like a Princess." And indeed she did.

I'm so very lucky to have a husband that treats her like a Princess as well. He makes a really big deal of the event every year, taking her out to dinner, to the dance and then for some alone time over a milkshake afterwards. They were both beaming when they left - see attached photos.

My "baby" turned 8 on the 5th of this month. It's still so hard for me to believe. When I was pregnant with her so many people told me to enjoy the younger years because they went by so fast. After nine months I was so tired of hearing how fast they grew up. Wow, all of those people were on to something. Where did the time go? I can remember holding her in the NICU, praying she would live. It seems like it was just a few short years ago. Eight years? That's crazy talk.

Our 11 year old has moved on to her adoptive home so now we are back to being a family of five. Our 16 month will be with us until June'ish. She has discovered that she can climb and will climb ANYTHING. Each new stage she enters brings back memories of our two but I don't remember either of ours climbing like this. To make matters more prone to accident, she throws her head back and stiffens her body when she gets mad. And she gets mad every time I take her down from where ever she is climbing. I do remember ours throwing fits like this. Miss Cannie could compete with the best of them. Still vivid is the memory of going to Barnes and Noble and buying a copy of "The Strong Willed Child" when she was only 16 months old. When she was two days old Steve and I went down to the NICU to see her. She was born with a head full of black hair. When I walked up the nurse asked me if I was her Mommy. I said yes and she said, "well, that explains it. She might not have the red hair but she has the red hair spirit". So the fits I can handle but the climbing makes me a wreck. I follow behind her all day making sure she doesn't fall.

It's 11:45 pm and speaking of throwing a fit...she has decided Mommy isn't done for the day. Blogging (and sleep) will have to wait - duty calls. No time to check grammer or typos.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy 40th!

Thanks to ALL who celebrated my birthday with me! You guys made it very special!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Full Circle Life Momnet

My kiddos got new bikes for Christmas and the weather has been beautiful lately. Cannie is riding very now and I've been telling her that I would take her riding on trails. Yesterday I told her we would wake up early and go bike riding. She was so excited! So this morning we woke up and packed our gear. Once we were loaded and ready I explained to her that riding on trails was very different than riding on the road. I wanted to make sure she was going to be okay if she fell down. Sometimes she has a dramatic flair and falling down becomes Oscar worthy. Her reply, "Oh yes, Mommy. That's okay. I'll just get right up." I don't think anything could have kept her from going. So off we went.
This child is very much like me in the fact that not much scares her and she'll try anything at least once. I used to ride/race mountain bikes in my late 20's and was pretty daring so you can imagine the thrill when she hit the trail in front of me and never looked back! It was such an incredible Mommy moment to see my baby riding out in front of me. Each new turn or rocky hill brought on that "oh no" mommy feeling in my stomach thinking she was going too fast but she held every turn. I taught her how to lean forward to make the hills easier and to stand and lift her bum on the rocky parts. We packed snacks, water bottles and a blanket and stopped for a break. We tried to name the birds by sound as we sat there catching our breath. It was the most relaxed I've been in months. Sometimes (a lot of times) being a Mommy wears me out and I think it's the most difficult job in the world. It's moments like today that make it all worth it!

For me January bring a new year as well as my birthday. This January 2nd I celebrate 40 years and I am SO excited! I requested a citywide celebration but apparently City Council and Mayor Castro did not approve a River Parade in my honor - Go figure. They said it was due to budget cuts but I personally think it's because I registered Republican. :)
So this is a month of reflection of the past year and setting goals for the upcoming year. I've decided this year will be the "The Summer of George". Our 11 year old will be leaving in a few weeks and our 15 month old will be here until sometime around the end of Spring. I think we are going to take some time off from fostering and just enjoy our new house and each other. We'd like to do some traveling for homeschool and just relax, hence "The Summer of George". Only my Seinfeld peeps will get that. In February our oldest will turn eight. In May our youngest will be seven. And June will bring 10 years of marriage and hopefully a second honeymoon. If not, that will be okay since every day is a honeymoon over here. Whatever! I'm going to start planning the trip in March!

I have only one New Year's resolution. April - I know you read this and my only resolution this year is to find a weekend that we can get together and catch up on the past 20 years!! We have 12 months/52 weekends/365 days to find one night to chat uninterrupted by children. We can do this! I'm so looking forward to it!

Happy New Year from the entire Guajardo family and Happy 40th birthday to me! Birthdays are a huge thing for me and I'm still like a kid when it comes to mine. I'll let you know how we celebrate but every year my husband makes it pretty incredible. I'm sure this year will be no exception - honey, don't let me down! :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Guajardo Family!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rememeber when...

Remember when going to see Huey Lewis and finding Ben and Jerrry's Scheddy Balls ice cream was a priority in my life? Wow...things change quickly in the Guajardo house! We have welcomed a sweet 11 year old in our home to live with us through the foster care system. She is precious and we have enjoyed having her here with us. I will update more later but I wanted to post this video that Steve and I were a part of for our church. God is moving and we have had SO many families step up to help out these children that are in need of homes. The webpage will give more information on training if you are interested!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

What do Huey Lewis and Taylor Swift have in common?

Both had a chance to see me this past week in San Antonio! Okay, I actually had a chance to see them. Let's compare and contrast...This past Tuesday night my BFF Lauri and I went to see Taylor. Tonight my husband and I went to see Huey Lewis and the New. Now I am going to lay down my pride for a minute and reveal my age. Which one did I enjoy the most? Taylor's concert was really good. She is just precious and has oh so much energy. My boy Huey...not so much (still precious but lacks the energy of a 22 year old). That being said I totally enjoyed tonight's concert way more for several different reasond. I enjoy Taylor's concert (she put on an amazing show) but I'm not too familiar with her music. Huey opened up with some new stuff - mainly soul music and rhythm/blues which I love. Then he moved into the older more familiar hits. Although it took about three songs to get the crowd on their feet, they eventually were up and it was on from there. His personality totally comes out in his concerts as he interacts with the audience. We up really close to the stage for both concert but tonight's was a smaller venue and just felt more relaxed. It's apples to oranges - Taylor being young and exciting and Huey being more like a comfortable pair of shoes (which right now a comfortable pair of shoes is priceless since I'm breaking in a new pair of boots!) I bought the concert tickets for my husband for his birthday since Huey and the News is still one of his favorites. He loved the idea and we had a wonderful evening. We had anticipated an older crowd tonight but we were cracking up as we were people watching before the start of the show. Nothing like 35 year old music to bring you back to your glory days! I'm two months away from 40 and I was one of the young ones in the place! We had an absolute blast and I wish we could get out more often together with just the two of us.
Soccer is wrapping up and I'm looking forward to winding down. My girls this year have been SO much fun to coach. They are all so sweet and have worked so well as a team. I'm beyond impress with their progress. While I encourage them not to put too much into into winning or losing ( I try to keep their focus on doing their best, working as a team and a small bit of competitiveness) I have to brag on them. They have only lost one game this season! Go Team Norway!! They played awesome today! We only have one game left and while I'm looking forward to the break I am going to miss these girls so much! They all have become so precious to me and I'm looking forward to coaching them in the Spring. Miss Caroline will be going back to piano and Siah will start flag football. We are very much enjoying our homeschool this year and the kiddos love going to school one day a week. They have acclimated beautifully and I love seeing them make new friends.
Well, it's past midnight and I need to get some sleep. Apparently we "older" people need more sleep! :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm back from Mars

I feel like I've been on a different planet for four weeks. We've had a rough time in the Guajardo house. Everyone was sick for what seemed like forever. The baby decided she needed a night away so we rented a room over at Children's Methodist Hospital...third floor view stinks - just sayin. She got the same cold we had but she started wheezing so her pedi decided it was best to put her in for one night and watch her. She had just learned to really walk two days prior and SO did not like the idea of being stuck to machines. It was a really long night for both of us. The doctor came in the next day and said he felt like we could go home unless I was more comfortable having her in the hospital so they could watch her. I told him he would have to direct me to the "mental health" floor if we stayed another night. Our stay there was not pleasant. In fact, it was awful. Our first nurse was awesome and the two after that were too busy to answer our calls. Just in case you were wondering I don't think they call them "hourly rounds" any longer and if they do they're lying. We called three times and was told "they would be right there" and never came. I even went looking for a nurse and could not find one. At one point the baby was having a meltdown because she wanted to get out of the crib but when I took her out she tried to walk and pulled all the leads off. The machine beeped for (I swear I'm not making this up) two hours. I felt like I was loosing my mind. Then Miri reached over and pulled one of the cords out of the wall. Apparently it was some type of "emergency" cord and three nurses came running into our room asking what happened. I didn't realize what had happened at first because when she pulled the cord, I just plugged it back in. I asked what they meant and they said something about an alarm. Then it hit me what happened and I, in typical sarcastic Sammi fashion said, "Oh, she just pulled the plug out of the wall but now I at least know how to get you guys in here." Needless to say they didn't think it was near as funny as my husband.
Leading up to that was the chair incident. That would be the one that pulls out into what they like to call a bed. I had unfolded it and had it ready so that when Miri fell asleep I could slide under the covers and go to sleep. But when I laid down on it the bottom was busted out and I sank into it ending up in sort of a "V" position. I had just gotten Miri to sleep and the creaking noise and my gasp of shock from falling through with my "mattress" woke her and we started all over again. I ended up sleeping on the floor with one sheet under me and one on top. I think that was the point where I actually went looking for a someone to try to find me either a) another blanket b) a new mattress or c) some Xanex. I finally lost it about four a.m. and broke down into tears. I'm hoping we won't need a hospital any time soon but if we do we will be vacationing elsewhere!

Miss Miri also had her first birthday. She is a big girl now! We had a Winnie the Pooh birthday complete with a pinata twice her size. She is such a sweet girl. She said "bird" today in the car as she was pointing out the window. It's pretty cool watching her grow and learn to put things together. We are just head over heels in love with her.

Here are some recent pictures from the birthday party and our annual visit to the pumpkin patch. I have some really cute ones of the kiddos dressed up that I will download tomorrow.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I scream, You scream....

...we all scream for Schweddy Balls Ice Cream. Okay, well not everyone is screaming for ice cream. Thanks to my beautiful friend Lauri , I have now tasted the new Ben and Jerry's Schweddy Balls Ice Cream. She was downtown and picked me up a pint from the B & J's store. Apparently they are not marketing it in stores and the only place to try it is at a Ben and Jerry's location. It was okay - I could have gone for more malted balls and less chocolate but the vanilla bean/rum flavor was really nice. Alec Balwin hosted SNL this past weekend and of course addressed the controversy over the name. He said if you didn't like the name of this ice cream you could always try Ben and Jerry's new flavor "Go Fudge Yourself." Hey, don't shoot the messenger ( Or as my husband always says, "Don't hate the player" - which makes me laugh every time he says it.) You gotta see the humor in this!

Today my children were playing in my daughter's room and the floor was a mess. We have an agreement that they floors have to be clean at night in case one of them gets out of bed. They were upset because they had to clean up and gave me hard time about it. I told them to be happy they had toys and some people slept in huts with no toys. I'm always looking for teachable moments and saw an opportunity to teach them a lesson in appreciation. I took them to the computer and pulled up a video of African children in huts. I then took them to my son's room and told them we were doing an experiment. I took all of the toys out of his room and put a sheet over everything else that I didn't feel like moving into the other rooms. I gave them a ball, a tin bucket and some pickup sticks. I explained that this was their "hut" and that the only thing they could play with for the next two days were these items and anything from outside that came from nature i.e. rocks, sticks, leaves. Siah was a bit hesitant but Cannie, my ever optimistic daughter, was up for the challenge. I expected them to come down within a hour and tell me this wasn't any fun but I noticed that they kept going to the back door, going outside with the bucket and then heading back upstairs. You never know with those two so after about the third trip I followed them up. They had taken the pick up sticks and made shapes (Siah made a robot and Cannie had make some type of cat). They were using the rocks, moss balls and sticks from outside to make the faces and decorate them. They were having a blast! Seriously?? You are suppose to be up here commiserating on how much this stinks since you only have a bucket, pick up sticks and a ball. I think my point might hit home in the morning when they want to watch TV with their breakfast. Sorry, they don't have TV's in huts in Africa. I cut them a break tonight and let them shower with hot water. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not giving up yet...

Still no Schweddy Balls but I'm not giving up. There are a couple of places in SA that I have found that carry it but they keep selling out. I've decided not to camp out on their doorway and just check back with them. My husband wanted to drive me downtown on Sunday to get some after the soccer game but I was too wiped out. My sweet sister, Sid was going to surprise me and send me some in the mail but the shipping was 36.00 for a 6.50 pint of ice cream. I have had a couple of other friends that also looked into having some shipped and said it was pricey. This tells me two things: 1) I have awesome friends and family and 2) I need wealthier friends and family!
My sweet Caroline was sick with a stomach bug for three days so I've been out of commission. She is finally feeling better as of yesterday. Thank God no one else in the family got it. We were seriously praying.
I caught up today on some house projects. I finally painted the new trim that we put around the new windows. It looks really nice. The house is coming together and I'm continually amazed at how it keeps transforming with each new project. So exciting to see it when you have a hand in making it happen. It's tough to fit it into the day with homeschooling and taking care of the baby but so worth it when you squeeze it in. Miri was a champ today hanging out on the patio in her highchair while I painted. She would giggle as I kept her entertained. She is such a sweet girl! I set the alarm for 6:40 this morning thinking I would get up and paint before the crew woke up. As I was dressing I could hear Miri in her crib playing. She ended up hearing me and wanted to get up so she owed me one. :)
The kiddos are with their dad tonight at bible study so it's my night off. The baby is in bed and I'm going to go finish painting the banister. It's only 8:30 so I might cut out a little early and sneak off to bed before everyone gets home. I'm reading "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett and I'm only on page 158 of 1000. I feel like I've been reading this book forever. Tiny print. I think I'm going to end up downloading it on my Nook.
Off to paint....and read!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day three and no Schweddy Balls

I found two HEB's that carry B&J's ice cream but no Schweddy Balls. I'm sending out the troops tomorrow and if we can't find it I think I'll break down and order it online. I'm starting to panic since the lid says "Limited Batch". More than actually tasting the ice cream, I'm dying to take a picture of me holding a pint. Yes, I know. It's wrong on so many levels but SO funny. Maybe because my kiddos are six, seven and 10 months and wouldn't know the difference. Maybe not so funny if I had a tab bit older child. I'd probably just tell them that Mr. Paul Schweddy is now making ice cream and hope for the best. :) Very nice marketing ploy by Ben and Jerry. I've googled it a couple of times looking for stores selling it and was amazed at the amount of controversy it's stirred. Here's my new mathematical equation I'm teaching in homeschool: Controversy = $

Go team Norway!! Our soccer team had their first game today and we won! I'd like to think it was my great coaching but I was just lucky to be given such a great group of girls. We haven't had a practice where the entire team could be together yet but these little girls played as if they have worked together for years. I was so proud. I think I was more excited than the kiddos.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Looking for some Schweddy Balls!

Does anyone remember Paul Schweddy? Alec Baldwin did in a skit on SNL and his name is Paul Schweddy. It was Christmas time and he is on NPR talking about his famous holiday "Schweddy Balls". He makes popcorn balls, malt balls, etc. He talks about how you can't get through the holiday season without some of his Schweddy Balls. It's been my all time favorite SNL skit and can still bring me to tear with laughter each time I watch it. So when my sister e-mailed me the Associated Press release that Ben and Jerry's was releasing their new flavor "Schweddy Balls" I assumed it was a joke. I immediately scoured the Internet to claim it a hoax and be on with my day. To my surprise (and I do mean SURPRISE) I found that Ben and Jerry's have indeed released "Schweddy Balls"- this is where I could make a joke about it being awfully "ballsy" to come up with such a name for ice cream. The flavor is made with vanilla ice cream, rum and chocolate malt balls. I seriously can't wait to try it. I dreamed last night they sold out before I could buy a pint.
I have made it my mission (more like obsession) to find some Schweddy Balls. No luck so far and I may just have to order it from Ben and Jerry's online. For now I will be calling all area Ben and Jerry's and supermarkets asking if they have Ben and Jerry's Schweddy Balls. Reminds me of when I used to make prank phone calls asking if they had Prince Albert in a can. :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Beautiful weather!

It was 84 degrees today! Almost tropical. I had my coffee out on the patio and it was so nice. The kids asked if they could go swimming this afternoon and I told that was fine but it might be a little cold. I guess after you have acclimated to 105 degrees, 84 seems chilly.
All is going well over here. Miss Miri has been here a little over two months and we are so enjoying her.
We start back to school tomorrow. I'm excited about this year. The kiddos will be going to school one day a week and I'm looking forward to having a day off (at least from teaching). Soccer starts up this week as well. Coach Sammi is ready go! I'll try to take it easy on them this year. :)
Looking forward to some cooler weather but not anywhere near ready for winter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Really, Mr. Vice President???

According to transcripts Vice President Biden stood in front of crowd in China stating that he fully understood their one child policy and was not questioning it. REALLY?! Every time this man opens his mouth stupid come out. As with our current president, he says what he thinks the crowd in front of him wants to hear. I have to wonder if he thinks before he says some of this stuff and where is his speech writer? Here's his quote:
"You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I'm not second-guessing -- of one child per family," Biden said, according to the official transcript of the event. "The result being that you're in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable."
Is he not aware of the tragedy that this "one child policy" has brought to so many families and children in China?
With leaders like this do we still wonder why this country is going to hell in a hand basket?

I'm just sayin'....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A month later....

....meanwhile, back on the ranch...

I can't believe it's already been a month since my last post. I think about writing all the time and seem to collapse at night. I'm usually eager to get to a book rather than sleep. Most of you know I'm a chronic insomniac. I'm reading "The Hunger Game" series right now. Fantastic! I'm towards the end of book two and ready to go get in bed so I can finish it up tonight and start the 3rd and final book.

We FINALLY finished the living room and kitchen. Steve (contractor Steve not husband Steve - it gets so confusing) did an extraordinary job on the backsplash. I described what I wanted and he created a masterpiece. I have also finished painting our bedroom. This is the first room I've done from floor to ceiling. Started with the baseboards and trim and finished with the ceiling. I've never painted a ceiling before. It was interesting to say the least. We still have to caulk the crown molding and paint it but that is the easy part after everything else. We are nearing the end of our 3 month remodeling.

We have enjoyed the summer break and love having the pool! It's been a lifesaver in this heat. We had our friends over for the past four days and had so much fun watching all of the children play out there. Great entertainment and fun pictures!

We are loving having our little "Miri" with us. She is an absolute doll! She'll be here for about another month or so. Our children are enjoying her as well. It's so much easier when you have older ones to help. They will sit with her and play on the floor while I get things done. They are great "babysitters"! They always ask me if they need to "babysit" because I pay them each 1.00 to sit and entertain her when I make dinner or wash clothes. She will scream if I put her down on the floor by herself but she giggles with delight when the children are sitting there with her. It's been amazing to watch her personality transform. She didn't smile or laugh much when she first came to us. Now she will kick her legs and shriek with excitement when you look at her. For us, it's what it's all about. Helping the babies learn to laugh is amazing. It makes it all worth it when you have to say goodbye. Bonding with Miri was such a neat experience. I felt like I was caring for my niece in the beginning. I loved spoiling her and snuggling her but I would not have called it maternal. It felt more like "Aunt Sammi" babysitting. We started praying for this baby to have joy, to laugh and smile and be a happy baby. It just sort of happened all at once. At about two weeks or so she became more snugly and began to smile and laugh out loud. I went from "Aunt Sammi" finding relief in the fact that she went down for the night at 7:45 pm to the mommy that risks waking them by sneaking into the room to watch them sleep in their crib. So beautiful how you can fall in love overnight. It might take weeks (in some cases months) to get there but then it seems like it just happens all at once.

Here are some recent pictures...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Guajardo's plus one

Oh, it's been so long since I've posted! Everyday I say I'm going to sit down and catch up on my blog and by the time I get settled to do it, I'm more interested in finishing a book I'm reading and getting my body in a horizontal position! I've been crazy busy trying to finish up the remodeling of our new house. I'm amazed at what I've learned to do in the past three months. I've learned to "tape and float" drywall, change out electrical sockets, remove/spray paint/reassemble ceiling fans, paint ceilings, put up crown molding, caulking (most of you have heard about my caulking disaster in our other house), change out faucets - all of this added to my knowledge of changing out light fixtures, general painting, electrical and plumbing work. I have always said if I went back to "work"(which is just funny since I've been pulling 13-14 hours days of physical labor) I'd like to flip houses doing a lot of the work myself instead of going back to the corporate world. I think I might be changing my mind. What I once called "fun" I'm realizing is hard physical work! BUT, our new house is looking amazing and I'm so excited about it. I walk into our "new" living room and just smile. The color/lighting is beautiful! The kitchen is almost done (after the granite fiasco - I am now officially a granite snob that knows the difference between Level One granite and Level four granite. FYI-if you ever go to pick out granite and see a "rare" or "exotic" sign, don't even look at it! It's like trying on the $15,000 wedding dress when your budget is $2000!) We only have the backspash left and that is proving to be the hardest decision of all. I can't seem to find what I need to tie everything else in. But we are getting there and almost done! None of this would be possible without our CEO of Operations and long time family friend Steve H. (not my husband Steve which has been quite confusing when dealing with two Steve's!). He is our "contractor (I don't like calling him that because it seems so impersonal). He's been amazing in guiding us in decisions and having the knowledge to do anything and everything we have asked for. He's let me "shadow" him through out this project and has helped me learn so many news skills that I've been excited to learn. If anyone needs any work done, from the simplest projects to major renovation, he's your man! He's conscientious, hard working and GREAT at what he does. He and his family have become even more dear to Steve and I throughout this process. But my favorite thing about him is that he spends our money as if it were his. You don't find that very often in a contractor. He's been able to help us do so much more with our remodeling budget and his great ideas have saved us time and money. Now, all that being said Steve is not our "plus one" I referred to in my title! :)

We have a new addition to our home. After taking two months off to get the house and school year finished we have added to our family through fostering again. We have a beautiful little eight month old girl. Her nickname is Miri (with a short i) short for her given name. Cannie is beyond excited since this is our first girl. We have had four boys and she has been praying each night for two months that our next placement would be a little girl. Thank you, Jesus! I'd love to post a picture of this precious one but due to privacy and possible reunification with her bio Mommy I'm going to hold off. If she stays with us awhile I'm sure there will be precious pictures with our own bio children that I will put up eventually. I try to be sensitive in the beginning until we see what the situation looks like. For now we know she will be with us until next week for certain. She has a court date next week and we will know then if she will be with us for an additional six months or so while her bio Mommy works out her service plan. For now, she is part of our family and adjusting very well. I told Steve yesterday that I think we have "bonded". Cannie asked me what bonded meant and after trying to explain it in technical terms I finally started laughing and said, "it means she cries when I put her down and wants me to hold her all day long!" She is a super sweet baby, very happy and best of all she naps! Our last 2 year old didn't nap and went ALL DAY LONG! It's such a nice break to have a couple of hours during the day to get a few things done. She is crawling which is a challenge since most of our flooring is Satillo tile. I'm trying to keep it swept and moped so her little knees are dirty. :) I'm going to be a wreck when she starts walking. Our babies had carpet to fall on so I'll be following her around or putting her in bubble wrap.
Everything else is going well. We are still in the "process" of looking for a match for our adoption but Steve and I are really enjoying the fostering of babies right now. The goodbyes are hard but the joy of helping a child is nice and selfishly I have to say it's nice to have a break from parenting between placements. Our children are at the age where they have become self sufficient and raising another set of children behind them at times seems overwhelming. We've enjoyed having our "for now" brothers and sisters and when the right ones come along we'll know it and they will become our "forever" brother and sister.
I've kept in touch with the social worker for the boys and they are doing so well. Brandon is taking equestrian therapy and I was telling Cannie how he gets to ride horses as part of his therapy. She was so excited and said, "Momma, he is going to grow up to be just like his sister and love horses!" It makes me so happy for my kiddos to still consider each one of the babies that have come through here their brother and sister! It confirms that what we are doing with our time and energy is good and right for our family.
Well, I have about four loads of laundry to fold, floors to mop and five bathrooms that need cleaning. Time to get to work. I'll try to post more often so that each post is not so long winded. Can you tell I like to write? I don't get to do it as often as I'd like but one day my time is coming. For now it's time well spent!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Who I'm meant to be...

I was watching a show tonight and the storyline was about a women who was questioning her identity after she found her biological father in her forties. Her thought was her entire life had been built on a lie. Granted this was a fictitious character but I have a close friend who is actually going through this in her late 30's. Between the two it set me to thinking. So many times our identity is founded in who our parents say we are. Many times we strive to become who we think they want us to be. So as adults, at what age do we become who we were meant to be? For me it was when I tired of trying to prove I was not the person they believed me to be. It was a little backwards. Maybe not...I know quite a few people that have spent most of their adult life trying to earn their parents approval or trying to prove they aren't the rebellious teen they used to be.
I grew once I stopped caring who or what anyone else thought I was. I decided to be who I was meant to be. I was a little sad the other night and I asked my husband, "Am I really the person that I try to be? Am I really who I think I am?" (After hearing the same person say the same thing about me over and over doubts started to creep in). My wonderful husbands says to me, "honey, you can't fake that for 10 years. If you weren't really that person, I'd know it by now." That's why I married him and still love him so much ten years later. He knows my faults, my shortcomings and loves me for who my heart wants and strives to be.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is that my friend's life (nor this woman in the movie) or my own for that matter was not a lie. Her past made her who she is today. We grow and we change and hopefully it's always for the better. That's wisdom.
I'm proud of who I have become and I am happy that my identity does not come from DNA but from the woman I have grown to be over the past 15 years. My prayer is that I can teach my own children to strive to be who they were created to be and not who the world says they are. And my challenge is to remember the same about myself.

I don't want to be
Anything other than what I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do
Is think of me and I have peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms
Wondering what I've got to do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't want to be anything other than me - lyrics by Gavin Degraw

Monday, May 16, 2011

Guajardo's go to Disneyland!

What a vacation! The Griswold's...oops, I mean The Guajardo's went to Disneyland. We didn't tell the children we were going on vacation until we woke them up Monday morning. At that point we told them we were going on vacation to Dallas. I had packed up everything the night before while they were sleeping. On the way to the airport we told them we were going to fly to Dallas instead of driving. Both were totally pumped about flying! Once we were in the airport and settled we then told them (on video camera) that our connecting flight was in Dallas and we were actually headed to Disneyland. I expected yelling and jumping but their little faces just registered complete shock. It took a few seconds to realize we really were going to Disneyland. When we were on the plane and waiting for takeoff Siah said very loud and very enthusiastically, "Dad, I really hope this is one of those planes that does loopy loops!"

We spent six days, taking two for travel. It was fun to see the children's faces with each new character and we captured most of it on video or digital camera. We were all exhausted but so enjoyed the parks. Steve and I really wanted to do something for the kiddos and help us all to reconnect after the past six months and also wanted to enjoy our family of four one last time before adding to it through fostering/adoption. We reconnected so much that we wished we had went for the hotel with two rooms. :)

We stayed at the Disney resort there inside the park so we were close enough to go back to the room for a break or to grab a sweater. When we returned to the room after a day at one of the parks the kids were so wound up and excited it took us 45 minutes at night just to calm them down. Crazy talk for a Mommy and Daddy that has walked all day and still sore from the day before! Steve and the children surprised me on Mother's Day with a gift card to the Spa there at the hotel so I can't complain too much about the walking and/or being sore. Steve told me purchased the amount so that I could have the "Four hand massage" where two therapist work in synchronized motion. He then told me it was "Chip and Dale" that was doing the massage. I am happy to report the Disney spa does not use chipmunks for their massages!

I'm still confused as to how Disneyland can call itself "The happiest place on earth" when they don't sell Dr. Pepper. I was in withdrawals on day 2. By the way, just in case you were wondering Disneyland doesn't sell Margaritas either. There were times I was desperate for either or both.

It was a wonderful trip but we were happy to be back in San Antonio. Below is a picture of Siah when he saw that Mickey and Minnie were invited to his birthday celebration (my big boy is six years old). A priceless image! Cannie was chosen for Jedi training and had the opportunity to fight Darth Vader.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Update on the Guajardo's

It's been awhile since I posted. The boys case finished earlier than we anticipated and they are no longer with us. We are doing well and have adjusted back to being a family of four. We were so sad to see them go but all of us handled it so much better than we anticipated. Last weekend Steve took the kids out on Saturday so I could have some time alone. I had expected to mourn the loss of baby mostly because we had had him since birth. But as I took down the crib and put away all of the baby things, I had such a sense of celebration! I thought about how far Brandon had come in only 3 months and what a happy baby "Gabey" was. We gave Gabe a wonderful foundation and Brandon a way to communicate and give/receive emotion and love. As much as I felt like I suppose to sit and cry, I instead laughed about the things Brandon had said or about how Gabe would try to imitate me blowing "raspberries" but couldn't make the hole in his mouth so his whole face would turn red....that still cracks me up when I think about it. Don't get me wrong, I've had some moments at night when I've miss them and felt so empty there was a physical ache in my heart. I am so proud of my kiddos and my husband for giving so much during the past five months. They have been amazing. We are going to celebrate by taking a much needed vacation to an undisclosed location - it's undisclosed at this time because we are not telling the children we are going on vacation until time to leave. They will hound us to death wanting to know when we leave. After our vacation we are going to jump right back in! We will move forward with our plan of a matched adoption of a boy and girl closer to our children's age, although Cannie is now set on having a "baby sister" instead of a playmate. She absolutely loved having the baby around. We will more than likely continue to foster while we wait for our match. God is so faithful and I know that I could not have made it through moving that baby without Him putting such joy and celebration in my heart. I had anticipated falling apart and He proved far more faithful than I ever knew possible. I had said if Gabe left I would not do the whole baby thing again. But we had so much fun having a baby around and it just seems silly to have all of these baby things put away and so many babies that need a home and love, even if for a few months. Now that we have seen God sustain us through a loss, we know the joy is greater than the sorrow (even when there are times that it doesn't feel like it). I want to note that CPS was absolutely amazing in this process. They went above and beyond to protect those boys and while it is an imperfect system, I was impressed and pleased with the way they handled everything. Those case workers have huge caseloads and turnover is high because of the pressure they are under. While I'm sure there are case workers out there that are less than par, I felt everyone (from supervisors to assistants) that we worked with gave 110%. Everyone hears the bad stories but not many of the "kudos" go out like they should. So now the plans are to finish the remodeling of the living room and kitchen, relax by the pool, finish up our school year and take a vacation. Sounds like fun to me!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Summer Fun 2011

We are so blessed to have a heated pool so we've been swimming for about two weeks now. We are having a blast and the kiddos are loving being in the water so much! Here are some pics from our swim today. Brandon wasn't here today so I'll get some of him tomorrow or Monday! He is a fish!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hospital Stay

Gabey and I decided we needed a vacation so we went to the local Children's Hospital for a 3 night/4 day stay. My baby was running a really high fever and I took him into the ER. From there we were admitted. He has some type of infection and was treated with IV antibiotics. He is doing well now and a HUGE thank you to everyone who has brought meals over for us. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! What a huge help!
The family survived without us thanks to Daddy Extraordinaire. He held the place together. I'm always joking with him asking him what would he do if something happened to me because I'm the one that knows all the kiddos idiosyncrasies. He did a fantastic job of keeping the house running. It was even clean (as was my van) upon my return...what a guy! We were glad to be home. I'm still running behind on sleep since we didn't get much at the hospital.
All is well over here. We are enjoying the beautiful weather!