Thursday, November 7, 2013

work ... work ... work ...

Now that I have decided to bring work home with me every night ... so I can feel better about contributing a higher amount to debt ... especially since I seem to be the one complaining the most about bunkin at the rents house ... it has left we with very little time to do the things I love ... cooking has been reduced to spaghetti and meat balls and Hawaiian haystacks ... I haven't touched a single craft in weeks ... and my writing has become disgustingly sparse ... not only on this poor limping along blog ... but also in two out of the three notebooks that seem to always be with me (that was my nerd confession).

Another down side to this whole work thing ... in a subject opposite of my field of study and desire ... is that my brain is fried ... I mean ... it's not like this job is hard ... in fact ... just the opposite ... I could be learning more from an episode of Dawson's Creek ... that could be a joke ... depending on whether my boss is reading this or not ... it is monotonous ... that is not a joke. I shouldn't talk so bad about something that is helping us reach our goal ... I am grateful for it ... but come on ... I am allowed to hold a little disdain for something that holds no interest for me (no, I am not stuck with this job ... I know I am free to go and find something else ... but you try to find something that accommodates hours so well ... wow ... I really shouldn't complain)

So, that gives you some sort of insight into the world of Amy Combe ... not exciting ...

Hopefully the next post will be more exhilarating!

Have a good night friends!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Return of Hot Topic Monday ... the return of the divorce topic ...

There is no way to describe what it is like to be in Texas again. I am grateful in every way to be home ... by my parents ... working heavily towards goals that wouldn't have been reached without being down here. Most everything about this place has been positive.

And then there is the big D word again.

I hate to bring it up ... it is nothing I am proud of ... but it is something that is ever present in my life. It is something that has influenced who I have become ... the way I live my life ... the way I love my husband.

Being back here ... there is something about here ... Texas ... the very name slides from my tongue as if it were mud ... the floodgates open ... almost daily ... with thoughts of who I was when I made the decision to say "yes". Yet, it is not the state that caused me to make the silly mistakes of my past ... to hurt ... to cry. But how do you wipe the memories from a place? I have always believed that houses hold stories ... a kind of muscle memory engraved in their 2x4s and sheetrock by the many residents who were fortunate enough to live there. But this was his state ... if houses have muscle memory then states have loyalty to those who love them ... he loved this state. I am here to invade it ... white flag of surrender already waving.

Forty-five minutes ... that is all that separates us these days ... forty-five minutes. I turn down streets that I have turned down a hundred times ... expecting to see his face ... preparing myself in case he is down the street at the house of his high school friend ... clenching my fists around the red of the shopping cart at every turn. But, there are still forty-five minutes and almost a million stores in between us. I ... there is still that ... fear ... that I will see that old white pick-up pull down my street again. Haunted by dread.

I don't know what would happen if I were to see him again ... I don't hate him ... I don't blame him ... I am happy that he is happy. There is just something so inexplicable about the way I feel about him. A nothingness, for sure ... a sorrow ... a desire to see inside his brain so that I may know why he never came after me after I walked away ... why he couldn't have done those three simple things I needed from him.

All of this opened like an old festering wound ... waiting for the right knife for just the right cut ... the move was that knife ... living in Texas again was that knife. Something about two thousand miles was more comforting than forty-five minutes ...

I was with my parents at Hobby Lobby the other day ... there was someone who looked like him ... it was as if I had been pulled over by a police officer ... all the feeling drained from my body ... I had this lurch of dread ... It was then that I realized how much I didn't ever want to see him again ... how I would avoid it at all costs ... I probably never will. How do you stop your mind when you are so immersed in the life that brought you together ... driving by the spot of your first date on a daily basis going to work.

It has been four years ... I used to be able to go months without thinking about him ... without seeing the scars ... but here ... I need to learn how to control here ... how to make it more of a present than a past ... Maybe that will only come when we move out of the place where we had our start ... where we fell in love ... where he proposed. When I stop going to the church building where we had our wedding reception ...

Not wanting people to get the wrong impression ... I know that I have a lot of new readers lately ... I am not in love with my ex-husband ... I do not hate my ex-husband ... I have healed immensely over the years ... more than I could have hoped for ... the lingering feelings are that of hurt ... I am hurt by the way our marriage was ... by the way it ended ... and by the way he just disappeared and left me with no closing statements. No way to close my own feelings ... just grappling for anything that might help me to understand what had happened ... that ... well ... that takes so much longer than anyone could ever expect ...

I don't have anything to take away this hot topic ... It is still something I am trying to figure out for myself ... I have no advice this time ... It has been on my chest like a succubus everyday since we have moved here ... I write in hopes that getting it out will help me to get what is going on and solve the problem.

So I am sorry my fellow divorcees if you were hoping for more this time ... like last time ... I will figure it out ... but for now take comfort in the fact that it can be figured out ... that things will get better ... and they do ... everyday.

sleep tight readers!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trunk or Treat!

Halloween.

I can't say that it is my favorite holiday ... recently I have been getting into the folklore of it ... that has sparked a little bit of like ... but nothing too extreme ... but here we are again ... in the season of the dead ... and we have yet again immersed ourselves in the many festivities that abound.

Of course Fall is my favorite season ... we have participated in those events as well ... but the two weeks before the impending all hallows eve is what I am talking about. Last night was Trunk or Treat for our ward ... I got the idea for our trunk from google ... but I think it turned out great! look for yourself:



And to think all it took was white, pink, and blue paper; and a little bit of tape ... oh ... and that tongue is a red plastic table cloth ... dollar store stuff ... how could you not love it! R would move the trunk up and down to scare the kiddos ... probably should have not left him alone by the car!

As for costumes ... well ... R and I won best couple costume for going as Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler ... yea Big Bang! E couldn't decide what she wanted to be ... so basically we took her to the store said pick and that was that ... whether she likes it or not ... she was spider girl ... and a very cute one!



Thank you so much Braun Heights ward for a super fun evening!

Just a ramble ... but what this post has shown me is just how rusty I have let my writing get ... I am so sick of numbers ... anyway ... have an amazing evening my friends!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Just because I can ...

As an English student I was always forced to look deeper into the words of authors. Well, as a self proclaimed author ... and slightly justified to a degree through a degree ... I am here to tell you that doing that may just be a crock. Want an example ... read this:


I stand among the living
yet feel like I am dead
standing at the doorsteps of incomparable mockery
the struggle of pain written all over my face
breathing
heaving
unable to comprehend the incomprehensible
forgiveness sought but rarely received
fighting
screaming
run, run for the life of the desired soul
control the uncontrollable
I will succeed ...


R said it sounded icky ... un -Christian ... he really didn't like it. I don't blame him ... I read it after I wrote it and it sounded dark. R asked if I was depressed.

I'm not.

Those words came out like word-vomit ... right when I was at a loss as to what to blog about ... so I looked inside ... and this is how I see it ... (and how I know that no matter how many times you look and over again at the work of an author you will never really know what they were meaning) ... The first two lines talk about how tired I am ... my b12 is still low and I feel like I could sleep all the time ... the next four talk about my shyness and social anxiety that I suffer from ... the next is work ... the following line is just filler, thought it sounded pretty ... the two that follow are about E and I ... The last three are about our monetary situation and the life that we are working towards.

I bet you didn't read it like that!

So, basically ... I don't know where I am really going with this post ... other than I didn't know what to write about ... but I knew I wanted to write ... and this crazy poem came out ... I thought it sounded pretty ... but then I didn't think that it would be a good idea just to post that because it makes me sound depressed and a little psychotic ... and so I turned it into something positive ... saying that literary studies are just as subjective as art ... so good luck and go with whatever translation benefits you most ... because ... honestly ... you will most likely be wrong.

Ok ... ummm ... let's let that be all of my craziness for tonight shall we.

Have a great night friends!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sabbath Day Views on the World

Hey! So it's Sunday ... and I have spent very little time thinking about things I should be thinking about ... there was a lot of movie watching today ... a lot of wishing I could have stayed home from church ... a lot of eating ... basically things that don't exactly keep the Sabbath day holy.

However, a couple of months ago my dear R and I were asked to speak in church ... no big deal right ... happens every time you move into a new ward ... but what killed me this time was the topic I was asked to speak on ... I mean ... I won't say more ... I will let you read it ... but I think it speaks to the relationship that I have with my wonderful and gracious Heavenly Father. He knows me. He knows what I am thinking and what I need to work on ... and he likes to remind me constantly ... in very amusing ways ... yea ...

Please enjoy my talk where I publically get told by Heavenly Father ... through my own voice ... how I should be behaving towards E and towards the idea of having more children:

"Good afternoon brothers and sisters. I am Amy Combe, daughter and current house resident of Brother and Sister Schmucker, married to Ryan Combe who is here on the stand with me and mother to the beautiful five year old Emma. Ryan and I just moved here about two months ago and will live with my parents for about a year and a half while getting settled. We moved from Logan, UT where both Ryan and I got degrees from Utah State University. Ryan currently works downtown at Frost Bank doing something in IT and I am a stay at home mom.

When I was first assigned this topic of having a mothers heart I was completely baffled. I laughed inside my head (and quite possibly out loud), good one heavenly father, your jocular attitude slays me, first nursery now this, you know I struggle with this topic the most, why would you have me speak on it. Later on this past week a conference talk was brought to my attention, it had nothing to do with having a mother heart, it had everything to do with being teachable. I see what is happening here, I am supposed to be learning something not teaching something, oh Heavenly Father, you got me again. And so I set out to educate myself, I apologize if this talk is a little heavy on the quotes side, I still have a lot to learn.

For those of you who know and those of you who don't, that beautiful red head little girl who sits with us is my step-daughter, she is the beautiful creation of Ryan and I am just blessed to be in her life. However, there is a learning curve to this whole motherhood thing, one that all of my years of babysitting and working in kids cluds never taught me. I never knew how difficult it was just to contrive a mother heart. I thought it just came naturally when it happened, hey, heres the baby, heres your mother heart. But as I read through the talk given by sister Beck I learned that a mother heart is not just the heart of a woman who has kids, it is so much more than that. In fact, a mother heart can be aqquired long before one has kids. She says:

"Every girl and woman who makes and keeps sacred covenants can have a mother heart ... A woman with a mother heart has a testimony of the restored gospel, and she teaches the principles of the gospel without equivocation. She is keeping sacred covenants made in holy temples. Her talents and skills are shared unselfishly. She gains as much education as her circumstances will allow, improving her mind and spirit with the desire to teach what she learns to the generations who follow her."

What sister Beck does here is list for us what it will take to expand our hearts to become mother hearts before the kiddos come. We must
  1. Make and keep sacred covenants
  2. Have a testimony
  3. Teach the gospel
  4. Keep covenants made in the temple
  5. Share talents
  6. Be unselfish
  7. Gain education and share it
Proverbs 31:25-27 give us even more understanding as to what it takes to have a mother heart, it says:

25 Strength and honour are her aclothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of akindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of aidleness.

Basically, we can add to our list:
  1. Strong (not just physical, but spiritual and emotional)
  2. Wise
  3. Happy
  4. Kind
  5. Hardworking
Now that we know what it means to have a mother heart, and where we need to be, what we need to be doing, how we need to be acting; it is time to figure out how to aquire these things. Standard primary answers come quickly to mind, obviously those answers of praying, reading our scriptures and going to church will help anyone to gain a testimony, make and keep sacred covenant, teach the gospel, and keep covenants that were made in the temple. President Monson even says: "Among the most effective ways to gain and keep the faith is to read and study the scriptures and to pray consistently". These answers that we teach to our precious primary children are the foundation of the Gospel and help anyone to emerse themselves in the Lord, and by doing such we grow closer, so all of those religious aspects become a little easier to aquire.

This remided me of the time, or current time, when Emma and I struggled to get along, I believed I wasn't ready to be a mother and she believed she wanted to be else where. In order to combat those feelings we have emersed ourselves in the Lord. Praying in the morning together, reading scriptures at night, having family prayer, only listening to primary music. I don't know if these things have helped Emma as much as they have helped me, but I have realized that doing these things, has helped me to slowly aquire, through my ever rebellious ways, my mother heart. I still have a long way to go, but progress is progress.

When aquiring the other aspects of a mother heart those are they that need to be worked on with dilligence every single day. While preparing for my talk I decided to invite the spirit in by watching the Mormon Messages, ones particularly on mothering. I stubbled upon the story of Stephanie Neilson, Her husband and she were in a plane crash in 2008, both survived, but over 80% of Stephanies body was burned, they had four young children at that time ... I knew she had a blog, so I looked it up. From there I was lost for the following two hours. I poured over the stories of this woman who was grappeling for so long to get back to being the woman and mother she was before the accident. I read over the stories where her children first came to see her after five months of being in the hospital (three of which spent in a coma). They no longer knew her, they were frightened, they didn't want to see her. I can only imagine the pain beyond the physical that this woman felt from her children not recognizing her. Day by day, hour by hour, this family picked up the pieces of their shattered existance. Through Stephanies continued decision to be hopeful, faithful, and joyful her children came to realize that this was their mother, When reconnecting with her youngest son, it took one night, seven months after the crash, she said "it was as if his soul finally just knew". I know that it was her mother heart that spoke to him, her boundless effort to be kind, happy, strong, and unselfish as she faced the everyday drugdery. It is important to use the example of Sister Neilson when working towards aquiring the other aspects of a mother heart, no matter what trial is thrown at you choosing to be better everyday in everyway is essential.

Once we aquire the bare bones of what it means to have a mother heart, I can only imagine the exponential growth that takes place when having children. Sister Beck helps us to understand what further must happen when we do have children by telling us this:

"she is a “goodly parent” who lives and teaches standards of behavior exactly in line with the teachings of living prophets. She teaches her “children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord”. Rather than listening to the voices and partial truths of the world, she knows that gospel standards are based on eternal, unchangeable truths. She believes that to be “primarily responsible for the nurture of [her] children” is a vital, dignified, and “sacred responsibilit[y]”. To nurture and feed them physically is as much an honor as to nurture and feed them spiritually. She is “not weary in well-doing” and delights to serve her family, because she knows that “out of small things proceedeth that which is great”

Out of this, we can make another list as to what a mother heart entails:
  1. A goodly parent
  2. lives and teaches good and rightoues behaviors
  3. Again, has a testimony (I'm beinging to thing that is key)
  4. Nurturer
  5. Provides physical needs
  6. Provides spiritual needs
  7. Serves
Wow, basically it takes a lot, a lot of self sacrfice, a lot of teaching, a lot of being teachable, a lot of rightouesness. We know that the Lord doesn't give us more than we can handle, if we strive to equally yoke ourselves with him all of these things, that seem like a whole heck of a lot, will become easy, or light as they say in the scriptures. We know that we don't have to be perfect, we are on this earth to become perfected, not to be perfect. A mother heart in not something that can be gained overnight because we feel like it. It is not something that i can just wake up and have just because I finally feel ready, it is something that has to be worked on everyday, every hour.

I draw upon the example of my own mother, we moved a lot while growing up and although it was not easy on my mom to leave her own friends and her own routines, she was able to become the rock of our family as we traveled the country. Sacrificing her on discomfort and longing to stay in bed in order to ensure the comfort of my siblings and I. On top of that when all but jordan had moved out and on with our lives Mom used her mother heart to help the young women of the church, becoming self-sacrificing with her time and her talents, providing spiritual nurturing to the young women of the stake. While continuing to care for my brother and the ever constant calls from my sister and I. And now, just as she is released from Young Womens, Jordan has grown and has a life all his own, She has opened her arms once again. Allowing me and my small family to live in her space, giving my five year old comfort by allowing her to live, and practically destroy, her newly remodled office. She may not think that she ever did much, but I assure you she did, and still does so much more than she will ever know, and if I could grow to be half as good a mom as she was I know my child and children will be blessed.

Some of the things on these lists that we made may come easy to some, more difficult to others, but either way as we all strive for a mother heart we will be blessed Sister Beck mirrors these notions when she says:

"As they keep their covenants, they are investing in a grand, prestigious future because they know that “they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever"

 "the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily mothering is far more lasting, far more powerful, far more influential than any earthly position or institution invented by man. She has the vision that, if worthy, she has the potential to be blessed as Rebekah of old to be “the mother of thousands of millions"

"There is no limit to what a woman with a mother heart can accomplish. Righteous women have changed the course of history and will continue to do so, and their influence will spread and grow exponentially throughout the eternities. How grateful I am to the Lord for trusting women with the divine mission of motherhood. Like Mother Eve I am “glad” to know these things."

I know that no matter how much I struggle with the idea of a mother heart, if I work towards it everyday I will be blessed by Heavenly Father and the blessings will be enormous, like that of Rebekah. I know that Heavenly Father will help us to accomplish these goals if that is what we desire, he will be there to help us and guide us as we work hard. I know that even with all the hard work and the self sacrifice and the constant sharing of knowledge, having a mother heart is one of the greatest accomplishments that we can have on this earth, wether we have children or not. A mother heart will help us to be better people in general, and specifically it will help us help other people, we will learn how to love as Christ loved, which is basically what he wants for us.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Hey Bloggosphere!

When I was welcoming myself back to the land of the blogging day before yesterday I totally forgot one of my favorite things to post about ... food! Basically I love recipes ... I love to cook ... and I love to share it ... but let's be honest ... you already knew that.

Today I present you with a cake that is so delicious and easy to make that you will come up with excuses to make it all the time! It was brought to my attention when it popped up on my news feed on Facebook, posted by one of my dear old friends from the hospital ... I say this because I was totally surprised and excited that something this amazing would be shared there! As soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it ... like right away ... I mean ... the ingredients are pretty standard to any kitchen ... so ... I mean ... I had them ... of course I made it right away!

There is something so spectacular about a good cinnamon roll ... am I right ... I mean ... it fits so perfectly during fall and into the holiday season ... seriously ... I would kill for a good cinnamon roll sometimes ... no matter what the season! Well ... if you can imagine ... this cake is even better than a good cinnamon roll ... you may think I am joking ... but, trust me, I'm not ... I mean ... the ratio of cinnamon to cake in every bite is beyond perfect! And because you put the glaze on when the cake is still warm it stays super moist and succulent ... yes, I did just use those words ... So now ... without further ado I present you with:


Cinnamon Roll Cake!


Yes ... I wish I had a better picture too ... but just trust me and try it ...

Cake:
3 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter (melted)

Topping:
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon


Directions:
Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

Glaze:
2 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla


While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake, and then feel free to bask in the glory that is this cake.


Doesn't this ooey gooey delicious recipe just make you want to melt ... I know it warms my insides ... especially now that we have finally hit fall in warm old Texas. Well ... Good luck my friends! let me know how it turns out!

I hope you have a fabulous evening!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Adventures Are Back!

I just took ... a super long hiatus ... not that it's really a big-o-deal-o ... but here I am ... back ... possibly for a while again ... who really knows ... all I know is that I missed it. Basically I look at numbers all day ... which is something I never thought I would say ... but it is true. I didn't really think too much about it ... and then I was watching a show ... don't even remember exactly what it was ... I guess I was only half watching ... either way there was this part ... a part where the male lead was trying to woo the female lead, in doing so he quoted a famous author ... who I cant even honestly remember either ... and then she answered back with who that author was. I died. Almost literally. There was a point in my life where I would have been able to do that exact same thing ... I realized that I don't really have that ability anymore ... that made me realize even further how much I love and miss the written word. Numbers give me a headache ... not almost literally ... literally. I mean ... I am not a math person ... I am not a numbers person ... and yet that it what I am doing ... and I am thankful for it ... I mean ... talk about strengthening your weaknesses ... but it is so true about what they say about not burying your talents ... you totally lose what you once had. When I finish with this job I have a lot of work cut out for me to get back to the things I really love. There is so much eloquence within the English language ... the ebb and flow of sounds ... the way it has the ability to transport you to just about anywhere you want to go ... it's the way we communicate ... its the way we express emotion ... I just love it. I missed it. And so here I am ... again ... writing ... not really for anyone ... but for myself ... hoping that maybe I will be able to not only strengthen my weaknesses but I will also be able to keep up with my talents.

Is there anything you should know since I have been gone? I don't think so ... life has been pretty stagnant .... which isn't bad ... we are working towards our goal ... and so it will stay stagnant ... parents house ... school ... work ... parents house. Hopefully before next Christmas we will be able to get out of limbo that we are in ... but until then we are just finding joy in the journey ... I mean ... let's be honest ... who doesn't need a little stagnancy every once and a while in their lives ... gives a nice rest from the everyday crazy. Doesn't lead much to blog about ... but hey ... how many people read this anyway!

And so I am back ... I hope the people who do read this are excited ... because I am!

p.s. I am going to be writing about the same things I did before ... divorce, being a step-mom, being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ... and so if that is something you aren't interested in then I would stop reading right now.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

This ... is not so good ...

Hello friends!

So basically I have sucked at this game recently ... I don't know what it is ...

I mean ... ok ... honestly ... I am living at my parents house ... we've been here for about two months now ... and you know that feeling that comes when you go home ... don't kid yourself ... you know that when you visit your parents all that high school rebellion starts seeping out again ... and by rebellion I mean laziness ... because how much did you really do in high school ... besides sitting in your room pretending you are the only emo kid on the block and so no one understands you (hello high schoolers ... um ... everyone understands you ... we have all been there ... we just don't care so much anymore) ... well I was apparently the only extremely lazy one (that will admit it anyway). So that is where I stand ... basically we have set ourselves on cruise control living in a perpetual state of a lousy vacation (don't worry mom and dad [if you even read this] it's not lousy because we live with you ... it's lousy because we still have to work).

That, is why the blog has been slow ... because we have slowed down our lives ... but I had a revelation the other day ... I may not be the CEO of this house we are in ... but I for sure am the CEO of my little familia ... and I had better start acting like it or this impending year and a half will be rough and blogless ... which I know you would be super sad about.

Anyway ... it is not like I will immediatly be perfect ... but who is!

Ok ... I'm done blogging ... and Es stuffed dog really just freaked me out because it looked like a legit dead chihuahua ... so I am going to leave you with some pictures from my amazing trip back east ... I seriously cannot wait to go again!

  Old meets New

love the Frank Gehry building  
 Skyline to die for ...


First street corner of the day ... doubled

 Es game face

I just thought this looked cool ...

Same slide grandma rode ...

Cousins in Northport

 I would live in Manchester

First and only success of the week

  I see you Empire State Building

Janes Carousel

 Brooklyn Bridge

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Healthy Stir Fry

I know that most of you don't know my mother ... you should ... but if you don't there is one thing you have to know about her ... when she likes something she goes all in ... like ... all in ... example ... Dave Ramsey ... enough said ... go check him out if you need more info. Anyway ... I knew we might be in trouble when the dear woman started talking about this new book she was reading ... never a good sign ... what was this book about you ask? A new diet of course! First, mom NEVER diets ... she is a firm believer in everything in moderation combined with exercise ... second, this diet is all fruits and veggies ... uh ... I eat healthy enough without 95% of that stuff thank you very much. I could see it coming ... this move was already going to hit me like a mack truck ... now I had to completely change my eating style ... uh ... kill me now.

I digress ... Dr. Joel Fuhrman ... author of the Eat to Live diet ... my new diet ... he professes that you can get all nutrients you need from fruits and veggies ... ok ... so he is right ... I am absolutely a buyer of what he is selling ... just don't make me eat it.

Well ... luckily for me I happen to be the chef for the family ... we may have gone and spent almost five hundred dollars on a bum load of fruits and veggies (did I mention that you are supposed to eat two pounds of salad per meal ... yea) ... but we didnt go and buy the little things that are needed to complete the recipes ... so I improvised ... using only what is allowed according to that book ... however, adding in lean meats (ever diet needs to be modified per user ... diets are not a one size fits all thing) and the occasional beef ... I have managed to make some pretty stellar meals ... yanno ... for only having fruits and veggies to work with.

With that I bring you ... a totally Eat to Live diet accepted dinner in the form of:

I know ... my pictures need a little work right now ... it'll get better!

2 red bell pepper
1 white onion
5 stalks celery
5 cloves garlic
1 (head ... huh?) of broccoli
4 chicken breasts
1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 c. brown rice

Boil and then shred chicken. Chop up all the delicious veggies. Mince garlic. Add veggies, garlic, and soy sauce to skillet and sautee. When veggies start to turn a bright color add chicken to the mixture. Cook for about another five minutes to incorporate flavor into chicken. Serve over rice.

Simple ... delicious ... and super duper ridiculously healthy ... and even I liked it!

Hope you enjoy!

Goodnight my friends!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hot Topic Monday: Sometimes Things Change, Sometimes They Stay The Same ...

It's been a while ... but I am back ... I said I would give an update on E, it's worth a hot topic.

For all of you new readers out there E is my beautiful step-daughter ... she is five years old and will be attending kindergarten in the fall ... I have been in her life since she barely turned two ... just over three years now ... for the majority of that time she lived with R, but did go back and forth between the two parents frequently ... three months after R and I got married E was legally signed over to us and she has been with us ever since ... This has been a struggle for she and I ... as I have said many times we tend to fight against each other even though we want the same thing.

So ... if I have talked about this topic so much why do I continue to beat this dead horse? Well ... because things do change ... I think that it is very important for step-parents to realize that they are not alone ... that it may get harder before it gets easier ... that no matter how many times you may cry or shut yourself in your room because this is a lot more than you bargained for it does not make you a bad parent. But the main reason I wanted to make this a hot topic again is because a few nights ago E made a startling revelation ... one I will get to ... just hold on a second.

Let me give an update on our little firecracker first ... it has been ... hard ... I mean ... really hard ... She talked so often about moving to Texas ... I don't think that that is the reason it has been hard ... but it for sure could be a factor. Remember when I talked about the weeks that followed Christmas ... how difficult she was ... her hulk moves ... well ... physical actions to express anger have not resurfaced ... but there are these blood-curdling screams ... you would think I was murdering her ... and there is the word "no" ... who knew that one simple little word could send anger coursing so thickly through the bloodstream ... but boy does it ever ... I mean ... there is little that I get angry about ... but the screams and the word ... someone might as well be poisoning me. I think what has made this worse is that we don't get a break from each other, we haven't made friends yet, and we don't know what to do around here yet. No excuses ... it's just hard. This may sound like we are bad people ... but E has been banned from our room ... I need a place that is a sanctuary ... a place that could be hate and negativity free ... and so E is not allowed in our room until she learns to change her heart.

It's not all negative though ... I mean ... having my mom here has helped ... she works but has been around more often than anyone else ever has ... she gets to see how we interact ... she helps me to understand better exactly what I can do ... and she understands why I react the way I do. Before we lived here she just believed that things would get better and they weren't as bad as I was making them sound ... but now she gets it ... she called E "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" ... her switch between happy and mad/sad is instantaneous and you never know what will set her off. She recognizes that our little girl needs help ... she also realizes how easy it is to lose your cool ... not that she ever does ... I mean ... grandma Jan is so good with E that it amazes me everyday ... but just the fact that she gets it ... the fact that I no longer feel so guilty, alone, and like a completely horrible person ... well ... that is an incredible feeling.

So, the other night R and I went out on a date night ... we went to see the new star trek movie ... so we put E to bed and went ... hoping she would just fall asleep so grandma and grandpa didn't have to do anything but be home ... well ... we came home ... she was awake (she has been wanting to stay up late ... like really late) ... we go to say goodnight and she leans into me and says, "you know what mom, I used to really hate you, really hate you, and you know what (her face starts to glow) I don't hate you anymore, my heart says I love you now, isn't that great!" ... we hugged ... I cried (and maybe felt a little validated) ... it felt like a step in the right direction ... I mean ... things haven't exactly changed ... the behavior is still there ... but at least things are somewhat progressing ... right? I think that the behavior is a learned thing ... it has taken so many years to learn it and it will take so many years to unlearn it. Not to mention the things that she has seen in these five short years of life ... girl hasn't had it easy ... if I could take those pains and sights away from her I would ... R and I are desperatly trying to create a better environment for her so she can have a brighter future ... There are just so many things that I need to work on ... but we will get there ... no matter how slowly it may go ... we will get there.

Things To Take Away:
  1. I say this all the time ... but ... being a step-parent is rough ... especially if you are the main caregiver. I always like to remind people that they are not alone ... that if you need to talk to someone I am here ... I like to remind people that you are not a bad parent if you feel like you can't do it anymore ... you are not a bad parent if you need a sanctuary ... you are not a bad parent, as long as you are trying your hardest to make the current day a little bit better than the day before you are on the right road. Find confidence in that you are trying.
  2. Sometimes change is so slow that it is painful. I know I would like to wake up and have everything automatically better ... I would like to be better ... I would like her to act better ... I would like everything to be picture perfect like those blogs you read. But life doesn't work like that ... change is usually slow ... arduous ... easily discouraging ... but try not to let it get you down. Why? Well ... I will tell you next.
  3. Remember that the Lord will never give you trials which you are not able to withstand. So basically the Lord gives us trials right ... to challenge us ... to help us grow ... to show our faith. How I see it is the Lord will give us trials, then the trials become so hard that it feels like we can't bear it any longer ... and then he will push you even further ... this gives you the option of crumbling under pressure or relying on him to help you through. Even though everything may feel super difficult ... ok ... impossible ... if we rely on the Lord we will always make it through ... we will always grow ... and we for sure will come out the other side much better people than we went in.
Well ... thats all folks ... I hope you liked it ... if you need anything ... if you are feeling alone ... if you just need someone to talk to ... I am here ... and I just might understand what you are going through!

Have an amazing evening my friends!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Peanut Butter Crack

Here I sit watching million dollar listing in New York City ... and I am drooling. There is something about that city that has always held a certain amount of magic for me ... and holy cow ... what I wouldn't give to live there ... across from central park ... working somewhere business-y ... or an art gallery ... oooh ... an art gallery ... I could totally be Charlotte from Sex and the City ... except even a little more prudish (don't ask how I know this ... dark time ... TBS ... somewhat cleaner ... still no excuses ... guilty pleasure of the time). Whenever I had a fantasy as a child it was never to be the princess of a land far far away ... no ... it was to own a Manhattan penthouse with a vacation home in the Hamptons ... call me crazy ... I have never exactly been materialistic ... but I have always had that dream ... and I probably always will.

I cannot wait to go back again ... and again ... and again!

Anyway ... I should get back to the generally scheduled programming ... I said I was going to post an addictive recipe ... since it is getting late and i may or may not be falling asleep at the keyboard I really hope you are ready for this.

This recipe came to me from my beautiful mother in law ... it is for sure Rs favorite desert ... when I brought it down to good ol' San Antone it quickly became a new addiction for my fam ... the kicker is really that is only takes four ingredients and about ten minutes to make (did I tell you that it is no bake? becuase it is!) ... and oh ... wait until you feel that crunch in your mouth ... you will never want another no bake desert again ... I really hope you have braced yourself for this recipe. From the peanut-buttery smooth taste to the delectibly addictive crunch this desert with forever be known as:

Peanut Butter Crack!!


1 c. karo syrup
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. Special K (original)

Measure out Special K in a nice big bowl. In a sauce pan bring karo and brown sugar to a boil. As soon as it is boiling remove from heat and add peanut butter, you can put it back over the heat to fully melt the peanut butter. Once smooth pour over cereal and combine.  Spread out over tin foil ... or you can dollup it into cookies ... your choice.

Voila! Look how easy that was! Wait until you try them! You might even be able to pull off calling it a healthy treat considering the peanut butter and the special K ... yanno ... just so you can make it more often!

Alright friends ... my eyelids are barely open ... with that ... I bid you goodnight!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hey Look! I Am Back!

Hello my friends ... I have started this post about three to four times over ... not that anything bad has happened ... but no one ever told me how crazy moving is ... or how hard it is having a faulty thyroid ... holy tired all the time!!

But aside from that ... I am back ... and it has been far too long. I'm thinking that I am going to make this a short post ... yanno ... ease you back into it ... just a quick update ... oh! I'll make a list! Ok friends ... this is what we have been up to for the past almost two months:

  1. WE MOVED!! So ... that one is a no brainer ... if you have read my post just before this you would already know this. Regardless ... it is part of the reason I haven't blogged ... here I sit in Texas ... in my parents home (which I will explain next) ... and we live here ... we have a routine ... we have a schedule ... we have a new ward with new people to meet ... it is so crazy to even think about.
  2. We decided to live with my parents for a while ... yea ... I think that I am the one, surprisingly, having the most difficult time with this ... But R and I made the executive decision to camp out here for about a year and a half ... for multiple reasons ... number one being that renting here is ridiculously expensive ... and number two being that if we bite the bullet and do this then we will be completely out of debt and have a little down payment for a house. It may be difficult ... but we don't exactly have a terrible set up here ... my baby bro may have the biggest room ... but ours isn't too shabby ... we are able to have a couch and our TV ... I have also hung up pictures so it feels a little more like home ... maybe I will take a picture of our now studio living quarters to show you. E has her own room still ... she is shacking up in the office ... which has still somehow managed to remain an office even though it is now filled with pink. Now, we are not getting off scott free ... we pay rent that almost matches that which we paid in Logan ... I am also expected to cook and clean and R works outside ... but it does save us money ... and for that we will be eternally grateful for the selflessness of my parents. When this is all over we intend to build a house ... so there is light at the end of this tunnel ... and we have gotten along so far ... we will see what this next year and a half brings us.
  3. R is in love with his job. By far this was the thing I was most scared of ... like, seriously ... here this man is ... looking to shake up his career ... but only looking in Texas because I have family there ... and to my relief he really seems to love it! All the stress he carried around in Logan because of his job has completely disapated ... he has gone into this job with a new attitude ... and it has so helped ... his confidence levels have shot through the roof because he knows he has this ... and it has provided him the ability to make friends and to completely own his job ... just like I knew he always could. I love him ... and it just makes me feel so good to see him so happy and be so succesful.
  4. I went and got my second blood work done for my hypothyroidism ... and it is still bum ... which means who knows what right now because I have yet to find a doctor here ... the lab I went to still hasn't contacted my doctor ... or if they have I haven't heard back ... I should call them tomorrow ... anywho ... I was talking to the beloved Cunninghams last night and I was telling them that I know I don't have cancer or diabetes or anything like that ... but this is seriously something so frusterating to have ... before I had experienced the symptoms I never thought twice about it because my mom has had it for as long as I can remember ... however, now my butt is really getting kicked. The two symptoms that have really affected me have been the weight gain and the tiredness ... The former was the most frusterating for me ... only because when we moved here we jumped into a diet of mostly fruits and veggies (we modified the eat to live diet to include lean meats for dinners) and I was watching as everyone around me was dropping the pounds and I was staying the same ... R and daddy werent even exercising ... and I have been ( that is one of my favorite things about being in Texas is the use of the gym ... I love taking the classes with my mom!) and I have been swimming ... This week I finally beat my thyroid ... I lost weight ... and it felt really good ... slowly but surely I will beat the weight side of this thyroid problem. Now what is the most frusterating is the tiredness ... I never feel like I have enough energy to do anything ... every time I sit down I could be asleep within five minutes ... I sleep every time E has her quiet time ... I fall asleep at night around ... nine to nine thirty (I am super pushing it right now ... sorry if my grammar sucks ... but man I am so tired!) ... That is another reason I haven't blogged ... before I used my time when E went to bed as the time to blog ... but now I fall asleep before she does. Eventually everything will get under control ... I am super opptomistic because it is not like this is going to kill me ... I see my mom and my aunts live with it everyday ... it is just getting everything regulated that is difficult ... but it will come.
Welp ... that's it ... I know ... I have yet to update E ... but believe me ... I have a whole post about that coming up super soon ... I also have an amazing addictive desert recipe, a tribute to my beautiful mother in law, to post! So there is a lot that will be coming ... get excited! I will try super hard to not let sleep get the better of me and will be better about posting ... you have not gotten rid of me yet bloggo world ... I am here to write another day!

Have a fantastic evening my friends!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The exodus of the Combe Clan ... part deux

The time has come the Walrus said
To talk of many things
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings 
And if the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings
                                          -Lewis Carroll

If you are frequent readers of this blog then you know that when I have a secret I have a hard time blogging ... like ... I can't even post a dang recipe ... I think I am afraid it is going to slip out ... but ... the time has come. 

R has accepted a job in San Antonio ... we are moving back to Texas ... in two weeks ... well ... a little less. I mean ... I don't even know if I am excited yet ... it is all happening so fast!

Let me tell you the story ... E and I were in Texas ... it was the second week ... I got a call on Wednesday from R ... yanno ... just a nightly phone call to express love and all that ... ha ... well he hits me with "oh hey, I've applied for about five jobs in San Antonio tonight" ... what ... R and I had decided about two weeks before that we were no longer going to try to find a job ... we had been trying for a year and nothing had come up ... we were just going to be happy with where we were at ... it was obvious that Heavenly Father had a different plan for us. But he did it ... he applied ... Thursday came and R got a call from Frost Bank (one of the places he applied to the night before) ... they just wanted to double check his contact information, make sure everything was correct ... at the end of that conversation they told him they would call him in the next couple of weeks to set up a phone interview ... then came Friday ... they called to set up a phone interview for Monday. After around thirty minutes of a phone interview they closed by saying that there was another lady who needed to interview him but couldn't be there currently ... again they would call in the next couple of weeks to set up another phone interview ... again they called him the next day ... but not to set up another phone interview ... they called saying that they wanted to fly him down for a face to face interview ... it was set up for Tuesday the week later. When Tuesday came it came with a storm ... Rs flight got cancelled ... but for mechanical reasons ... we found out later that day that the canyon that we drive through to get to the airport was getting hit hard with snow and ice ... he might have missed his flight ... or worse ... Frost Bank scheduled a new flight for the very next day. So Wednesday came ... I was sick to my stomach all day ... apparently the interviewer only took five minutes with R then the HR lady came back in with an offer ... he countered ... two hours later they accepted ... and here we are ... six days out from the offer and preparing to move ... in eleven days. 

Overwhelmed? Why yes ... thanks for asking ... ha! Ok ... since R and I don't really have that much stuff (I know ... with previous marriages how could that be? Well ... I gave a lot of my stuff from that situation to the DI and R let his ex have practically all of it too ... we weren't so intelligent after we divorced) ... packing should be easy ... I have the truck ordered and ready for us ... my sister is coming up to help ... everything is just falling into place ... but like I said before ... I don't know if I am excited yet ... it hasn't hit me ... it is all going so fast!

Well ... I will try to post as much as I can before we move ... I should be able to do it ... don't worry ... but if keeping up is a little difficult than I know you will understand!

In other news ... E just had good touch bad touch week at school and can I tell you how amazingly helpful it is ... especially with how much she has been through ... some parents think that programs like that in schools are controversial ... but really ... E has learned so much in only a week long program ... I won't go into details ... but E has had experiences with this already ... and honestly I think that with the way this world has been going it is very beneficial for all children to have this information. With me, I just found out that I have hypothyroid whatever ... so apparently when I said I gained fifteen pounds after getting E it actually wasn't stress ... it was my thyroid ... which is nice I guess ... at least I know that I actually have been eating healthy.

Well ... that's all folks! Have a wonderful night 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In Which I Discuss Happiness

As soon as I turned onto I-10 it started ... it was that highway that would take me to the border of Texas and away from my parents again ... tears began to fall. My beautiful cousin said "no matter how old I get I will always cry whenever say goodbye to my mom" ... I know how she feels ... tears. 

About ten hours into the drive home I began really thinking about it ...  I spent practically the entire two weeks I was in Texas missing my beloved hubby ... and now I was on my way to see him and all I could think about was how much I missed my parents and brother. That's when it hit me ... again ... You need to learn how to be happy with where you are at. 

A couple of months ago I was talking to a couple of my recipe group friends ... we were discussing why Logan was so awful ... multiple reasons were cited ... it is claustrophobic (you don't leave Logan unless you have to leave) ... but the main reason we talked about was because it felt like a waiting place ... you come here for school and then you leave ... people are always coming and leaving ... it's like a revolving door up here ... but with that it is very difficult to feel like Logan is home ... when you are here it is very easy to only imagine the day when you get to leave. I must admit I was caught in this trap ... from the moment I married my first husband I was ready to leave Logan ... it was too small for me ... I knew it wasn't going to be the place I ended up ... and so I wanted to be past that stage in my life ... I dreamed of the day I would get out. 

With that dreaming it became very difficult to be happy with where I was at in life ... I knew I was destined for something better so lets just have that happen already. But thinking like that really does a number on a person ... I mean ... becoming so dissatisfied with where you are at in life could send a person into a depression death spiral ... imagine disliking almost ever situation you are in ... how does life become any better even when you are in a "better" situation? Well ... the answer is you don't ... what I have come to believe is that if you can't be happy with where you are and what you have then you probably will never be happy with life. If you're not waiting for that house on the hill then you could be waiting for retirement ... but from there you could just be waiting for death ... it's a never ending spiral. 

And so to my epiphany ... about three weeks ago I was sitting on the couch feeling like I wasn't capable of doing anything by myself ... chained to the television and the cell phone ... possibly I saw those as an escape ... but that is neither here nor their ... we were searching and searching for jobs but were getting nothing ... We got an amazing deal with an apartment ... but then got told that we couldn't take it because of Rs job ... R and I had hit a rough patch ... not as a couple ... individually ... which affected us as a couple ... example: he was so stressed that a conversation that would normally take three minutes would take us three hours ... it was rough ... we were starting that death spiral I was talking about. So, sitting on the couch, it hit me ... like a ton of bricks ... I needed to be happy with where I was at or else nothing was going to change ... there would be no progression ... so I did what any other red blooded American girl would do ... I called my mom ... not only did she agree with me but she also expanded upon my thoughts ... she said that as a woman who is deciding to stay home and run the family while wishing success for my husbands career that I was to become the CEO of my family ... that hit me like a ton a bricks ... it's not like I didn't cook and clean before ... but now I realized that there was so much more I had to do ... and it all started with being happy. 

If there is anything I have learned throughout my life it is that happiness is a choice ... you can choose whether or not you are going to be happy in a situation or not ... it's called looking at the positives ... glass half full ... which I know I have claimed to be in the past ... and I still believe that I am one ... it just gets a little bit harder when you are in the middle of trials ... I think I didn't notice how negative I was actually becoming ... again ... neither here nor there ... So I decided to make myself happy ... keep myself busy ... get myself healthy ... put the phone and shows down ... immersed myself in the life I am currently living ... learning how to accept Logan as the place I now live. And so I made a schedule ... a routine for my life that has every minute nailed down ... It may have only been a week and a half (I am so not counting those two weeks in Texas) but I think that my life my have altered ... it has been amazing! Not only have I been working on my mindset but staying active has been helping with that. 

Now, before you think that I am just touting how amazing I am you should know that I am not ... not even close ... I struggle daily ... with little things ... this morning it was my shins because I have taken up running again ... but not only that I have a little girl who thinks it is acceptable to throw huge fits every time I say no ... it is not an easy thing to choose happiness ... in fact I think staying angry at the world may be a lot easier ... but it is worth it. If you are looking for a place to start there is something that always helped me when the trial was more than I could bear ... before I went to bed at night I would think of my day and write down five wonderful things that happened, from there I would get down on my knees and thank my Heavenly Father for those moments ... the next day hold onto those five things from the day before, there they would serve as a reminder that wonderful things can happen even on the darkest of days. 

With that I wish you a happy and magnificent day my friends ... remember to keep smiling!

Monday, April 1, 2013

First pants, now this ... hot topic Monday ... brace yourself!

Oh hey bloggers! I hope you all are having a fabulous night ... I know I am!!

So ... I know that I have once again I have dropped off the face of the planet ... but I know that you will understand .... I get to spend such little time with my parents that I like to spend ever waking moment with them when I am in Texas ... yes ... I am a moma and daddy girl!

I know that I probably should start with a summary of E and I's trip ... but while I was gone R sent me this picture and I just had to respond:


Ok ladies ... Holy cow ... You have got to be kidding me.

For those of you who aren't a member of my faith let me explain a couple of things for you ... That way you won't be confused as you read this post. First I should explain what the priesthood is ... It is the power to act in Gods name ... We believe that it was given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery through the laying on of hands from previous prophets Peter, James, and John. It is a special privilege given to the men in our church ... For many reasons women are not given the priesthood ... and I don't have a problem with that.

Recently there has been this group of women who have been in an uproar over not receiving the priesthood ... as shown by this article. This same group of women created a petition to have a woman say the opening prayer in our general conference (a twice a year shindig where we literally get to learn at the feet of a modern day prophet ... tune in next week!) ... oh ... and they decided that a great form of protest is to wear pants to church ... Here is my question ... why?

Now ... It is not like I am anti "equality" (there is a reason I put that in quotations ... I will explain later) ... I am very grateful for the feminists who have passed through this life before I ... I really like the ability to vote (ok ... so I know that that statement may seem ignorance ... its just the biggest example ... and you know me ... go big or go home) ... I know that they have paved the way for me to be able to accomplish what I have accomplished in my life ... I bet you that I wouldn't have been able to initiate divorce if it weren't for feminists ... I respect women who work outside of the home ... which is something I would love to do ... that probably wouldn't have been likely a century ago ...  but ... and there is a but ... my problem is simple ... why ... if you truly believe in our religion would you (a woman) want the priesthood?

Here is what I understand about my religion ... and the reason why I put equality in quotations ... men and women are equal in our religion ... duh ... have you heard of the phrase separate but equal? because that is how our religion sees things ... in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" (found here) it says this:

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

[...]

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

See ... equal ... first: we are all created in the image of God ... not just men ... we all are. Second: we are all beloved ... all of us. Third: we are to live our lives and raise our families as equal partners. This does not say that men are cooler and can progress further on this earth because they have the priesthood.

What is really funny is that there are men who believe the exact opposite of these woman ... apparently some men feel as if they are told that they have the priesthood because they need it to help them stay on the straight and narrow ... that women don't need it because they are closer to God ... but without it and the responsibility it creates men would dwindle in unbelief.

Yanno what is just crazy to me ... if people would just read this simple one page document things would all be cleared up ... we are equal ... separate ... but equal. It is not only in the proclamation but it has been talked about but it is in scripture and has been talked about in talks up and down. Go to lds.org and search equality ... you will find a plethora of reading material explaining where our church stands on the subject.

I want to end this with my testimony ... with what I believe about this subject ... I believe that my church knows that men and woman are equal. I know that even though I don't have the priesthood myself I still am able to be blessed by it's power ... by marrying a priesthood holder my life is blessed everyday ... together we build each other up and hold each other accountable for our actions ... we work together and through that togetherness both of our lives can be blessed by the power of the priesthood. I wear a skirt to church because I believe in showing respect to my Heavenly Father ... I believe he deserves the best of me ... just because the best of my outfits just happen to be skirts doesn't make me less of a person. Heavenly Father does not care at all what you wear to church ... just that you go ... you should make an effort to give him your best. I may be seen as slightly old fashioned but I do like having the ability to stay home and rear the children ... maybe it is the perfectionist in me ... but I think that I am the best at raising my E ... I don't want to ship her off to some day care all day. There is nothing wrong with me thinking that the place for a mother is with her kids .... it is a fact that women are more nurturing. I know that everyone in the entire world has their own divine qualities ... we each have something to accomplish on this earth ... it will be different ... we are all different.

All I ask is if you have a question or have something that you are struggling with as far as the church is involved study it out ... I believe that you will find your answer ... I mean ... this church's basis is love ... whether you believe that or not ... it is true ... it may not always feels like it happens ... but it is our foundation.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The exodus of the Combe family


So ... I know that I haven't blogged in forever ... but I had good reason ... I wanted to share that I was going on vacation to Texas!!! However ... It couldn't be shared just yet because it was just E and I going alone ... Not just going alone ... But driving alone! So, for safety reasons, we only told our dear friends the Deans, my sister, my in-laws, and of course my parents ... I mean ... You all know me ... I'm an open book ... But R gets a little nervous when I start blurting out that he is away and E and I are home alone ... He told me that I shouldn't talk about driving alone ... And so I have kept mum, and boy has it been hard.

Maybe I can paint a mental picture for you ... There I would sit ... Night after night ... Staring at a blank blog page ... Brimming with news that I was dying to share ... Rocking forward as the words reached all the way to my fingertips ... Quickly rocking backward to prevent them from coming out ... Reeling them back into my gut ... Over and over again this would happen until I would just give up for the night.

This didn't last forever ... I mean this was kind of an impromptu trip ... I have only known about it for a little over two weeks ... But you can imagine that for me ... The one who tells all ... That this felt like a really long time. 

But let me explain.

We all know that R travels for work ... Usually once a month ... But he hasn't for a little while now. R and I knew that another New York trip was in the works ... We just didn't know exactly when ... What was exciting for me was that we had a free flight and it was finally time for me to go with him! I mean ... New York City is like my lifeblood ... Every chance I ever get to even get a glimpse of that city ... Or spend time on Long Island with my family makes my entire year. Enter devastation when the time finally comes and our free ticket still doesn't cover the entire cost ... Hello three hundred extra dollars I don't have ... Goodbye special time with the hubby ... Curse you New Dawn for booking flights only two weeks out. 

Once the anger subsided (don't worry ... I wasn't angry for that long ... It's all good) I started the next stage of the grieving process ... Acceptance (ok ... I don't really know if that's what the next stage of the grieving process ... But that's where I went next) ... I decided that there would be a lot of time in front of movies and a lot of time over at the Deans (even if they didn't know it yet). E and I would be fine ... One week ... No problemo. Then the other boom was lowered. "Oh hey Ryan, I know that we all give you a hard time for how much you miss your wife after only eight hours, but we have decided that not only are we sending you to New York for a week but we are going to send you to Nevada for a week right after that, have fun", why thank you New Dawn, you are the kindest people ever (so ... I really do appreciate Rs employer, I just miss him).

Basically, when I found out that news, here is what ran through my head ... Well ... That sucks ... I hate being a big girl ... What am I going to do for two weeks ... I can't just camp out at the Deans ... The single mom thing is super horrible (like, wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy ... Props to the woman who do it daily) ... Ugh ... This is miserable ... I can't handle him being gone for eight hours much less two weeks ... Hello the deepest depths of h-e-double hockey sticks that I have just entered (this was a literal thought) ... I wish I lived by my parents it might make it easier ... I should just go to Texas (that last part came out as actual words). R said do it ... And so two weeks later here I am ... Texas ... The house of the parents ... Sweating my brains out and still loving it. 

I don't think I knew long enough to get excited ... I mean ... I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl, but that is with day to day things ... I don't just get up and leave for weeks at a time without more planning ... Especially when E has school and a recital coming up for ballet ... But I did it ... Just left ... Two weeks notice then gone. It felt good ...it is something I feel like I would have done if I had ever had young and reckless days ... The responsible side of me is going a little crazy ... But nothing compares to the feeling of being with my parents (when I can't be with my hubby). I know it may sound weird for a lot of people ... But that is just me ... I love my family ... I would much rather be with them than friends ... Maybe it's my anxiety and my fam creates a comfortable zone for me ... But even when I had all these friends in high school I still loved being at home ... I know ... I'm a weirdy ... Get over it ... It's just who I am. 

And so we left ... All of us ... It was the exodus of the Combe family. Unfortunately R went in a different direction ... I can't even count how many times the parents have told me they miss R and how it isn't the same without him (what am I guys? Chop liver) ... Either way we will be gone for two weeks ... Making the most of life while life keeps us apart. 

And so from Texas I bid you goodnight my friends!! Have an amazing couple of weeks ... Hopefully I will still be blogging regularly! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Five Year Old Birthday Party!

Ok ... let's be totally honest here ... I have stunk at this whole craft blog thing ... not because my crafts stink ... I know I can rock a glue gun ... ha ... but because when I am doing a craft I get so wrapped up in it that I totally forget to take pictures!

Before you get too excited ... I didn't take pictures while doing these crafts either ... whoops ... but seriously I think that I killed it on the party planning front when it came to Es fifth birthday party! Every decoration was handmade by me ... and if you really want a tutorial I will completely go back and do a tutorial for everything ... Seriously ... I have no problem with that ... just comment with the one you want to see and I will do it for you!

Anyway, as most of you know our dear precious E turned five on Sunday. Since we believe in only doing things that help us think about the Lord on Sunday we had a party for her on Saturday afternoon! Before the whole money sitch happened we and E talked about her party like it was 1999. We couldn't just back out on that now could we? And so invitations went out to all aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, classmates, and schoolmates E has ... enter household of people!

For the kiddos I planned bracelet making, balloon animals (thank you so much grandpa Kirk!), pin the crown on the princess, and some other party games ... when the kiddos got here all they wanted to do was play in Es room ... well ... when grandpa pulled out those balloons they were pretty entranced ... but aside from that tearing the kiddos away from their imagination proved darn near impossible ... I think that is what made this party so easy ... the kids entertained themselves! A few made bracelets ... everyone played pin the crown on the princess ... and they went crazy for the balloons ... other than that there was little interest in anything else! They didn't even feast on the popcorn bar! Hello ... four different kinds of popcorn ... candies to put into them ... and all you want to do use your imagination ... alright then! Just kidding ... if any of you know me and my parenting style I am one of the biggest advocates for using the imagination ... hence why E doesn't watch more than one movie a day ... if she even watches one. I guess all I have to say about it was that the party really was so ridiculously fun! Thank you to all of the friends and family who came and celebrated in our little Es big day ... we love you all ... her birthday would not have been the same without you!

And so ... without further ado ... here are pictures (I am sorry that they are fuzzy ... but you get the idea right)!

The main party room (or so I had hoped), game table on the right, what would become the gift table on the left , and food table in the middle. Tissue paper puffs, hanging balloons, plastic tablecloths ... these are the things that really made this room what it was.

I thought by posting this picture you could get a better view of the food table and how I decorated it ...  Es princess bed mesh hangy thing with tissue paper puff balls hanging in the middle of it. 

Since the party was between lunch and diner we decided to do a popcorn bar ... which also became the take home bag (popcorn ... I didn't get a picture of the gift bags ... but they were just brown paper bags with a flower I made that said thank you on it.) ... types of popcorn movie theater style, kettlecorn, carmel (which I have never made before but it was totally delicious! thanks pinterest) and snickerdoodle (recipe here). Cake will be explained later ... we had ice water for the drink ... I don't think these kids needed any more sugar ... the water happened to be the fastest thing that went!

Last thing I made ... used scrap paper from when I threw my friend a bridal shower ... ended up looking quite good ... it hung over the door that hide our washer and dryer (which just happens to be in the kitchen)! Every birthday party needs a banner ... since I used triangles with the next one you will see ... and since polka dots was an underlying theme ... it only made sense to make this banner round.d

What is a party without a flag banner? Not as good that's what! This one is made of three different colors of canvas glued onto twine ... the canvas was left over from a wreath I made from my sister in law ... I wanted it to be durable because the colors E wanted work perfectly for every valentines day to come ... free valentines decorations anyone? yay! two birds with one stone!
I was super excited that hanging balloons were big this year ... they are so cheap and they are so good at filling a space, pulling a room together, and making it look complete. As you saw I not only did them in the front room but over top of the game and gift tables as well.

E punched out all of these dots ... I thought they would be a cute transition from  the  front room to the back ... only one got knocked down the whole party! These dots are made of those paint sampling cards ... ergo free ... nice right!

Just a random picture to show room transition.

what the kids were doing practically the whole time.

What the adults were doing ... I should have got a picture of the kitchen where the rest of the adults were hiding!

Balloon animals! HUGE success!

Like I said ... HUGE success!

Pin the crown on the princess ... I drew this at maybe midnight the night before ... hence the not so great job ... but it totally worked!

All the party animals!

Singing happy birthday! (cake explained next)


E wanted a unicorn cake ... unfortunately I do not possess that type of skill ... no matter how hard I tried to harness baking over the years ... and so I found this cake on pinterest ... everyone loved it! I loved it too ... but I mean ... it was lopsided ... and I am a perfectionist ... it was on a cookie tray because I don't have a cake stand ... and I am a perfectionist ... the purple care crumbled on the bottom ... and I am a perfectionist. So, in my opinion it could have been better ... but it looked cool ... and I'm over it!
Special thanks go to my father in law who used all of his lung capacity to make more than one balloon animal for each kid; also to my sister who took E earlier in the day shopping which made it easier to finish up the decorations; finally to my dear friend Amanda who I could just look at without saying anything and she automatically knew what she could do to help and jumped up and did it! You are all simply amazing!

I hope you liked seeing this stuff ... remember ... if you want a tutorial let me know!

have a great night my friends ... I love you all!