Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Against All Odds??

Isn't this honestly how life feels sometimes??

Sometimes I wonder about the goals we're working towards right now?? Sometimes they seem outrageously BOLD. I have this voice in the back of my head quietly saying things like, "What are you doing?? Who do you think you are?? And why do YOU think you can do this?? What makes you so sure that you'll succeed when so many have attempted & have been unsuccessful??" Or even, "How dare you even TRY??"

Crazy these conversations that we let go on inside of our heads. It's funny how quickly I start to answer those little voices back with things such as, "Why wouldn't I be able to do this?? Who else is going to do it for me?? Or even for my kids?? Who are you to tell me otherwise??"

We have some HEFTY goals at hand, but this time around has brought with it such overwhelming feelings of peace that this is what we're destined to do. This is our path we are taking and we will not falter. I'm in school full time here at Weber in the Pre-Pharmacy program. I'm getting all my pre-reqs done in preparation for the PCAT, which is the admissions exam to get into the College of Pharmacy at the U. This will take me two years to accomplish. I've been camping on the University of Utah site researching everything I possibly can in order to best prepare myself for when application time comes around. I'm so EXCITED!! Once I get into the 'U,' I'll be in the PharmD program for four years and receive my Doctor of Pharmacy degree. I'll decide then if I want to further my education or stick to a continuing research regimen for the betterment of prescriptions out there. We'll see.

Hoko's role in all this is so VITAL to the success of my schooling that I don't take him for granted one bit. His supportive role that he plays in holding down the fort while he's home & never complaining about my hours away in classes, studying & doing homework has brought me to the conclusion that we've both grown so much in our marriage. We've matured to the point where we're able to take such things on without letting LIFE get in the way. Instead, we're more quick to navigate our way through whatever life throws our way in order to stay the course. If that makes any sense. I've never been more fully at peace with the way my life is right now. And don't for one second get me wrong. . . . .I'm not at all trying to paint a picture of a PERFECT family life cause I do have my days when everything goes wrong, but I honestly do revel in the little things that this man does for me in order to keep me focused & on track. :D

Against all odds may be what comes to mind when looking from the outside in & seeing this struggling family of eight, going on nine, with daddy working full time (out of state mostly), mommy in school full time, four kids in school starting in August, two kids home with one making his/her debut in Oct, chores, homework, families, church & I'm sure this list can go on. But the only thing going through my head is why not US?? If not us, then someone else for sure will be doing it or has done it. So why not US?? :D And with that said, my anxieties ease up a little for the time being & I'm okay.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

She's BACK!! :D

I have anxiously been awaiting my girl's return!! And she's finally BACK!! Woo hoo!! Who wouldn't be motivated after watching this!! I'm about to get my Beyonce workout on!! :D

Here's the full Beyonce workout routine!! It came out a while ago, but it goes so well with the above video. :D

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blessings?? In Disguise. . . .

Hoko was in Montana last week. What we thought was going to be long term turned out to be a quick emergency response on a farm where some animals were dying from a chemical that the farmer was using. They cleared everything out and were done by Friday & he was home by Saturday. :D We have been GREATLY blessed in our family life to see the Lord's hand in it. While Hoko was gone, I had to start making daycare arrangements for the three younger kids for one day a week while I'm in classes. And while I know everything would've turned out just fine, I would much rather have them home with Hoko than anyone else. So I've looked at his being home as such a blessing in order for me to breathe a little easier with my schooling. :D

We also got word that his job has a couple of projects here in Salt Lake this year & we're holding on to the notion that MAYBE, just MAYBE, he'll be able to work here at home this year. But we're not naive to the fact that with ER, anything is possible. Especially with these awful weather conditions around the nation.

With that said, Monday came & I was in charge of dinner. I made a low calorie meal for dinner. Tilapia Salad with Strawberry Pineapple Salsa. The kids LOVED it!! And so did I. I planned this 210 calories per serving meal because of the fact that Hoko & I had already arranged s'mores around the camp fire with the kids that night. And in my continuing effort to promote a healthy lifestyle with my family, I thought this would be the smart way to go to allow us some extra room to indulge. :D

Seasoned & Broiled Tilapia

Tilapia Salad with Strawberry-Pineapple Salsa

As some of you may know, I'm currently prego & have been struggling with my weight this time around. My first trimester brought with it all the morning sickness and junk food that my body couldn't control. Or didn't wanna control, when it comes to the junk food part. It was TERRIBLE!! I'm not that big of a junk food fan to begin with. I mean, I eat chips & cookies & stuff, but I won't die without them. And it's not even really things I crave or care for. But this time was different. They were the only things that made me feel good. And as soon as I was done eating them, my nausea returned. I was grateful, at least, for the fact that when I was at school, I felt otherwise normal. No morning sickness, no cravings for junk. None of that. I actually ate healthier when I was at school. Weird, right?? Well, I gained a total of 15 lbs in two months time. I couldn't believe it!! I mean, I could cause I had no kinda self discipline on what I stuffed down my throat, but I was really upset about the fact that I couldn't control my cravings or even curb them altogether. I started counting down the days for my second trimester to start, while silently praying that I would finally get back to feeling more like myself & hoping that I would gain more self control over getting back to exercising & eating more healthy.

Well, I'm so happy to say that I'm 17 weeks now & have been feeling more like myself since last week. I started out slow by eating more fruits & veggies. As well as running on my elliptical for 45 min to an hour. This week I'll be incorporating my Biggest Loser workouts & I'm so EXCITED!! Another BIG motivation to all this is the fact that my two sis in laws, Sheena & Ame joined Sinai's biggest loser competition. They have made such a HUGE decision in stepping out of their comfort zone in order to get healthy & lose weight & I am so PROUD of the both of them!! Their examples have helped to get my focus back on track & I love them all the more for it. :D

Anyways, back to our backyard camp fire. . . . .we got this camp fire thingy from Walmart for like, forty bucks. My sister has one at her house & that's where we got the idea to get one. We sat around the fire with the kids making s'mores & we had a blast!! The kids had so much fun & kept saying how it was the BEST NIGHT EVERRR!! Sound familiar?? Lol. I love having Hoko home cause TRUST that we wouldn't be doing anything much if he weren't here. Especially since I'm in school this summer semester & have been swamped with school work. Last Sunday night, Hoko & I were laying out on our trampoline with our pillows & blankets just talking about our lives, our goals, our kids. . . .I became so overwhelmed with such feelings of gratitude for all that I've been blessed with. Most importantly, my husband & kids. They have been my #1 fans cheering me on in my ongoing efforts to get good grades & I don't want to let them down. Especially since Hoko takes care of our financial needs so willingly. His willingness to work hard & provide for our family has been consistent since the day we got married. And I say that very humbly because some of the jobs that he's had & held for years at a time, was very labor intensive. He would always complain about how he hated it there & I would tell him to leave, but he couldn't see a way out of supporting us comfortably anywhere else. So when the opportunity came along for him to join his brothers at ER, we were so thankful. And he has never faltered since. When it comes to the kids?? They're efforts in school are so transparent in all the awards they continue to be recognized for, but most important of all. . . . .their report cards. With the transferring to a new school this time around & them being so far behind, I know they're too young to realize how AMAZING they are in their laser eye focus on their academic progress. And I am so PROUD of them. I've set myself to the standards that have been set for them. Nothing less than straight A's. :D And I'm proud to say that so far so good. :D I'm praying that I can continue to be an example for them. The challenge in finding the blessings in disguise when everything seems to be so somber in life is always a breath of fresh air once the puzzle pieces start coming together. It's been a great summer thus far, or spring, or whatever the season is right now, LOL, even though the weather here is still pretty weird. Lol. Til next time. . . .

I savored every bit of that s'more!! :D And the two more I had afterwards. LOL!! :D

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Last Night Together. . . . .At Least For A While :(

Tonight is Hoko's last night with us before heading back to work for the rest of the year. And while we're EXTREMELY grateful that he has a wonderful job, it's always such a LOVE/HATE relationship cause he has to travel out of state. If we get lucky. . . .maybe he'll be close enough for us to drive out & see him. Last year wasn't one of those times. :( He was in Louisiana & it definitely took a toll on the kids. They couldn't understand why I was able to go visit him & why they weren't able to go. It broke my heart. I explained to them that it was very expensive to buy plane tickets for our whole family so I was just flying out with Savou cause he was free. They quietly nodded their heads in agreement, but I could still see the hurt in their eyes & it absolutely killed me.

Having Hoko home these past months, we've been able to talk with them more about his job & the extensive travel it requires. We informed them of our plans & how daddy won't be working like this forever. That these are part of the sacrifices we're making in order to improve our future as a family. We filled them in on the details, of course, and felt immensely blessed when their reaction was so filled with gratitude & amazement. :D I know every mother feels this way about their kids, but I honestly can't imagine myself getting through these intractable times without the pure love & innocence of my children. It's probably why I've been endowed with so many of these innocent spirits. . . . . .cause I need so much strength & comfort. Lol. Whatever the reason may be, I am eternally thankful.

It was such a busy day today. I had to head to school & write up two papers for my english class that was due at midnight. Procrastinate much?? I'm still working on ridding myself of this nasty habit. And then I spent hours at the Hub getting all my math caught up. This consisted of six chapters & a quiz, but I'm proud to say that I was able to accomplish it all & head home. It was almost seven by the time I was done so we caught an eight o'clock show with the kids at the Junction. Hoko & I watched 'THOR' with the two boys & the girls watched 'RIO' :D Both movies started & ended at the same time so it worked out perfect. The kids had a blast & I LOVED 'THOR' :D It was a GREAT movie. We came home & had pizza & by that time. . . . .the kids were pooped. They headed straight for bed & were fast asleep.

I would be in the same boat as them if Hoko weren't leaving tomorrow. So here I am. . . . .blogging away while he's packing. What?? I totally folded all his laundry & had it ready for him to pack it up. That should count for something. Hahaha. . . . .

I'm totally gonna go off on a tandem here, but when do I not?? Lol. I am sixteen weeks now & have finally gotten past the morning sickness stage. Yay!! :D This pregnancy's been really difficult for me because I'm not used to feeling sick. I'm usually up & about, eating whatever I want & doing everything I normally do. The biggest thing being exercising. I'm trying to get back to running this week so that I can have an easier time throughout the rest of the twenty four weeks I have left to go. Wish me luck. I'm hoping that with Hoko leaving out of town, my motivation to stay healthy will kick into overdrive. :D *fingers & toes crossed* With that said. . . .summer semester is in full swing & I love all my classes so far. Here's to another set of straight A's this time around. :D Definitely knocking on wood with my fingers & toes crossed AND a prayer in my heart for this one. :D Til next time. . . . .

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finding Comfort In The 'Ensign'

The Ensign has been such a continuous blessing in my life. The messages shared in this wonderful publication never ceases to amaze me. Last month's issue didn't disappoint. :D There's a story in it called 'Rebecca Swain Williams: STEADFAST & IMMOVABLE. As much as I thoroughly loved the whole story, I really connected with one instance in particular. I'm going to quote it directly from the story cause I wouldn't do it justice trying to explain it in my own words. :D

"As the Church quickly became central to Frederick and Rebecca's lives, the impact on their family was immediate. Frederick was ordained an elder right after his baptism and confirmation. The very next day, he enthusiastically accepted an assignment to leave within a few weeks to serve a mission with Oliver Cowdery. They anticipated the mission would last three weeks; in reality it became a 10-month trip to Missouri. His long absence from home was the first of many such periods for Rebecca. Because of Frederick's missionary efforts and his calling into the First Presidency, he was frequently away. Rebecca, like many early Mormon women, spent long months tending their home and raising their children without the help of her husband.
Despite the work, Rebecca continued faithful and served willingly. The Prophet Joseph Smith and his family lodged in the Williams' home for a time when the Smiths first moved to Kirtland. Rebecca proved loyal to the Prophet and his family as she cared for them through trying times. Once a mob came and surrounded the home looking for Joseph. Rebecca disguised Joseph in her bonnet and cloak. Joseph was able to leave the house and pass through the crowd to safety."

These past couple of months have come with some really trying times for our family. The winter time always brings its ups & downs with having Hoko home. And while most of it is UP. . . . .I can truly attest to the parts that were down, as being as LOW as it can go. :( While I'm continually grateful for all that we've been blessed with, I have been dreading the thought of knowing that at any time now, Hoko will be leaving us to return back to work for an extended period of time. And it has caused me so much sorrow & heartache, but I have found such comfort in the story of Rebecca Swain Williams. I relate to her story all too well. The raising of the kids on my own, tending to the house, and pretty much everything else at home that needs looking after. And my heart goes out to those early pioneer women in those days. They really did do a lot of things on their own that had to do with the family. What AMAZING examples they are & I feel very humbled when thinking of my own affliction compared to theirs. With the technological advances over time, I now have privileges that they never enjoyed. Cell phones, to talk to my husband whenever I want; Minivan, to get me to & fro safely in a short period of time; Skype, so we can video chat online & see each other; Airplanes, in case I have the opportunity to go visit him; Internet, as another form of communication through various channels; and so on.

My heart was full as I read this story & I honestly felt the Lord was letting me know that He is mindful of me. Of the desires of my heart. I felt a reassuring peace that all is well. Though with this time around, I am in school full time while entering the second trimester of this pregnancy & juggling the six children that we already have, all is well. The saying that comes to mind is that of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin when he said: "Come what may & love it." So as for now, I'm going to look at the BRIGHT side & enjoy the journey as much as I can. I'm a firm believer of not just enduring the journey. But enduring it well. :D