Monday, January 24

Mmm...That Sure Does Smell Good

Parmesan Chicken with Green Beans. Mesquite Chicken with Grandma's Lipton Rice and seasoned Cucumbers; Snicker-doodles for dessert. Todd's Homemade Spaghetti and Roasted Cauliflower. I LOVE COOKING DINNER! 
My sanity and quality of life have greatly increased over the past week; I occasionally cook dinner. :)) (dbl chin grin) As The Collins Nanny I am only required to feed the chillins B-fast, Lunch, and Snacks. But, as you can tell from the statement above, I most enjoy making dinner. There is something about dinners that calm me and seeing my finished products brings me great joy.
The first ten days that I lived here or so, I felt like Ash and James really didn't want me to cook dinner, which was fine, but I felt unwanted in the kitchen I use. That's not zactly my favorite feeling. Anyway long dull story shorter: Ash and I spoke about my passion for cooking dinner and as it turns out she doesn't particularly like cooking at all, lol. I get to cook whenever I want. Yeah!
Another bonus of this new arrangement is that every meal I've made seems to big a huge hit. I plan the meals to have a some leftovers for lunch or snack the next day, but every last morsel seems to disappear. Not trying to toot my own horn, I'm simply stating the facts. James usually says "Mmm...that smells great" or something like that. Ash has complimented me so much I've blushed. Beth is a super picky eater and she normally likes at least one of the things I make each night. That's alone says a lot. Lastly, Alex loves it and asks for "more please!"
Now that I'm cooking dinners every so often I can confidently state: there is no a better place I could be in my life right now, than here in Texas with The Collins.
I hope things are well for you in your life right now, but if you feel like things aren't: take a look around notice all the little things you can to be grateful for. Then get up do something. The smallest thing can make a huge difference. Maybe try cooking dinner or try listening to Bon Jovi's  Welcome to Where Ever You Are that tends to help me.
Oh! my timer is beeping I gotta run and take tonight's dinner out of the oven.
Take Luck my friends.

Also, I have about six or seven (give or take) blog posts I've started and haven't exactly finished/posted yet. So...Look for those. I'll get 'em up asap. They will be posted under their original dates; I hope that makes sense.

Monday, January 17

Monday Off

I woke up super early this morning with a head cold. No Bueno! Slightly runny nose, scratchy throat, headache, achy I took some cold meds and went back to sleep. I'm so grateful that I felt ill on  Martin Luther King Jr. Day as it is probably the only Monday I'll have off from work. I didn't have to take a sick day and I was able to curl up back in bed and sleep until 1pm. I feel much much better now :) sleep is a wondrous thing that I highly recommend.
I've now spent the last couple hours, cleaning my room, re-arranging furniture, doing laundry, decorating my room, etc. Basically living on the wild side, lol. While cleaning and such I like to have TV shows playing in the background via Hulu is a great because it allows you to watch recent TV shows when you want to. Only problem with this plan is that I discovered that there are no good TV shows that play on Sundays. Why is that? Oh well...I should prolly get back to doing something productive. I guess I'll just clean while watching one of my DVDs or take a nap, it is gonna be a tough choice both sound good.

Friday, January 14

A Splishin and A Splashin

. . . It's raining it's pouring the Old Man is snoring . . . Singing in the rain, just singing in the rain . . . If all the raindrops were lemon-drops and gumdrops
Oh! What a world it would be . . .

It's Friday and today was supposed to be a big exciting fun day for Alex. Today was Park Day!! Basically a bunch of Moms and/or Nannys take their kids to play at the park and Alex was looking forward to it all week long. Ash and I had even arranged for Beth to go to friend's house to play while Alex and I were going to go to the park. But we woke up this morning to find a raining wet world outside. Park Day=Cancelled.

Beth still went to her play date, and Alex and I were left with a couple hours more to ourselves. Alex was crushed that we couldn't go to the park. When Alex asked why we couldn't go, I gave the logical answer of course. "Because it is raining and rain is wet, so the park will be wet, and that means the slides will be wet and we don't want to get wet because then we'll be cold and we'll have to change our clothes. So lets just stay inside and be dry."

I tried to set up a last minute play date for Alex to cheer him up, but none of his friends were available to come over. So...we did some of Alex's favorite things: watched Toy Story 2, ate lunch, and played with blocks. All to no avail. Alex still really wanted to go to the park and it was still raining, so of course we couldn't go to the park. Plus so much of the day had gone by and we needed to get ready to pick up Beth from school. Clearly, we couldn't go to the park. And that's when I thought to can we make this day fun? Then it hit me: Why can't today be extra special fun? Lets go to the park anyways and do the things the kids really want to do.

As soon as the idea hit me, I said to Alex: "do you want to go to Beth's park?" (its the little playground outside Beth's classroom) and I have never seen Alex so happy. We hurried and put on our rain boots and I put his new yellow rain jacket over his winter coat, grabbed Beth's rain things and ran.
On the way to school, Alex and I sang so loud it echoed in the neighborhood (ok it was more like screaming at the top of our lungs) many different versions of the Raindrops Song. Changing the verse to be all his favorite foods, like If all the raindrops were jellybeans and icecreams Oh! What a world it would be...stanging outside, mouths open wide, singing ah ah a ah ah a ah ah a ah! if all the raindrops were carrots and tomatoes Oh! What a world it would be.

Instead of walking, we hopped across the crosswalk. While we waited for Beth to get out of class we stood under the school's rain-spouts and the moment Beth was let out of school we had her change into her rain boots and we slid down the slides even-though they were soaking wet and even-though it got our clothes wet.The three of us sang some more, and raced to the biggest puddles. We even did the most craziest silliest thing, we walked in flowing water next to the sidewalk instead of on the sidewalk (but we were still safe and jumped up on the sidewalk anytime a car came by) and the most insane part of all...drum roll...we didn't rush home.

We took our time and jumped in one particularly large (as Beth called it the mostest humungoest) puddle for over ten minutes, splishin and splashin so much dirty puddle water splash up into our faces. Just then we started getting a little bit cold and that's when it occurred to me these kids in Texas have never played for a long time in the snow and gotten cold while having fun. And if they have never done that, they have never drank hot chocolate after doing so.  Seeing them giggling while getting wet and dirty, is when I became determined that rainy days will be fun for these kids. I might not be able to control the weather or even let go of schedules and just have fun everyday, but we can have fun in the rain and we will always have hot chocolate on days like today.

Once we got home, I stripped down the chillins and got 'em changed into some dry comfy clothes, then it was time for cocoa!

Normally, the kids only get one packet which means only one flavor. When Beth asked if she could have mint and marshmallow I was about to say no just automatically, but then I guess the rain had changed my thought process and today I figured that if we made the cocoa in a big cup, we could mix the flavors and the pour the yummiest combination into the littler cups. So we had Minty Marshmallowy Milk Chocolaty Hot Cocoa. And usually I sit in my spot across from the children at the table, but they always want me to sit between I sat with Alex on my left and Beth on my right as we drank our cocoa.

It was when Alex was licking his chocolate mustache off while saying "this is yummy", and Beth asking if we could always have Hot Chocolate on cold rainy days, and myself answering "sure! it will be our special tradition," that I realized that its good to not always be worried about every little mudane rule or schedule or "normally"...and that to live we should truly seize each day and see it as not...Park Day Cancelled, but rather Puddle Jumping and Hot Cocoa Day!!!

Fun side note: While I was typing this little story up I was also watching The IT Crowd. And there was this awesome quote from Moss: "its the fun-est wet-est most splish splashiest place in the world" and although he was referring to Sea World, I feel like it about sums up just how awesome the mud puddle just down the street is, if you have enough child in you to enjoy it. 

Tuesday, January 11

Fishin with Alex

Today, after Alex and I walked back from dropping Beth off at school. We decided to practice our fishing line casting skills. But, Alex had lost his little weight doodad so I tied on a little rubber frog and we casted the line around the house for a while. Alex was cracking me up so much that I had to get a video of him. So, rushed upstairs to my room to get my laptop so I could record him, when I came back downstairs I started filming. Check it out: 

He is so funny! Just as I pressed the start button he decided he didn't want the frog on the line anymore and as you can tell, after a little while he realized that I was filming him. We spent the next hour playing with my computer photobooth and video. It was definitely one of the best parts of my day.

Sunday, January 9

One Day At A Time

I woke up this morning to the sounds of two happy children rushing up and down stairs. Beth and Alex love mornings. I'm working on appreciating the morning hours, but I am a night owl type person. You can ask my Mommy and she will tell you the same thing. I have always enjoyed staying up late and waking after the sun does.

The first thing Alex says to me today is "Hi Jeannette" the same thing he has said everyday this week. But, Beth simply announces that today is an extra special day and that when I (Jeannette) go to church I'm going to make lots of friends and she wants me to be happy and have friends and so I should be berry excited. After seeing the smile on my face she runs back downstairs and Alex follows. Beth filled me with hope and I wish that things had turned out the way she predicted. I went to church and it was great there were wonderful speakers with uplifting messages, but I didn't really make any friends. In fact, there were only two people who were even nice to me. The plus side being, I didn't make any enemies either.

On the way home from church, I talked to my Dad about the whole experience because I was frustrated and he listened and helped me solidify what I was planning on doing, go to the church activities this week, try to get to know a few people and hope next Sunday is better. Part of me wonders if that will happen though. I worry about this week and I worry that I'll spend five months try to get to know people here while growing distant from my family and friends that don't live in Texas, and that in the end only friends I'll have are the ones I live with here in Texas.

That is why I am so grateful for the Church Education Service's (CES) Fireside tonight. I went to the CES broadcast tonight at the church with hopes that I would get a chance to meet some people afterwords, but I got something even better and unexpected. Peace. The speaker Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke about asking the Lord for our daily needs and living one day at a time. Although it is good to have goals and things in the future we are working on; we shouldn't dwell on the future, but rather live in the present. A few of the stories he share particularly touched me and helped me realize, that five months from now is five months from now and that I have things I can do today. So...I didn't make any new friends today, but right after the broadcast I called one of my really good friends and talked with her and her husband. Maddie and Tyler :] i less than three the both of you. :] and hope your ravioli turned out wonderful. I came home and was happy to have a little leftover dessert and for the wonderful conversation I had with Ash (Beth and Alex's mom). I read another chapter in this new book  and I'm really enjoying. I realized that life is good that I don't know what will happen, what I can or can not do months from now, but I do know I can live today and each day I can do the same.

I'm going to sleep a little earlier tonight, and maybe one day I'll be a morning person who knows? or not. hehe.

Thanks for reading my blog! I'm grateful to have people who care about my day to day life.

Click Here to see the Broadcast I saw

Soap, Scrub, Rinse, Rain

Is it ironic when you wash your car and then less than six hours later a huge rainstorm rains on it? Is ironic the correct term for that? Or is it just annoying? If anyone knows the answer to that please let me know cause I'm not sure.

Anyways, yesterday I spent 3 whole hours detailing Lord Darlington (Lor Dar the Awesome Car for short) my beautiful Ford Focus. Which he needed really bad from the salt on the icy roads on my way down to Texas and just being dirty and dusty, but then last night it rained.

I'm looking out my window and he still looks shiny, but really?!? not even one day after all that hard work. Oh. Well. I guess I know what I'll be doing next Saturday, washing Dar the Car again.

Friday, January 7

Week One: Done.

I just got off work. My last shift this week. So that means: I JUST FINISHED MY FIRST WEEK AS A NANNY!! :)) A year ago, I would have never thought I would be typing that sentence. Just goes to show that the future is full of surprises and unexpected adventures.

This week has been a roller coaster. I moved into my room in The Collins' Home on Sunday, hung out with my brother on Monday, started work on Tuesday, said goodbye to my brother on Wednesday then worked all day, and worked the past two days. All in all 38 hours of nannying in 4 days.

At times I felt like crying, and at the same time I have smiled loads this week. I've also: laughed, been frustrated, tickled, annoyed, proud, happy, tired, confused, confident, and silly. Part of me feels like this is the best jorb in the world and that the past few days just flew by, and the other part of me wonders if I can keep doing this week after week. But each day this job gets better, I feel stronger and more capable. In a few weeks I'll be a child-care pro...or out of my mind, either way I'm pretty sure I'll be happy.

Working with people has always felt so rewarding to me and there is something even more special about working with children. They see things so clearly. Today, Beth asked me if I miss my family. Since, my brother, Bradley stayed with us for a few days she knows I have a brother and sister and my own Mommy and Daddy. After I told her I missed them. She said the simplest and sweetest thing, "That's ok, I would miss my family too. But you are part of my family now too." And that was that, then next thing I know she's asking to watch a Barbie movie. In children's minds the world is black and white and full of color. It's beautiful and good and there is always something to hope for. Kids never cease in being able to see the bright side of a situation or being able to forget the bad and enjoy good times. Why do we as adults dwell on the negative? Why can't we see what they see? We used to.

Thursday, January 6

Pretty New Skirt

Last night Ashley gave Beth a new skirt as a surprise. It is not the typical skirt that Ash would let Beth to wear to school, as you can see its a black skirt with fluffy and frilly purple trim and lots of glitter and gems. But, Beth loved it so much she got to wear it school today.

As I'm sure you can imagine it stands out quite a bit compared to the other jeans and t-shrit outfits her classmates are sporting. I'm amazed at just how well Beth wears it. She feels and looks like the most prettiest girl in the whole world. When I drop her off at school all of her little friends gather around to admire it and tell her how pretty they think she is in it. I'm a little bit jealous, Beth is wearing something fun, flashy, and fashion-forward (or backward to the 80's either way). I can't help but wonder if I would let my children wear something that fun to school. When I see the huge smile on her face, I figure that as long as their clothes are clean and covering I would probably let my child wear it too. I'm happy that she is so confident in herself.

But the best part of my day was yet to come. A few hours later Alex and I are waiting outside Beth's classroom waiting to pick her up and walk home. The typical group is gathered outside the classroom door, Mom's with children and strollers, a Dad or two, and a Grandma with her grandson waiting to pick up the other grandkid. Because the grandson and Alex are the same age this Grandma and I start chatting about how big they are getting and how beautiful Alex's blue blue eyes are. That's when I notice her ring checking me...I think to myself haha she think's he's my kid. And after a little while I hear talking to her grandson "do you want to be friend with that little boy over there? (referring to Alex) His Mommy told me he is three just like you!". I do everything I can not to burst out with laughter, and for some reason I don't think it's worth it to correct her, I mean it is not like she was talking to me.

But wait! It gets even better! Two seconds later Alex yells at me impatiently "Jeannette! When is she (referring to Beth) coming out?!" The Grandma get a mortified look on her face like she can't believe my "son" just called me by my first name, then she re-ring checks and then get a confused look on her face. In an effort to strike up conversation she says, "Oh! My would you look at what some Mom let there daughter wear to school today." In a polite, yet what-in-the-world sort of tone "Isn't that an interesting skirt?". At this point I know this woman is referring to Beth because as I look in I'll admit she stood out a bit, but I can't help but smile because this Grandma has un-knowingly said something rude almost directly to me. I try to let her save face by not engaging the conversation, but that's when Alex's perfect timing comes into play. He turns to me and says "Look its Beth I can see her! Its Beth!" And that's when the Grandma asks if Beth is his sister and which one is she? After I answer that she is his sister and the one in the lovely purple skirt, all I hear from Grandma is backtracking comments like fashions these days, kids with do what that do, it really is pretty and my favorite an awkward good-bye as she rushes her two grandchildren far away from the fashion-insane-single-mom-who-has-no-control-on-her-children...aka me The Nanny.

Saturday, January 1

Day 4: Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Everyone!
Lookin good in Twenty Eleven. Woot.

It was an emotional morning: We got up, checked out, re-packed the car, and then headed for Carlsbad Caverns. The rest of the day was  filled with adventure and more driving.
But there is a bit more to the story than that...

Have you ever had your foot ran over? by a car? loaded to the brim with your owns things? As of today...ya me too. I mean who hasn't? lol. I'll tell you one thing though, if you are going to get your foot ran over avoid wearing flip flops when it happens. Just saying. It might make for a nice bruise pattern, but it is possible that it would be less painful if one were to wear a different form of footwear.
This looked like an Amazing Race stop.
As if getting your foot ran over by your own car weren't embarrassing enough, I also cried this morning.  Not because my foot hurt, it surprisingly didn't hurt much at all. Rather because it hit me that today is one of the last days I'll get to spend with Bradley before his mission. So there I am driving down the New Mexico highway balling my eyes out and poor Darb didn't know what to do. What can anyone do when a girl is being all emotional?
Finally, we got to the caverns and by then I'd stopped crying and Brad and I were joking because sometimes my GPS is ridiculous.
The actual entrance to the Restrooms
at the bottom of the Cavern.
Carlsbad Caverns are so cool, but watch out for troll drool. he. he.
I think the best part of the whole experience was the bottom of the cave. I drank gatorade, ate a turkey and cheese sammish, shopped, sent a postcard, visited the restroom...all at the bottom of a cave!! it was awesome!
After we left Carlsbad, I took the wrong turn and we ended up going down an empty Texas Hill country road. Highway 54. It was simply beautiful. Miles of visibility, dry plains with Texan mountains in the background. Brad said it looked like a road from a car commercial. It may have been gorgeous, but it was a much longer route than the other freeway I should have taken. Personally, I'm glad I accidentally went down Highway 51.
Bradley and Lord Darlington on Highway 51
A couple hours ago we arrived in Fort Stockton, Texas. The only thing we had to do was find a place to stay the night. After price checking a few different hotels, we were blessed to get a room at this Quality Inn. I got us the room at 1/2 rate because the new guy working at the hotel took an hour trying to figure out another person's reservation. About every ten minutes I wanted to leave and go find somewhere else to stay, but I just had a feeling that I should wait and that everything would work out. And it did. Patience is a Virtue. Once we settled into our room, we headed back out to find food and ended up getting some awful chinese. It was supposed to be the best Chinese place in town, but it is not hard to be the best when it is the only Chinese restaurant in town. Both of us are tired and not feeling our best, so we just came back to our room to watch some TV.  And that's what we're doing right now. Watching Nick @ Nite and ironically The Nanny is playing. I can't believe tomorrow I'll be at The Collin's and Tuesday will be my first day as a Nanny.