November 29, 2013

Noshember and birthday stuff

November is now Noshember (aka No-shave November) in our home. Well, for Nick anyway. I'm not so good at growing a beard. ;)

This is the first time I have seen Nick with a full beard. And I like it. He's one of those guys who just look handsome with a beard. And hot.



 
We got our first real snowfall. The kids loved it. I even went out and played with them for a bit (instead of watching from the window like I usually do).


I turned 31 on the 18th of November. The pic below is proof that my gray hairs just keep multiplying as the years pass.



 
Nick made me Kneader's French toast for breakfast. He even looked up the recipe for the syrup and made it from scratch. What a sweetheart.
 


 
 
And he gave me a card. Thanks Loki for slobbering all over it.

 
 
For me: Food + thoughtful card = perfect birthday.
But the fun did not stop there.
 
My wonderful parents asked me to meet up with them at The Cheesecake Factory. On my way there, I had an emotional experience. During the solitary drive with my music blaring and my mind wandering, I suddenly realized that I am now at the same age my sister, Mikel, was when she passed away. Then almost as if I needed a reminder of how fragile and fleeting this life really is, the tire blew out from a car in oncoming traffic. I heard a loud screech and then watched that car spin out of control towards my vehicle. Luckily, it missed me and nobody was hurt. Even more fortunate was that an ambulance and fire truck just happened to be right there witnessing the whole event. As I drove away from the scene, I turned off my music and let myself just think about my sister. Her birthday is exactly one week after mine and since we were little we have usually had a joint birthday party. It still feels strange getting phone calls and texts from every sibling but her and knowing that there will not be a designated family dinner for us to celebrate our birthdays together. Mikel's old apartment was on the way to my destination so I decided to pay it a little visit. I sat in my car and just looked at her building. Then decided to climb the stairwell that led to her apartment. It was as if I could just walk inside and see her smiling face and hear her boisterous laugh again. I left with tears streaming down my cheeks. I sure miss my sister.
 
When I arrived at The Cheesecake Factory, I related the whole experience to my parents - who of course couldn't hold back tears.  We were quite the sight, I tell ya. Luckily the older I get, the less I care about what other people think. I was glad and grateful to have a few moments to remember the sister and daughter who brought so much joy and laughter to our lives.
 
 
 
As you can see in the above pic, my brother Terry joined us for lunch as well. Good ol' Ter-bear.

My favorite cheesecake: White chocolate raspberry. Sooooooo good.

 
Then my wonderful friend, Kassy, stopped by for a visit. Kassy and I have been friends since we were 9 years old! I'm pretty sure we will be friends forever. I just love her.




 
Then my friend, Amber (who is also friends with Kassy. We all grew up on the same street), made this cute collage of us in our younger years and posted it to my Facebook page. Oh the memories I have with these two awesome girls! I am so blessed with such great friends.

 

When I arrived home, Nick and Toby had made this cute, little birthday cake for me. (Can you tell that much of my birthday centers around food? Everyone seems to know the way to my heart) :)
 


 That night Nick and I ate dinner at Tepanyaki's and saw Thor 2. When we arrived home, Nick said he had one more gift to give me:
 
A bag full of British chocolate!
Definitely puts American candy to shame.
 




 I tell ya, I had the birthday that keeps on giving. Friday night and Saturday day I was able to attend Time Out For Women with a few of my friends in the ward. It was such a fun, inspirational couple of days! I will definitely be going again next year.

 
 
Then last Monday Nick wanted to use up our free meal at Tucano's (you get a free meal during the month of your birthday if you sign up on their website). So while Toby was at school, we took Aspen with us to enjoy a little carnivorous luncheon. Yum.
 


Aspen was quite the lush with the Brazilian lemonade. She couldn't get enough of that stuff.
 


 

As we were sitting there enjoying a nice lunch together, I mentioned to Nick that it was Mikel's birthday. He nodded his head that he remembered. And then out-of-the-blue said, "Why don't we visit the cemetery on our way home?" I was so touched that he even thought to do that.
Nick hadn't been to the cemetery since that cold day in January when we lowered her casket into the ground. He told me later that he was surprised to find himself a little emotional as we stood there remembering my sister. It was a sweet experience.   
 



For Thanksgiving, we joined Nick's sister and her family, along with his parents, for a lovely dinner. They even prepared it a little early because Nick had to go into work that night. They provided all the traditional Thanksgiving foods: rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, turkey, and, of course, pumpkin and apple pies. But what does my son want? A bowl of Froot Loops. Sigh. Someday I hope he will appreciate food as his mother does. :)


So that was our eventful November. Hopefully I can increase my blog posts during the month of December. I'm slacking!


October 31, 2013

Halloween

Not sure what got into my kids right before we went trick or treating. Both of them refused to smile for pictures. Maybe they were going for...aloof?




Once I asked Aspen if she wanted to go get some candy, she perked right up. 


Most adorable snow angel on the block.


This is Toby's cute friend Jeff - who was also Optimus Prime for Halloween. I'm glad he could get a smile out of the T-man.


I was a tigress...again. It's my go-to costume. The kids like when I at least make an effort to dress-up.


After trick-or-treating, we headed over to the park behind our home to watch the Thriller Flashmob.
We live in the best neighborhood.
 


 And now the little ones are fast asleep and I'm enjoying some of their spoils.
Happy Halloween!



September 17, 2013

A Debbie post

Some of you already know this but for the record, I would like write about my new hobby. Since March 2013, I have been writing articles for FamilyShare.com. I found their website from an article someone posted on their Facebook page. From there I researched how people became regular contributors to the site and found out that many of them are just regular people sharing their experiences and tips on how to strengthen and nurture family life. I kept thinking, "This would be fun. I'm no marriage/family therapist, but I definitely have some crazy and somewhat informative hands-on parenting experiences worthy of sharing." From there I contributed about one article per month. In May I received an email from FamilyShare's editor asking for a certain amount of people to become "FamilyShare Fivers" (basically you would commit to contributing 5 solid articles a month and get paid a little for each article). With Nick's encouragement, I applied. I kept thinking I was completely under qualified and hadn't submitted enough articles for them to even consider me. To my shock, a few days later I received and email from an editor welcoming me to their Independent Contributor writing team! I was beyond excited - but also a little nervous about the commitment. I knew right away I had to set some goals. Goal #1 - Protect my family time. I do my best to work on articles only when the kids are sleeping or out with daddy. Goal #2 - Submit articles 1-2 times per week. I've done pretty well on the 1st goal. The 2nd one, let's just say I've had some weeks quite similar to my cramming days in school. Yikes. Gotta work on that.

23 articles later and I'm still feeling good about this commitment. It's been extremely fulfilling and rewarding - as well as a nice outlet for me during my down time. I look at some of my articles and think "I made that. And people are reading it. This is crazy." I'm reminded of the quote by President Uchtdorf: "The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before."

Even though I'm grateful for mostly a positive response to my articles, I still lack a lot of confidence in my writing ability. Almost every article I write will go through this thought process: "This is a pretty good article...It's OK...This kind of stinks...What was I thinking?" Then when I submit it for editing and receive good feedback, I am always surprised and then think, "Alright, I guess it's not that bad."


So there you have it. I think I've found my niche. I've never been a crafter, gardener, home decor person, fashionista, or creative party-throwing mommy/wife. But writing, I can do. Somewhat. And FYI - I will be keeping an ongoing list of all the articles I've written. Click here if you are interested in reading a few of them. And keep in mind that I'm still learning the ropes of writing (and motherhood. and marriage). So be kind as you read through them. :)

My FamilyShare articles

Kicking mommy guilt to the curb

Don't postpone your happiness

How to be comfortable in your skin

How to reconnect with you spouse after the birth of your baby

How to know when to let visitors meet you baby

How to be a new mom and keep your identity

School's out! 15 ideas to cure summer boredom

How to be a better listener

Parting with the pacifier

How to get your child's academic career off to a great start

Give a mom a break: 6 ways for mom to loosen up

5 tips to ensure sweet dreams for little ones

How to deal with unsolicited parenting advice

How to keep the grocery store from draining your wallet

Say it and mean it: 4 things your wife is waiting to hear

What to do when you struggle being a stay-at-home mom

Potty training 101: 7 tips for a positive experience

7 ways to show gratitude to your husband

How to respectfully communicate your needs in marriage

15 fun things to do to celebrate fall

5 ways to celebrate being yourself

6 marriage-killer phrases to avoid

6 tips for you and baby number 2

10 ideas to get you motivated to exercise 

8 stroller games for toddlers

What the parenting books didn't tell you about being a parent

How to stop comparing yourself and start loving yourself now

How to strengthen your family bond

How to know if he's marriage material

September 12, 2013

A long time coming

So I have some good news. OK, it's actually FANTASTIC, AWESOME, BEEN-WAITING-FOR THIS-FOREVER NEWS.

Nick is no longer working on Sunday!!!!

Alright, some of you already knew this tidbit of info since I announced it on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. But I simply must document this event on my blog. It's kind of a big deal. :)

So let me start this off with a tender memory that makes me tear up whenever I think about it. Nick started working Sunday's in December of 2010. I remember it like it was yesterday because that very first Sunday he worked, I went over to Mikel's apartment to hang out with her and her daughter, Azia, for a few hours. I was pregnant with Aspen and Toby was the same age Aspen is now. I can still clearly remember our conversations. We watched Eclipse together, she pointed out a favorite song, we laughed a lot (there was sure to be laughter with Mikel). It's still hard to think about. It still hurts. But at the same time, I'm so glad I have that memory because just a few weeks later she passed away. How invaluable for me to have had that one-on-one time before she left our family for a time. Gosh, I miss her.

After that, my Sunday's went something like this: If Nick was working the day shift, he was gone from 5:30 am till 7:00 pm. If he was working graveyards, I would wake up with the kids, get them ready, wake up Nick for Sacrament meeting, Nick would go back home after Sacrament meeting to catch some more Z's, I would bring the kiddos home after church, put Aspen down for a nap, start dinner, Nick would wake up around 4 or 4:30, we'd eat a quick dinner and he was out the door by 5:30 pm.

Doing that for 2 years and 9 months was hard. I won't sugar coat it. Sunday's never felt like a day of rest. In fact, I often felt more frazzled, exhausted, and short tempered on a Sunday than any other day of the week. I gained a whole new respect and empathy for other women who do the Sunday shenanigans alone week after week. I have to say though, that even though the 3 hours at church was rough, I think being by myself on a Sunday night when Nick worked graveyards was the worst. Every other night of the week I was excellent at distracting myself. For some reason on Sunday nights, after the kids were in bed, I just felt really alone.

But I can say now (with a small pat on my back) that I did it. I tried really hard to never miss going to church just because it was too hard or I didn't feel like it (I'm kind of a masochist that way). Yes, I make TONS of mistakes. And now that I'm a parent, I feel like my mistake quota has quadrupled. BUT...I really feel I can look back on those few years with a clear conscience and say I did my best to be faithful in attending my meetings. Bottom line: I wanted to show the Lord how badly I wanted things to change with Nick's work schedule, so I tried my best to stay worthy of that blessing at all times. (Doctrine & Convenants 82:10)

And how quickly it changed. Nick told me a couple of months ago that his shift was going to change to the Wednesday - Saturday shift and I kind of didn't believe him. He has said that 2 or 3 times in the past and inevitably something happened at work (out of his control) that kept him on the Sunday - Wednesday shift. As much as I wanted to be excited about it, I kind of had this "I'm not going to get my hopes up" attitude.

But then it happened.

A few weeks ago, Nick went to church with us, stayed at church, came home with us and we ate a real (not rushed) Sunday dinner as a family. And to be honest, it was kind of a shock to my system. So much that I felt a few tears trickle down my cheek while I prepared dinner. I just kept thinking, "I can't believe it. He's here to stay. He doesn't have to sleep or be anywhere. This is AWESOME." 

So that is the story of Sunday's at the Sibert's. Yay for change! Yay for husband's who work hard! 
So grateful to have you back with us, Nicholas.  We've missed ya!

(OK, technically this ^ was our first Sunday together but I didn't count it because we were at our nephews farewell. At least I got a picture of it!)


August 24, 2013

Toby goes to kindergarten

My little Tobester is officially a kindergartener! I've been perusing through some of the early days with the T-man and I really can't believe how fast this day came.


From Toby's birth until he was around 14 months old, we lived in a rental home in Provo. We had an elementary school right across the street from us and I can vividly remember taking walks and watching the kids run and play on the playground. I also remember thinking I couldn't imagine Toby doing that, it just seemed so far away.



It really feels like just yesterday I was a sleep-deprived mama trying to figure how to get my very sensitive and alert baby boy to sleep through the night.
And now, here we are.



Toby's attending Lakeview Academy Charter school in Saratoga Springs (about 5 miles away). It wasn't something I planned on. I just put his name in the lottery, he got it in, it felt right and now he's going there. So far I'm impressed with the staff, administration and organization of the school. But most importantly, I'm happy that Toby is happy. He's eager to go and comes home smiling. In fact, he was so excited for his first day of school, he told me in the car that he wanted me to just drop him and I didn't need to walk him in. But of course I walked him in and then had a hard time walking away.

So proud of you, my handsome little man.

August 19, 2013

Rarick Family Reunion

July 26th and 27th was the Rarick family reunion. Unfortunately, only 4 out of the 7 siblings were able to make it (I like to think Mikel was able to visit for a bit though :) ). This was the first of hopefully many more reunions. We definitely had a blast those couple of days.

Day 1 - Lagoon

The older I get the more I detest the extreme temperatures. It was around 100 degrees while we meandered from ride to ride. 
Way. too. hot. 
But Toby still braved lots of rides and loved hanging out with his cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. 
Where is Aspen? We felt it would just be a long, hot, and miserable day for her. So we hired, Cassie, a favorite babysitter, to watch her for the day at our home. They had a much cooler (temperature-wise) fun-filled day.


Day 2 - Hangout at the park...er...Stake Center!

We had plans to do some water games and a BBQ at a park. Good thing my mom plans ahead and reserved the Stake Center in case of inclement weather. It poured all day long.

So some of you know my family, some of you don't. Thus, I will give a run down of names and ages:




Mom and Pop: Pam and Kevin Rarick - age 65 and 67, live in North Ogden



(I don't know how I managed to not take a picture of my mom...what kind of daughter am I?)

Siblings:
Beckie - age 41, lives in Palmer, Alaska (absent)
Jake - age 38, lives in San Diego, California (absent)



Terry (goes by Terence) - age 37, lives in South Jordan, UT (he HATES having his picture taken, ^ this was the only one I could get)


Tim ^ - age 35, lives in Rexburg, ID
Mikel - should be 33 now, lives in Heaven :)
Me - age 30, lives in Eagle Mountain, UT
And last but not least...


Vanessa ^ - she turned 25 on Day 2 of the reunion, lives in Eagle Mountain, UT
So that's the fam at a glance.

We had an obstacle course and some guess-who games (my mom read off certain attributes/talents about all of the siblings and our kids had to guess who she was talking about).

Brother Tim serenaded us with a little Coldplay...

video

Most of time though, the kids just ran around and played with each other and toys, courtesy of the nursery.






Some random pics of Ness and Tim...





Aspen and Eleanor. Born about 2 weeks apart.


After the Stake Center shenanigans, we headed to my parents neighbor's home to swim in their pool. 





Always fun hanging out with my hilarious, movie-quoting, awesome family. We sure missed those who weren't able to make it though. 

And here are just some randoms from the summer. Enjoy.








Toby starts Kindergarten on Wednesday! You better believe I'll be documenting that day. :)