Monday, November 16, 2015

Grandma Smith turns 80

The day after I quit my office job, we headed to Seattle to celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday party! There was quite a lot of people who came to wish her happy birthday and we had a fun time. 
Typical Smith gatherings - lots of chattering and happy hellos!  

The lead up to an awesome photo session of Grandpa, Grandma and their 8 kids! The posing, checking each others teeth, getting ready, fighting over who they do and don't want to stand by. Does sibling rivalry every go away?!? - Come on Uncle Steve, you need to get in the picture! 

The reach ... Grandpa's phone rang and he was reaching for it to answer it. Auntie Amy was trying to stop him ... was she successful? 

Nope! My grandma, aunts, uncles and dad laughing at Grandpa! 

Oh no! Now everyone has a phone call? 

Phew, finally! 

Bentley James!

Ellia and I have a thorn on our noses!

My Jensen grandparents came! How lucky am I - to be 35 and have both sets of grandparents living ... AND to see them all in the same day! 

Grandpa and Grandma Smith

Talking with Evie! My cousins sure make cute kids! 

We had a great day celebrating Grandma's birthday! It is awesome whenever my family gets together - it sure doesn't happen often enough! 

A major career change

"An amazing thing happens when you get honest with yourself and start doing what you love, what makes you happy. Your life literally slows down. You stop wishing for the weekend. You stop merely looking forward to special events. You begin to live in each moment and start feeling like a human being. You just ride the wave that is life, with this feeling of contentment and joy. You move fluidly, steadily, calm and grateful. A veil is lifted, and a whole new perspective is born." - Jes Allen.

It had become apparent over time that working in an office, as a Receptionist, with no other positions opening up for me to move into was not the right place for me. It was honestly a struggle to get up each morning and to get to work each day. I felt like I was stuck and didn't have a choice of what to do with my life. Every day, going to the same job, with the same people, in the same environment - which did nothing to uplift or fulfill me. 

I had looked at countless nanny jobs but for some reason I never applied to them. I would think "Oh, this would be the best nanny job for me ... " I wasn't sure how I could prove to parents of kids that I would be their best option as a nanny. I hadn't had nanny experience since my early college days - although I have had lots of experience with kids my whole life.

Finally, it happened one morning. It happened to be a Friday morning and I woke up early. I knew that morning that I had a decision to make ... either accept that I was going to wake up every morning and go to a job that I did not like at all, or start applying to nanny jobs. I decided that the latter needed to happen. That morning, I applied to 3 nanny jobs. I heard back from one, and went on an interview Tuesday evening. The interview went okay, but I didn't walk away feeling like I got that job. They said they would let me know in the next day or two. So, I applied to 3 more nanny jobs Tuesday night.

Wednesday, we left for convention ... and Thursday morning, I received an email from someone I had applied to Tuesday evening wanting to meet with me. I scheduled a meeting for Saturday morning and then heard back from the Tuesday evening job that they had found alternate care. I went to the interview on Saturday morning and came away feeling that I needed to get that job. Within 2 hours, I had a request for a background check and another interview where I would meet the family. 

I met the family on Wednesday night and the kids were adorable and such fun! There was a 5 year old boy, 3 year old girl and 8 month old boy. The dad was in the kitchen cooking dinner and we chatted so comfortably. The mom was awesome again, too. When it was time for me to leave, the 3 year old girl asked "But, where are you going?" When I told her that I was going home to eat dinner myself she asked "Can you come back again though?" I answered "Oh, wouldn't that be so much fun? I would love that." The mom told me that she would let me know in the next day or two.

The wait: Every 2 minutes at work on Thursday, I checked my email. I finally limited myself to every 10 minutes. All. Day. Long. Luckily my boss was gone that day. I started to organize and clean out my desk and my inbox. It was that night at 8:15 pm that I got an email saying they wanted to hire me as their nanny!!!! I was ecstatic! I was beyond giddy! I was so absolutely on top of the world! 

I went into work on Friday and emailed my resignation letter to my boss. I gave a one week notice so that I would have a week off between jobs. 

It was one of the best decisions that I've made in my life. I felt like a huge weight lifted off me when I gave my notice and I knew that I would do something with my life that I love doing - working with kids. 

I encourage anyone to follow their dreams. Don't let negative self-talk or doubts get you down. If there is something that you want to do and it's not completely out of this world achievable - go for your dreams! I did and life has been wonderful! :) 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Saisha turns 1

Of course there was no way that we were going to miss our niece's first birthday! Saisha's birthday happened to be on the same weekend that Jen's Jensen family met in Sisters, OR for the weekend. Dennis and I were able to go to Sisters to visit with family and then head to Boise for Saisha's birthday party! 

Yay! Saisha clapping

 Taking the first bite of cake and not so interested in getting her hands dirty!

That's better with a fork!

The setting in Eric & Lenora's yard for Saisha's party! Complete with balloons and cake! Jon, Tamara & Kaiden, Lloyd, Jenny, Dennis and I were here at the party. It was awesome watching Saisha with her cake and the balloons. It's hard to believe that she's already one and I look forward to watching her grow more! 

This is about the best way to have my arms full - holding both Saisha and Kaiden! I love my niece and nephew so much.

Sunday lunch with Jon, Tamara & Kaiden. It's so much fun having little relations that I can see and spoil too! :) 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jen's trip to Texas June 2014

When friends move many states away AND have a new baby ... those friends need to be visited! I was so lucky to be able to go to Texas and visit Don & Jenny, their girls and meet Oscar Dean! It was one of the best weeks I had had in quite a while and I came to realize how important friendship is - no matter the miles in between. 

Dennis and I had been told that Texas is hot and humid in the summertime and boy ... was it ever!! It was so humid that my skin was wet after walking outside! Ugh! 

Don & Jenny picked me up from the airport and when we got home, we took a boat ride across Lake Conroe to have dinner at a restaurant with some of Don's family. It was a very fun way to start my vacation. 

As soon as we got back home, I gave the kids the gifts that I had brought for them. Ava squealed with delight when she opened her Frozen blanket! And Jaina put her backpack on right away and loved it! Oscar didn't really know what to think of his airport/airplane blanket! 

Every morning, Ava & Jaina opened my bedroom door very quietly and peeked in my room. When I glanced at them, they ran and jumped into my bed and we snuggled until Jaina said that she wanted Churos (cheerios) or maybe it was Surl (cereal) for breakfast. 

We visited a fun Children's Museum, we went to a water park, we went to the mall, we looked at a condo for sale, we went swimming in their community pool, we went shopping, went to Vero .... Lots was done in that week. 

When I returned home to my desk job, which was quiet - I really missed the chatter of the little kids, the coo's of Oscar and the conversations between Jenny and I. It was hard to leave, but I absolutely loved my time with my friends!

On the boat heading to supper!

 Ava opening her Frozen blanket 

Jaina wearing her pack-pack

Morning snuggles with these two ... this was a great way to wake up!

"Jen need coffee?" This little girl would make me coffee every morning! What a sweetie! :) 

A crane on the dock

Taking off - and Don's fishing poles are in the picture too! I think the only thing Don caught was a snapping turtle!

This looked so weird - looking at the water from the living room and seeing a tractor on the water! What?!? This tractor went back and forth all day long hauling dirt! 

My camera lens fogged up because of the humidity!  

Ava was a pro at putting Oscar to sleep - he loved when she sang to him!

Oscar Dean! He was such a chunky, adorable baby!

Water balloon fight!

Sister snuggles! These two love each other so much and yet would sometimes fight so bad ... and then love each other again! That's the way it goes with siblings! Ava and Jaina - you both are super lucky to have each other! 

Oscar Dean laying on my lap chatting with me! Most evenings, I would hold Oscar and just talk with him! It was so much fun seeing his smile and hearing his coo's!

Jenny made kombucha while I was there! Yum, homemade kombucha! 

We painted!

Ava and Jaina doing the dishes

Waldo - family of 5

Eating lunch at Vero before taking me to the airport for my return flight home! I was super excited to see Dennis and tell him all about my time, but super sad to be leaving my friends. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful friends and look forward to when we can see them again! 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Kaiden Joel Smith

Our handsome nephew, Kaiden Joel Smith, was born May 25, 2014. Dennis and I headed over to Boise the weekend after he was born to meet him. Of course, I loved him the moment I saw him and held in my arms. I told him about all of the fun things that he and I are going to do when he gets older, which include going to monster truck shows and football games together. Unfortunately there is not a picture of me holding Kaiden, but I know that I did hold him! He was such a handsome baby!

Dennis meeting Kaiden

Look at his cute face!

Jon and Tamara said his legs were frog legs! 

Jon, my younger brother, looking at his son! It has been incredible watching Jon be a dad. 

Kaiden going on his first walk with his parents and uncle Dennis and auntie Jen!