Tuesday, October 9, 2012

{ Remembering Gigi }

Gigi with her kids on her 90th birthday

Last night, as the world slept on, my family gathered to say goodbye to my wonderful, sweet Grandma.

Nina Ruth Kettler was one of those special ladies whose role in life seemed to be "Grandma." She was a loving wife, mother, friend, and Sunday school teacher, sure, but somehow it seems to me that God wove the tapestry of her life so she could be the perfect grandmother. And not just to her own grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but to all children who came in contact with her.

Gigi and her favorite little man

A visit to Grandma's house always consisted of three things - looking at whatever photos she had recently taken, baking fabulous cookies, and working the garden. I'd always laugh and tease Grandma about her photos, because she had this enduring habit of cutting off the tops of people's heads in them. She didn't care. She was gathering memories! There were photos of family and photos of church, and there were always photos of the neighborhood kids who would stop by to see Miss Nina and eat a cookie. Her life literally played out in pictures.

Speaking of cookies...oh man, those were good. Grandma loved cooking just about anything, but sweets held a special place in her heart and stomach. We shared a love of butterscotch, so every time I was at her house we baked oatmeal scotchies using her special recipe. Nowadays I use that same recipe when I bake cookies for friends and family and they're always "the best cookies ever!" The same goes for her cakes too. Any time we had a family function, you could tell which cake was hers by the tiny corner cut out. She's couldn't resist a taste test, so she would cut out an itty bitty corner and pretend no one would notice. I always found the missing-corner cake, because I knew it'd be a good'un.

Grandma's garden was a special place for her. It was full of the prettiest roses, the biggest peonies, the best tomatoes you'd ever seen. She lovingly tended her plants, and us grandkids spent plenty of time helping her. I didn't inherit her green thumb, but I had fun anyway - especially if she'd put me in charge of the water hose. I probably drowned a lot of her poor plants. ;)

Throughout the years, all of us stored up special memories of Grandma - from lazy mornings sitting on the front porch to getting up at 4 a.m. to go fishing (she was very serious about her fishing) to "peter pan collars with lace" (if you don't get that joke, I'm sorry...there's just no adequate way to explain it). We'll cherish those moments forever, and we'll miss the woman at the center of them. Our loving Gigi, as her great-grandkids call her, was ushered by angels into the presence of God at 3:07 a.m. Tuesday morning, and although we can never fill the gap she left, we'll always have the warmth of her love remaining in every cookie we bake, every seed we plant, every hug we share, and every photo album we fill.

Love you Gigi.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{Kellen and Chris Brown}

My baby fights going to sleep. He is a sleep warrior.

No amount of routine or anything else you see blogger moms touting will change that. Believe me, I've tried. He just fights naptime and bedtime. Most of the time, anyway. I've gotten used to it.

I do, however, have a secret weapon that I bring out on many occasions:

Chris Brown.

That's right, Chris Brown.

Specifically, the music video for "Forever." I don't know why, but that sends my little warrior right to sleep. Every. Single. Time.

I've tried other videos, but none work like "Forever." Weird, huh? :)

Fun fact: watch the choreography closely. After I watched this about 20+ times, I realized that it includes a TON of subtle Michael Jackson references!

Monday, August 27, 2012

{ Frustration, or the Troubles of Finding Dance Students in Oklahoma }

Good morning, sunshines!

I'm sure you're all very sunny in the morning. You're all morning people, right? No? Good, me neither.

Kellen, on the other hand, is definitely a morning person. He wakes up bright and early with a smile on his face and a song in heart! (That song quickly makes its way out of his mouth in the form of growls and other various silly sounds)

So here I am, bright and early and working on Scottish dance stuff!

I've had so much going on lately that I've had trouble even keeping my days of the week straight. Trying to get a couple Scottish dance classes together with almost no notice is incredibly hard. When you're teaching a dance form that very few people know of, you really need a lot more time than I have to gather students! So I'm 11 days away from my first class and I have one student. Kind of depressing, huh? Yeah...I may or may not have cried about it a couple of times. Especially since people who've been telling me for a year that they want to take dance classes say they can't do anything the night I have scheduled at the studio. Honestly, it's a bit embarrassing having to deal with this struggle for students, but I have to remember that this isn't ballet or even Irish dance - this is a form of dance that no one in Oklahoma even recognizes.

All that being said, I still have time to gather some students, and there's a Celtic event on September 1, so that'll be a place to do some networking. I've also been passing out fliers wherever I can and plan to take some around today, and of course there's a good bit of prayer going into this as well. :D If you have any ideas for my little PR campaign let me know! And of course your prayers are appreciated.

I'm also working on building a blog for the dance school. I'll let you know when that's up and running! :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

{ Oklahoma, meet Highland dance! }

Exciting news! I'm finally starting up a dance school!

Check out the Ladymon School of Scottish Dance Facebook page here, and "like" us while you're at it!

Oh, and spread the word, too. I need as many people to sign up by the beginning of September as possible. Classes are in OKC at the NW Optimist Center and my prices are pretty cheap. Ages 4 to 99 are welcome! :)

Scottish Highland dance is one of the most gratifying art forms/sports available. Personally, it helped me overcome severe shyness and asthma - two problems that plagued my childhood. It also increased my strength, endurance, flexibility, spatial awareness, and coordination beyond what I thought possible, all while giving me a love of my heritage and a respect for culture and traditions. Through dance I also got to travel all over the US and become friends with some of the most unique and kind people imaginable.

Highland dance prepared me for life. It taught me valuable lessons and expanded my horizons mentally, emotionally, and physically. I relate story after story of how dance helped me in other facets of life - and I want to pass that on.

Help me re-establish Highland dance in Oklahoma. Help me have a job that allows me to still be a stay-at-home mom! Help me make a difference in the lives of others. Sign up for dance classes, or at least encourage those around you to do so!

This is back in 2006, I believe. I was a lot bouncier back then :D

In case you missed that link the first time - go like the Ladymon School of Scottish Dance!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

{Thankful Tuesday - Vacation and Adoption!}

I've been lax on my blog updates again, so today's Thankful Tuesday is packed!

Today I'm thankful for...

1. A new family member! My in-laws always have several foster children, and they've had Allysha since before her second birthday (she's three now). As of last Thursday, July 12, she's officially a Ladymon! That means Shaun has a three-year-old sister and Kellen has an aunt who's just a few years older than him. She's witty and sassy...and sometimes she's pretty sweet. :) I'm kind of hoping the sassiness fades though!

2. Quality time with family. Shaun, Kellen, and I spent the entire first week of July in Creede, Colorado with Shaun's family, and it was a blast! Between the 4-wheeler expeditions, fishing, inside jokes, hysterical laughter, and storytelling, I didn't want the week to end. And of course Kellen got loads of attention!

3. Fresh mountain air. I miss it like nobody's business. Even during the warmest part of the day, Creede is pleasant. Coming back to the Oklahoma heat was not fun! There's just something about a cool mountain breeze that makes even sitting on a cabin porch invigorating, and I can't wait to go back.

4. Good eats. I LOVE the restaurants in Creede. I guess I've only eat at four of them, but I'm a big fan of each. MJ's and The Old Firehouse are our favorites for breakfast, and TOF is also a great stop for ice cream when you're shopping around downtown in the afternoon! Cascada is a Mexican restaurant with a really out-of-the-ordinary menu and a to-die-for Caesar salad, which happens to be one of my favorite meals. :) There's just something about their dressing! My favorite place to eat, though, is Kip's Grill. They have elk burgers that make my mouth water. Shaun and I ate there twice, and the second time was quite an adventure. I love sitting on their patio, but we got caught out there with Jared, Katrina, Barrett, Madison, Holley, Ethan, and Kellen during a downpour! The table umbrellas just weren't cutting it, and everyone but Kellen and me (we sat in the lucky seat I guess lol) got soaked before they moved us to a table under the awning. Oh well, it was one for the memory books!

5. 4G and wi-fi. If there's anything that can make me thankful for coming home from vacation, it's the ability to use my phone again! In Creede you're always on edge network, and even when you can get wi-fi it doesn't work that great. On vacation I received texts hours after they were sent, rarely could make phone calls, and getting online was impossible a lot of the time. It let me know how dependent I am on technology! Getting a break from it all was fun, but I'm glad to be connected to the world once more.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

{Thankful Thursday}

Well, I missed Thankful Tuesday...again...so today is Thankful Thursday. I start blogs all the time lately, but with everything that's going on I never get them finished!

This Thursday I'm thankful for...

1. Downsizing our stuff. Shaun and I are finally getting rid of a whole bunch of stuff we've been keeping around for little to no reason. It's my goal to make our house (and life) simpler and less cluttered, and making a bit of money while I'm at it! So if you're interested in anything, we've got most of it posted on Craigslist - antique dishes, antique piano, couch, chair/ottoman, two dressers, some music stuff (a bass, a bass road case, etc.). Let me know if you want to see photos of anything!

2. Having more time to be busy. Sounds crazy, right? But it's true - since leaving that one job I used to have, I've been busier than ever. I'm getting to do things that were important yet shoved to the bottom of the to do list for ages. AND I get more time to play with my sweet baby!

3. Free diapers. I have yet to buy diapers, thanks to all the wonderful ladies in my life. Before Kellen was born we were given boxes and boxes of those awesome tushy covers, and I could not be more thankful. That's an expense that I'm grateful to avoid thus far!

4. Kellen's cuteness. His latest cute baby trick is trying to say "I love you." Whenever we tell him "I love you" he smiles and says "I looooooooo oooooooooo." It's the sweetest thing ever! I don't know why he tries to say that certain phrase, but I'm definitely okay with it! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

{What's that? More changes, you say?}

It's only Wednesday, but this week is already full of big decisions!

I kept it kind of hush-hush, but I was able to do an interview pretty quickly after I lost my job, and after a second interview Monday I was offered the job. Pretty awesome, right? Right.

Unfortunately, my head and my heart were saying two different things. My head said "this is a great opportunity with a great company with opportunities for great advancement. Jump on it!" while my heart was saying "this isn't the right choice, despite how enticing it sounds."

Shaun and I prayed and talked and prayed and talked, and realized that yesterday was the day to take a leap that we've been talking about since I found out I was pregnant:

I'm now officially a stay-at-home mom!

For years I've read Bible passages such as Proverbs 31 and known that God's plan for the mother includes staying home. I know that a lot of moms aren't given that option, and I blame today's societal structure (and ultimately, sin) for that, but I also know that today's society views a stay-at-home mom's role quite differently from the Bible.

The mother in Proverbs 31 does anything but "stay." That word is so stationary, so inactive, but a godly mother is one of the most active individuals you could imagine! She works with her hands, is diligent in bringing home the perfect food for her family, makes investments (buys fields), uses profits to plant a vineyard (more investing and work!), and much more. She takes care of her family in every way possible.

I could go on and on about how beautiful the woman depicted in Proverbs is to me, but I won't! I will, however, ask for your prayers. Please pray that God prospers and blesses my family for following His outline for the family.

This will be a hard transition, but it's so worth it. I'll be doing some odd jobs, probably including some work for Oklahoma Woman magazine (wanna buy some ad space??) and an antiques/home decor booth. I'll keep busy, for sure! I'm also still actively looking at jobs that are 12 hour shifts, such as hospital jobs. I'd get to be home the majority of the time!

As for Shaun, now that I can watch Kellen during the day, he has time to work more on his freelance design projects. If anyone has a design project they need done, let me know! He's available for a wide range of designs, from t-shirts to album covers to animated trailers. I'll also be working as his project manager, so I can cut you a good deal. ;)

The next few months will certainly be an adventure! If nothing else, our budget will probably be very interesting. :) After the year we've had, though, we're great at trimming the fat from a budget. And it's pretty hard to phase us now, after all we've been through. So bring on the trials. We've got a Bible in hand and God to guide us! What more do we need? :D