Monday, November 26, 2012

Our new Christmas tradition

I love Christmas. I love, love, love everything about that wonderful, joyful, beautiful holiday. In 2009 we celebrated our first Christmas as a married couple by doing nothing but buying a tree. McKay wasn't for it since we had planned on moving the day after Christmas but I was determined to get my tree and decorate. We didn't buy any gifts because we were still poor and our tree was basically bare, I think my mom lent me some ornaments to hang and then I bought some cheap ones at Home Depot (barf!). I was pretty upset my first Christmas as a family didn't go as planned and swore that next year would be different.
 Mom and dad helping us pick out our tree, dad is an expert!

In 2010 we went all out with what we thought we wanted and what we thought would make us really happy. Together we went and bought a new video camera, camera, Ipad, Ipod, Xbox/Kinect/games, and some other random electronics. McKay gave one of my friends money to go shopping for him and buy me a bunch of clothes from Anthro. We wrapped everything up and were so excited for Christmas morning. In the morning we unwrapped all of our gifts and really didn't enjoy it all that much. I loved my clothes but it would have been nice if McKay wasn't as surprised by what I pulled out as I was (because he had no clue what was in the boxes). I don't think I bought anything special for McKay besides what we got together. Overall it was kind of dull, what a disappointment. Our Christmas turned into how many big things we could buy and how many presents we could put under the tree. No thought or love or planning or anything went into the gifts we gave. We decided that the reason that Christmas wasn't that great was because we didn't do thoughtful gifts and if we did that then the next year would be better.

By the time Christmas 2011 rolls around we have learned about a charity down in Mexico called Families Helping Families. The charity asks for donations either per person or per family and then they ask that you come to Mexico December 26-31 to help build homes for people that really truly need them and have earned them. McKay and I decided that instead of buying gifts we would donate to the charity and go down there to experience something new. So that's what we did. We weren't running around the stores trying to find something the other one wanted, we weren't battling parking lots or long lines or crowded stores. Best, Christmas, EVER! It was so relaxing and peaceful.

 I still decorated my tree even though we left Christmas day

We went down to Mexico and had such an amazing time building a home. I was pregnant so I was the photographer and the person telling people when their bricks weren't straight, it was a great job.  We came home and discussed the difference in all 3 Christmas's and talked about how that was our favorite so far and that we wanted to make it our new tradition. Then to further our belief that that's what we wanted to do, we saw a video Jimmy Kimmel put together about parents videotaping their kids opening awful gifts. It was actually shocking, the kids threw the biggest fits, screamed, cried, hit and yelled at their parents, all because they got a bad gift. Oh heck no! That was not going to be my kids, spoiled little brats! Although I love Christmas and I love the gifts, we decided that we would teach our kids that Christmas is Christ's day, not yours. We will still decorate like crazy, make holiday treats, host Christmas parties, sing carols, send Christmas cards, have stockings and yes still have presents. But the emphasis is not going to be on the presents and there are not going to be hoards of them just because thats what most kids expect. We decided that on birthdays we will go all out and make the child a king or queen for the day and just shower them with gifts galore and with a huge party because that's their day. They should be recognized on their day just like Christ should be recognized on his day. So we will now be doing extra service on and around Christmas because the best gift we can give anyone is our time and talents. I hope to teach my children to serve as Christ served and to not be self absorbed and to want to help others and put service before their own selfish wants. Although I love everything about FHF and plan to make it a new tradition, I know that I wont always be able to make it every year but I hope to do some kind of service and donate what would have been gift money to a deserving organization. Wish us luck!
Look for my next blog on Families Helping Families to learn more about that wonderful organization.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our day at church

Today I overcame a fear that I have where I believe everyone has germs and if a stranger touches my child, he will fall ill and die. Now that's an exaggeration but I am a germaphobe and I really can't stand when strangers feel the need to touch Aiden's hands and cheeks and toys. Germs!! I don't know where their hands have been. It's something I'm working on and I made huge strides today at church.
We got to church and we're waiting for it to start. A woman and her daughter come and sit by us, in spanish she says hello and something else to McKay. She immediately holds out her arms towards Aiden as if she wants to hold him and says something so I just kind of play dumb and hand her the program he's holding. She keeps her arms out and doesn't budge. Awkward. haha McKay looks over and says "no she wants to hold him." So he picks him up and puts him on the woman's lap. I had an immediate panic attack as the woman, no joke, literally starts rubbing cheek to cheek with him and kissing his face all over. AHHHH!!! I have a number one rule that NO ONE is allowed to kiss Aiden on the mouth and everyone knows this rule. She came so close and I was watching every second so I could interveen if I had to but I wanted to be polite so I didn't say anything and she didn't kiss him on the mouth. Whew! Then I panicked again when she tried to give him water from the sacrament which is Mexico's tap water, oh yeah, and she took a sip out of it first so it wouldn't be as full. I don't even put my germs on Aidens feeding supplies! Halfway through sacrament meeting I ask McKay how he knows her and he informs me that he has no clue who she is. That was the cherry on top haha I just had to myself.  She and her daughter traded holding him for over an hour, they even fed him! And I have to say, Aiden totally loved them. He smiled and giggled at them, he cuddled, he was calm even though he was tired. It was great! I told McKay to tell her she's hired and we're bringing her home with us. So my germ fears almost made me lose it but with McKay whispering to me to keep calm and everything would be ok, I got through it. Not only did I get through it but watching him interact with that one woman totally melted my heart and filled me with joy. Here are some pictures I took right after the face rubbing :) And FYI, Aiden very rarely lays his head down to cuddle, it just doesn't happen. So for him to do it repeatedly and leave it there for more than a second speaks volumes! What a great day today was!
Notice the lipstick on his cheek

 staring. His favorite.
 My favorite
 When we left (early) there were two cars blocking us in but somehow  my husband was able to make it out in between the basketball hoop and the cement wall with only an inch on each side. Yikes!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

We had planned on going to a restaurant here at the resort for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. I saw our friends walking on the beach in the morning so I yelled hello to them and they later called and invited us to have Thanksgiving with them at their place. They are the ones that live a couple floors above us.  They also invited another family they met down here who are originally from Italy and a woman that works in the resorts kids club. We had such a great time getting to know everyone! There were a total of 6 kids under 7 so it was like a daycare center! The kids had a great time playing and Aiden loved every minute of it. The girls loved entertaining him and he just soaked up the attention. He usually goes to bed early but was able to make it past 8. He was yawning and rubbing his eyes and then got super slap-happy and wouldn't stop giggling at anything and everything. I'm glad he had a good night.
Today was another good day. We became friends with a guy that owns 3 restaurants here, Mare Blu being one of them (the one we're always taking pictures at). This evening he came by and brought me some more Thanksgiving food! It's food he brought home from his restaurant and re-made because he had the missionaries over for dinner today so they could have a Thanksgiving meal. I'm glad I could be a recipient of some of the food, it is so delicious! He's Mexican but yet he makes American holiday foods better than anything I've ever tasted. Yum! We also found out today that he makes a trip to San Diego once a month to supply shrimp (he has a shrimping boat here) to Tommy V's, The Crab Shack on the Pier, Tuscany and other restaurants right there in our home town. McKay invited him to stay with us whenever he comes to town once we settle back down. I think I'm going to tell him he's more than welcome but he has to make us dinner haha win win for everyone :) Here is the feast he brought over, I ate most of the turkey before I took the picture. And the pie is from Costco haha I knew I liked him!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A day to give thanks

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so many things. My life has changed tremendously in the last year. I've had a baby whom I love and adore and couldn't imagine life without. I have a supportive, loving, encouraging, committed husband who I get to experience this crazy journey with. Aiden's family is growing faster than ever so he will be able to grow up with cousins close in age. Although there have been some scares, I am in excellent health and couldn't be happier about that. I have never wanted for anything, all of my needs and most of my wants have always been fulfilled. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. I have a safe and reliable car that I feel comfortable putting my family in. My family has been watched over and kept safe while we've traveled to and from Mexico and as we've lived our lives down here. I have supportive welcoming parents that I can always count on for anything. I get to be a stay at home mom and never miss a moment. I will be able to be at the house when my kids get home from school, I will be able to be involved at their schools and with activities and sports. I get to have as much family time as I can make up. What more could a girl ask for?
I'm thankful that I was able to stick with it and learn to enjoy my surroundings instead of locking myself in the condo all day everyday, living in fear and misery. I now enjoy every day and all of it's adventures. We are so blessed to be in a situation to start a new company without using credit, without investors, and without any debt in any way. I'm thankful for my religion and for living prophets and apostles that guide us in these latter days. I'm thankful that they teach us to stay out of debt, to live within our means, to be financially healthy and not make stupid decisions without praying about them (my words, not theirs :)), only use debt for your FIRST car, a modest home and an education. I'm thankful for the power of prayer. I'm thankful to know that I have a Heavenly Father that hears and answers our prayers, that loves us all, that guides us in our lives to make good decisions to truly be happy. I'm thankful to know that after this life, I will see my loved ones again and that we will all live together for the rest of eternity. I'm thankful for young boys and girls that dedicate 2 years of their lives and who serve faithful missions here and in foreign countries. I'm thankful they bring joy and happiness and the gospel to people all over the world. I'm especially thankful they brought it to my house years ago. I'm thankful my parents invited them in and listened to their message. I'm thankful that they chose to accept the gospel and teach it to their family. I'm so very thankful to be a baptized member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It has made me who I am today. Every decision I make and every thought I have can be followed back to my beliefs and morals I have learned from the gospel. I'm not perfect but I strive to be Christ-like and serve others. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be here on this earth at this time, to have the friends and family that I have, to have the struggles and triumphs that I have, and to have free agency to make my own decisions and be the person I want to be. I'm thankful for the atonement and for the chance to repent and be forgiven. We all make mistakes and it's so nice to know that we are loved and forgiven if we ask for forgiveness with real intent and a pure heart. So many people are lost and confused which  makes me even more thankful to know that the church is true, Jesus died for our sins, we have a Heavenly Father that loves us and guides us to return home with him, we have always had prophets to guide His people and we still do today, they love us as He does and teach us what He would want us to know. I know that by reading my scriptures, praying, and listening to their council and guidance, I will know the things that I need to do to live forever with my family. I'm thankful for my testimony and the surety of it. I'm thankful my faith in Jesus Christ doesn't waver and that I am a strong independent women who stands for what she believes, I haven't always been this strong and sure and I'm thankful everyday for my growth and progress.
The whole reason we are down here in Mexico starting a new business and the reason all of this is happening is because we have prayed about every decision we have ever made since marriage and we have faith that this is where we need to be right now. Every decision from where to live, when to move, what to purchase, what job to have or not have, when to have a child, how much money to keep in savings as all been guided by answers to prayers and has led us to this point.
I'll tell you about an experience that I had. This is just one drop in the bucket when it comes to making decisions like this.
When McKay and I got married we only had one car, my '92 Honda Civic. Six months later we purchased our Pathfinder because it could serve as a family car someday and it would also be a work car for McKay to put his tools and parts in. It was totally practical. We had two cars for two years but I often didn't drive the civic because I didn't feel that it was all that safe. December 2011, my brother became the new proud owner of the beloved Black Widow. Back to one car. I have always wanted a Mercedes C class, oh that car is just so beautiful!! I wanted the C300 but then in 2011, the new 2012 C250 came out and I was all about it and I wasn't silent about it. I was pregnant and looking for a safe, chic, mom-car. We went to the dealership and asked for white on tan with such and such options. Then we watched as my perfect car with everything on the checklist was taken off the big truck and brought directly to me before the plastic wrap was even off of it. Perfection. While they were drawing up the paperwork we went to lunch, pregnant lady needs to eat! And then we were going to go to the bank to get a cashiers check. During lunch I told McKay I wasn't to sure about the car. I told him I really really wanted it and that it was more than I could ever ask for but it just didn't feel right. I thought maybe we needed that money for an upcoming downpayment on a house that we didn't know about yet, or maybe medical bills, or whatever. I didn't know the reason but I knew that it wasn't right. So we backed out. The dealer was in complete shock and couldn't understand my reasoning, he knew how obsessed I was with that car. Although we didn't need that money for a house, we did have a large amount of medical bills for Aiden, we have been able to fund this Mexican adventure, and that car would just be sitting on a dirt lot in Valley Center right now if we went through with it.
Pray about big (and small) decision. You'll be thankful you did.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family and friends.

Meanwhile down in Mexico...

The holidays are coming up and that of course is the time when everyone travels to spend time with their family and enjoy the company of their loved ones. We will not be making it home in time for Thanksgiving because McKay has a meeting with the Mexican government on Monday and that is the only day this entire month that they could do it. We will leave immediately after the meeting and make it home for a delayed Thanksgiving on Tuesday. I'm so grateful my family is flexible with their time and with us changing plans. We will also be missing out on Black Friday shopping. Bummer. But not really, I've only gone once in the last like 6 years or so. I don't really see the point of purposely not getting any sleep to save a couple bucks. It makes sense if you make it a group thing with your girlfriends and do it to have fun or if you're saving 50% off of home appliances. Then you're saving BIG and it's totally worth it. Other than that, I just don't get it. In McKay's words "it's a holiday for people with a spending addiction". I feel that in most cases, if you needed it, you would have it. Black Friday is just an excuse to waste your hard earned money on a bunch of crap you don't really need, just because it's on sale. It's like all those small tempting goodies at the front of the counter at checkout. I compare this 'holiday' to when people totally blow their tax return (if they're lucky enough to get one) on stupid stupid stuff with the mind set that it's 'free money'. They forget that it's actually money that they've worked for and earned. Don't get caught in the money traps that are everywhere. That's all I have to say about that.
Tomorrow on Thanksgiving we will be having dinner at one of the restaurants here at the resort. As nice as that sounds, the food isn't usually that phenomenal. I've had better and I expect better from them but it is what it is and I will just be happy to be enjoying this holiday with my wonderful family in this beautiful area. I'll let you know how it goes.
So here's what's happened since we've been here:
We got work Visas that are needed to work legally down here in Mexico, we hired a lawyer, we hired an accountant, we became a legal company, so we are now an LLC in Arizona and a sole-prop in Mexico, we have Facturas issued to the company which was a really long process to operate legally in Mexico, we have our Mexican bank account set up to connect with the states, we hired a new sales representative and we are now ready to start working. This has all been accomplished since we made the move down here in September and wouldn't have been able to get done if we were not here so as of now I would say yes, the move was worth it. We have friends that have taken years to accomplish stuff down here from the states because the Mexican government offices only operate from 8:00am-2:00pm. It has been such a struggle to start a business down here, a huge contrast to how easy it is in CA. In CA you sign two pieces of paper and pay $30 and you're in business. Not the case here. When we leave on Monday, we wont be back for 4 weeks. We're going to take a break to be at home with our family, get work done at home for TAV because we still have a lot of work with that company (thank goodness!) On Christmas day we will be coming back down to be part of a charity project with Families Helping Families(stay tuned for more info). Starting January we will be coming home less often (only for work) because the holidays are over and now we can just focus on what's going on here and get it done. Basically it's just sales. We need to get people on our channel besides just the resorts info. We are also looking into leasing land to put billboards up. I look forward to the progress we can make next year and hopefully things go well. We haven't been able to focus on sales because we weren't legal and they threatened to deport our whole family if we were caught doing business. And we wouldn't be allowed back. Really? Something is wrong with that picture but it's still so funny!
When we got back into town after Halloween it felt different being here. Each time we come back it feels more natural and normal. I've gotten over all my reservations about the food and safety, it is no longer miserably hot and humid, Aiden has gotten used to it and is back to being a happy camper so we are all happy. We've learned to stock up at Costco before we come down so we just buy fun Mexican food from the grocery store. I've stopped being so crazy about Aidens nap times and am more flexible about letting him stay up a little past 'barely tired.' Because of that, we have actually been able to enjoy this beautiful place and he is still getting the sleep he needs. Every day since we've been back we've gone down to the beach or pool twice a day because the weather is absolutely perfect! It's got to be in the 70's, warm and sunny with a cool breezy, no humidity, seriously perfect . After his first nap we go to the beach and play in the dry sand in the shade so we don't have to give a bath after to get off sunscreen or salt water or chlorine. Then after the second nap we sit close to the water in the wet sand or go in the pool, then come home, take a bath and go to bed. I've also been successful in stretching his bedtime from 5pm to 6pm so we can have more fun time. Yay!
When we first arrived in September I cried every day for two weeks and just wanted to come home, I hated it here. It's funny how things change. We have really been enjoying being here and taking advantage of this opportunity to spend every day as a family. An old man the other day made a remark about Aiden starting off his resort life early. We just chuckled and thought, you have no idea! Here's to making the best of every situation!
On a side note, Aiden turned 7 months old this week, got his fourth tooth today and loves being outdoors.  His first time playing in the sand was the 16th and he absolutely loved it. So we've done it every day since. Here are some photos of that sweet boy experiencing sand and enjoying the beach.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Voting, Halloween, and everything in between

We made another trip back home a couple weeks ago. We were only supposed to be there for about 4 days during Halloween but wound up being there for two whole weeks, how this always happens I'll never know. Here are our adventures from that trip:
We arrived to goodies! Nancy Armstrong had an awesome gift for us, a homemade blanky, a puppy, and a bunch of darling clothes! So sweet!
 Grammy got Aiden this cute Halloween pajama set and it fit perfectly, what timing!
Grammy also found this awesome mustache pacifier at Zgallerie. haha he looks so cute!
 His great-grammy sent him this sweet Halloween card
 Seriously, only she would think to do something like this and it was so thoughtful! 
 To start the week we took a girls trip to Target. Kaytee, mom and I went to check out the new target in the Escondido mall. Are we small town or what?? haha Mom and I bonked heads when leaning in for the picture, we busted up laughing and this is what we got. Thanks Kate ;)
 An escalator for the shopping cart, pretty radical! (small town, I know)
 At some point during the trip I got my hair cut. Oh I love doing that, relaxing me time where I leave nice and clam and relaxed. And I don't have to do my own hair that day, that might be the best part!
 On the 30th, we dressed Aiden up for trunk or treat and took him to our ward. On the 31st we went to my parents ward in Valley Center but no pictures from that night. We waited until the very last minute for his costume to arrive but it never did so on our way to trunk or treat we picked up this cute elephant costume. We almost left with nothing because I felt that his fist costume had to suit him and not just be the first thing we saw. I think this outfit is just perfect. In McKay's own words "if he couldn't be a lobster, I would want him to be an elephant" haha

 He was such a champ and so patient as we passed out candy and people ohh'ed and ahhh'ed at how big he's getting

That night we stayed at Julie Rader's house because Aiden and her just love each other and needed some quality time. On the 31st we went to the doctor for Aidens 6 (and a half) month check up and shots.
He acted like a hyper active baby (that's a first) and totally destroyed the table covering. He got his shots and handled them like a champ again with just a quick cry, probably from being scared, and then was totally fine. Everything is fine as long as he has his lovey. What a sweet boy. 
Then we went to Bates Nut Farm! I saw it fitting that he wear Pumpkin Patch to the pumpkin patch. The first two photos were from the first visit a couple days earlier but he didn't last long so we had to go back on Halloween to actually get a pumpkin! He loved being around all the pumpkins and had a great time.

 These are the pumpkins he picked out, I think they're perfect for him!
We couldn't really carve them and I didn't think ahead to get supplies to make them crafty so this is how they were decorated :)
Aiden had a great time playing with all of the toys at grammies house, she has a lot more than we do!
Sweet boy being patient while I get ready for the day. For some reason he loves watching me get ready.
 Park Day! Our ward has a park day every Friday and it's something I really wish I was there for every week. Aiden got to see his dear friend Lincoln Hope and they had a great time together.

 Then we voted!... Better luck next time.

 When packing up, I realized how many books Aiden needs to travel with. He's kind of a book worm which gives me an idea for a theme for his birthday party, that's still to be determined though.