Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Vacationing in Grenada

Yes, we do live in Grenada. And because we live in Grenada we often take for granted how lush the mountain sides are, how beautifully blue the oceans are, how there are a lot of things to do besides going to "pool day" or catching a 3 month old movie at the theater. And so, now that Dustin is done with his finals and we have a week to kill before our badly planned flight on monday, we have decided to rediscover this island we have been habitating for the past four months and go on vacation!

Tuesday morning Dustin got up with Jackson, because he is a wonderful husband and doesn't even need me to ask for a morning to sleep in, and fed him, dressed him and took him on a long walk on the beach. They took some beautiful pictures and came back smelling like beach and sweat.

Jamal and Peterson from our ward out catching bait before they go fishing.

Our church is the building in the middle of the picture. It has quite a view if you have to bounce a baby during the meetings.

Later that day we all went to the beach for some much needed time in the sun and on the sand...Jackson unfortunately went a little crazy and had his first mud pie.

We tuckered Jackson out for the day but started all over again when we set out to go to Belmont Estates where the island's organic cocoa beans are grown and processed before they are sent to the Grenadian Chocolate Company. First, we were able to eat at the estate's restaurant where I had a delicious pumpkin soup to start and Dustin had the Callaloo soup. The entree was buffet style consisting of several local dishes including sauteed provisions (yams, bananas, plantains), fried chicken with a mustard sauce, grilled tuna, mutton curry and green beans. Our drinks were fresh juices, Dustin having passion fruit, my favorite, and I had the restaurant's specialty of fruit punch, a mixture of several fruits grown on the estate. Dessert was divine! I had the passion fruit cheese cake and Dust had the nutmeg ice cream...he is currently laughing at me for listing such mundane details but food is never a mundane detail to me ).

After the wonderful lunch we went on the estate tour and learned all about how the cocoa beans are harvested. While the tour was a little dry, I really enjoyed the information and the glimpse it gave into the history of the island. And to balance out the tour afterwards we took our own tour around to see the animals and watch Jackson get scared to death at the sound of a parrot. The hat we bought him is inspired by a coconut. We wanted to get him the watermelon hat but people already mistake him for a girl a little too often :)

That has been our week so far but we are planning on cramming in all the fun we can into the rest of our time here. We love this island and will miss it a lot. We really are spoiled to live in such a beautiful place!

The cocoa beans that are laid out for 8 days to dry. Someone has to walk through them every 30 minutes to mix them up and make sure they are all drying evenly. I was able to run my toes through them and I don't think I would mind doing the job myself. If it rains, which is does quite frequently, and in short bursts, the roof next to the beans slides over them and the racks in front slide underneath.

A few more pics from our drive home today down the north side of the island.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wonderful weekend in Paradise!

As promised, I am actually blogging! I feel that this wonderful past weekend deserved more that a two line status report.
So this last Friday was my 5th wedding anniversary with my wonderful hubby and I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am for him. I have always wanted to be an adventurous person but too afraid to get out of my comfort zone. And now, because of him and his hard work and determination, I am living in Grenada and then jetting off to England for a year. He has been from the day I met him and will always be my best friend because he makes me laugh, cry, and want to be a better person everyday. He has a love for service that I am always trying to learn from and a love for the gospel that has helped my own testimony to blossom. He is an amazing father to Jackson and I love watching him as he takes care of our little man with so much care. And he is a wonderful husband to me as he is always serving me, teaching me and loving me.
A quick fun snapshot of our marriage today would show us laughing our heads of at The Office, analyzing the dresses on Project Runway, playing with Jackson on Saturdays at the Beach, one of us always begging the other to get them a glass of water (because it is such a looong walk from one end of our apartment to the other :), me reading a book and then giving Dustin the summary because I want to be able to discuss it, Dustin walking around the apartment reciting Biochemistry information out loud while I try to read, me sending Dustin to the store for 3 things and him coming back with 1 of them plus chips and pop tarts, 1 AM play times with Jackson when we accidentally wake him up on our way to bed, and snuggling on our mini sofa (quite a funny picture)on Friday nights to watch a movie on our computer that has no speakers so we have to turn off the fan and sit really close and barely breath to hear the movie.
So to the weekend: Friday night for our anniversary we went to this wonderful restaurant here called the Beach House. We knew it would be expensive so we waited for this occasion to try it out and it was definitely worth the wait. We were given free Pina Coladas and a free dessert with our names written on the plate. The food was delicious and it wasn't until we left the restaurant that we realized that it had been the first night out without Jackson in a long time. We knew it was relaxing, we just couldn't put our finger on it until we left. The first meal out in a while where one of us wasn't holding Jackson and bouncing him on the side while the other ate. We then went home and watched Star Trek, Jackson having already been put to sleep by our wonderful babysitters Maria and Matt.
And if Friday weren't enough, Saturday we went on a Sunset Cruise with a bunch of our favorite people. It was gorgeous and the weather was perfect and I think the pictures will do justice to the amazing time we had.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Own Personal Fan Club

Every time I go to pick Jackson up from his crib, whether it is after a nap or after some playtime, he claps. At first this was only occassionally as he learned to clap, but now, even if he has been crying or on his belly, when I lean over the crib he flips on to his back and applauds. I have had a wonderful day today and I attribute it to being applauded several times accompanied by big smiles and hugs. Jackson may not be able to say thank you yet but his little hands give me all I need to keep going. I love my little bug!

Friday, September 4, 2009

I miss...

I miss Costco and Target, pizzas that aren't thin crusted, using a lot of A/C, Jackson sleeping in his own room, buying disposable diapers without feeling financially guilty, the public library system, a couch I can snuggle on that isn't outdoor furniture, gas stations with treat drinks, inexpensive Diet Coke, carpet that I can vacuum instead of sweep, dry heat, a full size refrigerator, a drier, a bathtub, 110 electrical outlets, electrical oven and stove, drive-thru anything, cheap fruit, Ice Tango, being able to dispose of poop properly, driving on the "right" side of the road, the Temple, Jackson as a 3 month old who let me cuddle him all day long, wonderful parents/grandparents, favorite college roommate who always say the right thing, my sister who I didn't talk to a lot anyway but loved having her close, and most of all, Dustin.
I love all of the green around me, the beautiful hills and mountains, the beach, beach beach! That Jackson is becoming so independent and a wonderful little man, that Dustin is working so hard and still lets me know he loves me, a church that means instant, wonderful friends and opportunities to serve, a pool membership, seeing baptisms in the ocean, pool day on Thursday at the faculty pool, learning how to cook new dishes and not eating out, the smoothie place that makes a great Guava smoothie, becoming much better at housework, Jackson's nap times and play times, moms who go out of their way for us and that we have the opportunity of a lifetime!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fluffy Bum

So I have been using cloth diapers for a week now and I was all set to give a glowing report of how well I have adjusted to his new task. I wanted to gloat of my new more natural mothering abilities and ask for others to convert to the fluffy stuff as well...that was until we had two "blow outs" this morning. And I don't know who ever came up with the phrase, "When it is your child, you don't mind", because I mind! I hate poopy diapers already (and there really isn't a more graceful way to say it). And having poopy cloth diapers only compounds the problem. Jackson has decided just recently to move from firm to squishy, just in time for me to make the transition from disposable to smelly and washable. Don't worry though, I will not let this very messy morning get me down. I will persevere and conquer! Stay tuned...

Jackson dumped over his toy bin...

and climbed right in!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Where to begin?

Can you believe it? I'm back! And being the truly wonderful mother that I am, I have failed to blog about the first 8 months of Jackson's life...but it is never to late to start. And there is the little fact that we have packed our bags and moved to the Island of Grenada in the West Indies where Dustin has begun his trek through medical school. So that brings me to the topic at hand...Where to begin.
Since part of the reason for my long absence from blogging is the pressure I feel to catch up, I am going to bypass the past and begin with the present.
First: I can't believe we live in Grenada! It is an extremely beautiful, exotic place with wonderfully warm people and a culture I am still trying to figure out. We have been here for only two weeks now and in all honesty it feels like it. I still feel a little isolated, lonely, nervous to go out and about by myself and I am looking at the next two years staring me down like it will be an eternity. But despite all of these feelings, I am positive this will be a life changing experience.
This year has been a whirlwind for us with the adoption of Jackson, Dustin retaking the MCAT, moving in with my parents, moving out of a ward we loved, finding out we were moving to Grenada in June, getting passports, thinking I would have to stay behind while we finalized the adoption, miraculously getting the adoption finalized a week before we left, getting sealed in the temple to Jackson, having Jackson blessed, and finally our two days of travel to get here. And though I have been stressed out beyond measure, scared and overwhelmed, I have felt very aware that my family was being taken care of. In fact, Dustin and I are both very aware that we are no longer able to lack faith in our lives, we have been given too much, time and again, to ever doubt our Heavenly Father, his awareness of us, and the path we are supposed to take.
I know I am getting off track but I am just going to go where my thoughts lead me right now: Our families are amazing. I just want to publicly let them know that we could not do anything without them. We were not able to get loans for this first term and there is no way we would be here now had they not all offered there support, both financially as well as emotionally, and through their service and love. They are there to counsel with us, they have helped us learn as we have raised Jackson, they have put a roof over our heads, helped with transportation, babysat, supported us on our biggest occasions, taken care of our sweet Penny, fed us and most importantly, never stopped believing in Dustin's ability to become a doctor and mine to be a mother.
We love them with all of our hearts and hope that among other ways of paying them back, that we will make them proud of who we become and how we live our lives. Their faith has sustained us when ours was lacking and now we will have the faith we need to continue on.
On the day that Jackson was sealed to us I was overcome with emotion and I believe it to have been the best day in my life. Not only were all three of us made a family for eternity, but I felt very aware of the covenants I had made to Dustin on our sealing day and the promises that were being fulfilled. I am unbelievably grateful for this experience and for this opportunity.
I guess this post was all over the place but now maybe I will be able to do more day-to-day posts in the future. My heart is just so overcome with gratitude that the second I start writing my emotions overflow. I hope I don't ever lose these feelings but hopefully I can at least talk about other things. Thanks for bearing with my ramblings.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My little love

As I sit here contemplating the last tow months, trying to type with one hand my thoughts while using the other arm to cuddle with Jackson as he recovers from today's shots, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Never in my life did I think I could love someone so much. From the moment I saw him born I felt my life and heart change and I know I will never be the same.
But let me start at the beginning...although at the rate I am typing I might have to finish another day.
Jackson was born on January 2nd, 2009 at 7am at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital. We were called by his birth mother Mindy on the 1st at 8pm as we were watching Benjamin Button. WE went home, got Penny to leave at my parents, and went to the hospital.
While it was a long night it was also a very special night. Myself and Dustin grew very close to Mindy and her sisters as we waited in the room and it felt like one big family.
As dawn approached we were all getting a little fuzzy headed and tired but as time has shown, that is when Jackson likes to be the most active! It was a fast labor but a difficult one as he came out face up and one of his shoulders was stuck The doctor had to actually put one foot on the bed to brace herself as she pulled Jackson out.
I had hoped I would cry in the way that you know you should cry at weddings and funerals, but nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of emotion I felt as I saw Jackson come into this world He was gorgeous, in a bruised and smooshed up kinda way :), and I cried as I felt my heart would burst. Perhaps this sounds over dramatic but nothing so dramatic has ever happened to me like this before. I had sent Dustin behind the curtain so as not to make Mindy feel uncomfortable in her exposed state but he saw Jackson as he was placed on the table for cleaning and I know he felt the same way.
The weekend was hard. Mindy was very brave as she spent the days saying goodbye to Jackson and my heart ached to have him home as soon as possible. There is a lot of guilt associated with adoption because you don't want to be the cause of the struggle that I know Mindy felt, but I know we all were helped and uplifted spiritually during that time because on the third night, Mindy handed Jackson over to my arms.
I guess I will leave it at that for now except to say that he now weighs 14 lbs 7 oz and is in the 97th percentile for his weight. He is almoat 24 inches long at 75% and his head is 50%. He is a huge baby boy but that just means more baby to snuggle!