Sunday, November 7, 2010

Man of the House

It's no secret that Rajko has both Noah and I wrapped around his finger. He gets what he wants...when he wants it, with few exceptions. Though his words have been limited, he has always been great at grunting or leading me to what he wants, and I somehow have become quite amazing at reading his mind.

However, I feel like life is about to get a little easier. It seems like everyday, Rajko masters new words. Just now, he came and grabbed my hand and said, "please!!!"

He led me to the fridge. I opened it and he said, "Mama? Egg."

I got out a hard-boiled egg, took the shell off, and gave it to him. He responded with his typical, "thanks."

He took his egg over to the coffee table and began eating it. I also washed some grapes and brought them over to them. He saw the grapes and said, "uva." (Spanish for grape.)

After eating a few, he grabbed one in each hand, walked over to the couch and said, "up."

Now he's snuggling with Noah while we watch the Amazing Race. He checks in by saying or "Mama" or "Nani" (my other name) mixed in every few words between his jibberish. This is typical...he does it all day everyday. I love hearing that little boy check in with me over and over...making sure he has my attention and love while he plays and learns and grows.

I am excited for Rajko to be able to express what he wants, but I am so so sad that he continues to grow up so fast. Of course, when I say grow I mean in the intelligence and skills way, not the actual size way. He's still right around 20 lbs and I JUST pulled out the 12-18 month clothes...although they are still drowning him. Oh well. With him being so little, it still allows me to feel like I have a little baby.

We love our boy. :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

St. George Visit and Ring Around the Rosie...

Rajko just started going to nursery. The first time, he started crying but they told me to go ahead and leave him. Chelsea has told me before how annoying it is when parents stick around, so I quickly left and assumed all would be well eventually. I came back between classes (one hour later) and he was still bawling. :( Needless to say, I have stayed with Rajko in nursery the past couple of weeks.

Today I looked down and saw my BABY playing Ring Around the Rosie. It was the cutest, sweetest thing I've ever seen, yet I was heartbroken as well. I can't believe my baby is that grown up. It makes me so sad... I wish I could just freeze time and keep Rajko the way he is now. Here are a few things you should know about 19 mo. old Rajko:

He says the words: Nani (Mommy), Dada, Hi, Bye, Pleeeease, Doggie, Mm-hmm (yes), No, Uh-uh (no), UH OH, Oh no!, Agua, Uva, Mas, Binky, Thank You, Please, Grandpa, Lita (Abuelita), Up, Balloon, Ball, Bubbles, Stuck, Poo-pooh, Shoes, Side (outside) and probably some others I can't think of right now.

He still has a binky. YIKES! I told myself he'd be done at a year. Then at a year and a half. Oh well... he loves it. Maybe at two years. ;)

He absolutely loves being outside. He wants to go outside all the time. This could become difficult as it gets to be winter.

He is obsessed with shoes. He will wear my shoes around the house (he can't usually walk in Noah's) including everything from flip flops to tennis shoes to stilettos. If we aren't wearing shoes, he will bring some to us to wear.

He is kind of a momma's boy. Every sentence starts with "Nani" then a string of jibberish. He is really talkative, and I can't wait to see what happens when he learns enough words to start putting together real sentences.

So yep...little boy is growing up! Here are a few shots from the past few days. We went to Chelsea's to visit for Fall Break and we had a blast. Rajko loved playing outside and with his cousins, and we had fun making lots of crafts!

Rajko took a bath at Billie Jo's tonight and got ready for bed while Noah and I were at Stake Choir practice. This little boy is so handsome that he can even rock pink pajamas with ruffles and bows!

Rajko at Staheli Family Farm. He loved it!
McNeil Cousins at Staheli Family Farm
After a successful mission through the corn maze...

We've been into sewing and crafting quite a bit lately. I made Rajko this "snuggie" so he won't freeze in the car, and he absolutely loves it!

I made these headbands for the girls for fall. I totally love them.

I also made this headband for Olivia. Between these headbands, a bunch of fabric flowers, and the two onsies that I made for my future niece or nephew, my fingers were about bleeding, but I loved it. I will have to post some pictures of the onesies soon.

That's it for now!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wisdom at 4 am :)

No, this picture wasnt taken at 4 am. It is just one of my favorites on my phone, so I had easy access. Anyway...

It feels good to know that even mediocre mommies have super human powers.

How else could we comfort a child who is crying for no apparent reason, survive for years on tiny amounts of interrupted sleep, stand over our sick babies' cribs for hours in the middle of the night-just because they feel better with your hand on their back, be thrown up on, pooped on, drooled on, and cried on, and finally be turned on when they're old enough to realize that their dad is cooler than you, and still manage to be absolutely in love with and obsessed with our children?

Now where did I put my tights and cape?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Photo Shoot Sneak Peek!

My mom wanted to take pictures while all the grandkids were together, and they turned out SO cute. I will put together a full post of all the best shots, but here is a sneak peek of some of Rajko. Enjoy!

Sad Cowboy :(

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Home Sweet Home - For Good :)

What a week!

Noah and I had planned to run a half marathon in Provo Canyon today. We planned to take a full week in Kamas to get adjusted to the altitude and visit my family. Due to our incredible planning skills, when we went to register for the 1/2, it was full and no longer accepting registrations. We decided to keep our vacation as planned and come home anyway.

A week or so prior to heading up, Noah and I had some discussions about the reasons we had moved to AZ, how things had worked out, and decided that it was best for our little family if we tried to make our way back to Utah eventually. We didn't have a plan or a time line, but knew we wanted to figure out a way to move back.

Noah started looking at job postings in Utah, and applied for a few jobs. He found one that he was most excited about and was talking to me about how crazy it would be if he were able to get that job. Before we left for Utah, they contacted him and wanted to set up an interview. He interviewed with them on Monday, and they offered him the job on Wednesday!! Noah is the new VP of Online Marketing for Crank Tech (a supplement company out of Provo).

We couldn't believe it! It was a one week process from the time we discussed moving home until it became a reality! The Lord's hand was definitely evident in this process - there is no way this could have worked itself out without extra help. We feel so good about moving home and know that it's the right thing to do. We know that our prayers have been answered, and we are so excited to start our new adventure.

Noah begins work on June 21st, and I will continue working at University of Phoenix until July 2nd. We will be moving up the 4th of July weekend, and are moving into a little apartment in Oakley while we figure out if the commute is okay for Noah and what "the plan" should be. I will, of course, be teaching dance with Billie Jo again. And now that the "dynamic duo" (her words) is back together, the sky is the limit!!

I'm already missing Noah's family and my friends in AZ. I never thought I would think twice about leaving that place, but it truly has been an amazing place to live. I have so many people there that are such a huge part of my is such a sad thought to walk away from that daily interaction. Lary and Tere have been so amazing since Rajko has been born - Tere has watched Rajko everyday while Noah and I have worked. He is going to miss his Abuelitos so much. We are also leaving behind Nik and Anissa and their kids. :( Now we will be looking for weekend fares TO Phoenix so we can visit!

With everything decided, all that was left was for Noah and Rajko to fall in love with the Kamas Valley the same way I did long ago. This week definitely accomplished that. Rajko is obsessed with being outside - he stands at the glass door crying every time we bring him in from playing. Noah has discovered the beauty of the valley, is excited at the thought of a country lifestyle, and realized that he can keep himself very busy with the Rec Center in town. :) He told me the other day, "I think I just fell in love with this place."

Could anything make me happier? I think not.

Here is what we've been up to since we've been here. We LOOOOOOVE this place.

Rajko's first tractor ride with Grandpa
at the beautiful church farm in Upper Woodland

When Rajko decided the tractor ride wasn't too fun, Mommy and Daddy jumped on board, too.

A walk down to check out the Provo see how high it was and what damage it was causing. These Three Amigos are going to be best buds!

Wading, kicking, and splashing in the Creek - that runoff water is COLD!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

1-year Photos

My fun, beautiful friend, Carlee Raymond, is a photographer, and I asked her to take some pictures of Rajko to capture him at 1 year. She did such a great job - I think the pictures are just amazing. I didn't want to TOTALLY overload the blog, so here are just a few of my favorites...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

New Ride

For those of you who don't know, I was in a minor car accident in February. My car was in the shop for a month with some frame damage, and they ended up totaling the vehicle. When looking for a replacement, I wanted a crossover with a third row. Unless I was ready to buy a new Acura or Volvo crossover, I was pretty limited. I had a Chrysler Pacifica in mind and had talked myself into liking them - it took me 2 months. Off to find a Pacifica we went. The one I had been eye-ing was at a dealership in North Phoenix, so we called to make sure the vehicle was still there, and off we went. Well, either they lied on the phone, or the Pacifica truly did drive off the lot about an hour before we got there.

The pushy salesman asked us to walk around the lot and just look to see what they had. They had a bunch of huge SUV's that I was not interested in, and this Lexus GX 470. We decided to test drive it and take a look at finance options "just for fun" and ended up taking it away for what we were paying on my Escape. Needless to say, it's a bit of an upgrade.

I love it! And Noah loves cleaning it, so it's totally a win-win (okay, more of two wins for me). Anyway, just thought I'd update everyone with my new toy!

You know who also loves mommy's new car and his forward-facing carseat in it? This boy...

13 months:
still not walking on his own
still not saying words (although he jabbers in Rajkese non-stop)
finally forced to sleep through the night (11-13 hours) without eating or coming to mommy & daddy's bed
still nursing 1x/day before bed
getting tubes on May 3rd - yay!

still the sweetest, funnest little thing ever, and very very spoiled and loved

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter Weekend

Last weekend Noah and I drove up to St George to spend Easter with Chelsea and Jack. My mom drove down as well, so it was a nice reunion after Rajko's birthday. Saturday morning, Chelsea and Jack had a photo shoot, and we tagged along. It was at the beautiful winter home of Brigham Young. Chelsea and Jack's pictures turned out so awesome! My mom snapped a few pictures of Rajko as well :)
Decorating eggs was a blast - for Chelsea and me. Maybe in another couple of years Rajko will be interested in doing more than just eating and smashing the eggs!

Chelsea, thanks for having us!! We had a blast.

Birthday Boy and his Visitors

Well, only one month behind... oh well!

We had a really fun birthday party for Rajko a few days after his actual birthday. The highlight of the plans included the cake I had decided to make, and having his Grandma, Aunt Chelsea, and cousin Jack in town!Rajko got so many awesome presents, and he loves them. He will play for hours on end without much help or input. As long as I'm within his line of sight, he will play away...thanks to everyone for his gifts!

Chelsea, Jack, and my mom stayed for 1 week. It was awesome! These two boys began quite a fun friendship. Jack taught Rajko many of life's most important lessons. Some of them include:
The importance of a best friend. Both these boys have a Monkey that they are attached to.

How to play baseball.

How delicious chocolate milk is!

Watching T.V. is more fun if you cuddle.

Swinging is the most fun when someone pushes you.

And most importantly, safe driving skills.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's a new dawn, it's a new day!

I've had a lot on my mind in the last few days, so I thought I'd go ahead and pour out my thoughts and feelings into this blog post and update you all on what is going on... (Sorry it's a long post, but worth the read if you want to get the scoop!)

My story actually starts back in early 2007, I was doing a lot of work in advertising but felt I was not in the career path that best suited me so I began to do some soul searching and came up with a list of my top career choices. At the time, I was developing websites and working in advertising, producing campaigns for many clients. The company I was working with was one of the top advertising agencies in the country. I enjoyed what I was doing but I had a hard time doing all that work for a company that made so much money off of the work that I did and then paid me a basic salary. The best solution was to start working for myself and maybe create my own company but it was too expensive and time consuming to do, so instead I decided I needed to stick with a "job" but make sure it was a job I would enjoy.

One thing I had always wanted to do was to fly helicopters. After giving it a great deal of thought, I decided it was time to take action and embark on a whole new career in aviation. I searched for schools and chose a school that, at the time, was the largest helicopter flight training academy in the world. They were on the Forbes 500 list for their 3rd year in a row when I signed up. The way it worked was, you pay for the full cost of the program up front, and the funds are supplied by a private student loan in disbursements over the course of a year. The cost? A whopping $70k. This is a great deal for a dream job though, isn't it? :)

By May 2007 I had started classes at Silver State Helicopters and was quickly climbing to the top of my class. Because I worked from home as a freelance web developer and graphic designer, I was able to dedicate a lot of time to my flying and I moved forward at a pace that was twice as fast as my fellow classmates. I loved flying! My instructors were great and I can truly say I was having the time of my life! Unfortunately, 6 months into my training, I received a call one morning from a good friend of mine who said his dad had just heard that Silver State was closing down. I assured him that he was mistaken because I had a flight scheduled for later that day with my instructor. I started to get suspicious when my calls to my instructor were not returned and I headed down to the school to find out what was going on. Upon arrival, I noticed a police car parked in the front and sure enough, a letter on the door confirming that as of midnight, Silver State had filed for bankruptcy and was no more. Like a text-book case of someone coping with devastating news, I immediately entered stage 1: Denial. I knew this was a mistake. I still had my flight scheduled!

I don't remember how long it took to jump in to the next phase but I sure remember the feelings. The change in mood happened right around the time that I realized that my $70k loan was entirely in the hands of the school when they closed. I felt so angry that at one point, I considered breaking in to take their virtual flight simulator. Soon those feelings dissipated into phase 3: Bargaining. I didn't really want to "break in" and "steal" the flight simulator, I only wanted to "trade" it for the money they still had ;).

I calculated that since I had only received 1 out of the 4 certifications that was promised to me, maybe the school would allow us to receive a pro-rated amount back from them for the funds? Well, this was not an option since the school had already run through everything it had and washed their hands clean of any liquidation assets or anything. During this "bargaining" phase, I had researched a new school in Arizona and I had already began making arrangements to continue down the path of my new career regardless of what had just happened.

In March 2008, I moved down to Arizona and began flying at a new school called Quantum Helicopters. I really liked the new school and I quickly picked up where I had left off. I already had my private pilot license and now I was working on my instrument rating and commercial license. 4 months later, I received my instrument rating and immediately started to prepare for my commercial license. Everything was going well, but finding the funds to fly so often was becoming very hard. It was the end of 2008 and the economy was looking pretty grim, especially for obtaining private, non-federal student loans. I took out 2 additional loans for about $20k each, and had hired an attorney to help me fight for recovering the initial $70k that I had already lost. I was getting close to being ready to take my commercial exam but the funds were running low in my bank account. I calculated that I barely had enough to get through the commercial phase of my training and then I would have to seek more funds to finish up my flight instructor rating (this would allow me to get a job flying).

As fate would have it, with gasoline prices soaring for most of the year, my cost per hour to fly had been much more than I had anticipated so I found myself completely out of money with only about 5 to 7 hours left of flying to get my commercial license. At $255/hr it was just out of my reach! This is about the time I entered the 4th stage: depression. I explored many other options to finish up my flying including the coast guard. One option that sounded promising was to get a job with the police and then with time, hope to be put in to the aviation unit where I could fly helicopters. I began working hard to make the police option a possibility and I applied in October 2008 with the city of Mesa. About 2 months into the hiring process the city went through a hiring freeze and once again, I found myself waiting and hoping. In the meantime I had found a normal full time job to help the everyday expenses and Giselle was working full time as well.

Almost a year after the hiring freeze, I received a call out of the blue from the Police informing me that they would be considering a few positions for hiring in Nov 2009 and I was one of the candidates still being considered. Everything was looking up again and I went through the rest of the hiring phase and finished taking all the exams and background investigations required to get the job. As November drew near, we were told that instead of starting in November, they were going to roll the class into the May 2010 class and that I was still being considered but now instead of 17 positions they would open it up for 25 positions due to some federal stimulus money being received. The new openings were announced and the city received almost 3000 applications for those 25 new positions. My competition had suddenly increased to tremendous odds but I was sure I would make it through and eventually find a way to continue my flight career while being a police officer.

About 1 month ago, I decided it was time to go back to what I've always been good at: technology, and more specifically: web development, new media, and graphic design. I thought that having my own business would go hand in hand with the upcoming police schedule I would have. I designed my company website and started with all the preparations for launching my "side" business. I planned to leave my current job on April 1st (tomorrow) and I would only be a few weeks away from starting the police academy. In the weeks leading to the launch of my company, I had the feeling that I should not put all my eggs in one basket and assume that the police thing was a slam dunk. Sure enough, earlier this week I received the news that I would not be getting the job with the police. My brother Nik, who is currently a police officer with the city of Mesa confirmed that he had received the news first hand that the city will most likely not hire any new recruits and if anything it would fire 25 officers and hire them right back using the federal money. The worst part was finding out that even if they did decide to go with 25 new officers, I had not made the list! I guess with the re-opening of the positions, there were many highly qualified individuals among those 3000 going for the position.

I guess this news helped put me into the final stage of coping with the original demise of Silver State Helicopters and my dream of flying: Acceptance! I had counted my eggs to soon and I gave my 15 days notice so that I could spend all of April working on getting fit for the academy. Tomorrow is my last day at work and from that point on I'm on my own. The truth is that I've been so excited to start my own business that I really feel I have "accepted" everything quite well. I feel like I've tried my hardest for several years at something that maybe just wasn't meant to be. I have no other option at this point but to accept what has taken place and know that everything happens for a reason. I don't know what I have in store for me after tomorrow but I know that in the big picture, it really doesn't matter. I have the most amazing wife I could hope for, who happens to be my best friend, and I also have the most beautiful son who means more to me that anything else. I already signed the lease on my new office for my new business and I plan on giving it my all to make it work.

Throughout my pursuit of flying I've realized that despite one's hardest efforts, some dreams just aren't meant to be, or at least aren't meant to be for now... In the mean time, I am determined to enjoy the present and work hard at launching my new business. I've already had quite a positive response with many potential clients lining up wanting me to develop their next website or new media tool. It's great to at least be doing something that I love and something that I'm good at. As for flying and being a cop, that will have to wait for another day or perhaps another life. Wish me luck in this new venture that starts tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Rajko!

One year ago today I was at the hospital having Rajko. My water had broken the night before, but I was in denial. I had a plan - and that plan consisted of having my baby on Friday, March 13th. As spoiled inside the womb as he is now, my Rajko decided he was coming on his own watch, and he was born on his due date: March 10, 2009.

I can't believe what a life-changing experience it is to have a child. I never imagined the intense love you can a mom can have for her child, or how protective I could ever feel about another person. Being a mom has brought me to understand so much more about love and patience, and really what I can really do when there's no other option - like operating on no sleep or doing a static arm curl with a 18 lb weight for 1 solid hr just to avoid waking a sleeping baby.

I can't believe my baby is ONE! So many fun things have happened in the past year, and we know there are so many more adventures ahead. We couldn't have hand-picked a better, sweeter, more laid-back, beautiful baby than we have. We love him so much and are so lucky to be his parents.

Happy Birthday, big boy!