I knew Joseph would be "the one" for my sister when I spent two hours one Saturday morning talking with him on the phone while I cleaned my apartment. Any guy (aside from Max) who will talk to me for a few hours just about stuff? I knew he would have to be related to me one day. After I got off the phone I really did call my mom and say, "Mom. Kenna has got to marry Joseph. I love him." And that's exactly what happened last Friday.
I mean seriously - Kenna looked like a princess. I don't think I've ever seen her as serene and as happy and as beautiful in my entire life. And Joseph is the cutest human being on the planet. We joke that if Max or my Dad looked at me or my mom the same way Joseph looks at Kenna, we'd think something was wrong with our face. It was apparent to everybody that day how much they both adore and love each other.
I couldn't feel any more blessed to have Joseph become the final puzzle piece (besides future children of course!) to our family. It was a roller-coaster ride for Ken to get there, but I am so, so happy for her. Our family is complete.
Sometimes January can really be the pits. Luckily 2015 is turning out just fine, but I told Max I think that's because January 2013 was TRULY A NIGHTMARE and someone in heaven knows that I couldn't survive another month like that ever again.
Last year around this same time I had mentioned that I karaoke'd for the first time in my life (which had always been on my bucket list) and this year, I'm proud to announce that Max just karaoke'd with me. Our song of choice: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's Ain't No Mountain High Enough -- the anthem of true love. I was so proud of us! I still am! We knocked it out of the ball park. Unfortunately, I got just a little bit cocky and tried my hand at Jay-Z later that night... if there was ever a failure of all failures, that was it.
Anyway, if you're feeling blue this month - I would highly suggest singing out loud in public. If you live in Utah, I would also suggest you try the karaoke bar in downtown Murray. They even serve free diet coke all night! But most importantly, let it be known: One day I will try my hand again at Jay-Z. Except next time there will be no glasses. I blame it on the glasses. No one should ever rap Jay-Z with their reading glasses on.
Today I needed to: meet with the carpet cleaners, attend several case task and client meetings, get my dying car battery replaced, go grocery shopping, respond to emails waiting in my inbox, meet Max at the gym, check off on visiting teaching, etc etc etc etc etc...
And I've completed TWO of those things today.
TWO of the many things on my very-important-never-ending-must-get-done-today list.
And now it's 8 PM.
And I'm stressing about all that I haven't done, while not getting anything done.
And I keep thinking to myself how on earth am I going to accomplish everything else going on this week? Or next week? Or, because I'm a girl, the rest of my life? (ha ha ha)
I spent New Years afternoon sitting on the couch with Max writing a list of things I was going to improve this year: Actually cook a meal (not a lean cuisine) for dinner on Tuesday nights. Draft court pleadings on my own (without always asking for help). Stay on top of laundry (not going to go there). New primary presidenct = really get to know the children I am serving (still learning names). Spend a devoted amount of time with friends and family (I still haven't met baby Harper) and yeah. You get the idea.
I know I'm not alone. And I know having goals and being busy isn't always a bad thing. But when I start to beat up on myself for not staying on top of my very-important-never-ending-must-get-done-today list, I think about something Mitt Romney shared a few months ago in a forum at BYU. I (obviously) was there (front and center) -- and during the Q&A session he shared the following advice: "Balance is something I’m always asked about, about work, family, church, community. I once joked that if you’re not fulfilling all the things you’d like to do in your family, if you’re not getting the job done at work and you’re not fulfilling your church callings like you ought to then things are in balance. But the truth is, for me, family came first. Family, faith and our country, and those are the things that are meaningful to me and you give yourself to those things as you can...
There’s a tendency, sometimes, by the way, for people to think that instead of balancing all these things all the time, that you should do one for some time and another for a different time and another for a different time. Such as, you’re gonna go off to graduate school so you’re gonna put your marriage aside because you want to make it work in graduate school... That, in my opinion, is a big mistake.
Yet if I wasn’t working, I felt there was this cloud hanging over me that I should be working or studying. And I decided I wasn’t going to do [that] any more... A lot of people at the end of the day bring their work home from work in a briefcase, or now, an iPad, and they devote themselves after dinner to continuing work. I made it a practice, unless there was a very unusual circumstance, that when I came home from work and shut the door, I devoted myself entirely to the home and the family. Home was my sanctuary from everything else in the world.
I know it's easier said than done, but I really liked that bit of advice. It reminded me of what Elder Ballard once shared, "What matters the most is what lasts the longest."
And I guess that kind of sums up my thoughts entirely.
Maybe my new-new-years-resolution can be: always remember that.
The drive was a lot longer than I thought it was going to be, but so much more stunning. We drove down the 85 miles of coastline and saw whales and elephant seals along the way. It reminded me of New Zealand a little bit - I didn't think anything on earth could be as pretty, but this sure came close.
Please, whatever you do, GO TO HEARST CASTLE. Oh how I wish I could go back in time and visit the castle in its heyday when guests like Cary Grant and Clark Gable were frequent visitors, and then spend my afternoons reading by the Neptune Pool or watching black and white silent films in Mr. Hearst's private theater. What a life that would be!
Cambria/San Luis Obispo:
Cambria is such a hippie town but I loved it. Eat at Lynn's Café. And Make sure to stop by bubble gum alley and Madonna's Inn in SLO.
Yeah, I'm one of those weirdos (according to Jim Gaffigan) but I think if you go to California - you have got to go to Disneyland. Plain and simple.
We spent some of our holiday break driving down the central coast of CA. I've wanted to do this forever and we finally got around to it! I loved every second of this trip. Below are a few of the highlights and suggestions for future reference:
If you're going to San Francisco...
Don't worry about putting flowers in your hair (ha ha ha), just eat all the sourdough bread bowls possible (I'd highly recommend Boudin) and spend an evening walking on the pier with a Ghiradelli hot chocolate.
When in Carmel:
Accept the fact that pictures will not do anything justice. I can't even begin to describe how much I love Carmel. I'd choose Carmel over Balboa Island anyyy day. What I'd like to know is when and how do communities like this just decide they're just going to make everything be as cute and quaint and as darling as possible? Can I join some committee and make this happen somewhere that doesn't cost five million dollars for a down payment? Seriously though. Eating in the little cafe's on Main Street and spending time on the beach at the end of the road convinced me and Max that "this is the place."