Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Last of the January birthdays

Happy birthday Zoraida Lita Meza! She's my grandma in case some of you didn't know. I don't remember how old she's turning. But she probably wouldn't appreciate a number anyways!

Lita babysat me from near infancy to about the third grade or so. I spent a lot of time with her and learned all my Spanish from her. I also developed little accents on certain words from listening to her (peenguin and keendergarten). I've also listened to a lot of her stories. One of my all time favorites has to do with my cousin Jacob. That mischievous little boy (he was like 7 or so at the time) knew of my Lita's deathly fear of snakes. Jacob had a rubber snake that he liked to play with. Lita always kept her pajamas for the next night under her bedroom pillow. Knowing that she would reach under the pillow that night, Jacob snuck the toy snake under her pillow. He gave her a kiss when he went home that day. Well, that night, like planned, she reached under the pillow but felt something else instead of her pajamas. She draw her hand back in confusion and lifted up the pillow to see a snake! Oh my goodness!! She threw that pillow screamed, had a heart attack, and then realized it was a toy. Good ol' Jacob. Are we all sure that grand kids are a blessing? ;)

My second story is from Costa Rica. When Lita was a teenage girl she was living in Costa Rica in a strictly Catholic society. Her mom was hardcore. Anyways, on top of that her mom was the strictest gal on the block. When male callers would drop the house to see Lita, her mom would have them sit out on the front porch to talk while she waited inside the house---watching. She had drilled a hole in the wall! Awesome! I already love great-grandma. Anyways, one night Lita was grounded, which was normal. She snuck up to her room and put on her dancing dress and snuck out the window. She took off over a bridge to a beautiful house and proceeded to salsa dance the night away. Lita's mom didn't take long to figure out what happened. By then Lita and her mom had a reputation among the local kids. The kids came into the room yelling at Lita to take off because her mom had been spotted crossing the bridge! Lita high-tailed it out of there and ran all the way to the local church where she immediately knelt praying. That's where her mom found her. Oh Lita. I love her spunk.

Happy birthday Lita!

Ooops! Happy birthday Stephen!!

Stephen we are sooo sorry! We tried to start this new tradition of blogging a happy birthday to family members and we already failed with the second birthday in January. Forgive us! It was Stephen's 22nd birthday! You can check out his and Lacie's blog for birthday happenings. We were able to be there for his dinner at the Olive Garden. Thanks for the invite! We loved spending some of his birthday with him.
So story time...I'll have to get JT to add a story of his own. But until he gets home, mine will have to do. Stephen is one of those people who seems to always be able to figure things out. His perseverance and excellent listening skills make it downright near impossible to hide things from him! In seminary I sat next to him and Stephen Huyck. He'd laugh at me for bouncing to stay awake. After seminary I would always be gossipping about some new boy I liked with Janice, Kylie, and Keena. We used clever code names (sooo clever. If the name was Alex the code was X. Lame, I know). Stephen would ask who it was and quietly listen until we forgot he was listening. After a while he'd suddenly look and blurt out the name of whatever boy we were talking about! It happened like clockwork EVERY time!!!! I couldn't figure out how he did it! The ONLY time we ever kept a secret from him was when JT and I started dating. Even then though, all it took was seeing JT pick me up from seminary once to figure it out. He's always been a genius kid.

Happy Birthday Stephen!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Dog House

We have a dog!!!!!!!!!! It's been a week and a half since we brought home our one-year-old pup Mija! She's the cutest thing ever. I named her Mija because I figured that JT wouldn't let me name any of our future children Spanish names. However, Mija is a little hard for him to get used to so he usually ends up calling her Mia. Close enough. She's a German shepherd mix. Before you go getting crazy thinking we have a ginormous dog on our hands, please remember the keyword is MIX. We don't know what the mix is. All we know is that whatever it is makes her forever small! She looks like a German shepherd puppy and will be for the rest of her life! We took her on a foster care/trial run basis hoping things would work out.
When we brought Mija home, Snickers was NOT happy. She didn't like sharing the attention and toys. We thought it was funny that when we throw a ball, it's our cat, not our dog, that runs and fetches. Mija has some catching up to do. Mija took a few days before she let her first bark out. Snickers had it coming. Since day one that feline has been stalking Mija around the house and slapping her in the face everytime she turns a corner. Mija is really good about it though. All she's ever done is let out a single bark and walk away. Most of the time she just sits there staring.

The day after we brought Mija home was Sunday. We left for a 3 hour block of church without locking her up--she's little, so how much harm could she do? HA. We pulled into our driveway and found a 25 pound dog in our window sill, behind the blinds, wagging her tail and slobbering on the glass! That spot is usually reserved for Snickers. We came inside the house to find this:
After that mess we realized that she needed to stay locked up in the bathroom when we are gone until we could buy a crate for her. OH my goodness I've never heard a dog howl like that! You'd think we were stabbing her!!! A few times throughout the night I'd have to get up and check because it sounded like a woman was crying! That only lasted a few nights until we broke down and bought a crate (like Kathryn Lindsey had suggested. Thanks again!). Our training book suggested keeping the crate in our bedroom to cut out the howling. It worked like a charm.
Here we are a week and a half after bringing her home and today was the day to take her to the vet for her free spaying. I chickened out and decided not to go to the 8am appointment. JT and Mija ended up running a little late so he wasn't able to give her a blessing like we had planned. But he assures me that they had a prayer before going into the vet's office. Since it's like 10 degrees below freezing (OK, not really. But it feels like it) I insisted that Mija put on her coat--yes, she has a coat. She's a little,thin, and light furred creature. She looked so cute! Don't tell JT I said so. I caught a few pictures of them leaving. Mija was blissfully unaware of her danger.

At first Mija didn't have any problems with the vet. However, once the doctor came out to greet them with a leash, she understood. Her ears went flat, tail went between her legs, and she put her front paws on JT's lap and began to cry. She kept inching up her hind legs hoping that he would allow her to get into his lap. That broke JT's heart.
Four p.m. was the pick-up time and I've never seen her look more depressed, scared, and sad. Her demeanor hasn't changed yet. The vet says that she took the surgery worse than most other dogs. She's experiencing more pain than normal. We couldn't get her to lie down for awhile. We hope that with pain medication and some TLC that she'll be back to her happy and sweet self!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2008 Synopsis

This time last year, JT was still in Iraq. His entire deployment was incredibly difficult for me to deal with. Everything seemed to fall into place that month though. (1) I couldn't pay for second semester at BYU: no problem. BYU lets you defer a semester while still holding your spot. (2) I needed to be surrounded by people who understood what I was dealing with as well as possible: the Trouts generously opened their home to me. (3) I needed a job to save up money for the wedding: Build A Bear was more than happy to transfer my position to Riverside. I was so blessed.

Jonathan surprised all of us and came home a lot earlier than expected! We had been dating now for 3 years but had never spent a Valentine's Day together. Our first year together he was deployed to Iraq. The second year I was at school while he was on base. I thought that 2008 was going to be a repeat of our first year together. I was pleasantly surprised! He was home just in time for Valentine's Day and wedding preparations. This month was also our one year anniversary of being engaged!
Before our wedding we went through the Redlands Temple for our endowments. It was an incredible experience. Members of both of our families attended. A week later we were married in the Newport Beach Temple! Absolutely everything was perfect. The wedding, the reception, the family--none of it could have been better.
We left for our honeymoon cruise to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. It was a lot of fun and we did catch a slight tan! When we got back into town JT's mom met us at the apartment and helped us sort through the wedding gifts and settle in. This month we had a lot of fun "playing house". I didn't have a job yet, but I did have plenty of time. JT would leave in the morning for work in his uniform. I'd kiss him goodbye and sleep in. After waking, I would get up and exercise, clean the house, and do whatever I wanted to! Around 5:30pm he would come home and I'd be cooking dinner in the kitchen. It was all really cute! We also went to the pound and adopted our kitten Snickers this month. She was sooo small!

JT was still attending work as usual during the week and I was getting bored. Watching the cat and cleaning the house just wasn't that attractive anymore. I found work at the Staples in San Clemente as a cashier. I soon grew to love my job as they continued to give me more hours and responsibilities. This was the 3 year anniversary of our first date. My cousin J'Lene married David this month. We got to attend the wedding in the Los Angeles Temple! It was wonderful being with family all dressed in white. It's just like I always imagined it.

I turned 21 this month. Having to work on my birthday was a downer, but JT made the best of it!

JT's brother Stephen married Lacie in the Salt Lake City Temple. We went up to Utah to celebrate and see the family. It was a beautiful wedding and a fun week. JT had HIS birthday this month and turned 23. It seemed like every time I bought him a present he'd go out and buy it for himself! I about went crazy! Thankfully, in the end I was able to come up with unique presents.

I put in my two weeks notice with the Staples in San Clemente and we made plans to move to Provo, UT. By this time JT was both a Marine and a Wells Fargo teller. We spent the month enjoying the last days of Summer and packing. We had enjoyed a Summer of family visits and walks on the beach. JT's mom and dad came to help us pack a lot. It was stressful finally getting out the door! Snickers managed to get stuck under the sink minutes before we left. She's lucky we love her. We drove to Utah, unloaded the U-Haul, and got me settled. My mom stayed with me while JT went back to California to finish out his term in the USMC.

Fall semester at BYU began and I secured a job with Staples in Provo. JT got out of the USMC after four years with all the same limbs that he joined with. It was nice to finally be reunited.

Halloween, school, and work comprised all of this month. JT was able to get a job at a Wells Fargo in Provo.

School grew more intense and we prepared for the holidays. Thanksgiving brought all the Trouts to Utah. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house.
Finals were wickedly hard--but fulfilling. JT earned recognition for his exceptional performance at work and will soon be receiving corporate recognition. We went home to Riverside for Christmas, Ohio for Grandma Pace's funeral, and back to Riverside for New Years.

The year has been crazy busy and very memorable. I loved it. It was the best year of my life. It will be hard for 2009 to top.

Meeting the Family

First of all, JT and I absolutely LOVED our trip to Ohio. We would go again in a heartbeat. On our last night there we laid in bed wishing that we didn't have to leave in the morning. JT said it best: "it's like we could just pick up and move there without ever missing a beat." It was the first real opportunity Jonathan's had since being a kid to get to know the family from Ohio. I just feel bad that it was so short.

We arrived in Ohio and immediately went to Grandmpa Pace's house to settle in. Exhausted from our journey, we all decided that we would stay home and sleep that night. JT and I realized later that it was a mistake. That night was Aunt Laura and second cousin Xander's birthday party. Exhaustion was a legitimate excuse, but looking back now we wish we would have just made the choice to attend.

The entire family did not come together until Grandma Pace's funeral. We got to meet all the uncles and aunts: David, Connie, Laura, and Erik. We also got to meet all the cousins and prospective cousins: James, Devin, Xander, Angie, Michael, Josh, Jacob, and Matt. Oh my goodness we had soo much fun with this family! They're all so fabulous it's crazy! Not to mention, there are four sets of newlyweds between all of us!

We all had lunch together and went to Grandma Pace's house from there. That was a lot of people to have under one roof! But we absolutely LOVED it.

Grandma Pace had a wonderful collection of Barbies. She had excellent taste and incredible talent. The individual barbie with the crocheted dress is all her own handiwork!

After a long and busy week JT was out like a light in that recliner! He slept like a bear in hibernation. I don't know how anyone could sleep through all that commotion!

This is Devin, Stephen, and Jacob. They are a really fun group to be around. I never did find out if Devin got her weekend at the spa!

Eric married Aunt Laura earlier this year. He's a lot of fun and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

This is JT's cousin James. They're the same age. With so many people in one house and so much activity, the poor guy's allergies were all in a flurry.

Connie married Uncle Dave earlier this year in an relaxing backyard wedding. The pictures looked like they had a lot of fun and style! Josh has plans to join the military in the future. I guess it runs in the family. Too bad I didn't get a picture of Angela and her fiance Michael. She's a medic in the Army. Like I said, it must run in the family.

Little Xander got attention wherever he went! He's sooo adorable!

For dinner we all headed out to Skyline Chili. I guess it's a staple of Cincinnati. James waited til after we tried the chili to tell us that the ingredients included chocolate! I was glad he did. We really loved talking to the entire family at that table. It was sad when the time came to go. We had the opportunity to have lunch with Dave and Connie one more time before heading back to California for New Years. We are soo grateful for our family. We know now that no matter where we go that we will find a warm family. Yay for roadtrips!!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday!

YESTERDAY was my (Kasaundra speaking) mom's birthday! So happy belated birthday Mommy! JT and I wish that we could have been there. We called her while we were at the gym that morning. JT says that she told him to throw a snowball at me. I don't believe him.
Funny story about my mom: where to start.....oooh I thought of a good one. So a few years ago (yikes! More like 5!) I was in highschool and attending Young Women's with my ward. My mom ended up being my teacher for that class! One Sunday she was giving a lesson to a group of 16 year old girls that included myself. I don't remember the exact topic--I think it was procrastination or something. Anyways, she was talking about how sometimes she just needs to give herself a good kick in the behind. If you know my mom, you know that she is pretty animated. Well, when she started talking about kicking she raised her leg to do an actual kick in the air. When her leg went up, her shoe flew off! That room full of girls started ducking and screaming!! The shoe flew past our heads, narrowly missing one girl's head, bounced off the wall and almost hit us again on its way to the floor!!! My mom was speechless with surprise and (dare I say it?) amusement!
Good ol' Mommy. Happy Birthday!

Grandma Jean Pace

JT's grandmother Pace passed away the Sunday before Christmas. We had the wonderful blessing and opportunity of attending her funeral. Jonathan told me last night that he would like to be the one to write about his grandmother. It makes a lot of sense and I look forward to reading what he has to say! Until he's finished writing it though, all that's going to be in this post is the slideshow. Be sure to check back for the finish product!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Our First Christmas

The Christmas season this year was CRAZY! As you know, we held Christmas 2 days early. We pretended it was Christmas morning even though it was night outside. The next day was Christmas Eve and I rushed around the house trying to get everything packed in time to leave at 3pm. I got almost everything done, but left the house a complete mess! I picked up JT from work and we hit the road. It was a "do or die" situation since there was a storm riding our tail the entire way through Utah. Snickers hated life the entire way. We made it into Riverside around midnight. After dropping off Snickers at the Trout home, we went to spend Christmas day with the Mezas. It was fun seeing my family again. We weren't sure how we would fit all the presents in our car! We then went back to the Trouts to open presents with JT's dad and brother. Those poor cats were attacked by 3 nerf guns! It didn't help that JT got an automatic nerf machine gun. They spent most of the morning either attacking the cats or shooting down remote control helicopters. Other than that, it wasn't terribly eventful. We did get to go see the Trout grandparents! They're always a lot of fun to see. I got an awesome book about the Fourth of July. It saved me from boredom on all of my flights to follow.
Merry Christmas!