Monday, December 17, 2007

We Believe in Santa Claus

Sunday was such an amazing day, it's hard to find words to explain it. The ward Christmas program was yesterday and i don't think there was a dry eye in the room. The choir (which Seth & Dad were apart of) sang some fabulous arrangements of many Christmas songs that celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. This is such a special time of year, i get chills just thinking about it. Christmas is our favorite time of's so magical... and the urge to give to others is so strong at times it's overwhelming. Our Savior gave all He had...even His life... for you and for me. What a perfect example of how we should be, not only at Christmas time, but all year round. We were reading scriptures with Nicci last night and telling her the Christmas story, and we couldn't help but get a thrill of joy and excitement for the day when she's old enough to understand and feel the magic of the Christmas experience the celebration of Christ, HER Savior's birth...and to feel the excitement of Santa. Seth and i watch Christmas specials every night on the Hallmark channel and i don't think we've made it thru one without crying. (haha!) And after EVERY movie Seth jumps up with excitement and joy and says, "See Brandi, Santa IS real!" And it is so true. He lives in each one of us, he lives in the twinkle in every child's eyes as they wait to hear the sound of bells and footsteps on the roof on Christmas Eve, ...he lives in the symbols of Christmas. He represents our Savior, he is a magical symbol for who Jesus Christ is. From Santa we learn to give & receive, from Jesus we learn to love and be loved. Last night while sitting by the fire we read a book called, "I Believe in Santa Claus" ...and we do. We believe! And let me tell you why. ... Here's the story, "I Believe in Santa Claus"...

Imagine Santa: He wears red. His hair is white. He comes in the night. He loves little children. He wants us to be good. And he brings gifts.


He wears Red and His hair is white...

He comes in the night & He loves little children.

He knows we are good & He brings gifts.

Santa Claus is a symbol of Christmas. The symbols of Christmas can remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.

The symbols of Christmas remind us of Christ.

Isn't that an amazing story?! It's one of our favorite books that remind us of the symbols of Christmas and the excitement of Santa. We can't wait for Nicci to share in our joy! Jesus Christ always went to teach the poor...why? Because they were humble, meek, teachable, giving, and selfless. Let us be humble this holiday season and truly take His name, Jesus Christ, upon us and celebrate His birth...let the magic burn within your heart and let the twinkle* in your eyes shine brighter than it ever has before. *Just Believe*!


Friday, December 14, 2007

Miracle After Miracle on Hacienda Street!

We've had 2 miracles lately that we feel worthy of publicly being thankful for...First and most importantly is our precious daughter Nicci. We found out that she has a fracture on the left side of her skull (I know you're thinking 'how is that a miracle?') but the miracle is that her brain is 100% ok! The Dr.s can't do anything until her swelling goes down though, and so as soon as that happens we will be going to Salt Lake to see her Dr. (which will hopefully be the first week in Jan.) and he will then let us know what needs to happen. She's looking A LOT better already, she just has 2 black eyes ... which makes her look like a cute little raccoon! :) It is a miracle that she is ok! Thank you ALL for your supporting comments and your prayers, you will never know how much it has meant to us.

Now the 2nd miracle is...i baked cookies!! I
know, its unbelievable, but i actually baked cookies for NO reason other than to surprise my dear husband. And OH was he happy! I don't know why i am so scared and bugged by the whole concept of cooking...maybe it is because i'm so scared of failing at it ...but i really do dislike it! However, i am venturing out this season and trying out some new recipes...desserts & dinners! Happy day for ALL!!

My adorable hubby is SO happy!!

...and they actually taste really good too!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

An Amazing Night...Ends in the ER.

Last night was our ward Christmas dinner and for the first time in 2.5 years Seth was able to come! He has always either been working or at school, and had always come to help clean up after, BUT this time he was able to be with us for the dinner & everything! It was so fun to sing Christmas carols together and watch the amazing traditional Nativity Scene performed by the adorable primary. It was all going so perfect...

Fernando (Seth's old boss) & his wife Julie were able to come as well! It was more than a treat to have them there. Fernando is one of the most amazing people we've ever met. Seth has a special place in his heart for him. :)

Nicci found her friend 'Bennett' and they walked hand-in-hand throughout the church & all around the gym. It was hilarious! Bennett has took a liking to Nicci ever since her surgery and they've become pretty good pals. So precious.

...Everything was going so perfect until the end. Seth, Mom, & Dad were helping clean up and i was talking to some friends. My mom had just said to me, "Brandi, where's Nicci?" I told her that I had just talked to some 11 year old girls that wanted to play with her and they were with her in the gym...and i assumed everything to be fine. Mom told me i better go find her but i brushed it off, and continued talking...Not long after that one of our friends came running through the door with our precious Nicci and blood was dripping down her mouth. She ran her into the kitchen where Seth, mom, and i followed. Our friend handed her to me and told us what happened. Nicci had climbed up the stairs to the stage ... and fell off, head first. I can't even write this without crying... After everything she has been through... Because i was off 'chatting with my friends' my daughter took a head dive off the stage onto the wood floor. She bit her lip as she fell and took a good chunk out of it but the very worst was her head. The whole left side of her head was swelling right before our eyes. We held ice on her mouth & head and then decided she needed to go to the hospital and get a CT scan. We rushed right to the ER and were surprised to see that they took us back immediately. Mom & Dad were right behind us and Seth & Dad gave Nics a blessing. It was so comforting for me to watch my husband's hands & my father's hands on top of my baby girl's head. Even though Seth, Mom, & Dad were comforting me & telling me i wasn't responsible, it felt like they were just echoing around me. I sat there watching our dear helpless Nicci screaming because of the neck brace and the undeserved pain she was feeling, and my head was swimming with guilt...I still can't believe i wasn't watching her...assuming that she was "playing with the kids"...she's 18 months! What was i thinking? We are the most careful, paranoid, OVER protective, parents...and I, her mother, was responsible for her while everyone else cleaned up, not the cute kids playing with her...she was my ONLY priority...and worse than ever, i failed. ... The Dr. came in and looked at her and gave her a CT Scan of the brain & neck. After what seemed like an eternity the results came back good! He said she had a minor concussion but should recover ok. The swelling seems to be getting worse though, but we're hoping that's normal. Today her entire left side of her head, even her eye, has almost doubled in size from last night, and it's really squishy where the swelling is. She will be seeing her pediatrician on Monday, and we are calling her Dr. in Salt Lake as well. We are praying all will be ok. It's amazing how the Lord protects his dear children while teaching their mother's very important lessons. She is such a tough little girl. Nicci has been through so much and yet always finds things to be happy about. She's our little miracle.

Major lesson learned...never let your most treasured & prized possession out of your sight...not even for a moment.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Best Thanksgiving...Ever.

This Thanksgiving was by far the most special we've ever had. We had so much to be thankful for and especially being able to spend it with my amazing parents in their wonderful home! Jeff came down and joined us as well! Jeff's been in Russia on a mission for 2 years so it was MORE than a treat having him home for the holidays! Mom & Dad worked beyond very hard and cooked the food to literal perfection! Mom even got out all of her fine China, it was so beautiful! Not only was the food perfect, but so was the day! It was full of delicious food, swimming (Mom & Dad heated the pool & the was amazing!), games (Catch Phrase specifically!...Mom & i dominated until it ended with Seth & I arguing over his cheating! ...LOL...and of course everyone was on Seth's while we duked it out Mom & Dad showed off their 'Catch Phrase' skills & smoked us all!), football (of course!!), endless laughter (until we almost passed out!), caterpillars (we found a Caterpillar outside and showed it to Nics & she named it "Bubbs" :) was priceless!), and we created family memories we will cherish forever! Our food menu was better than a restaurant's! We had...a HUGE Turkey, homemade Gravy from the Turkey, Mom's Yams (which are by far the best Yams you will EVER eat in your ENTIRE life! Just ask us...we'll tell you ALL about it!), Carrots Leanees (i don't know how to spell it but it's delicious!), Deviled Eggs, Strawberry Jello Salad, Waldorf Salad, Stuffed Celery, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing (stuffed in the bird AND out!) Cranberries, Parker House Rolls, Potato Rolls, Green Bean Casserole, ...Banana Cream Pie, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Razzleberry Pie, & Pecan Pie! And that's just off the top of our heads...we feel like we are forgetting something though... BUT, to sum it all up, it was the most special, tender, fun filled, cherished Thanksgiving ever. Thank you Mom & Dad for all of of the hard work and love you put into Thanksgiving to make it perfect, simply perfect. We love you :)
Here are some pictures of our wonderful Thanksgiving!

Nics is calling Grandma to tell her we're on our way!

Our amazingly beautiful girl never stops smiling!

That's our girl!! She made sure we had the football!

The GORGEOUS table decorations! The picture doesn't do it justice! :) Way to go Mom!

Seth & Jeff watching football! Of course... :)

Jeff & Nicci watching DORA...she got a little tired of football and needed some 'Dora Time'

I LOVE her.
The family sitting down to have the best Thanksgiving dinner EVER.

Our cute little Trio!

Nicci's favorite place to Grandma's arms!

This is us... in a nutshell! :)

My mom is amazing...i want to be her when i grow up! :)

Nicci playing with her daddy! They are adorable aren't they?

Could i be ANY luckier??

Are they twins OR what?!
Nicci LOVES the Bambi quilt! Every time she goes to Grandma & Grandpa's, even if it's just for a minute, she HAS to cuddle with Bambi! After she ate her dinner this is where she landed :)

She loves her Uncle "Beff"

Nicci & Daddy are so excited to go swimming in the warm pool!

This was soooo fun!

Hanging out in the spa!

The "Thanksgiving Swimmers"!

"Nicci where's Grandma?".... "THERE SHE IS!!"

A cute candid of me & my girl!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tagged - "Thanksgiving Style"

I was tagged by Shelise and i am suppose to say 6 quirky things about me... BUT i want to do something a little different with this one. I'm going to express 6 things i am very grateful for. I feel that i have been blessed beyond my comprehension, and i would like to express my gratitude. :)

1. I am grateful for my husband. He makes me laugh harder than i can handle sometimes. He has this special way of making me smile when i'm in the middle of swimming in my tears. He says morning prayers with me in Portuguese and it literally melts my heart. My husband would give his LAST shirt to the next person walking down the street if he felt they needed it. He's obsessed with football and i LOVE it! His sense of humor and his witty jokes melt me. He would sing to me while playing his guitar for hours, literally, when i was sick & pregnant and it was the ONLY thing that would put me to sleep. He works harder than anyone i've ever met, and always comes home with a smile! (well...almost always!) He has a strong testimony of the gospel that could NEVER be shaken ... ever. He loves Joseph Smith with all of his heart, and when he talks about him you can see the sincere gratitude and deep love in his tear glistening eyes. When he hugs me i feel like we're the only ones that exist. He simply adores my mom; when they get together the laughs are never ending! He sincerely loves to listen to me sing...even though i can't hold a tune. When i look into his eyes i see our beautiful daughter, and when i look into our daughter's eyes, i see him. When i'm talking in complete circles and i'm out of my mind, it all makes complete sense to him. I love this cute smile he does when he tells me i'm beautiful. :) When i was pregnant, i couldn't bring myself to always make it to the toilet to throw up, so i had "throw up buckets"...he would come home from work JUST to clean them out for me, give me a kiss, and go back to work...never complaining. He leaves me notes everywhere reminding me that i'm beautiful. He watches 'Lifetime' movies with me even though he "claims" he hates it, but always ends up teary-eyed and hugging me in the end. He has always seen past all of my cracks and flaws and has always focused on my best qualities. When i ask him "does this dress makes me look fat" OR "do these pants make me look like i have stubby legs"...he always takes me by the hand to a mirror and makes me repeat that 'i'm beautiful' numerous times. (and then kindly tells me that i'm rediculous and to hurry up and get ready!) What i love most about my dear husband, is at the end of the day when he walks through the door in his $600 suit and i have oatmeal in my hair, mucus on my face from little Nicci's kisses, diapers and toys scattered everywhere, and i'm about to break down crying out of exhaustion mixed with relief that he is finally home, he takes me in his arms and tells me i'm the most beautiful girl he's ever laid eyes on, and brushes the sticky hair out of my face and gives me a sweet tender kiss. I am so blessed to have such an amazing man as my eternal companion and my heart is full of gratitude for all he does for our little family...and for me.

2. I am grateful for my mom. Growing up i never appreciated my mom and to this day i regret that. She is so kind hearted and loves people so hard it hurts at times. She gives and she gives to everyone she can until her body physically can't move anymore. If you walk into her home and mention you like something, it will soon be yours to keep forever. I remember as a child my mom kneeling down with us and praying. Her prayers were so real. I remember thinking 'She's actually talking to someone'. She taught me at a young age how to talk to my Father in heaven through her example. Us kids always used to tease her by loudly moaning whenever Dad called on her to pray because her prayers were SO long!...and now when she prays i could listen forever. I spend 3-4 hours a day exercising and she spends 3-4 hours a day on her knees talking to our Father in Heaven. My mom is my best friend. She has loved my husband since she shook his hand for the first time back in 2002. She has loved and supported him through everything we have been through, and has never faltered. She has always made sure he has had something to eat when he has gotten home late from work....while i was either puking my guts out pregnant, or just being down right stubborn about cooking. :) She has helped me become a mother, she was by my side through my vomiting sessions while i was pregnant, reassuring me that it would all be worth it. She was by my side through every minute of my labor, and she was wiping my tears for months after sweet Nicci was born. She has been there for Nicci since she was born. Mom and Nicci have a very special bond...Nicci loves her Grandma more than words can explain. Since the day she was born, there has been this unspoken attachment between them that is so tender, it brings tears to my eyes. Being a mother is scary, overwhelming, painful, and yet... it's intoxicating, it's beautiful, it's God-like.'s an 'out of body' experience. I am eternally grateful for the constant love, support, and turmoil my mother went through to help me become the wife, mother, and daughter of God that i am today. I will never forget my mother's tear stained face as she looked into my hollow teenage eyes and said, "Brandi, i'm never letting go. I'm never letting go." And she never did. She held on to me while i drug her through the depths of hell with my rebellion and bad choices, and she held on to me when i thought i didn't want her to, but my mother never let go. Just like our Savior never lets go of any of us. No matter how far we fall, our Savior is still there to lift us up, because he has never let go. I am so very grateful from the deepest part of my heart for my mom, my best friend, my angel. I would not be here, married to the man of my dreams, with a beautiful daughter Nicole Debra, if it was not for my mom.

3. I am grateful for my parents. I've never met two stronger more amazing people in my life. My dad works so hard that it shouldn't be possible for him to walk at the end of the day. He has been bishop for 4.5 years and he and my faithful mother have put their entire hearts, might, minds, and souls into it. I do NOT know how they're still going so strong. Seth & I are SO very blessed to be in their ward and watch first hand mom & dad bless so many lives with their unconditional love and never ending service for everyone. I don't think i have ever heard the word 'No' come out of either one of their mouths when it comes to service. I am so grateful for the relationship they have with our Savior. When Nicci had her surgery, Seth and I went through an extremely hard time. Satan was trying to work his way in between us, but as hard as Satan was working, our Heavenly Father was working even harder! My parents were literal angels sent from our Father to hold our little family together during the hardest time in our lives. And if it wasn't for their testimony and personal relationships with our Savior, we don't know where we'd be today. I'm so grateful for their sense of humor. :) Some of our funnest times have been playing games, like Balderdash, with Mom and Dad! I tend to get a bit out of control...but they are always there, whether it be during Balderdash, or in the middle of a terrible day, to wrap their arms around me with a blanket of love and understanding. Their love is never failing and i love them with my entire heart.

4. I'm grateful for tender mercies. Last night i went to the gym for 3.5 hours and when i was finished i had ran 8.26 miles, swam 6 laps, had a sock full of blood, muscles that ached, and a wet head smelling like chlorine. As i walked out of the locker room towards the front doors i thought to myself, "I need to push myself harder next time..." as i walked out the front doors the cool crisp air filled my lungs and i had never felt so good! I just kept inhaling the air and the smell reminded me of the many amazing years my family would spend weeks at "Grand Targhee -ski resort" in Wyoming and we'd walk from our lodge down to the Steakhouse as a family and the crisp air would pierce our lungs but at the same time fill you with amazing warmth and happiness. Those memories are precious to me, and when i got in the car, instead of thinking about what my next workout would be, i turned on Christmas music and began to drive home while thinking about those cherished times with my family. ...then right when i thought i couldn't be any happier i got on the freeway and from behind this big wall appeared the bright HUGE moon! It was practically sitting RIGHT on the hood of my car! It had this happy glow to it and i wanted to jump out of my car and sit on it...take a picture...sing really loud!! Between the crisp cool air and the giant moon i felt so blessed to be surrounded by God's beautiful earth that HE created with His very hands. I thought to myself that someday this is what the Celestial Kingdom will be like...simply delicious! I am so grateful for tender mercies...i was disappointed one minute about not having a hard enough workout, and the very next second i was filled with the utmost gratitude for my Savior and my Heavenly Father and for the beautiful little things that have been put on this earth to bring such joy to all of us...simple tender mercies like the crisp air and the beautiful moon.

5. I am grateful for my sweet daughter. There are days when i think if i didn't have my daughter i would surely die. Her tender smile. Her gentle touch. Her heart melting laugh. Her Cougar growl. Her little words that she speaks with her sweet amazing voice. When i returned home last night i was so full of gratitude for my Savior for all of the tender mercies he has blessed me with, when i passed by my daughter's door and stopped. The greatest gift of all was lying just beyond that door... I walked in her room quietly and there lay my sweet angel with her eyes open and her gentle smile lighting up the room. She was smiling as if she knew i was coming through the door, it was so amazing. I walked over to her crib and talked to her for a minute. I told her about my experience driving home and then i asked her how her dreams had been so far. She jabbered for a minute and then grabbed my hand and put it up to her face. Tears streamed down my face as i looked down at this perfect child the Lord had entrusted me with, to keep safe, to keep happy, and to teach correct principles so that someday she could return back to Him. She was perfect. I sang through my tears "You are My Sunshine" numerous times while she held my hand and sucked her thumb. Then she let go of my hand and raised her little one high in the air and waved 'Bye bye'! I began laughing out loud. I asked her if she was ready for me to leave so she could go back to sleep, and she smiled and rolled over with her blanky. :) I walked out of the room thanking my Father in Heaven for her. A mother's love is something that is so Heavenly divine that words can not begin to convey it. If the love i had for her was liquefied it would flood the entire earth. I am so grateful for the joy, love, and light she brings into our lives. Life would not be the same without her.

6. I am so grateful for blessings. Those of you that know me really well know that i am TERRIFIED of car accidents. Just in the past year, between me and Seth, we have been in 3 car accidents...2 cars totaled...none of which were our fault. Seth went to the hospital for one accident and is still suffering injuries, and i (with my mom) was life-flighted to a hospital on another occasion. SO i am VERY sensitive about car collisions. Anyway... yesterday i was driving out to help a friend at the Dental Hygiene school on Charleston & Jones. (For those of you that live here you know where that is ) I was exiting the 95 freeway on Jones and KNEW i was suppose to turn left! The light was green for me to turn left but for some reason i was going right! I said out loud to myself, "I have to go left dang it!" As i was making the right turn i saw out of the corner of my eye a big work truck RUN the red light! Because i turned right i was in the outside lane and he was in the lane next to me so he didn't hit me. BUT...had i turned left when i was suppose to on my green light, i would have been T-Boned and probably badly injured by the truck running the red light. I saw with my very eyes how instantly blessed i was. I am so very thankful and overwhelmed with gratitude that the Lord was watching over me yesterday; and so very grateful to have been able to walk back through my front door another time to see my midget running circles around her adorable daddy!

Now i'm tagging Aly, Tavia, Ashley, & Meg R. to write 6 things you are grateful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!