Thursday, January 31, 2013

Just Me

Like most other human beings, I spent years trying to figure out who "I" am. I don't mean who I am in the eternal sense. I know that I am a child of God. My parents taught me that long ago, and it has stuck with me.

Regarding missionary work, I counseled a woman I visit teach, "Just be yourself." Since uttering that, I have wondered over the last 24 hours if I really know who my "self" is. I have decided, happily, that YES! I know who "Sacha" is. Gone are the days that I tried to change myself to please others. I won't pretend to like or hate something just to make someone else happy. I like or dislike things because they make me happy. "Men are that they might have joy", so why would I ever try to go against that? I exist so that I might find joy for myself. My joy depends on me being true to myself, not to anyone else. It is ultimately up to me whether I'm happy or not, and when I feel miserable, it's my own fault, no one else's.

I find balance between blending in and standing out. Some people may want only one or the other, but I want both. I want to belong while still contributing my own "self" to the group, and I do. I rejoice in both my differences and my similarities with others.

I'm happy to be Sacha.

I am left-handed.

I am a Southern girl.

I'm a nerd/geek/what-have-you about many things, especially food. I'm constantly adding to that list of "things".

I love to create.

I love genealogy. I'm proud to have 2 ginormous pedigree charts on my office wall.

I fail a lot at things I try, but that doesn't make me a failure. I tried to like pickles and country music on more than one occasion, but I still don't. That doesn't make me a failure, does it? :)

I'm too bossy sometimes.

My hair is neither brown nor blonde.

Sometimes I talk too much and sometimes not enough.

I love to write poetry, though most of it turns out cheesy.

I am Sacha, and that will never change.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I thought I'd never live in a place colder than Rexburg.

I was wrong.

Vernal has been colder than Rexburg almost all winter. Luckily, we don't have wind! My dad likes to follow the weather. Instead of comparing Vernal to Rexburg, he's been comparing it to Barrow, AK, and we've been colder than them some days. Ouch.

I dream of living in the South again. I will always be a Southern girl at heart. For now, I will keep the heat running (though not too hot, because I'm still a cheapskate with electric bills, and electric heat doesn't run cheap) and buy my grits off the very top shelf at the grocery store. I still dream about owning a house with a wraparound porch and a yard with weeping willows and wisteria.

On another note, my sister Mara just got accepted to BYU-I! I had no idea that I'd be starting a family trend (really, just following in Mom's footsteps). Mara will be the 4th Phenix to go there. What can I say? It's the best school ever, and I made the right choice when I picked it over BYU 6 years ago.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fashion & the Mom Body

Does anyone every buy something cute, take it home, wear it once, and then decide it wasn't so cute after all? That seems to happen to me for about 1 in 3 shirts. If the shirt was from D.I. (most are), I don't feel too horrible about getting rid of it after a year or so of suffering through wearing it. By get rid of, I usually mean give back to D.I. if it's still in good condition. If not, it gets turned into yarn. If it's more expensive (well, new, which usually means a gift), I can't bring myself to just get rid of it only for not liking it anymore.

I'm not an expert seamstress. Really, I'm not. I have no idea how to mess with patterns. I make things up as I go, poke myself with pins way too often, and still want to give up every time my machine starts acting up. Certain problems still baffle me. But enough with that.

Pinterest is the king (queen?) of craft ideas, especially when it comes to repurposing. Now, I don't ever go out and buy things to repurpose on purpose. (Haha.) I doubt I ever will after today, because it's REALLY hard to change the original design of clothing, unless you're simply making it shorter or removing something from it.

Because of my blurry camera, you can't see all my mistakes. I'm sharing these just to show that you don't have to give up on things that almost fit. If it's just a crummy old T-shirt, why not take a chance and try to change it? There are lots of ideas out there, so why not?

I HATED these sleeves. They make my "man shoulders" stand out.
No more sleeves! I end up wearing 2 shirts 90% of the time.
It's all the immodest stuff that looks good on me. Go figure.
Weird neckline.

Non-weird neckline. I had to do this by hand and improvise to get rid of a few weird puckers.
This is a knit with big enough stitches so I couldn't use the machine.

This T-shirt was given to me along with the pants.
It made me look short and fat.

It turned out a bit tighter than I wanted, but I don't look fat anymore!
There is a weird pucker under my armpit. Oh well.
P.S. Those are Ecuadorian pants, but not actually PJ's as they appear to be.
I need things that look good on me, because I am a little self conscious of how I look when I'm nursing. A few hours of sewing while James had a long day at work did the trick. All my shirts now fit me well, and I know that tailoring is not the job for me! I can certainly appreciate those who do it for a living, though. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Little Sickies

Yup, my kids are sick this week, along with the rest of the world. Joseph is great kid, even when sick. Kenny, not so much. He's been whiny to the point of extreme aggravation for me, and I may have said a few things (under my breath) that I now regret. Life happens. They are both on the mend, and I suspect that by Sunday they will be different people.

Kenny had his checkup for 9 mos. He's still tiny, but his weight percentile went up a few points, which impressed the doctor. Stats: 16 lbs. 5 oz. (4th percentile, up from the 2nd) and 27.5 inches long (20th percentile). I love that little peanut. I'm not surprised that he went up in percentile points because he's been eating like a pig! That boy can eat a whole banana after his morning feeding and often eats as much as Joseph. I suppose it's the constant motion that burns it all off.

I guess I've been lucky, because I haven't gotten sick. Actually, the last real illness I had was in 2011! I had 2 or 3 times in 2012 where I thought I was going to get sick, but I didn't! A whole year without a cold is pretty awesome. I hope that trend continues. The worst I got was a slightly scratchy throat, but it went away before ever getting sore. Joseph was also a lot healthier in 2012. He only had 1 real cold. In 2011, I think he had 7-8. Yes, he is older, but the average 2-year-old definitely gets more than 1 cold a year, no matter how seldom/often they're around other kids. Hurray!

It's James's birthday this weekend, and he will be a quarter of a century old. We have some great food planned. :) I can't wait.

Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 in a Rather Large Nutshell

This is long, I know. If you want a summary of our whole year, then read on. If you've read everything I've written before, you don't have to.

Happy 2013!

We started 2012 living in Nampa, ID, located near Boise. It was a warm, mild winter, something we weren’t expecting. It only snowed twice, and the snow never stuck! We loved the Boise area and had many adventures walking the greenbelts, going to the zoo, touring museums, shooting at Pickle Butte, going to Cabela’s and the mall, and eating at great restaurants. The big Chinese buffet was our favorite. Nampa and Boise also have wonderful parks and thrift stores. We visited them often and got some really great finds.

James did his student teaching at Skyview High School in Nampa from January to April. He taught both history and biology classes. He officially graduated from BYU – Idaho in April.

We loved our ward in Nampa. We were both given callings to teach the 16-18 year old Sunday School class. The calling really intimidated me, but James felt right at home.

On April 5th, we welcomed a new son into our family. Kenneth James Head weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. and was 21.5 inches long. I loved my doctor and actually looked forward to seeing her at appointments. I’ll never have another OB like her. The only horrible part of the whole experience was having a baby 3 days late. Mom was still in town, luckily.

After student teaching, James did several jobs for the Nampa School District, including subbing and security at night school. It was a tough schedule for us to get used to. Both jobs lasted through the end of May when school got out. James looked diligently for other employment, but he was unable to find anything. He did some volunteer work at the Old Penitentiary in Boise. We were left with our meager savings and loans from June until the end of September when James received his first check as a teacher. During this time, we relied on the Lord even more than usual. We lived off of food storage for 6 weeks, which turned out to be a wonderful learning experience. I wrote a whole blog about the experiences we had so others in our situation can benefit.

Brinson visited us in May, and we had fun showing him the Boise area (including Big Jud’s). The Heads also visited us in May, and they celebrated Joseph’s 2nd birthday with us. James received many rejections and finally a job offer in Vernal, UT, teaching 8th grade history. We drove to check out Vernal and see what we were getting ourselves into, and he accepted the job.

We celebrated our 3rd anniversary on July 3rd with a nice dinner. On the 4th of July, we took our boys to the parade. Nampa’s summer temperatures can only be described as miserably hot, but our complex had a pool that we used often. Joseph loves swimming.

We attended two family reunions, one for the Heads and one for the Lees. The Head reunion was held in Ashton, ID, and the Lee reunion in Rigby and surrounding areas. Both were lots of fun. It was especially good to see the extended Lee family, because they live far and wide across the country.

We moved to Vernal in mid-August after months of searching for cheap housing. We soon fell in love with the area. The Heads visited us in October, so we showed them many of the sights: the dinosaur museum, the quarry, and petroglyphs. We love the small-town feel, our ward, and the brand new library and rec center. We use both of them often. Our ward didn’t waste any time giving us callings. I play the piano in Relief Society, and James is the 2nd counselor in the Elder’s Quorum.

We visited the Heads, also in October, and had a chance to see Bear World. We visited again in November for Thanksgiving week.

In December, we took a trip to Salt Lake to see Emily Larsen’s wedding to Rodolfo in the Salt Lake Temple. The trip also included a great dinner at Tucano’s, Temple Square lights, a ride on a train for Joseph, and a trip to the Church History Museum and Ikea.

We spent a wonderful week in North Carolina for Christmas and also had a chance to see my grandparents, Ed and Rita Schillemat, who drove from NH. The week was filled with family dinners, too much chocolate, sleeping in, and all the lazy things that make up a great vacation.

Our little boys have grown fast. Kenneth is now 9 months old, can say “mama” and “dada”, feed himself, and is trying really hard to starting scooting. Joseph speaks like a little adult, and he is a great source of entertainment. Both boys are fiercely independent, but Kenny is definitely still a mama’s boy. They’re both just as cute as can be.

As 2012 drew to a close, I reflected on the great changes that took place for our family. Looking back on past challenges makes me breathe a sigh of relief now! James has a great schedule: no working nights or weekends unless he wants to! He gets paid on a regular basis for the first time since we’ve ever been married, school is over, and we didn’t move at Christmas for the first time in 4 Christmases. We have much to be grateful for, and I suspect that the stability of our situation will make 2013 the best year yet.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2 Trips

Does this mean that I have lots of photo?

Not necessarily. I apologize. An iPhone camera can only do so much, and it often has no battery due to a certain little boy who loves to play Angry Birds.

Thursday, Dec. 20th, was a great (though cold) day for a wedding. We traveled to Salt Lake to see Emily and Rodolfo tie the knot. It was a short, but tiring trip. I got to eat at Tucano's for the first time, and it was delicious. I'm not used to that much meat, so I felt kind of sick afterward, but oh well. We had a good time with family, saw the lights on Temple Square, took Joseph on a train ride, and went to Ikea and the Church History museum. I enjoyed seeing Joseph play in the children's section upstairs. He had a great time. I was pretty impressed with Ikea and their good prices. We got an end table for only 7 bucks, and I picked up a few things for my kitchen that I've been missing (like, a measuring cup that will hold more than 1 cup!)

We relaxed for a couple of days and celebrated Christmas. I got lots of good stuff, but what I'm most excited about is my meat grinder/pasta maker! I've already looked up recipes for 25 kinds of sausage that I want to try. I can't wait. It's going to save a lot of money, and I'm excited to make my own sausage so I can tailor it to our taste. It's a hand crank, but it's not hard to use at all. James's main present was a network streaming thingy for the TV so we can watch YouTube/Netflix on our TV, and Joseph got spoiled with some awesome toys from D.I. (cars, tracks, and the works.) Kenny didn't get much, but he doesn't need anything and doesn't care! :)

We headed to NC on Christmas day. It could've been a better day. After a huge amount of stress and fussy children, plus a missed flight (and almost another), we made it to NC only 30 minutes late, somehow WITH our baggage! It was truly a miracle. It was a horrible day, but I think God was really looking our for us.

We had a good, relaxing week in NC. I did a few projects here and there as Christmas presents for my family, but mostly I relaxed. Grandma and Grandpa came to visit, so it was really nice to see them. We went to Golden Corral one night with them and stuffed our faces. James and I went on a date to Red Robin, which has really good burgers, and the whole family went to get hot Krispy Kreme donuts on New Year's. James was impressed, as he should be, because fresh KK's are the best donuts in the world, hands down. Maybe I should (or not) learn to make them at home. That could be bad!

We arrived home late last night (New Year's Day). The drive was okay, but at least the flights were good. I wish my family lived closer! Still, it's great that we can drive 350 miles to Denver and save hundreds of dollars compared to SLC or Vernal, which cost about the same.

It still feels like the end of 2012 since I took down our Christmas decorations today and threw the tree out. I almost broke my vacuum trying to clean everything up, but I finally got it all done.

Aunt Mara loves her nephews


Christmas morning: setting up Joseph's tracks

I've been through Colorado to a place called "No Name"

Carmel, Mara, Joseph, Lars @ KidsTown in Apex

Dad's favorite toy

success! both boys asleep
It's great to be home. The maintenance man fixed our breaker so we can do laundry and cook at the same time now, not to mention heating more than one room at a time! It's 2 degrees but a gorgeous day, and I couldn't be happier to welcome 2013. I'll do a recap of 2012 once I get it all typed. Oops. I completely forgot to even look at my to-do list while in NC, but that's what vacation is for, right?