Saturday, October 8, 2011

This post is brought to you by Casey Moffitt- Gilboy

So, Casey is my amazing 2nd cousin, who I love to blog stalk. What? It's weird that I know my 2nd cousins? Well, I only know a few. And she's the main one that I've kept in contact with through Facebook/ Blog means. For the record, she is an amazing example to me of what a strong Christian woman is. Words cannot describe. You'll just have to check out her blog here:

She's also super girly like me, which I love! Example A: she loves to do hair! Her hair, her daughter's hair, girl's hair from her congregation going to Homecoming. And she's good at it! Here is my attempt to copy her amazing hair:

Keep in mind, this is after 8 hours of work, including meeting, paperwork, and chasing little ones around. And some of the curl is still there! Yes, Casey's hair tricks do work!

Example B: Casey likes to hang up all her jewelry and accessories in a way so that she can see all of them. That way it's easier to make a choice. Well, friends, my jewelry box was just not working for me. However, I inherited from my dear Grandma Bowen (from the side of my family that I don't share with Casey) a cute miniature coat rack- perfect for hanging necklaces and dangly earrings! Love it!

I also inherited some of my grandma's kitchen stuff! For the record, I love old stuff. The history, the stories, the simple life! It just makes me happy!!

And, most importantly, it's pretty! I recently used the flower picture at a lovely visiting teaching brunch. I used one of the serving dishes at a going away party during the spring. Slowly but surely, I'm learning how to use my pretty dishes!

On another note, I had a garden this summer! Well, during the end of spring/ beginning of summer. My roommate, Christa, did a very good job at watering my plants and picking the fruit/ veggies. However, she was fighting a losing battle with the terrible Texas heat!

(strawberry, 1/1)

(eating the first tomato!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Faith and Fires

One of my dear friends lost her home to the fires this week. Well, it was her parents home that was lost. The one they were raised in, made memories in. It just breaks my heart. I am close with both her and her younger brother- this a her record (on her blog) of the heartache and faith of her family:

My favorite quote of the entry: "My house is gone but my home is eternal."

We are fasting and praying still for rain in Texas. But even as the dry heat continues, we are seeing miracles as families, friends, strangers, and communities are taking care of each other. Truly, God does bless Texas, because we bless each other with love and kindness.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Huanchaco, Peru- the Sleepy Surfing Town

So, about a 30 minute taxi ride north of Trujillo, Peru lies a sleepy little surfing town called Huanchaco. Parts of it were lovely! Parts were a dusty desert/ beach. Overall, I loved it!

A garden below the cathedral.

The Catholic cathedral- love the cobblestone!

The pier! Looking towards the town. I totally had to pay like 2 soles to get on! Crazy!

View of the town from the beach.

The pier! Looking towards the ocean. See the huge waves in the background?!!

The little boats that the Peruvians use for fishing! They're made out of reeds, and according to Wikipedia, they are called "Caballitos de totora."

I found a gazebo on the beach! So pretty!

More of the desert like beach.

Why yes, it Huanchaco is a tsunami zone! And yes, the waves really were huge!

And the highlight of Huanchaco- surfing!! The day before my birthday, I totally treated myself to surfing lessons! I was super nervous, but I knew I would regret it if I didn't take advantage of cheep lessons in Peru! It was amazing! Thanks to my super helpful instructor, I stood up on the board almost every time! There were only 2 times that I couldn't stand up. So awesome! It was one of the most amazing experiences! It also help me remember one of the most important lessons I learned on my mission- that usually the things I'm most afraid of are the most worth while. Yay for taking chances!

That night I went to a party with the volunteers- at midnight, they sang to me and toasted me (with their crazy mixed drinks and my 7-up). They also lit a bunch of tea candles for me to blow out and gave me a cute bouquet of wildflowers. Overall, it was a pretty nice birthday eve.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peru- Service!

I had the amazing opportunity to visit Peru for a month! For a couple of weeks, I did service at a blind school with children with multiple disabilities.

Here are some of my girls with their moms! On the left, Elizabeth with her mother. On the right, Jennifer with her mom and her sister Belin. Both of the little ladies have cerebral palsy. (The school also said they had autism, but I'm not too sure...)

Trying to take a picture of Alejandro! This kiddo has autism and cerebral palsy as well as being blind. He was super challenging to work with, but oh so sweet! As it is with all challenging kiddos, he was totally one of my favorites!

Sister picture! Belin and Jennifer!

Alejandro with Eliu. This was SO cute! Eliu is blind and has autism, which means he has a hard time reaching our world. But this day, he found Alejandro! He loved walking around while helping Alejandro walk with his nanny. Eliu wouldn't let him go for at least 20 minutes, but insisted on walking around with Alejandro! It was SO amazing to see that connection!

Me and Eliu! It was hard taking a picture of him...

The other volunteers from Germany. Sabrina (left) also worked in the classroom I was in.

The teacher of my classroom and me! She was just amazing!

This was a challenging experience due to a lot of things. The language barrier, complicated and multiple disorders, minimal technology resources, to just name a few! But it was SO amazing! I am so grateful for the experience and all I learned about myself during it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

El Salvador- the fun times!

So, after lots of good times taking care of the kiddos, it was time to play!

We went to the beach! It was black sand!

It was SO pretty!

Me saying hi to the ocean- "Hello El Salvador beach and pacific ocean!"

Elizabeth, my recovery partner in crime, wanted to say hi to the geese.

The resort we went to was SO beautiful!

There even was a swim-up bar that was much enjoyed by my drinking friends.

The military guys that guarded us while we played.

The San Salvador temple! I missed the open house by a month... so sad! But I'm SO excited that the members of El Salvador have a temple now!

We also tried to go salsa dancing, but ended up finding a live band instead. They were really good!

Melody with her 5th dessert of the evening. Not even exaggerating at all! She loved those sweets!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

El Salvador- The Last of the Kiddos!

And the last of the kiddos in El Salvador!

This little guy was SO excited to have his surgery! He has a clef palate which makes it hard to understand his speech, and he really, really wanted to have the surgery to help it. Unfortunately, after the doctors put him under during surgery, they discovered that he couldn't safely be intubated with the equipment they brought from the States. He and his mom were pretty upset that the surgery couldn't be done. And they traveled SO far! I believe it was an 8 hour bus ride for the poor little family...

This little guy was SO cute feeding himself with the syringe!

The baby! Before the surgery, he let all of us hold him!

Some of the mom's like to make hammocks for their little ones- so sweet!

This little lady came last year on the last day, but we couldn't do anything. This year, we had a dentist come who made mouth appliances to plug up the secondary holes or fistulas (that sometimes result later after a clef palate surgery). Yay!

Oh, how I loved going to El Salvador! I can't wait to go next year!

Friday, July 22, 2011


I love to read! No really, LOVE to read. I used to be grounded from books when I was little, and my parents used to hide them from me! In real life (when I'm not enjoying grown-up summertime!), I'm working my way through 4 or 5 different books.

Here's a quick little story*:

On my trip to Peru, I brought 4 books (not including my Spanish Book of Mormon) and once magazine. I left the magazine on my last flight to Peru (sad day! but it was a Church magazine, so hopefully someone else needed it more than I did...), so I had 4 books to savor. One was in Spanish (Harry Potter 1!), which means it took longer to read. However, during my 3 weeks in Trujillo, before galivanting around Peru with Savannah, I finished all my books! Then I settled for journal writing to pass the extra lesure time I had during flights and train rides at the end of my trip.

Now I am in Vegas with the family, and I had no book to read. I. Had. No. Book. To. Read. My parents are moving to Phoenix (a process that has been going on for about a year now...long story...), so a lot of their stuff is packed and in Phoenix. And apparently they packed their books! It had been about a week before the withdrawl symptoms started...

So yesterday, I took a little trip to Borders. I was so good and only bought one book (that's #2 in a trilogy, and I LOVED the first- thank you Josh and April for the Christmas gift!)... I did end up hanging out at borders for another 1.5 hours reading a totally different book that I just wasn't willing to pay full price on (when you have a Half Price Books just waiting for you in Austin, you feel no shame in reading part of the book at a fancy store just to buy the book for lots cheaper later...)

And that is my story of my love of reading. And books!

*apparently that means 3-4 paragraphs...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

El Salvador 2011, continued...

First off, I just need to note that the mosquitos in Peru LOVE me! Must resist scratching... on a happy not, there is a very low risk of getting the West Nile Virus here! Gotta stay positive... :o)

And now to some "after" pictures of the kiddos and babies. Some were hurting pretty bad still, so I only took pitcures with a couple of them.

Love this mom and daughter picture! So sweet!

What a trooper!

This guy was super cute! He loved the crayons and coloring books!

Fast asleep...

This was the little lady who was a little afraid of the wind-up toy chick. Both her and mama look a little tired...

This mama was "muy enojada" the whole time last year when her baby got his líp surgery. Mind you, we were they strange gringos who were doing a pretty intense surgery on her little baby. This year, however, she was SO grateful for us and taking lots of pictures of all of us with her little guy! She also had a gentleman with her this year (Im still not sure if it was the babys dad...), so Im sure having an extra pair of hands to help decreased some of her stress.

Again, my favorite! He got his palate done, so he felt kinda sore still. That surgery takes 2-3 intense hours- did I mention that we bring the best doctors on this trip?!!

His mama blowing bubbles. He was definitely feeling good enough to try to blow them again! Yes, by trying to eat them! LOL! His mother called him her little "robot" because, with the arm splints (which the kids wear for 2 weeks so they dont but their hands, or anything else, in their mounts), he couldnt bend his arms. It was super cute!

Oh, and little Victor again. Thanks to the surgery, he was a lot less of a little troublemaker. The wind-up chick broke right before he went into surgery, so I gave it to him afterwards. You cant see it in the photo, but its right next to him.

Until next time, chicos, chao!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

El Salvador 2011!!

So, I just loved my trip to El Salvador last year with Austin Smiles! When I was told about the SLP position available again, I didnt* think twice before applying! I dont think I even prayed about it beforehand... opps!**

Last year, I regretted not taking enough picutres of the kids, so here are some of my favorites! These kiddos are so adorable, and their parents were just amazing!

I can honestly say that this little boy was my absolute favorite! He is just so cute! The following pictures prove his cuteness...

He just couldnt get enough of my bubbles!

Whenever I tried to get him to blow the bubbles, he just tried to eat them! LOL! This picture is a good example of this... and yes, I laughed SO hard everytime he tried to eat them, as shown in this photo!

Me trying to get him to stand still for a picture...he wasnt so sure... now dont worry, there are many more picutres to show soon!

I think this is honestly my favorite picture- Victor is just SO cute!! He is smiling so big because he just kicked the wind-up toy chick... such a trouble maker!

The little lady was a bit afraid of the toy...

She was SO cute before the operation! Afterwards, she turned into one of our biggest "princesas"... Her poor mom stayed up all night rocking her!

Playing with balloons the Rotarians brought- I am totally bringing some next year!

So cute! They were quite the friends waiting for their operations! The little lady on the left has a syndrome that affected her legs, so she does not walk to well...the little "princesa" on the right totally helped her get her balloon when it floated too far!

As this computer is kinda slow (see *), it takes forever to upload pictures. Ill try again later or once I get back to the states. Until then, Ill be living the dream in Peru! Chao!

*Umm... so I am using a computer in Peru to do this post... I dont know how to do an apostrophe and spell check is only in Spanish... please know that I do know English grammar and spelling! Or at least know how to compensate for not knowing... thank you spell check! :o)

**For the record, I did pray after I applied and still felt good about it.