Friday, August 17, 2012

It happens in a blink

The Melting Pot entree
I am slowly finding out that blogging may not be for me. I am not too articulate and, quite frankly, I live a very uneventful life that doesn’t seem to get my creative juices flowing. I also haven’t discovered a true theme like parenting, fashion, organization, interior design or anything else for that matter to focus on.

However, I did take part in a very special day this past week.

August 15 was mine and my husband’s 2 year wedding anniversary. Now let me tell you, the second year of our marriage was mentally and emotionally difficult and required a day of celebration. You hear the comment all the time that “the first year is the hardest.” That could not have been further from the truth for us. Our first year was exceptionally blissful. I wouldn't go as far as to say we were on a “honeymoon” for the entire year but we got our groove together rather quickly, and melding our two, very different lives into one wasn’t as difficult as we expected. Our second year of marriage on the other hand was rough.  We didn’t see each other much and were emotionally being tested.

I can’t discount the milestones we hit in our second year. My husband transferred to a 4-year university from the community college and finished his first year there. We joined a young-married’s small group at church and we paid off my student-loan from grad school.

What we lacked more than anything our second year, was time – time together.  We took various small trips our first year of marriage but our second year…well, I can count all our out-of-the-apartment dates on one hand. Time was not our friend last year. So needless to say, we were happy to celebrate 2 years of marriage, but we were more excited to welcome the third year in properly.

So August 15, 2012, what did we do? We went on a date! An all-day-date. A wonderful date. A much needed date.

I didn’t plan anything…well not right up front anyway. I had given my husband complete control over our anniversary. I tried not to have any expectations; it is not very often he will plan a special occasion for us.  

We both took August 15th off from work and got to sleep in. Sleep in on a Wednesday! That is unheard of in our home – it was marvelous (granted, sleeping in for us is 7:45a.m). We slowly woke up watching Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part II and my husband made us breakfast.  Afterwards he helped me work on a job application (that I needed to finish up and mail that day while we were out) by reviewing my answers to the supplemental questions that were required.  How sweet right!?! However, not very romantic (that’s okay, we aren’t the mushy gushy type). 

After the third or fourth review we headed to the Post Office on our way to the movie theater to watch the Bourne Legacy. I personally thought it was a good movie, granted, I am not very picky about movies. Hubbs had a different opinion.

We left the dark and cold movie theater and headed on down to CSU Sacramento to pay his fall semester’s tuition. Happy Anniversary to us – here is $4,000 state of California. However, that was off our chests and off my to-do list, so we could head out to the Aquatic Center and really enjoy ourselves.

My husband had planned that we would go stand-up paddle boarding because I have been commenting incessantly that I would like to try it. Well we get to the Sac State Aquatic Center and all the paddle boards were rented out. Bum deal. However, we don’t let it dampen our mood and we snag a tandem kayak instead. We weren’t out on the water too long but enjoyed the serenity and time with each other all the same.

We finally returned our rental, jumped in the car and headed home to get cleaned up for dinner. I was so EXCITED for dinner. Hubbs had originally planned for us to go P.F. Changs; we both enjoy the food there and don’t go very often. However, on our way to the aquatic center my husband had made the comment that he would like to try somewhere new and quickly suggested The Melting Pot, I called Verizon 411 and made us reservations for 7 pm.

Now, neither of us had ever been to The Melting Pot but have been saying for the past year that we would like to go. Well we did.  The Melting Pot may be a new favorite restaurant of ours. We got a four-course meal (priced per couple) and ate to our heart’s content. All I can say is the idea behind the Melting Pot is ingenious! The entrée and dessert were by far the best courses.

For the entrée they bring out a variety of raw meats and vegetables and various dips as well as a pot with whatever cooking oils, wines, or beers that you chose. You skewer the meat of your choice, place it in the very hot pot, full of liquid and it cooks your meat for a determined amount of time (told to you by your server).  Then, after your meat is cooked, you have 6 different dips to choose from. Delectable!

Now, by the end of our third course I was starting to feel my waistline expand, however, The Melting Pot is well known for its desserts and I wasn’t going to let a bulging belly get in my way!

Mmmmmm, mmmm! Dessert was fantastic! You choose which chocolate mix you would like melted in your pot and then the server brings out a plethora of sweet treats that would have been just fine by themselves. So as you look at the fresh strawberries, marshmallows, brownies, cheesecake, angel food cake and rice crispy treats you can’t help but start to drool.

So needless to say we went home very happy and very full and very ready for what God has in store for us this next year.

Thank you sweetheart for a wonderful two-year anniversary celebration and I look forward to many more in the future, I love you!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Photo from:
I cannot rave enough about my students in this summer’s Life and Career Planning class. They were fantastic! The students exceeded my expectations. Work was done thoughtfully, effort and time were obviously taken in completing the assignments and I was sad to see them go. I have also never had such an appreciative group of students. The final day of class, as everyone was dismissed, many students stayed behind to say goodbye and thank you, give me a hug or shake my hand.
Let me tell you, as a teacher, a thank you goes a lllooonnnggg way. Us teachers like to feel appreciated and know we made an impact and getting that verbal affirmation does wonders in lifting an instructor’s spirits.  
I've been kinda down-and-out and my students, without meaning to (which is really the most awesome way anyway) encouraged me and gave me the confidence I have been lacking.
Right after the students' presentations (which really did last the entire 3 hours of our final class session!), I went home and jumped in the car with my hunny to head to church. Bayside Church is doing a special “Summer Splash” series - teaching various introductory classes revolving around large and important topics. Anyway, while my husband and I were listening to Pastor Al Soto, Co-Pastor of Bayside of Lincoln, he said something that brought tears to my eyes because I knew God was talking to me through him. Al Soto recited Ephesians 2:10. Now, I have Ephesians 2:8-9 memorized, I have since the 3rd grade when I was in AWANAS. Even though 2:8-9 are written on my heart, I should not have stopped at verse 9. Verse 10 is what I have been desperately craving to hear, it reads: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).”
Yesterday was a day of encouragement, a day I have been needing for months and it could not have come at a better time. Why do I let forces of evil come into my mind and produce self-doubt and insecurity? I am worthy because God made me to worship him. This awe-inspiring, magnificent, mysterious and holy being chose to make me the way I am. How can I doubt my value, a value that was given to me by the creator of the universe?
So thank you to my Summer 2012 class of HCD 330: Life and Career Planning, for one of the best semesters I have ever had! And thank you Dear Jesus for reminding me through your servant, Pastor Al Soto that I am worthy!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Family Reunions

Whew! This has been the longest 2-day work week I have ever had and one of my quickest weekends.

How was I lucky enough to have a 2-day work week you might ask? I was on vacation July 1st - 10th and then took a day of rest to return to work on the 12th.

Let me give you a quick run down of our trip, only because it was so wonderful that I want to share it with you.

First, my husband and I flew into Michigan for my cousin's high school graduation open house. While we let our weary, travel legs rest we ate some delicious grub, re-hydrated and then got back into the car...or van...or whatever you would classify a Ford Flex and joined the caravan down to Johnson's Island in Lake Erie, Ohio.

We stayed at my aunt and uncle's cottage on Johnson's Island and it was wonderful. You may be imagining a quaint, comfy cottage, however, this is not your run-of-the-mill cottage. It is basically a large house that can house - well we fit 18 people in it and that is not counting the mother-in-law suite over the garage that is currently being rented out.

The backside of the cottage.
18 people sure was a lot. My father's entire side of the family was there including my grandparents of 82 and 79 years old (who I literally ran to hug when we arrived in Michigan). The week of July 4th is becoming a family tradition, where my family from Georgia drive to Ohio and my family flies in from California and we all coalesce at "the cottage." I hadn't had the opportunity to join the family reunion for the last three years. So seeing everyone, my cousins who have grown up (and are taller than me); my grandparents who I have missed dearly; and my aunts and uncles who have been so supportive throughout my life was such a blessing. I could not have asked for a better family. Thank you Jesus!

The Prestel family.
There are so many activities to engage in on the island, not to mention the fun water sports off the island. Everyday people went knee boarding, water skiing, wake boarding and/or tubing. Taking rides in the golf cart was a huge commodity for those who don't have their license yet. One morning, before a hugh thunder storm hit, most of the gents went out for a round of golf. And this year 10 of us spent a day at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. I can affirm, and not on a positive note, that I am not the fearless roller coaster rider I used to be. When landing my feet on solid ground after many of the rides, my head would need a minute or two to come back to earth and stop spinning. I think I have come to the conclusion that I am getting older, which is extremely sad to say at 25 years old. Everyday on the island I was out with someone - my mom, my aunts, my husband, and/or my dad - either walking, biking or jogging around the island. It was so nice to go somewhere and not have too many responsibilities and just RELAX. My husband and I needed, so desperately, the time away to rejuvenate and reconnect.

After our week at the cottage had come to end my parents, husband and I took my brother to Detroit Metro so he could fly back to California. From there we drove to Trenton Michigan to spend time with mom's family.

If you haven't noticed by now, my family, both sides, are a little scattered. Why, you may ask? My Dad is a retired Naval Chief Petty Officer. So my mom and dad grew up in Michigan and then my Dad joined the Navy and their travels began. Their travels eventually ended them up in the Mojave Desert in California and they are still there to this day, bidding their time till my mom retires as a teacher from the local school district.

Anyway, we arrived at my maternal grandparent's house and it was a warm welcome full of loving embraces. Now, I hadn't seen my mother's parents in four years - the wait had been entirely too long. We spent the rest of the day playing games (heard of Racko and/or Four Score?) and enjoying each other's company.

Now I didn't mention that the weather, while in Ohio, was less than desired. It was HOT and HUMID. Yuck! Now I am from sunny, DRY, California, where it may get hot, but it is very rarely humid. However, this was not a normal hot, these were record-breaking summer days that just happened to occur during our stay there. Our second day in Trenton was gorgeous! Finally, real Michigan/Ohio weather. Mid to high 80s with a slight breeze coupled with low humidity. Much better. So needless to say, I went for a run. A pretty pathetic run. I had lost so much endurance but forced myself to get some exercise all the same.

Later in the afternoon of our second day in Trenton, Michigan we went to my aunt's house (mother's sister). It was nice to see my aunt and two cousins, who again, I hadn't seen in four years. We had a lot of fun there, playing in the pool, playing ping pong, ladder ball, pool and darts and later, of course, card games.

My husband and father playing pool.

We had one more full day at my grandparents before flying back to Cali. It was another relaxed day; everyone was a little off due to mild fatigue and the aching already rooted in our hearts knowing we were going to have to say good-bye the next day, and for how long, no one really knows.

July 10th, our day reserved for traveling back to California was bittersweet. I was looking forward to not living out of a suitcase anymore and sleeping in my own bed but I already missed my family. We made it home, safe and sound, ran some errands and I was in bed by 9:00 p.m. that night.

Overall, our trip was fantastic and we got the R&R that we have been needing. I have been blessed with an amazing family and wish I could see them more often.

Family vacations are so special. Do you have any special trips planned this summer?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jogging for joy

Image from: 
Have you ever exhausted your body for enjoyment? Why, why would we do this? People do it everyday. I decided to join those delusional individuals. 

I used to be pretty athletic. I played volleyball and basketball in high school. I was always quick - a good sprinter. I was never too fond of distance running. I always groaned when the P.E. teacher told us we had to run four laps for time. Ugh...why? Why would I voluntarily run till my lungs burned and my legs felt like lead just to receive some numbers that I won't remember, but I will be encouraged to beat the next time we run four laps?

I used to jog with my dad. You know, to spend time with him, to talk with him. I think we walked much more than he would have preferred. But he did it. For me. What love!

Three months ago I weighed the most I have ever weighed in my life. I was still under 150 pounds but not by much. For someone who is 5'4," I was overweight. My clothes weren't fitting like they used to, I was always tired and I NEEDED a change. I NEEDED to feel better about myself. Health wise, I wasn't healthy. Did I eat out a lot? No. Did I eat a lot of ice cream? No. Did I eat a lot of sugar? Yes. Did I eat a lot of processed foods? Yes. Did I drink enough water? Nope, not even close.

A friend of mine from church, knew I had a 24 Hour membership - I think because I was complaining about how I needed to go but I was "oh so tired." She eventually asked if I wanted to work out with her since she too was trying to get more fit. I was so excited! Someone to keep me accountable was what I needed. 

We started meeting each other at the gym, roughly three days a week. After a month of meeting at the gym I was still so tired. I blamed it on work. That work was "emotionally draining," which it was and still is, but that wasn't it, not entirely. I did lose a couple pounds and was feeling stronger but it wasn't enough for me.

One day I got a Groupon email about a boot camp and sent it to my friend asking her if she wanted to try it with me. We both bought it and drove entirely too far, in rush hour, to attend boot camp sessions at Booty Boot Camp. These sessions were great! Cardio mixed with strength training for 45 minutes - talk about exhausting, but liberating at the same time! The trainers were fantastic and the other women in attendance were encouraging and supportive. Those boot camp sessions kick started my new, healthier, lifestyle. I met with the owner for a one-on-one consultation half way through my sessions and she really encouraged me to look at my food intake. What was I really eating? I told her some different meals I had prepared, what my go-to snacks were, etc. Very bluntly she told me that I was eating too many processed foods. While yes, they aren't "bad," they aren't necessarily all that good for me either. 

I took that conversation to heart, had a great chat with my hubby and we decided to make some changes. Many of the changes were small changes, there were a few that were pretty substantial to us, but worth it. 

In three months I have lost nine pounds. Now that is not too much considering it is only three pounds a month but like I said, I am not a big girl, I just wasn't satisfied with my health. I didn't feel or look healthy and that needed to change. Now am I healthy? I am healthier and that is an improvement that I will not belittle. 

What does all this have to do with jogging? 

During the boot camp sessions I would get winded pretty quickly and that is no bueno (excuse my Spanglish). There was a bittersweet feeling in the air. Yes, I was working out and enjoying it but, sheesh! Seven, eight, years ago all of those jumping jacks, high knees, squats, lunges and sprints would have been no problem. And now, now I was catching glimpses of death! A bit overly-dramatic, I know, but I was beat - emotionally and physically. As I was remembering the "glory days" of high school, as far as athletics go, my mind drifted back to all the running involved in basketball and how I was in such great shape during basketball season. 

I decided to stop fighting it. I stepped outside, in sunny California, and began to jog around the apartment complex. Great view. I know. I could barely make one lap. Embarrassing. I was so frustrated with myself and so discouraged. I walked the next lap. I tried to alternate laps, jog one, walk one, jog one, walk one. I wouldn't always be able to jog an entire lap without walking but I made a true and just effort all the same. 

I wasn't so sure I wanted to know the distance of one lap, one in which I couldn't complete without huffing and puffing. Too bad. I decided to face the music. I jumped in the car and was back to my parking stall after .03 of a mile. 

Okay, so almost three laps make a mile. Not too bad. I could visualize myself doing that. After a while I decided to step it up a bit. Jog two laps, walk one lap. I DID IT! Yippee!

Eventually I got to the point where I could jog four laps, which, if my math is correct is 1.2 miles. Over a mile! Are you kidding? Without walking? YES! I was so excited I kept jogging 1.2 miles as my jogging routine. I had no desire to go any further, I was comfortable and I was improving my time. Who knew those pesky numbers would mean something after all? I began competing with myself again and it felt good. I never thought I would enjoy jogging. Ever. 

Now I wasn't jogging everyday. I was also going to the gym, mostly hanging out on an elliptical. I started doing 15 minutes. Not a whole heck of a lot but something. Eventually my husband started getting back into the gym (he blames his lack of activity on college) after his spring semester ended. He has fantastic endurance. He would hop up on the elliptical and go for 30 minutes. Well I can't NOT do 30 minutes if he is doing 30 minutes. Which, if you time it right, you can watch an entire episode of The High Low Project, or some other episode on HGTV or whatever tickles your fancy. So I pushed myself - I was doing 30 minutes, which eventually led to 40. My heart and lungs were getting stronger and my stamina for cardiovascular exercise was improving.

Well I am proud to say that today, June 23rd, 2012 I jogged seven laps around the apartment complex without stopping. Nice view. I know (not really, not at all). That's right, 2.1 miles. Who would have thought? Certainly not me; not me by a long shot. And guess what? I liked it. 

Yes, I joined the Delusional Jogger's Club. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hello & Welcome!

Originally I named this blog "Daily Blessed." Found out there was already a "Daily Blessed." Me, wanting to be original, had to change the name. I needed to think of something that would last through the years if I keep this blogging thing up. So there you have it, Fernandez Family Fun. Our family is small, just me and my hubby, and this is great for now while we are trying to figure out this life thing.

Let me shamefully tell you that I set this blog up about 8 months ago. I know, I know - talk about bad time management. I couldn't help it. I wasn't inspired like I thought I would be. However, today is the day. My first post.

I am hoping that through this site we - you and me - can come together and share our many blessings that the Lord pours out on us daily. I hope that we can also share our joys and struggles and support each other through this incredibly joyous, difficult and worthwhile journey called life.