Sunday, September 28, 2008

early mornings...

In our church there are no paid jobs. All assignments...or "callings" as they are usally called....are purely voluntary. We do not pick and choose what calling we have. We believe they are called by God. It is what He wants us to do. We usually do not know how long we will serve in a particular calling. Some assignments are easier than others. Some match our natural talents and some make us come out of our comfort zones. Each calling has its unique challenges and growth opportunities.

Right now my calling is to teach early morning seminary. Out West(Utah, Arizona, Idaho, etc) where the population of LDS teenagers is great, they have seminary as an elective course at the high schools so the students do not have to attend during the early morning hours. But here in the South (and in many other parts of the world) high school youth get up way before most teenagers to study the scriptures. We meet from 6:35-7:20. My nephew in AL meets from 6:00- 6:50 which means they leave their house at 5:40 to drive to the church. I can't remember what time we met when I was in high school but know it was 6:30 or earlier. One of the guys that comes to our seminary class rides his bike every morning to attend....even in the rain. And when his bike is broken he will roller blade or skateboard to get there. He is always there before me. We meet at a member's home so he just walks in and lies on the couch waiting for class to start. I admire him for his dedication...even if his Dad requires this of him. He willingly comes and is happy to be there.

This is a tough calling. It requires a lot of preparation but I believe in this scripture :

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

I believe that when we give the Lord a little of our time He will make the rest of our time productive. It is like I find more time in the day to get done the other responsibilities I have. It dosen't mean I get everything house is usually cluttered; the floors are dirty; laundry piles up; but I seem to get it all done. It doesn't mean I don't feel any stress about what needs to be done....but I don't get overwhelmed as easily now. My family helps out more...which is good. This will help me find ways to be more organized...well maybe;)
I know this is what Heavenly Father wants me to be doing at this time in my life and I know I will be blessed for this service. Do I always enjoy it? 99% of the time and I always do once I get there.. Is it hard to get up everyday? Yes. But the blessings far outweigh the negatives. I seem to always enjoy being around those sleepy and sometimes grumpy teenagers. I feel like I am teaching them and they always teach me something. What I am learning and how my testimony is growing is worth every struggle I have.

I don't like to share my personal beliefs with just anyone. I am not that bold. I was always uncomfortable around people who were always "praising" or talking about what they I didn't want to make others feel that way. But now I admire those who openly profess their beliefs. It doesn't mean I will start doing that(not my nature) but i do not want to shy away from opprotunites to share where i get my strength. Share what has made my life meaningful. Share some of what I believe.

For too long I have worried what others will think. I have allowed one instance(earlier this year) where someone accused me of being a member of a cult and non-christian affect me in "letting my light shine". I feel like a hypocrite sometimes because of this. I don't usually share with others what I do in the mornings. Why? Because I want to avoid any comments they might have about my religion. But they will probably be shocked that 7 high school kids get up that early to learn about Christ. They will probably admire them for this sacrifice.
Most mornings I try to workout before heading to seminary. There is a group of people that are always in the lobby visiting with one another after their workouts. They see me leave each day in a skirt/dress @6:25 am( we are asked to wear this to teach seminary). When they have asked "where do you work?" I tell them i teach preschool in my home...this is true. Why didn't I say I teach an early morning bible study class before preschool? They probably think it is odd that a preschool teacher wears Sunday clothes to play with 3 and 4 year olds... I have told one of those people what I do and I believe he told them but it would have been better coming from me. It would have showed that I was a Christian. I don't want to come across as trying to push my religion on others. My objective would be to show I am not ashamed of my beliefs. I do not want to apologize for what I believe...and sometimes I feel like I am doing that when I choose not to speak up. I hope I have another chance to tell them. I hope I take the other opprotunities I might be given to share what I do. I feel like it will be giving credit to these teenagers as well.
I have always believed our example is one of the biggest ways we show what we believe and I try to live in a way that shows that I believe in Christ. It is how we let our light shine. It is how we help others feel the love Heavenly Father has for them. I make mistakes everyday. I do not live up to what I can do but I can repent and try harder. I am grateful for the Atonement that allows me to do that.

We can not give others our testimony....that can only come through the Holy Ghost...and is very individual. It is my testimony that motivates me to meet with these youth. I hope to share with them what I know to be true. I hope to help them feel how wonderful they are and how much Heavenly Father knows and loves them; help them understand the Atonement and how it can change their life.
here they are again....
Arent't they a handsome bunch! And all taller than me....I know that isn't saying much though:)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No use crying over spilled brownies....

My mother's philosophy in life has been to "laugh first and then cry if you must"! She taught us to laugh at life's problems and try not to dwell on them. That is usually how I deal with my problems and daily struggles. I still get frustrated at times...but try hard not to go overboard over tiny mishaps. I still have my moments(just ask Fia and Nate) but am getting better.

Since we have a new puppy our floors are...ahem....little dirtier than usual. With the new puppy's small bladder I am cleaning little spots a lot and Cricket--feeling a little jealous--has decided to leave some of her own spots as well. So this afternoon I decided I needed to steam mop my sunroom and since I was already sweeping I might as well sweep and mop the rest of the floors. I don't normally clean on Sundays but it was necessary!

So.... for dessert tonight Sophia wanted to make some brownies. She was mixing the chocolate goodness at the table when I hear a bam. I turn around and the bowl is upside down on the floor. She quickly turns it over, sees the mess and says "I didn't mean to!". I chuckled at the sight and said "it's OK...the floors are clean!!" (and then I thought.... "the heat from the oven will surely kill the rest!") So I tried to skim the top layer off the floor(as much as you can with brownie batter) with my hands and put that into the pan to bake. Then Fia and Nate each got a rubber spatula and started cleaning up the rest and picking out the chocolate chunks to eat(hate to waste those!).

I could have easily gotten frustrated at the mess and the wasted brownies(and they would have been if I didn't clean my floors) but instead my first thought was how wonderful that the floors were clean so we could still eat the brownies!

I am not recording this story to brag about my level of patience because I still have a long way to go! But I wanted to write this down so the next time I am reading this (or the kids are reading it) it will remind me(and them) to have a little patience over the unintentional messes.
And you are probably thinking....Never eat brownies from the Villamor's! you know why they are so delish!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Before and After



This is Cricket-our first baby. We got her in October of 95 from a mall petstore. She was the cutest ball of fur! She was my baby and I so wished I could have taken her with me everywhere! She just turned 13 and will always be our baby! For the past year or so she has become sort of a recluse. She stays in her hiding spot(under my night stand) and emerges when we eat. Well....when we got Stella she started coming out more. She wanted to sit with me at night while I watch TV. Funny how she has gotten jealous!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


A couple weeks ago one of my preschool children's mother asked if she could bring her puppies over to show the class. Who doesn't like to see puppies??!! So of course after seeing them I really, really wanted one. I talked it over with Richard and we decided that the kids were old enough to help take care of one..... so why not!?!

So one week ago today we brought home this little bundle of sweetness! She was named "Stella" by her orignal family and we loved the name so much it stuck!

I had GRAND plans of crate-training her at night and when we left the house....well that didn't last one night. i had to get up really early that first night she was with us so i knew I couldn't sleep with her I had her sleep with me. She is a great snuggler!! She has rotated between me and the kids ever since. The only problem is she wakes up 2-3 times each night wanting to play! The night this picture was taken she chewed off Nate's necklace;)

We are all smitten by this cute little dog!! ....well except for Cricket!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Richard!

Birthday boy

yes...there are no candles on that cake....we didn't want to set off the alarm(guffaw!)

Friday Richard turned 42 **gasp** but he doesn't look his age since he married such a young beautiful wife...hardy har har....part of that is true:) His Filipino heritage is really the reason he only looks a day over 40....I mean 30:) You should see his mother. She definatly doesn't look 70 something! One day I will definately look older than him unless I go on Dr. 90210 and have my face pulled back to my ears....but since this post is about Richard I thought I would name 42 facts about him you might not know;)

1. He was born in 1966.
2. He is the oldest of 6.
3. He has 4 brothers and a sister.
4. All his siblings' names start with R and nicknames B. (Richard-Boy, Randolph-Boyet, Ronald-Bobet, Rommel-Butch, Rowena-Babe, Richzer-Bobot)
5. Richard's nickname was "Boy" but it didn't stick and he became "Ricky" after an actor named Ricky Belmonte.
6. Both of his parents were doctors.
7. He almost proceeded to become a priest after having spent 4 years in the seminary. His mother encouraged him to be a Physical Therapist...those are really so closely related aren't they!
8. He went to a private school located in another city during the week leaving home on Sunday afternoon starting at age 6 or 7. They would go home on the weekends. This wasn't a punishment but a way to get a better education.
9. Each of the children had a nannie.
10. They had a cook.
11. They had an "errand boy."
12. They had a laundry lady.
13. They even had a driver. Both errand boy and the driver scrubbed/waxed the floors and clean house.
14. Labor was VERY cheap in the Philippines.
15. There is no middle school in the Philippines.
16. Richard graduated from HS when he was 16.
17. He came to the states in 1989.
18. His first job was in Davenport, IA.
19. The only things he owned in his furnished apartment were a clock radio and a bed sheet.
20. He walked to work in the snow!
21. He wasn't used to the cold weather. It got to -42 degrees in IA.
22. His first company car was a Plymouth. He bought his first car in 1990 which was a Ford Escort GT.
23. Richard loves to drive.
24. He used to drive 12 hours-one way- to see friends....just for the weekend.
25. When we went to San Antonio for Christmas he drove.all.night.long.
26. He was raised Catholic.
27. He was baptized into the LDS church when he was almost 26.
28. He met his lovely wife in Greenville, SC. at a singles conference.
29. On his birthday each sibling calls to greet him happy birthday....even if they live out of the country.
30. Each sibling works in the medical profession.
31. He has lived in states: Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Florida, and Georgia.
32. He married into the craziest family.
33. He became a father on December 15th 1999 when Sophia was placed in his arms.
34. In the Philippines they didn't watch football....instead they watched the Miss Universe Pageant.
35. Richard took 2 years of piano lessons and then taught himself the rest. He plays beautifully!
36. Richard just bought a brand new Toyota 4 Runner before we married. We sold it the next year....I think he still is mad about that;) But I didn't know he only financed it for 3 years...I was just looking at the $673 monthly payment! yikes!
37. Richard is very popular among the 65 and older crowd. They all sit around and talk about who their therapist is.
38. Richard loves his job.
39. He is the "Branch President" which is like a preacher/pastor in your church....but it is not a paid 'job'....just an assignment for a time.
40. Richard loves my cooking....or he has learned to be grateful at least!
41. Richard is allergic to our new puppy.
42. Richard is a very caring and loving father and husband.

We love you Richard!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pepto and jokes

My preschool children have been telling jokes lately and the first time I heard one of them they made me chuckle because they( the children) were SO funny. I thought I would record them so you could laugh too....

What do you call a police car with windows on the side?

A police car window!!

What do you call a football with a baseball on it?

A football baseball!

What do you call a car with dirt?

A dirt car!

Each joke was followed by a "Get it? get it?" and then they would say the punch line again. This is how hard they would laugh.....literally...

chuckle, chortle, guffaw, and hardy har har

Then the child would say "Ok...ok...I will tell you one more..."
Too cute!

There is another child who- while swinging very high- likes to sing....

"When you got nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea...use PEP-to BIS" (the last part said with a loud throaty(not a word I know but I think you can hear what i am saying) tone.

It is too cute!

Today I went inside to grab something and when I walked out the first thing I heard was "DIARRHEA!" in the sweetest singing voice you ever heard!

They sure keep me laughing!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I realized I post a lot about Nate's funniness but not much about Fia. She doesn't have many quirky behavior as Nate so not many "stories" to record:) But she deserves her very own post!!

So I thought I would write a few things about our babygirl Sophia:)

She says she is the top reader in her class. I don't doubt this and I know she tries really hard to impress her teacher!! I am sure she has done this in years past but I think she tries extra hard since her teacher is our good friend as well!

She got the nickname "Fia" from her friend Lillian who was a year older. I never liked the nickname "Sophie" and was happy to call her Fia!
She LOVES anything related to science. Poor thing got a telescope for Christmas last year and her deglectful parents have helped her use it 2 times since! It is so hard to find the moon with that thing!

She is such a great friend and is a friend to everyone! While we were camping she made friends with almost everyone she met. The first night she was out gathering some sticks for the fire and when she came back she told me about this family she made friends with. She kept asking me to go meet them. It was funny how much she liked them. I asked her what their names were and her reply was "i haven't figured that out yet."

She loves her brother and is mostly patient with his antagonizing ways. She likes to kiss him when he is sleeping.

She is allergic to chores and grass.

Mosquitos EAT HER ALIVE.

She use to call pajamas "jamamas"
Her favorite food is ramen noodles and any kind of pasta

She loves her long hair but doesn't care to brush it.

She loves to spend her money

She is a very touchy-feely-hands-on child. She loves to give hugs and is fun to sleep with. We had a family bed until she was 5. I loved it when she would roll over and reach her little chubby hand searching for my face. Another good thing about this quality....she lets me know when I haven't spent enough time with her....not with her words but the look in her eyes.

We love our baby girl!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nate stories...

So it is one of those nights.... so I thought I would record some funny stories of our buddy Nate.

One quality Nate has is when he takes on a cause he is committed! Most 6 year old boys do not associate with anything girlie...anything pink and purple or anything that might even remotely look like a girl would be a part of it.

So the other day Nate was listening to some Jonas Brother's songs on the internet. This is something he does regularly....and some songs he listens to over. and over. and over. and over!!!!

Which did help me learn the lyrics before going to their concert.

Anyway I recognized the tune to this particular song he was listening to over and over and over was from The Litte Mermaid when Ursala was about to take Ariel's voice...remember...the poor unfortunate souls one???

here is our conversation about it....

Me: Nate! I know that song!

Nate: you do? (kinda shocked)

Me: It is from the Little Mermaid

Nate: no it is NOT! (very defensive)

Me: yes it is!

Nate: no it isn't!

Me: Nate...

Now at this point he is very frustrated and says some other stuff as the reality that his favorite band was singing a song that was once sung by a girl. I told him it was from the ugly mean octopus. It didn't change his mind because he is committed!!

I haven't heard that song since....and their rendention of it was very good! I guess I will have to listen to it myself....oooooo....maybe I should do it and see what his reaction will be!

Story #2:

Whenever we go into sacrament meeting at church Nate likes to get a songbook for each song we will sing that day. He turns to each page and lays them out for me. He goes hunting for enough songbooks for each song.

Last week we attended church at a ward near Stone Mountain where we were camping. After we sat down Nate began to hunt for his songbooks. We had 2 on our row but since we sing 4 songs he looked to the row ahead of us for some more. There was a family sitting on that row with a boy about Nate's age. After a about 5 minutes of us sitting down I noticed Nate was standing up with his back to the wall(we were in one of the side pews) watching what this boy was doing. He was not just sitting still but had something on his pew that he was fiddling with. After a few minutes I noticed Nate still standing and asked him to sit down. I don't remember if Nate said something about needing more songbooks or what but I got the thought to see what this boy was doing. The boy seemed to have a songbook fettish as well because he had 5-6 books stacked up on his pew! It made me chuckle and wish I could have heard Nate's thoughts as he realized he needed more hymn books and then seeing all the books the boy had accumulated!

Story #3:

One of Nate's favorite foods is cheese crackers. He can eat the store brands but just likes the plain original flavor. That is his favorite snack and goes to it first...after he has asked for something to drink of course.

There was an instance where we needed to buy more. As we were heading to town one day he reminded me of this fact. We were planning to go to Wal-Mart but luckily what we needed must not have been that urgent so we decided to go home. When Nate found out he almost started to cry. He said, "but Mom! We need to get some Cheeze-its!"

I didn't realize HOW important those little square crackers were to him!

We love you Nate and are glad you don't read this blog because if you did you would be very upset with me!! Please do not tease Nate about anything I say in this blog! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I tried to get into the posts Richard did about our camping trip but blogger won't let me for some here is my synopsis of the adventure!

We left 3pm on Friday and we only forgot one thing....usually we won't go after what we forgot....but this was pretty was the key to the camper door:) Even with that delay we got to the campground without any traffic jams!

I booked our site back in June. I was calling to get a reservation for the 4th of July but they were i went ahead and booked a site for Labor Day. I was able to pull up the campground map and pick the site I wanted. We were right on the lake....with only the narrow road separating us....and our site was huge!! It was perfect!

The McMinn's came up Friday night to camp with us. It was fun to have them with us. Cami loves Nate and Nate loves that Cami loves him! Here they are getting cozy in the camper;)

Since we were so close to the lake....this is where the kids liked to be. Sophia was always down there looking for rocks and playing with the clay. She has been studying different kinds of rocks and soil in her science class so she took home some rocks to show her teacher.

After breakfast on Saturday we headed over to hike up the mountain. It wasn't too hot but when you are walking on an incline the sweat just pours naturally. It was fun to watch Sophia and Nate climbing together ahead of us. Later I asked Fia what her favorite part of our trip and she said it was climbing the mountain and talking to Nate. He really does love his sister even if he has a hard time showing it....amidst all his aggravating!

It was so nice for Stone Mountain to provide gum for us while we were hiking! They think of everything....and there were so many flavors to choose from I decided to take a little of each one!

While I was doing research on where to letterbox, I noticed Stone Mountain had a lot of boxes planted inside the park. I was able to print off a few but wished I had printed off more because we were only able to find one. This clue only gave us a picture and I was thinking we would never find it....but it was located right off the main road! It was fun for Richard to do this with us!
This is the stamp...

This is where it was hid....

Hiding it back for the next treasure-hunter!

We set off to find another letterbox but were unsuccessful....the upside of that experience is we got to hike around this beautiful trail! I can only imagine how gorgeous Stone Mountain is in the Fall!

In spite of car troubles it was such a great weekend. I can't wait to camp again!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Stone Mountain - Labor Day Weekend '08

The family enjoying our time together!

Sophia and Richard in Stone Mountain