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memorable moments with Shayla.

22 Jun

(I had a million ideas for a going away present for my sister, but I think she will like this one best. Been working on it a couple weeks now. I hope it makes her smile. This is a lengthy entry, but if you take the time to read it, I think you will enjoy getting to know Shayla and me a little better. Oh and be forewarned, after re-reading this I realized, most of these stories involve one or both of us crying. To those who know us well, this will neither be a shock or surprise. Heh.)

For those of you who don’t know, my sister Shayla will be moving to Seattle at the end of this week. Words do not justify how I feel right now. Though all at the same time, I am very happy that she will be able to have this experience. Living away from home really made me grow up, and made me realize the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex is not the only place that exists on planet earth. I hope she grows in a way she could never imagine, and ultimately, I hope she is happy. Over the past month, I’ve been recalling several #shaylamemories with friends. Here is my list of stand-out moments, with the woman I love the most. She has been my inspiration and my other half since the day I was born. I love you Shayla.

1. A Broken Elbow. Probably not what you’re thinking… I’ve never broken a single bone in my body. This is one of my earliest memories of childhood. It was raining really hard outside in Lancaster, Texas. We were in the car as a family, I was still in a car seat (I was probably three years old). We pulled up to Winn Dixie off of Pleasant Run Road, and thankfully the rain had subsided. My mom needed to run in to get something, so my dad parked and we listened to KLTY as we waited for her to return, groceries in hand. I can remember sitting in the back seat holding on to my Winnie the Pooh pillow, while Shayla and I sang a song (can’t remember which one though). I was looking out window wondering when my mommy was going to be done shopping. I see her walking out of the automatic door. She was wearing jeans, a white v-neck t-shirt with turquoise stripes, and of course heels. In case you didn’t know… my mom is pretty fierce. All of a sudden, I see her trip on what looks like a hole in the concrete. She falls flat on her bottom, and it looks like she hit her elbow pretty hard. “MOMMY!” I screamed. My dad freaked out, ran out of the car to go help her up. By this point, Shayla and I are both crying, panicking wondering if our mom was ok. My dad gets her into the car, and she is visibly in some of the worst pain she had ever been in. Luckily we weren’t too far from a hospital. She had definitely broken her elbow. As a three year old, I’m really freaking out. What I remember most about this moment was that Shayla saw me losing it, and even though she was crying too, she reached out and took my hand and tried to calm me down. This is one of my first memories, and one of the first times I can remember that Shayla was there for me. She was strong when I couldn’t be (yes, of course I wasn’t. I was a three year old, but as a seven year old, Shayla already showed me what a strong person she was, and still is to this day).

2. Showbiz Pizza. I think there was about a three year stretch when my sister and I had every single one of our birthday parties there. Who knows why we loved that place so much. I mean, look at this picture! Those mechanical animals are possibly the creepiest things I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling it was the pizza, maybe. I remember the first time I had a “pizza preference”. My parents had ordered all us kids a few different pizzas, one with just pepperonis, one with just cheese, and one with pepperonis and black olives. I had never had (or at least could remember) pizza with black olives on it, but I can remember seeing how excited Shayla was when that pizza came to the table. Why was she so excited about pizza with some weird looking black stuff on it? It puzzled me, but it intrigued me enough to want to try it. My mom put a piece of cheese pizza on my plate. “No thank you. I’d like the same kind of pizza Shayla has please.” My mom asked me if I was sure, then gave me a slice. To this day, pepperoni & black olive is one of my favorite kinds of pizza. I’ve always wanted to like what she liked. She’s always been my favorite person… if she likes something, it has to be for good reason. And in the case of this pizza, I couldn’t agree with her more.

3. Lana the Ladybug. She was beautiful with long straight brown hair to the middle of her back, her bangs perfectly curled. She wore black eyeliner and glitter for eyeshadow. Black tights and a black leotard were what this ladybug wore, along with the most beautifully crafted red and black-spotted wings you had ever seen (of course because my talented artist-for-a-dad made them). While she was getting ready at home for her first school musical, I felt left out because I wasn’t the one getting dressed up and pretty. So I went to my closet and found my prettiest dress and asked my mom if I could wear it. “WE don’t have to dress up silly. Just wear something more casual. We aren’t going to church.” I begged her to let me wear my pretty dress, so she let me (for the record, my pretty dress was a pink cotton dress that had little Miss Piggy and little Kermit on it from Muppet Babies). When we got to the auditorium of Millbrook Elementary, I sat on my dad’s lap so I could see the stage better. And so the play began. It was a sort of “Bug’s Life” type of story. Then came Shayla’s solo. For the life of me, I can’t remember how the song went, but I do remember that the song was about all the little boy buggies and how she had been rejecting their attempts to win her heart. It was terribly cute, and she sang wonderfully. I can remember especially in this moment, wanting to be as good as her, and wanting to be able to sing on a stage as beautifully. Though I can not count the number of times I have had this thought. I have always wanted to be just like her. And in case you were wondering, we still have this play on VHS. Yes, oh yes we do.

4. A Plane Ride. We had only lived in Hawaii for a year, (1995) but even in one year we had done so much, made so many wonderful friends, and created so many irreplaceable memories with our family. We didn’t want to leave, but living in Hawaii had become more expensive, and my dad had found work back in Texas, which was once our home. Our closest friends and family said goodbye to us at the airport, including a recent boyfriend Shayla had to break up with due to him graduating high school, and her moving back to Texas. I remember watching them say goodbye. She was very quiet as we took our seats on the plane. As we began to take off, she grabbed my hand as tight as she good, and began to weep. In most situations, I would have probably cried with her, but in that moment I felt something for the first time. Just like she had been there for me so many times, and had been strong for me, I wanted to be strong for her. So I let her cry as she laid her head on my shoulder. We didn’t move or talk for the first five hours of our trip. I let her sort through all of her emotions all the way to our layover in California. I felt very honored that my sister, whom I had looked up to my entire life, wanted my shoulder to be the one she cried on. We hadn’t been very close while we lived in Hawaii, but it seemed like from this moment on we were pretty much inseparable.

5. 3Days. I’m not sure if this was my very first concert, but I remember one of the first times I went to a local Christian rock show was at a small venue called God’s Place in Arlington. When Nick and Shayla started dating, my dad didn’t want them to be alone. So guess who got to play chaperon? That’s right, this girl. But I have to say, this has been one of the best obligations I could have ever had. It is what opened the door to my obsession with good music. Back to that night… we were going to see a band called 3Days (oh my gatos!). Nick and Shayla walked around and talked to their friends while I sat in the back and listened to the set. They started to play a song that many of you reading might remember…. “In the time that I thought that I needed love most, and the cries from my heart seemed to surface in vain…” It was their first acoustic song, and the girl singing it had the sweetest voice. I started to get teary listening, and this was one of the first moments that music spoke to me in a way that, to this day, nothing else can. I guess I caught my sisters eye, because she walked over to me from whatever she was doing, put her arm around me, and began singing along since she already knew this song so well. I’m glad that I shared one of my first music moments with her to a song that still means a lot to me. It was the first song I learned to play on the guitar. I am forever indebted to her (as well as Nick) for introducing me to the music scene.

6. Personal Shower. I was so excited about my sister getting married, and even more excited that I was her maid of honor. As her maid of honor, it was my responsibility to put together her personal shower, aka, the shower where girls get together to give their soon-to-be-married friend lingerie. I had been to a few in the past, but I wanted Shayla’s to be different. So, I had it at a roller rink! I had some great girls who helped me put this together, and also some good guy friends (including the man who would one day become MY husband, David Harris) who were game for a fun surprise for my sister. I thought it would be funny to bring in some guys to put on a satirical clean strip tease…. Let me explain, for those who weren’t in attendance. Three guys showed up in, no exaggeration, 40 layers of clothing. They all looked hilarious. Along will their endless articles of clothing, each came in with a shtick. One was a plumber, one a pizza guy, and another a cop. There was some “bom-chicka-wah-wah” music playing, and it took them about 3 minutes to literally cover the entire rink floor with various items of clothing, but they continued to still be fully clothed. The reason I love this memory of Shayla is because she was SO surprised. Her laugh makes my heart happy, and this was and is to this day one of the hardest times she’s ever laughed (or at least that I’ve witnessed). That along with some other hilarious moments, made that personal shower one of the most fun days I have ever shared with my sister.

7. Manacotti. When David and I first started dating, we went over to Nick and Shayla’s house to hang out often. They had only been married about six months, but welcomed us over at anytime to go swimming or for dinner. The first dinner Shayla made for us was her Manacotti. To this day, I remember this meal. It was so wonderful, and I was proud and envious of her skills all at the same time. I knew we had inherited our skills from our mama, but from that point on, I also wanted to be a good cook like my sister. She has since made me dinner several times, and I am so excited for her to be able to have her own kitchen again so she can cook all the awesome food Seattle has to offer.

8. You Are My Sister. Moving to Germany was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but to this day, I don’t regret it or have any ill-thought of my time there. One of the worst things, was being away from Shayla. I have never missed anyone the way I missed her. After about four months or so of being there, I get a message from her telling me to go download a song by an artist I had never heard of before- Antony and The Johnsons. The title of the song was “You Are My Sister”. She explained it to me, and I immediately went to listen. The moment the first note played, I began to get teary. I hadn’t even heard Antony’s extremely haunting and compelling voice. Then the lyrics…

So similar over the years
The way we laugh the way we experience pain
So many memories
But there’s nothing left to gain from remembering
Faces and worlds that no one else will ever know
You are my sister
And I love you
May all of your dreams come true

I was balling uncontrollably. It was early in the morning in Germany, and I’m pretty sure I woke David up. Shayla was asleep as the time difference put her seven hours behind me, but the feeling I had listening to that song has never been replicated to this day. I missed her, I would have given anything to just hug her. That hug would come almost a year and a half later… When I got off the plane from Germany, so many wonderful people were there to greet me and David. When I walked through those doors, the first face I saw was Oliver’s. He was perched on Nick’s shoulders, and it was the first time I had ever met him. Then I saw my sister, and she was the first one I hugged. I don’t think I’ve ever held anyone so tightly in my life. We just stood there and hugged for what seemed like forever, but in reality was probably two minutes……….. and this is where I begin crying writing this. SHEESH SHANELLE!…. I’m not looking forward to the hug goodbye, but I know that on a daily basis I will look forward to and think about the next hug hello. I’m glad I remember what that feels like, because it helps me have something to look forward to.

9. Sex and The City 2. (do I even need to say spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen it? Well there- there’s a spoiler in here…. I guess) This one may seem like a shocker to Shayla… We went to see Sex and The City 2 about a month ago. For those of you who don’t know, Shayla and I are HUGE fans of the show. We’ve watched every episode a hundred times, and condemn anyone who judges it without watching the entire series from start to finish. Both of us believe that the movies probably weren’t the best idea, but we have seen them, and will continue to see them even if they put out a movie, Sex and The City 6: Gettin’ It On In The Nursing Home. Anyway, yes, as we thought, the second movie was pretty bad. But something we both liked was how they showcased Miranda and Charlotte as moms. There was a scene where Charlotte’s two girls are pretty much doing everything to drive her to tears, and at one point, she ducks out to her pantry to shed some uncontrollable tears. Shayla immediately grabbed my hand as we continued to watch and for some reason, wept along with Charlotte. Being a mom…. wow. It may sound cliche to give all the moms a shout out, but REALLY… women who are moms deserve more than I could have ever imagined. In that moment I think we both cried because, even if it’s in a movie, it is a relief to know that we aren’t the only moms who have moments like that. And she grabbed my hand because the two of us have been through so much together as moms…. and just so much together in the past year or so. Just like it was ok for Charlotte to let go in a pantry, it was ok for us as sisters to let go of our emotions in a crowded theater. Shayla is one of the most amazing mom’s I know. She loves her kids so much. June was seven weeks premature and not the easiest baby to take care of. I am eternally grateful to my sister for being there for me to answer my questions, and to just be incredible example of a good mother.

These are just nine memories of Shayla that stand out to me. There is no one like her, and no one can replace who she is to me. You will be missed, but I am so happy that you get to start on this new adventure. I love you Shayla, with all my heart. This is not goodbye… only a “See you later…”


things she says during road rage.

27 Mar

1. Seriously! What you have going on is THAT important? You’re driving a Geo. A GEO!

2. I don’t care if you have a “baby on board”! That in no way means you always have the right of way!


4. Aw… how sad. That car’s blinker isn’t working. Must lead a pretty tough life…

5. Cuss! If you don’t cussin’ move outta my cussin’ way, I swear I will cuss you up all the way back to that cuss hole you came from. Cussword. 😉

6. Just because there is a song called “Jesus Take The Wheel” doesn’t mean you have to “Let Go, and Let God.” That song was a figure of speech. You’re driving like you’re letting Jesus steer for you. Get it together!

7. What are you looking at? Yeah, I’m acting like a fool singing at the top of my lungs, flinging my hair around. But I’m not a freak show! Just a weirdo who loves to jam out. Deal with it!

8. Whatever you’re driving does NOT make up for the lack of what you got going on buddy. Just give up…

9. YES! I would loooove to know all your political, spiritual, and family beliefs within 2 seconds of driving by your car. No, ten bumper stickers isn’t too much…

celebrities that have made a guest appearance in her dreams.

27 Feb

This morning, my good friend Elizabeth tweeted about have a really weird dream that she got married to Tracy Morgan at the age of 17. That made me laugh a lot. I think Tracy Morgan is hilarious, and on top of that, I could just completely identify with it because I have very weird dreams sometimes which include all kinds of people including celebrities. Here are just a few (Don’t be freaked out… I can remember dreams I had from my childhood):

1. Jonathan Brandis. Yes, I can remember the first time I saw Never Ending Story I had a dream that I went to school with Jonathan Brandis and he was my boyfriend. That was the best dream for an eight year old. Funny thing is… I married David Harris, his twin. HA!

2. The Cast of Lost. There was a time when I lived in Germany that I was catching up on Lost from Seasons 1-3 and pretty much watched nothing else. I can remember more than one occasion when I was stuck on the island trying to figure out what the heck was going on! Though it was weird like a dream, and I could just walk back into my living room any time I pleased.

3. Justin Timberlake (pre the days of him becoming cool). This was when he was in N-Sync and I didn’t care for him very much. Have you ever had a dream about a person or a celebrity that you didn’t like, but after having that dream you suddenly had a fondness for them? Now I know what you are thinking…. No, it was not THAT kind of dream. HA! But he did have a crush on me. And we went on a date together. For some reason, from that point forward, I was a Justin fan. It also helped once he went solo and stepped up his game and hosted SNL and all that…

4. Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men). Well this dream didn’t last long… Within the first few moments of realizing Anton was in my dream, my body made every attempt to wake itself up.

5. Sarah Jessica Parker. I’ve had a couple dreams where she will be shopping with me, and we’re having girl talk. I think any Sex and The City fan has had this dream at least once. I still want to own a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s before I die.

6. Carrot Top…. ok this one is completely made up, but man! That would be one crazy nightmare if it were true. That guy creeps me the eff out!

7. Ryan Gosling. What girl (or guy for that matter! ha!) DIDN’T dream about him after seeing The Notebook?

8. Wes Anderson (!!!) I had a dream that I actually had a chance to make a movie and at one point I met up with Wes Anderson to share my ideas with him and pick his brain. Again, it being a dream, mid conversation he turned into someone else and the dream went in a totally different direction, but I remember waking up feeling motivated to write more.

9. Larry David. Again, when I was in Germany, I has phases and time periods where I was really addicted to watching DVD box sets. Curb Your Enthusiasm was one of them. I had a dream that Larry David and David Harris got in a fight because (of course) Larry did something to piss David off. Turns out, David ended up needing something from Larry in the end, thus making it awkward and the famous theme song woke me up.

I need you to leave comments. Tell me all about your crazy celebrity dreams. 😉

memories of snow

11 Feb

1. What I think was my very first snow was when I was about 5 years old when we lived in Lancaster, Texas. As rare as it is for a Texan to see snow, it’s even MORE of a rarity for Hawaiians to see it. So needless to say, my parents were ecstatic! They bundled me and my sister up. Shayla in a fuchsia jacket, and me in a turquoise one that resembled the kid on Christmas Story who couldn’t move his arms. We made a snow man. We ate the falling snow. We put sunglasses and a hat on our snow man (Thanks, dad). I actually remember this almost as clear as yesterday. My parents always made moments like those extremely memorable.

2. Valentines Day 2003. (or was it 2002?) I’m not sure of the exact year, but I remember David and I were dating, and he came over to my house to give me a card and have a snowball fight with me.

3. Christmas morning, 2008. Nick, Shayla, and the kids all stayed the night at our house and it had snowed on Christmas Eve. Luckily enough it stuck around for the next morning, and that was the first, and possibly only white Christmas I’ll ever have.

4. I don’t remember exactly how old I was… but it snowed a couple more times when we lived in Lancaster. And I remember one instance where Shayla and I went to play outside in the snow together, and of course- she made me cry. We both made our OWN snowmen. Mine resembled hers of course. She didn’t like that I was copying her, so she pushed mine over. When I started to cry, she proceeded to push ME over in the snow. Aw sisterly love 😉

5. Sometime last year, it barely snowed one day. June was really tiny so I dressed her up and took her outside. Her face turned red fast, so I got paranoid and went inside after only a few moments.

6. Germany 2006 (February) We let our dogs run around in the snow. That was a great memory for me because they were having so much fun… and they seemed so freaked out by it. I miss those dogs sometimes.

7. Germany 2006 (November or December. Can’t remember which one) David is “out in the field” as the Army calls it. Basically he was about 300 miles away outside doing some kind of training. I think I might have stepped outside for a moment, or possibly walked to Martha’s house. But I remember missing David very much. So much so, I pretty much ignored the snow.

8. April of 2005. Now this wasn’t necessarily snow… but in Texas, when you don’t get snow… hail can be pretty exciting. And this hail storm sticks out in my head, because the hail accumulated enough to make it look like it had snowed. I took pictures and sent them to David while he was in basic training. Anyone remember that storm?

9. Today. February 11, 2010. I woke up pretty early today. Wanted to see if David still had school or not. I’ve been sitting on my love seat that is by my window. It’s really pretty today. The window looks right over a small field where the trees are covered. Snow covered trees are one of the most pretty sites to me. I love how on snowy days you can’t really tell where the sky ends and where the land begins. It’s a white sky, white covered everything, and white snow falling at a steady pace. Laptop in my lap, cup of coffee in my hand. It’s a good, peaceful morning. And the best part? In houses near and far, the ones I love the most are sharing this morning with me in their own way.

** Immediately after posting this, my mom called me. Exactly what I mean… I love hearing her describe how much she loves this snow… I love my family.

++ I also added a picture of my precious baby girl, June, from yesterday after I posted this blog. We had so much fun playing in the snow!! Probably my top snow memory for now.

things she should go back and tell her single self

9 Feb

Crysti Robertson gave me the suggestion to write a list on “Nine Things My Single Self Would Tell My Married/Mommy Self”. Great idea 🙂 But after thinking it through, I think my married self has a lot more things I wish I could go back and tell my single self. For instance….

1. Did it ever occur to you, single teenage Shanelle, that buying clothes from thrift stores means other stinky people have worn those clothes? AND you have no idea where those clothes have been?

2. Getting your driver’s license before the age of 18 might be a good idea. Convince your parents to let you… or your friends might resent you.

3. Kissing boys isn’t as sacred as you may think. 13 year old Shanelle… you’re waiting for a “special moment”, but you aren’t thinking about the fact that when you are older, you might regret not kissing that handsome kicker of the Varsity football team you were dating.

4. You don’t have to believe everything you were told to. Look into it. Research it… It’s worth it.

5. Hey engaged Shanelle! It’s YOUR wedding. Don’t let the florist talk you into something you don’t want. You only get one day like this one and you should have everything YOU want.

6. Ska? Really?

7. Don’t let anyone, even your student leaders, even John Michael Barajas, talk you into playing the “World’s Strongest Woman” contest. You’ll end up throwing up in front of your entire youth group at camp… and people will run up to the front to get pictures of it. Sigh….

8. Maybe you should put more thought into college. It’s gonna suck starting it at the age of 26!

9. You’re doing a good job, kiddo. Your goals include loving those that matter, and getting the most you can out of life. Just remember, don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. And oh yeah… you have one helluva ride ahead of you! 😉

thoughts today.

22 Nov

1. Is that June I hear?

2. Cook breakfast? Or eat cereal? (Cereal won that battle)

3. My mom’s correcting the pronunciation of a band I knew first. Way to go, Shanelle.

4. Ok, Nissan Titan. Please kindly put your fake scrotum sack away. You’re not witty or even cool for that matter. AND, it in no way proves your manhood.

5. I need to tweeze my eyebrows.

6. I love it when June sings along to music during our car rides.

7. June and Oliver might be the cutest cousins in the history of the world.

8. The Surf & Turf Which Wich was a horrible idea.

9. Will people actually read and participate in my blog?