Saturday, October 27, 2012

80 days

As I got out of the shower on this hot (supposedly "Fall" day) in October, I felt randomly inspired to write this blog. Probably because I am extremely excited, anxious...and nervous. In 80 days we go public.

I found out very early on (when I was 16, to be exact) that I wouldn't be able to carry my own children. Discovering this life-altering fact so early in my life, has actually been quite a blessing. As a result, I have always known what I was meant to do.

As I've mentioned before, when I met Ricky I knew instantly he'd be the one I would marry. At that moment, I knew I'd have to break the news to him. This broke my heart. Ricky was the first man I had ever, ever, pictured having children with, and it tore my heart apart that I couldn't do that; that there couldn't be little Ricky Marengo's with stunning blue eyes, and cute dimples running around the tee-ball field. I will never forget the evening when I told him my secret, the secret that had been tearing up my stomach inside for months. He cried. I cried. When I asked him why he was crying, he simply said, "I'm just so sad for you, and the experience you will miss out on." He wasn't sad for himself and what he'd be missing, but whole-heartedly sad for me. This is the man I married. Selfless and loving to the core.

Ricky and I entered into our marriage knowing that having children would be a difficult road for us, one that would take a lot of planning. We had two options: 1. Find a surrogate and face the battles of egg retrieval (yes my eggs are just fine!), sperm...whatever, and hoping that our egg and swimmers would create a little somethin'! Or option 2: Adoption.

In 80 days our adoption profile on goes public. On January 15th 2013, our 2-year anniversary, we will begin hoping and praying that a sweet and selfless birth couple see's our profile and chooses us to care for and love their child for time and all eternity.

Ricky and I started the process with LDS Family Services in August, and have since been using every spare hour we have on the ENDLESS amounts of paper work, interviews, questionnaires, online courses, etc. You wouldn't believe the hoops you have to go through to adopt. Oh did I say online courses, yes...20 hours to be exact! Fingerprinting, physicals from our doctors, original copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, first aid/CPR training, family histories, employment verifications, tax forms, vehicle safety checks, house safety checks (our home visit by our case worker will be scheduled soon as well)...the list goes on.

Our incredible case worker emphasized the importance of getting the word out there that we are adopting. I've been a little apprehensive about doing that, strictly because I was self-conscious of the questions we'd receive, or I'd receive, about not having our "own" children. Ricky and I are so excited for the future baby that Heavenly Father has set aside for us. We know that there is going to be a child out there meant specifically for us! How cool is that!? Biology and genetics aside, that child WILL be ours.

We seriously can't wait...

80 days.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ricky's 40th Surprise Birthday Party

It took a year and 2 days to plan. Ricky was turning 40, and I knew I had to plan the biggest, and best surprise party he could ever dream of. The most important party detail: his band...Super Fuzz.

As soon as I had Jon Harris, Chad Parkin, and Gabe Prado on board, all that was left to do was wait another 9 months before I could do or plan anything else.

Katie Andersen. My do-it-all BFF. The woman who can do it all, think of it all, create it all, AND take care of three children while doing it all...she was my savior. Katie and I scoured the internet day in and day out searching for fun and creative ideas for an 80's concert themed party. I wanted to do it the easy way, and just buy everything. But no. This do-it-all party planner kicked the expensive Pintrest/Etsy website's butt! So we spent hours making stuff. You know, being craft-y! Needless to say, I spent the first two months of my summer break at the Andersen house every day, working on Ricky's party. How did I manage to pull it off without Ricky knowing, you ask?! He was still in school, working. I lied a lot about my daily plans.

Now I can't go on about Katie, without mentioning the time and effort Paulette put in to make this party totally awesome too! Paulette was a rock star! Of course, giving her another excuse to go to the Thrift Store, Wal Mart, IKEA, Ross, etc. wasn't like pulling teeth. She gladly accepted.

I promise this is a blog about Ricky, but seriously, one more plug for the Andersen's...Skippy... OH Skippy. This man can cook (so can his wife btw!). Skippy offered to marinate, chop, boil, soak, and every other word you could use for "cater" Ricky's entire party. Skippy made the most incredible tacos, homemade rice, and homemade beans. Skippy (and his do-it-all wife) slaved in the hot sun (and house) to pre-make all of the amazing, and muy bueno food. Every single person at the party raved about Skippy's feast. Skippy, honestly, we thank you and your family from the bottom of our hearts. You are unbelievable friends. Oh and a shout out to Trena and Aaron Schulze for the salsa...soooooo good!

Ricky had no idea about his party. None. I totally did it. I had an entirely successful "surprise" moment. No clue. Ricky came in blindfolded AND with music playing in his ears. There was no way he'd hear anything. As soon as he walked on stage, I removed the ear phones, and the Carpenter's "Yesterday Once More" began to play (his band often played this song before walking on stage for a show). Next, Jon and Gabe started jamming. This brought chills to my entire body, and a HUGE smile to Ricky's face. I then removed the blindfold, as Ricky saw the crowd of 100, and his band members (whom he had not played with for over 10 years!), and the tears began to flow. No, not from me (surprise, I know!) but from Ricky. An incredibly genuine moment, one that he and I will never forget...After that, it was time to party!

 Mucho thanks to ALL who came to ROCK with us. Ricky killed it on stage as he ate up every moment, and I fulfilled one of my dreams; to be one of Ricky's groupies!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our short lived summer vacation

Ricky and I are middle school teachers. We usually have the perfect schedule. This last school year wasn't so perfect. Ricky's school was still year-round, so when I was out of school in June, Ricky wasn't out of school until July 27th. I had almost 2 months of summer vacation without him. There might be some people reading this thinking, "What's wrong with that?!" Well, I love to spend every waking moment with Ricky (Literally. He doesn't understand why. He's fine being away from me. He can golf more this way...). Because of our different summer break schedules, we didn't get to take any trips or do any typical summer break activities. We actually, only had a total of 1 week off together. Again, for spouses who are teachers, this sucks.

 I am now back to work, and my 4th school year has already begun. It's a bittersweet feeling. I love to teach, and I love to have fun with my students. I decided this year to allow myself to be...myself. Normally I like to start off the school year as a horribly scary teacher, one that my students won't dare to defy. But honestly, that takes so much out of me. The forced personality change is exhausting. This year I decided to be myself. This may totally back fire, and the students may completely take advantage of my humor and excitement. I'm prepared for this. However, I'm hoping that we can make a deal. I will make math and science fun, if they agree to respect me and my classroom rules. We'll see how long this lasts. I can definitely say that the start of this year was much easier for me than last year, due to the lack of pressure I put on myself to be serious and mean. After all, I did receive one of the best compliments I've ever gotten from a student, "Mrs. Marengo, you remind me of Phoebe from the TV show Friends!" My fun personality that first week paid off!

This school year Ricky and I will both be heading up Student Council at our schools. Ricky is a pro when it comes to Student Council, but this year will be my first; I'm really excited about it. This will mean longer hours at school, more responsibility, and a slight pay raise that is no where near what we deserve. But we'll take it. Of course Ricky will continue to be jack-of-all-traits at his school; coaching volleyball, girls soccer, and a little bit of everything else.

A couple highlights from our/my summer break:
  • My long awaited TMZ Hollywood Tour! This was an absolute blast. I went with my great friend Cami, and won myself a TMZ Tour t-shirt by playing the game "Celebrity or Homeless Person". I won by guessing Octo-Mom as a "celebrity".

  • I spent a lot of time with the Andersen family as their "Mom" while Katie was at Girl's Camp.
  • Went to the most amazing wedding for my friends Will and Melody!
  • A birthday party for our dear friend, Roy! 
  • Baked in the 115 degree weather in Vegas for a few days...

  • And last but not least...a surprise 40th birthday party for my main man, Ricky (MUCH MORE on this in my next post...)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The car commercial dream...with the red bow...yeah, that happened to me.

 Ricky and I had been talking about getting a new car for about a year. Unlike myself, Ricky is NOT an impulse buyer. He will take years, literally years, to purchase something. He has to find the right deal. I am not patient by any means. This is where we are extreme opposites. Ricky has the patience of a saint, and I am the extremely irritating one that drives the saint crazy. After what I would call a really long year, we were ready to test drive cars (Ricky was ready. I was ready a year ago). As we drove into the first car lot and my stomach was in knots, along with intense anxiety, I say to Ricky (all in one breath) "What do I do? What do I say? Do I drive? Do you? Do we have to buy today? What should we look at first? Do we tell them we're serious? I just don't know what to do, I'm so nervous!" Ricky calmly said, "Don't say anything! Please let me do the talking." I listened, and I obeyed. We left empty handed. I was disappointed, but Ricky was realistic (of course). We went to another dealership, same story. I didn't talk. Thankfully they had a popcorn machine, so I kept stuffing myself with popcorn as Ricky talked numbers. We left empty handed, but not before the salesman could give us his sob story, "This would be my first sale! Please don't leave!" On the way home I felt so bad for the guy...this was my first real lesson about sales men...those liars!!!! They can sense my weakness...I left the following weekend to attend a bachelorette party for my good friend, Melody in Santa Cruz. When I returned home from the very very long drive, I arrive to find a new car parked in front of the house with a red bow on it! Ricky bought it while I was gone and completely surprised me. Have I mentioned how good he is to me!? He's A-MAZING. I love my car. Love my car.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ahh...I'm nervous! My first blog post...oh the pressure!

All of my girlfriends have blogs. I've finally succumbed. I knew it would happen. I can't guarantee I will be funny, witty, or even entertaining, but I will be informative (boy, that sounds like a page turner, eh?!).

I'm Shannon. Shannon Marengo; used to be Bullock. It was fun being a Bullock. At the checkout lines I would hear, "Bullock! Are you related to Sandra?!" I miss that. I gotta say, being a Marengo has been almost as exciting (jk...much love to the Marengo name AND family). For those readers that don't quite know us (which I gotta say is rare considering Ricky's popularity with just about everyone), we are Ricky and Shannon. Here's your quick summary of us...We met in 2008. I was a college aide at Jackie Robinson Academy (the school where Ricky works). I saw him in the hallway and thought he was soooooooooo cute. Of course, he never paid me any attention - he probably had 3 different girlfriends at that time, so I wasn't a big deal, nor was I that exciting. Fast forward to the end of the school year. We were two of the many teachers who chaperoned the 8th grade trip to Disneyland. Most of the teachers we were with, were not interested in going on rides, so we stuck together. I was ecstatic! It was during that day, I KNEW without a doubt, that Ricky was the one. On the bus ride back to school, I made up a really lame excuse to get Ricky's number. It worked. I immediately called my friend Cherice and told her that I found my future husband. I broke up with my boyfriend the next day. Oops, did I forget that part?! Yep, I had a boyfriend. Ricky's not the ONLY one sought after ;)

We then ssslllooowwwlllyyy dated over the next year. I emphasize slowly because Ricky had a bad case of commitment-itis. One night on our way to the movies I let him have it. I gave him many reasons (listed them A-G) on why he wouldn't commit to me, and how much of a _____ he was (there was a specific choice word I used, not to be mentioned on this blog). We didn't talk for the next 3 hours. When he dropped me off at home he decided to commit to me, and only me. He then sulked about it for the next 5 days. I gave him his space...he had after all, made a huge decision, one he had never made before...he had a girlfriend.

On July, 14th 2010 Ricky proposed! My parents had come into town and they were going to meet Ricky's mom and our closest friends for the first time. Once we were done eating, Ricky got up, stood behind me, gave a sweet little speech directed to family and friends, then asked me to stand up. At that moment I knew.
That's my Mom and Brother, Kyle in the background

Our great friend (and one of my bridesmaids) McKenzie!

The next month I was hired at a Charter school to teach 6th grade Math and Science in Bell, California (I am still working there...going on my 3rd year...4th year total teaching). Ricky is still at Jackie Robinson Academy in Long Beach where we met.

On January 15th, 2011 we were sealed in the Los Angeles temple for time and all eternity! It was a gorgeous day, I mean GORGEOUS day. The weather could not have been better. It was the best day or our lives, and we felt the spirit more that day than ever before. After we were sealed at the temple, we headed to the Cerritos Performing Arts Center where we had a HUGE ceremony for 300+ people. Of course it couldn't be your average ceremony, for Ricky and I, we had to make it something everyone would remember, and something that no one had ever witnessed before! We, along with our bridal party performed "Nothin's Gonna Stop Us Now". I had the movie moment I had always dreamed of. Ever see that hit 80's movie Mannequin!? Classic. Well we recreated that moment. It was awesome (see the link for the video on the right side of my blog). Oh and one more totally awesome tid-bit...I wanted my hair to look just like one of my favorite characters on my all time favorite show, All My Children. Well, the amazing Tami Ahlstrom succeeded! I felt soo pretty on my wedding day. Thank you Tami!

Amanda from All My Children (seriously, my hair looked EXACTLY like this under my veil!)
 The day we were married, we closed escrow on our house!
We live in the front unit (2 BD, 1.5 BA), and we are renting the back unit (3 BD, 2 BA) This is after MUCH renovation.

Shortly after the wedding, we went on our honeymoon! A Celebrity cruise to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Martin. On the second day at sea, Ricky got the flu. Yes, it is as sad as it sounds. Ricky loved it. He vegged out, had room service at his beck and call, and watched movies all day. As for me, I cried and toured two of the three islands BY MYSELF. It was miserable. Finally, at the last location, Ricky was better and able to leave the ship.
Ricky before he got sick

By myself in Puerto Rico
By myself in St. Martin

Yay! Ricky is better. Finally together in St. Thomas.

So happy Ricky's better

You HAVE to get a balcony room on a cruise ship. The only way to go.
We spent the next 4 months renovating our new duplex (that story and those photos in another post...another day). Fast forward to now...

Ricky and I have been married for one year and 6 months! It's been the best year and a half of my life. I think it's safe for me to assume that this has been the best year and a half for Ricky as well. We are each others best friend. I always knew I'd love being a wife. Never thought I'd be asked to give as many foot rubs as I do, nor did I ever realize how much patience someone must have to live with me. It's a give and take thing. I really need to complain less about Ricky's requests for foot massages...he does so much for me. I love him more than I can explain. Anyone else out there have a husband who wakes up singing and in the BEST mood, every single morning?! He's such an incredible person. Boy am I moody in comparison.

This blog will inform you on our lives; the fun we have, my moments of insanity, Ricky's "career" as a rock star, and our exciting adventure to start a family.

Thanks for reading (I know it was long).
Love, Shannon (and Ricky)