Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Local Tragedy

It's all I've been thinking about for the past 3-4 days. Thoughts keep running through my mind and like any workout, I'm exhausted. What can I do to get these stops to quite replaying over and over like a broken record player? I knew I wanted to type it out but didn't know the proper place. Facebook was a little too public for me. My craft blog certainly wasn't the appropriate place. Then I quickly realized that my blog that started it all for me....that's why I had set up to begin with....to get all those thoughts out of my head and into something tangible. So, without further ado, I'm going to purge.

A darling, sweet angel in Geneva's primary class was killed in a ski accident on Christmas Eve. A snowboarder didn't see her and her mother and slammed into them, killing him and the girl instantly. The mother is still in the ICU with neck and head trauma. Another member of our ward saw the whole thing happen and I worry about what kinds of pictures he must constantly be seeing in his mind. Our neighbors and fellow members of the ward, were with them that day. The father is a doctor and was the first to respond to the accident. He performed CPR on her even though he knew it was too late. Can you imagine what he's going through right now? He sent his kids to tell his wife so she could go find the husband/father of the victim. He had been waiting for them at the top of the bunny hill. He (the father) came to church on Sunday so he could talk to us and let us know that he was okay but that his family would need our prayers. What a man of strength. They have a 3-4 month-old that's never taken a bottle. The first night he just cried, refusing to eat. The father was distraught. Mom's sister came into town the next day and she has a baby a similar age. She was able to nurse the baby. What a blessing.

I can't stop seeing this girl's face in my mind. She was just so beautiful and sweet. Really, an angel. I was in Primary this past Sunday. The primary president had talked to this class of 5-yr-olds about Ellie. Can you imagine having to talk to such a young age group about something like this? They don't understand yet. I know Geneva doesn't. Maybe they are just more pure and realize that our earth life is so short and we'll see Ellie soon. For me, as a parent, one day without my child can feel like an eternity. I ache for the parent and what they are going through. I can't stop looking at my children and hope they are with me on earth for a very long time. I wonder what will happen when Ellie's mom finds out about her daughter. I imagine how I would feel and it's unbearable.

I also go through many stages of guilt. I feel guilty for being happy. Why should I feel joy when they are feeling so much sorrow? I look at all the strangers around me and feel anger. How dare they act like nothing is wrong?!! I quicly realize there is sorrow and pain all around me--I'm just not often aware of it. It doesn't mean that I can't be happy. But I should try being aware of those around me.

In the meantime, I will pray for this family and I would hope you would too. Pray that they will be able to adjust to the changes that are happening around them. Pray that they can be comforted. Pray that Ellie's mom can heal. So many prayers...never too many.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Why all the Pressure

Why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we give ourselves this pressure at Christmas time. It's so dumb, really. We can send cards out any other time of the year. We don't have to make cookies for every house in our neighborhood. We don't have to go to every Christmas party. Yet, every year it's the same. We expect so much from ourselves and then when it's over, we feel horrible about ourselves and set a bunch of unrealistic expectations on ourselves...otherwise known as resolutions. I have a recurrent dream yearround. It's Christmas or Christmas Eve and I realize that I've forgotten to buy/make any Christmas gifts. I wake up with some serious ulcers. So, is this year any different? Did I learn anything from last year? Nope. I will say though, that with the exception of the work and ward party, we have most nights free. We don't have tons of in our cul-di-sac. I won this year's Christmas cards on a giveaway, and the only think I've bakes is my favorite Cornflake Wreath cookies. We still don't have all the gifts, but we at least have it planned...almost.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Calculator Shopping

There are people out there that bring their calculators with them when they grocery shop. They have a budget and then use that little crunching machine to stick to it. Those people are amazing. They are also the same people with the organized coupon book. Again, I'm in awe. But I finally get it. Today, I used my calculator. Let me be more clear. Today, I went grocery shopping with Chris and he used his I-Pad (purchased by college) calculator. It all felt a little ironic. Let me give you the background....

Last week as I was crunching numbers, I saw that we would have more money the end of this month than I thought. So, when I made the grocery list, I went to my trusty Pampered Chef recipe book and pulled out some recipes that looked SO tasty. I was sick of our standard budget fallback meals. We needed some excitement back in our diet. While Pampered Chef recipes are not expensive, they do require fresh produce, which may be good for the diet, but cost more than some alternatives. So, I made out the list and it was big. Real big. Add the fact that I'm hosting Thanksgiving dinner to our family and a couple other families (Thanksgiving Orphans), I knew the grocery bill would be highern than a traditional week. AND, we're hosting missionaries Friday, so I wanted to have something delicious and different for them.

Then the heart breaker. I did my number crunching again this morning and we were $7 short after the bills were paid, leaving $0 money for groceries or gas. We don't have any creditcards, so it's not like we can use those for safety nets (which is not a bad thing). Immediately, my heart fell. Why am I sharing my financial woes with you? Not to make you feel sorry for me, but to maybe gain something from my experience. I took a look at what bills were left and noticed that one bill (auto/homeowners/renters insurance) was being paid on November 30 but wasn't due till the 1st. Considering our bank is the same company as our insurance, I knew this could be changed. I called them up and asked. That's all I did. And you know what, they were the nicest, sweetest customer service agents I have ever dealt with. I'm thinking that whenever I'm feeling down, I should call them cause whenever I hangup the phone from talking with one of their sweet operators, I feel 10X better. My hair is kinked, call my bank....my children tracked mud onto the carpet, call my bank. When I hung up the phone, I knew that I had money for groceries. Course, I had exactly a certain amount (that bill - $7) so that's where the calculator came in. And would you believe it, we were only $1.62 over the amount, which is fine, because I have the amount lying around. Yea! We get our Thanksgiving meal! I modified our menu (only slightly) so we still have fun and healthy food to eat, but probably saved a lot on the snacks/treat area. Even if our wallet wasn't so tight, I learned a valuable lesson. I-Pad calculators are nnnnnIce! And I can shop under a budget during Thanksgiving week without sacrificing yummy goodness.....well, as long as the budget is high enough.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pitty Party is OVER!

I recently read in my friends blog about feeling lonely. I thought about that. I have a confession to make. Okay, another confession, since I seem to be full of them. I watch Desperate Housewives. I didn't start until I moved to Casper, but since then, I've been hooked and playing catch up. My point in this--I'm jealous. No, not of all the scandels, but of having good friends close by. The ones you can say anything to and not feel stupid. Really, it's my own fault. I don't like to put myself out there. I don't open myself up to make good friends. There's potential here. I see lots of people who I'd love to call and say, "Do you want to do lunch?" And do you know what's even worse? I don't just want one good friend close by. I want many close friends close by. In Rexburg, I had the best set of friends and I miss them horribly. Christmas is coming and I know that they will be doing their 3rd annual "My Favorite Things" party. I want to be there. You know what else was great about this group? They were (and still are) so positive. I can find out what's happening back home without having to hear trash talk. It's so refreshing. When we got together, it was not to husband bash. In fact, we would often invite our husbands to come along with us--we all got along and even went on the occassional trip together. Game night. We had a monthly game night. We took eachother out to lunch for our birthdays. They had a monthly neighborhood lunch, and even though I wasn't in their neighborhood, they thought to invite me. I miss them so much. Sure, we still keep in touch by phone and facebook and email, but it's not the same as hearing their laughs and lifting eachother up over icecream. So, what can I do about that? Well, I think it's time to put myself out there and invite some people over for game night.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Happy Birthday

I'm not going to include any pictures. Just simply my thoughts. Yesterday was my birthday. Chris and I had agreed some time ago that we would forgo (sp?) our birthday gifts to each other (his is exactly a week later) this year and save for something we really want, a tv above our fireplace (not any other place to put it). We also decided to save ourselves on Christmas for this exact same reason. So, that meant there would be no packages to unwrap on this very special of days (my birthday). So do you know what I did? I set up a Spa Day with my MaryKay buddy and invited my friends over. It was so simple that I wondered why I hadn't done this before. It was so wonderful being surrounded by friends, with our feet wrapped in towels. That night, Chris and I used our free IHOP birthday certificates and went out to eat. While very little money was spent (we did tip our waitress), not having that birthday pressure was the perfect present.

I do have to say, I was not without my gift(s). Todd made me a delightful comic highlighting some everyday moments and ended it with a special message just for me...and a few of my friends that I just had to share it with. Geneva made sure I had oreos. Shem cleaned without complaining (or maybe I'm making that up, but maybe). It was truly one of the happiest of birthdays. Thanks everybody!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This and That

I just needed to give a quick shout out and THANKS to thisandthatcreative.blogspot.com for my new background. I have no idea how she did the header, but it's much more interesting now. I won this on her blog. Go over and check it out.

Thanksgiving Printables

Chris and I have decided to stay in Casper for Thanksgiving. I'm feeling kinda sad about it at the moment, but know that we need to save the money. Grown-ups sure have to make tough choices (yes, I know! Kids do to. And teenagers as well). I'm hoping to find some other Casper orphans we get together for a less lonely Thanksgiving dinner. I pulled out some of my printables from

There are activities for all age ranges. So, when I'm in the kitchen trying to figure out how it is that one stuffs a turkey, kids can be at the table, coloring Harvest pictures, grown-ups can be on the couch challenging each other to a little Thanksgiving trivia. And when they're done with that, no worries, I've got 28 more printables for them to try out.

[Product review & giveaway disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."]

Halloween Games

I was so excited when I came upon these downloads.  They had all kinds of games you could do with your kids.  Trivia, puzzles, crosswords, coloring pages, you name it.  Since we didn't go Trick-or-Treating in traditional sense this year, it was nice to get with our neighbors and know we had things to occupy the kids.
Check it out: 

[Product review & giveaway disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."]

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Now I've gone and done it!

I have a messy room in my home.  Alright, I'll be honest with you, there are several messy rooms at any given moment in my home, but I have one messy room that's never been cleaned. 

At least not since we've lived here.  I decided that this room needed to get cleaned, but not in the traditional sense.  I needed to make it fun.  I enjoy crafting.  I love that creative outlet.  There's nothing like looking at a finished project and knowing I was the one who created it.  But problem is, crafting can get expensive.  So, I decided I was going to craft....without spending any money.  Since the messy room just so happens to be my craft room, I have made the leap to blog about my crafting on a zero money budget all the while, cleaning this room.  I can't throw anything away (I'm free to recycle or giveaway or sale).  I've got to use only what I already have on hand.  So, I would LOVE for you to join me in my journey as craziness.  Feel free to forward my new blogs link to all who may be interested.  In the future, I hope to expand and have "guest bloggers," giveaways, and craft and/or organizational ideas and tools.  So, without further adiou:
http://www.recoveringcrafthoarder.blogspot.com/  is waiting for you!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Frenzy

I'll just warn ya ahead of time.  If you're counting on a long, detailed post....I'm sorry.  I just don't have the energy for it.  Would you believe it if I told you I slept for 11 hours last night (and this morning, if we're being technical)?  I was worn out.  What can I say?  It's not easy being green...
Yep, you will have to turn your heads if you want a good look.  I cannot believe we allowed ourselves to be seen like this, but alas, here we are.  It was a long day full of festivities and now I have to decide if we are up for a little more treating tonight.  I'm yawning just thinking about it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ebaying Maniac

I've been following this blog, My Dear Trash, for a while now.  It's about finding....treasures at thrifts stores and garage sales and reselling them on ebay and craigslist.  It's been fun to follow, but now I've decided to give it a try.

This was the first thing we sold.  12 Tupperware stencils with case.  It sold for $10 something (plus shipping).  This was something I had lying around the house that made it's move with us to Casper.  It was something I couldn't just get rid of, but somehow felt okay about selling them.  I've sold a sweater, pair of pants, and a shirt.  The clothes are something I didn't sell the first time, but when relisted, sold.

I'm slowly learning the art of shipping cost, but thanks to My Dear Treasure, I think I've got it figured out.  It's easy to lose your profits to the shipping, but I learned you can stuff a lot into that small priority envelope.  COOL!  Chris and I have goal.  We want to make enough money to buy a tv to go over our fireplace.  This will be our birthday/Christmas gift to eachother.  But we won't feel nearly as guilty if we can pay for it with our ebay profits.  One day, we'll expand and look for treasures outside of our home, but for now, we've got plenty in our closets to draw from.  Even the kids are getting in on the fun.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sweet Cravings

It can happen to the best of us, no matter how good our intentions; that amazingly strong urge to eat something sweet.  Something chocolately sweet.  So, like any good parent, I decided to delegate. 
Geneva was our main baker.  Shem tried helping, but with a diva in the kitchen, there's only so much one is allowed to do.
I have to say, it was worth every egg shell I might chew and swallow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Living the Good Life

Our family has had to make some adjustments this month.  All our Rexburg bills came in at once (this has been a headache since August), along with a LARGE deposit we had pay and some other one time expenses (Christmas gift)....all in October.  We know that we just had to make it through October, but having survived the 1st week (well almost) feels so great.  It's allowed us to become a bit more creative.  My oldest wants to be Bobofet (sp?) for Halloween so has decided to paper mache his own helmet.

Some of that food we've had in our cupboards for 3 moves. 

It was time to either use it or toss it, which has allowed my cramped kitchen to feel a bit larger.  It's forced me to take inventory of what we have and quit buying what we don't need.  For instance, I've discovered that frozen fruit taste amazing and solves my sugar cravings. 

Occassionally, when that salty craving comes, I slice me up some extra sharp cheddar and am in heaven.  We've also started doing home lunches.  It saves so much money and I like knowing what my kids are eating (I can see what's leftover by what's in their boxes when they get home).  Another thing, the kids aren't asking for stuff quite as much and for things that they do want, they are coming up with their own plans on how to make that money (selling homemade cookies, ebaying toys/clothes they don't want anymore).  I've also started looking at what craft supplies I have on hand and have come up with some pretty fun Christmas ideas.

 I can't even express what a cleansing feeling it is to stop producing so much waste.   We eat better, we're more aware of what we have, and we are having fun doing it.  Course, I still look forward to next month when I can look back and see that all those bills are paid and we're even ahead on Christmas, but until then, I will think of this time as a creative adventure. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baby, Anyone?

Shem has been a lover of babies since he was a baby.  He was asking for another sibling from the moment he could talk.  I used to tell Chris that since Shem asked so much, we'd have to rely on Todd to know when it was time for another baby.  Fast forward 6 years and we've got a 5-yr-old (holy crud, that just hit me--Todd was 5 when this 5-year-old was born)....give me a second...I'm digesting this realization....

Fast forward....Geneva's school assignment to answer a few questions:
Meet Me
My name is Geneva.
I like to play with my baby sister.
My facorite color is Purple.
I can put my baby sister asleep by myself.

I am no longer using my kids as indicators of when it's time for another baby.  That's why we have neighbors, family, and friends.  We can borrow their babies.  I will say, Shem has been asking me to advertize this for a while now, so let him know that I told everybody that I know...that Shem is starting a baby daycare.  It's just $.20/hr.  Or if you want to leave them for the weekend, it's $2.00 a day.  He's been pushing me to make fliers but....it just hasn't happened yet.  It's a full care center.  He'll change diapers (not sure if he's ever changed a diaper before), hold them, play with them, feed them, and if he can stand it, will even put the baby down for a nap. For a kid who loves all things boy, he sure is lovable.  I know, you're thinking, just have a baby and make this kids day; you already have a nanny.  I say to you, I appreciate my sleep too much and love that I have kids that can feed themselves and bathe themselves.  As cute as a baby is, I'm good.   Besides, why have a baby when we can take care of your's?

Friday, September 10, 2010


You know the scenario.  Your child comes up to you in a high pitched whine and proclaims their boredom status.  And you, being the parent you are, tells them that you can think of plenty of things for them to do....clean their bedroom, wipe off the table, mow the lawn, etc...etc...  I am ashamed to say this....but I am bored.  I don't want to unpack any more boxes.  I'm sick of hammering in nails and arranging pictures.  There's nothing on t.v. to watch.  My book is lame.  What am I to do?  I had all these hopes of things I would do with my free time.  I was going to tackle some of those fun projects that I never had time for.  Instead, I check my clock every couple minutes, looking forward to the sound of the door knob turning and the loud voices that come with it, proclaiming, "I'm bored."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

There is Beauty All Around....even in Casper, WY

This is Geneva giving me a little...dance.
It's bright, a bit warm, and I wanted this picture.  I'm guessing they won on this one.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

House Hunting

Do you know how many houses we looked at?  A lot.  I've never been more thorough.  We discovered houses to be quite expensive here.  Since we still own our home in Rexburg and it will probably take a couple years before we can make any money on it, we are renting.  We started looking in May but quickly found that it was pointless.  All the homes were available right away.  We tried realtors; funny, you don't make a lot of money from renters, so most just waved us off.  All except one realtor...Ed Toohey.  He sent out emails to other realtors and we got a lot of great leads but nothing that worked for us.  So, we settled on a townhouse and worked to finalize the deal.  A week before we were to move, the deal fell through and we had nowhere to live.  We quickly called Ed and he offered us a home that was under contract.  A home he owned.  He offered us a great deal on the rent and was very accommodating.  When we do buy, we will use him.  However, since the house was under contract, that meant we would have to find something more permanent soon.  So we looked...and looked...One house we loved was fairly new and had an unfinished basement.  Three bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  It was great except one of the bedrooms had been made into a formal dining room with french doors.  Doesn't make for a very private bedroom.  AND it cost $1900/month.  It was a nice home, but in the end, not that nice.  I thought of the amazing homes we could find in Utah for $1900.  Oh, well.  We looked at another home that was great...except there was carpet in the dining room and it was a twin home.  Another home had NO dining area. Some were on busy streets. One was an older home with steep (scary) stares and a non-existent kitchen. I'm sure you all LOVE reading about our househunting experiences, but really, we've never struggled this hard looking for a home. The one we are in now is great with a big kitchen, open living room, and master suite. The kid's rooms are large and we can keep this place clean. However, there is the carpet in the bathroom and the steep driveway...and the horrible, sand filled yard with the scattering of desert weeds.

We love this house, but the neighborhood is...well, we are eager to move on. A couple weeks ago, we were school shopping. Shem has decided to go all cowboy now that we're, you know, in Wyoming.

So, we went to Boot Barn.  Everything is so expensive in there.  I sat on a chair and allowed Shem to wander the store (with my eyes locked on him) in his content bliss.  Chris and Todd joined us, Chris looking scuffy with his lack of shaving (going on 2 weeks), cut-offs, and a BYU-Idaho shirt.  It's that shirt that led us to our home.  Another family came up to us and asked about the shirt and a long story short, they were members and they had a home right across from them that just went  up for rent.  That weekend, we decided to take a look and the next week, we signed a lease.  We move in September 1st.  It's not our dream home, by any means, but we know that kids live nearby, that we'll have good neighbors, and that we are one step closer to that dream home.  This will be our 10th home.  with all the houses under our belt, we know what we don't want in a home (small yards, retired neighborhood, no closets, etc) and what we can't live without (a decent kitchen, walk-in closets, a master suite, yard). 

 I look forward to settling down, but in the meantime, I feel like I'm getting to try out a variety of homes.  I will tell you, NO CARPET IN THE BATHROOMS OR DINING ROOM for us!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why Didn't They Say How Fun Moving Could Be?

I am back to the blogging world. Without my own internet, I've had to make a few life adjustments--like missing out on what my friends and family have been doing.  If I wanted to know, I had to (gasp) call them.  Now that my computer is working and I've gotten my internet baby back, I feel closer to complete.

This was my home for a year.  The yard is spectacular.  Greenery reaches every view from the inside....even in the winter.  I've taken some great pictures here.  This is me saying, "goodbye" by taking a picture from the car.  I was to exhausted to give too much emotion.  That was until Chris called to tell me about the envelope he found in the driver's seat of the moving van.
In this envelope was a note (Oh, where did I put that note?!!) with the kindest words and with that note, a large sum of money.  That was enough to make me cry.
I'm exhausted, I'm sweaty...and now I'm crying.  I put my keys to the house on my lap (so I can return them), turn on the car, and head north..thinking all the while, I hope I can be that good of a person someday.  Then I make it to American Fork.  It's hot, I've left the air conditioning off (not in the mood to overheat my car) and realize the keys are still in my lap.  That's when I call my sister and tell her I'm going to be late meeting her to pick up my kids and I turn around...on the hot, miserable day.  The drive back to Provo is horribly slow.  Really?!! Construction in the middle of the day?!!  Isn't that what the middle of the night is for?  I get back, drop off my kids, and cannot wait to be out of there.  I pick up my kids at Ikea.  I'm a bit sad about this, because I love Ikea and it's over 7-hours away from my new home.  A new couch is not worth the drive (deep...sad....sigh).  I make the hour and a half hour drive over tall mountains (definitely no AC for this part of the drive) and winding valleys.  At least it's pretty.  Almost to my first days destination and I receive a call.  I decide to take it since I will soon be out of cell phone range.  Looks like our home in Rexburg is having septic problems.  We get to pay to have it pumped and find out the drain fill is broken.  What will that cost us?!!  I'm surprised to arrive at my parents and not see a moving van.  I call Chris.  Turns out the trailer carrying our van disconnected in Provo Canyon.  Of course it did.  Luckily, some kind citizen helped to make sure it was secured this time.  1/2 hour later, Chris walks in the door and says he's stuck.  I think he's just being silly and I can fix the problem myself.  I walk out there and this is what I see:
See where that guys is?  That a deep ditch...or ravine  See the middle of the moving van?  That is where the van is wedged into the cattle guards and can't for forward or backwards without scraping.  The back of the truck has an ugly tilt to it.  We have a neighbor/friend try helping us, but he's afraid to do too much more thinking the truck could tip at any moment.  I am sick at this point.  I can't handle any more at this point.  We call a tow and hope for the best.
I've got to admit, it was just a welcome sight to see the tow guy from Moore's arrive.  I don't understand the physics of it, but he was able to lift of the back of the truck and scoot it back onto the driveway.  For added measure, he picked up the trailer and moved that over as well (we had already decided it would be better to take the van off).  Chris pulled out the envelope that had been given to us and took some of that money out to pay Moores.  Thank our wonderful friend/neighbor in Provo who had no idea we would meet this obstacle today.  To add to the...comedy...of the day; we had to unload the van a bit to make room for a driver.  Computer, lamp, legos, etc...I had packed it in tight.  I walk back to the stuff we had set at the side of the road to find my parents sweet neighbor putting it all into the trash; trying to help.  I let him know that it wasn't trash and he apologized for the next 10 minutes while we dumped the trash can and put everything into a vehicle.  It's amazing what alcohol can do to a person....and sad.

Lucky for us, we made the rest of the trip in peace,  I was able to use the AC for the majority of the drive to Casper, and nothing broke down.  I did find out that to fix the drain pipe at our home in Rexburg would be VERY expensive.  VERY.  Time has passed.  I recovered from that shock.  Now I'm in Casper, WY, preparing to move into another home in just 11 days.
There will be plenty of good things to come!  Besides, seeing my 8-yr-old back to his cowboy roots makes every minute worth it. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another Chapter Ends

You know, I'm not sure how I feel at the moment.  When I loved from Rexburg, I was devastated to be leaving behind some of the greatest friends of my life, but so excited to be heading to Provo for a new adventure.  I didn't cry until my 1st Sunday in my new ward.  The realization that I didn't know anybody hit me...and it hit me hard.  I didn't like the feeling that everybody was staring us wondering if we were getting to know.  My Provo chapter was a difficult one.  Even though I have lots of family relatively close by, our schedules didn't allow for us to get together often.  That's part of life.  It always seemed to be the big events that got us together.
It took several lonely months till I was taken under someone's (many someone's) wings and invited to a "Girl's Night."  What a saving grace this was for me.  It was able to join in on an eclectic group of the funnest ladies.  Last night, they threw me a goodbye party.  As a token of the memories we made, they sent me a framed picture where each and every one of us looks sloshed.  I will prize this picture forever!  (I would have scanned it in, but I've already got that packed.).

Big trials hit our family.  Trials that rocked my boat and threatened to capsize me.  These are things I will be glad to leave in Provo.  I'm  hoping that one day I can look back and see the positive impact those particular hurdles had.  For now, I say ado to all of them. 

On a positive note, I am actually excited to move to Wyoming; words I never thought I'd hear myself utter.  I wonder if I'll always be a wanderer, awaiting my next chapter.  I hope not.  I hope that I can one day feel like I am home.  For now, I'll enjoy the book and just keep reading.  Every page has been an adventure and best seller (whether in tragedy, romance, or just plain good non-fiction).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Clan of Curtis's

Let me just start out by saying.....my camera is missing and I'm pretty sure I know who has it.  I spent the last couple days in my home...town?  No, it's not a town.....Well, I just spent the weekend in the mountains of Upton.  6 out of 7 of the people in my house are sunburned somewhere.  Two of those are Indian.  So that means we got a lot of sun.  I have all kinds of great pictures of us but as I was looking to upload those pictures, I realized that my camera is not here.  So, unless my sweet husband pack the camera with him, it is still in Upton...or somebody else's car.  So here's what I'll do; I'll post old pictures of the same scenery. 
When I uploaded this picture, I didn't realize Shem was crying.  Am I bad mom cause it makes me giggle every time I look away and look back at it.  At this reunion, this pond was full of kyacks and kids.  There were races and splashing and kids swinging into the water from the rope swing.  As soon as the zip line was discovered, kids were climbing the tree and zipping down into the water.  Where were the parents?  We were all under the shade of a tent.  There were 5 out of 6 kids there.  Kristee was the only one missing and that's cause she's in the Dominican Republic.  I don't think I've ever laughed so much.  I will just say, there were discussions (of which I didnot partake in) that I never imagined taking place as a child.  There was talk of receding hairlines--I think I'm still okay and future children (most of us are done) and there was chess.  Did you know it took 5 of us to beat one brother and that was after he already put my sister in checkmate but took it back several moves so we could have another chance.  We had egg olympics.  My oldest two each won a painted noodle medal.  At the end of the day and the 1 1/2 hour drive home, the kids slept and I was able to contemplate the days ahead of sunburns and slivers and how long it might take to recoperate.  Luckily, it's 7:49pm now and all in my house are happy.  We took a while to get there, but we're good.  There will still be some whining (we did get some serious sun) and pealing, but every minute of it was worth it.  I never knew my family could be so fun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm Taking Control

I've gotta say, I can feel myself taking control of my life again.  You know those dreams where you're trying to open your locker but can't remember the combination?  Well, I conquered that years ago.  If you just turn the knob clockwise, all the way around twice, then counter-clockwise once, the clockwise to any number, it will open.  Doesn't matter what numbers you start and end on, it'll open.  Try it in your next dream.  There are little things like this that I've learned, but last night was a major breakthrough.  Are you ready for personal?  If not, better not read on. 

I have dreams where I have to go to the bathroom.  Maaaannnnnyyyyy years ago, I went to the bathroom in my dream and I found out that...well, it wasn't so much a dream.  Now, I have better bladder control.  Well, since having kids, that's not entirely true, but the point is, I haven't been wetting the bed.  Back to the dreams.  In the dreams, I am looking for a bathroom.  Often, I'll find a bathroom (with stalls) but in each stall I check, there's no toilet.  Or, if there is a toilet, there's no door.  Who wants to go to the bathroom with no door?  So, I checked this out on dreamdictionary.com and found out it's because I crave privacy.  I am wanting just me time.  Hello!  With a 4-yr-old contantly climbing on you and kids that feel they need to be touching you in order to have a conversation, this is so very true.  Chris and I often talk about craving a date.  It's harder to find a babysitter for a 13 and 12-yr-old.  My dream last night start ordinary.  I was in Sunday School and I told Chris needed to use the restroom.  I go in and there's someone in the left stall, so I take the other one.  First off, there's no toilet in there.  "No worries," I tell myself, "If you sit down, one will magically appear."  Well, obsticle number 2 showed up and the door wouldn't shut.  Course, I had a door, so that was pretty good.  I told myself, "No worries.  The door will shut."  Guess what!  The lock worked.  So, I sat down...and I....well....it's my blog so I can say what I want...I PEED!  Well, the toilet did not magically appear.  I walk out of the stall and I had made a mess all over someone's boots.   Mind you, the boots magically appeared in my stall with no feet in them.  They were completely irate over the situation.  So, it may not be perfect, but I'm taking over my life.  And guess what?!!  Chris and I had lunch today with no kids in tow.  It was a most glorious 15 minutes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Spewing Negativety

We all know them; the person who just sucks the energy right out of us.  Today, I feel like one of those persons.  I feel like everything that comes out of my mouth is negative.  But maybe it's just because I'm thinking so many negative thoughts.  The rental agency handling our home in Idaho wants us to fix this and that and OH!  There was a nail left above the front door.  We don't seem to be on the same page as our caseworker...or maybe it's because I'm emailing him rather than calling.  Or there's the fact that I gave my employer over a two month notice (my last day is the 16th) and they still haven't posted my position.  Whatever it is, I feel like I'm focusing on all the bad and missing all the good things that are happening.  My yard is starting to green again (turns out, when I turned the water on for the sprinklers, I didn't turn it all the way).  I've got a kid who loves to earn money and therefore takes care of the weeds.  I'm moving in a month to a new experience that I'm so excited for.  So many good things....yet, I'm focused on the fact that the yard work is never done and there are still boxes to be packed and how on earth will I get my house spic n span before we set off.  If there's a positive person out there, I need ya now.  I need emails about that will make me laugh.  I need to see smiles.  I need someone to redirect me without me feeling like a stink bug.  Anybody up for the job?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Feeling a Litta Curazy!

I'm new to parenting teens.  You all know that.  So...I'm looking for advice from ones who either have teens or work with teens.  My teen and preteen are extremely social and go into depressed mode when they can't "hang with their friends."  My problem.  I don't necessarily trust my teens.  I don't necessarily trust their friends.  So how do I let them not go crazy while still making sure they aren't off doing anything...illegal?  Just "trusting" them is out the door.  These are good kids that aren't used to parental guidance.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Red Light, Green Light

Getting to work is pretty much a straight drive.  Only 4.26 miles says mapquest.  You know what else mapquest says?  10 minutes.  Yep.  That's what it says.  So why am I leaving 20 minutes early and getting there just on time?  Why does it take 15 minutes to get home?  I'll tell you why.  Traffic lights.  And some nights, I seem to hit every single one of them during a red.  I remember there was one time I made it with no stops.  I had to speed through a couple to make sure I made it in time.  I have worked at this location for over 8 months now and only one time made it straight home.  You wanna know what usually happens?  I usually hit every single red.  Do you have any idea how frustrating this is?  It doesn't matter that I've already been waiting 3 minutes at the previous stop.  No matter how slow or how fast I go, I end up stopping.  I wish there was a science to it.  Just drive 10 miles an hour and you'll make it without stopping....or go 30 miles and hour and you won't stop.  There's no rhyme or reason to it....just me hoping I make to work on time.  In the meantime, I've thought of many great analogy's I can use for future motivational talks. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My New Reality

It's been a week.  A whole week.  In reality, it feels much longer than that, but not because it's been a tough week, but more because it's been an eventful week.  This morning Todd and older brother were outside taking down the trampoline and clearing the weeds.  They worked 45 minutes longer than the required 15 minutes of daily chores.  Course, I pay them, but that incentive has never been too effective in the past.  Now, I've got a cleared area where once stood a broken trampoline with 2 foot weeds protruding from every angle.  Geneva hasn't had nearly the number of mood swings.  Shem and Todd are fighting a whole lot less.  Chris is even chipper than normal.  This has been a great week.  We've been busier than before.  There's a lot more running around that goes on.  We also go through food a lot faster.  The upside, we don't eat out....we aren't even tempted.  Have you ever taken 7 people to a restaurant???  And paid for all of them?  It's not happening.  McDonalds?  Well, we've even skipped that one.  I've noticed a change in one particular brother.  The older one adjusted quickly.  Younger brother cried a lot the first night.  The second night, just a little.  I haven't seen him cry since.  In fact, I hear him laughing into the late hours of the night.  Late last night he heard Shem and Todd talking in their room so he quietly snuck down the stairs and scared them.  I could hear the scream clear in my room.  This wasn't the malicious type of sneak attack--this was the kind you would see at scout camp.  I've been able to see these boys blend and bond with my own children and it has been one of the greatest things I've witnessed.  I had the best talk with younger brother and found out a little more about his history.  We talked about the fact that we're moving and they will go into another home.  I told him that I would LOVE to take him and his brother with us, but I would HATE to take them away from their family.  He told us how awesome our family is (okay, who wouldn't enjoy hearing that?!!) and that his mom really likes me.  I can't help but feel that the reason Chris and I decided to do the foster training when we did (even though we knew we would probably be moving) and to finish what we had started as far as home inspections and all that goes, is because THESE brothers were meant to be in OUR home.  Had we been licensed any earlier, it might not have happened.  If we had decided to only do respite, we would never have met them.  As it is, they are members of our family now.  Their family is our extended family.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bucket List Check

We did it.  We became foster parents.  It happened so quickly.  We were given warning last Thursday about boy #1 last week.  We went to visit him Friday.  I could see how scared he was.  As we all sat there, I tried desperately to converse with him.  He would answer in one or two word sentences while staring at his shoes.  We did ask about his family.  He talked of several siblings but one that he was particularly close with-his older brother.  His birthday is this week.  I asked him what he wanted.  He wanted to see his mom.  I just about cried right there.  No worries, I kept the tears in check.  Monday.  7:30am.  Phone rings.  Caseworker told us his brother would be needing a home.  We didn't hesitate.  Monday.  2:30pm.  We see brother and aunt (not knowing who they were).  We wonder if that's the older brother.  He looks a lot older than 13.  I start to panic.  4:30pm.  I feel at peace.  I've given the boy's mother a tissue and a hug.  We've arranged for a visit on younger brother's birthday this week.  Birthday wish being fulfilled. 

It's been 3 days.  These have been some strange days for me.  I've got 5 kids now.  Our van is full.  No more family trips in our car.  Better get the van fixed if we want to go anywhere.  These brothers are two of the sweetest, most well-behaved kids I've met.  They have been very respectful and helpful.  They even put their dishes in the dishwasher.  The integration with my own 3 children will slowly happen.  I won't force it.  For now, we'll just take it one day at a time.  When I look at these boys, I wish everybody could see what I see.  One of my greatest wishes would be to see all my friends and family sign up to be foster families.  For me, it's something I can finally check off my Bucket List and know that we have made the right decision for our family.  Wait till you meet them.  You'll understand.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Perfect Summer

Did I ever mention what a great mom I am?  Oh, it is so true.  I have the perfect summer plans for my kids.  We're going to get a rec pass and go swimming every morning. I'm going to teach them how to swim myself; no need for a third party.  Two days a week, I'll take Geneva to summer camp and she'll have to much fun that when she comes home, it'll be be nothing but sunshine from her.  Every Monday we'll take advantage of the movie theater deal ($.75). Oh, and I'm thinking we'll go to Seven Peaks a couple times.  We can park in the parking lot at my work and just walk.  Oh, and of course we'll take several short road trips.  We haven't been to Moab with the kids, so I'll load up the tent and sleeping bags and we'll plan a picnic on the way and make sure we have lots of treats and I'll do some research and print out and make some games for the trip and maybe have a scavenger hunt somewhere in there.  Oh, and I'm going to take the kids on several fieldtrips.  I think the Steven's Cocoa factory would be cool.  We gotta go to the ropes course place.  Oh, and in the evenings, we'll walk the Provo trail, hand-in-hand, just happy to be together.

I woke up this morning.  We really could save ourselves $60 if we don't get the rec pass.  Besides, Grandma and Grandpa have a pond/creek and ropes course.  We can save even more money if we just go up there occasionally.  The theater doesn't have any PG movies.  Well, we own around 200 videos--maybe we'll start pulling those out.  Picnic?  Yikes!  Is it lunch time already?  Nobody's had breakfast?  Umm.....there's frozen burritos in the freezer.  Just cook yourself up one of those.  Look, we can set up the tent in the backyard sometime.  You're right, our backyard is too small for a tent.  Well, maybe we can do that at Grandma's too.   we forgot about Geneva's camp yesterday.  Cripes!  Well, put it on the calendar so we don't forget tomorrow.  Yes, Todd, I'll go rollerskating with you, but today isn't the best day.  Let's try Friday when Dad can watch the other kids.  Anybody want to watch a "kid show?"

Well, I've still got 2 more months of summer.   I'm still a perfect parent...just not this week. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Insight into my Insanity

I lost my keys.  Well, I'd thought I'd lost my keys.  It started on Monday when I was rounding up all my gear to head to work when I first noticed.  The keys weren't hanging on their peg.  Try my purse.  Empty the purse.  Clean up the emptied purse.  No keys.  Remove all couch cushions.  No keys.  AAaaauuuugggghhhh!  No time.  Have to get to work.  Grab spare keys.

You might think, well, you've got spare keys, so what's your problem?  I had a spare van key.  That would get me to work.  It doesn't lock my house and it doesn't lock up the doors at night when I leave work.  So, I secretly exited out the back sliding glass door (I didn't want any cat burglars seeing their easy entrance).  At work, I had to grovel to borrow someone else's keys.  I hate doing this because then it makes me look unorganized and completely scattered.  I felt unorganized and completely scattered.  Oh, well.  Pride swallowed.

Tuesday:  I again revisit my purse, all couches, under my children's bed, on their beds, under and over and through my bed, in all bookshelves....and anywhere else I could imagine to look.  I even did a little cleaning hoping that would reward me the blessing of keys magically reappearing on the floor I had just picked up.  It never happened.  Day 2 of swallowing my pride at work.  This time, there were questions and little lectures, "There are only 2 places I put my keys....."  Let me just tell you, I had already gone through the wringer of self-loathing, saying...well, screaming to myself.."Why didn't you just hang up your keys where they are supposed to go?!!  NEVER put them down in some random place because you KNOW you are going to lose them!!!"  Yes, I was internally screaming and that can get pretty loud.  I told my husband to offer a $1 reward to whoever could find them.  Todd looked in our van.  I'd already searched our car since that's that last place I remembered having them.  Did I give them to the kids to unlock the door?  Did I set them down somewhere so I could hand sweep the dirt that had fallen out of a mother's day flower pot?  I DON'T REMEMBER?

So, I got home from work feeling dejected.  I was going to have another day of searching for keys and have to report my keys officially gone.  Then, inspiration struck me.  I had unlocked the van to check something.  I mentioned this to Chris and he headed out.  He was gone over 5 minutes.  The van isn't that big.  Not a good sign.  When he came in he said, "It's like checking off another room" (that we had searched thoroughly).  Then I saw him walking down the hall.....with my keys.  The stinker.  After giving him his due lecture, he told me he had found them in the back seat.  Well, I never got in the back seat.  Turns out, Shem wanted to look for something in the van that he had lost.  He grabbed my keys and the rest is history.  Guess what?!!  I'm not crazy.  I'm not unorganized and scattered.  Well...maybe I am, but not this time.  I couldn't wait to get to work and tell them..."See, it wasn't my fault!"  You see, when you're a parent, you always have someone to blame.  I said I wasn't disorganized and scattered.  I never said I was loyal.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Costco--the True Self Comes Out

Most of us have had this experience.  The big bulk warehouse store.  We go in with our mega carts and carefully weave around 60 in. HD televisions, orphaned children, and clothes abandoned carelessly in the middle of the aisle.  We go in hopes of stocking up on our supplies so we won't have to experience this particular form of torture for at least a month.

Then there's my family.  We go just for the samples and maybe pick up some milk and bananas while we're there.  No matter how prepared I try making myself, it's never enough for the chaos that meets me.  I patiently wait for my sample (it'll be just another 3minutes).  2 minutes left, it's just me and my cart, kids and husband in tow.  1 minute left, a father with 3 kids carefully wedges in front of my cart.  5 seconds left, the bees are swarming.  1 minute later, my hands are bare and my stomach is still empty.  How did that happen?  I was so good and was waiting very nicely.  I wait for the second batch.  The same thing happens, except this time, two of my children were quick enough to make a grab.  By now the demonstrator is starting to feel bad for me.  The next batch, she holds the tray over to my family and lets us get first dibs.  All this for a small morsel?!! 

My last experience at Costco was probably my best.  I told myself I could wait and it would be okay; I'd eventually get the sample.  It also allowed me to find joy in my experience.  There is nothing funner than watching a 60-yr-old man push a 10-yr-old out of his way to make sure there was still a sample for him.  It's interesting to see humans at their most barbaric.  Have you ever been in a car and honked at someone who cut you off and then realized it was your child's teacher?  Okay, that hasn't happened to me, but it could.  We allow ourselves to turn into these vicious creatures with no regard for the next person because we need our slice of sausage (it WAS good sausage).  From now on, I will allow Costco to be my social experiment.  If you wait long enough, there will be someone worth watching; the one that sees that you've been waiting and will hand deliver your sample.  I realize that nobody is at their best when they are hungry, but being at Costco, it was a small glimpse into some people's trues selves.  It's the ones that let my kids get a cookie slice before they took one for themselves that lead me to believe it's all going to be okay.  There are plenty of ugly people out there, but there are also plenty of beauties.  Find those ones and it'll all be good. Don't waste your emotions on the others.   

Friday, April 30, 2010

Photo fun.

This spring weather has got me giddy as can be.  I pull out my camera and pretend to be artistic.
As you can probably tell, I'm a work in progress.  I don't know what there is about it, but I LOVE taking pictures.  And I'm trying real hard to take the pictures from a variety of angles.  Course, my kids are total fans..."Wait, Todd.  I need you to turn your head a little.  No, the other way.  Can you move over just a bit, there's too much sun in the picture.  Oh, crud.  I cut off your ear.  Let me take just one more.  Geneva, I need you to move so I can get this picture.  Just one more, Todd."  And so it goes.

Course, there's always the distracting element.  My big gift for Christmas was photoshop but I haven't really learned how to use it yet.  My sister tried helping me, but as soon as I got home, I had either forgotten how to do everything or couldn't get it to work on my computer.  I'm thinking a class is necessary.  However, I still enjoy taking photos....flaws and all.
Since this blog is for getting to know who I am, I've decided to post of few of pics.  Enjoy!

FYI...I've been taking my own Santa pictures for years now.  No need to buy the poorly lighted ones they sale.  They let you take your own...and even offer up suggestions.  When you take your own, they can be a lot more candid and real (not the uncomfortable sitting on the scary, hairy guy's lap looks--well, maybe you'll still get those).