Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Here's the hoop -- should I jump?

Look at this cute guy... he LOVES climbing in our tree.
Christmas isn't really Christmas without a kitten... life is good.

How's life? How's your Christmas preparations coming? You may think I am just one of those annoyingly perky people during Christmas... I love it! All of it. My friend, Stephanie, did a great blog post about that today and well, I'll just say DITTO to what she said. (and Steph, for the record, I might send out New Year's Cards again, the budget is *tight*)

Our family is also doing something really special this year... more on that later.

Okay, so in my last post, I told you that I sent my children's story to two publishers... (now three) well, I got a positive response from one of them just five days later.... WHAT?!?!?!?!

Yeah, I was pretty excited and I know they are a reputable company because a friend of mine has recently published with them; however, they require a $2,000 retainer FEE. :( Yes, I just heard screeching brakes, did you? Anyway, the retainer fee is fully refundable upon the sale of 1000 copies of my book. Blargh! I knew it wouldn't be that easy the first time out of the gates, but man, that email got me excited! From what I've heard, that is fairly common for unknown authors wanting to publish their first book.

I firmly believe that if I'm supposed to publish this book something better will come along. I wish I was Anne Shirley and there was a local "Rollings Reliable Baking Powder" Company that needed a boost. I bet I could win that!

Anyway, I love Christmas and for the moment, we are all basically healthy... which is kinda freaking me out.

I love my kids. We made some cardboard box cars this week just for fun.
And it was.
Beck slept in his last night.

Zoe and I went to a USU women's basketball game with her class. SO fun!
Here she is with "Big Blue", the USU mascot!
Zoe said he stunk like cologne... just keep thinking that way, sweetie.

Kaia's still awake (it's 10:15) and she's crying. Zeke is up there with her and I should go help. He is such a great guy... which kinda freaks me out too.

This should probably be another post, but I want to do a "Word of the Year" thing like my good friend, Tawnya. She is most groovy, by the way. I think it's a great idea and a way for me to really make some changes in my life all through the year. Not a big list of "resolutions", I've never been one for that really, but something simple. Something I can think about and implement everyday.

Once I decided to do this, the word I wanted came to mind almost instantly:

DISCIPLINE
dis.ci.pline (noun)

1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.

This is what I jotted down on my phone:
TIME
MONEY
STUDY
GIVE
PROGRESS
SELF

I'll expand more on that list as I figure out exactly what I was thinking when I wrote it.
For the most part, I want to focus on our money and get out of debt. This year is the year!
I feel like the planets are aligning...

Monday, December 12, 2011

We've done it again!

Last week we were sitting around the table eating lunch and drawing names for family gifts. Gabe got my name and asked me what I wanted. I said, "You know what I really want? Another kitten!!" The kids all screamed YESSS! in agreement. Well, Zeke says I started a mutiny that just 5 hours later, resulted in this:
I'm just a *tiny bit* impulsive I think.

He kinda reminds me of Yoda...

However, we can't totally settle on a name.
First, he was going to be Hiccup.... I still like that one, but I was voted down.
Then, he became Skeeter (from "Bedtime Stories" because he was for FREEEEEE! We thought Skeeter was a better name for a cat than Ferrari.)
Now, we call him Percy. My older three kids say he's Perseus, as in Percy Jackson. Beck thinks he's Percy from Thomas the tank engine.
I'm not sure... Zeke and I really like the name Thor.
We've also considered Taco and Zucchini... I'm not joking.

Needless to say, we are having SO much fun with him right now. He's a sweetie and Caspian and Nora don't seem to mind too much... other than the 23 hours a day he's trying to bite their tails. He's had a few good whacks to the head... ahhh, I love it!

Someday when I get around to it, I'll tell you the whole story...

P.S. In other news, I sent my story to two publishers last week! Cross your fingers!!! If I get brave enough, I'll post a bit of it for you...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Prince Caspian's Adventure

Hi everyone, it's already December! How are things? Are you getting excited for Christmas? I am. We put up our tree on Monday and our cats are loving their favorite napping spot. Beck is so excited this year -- I love watching my kids enjoy all of the decorations and lights.

We spent a crazy Thanksgiving weekend at my parents. It was fun though. I got to see almost ALL of my family. I really enjoyed seeing my brothers and nieces and nephews.

The toilet in my parent's only bathroom starting leaking the day before everyone came. By Friday, it was obvious they needed it fixed. Zeke took it apart and found water had been leaking under the floor for quite some time. Long story short: Zeke ended up replacing the entire floor, including all of the sub-floor. We were going to go to Colorado and visit his parents as well, but we ended up staying at my parents house, while Zeke worked on the floor night and day. It made for a very interesting weekend WITHOUT A TOILET. Ha! Oh well.

Anyway, I was looking though my goals for 2011 and I still haven't done everything I want to do. (The ballroom dance lessons were on a Wednesday and Gabe's scouts changed to Wednesdays this year -- so that is still something we are going to do as well.)

I've been talking with my family about finishing my book and I got a lot of good feedback from them over Thanksgiving and well, I'm just about finished with my first draft! It's a children's book -- and it's taken me awhile to decide what direction I want to take it. I think I just needed to start. I've had notes on my phone since May.

I'm going to be busy with that and I hope to submit it to a publisher by January. :) I have a really good feeling about it. Gabe is going to do some artwork for it and we'll go from there. After all, if you don't write it down (literally) it's just a wish!

Here is the star of my book:
I'll keep you posted on my progress and maybe give you a sneak peek in a week or two --
I could use some feedback. Also, I'm thinking about using a pen name? Thoughts on that?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Surviving your budget during the Holiday Season: 101

I've been thinking a lot about saving money. It's always on my mind. We live on a pretty tight budget and depending on the month it's even tighter. Last week, my friend, Stephanie, over at Diapers and Divinity, was asking for advice about sticking to a grocery budget. (Advice? I'm great at advice... *20 points to the first person to name that movie quote!) Anyway, I flooded her comment feed with 3 or 4 long paragraphs about what I do to save money and still feed my kids.

I don't know if it helped anyone, but I was going through my budget this morning for the rest of the month and I noticed there is another thing I often do when money is tight. We had some "extra expenses" come up last week (Okay, Zeke and I were really naughty and went out to dinner on Friday and then, we bought some new snow sleds for the kids and a Christmas gift for Beck that I've been waiting to go on sale!) Anyway, now I need to "find" some more money for our Thanksgiving trip this week. I just felt like I should share this with all of you and hopefully it can help someone.

Our new sleds (the kids had so much fun on Saturday it was worth it):
Whenever this happens, whatever the unexpected expense may be: doctor co-pays, extra prescriptions, birthday gifts for your children's friends (Oi!), money to fix the siding on your house because your 13 year old didn't realize a lacrosse ball would damage it (Really?), etc. I look at the bills I have for that paycheck and see what I can MOVE to the next paycheck. You're thinking, what?! Maybe all of you already know this? Yeah, I know, I am no financial wizard and we are not wealthy in any way, but we are trying to live within our means, get out of debt, not use credit cards, and still pay our bills and have money for all of the expenses involved with raising four children, owning two cats, and one house and ALL that goes along with that! (Breathe!)
Before you swipe that credit card:
Here are some crazy ideas that just might work!

So, I have learned (by calling and feeling really dumb, but you never know until you ask) that several creditors and companies will let you skip a payment or move it up a few days until you get paid again to help you have the extra you need to make it until the next paycheck, sometimes with no late fees or penalties! Many companies have a GRACE period on your payment -- meaning if your payment is due on the 30th of the month, you might not actually have to pay until the 5th of the next month. They don't always tell you, but you can ask. Our car payment is like this.

Maybe all of these companies are going to get angry with me for publicly sharing their "secret", but I don't think they will. Everyone I have called to ask for help has been very nice. All they can do is say no, right? FYI: Credit card companies are not like this, they are not nice and not willing to help you. (That is just from my experience.) Credit card companies are EVIL.

But here are some places that have been great for us:
  • America First Credit Union
  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • Hospitals and Doctor's Offices
  • Gas and Utility Companies
  • Nelnet (student loans), Yes, it's true!
  • Green Tree

For example, this is what I did this morning: I adjusted my budget (I go over my budget EVERY day) and found that I needed another $100 or so to make it to the next paycheck. I don't think I could stretch our groceries that far this month, so I called Allstate to ask them if I could move our payment to next month and then, I would make a double payment. (*Now, you actually have to have enough from your next check to make this payment, so be careful before you promise that you'll pay them -- I don't think they would like you to CONTINUE to skip your payments.)

Anyway, they said SURE! (I knew they would, they've helped us before) That is $80 less I have to pay this check and $80 MORE in my pocket. I know I can squeeze at least $20 or so from the rest of my budget to make up the difference.

Also, we have our car payment through America First Credit Union (AFCU). I LOVE them! We have been with them since 1999. I'm sure other credit unions are just as great, I just haven't had any experience with them. Oh, ENT Federal Credit Union in Colorado was also great. Anyway, AFCU lets us waive one payment a year with no fee or penalty! Waive, as in SKIP completely and not have to pay double the next month! I know this isn't helping pay down our debt, but sometimes you have to deal with the here and now. This has been an absolute lifesaver during Christmas.

I hope all of you can get through the holidays debt-free and stress-free. I am all about SIMPLE everything. Look at what you can cut out. Last year, we didn't even do Christmas cards and I'm not sure if we will this year either. (Oh, the horror!!) I do love to spoil my kids, but I hope it's to a minimum where they are still excited and grateful about it, not just tossing another gift over their shoulder as they look for the next one to open. I truly believe it is possible to live within our means and still have all that we "need" (that is very subjective) and pay our bills so our credit score is still good.

I saw a really cool bumper sticker on a car the other day and I've decided I "need" one. It said: "Debt is normal. Be weird!" This is what we are working towards and hoping to achieve someday. I love it! People try to HAVE so much and DO so much -- I just want to have a BIG savings account and peace of mind AND when the time is right, Zeke and I want to go on a trip somewhere and pay for it with CASH!!

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, THIS is what I really want for Christmas!! Thanks, Tawnya! Gosh, only $55? What a deal! Where in the WORLD would you wear those?! (Actually, don't answer that -- I don't really want to know.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Simple Christmas Gifts: PART THREE

My friend, Becca, sent me an email with the rest of the list -- Thank you!!! :) Here it is: (*again, I did NOT make these up. Becca says her family calls them Corny Christmas Ideas and I would have to agree! I like some of them and I'm sure you'll like others -- it just depends on your degree of corny.:) Enjoy!
  • Wake up to a delicious Christmas! (pancake mix and syrup)
  • From our PAD to yours, Happy Holidays! (note pad or hot pads)
  • To a NOTE worthy teacher! (note pad) (*Attention Locals! Square One Printing has really cute note pads for $.20 each!)
  • May your holidays BUBBLE over with fun! (bubble bath or bubble gum)
  • By GUM, your great neighbors! (gum)
  • Don’t SNICKER, just be glad you got something! (Snickers candy bar)
  • MUGS and KISSES! (mug full of Kisses)
  • May your New Year be festive and FRUITful! (basket of fruit)
  • We just couldn’t reSTRAIN ourselves from wishing you a Merry Christmas! (strainer or colander)
  • We hope your holidays are PICTURE perfect. (frame)
  • You’ve been naughty, so here’s the scoop-All you get for Christmas is Snowman poop! (bag of marshmallows) (*I think my husband and 13 year old son made this one up -- seriously?!?!)
  • We get such a CHARGE out of Christmas, So we decided to shop acCORDingly. We don’t want to OVERLOAD your CIRCUITS, But this will light up your Christmas tree. We want to EXTEND to you our best wishes. We’ll put a good PLUG in for you. Have a holiday that’s simply ELECTRIC, and EXTEND good feelings the whole year thru. (extension cord)
  • A day or two ago, we thought we’d make a treat. Something really special, a Christmas gift to eat. But out schedules would not budge; Hence, here’s this year’s edition of our homemade CHRISTMAS FUDGE! (large chocolate candy bar)
  • A STAR appeared in the sky, that first Christmas night; When Jesus was born in a manger, the star shined its light. Everyone saw the star, Up in the sky above; it was bright, glowing and radiant, Sending light, joy and love. It also sent a message, To the world below; Remember Jesus, our Savior, And each day, let your light glow. You can be a star, SHINE BRIGHT! (star cookie cutter)
  • "Wise Men still seek HIM."(framed)
  • As you hold these candies in your hand and turn them you will see. The M becomes a W, an E, and then a 3. They tell the Christmas Story, it’s one I’m sure you know. It took place in a stable a long, long time ago. The E is for the East where the star shone oh so bright. The M is for the Manger, where the baby Jesus slept that night. The 3 is for the wise men, bearing gifts, that say they came. W is for Worship, Hallelujah, Praise His Name. So, as you eat these candies or share them with a friend. Remember the Spirit of Christmas, and never let it end. (M&M’s) (*Becca says her husband does this one for his Home Teaching families -- I like this one a lot!:)
  • It’s Christmas time at our house and we are putting up the tree. I wish I could find one simple way to remember Christ’s gift to me. Some little sign or symbol to show friends stopping by, the little babe was born one day, but he really came to die. A symbol of His nail-pierced hands the blood He shed for you and me…what if I hung a simple nail upon my Christmas tree? A crimson bow tied ‘round the nail as His blood flowed down so free to save each person from their sin, and redeem us for all eternity. I know it was His love for us that held him to that tree and when I see this simple nail I know he died for me. (red ribbon tied to a nail)

Happy Holidays!! Thanks again, Becca. Now, enough procrastinating... I have to work on my talk for church on Sunday. This is most definitely not my forte` -- AND to make it harder, I'm speaking in the Spanish-speaking ward in our stake -- AND I'm crazy enough to try and do it IN Spanish. Zeke speaks Spanish and he has helped me translate my talk. I'm practicing reading and trying to know enough of what I'm saying so I can use voice inflections on the right words so I don't sound like a total first grade robot. Yo no se que soy!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Simple Christmas Gifts: Part TWO

Here are some more fun ideas for Christmas gifts... if you know any more (Sandra! :) Please share:

  • Wishing you joy beyond MEASURE! (measuring cups, spoons, ruler, or measuring tape)
  • You have been a LIFESAVER! (Lifesavers candy or Christmas Storybook)
  • We're NUTS about you! Merry Christmas! (can of nuts)
  • Gift idea: Have your child make a bookmark with picture and list of favorite books or favorite things about teacher. (*This, my friends, is called brown-nosing. Would I do it? OH yeah!)
  • May your days be Merry and BRIGHT! (magic markers, highlighters, or dry erase markers)
  • Sending WARM Christmas wishes to my favorite teacher! (one serving sized package of hot chocolate, apple cider, or dry soup mix)
  • JELLY is like love. You can't spread it around without getting some on yourself! Merry Christmas! (jar of jelly)
  • Hoping you have a holiday JAM-packed with Christmas cheer! (jar of jam) (*Please DON'T confuse jam for jelly or vice versa -- your little poem would be for naught!! oh, the horror!)
  • Have a holly JOLLY Christmas! (jolly ranchers)
  • Have a BERRY nice holiday season! (jar of jam)
  • We're ROOTing for you to have a Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year! (root beer)
  • Hope a Merry HO-HO-HO fills your heart the whole year through! (Hostess Ho-Hos) (*don't know why, this one just cracks me up... and yes, I love Ho-Ho's!)
  • Remember Santa CHEX his list twice to see who's been naughty or nice... so be good for goodness sake! (Chex mix)
  • Hoping your Holiday TURNS out great! (pancake turner)
  • We just couldn't PASTA up the chance to say Happy Holidays! (holiday shaped pasta)
  • Have a PASTAtively Happy Holiday! (holiday shaped pasta)
  • We wanted to SPREAD some Christmas cheer! (spatula)
  • For being there when you were KNEADED, for RISING to the occasion, large or small. For never LOAFING on the job, for helping others to HEEL with care. No matter how you SLICE it, you do a terrific job loving others. Merry Christmas! (loaf of bread)
  • Warm up to a wonderful holiday season TOPPED with Christmas cheer! (pizza)
  • You're getting MUFFIN for Christmas! (muffin mix or pan) (*Thanks, Sandra!)
  • SEASONED with love! (packet of seasoning or spices)
  • Keep Christmas in your heart the whole year through. Merry Christmas! (calendar) (*little side note: this only works if the company you order your calendar from sends you a calendar for the NEXT year!!! Oi!)
  • May your Christmas be SPRINKLED with laughter and love. (cinnamon sugar or candy sprinkles)
  • If friends were FLOWERS, we'd pick you! (seeds, potted flowers, or silk flower on a pen or barrette clip)
  • You make friendship BLOOM all year round! (flower items like those above)
  • May your days be happy, your heart be LIGHT, your Christmas be merry, and your New Year BRIGHT! (candle) (*maybe not light bulbs?)
  • SCENTS we are such good friends, we wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas (candle or potpourri)

Okay, so if you get one of these from me.... just act surprised, okay? I have two more pages... I know you just can't wait! :)

*I didn't read back through this one yet, so let me know if there's any typos.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Simple Christmas Gift Ideas for Neighbors, Teachers, and Friends: PART ONE

I was reading my friend Stephanie's blog, Diapers and Divinity, and she asked what are some good ideas for inexpensive and easy neighbor gifts for Christmas. I got this list from a Relief Society activity last year and I told Stephanie I would put it on my blog. Some of the ideas are kinda cheesy, but there are LOTS of ideas for any budget. Most of the items you could get at the dollar store. Each of these ideas has a cute little saying with the gift that goes with it in parentheses.

I love giving gifts at Christmas! Only 38 days left....

  • Hope your Christmas SHAPES up to be just right! (cookie cutter)
  • Here's a little extra DOUGH for Christmas! (cookie dough)
  • ROLLING out a batch of Christmas cheer for someone we think is very dear! (sugar cookie dough, cookie cutters, or a rolling pin)
  • DIP into a wonderful holiday season and a HEALTHY New Year! (veggies and dip) (*BOO!*just kidding, that's me talking)
  • Hope your Christmas holiday is just SOUPer! (soup or soup mix in a jar)
  • We give you this gift for a very good reason: instead of dirty DISHES, relax and enjoy the season! (Paper plates)
  • May the JOY you give to others come back to you too! (Almond Joy or Joy dish detergent)
  • Have a COOL yule! (Ice Cream)
  • Have a BEARY sweet Christmas! (honey bear or teddy bear or even gummy bears)
  • ORANGE you glad I'm your friend/student/neighbor! I'm glad you're my teacher/neighbor! Happy Holidays! (Oranges or a chocolate orange)
  • Wishing you a season filled with SWEETNESS! (anything sweet)
  • Have a BRIGHT and RADIANT Christmas! (light bulbs) (*Really?!?)
  • We SCRAPED together what cash we could find, although our assets are mostly FROZEN -- We really like you, you're such an ICE friend, and we hope you like this gift we've chosen! (ICE SCRAPER)
  • You've got the right STUFF to be a great friend! SEASONED greetings! (stuffing mix)
  • Seasons READINGS! (a favorite book/holiday book)
  • We DUST wanted to say: "Thanks for being great friends!" (feather duster or dust pan)
  • May the joy and LOVE you give away, come back to you on Christmas Day! (heart ornament)
  • Just POPPIN' by with a warm Christmas Hi! (popcorn or caramel corn)
  • Hoping you have a BALL this holiday season! (popcorn balls or puffed rice balls)
  • We have to adMITT, you're great! Merry Christmas! (oven mitt or mittens)
  • May your Christmas be Merry and SPRITE! (Sprite)
  • Tis the season to be GRATEFUL! You're a GRATE neighbor! (cheese grater)
  • We WHISK you a Merry Christmas! (wire whisk)
  • No one can MEASURE up to you. Happy Holidays! (measuring cups or spoons, ruler, measuring tape)
  • We wish you a full MEASURE of holiday cheer. May your CUP overflow with joy and peace. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (measuring cups)


Okay, that is page 1 of 4... I'll post more later... (I can't scan it in and convert it to a usable file because the copy I have is in a fancy scripted font with symbols and pictures)

Friday, November 11, 2011

All Finished!

I finally finished all 60 quilt squares. On Monday, I'm sending 20 to Dedra and 20 to Kate! I'm so excited to get their squares and put them all together.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's happening...

My kids are growing up...

No more diapers in the house, no playpens, no strollers, no baby monitors...

Gabe is almost 14 and Zoe will be 11 in just 3 weeks...
WHERE has the time gone?

The little dimples on their knuckles are LONG gone...
only Beck's remain and only just.
As I'm hanging up laundry,
I suddenly realize their clothes need "big-people" hangers.

I noticed I don't trim their nails anymore... they've already trimmed them...
when did this happen?

When they feel sad and cry or get hurt, they don't come running into my arms anymore or sit on my lap... I can't just scoop them up in my arms like I used to.

They don't want to go trick or treating with us anymore...

I was feeling sorry for myself on Halloween when Gabe just couldn't eat dinner fast enough so he could go be with his friends and Zoe got all ready with us to go trick-or-treating, only to announce she was planning to go with a friend and her family. Aren't we cool enough anymore?
(Don't answer that! Just let Kaia and Beck keep thinking it for a little while longer, please!)
I feel like I just woke up out of a thick fog and suddenly realized I have four children and they are growing up right before my eyes whether I like it or not.
I have to let them go, let them be, let them choose what they want to do and find out who they are... it's really hard and it makes me sad, but in a way, I'm excited for them too. What a wonderful and fun time of their lives.

I'm scared for them, the world is a crazy place, but I just want them to hold my hand a little longer -- maybe more for me than for them. They are okay. I love them so much and I want so much for them. In this craziness called Motherhood, somewhere along the way in the last almost 14 years, I have given birth to four amazing, beautiful, and not-so-little people.

Suddenly, the diapers and sleepless nights are gone and I'm here with a 13, 10, 7, and 3 year old and they're all about to have a birthday here within 6 months. Wow. I've heard so many other mothers tell me to enjoy it when they're little because the time will go so fast. I always thought those mothers were wrong, I thought they were so nostalgic and sappy and pathetic and lonely even. I couldn't wait for my kids to sleep through the night and be potty-trained and dress themselves and be big enough to do all of these things... and now, it's already here and passing and I think I've missed something along the way. It's so hard when you're in the middle of it. I'm grateful to feel (good and bad) this wake-up call and realize MY time with them is slipping away.

I told my mother on the phone today that I'm just the "chef" or "taxi" or "housekeeper" or "backpack finder" or whatever and sometimes they don't even notice me or what I want or feel. Sometimes my kids unknowingly make me feel like chopped liver! My Mom listened quietly and sighed deeply before she replied, "Yes, sometimes your kids will make you feel like chopped liver and I hate to say it, but sometimes they still do." My sweet little mother who I completely adore... is she sad and lonely and feeling this yuckiest twinge of regret I'm feeling in the pit of my stomach and in the deepest part of my heart? Does she wish she could go back? Have I made her feel like chopped liver? I'm sure! Especially when I was between the ages of 12-18. Let's not go there...Oh man! I was awful. I'm only beginning to realize how truly hard it is to be a Mom.
I just need to enjoy every minute I have with them. I've been praying about it and I need to find something for each child at the specific age and phase they are in right now to enjoy them and make them feel special and let me feel close to them.

Gabe and I like to watch "Mythbusters", Zoe and I like to bake cookies and paint her nails, Kaia and I like to read books and draw pictures, Beck and I like to play with his Legos and Hot Wheels. I'm going to soak it all in and have fun!

I know it is SO hard when your kids are little and your days (and nights) are CRAZY and chaotic and even depressing sometimes. Guess what? I've become that weird old lady like your mother or some old woman in your church that tells you "They grow up so fast, don't waste it, enjoy it!" I'm going to enjoy every minute of it! Grumpy teenagers and preschool tantrums and my little brown-eyed drama queens and everything that goes with it. (famous last words...)

While writing this post, I was listening to "Give it Away" from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and it was quite fitting for how I was feeling:

My Mom I love her cuz she love me
Long gone are the times when she scrub me!

Yes, even Anthony Kiedis was a little boy once and THAT, my friends, is a scary thought!! HA!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blogging is Good, MY MUSIC is Better, Best Picture

Well, you may have noticed I haven't been blogging much...

You know when you look at your schedule and your life and all you want to accomplish and be...
What can I cut out? It hasn't really been a conscious thought, but I haven't been blogging and I don't really have the urge at the moment.

I have been listening to a great radio station, 101.9 "The End", thanks to my friend, Sharon! I don't buy very much music anymore so this has been a true gem to find this station. X96 just isn't the same. SHARON, I OWE YOU! I can't believe how much I LOVE this music SO much better than anything else. I feel differently when I listen to it. GOOD different. I feel like I've found an old friend. I feel alive. Listening to this music back in the day was the reason I survived growing up in Salina, Utah. YES, it is TRUE! Mistie... you can attest to this!

It makes me SO happy: Oasis, The Cure, Bush, The Pixies, Death Cab for Cutie, Modern English, Beck, OMD, Camouflage, Depeche Mode, Coldplay, Broken Bells, Yaz, ABC, They Might Be Giants, Toad the Wet Sprocket, 311, Foster the People, The Waterboys, Duran Duran, Midnight Oil, Modest Mouse, Men Without Hats, Dave Matthew's Band, Incubus, Jet, The Cranberries, Love and Rockets, The Verve, Blink-182, The Smithereens, Violent Femmes, The Fixx, David Bowie, Weezer, Cage the Elephant, Oingo Boingo, Crowded House, Talking Heads, Middle Class Rut, Cake, The Cult, Echo and the Bunnymen, Green Day, Keane, INXS, Fall Out Boy, Stone Temple Pilots, Eurythmics, U2, Evanescence. The Fray, The Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Xymox, Peter Gabriel, 30 Seconds to Mars, R.E.M., Big Audio Dynamite, AFI, The Killers, Muse, Radiohead, The Proclaimers, Anything Box, A-ha, B-52's, The Cult, Snow Patrol, Bare Naked Ladies, The Black Keys, Tears for Fears, Erasure, Jimmy Eat World, Neon Trees, Dashboard Confessional, Wall of Voodoo, Smashing Pumpkins, Collective Soul, Switchfoot, Jane's Addiction, Linkin Park, Incubus, Bronsky Beat, Jesus Jones, Mighty Lemon Drops, Information Society, The Smith's, Franz Ferdinand, King, Sould Asylum, Thompson Twins, Anything Box, Howard Jones, Pet Shop Boys, Underworld, Figures On a Beach, New Order, etc, etc, etc. :) I'm sure I've missed some...

We went to Colorado to visit Zeke's parents last week and it was a great trip. Really great. As usual, I was too busy doing stuff to take pictures, but here's one of a few and definitely my favorite:
Grandma and Beck
See you in awhile...... enjoy life, find the good in people, take time to relax, play and laugh with your kids, read a good book, hug your sweetie, pet your cat (if you don't have one, come pet mine, it makes me happy).

I love all of my family and I hope everyone is doing well and feeling good. I miss you ALL. Here's a great big cyber (((HUG))) from me! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Holy random list, Batgirl!

Hey all, how are you guys!? I'm still here. Just in the middle of a whirlwind called life. (...dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called LIFE...) I'm having trouble focusing on ANYTHING right now and I realized today it has been well over a week since I posted on my blog.

This is just a bit of what I've been up to:
  • Parent-teacher conferences... wowzers... good and bad and in-between, this parenting thing has me exhausted.
  • homework, homework, homework
  • driving/walking kids to and from school (I should copy and paste this one like 5 times, it feels like that's ALL I do lately)
  • menu-planning... bleh.
  • Christmas shopping... yes, I know, but if I start now...
  • re-painting my bedroom sort of a Dreamsicle color... it's warm and happy (the color, not the dreamsicle itself of course).
  • watched "The Office" for the first time this week (Yes, we're just a *bit* behind when it comes to TV). It's okay, I can't say I LOVE it... it's a bit weird even for me.
  • watched "Thor" for the first time as well -- I really liked it, even though I fell asleep through 3/4 of it the first time through. I'm pretty much a sucker for anything from Stan Lee. I grew up with two older brothers and my husband that LOVE comic books, well, MARVEL comics. I still have all of these men in my life and I really did kind of "grow up" with Zeke. We started dating when I was 14. Oh, how he loved X-men!
  • finalizing Halloween costumes: nothing, Luna, nothing, fairy (thanks, Sharon), Frankie, ghost (that's not supposed to make sense either)
  • reading some really good books for 5 minutes each night before I fall asleep and they land on my face -- I'll tell you more later
  • re-painted an old dresser and moved some furniture around (favorite hobby/freakish habit of mine)
  • on-going life-changing experience (um, yeah, that, it should probably be #1) I hope to share with you someday -- I wish I could just write whatever I wanted to on my blog/whenever I wanted to, but alas, even people like Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker have to keep a few things confidential. Yes, I feel like Superwoman, or maybe even Bat Girl (she's cooler). :)
  • "splurged" and bought 4 songs on iTunes: two from Depeche Mode :) one from Neon Trees and "one for Zoe" from Plain White T's
  • I love the smells of FALL. It is by far my most favorite season.
  • I love "Dump Cake": white cake mix, cherry pie filling, crushed pineapple, chopped nuts, 1/2 cup butter. Mix it up and bake it @350 degrees for one hour. So yummy and easy.
  • had the missionaries over for dinner last week -- they showed us a cool way to remember the 10 commandments -- remind me to show you
  • joined a second book club and agreed to meet at my house this month... WHAT?! Yeah, and we're reading "The Help" which was my other book club's pick in August. So I guess I'm good there.
  • had a fun game night with friends; have you ever met someone and wish you'd known them all your life? :) This year has been so GOOD to me.
  • played Dominoes/built a garage for the Hot Wheels cars with Beck
  • working on my pinwheel blocks for my quilt swap, really I am; Dedra and Kate, bear with me...
  • planning to go to Colorado and visit Zeke's family for the long weekend...
  • Oh, I guess I "splurged" again and bought a really cute pair of dirigible plum earrings from Etsy for my Luna Lovegood Halloween costume. Last year, I made some from real radishes and they were kinda heavy and really stinky, but I think they kept the Nargles away. Now to find a Ravenclaw tie...
  • If I was cool and ambitious, I would put up cute pictures and informative links to go along with my list, but not today!
This just really made me laugh today, thanks Lora!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Cuckoo Clock and AC/DC in Sacrament Meeting: Tied for second!!

Okay, even though it happened over 20 years ago, I'm pretty sure this is the MOST embarrassing moment of my life so far. However, I have two more embarrassing moments that pretty much tie for second place. One of them happened this weekend...

Okay, so my parents have this really cool old cuckoo clock. If I was thinking about it, I would have taken a picture of it this weekend. My dad got it in Germany when he was serving in the military in 1957-ish? It's all hand-carved and hand-painted and it plays music and has little people? come out at various times and a bird of course. (Think of all the cute cuckoo clocks on Pinnochio.) Needless to say, I LOVE this clock! I have always loved it. My Dad originally gave it to his parents and after they died, he got it back and hung it on the dining room wall in my parent's house.
Here's a cuckoo clock I found on Wikipedia -- my parent's clock is similar, but has more colors painted on it and such.

So this is how it all went down:

Anyhoo, back in July when we were visiting, my Mom says, "Well, Lace, your Dad wants to give you that cuckoo clock! I just need to see if I can find the weights for it so it will work..."

Me: "OKAY!!!! Yeah, sure, you bet, I love it! THANK YOU!"
(I was just a *bit* excited)

The day goes on, and my Mom supposedly didn't find the weights, and we got busy with the kids (as usual), forgot about it and went home. I just thought I would get it next time. Well, next time was this weekend. I called my Mom on Thursday to tell her what time we were coming and also that I was bringing an old camera of mine that I had planned to give her.

She says, "Oh, Lacy, you don't need to give me that camera, I just feel guilty it's too much! You are just so good to me!" (FYI: My Mom and I are both serious guilt-mongers -- we just HAVE to have something to feel guilty about, we pretty much feel guilty about anyone doing anything for us, etc.)

I say, "Mom!! I'm not even using that camera, I want to give it to you!" Then, I thought of a silly way to make my Mom feel like we were trading something and an opportunity to bring up the cuckoo clock again, "Mom, here's the deal, you said Dad wants to give me the cuckoo clock -- let's just trade straight across -- the camera for the cuckoo clock and then you don't have to feel guilty."

On the the other end of the phone, my Mom says: NOTHING! (ABSOLUTE DEAD SILENCE) After a few awkward seconds, she clears her throat and says, "Uh, Lace, I'm really sorry, but your Dad and I were actually planning to let you have the clock AFTER WE DIE..."

Me: "OH......."
For one brief moment, my Mom and I actually didn't have anything to say to each other.

Um, yeah, okay, sure, uh, crap... somehow I missed that part. OH MAN!! I felt SO dumb!! And just for the record, it's REALLY weird when my parents start saying things like that. It's happening more and more and I just keep saying, "MOTHER!! Don't say stuff like that!" Well, this time, I was like, "uhhhhhh, oh my gosh, MOM!! I feel so stupid! I thought you meant right now..." (Beck yells in the background: "Mom, don't say STUPID!")

Yeah, my Mom is truly one of my very best friends, so that helped a *little*, but then she says, "Well, let me go talk to your Dad..." NO, Mom, I can wait, really, I hope it's at least another 25 years before I get that dang clock!! Well, I guess I'll have a good story with it someday when Zoe and Kaia want it. The end.

Now, here's my other second most embarrassing moment:

I think it was a few years ago. For some reason I was at my parent's house with the kids and Zeke was home. I think it was when my Mom had her hip replaced? Anyway, it was Sunday, and the kids and I went to sacrament meeting at my parent's ward. I was running late (of course) and when you come in late to a Mormon church (maybe it's true of all churches) the only place left to sit is RIGHT IN FRONT! This was embarrassing enough for me.

So I brought my "church bag" with me and it usually has all sorts of items to help me survive sacrament meeting: baby wipes, coloring books, candy, etc. This time it was also full of other things I brought for the trip: extra clothes for Beck, toiletries, DVD's, and Zeke's cell phone. (I was planning to empty some of this stuff out, but again, I was late!)

Zeke had wanted me to take his cell phone if there was an emergency while I was driving with the kids and he knows me so well, he KNEW I had it in my church bag that morning. Well, not only did I forget the cell phone was in my church bag, but I didn't even think about turning the ringer off... (and of course Zeke knew that I would do that too!)

Now, picture Zeke 4 hours north of me sitting in sacrament all alone, missing his cute wife and kids and wondering how he can tease me from so far away (Zeke LIVES to tease me, by the way)... he checks the clock and thinks, "Hmm, Lacy and the kids are sitting in sacrament right about now, the sacrament has been passed, and I bet the first speaker has just gotten up to give their talk..."

Back in my parent's ward, I am wrestling Beck and Kaia on my lap and trying to keep Gabe and Zoe from fighting. Oh, and I need to mention that my parent's ward doesn't have very many young families in it, so it is already more than DEATHLY QUIET. Suddenly I hear this! It was LOUD and went on for at least 20 seconds. I'm sitting there thinking, "Sheesh! Somebody should really turn off their cell phone... DUH!!!" and then, immediately I realize, "OH MY HECK!!!! IT'S ME AND THAT'S MY PHONE!!!!!"

By now, more time has passed and I practically throw Beck off my lap and frantically rummage through the bag to find that phone and shut it off! My face is red, my fingers are sweating, EVERYONE is staring at us, and the speaker stops talking and is actually WAITING for me! (Oh, even just a little lightning bolt striking me dead right now would be just fine!)

It was just horrible. I don't think I got the phone turned off until the first verse was over. "NINE LIVES!! CAT'S EYES!!" Not that "Back in Black" from AC/DC is a "bad" song, really. I love that song! But of all places and of all people; this was my home ward. The ward I really NEVER went to growing up.

When my Mom made me go, I was the wild, rough-looking teenager just waiting to leave. I remember sitting in sacrament with my friend, Kami, when I was about 14 or so, and the opening hymn was "Rock of Ages". We were laughing and making fun of it the whole time. HA!! We thought, "They named a hymn after the Def Leppard song!" We were trying to sing the Def Leppard lyrics with the hymn. HA!!! Oh, we thought we were so funny.

So anyway, to add insult to injury, here I am 20 years later, trying to appear like a normal-"grown-up"-reverent-church going-Mommy(whatever that is) and my cell phone starts blasting AC/DC!! There are probably over 20 widows in my Mom's ward and at least a dozen couples over the age of 75. Oh man, I got some looks!

And then to top it off, as soon as I got out of sacrament, I planned to call Zeke and say, "Oh, honey, guess what happened! You called me right when I was in sacrament and I couldn't find my phone to turn it off!" But as soon as he answered the phone, all I could hear was him laughing hysterically and finally saying, "I got you, didn't I?!" And then I knew, this was NO accident!

Writing this down, the cell phone in sacrament was WAY more embarrassing than the cuckoo clock...

But now I think it's all pretty funny.

Monday, September 26, 2011

And now we interrupt your regularly scheduled program...

Hi all, just a quick check in:

I haven't been feeling well off and on this last week -- I think I have a sinus infection? Anyway, I've watched "That Darn Cat" three times with various family members and I've felt too crappy to leave the room... I do like that movie, and I LOVE Hayley Mills, but seriously? Maybe it's because the FBI detective's name is Zeke...

I have been invited to do a quilt swap. I am MORE excited about this than I can say! And I really need to get started YESTERDAY. We have a blog to document our progress! Thanks, Dedra and Kate, for letting a beginner/wanna-be dabble in your expertise. :)

The kids are back in school and for some reason I am SO busy. Homework, dinner, baths, keeping Beck happy while everyone else is away (i.e. keeping Beck from destroying the house while everyone else is away.) I have not been reading many blogs lately. I love you all, it's not you, it's me you know. I'm still here, just not blogging much.

The last week or so, I spent my "free" time reading "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand. This book is unforgettable. It is quite graphic and very disturbing in parts, but I think it is well worth your time. This man is a fighter. I loved how it all turned out in spite of the circumstances he was placed in. Sometimes we can't choose what happens to us... but we CAN rise above it and survive. Thanks to brave people who serve in our military, hopefully we'll never have to experience any of the horrors that he and so many others faced during WWII. I love to read books that make me want to be a better person, that change how I think, that remind me why we are here. I would LOVE to meet Louis Zamperini. WOW.

I'll check in here and there. Other than that, I'll be cleaning my house, reading a good book, working on my quilt blocks, and doing homework and watching silly old movies with my kids...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Beck-isms

If you're ever wondering what I do all day...
I'm busy taking care of this crazy little boy:
Right now while I'm typing, he is crashing his Hot Wheels cars all over the kitchen! Talk about pressure!
"Just let Mommy type for 5 more minutes...PLEASE!!!"
(playing in the mud at Merlin Olsen Park)

I thought it would be fun to tell you about all the crazy stuff he does and says to help me remember it and laugh about it
when some days I just really want to cry...

Oh, Beck, I love you, bud, I really do!

One day I was dancing around the house with him and I started twirling him in a circle... he stoppped me and yelled, "MOM! I'm NOT a princess!"

Beck's favorite food combos that make us want to hurl:
Strawberries dipped in ketchup and mustard
Hot dogs with sugar
Steak dipped in koolaid

Here he is after he fell asleep in the car after swimming lessons,
he looks so sweet and innocent:
Here is a sample of our ENGLISH/BECK dictionary so you can understand what he is talking about. This is very important because he talks NON-STOP!

Nuscles = Muscles, as in "Mom, wook at my big nuscles!!"

"Butterscratch" = Butterscotch, as in
"Mom, I want a butterscratch sucker too!"

"gotfor" = forgot, as in "oh, I gotfor the words!"
Beck wearing his favorite "Might da Queen" shirt!
"Might da Queen" = Lightning McQueen.

"soft" = "pet", as in, "Mom, I want to soft the cat and she runned away!"
(I wonder why!)

"WAY SO" = "REALLY REALLY", as in "That car is way so cool!" or
"That broccoli is way so yucky!" or "Mom, Gabe is way so funny!"
The other day we were singing "Popcorn Popping" for Family Home Evening, right after the first verse, Beck let out THE biggest BURP I have ever heard! Seriously it was like Buddy's burp on "Elf" -- "Did you hear that?" It was SO big that Beck's little chest and face were quivering as it came out! I'm not kidding! Of course, we completely lost everyone after that... FHE was over for the night. Ta-dah!!!

Last month, I took him to the park while the other kids were playing at friends houses. He sat here and talked and talked to me for 10 minutes before he realized I was taking his picture. I love these pictures,
he's definitely got PERSONALITY.
And then, the other day Beck came into the kitchen naked and his "guy" was playing the harmonica for me...* (Do I need to translate what his "guy" is?)
*Remind me to erase this last bit of blackmail before he's old enough to be embarrassed about it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pray for Jacob

This is what has been on my mind.
This is their story: Living StrongeR

Jacob is the son of Zeke's good childhood friend, Josh.
Liz, Josh's wife, is an amazing writer and mother. Their family is so strong and brave. Jacob was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2011. My heart hurts when I think of what they are going through right now, not only because we know them, but because Jacob and Jericho are so close to Gabe and Beck's ages.
I cannot imagine.
Liz and Josh: We love you and we're praying for you and your sweet family every day! I hope Jacob can get stronger and feel better everyday and make a full recovery.

This is a picture of Zeke and Josh wrestling way back when,
I'm guessing they were about 13 or 14 here: (look at all of Zeke's hair!)
Here's a picture of Gabe (left) and Jacob (right) in 1998:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

All I've got is a photograph...

Okay, so you know the thing I was stressing about last week (#6 to be exact)... well, I survived and it was actually a really great experience. I've been trying to write about it all week and aside from all sorts of craziness around here, it's been hard to put my thoughts down "on paper" so to speak. Just FYI, before you waste 10 minutes reading this post: there are a LOT of links and I LOVE Def Leppard. Okay, you've been warned...

This is my sister, Brenda. She passed away in 2005 from cancer.
(more about her)
Anyway, Zeke and I went to a Def Leppard concert last week with some awesome friends... I still can't quite formulate the words I want to say... I've jotted down several notes to compile later and I think I'm just going to post it how it is and add some "..." like I always do.

It brought back SO many memories. Good and Bad. I think so much of my sister. She took me to a Def Leppard concert when I was 13 (or 14?). The things we said, the things we did -- things we never got to do, things I wish I had said and done. Life will never be the same for anyone who knew her. My life is a new "normal". I can't believe it's been six years... some days it feels like forever and some days (when I was at the concert) it seems like only yesterday.

It was a 3 hour ride into my past... all the feelings were still there under the surface, just like I feared. For a moment, it was like she had died all over again. I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when I received that phone call...

The old songs from the "Pyromania" album, were SO painful and yet, brought back SO many wonderful memories at the same time. Especially, "Foolin", "Bringin' on the Heartbreak", and "Photograph". I can just remember Brenda dancing and singing, "F-F-F-foolin', ah F-F-foolin', F-F-F-foolin', ah F-F-foolin'!" Wow, just like it was yesterday... she was so cute.

Ever since I was old enough to pay attention to music... I knew that my big sister liked rock and roll and she LOVED Def Leppard. "Pyromania" came out in 1983, I was eight years old. To me, Def Leppard WAS Brenda and Brenda was Def Leppard. I know that sounds silly, but I associate so many memories and people with music.

So to go back to Def Leppard without her... the guilt was killing me. I felt like I was betraying her, forgetting her, moving on. I didn't want to forget or let go. It felt wrong to have fun without her. Not to mention my niece, Angee (her oldest daughter), who went with us back in 1988. I never get to see her anymore, she lives so far away.

Def Leppard started with "Let's Get Rocked" -- it was AMAZING to hear the crowd yell as one, "Get your butt right out of bed! Get up and move your sleepy head! Mow the lawn! Walk the dog! Take out the trash! Tidy your room!" I couldn't help but smile. :)

I loved to watch them, everyone was singing EVERY word in unison and having the time of their life! I saw all the people enjoying themselves, being crazy, careless, wild, happy -- but it bothered me just a bit. During the first song, I became sad and really angry and I wanted to yell, "How can all of you celebrate and enjoy this? Don't you know that someone is missing? Someone that should be HERE! Someone who won't go home to their children tonight. Someone who loved me probably more than I loved her. Someone who fought with all she had for 4 years to beat cancer and she lost." I know it seems crazy, but it just wasn't fair. I felt sad that I couldn't feel the joy and reckless abandon like everyone around me seemed to be enjoying. Life was weighing me down, guilt and sadness were overwhelming me....

Those early songs from Pyromania just killed me, but at the same time they were AWESOME. The second song was "Bringin' on the Heartbreak". When they started singing, "Gypsy, sittin' lookin' pretty, the broken rose with laughin' eyes, you're a mystery, always runnin' wild, like a child..." I just completely broke down. That's about when Zeke said, "Honey, turn around, so she can take our picture." I said "NO!" And then I looked up at Zeke and realized he was having a blast just like everyone else, so I turned around and smiled. After all, it was pretty dang AWESOME! I just felt so sad.
They really put on a good show. The whole atmosphere and feeling of the concert was just so happy and celebratory. I enjoyed watching people enjoying themselves and singing out loud as I sang EVERY word in my head and wished I could just let go.... I was SO jealous of those people... they looked as if they didn't have a care in the world.

They also played "Rock On" a song I know (an old song from David Essex, re-done by Michael Damian for the movie "Dream a little Dream" with Corey Haim -- wow, that brings back some memories too!) and for a moment I was okay, kind of like a nice pallet cleanser? It wasn't Def Leppard, it wasn't Brenda, just an awesome concert. I realized the Def Leppard songs are just so tied to her memory. When I spoke at her funeral, I actually talked about Def Leppard and how much they remind me of her.... yeah, I'm sure her Bishop thought I was NUTS. I was that day. Maybe I still am. For the record, Def Leppard sang it better!

Or maybe I just don't know how to let go and forget for a moment... but since Brenda died, I usually only let myself listen to Def Leppard in small doses, a song or two on the radio here and there. Any more than that is just too painful, but to go to their concert and here them play live for almost 2 hours, I think 12 or 13 songs... it was an absolute emotional overload... a FLOOD of emotions. I was completely drowned in memories. I loved it and I hated it. I couldn't wait to go home, but at the very same time, I never wanted it to end. It was almost like nothing had changed.

Then, they sang "Photograph"... oh man, I thought I would burst.

Some Def Leppard trivia for a minute: Steve Clark was the original co-lead guitarist. He died in 1991, of a combination alcohol/prescription drug overdose. It happens to the best of them. Anyway, on the stage behind the band were some huge television screen things and during "Photograph" they showed a really cool slide show of the band all through the years. At the first, they showed many pictures of Steve Clark... they remembered him, they haven't forgotten, BUT they've also MOVED on and found joy NOW. They celebrated his life and the time they had with him. I wondered if some songs bring back painful memories for the band.

I felt like that song was their tribute to Brenda. I know it's crazy, they have no idea who she is or how incredibly awesome her laugh was and how cute her dimples were and how brave she was when she was so sick. Somehow it helped me to come full circle, right there during the concert and heal a little more, I guess. It was so amazing. Zeke kept saying she would want me to enjoy it and I was, really guys, in my own way. It was wonderful!

I'm just so thankful to know that someday Brenda will be resurrected and I can see her again. Well and whole. I'm thankful for my family, my husband, my friends, my health, for surviving my cancer scare, for my kids, for my neighbors who helped me, for you tube, for good fun music. Really! They rocked and they were having SO much fun up there, it's really fun to see people enjoy what they're doing. I forgot to mention that Heart opened for them. They ROCK! It was so fun... ooh, "Barracuda"!:)

It was also good for me to realize I have OTHER memories associated with Def Leppard... "Hysteria" (LOVE this one!!) and "Love Bites". They played both of them (Thank you very much!) Those remind me of Zeke all the way...

They ended with "Rock of Ages"and the drummer Rick Allen, started with the classic, "Gunter, glieben, glauchen, globen". Go ahead and look that up on Wikipedia! It's a great story, thanks for telling me, Sharon. I couldn't help but laugh right out loud and smile and just feel like I was part of the coolest club ever. It was just awesome!

The concert was truly AMAZING. They are still SO talented. Also, for the record, I also have INCREDIBLE, WONDERFUL, AWESOME friends and my hubby, I LOVE YOU GUYS.

I will never forget Brenda. Right now, "All I've got is a photograph" and memories. But MY life is now and I need to enjoy it more. Life goes on whether we want it to or not. It's okay. "Sorry Dad gotta disappear, let's get the ROCK outta here!"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Beauty Tips

I wanted to share this with my niece, Angee, and when I read it again, I still love it so much I wanted to share it will all of you:

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.

Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Sam Levenson

Posted October 1999

Contrary to what some may think, Audrey Hepburn did not write this beautiful poem, Sam Levenson did. Levenson wrote "Time Tested Beauty Tips" for his grandchild, and it just so happened to be one of Audrey's favorite poems. She read it to her children on the very last Christmas Eve she spent with us here on Earth.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Time to purge or "I wanna be sedated" or Where's Sigmund Freud when I need him?

My brain is so full... I can never get rid of enough craziness running around in it. I can't focus anymore. My brain is full to the absolute brim. I need to purge. I need room to think about good stuff. Important stuff. Necessary stuff. Fixable stuff.

I don't think anyone cares to know or wants to hear all of the JUNK in my head, but it needs to come out.

1. I am so sad about our cat, Pippin. In a nutshell, he's not here anymore. He was being so mean to Caspian and Noira we took him away. We weren't sure what to do. Long story :( How do you choose one cat over the other? My kids, especially the girls, are SAD. I am one of those girls too. I wish we could have all of "our" cats, including Carmel and Oscar. Who, you say? But that would involve some backstory. In the words of Flynn Rider, "Sorry, Blondie. I don't do backstory!" Well, at least not today.

2. I am convinced that my house will magically be "CLEAN" when Beck is approximately 6 years old. Melted popsicles, mud, cereal, legos, paper scraps, bugs, grass, clothes, crayons, pee (yes, pee!), etc. How can you possibly enjoy that? I love HIM, just not his messes. I'm just so tired all the time. See #4.

3. I am completely blown away by the behavior of some "adults" I have witnessed over the past two days. BLOWN AWAY. Wow. Where are your manners? Are manners important? Am I just a hypocrite for complaining about it? Probably.

4. I have been having the most extremely upsetting, vividly realistic dreams and nightmares for the past month or so. My husband thinks it's funny. He thinks I should write them down and use them for a book. Believe me, I could. But I'm not sleeping well and my mind, heart, and body are truly experiencing all of these emotions so I wake up very upset and exhausted. I'm waking up all through the night and when the alarm goes off it takes me a good five minutes to convince myself that none of the nightmares really happened.

Anyone out there ever had recurring intense nightmares before? They're not the same story every night, so I guess I mean recurring in the fact that every night I have a nightmare. Sometimes they aren't about anything even going on in my life -- where are they coming from? But there is a common theme: there is a very stressful, often life-threatening situation and I'm supposed to get out of it or fix it or save people. Every time I fail. Last night I didn't. That was the first time. I woke up very exhausted and freaked out, but happy, because I "saved the day". Hmm... I wonder what I'll dream about tonight?

In no particular order and in no great detail, here's just a sampling of my nightmares: my Dad, my husband, my kids, people in my ward, getting in a car accident with my friend, Kree, doing daycare in a restaurant where the walls rotate, trying to get out of a car that is underwater, trying to get out of my house that is on fire and trying to get someone to believe me and help me call the fire department, people making me have my picture taken with my head and arms locked in one of those wooden things (? I can't think of the name), Kevin Bacon, being in middle school and trying to find a babysitter for my kids, so I can go to class and then fly (really fly) home and get back to cheer-leading practice and make dinner before the football game, trying to fly away from the "bad guys" while holding all four of my kids, my Mom and Zeke being insanely furious with me for not agreeing to watch some kids in our ward in the middle of the night, helping my friend, Ruth, reunite two ghosts living in our apartments that were trying to kill us until we figured out what they wanted (oh my, that was last night, it's still freaking me out), Zeke leaving me, my Dad dying, Zeke leaving me, my Mom dying, Me leaving Zeke, Me dying, Zeke dying, my kids dying, Zeke leaving me, my Mom being mad at me, not being able to find our house, and of course, the classic, being naked in public (I was at the grocery store and every time I would try to cover myself with something it would disappear -- this might seem funny, but people had called the police and were going to take my children away from me) Okay, are you scared yet? Of me, at least, right?!

My nightmares don't make ANY sense, but they are driving me CRAZY. Or? Am I already CRAZY and my brain is just churning and twisting all night long trying to sort through my issues? Really, guys, I think I might be crazy.

5. Do you ever have a terrible suspicion that someone doesn't like you? Someone you like. Someone you REALLY like. Someone that matters. You can just FEEL that everything you do and say is annoying the HECK out of them? And then you suddenly realize it's true and you feel like a total nub? :(

6. I am really stressing about something. I don't want to blog about it yet... I have a really hard time leaving my children. I have extreme GUILT. Guilt about doing something for me, guilt about spending money, guilt about being okay and getting to do stuff, guilt about my sister... I'm sure none of this makes sense to most of you. Sorry. Blah. I'll let you know how it all goes next week. I don't want to put stuff on my blog that is scheduled to happen and you know what a paranoid freak I am. I don't want people to know where I'm at (or not) and when. I hate having choices sometimes. I make dumb choices sometimes. Too often lately.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

WAY better than Disneyland

Lacy, you just took your youngest child to preschool for the next 3 hours,
what are you going to do next?!
"I'm going to the temple!"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Real Deal

I woke up in a funk the other morning. Around 4am I had a nightmare about my Dad... I just couldn't seem to shake it all day long.

Things got to me all day, that feeling again like I don't fit in, I'm a terrible mother, a terrible person, a failure.
Life is too hard, things are too sad and scary and HARD.

Did I mention that life is hard?

Stressed, anxious, depressed, scared.

I just wanted to be home with my kids.

I came home and read some scriptures, helped fix some of the girl's Polly Pocket dresses (no small task), helped Beck make a track for his car, moved all the pictures around on my wall and added some more, made dinner, just going through the motions really. I just felt sad and lost today.

Zeke came home tired and stressed too. We couldn't wait to get the kids to bed. I came downstairs to find Zoe starting the movie, "The Other Side of Heaven". I love this movie. I love the Tongan people (and I love Anne Hathaway). Most of all, I love the message. I felt the Spirit so strongly.
My heart needed it.

I couldn't find the exact quote, but I love the part after the storm and they all make it to shore and one of them says sometimes the Lord calms the storm and sometimes He calms the sailor. I've heard that many times before, but then Elder Groberg says, "and sometimes He just lets us swim." Isn't it true? I know that God loves us and helps us, but sometimes I think we have to work things out ourselves so we can learn and grow and exercise our faith.

My favorite quote that brought me peace, "There is a connection between heaven and earth. Finding that connection gives meaning to everything, including death. Losing that connection makes everything lose meaning, including life."


I am convinced the only thing in this world that brings any peace to my troubled heart is The Gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel better because of the truths I was reminded of that give me hope for a better day and faith in an eternal family. It's the real deal!

I invite all of you, especially those members of my family who don't have this peace in their lives, to come unto Christ. ALL of you.
Pray to know if this Gospel is true.
I know that I haven't been the best example every moment of my life, but I know this church is true and I am forever grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that makes it possible for me and for everyone to repent of their mistakes and try to become a better person each day. A change of heart. We have the opportunity to be Eternal Families and live again with our Father in Heaven in peace and love because of His Son.
"I tremble to know that for me He was crucified.
That for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled, and died..."
("I Stand All Amazed", Hymns #193)

Monday, August 15, 2011

THIS is the definition of Insanity

"The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." ~ Albert Einstein

I can't believe how often this quote applies to my life. When I finally wake up and realize what I'm doing -- this quote always comes to mind.

Thanks, Gabe, for letting me use your AWESOME gorilla skull on my blog
(I think it would make a cool T-shirt):
I was whining to Zeke this morning (Wednesday after my last post) about how hard it is and how stressed I am, how messy the house is and how grumpy we all are and sick of each other. DUH!

Kids eating breakfast hours apart, sleeping in until 10 or 11, friends coming and going, insanely stressful dinner making times, "the witching hours" as my friend Stephanie calls it. She talked about quiet/play in your room time right before dinner when they're hungry, tired, and excited for Dad to get home. GENIUS. She also told me to spend more one on one time with each child. INSPIRED. Hard to do, but VERY important.

Today I changed, made a schedule, not just in my head, but on paper on the fridge and went through it with each child and well, tried to follow it --aaaaah. So much better! Another quote I need to practice more often, "If you don't write it down, it's simply a wish."
Not every member of the household was pleased with the "SCHEDULE" (i.e. Gabe), but I think they'll figure out soon enough, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" There HAS to be some structure even to summer. June was so crazy and July was so busy. Better late than never, right?

We've done a lot of cool things -- swim lessons, play group, afternoon at the county fair, late nights with friends, summer reading program, cooking together, yard work, sewing, etc, but it's all been "roly-poly, pell-mell tumble-bumble" and I end up at the bottom of the hill in a big heap.
Now that there's only 2 weeks left, I've got it all figured out... for NEXT YEAR! Bring on the Strawberry Shortcake! :) 10 pts. to the first person who can identify one of our favorite books I'm quoting. Oh, and here's the guardian of our front porch (Thank, Caspian):
Is he cute or what?
(Dedra and Tawnya don't need to answer this, but I love you anyway :)
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