Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Adding a Like button

Well, being the super productive person I've spent a good hour or two trying to get a like button to show up on my posts.

I finally got it, thanks to this post.  I went through a good full page of google searches before finding this.  Grrr...

And if you do see something you like on my blog, please DO click on it.  I'd love to have it shared with your friends!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Nut Allergy?

I know what you're all saying -- Hilary, you ARE a nut... how can you be allergic to them?

Here's the deal.  I try to eat nuts and some fruit most nights at about 8 pm.  I know a lot of people have a non bedtime snack ritual which they swear helps with weight loss, but when I was pregnant with P, I took the 3 hours glucose and my last one was like 31.  The dietitian said that I should NOT go more then 4 hours without eating, ever and she was appalled by the fact that I would eat at 5:30'ish and then nothing til' 7 am.  She said it wasn't good for my body.

I'd always felt SICK in the AM when I would eat sugar.  I mean, pregnancy throw up in the sink kind of sick.  I don't really mean "sugar" but I mean high sugar foods.  Yogurt, grapes, oranges.  Blech!  I'd just want to die.  Now that I eat a later snack, I don't.  I think it just helps even out the blood sugar.

Fast forward like 3 years later.  I go in stints where I'm really good with my fruit and nut snack, and then times I'm not.  It's not something I normally do, so I actually have my alarm set on my phone to remind me to have a snack.  But, for much of December I didn't do it.  If I overeat I don't do it.  It just seems like overkill.

Anyway, I get canker sores like crazy when I do it.  I keep them at bay with vitamin C but they're all over my mouth, and when I go "off" it they stop.  So, I did what all natural people do, I googled canker sores with nuts.  I used to think it was just walnuts, so I stopped eating those, but now I've been doing both raw almonds and pecans and it's all just as bad.  With my google results I mostly got back that it's from an allergy to something you're eating.  Which, must obviously be nuts.  Actually, I also get really dry spots on my neck where I REALLY itch sometimes, drives me crazy and it's been happening lately also.  Much more then it was before.

Anyway, does anyone have thoughts on my allergy consideration?

And then the big question, what do I fill that tiny bit of protein with that will still provide me with a healthy snack before bed?  I don't have a problem with peanut butter, so I could do that.  Just a teaspoon full or something?  I need something small.  I was only having 6 nuts and some fruit which is only a point, so I'd like to keep it in the 1-2 point range.

Thoughts?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Widow's Mite isn't Romney's Mite

I read an article referring to "all Mitt Romney has done for the LDS church."  I'm not sure exactly what they were talking about, but I think they were referring to his monetary donations, perhaps.  I was really bugged by it.  First off, I'm not all sure that I love what Mitt Romney's "doing" for our church.  Also, we have a LOT of really rich members.  When I gave to Prop 8 I took a peek at the list at what everyone gave.  Wow.  Some people gave a LOT.  They are really well off.

But back to tithing.  I think the media maybe doesn't get it.  The WHOLE church (well, those that choose to, and while I've heard numbers bantered about what percentage of the church gives a full tithing I'm still not sure) pays 10 percent.  That means if you're getting a welfare check and it's 200 bucks, you're paying tithing on that.  And then you're living on 160 bucks.

For Mitt Romney to give his 4 million, or whatever is great.  I know it does a lot of good.  But, in reality, how hard is it for Mitt to give that money?  Is he worried he's not going to pay his mortgage or won't be able to provide food for his kids?  No.  He isn't, not even close.

But for those (and I am NOT among these, but I know plenty who are) who give in faith, hoping God will make up the difference, I am here to testify that He does.  Will he make you Mitt Romney?  No.  But, you will have food to eat, and clothes to wear, and shelter.  Also, I believe in order to receive fast offers from the church, you need to be a full tithe payer -- but it is at the discretion of the bishop.

Anyway, this whole thing made me think of the Widow's Mite, and how grateful I am for the example and teachings of our Savior.  Just also read a really cool article about our bishops storehouse here.



Happy Sabbath everyone, let's keep it holy. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why I Am Going to be Happy Today

Yesterday our appraisal for our home refi came back at 15% less then the appraisal that we had less then a month ago, which was just about the same as the one we got 7 months ago -- which seems appropriate for market.  This appraisal did ALL repossessed properties and one short sale listing.  I really think it's unfair and I am now out 460 for it with no lower mortgage payments.  We are going to try to fight it, but I don't have high hopes.  It seems unfair that the bank gets to pick someone they want that can just pick a low number to make the bank happy and use them again.

And I wanted to rip heads off.  Between that and my leaky toilet, and not working (they did want me to work this morning, RIGHT when Drew is gone... nice)  I'm just not my chipper self.

But I decided that this is just part of life, and 500 bucks isn't worth a ruined day.

And I made myself be happy.

I mean, I wanted to SCA-REEM at my kids, but I didn't.  I held it together, and sang opera when they were tattling so I couldn't hear them (taking a page from Lara).  They all thought that was hilarious.

We got through cleaning the house, we even washed the car and we'll be off to the park at some point.

Because we are meant to have joy.  Stupid toilets, appraisals and work set totally aside.

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Design

Hmm... whatcha think of the new design.

No.

Not the OLD new design, the NEW new design.

That's right, get off your google reader and look at it.

too much?

Photo Friday: School

P started her own ABC school this week, and her mom volunteered to host it.  P's mom has obviously lost her mind, and hasn't worked in weeks.  But, these pictures show that we had a really great time.

We did puzzles before our carpet time.  Everyone liked it...


We did stickers and coloring and then it was off to play downstairs.



This week's letter was A, and we dressed up as animals.  Or, at least the girls did. :)


Aren't we cute? 

Honestly, I HATE doing it, but I love it too.  I love knowing her friends and getting to be better friends with both the kids and their moms, and I don't have to do it for another 5 weeks.

yay! :)

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Baptism Invite

We'd love anyone local to come to Spencer's baptism.  I, of course, have blurred out the important details but it's coming up soon.  Please message me if you'd like to come and I can send you the real one. :)

Thoughtful Thursdays: Shaking my Fist at Heaven...

I woke up mad.  After the whole home warranty thing, and other stuff in my life (not to mention a 7 year old who's turned insane).  I had a dream that I went to work and it was crazy busy, but then I called and they put me on call.

{sigh}

Another day of staying home.  I was just mad.  As I opened my scriptures I really asked God to change my attitude.  This week's lesson was about how Nephi took trials vs how his brothers took trials.  Nephi just went with the flow, and figured there was a purpose to everything.  The brothers got mad, both at their own brother, but also at God. 

And that was me, getting mad. 

Booo.... I hate it when I'm exactly like Lamen and Lemuel...

We are going to be fine financially.  The tax man will send a lovely check to our bank account next month, thanks, mostly, to the fact that like 80% of what we spent last year was tax deductible.  Horray!

Anywho... today I feel like I have somehow come into my own.  I recently organized the pantry... and I'm SO happy about it.  I was literally excited to put food away.  Just to fill in some empty spots.  I kind of feel like I've been running around with my head cut-off without all my "systems" in place... but thanks to not working the past few weeks, I've been able to implement some systems.  And, if you know me -- you KNOW I love a good system.  I'm even couponing again.  I think I saved over 10 bucks today at the grocery store, but that's a post for another day.  So, today I'm looking for what I was meant to do. 

Also, I was still a little bit mad, but I went down to our plants that are NOT coming up in the office and I found two sprouts.  It's amazing how much hope a seed can bring, am I right?
What were you meant to do today?  Does life ever spoil your plans?  Do you realize there was something else you were meant to do?


My Thoughts on Old Republic Home Warranties

Just a little PSA about home warranties.  I've always been really pro-home warranties, but lately I'm just not.  I felt like it would protect you from the little things that might crop up around your home, but it won't, and here's why.

We have a toilet, that had a crack in it -- didn't leak, so no big deal.  But, lately it's started to be a little damp in the area.  I figure we should replace it before it starts getting damp down by the playroom.

So, I call my home warranty.  Slam dunk, right?  They'll replace the toilet.

Turns out they won't, AND it cost me 55 bucks to find out that they won't.  The toilet itself will be under 100 to fix (plus the cost of Drew's back being thrown out as he hauls it up the stairs).  The plumber came and said I had to give him the 55$ before he even called them, so I did.  They denied it.  They said the toilet had been cracked due to an installation error, so they won't cover it.

And that's where I am 55 dollars later.

I have talked to more and more people who have just had their claims denied, or told they won't cover it.  So far we've replaced an air conditioning unit, and a water softener of our own pockets.  The people they usually send out are just their puppets to make sure they pay as little as possible.  I had people to fix our AC at least 6 times before I finally threw in the towel and bought a new one.

Anyway, I'm filing this under the categories that warranties just aren't worth it.  Ever.  Are they?  Am I wrong here?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I got Tagged

Hey, Carli Alice over at GG2Life tagged me in a little meme.
The rules:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself in the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them. Here's my answers to her great questions:

1. What would you dare to do if you knew you could not fail?  Hmm... probably write a book.  It's obvious that I love to write.  I just worry about it taking my entire life and then being worthless.  So, I blog. :)

2. Is money really the answer? Money, in fact -- is never the answer.  I have worked full time in my life with kids and it just makes things harder, not easier.  But, money is very nice.  Very VERY nice. :)

3. What was your first car?  I never had my own car.  I married into a blue Toyota Corolla that Drew had already rolled once.  Finally we bought a white Nissan Sentra together.  Man, that was a good car...

4. Who is your favorite cartoon character?  Hmmm, I guess little orphan Annie, although I loved the movie so much I wore out the tape when I was little.  I am not big on cartoons.  I like them when they occupy my kids though. :)

5. If your life was a book, what would it be called?  duh.  Pulling curls. :)

6. What is the most times you have watched a movie?  I have watched both Beaches and Steel Magnolias at least 10 times each.  I don't like movies, much.... but those two are the perfect thing when I'm sick or in a mood.

7. What was your childhood nickname?  Hilly.  Sad, but true.

8. What is the one thing you can not live without?  My husband.  And my kids.  We toyed with the idea of Drew moving and me staying, but I think I would've died.

9. Would you rather be thin or rich? Oh man.... I guess rich.  Because it's easier to get thin then rich.  I mean, how fat would I be... I need details on this one. :)

10. How many songs have you heard with your name in it? Umm.. None.  are there any?

11. What was your most memorable childhood birthday gift?  Hmm.... I can't really remember anything big on birthdays.  I remember when we turned 18, we got 18 presents, and even though a lot of them were kinda crappy (like spoons and bowls to move out with) it was so fun to open all of them. :)

12. What excites you about 2012?  not moving. :)
Thanks Carli, that was fun!
Oh, I was supposed to do 12 random things too....
1.  I am starting up couponing again.  I am kind of mad at myself for doing it.
2.  My phone just rang saying it was time for me to have my snack.
3.  I still text my kids teachers from CA. 
4.  I am really mad at my home warranty company.  I feel like I got horn-swangled.
5.  I messed with my blog for a good hour today.  I still want to mess with it more.  i hate myself for doing that.
6.  I have been watching Teen Mom 3 lately.  Makes me worry about P.
7.  I made awful dinner tonight.
8.  Man, this is a loser of a post right now....
9.  I re-organized my pantry on Saturday.  I feel extreme joy every time I see it.
10.  I am still thinking about that skinny or rich part.  Hmm....
11.  Did I mention I hate my home warranty company?
12.  The big finish.... umm.... walmarts are much nicer here. :)
Anyway, here's my questions for my tag-ee's. :)  I am going to half it though, Carli is just better then me!
1.  how do you cope with the yucky season where you live (here it's summer, there maybe it's winter)?
2.  Tell me something you like about me or my blog?  (I need a little self esteem boost lately)
3.  Name a movie you can quote several lines from.
4.  Least thing you like about mothering.
5.  Favorite thing about being a wife (keep it G rated, people)
6.  If you could've majored in anything in college, without thought to what you'd do with it afterwards, what would it have been? (mine would've been humanities).
And I tag....
1.  The Amazing Lara at Overstuffed -- Raise your hand if you think I'm weird for never having lived in the same state as my best friend... well, since we've known each other. :)
2.  The Amazing Jen at Life is What you Make It -- Jen teaches at my old school.  That's right, I have a hard time letting go. :)
3.  The Amazing Keri at Laughter and Tears -- she just got off an LDS mission to Guatemala, she is my hero.  Keri, feel free to  fix those questions for a single gal, as you see fit - -like what you THINK your least favorite part of being a mom will be.  I will cackle at your answers... :)
4.  The Amazing Maryanne at Making it Up As I Go -- Maryanne was in my CA ward.  I miss her.  She's snazzy.
5.  The Amazing Aubrey at A Mother Heart -- my new BFF here in AZ, even though I've now had 2 of her kids in primary.  Poor Aubrey.
6.  The Amazing Denise at Six Down, Six to Go -- she just had surgery, what could be more fun then answering some questions while in severe pain.
No pressure though ladies -- I know we're busy people. :)    Be sure to post here when you post YOURS. :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tell You Tuesday: Fevers

Ok, I swear I wrote a TMI Tuesday about fevers, but apparently I didin't.  Or, I can't find it.  And you know what they say in the medical profession, if it isn't written down, and you can read it and find it, it's not done. :)

Anywho, fevers are crazy in little kids.  Isn't it funny how you can almost see STEAM coming off their cute little bodies.

And all that is good.

Does it FEEL good? no.

But fevers are great stuff.  They show you that their body is fighting the infection.  I really don't care unless my kids fevers go over 104.  That's right, people -- 104. 

Symptoms are a whole other story.  Neck, ear, throat pain -- that's a whole other bag of chips... but fevers alone.

P loves to get fevers, and hold onto them for extended periods of time and I've just learned this.  A lot of time she has no other symptoms, but she must be fighting something.  I keep expecting a rash (a lot of times, kids will get a high fever and then break out in a viral rash the next couple of days later), but nothing appears.

Anyway, it's my advice.  My kids are also addicted to tylenol and advil.  I mean, if they have a fever, give them something to make them feel better.  But, ask your pediatrician about dosing, etc.
In fact, if you have a question, as your pediatrician as I'm just a nurse. :)  I mean, nurses run the world -- but I'm JUST a nurse. :)

I will say kids fevers and adult fevers are two different things.  Kids are so small their fevers get much higher, but if you -- as an adult were to hit 103 or so I'd probably head in.  That's a pretty high one.  And if you're pregnant I'd even say 101 I'd call your doctor.  But, I rarely get fevers anymore, maybe my kids have just taken the fight out of me. :)

My two cents for the day.  Hope it helps someone. :)

ETA:  Newborns shouldn't have fevers.  Ever.  Anything over 100 should be taken to the doctor until they're at least 2 months.  Even up til' about 4 months I get nervous.  Just FYI. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Miracle Monday: Peelies

I've missed miracle Monday, and perhaps some of my personal unhappiness is because I haven't been looking for all the amazing blessings that god blesses us with.


Anyway, I trudged off to Walmart thinking of our bleak economic situation (seriously, it's not that bleak people, it's especially bleak until Mr. Tax return gets into our bank account -- THAT will be a happy day!).  Anyway, just wondering what God had in store for us (later, btw -- P broke out with a giant fever, so I'm glad I didn't pass that onto the babysitter and the other kids that would have been there that day, plus Drew had a REALLY stressful Thursday, in retrospect, it was one of those days I just needed to be home!).

ANYWAY, I get into Walmart and I think that maybe we could use some crackers, and lo and behold there are ONE DOLLAR peelies on the wheat thins (aka, the square crackers, they are always P's favorites).  I picked up like 12 boxes of them, because they are her fav's, and we go through crackers pretty heartily lately.


Then, I make my way back to granola bars and there's dollar peelies on those too.  I just stopped and thought.  I just thought about how much God loves me and he always takes care of me.  Chocolate granola bars and all.

Tonight's FHE is about Elder Ballard's last conference talk about waiting upon the Lord.  I am mostly taking the spin (for my kids) that I hope they realize how their needs were so miraculously taken care of in our move.  I talk a lot about it on this here blog, but I just REALLY want them to realize it, and maybe embed it in their hearts for another ugly day.  Because they are sure to come, and we could all use a reminder that waiting upon the Lord brings blessings.

In other news, I'm gonna make this yummy cookie recipe I found online.  I was just THINKING about making cookies, but then thinking about how unhealthy they can be, but I could counteract that with some soup.  Now I can have soup AND some healthy/ier cookies.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Showing a video today

Watch "I Am a Child of God" on YouTube
This is one of my very favorite Mormon videos... it really encompasses most things I love about our church.
You are a child of God. And He loves you. Doesn't that feel good?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's Crazy Being a Mormon

So, I guess Newt won S.C. -- crazy.

I just don't think I could vote for him.  I literally would have to vote for Obama. 

Today, Drew opened my eyes to the fact that Newt is JUST as bad as John Edwards -- he had an affair while his wife had cancer.  I despise John Edwards.  I think he's as low as they get.  And yes, I am judging him.  Shame on me.

I also think it's insane that the evangelical right can call him their Christian choice because Romney's LDS, although has had a VERY strong family life and so far seems extremely upright and honest.

And honestly, I don't think he'll ever win.  I don't know if I want him to.  I just don't know.

What I do know is that Drew and I went off to get Spencer's baptism present today.  There's a little Mormon row area by the temple that has all your basic LDS shops nearby.  We went to the distribution center, and Seagull and Deseret Book and then Food Storage place.  It was nice.  We even picked up the little AZ LDS paper and I cackled the whole ride home at it (BTW, the DUTTONS have a theater here... hello, the Duttons... get excited, and then giggle).

And then we drove home.  To a place where we aren't the norm. 

Gilbert and certain parts of Mesa are just like a little Utah.  It's like going home, and then coming to our REAL home where I feel just fine.  In fact, sometimes when I'm in a space with too many mormons I get Mormon-phobia.  Like I don't fit in.  I get nervous that I don't have a denim dress on...

And this is a pretty random blog post, but, it's Saturday and we gardened and I'm tired.  And it's girls night.

Give it up for girls night, Mormon style. :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo Friday: Religious

Guess who's turning eight.  And no, it's not me.  I'm practically devastated that Mr Spencer is up for baptism next month.  I'm having a harder time with it then I thought.  I guess I had imagined it all out in California, but it's here... just like the rest of our life.  I had to take him out for a little photo shoot so we could make invitaitons...  Wonder if I can find Conner's.... Ahh, yes, here it is -- during my scrapbooking time.  Does this mean I need to do something similar for Spencer?


Anyway, we'd LOVE to have a ton of attendance at Spencer's baptism.  I haven't gotten Spencer's finished or the final approval, but I'll post it when it's done.  We're really excited for our big kid.  Here's one of my favorite photos:


BUT, the big finish is our scripture from this week's FHE.  Drew and I decided, since we're studying the Book of Mormon this year in church that we'd have a lesson each month about one of the stories in the Book of Mormon, really bring it to life.  So, without further adieu.  Here is Nephi getting the brass plates.  Note:  No fathers were harmed in the making of this video presentation.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In All Things: ETA

You can see the original post here.

As I was reading my journals and seeing what a GREAT year 2010 was for our family.  We had a Disney trip and we did all sorts of fun stuff in the Bay Area.  We had our visit to Utah and we got a new TV.  We just had a great year.  I felt like finally, maybe, we were going to stabilize a bit financially.  I loved it.

And then came 2011 and our own little financial crash called our move and job hunt.

And looking back, I know God gave us that year of financial prosperity in preparation for 2011.  We were careful, it's not like we spent our last dime, but we proportionately built savings, as well as funding some fun things for our family.

And we had the money to endure what we had to, along with having built our family ties with some of our previous spending to withstand what came.

Anyway, just wanted to add that.  Our prosperity came at a price later down the road, and I'd rather be poor (or, maybe less rich is a good word, we are by no means poor) and settled. :)

Thoughtful Thursday: In All Things

I've been thinking a lot about how I really know in my heart that God took total care of us in this move.  I do.  It's just... well, will he take care of us with our finances?

I've been put on call the last 3 shifts, and that's a fair chunk of change I wasn't earning.

And we're refinancing, and while that isn't going to be that expensive, it takes a little "up front" money to seed the whole thing, {sigh}... just makes me nervous to see those accounts go so low.

It's like they're doing the limbo... each month.

And I worry.

But the truth is, if God could send us to Arizona and find the perfect home, He can make sure that I'm working what I should and being home what I should.

I do have a strong testimony that sometimes I'm just meant to be at home with my kids, instead of at work.  I also have a testimony that I've worked a few surprise shifts that helped both financially, but also that I was supposed to be there for THAT woman's labor.

Anyway, once you have a testimony that god loves you and will protect you, how do you keep it as an umbrella over your WHOLE life?  I guess that's why I read my scriptures and pray.  It's also why I'm grateful I journal/blog.  We've been through a lot worse then this.  And we'll make it through.

ETA found here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What I Did Wednesday: Insurance


Leaving California left us with a lot of empty holes, not just in our heart but in our lives.  Drew's prior district provided great full family health benefits, this district, not so much.  It was going to be 800 dollars/month for me and the kids to be added, which is a pretty big chunk of his paycheck, so I decided to check out  my other options.

I finally decided on an HSA with a high deductible plan.  We basically put the money that we would have been spending on our month to month payments, and put that between the HSA and the health plan.  I really like it, although I do worry something will happen, but there are a lot of benefits to doing this.

1.  This is individual insurance.  Me and the kids are fairly healthy (I have to pay a little more because of my history of kidney stones, and P and C each pay more because they're so small -- seriously).  If you do have any prior medical history, this may not be the way to go for you, because they do check you out pretty thoroughly.  I actually applied with a couple of companies to see who was going to "ding" us for what.  Both companies rated some of us up, all for pretty random reasons.  BUT, now that we're done with that process, this insurance is transportable.  If Drew, heaven forbid, was to lose his job we still have it.  It's ours. :)

2.  Well checks are free.  I kind of held my breath when I took P and C in for theirs, but they paid the whole bill -thanks to Obama care, I think.

3.  Immunizations are also free.  Sweet.

4.  We don't go to the doctor very often.  Sure, I thought I tore my rotator cuff in December, but I just hunted around on the Internet for what they'd do and I just made do.  I am 99% sure the doctor may have done a useless X-ray and then would've said to take some ibuprofen and apply heat.  I told myself to do that, and it seems to have worked.  We actually haven't used a cent of our HSA since we started it.  If you are a nervous wreck until you see an MD, this may not be the plan for you.  BUT, small office visits aren't that much.  I'm saving over 300 dollars/month going with this plan.  That's a few office visits.

5.  HSA money is mine, for any medical expenses.  It's great, it grows in there tax free and the money is earned tax-free. It's annoying that there aren't many companies that do this, and more and more are charging a fee, but I'm still making more on interest then I do in their fees, so I'm still good.  BUT, if we were to go on Drew's insurance I can still use the HSA money for medical expenses even under the other plan.  This means if for some reason it ever gets big enough that I feel like I can get Lasix, guess who will be gettin' her eyeballs burned out.  That's right, me.

6.  It will be tax deductible, next year.  I didn't spend enough on it this year (we still had Drew's insurance up til' September) but next year I will be able to deduct the cost of the insurance on my itemized taxes.

7.  Once our HSA grows a bit more, I will increase our deductible, to save us more money in the long run.

At first, I thought we'd go to Drew's plan once he's making more, but I really like this plan.  It puts me more in charge of my health care dollar, and that's a good feeling.  I will admit that I like the fact that I have Drew's plan as a backup that we can get into during open enrollment if something really bad happens, but with this plan we'd only pay 3k and the plan covers every other cent.  Even with Drew's insurance, for something big, I think we'd be out more.

Do any of you have HSA's?  Are you paying a ba-jillion dollars for health insurance?  I'd encourage you to look into it -- information can't hurt. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bugged

Everything can't be roses, can it?

First off, I'm bugged by Angelina Jolie at the Golden Globes.  I saw her and thought immediately of the sweet skeleton I fondled so often in my Freshman Anatomy class.  The dress was alright.  Mostly all I could think about is that she can't have that big of boobs when you can see her entire arm join structures, and the fact that the white looked like bone.  Ew.  I guess I'm not bugged at HER per se... but I'm bugged at the "fashion" shows saying how AMAZING she looked.  I'm not saying they need to put her on the worst dressed, but maybe not saying anything at all would be best at this point.  I don't want my little girl thinking that looking like this is pretty.  I'm grateful for my local news network who said she looked lovely, but the girl needs to EAT.  Can I get an amen?  At first glance I was worried that her calvical had sprung out of her skin and that was what the red spot was.  Phewsh, it didn't.

Let's see, what else has my goat....

Trying to refinance my mortgage.  Might I just say this is like the 4th time I've done in a mortgage in as many years.  First off I had to refi a 5 year interest only (with the same company, so that wasn't a big deal but was still annoying, and shame on me for having an interest only loan), then I refi'd to a 30 year conventional loan, and then we moved and NOW rates are so low I'm doing it again.  I do like the money I'm going to save.  My loan payment will be under 1000 dollars.  I can't even imagine.  Did I mention I love our loan lady, because I do.  She can do loans in many states. Call her. :)

And what else...

Oh yeah, I'm starting up a little joyshcool type dealio with some friends for our littles.  it's always a hassle, but worth it in the end.  Honestly, it's some of my favorite memories with my kids and I was always so glad to have gotten to know their little friends.  It's also some of my less favorite memories, but I think I forget those parts.

So, what's got your goat? 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Mr E.

Photo from the amazing Shannon Montez
Happy Birthday to the man in my life!  Drew sure puts up with a lot of hulla-baloo from me.  I mean, can YOU imagine being married to THIS?  No, I didn't think so.

I'm even throwing him a little party tonight, just for a few friends.  Just trying to increase our abundance around here.

One of my main goals this year (mostly in my heart, not really written down... although now it's being written down) is to improve my marriage.  For anyone who's been through a year like us, you know there comes a moment where you all consider just going separate ways, and Drew and I didn't.  But it was hard. Plus, currently we need to be each other's best friends.

That is, until we have an abundance. :)

So, here's to date nights and watching movies together.  I'm pretty sure we'll be like newlyweds by the end of the year.

My 7 favorite things about Drew this year...

1.  He really took the layoff with class.  He was never bitter or showed anger towards the school board, he was a classy guy.  Possibly too classy, but I digress.

2.  He's jumped into this new job.  I think he's really been missing former students this week, but he really likes the new ones and he's tried not to look back at all his work that they told him he was no longer needed for.

3.  He's really trying with Conner.  I mean, we all are -- but I think it's extra hard on Drew.  Honestly, I see a lot of each other in both of them... that can be a cause to butt heads, but Drew is trying really hard.

4.  He sure lives Miss P.  Drew comes home to sometimes put our little princess down for a nap in the afternoons.  They have such a good time.  Love how they love each other (but, to be clear she totally prefers me).

5.  Our afternoons together.  Again, since he's only 80%, now that marching band's over I'm actually seeing him.  It's been nice, except for the fact that he doesn't like to watch Teen mom while he eats his lunch.  As if he's above teen mom....

6.  Worker bee -- Drew worked HARD to get this house all put back together when we moved.  The guy can move like nobody's business.  Let's just not ever use that trait again, Ok, sweetie?

7.  He's always there for me.  He's always there to listen or to agree with how crappy our life is, but to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and move on.  As I could pull myself up with my bootstraps, I'd obviously need his help.  I need to work out more....

Anyway, love you Mr. E, and since I'm pretty sure you're the only one still reading this I give you a great big Internet smooch, before I head off to work on your big day.  Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo Friday: Productive

Anyone remember how my word for the year was "abundant" well, I've got it.  Full force.  Here's what's up at our house!  I've taken to walking, a lot.  Just trying to be more active, and get out with friends.  Princess P had somehow talked Grandpa into her pushing the stroller when they went on walks over Christmas break.  She thought she could talk me into it too, and yes- - she whined enough, she did get to push it the last couple of blocks home.  On a totally unrelated note, I love little people in jeans.  Just so you know. :)
I'm living an abundant life with my garden.  I got cancelled my 2 shifts this week (one more I could maybe work tomorrow).  I've taken that time to really get it in.  We have 4 4X8 boxes, and then a couple other smaller sections.  It's pretty exciting.  I had wanted to do raised boxes, just because I hear it saves a lot of headache with it, but after going to the store and pricing them out, we decided it wasn't doable.  It's almost 100 bucks/box, not including all the filling materials, plus our drip system.  I decided I could do a similar pattern in the ground, so I bought the pavers  and I just did those on the sides of my "boxes" so I'd have a place to be when I was working in the garden.  I really like how it turned out.  I did cover one of the areas with ground cloth because we're mostly just putting tomatoes in there.  It just leaves less room to weed around the tomatoes (1 tomato takes up 4 squares in a square foot garden, so it just made sense to me).  I felt some sort of real urgency to get this in, not sure why I sure would've rather watched a marathon of Teen Mom but I'm glad it's done.  OH, I do fill them with better dirt.  I raked off the topsoil from the whole area, and then I added my own rendition of "mel's mix" using 1 bag of vermiculite over the whole thing.  About 3 bags of peat moss between all of them, and then each "rectangle" got a bag of compost and some got some manure too.  Yum, yum.  It worked really well with my first try  (you can see the plants in the foreground above).  Here's some other views of it.




And finally, WW is going alright.  I sometimes am STARVING and I'm not sure what to eat (because I also like to stick to whole foods instead of preservatives) so I made up these oatmeal packets.  it's 1/2 C of quick-cook oats, and about 1/2 tsp of milk powder (to make it a little extra creamy) and 1T of brown sugar.  This whole thing is 4 points, and sometimes I add some fruit.  I like it a lot, and it's filling, and lasts me for a while.  I want to always try and have some of these on hand.


Plus, I'm starting a little ABC school for P and her friends (anyone else remember when I SWORE I would never do that again!), heading up the school carnival and starting up girls night, oh and Drew's birthday is this weekend.  It's abundant, and it's all mine. :)  Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: The Tree of Life


Again, today I was reading through the Book of Mormon where Lehi has a dream about people in general.

You can find out more about Lehi's dream here.  I love those "picture stories" (aka, cartoon scriptures).

First off, masses of people are in his dream.  I mean, it's hard to imagine how many people who have ever lived who are in the search to be happy.  Makes me feel very small.

Secondly, people are looking for the rod, but they get distracted.  Now, I get distracted really easily.  I mean, REALLY easily.  I have a hard time focusing on anything, which made it difficult to take tests in college, but I digress.... I think it's easy to get distracted.  The rod is small and cold and there are SO many other things out there vying for our attention.

Third, people make it to the tree, and they eat of the fruit but for some reason they are ashamed.  Maybe not all their family made it to the tree, or it's the people pointing and laughing (more on them later).  It's weird to think that they had THAT much joy and choose to leave, but I know our family will be going along great and smoothly and then I'll get distracted or be ashamed of something we're doing that might be the right thing, but seems a little crazy.  Anyway, my personal main thought of this is to NEVER be ashamed of how happy you are or could be.  Also, find joy in others and their happiness, don't be the one making fun.

Finally, there is a great and spacious building that represents the pride of the people.  People leave the rod (which represents the word of God -- btw, for you Mormons out there, guess who's great- great-great grandpa wrote that song, yup, that's me... pure Mormon royalty, that's me) and walk to the building, just because it seems to look better.

I read a blog the other day about how someone really wasn't happy.  I felt really sad for her, because I do, honestly, feel VERY happy.  Sure, there are times I want to throw a kid through a wall or behead myself for taking on carnival chair at the school, but all around I am VERY happy.  Maybe that's how you know you're at the tree, and that you should stay there.  Of course, there's situational unhappiness, and heavens knows I've been there but I knew that there would be an end to that and if I wasn't happy in a few weeks I needed to change my life.  Of course, that's easy to say in retrospect. :)

So, what are you leaving the thing that will make you the most happy for to go to something that will give you absolutely no happiness? And, are you staying with that thing that makes you unhappy?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Would You Do Wednesday: Allowance

I'm re-vamping our family bank system right now.  I really like it, and I think it's REALLY showing some people responsibility, or it at least is an indicator of a LACK of responsibility, if you know what I mean. :)

Anyway, as a run-down of how our system works, the kids get 5 opportunities to get checkmarks each day for things they need to do, but if they do them without me asking, and happily, they get a check.  These include
  • getting ready and cleaning room
  • putting school items away after school
  • get chores done
  • do homework
  • and practice
Right now, Spencer only gets 10 cents/check, but his allowance money is used only for "wants" -- I take care of almost everything for him.  He has 28 opportunities for check marks, and he usually gets around 21 of them.

Conner gets 30 cents/check, his allowance is used for more of his "needs", but he also earns babysitting money (I pay a dollar per hour but only if Drew and I are going out for fun, if it's for work or church or school he gets nothing).  He usually gets about 10 checks (I have a hard time not reminding him that his little brother is getting a LOT more checks then him, but I digress).

We don't have a lot of money for allowance (huge shock, I'm sure you have money coming out your nose), but now that Spencer is going to be 8 {gasp} I am ready to give both of them more responsibility for paying for their own things, with a little extra spending money.  Also, as per how the Eyres recommend doing it, if they get a certain % (which will probably be 90%), we will double their money, as an incentive to actually do their stuff, which currently is only happening with one of our children (I'll let you guess who).

So, what's your allowance plan?  Tell me more....

BTW, from last week, I LOVED how some of you have your kids pay for their own cell phones.  I think that's something I am going to seriously consider. :)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Blossoming Anal-ness

I have had a hard time wrapping my head around the whole planting season here in AZ, wich is midly problematic because I have really been bit by the garden bug. We're preparing our soil for the new year planting (see, it's confusing here, no?) and at FHE tonight we planted our seeds in cups for transplanting next month.

I made a whole little PDF about when to plant here from some various info around the internet.  I thought I'd share it, in case it's helpful to anyone else.  A lot of things have 2 planting seasons here, so seeing it all kind of helped.  And heavens knows I love a good chart.

Go ahead, mock away... you should see my garden plan if you think this is bad!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Photo Friday

Some people provide brain dumps on their blogs, I'm giving you a photo dump... feel the joy.

My parents came for Christmas, which just happens to be my mom's birthday.  HORRAY!  Look how thrilled Conner is to be there!  We were actually re-creating a photo we did when he was one, but it didn't really work out... life goes on. :)


Someone cute and tiny got a kitchen for her birthday!  HORRAY!  She adores it.  Santa did a bit of a splurge, but I think it's worth it!


We went and saw the lights at the Mesa temple with my parents.  It's like temple square on LSD -- SO many colors and excitement.  Very fun. :)


Our ward's Christmas party involved snow on our front lawn of the church.  The kids had a blast.  We really like our new ward!



Someone gets extra photos.  I can't imagine who that would be....


The kids all got these little star wars stuffed guys for Christmas in their stockings.  Here Yoda and Darth are fighting.  I'm fairly sure Yoda is winning.


I made monkey bread Christmas morning from the America's Test kitchen recipe.  Yum... that stuff sure doesn't save well though, it wasn't great the next day.  I mean, the 3 pieces that were left.


Here's princess P in her adorable Christmas outfit, with her shirt not tucked in.  Let's just say we were lucky to get a photo that morning. :)


And, I guess that's it.  Happy to be back into the routine after the holidays.  We all know how I love a good routine.

Happy new year everyone!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: the Fine Line

I find that there is a fine line between missing CA, and just being glad that we had SO many wonderful experiences there.  Truly blessed.  It's true.

But, in other news I was reading my scriptures this AM and came across this scripture, it's in 1 Nephi 1:20 -- the last part

But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender cmercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of ddeliverance.
Chills came over me.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon, the first part is about a family who is told to leave Jerusalem, they leave all that they have and head to the wilderness.

Drew and I went to the temple pretty early on in the whole trying to find a job thing.  I felt SO strongly, that God blesses those who do what he asks.  I just think I haven't allowed myself to become "mighty" if that makes sense.  Maybe I've been fighting becoming what God wants me to be from this move.  Does that make sense?

Maybe I'm too thoughtful today.  P certainly thinks so. :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

What Would You Do Wednesday: Cell Phones

Ok, this is where you help me with my life.  It's been a long year and now I'm just trying to get around to a few things that could use some fixing or updating.

Today's question

There are a few times where I think it would be REALLY helpful for my oldest to have a cell phone, or at least have an "extra" phone that we can hand out in those cases.  I just think cell phones have so many negatives to them.... what can I do?  Conner is 11, he's in 6th grade and has a moderate amount of "extra" activities.

What have you done, or seen others doe that was smart, or have you seen/done something that didn't work?

Give me the skinny.

oh, and before you don't notice it, and I forget -- I wrote about a good Today Show segment on willpower on my workout blog.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Abudant Life

I saw this month in the Ensign they were talking about having an abundant life.

Don't you love that word?  I'd love to live as though I had an abundant life.  Lots of friends, and love, and hope.  Note, I didn't say a lot of money, because i don't think of money when I think of abundance -- I think of things that I really care about.

We had to put a new A/C / heat system into our house over Christmas.  Yay!  As if we haven't had enough fun this year...  But, I hope it will make the summers a bit more tolerable, and cheaper in the long run.  I think it showed that it'd save us like 20k in 20 years.  Whatever, it's done.  BTW our old system was only 4 ton and it should be a 5 ton system... what on earth were they thinking here in AZ?

Our plan was to beg my parents for a loan, or finance it through the heating company, or get a home equity line for it.  I just didn't think we'd be able to foot the bill on our own. 

But, after talking to my dad and getting some estimates, it turns out we did have enough cash to pay for it outright.  While I get nervous with the thought of less savings in our savings account my dad made me realize it's smarter to get a home equity loan for backup and just have less in our savings.  So, that's what we did.  But money is now officially tight.  Me working more just isn't really an option.  I try to sign up for as many shifts as I can, but that comes and goes.  Drew is still 80% through the rest of the year (but is on tract to go full time next year -- crossing fingers). 

As a side note, I just compiled for our taxes how much the job hunt and move ended up costing us.  It was about 10k.  Ouch.  That doesn't include the money we lost on our house or the "moving" costs -- like needing new shower curtains, etc.  Ouch.  What a pain!

Anyway, I was thinking how I still want to have an abundant life, without having to feel strapped by cash.  Frankly, I think we've gotten pretty good about this.  Having a few kids makes it so you'd prefer to just stay home and do something fun, rather then go to a place constrained by manners.  Manners, what are those?

So, that's my word for 2012.  I told my kids my word is "fun" but I think I'm switching it to abundance.  I want to feel like my life has room for a lot of everything.  A lot of fun, friends, love and of course laughter.  Because what else does a person really need?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Time to Say Goodbye

This past Christmas has been tough.  Mentally tough.  I'm constantly thinking about things we used to do or traditions we USED to have.  I'm sad when I think about the many friends I'm missing.

Last fall we went to the Bellagio hotel.  It was a visit with old friends and SO necessary.  We had an amazing time, and I love those friends so much.  We ate brunch at the hotel and went to watch the fountains and this song came on.  It really hit me that it was time to say goodbye to that other life.  We then visited with Arizona friends in Grand Canyon and had SUCH a great time with them.  I felt so blessed to have so many good friends.



And then the holidays came.  So much of our routine revolved around events that happened there.  The creche and Palo Alto Creamery, the dance thing up in Oakland and then Fudruckers, and of course the live nativity at the Local baptist church.  My heart would literally break when I saw posts on facebook of these events.  Just missed them.

But honestly, it wasn't helping anyone.  It's like I was a hoarder of life events.  I just couldn't let them go.  It's like if I said goodbye to those things it was like telling those people who I love, that I don't love them.

But the truth is, I can't love them the way I did when I saw them all the time.

And so it's time to say goodbye, and hello to this great new life.

At work I keep saying, "I'm new here."  But honestly, I'm not new there anymore.  New people have come since me, and I'm a regular there.  It's my new hospital and the routines there need to become my routines, not get stuck in the old ruts.  I honestly am going to write down a list of things that I always forget to do because we didn't do them at the old hospital.  The new is the now.

And it's the same here.

We had a goal to invite a family we didn't know very well over to our house once a month in SC and we made SO many great friends that way, but have we done it here?  No.  Sad news.  Have I had a girls night?  Well, I did have a little party, but is my whole heart here, or is some of it missing what went on there and instead missing what could be happening here.

Sometimes I wonder a lot if this is what it is like when someone dies.  If they are left missing things on earth so much, that it hurts, and and they're not fully able to take in their new "heaven" because they're so attached to other places.

But just like me, I know there's a time that they have to say goodbye to the earth and the people on it and focus on their new reality.

The best part is that both in heaven and here on earth it's not that I'm saying goodbye to those people for good, we'll still have facebook and this blog, but it's time to cut the last strings.   Bring myself fully here.

It's time to say goodbye, and hello to 2012.

Have you guys ever had this problem?  Am I insane?  I know this won't stop the heart strings, but I hope it reminds me that I'm here.  And longing to be somewhere else isn't going to change that.

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