Thursday, June 23, 2011

It ain't about the money

We had to sit down and plan out Mike's time off for the rest of the year. We've planned a few family trips, and I'm excited to have something to look forward to. But dang it get's expensive!

My Sis-in-law called me last night, and asked me about going on a trip. We touched a little on priorities. It was so nice to talk with someone who... without judgment or details... views things similar to the way I do.
I really do HATE talking about finances... or even more, when other people like to talk about their finances. There's nothing worse than people who won't shut-up about what they think is the best way to spend or save money. Seriously.

One of the big things we decided early regarding saving vs spending was about vacations. We have decided over the years to prioritize our relationship, and by doing so, spending quite a bit of time together... without our kids. (Gasp! Horrible parents!) But I have LOVED it, and I really see it as an investment in our marriage. And as far as investments go... I personally feel like that particular investment gives me the greatest return!
Some people plan on doing those things after their kids are gone, or when they retire... but I think that by then you never know what might keep you from all the dreams you've put off. Plus, physically... who knows? I also think my perspective is because Mike's parents both died young, before all their kids were grown. My Mom is single and my sister will go to college next year and she doesn't have a spouse to enjoy that time.
Not to mention, I want to always be 'in love' with Mike like I am now. I want him to know he is the most important thing to me, and I want to excitedly look forward to a time when it is just him and I. I love my kids... but Mike is my eternal companion... and someday my kids will find their own eternal companions, and I hope to set an example for them to put their spouses at the top of their priority list.

With all that said, I do feel we've taken plenty of time alone so we are taking the next 4-5 years and going on adventures with the kidlets. Mike and I will have to sneak time in between... but I'm excited to make the 'investment' in family memories and time together. I'm so happy for my in-law's, and glad they are going on a trip together!

I once heard a quote that said something like "The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money." And I'm happy to say that if my home, money, and material wealth were taken from me... I'd have no regrets. I treasure the places we've gone and the memories we've made. I'm excited to make memories with the kids over the next few years.
I really admire people who save lots of money, and people who manage finances well... but I think that my Step-dad ruined my idea of being 'frugal'. I guess not 'frugal'... but maybe 'cheap'. That man will die with a butt-load of money in the bank. But his life sure has sucked! As far as relationships and memories go... no amount of money will replace what he has lost in his life.

They say that happiness is a journey, not a destination. It's important to set goals... and it's important to reach those goals. I think you can still be smart with your money and plan for the future... but what's the point of any destination if you're not enjoying the journey?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summertime happenings

The pass of all passes...

(Sophie and Cori on opposite sides)

(Addi... holding on for dear life. Lexi... hand's up and laughing. Sophie... hand's up and a big smile!)
I decided that a weekly activity would put these passes to good use.... so Monday it is! We spent 4 hours at Liberty Land. The girls rode the bumper boats (twice)
Funny story... Sophie was really getting into shooting the water, but she struggled steering and shooting at the same time. Her boat turned towards the people watching, and she sprayed a stream of water near the people waiting at the entrance. This lady literally yelled at Sophie "Stop it! You are NOT supposed to shoot the water over here!"... seriously screamed it. Then she looked at me and mumbled "... well that's what they told us..." I just smiled extra big. I didn't see the need to say anything, she yelled at Sophie already... loud enough for the both of us. I think she wanted me to say sorry... but I didn't... because I wasn't! She looked like a few streams of water might do her some good. Maybe chill her out a bit.

They rode the carousel, the airplanes... and we played a round of miniature golf. Then they climbed the rock wall, rode the frog ride (a million times in a row), did the bumper boats again, climbed the wall again... and we ended with a game of laser tag. It was a lot of fun. I love spending time with my kids. Now other kid's... I'm not so fond of.
Funny Story... The girls were waiting in line to climb the rock wall and a couple teeagers cut in front of Cori. She turned around and looked at me like she was going to cry. I said "tell them they can't do that!" Cori said she couldn't. I said "Well I'll tell them..." and Cori grabbed my arm, "No Mom! Don't make a big deal!" So I looked at her and said "Fine, then don't complain about it to me if you aren't willing to do anything about it." I could see the internal debate. Do I make a big deal about it? or do I just let it go? She looked at me and said "It's not a big deal." Alrighty then.
Not more than 30 seconds later another girl just casually walked towards the line. I think she was just looking at what the line was for. Cori got right up to her, "The back of the line is over there!" and pointed. My eyes got wide with surprise... surprised by Cori's behavior mostly. She looked at me and covered her mouth. "I bit her head off, huh?" I said "Yeah... but it's okay."
I don't think she'll let anyone cut in front of her anymore! Too funny!

(Cori, Lexi, and Sophie)...

It got pretty crowded as we were leaving. I felt like I left with a nervous twitch. You know, the kind of tick when my nerves are shot and I'm seconds away from screaming just to see if I can hear it! It was so loud! We had a great time though.

Later that night we had a bbq with one of Mike's mission companions. It was so good to see him and his cute family. He served with Mike and my Bro-in-law, so they all have some funny stories. I love how much they all enjoyed their missions, the people they served, and the other missionaries. It's so fun!

I've been busy working, things have really picked up. I'm booked 3 weeks out, and it's fun to be building a regular clientele. I'm finally getting better at re-stocking supplies and knowing what I need and what I don't need. It will still take some time, but I'm getting there.
It feels so great to work! I have always loved working... but to be able to do what I love and get paid, not to mention do it at my house! I can't think of anything better.

I am getting a cement walkway poured from my studio to the front of my house. They are also pouring a big pad in the backyard as well. We have started the process of fixing the retaining wall and fence. It will be a messy and pricey summer. But I can't wait to get it over with and get that much closer to our goals with the backyard!
I figure that it will take at least one more year to get things where I want them. It's only been 5 years!... the first year we moved in it was August, so we waited... year two we did basic sprinklers and grass, the wall and fence... year three was the trampoline area, flowers and gardening... last year was the basement doors and studio doors... now this year cement and fixes. Bleh! I always joke that it will be done when the kids move out. Now I'm convinced there is no such thing as 'done'.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Daddy Day

Mike came home later Saturday from Scout Camp. He was so sweet to take a super quick shower and then drive with me to the last two Parade of Homes down South. Man it was far! Woodland Hills and Mapleton. We barely made it in time, but got them both in!
Then we went to dinner at Gloria's in Provo. The accordion player was playing Italian songs, it was dusk, the restaurant was buzzing... I took a bite of Gnocchi and closed my eyes. I had my hands of my eyes and said to Mike "I feel like I'm in Italy! Try this!"
It will be three years this summer since our trip to Italy and the more time passes, the more I think I want to go back someday. But I think I might just go to Florence. *sigh*
Sunday was Father's Day. I'm happy that this Holiday can now be a bright spot in my year... and not a Sunday I dread and skip church.
Mike is such a great Dad! I love watching him with our girls... he loves them so much! I'm glad he's such a good example to them, and know when the time comes... they will have a bar set pretty high when they are husband-shopping.
I love that he's real... what you see is what you get. He doesn't put on a show for anyone. He honors his priesthood and is a great leader. He's just a really, really good person.
I'm so proud of how hard he works for our family, how much he has done in his career. He never talks about his successes, he is so humble. I feel so blessed and taken care of. He is the hardest-working person I know.
But I love that he works hard, and plays hard. He is so fun to hang out with. He is the best traveling partner... I never worry about getting robbed or mugged. We never get bothered, just asked how tall he is, or what size his feet are. People just nod and point... or I get asked if he is my bodyguard. "Why yes! He sure is!"

Funny story... Mike's size 16 feet don't fit inside the blue booties they want you to wear at the Parade of Homes. Most everyone looked at his feet and told him he could just wear his socks. (Which by-the-way are SO much cleaner than those booties!) There was just a couple houses that made him wear the booties. So he had to take off his shoes still, because there was no way to even get his shoe through the opening of the bootie. He then would stretch this thing over his foot... and kind of curl up his toes. I had to try SO hard not to laugh... because he was so frustrated! They just didn't fit, and there wasn't anyway to make them fit! Poor guy.

I just love him. I don't believe in luck, just blessings and Karma.... so I can't say I feel lucky... I feel SO blessed to have him in my life. We are blessed to call him 'Daddy'!
For Father's Day he got a new tent. We set it up in the living room... don't ask how... and surprised him with it! 14X12 and he can almost stand up in it! We are all excited to put it to good use.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Places to go, things to do, people to see!

Yard work... bleh! It is a never-ending battle. Curse those weeds... which can grow so fast and huge. Curse the plants and flowers... which die no matter how much I take care of them!
I go to the nursery and drop loads of money, then come home and spend all my time and energy getting it planted. Why would someone pay so much to work so hard! Oh how I need a magic wand.

I had my sister and her family over for dinner Monday. It was so wonderful! She's got a great husband and an adorable little girl. It was so nice to see her and visit. We haven't always had the strongest relationship, so I have loved feeling close with her again.
My girls are in love with babies now. Cori can't wait to babysit... and Sophie thinks it's cute when a baby pulls her hair!

Mike left for Scout Camp this morning. He's lucky to have awesome leaders going with him this year... he always has a great time, and I'm happy he can get his testosterone fix. He has had the most amazing boys in our ward. They are such good kids!
The girls and I party pretty hard while he's away. 'Girl's Nights' we call them... and it's always fun for me to catch up on all the latest chick flicks.

I've been walking in the mornings... seriously. I think we've gone everyday this week, and I want to say we did at least three mornings last week. Wahoo! It is so nice to have a good friend to walk and talk with. I love her!... just sayin'
We are setting goals together and celebrating victories together. I'm so glad to have someone to do it with!

My Primary class came over today for a party. I teach the CTR 7 class... I have 8 kids and a sweet summer visitor from Alabama. They earn points every week for bringing their scriptures and participating in class, then whoever is the most reverent earns the 'reverent point' that Sunday. It's worked well, and I promised them a party when they hit 100 points... they hit it really fast!
I must admit I was nervous. They are good kids, but I wasn't sure I could keep them all entertained for 3 hours. We had pizza, played Mario Kart, watched 'Despicable Me', ran through sprinklers, and jumped on the trampoline. It was great!
I LOVE my Primary kids... even the challenging ones. I prayed really hard at the beginning of the year to be able to love ALL of the kids I would have in my class. Last year was a bit of a struggle for me... and I knew that the Lord would help and bless me if I sincerely asked for my heart to be softened. Well, it worked! I feel blessed because they really are the best class!

On a sad note... a friend of mine is moving far away. It is breaking my heart, because we only became friends a little bit ago. I worked with her husband in the nursery, and she was one of Cori's leaders... but our paths just never crossed.
I haven't had many friends in this ward... shocker! I just haven't felt that I fit in. I was burned pretty badly by some people I was close to, then just pushed everyone away. I can't do drama, so I've tried to remove myself from situations where I get in trouble. Although I still find myself in trouble way too often.
So I remember hearing this person's amazing testimony and she talked like a REAL person. So refreshing! I thought "I could totally get along with her!". She recently told me that when she was helping in nursery, I was singing the snowman song and when I got completely flat on the floor she thought "Oh! I could be friends with her!"
So sadly it took us two years to find each other... and as soon as we did, her husband got a new job and life got complicated. While I'm so happy (and quite frankly jealous) that she gets to have new adventures, I'm so sad to lose her.
I will miss her amazing testimony... which she somehow shares in subtle and somehow powerful little ways. I'll miss her great example of honesty and humbleness. She is hard-working, a loving wife, a sacrificing Mom... and a dang good friend! I know the impact she has made on me will last my entire life... she'll never know how much I treasure our short time together.
I will admit that she has given me hope... hope that there are other hidden friendships I just need to explore. Who knows what I've been missing?!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Don't rain on my parade!

So I have been going to the Parade of Homes for many years. I used to go with my sister and she decided she wouldn't go with me anymore (she said it depressed her) so the past few years I've gone with Mike. I wasn't sure if she would like it... but he LOVES it almost as much as me! It's always a week or two before my birthday... so I either get tickets for Mother's Day or my birthday. I la-la-LOVE every bit of it. Even the things that are not my taste, or things I wouldn't do... I still love the creativity and truly respect the forward thinking it takes to come up with things that are new or different.
It makes for awesome date nights, and it's funny to see the things we agree are nice... and the things we disagree on.
This year did not disappoint. I'm in love with all the blues and greens. I adore subway art, glass tile back-splashes, double fans in the workout rooms, and the big family rooms centered around games, movies, and fun!
So here are some of my favorite things this year...

We are going to start our basement and Theater Room this next Spring, so I really took inspiration from some of these kitchens and basement kitchenettes... basements have come such a long way!

I can do this to my Kitchen Island!

I think that this is the 'plantation shutter' solution over my sliding door!

My favorite offices...

My favorite colors...

And the overall winner is...
Basically I see it like this... Anybody can create their favorite things about these home on a smaller scale. Even if it's just duplicating the color pallette! I love to spray paint, hot glue, sew stuff I find from Garage Sales, DI... or stuff I already have that just need a face lift!
I have enough projects and ideas of projects to last 5 years!... or at least until the Parade of Homes next year. I could totally wrap the corner of my walls with faux columns... LOVE the dark wood!
Huge shout out to ALL the homes this year... you fed my creativity and inspired me!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Caffeine Crusader

A conversation this morning with my friend sparked an issue I need to get off my chest. I miss blogging for this reason, I feel like I can get it out and move on. Maybe this will help me get on my way already!
We have a Caffeine Crusader in our Stake. He recently decided that the Stake would enforce a policy on caffeinated beverages. It was proposed as a concern with the youth drinking energy drinks, and evolved into leaders being told they can no longer drink caffeinated soda at any youth mid-week activity, day trips or scout/girls camp.

I will preface this rant with the admiration I have for people who do not drink caffeine or any soda. I know that it is a healthy goal I have set a few times in my life... and now and then I cut myself off from soda just to prove to myself that I can do it. But I am a big fan of DDP and Mike lives on Mtn Dew... and we are okay with that!

So this 'policy' came a little over a month ago... I'm sorry, but when things start with words like "Effective immediately" and use the terms "prohibited" and "confiscate"... let's just say I was more than a little shocked! They referred to Coke and Pepsi... and grouped them with energy drink because they didn't know where to draw the line. Ummm... maybe draw the line at energy drinks if you are concerned for the health of the boys? Ummm... don't tell the leaders they must "abide by the policy so the youth do not receive mixed messages" Mixed messages such as the fact that we have free agency? If you believe that the gospel is true, how can you believe that taking away one's free agency is your job? If the church has not mentioned this policy, how can a person create rules based on what they believe is best for them and their family?
They claim the policy is because they are “concerned about the safety and spiritual well being of all our wonderful youth and leaders” The Crusader said they didn't know where to draw the line... "was Mtn Dew better than Coke or Pepsi? Is a 5 hour energy better than a Rockstar?" So ALL caffeinated drinks it is! Maybe it's hard to decide because he is basing things off his own opinion about these beverages... not the Word of Wisdom or church doctrine! They also go on to say that not ALL soda is prohibited... you can still drink Sprite and Root Beer. Really?!!! Oh, thanks! So what about Sunkist?... there is caffeine in that. Most of Barq's Root Beer also has caffeine... sold outside of Utah County... is that okay? Maybe there could be an approval hotline people can call to see if their beverage is approved.
Perhaps I need to be educated in the process of this matter, but I feel that creating such policies could be considered an abuse of authority. Can people use their position in the church to create and enforce rules of their own? If so, we need to make sure that the people given authority don't abuse it pushing their own agenda. I believe that the church is set up with a Prophet and General Authorities and a chain of command to avoid issues like this.
So everyone gets upset and talks with each other about it, complaining, etc. I thinking if everyone voiced their concerns would this type of stuff be stopped before it became a big issue. Maybe?
I don't think that consuming a lot of caffeine is healthy, that has been proven by medical science. However... neither is consuming too much sugar, or too much red meat, or too much of anything. I am unsure how you create a policy prohibiting something that the church has not approved. The Crusader himself stated... this is NOT in the handbook. So why caffeine and not sugar?
I also believe that there are many other things our children and adults of the church are exposed to that could use the same time and focus. I'm referring to things that ARE in the handbook, and HAVE BEEN spoken against by the Prophets and General Authorities.
I am under the belief that the church doesn't protest or make policies against every little thing as to ensure we receive the guidance of the Lord, but still have the gift or our free agency.
There is so much negativity being discussed and shared throughout our Stake. I would be lying to say I have not partaken in any of this. But I heard some things on Sunday that sent me over the edge. Plans to hide beverages in everything imaginable. Filling other containers and sneaking it into the shower. That's crazy! So now there is dishonesty and deceit surrounding an issue that should not be an issue.
So my question is... If caffeine is NOT against the Word of Wisdom, if a person can drink caffeine and have a temple recommend, and if the prophet of the Church is known to drink his own caffeinated beverage of choice... how is this Caffeine Crusader able to create and enforce a policy against caffeine?!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

blah, blah, blah

I'm just going to try and keep up at this point! I can always go back an elaborate... but for now I'm just making a goal to write more often.

Summer is so freakin' AWESOME! I absolutely love having my kidlets home... it's the best. They are doing pretty well with chores so far. Lexi is continuing her math program through the summer so we set up incentives to help her with daily homework. (Especially since nobody else in the family has any)

Mike and I have been going to the Parade of Homes these past couple weeks. I get so excited to come home and get creative about changing things. I'm getting really excited to start on the basement!... someday.

Wednesday I put in 6 hours of yard work... Thursday 8 hours... and Friday 2 more hours. I wish I could say that all those hours actually added up to much... but there is so many things still to be done. I slacked off last Summer and by the f=Fall I just left it all to deal with in the Spring. Well, then we didn't really have Spring and now I am seriously paying the price! We are starting the demolition of the back wall. If we wait much longer the retaining wall will collapse and we will have a major mess on our hands. SO we are taking down the fence, securing the wall, building it up, laying the grass again, and putting a stronger fence back up. Bugger of a project!
I got a bid for my cement walkway back to my Studio. We will have to wait on the backyard fence project to start on the cement walkway and back patio... we I have a lot of work ahead of me. Maybe I'll get a good tan this Summer as my payoff.

I have to say that I'm not looking forward to much else. We do some family trips, and I can't wait to get out camping. But... extended family crap on my side has made it difficult to get excited about much. Last year there was a fiasco at Bear Lake, and things have just been super negetive and (quite frankly) not the best. On the other hand... we have done a ton with Mike's family this past bit, and it is always awesome. No drama, no competitions, no 'one-up' people... just relaxing fun. I'm excited to plan trips to the sand dunes!
It's just funny how things can change. We used to get together with my family all the time! We hardly saw Mike's family, we just didn't feel like we fit in. Now... we don't fit in much with my family and it's better to be with Mike's family! Who would have thought? I sure never did!

Addi and Sophie were in a dance camp this past week and got to ride a float in the city parade yesterday! Addi LOVES to dance, and this is the very first dance of any sort my kids have been in. I feel bad that I haven't been able to encourage it... but once again, my fears were justified! The older dance group teaching the kids performed on Friday with the kids. They were amazing dancers... very talented! But the outfit and some of those moves they had going... I just can't encourage it. I looked at Mike and said. "Do you want our 16 year-old dancing like that in front of everyone?" That would be a Hell-to-the-NO!!! I'm sorry, but I just can't.
On a side note, Sophie almost beat up another little girl when she got tagged in their game. Now THAT kid needs to be playing a sport! She's got some major aggression to get out.
Their float was adorable! It was so fun to watch them. And can I just say that I LOVE the city we live in?... the parade started at 10am! I was just looking around at our community and the High School and I feel so blessed to be able to raise my kids here. I know that this was the right move for our family. (Even though we still get crap for it... yes, still.) This is where we are meant to be.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Swimming through the Roller Coaster

just keep swimming,
just keep swimming,
just keep swimming swimming swimming,
what do we do we swim swim swim...

You know how life is compared to a roller coaster with it's up's and down's... It feel like lately my life has been a roller coaster, but a coaster stuck in high speed's of 100+ mph.
I'm not even sure what I've blogged about and what I haven't. Since I don't even have time to write, I sure don't have time to go back an read... so here we go.

Addi has been through a medical nightmare. She landed in Primary's ER, missed a bunch of school, and has to have surgery in a few weeks. Hopefully she will recover quickly and never have to revisit this nightmare! She has been a real trooper.

Mike went on a 'guy's trip' to Moab and got hurt on his dirt bike. I received a call on Friday and left around 10pm to drive down there and pick him up. I got there about 1:30am and turned around to drive straight back home. Mike and Amanda came with me so I wouldn't fall asleep. LOVE THEM! Mike (BIL) is one of my favorite people. We chatted the whole way down and back. They really saved me that night! Needless to say, my Mike cracked his sternum and injured his arm a bit. He was thankfully wearing his chest protector... which is ended up cracked and busted up. I'm just so happy it wasn't his chest that ended up that busted up. He's been in a lot of pain, but has pushed through a lot this past week. I realized just how much I like having a big strong husband when he couldn't lift anything or reach anything! I depend in him more than I know!

I've been working like CRAZY! It's a good thing, but I just never seem to have enough time to work and get my housework done. I'm going to need some adjusting... I thought for sure I'd have it figured out by now... but I don't. Shocker.

There was Teacher Appreciation Week... which will eventually have it's own post. Andthen there was a crazy class party. *sigh* I tried to do what was asked of me... it was all I could do to bite my tongue and 'go with the flow'. I ran into the bathroom and puked right before the kids showed up! I puked so hard it splashed back up on my shirt!!! DISGUSTING!!! I felt horrible and no patience to deal with an incompetent person who I wanted to strangle. This quote kept playing over and over in my head... "Lack of preparation on YOUR part does not necessitate an emergency on MY part!"... especially when I'm running a fever and have vomit splattered all over me!

Memorial Day was great! We spent it with Mike's family, and had a wonderful time visiting and had our annual Mi Ranchito's lunch. Loved it!

I went to a wedding up in Bountiful on May 27th. My cousin Steven's wedding! Well, techincally he's my ex-step dad's, half-brother's, son. He and his family were the cousins we were closest to growing up. Ther are some of my most favorite people in the world! It was so awesome to see them all. I love temple weddings, it's a good reminder of how blessed I am in my own marriage and the blessings we receive in having an eternal family.

I had 'bridal hair' last Friday for another cousin... Kara. She is an amazing and beautiful girl! I love her and loved being a part of her special day! (pics will come)

School also got out last Friday. Oh how I LA-LA-LOVE summer!! Sleeping in, sunshine, days at the lake, Popsicles, late-over's, no bedtime... pretty much I love the weather and the lack of structure in my life! I'm such a happier and better person from June to September!

We had a Garage Sale the next Saturday morning (yesterday)... made a little over $400. Not to mention, cleaned out the basement. Halle-freakin-lujah!!! And it's only taken me 10 years!

Whew... that's all I can think of for now. I have got to write more often so I can keep better track of life.