Monday, December 28, 2009

My kids have potential!!!

I don't know if this video shows that Ethan will one day be a cowboy or Morgan will be a movie director. Either way...I like their style.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cell Phone to the Rescue

I’m one of THOSE moms! You know the kind. The ones who get their 8 and 10 year old children cell phones. It’s true. In June Ashtyn got her pink phone and Chandler got his blue phone. What do they need a cell phone for? Nothing really. Do they NEED to text and call their grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends? Not really. When I’m not home do they NEED to tattle text? NO. “Chandler said he is a lot skinnier than me because he keeps on sneaking food…cookies and chocolate.” “Chandler said I’m a bad skier.” Do they NEED to text each other behind my back while they are in bed after I told them lights out. Definitely NOT.

Is it way nice to be able to get ahold of them anywhere at any time? Yessiree! I can call Ashtyn after school if plans have changed for her to walk home. I can call Chandler after school and tell him to walk to his grandma’s house to play with his cousin. I call them if I’m running late to pick them up from practices. They can call me when they are ready for me to pick them up from ice-skating. Ashtyn calls me during her lunch break to let me know how her ski lessons are going. It’s fabulously convenient and keeps communication open. And I LOVE communication!

Here are some priceless bits of communication through the wonderful world of texting:

(July 1st while I was in my room and he was in his):
Chandler: “I love you so much. Thanks for buying me and Ashtyn a cell phone. I was stunned (with a “stunned” face). Text me back. I’m so happy my eyes are watery (with a face with tears)."

(Nov 11th when I was not at home):
Ashtyn: “Dad said he will get rid of the dogs because they spilled the meatloaf and broke the glass. He also said he hates the dogs. Ethan took the dogs out of their crates. Can you please tell dad to not take the dogs away. You promised you would not take the dogs away.”

(Nov 5th I dropped Ashtyn off at school and noticed she only had ballet type shoes on. She assured me that “they don’t make us go out to recess when it’s snowing” 10:40 a.m. I got a text):
Ashtyn: “Can you come to school and bring me my boots?”

(Nov 23rd communication vs. miscommunication):
Ashtyn “I love you so much. I’m sorry I mess up on so many things a lot.”
Me: “Sorry I mess up on so many things a lot.”
Ashtyn: “It’s ok. You don’t mess up a lot.”
Ashtyn: “Wait are you mad at me?”
Me: “No I was capitalizing it so you would know that you really don’t mess up a lot. I love you girl.”
Ashtyn: “Oh Good! For a second I thought you were mad at me. Love u too girl!”

(Dec 5th while out to dinner with friends):
Ashtyn: (7:29 p.m.) “Dad put me to bed without dinner. I’m starving. Please tell dad to give me at least one thing.”

I secretly talked to Jason on the phone and found out what was going on.

Me: Why is dad mad?
Ashtyn: I don’t know.
Me: Really?????
Ashtyn: Wait do you know?
Me: Yah! Do u?
Ashtyn: Well maybe because I did not eat dinner when I was suppose to.
Me: Yep! So work it out with dad…ok.
Ashtyn: I don’t think I can because maybe he is too tired.
Me: You need to work it out with dad.
Ashtyn: How?
Me: Talk to him.
Ashtyn: What do I say?
Me: Ashtyn …you can apologize all by yourself.
Ashtyn: I did, does that mean I worked it out with him?
Me: Did he feed you?
Ashtyn: Yes but does that mean I worked it out with him?
Me: If u r getting along.
(8:27 p.m.) Ashtyn: Yeah, we always get along.
(Then why did we just have an hour text conversation?)

If that's not dramatic enough...

There was the time during school when Ashtyn went to the bathroom and snuck in a phone call to me. She was very upset because Abby told Mrs. Schneggenburger that Ashtyn stole Abby’s Arctic Circle free ice-cream cone card. Ashtyn said she didn’t do it but Mrs. Schneggenburger didn’t believe Ashtyn and just thought she was lying. Even her friend Charley couldn’t convince Mrs. Schneggenburger that Ashtyn was innocent. During our secret phone call I comforted Ashtyn in her tears and distress and told her to walk proudly back in the room and not care what anyone else thinks. As long as both she and I knew the truth it didn’t matter if others thought she lied. Ashtyn was then able to carry on with her difficult day.

Now don’t think that Chandler doesn’t use his texting too…because he does. His very important texting happens mostly between his friends and cousin Ryland. He was texting Ryland during school giving each other important updates like, “I’m at recess”, “I’m in class.” I had to inform Chandler that the cell phone has to be in his bag and off during school. He looked at me as if that was a crazy rule.

His friends have text nicknames and they have named Chandler "Chick Magnet". As soon as I explained what a chick magnet was, not to be confused with the actual refrigerator magnet, he changed his text name to simply "Magnet". This is what texting with his friends sounds like:

Bulldog: Are you still up?
Magnet: Yeah (even though he told me he was going to sleep).
Bulldog: k- well what do you do on the last level of Indiana Jones Lego? I’m stuck on the cup part.
Magnet: First hit the knight so he gets knocked out then go all the way left to the room. There will be a pattern of pictures that only a person who has a book can solve. Then once you solved it change to Indiana and go across the thing.
Bulldog: Ya, but when you go across the thing all there is are cups.
Magnet: Yeah look for a brown cup then once you got the cup go and put the cup in the fountain.
Bulldog: Cool.

Another dramatic predicament solved!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Whatcha been up to lately?

Nothing much...except:

In August I was feeling disappointed that summer was going by so fast and was quickly coming to an end. It hit me, as it commonly does, that time is rushing by and I'm having a hard time holding on without it slipping away. I've had eleven summers with Chandler and I only have eight more before he leaves the house. Since having kids I've always sensed how fast time goes. When I'm 50 years old I suspect I'll have certain thoughts and feelings when all my kids are out of the house. I'll be amazed and saddened how fast those years went. I can imagine myself saying, "It seems like just yesterday it was 2009. I remember some things clear as day and other things I don't remember because it all happened so fast." What regrets will I have and what did I miss that I shouldn't have? How do I absorb these years with my kids so that I'm ready when they leave? In a strategic attempt to make the most of my short summers and find a way to have my upcoming teenagers want to hang out with me...we bought a boat. We might use it as a type of enticing bribery for the time when my kids would rather hang with their cool friends over their overbearing and annoying parents...I hope it works.




Adults can have fun too.




My girlfriends
Rosanne and Jess

At the end of August I was given 14 teenagers that I get to spend time with at least every Wednesday and Sunday! It's been way fun! These girls are awesome to hang with and I know I'm going to be a better person after knowing them.

Then there was upstate New York

We visited the town and house my dad grew up in. Visited my grandpa and grandma's grave.
Went on lots of scenic walks

Niagara Falls

We rode bikes 14 miles along the Erie Canal

My favorite place we went to was the Sacred Grove. As we walked along the path that surrounded the mature trees there was a strong spirit of reverence that I didn't expect to feel. That seemingly simple groove of trees had an obvious spirit that made it clear to me we stood in a sacred place. I have never felt the spirit like that and knew I had never been in a more holy place. I have been blessed to go to many beautiful and amazing places and there has been nothing more impressive to me than the Sacred Grove.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm throwing in the name badge

In July 1996 I got my first job in the healthcare industry. I worked at Hillhaven Rehabilitation Center and Rest Home in downtown Salt Lake, 40 hours a week as a Certified Nurse Assistant. It was by far the most physically demanding job I have ever had, including being a maid at my dad’s lodge. I would literally sweat for eight hours. I wore comfortable, ugly white tennis shoes and scrubs that I knew would get sweaty and dirty. Even though I was at the young age of 21 I would often need a nap when I got home.

I started nursing school in January 1997. I changed jobs and started working at the University of Utah Hospital as a Health Care Assistant in April 1997. I worked in the resource department which means that each day I worked the hospital would tell me what floor needed me and that is where I spent my 8 or 12 hour day. Working “resource” was a great way to experience every floor in the hospital and eventually gave me the insight that I don’t like adult nursing.

May 1999 I graduated from nursing school and three months later began working in the Newborn ICU at the University of Utah hospital. I took care of premature babies ranging from 23 –34 weeks as well as sick term newborns. I learned how to start IV’s, work with ventilators, draw blood, give medications and blood products, manage infants temperature and oxygen, tube feed and teach babies how to bottle feed. I am an expert at changing diapers, the burrito wrap, and calming the most stressed baby. What I value more than learning these skills was what I learned from the remarkable people I worked with. Through years of working with them I observed how they live their lives. I would listen to their stories in amazement. No matter the heartache or trial they pressed forward, never giving up. I have never seen such strength and perseverance. I will forever be changed because of their example.

Throughout the years, in many ways, working tied me down and complicated my schedule making life seem harder. But in so many other ways working provided blessings, freedoms, and opportunities we otherwise would not have been able to enjoy. Though it didn’t seem obvious at the time, working made life easier. I always knew working was the right thing to do. I’m grateful I was supported and helped along the way.

Thank you to my parents who encouraged me and helped me through college. Thank you to my mom who watched my kids each day and night I worked. Thank you to Jason who stepped it up with housework and other responsibilities to help lighten my load.

I feel more than ever the importance of treasuring my time. Since time goes by so fast, every moment of every day needs to be spent wisely.

With the blessing of not having to work and having more time comes more accountability for me. I will need to answer for how I use my time.

"Thanks for the memories."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Our House


This is an excerpt from a talk I gave in my church October 2005, four months after moving into my house.

From June 2004 to June 2005 we lived in Spokane Washington for Jason’s first year of residency. In November Jason and I came to Salt Lake to spend Thanksgiving with family. We knew we were going to move to Salt Lake in June and even though we had seven months left in Spokane I felt we were suppose to look for housing so we would know where we were going to live. The day after we arrived in Salt Lake I drove around looking at potential apartments to live in. After two days of apartment shopping nothing felt right, so I began looking to rent townhouses. Again after two days nothing felt right. Jason then began looking in the paper and on the internet for houses. (I hadn't considered buying a house because I assumed we couldn't afford one.) The next day, which was now the 6th day of my search, we walked into a house on Oakledge Rd. The moment I walked into the house I pictured my family there. I loved it and it felt right. To be responsible we went out the next day and saw five more houses. At the end of the day I told Jason that I wanted to go back to the house on Oakledge. As we walked in the door for the second time a strong feeling came over me again and I knew we were supposed to buy the house.

Why were we looking for houses seven months early? How was it possible that we could afford rent in Spokane and a mortgage? Why did I feel so directed from Heavenly Father?

I strongly believe that it was revelation and inspiration. He brought us here to this house and this ward for a reason, and I am so grateful to Him.

My feelings have never changed; I’ve only become more and more aware of why we are where we are.


· My boys share a room, my girls share a room, and Jason and I share a room.
· Our rooms are all on the same floor.
· It’s “small” enough that you know where everyone is.
· It’s easy to spend time together because everyone is usually nearby.
· My parents and siblings put so much time working on the interior and exterior of the house to get it ready for us to move in. It is very common for me to look at the ceilings, painted walls, new doors, and all the hours that went into it. I still get choked up remembering how much service was given to me.
· I love my neighbors and friends that live nearby.
· My ward is FULL of amazing people whom I sincerely like to be around.
· I have the remarkable blessing of having a brother, three sisters in law, and two brothers in law in clear view from my driveway.
· It is close to the freeway…but not too close.
· It is close to the gym.
· It just feels right.
· Not to mention the beautiful mountains, wonderful schools, and a grocery store that I am sure to see several neighbors at each time I go.

A few weeks ago while in California we visited my uncle at his beautiful home. The back yard had an extraordinary swimming pool, trampoline, fire pit, BBQ pad, and a playground. The inside had a movie theater and a large playroom with foosball and a pool table. My kids had a blast.

On our way there we played “would you rather?” As we drove away I had a “would you rather” question for my kids. “Would you rather live in that house or our house?” Without hesitation my 6, 8, and 10-year-old all said “Our house!” I’m not surprised… It’s Our House.

Through out the past four years we have tried to give our house some tender loving care. That has been extremely hard because I was not blessed with ANY form of talent that has to do with interior design, decorating, color coordinating, shopping, or anything associated with creativity or vision. (Have you noticed my wardrobe???... it consists of a pair of jeans and a solid color t-shirt/ long sleeve t-shirt (depending on the season) from DownEast? There is a reason.

Since buying the house each room has been given a little love. Here are some example of our "tender loving care".

The LIVING ROOM before we bought the house

We had some work to do.



Looking at the house with the realtor

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Never Say Never

I started the summer doing two things I said I would never do: go to Disneyland in the summer (Jason and I took the kids once in the summer and the crowds were unbelievable), and get a dog (they pee on the carpet, smell like dogs, and take too much time).


I won’t go into a detailed story…just the necessary facts.

My Grandma and Grandpa have always lived in Southern California. When I was a child I would spend one week each summer at the beach with my grandparents, cousins, and siblings. Good memories. Early this year I thought it would be fun to do that with my kids since we’ve never done a California beach trip…instead it has always been Disneyland trips. My parents, siblings, and their kids were all able to go. (Everyone except my hubby, Casey, and Martell who had to work ).

We left for California the day after school got out. After a couple fun days at the beach we realized the weather was going to stay cloudy and in the 60’s. That’s not too bad for kids but not exactly what the adults had in mind. I like to sit and soak up the hot sun. A week sitting at the beach with my jacket on was not ideal. My siblings with kids entertained the idea of going to Disneyland for a couple of days. I felt in a laid back mood so even though I anticipated huge crowds I thought “why not?”. Maybe it was because I anticipated the worst or maybe it’s because I remember Disneyland in July and August when it is blistering hot, but I was wrong. I do like Disneyland in June.


I have always said, “I will never get a pet”. Not a guinea pig, hamster, turtle, dog, cat, fish, etc. I really have never liked animals. I would not be a good vet or zookeeper. Heartless, I know. My kids have always asked for a pet, especially Ashtyn. When they were younger and wanted a dog I said they could have a baby instead. So we had Ethan. After Ethan was born when the subject came up I had to remind them that I have four kids and don’t have time for another “baby”. (Ashtyn always figured that if I only had two kids she would have been able to get a pet…too bad those last two kids came along).

I’m not clear on how I changed my mind about dogs. All I know is it started with a thought I had a month ago…maybe in the next year I should get a dog for the kids. I felt it would be good for them to grow up with a dog. Why? I didn’t grow up with a dog. But in my mind it was now or never because Chandler is already ten and in a few short years he won't live here anymore.

Side note: I’m not a shopper of ANY kind. Not clothes, household items, gifts, food…or dogs. I DON’T LIKE TO SHOP! (It causes me stress). But my sister Jen is a great shopper. She basically won’t buy anything because everything is a waste of money. But when Jen does buy something she researches until she knows she’s getting the most for her money. She’s the epitome of frugal.

With that in mind, months ago Jen mentioned that a Portuguese Water Dog was her dream dog because they don’t shed, are awesome with kids, have a calm temperament, learn quickly, are a good size, and they're cute. That was good enough for me.

At the beginning of May I told Jen that I would like to get a dog but I wouldn’t feel right about getting her “dream dog” unless she got one too. After some serious convincing she agreed to get one. We found a breeder in Montana named Debbie who I talked to every day for a week. During this time Debbie and I became great phone friends. Jen and I decided on two boy puppies and were extremely excited. For the next couple of days Debbie kept talking to me about her favorite puppy that was the runt of the litter. Debbie really wanted the runt to be with her brothers.

To make a long story short I went from “I will NEVER have a pet” to “NO WAY will I get two” to “having two puppies is PERFECT”. The day I got back from California we got our two sweet puppies. Maybe I anticipated the worst about dogs or maybe my life is calmer than in the past so I can invest time in pets, but I was wrong. I do like dogs. Indy and Belle have been two fun additions to our family.