Archive for the ‘Life’ category

Drum Roll Please…

January 23, 2012

More anticipated than the Oscars. More thrilling that any roller coaster. The moment you’ve all been waiting for…

My Anniversary Photos.

here is the fondue that changed my life forever

here is me enjoying the fondue that changed my life forever

here is me with the man I married, which changed my life forever

Statistically speaking, 1 out of only a pool of 3 may not be scientifically significant, but this anniversary beat out year 1 and 2… blew ’em out of the water! Who said that the anniversary symbolized by leather isn’t awesome.

Lost In The Mail?

December 18, 2011

I’ve really enjoyed the cute Christmas cards we’ve received from family and friends this year.  Did you enjoy our cards to you? No? You didn’t receive yours in the mail?

That’s probably because we didn’t send them out this year. Or last. Or come to think of it, the year before that. I think I’ve only sent out Christmas cards once. Greg and I talked about having some family pictures done for a card this year. While our intentions were good, December rolled around before we knew it, and it just didn’t happen. Maybe next year.

Even though we didn’t send our love through the mail, we appreciate and feel so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people. Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you happen to celebrate this time of year.

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Pretty Lucky

November 7, 2011

As you (should) know, movies are kind of a big deal around our house. They were for my family as a kid, and as an adult, I’d say we keep our plate full with movies we want to see, should see, and just do see. It’s not like I have a specific goal, but in general, I like to mix old movies that were a little before my time into the pot. I also like to see huge variety when it comes to what genre and type of movie. Sometimes I want to just relax and be distracted. Other times I want a dose of reality and something that makes me think.

The Killing Fields was one of these movies that for years I’ve wanted to see. I remember my parents talking about it when I was young (maybe 8 or 9), and what they said has stuck with me. So we Netflix’d it, and the dvd has been in our bedroom for an embarrassingly long time. But lat night was the magical night.

This film is about the unrest and struggles in Cambodia after the wake of the Vietnam War, during the Nixon era. The thought that kept creeping into my mind was how the majority of Americans have NO idea with hard really is. And while it wouldn’t be appropriate to show my children, I kept thinking how great it would be to sit them down and have them watch parts of this flick whenever they say how crappy their lives are (usually when they have to clean or do homework 🙂 ).

The movie had a similar affect on me that Schindler’s List did… hard to watch, but an amazing way to gain some perspective. I am seriously worried about where we as a country and people are headed, but I can tell you that I would not want to live any place else. Maybe it’s selfish, but I feel incredibly blessed that I have had, comparatively speaking, an easy life and never REALLY known what it is like to struggle just to survive.

Show Me The Money

October 8, 2011

Have you ever heard the saying about how it doesn’t matter how much money people make, they always spend what they have? What about it doesn’t matter how much money you have, it’s never enough.

True? Maybe, maybe not. But it does seem like for many, spending rises as fast, or faster, than the money comes in. Sure, you make more, realize maybe you can buy some of those things which you wanted but felt like you couldn’t afford, and you can never really get ahead. Helloooo… highest foreclosure rates ever in the history of this country! Personally, I think this country has become a slave to their stuff.

But that is neither hear nor there. This post isn’t about the shit show the U.S. economy has become. It’s about asking the question: how do you get to the point where what you have is enough. Because for many of us, we never reach that point.

I have friends that span a huge gamut in terms of income. Some live very modest lifestyles… living paycheck to paycheck, getting by and surviving, but barely. I also have friends who have a monthly income that is comparable to a typical family’s yearly gross. The funny thing is, many of these people also live paycheck to paycheck, and what would seem like a fortune to others is barely enough for them to pay all of their many bills.

What I have also noticed when I look at all of these people is that it doesn’t matter what kind of money they bring in, everyone has problems. Money doesn’t buy happiness, securing, fidelity, love, or respect. Getting that $400 raise each month doesn’t “save” the struggling family and solve all of their problems. You can live in a mansion or a shack because misery isn’t biased.

Finding the niche where you are content with what you have, comfortable in your own skin, in healthy relationships… I think that’s the only way for any resemblance of happiness.

Of course, I am no exception to the rule. More times than I’d like to admit, the thought goes through my head that if only we had a little bit more money, then (fill in the blank) . While I’m not sure if that will ever change, I often remind myself of how incredibly lucky and blessed me and my family are. That reality check helps to keep me grounded. We have a nice home, clothes in the closet, can enroll our kids in various extra-curricular activities, food in the fridge & pantry, cars that get us where we need to go, a vacation to Disneyland last Christmas, and have the luxury of going out to dinner and a movie every once in a while.

Do I wish we had “more”? Sure! However, I do know that we have enough. And I am proud that we have very little debt, no credit cards (I never have owned one), and pull our heads out of the clouds every once in a while to keep a realistic perspective. And that is a true feeling of freedom and happiness.

COME ON!

September 19, 2011

A few weeks ago, Cooper wasn’t feeling well one afternoon, and by the time his dad picked him up in the evening, it was clear an InstaCare visit was in order.

Diagnosis: Strep.

Antibiotics for 10 days and Cooper was fine.

Of course Emma came down with a sore throat last Monday. A quick visit revealed she too has strep. This time they offered Emma a shot as opposed to just oral meds, which I had never even heard was an option before. It hurt like hell (her, not me), but she was a real trooper and didn’t cry. The doctor and nurses were shocked that she opted for the more painful yet more worry free method, and I was proud of her bravery.

Saturday Cooper said he was not feeling well. His throat hurt and I could tell by feeling his forehead that he had a fever. He was also wanting to lay down and rest, which is not like him. UGH! He had only been off his meds for 4 days!

After my SaharaCares duties, I took him over to the InstaCare (aka, our new home).

Diagnosis: STREP. AGAIN!

This time Cooper opted for the shot as well. He knew Emma had done it, and he is not one to be outdone. He was totally brave, and didn’t even whimper! Again, the nurses told me how it is their least favorite shot to give because it’s the most painful injection both during and after it’s given. Cooper is walking with a little bit of a limp today. Poor kid… I love him!

The doctor recommended that we talk to an ENT to discuss the possibility of getting his tonsils out. YUCK! I’m just hoping he can go a whole week this time without another dr visit, and that the rest of the family escapes the twins fate.

Every Bit Helps

September 18, 2011

I spent most of yesterday volunteering at the annual SaharaCares Carnival. In short, it’s a free carnival for autistic kids and their families.

As I’ve mentioned before, this past year I was asked to be on the board of Utah Autism Give, which is an organization here in Utah that helps raise money to offset various treatment costs for autism treatment. What makes us different from other charities is that 100% of what is donated goes to Utah families. We also have no paid employees and relatively no overhead, so you know that everything you give goes to help local peeps affected by autism.

I was asked to help at our booth this year. Me “helping” soon turned into me actually doing the booth pretty much alone. Luckily another one of our board members saved my butt and saved the day when another didn’t show (Tammi… you are the best!) and what started out as a super stressful mess ended up being a great day.

Greg brought the kids to partake in the fun. Because this was my first year at the SaharaCares Carnival, I didn’t know what to expect. But it ended up being more fun than we expected. The kids didn’t want to leave, which means that it must have been good. I didn’t get to see many of the activities because I was stuck in the booth, but I know there were lots of games, bouncy slides and houses, face painting, a climbing wall, food, Star Wars, Disney, and Sports characters, and plenty of good times.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I became a part of this awesome organization when I helped send some money their way through a family foundation that I’m a part of. This past year has been an eye-opening experience, and has really ignited my passion to help this cause.

Saturday also helped me realize that I’ve failed in some aspects. Sure, I am on the board for this charity. Yes, I donate time and help raise to support the cause. But what I didn’t do is educate my kids! At one point, our five children asked Greg what Autism is. WHAT?!? I totally dropped the ball. How could I have not explained this disorder to my kids, especially since it is something that I work hard to raise funds for. Greg gave him the best answer that he could, and when we got home, we talked about how EVERYONE has their own challenges to deal with, including every member of our family. I told them that people with autism are not that different from us… just dealing with their own trials like we deal with ours. It also gave us an opportunity to talk about how we need to be kind and a friend to EVERYONE, because people may be dealing with things that we are not aware of.

Yesterday was busy and a lot of work, but I’m so glad that I was able to a part of it. It’s one of those things that you end up receiving more blessings than the work you put in. And I hope that my kids will be one of those people who are a friend to kids who really need one.

If you are interested in donating to this awesome charity, or know anyone who would be, please visit http://www.utahautismgive.org and donate. AND, you can always LIKE us on Facebook.

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Ever An End?

September 2, 2011

When you’re pregnant, you worry about the health and safety of your unborn baby. Should you eat that fish, cheese, Coke with caffeine?

Having an infant, it’s a constant worry of if you’re doing it right. Is your baby healthy, happy, safe? Are they gaining enough weight? Are they gaining too much weight? Are they meeting all of their milestones?

Toddlers are a train-wreck waiting to happen. I remember thinking that if my children survived themselves, it would all be downhill from there.

When your child starts school, you worry about them making friends, being OK without their mom all day. You worry that they don’t realize that they are still just a little kid, and maybe jumping out of that swing or climbing that tree may not be the best idea.

A few years of kids in school under my belt, and I still worry about each of my children. It doesn’t really get any easier, the points of concern just change. My dad has told me many times that he still worries about each of his children, and the youngest is almost 34.

It doesn’t end at 18, as many would have you believe. That heart wrenching concern I think will stay with me until the day I die. I guess this is what it means to REALLY love someone. Motherhood… who knew.

Oodles of Changes

August 22, 2011

This past week has been a full one, and life is going to be changing around here.

First, our 9-year-old girls have been bugging us for quite some time about sharing a room. My twins, Emma & Cooper, have been sharing a room for about a year, and while it’s been fine, in the back of my mind I’ve known that it would be short-lived. As much as they love each other, I think that at some point a brother and sister have to go their separate ways when it comes to the living arrangement. And really it made sense for the girls to room together. Not only are they the same age, but they almost never fight and they like the same things. Greg & I told them it would happen, but hadn’t really made any plans or preparations for the move. Last week I just sort of started the process one day, and 24 hours later, we had switched Alex & Cooper. Alex & Emma are now roomies, and for the first time since moving into this house, Cooper has a room of his own. Everyone seems pretty happy with the new arrangement.

All of this room swapping made me realize that we can never move. The sheer amount of crap that these kids have is overwhelming, and it’s only a fraction what is in the house. Guess we’re here to stay.

I’ve also been really busy with work. I’ve got a buyer who I’ve been working with for over a year and who this last week put an offer in on a house. It’s kept me really busy, but it feels good to be on the front line of negotiating a deal and seeing this through. Also on the “work front”, which is typically slow for me, I was offered a part-time job working with my real estate broker (already kind of my boss), assisting him with his other business. After Mr. N & I married, I put my real estate-ing on the back burner and focused solely on my family. Getting semi-back into a working state of mind is exciting and also a little scary. Luckily it’s only a few days a week and will be somewhat flexible around my schedule. There are still a lot of details to be worked out, but it will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

Last but not least, today was the first day of school for the older kids (Kindergarten doesn’t start until next week). I cannot believe I have a child in 6th grade! I remember sending him to his first day of preschool, and it doesn’t seem that long ago. Now my babies are in 3rd grade, and my step-daughter, who I started caring for every day when she was only two, is starting school as well. My how the time does fly!

This summer has honestly been the best since becoming a parent, and I’m oddly sad to see it end. Most years I’ve been ready to have the kids start school and out of my hair for half the day. But I’ve enjoyed having them home for the past 2 months, and I’m not sure that I’m ready for the early mornings, days filled with volunteering, and hours of homework at night. UGH! But it will be nice to get back into our routine and have a schedule. I’m also pretty sure that their brains deteriorated over the summer, so getting a little cranial exercise will be good for them. I hope they all love their teachers and give their best efforts this year. If we could only get them to smile even slightly naturally. It’s the truest  evidence that they are getting older… they are too cool to smile :).

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It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

August 17, 2011

I’ve discussed sunburns, skin cancer, and sunscreen here a few times.

A couple of weeks ago I sent my oldest to his friends house. The mom did tell me they might play outside in their little pool, so being a responsible parent, I sent him with his swim shirt, sunscreen, and applied sunscreen before he left.

My son slept over at his friends house, so I didn’t see him until the next day.When I picked him up that morning, I was absolutely shocked at what I saw. Lobster red doesn’t begin to describe the condition of his back and shoulders. He had the worst burn on any of my kids that I’d ever seen. I was torn on what to do… Do I give him the idiot slap on the back of his head, or gently hug him and slather on the sympathy? I hugged him, but I made sure to let him know how dumb I thought he was for not reapplying the sunscreen but most importunately, NOT WEARING HIS SWIM SHIRT. My kids ALWAYS wear a swim shirt when they are in the water just so that what happened would NOT happen.

The mother of the other child called the next day to apologize  for the burned. While I do think that it was Ian’s responsibility to take care of himself, I was a little bothered that she didn’t make sure that they put on sunscreen and that she didn’t tell him to wear his shirt (what did I send it with him for if not to wear?!). Anyway, I think this was a very painful and uncomfortable object lesson for my son… one he will not soon forget. Here he is 1 1/2 weeks after the burn:

Yes, those are scabs. And every night for two weeks we got to hear about how it hurt, how it itched, and there were nights that he literally cried himself to sleep.

Kids not heeding the words of their parents because they are soooo darn smart, and parents not being proactive to protect others kids from themselves… it’s gotta go!

Dude… That’s Deep

July 26, 2011

This post is dedicated to my friend, Grunt (and his mysteriously disappearing post 😉 )… may you find your path.

I recently happened upon a quote that is probably the most personally profound statement I’ve ever read or heard, and it’s something I’ve thought about every day since I first read it.

People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost. – Dalai Lama

I’m not sure what this means to other people, but to me it resonates more deeply than I can express (at least very well).

In recent years, I’ve changed directions and definitely taken a slight detour from the path that I was on… a path that most people in my life were probably more comfortable with me being on. Some might say that I fell off of the this path and became lost. But I know that I’ve taken a scenic, alternate route, which sometimes runs parallel to my previous path, and sometimes not.

Talking about my these changes has been something I’ve really hesitated to do. Not because I question my decision. In fact, it is something I feel very comfortable and at peace about. But I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable, including myself. My “path” is such a personal one that it’s not something I want to defend, nor do I think I should have to. The truth is: I’m not really much different than I’ve always been. My moral and ethical convictions are as strong as they’ve ever been, and I am still commited to being an honest and empathetic woman, although I am far from perfect. I make choices based on a number of different factors, including wants and desires, but more importantly, I follow what I call my “moral compass”. I don’t do what is “right” out of fear or guilt. I try to do what is right because it’s the right thing to do. I try to make choices that I am proud of, that would make my children proud, that will make me a better person and mother, and better the world around me. Do I always succeed? No. But such is life.

I guess the reason I like the quote is that it describes better than I could ever articulate how I feel in terms of the choices I’ve made in my life and where my path continues to take me.

I believe I was put on this earth for a purpose, and every once in a while I get these small, brief glances at my purpose being fulfilled. By no means am I Gandhi, but I am a work in progress. I believe and have faith in God, that he loves me unconditionally, that he IS my biggest cheerleader, even when I am losing the game. I believe that the little bumps in my path, whether I pass over them gently or trip and fall flat on my face, are simply experiences which teach me and prepare me for the next obstacle. Ultimately, I believe to my very core that when it’s all said and done, it WILL all work out and it WILL be OK.

After reading this quote, I thought about how it applies to me and how I judge those on a different path. Being tolerant and accepting of other people’s paths, even when I think they are stupid, is something I know I need to work on.

I get why it’s hard to watch someone you care about take a path different from your own, especially when you think your path is the one that will lead to fulfillment and happiness. As a parent, it’s hard to watch my children make choices that I find, well, completely idiotic. So I can imagine how seeing someone you love and care about take a different path than the one that is right for you could bring up feelings of sadness and disappointment. I can only speak for myself, and for me, for the first time in my life, I feel like I am on the path that I need to be on… one that does bring happiness and fulfillment.