Friday, May 30, 2008
Tonight after dark we left home to run some errands. I was so excited to drive down our street without witnessing the bad accident that I have not been able to look away from for the last year. As we pulled out of our house, my joy turned to complete horror! How in the world could it possibly be true? The exhibitionist neighbors have managed to pick curtains that are completely transparent at night. There sitting on the other side of the curtain, that should be protecting me, was a giant man in a recliner.
I do believe that the problem will now be compounded. Not only will we be able to see in their giant picture window, but they will be under the false belief that they are protected by their curtains!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I had been married to my first husband for almost 5 years, when the relationship ended rather roughly. I had been committed to the marriage through thick and thin and was devastated by the ending of it. However, the end had been quite drawn out and when it was finally over I was ready to LIVE again. I picked myself up and began to spread my wings. I realized that I was destined for a much happier life. I worked up the courage to file for divorce and started living a brief existence in the single world. I dated a couple of people and just had fun. During this time I was hit on by a complete stranger in a bar, something that was both exciting and frightening to me. I stayed out late at night and met a lot of people. After about 3 months of this, I felt that I just wanted to go back to a quieter life. I was ready to be spending more time with my kids. I threw myself into my work and I was incredibly happy. I was standing on my own two feet and I wasn't looking for anything more.
Then one day, I was talking with someone at work. He hadn't worked in the office long and he was telling me about his wife and kids. Out of the blue I asked him if he was the same faith that I am. He was shocked and told me he was. Over the next few days he stopped by my desk a few more times to talk. Then he told me that he had a friend that he used to work with that was newly divorced and was just starting to date. He told me that he thought we should meet. But he warned that the meeting might be a little strange since his friend was over a foot taller than I am. The height difference didn't seem like such a big deal. This sounded like an interesting prospect... I told him that he would need to call his wife first and get a woman's opinion for me. I wanted to make sure that his wife thought this was someone that I should be set up with. His wife reassured that this friend was an eligible prospect and I should allow it to happen.
That night I got my first email from Ben! I couldn't believe how fast that happened. He had just gotten off the phone with my coworker and emailed me right away. Over the next few days we emailed 2-4 times per day. I anxiously awaited his emails. I would read them and reread them and then respond as quickly as possible.
Immediately, even in writing there was something different about this man. We seemed to have so much in common. He was devoted to his children, even though they lived in a different state. He wrote like someone with a good heart, his writing was kind and gentle. He wrote things that reflected an attitude of integrity and honesty. But I was scared, scared that he was too good to be true. I guess even scared that he would be just as good as he seemed, but wouldn't be equally impressed with me. We began to talk very candidly through emails, revealing personal values, beliefs, goals and dreams. Emailing was safe and I avoided our first phone conversation for a while.
Then after about a week of emails my phone rang one night...
This story is going to be posted in segments over the next few days, so keep checking back!
Continue to Part II
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
When we arrived in the LA suburb where she is, my dad believed he had good directions from his brother about where the party was to be held. But we couldn't find it anywhere. I'm an active member of 21st century society, so I called 800-Goog-411 to get a specific address for Verdugo Vista Convalescent Hospital. The very nice Goog lady immediately gave me an address for Verdugo Valley convalescent hospital located on the very same street my uncle had directed. Great! We parked the car and entered the building. I immediately became concerned that we were scarring my 10 year old nephew for life by taking him in there.
The first person we met pointed at my brother with determination and said, "Hi Ken, good to see you!" Yes, it was very friendly, however my brother's name is NOT Ken and he has never seen this guy before in his life. That was the first sign that we weren't in Normalville anymore! I found a worker and asked them to direct us to the "rec room" and she told us just down the hall to the right. Come to find out she sent us to the "restroom." The confusion was most likely caused by the fact that none of the workers spoke English.
Another lady in the hall pointed at us and said, "there's the dad, and there's the mom and there's the uncle and there's the kid." As we walked away she started shouting, "Hey, your family is leaving, the family is leaving. Get the family, they're leaving"
The halls were filthy! Strange people were talking to themselves and wandering around. One man in a wheel chair almost rolled down the stairs while we were standing there. I leaned over to my brother and told him, "ummm, our kind of people don't belong here."
Come to find out, our people aren't there. Our Aunt was staying at Verdugo Vista Convalescent home on a completely different street. It makes me very sad to think about the crazy people living in that first hospital. They are the forgotten. I just hope that if I suddenly become crazy, I won't be forgotten and sent to a depressing dirty place with all of the other crazies.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
This morning it made me think about the "extra" burdens that we choose to carry throughout life. I intentionally load stresses, concerns, projects and ideals onto my own back. Things that aren't necessary but apparently I like to carry. I guess I do it because ultimately they make my day brighter and better, just like the stuffed animal that goes to and from school in Sarah's backpack makes her day a little better.
Some burdens are just worth the extra load.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
5 things on my "to do" list this week:
1. Get ready for yard sale
2. Clean my house
3. Take pictures of kids
4. Sort items for yard sale
5. Have yard sale
5 snacks I enjoy:
1. Dr. Pepper (does addiction count as enjoyment?)
2. Ice Cream
3. Cheeze-its (Never Cheese Nips)
4. Grandmother Bread and butter
5. Dr. Pepper (Did I already say that?)
5 things I would do if I suddenly became a billionaire:
1. Pay for gas for our summer vacations
2. I don't think I have any money left after the gas...
5 places I've lived:
1. Santa Clarita, CA
2. Exeter, CA
3. Provo, UT
4. Bakersfield, CA
5. Tehachapi, CA
5 favorite musicians/bands
1. George Strait (He's a legend)
2. Bare Naked Ladies
3. The White Stripes
5. Ben Folds Five
5 Tagged Friends
5. I'm all out of blogging friends, Amanda was my 5th and she's already done it (Isn't that sad?)
Alright, so if I were really a grown up I would say "17 bags of manure." But where is the fun in that? We have had so much more fun using the word poop in all of our discussions. "Boy, the poop stinks!" "We need to go to Home Depot and buy some more poop!" "Ben, can you help me carry the poop?" "Kids, stay out of the poop!" See, it's kind of catchy. Now don't you want to plant a garden so you can talk about poop all day too?
17 bags of poop later and the garden is planted! And we will probably have to retire the word (except when referring to potty topics) until next year. At least we have something to look forward to!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Ok, so that didn't impress me at all! My very own Toyota Corolla that was waiting at home for me has incredible power and gets 38 mpg. Alright, so I love my car! What's more, the sticker price on 2009 cars is significantly different between the two.
Here is the Honda Civic Hybrid with a starting sticker price of $22,600.
And my favorite car in the whole world with better gas mileage and a much better starting sticker price of $15,250.
So, in conclusion, I don't think the Hybrids are quite all they are cracked up to be. Go buy a Corolla.
First, there is the ocean front property:
Almost identical, huh?
Next, there are the world class golf courses.
First in Hawaii
And then in Texas
There are the food crazes
and in Texas (where everything is bigger)
The crazy street names
And in Texas
And finally, there are the wind turbines
In HawaiiAnd in TexasI know, you are stunned by the similarities. I can sense your amazement.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Sarah is 4 today! The time has gone so fast. I know, all mom's say that, but I reiterate it. She is so much joy and fun. I love every minute of being her mom. I just thought I'd share a summary of the last 4 years in pictures. These are some of the pages pulled out of her scrapbook.
Monday, May 12, 2008
The method for making these was quite simple. After all of the strawberries were hulled ( a very long job) I did the following for each batch:
I simply boiled the strawberries with an equal portion of sugar. Once the mixture came to a boil, I continued to boil it for another 10 minutes. I then filled the washed jars with the whole strawberries and the juice that was formed, put the lids and bands on and allowed them to self seal. I continued to periodically shake the jars for the next several hours as they cooled to ensure the strawberries were well dispersed in the syrup.
To make the jam, I ran the strawberries through my food processor. I processed small batches on Medium speed. To this strawberry puree I added sugar in about a 3 to 4 ratio. I also added about 3 tbs of lemon juice and boiled the heck out of it. Once the mixture came to a rolling boil, I continued to boil it for 20 minutes. I filled the jars and put the lids on.
All told, both jobs took me about 3 hours. They look so pretty in the jars. I continue to be so impressed with how my canned products look in the jars. I can't wait to dig in to these and have the jam on top of some Grandmother Bread, and eat the preserves over white cake or ice cream. Yum, that sounds good!
We were able to use Christmas paper to wrap her presents. And had a bouquet of snowball flowers, cut from a friends yard.
Her cake was white and sat on a tray with a coconut snowflake that was lovingly created by Big Ben.
I would be thrilled if she requested this theme again. It was simple and fun for the whole family.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
However, I didn't want the day to pass without a word about Mother's Day. My mom is out of the country and I wasn't able to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. I know it is likely to be a few more days before she is back in the states and able to read this, but when she does I want her to know that I was thinking about her today. I am incredibly grateful for my mom, for the strength she has given me and I am grateful that she taught me to be a mom myself. More and more often I hear my mom's words coming out of my mouth as I speak to my kids. It is a right of passage that makes me smile when it happens.
Happy Mother's Day Mom! I love you!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I NEVER in a million years expected what happened yesterday. When I picked Ben up from school he was grinning from ear to ear. "Mom, know why I'm so happy?" He hardly waited for an answer before telling me, "I made it for the talent show!" and pushed a note into my hands. We jumped around and cheered for a minute like we were both excited kindergartners. Then I looked at the note and reality sunk in.
The note dated April 24th, that I got yesterday(if I'd gotten it on April 24th, I'd be telling a different story) outlined the details of the show and practices. The dress rehearsal and show are next Tuesday May 13th. This causes trouble on three different levels:
1. Tuesday is Sarah's birthday and their Dad has planned a Chuck e Cheese party for her that night.
2. I am flying to Texas on Tuesday for company business (after celebrating Sarah's birthday with her on Sunday)
3. How can we ever get something REAL put together for him to perform in less than a week?
Come on... the kid wasn't supposed to make it. And he wouldn't even have been disappointed by it.
Just try to explain these things to a six year old who believes that God put him on this Earth to perform. I tried to explain that it will be such a surprise to the whole school next year if he is totally prepared and just wows them. That explanation didn't go so well because he thinks he's so good he will wow them no matter what. He is insisting that Sarah's party can just be after the talent show.
In the end after talking to his dad about it, it is clear that we are just going to have to take the hit as parents and tell him that he can't do it. It is painful when circumstances make it so dang hard to be a parent! I am proud of him and I hate to have to disappoint him.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
This is an old Apple Shed located here in town
Wouldn't pictures in front of that be shabby chic cute? I was loving the idea! I just had to wait to get all four kids here and I would force them to humor me while I posed them randomly, resembling a 1960's music album cover picture (maybe not really, but that's what 1960's album covers look like in my head).
And today, there is just an empty, burned piece of land and a sign saying that the land is up for sale for residential use. According to the newspaper this was a planned burn and the fire department was allowed to run training drills while executing it. I am sad that this landmark was burned in favor of what will probably be cookie cutter residential housing. Mostly though, I'm sad I didn't get the picture that I had been dreaming of!
This just isn't quite the same, is it? Maybe if I squint real hard, I can pretend those little stick figures are my children's precious faces.
Oh, look! Superman made my dream picture a reality!
Monday, May 5, 2008
Our children- 2007
Meredith, Me, Tracey and Bryn (The better wedding 2007)
Wilson Family Circus-
Eliza was the very first friend that I made when I went to college. She had the dorm room across the hall from me. We became friends right away and remained roommates for the next 2 1/2 years. Eliza was and is an AMAZING example to me. As I looked through pictures from our freshman year, I came across a picture of the time we tried to short sheet Eliza's bed and failed miserably, because it didn't seem to bother her one little bit. In fact I found hundreds of pictures from our first year at BYU.
Living the life of College Freshman 1996
Packing up our dorm room 1997
Me with Bryn and Eliza- 1998
(look there's Bryn again, don't worry... I'll tell you all about her sometime)
Sunny Days 2B-
I became friends with Aaron and Emmylou when I was pregnant with Ben. Over the 2 years that we lived near each other we had so much fun. Emmylou became pregnant with their son Garrett when I was 3 months along with Ben. Emmylou threw my baby shower and we compared notes on pregnancy and new motherhood.
My baby shower 2001
Our Boys- Ben and Garrett 2002
Our Boys- 2 yrs old 2004
Ryan and Amanda-
Technically, they are ex-in laws. But the relationship doesn't really work that easily. See, Ryan's parents, Ken and Debbie were my "Aunt and Uncle" long before I ever married in to their family and they will be my family long after the courts saying I'm not a part of that family anymore. Sarah was named after Ryan's younger sister Sarah McCarty. I had the honor of knowing Sarah the last 4 months of her life and it would have been impossible to think of anyone better to name our own child after. This entire family holds such a special place in my heart. Amanda is the perfect compliment to Ryan and my kids (and I) absolutely adore them both.
(Sorry, no pictures)
The Nelsons in Balston Spa-
I am absolutely convinced that Dave, Diane and Samantha were angels sent to me when I absolutely needed them most. I met them when I was entering the world of being a single parent. They became my family in a town where I had no family. They opened their home to my children and helped care for them when I worked, went to school and tried to spread my wings socially. The measly amount I was able to pay Diane, I'm sure didn't even make a dent in the expense that my kids added to their household. I will forever be grateful to them for the love that they showed us while I got on my feet again.
Diane, Sarah and Dave at Sarah's 3rd Birthday 2007
Sarah and Samantha
I hope you understand the reason for the long post and the need to introduce the VERY important people in my Friends and Family Links.