A whole bunch about us you may have never wanted to know.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hey now, you're a rock star

I uploaded my pics from the old camera and found this:

Paul and I were laughing when we found it. It's hilarious! It totally looks like Shayla's singing away. Then today I saw Shayla climb up onto a bar stool, grab this hook (which is meant to hold the drapes), and tell Becca to go to the other side so they could talk. I guess we've been to the playground one too many times. But how cute is this?

Apparently Shayla thinks it works REALLY well (better than those park ones), because she could easily hear Becca. Definitely doesn't hurt that Becca happened to be in the same room only a few feet away ... (Notice the bun is back? Bummer!):

Painting is done!

If you ever want to find out who your TRUE friends are, just mention that you're painting soon. ;) We were SO happy to have my friend Hilary and my sister Becky volunteer to help us. I helped Hilary paint her house a while back, so she "owed" me. Now that we're even, I better hurry and think of something else to do to get her in my debt so she doesn't think she can ditch me ... ;)

Anyway, I am happy to say that our painting actually went smoother than I anticipated. I love that! I've been slow about posting pics, because they look very pixelated when I downsize them. (The walls look like pretty pixelated circles.) Also, the camera did NOT want to take pictures of plain walls! But I think I finally got 'em ...

They are nothing exciting on here, but in person they're awesome ... at least to me. :) Like I mentioned, this was my first time to paint my own house, and I happen to think it turned out awesome!

Okay, now for the before and after pics. Our bedroom was a dusty green color. I didn't mind the color at all -- just that it was on EVERY wall and the ceiling where it wasn't supposed to be. Did I mention that it was a bad paint job everywhere? I'm sure I may forget and mention it again ...

Anyway, you can see in this pic how they used different finishes to do touch-ups. Although it's the right color, they used a flat color instead of an enamel -- and did the same throughout the house. This means there are "touch-ups" that show on EVERY wall. Sigh. We also discovered that the reason there is so much paint on the ceiling and baseboards is because they used masking tape, not painter's tape. We found left-behind pieces during our job. Why waste the money and effort if you're not going to do it right? Anyway, there was green all over the ceiling, so after we taped off properly we then had to go back with white and paint over the green on the ceiling. I didn't get any pictures of that before, so just appreciate the lack of green in the after!

A quick note about the before pic: We came home V-day night and the kids had decorated our room with hearts. What cuties! Oh, and if you look at our door it was decorated -- or depending on who you ask, covered in laser beams ... Tyler was so excited about it he wanted to jump in the picture. Don't ask me why! Anyway, focus on the higher part of the wall for the paint job. I mean, look at that between the orange and yellow heart! (Ignore the messy closet I just now noticed. :)



Yup, that's right. Although the cocoa is a nice, warm color, it is used on only ONE wall -- an accent wall. What an idea ...

That's what we did in all the rooms except the office, which bugged me the most of any paint job. Our camera kept trying to even out the colors, so I had to take one without a flash, thus the yellow look. But can you see those lines? I just stared at them every day when I was on the computer ...



Notice how you don't notice the paint? I LOVE that! We did a nice color (Gobi Desert) and just have the whole office two-tone. We didn't like the unintentional 3-tone affect they had in here. Speaking of that, look at the bathroom ...

BATHROOM BEFORE: (How'd they even do that?)


Yes, again only an accent wall. Oh, and notice the cute shower curtain -- I finally splurged and got a real one instead of just the dollar store ones.

And another unintentional 3-tone when they used the bathroom paint to do a few touch-ups before moving out ...

SHAYLA'S BEDROOM BEFORE: (The stars were placed over the worst spots!)

SHAYLA's BEDROOM DURING: (Can you guess what color we were painting?)

Unfortunately she still has paint in her hair. And that was such a cute shirt. :(


I can't tell you what scare we got with the green in Shayla's room. I had Rebecca and Hilary start painting in there, and when I walked in when they were half-way through I almost died -- it looked like a brownish gray HORRIBLE color! I asked if they had the right one. They said it did look more green in the can, but definitely not green. My sister later confessed that she almost stopped painting it was so ugly. Anyway, it dried just fine! Phew. I guess that's why we pay Behr -- I guess they DO know what they're doing!

I liked the green so much I decided to go ahead and do an unplanned accent wall in our master bath. No before pics, but it was just another bad paint job. (No worries, the green rings are going soon ...)

We also re-painted the living room with the nice Gobi Desert color since we love the two-tone with white. And aren't those the cutest kiddos you've seen? :)

So now all that's left is putting the house back together. It was sure tricky to paint the entire upstairs AND the living room. We relocated most of the upstairs stuff to the living room, and then had to move everything to the one side we weren't painting. Although the kids loved the "maze" we created to get through, I found the best part to be our sleeping little one right in the middle of it all:

She loved sleeping there and even shhhh'd us in the next room when she was trying to get to sleep. What a cutie.
Thank you for your help, Hilary and Rebekina!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Good news and bad news

Good news: We discovered this weekend that Behr paint is on sale! HOORAY! We refuse to buy anything else since Behr is awesome in quality and price, and we got 1-gallon cans for $10 less after the sale and rebate. We are starting to paint this weekend, so we weren't going to get the paint until later this week. However, we decided to go in this weekend and finalize all of our color choices and buy all the supplies, and we found that they were having this sale through today. So, we end up saving more than $100 in paint! Hooray!

Bad news: I have already spent the $100. I ran to the grocery store for a few items, and on the way home I got a speeding ticket. Bummer! The sad part is that it's on a road that I always watch my speed on ... except for this one moment. Nope, I was concentrating on staying in my lane, which isn't properly marked, so I wasn't watching my speed. (For you locals, I'm talking about the road by what used to be North Park and is now nothing ... except that pretty road to nowhere.) So, my citation is for 30 in a 25 mph, and it's going to cost $110. Are you kidding me?!? Sigh. Somehow I'm not worried about Spanish Fork's budget when tickets cost that much -- any shortfalls and they just whip out a few of those and they're back on track ...

My ticket made me think, though, that being a cop has to be one of the worst jobs on the planet. I mean, who in the world is happy to see a cop? NOBODY! Well, almost nobody. When you actually do NEED one, are you really happy that you need them? Nope, just in need. I just can't imagine a job where nobody likes to see you. Totally opposite the UPS guy -- who doesn't like getting packages? And UPS is generally not used for business like FedEx, so people really are happy to see them ... that is if you can wave and say thanks before they're peeling out of your driveway to their next delivery ...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A long donation

I am not one of those people who cuts their hair very often. First of all, I don't want to pay for frequent haircuts -- I'm too cheap. Also, and this is probably the bigger issue, my hair doesn't grow very fast. It seems my friend Hilary chops her hair and then the next season has to decide whether or not to do it again. My youngest sister Rebecca, who always has long hair, has donated her hair to locks of love three times.

Well, a couple of months ago my hair really started bugging me. It was too long, and I wanted to get it cut. However, I decided that it would be cool if at least once in my life I got it long enough to donate to Locks of Love. So, I waited ... and whined ... and waited some more.

FINALLY I measured it this week and it was long enough to donate (they need 10 inches minimum). HOORAY!!! I called my cosmetologist niece and asked her if she would do the honors. She came over the next day (thank goodness) and chopped the 10 inches off of my hair.

When my sister Rachel saw how thin my hair is, said my donation should give Locks of Love enough hair for someone's bangs. Sigh. I like my thin hair, but it sure won't do much for a wig! However, at least I can say I've done it at least once, even if I never plan on getting my hair long enough to do it again. :)

After: (as if you couldn't figure that one out on your own)



Friday, February 13, 2009

So happy with Toyota

I am annoyed w/the whole bailout/economic stimulus plans. The reason this country is in hurt is because of greed, dishonesty and living beyond one's means, so the government decides to spend, spend, spend (on many things that just aren't relevant to the economy) and overspend its own means to "save" us? Sigh ... I know they think more money will help, but with CEOs doing what they can to make their own wallet fatter and therefore laying off people or shutting down plants, I don't see how more money under their direction will help.

What I am not annoyed about is our Toyota. Does anyone out there not know that I LOVE Toyota? Oh, and basically anything that is not made here in America? We bought Paul's Toyota back in 2001. Last week (yes, SEVEN YEARS later) it had its first repair. Sad thing is that Paul hasn't even made sure it got oil changes or tires at the right times or anything. It's just a great car. I mean a REALLY great car.

I think the comparison in our lives is obvious on American vs. Foreign-company cars. Our Dodge, which we bought in 2006, has already had several repairs (including $150 just to get the blinker to work!), and now is in need of a $700+ repair. No, I'm not joking -- I wish! So, for a 2005 car we've spent nearly $1,000 on repairs, and on Paul's 2002 we've spent less than $500. And the American car companies wonder why they're not selling anything? We personally are not buying any more junk. It's Toyota or Honda for us from here on out! Yes, they're more expensive, but I'd rather pay the expense up front and get a quality vehicle than pay for stupid random repairs. We took a gamble w/Dodge and lost ...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So thankful for inspiration

I am so grateful for a little miracle that happened in our family last week. I've been worried about Tyler for a while now and have been very concerned about what is going on with this little boy. I notice he's a lot more concerned with what other kids think (already!), and he's just not pay attention at school well and hasn't been advancing in his reading for months.

My boys just aren't talkers, so I had no clue what was going on. I asked if there were kids who were being mean to him or bullying him at school. Nope. I asked if anyone had touched his red zones or shown him inappropriate pictures. Nope. I asked all the questions I could think of repeatedly to no avail ...

At his last parent-teacher conference the teacher said he was having a hard time listening. I asked if it was any worse than other boys his age, and she said not really. She's a first-year teacher, so I was wondering if she was just thinking that little boys would act as appropriate and adorable as little girls? Not that that excuses it, but I wasn't sure why she brought it up.

I spoke with another parent who goes in to help more than I do, and she said her little girl has been getting stomachaches a lot more often lately, so she wondered what was happening in the classroom as well. After thinking about this (and about an earlier conversation with a different parent about the teacher mentioning our children being the "young ones" in the class), I was hit with inspiration: Tyler isn't getting positive reinforcement at school. All of a sudden it all started to make sense!

Without positive reinforcement, why should he behave? And if you're never getting any it's going to affect you no matter how old you are -- but even adults may not be able to put into words what's wrong, so no wonder he couldn't tell me what was happening. I realized that because of his first two weeks (which were difficult emotionally as he re-adjusted to school), she kind of had pegged him as immature. She did ask me at the first parent-teacher conference why Tyler was in this grade because he was so much younger than the other kids (his birthday is late August). He's never had any problems before, and in fact has always been above reading level, does well in math, and is always commended by teachers for his social skills. However, apparently this teacher noticed his birthday (which isn't hard to do since we bring in birthday treats the first week of school) and has judged him for that as well.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I think his teacher is great. However, with it being her first year, I think she's overwhelmed with planning her curriculum and is forgetting to compliment kids or she just hasn't realized how powerful positive reinforcement can be in motivating a child.

So, I sent her an e-mail asking her to really lay it on thick for a couple of weeks and see if that makes a difference. I actually got an e-mail back from her a couple of days later saying she'd noticed a huge difference after just a few comments. (I'm just sad he's been without it for so long!) She actually said she thought he was just unmotivated and didn't pay attention, but since she's given him some positive feedback she's realized that those areas have improved tremendously. I've noticed a HUGE difference in him at home that just makes my heart sing!

I am so grateful that we know what's happening so we can fix it. Like I said, he hasn't progressed in his reading for months, and yesterday alone he excitedly read a chapter book instead of playing with Legos. If we hadn't figured this out, he could have possibly fallen behind and actually been pegged as an unmotivated little boy who has problems listening. Can you imagine if he went to the next grade with that reputation? Who knows where it would lead. It scares me to think about!

In any case, I'm grateful for my Ty Guy and that he's back "on." And I'm even more grateful for inspiration to tell my mind what's up since I would have never figured it out on my own.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No more than 17

Last night I saw an interview with the mom of the octuplets. I haven't heard much about the story, so I had no idea the controversy that was swirling around this lady. People are upset that 1) She would even consider having more children since she already had six; 2) That she didn't abort some of the babies to give the others a better chance; and 3) That she is single and unemployed and probably living off the government.

I will say here that I strongly disagree with anyone's decision to have children out of wedlock. That being said, though, I'm surprised about the controversy surrounding her. They asked on the interview why she would consider having more children. She asked why married couples decide to have more children -- because they want more. She believes strongly in life and therefore didn't want to abort any of the babies -- I agree with her on that. (I didn't realize she had only been implanted with six embryos, or that they didn't even realize there were eight until the first seven had been delivered.) She does receive food stamps from the government, but other than that is getting help from family and taking out loans to help pay for things. Why is she any different than most other people living off of the government?

I was appalled on my mission to go into the projects and see the repetitive cycle happening there all too often: A child is raised by her grandma. Then when she gets to be a teen and gets pregnant (because there seems to be nothing else to do), she hands off her child (and subsequent babies) to her mother to raise. Her mother is more than willing to do it, because she's ready to settle down and raise children (since she didn't raise her own.) Then when this girl grows up and is ready to settle down she starts raising her children's babies since they're into the wild teen life she is ready to give up. It's a very sad cycle I saw repeatedly on my mission -- and yet somehow that's more acceptable than this lady? I don't get why people are so focused on her. She is trying to resist any government help and is using loans so she can pay them back one day. I don't know how she expects to finish school and work with 14 kids (can you imagine the daycare bill?), but that's not mine to judge.

What I was impressed with is how much she wants these kids and how she seemed to love them all so much. She pointed out that even married couples don't always sit down and give their kids the attention they deserve, but that she does. This mom didn't ask for this fame (or infamy as you may see it), so it's sad that so many fingers are being pointed at her. I've got to think she has a lot more energy than I do, because she just had 8 babies less than a month ago and already let Dateline do two interviews with her. I'd be telling them to get lost ...

I don't understand why people get so upset when others want large families. I said something this past year about "when we have our next ..." and a relative said, "You're having more?!?!" Yes, why not? One of my friend's sisters couldn't believe she was considering having another one since she already had four. I said to her sister, "Well, she's an AWESOME mom, so why shouldn't she have more?"

Whenever people ask me or Paul how many children we plan to have, we say, "No more than 17." Yes, 17 is our limit. :) I actually started thinking this back when I was a missionary. (I know, strange thought for a missionary!) Anyway, I saw a tabloid about Madonna having a baby. I was shocked! I didn't ever know that she was pregnant, but I felt so bad for that baby! That made me determine right then and there that I'd have as many as the Lord wanted to send me, but that I definitely couldn't handle more than 17. (Of course, four = no more than 17 ... but most people don't realize that when we say it.)

We truly never really set a number of how many kids we would have. That has ALWAYS been the answer -- no more than 17. How many couples do you know who really stuck to the number they pre-determined before having children? And if they did so, do they ever wonder if they were supposed to have more? Wouldn't that be the worst feeling?!?

Anyway, I wish the octopulet mom well. In fact, I wish all of us moms well, whether or not we decide to have 17 kids, 6 kids, 2 kids, or an only child. As long as the kids get the love they need, it's nobody else's business how many there are or how they're provided for.

With the ridiculous bailout spending back in Washington (trillions of dollars), I'm surprised people are so upset about a few hundred dollars a month going to a mom who appears to deserve some help!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I love to see the temple

Today we had the privilege and blessing of attending the open house of the new LDS Temple in Draper. I was very excited (and a little emotional) at the opportunity of being able to take my children inside one of the most holy places on earth. We also were able to go with many in my family (all but two brothers' families) and my friend Hilary and part of her family. What a neat place to go with my children, family and friends!

I didn't realize until we were about half-way through the temple tour that Zachary was enjoying the artwork so much. He was counting how many pictures he saw in the temple, and he counted 39 pieces of artwork. Many of these paintings depicted various stories of the Savior, and I'm glad Zachary noticed them -- and that he mentioned them to me so I made sure to notice them more myself. My nephew Nick had his brochure open to a picture of a sealing room (where marriages are performed), and he couldn't wait to see that room. Tyler and Zachary loved to see the baptistry. All the children, including Shayla, truly enjoyed the beauty of the Celestial room, which is symbolic of the peace and joy we can experience in the afterlife with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In fact, as we were walking out of the room Shayla turned around and "shhhh"ed the person behind her, even though they weren't talking. Even at age 2 she knew this was a special, holy place. Zachary said the temple made him feel good, and Tyler said he was happy to go into the temple for the first time ever.

It was interesting to note that from the Draper Temple we could easily see two other temples nearby -- the Jordan River Temple and the yet unfinished Oquirrh Mountain Temple are within minutes of each other. It made me hope for another temple near us since I hear that Provo is the busiest temple in the world. I'm not complaining at all, though! I remember back to my days as a missionary in Georgia where people traveled for hours to get to a temple, and I am SO GRATEFUL to have a temple nearby -- even if it is busy. :)

I am so grateful that I have been blessed with a holy part to my life. I am grateful for parents who reared me to love my Savior and who serve others more than anyone I have ever met. I hope I can give my children the desire to find a holy part of their lives as well. We are taught that the holiness of the temple is the most sacred place on earth and the only place that can ever compare is the home. I realize that my home has a long way to go in attaining that possibility, but at least I think we're moving in the right direction. In the meantime I hope my children always feel that our home is a sanctuary from the evils and pressures of this world -- a place they always feel welcome and loved no matter what, and a place they're comfortable bringing their friends for the same reasons.

As I looked through these pictures, I couldn't help but notice how old my kids are getting!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Doctors don't know everything ... or even close ...

So, somehow I think we all give a lot more credit to doctors than they really deserve. At least this is my thinking. You know, we figure they actually KNOW what they're doing. This is why sometimes I get home from the doctor and think, "Why didn't I ask that?" Because the doctor sounded so confident in what he was saying that I just accepted it.

I had this experience a few years ago with a dermatologist. I went in to have a mole checked since it was growing and getting jagged edges, both signs you're supposed to watch for. (My family doctor said she didn't think it was cause for concern, but I decided to go get a second opinion since the mole hadn't existed a few years earlier.) So, the dermatologist also says he doesn't think it's anything to worry about. He cuts out most of the mole and tells me that he left a few of the jagged edges (since he cut a nice, round circle). I had the thought, "Why not just take it all?" but I didn't say it.

Needless to say, he called a few days later and said there were "abnormalities" with the sample they took, and that I needed to come in and have the rest removed. He said to wait until it healed and then come get the rest cut out. Thanks a lot!!! Well, it gets better ...

When my finger healed, there are no visible mole fragments. I call the dermatologist to find out how they will handle this and am told that if I can't see them that they're fine and just to leave them. Of course they're not willing to put this into writing. I explain that there were abnormalities and that he knew he left fragments behind, and he's the one who called to have me come in to get the rest out. (BTW, he was no longer with the company when I healed, but I never heard exactly why since I didn't go back!) I ended up going to another dermatologist, who also assured me that if you can no longer see them, than 99 percent of the time the body heals those left-behind fragments. I hope I'm not the 1 percent! ;) Anyway, he did say that if it EVER grows back to have it removed and to not let anyone talk me out of it.

My niece with Cystic Fibrosis was taken to the doctor innumerable times her first year of life, and her doctor basically thought my sister was a hypochondriac. They ran all types of random tests (even one for dwarfism) to see why she wasn't growing. It wasn't until she was in the ER with lung failure that a specialist looked at her and immediately said (just from looking at her), "She has cystic fibrosis. Get her tested immediately." Sure enough, he was right. Good thing he was visiting from another hospital that day!

So, on goes the saga: My mom has a growth on her bottom eyelid that has bothered her for years. The family doctor said it's just a cyst and it's fine. She was going to have it cut away when she had LASIK surgery a couple of years ago, but they said it would just grow back so it was pointless to have it removed. Last week she finally decided to see a specialist (after what was probably an inspired recommendation to her), and turns out it's skin cancer. She goes in for surgery next week to have it removed and her whole bottom lid reconstructed. Hello -- glad it's nothing anyone ever worried about!

In any case, it's made me realize how often doctors just really don't know. I mean, the human body is so complex it's not really possible for them to know it all. I've found specialists have a lot more of a grasp on their speciality, but even then they've got to do some guesswork here and there. I think back to my PR jobs and how sometimes I was just pulling what I could out of my hat, and often that was enough to appease the clients. I then realized doctors have to do the same thing -- but they sound so confident doing it that we think they actually know what they're talking about. (Maybe part of it is being a man, too, which most of my doctors have been. No offense to any men out there, but you're A LOT more cocky than us women!)

Anyway, I'm going to make it a point to speak up more often, ask the questions I want to ask even if I think I'll sound stupid, and basically make sure they have to think at least twice before writing out a prescription and sending me on my way. My little family has been very fortunate to not have major illnesses and we've always had doctors I really do trust, but I'll take this as yet another lesson in this adventure called motherhood!