Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Solo Conferences

Ah, parent teacher conferences. Usually we divvy up the conferences and Corey does the older kids and I do the elementary and middle school. But Corey is gone, as we are all well aware, so guess where I got to go? Back to High School! Oh boy, I had to gear myself up to leave the house again... I've like had to leave the house every day the past week,which I'm not used to doing. So last night Joseph and Ethan were gone at Voodoo in Corey's car, and Angela had borrowed the van, so I wanted to bail out and say I couldn't go in the busted car, but fortunately (though unfortunately for me and my desire to get out of PTCs at this moment) it's still driveable. So off I went. I left Mel and Hyrum in charge and headed over in car with the busted bumper. Daniel fell asleep on the way, woke him up and strapped him on. Got a full bottle, here we go
Walking past the seal from the great class of '94!
I saw some teachers that I took classes from 22 years ago (AP Art history teacher Woods, Health teacher Hymas) and a friend of mine from the class of' '94 was there for conferences for her kids too and we said hi (Allison Hampshire - she hadn't aged a bit, the only difference was she had shorter hair) So it went well at conferences. Mel is quiet, they both have a few grades they need to try to get up. I felt like I totally had to go to Conferences cause we skipped them in September cause we were busy with Daniel being born, and we didn't catch that Mel was struggling and that term didn't go so great for her. So, even with Corey gone, I did it, go me. Positive mindset: I can do this! I went to Churchill after but the empty parking lot clued me in that there weren't conferences going on tonight. Doh, that meant that today was gonna be busy, and it was. I couldn't do conferences tomorrow cause I'm going to be in San Diego with Corey. Blah this is a lot to manage... my brain is kinda used to managing it but not doing all of it. Here we go

I already had conferences with Abi and Lily scheduled for tonight, so first this evening was heading over to the elementary for them at 4:45 and 5. Then to the book fair cause I promised them we'd do it today since I missed books and bagels yesterday morning (that whole "can't do it cause I'm flying solo" thing again...) so after the book fair we headed home to check the status of Owen and Daniel, who I'd left with Mel (Hyrum, Eth, and Joseph gone at band). Owen was ready for a change of scenery so I took him with me for the rest of the evening. Stoller in the back. First to Albion. Wesley wanted me to see like 5 of his teachers. Wasn't too bad, lines were okay, was there for like 45 minutes. Then over to Churchill to finish off the evening. Stroller out of the van, kid out of the van, hoof it up the hill from the parking lot. It was 6:40. There weren't a lot of people there. I walked around, long line for a teacher to see for Ethan, which was the first name I recognized, so I went to say hi to Mr. Arnell since there was no line. I didn't have any concerns with Hyrum in his class, but wanted to introduce myself and tell him that my kids absolutely love having him as a teacher. Mr. Arnell is the teacher I heard all the kids say really positive things about. He also comes from a family of 10 kids so we talked about that for a bit and visited. I like Mr. Arnell and am grateful there are great teachers like that. He was one of the deciding factors to Wes deciding to go to Churchill. Hyrum and Ethan and Mel were all like "You have to go to Churchill or you'll never have Arnell!" Then after that the line for Eth's teacher was down to one so I jumped over. That was also the time that I realized almost all the teachers were leaving. Oh, this ends at 7? Doh. That was a quick visit, then over to Ethan's one request: Peterson. Someone was still there talking his ear off so I waited for a few minutes then talked to him. We were the last ones in the room. Then we were done. I guess that will have to do, I did my best. Now it's time to get home and pack and get ready for tomorrow. Hope I don't lose these notes and papers in my absence before I can go over them with the kids. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Today was Valentine's Day. My #1 Valentine is far away in Brazil, but I shall see him shortly. He did call to wish us all a happy love day. Keeping me company while Corey is gone is my funny Valentine Daniel. He was super cute sucking his thumb two days ago ~
My next Valentine Natalie is a sweet little roommate too. Still sleeping on our floor most every night.
The past few nights she's been sleeping with an old toy that Abi got when we were in Chile 5 years ago. I had it on display on my shelf to remind me of little Abi, now it will remind me of Natalie too. I made Valentine's for the older kids. Some Candy grams - I was inspired by the "Super8" candy bars that Angela gifted us. And this was also an effort to get rid of the chocolate before I ate it all.
Joseph likes Mr. Goodbars. Mel likes KitKats, but they aren't good for candy grams...
Neither are Reeses. So I tried to get creative, but it mostly got lame.
Then I got lazy with Wes and Lily. They didn't seem to mind. I didn't keep track of how many treats each kid got, but since I hid the Valentines on their beds they weren't able to compare to each other.
Abi was excited by the surprise, she loves stuff like this. She used some of her treats from school to make a Valentine for me, cause she is also a major note writer. I've got a whole stack of love notes from my sweet Abi, and now have this one to add to the collection.

Monday, February 13, 2017


Angela and her girls are here!

And we found each other at the airport through our husbands communicating between Brazil and Chile, funny. And what a pleasure to have them, but not just because they've spent the whole day cleaning up my wreck of a home. We cleaned and then we rearranged things and they are settled in now and I got a space heater for the basement and this will be fun! Owen even seems to have lost some of his shyness and has smiled at them and looked them in the eyes a few times. I'm running around a bit and things are busy, so I'll try to catch up here when I can. Parent Teacher Conferences this week and then on Thursday I fly to San Diego and meet up with Corey there on his way back from Brazil. We're going to be there through Sunday. Fun times, and busy, I feel like I'm kinda running around like a chicken with it's head cut off

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fender Bender

We officially became owners of a new car last month. A little Ford Fiesta. We had been storing this car in our garage for several months for the daughter of one of Corey's Brazil investors. His daughter Leticia had been studying at BYU Idaho but had returned to Brazil through Christmas. We had permission to use it and it saved us on more than once occasion when our cars had issues. We knew we needed to get ourselves a third car. So, when she decided to not continue school at BYUI, they asked if we could help sell the car and if we knew anyone who might be interested in buying it. Corey said we'd like to. He was mostly pleased that it was small and fit in our garage so nicely with our other 2 cars.

And now the car has officially been christened. On Saturday night, Joseph was on his way to a gig. He was excited that it was even a paid gig - $60 bucks baby! Sweet! He got a bit lost on his way there. He had to pull a U-turn to get back on track, and after the U-turn, he was stopped at a red light. It turned green. He put the car in first to go and accidentally stalled it. The Fiesta is a clutch and Joseph is still working on not killing it, and he was a little flustered from being lost and thinks that is why he wasn't calm enough to go without stalling. So he stalled, and as he went to restart it, the car jolted forward with a big loud sound from something behind him. What... He was a bit stunned. I just got hit! Oh no! He started the car again and pulled over to the side. It was then that the white truck that hit him paused briefly and then left. He called me at home and started with all the back story, but I could tell where it was going and cut to the chase "Did you get hit?" "Yeah..." followed with "and the other car just left!" and a few "I'm really sorry Mom"s
I was in the middle of chaos at home with visitors at the door, so I told him to call Corey. Corey, Geico, and the police were soon all involved on the phone and at the scene and a short hour later Joseph was on his way. The car was damaged - bumber is busted and the trunk pushed in so that the door doesn't shut close. I think I'll throw a facebook request out there and see if we can find the fellow who hit him. It was a white truck, Jospeh says he saw long hair, but couldn't tell if it was a guy or girl.

Update: On Tuesday morning I made my second and last attempt to throw something out on facebook. My first post didn't get shared much, in attept #2 I try to cut to the chase and asked:

DO YOU HAVE A WHITE TRUCK? If you do or if you know someone who does, and that someone also got in a fender bender near Highland Drive and La Cresta Drive this last Saturday night (Feb 11) around 6:30 and then fled the scene, and would like to repent and make reconciliation with the teenager you abandoned at the side of the road, we're here. Or if anyone wants to do detective work and give us a lead by ratting out your neighbor with a white truck that has a damaged front bumper or front headlight, we promise we'll keep your tip anonymous! Thanks. If you feel so inclined, please share this post, thanks facebook friends!

And so Joseph'd $60 gig is going to be a bit more costly to cover than was originally planned thanks to our collision deductible since the person didn't stop, the stinker. But life is still good. It's not Valley Forge, and everyone needs to get in an accident atleast once in their life, right! Good job Joseph, thanks for christening the car for us, hopefully we'll be good for a while after this (and keep your eyes out for white trucks).

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cleaning for Company

Today I was in such a funk. (So much for the Devotional talk I was so excited about yesterday!) I was preaching to myself with that anyways. But maybe I'm not a lost cause... maybe being aware is the first step. I was very aware that I was not thinking positively, so that's good. Bad thing was that I didn't want to think positively - the natural man in me somehow enjoyed my bad mood and I thus wanted to continue the miserable wallow in my grumpy attitude. I'll blame the cloudy gray weather. I could feel myself continuing the downward spiral and figured I just best help myself hurry and hit bottom so I could start to come back up again. A few calls to vent friends and family and then I was able to turn around and function again. Yay.

So I think my funk was mostly caused by the basement. And that had become something I had to reconcile with because we have 3 house guests coming for a few weeks (through April) and we had to make a space for them, and that was the only place for it. Our friend Angela is coming to visit. Corey and Angela know each other from his mission days when he was a missionary working in the Santiago West Mission office, where she worked too. Angela saved us when the PDI in Chile wouldn't let me come back to America after our 5 months there. She came to the blessed US of A in October 2012 for a visit and now is returning and this time she's bringing two of her daughters. Here is a picture of all of us from 6 years ago.
All those little kids are bigger now. Her oldest daughter is on a mission for the LDS church in Lima Peru, awesome, so it's just Cata and Gabriella that are coming. they are Ethan and Joseph's ages (I think?)

So, I got out of the funk when I stopped thinking how much I wish the basement was finished and how we don't have a good space to put them, and stopped telling myself we can't host people very well. My overwhelmed bad mood that had persisted all day turned a corner when I told myself I had two choices:
  1. Just shove all the stuff out of the way into a big pile of junk and call it good.  OR ~
  2. Just get rid of all of it. 
If it's just a pile of unwanted or unused junk anyway, then really, why don't we just be gone with it? Sure, there are a few things in the boxes here and there that are truly misplaced treasures, but most of it's just there to sap my energy! So, a year ago I organized the basement, and all the winter and summer clothes were put into lettuce boxes that took me several Costco trips to acquire. Well, I've moved all clothing into the laundry room, thus now most of those boxes are empty. It's gonna take me a few months to throw them out in the recycling on trash day, but hey! (lightbulb above my head) if I fill them with all this junk, then I can drop them off with the load of donations at the DI! Brilliant, that could be a win win!

So I didn't do my plan A of going to the temple for date night. Instead we cleared out junk and the kids were around to cast their donate or keep vote for different items. Didn't get the van totally full, but did get a lot of unused stuff in there and I'm already feeling lighter.
Toys just don't last long at our house, as you can see from this old post. I even gave away some vintage "My Friend" dolls - like 3 mikeys that I bought for the kids for Christmas in 2006. Poor 6 year old Joseph,.. his mom bought him a doll for Christmas! But I did have my seamstress sister in law make some cute Jedi clothes for it. I wanted Mel and Joseph and Ethan to play together. I don't think it ever happened. I have held on to them for 11 years anyway, but we said goodbye this week, 2 Becky, 2 Jenny. Someone out there who wants to put in the effort might feel like they scored a pretty sweet find at the thrift store - you could get $15 bucks each for those, good luck. As for me, I'm just happy to pass them along and have them gone. Time again to try and help let things that don't matter to me fall out of our life.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Right Mindset

On Tuesday I listened to Elder Cook's BYU Devotional address. (Loved it.) I wanted to watch it again and share it - luckily I'm subscribed on YouTube to BYU Devotionals, so a little snippet of it popped up later after it uploaded, sweet. Happy Corey and I are doing our part to help fight the demographic winter. And glad all my kids #s 3-11 have been born. Pretty powerful visuals there during his talk!

After watching it, this talk by Brother Manning was next up on the playlist. I was intrigued by the title because of something Wesley asked me on Monday which made me pause and think about the things Corey and I say as parents and how they affect how the kids feel. So I gave it a listen. It was awesome. Click play below to see what I mean.

I shared it with my BFF Nicole, and I called her yesterday on my way back from taking Corey to the airport at 7am. She had listened to it and loved it too, and that helped me remember and focus and start to practice being mentally tough as I begin these 8 days with Corey gone. We both loved the story about the skier! I need to come up with a few mental cues and power statements to help me when I'm feeling overwhelmed or when I'm talking negatively to myself about whatever is bugging me. NO more negativity! Believe in myself, I got this! I think my power statement will be something like "With the Savior's help, I can (fill in the blank)" - such as clean the kitchen, Or when I'm thinking negatively about how slow it might be going in my forever quest of getting back in my skinny clothes wardrobe - then I'll say "I got this!" So, I have more I'd like to say about his talk, so we'll see if I'm able to come back later to update.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sad Eyes

So, did I mention Corey is taking a trip to Brazil? Yeah, he left this morning. This is how we all feel when Daddy's gone:
Just sooo sad.
Don't we look like we've been crying for hours? Yes, that's how sad we are. Actually, this is how Natalie feels after playing outside in the back yard.
I don't know if it was all the dust and dirt in the air, or if she touched the neighbor's cats and then rubbed her eyes, but it didn't look very good.

Natalie was still her usual playful self and was up and about fine, but her eyes just looked so bad we couldn't help but give her a look of great concern each time she'd look at us. It kinda sobered her up.
So, why is Corey in Brazil again, you ask? Well, on Saturday, Corey went to the temple. I went Friday night for my lone date night. but he had to get in some more consulting hours, so I went alone on Friday night. But he really needed to go - he's been super stressed the past 2 weeks, I encouraged him to go several times. He finally made it out Saturday morning, yay! But then he came back and what is the inspiration you received there, my dear? What is that? (awkward pause and silence...) You are leaving me again? You feel you should go to Brazil? Is that so... Um, Corey, darling, will you excuse me... Lord, can I talk to you outside for a moment? (walk out of the room to have a private talk) Lord, what are you doing? That wasn't the kind of inspiration and help I wanted you to give him! Can't you just fix it all and we can be done for a while? Sigh. Well fine, but that's the last time I encourage him to go to the temple! (kidding) Oh bother, fine! He can go. Looks like I have to channel some Mary Williamson again. So he came home and spent 4 hours trying to finangle his flight down there as inexpensively as possible. And then we really did go out on a date. Our favorite regular - India House. Since Owen was sick we took him with us. He didn't last long...
Correction: "We" his parents didn't last long, he was just too good at being a kid and we don't have any more to give... "Cool! The lid of this salt shaker comes off!"
Why won't you let me bang the salt and pepper shakers on the table!?!?
I don't want ice or water or waa!! 
 So after sitting for 4 minutes we said we'd take it to go.  
Thankfully, the fact that we didn't last in a restaurant for more than 5 minutes with Owen might have just spared us taking him with us on our anniversary in two weeks where I would be stuck with him and Daniel on a plane where there would be no escape for me. We're still figuring out how we're gonna do it, but I think we'll leave you home Owen. No offense, but it won't feel like much of a break if we take both of you little boys. Sorry 'bout that. So I just have to make it solo for 8 days and then I get to fly to San Diego next week and will meet Corey there (returning from Brazil). Good luck me. (Is winter over yet?)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Feeling Better

We are all feeling better around here. First, this little man did turn the corner last night and didn't wake up crying this morning, hallelujah! I dare say he was happy, even pleasant. He's not back to full power, just warming up a bit as he practices doing what he does best - walking around with his blanket and emptying the dishwasher when I'm trying to load it.
He also likes to close it when I'm trying to load it, and then press the start button. Then I give up and we go watch tv. I don't get nothin' done around here. Whether it's cause he's sick and I don't get anything done cause I'm holding him, or cause he's feeling well and is in my wake sabotaging my efforts, that's just Mom Life. I'd much rather have him happy and in the way. The dishes aren't going anywhere anyway. 
"Give me that phone!"

Corey's leaving tomorrow for Brazil. I thought I'd get my "I can cope with chocolate" binge out of the way early, so yesterday I ran to Fresh Market yesterday and bought this goodness ~
Red Button Ice Cream - give it a try if you haven't. Some of the flavors looked too exotic, but maybe we'll feel brave next time. I think it's only available at Fresh Market. Very yummy. I shared with the kids - got two containers and they helped me save myself from the calories of eating it all on my own.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Toddler Fever

Owen had a slight fever last Thursday, then Friday in the early AM he was crying with a burning fever. It's gone up and back down over the weekend. Tylenol has helped. He got checked out by the pediatrician on Friday and didn't have ear infections or anything. Saturday night as he shoved his hand in his mouth crying I thought maybe it was cause he was teething? Put some Orajel on him, but he was still sick and tired and just wanted to be held. I stayed home from church with him on Sunday. Then, since I missed church, I went to a 1:00 ward by myself for their block time at my old Stake. I don't want to sound too happy about going to church by myself sans kiddos, but it was great to be there and able to listen, I felt very nourished by the good Word and was ready to come back home after it was done. And since I had stayed home with all the sick little kids, Corey was able to listen at church too. (We might need to do this again!) So, yeah, Owen has just wanted to be held. Today, thankfully, he's been happy to be propped up in the rocking chair in our room. PBS television is our friend.
There he was during one of his naps, here is was during another.
He was probably so tired cause he was up during the night fussing. Of course I was up too, but I didn't get a nap. Here he was really tuckered out.
Poor little guy. Tonight I googled "toddler flu fever 6 days" (it's only been 5, but I was thinking ahead for if he's still hot tomorrow) - this page made me feel better in that it's not uncommon. But still felt better check with pediatrician via text instead of just relying on Dr. Google. When I texted the dr tonight when Owen's fever was up to 103 again. Another shot of Tylenol to get him through the night, but doctor says if he doesn't really turn the corner tonight, I should take him in.
So either he'll go in tomorrow or will be better on his own, either way we hope things are better when Corey leaves for Brazil on Wed. I don't want to be left alone with sick kids! This is rough.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Wax Museum - Take 6

Another year of kids in elementary school, another 3rd grader, and another wax museum! Abi's turn was today - she was Helen Keller.
I thought she looked so pretty and proper sitting there, with her hair back in a bun and wearing a fancy silk neckscarf ? Really it was a slice of a white sheet that I just ripped off and tied on with a "that'll do" and voila! another year's museum done!
Can you tell she is reading braille?
Cute kid. Glad I made it over. Wes saved me - he had stayed home sick, so I was able to leave him with Sophi, Owen and Daniel while I ran over to the museum with Natalie. As we pulled up Natalie started begging to go play on the slide but I made her come in to the school with me, so sad. "I want to play on the park! (Silence is my reply) Mom, you say 'okay, fine!'" Natalie you crack me up. Love these girls. All the snow is melting though - tell you what Natalie, if this keeps up I'll take out to the park next week. Love these girls.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Playing Toys

The girls FINALLY cleaned up all the stuff in their room. And when their room is clean, lo and behold, there is room to play! So Lily was playing with her Elves Legos and that was cute to see, and then I peeked in on Natalie in the window who was setting up all her little ponies and making them kiss.
Natalie heard us laughing at her game but didn't take offense. She's a cutie.
Lily played with Daniel too, giving him her wizard wand that Wes made for her for Christmas, trying to teach him a charm to do on her
He kept poking it at himself and I didn't want him to poke his eye out, so after a few unsuccessful spells we took it away. He's more worried at practicing his grip right now anyway, and he had a good grip. The spells will come later in second year.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Lion King Jr.

Wesley stayed after school a lot during December and especially this month of January to practice and rehearse and get ready to be in his school's play "Lion King Jr." I actually didn't get away from life to go see it, but Corey took some of the kids last Wednesay (1/25). My friend sent along this picture of Wes and his friends Tess and Anna who were in the play:
Also Abi went with a group of friends to see the show on the last day the 26th.
That was also the night Joseph was in a "Holladay's Got Talent" talent show, he got 2nd! Sorry we didn't make it out to your show either Joseph. Wish we could do it all.
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