Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ode to the man...

this man...

As with any marriage and family, there are good times and bad times, and everything in between times. (and anyone else who says it's all good times is either lying or on some seriously good drugs-which i need to get ahold of.)

my blog post today is dedicated to the father of my children, and my husband...kyle.

since he lost his job 6 weeks ago, he has tirelessly worked at something EVERY.SINGLE.DAY for those 6 weeks. the pay wasn't always the best, and the jobs were sometimes worse than the pay--but he has done them and never EVER complained once.

not even once.

not while roofing on his knees in 90+ degree heat, not while sucking the poop out of porta-potties, not while doing every odd job known to man, he has not complained.

he has gotten up, and gone to "work" (albeit not a regular job, work none the less).

he has been a model of endurance, and perseverance, and "continuing on" after day while the going has been tough.

he has tried, oh so hard, to keep his chin up, when the only way it "should be" falling, is down.

he has reached out of his comfort zone and tried new things.

even while i lay crumpled in a snot nosed heap on my bed on a very dark day (for the WHOLE day, the first in my life spent in such a spot) gnashing my teeth and wailing, he quietly let me gnash and wail. did offer neither comfort nor advice-but rather let me be, and feel, and work it out. (which i did- and while it didn't accomplish a darn thing, i needed the "moment".)

and still, he loved me. EVEN during the "worst" part of better and worse.

Winston Churchill said..."Continuous effort-not strength or intelligence-is the key to unlocking our potential."

if there is ANY ONE PERSON that i know who is the definition of "conintuous effort", it would be THIS MAN.

thank you for being the "THE MAN." This is my ode to you.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

winner winner chicken dinner

thanks to my super coupon friend, along with double coupons at Smiths last
week i got all this (there were 10 boxes of cereal--hard to see) for $30.38.
the list includes cereals, 4 milks, 2 pringles, 4 rice sides, 2 yogart packs, soda, 2 juicy juice
packs, grapes, cantaloupe, gum packs, cookies, a couple deoderants, etc.
Gracie has taken to entering EVERY SINGLE contest she can. She entered the
Harmans grocery "birthday" contest (we were pulling for the $500 of free groceries) but
won the free bike instead....nothing fancy, but HEY! it was free. Now Kyle
can go on bike rides with the girls (as his old bike was toast!)

she ALSO entered Josh in the University Mall (provo) "rolling for A's" contest.
grand prize: $25,000 scholarship and $25,000 shopping spree/cash.
(odds of winning: 1 in 48,000)
you had to roll dice with "letters" on them instead of numbers...
the point was to have someone (yeah! right!) roll ALL "A's".
josh did NOT win, but he did get a "roll" of the dice, and a "Schwag Bag" full
of University Mall coupons, gift cards and samples (worth $100).
Keep it up Grace, we would love to win a new car and a new job for kyle...
think she can pull it off?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

grass in my underwear....

well, not mine. (the thought of that just makes me itch...all over my body!)

as i tucked Olivia into bed tonight, we were talking about school and she said to me...

"mom i REALLY have to tell you about something

that happened today at school!"

me, of course waiting anxiously, and with baited

breath. (well, more like it's late(r) at night and almost time to brush my teeth breath)

"well, there is this boy "N", and he picked a bunch of grass and THEN he stuck in down his

pants IN TO HIS UNDERWEAR and THEN he pulled it


so there you have it. first week of 1st grade

and that's the "report". eating grass out of underwear. next it will be boogers off the desks,or dirt off the playgroup, or woodchips from under the swings. all part of the rites of passage for elementary school aged boys, right?

to the boy eating grass out of his undies...


and also probably not your best move to impress the girls, but hey! it made for a memorable
bedtime story.
and, it probably has some good fiber content in it as well. right? horses eat it, cows eat it,
they're still alive.
sweet dreams.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

F.D.O.S. pictures and all....

we have entered into the new school year. the smell of new books, unsharpened pencils, sparkly new binders, and freshly packed lunches assault my sense of smell and litter my home. alarms ringing early, bleary eyes peeking out from bed covers and mute children wander my home. (a small blessing of early rising, they don't yet speak!) starting a new school year always leaves me in tears, this year moreso than others. being unemployed AND loosing my baby to "all day" sort of did me under yesterday. i was a heap of wetness and tears. they (the kids) fared far better than their old mother.
and let's face it, school is costly.
under the burden of no income, we wondered how we would come up with hundreds of dollars in high school fees and the cost of a $143 calculator (yes! you read that right, $143--josh is in honors calculus and that is the REQUIRED "tool" of participation. GASP!), school lunches, more fees for Jr High and know the drill. the list goes on.
folks, i am telling you, someone is watching over my family! We had a check come in the mail (for clothes--but we used it for fees and school supplies--again, it's that "want" vs. "need" thingy) it covered us!
an "anonymous" donor offered up the money for Josh's math tool. and through my strict budgeting and couponing and bargaining we came up with rest. a friend stopped by with shakes. because she knew i always cried like a baby on the first day of school and she KNEW
that this year would be harder, even harder. another friend called and listened to me cry for
over an hour. not offering advice, or silly platitudes (which while nice to say, really don't help) she JUST LISTENED. my burden, that had weighed thousands of pounds for the past week, was suddenly lifted and my shoulders were light again. all because of a listening ear.
we are blessed. even in this midst of adversity, we are.
again, let me tell you how HUMBLING it is, like down on your butt looking up at the world humbling, to actually say "yes" and accept this kind of help. it is really hard, i am not sure
if people get that or not (unless you've actually been through it). but is is HARD!
it has made kyle and i pause, over and over and over again, and have our hearts overflow
with gratitude at the help we have received during this season of our lives. we hope to be able to be in the "giving back" stage sometime soon.
here is to straight A's, good friends, fun memories and a school year that will take their breaths away!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

and so it ends...or so it begins?

and so it ends...summer.
and so it begins...the school year.
we have one starting High School (it's 10th grade here)
one starting Jr. High.
and two littlies in Elementary.
my first WHOLE DAY alone in almost 16 yrs.
with a sigh and catch in my throat, the tears i hold back,
i am letting them go again.
this summer was so great.
memories and experiences (some i would just plain skip, but such is life)
it included:
a sufficient number of snow cones and otter pops.
an even more sufficient number of BBQ's.
time with friends.
one broken toe.
one SUPER great trip to Calif.
an outing to EFY-California for Josh and friends.
Josh's first job (life guard-no drownings!)
plenty of time swimming at the pool.
one job loss (the part we would skip.)
Sunburns and sunscreen.
Library visits and milk shakes.
a small percentage of sibling squabbling.
use of duct tape.
threatened use of duct tape. (by me, which involved binding kids together and sticking in a closet til tomorrow)
star gazing.
happy chair sitting.
toe nail painting, cake baking.
cookie eating, tickle torture.
movie and popcorn nights.
free samples at the grocery store (and a BIKE WIN! must update that at some point!)
couponing, and more couponing.
memories made...
closing with back to school father's blessing today
and lunches packed and ready.
clothes laid out for a new school year.
Good bye summer 2009-
you were well lived and well loved!
favorite picture of Josh & Cy Holt at EFY
this summer in Santa Barbara!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling on the river...

If you've ever gone river rafting, you know there is a great deal of instruction before you ever get on the boat. Lots of preparation before you strap on your life jacket.

One rule applies to you should you fall out of your raft (this is after you try to get above water, gasp for air, and find out exactly where you are in the water).

That rule is: Point yourself, feet first, down stream. Get on your back, arms folded across your chest. The theory is that you can see where you're going this way and your feet will hit any big rocks, or boulders, before you and your head do, thus acting to save your sorry ole life. (Since you fell out of the raft in the first place.)

Hopefully, you are wearing a life vest, which will help keep you afloat.
Hopefully, you remember to do as you're instructed, should you capsize out of your raft.

At which point, if you have accomplished all the "hopefully's", you should be able to either
float with the current into the shore, or be rescued by another passing raft.

The past month for me has been just that.

We were capsized, tipped out, out of our raft and thrust into the bowels of the raging river.
When we fell out we frantically tried to gasp for air, and gather ourselves together, and
get our bearings. Which way were we headed?

The river has swirled, and rushed, all around us. It sometimes knocks us under, leaving us very disoriented and frustrated.

We were wearing our life jackets and so we did not drown, but sometimes we were headfirst, instead of footfirst, going down the river and we've been whacked on our heads once or twice.

Now, we are going with the current, feet first, armed crossed on our chests, trying to see where it takes us and when we will be rescued.

It takes a LOT of faith to trust in the Lord and hope that HE sees the big picture better than we do. Believe me, a LOT of faith.
It is hard to give yourself over to the river, and see where the current takes you.
Or when you will be rescued.

Somc days are very hard, and we suffer with that "drowning feeling" again,
Some days, we float along, life vest straps tugged tightly around us, and feel the strength that comes from prayers, and love, and friends.

Until our journey is complete, we will keep rolling. Rolling on the river. Feet first, watching.

Hoping for a rescue before we drown.

But hope is what keeps us afloat! Thank goodness for hope!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Late-Summers Night Dream....

Under the lights in the back yard...
we do a little star gazing and tickling...

Grace Vs. Lizzie

We made this really great cake, from SCRATCH (cake, filling, frosting-take
that Betty Crocker!)--it COMPLETELY fell apart, but was the BEST
chocolate cake...EVER! so who cares HOW it looked?

I have been collecting my "happy chairs" for about 3 years now.
Every year Home Depot gets another fun color and I add to
my FAVORITE part is when I sit out front
and people walking by stop and chat for a while.
Makes me HAPPY!

LAST, but certainly NOT least... Bompie lost another tooth.
She got tired of waiting for it to fall out and yanked that puppy
out ALL BY HERSELF! She has more guts than me, the whole
thing makes me a little squeamish. I am a wimp, I know!
Happy Last Week of Summer, what a GREAT ONE it has been!

P.S. notice my STUNNING photo as the new header??
huh? do ya? do ya?
I took that picture on my crappy point and shoot camera in California--
I dream of the day when I have a REALLY great camera, in the meantime--
I love to take pictures, crappy camera and all! :O)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

are you a nerd like ME?

I admit it!
I am a nerd...
I am a nerd in so many ways,
that i won't bore you here.
Even B.J.L. (before.job.loss), i was a nerd.
my kids know i will only buy something,
"if it's on sale"
But now ESPECIALLY A.J.L. (after.job.loss)
I am a HUGER nerd (pretty sure HUGER is
not a word! LOL)
I have taken couponing to a whole new level.
with a little help from my friend.
I have done any and all free things i can find to do.
My latest "FREE" thing i am sharing with anyone
else who wants to be included in nerd status with me.
At our local library (and possibly ALL SLC libraries?)
they are having the readers choice voting/reading going on.
What does this mean for you?
Well, for every 5 books you read (and vote on)
you get ONE FREE BOOK of your choice!
Not only am i a nerd, but i love to read too (or
is the avid reading part of what makes me a nerd?
kinda like which came first, chicken/egg thing.
anyway, back to the library (i love the smell, the whispering people, the shelves full of books, i love the one time my kids changed my cell phone ring to the theme from "ROCKY" and my phone went of at full volume there too)
there are probably about 20 "people's choice" books, right at the front when you walk in.
I figure i can get myself 4 free books by October
(which is when i think this ends)
all nerds, head off to the library, i am halfway
to my first free book.
By the way, the book selection you can choose from is awesome, hard back, paperback, cool new books, cooler older books. I keep drooling on it.
See, i told you i was a nerd!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


the best ones don't seem to come wrapped up in packages and bows these days.

it's funny how the arms of heaven can literally reach down and enfold us through the acts and kindess of people around us.

todays gifts...

time with friends, relaxing and laughing about the "joys" of mothering.

dinner, secretly paid for, by a sneaky trip to the bathroom! (oh you know who you are!)

a call. a hug. an ear to listen.

watching your daughters ride down the street on their bikes, waving madly at you because they are excited to see you.

having your husband come home from a hard days work, even without a job.

laying on a blanket, on your front grass, next to your happy chairs, watching cloud shapes and the stars as they fill the night sky.

a good book to read, from the library, for FREE.

an orange construction cone showing up on your doorstep at 10:27 pm. (talk about a "ring and run")

who needs packages and bows anyway?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

under construction...

I am pretty sure our entire city, as in every single street EVERYWHERE, is under construction.

Every which way I turn, there are more men holding "SLOW DOWN" signs, dressed in orange, than I can count.

There are diggers and dozers and flatteners and dumpers.

There are piles of rock, sand, and road. Chunks of debris and orange cones.

There are men standing around talking about their upcoming trips to Hawaii (I know this for a fact, as I overheard one of them right outside my home, in my very own driveway, where there is ALSO a big hole preventing me from driving in and out.)

Sidenote: Who knew I would miss my driveway so much, and the use of it? I DO!

They are ripping up roads that look perfectly great to my untrained eye.

Pretty soon, the hope is that everything will all be put back together. Nice and orderly and pretty. I will be able to drive my car without falling into a crater, and the roads will be fully functional again.

The question is WHEN will all of this fall into place?

Because I have been watching out my window, and I have seen a lot of standing around, heard lots of idle chit chat, and been witness to some exceedingly LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG lunch breaks.

BUT, we have been assured and re-assured that our streets, roads, and lanes will all be put back together at some point in the future.

So, we wait and watch and hope.

In this way, I feel like MY life is under construction.

It kinds feels like my torn up driveway right now, sort of left in a big mess.

We keep standing around, and talking to people, and trying to put it back together. We have brought in our diggers and loaders and dumpers (maybe glue and tape would be better?)and are working hard at reconstructing things.

We keep waiting and watching and hoping, and although the end is not in sight *YET* (bare? bear? with me and my construction metaphor!) we are hopeful that, soon, we will be driving past this construction and onto a smooth road once again.

And that things will once again be nice and orderly and pretty!

(well, they never are REALLY all of those things at once, but we would take "orderly" if it were secret code for "new job.")

was it too much? my metaphor?

we keep telling kyle if all else fails, he may just look HOT in orange! AND there certainly seems to be no shortage of people working road construction.

Here is to things under construction, the roads and my life.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gimme A Break, Part II...

Street Market Night....
that night's festivities included food.
TWO WORDS: FISH TACO's... those Southern Calif. folks sure know how to make 'em!
(this is coming from a woman who doesn't really like ANY kind of fish or seafood!)
fake tatoo's...
hey even the Primary President got one. (photo not shown for fear of incriminating evidence at some future point!)
fresh air, night lights.
window shopping, not a lot of buying.
and 4 tired kids.