Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Soren Doolittle....

Me and the 2 little ones spent some time outside today in the beautiful Spring weather. The kids enjoyed popcicles and watching airplanes. I took lots of pictures and thought these were really cute of my sweet little nephew Soren....he is FULL of personality. We sure love having him with us each day! (click on the collage and it will pull it up bigger so you can see his little face better!)


Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gardens and Discoveries....


Well we did it! We finally finished our little box today. I know you are probably already sick of hearing about our "box" but...oh well, we are excited. The kids all helped us plant a few seeds, with the exception of Ian who was at a friends and was quite angry with us for not waiting for him. I reassured him that he can plant the tomato's next week....we wanted to wait another week to make sure there were no more frosts. Anyway....Im really excited to see the little veggies grow! Im sure I will take more unecessary pictures of this project as it progresses....it is a first for me. In this last picture you can see that we placed the box by our little peach tree and our grape vines.....it seemed an appropriate place.

In other news....I just got back from my evening run/walk. Ive started going in the morning at 6am and in the evening at 9pm. I figure a double dose cant hurt...as long as I am careful to take it slow this time. Anyway, I discovered something tonight...actually I noticed it this morning but thought maybe it was just the moment and not permanent. However, tonight I realized that I quite enjoy running without music! It sounds like such a lame thing to be excited about but if you know me then you know how much music helps me exercise. In fact....I would actually get to the gym sometimes and realize I had forgotten my ipod and turn around and either go back home to get it or just go back home. I would experience anxiety over the thought of not having my music. I used to be this way about having water too...the first few months when I started running last year, I would lug my water bottle with me each and every time and drink like a fish the whole time I ran.... I breathe through my mouth so it gets dry really fast and Im nervous about running in the first place so I would get cotton mouth so quick. One day, I didnt have it and realized that I didnt need it! It was very liberating to go out without water after that realization....now I can add music to that freedom. It was so nice today just hearing everything around me....listening to my own breathing....the wind and the birds. It was strangely relaxing! Im so happy to know that I dont need those crutches to get out and run :) After 3 days of this, I am already feeling stronger. I guess I'm not completely starting over. My body is responding as though it remembers this torture from last Fall. This is a good thing....Im hoping to run a 5k with a friend next month.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Music Mash-up......

2 of my favorite instruments are the piano and the cello...I could listen to them all day long. I was on a friends Facebook today and they had posted this video of pianist Jon Schmidt and a friend playing an arrangement that he did of Taylor Swifts "Love Story" and Coldplays "Viva La Vida"....2 songs that I also happen to love. He did what they call a "mash-up" and mixed the 2 songs together. It is so cool...I just thought I would share it. If you listen to it, make sure you listen to the whole thing...the best part is in the middle and the end. Also, make sure to pause my music player at the bottom of the page so you can hear it.... Have a great day!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Getting Closer....

Yesterday morning I went to my session with my personal trainer and when I returned an hour later, Denver and the kids were outside working on this.....

As I mentioned earlier, we are going to attempt a small raised bed garden this summer. Since we rent and cant actually tear up the yard we opted for this. The best part about our little box is that it was free! Denver found a sheet of wood in the back shed that was perfect for the measurements we needed and he even found an electric saw to cut the pieces! All we had to left to purchase was some peat moss and compost/soil to fill it up with. Here are the kids with the finished box. It looks small but once you put the grid on, it will create 9 4x4 areas that you can plant something in. The design is great because it really utilizes space a lot better than planting in rows.
We still needed to put the grid on the top, lay cardboard on the bottom to prevent weeds, and fill it with the soil however, after we returned from Home Depot yesterday with the remaining supplies the weather had taken a turn for the worse. It was freezing and raining....what a bummer. Of course the main reason for this endeavor is to grow the wonderful green beans I talked about. But, we also bought some Roma Tomato seed, Green Onion seeds, and Bell Pepper seeds. We may go back and buy Cucumbers also but they cant be planted until late May so we held off on those. If all goes well with this little experiment, we are going to make a bigger box next year and plant some other fun things. Unfortunately today the weather is worse. We actually got snow today!!! UGH! Im so disappointed because I really want to plant my beans! Tomorrow it is supposed to warm up to 56 degrees...so, we will finish the project tomorrow.
Today I had the opportunity to sing with the choir I blogged about back in November. Our choir director was speaking in a singles ward and so a bunch of us from the choir came and we sang 3 songs from our original performance. I had forgotten about it all week and never had a chance to go over the songs. I was very happy to realize that my memory hasnt totally failed me. I didnt even need the music for one of the songs. It was such a great experience to sing with them again and I cannot wait for the next signup to join this choir again!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Addisons Picture Day......

We had a fun time at the photographer today.....NOT. Addie was so excited to get her "pikch" taken to today. We bathed her and rolled her hair and put her favorite dress on.....drove to the studio and walked in and thats when the drama started. She decided she was NOT going to have her picture taken at all. No bribe would work either. I offered her ice cream, candy, cookies, a toy....all met with a firm shake of the head. No way. Then, in a last ditch effort I guess I kindof guilted her....I said... "Addie, dont you want to take a nice picture for Grandpa....dont you want Grandma to see your pretty hair?"..... well, this caused her to smile a little bit and then reluctantly she agreed to sit on the chair and slowly but surely we got these beautiful pictures of our only daughter..... Isn't she lovely?

Posted by Picasa

My Green Thumb....


Okay, I have to admit that Im not much of a "gardener"....in fact, other than a plant that a boyfriend left me to take care while he spent the summer at home from BYU, I have killed just about every other plant that I have come into contact with. On our recent trip to Kentucky, I picked up some seeds for THE BEST green beans that I have ever eaten. It may sound like I am exaggerating but honestly....these really are that good. They are called White Half Runners and you cannot get them out here. I researched them to see if perhaps they could not grow in this climate and thats why you couldnt find them but I found that there is no reason they couldnt grow here. So, I am about to embark on my first official gardening experience. I have read and read about how to plant these and grow these and it seems that beans are one of the easiest and most forgiving vegetables to grow. Perfect for my first time.... Since we rent this house and cant dig up a garden in the backyard, we have opted for a "raised bed" garden. We are going to plant a tomato plant and maybe some peppers and the green beans. If it is successful, then next year we are going to expand! Thanks to my Mother-in-law, I found this website about "box gardens"
and it seems to be a pretty simple process. This guy seems to have a handle on it so I hope I can be successful too! I will let you know. By the way, if you live near me, I brought back a whole pound of these seeds and dont need all of them so if you want to try growing some really yummy beans, stop by and pick some up! I mean it when I say you have never had a green bean that is so flavorful. I could eat them with some potatoes and nothing else.....yum!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

You Paid What For That Cake????

Last night we went to the monthly Pack meeting for Ian's cub scout organization. They were having a cake auction to raise money for the kids to go to scout camp this summer. Being that this is my first year in scouts, I didnt realize how serious these people take their cake auctions! I wasnt made aware that I was supposed to contribute a cake until the day before so unfortunately my cake was nothing special....at least I know what to do next year! My sad little cake (that Addison dropped and almost ruined) still ended up being sold for $40! We took Soren with us because I had him later than usual yesterday and he had a load of fun running around with all the scouts.
So they start this auction and the first cake goes for $52 dollars! I knew I was in trouble at this point because I felt like $20 was going to be the max I could spare on a cake... My boys both begged me to bid on this really cool pirate cake and I knew that #1 everyone else was going to be bidding on it also and #2 the starting price was already going to be more than what I could spend... in the end that pirate cake went for $100!!!! I am all about giving money to a good cause but Puuuleeeze! That cake better have tasted as good as it looked is all I can say!
Ian was upset about not getting any cakes. Do you know how hard it is to explain why you couldnt win an auction cake to an 8 year old and a 7 year old boy? Impossible. Luckily a stop at the corner Shop-n-Go for treats soothed their sadness.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Thoughts...

We watched a movie Friday night called "Slumdog Millionaire"....you've heard of it I am sure. It won a bazillion awards at the Oscars, Golden Globes etc. Anyway...if you haven't seen it and are wondering if it lived up to the hype my answer is "YES". Although the movie was not necessarily a 'feel good' movie, it was a sobering reminder of all that is good in our country as well as a deeply personal reminder of all that is good in my own little world. I've been thinking about it all weekend.... Yes our economy sucks... Yes our President seems to making ridiculous decisions (in my opinion, of course).... Sometimes it feels like we are just around the corner from completely falling apart. But, in the midst of all of this, we really do have it good. I just cannot imagine living in a place like that which is depicted in this movie. I keep thinking surely it was exaggerated for Hollywood purposes.... but in researching the movie I have found that it is actually pretty accurate. Im sure that there are 'nicer' places in India than what was shown in the movie but overall, it left me really grateful to live in this country.

Yesterday was such a frustrating day. First of all there is someone close to me that has been in the hospital all week with a mysterious health problem. Everytime I got an update, I was left feeling as though the staff at the hospital were really circus performers undercover. Like we were being 'Punked' or something. I understand that you never have the same nurse all day long. Shifts change, schedules change.....but the level of care shouldnt change and for hecks sake it would be nice if they would communicate with each other as they switched. I was beginning to think that this person would never leave the hospital because no one at the hospital seemed to really know why they were there in the first place. It was crazy. The good news today was that they are officially home and hopefully on the mend....now that the hospital figured it out! The other frustrating thing about yesterday involved another major organization. My husband owes his ex-wife money from child support arrears. There were times in the past when months were skipped for one reason or another and over the years, interest has been added to that balance. A few months ago I made a startling discovery that there are over $7000 in payments missing from this organizations records that I have proof were made. So, I spent 3 or 4 days making copies, filling out forms, and typing a nice neat letter of explanation that detailed each and every document included. This was no small task. But, I wanted to be thorough.....we were simply asking that they recalculate the arrearage and include the missing payments and make adjustments for interest charged on payments that were never missing to begin with. Yes, Denver would still owe some money after all that but the amount would be significantly less. So, yesterday we received a letter stating that they had completed their review. However, nothing was mentioned about a new balance. In fact the letter made no sense at all. They concluded that they were justified in taking Denvers tax refund to apply to the balance. OK......we never questioned that. We dont care about that. This request had nothing to do with that. So, we are back to square one with absolutely nothing accomplished. What kind of fools do they have working over there anyway (Arizona DES) ? UGH! It left me in a foul mood to say the least. I do feel better today though. I went to church and the message was clear....everything will work out. We definitely dont owe the money and one way or another, it will get fixed and the balance will be adjusted.

Sometimes, I think we just have to stop and take a breath. This past week I have really reflected on my family both immediate and extended. Things happen so fast sometimes that you can be caught off guard..... I tend to think it is God's way of slowing us down so that we can take care of unfinished business or to look at a situation and realize that we need to make changes. I hope that I can recognize these messages when they come and then have the courage to take the action necessary..... I am so grateful for the life that I have. It isnt perfect and sometimes Im left wishing I had a little more....but then I have a week like this one and realize that I really do have it pretty good.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Evan is Seven.....


Another long awaited birthday has come and gone for our middle child. I was greeted at the stairs this morning with an ear to ear smile from Evan as he patiently waited for his very tired and groggy mother to remember that today was the day....April 15th that is...(I realize Im late posting this)....Evan's "OFFICIAL" seventh birthday. Even though he had fun at Grandma and Grandpas house, it wasnt officially his birthday yet. So I gave him the "Happy Birthday Buddy" and totally made his day. He was further validated when Uncle Nate brought by a gift complete with more candy than one boy could ever eat....$20....and a batman balloon. Heaven for Evan. Ok...the rhyming is out of control now. Its late people. I have to mention that he also said his prayers tonight and asked Heavenly Father to make sure his other present from Uncle Jeff and Nicola arrived in the mail..... he's got his priorities in line.....Here are some fun facts about Evan:


1. One year has not changed Evans pure love of animals...in fact it may have increased.


2. Evan seems very shy and introverted however, he secretly craves attention and affection. If he acts like he doesnt care or that it is making him nervous, its all an act....


3. He loves music. We got American Idol for the Wii for his bday and he loves singing the songs and getting his score.


4. His imagination is limitless....he can play for hours making up stories and scenarios. He could write a great adventure novel one day.


5. He really loves his family...immediate and extended. He is a sweet, sweet little boy that I am so blessed to have as a son.


Here is a little clip from his First Grade Music Performance...I didnt have a chance to post it before our trip to Reno. They all made their own tie-dyed shirts and sang about the seasons. It was really cute!

video

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Addie Jayne.....turns 3 !!


We were out of town for Addisons birthday but I still wanted to say a little about our only princess. She has been talking about her birthday for a few months now.... Im not sure she really understood just what it was but she was appropriately excited about it on Sunday. Here are a few fun facts about the little Diva..
1. Diva really describes her...she pretty much runs the joint. She can be very demanding, precocious, and ornery but then will turn around and give you so much love you just cant be annoyed with it.

2. She is such a girl...still LOVES anything pink. In fact if you have something pink, she figures it is hers and then refer to fact #1 and know that you pretty much have to give it to her.

3. She loves it when Daddy comes home! It is the most exciting part of her day...but after she hugs and kisses him, she returns to her mommy :)

4. She still sleeps with us and even though I know we need to put her in her own bed, I will miss her little snuggles with me :(

5. She likes to write lists. She gets a notepad and draws little squiggly lines across the lines on the paper...in the land of squiggles it would be totally legible.

6. She LOVES new clothes. She immediately wants to wear them when we get home. When we pass the clothes isle in any store and she sees the little girl clothes she says "awwwwww....cute!" at everything and dont even go near the shoe isle. She trys on every pair she can get her hands on.

7. Back to #6....as much as she loves clothes, she only wears them for about 2 minutes and then she strips down to her underwear and this is how she remains all day unless we are going somewhere.

I could go on and on about Addison because she brings a lot of fun to our home. I cant imagine our life without her and am thankful for the opportunity I have to raise a daughter. I just cant believe she is already 3...time flies!

Easter Weekend & 2 Birthdays.....



We had a very busy weekend! Addisons birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year. Of course Evans birthday is just 3 days after Addies.... So we decided to spend Easter at my parents house in Reno Nevada. They just moved there 4 weeks ago so it was chance to go up and see their new house. We left Thursday evening after Soren went home. It took about 7.5 hours to drive there so it wasn't too much further than driving to Vegas...where they used to live. We got there Thursday night, late. My dad was up waiting for us and mom had gone to bed because she had spent the previous 2 days throwing up with the flu. Hopefully we didn't bring it home with us! Friday was spent exploring the house and visiting with mom. Dad had to work that day... We had dinner and then me and my mom stayed up and watched the movie "Australia". Everyone else went to bed.

Saturday morning Denver, the boys, and my dad all got up early and went fishing. Denver had researched and found a place that supposedly had a lot of Bass, which is what he likes to fish for. It was about an hour and a half away from the house. Unfortunately, they didn't catch a single fish. Mom and I and Addison spent the day shopping for Easter and birthdays. We were gone all day and I got a chance to see Reno/Sparks. It is a nice little city. It is surrounded on all sides by rolling hills and snow capped mountains so it feels really cozy. I was really impressed by the kindness of the people there. People seem really connected to each other. My parents neighbors are all very nice and have already come over and introduced themselves, brought cookies, invited dad fishing....that's more in 4 weeks than my parents had in 10 years at their Vegas house! A fireman who was responding to a 911 call on my parents street approached me and asked me to bring the kids by the fire station the next day for a tour...he was super nice. It was just refreshing to be somewhere that people don't seem to be so self-involved. Anyway...after our long shopping day, Denver grilled steaks and we ate a really good dinner. Dad started feeling sick after that and went to bed early...I stayed up to do Easter baskets and birthday gifts.

Sunday morning the kids found their baskets and had fun with that. We set up a table outside and colored eggs...then Grandma hid them all around their backyard, which is beautiful by the way... the kids had a great time finding all the eggs. They found all of them but one...I guess the dogs will find it eventually! I made the kids birthday cakes in the morning and then in the afternoon we celebrated both birthdays! It was so hectic but so much fun too...I wish my dad could have enjoyed it but he ended up being extremely ill that day. Ian was pretty sad that his Grandpa was sick... Monday we headed back home. It was a really fun trip and good to see my parents again. It has been quite a few months since we saw them so I enjoyed the visit. Their new house is beautiful and I think their move to Reno was a good one. I'll miss the warm Vegas summers in the pool but I wont miss the city of Vegas at all. Reno is definitely a better place to live! Hope everyone had a great Easter!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

For You Star Wars Fans.....

I found this hilarious video today and thoroughly enjoyed watching it....thought you all might enjoy it too! Happy Easter to everyone....I will post a trip update with pictures in the next couple of days....

Monday, April 6, 2009

Getting Life in Order.....

Okay...I have mentioned it before on this blog.... my sincere desire and need to lose weight and get into better shape. I started a weight loss blog (which I never update), I started running...even ran my first race. Entered an even bigger race which I was forced to back out of due to back problems. Right. Well, here I am a few months later, back where I started. Isn't it funny (not really) how easily we fall back into bad habits? I guess that is part of being human....falling down, getting back up, and pressing forward. So, now I am pressing forward again. I have gotten up and brushed myself off and am ready to tackle the problem.....again. Denver and I have started a training program today. It is to get us prepared for a half marathon on November 15. I know, sounds crazy right? Seriously, I don't understand my need to do this....I just know that I need to. I had been toying with this race for a few months. It is in beautiful Monterey, California...you know how much I LOVE that place! Can you just imagine running around that town right along the ocean! Who needs an ipod with that atmosphere! Anyway...like I said I was just toying with it. Unfortunately I mentioned it to an old friend of mine who lives back east. Well, she wrote me and "challenged" me to run it with her. There are a lot of reasons why I didn't want to do it at first but in the end, I think that it will not only be good for my body but also good for my soul to reconnect with this particular person....(long story and personal)....so I'm gonna do it. Denver may do it too but he is definitely going to train with me even if he doesn't race. So there it is. I'm excited about it....scared too. You can see from the map that it runs right along the coast....gorgeous! The big pink spot in the middle of the map represents the Presidio of Monterey where I spent a year and a half studying Korean in the Air Force. And, in the upper left, just to the side of big "N" for north, you will see a little jut of land that sticks out....that is Lovers Point where Denver and I got married 11 years ago! This place is very sentimental to me and I would love to run this race for that reason alone! Next item of business that I need to tackle is to get my food storage going. It is really sad how little I have in my food storage pantry. With the economy as bad as it is and the likelihood that it will get a lot worse, I feel that I really need to step this up. Problem being....how do you afford to do it? We live on a pretty tight budget as it is and I just don't see where we will have extra money to do it. When I lived in Arizona, I participated in a thing called "Coupon Sense"...some of you may know about it. My cousin introduced me to it. It was a lot of fun and I saved SO much money it was ridiculous sometimes. However, we moved to Kentucky and then back to Utah and frankly I just haven't given it another thought until now. The other day I had a girl from my church color my hair...she happened to mention "Grocery Smarts".....almost the same thing as Coupon Sense only a lot cheaper. The only cost is the subscription to the newspaper to get the coupons! I looked it up and am VERY excited about it. So, now I am going to be an expert shopper and by the end of the year I should have a very sufficient food storage for my family! In a few months I will update with how well this program works...or not.



Finally, I am getting my photos organized. How many of you have all of your pictures just sitting in a box...or multiple boxes? I've always had good intentions of making wonderful scrapbooks.....I even tried scrapbooking once. Who am I kidding! Scrapbooking is definitely not my cup of tea. Some women are wonderful at it. Not this woman! So, my pictures are still just sitting in boxes and now with digital cameras I have hundreds and hundreds of pictures sitting in "virtual boxes"..... all in files and taking up valuable GB's of computer space. The other day I bought one of these removable flash drives that you stick into a USB port so you can easily transfer files from one computer to another. Its a great thing because I put all of my picture files onto it and deleted them from the computer which has really sped up my computer. Only problem now is that I am super paranoid about something happening to this little device. If it gets damaged somehow, I would lose years of priceless photographs of my family. It would be devastating. So what is the solution? Any great ideas out there on how to preserve your pictures without the risk of loss? CD's can be broken....computers can crash.....actual printed pictures can burn or be ruined in others ways.... the whole thing is really stressing me out. I think I still would like to print out all of the pictures and at the very least put them into photo albums...then maybe I will make a CD too as well as keep the pictures on the removable flash drive. Geez....it sounds like overkill. Anyway, this is my next project....getting all of this in order. Wish me luck and please, send suggestions or opinions!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Well, I have to admit that we aren't die hard conference watchers. I always record it and then we watch it bit by bit throughout the following weeks. Yesterday morning Denver had it on before I came downstairs and heard the news that his mission president, Neil L. Anderson had been called to the Quorum of the Twelve! That is pretty big news. We watched his talk this morning and I have to say that even though he wasnt speaking about anything really spiritual, I was touched with emotion at the thought that this man guided my husband while he served his mission in France nearly 18 years ago.... Knowing how difficult it must have been for Denver to be away from his family at that age and on top of it all being in a foreign country and speaking a different language....I think it takes a special human being to be a mission President. To be the one that is responsible for these young men and women must have been overwhelming. Not to mention he (President Anderson) was very young himself and his children were still school aged when he was called to go to France...can you imagine! Anyway, I just thought it was pretty cool and wanted to share that this morning.....

Friday, April 3, 2009

Weirdness.....

What do you think about this? I am on the phone today with BYU trying to find out what I need to do to take some online classes and get back into school and they tell me I have a "hold" on my records because of a speeding ticket! Considering the fact that I havent lived in Provo since 1994, I find it a little odd that they would still have a record of something like that. Well, she says, it is from May of 2000 and I was driving a blue Honda.... Ok, that is even more interesting considering that in May of 2000 I was pregnant, in the Air Force and living in Salt Lake City driving a green Jeep Cherokee. In fact I have never owned a blue Honda! I owned a Grey Honda when I went to school there in 1989 and 1990 and I also drove a blue Chevy Cavalier in 1989 (my first year at BYU).... so where does this leave me? I have to pay for the ticket because the cop says it was me....Ha! Oh, and they conveniently dont have an actual hard copy of the citation, just a note on my account. Hmmmmm....maybe I ought to go to the University of Utah after all...... ;)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Luv Cookies.....


Look what I found on my doorstep this morning all the way from Mesa, Arizona! This is a traveling plate so now I get to choose someone to bake cookies for and send them on..... Isnt this fun! You can go to www.pleasesendcookies.com and request a plate yourself if you want to start your own cookie gift. The website is fun and allows you to track the plate by the number on the back. This one started in California and made its way to Arizona and now Utah..... I cant wait to send it on and watch where else it ends up! Thanks to my cousin Marcy for sending it to me. It really made my day!
Posted by Picasa