Monday, November 16, 2009

I need to be more thoughtful.

I posted more than I should about my marriage and as a result did further pain to my husband who is trying to change. I wouldn't want all of my dirty laundry aired and even though I didn't mention his name in the last post, you all knew who I was talking about. I'm really imperfect in this area of being wise about the things I say and it contributed to the problems I currently have. I still have many things to learn. Being self-rightous has always been a problem for me too. Hopefully this will help by admitting to everyone my faults. I'm sorry to my spouse as well. I'm still not mentioning his name in case others who don't know us are reading this.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

College Update

I was sooo happy and surprised when I found out I got a B+ in my Intermediate Algebra class and an A in my English class. Both classes were intensive, but the English class was a seven week course. Of course moving and dealing with many other issues was one of the reasons I didn't even dream of pulling off anything but a B- or less in math. What a self-esteem booster!

Now I'm in College Algebra/Trigonometry and English 2010. So far the math is just review for me, but for others it is harder since they haven't had math for a while. I guess my last math teacher taught us a few things beyond what she needed too, which is helping me now in the harder class. I just thought some of you would appreciate an update on how my schooling was going. I need to spend some time doing my homework now. Take care!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New thoughts on my life

I may not have everything, but I have faith, love, and family, and that is all I need.

Life is too short to not live it beautifully.

Happiness takes effort, if you didn't earn it, then it isn't lasting.

Just some thoughs I have had recently.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Learning Life's Hard Lessons

I saw it coming.... after years of counceling, meds, surgeries, and both of us trying to make it work, Ryan and I are getting a divorce. I will not be able to discuss some things for privacy reasons, but I felt you- my friends- might want to know why I've been soooo quiet for such a long time.

I'm living with my parents in their basement with two of my three kids. The oldest, Tyler, wants to live with Dad right now and is enjoying being with him. Sydney and Dallin are living with me and are very happy here. There are many things to do to go forward with this situation, but this isn't the place to discuss them.

I am soooo glad I started the process of getting into college before now. Some of you may judge me for going back to college and working and you may think that is the main reason things ended up the way they did. Please understand that I can't tell you the main reason for choosing to divorce, because it would be compromising the privacy of both of us. Let's just say that there are honest reasons for me making this decision. I went to the Celestial Room in the Bountiful Temple and counceled with my Heavenly Father before making this decision. I spent most of my days the past month weighing the issues and came to the same conclusion. Priesthood blessings were given to me by many of my relatives and many hours have been spent in deep thought and prayer.

It has taken me being seperated for an extended period of time in order to clear my thoughts and look honestly and deeply at our situation. Of course, during this time I had to also keep up with my classes and work and move things out of our house that the kids and I need to feel comfortable. What a busy month!

Also, all three kids and I went to Oregon (as planned weeks earlier) to our family reunion. We had a great time and I found all of my family to be very supportive. I have been blessed with caring, compassionate relatives and I love each of them dearly. Since the reunion was held on the Alsea River at my Aunt's family cabin, we were able to spend some time at the coast as well.

It was the first time Dallin had visited the beach- but he hated it! The wind was blowing sand in his face and the waves scared him. I couldn't even put him down in the sand without him making a fuss. It was all just too stimulating for him. He is two-and-a-half now so this reaction was a little odd. He never has liked wind blowing strongly in his face. Then you add loud noices of the waves crashing and sand blowing and you get an unhappy two-year-old. On the other-hand, Tyler and Sydney loved the waves and water and didn't want to leave! They had a great time being chased by the water as it crashed and fanned across the beach. It was a cold day so we didn't bring swimsuites, but the kids got wet anyway!

During the reunion, we spent time on the Alsea River and went swimming, four-wheeling, crawdadding(sp?), and visiting with relatives. I made sure to get in a few walks/runs around the old christmas tree farm where the cabin is located, in order to keep fit. My sister joined me on my walks and now I hear she is walking with her friends around her neighborhood in Draper. She had been working out at Gold's Gym, but enjoys walking/running as well now.

My parents, my sister Kristi, and my family rented a house in the Bayshore Community in Waldport, OR instead of camping out with the others at the cabin. It was wonderful and we had a really nice time. The days at the reunion were jam-packed with activies and since I needed to get back home for work, I didn't have much time to stop and visit with friends in Corvallis. We did manage to drop in on Ryan's Dad and visit with him and his wife Sharon. They are very comfortable to talk too and were saddend to hear of Ryan and I seperating.

My Mom had drove with me and my kids in her suburban on the way to Oregon and had been planning to stay an extra week because she was in charge of a reunion in Lacomb, OR for her side of the family. She decided to help me drive back with the kids and pass on the duties and responsibilites to a cousin of hers. This proved to be very helpful to me since I had only been seperated for a week from Ryan and was going back and forth about trying to keep it that way. That second week was very hard and I needed the extra support. My dad and my sister had to fly back to Utah because they were scheduled to work on Monday. I had secured the day off so it was spent driving back to Utah. Dallin was real trooper on the trip but Tyler and Sydney hated the long trek. Oh well, it was much cheaper paying for gas than for four plane tickets!

After getting home, I had to head straight to class on Monday night. I have now finished my classes for the term and I have to wait a few days for my grades. I'm pretty sure I got an "A" in English 1010 and I am hoping for a "B-" in Intermediate Algebra. It will all come down to the final in my math class since on the four unit tests I got 79%, 78%, 95%,and 85%. I'm pretty proud of those results since I've been through so much the past month! The trick for me to do better on my math tests was to slow down and focus on each question, one-at-a-time. When I went faster, I made silly mistakes like forgetting the + and - signs. I ended up taking almost twice as long on the last two tests, but as you can see, the last two test scores were much better! I also learned that I shouldn't plan anything for after the test, because then I don't focus as well and I rush through the problems.

Over-all I'm satified with my results and have found it beneficial to be an older student. I have a broader view of life and can contribute much to the discussions in class. The younger students seem to enjoy my "sage" advise and enjoy hearing my stories learned through years of experience. I know- I'm not that old, but put me up against high-schoolers taking summer classes and then start to realize my own son is only 5 years short of being in their position!!!!! Most people can't believe I'm almost 34 though. I guess my freckles and fair skin are good for something!

Well, I need go eat dinner now that my mom has cooked for us. Ah, the benefits of living at home. I haven't had to cook much since most of my waking moments are spent doing homework, going to classes, going to work, and spending some time with my kids as well as moving things into my parents house, sorting through stuff, acquiring beds and dressers for use at my parents house etc. During this whole time, I have been blessed with the spirit as a shield and comforter so that my strength could be used for the essential things that fill every moment. Only in the last couple of days have I felt the protecting powers lessen in order to let me grieve- for what could have been, not what was. Sure, I miss the security of familiar things such as my house, and the routine of my life before. I also miss Ryan in many ways, but the reasons for me leaving trump any other feelings/reasons. I need time to heal. I need to learn to stand up for myself and not allow myself to be hurt over and over for various reasons. I have done everything I could possibly do to try to work things out. This has given me much peace as I've gone through this process. Sure, I still have many faults and weaknesses that I'm still working on. Ryan is also working on his issues. That's all I need to say about it.

I'm not very good at closing posts like this, so just know that I am thinking about many of you and hope someone can learn something from my experiences. If I could say one thing I've learned or had entrenched in my head, it's that if we keep the spirit with us by living rightously, we will be inspired to do whatever is needed. Not only that, but we will be strengthened by unseen Angels to do anything that is required. I can do anything with God's help. Without Him, I am left to my own faculties (which sadly, I think isn't much and frankly, I don't want to test it out:) Love, Julie

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Odd and Ends

Busy, busy, busy is what I am now! I started my English 1010 class last Tuesday and we do a lot of writing in it. I take this class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 am to 1:10 pm. I take Dallin to Grandma's house during this time and Ty and Syd stay home or go with Dallin to Grandma's. Sampson and Sophie protect the house while we are away (just in case anyone gets any crazy ideas!) This English class and my work schedule keep me from blogging since I have so many things to read and short essays to write. I love the class though and I know my writing is improving. To help me out, I got a laptop so that I can type my papers up during the "downtime" at work. I bought it used from a person online at and it works well.

I took another math test a couple of weeks ago in my Intermediate Algebra class and I got 78%. It seems I may end up with a "C" in the class- which I'm not happy with- but at least I'll pass! I take that class on Mondays and Wednesday nights from 5:30 pm to 7:20 pm.

For the Fourth of July, I walked/ran 2 miles in our city 5K run/2 mile walk! I pushed Dallin in the stroller the whole way. Next year I want to run the 5K. I've been increasing my strength by walking at least 2 miles in the evening about 3 nights a week. Last night I was able to run 3/4 of a mile and walk the rest of the 2 1/2 mile loop. I take my big 80 pound dog Sampson with me and he loves to come! One night I pushed Dallin in the jogging stroller and Tyler and Sydney came with me as well. We had a good time and I was proud at how much more in shape the two older kids were than me. Just wait, I'll keep getting stronger and maybe beat them:)

The jogging stroller that I mentioned is also one that connects to my bike by removing the front wheel. I found it used on for $27! It's older, but does the job. Dallin likes to go for rides in it.

I need to get ready to head to class now. I have many pictures that need to be posted but I'll have to wait until school is over around August 14 before I can find enough time to post them.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ever Wish You Had Brought Your Camera?

Today I did! I was driving home from work to pick up Dallin from the babysitter. His babysitter lives in Farmington which is where Lagoon is located as well as a lot of open fields. There is a ranch that is located just to the side of the freeway and the Farmington "spaghetti bowl" which is what we Utahns call a mess of freeway on-and-off ramps. This ranch has about 20 buffalo that roam around as well as horses and cows.

Today, the buffalo were close to the road, just on the otherside of an electric fence. They were very close to a big intersection and the ranch sits on one corner of the intersection. Just on the other side of the fence (inside the fence)was a red fire hydrant and a big buffalo rubbing itself on it! I thought, how many times do you see a buffalo rubbing against a fire hydrant? I berated myself for not bringing the camera with me like I had been inspired to do. I was running late and decided against going back into the house to get it. BUT, like I said, I had been inspired by the Spirit to go get it but I chose not too. Bummer, would have been a great shot!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Update on Church Meetings for our Stake

I received an email from a Bishopric member in our ward that we are not going to have the special Stake Conference this weekend to sustain a new Stake President and that it is postponed until further notice. That includes all three meetings that were going to be held (the priesthood meeting, adult meeting and Sunday meeting).

Also, I received an email from our Relief Society Secretary stating that all of our visiting teaching should be done by telephone. If anyone we visit(telephone) teach has flu symptons, we are supposed to let the Relief Society President or Elders Quorum President know about it.

One interesting development is that our Stake was chosen to participate in the Relief Society Chior in the next General Relief Society Conference. I would love to be a part of that, but I doubt they will want anyone from our Stake there with us passing around the swine flu. We'll see. I'll keep you posted when I hear more about this.

I went looking at the church website about the "prophesy" I had previously mentioned and I couldn't find anything other than that we shouldn't live on borrowed light. President Heber C. Kimball was the prophet that stated:“To meet the difficulties that are coming, it will be necessary for you to have a knowledge of the truth of this work for yourselves. If you do not have it, how can you stand?” (in Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1945], p. 450). I will let you kow if I find anything more on this subject.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Literal Prophesy Being Fulfilled

I remember being taught in Seminary many years ago about a coming time when a family would need to be able to stand on their own feet spiritually and when church wouldn't be able to hold meetings for a time. Well, for our stake it is coming to pass now. Because of the numbers of people in our stake coming down with the swine flu, they have canceled ALL meetings including Girls Camp that was supposed to start today. The Elders are directed to call certain camp leaders if they learn of a need for food. Since there is an abundance of food bought already for camp, they will use it for the needy in the stake.

This weekend we are supposed to be holding a special Stake Conference for the express purpose of sustaining a new Stake Presidency. Now we are awaiting direction from the Area and Seventy church leaders to see if this meeting will be held as planned.

In this time of uncertainty, I know it is important to continue to teach the Gospel to my children. Being the teacher of 6 and 7 year olds at church has been great training to be able to teach my own children at home. Each week I would go to the Church website at and print the current lesson. I don't like using the manual that was given to me since I can't mark it up and it would get well worn too fast. Since church is canceled, I plan on holding a mini-meeting in our home. I don't look forward to being the main person to do it but at least I will get some help from my husband. Others aren't so lucky. I want to continue to hold prayers, a lesson, singing time and scripture study and I'm not sure what else we can come up with for us. It will have to be tailored so that the older kids will be able to grow while my two-year-old is also learning.

Last week when we got to church, we were told that only sacrament meeting was going to be held because of the swine flu in our stake. So after sacrament, we all slowly went home, lessons and songs already prepared and wating to be used. When we got home, after grabbing lunch and changing clothes, I sat the kids down and gave them the lesson I had prepared for my class at church. It was shortened but be had a lesson! Next time I will try to be more formal about it and we can get dressed in our church clothes for it. This will be interesting, but we can do it and I know that any efforts will be blessed.

The biggest challenge is the uncertainty of how long this will last. How long will we not be able to take the sacrament? How and when are Temple recomends going to get renewed? This will be a struggle for those who aren't used to having access to tithing funds when they can't regularly get them taken out by using the special forms. Mailing them to the Bishop is possible, if you have the forms, but I can see how extra money laying around will be tempting enough for some to forgo paying it. Ah, the sifting of the wheat from the chaff. It can really get personal now, can't it. I don't want to be the chaff that the prophets in the scriptures have long fortold of. Did they see me? Did they see you?

For those of you not in Utah, the swine flu has been increasing in intensity here. Most are mild cases and the activity of this illness is like a moderatly busy flu season- but the real "seasonal" flu is over right now. The CDC is now wanting the doctors to treat all flu symtoms as if it is swine flu. Since the CDC is flooded with samples to be tested, only those who are hospitalized will be fully tested. Everyone else will be given the seasonal "rapid" flu test. It will sometimes come back positive for swine flu but isn't reliable because many who test negative with it, actually do have the illness.

Personally, I'm worried about this winter when the virus may have mutated enough to become more deadly. If you ask me, I would rather get this illness now and build up an immunity to it. Especialy while it is so mild. The problem is if I was to become the host in which the disease decides to mutate into something deadly, I would feel sooooo bad!!!! I guess I'll just wait and see if we get it. Maybe the illness we had a couple of weeks ago was the real deal but it was so mild, that even when we brought one child in to be tested, they said it was only a mild respiratory illness. Well, two weeks later and the "officials" are saying it is more widespread than they thought. Imagine that!

I could go on about some of the things that have bothered me about how ill-prepared we were to stop the spread of this, but really, we're all human. And being such a human that has to work tomorrow- I need to head to bed!! I hope this gives others ideas on how they will handle such a situation of having your main, but not only, source of spiritual uplift- church- being closed for an unannounced period of time. Bless you in your efforts!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blossoms= Happy Thoughts

Our flowers are blossoming so Ryan went out a couple of weeks ago and took these photos. I edited them (not much- he just hadn't got to them before I did) and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! They put a smile on my face and every-so-often I can be found sniffing the flowers!

This bleeding heart plant can be found in our next-door neighbors yard.

My clematis plants are about 3-4 years old and now cover my front porch railing!

Sweet William macro by Ryan.

My sweet Dallin William having fun in his jeep!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tonsilectomy and Septoplasty Surgery for Me! Yippy!

Note: Scroll down for pictures of my throat before and after surgery as well as a photo of my nose before surgery.

This was the attitude- "Hurray for me"- that I had going into the operating room on May 15th. I can't be any farther away from that attitude than I am now, one week later (As of June 9th I'm three weeks post-op)after having the surgery. What a horrible, agonizing week I've had since then. And I've actually had no problems with infections or too much bleeding- but it was still the worst pain I've been in for such an extended period of time. I should start by going back to my reasons for electing to have this done to me.

Ever since my I started having problems with allergies as a young adult, I've been susceptible to sinus infections. I thought that nothing was worse than going through a sinus infection while pregnant and not being able to take anything other than antibiotics and Tylenol. Fast forward 10 years and yearly antibiotics for such infections and you end up with my first reason for getting my nose straightened and my tonsils out.

Oh, for those who may not know- I had a deviated septum (essentially a crooked part in my nose) in TWO different places. The surgery to correct such a problem is called Septoplasmy. It's a little difficult to explain how they repair such a thing, but you can click here and find out more or click here to see a drawing of a deviated septum. Having a deviated septum can cause your nasal passages on one side to become blocked or partly closed. This makes it difficult for your nose and sinuses to drain properly. It also makes it harder to breath since only one nostril is fully open. This adds to problems sleeping at night and snoring because the passages aren't open properly so you compensate by breathing through your mouth. Most people don't even know that they have such a problem because they have been coping with it for so long.

This photo is for the benefit of medical science and increasing the knowledge of others- but it sure is embarrassing for me to show to the people who know me. I know that others will be seeking out this type of photo as an example.

Pre-op photo of my deviated septum taken at home

Note: Post-op the nose is still misaligned from the outside, but I can feel the difference in the inside as I breath in. The nasal passage on my left on the inside is much more open. The procedure was done inside my nose with a few stitches on the inside that dissolved.

Now, go back about 4-5 years ago when my husband was having many weight, sleep apnea and heart problems. He was referred to many different specialists including an ENT which is an ear, nose and throat doctor. After he had seen this specialist and had a sleep study done, he was asked to use a CPAP machine at night. This is a contraption that has a mask to fit over your nose or mouth or both depending on what you breath through at night. then, humidified air is blown through it to create a "positive airflow". This means air is pumped through the mask which forces your body to breath it in more than it would without the continuous flow. Just a note- the air is not attached to an oxygen tank, it is just normal air with a little bit of humidity added so you don't get dried out. I hated the feeling when I tried his mask on and if you have problems with claustrophobia, you would hate it too!

Nevertheless, Ryan used this for a while before electing to have his tonsils and uvula as well as part of his soft palate removed. He really felt better after about a month of healing. He had more energy and was able to take better care of himself. He ended up losing over 40 lbs and has kept it off for a couple years now.

This is the same dilemma many people face- having a lot of weight to lose, but being too tired to exercise because your body is not getting the oxygen it needs at night to repair itself. People who have full-blown sleep apnea stop breathing for seconds at a time- sometimes it can be thirty seconds or more. Then their brain realizes this and they startle/wake up enough to breath again. This can be happening several times an hour. As a result, they wake up in the morning feeling worse than when they went to bed. Some people have headaches right as they wake up and others self-medicate by drinking caffeinated beverages to get some energy. Others over-indulge in carbohydrates because your body craves them when you are tired. Most people don't have energy to even think about getting some exercise, let alone get through the day without falling asleep. It really is a vicious cycle.

Now, I was seeing myself heading down that path and the momentum was picking up. I was waking up more tired and with my allergies, my passages were even more closed off and swollen. I had a bad sinus infection this spring and realized this wasn't getting any better for me. As we age, our skin becomes looser and so the back of the mouth doesn't regain it's shape that it had in our youth. This adds to snoring as there isn't much room for air to pass through. I had the wonderful joy of having an extra flap of skin in the back of my throat which adds to a smaller passage. Not only that, but little pockets would form in my tonsils and the flap and collect food particles in there that would harden over time. I couldn't do anything about it. I know it sounds gross, but luckily I didn't have bad breath like someone with halitosis might have. But those older food particles could have started infections eventually. There really was a reason why I needed to get my tonsils out!

WARNING: Pictures of the inside of my mouth!

Notice in the pre-op picture where the arrow is on your left. These pockets would trap food and get bigger. The food would harden and sometimes break loose and come out. Very gross!! The other arrow is showing my extra flaps of skin that would just take up room in my throat. They also added to snoring sounds like a sail flapping in the

Also notice how swollen and red my throat is from allergies.

Next: Three weeks post-op.......

In the post-op picture you can see how much wider the back of my mouth is. The extra flaps are gone as well as the tonsils/pockets. I guess you can't see the area very well of where my tonsils used to be, but believe me, they aren't there! My throat is still red and scabs form where the skin was cauterized to stop the bleeding. I feel much better now and my husband hasn't noticed any snoring!

I hope those who read this appreciate the pictures because they are hard to get when your camera wants to focus on the closest thing which is my teeth or tongue. Even with a good camera (Nikon D40) and a second person taking the picture, it was really hard to get good photos.

For those wanting to know how my recovery went, I will be writing that up soon. That is another story in itself!

Update on the Gerbils

Yesterday a guy called about the gerbils of Sydney's that we advertised for free on He had previously raised gerbils and sold the extras to pet stores. He wanted to raise some more again with his two daughters to teach them responsibility. He took ALL of our extra gerbils.

Sydney now has four adult gerbils in two cages- two females and two males that are separated by their sex. It's nice to not have to worry anymore about the extras. They really are cute and fun to watch. It was also fun to see the different stages that the babies went through. Sydney is happy that the others have a good life ahead of them but she will miss having the babies around. They all had their eyes open and she kept a baby from the first litter we had that is now an adult. Ah, the drama of pet keeping!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Passed Up...

He did it! Tyler finally passed me up in height! He's now 5' 6 3/4" tall. I'm at 5' 6" even though in the picture I look shorter. I was holding the camera up and wasn't extending myself. Also the angle is kind of bad. Enough about me though! He is growing up fast now and is projected to get to 6 feet tall according to the growth charts. He is only 12 1/2 years old!

Tyler had a great year in school and was able to get on the honor roll. He also was nominated and received the President's Award for Academic Excellence and the award was signed by the President of the United States. He is a bright young man who loves to please his teachers. He has was chosen by one of his two teachers as the top boy in his class- not necessarily academically, but because of motivation, and improvement, although he is very bright. The top boy and girl got to pick out a book for the teacher to buy for them. Tyler chose a Star Wars book "Republic Commando: True Colors" that is 481 pages long. He loves reading science fiction and will ask me to take him to the library to get books to read. But this kid is not only smart, but well liked. He has many friends at school and church. The girls like him because he is nice to them.

At home, he can be counted on to do what I ask most of the time. If something doesn't get done, it's just because he forgot- not because he wasn't going to do it. He changes Dallin's diapers when I ask, takes out the trash, swaps lawn mowing with me, will shovel the snow, help people move things since he is so strong, and does the dishes and wants to help ME with my math homework.

He loves going to the assisted living home to pass the Sacrament to the elderly adults that live there. I stayed with him a couple of times and watched how my boy treated the adults so sweetly and used their names. He told them he was glad to see them and hoped to see them next week. He loves to volunteer to do this job and sometimes his leader has to remind him to share the blessings and let the other boys help out too! It makes my heart swell to see my children treat others who are less fortunate than themselves with such respect. A person can go far if they remember to treat all people with kindness. Especially in the eternal scheme of things.

I've actually wanted to go to the elderly home in our ward for some time, but hadn't found the time to do it until now. Since Tyler needs a ride sometimes, I have an excuse to drop in and see how the people are and how the home is run. Being a CNA has given me more self-confidence to be in such places and know that I am welcomed and valued for any effort made in making others lives better. I love that Tyler is getting that same joy that I feel. I love you Tyler and I'm so grateful to have you as my son!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cute Gerbil Pics

I have too many pictures to post, but since I just added these to KSL to sell some of our gerbils, I thought I would post them. Sydney is our Vet. Tech. in training and picked up 9 (four adults and 5 babies) gerbils not too long ago. We thought it would be fun to let her raise them and sell them for a few extra bucks. Well, with the economy the way it is, not many people are looking to add mouths to feed at their homes. We'll be lucky to give away the extras. She was told she can keep three or four but the males and females are going to be separated. We now have close to twenty gerbils. They are great fun to hold and very curious. Enjoy the cute pics!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Good News About My Parents

My Dad finally got a job after nine long months without one! He is technically working for a temp. agency, but the position is his pretty soon. He works for H.C. Brill which is a food company that makes frostings, cookie dough and other things for sale in the bakery departments at stores such as Albertsons, Target and they even make the frostings for Krispy Kreme. My Dad is in the quality assurance department and also makes sure the lines are running that make the food. He gets the lucky job of every so often taking test bites of the cookies that come off the line. That ensures the dough is made correctly. He only takes one bite of a cookie so he isn't getting that many calories. It's a lot of walking and being on his feet all day so he is getting adjusted to that.

*Note- this picture of the front of my parents house was taken in Decmeber. The trees are now leafy and beautiful. It is in West Point, UT.

The second exciting thing for my parents is that they were able to close on the house that they had been renting since moving to Utah in December. The loan companies wanted my Dad to have a job even though they were putting a sizable portion of the morgage down. Now that he has one, they were given the go ahead to close! It was just in time too because the previous owners were needing to have my parents buy the house by the end of May or they would make my parents move out. The previous home owners were having some finanial difficulties themselves so they needed to set the date for my parents to buy or move out. Now, everything is fine and my Mom is getting to work painting the dark purple and spring green room that was a little girls room. They are making it into an office for my Mom's personal history business. She is wanting to have neutral colors in there and has been dying to paint over the bright spring green wainscoting and purple walls AND ceiling. The picture above is the previous owners furnature. Right now my parents have office furnature in it.

We are all so happy for my parents and are looking forward to spending more time with them. They surprised my siblings and our families with season passes to Lagoon this year. The passes are for our birthdays this year and so we are very excited to spend time together riding the roller coasters and hanging out at Lagoon-A-Beach. Here's to ending a busy year-and-a-half of change for my family!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So That's Where it Went

I have managed to lose 11.5 lbs since I had surgery on my tonsils and my nose on May 15th. I have a whole post dedicated to this awful experience but I just had to share this cute story that happened to me today at work. It was the first day in about 2 weeks that I had been to work since the surgery. I was helping my client and asked her to roll towards me in her bed. She has no railing on that side, so she usually holds onto me in order to complete the roll.

She said to me " You really have lost weight, there isn't as much for me to hold onto" as she patted my butt.

We burst out laughing!! I just figured I had lost a little all over but I could see the most difference in my face. I didn't realize that I my butt is where I had lost so much of the weight. :D

Friday, May 22, 2009

Work and School

Wow, I am way behind in posting! There is so much to write about that I will just give a brief overview of the things that have been happening in our family. I have been working part-time for 5 months now and I love my job. My clients love me and totally appreciate the work I do for them. One of my clients wants to hire me to come and give her bed-baths if she ever goes home from the assisted living faciltiy. She says my baths are like massages and she had never had such a refreshing thing as a bed-bath before. Most people don't have to have one unless they spend a long time in the hospital or nursing facilities. It's amazing how warm water, wash cloths, soap and a little scubbing can make a person feel so much better!

I also check vital signs as part of my routine and I've gotten pretty good at it. I'm not as scared as I used to be about taking someones blood pressure. I used to find it hard to be so close to a stranger in order to get their blood pressure but now it is not so hard. But I haven't had to take a reading on a cute guy stranger so that may seem unnerving at first.

One of the people I work with is a Nurse and she is like a mentor to me. If I have any questions, I can always count on her to give me the answer I need and she respects all questions that I ask, whether big or small. She gave me the confidence to apply to Weber State University in order to start working towards becoming a Nurse. She thinks I will make a good one. I only hope so!

I applied to WSU and crossed my fingers becuase I had never applied to a university before. I was so happy when I opened my acceptance letter! One major goal for myself can be checked off my list! Next, I began applying for financial aid. I also applied for a scholarship that is given to non-traditional students going back to school. I won't find out about financial aid and scholarships that I will get until after the semester starts. We'll see how it goes. I'm figuring out how to make the system work for me. We have some money in Savings and the federal system thinks that is what you should use to pay for education. Never mind the fact that we are trying to be self-reliant and saving that money in case of emergencies. We will need to put that in IRA's or something in order to be eligible for pell grants. The same goes for stocks- they are assets and will make you unable to get grants. It doesn't matter if you have a lot of debt like we do for a second business. You can't have too many assets or you are penalized. IRA's are not counted as an asset. You could have a million dollars in that and still be able to get pell grants if your income wasn't too much.

If a person lost their job, they could go to school and get quite a bit of financial help- especially if they go to school full-time. Since I'm going to school part-time right now, I'm not eligible for a lot of scholarships. I may go to school full-time in the fall if we can afford not having my part-time income. We'll have to figure out the numbers soon since I need to apply for financial aid for fall soon. When I apply, I need to know if I will be going full-time or not. This summer is considered part of the '08-'09 school year and required different forms than the '09-'10 school year that starts in the fall.

I'm sorry if all of this is boring to those of you who are through with their degrees. It is quite a different experience for me to be navigating this arena as an adult over age 30 with children. I hope that by sharing my experience, I can make it easier for others who want to go back to school.

A couple of weeks ago I went to orientation and I was surprised at how many adult students there were. Especially in the Health Science Department which is what I'm going into. I am not positive that I will be going into Nursing, but I know that working in the health sciences is what I want to do. I am working towards getting an Associate of Science in Health Sciences right now. That will cover all pre-requisites for Nursing as well as other good to know and easy to transfer credits for other programs like Respiratory Therapy and Radiology. The two previous programs I mentioned are interesting to me as well. Radiology is always on the cutting edge of health science and respiratory therapy is needed for those who have asthma, emphysima and other lung realted disorders/diseases. Respiratory therapy can be done as part of home health services which makes the hours flexible.

I have registered for classes and taken the placement tests. I was very nervous about my math placement test but luckily someone recomended going to the site and spending three or more hours on that to brush up on math skills. That was great advice! It really helped me and probably saved me $600 or more on a math class. I placed in math 1010 which is Intermediate Algebra. Not bad for not having a math class for 15 years or more! Once again, going to really saved me money by helping me place into a higher math class.

New update- since I first started writing this post a couple of weeks ago, I've already been to my math class and I'm surprised at how well I'm doing so far. Homework takes forever for me, but I suspect it will speed up once I get the hang of it again. I haven't had to sit and write using paper for so long now, that it's weird doing equations in pencil and paper. Tyler caught me doing homework the other day and he asked me if I need any help. He is a natural when it comes to math and he will most likely be going into Algebra next year- skipping Pre-Algebra. Then he asked me why I was doing my homework in pencil (doesn't everybody do math homework in pencil?) I said told him that I make too many mistakes so I have to go back and erase it. Tyler said he can do his homework in pen because he doesn't make many mistakes! ARGHH! I would love to have his natural abilities with math. He takes after his dad in that area. I have another subject to write about on this blog so I need to end this post. Hope you have learned something from my little journey back to school. Take care!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Skidboot the Famous Dog

I received this video in an email from my Father-in-law Richard. Anyone who loves animals, dogs, Texas, or humble cowboys outta love this video. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Part two of Valentines Day 2009

What is Valentine's day without a cute stuffed animal and sweet baby holding it? Mom and Dad know about this and so after our family was done viewing the Temple open house in Draper, we went to Applebee's for a late lunch. All of us together were quite a site. I think Kristi took this picture and the next few with my camera and I edited them.

We had a yummy meal and then afterwards, the gift giving began. Mom is known for her love of giving gifts during most holidays. This valentines day was no exception. First, the frosted cupcakes that she made were passed out. Then the gift bags of candy and little valentines that were filled out for each grandchild and even us adults were handed out. Lastly, cute stuffed animals for the kids were passed around so that they could choose one. Obviously, Malia loved her animal of choice. Gotta love the next picture!

Cousins! L-R: Morgan, Sydney and McKenzie. Sydney was being silly that day and wouldn't let me get a good picture of her.
The classic McKenzie picture- doesn't she look older/wiser than 8?
Micah- loving every minute with his new dog.
Morgan- surprise!
Our table was so colorful with pink, red and white things all around! What a sight!
Finally Kristi got in a picture while Mom took this one with my camera. What a good ending to a great time spent with family!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Valentines Day 2009 (part one)

My brother Randy was able to get a bunch of tickets for the Draper Temple open house on Valentines Day. We thought it was a great way to spend the day! We had to be at a certain church to catch a shuttle up to the temple. There were atleast four different churches set apart as shuttle bases.

Here is our group waiting to board the shuttle (so we thought). Closest to farthest: Kristi, Ryan, Dallin, Tyler, Linda, Will, Richard (standing), Alina, one of Alina's nieces, Randy, Katie.

Another group shot. Clostest to farthest: Kristi, Ryan, Sydney holding Dallin, Tyler, Linda, Richard, McKenzie, Randy Katie and Micah (with the stroller).

This one is looking the other direction down the line. Closest to farthest: Micah, Malia (the blur), Katie, Randy, McKenzie being held by Katie's sister Megan- fresh from her mission, Morgan being held by Alina (Will's wife), Niece of Alina(?), Will holding Alina's nephew (?). Alina and Will were watching their niece and nephew that weekend. They were great to have along.

Earlier I mentioned that we thought were were waiting to load the bus. We must have waited for about 45 minutes. That wasn't the case as we were led to another room to watch a 10 minute video about the temple that explained the things we were going to see. It was a good video. THEN, we were led to another room for a few minutes to wait. After that we waited in the foyer for the bus to come. That took about 5 minutes.

The bus ride was fun for Dallin since it was his first time. It was so full that many had to stand. It was interesting listening to the different conversations on the way up. Especially as we got closer to the temple. There are so many huge houses in the neighborhood and many of them are for sale now. It was reasuring to hear others talk about how extravagant the big houses were and that most people can't afford them unless both the husband and the wife worked well paying jobs. I'm glad I don't live in such a house.

The bus stopped at a covered awning that turned out to be a long, covered walkway that had heaters running. It led all of the way to the side doors of the temple. That was such a nice ammenity because it was raining and windy that day. When we entered the temple, we were told to talk in soft whispers and that the rest of the tour was going to consist of us following the marked path through the different rooms.

It was very quiet except the sound of many footsteps shuffling in the line and a few toddlers that were tired. The carpeting was covered by a temporary carpet layed over plywood sheets on the original carpet. As we went along, Dallin was sooo good and enjoyed looking around. Some people were smart and brought umbrella strollers (like Randy). Luckily, Dallin had Ryan, Tyler, Sydney and I to hold him. It was good to be in the temple together as a family with our extended family. That is one of the main reasons we have temples. To unite us all as a big family.

When we got to the Celestial Room, which is the biggest, prettiest room, Dallin said "Wow, what's that?" He really paid attention in that room and Sydney and Tyler also loved it. We loved the huge chandelier hanging from the extra tall ceiling that was rounded at the top. It is the tallest celestial room I have ever been in and the chandelier was the biggest/ longest I've ever seen. I failed to mention the walls that were in the endowment rooms were painted in huge murials that went all around the walls. Those were very well done.

When we were done touring the temple, we were led out the front doors and into another covered tunnel leading next door to a church building. At the church, the gym was decorated in many different displays explaining our beliefs. There were also refreshments (cookies) and bottled water to enjoy. Missionaries were available to ask questions. It was a nice break for the kids who had been so quiet for so long (in their church clothes) and by that time were hungry for lunch. We exited out into the covered waiting area to wait for our bus. That took quite a while because a bus had broken down and they had to take care of that matter.

Other busses arrived, but they were going to different church buildings, not ours. We were the "red" group and there were three other groups. We watched as others around us left, but we couldn't. Good thing the cousins had each other to play with. They were a little rowdy/giggly, but who could blame them after having cookies for lunch and being so good for so long. We still had a special time together. My feelings as I was going through the temple surprised me. I didn't feel the same level of the Spirit as when I go to a temple already dedicated to the Lord. It does feel different. I hope to be able to go back someday soon after it is dedicated and enjoy the fullness of the spirit.

This temple was the first one that I have watched through the whole process. Indeed, I have observed the whole city over the past 20 years go through a remarkable change. My Aunt and Uncle live nearby in Sandy and I remember going to church with them and their 6 kids. The big "joke" back then was when the locals said, you can live in heaven (meaning Sandy) or you can live in Draper. Draper back then was known for the cow smells from the dairy farms and there wasn't much in the way of nicer buildings. You would exit off the freeway and drive through the run down places to get to the new, beautiful homes on the east bench which was the edge of Sandy, UT. As I grew up, I saw the transformation of prosperity run down the benches, into Draper. It became a little metropolis with many restaurants and upscale stores. The dairy farms were eventually pushed out. Even bigger homes were built up into the far east canyon and then they went up the south mountain face where the Temple is now located.

When the temple was announced for Draper, I thought of my extended family on the east bench that go to the temple at least once a week for baptisms and initiatories. They used to have to travel to the Jordan River Temple which is about 20 minutes from their house. Then, after the temple was being built, I went twice to take pictures of the progress. That is how I got the first photo you see. Now, I was able to go with my family to the open house. Today my two oldest kids and I were able to get special recommends that allow us to go to the dedication next Sunday. I can't wait to take them to see the culmination of the work put into the building. Then it will be the Lord's house.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New photo- I'm showing myself again :)

I find it hard to post pictures of myself since I don't like my weight right now, but I did get a couple of nice photos I took of myself recently. I've never had a good sense of self-esteem, but every once in a while I get a surge of creativity and hopefullness that I will get a reasaonable photo of myself.

For months now I've let my comments and photos of flowers or other things be the introduction to me. Now I guess I'm feeling brave enough to post a pick of me on my blog and in my profile so that wherever I leave my comments, people can "see" who wrote them. As if blogging wasn't enough to expose yourself. Put a face to your comments and it takes on new meaning. I was just wondering how you felt about it. Is it easy for you to put your face on your profile, or do you have a hard time with it like I do?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This One's for Kim G.

My childhood friend Kim G. is a very talented photographer and a few months ago had a drawing for a copy of one of her photos of our choice. I was one of three people that won! I had a hard time choosing which one of her gorgeous photos I wanted to keep. She has dozens of neat macros and beautiful flowers.

After some serious consideration, I chose the picture that is shown above in this photo of my desk. It's of raw cotton in a field in Alabama. You might wonder why I chose this photo over any of her beautiful flower ones. It's because of the symbolism of the image and of Kim's new side career.

She and her family had moved to Alabama a couple of years ago. Word spread of her talent for photography in her new city and soon she was being asked to do family portraits and getting paid for it. Now she has her own photography website and offers other pictures for framing. It's been great seeing her talent grow. The cotton picture reminds me of where she was when her photography really took off.

The symbol of the raw cotton makes me think of our talents and how raw they start out, but with work, time and patience, they can become great and useful things. I think of how we use cotton in so many different products from plain cotton balls used in cleaning wounds, clothing and even canvas for beautiful works of art. I'm sure you can think of different things we use cotton for. For this gift of inspiration, I thank my friend Kim and wish her the best in all she does!

My Sweet Dallin

Sydney had a mini-photo shoot with Dallin while we were in-between school programs with Ty and Syd. She took all of these photos but I edited them with our software. These photos are so precious to me because of the way they capture Dallin's personality. Great job Sydney! Oh, and in case you are wondering, he does have light birthmark on the left side of his face by his nose. It looks like a dirt smudge!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Christmas in February?

I'm finally posting a couple of pictures from Christmas at my parents house. I didn't take that many except of the gift that us kids gave to Mom and Dad. I wished I had taken more family pics, but I must have been having too much fun. I won't spoil the surprise for those who don't know what we got them. It was a little "over the top" for the economic times that we all share, but I got a good deal. Check it out! P.S. They had just moved into their house three days earlier and we managed to throw up their christmas tree so the Randy and Katie's kids would have one to open their christmas presents under. They spent christmas night at Mom and Dad's.

In this first photo Mom and Dad are opening the first part of the present. It was premade bags of popcorn that had the oil/butter packet attached.

The next part of the present was unveiled from under a tarp that I threw over it. Dad's reaction was priceless.

A popcorn maker! I knew it would be really fun for them in their basement where they will have a big t.v. Also I know they love to entertain and so they could have fun with it.

They were very surprised and we used it to make yummy popcorn that night. It came with bags and a scoop so they were set to have fun. We must say it is a pain to clean up since the oil splatters on the side of the glass, but the popcorn is sooo good! Thanks to my siblings for putting up with this outrageous gift that I found a good deal on classifieds. Next year you guys get to find the perfect gift for them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mr. Dallin

My youngest has an interesting nickname that has been part of him since he was a baby. He has been called "Mr. Dallin" from various people and sometimes when a person has never heard anyone else call him that. He just seems like an old soul sometimes. He has been changing and so I feel impressed to record some of the things he is doing/has done. Here he is enjoying our wheat grinder and finding out how to make it work.

Don't you just love his disheveled hair?! It adds characture. His eyes smile when he smiles!
This is how I found him the other day. He grabbed the stool out of the bathroom and proceeded to play with the microwave. I call him my "button boy" since he has to test any button he finds. I let him play with the microwave to get it out of his system but I was right nearby to make sure he didn't cook something or turn it on. He liked to hear the beeps as he pushed the numbers.
When my oldest son Tyler was two, he was playing with our microwave and ended up locking it so that it wouldn't cook anything. We had to find the manual and call the company to find out how to unlock it. This time, when Dallin did the same thing yesterday, I was smart enough to unplug it. That reset the controls and I didn't have to search for the manual. I guess I've raised two "button boys".
I just love his sweet face with a hint of masculinity. Dallin is showing great interest and ability in learning the letters of the alphabet. He has known the letter "O" for quite a while now. The second letter he learned has a funny story that goes with it. He and I were driving home at night when he started saying "M". I noticed that we were passing a brightly lit McDonalds and the big yellow letter M. I was so surprised and I told him that he was right! Then the next letter he learned was the letter "I" and he grasped that one by watching Word World and Super Why on PBS. They are his favorite shows since we don't have cable TV.

The next letter he learned also has an interesting story. He and I were in Ace Hardware when we walked by a sign just his height and he pointed to it and said "A"! It read Ace Hardware in big read letters, so I knew he really was talking about the letter A.

I recently had a birthday check of his cashed that he got from a relative and some Christmas money for him as well and I thought he would really enjoy some sort of learning toy. I remembered that my sis-in-law Katie has a cute letter Leap Frog toy that is magnetic and is always attatched to their front door. There are magnetic letters as well and when you put them in the recepticle, it says the letter name and sounds that it makes. It's set to a catchy tune so that the little ones remember it better. I got this for Dallin and he loves it. He has learned the letters X, and T and is probably learning more letters since that is the pattern so far. My other two kids weren't interested in learning the letters so early. It just comes naturally to him. I just love this little man and I can't cuddle and kiss him enough during the day. I'm so glad to have him. I love you Dallin!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tubing at Soldier Hollow

*Check out the end of this post for two short videos of us going down the mountain!!*
Soldier Hollow hosted the 2002 Olympic Cross Country Skiing and the Biathlon events. Another interesting fact is that it has the longest tubing lanes in Utah and the entire west half of the US. The movie High School Musical opened with a scene from the lodge in the first movie (the New Years Eve Party and Karoke).
My Aunt and Uncle from Virginia came to Utah to visit their daughter Nicole and her husband Lance and their grandson Nicolas. We had a big dinner at my parents house with extended family that lived in Utah. While they were there, my Uncle suggested going tubing at Soldier Hollow before they went back to Virginia. I thought that would be really fun and on Tuesday, January 27th, my Uncle Duane, my Dad Richard, my Cousin Nicole, my Brother Randy and I headed out to Soldier Hollow. We met at Randy's place and headed east up the Provo Canyon. It was a great trip that only took about 40 minutes to get to from Orem.
The view looking down at the lodge and beyond. It was a beautiful day!
Our group L-R: Randy (my Brother), me (Julie), Nicole (my Cousin), Richard (Dad) and Duane(my Uncle).
The race is on- there are five lanes side by side and your group can race each other down.

Our group again

We're all smiles as we head back to the cable that tows you back up to the top of the runs. Talk about plush tubing! It was $20 for 2 hours. They also had music playing in the background. It was a great facility!

Randy trying to stop before heading into the fence.

Can his smile get any bigger?!!!

Nicole, looking beautiful even with the snowy, windblown look.

Uncle Duane was all smiles! He had a great time and we loved having him visit us in Utah.

My Dad as he was being towed up the mountain. What a great view and beautiful skies! The tubing was so safe! None of us fell off our tubes the entire time. Although some of us hit the fence at the end of the run. Luckily they are just flimsy plastic things that try to keep you from going further down the mountain into the parking lot. I went through the first fence into the second and tore out three stakes! All that I did differently was get a bigger tube and suddenly I was sliding all the way into the fence if I didn't try really hard to stop.

Look at these brothers go! My Dad is in his late fifties and Duane is older than that! They had a great time together with us "kids".

The view again as we get close to the top of the cable run.

I took this picture while in my tube going up the mountain. The runs were extreemly safe, even though you would fly down the hill at 30-40 mph. I even took our expensive camera and our cheap digital video camera down the slide. I will post the video of me going down the hill while the others were racing behind me.

Check out this video of me going down the run!

This video is of the others racing down the hill! What a great day. Thanks for inviting us Duane!