Back in 1997, I had the feeling that I needed to go back to school.  I didn’t know why, but I just knew that I had to get my degree.  I did, and I was blessed because of it.  Not right away, but I was blessed.

Well, for the last 1 1/2 years, I have had a feeling that I needed to get passports for my family.  I don’t know why, but I have had an intense feeling that I needed to get them. 

So when our trip to California came up, I used that as an excuse to get them.  I could roll it into the cost of the vacation, so I bit the bullet and got them.  I cannot believe how much money it cost, and the paperwork and time.  And the pictures.  Seriously! 

If we don’t use them, I’m okay with that.  But now, if something were to happen, we have them.  They are paid for and we wouldn’t have to wait.  And it’s much easier to renew them.  Plus, The Teenager’s passport is good for 10 years, so if he goes foreign on his mission, that is one less thing we will have to worry about. 

Sometimes you don’t question why you are prompted to do things.  You just do them and wait to understand why.  So I wait.

Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the trip!

So, I had a request to show the after pictures of our first house.  First, I have to show you the in-between, after all the weeds were mowed down.  We were on 1/2 acre, so the back yard was enormous!



Yes, that’s a boat in the yard.  It came with the house.  We thought it would make a really cool sandbox.  Except when we tried to move it, it completely fell apart.  It was rotted all the way through.  So we had to just junk it.  Along the back there used to be a cinderblock fence.  It was crumbling and falling apart.  We stacked them up, and eventually gave them away.  All the neighbors had built privacy fences anyway!

We hired some men to scrape down the yard and level it.  Finally, it was time for the sod.


We laid sod twice…once in the spring and once in the fall.  We had to spread out the cost.  So these 3 pallets of sod only covered 1/2 of the backyard.  After it was delivered, I remember standing and looking at it and wondering what we had gotten ourselves into.  The Doctor and I laid it all by ourselves (with limited help from the kids). It was heavy and back-breaking work. 


But I loved having an instant backyard.  It looked so much better than the weeds and dirt! 


Here it is after the second round of sod.  I was so happy.  And I know the neighbors appreciated it too! 

However, the worst part of laying all that sod?  We didn’t have the money to do a sprinkler system, so we hand watered it the entire time we lived there.  If I could go back, I would just bit the bullet and put it in and charge it on the credit card.  It was so time consuming to water it all! 

If you cross the North Korean border illegally you get 12 years hard labor.

If you cross the Iranian border illegally you are detained indefinitely.

If you cross the Afghan border illegally, you get shot.

If you cross the Saudi Arabian border illegally you will be jailed.

If you cross the Chinese border illegally you may never be heard from again.

If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally you will be branded a spy and your fate will be sealed.

If you cross the Cuban border illegally you will be thrown into political prison to rot.

If you cross the U.S. border illegally you get

1 - A job,

2 - A drivers license,

3 - Social security card,

4 - Welfare,

5 - Food stamps,

6 - Credit cards,

7 - Subsidized rent or a loan to buy a house,

8 - Free education,

9 - Free health care,

10 - A lobbyist in Washington

11 - Billions of dollars worth of public documents printed in your language

12 - And the right to carry your country's flag while you protest that you don't get enough respect!
I am not against people coming to our country.  I just think they should have to do it legally.  I would expect nothing less if I went to their country!

Rexburg Idaho

My Apartment

Princeton Court.  This is the manager’s house, where I lived.  My best friend’s parents owned the apartments, so I got to live with them for cheap!  The top window on the left was my bedroom window.

 Tom's Apartment

Princeton Court.  This was The Doctor’s apartment, way back before he even dreamed of getting his Ph.D.  The window on the top left was his apartment.  The balcony in the middle is where we spent many an evening kissing!  See the building on the far right that is mostly cut off?  That is where I lived! 

The Mailbox

See the mailboxes?  That is where it all began.  We would “meet” here when we got our mail and talk for hours.  I thought I was being crafty by watching for him to go get his mail, and he thought the same.  That is where our friendship grew. 

I have such fond memories of these 3 places, and I hadn’t realized that I didn’t have any pictures until The Doctor sent me these on a recent trip to Rexburg.  I totally cried when I opened my email and saw them! 

If you don’t remember the story of our first house, go here.

So after 2 years, we were emotionally ready to try again for a house.  We weren’t actively looking, just talking about it.  It was scary.

One day my mom called me and said she had seen a cute house just a couple blocks away.  I lived right around the corner from her, so I went over to her house and we drove over. 

This is what I saw from the front:


It looked so cute.  The house was locked up, so we went around looking through the windows.  When we got to the backyard, this is what we saw:



Wow.  It was a mess.  Those are all weeds.  Completely overrun.  They were taller than me in most cases.  It was bad.  Come to find out, the inside had been worse.  The people that had lived there had several families living there, including:

  • a man with a warrant out for his arrest who was living in the crawl space underneath;
  • several people who lived in the detached garage;
  • a man who lived in the backyard, and took care of his personal needs, including showering, in the backyard, in full view of the neighbors; and
  • multiple cats and dogs who lived in the house and took care of their personal needs in the house.

We did not do the fixing up.  We bought it from the man who bought it and fixed it up.  He basically had to gut it and start over.  There was new carpet and tile, new kitchen, new paint, and new windows.  But he did not touch the backyard at all.  We got to do that.

We bought the house and moved in October.  In the first 3 weeks, we had Roto Rooter out 3 different times to clean out different drains.  He even had to go up on the roof and clean out the vent pipe.  It was bad.  In February, the furnace went out, and we ended up having to put in a whole new furnace and we replaced all the duct work.  We found multiple empty liquor bottles hidden all over the crawl space, and in the rafters of the garage!  It was quiet interesting!

In the spring, we started working on the yard.  We mowed all the weeds down, with the help of my Dad.  It was a huge undertaking.  We then hired someone to come out and basically scrape the yard down to the dirt.  We found garbage “dumps” where they had buried their garbage, including bike tires!  There was so much broken glass.  We were going to just seed the yard, but I was really worried about the kids getting cut, so we had to put sod down. 

The Doctor hated the house.  There was a lot of work to do and he is not handy by choice.  But we survived in it and have since moved on.  I just shudder when I think about how much we had to do in that yard!!  I don’t ever want to do that again!

You will never "have it all together."

Look what I did today.

I went to Wal-Mart and found these hair pins.  Similar to bobby pins, but they are U-shaped.


I also bought these fun accessories…bows and flowers.


I then glued the bows and flowers onto the hair pins.


Voila!  Cute hair accessories in minutes!


This hairstyle doesn’t do them justice, I just threw them in to see how they looked.  So cute and so cheap! 


1. If you could physically lock in one age for yourself, which would you choose and why?

19.  That is how old I was when I got married, and when I think about myself, I think of how I looked at 19.  Which makes for a shock when I look in the mirror and see a fat 37 year old!

2. What is the best dish that you cook or bake (your piece de resistance?)

I consider myself a pretty good cook.  I don’t make fancy food, just down to earth food.  I make pretty good clam chowder, chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles, and cinnamon rolls.

3. When you feel blue, what is one strategy you use to help yourself back to normal?

Well, my standby is crying and food.  But I need to replace food with something else.  I know it needs to be exercise, but that’s hard for me. “Here, you feel crappy, let’s get sweaty too.”  I just know that I have to move away from food.  But crying…that will always be there.  There is nothing more healing that a good cry…especially when combined with a hot shower!

4. When was the last time you danced in public?

Our Relief Society had a husband and wife night and they taught us swing dancing.  That was pretty fun, and good exercise too!

5. Do you consider yourself a realist or dreamer?

Definitely a realist.  I don’t dream.  They don’t come true.  It’s easier not to dream, and that way you don’t get your hopes shattered.

6. As a parent, what is one thing that you have done well?

Wow.  That’s a tough one.  I seriously thought about this question for quite a while.  I mean, I feel like I could do so much better.  However, if I had to pick one thing, I would have to say that I have taught my children to be responsible.  I have taught them to be in charge of themselves.  The Teenager is working now, and doesn’t get home from work until midnight on weekdays.  But he still sets his alarm and gets himself up for school.  He is keeping his grades up, and he has been pleasant around the family.  That makes me proud.

I just texted The Teenager and asked him what he would say is something I have done well as a parent, and he said, “You gave birth to me!”  So add humble to his list of endearing qualities!

7.  What is your #1 driving pet peeve?

When people cut me off.  If you signal, I will let you over.  But when you just butt in, it ticks me off.  You are not more important than I am. 

8. Which color best represents your mood today? Care to elaborate?

Pink.  Always pink.

9. What activity takes up the bulk of your time on an average day?

Napping.  LOL  No, kitchen work.  Making lunches, cooking meals, cleaning up.

10. M & M's or Skittles?


11. Have you ever read the Bible completely through?

Yes.  It took me like 8 months and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I wanted to quit so many times, but I kept going!

12. How long does it take you to really wake up in the morning?

About 5 minutes.  When my alarm goes off, I sit up and say my prayers, then go to the bathroom.  After that, it’s downstairs to make lunches, etc.  On Saturday, I will wake up and go back to sleep several times before I finally get up.  I love Saturday!

13. How much of a technology junkie are you?

I love technology.  It goes back to when I was in elementary school and my dad bought one of the very first Macintosh computers for use in our video store.  And a year or two after that, he bought another one for home.  So I was on a computer from a young age.  I got the MyTouch Google phone on the day it came out.  I haven’t converted to the iPhone yet because I love T-Mobile and don’t plan on switching.  But I love electronics.  I even love the copy machine at my work!  It’s so cool! 

Ahem, where were we?

14.. Do you enjoy selecting greeting cards for people, or is it more of a cultural "have to" for you?

I don’t give cards, unless I make them.  I think they are a waste of money.  Even the cards I make seem to be a waste, because unless I give them to my Mom or sisters, they are unappreciated and get thrown away!

12. What's the last thing you think of before you leave the house?

Do I have my phone?

I am so frustrated with this whole coughing thing.  I took The Chocoholic into his pediatrician today.  We discussed everything that has happened over the last 8 days.  Basically we have no idea why he is coughing. He has had times where he has gone several hours without coughing, so we know that it’s nothing permanent. We discussed taking him to a pulmonologist, and even to a psychologist.  I am so tired of doctors and medicine.  I made the decision to wait a week and see what happens.  I really think he will be okay.  I really hope he will be okay. 

Thanks for all your well wishes and prayers!

When your ship comes in, make sure you are willing to unload it.

Oh my goodness, what a week this has been!  I am so tired!  Let’s start at the beginning.

Last year, in February, The Chocoholic woke up coughing one morning.  Out of the blue.  He would cough all day long, but as soon as he went to bed, he would stop coughing.  This lasted for 9 days.  He didn’t go to school for 5 of those.  I ended up taking him to the doctor who asked him lots of questions about school and how he liked it and what kind of grades he got.  Basically, he thought The Chocoholic was faking it.  I knew he wasn’t.  We finally decided that it must be from allergies.

It happened again in May of 2009, but it only lasted 1 day.  It happened again in August, and lasted for 3 days.

Monday morning, he woke up coughing again.  I wasn’t too concerned.  I kept him home and gave him antihistamine.  He slept fine that night.  Tuesday he was coughing again, so I kept him home again. 

However, Tuesday night he couldn’t stop coughing.  It was bad.  I was so worried.  I decided to take him to InstaCare. Except when I got there, they informed me they didn’t take our insurance. So I had to take him to a different Urgent Care. We got there at 9:45, and they were supposed to close at 10:00. I could tell they were thrilled to see us walk in the door. They gave him a breathing treatment and a steroid pill. The doctor said he might need to go to the hospital by ambulance. What? That really freaked me out. They gave him some chest x-rays and everything was clear (no pneumonia, no bronchitis). So they said that he should stop coughing in 15 minutes and sent me on my way. I could tell they were just trying to get us out of there as soon as possible. I was on my way to fill the prescriptions they gave me, but then The Chocoholic said it was hard to breathe. So I immediately turned around and headed up to Primary Children’s Hospital. In the dark. And the rain. By myself. 

We got up there and they examined The Chocoholic, then gave him another breathing treatment. He does not have asthma, or croup. They have no idea why he is coughing. They gave me a prescription for Tylenol with codeine and Flonase for allergies. It was 1:30 in the morning before we headed home. I had to stop and get gas in the car at 2:00. It was 2:11 when I crawled into bed.

Wednesday, I called his pediatrician and we went in to see him.  He was baffled by the cough as well.  He prescribed more steroid pills and said to call him if things got worse.  That night, The Chocoholic had a hard time stopping coughing again, so The Doctor called his brother and they gave him a priesthood blessing.  Within 15 minutes, the coughing had stopped and he was able to sleep.

Thursday, he couldn’t stop coughing again. I have tried everything I can think of. Here is the list of things either I or the doctors have tried:

  • Prayer
  • Cough medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Antihistamine
  • Mucus reliever
  • Breathing treatment
  • Steroids
  • Vicks
  • Flonase
  • Honey
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey and lemon juice in hot water
  • Antacids
  • Vaporizer
  • Vicks on the bottom of his feet
  • Tylenol with codeine
  • Steam from a hot shower
  • Claritin
  • Zyrtek
  • Lemon drops
  • Cold air

Finally I gave him Nyquil, in the hopes that the alcohol would do something. It seemed to help, as at 11:30, he finally calmed down and fell asleep.

However, his cough was worse this morning. I called the pediatrician and he said to take him up to Primary Children’s so he could get seen by a pulmonologist. So after I took The Princess to school, we drove up to the emergency room. We went through all the same questions as Tuesday night. They told me that the pulmonologists won’t come down to the emergency room. So I will have to get a referral from Dr. Ryan to see one. Great. They did another chest x-ray to make sure his lungs looked okay, which they did.

I did ask them if there was any possibility that he had whooping cough. They thought about it and said there is a distant possibility. There is no test for that, so there’s no way to know for sure if he isn’t making the “whooping” sound. But they also said that it’s hard to tell if he has walking pneumonia too. So they prescribed Azithromycin, which is prescribed for both of those. So we will see if it works.

I feel so horrible as a mother. Every time he coughs, I feel guilty because I can’t do anything to help him. But even worse, I feel horrible because I am so irritated by the noise of the coughing. After 5 days of the constant cough all day long, not to mention he has been home every day, so the TV has been on a lot more too, it’s just about more than I can handle. I just cried and cried last night while he was coughing in his bedroom. I didn’t know what to do. 

So that is what has been going on.  How has your week been?  :-)

I love a clean car.  Especially in the winter when it gets so much salt on it.  I splurge and get car washes because I love how nice it looks.  I just wish it lasted longer.

However, I have learned that I prefer to do it by hand.  Not with my hose, but at the car wash.  The automatic car washes just don’t do a very good job on my minivan.  They don’t get the back washed very well, and they don’t rinse it very well. 

There is a car wash that I love.  It’s called the Aloha Auto Spa.  They don’t have special brushes or machines.  I like them because they use colored and scented foam.  It’s pink and smells like bubble gum.  That’s a good reason to choose a car wash, right? 

Success stops when you do.

I never understood how a mother could beat her children…until I had one of my own.  I don’t do well with too little sleep.  Combine that with a newborn baby, and we have a disaster on our hands.

When The Teenager was born, I was privileged to be able to quit work and stay home.  The Doctor was working and going to school.  Because of this, I didn’t feel it was fair to wake him up during the night to help me with the baby.  I became sleep deprived and stressed out.

One night, I couldn’t get The Teenager to go to sleep after a feeding.  He was crying and crying and I couldn’t comfort him.  I got so upset.  I started having horrible feelings of wanting to hurt him.  I mean really hurt him.  I became so scared!

I laid him in his crib and left the room.  I could still hear him crying.  I went into the bathroom and shut the door.  I could still hear him crying.  I turned on the bathtub and finally could not hear him anymore.  I sat down on the edge of the tub and cried and cried and cried.  I knew that if I went back into that room, I would hurt him.  I was devastated. 

How could a mother feel that way towards her own child?  I kept this a secret for years.  I didn’t tell anyone.  I didn’t want them to know what a horrible mother I was.  It wasn’t until I joined an email mommy loop (Hi Tina, Pamm, Tammy, Angie, Melissa, and Lynette!) that I started opening up.  And when I did, I discovered that I was not alone.  They had all felt that way at some point and to some degree.  And the more I talked to other moms, the more I discovered that they had felt the same way too.

My goal for telling you all this is to be honest and open.  If you have never felt this way towards your children, kudos to you.  Please don’t look down on those of us who have.  We are still good moms.  I am very proud of the fact that I never gave in to those feelings. 

So as we celebrate Mother’s Day, give yourself some slack.  Celebrate the fact that you are doing the best you can.  Enjoy a little praise because we all know we don’t get much the rest of the year!  Graciously say “Thank You” when your children say you are the best mommy in the world.  Because you are…to them. 

And while you are all doing that, I am going to try to accept it too.  I am way too hard on myself.  If I keep telling my kids what an awful mother I am, someday they are going to believe it.  I don’t want them to do that.  So I will enjoy the love and attention I get this weekend. 

Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

I have seen 2 posts about calendars today.  One was about how nice and clean her calendar looks at the beginning of the month and then how full it is by the end.  Well, I thought I would post a picture of my calendar.  This is my calendar…at the beginning of this month. 


It is so full!  And every time the kids come home from school, one of them adds to it.  It is so crazy!  Wednesday nights are especially busy because all 3 boys have scouts, plus all the concerts.  It is so insane.  It’s a good thing we have 2 cars so we can split up and try to hit it all!


Last night I watched “The Biggest Loser” and was so inspired.  They have all worked so hard and look so amazing.

I have been working out in the mornings, and I am really proud of myself for how hard I have been working.  I felt really good after this morning’s workout.

And then at 10:00 I cooked up a pound of sausage links and at them.  All of them.  By myself.  And then ate a spoonful of peanut butter.  And then sat down and cried.

Why do I do this to myself?  I know better. 

As I stood in front of the freezer and stared at the sausage, I told myself that I didn’t want them.  And then as I pulled them out and opened them, I told myself that they were bad for me.  And as I cooked them, I told myself that I shouldn’t eat them.  And then, as I was eating them, I told myself what a horrible person I was and how stupid I was and weak.  And when I finished eating the sausages, I felt so awful, that I needed a spoonful of peanut butter to help sooth the hurt. 

But it didn’t work.  Instead, I felt worse.

Why can’t I stop eating?  Why do I do it to myself, when I know how I am going to feel afterward?  I know it’s bad, and yet I can’t stop.  I feel so helpless. 

I want to lose more weight.  I know how to do it, and yet I keep sabotaging myself.  Why? 

I’m going to go find some chocolate.

I remember watching TV and seeing women put “lotion” on their faces and thinking they were crazy.  I tried using lotion on my face and it was so heavy!  Even after I found out they were using moisturizer, I refused to use it because my face is so greasy, I felt like adding more to face would be detrimental.

I finally tried it about 10 years ago when my Mom started selling Mary Kay.  I could not believe how good it felt. I can’t imagine not using it now.  When I get out of the shower, my face is so dry.  One of the first things I do is put my moisturizer on and it literally feels like a drink for my skin.  It feels so amazing!

What is your favorite beauty tip?

Whatever you are willing to put up with is exactly what you will have.
Okay, so after reading the title of this post, what was the first thing that came to your mind? 

Yeah, me too.

But that’s not what I’m writing about today.  I am writing about my shower drain. 


Sorry, that’s a horrible picture! 

I hate this drain because it doesn’t stop hair from going down.  After we had lived here for a few months, the
water was draining R E A L L Y slowly. I did not want to call a plumber, so I went to Wal-Mart to try and find a solution.  I couldn’t get the stopper off, so I knew that a regular snake would not work. 

Well, I found the most amazing thing.


This is the coolest invention!  You just slide it down the drain, then pull it back up.  As it comes up, all the little teeth grab the hair and bring it up.  It is NASTY to see what comes up!  I was horrified!  But the drain works so much better afterwards.  And the best part?  It cost around $3!

2010-04-05_15.26.21 2010-04-05_15.26.28

Do you have a secret tip that you use in your house?