Tuesday, December 29, 2009



The family came back over to talk to Scotty on the phone in Brazil!

Jenn and Jordan waiting for their turn on the phone. They've kept a busy 'family' schedule for the Christmas holiday weekend, zig-zagging across the valley to attend everything.

Charlie talked to Scotty, mainly because she likes talking on the phone. She was 15 months old when he left. He'll be amazed at the big 3 year old when he gets home.
Catherine was so nervous to talk to Scott, but after a few moments it was like the good 'ole days.

Jenn & Brad visiting.

Bekah wasn't able to join us Christmas Eve, so she opened her presents after the phone call.

December 26th -- Next gathering: Marx Family Christmas Party. 75 of your closest relatives.

Matt & Ashley

Hallie, Brad & Kara

Our family with Ron's parent's.

December 28th - Going to the movies as a family. We usually do this on Christmas afternoon, but with Scott's phone call it didn't work out this year. Instead we went on Monday night to the movies. With the kiddos along, we went to The Chipmunks. It was 80 minutes of squeaky, falsetto chipmunk talking.

December 29th - The family fun for the week wasn't over, Drew and Charlie spent the night. I can't believe I was lucky enough to snap this shot of Charlie getting grandpa to dance!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


This year's dinner had some good and bad points. Christmas blessing #1 came when I was grocery shopping. I have wanted to try prime rib for several years, but the cost has scared me away. This year I went to Sam's Club and bought a pot roast and figured I would make other nice dishes to go with it. Needed Garlic. Which meant I had to stop at Smith's on the way home. In SC's defense, they sell garlic - but it's about 30 cloves, for only $3, but still, what am I going to do with 30 cloves of garlic??? As I walked into Smith's, they had moved a refrigerated thing at the front of the store where you that had various items for a Christmas dinner. I stopped to look at the meat, it was the prime rib roast - but they had the manager's marked down sticker on them. I couldn't believe it. Right there was the roast that was normally 9.99/lb. on sale for 2.99/lb. I was so excited. Merry Christmas to me, and thank you Smith's butcher.

That was a good point.

Mid-day on Christmas Eve was time to start cooking. I've had double ovens in the last 3 houses, so I didn't stop to think at all about my oven situation. This house has one...small...oven. Whoops. Once the roast was in, nothing else would be cooking. Had I thought through my logistics the day before, I would have sent Ron to storage to find one of my roasters. But now we'll have to deal with the one oven situation. I fixed the potatoes, and drove them over to Ashely's to bake. I adjusted the vegetable dish I was going to make and just steamed green beans....pumpkin pies did not get baked.

That was just a point where I was irritated with myself for not thinking of the oven situation ahead of time.

Ashely walked in and asked what she could do to help. She was kind enough to get the deviled eggs ready.

I placed the plate in the fridge to stay cool until dinner was served. Nothing worse than warm deviled eggs. But the fridge was kind of full. I put the plate on top of a container of sour cream. That was surrounded by towering yogurts.

A few minutes after the fridge door was closed there was a crashing sound. The plate of eggs fell down the back of the fridge. So plate of eggs ruined. Smeared yoke filling all down the back of my refrigerator. Cleaning the fridge wasn't on my to-do list, but guess what I did at 11 p.m.
This was a bad point.

We had a kid's table this year!

The menu:
  • prime rib
  • glazed carrots
  • steamed green beans
  • potatoes au gratin w/mushrooms and blue cheese
  • cranberry salad
  • jello with stuff in it
  • crescent rolls

The dinner, if I do say so myself was yummy. Not because I enjoyed it that night (i never enjoy it after I've cooked all day..) but on Sunday after church Ron and I had the leftovers and it was great.

You might ask - where are the Christmas plates? The Sunday dishes are blue, couldn't use those (blue plates would have clashed with Christmas tablecloth), the china is still packed away. I had Ron take me to the storage trailer to get what I thought was the bin of Christmas dishes, but when I opened it 30 minutes before the food was ready to set the table, it was only the dessert plates, and two serving bowls. So no Christmas plates this year. That was a bad point.

It turned out to be a lovely meal, everyday white corel plates and all.


Ashley and Jenn both at 6 months. March madness is on it's way.

The girls with the My Favorite Things of the year gift:
  • vanilla candle
  • flat cheese grater (you know how hard these are to find?)
  • Extension cord - but not just any extention cord, the plug is flat so it fits nicely plugged in behind furniture, and the other end will take a 3-prong plug. One day this year they'll all reach for this extention cord and thank me
  • utility scissors, because you just can't have enough scissors around the house
  • Ferer Rocher chocolate candy
  • Crisper baking pan

Drew as Bumble Bee

a quiet moment at the end of all the excited unwrapping time.

This is the closest picture we have of Drew opening up this present. It was a shirt. A rather cool shirt with a Tiger, and his name spelled in the stripes of the tiger...but his initial reaction was of great disappointment that it was clothes. Funniest moment of the evening. I must add that after 4 days, this has become his favorite shirt and he has been spotted wearing it 3 of the 4 days.

I like this picture of Kara taking a picture of Brad

Charlie & Hallie

Necklace No. 47 . See Explanation.
Next year I think we will definately add singing. I could have done three different songs on the harp - so my goal for next year is to have 3-5 good Christmas songs the kids can sing. Even if they complain about doing it.
Two year goal: have enough/old enough grandkids to act out the nativity.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hallie is F.A.M.O.U.S.

The first week of November, Ron & I traveled down to San Diego to visit with Brad and Kara and Hallie.

Hallie is growing up so fast. Isn't this just the cutest picture of how she puts away her shoes when she comes home!

That's just to catch you up a bit on what we were doing when I wasn't blogging. On to how Hallie is famous.

Back in the beginning of August when I was in San Diego, Brad and I had this conversation:

Brad: Have you heard of some lady that was in a bad private plane crash and blogs about it?

Me: Nie-nie?

Brad: What?

Me: That's her blog name. Stephanie Nielsen.

Brad: Oh, whatever. Well, we're going to her sister's house for dinner Friday night.

Me: Thinking hard. Hmmm. Don't remember any of her family members that live in San Diego. We continue on chatting a bit. He tells me about this couple in his ward that they enjoy doing stuff with.

Then I put the pieces together.

You mean Elizabeth?

Brad: Yeah, the Bryants.


Brad: who?

Me: Lizzy Writes, About Whatever She Fancies. You know her?

Brad: um, I don't think so.

Me: No, that's Nie-Nie's sister-in-law. Oh, my gosh. I didn't know you knew her. That's right, they did move to San Diego, he graduated ASU and got a job here, she's pregnant with a boy and just had the most darling baby shower...

Brad: You'll have to talk to Kara, I don't know all this blog stuff. [which is a total lie because I know Brad is a closet blog reader...]

Me: That's so weird you know Lizzy Writes

Brad: That's so weird you know more about our friends than we do.

Me: You're going over there for dinner? That should be a treat, she looks like a great cook.

Now. To tell you the truth this conversation really bugged me for a while. I have a list of blogs that i read. Many of them are extended family to keep up with their lives. Then there's another list of blogs I have come across as I've stalked, and literally, peaking in on these blogs is pretty much like stalking someone. But they write and put it out there, so I feel o.k. stalking. Lizzy Writes just has cool style. She enjoys cooking and entertaining and so I peak in on her blog to she how she's given the latest halloween party or whatever. I just like her style. but she was just someone out there. Not someone that knows my son. That makes her real. Can you stalk a real person? That thought kind of creeped me out.

Great. My son has become friends with Lizzy Writes and now I'm going to have to stop reading her blog cause that's just weird. I broke up with Lizzy Write About Whatever She Fancies.

I vowed to stop clicking in on her blog which worked for a while until curiosity got the best of me one night and I wondered if she'd had her baby yet. You know what I saw? Kara in a picture! Yep, there she is 2nd from the right. During my absense (of a couple weeks...) she had changed the blog name and layout, but it's still Lizzy Writes to me.

This week - Hallie got a shout out in Lizzy Writes! I was scrolling through the Decked Out Lizzy Writes abode, and right there next to the wooden nativity for little hands to play with was Hallie's name. I only know one Hallie. Sure enough that link clicked over to Brad & Kara's Blog.

Thank You to Lizzy Writes, aka Simple Fancies, for watching out for Hallie and providing a nativity for her to play with. I have my own simple wooden nativity just waiting for her little hands to come play with on the 23rd.

(And now, since it's after 8, I'm going to try and track down Miss Hallie who is actually here for her aunt's UNLV graduation....I would love to get a quick hug and kiss with that little cutie before she flies away)

Monday, December 14, 2009

I love Macayos - almost as much as a pure native does. Did you know our new habitat is LESS THAN A MILE from a Macayos? Whoo-hoo. For the last 4.5 years when we've trekked across town to sit down at Macayos I would try and convince the waitress and powers-that-be that the northern end of town needs a Macayos. May I suggest Decatur & 215. But now, we're less than a mile away again.

Non-LV readers don't know about Macayos. It's a half step up from La Tolteca (without the ability to buy tortillas by the dozen, salsa by the quart, and chips by the pound) You know...I actually should do a whole post on the greatness that is La Tolteca, and how there are no corn tortillas in my freezer, therefore a trip south is in order, or someone driving by needs to pick up a few dozen for me...

Back to Macayos and why my sink looks like this.

A week ago Saturday I kept busy all morning and at 3 layed down for a nap. Big mistake. I was more tired than I realized and woke up at 6:30. Who wants to fix dinner on a Saturday night, starting at 6:30? So I say to Ron, "We should just go over to Macayos."

Ron panics. Thinks quick. He needs to nip this in the bud or it will be Macayos for dinner 3 nights a week. To which he responds: Don't we have leftovers in the fridge?

And I'm all like, It would be so much faster just to go over there.

And He's like, I know there's steak in there, some roast beef.

And I'm all like, Yeah, there's meat. But there's nothing else.

But he's all like, we shouldn't waste the food.

And I'm all like I know how to pick my fights and $25 at Macayos tonight just isn't worth it.

So....I took potatoes, peeled, boiled, cut up, cooked, mashed, served.

Fixed vegetables.

Heated up the roast beef.

30 minutes later Ron had a complete meal. My sink that was totally clean at 6:30, was full of dishes again.

And I was all like, pollo espinaca would have been so much easier.

Friday, October 16, 2009


(Opening Disclaimer: This should never be construed as I love one more than another, I think more of one's education than another's, or any of the other thousands of ways it could be miscontrued, but see me through to the end of the post. And ALL of my kids are dang awesome, educated/getting educated/working and living productive lives)

Kara joined our family one week after completing nursing school. It was a stressful semester for her. She could work full time and live a much more lavish lifestyle, but she chooses to instead be a full-time mom to Hallie. As she describes it, I'm a mom first and formost and on my 'off' days I'm a nurse. And finally, she supports Brad's busy schedule, for which she gets mad-dog props.

Hallie is a cutie-pie. And to hear that little girl talk is a crack-up. My favorite is hearing her say animal names in spanish.

Brad. I want to call him every other day, but always hesitate. I don't want to interupt a much-deserved nap, or his only few minutes with Kara that day, or is he at work, or school lecture? He is: full-time law student, part-time law firm researcher, writes for one of the law review publications, serves as executive secretary in his ward, avid sports fan. Busy List!

The reason for me metioning Brad & Kara is:


I love, love, love this man. Not in an "I love you I want to marry you" kind of way - but in an 'When he talks, I listen" kind of way.

This week's TALK

After reading this, I was so thankful for Brad & Kara and how they are sacrificing at this time for Brad to go to school. What this country doesn't need is another lawyer - but it sure does need more lawyers that are filled with faith. Brad will be such an asset.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The CREATE Video On My Sidebar

"In the end, the number of prayers we say
may contribute to our happiness,
but the number of prayers we answer
may of even greater importance."
Today is the General Relief Society Broadcast. I love this meeting. I have attended almost all of them since they started with President Kimball in the late '70s. Each meeting will bring messages that touch your heart. Last year was no different.
My inner conversation had started at least 18 months before. Do any of you carry on these conversations with yourself? Searching, wondering, thinking about it. In the end, for me they always lead to feeling sorry for myself. You'd think I'd stop having these conversations! But sometimes things just strike you and you just mull it over and think about it. 18 months before I had bought a Christmas CD which I loved. I read about the artist and it dawned on me she had fully developed her talent, she went to school, she worked professionally, and she was raising a lovely family. Then came the bad thought: Why didn't I do that? A couple of months later I was talking to a friend at church and she was talking about how she was playing in a community orchestra one night a week. She had had all three children while playing in this orchestra. Again, Why didn't I keep it up? I could have done that. I would have really enjoyed that.
Then in the midst of all the negative thoughts a couple of points rose to the surface, 1) You can still do it. 2) You did the best you could - you were a little busy with a young family, and for you that was what you could handle.
"Creating and being compassionate
are two activities that we as
His spirit children can and should emulate."
I decided I could still do it. I could have picked up my flute, practiced up, and kept going, but I kind of wanted to try a different instrument. And if I get a do-over, I'd like to play the harp. It seems so cool. So I researched a little. Found a teacher. Purchased a harp, and got started.
That was June. Four months later in September I had gone through the summer lessons and I was terrible! Not really terrible, but a beginner. I was discouraged I didn't have the time to practice like I used to in high school. I figured out that back then, my life was totally my own, so if I practiced all afternoon, no big deal. But now. There are demands. Things to take care of and do. I can't just drop everything and practice. So frusterating. Also, just because you can play an instrument, why did I think I'd be able to play another one at the same level? Weird brain of mine. I was wondering if I had made a mistake, who was I to think I could do this?
"Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment.
We develop ourselves and others when we
take unorganized matter into our hands and
mold it into something of beauty."
As Pres. Uchtdorf began to speak, it was as if the topic was chosen for me. His words calmed the inner turmoil I had been feeling for 18 months. I hadn't missed out on anything. I had been busy creating a family. And now, I can learn to create music again. And don't be so critical of yourself. and... and... and...
"I also pray that the Holy Ghost
will amplify my words and bestow
upon them additional meaning, insight, and inspirations."
Thank you.
It was nice of the church to create a little video of my personal message! I hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you as well.
Full text here.

As for the harp lessons - they continue on. It is harder than I ever imagined. There are so many technical things that happen besides just playing notes. Little nuances in hand position. I have a problem placing my thumbs higher and bringing my fingers in flat, it's a constant weekly comment in my notebook. I'm excited to be learning. Sometimes I just can't practice as much as I'd like, and I don't beat myself up about it, there are times when being compassionate trumps being creative.

That is the story of why I have the Create video on my sidebar. I can't wait to hear today's talks and what my inspiration for this next year will be.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I failed last week, wait, 10 days ago! to give a proper Birthday Shout Out to Jordan. Happy Birthday Jordan!

Last Saturday Charlie came and spent some time with me. I was on the couch with my broken ankle so I wasn't doing a lot of playing, just observing. She kept me entertained. At this point, she had decided it was times to give her little ponies a drink of water. She kept handing me the Wii controler and wanted to play with it, but I don't know how to work any game consoles, so we just stuck with the ponies and coloring.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dear Brad,

Our convo Monday went something like this:

B-rad: you know that lady that was in a plane crash with her husband, you read her blog?
The Mom: Nie-Nie?
B-rad: yeah, she's going to be on Oprah Thursday.
The Mom: Oh, really. I don't watch Oprah, but I'll have to tape it that day. I'd like to hear what she has to say.

Uh, I taped it. It's Jay-Z and Barbra.

Thanks to the beauty of DDR, I could fast forward through the interview w/Jay-Z because, Oprah really doesn't interview, she talks at her guests the whole time. They should have shown more of the Crazy in Love video, less talking. BUT the funniest was the fact that Oprah, with all her millions, can't bounce!!! Can you believe it? Oh, so, sad. I can bounce better than her.

Then comes the Barbra interview. I slow down and think I'll listen. I like her. (not that I don't like Jay-Z but it's just the whole Oprah interview style that sends me over the top.) Then they start showing pictures of Barbra's vacation food. hit fast forward. Wait, they're laughing, back up. Play. Barbra says something about success doesn't change you, it brings out more of what you already are....And Oprah, OH. MY. GOSH. She's says, "I said that."


There, I feel better.

More fast forwarding...Barbra doll...awwwwe, here's her singing. Now I know what I can get your grandma for her b-day next month. I've been pondering that all week, she's oh, so hard to buy for. A new Barbra CD, she'll like that.

So let's review: Jay-Z, brief moments of good music, lots of flapping Oprah mouth, no bouncability, Barbra, singing.....No Nie-Nie.

Thanks for the tip and allowing me to only have to actually listen to about 10 mintues out of an hour of Oprah. And you think Glen Beck is irritating?

Love, Mom

P.S. Funny spoof

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I've been so busy

hopping on crutches

more updates to come

This makes two posts in a row showing my feet. That's just somehow wrong.

Friday, September 04, 2009


Yesterday was just one of those days. Started at 4 a.m. and ended at 10:45 p.m. Appointments and responsibilities stacked up on top of each other. I was exausted when I returned home at 10:45. And Kruger was hopping around and begging me to take him on a bike ride. Can you believe it? I was dog tired, but I had to take the dog for a jog. Just after 11, I fell into bed. I reached for my laptop to check email for the day. And that was it. I was out. No blog reading for me on the 3rd.

Do you know what I missed on the 3rd? I didn't realize it till the morning of the 4th when I started on to a few of my daily clicks. There it was, on my first click. A post referencing ME, on my favorite blog. Wow. Hollar!!!

So, here it is, check out my mini fame. Don't read Nat the Fat Rat? You really should. And order one of her custom onesie's while you're at it so she doesn't have to go get another soul-sucking job.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Loyalties and Flip Flops

I miss our old ward and stake. And to all that have sent messages of hello - right back at you. We're hoping to drop in on Chicken on the Hill for some fabulous food, visiting and cooler weather.

It's not that I'm not happy to be in the Highland Hills Stake, I'm just . . .new. I haven't been to any stake meetings yet, don't really know the Stake Presidency. I'm well seasoned enough to know that they are men called of God, and give it some time, you'll love them. But I wasn't there yet. I was just attending my meetings and trying to meet new people.

This Sunday, in one brief moment, it happened. I fell in LOVE with the Highland Hills Stake. Isn't it cool how the process works? A simple written announcement, that not many people noticed, caught my eye. It was as if the Stake sent out a personal welcome to me!

I took my back row seat in Relief Society and was handed an announcement sheet. There, buried after the scrapbooking, cannery order, play group, and cub scout activities was this little gem:

"RS GENERAL BROADCAST: The Stake Relief Society is hold a dinner and then viewing the broadcast on September 26th. Dinner will start at 6 p.m. They will be holding a "flip-flop" and "sidewalk chalk" drive. Please bring in donations of these items. Also, they encourage us to wear a summer dress with flip flops that evening."

Do you see that? Flip Flops. I've just been given permission to wear flip flops to church!!! Woot.

Oh the possibilities, which ones shall I wear? Today I was sporting the brown beaded pair. Blue paisley, plain black? So many choices, so little time. I know, I know, a pedicure is in order, I tried yesterday but my favorite foot handler, Tammy, took a day off. I'll get in sometime soon.

But I digress. This announcement is monumental in my world. Permission...no...encouragement, to wear flip flops. To church.

I will bring sidewalk chalk. I will bring flip flops. I will wear a summer dress and this evening, flip flops. As I sit in the chapel in my flip flops, I will soak up the words of love and encouragment from living prophets of God.

And then come Sunday, I will follow an Apostle's admonition, and put my flip flops aside in leiu of my "Sunday best"

I'm going to LOVE this Stake.

Monday, August 31, 2009

"It seems now, more than ever, it's cool to be a Marxist."

Yeah, buddy. I'm telling you, we're a cool family...


Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Monday, August 17, 2009


This is the funniest blog post & comments I have read in a long time.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday, Hallie

Hey Folks, it's my mom's birthday.

Nobody worry - I've got the cake and clean up thing under control.
Dude, I have it made. My sister will take care of everything and I can just watch cartoons.
Happy Birthday to Ashley.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

It's my Daddy's birthday

Happy Birthday

Friday, July 31, 2009

29 Woot WootFor our 29th anniversary Ron bought me a huge boquet of carnations. I can hear the gasps already from flower elitests....before you judge him, it's my request. I LOVE CARNATIONS. Please don't bring home roses. Oh, I'll take them with a kiss, place them in water and enjoy. But if you want to make my heart go pitter patter, bring carnations.

Here's a few facts from 29 years:

States visited: 20
Countries visited: 4
Cruises: 5
Trips to Hawaii: 3
No. of temples we've been to: 15
Trips to Lake Powell: 20-24
No. of children: 5+4=9
No. of grandchildren: 3

Gosh, we've been busy.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Warning: this is way long, like Iliad-long, and there are no Spark notes.
Three years ago we had what I called the perfect storm: Ron invested in adding grading and paving to our business, and in doing so made a couple of mistakes, like $30-50,000 each mistakes. We can recoup from that. Then a contractor didn't pay us, we had to sue, ended up with pennies on the dollar, ended up being almost a $70,000 loss, no problem, it's going to be tight, but we can recover. Then there was another expense that came up. We had three things that hit all within a couple of months of each other. I was ready to move on to a new year and get those months behind me.

THEN...the next year rolls around and it seems like we just can't get on top of the bills again, every month is hard. A few personal trips we planned ('cause in the past if someone suggested something 4 months out - no problem, we're in.) barely panned out. By the end of the year I finally ran all the company reports to take a look at things financially. We were down 30%, no wonder I felt like it was a struggle all the time. Up to that point we had ten different years where we made so close to the same amount every year, Ron joked it was a fine oiled machine. We definitely had taken things for granted. But, whew, glad to know there was a reason for the tough times. 30% drop was alarming to me, so I started asking around to several other contractors we know "you guys slowing down?" Many of them would give me a look, "No, we can't keep up with it all/just added another crew..." SO, then I would get all down and out like we were the only losers that couldn't do well. BUT then after feeling sorry for myself for a couple of months I realized in conversations that some of them were just now working on projects we had complete 6 months before. DUH, we're the first in with the ground work and utilities, they're at the end of projects. Now the tide had turned, they were noticing the slowdown in work too. Whew, it's not just us.

NOW to this year/or year 3 in the story. Once the banking crisis hit, it was like a faucet was turned off. Did I mention that last summer we did two jobs and then the owners couldn't get financing - Yeah I did - Work gets slower and slower, projects get smaller and smaller, competition for bidding gets larger and larger. For the last year and a half Ron and I have had conversations about how to handle the slow down and the money, what's our worse-case scenario? For the record, Ron is Mr. Optimist. I'm the more the realist. We balance each other out. Not that I'm not positive or optimistic, but someone has to make a Plan B. and C. and D.

Earlier this year I really started pondering how bad was this going to get, and when will it turn around? I tried my best to understand CNBC, and all the other newscasters that scream at you to get your attention. I observed as I was driving around town. Do we need to be drastic or just hang in there? I was a mess. So I do what anyone does when they're a mess. I called my dad. He's very well-read in financial stuff and world news. He chats with me about various stuff. And regulations. And who started what with regulations and deregulations. I don't want the history, I just want my answer. You know dad, this is what I'm seeing: 1) The stimulus package is supposed to open up funding again. Great. I know several projects approved ready to go when the owner can get funding. BUT we do commercial work. 2) I drive around town and the commercial shopping centers only look half-full. Our neighbor is in commercial lease management, his centers are at 40% occupancy, he's worried. So....even if a bank is going to fund, you have to show something like 70% tenant commitments to the bank to get a loan. Who's going to get that when everything else in town is half empty? 3) we know several engineers and they're either going out of business or about to because they don't have any work. If they're not working - there's nothing coming down the pipes for us to do.

"So, dad, how long do I have to hang on??? If you tell me 6 months, I think I can do that, if you tell me longer, I don't know what we're going to do."

So my dad with his Texas drawl asks: How long after an engineer completes a project till it reaches your company to install? And I think, well, easy 6 months. Maybe more. it has to go through plans check, red lines, funding, out to bid, get awarded the bid, then permitting and start. 6-9 months.

"Well then, there's your answer. Watch the engineers, when they get busy, you're 6-9 months away from getting busy yourself."

I hang up stunned. Still in a mess. I know, he's right. BUT I didn't have time to think about it anymore because I had a stake welfare training meeting to get to...

I sat down in the chapel with all the leaders in the stake and to be honest, my mind was still back at my convo with my dad. All this stuff was running through my brain. I just wanted someone to tell me it will be back to normal and in what month. Less than 6? I can do less than 6.

The DVD started. My notes started. I'll share them, in case you haven't seen - and even if you have, your notes were probably different.

Elder Hales: Joyfully living w/in our means. Use resources wisely. Do not covet. Avoid debt, be content. Exercise faith in the Savior to do better and be better. Our ability to serve is increased/decreased by our self reliance. Change lifestyle & place of residence to live w/in your means. Be a good employee.

Sister Beck: Organize teach & inspire sisters. *great quote on relief* education/money/social/ and emotional well-being. improve skills: home industries, accounting/bookkeeping.

Bishop Burton: basic welfare principles. Seek out the poor. Promote personal..?. Sustain life - not lifestyle. Downsize where necessary. Provide commodities before cash.

Stake leaders remarks: What can we do to help our members receive personal revelation and raise spirituality in individual members? More temple attendance - esp. if out of work. Utilize prayer roll. Use General Conf. talks for inspiration. Keep commandments, pray, ask for revelation D&C 20:47. Have gratitude and serve. Plan for your future. Read Book of Mormon for greater spirituality. NO dispair, depression or giving up. The scriptures say, 'And it came to pass' - not 'and it came to stay'. Be where you're supposed to be, do what you're supposed to do, and allow the Lord to bless you.

What a fantastic 90 minutes. And now I at least know, this won't be over in 6 months. The church wouldn't go to all the trouble of this DVD and asking all stakes in the U.S. to have training meetings if this was a temporary situation. And in a strange way, relief. This just wasn't my situation, others must be having the same conversations at their homes. It's time to hunker down and trim expenses to get through.

Some areas of the country have hurricanes, some flooding, some tornadoes, or forest fires. I decided an economic storm was sweeping through our area. Much like tornadoes and wildfires, it can devastate a home to ashes and leave the one next door standing fully intact. That's how I've felt this year. As we sat down to look at the refinancing paperwork, I ran another company report. I knew it was worse. I struggle every day of every week. Always twice as many bills as income. I now have reoccurring nightmares of the voices that call everyday wondering when Invoice #...will be paid. That part is not fun. restless, sleepless nights. So the income for the company this time was even more dismal. Six months into the year, we're down another 40%. Yep, that's right - doing quick math, we're down over 70% from a 'normal' year. And we're only half-way done.

So we looked at the options. IF the company did the same amount of work the 2nd half of the year, yeah, we probably could work out this refinancing. BUT what if it continues to slide down? What if we go from steady, low dollar jobs, to a job then a few weeks of nothing before another job. If that happens, there's no way we could sustain the household expenditures. By the time you do the payment, property taxes, HOA, utilities, that is a rather large chunk of change. Honestly, Ron & I could live on much, much less than that monthly figure.

Is it wise right now to spend that much on our personal lives? Would it affect being able to pay our employees? Are we throwing good money after bad? Are we prolonging the inevitable? When will we go back to normal? Will we be sorry? Are we making the right decision?

So, when all along we thought we were refinancing and staying put, we decided to not keep the house. We're trying to keep the business going and must reduce our expenses. So...to anyone who might be reading this (you're still reading this?), if you didn't know we were moving, I'm sorry. It really happened so fast, and we were incredibly busy. I didn't tell many people. It took a couple of weeks to figure out what/where everything would go, then it took a couple of weeks to pack and move it. So so exhausting. and hot. and humid. What do you do with the household items of a 4,000 sq ft house? It almost all fits in a 40 foot tractor trailer. We're just storing everything for now. The office is moved to Matt & Ashley's extra room. The food storage is in Jenn & Jordan's extra room. And we are in Bekah & David's extra room. The storage for the company is in another tractor trailer and a few other locations.

I was ready to rent something else. Ron is just certain some out-of-town jobs will come through, so why rent if he has to work out of state? So the compromise was hang out at Bekah's for a little bit. 6 month limit. If nothing pans out by then, we need our own place, our own stuff.

THE END of the epic post
I don't know that we will ever go back to 'normal'. We will adjust to a new normal. I'm very optimistic for the future. We truly believe we just need to make adjustments for about 2-5 years. I don't have all the answers or details for my next year, but I know without a doubt that the future will be wonderful. There will be other houses, other grandchildren, other church callings. We will be blessed beyond our ability to comprehend. Is the worse over? Probably not. Will we be sorry we made this decision? Maybe, but I don't think so.

I struggled on whether I should write about all this. My family knows what's going on. Do other people really need to? Could it help others? Will they think we are just frivolous lousy business people? and personally morally bankrupt? To those I would say: we're doing the best we can. Our vehicles are paid for, we don't have credit card debt. Those nice vacation trips in the past - paid in cash or we didn't go. What about provident living, you should have 6 month's expenses in a savings acct? From experience, it helps in year one, continued to help in year two, but when you get half-way into year three, it's gone. Then I was worried about my kids. I hope they are not embarrassed. I don't know what they will face in their life, but I know there will be challenges. Whatever they are, I certainly hope we are examples to them of how to put a smile on your face and move forward with faith. This storm will pass. We have years ahead of us full of fun and excitement.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Happy Birthday

Declaration of Independence
[Adopted in Congress 4 July 1776]

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Me & The King of Pop

Michael Jackson's music has been the background of my life.

Back in the day, he was awesome.

When I was in elementary school, he was on Soul Train and Tiger Beat:

When I was a senior in high school, Ron & I rocked the night away:

Matt & Brad were my Pretty Young Things as little toddlers:

Just this week Bekah was telling me that Britney Spears is coming back to town and she'd really like to go (again...) and my response was, "Why would you want to go see her again, she's so screwed up." And Rebekah said, "Because she's so good."

I know what you mean, Bek. [wow - did I just use all 3 of my names for you in 2 short sentences?] His life was so screwed up, but he was so good.

So here's one last number. It just happens to be what I used to sing to you and your sister when you were babies, and it features your favorite fellow screwed up artist:

I don't care what you say, I liked him.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bees are our friend...in the garden

The garden in April

The Garden June 15th