Sunday, December 29, 2013

One More Thing

Our holiday was good. I got to see my sister and nephew as well as Skype with my brother who is in Sweden. Vince's mom bought the kids a trampoline. They tried it out today and after multiple moments of refereeing they enjoyed it. Ian ran around in circles with his little legs. Pretty cute.

We took a day trip to Seaside yesterday. It was 45 degrees and no rain or wind. Pleasant for NW standards. We had fun going to the Seaside Aquarium to feed the seals, ride the carousel and eat at the Pig n Pancake for dinner. We found a candy shop that could of been Willie Wonkas. It seriously had at prob had 40 types of taffy.

Caylee played on the beach, Ian ate about 8 fistfuls of sand because he thought it was funny...gonna hurt later I am sure, and Logan stayed away from the waves. I mean about 200 feet away. That boy is so cautious of the ocean he does not go near it even while holding my hand. Smart.

I start my new job tomorrow. Even though I worked there before at night, and know the people I am still nervous and considered just going back to my old job because it is familiar to me. I just have to remind myself that it will be fine and I am there to work in order to provide for the family so the lights stay on and the kids can have yogurt and bananas whenever they want lol.

Happy New Year!!!

2013 Has Been a Good Year!

Time flies when you are having fun :) I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and Christmas. It has been a while since I have written. 3 out of 5 people in our house are busy having going to school. It has been a process for us this last year to get all of our schedules worked out. The kids have asked to be signed up for many different sports this next year, but money and time force us to narrow the list down a bit. I have also gotten a new job after being back at a community bank for a year, I start tomorrow as a staff accountant for a local CPA firm. It looks like I will be going back to school myself in order to work towards a Masters. The pictures below tell our story the last couple of months better than I could.

Santa Claus!
Our Christmas call with my brother who is on a mission in Sweden
Logan on Christmas
Caylee with her gifts
Alpenrose Dairyville
Zoolights
Samuari Exhibit
Sleepy baby

Monday, October 21, 2013

Money Monday: Calculating Net Worth

What is net worth? It is the value that a person is worth financially, and is the difference between their assets and liabilities. A bank calculates it for potential borrowers to determine how sound they would be to pay off the debt if their main income fell through. The goal is to have a positive net worth as opposed to it being negative. The formula is, "Total Assets -Total Liabilities"

Assets are the current value of everything you own such as cash, retirement account balances, cash value of life insurance (not confused with face value), homes, vehicles, etc.

Liabilities are the total balances of all debt as of the date you are calculating it such as student loans, mortgages, credit cards, car loans etc.

If you own a business the assets and debt for it can be added for your total net worth, but then a bank will will also take them out to calculate Outside Net Worth (OSNW). This is to find out how financially sound a person would be if all of their businesses closed.

Tips to increase your net worth are to pay down debt, reduce acquiring new loans in the future, making sure the value of the asset equals equal to or or more than the loan amount,and increasing savings and/or retirement contributions. A recommendation is to calculate your net worth every year at about the same time in order to see where you are at and plan for for the upcoming year.

"Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself." ~Michel de Montaigne

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Heather Von St James | A Mesothelioma Cancer Survivor Story

A little while ago I was contacted by a lady named Heather Von St James.  She had recently overcame a battle with Mesothelioma, and wanted me to help share her story.  She is a strong lady, and I hope we all can appreciate and learn from her victory!

How-To Make Pumpkin Puree - Clean & Delicious®

Here is a great video that shows an easy way to turn entire pumpkins into pumpkin puree. The puree can be freezed to later make into smoothies, muffins and breads, pie, pudding, and even makes a great face mask!

Ralph Waldo Emerson - Self Reliance

Pumpkin Patchin'

Incredibly nice October days with ample vitamin D leads to working in the yard to clear out the garden, finding worms for the compost bucket and going to the pumpkin patch. This year we went to Oltmann Farms in Ridgefield, WA. The kids loved the toys, wagon, pumpkins and corn maze. My daughter has been asking for homemade pumpkin pie the last few weeks. It is starting to be a tradition and I love that.
Our family.
Me with my sis and her baby. I love being an aunt

I get my pumpkin pie recipe from http://www.pickyourown.org/pumpkinpie.php

Healthcare Taxes Effective January 1, 2014

Fyi. Here is the breakdown on the taxes charged if you don't have insurance starting in January

2014; $95/person($285/family) or 1% of income whichever is greater

2015; $325/person ($975 family) or 2% of your income whichever is greater

2016; $695/adult ($2085 family) or 2.5%

Thursday, October 10, 2013

This is Not a Dress Rehearsal

While searching online for a source of inspiration about the self reliance lifestyle I stumbled upon a video about Ralph Waldo Emerson. He had written essays on the topic of self reliance in oneself. Trusting in your internal opinion. I decided to give it a listen even though I had originally been intending for more of an external and environmental topic. I was quickly inspired and touched by his logic, and began to write notes in the dark with my curious husband looking on asking me what I was doing.

I lead a largely conformist life. It was how I was raised - learning to stroll through antique shops as a child with not so much as a shatter of porcelain. This has allowed me to climb the steps of success throughout life - completing grades 1-12 in school, getting my diploma, and then after finishing all that was instructed asking myself, "now what?" "Where is my next direction coming from?"

My parents said that at 19 I needed a job with benefits, so there became my focus. What are the duties? The environment? I don't care - does it have benefits? Sign me up!

Now 13 years later and with three kids I am still in the industry with benefits. I am good at practicing the professional norms - being quiet when appropriate - smiling when necessary and grumbling behind closed doors. How can you despise the job that pays your bills from day to day, when at the same time keeps you in the cycle? Without creativity there is no real change. The change to not need that dollar each day.

The battle is not always won by the slow, steady and predictable, but with change, courage, chance and risk. Did I really need benefits at a healthy 19 year old age? Probably not. Has it paid my bills? Kept a roof over my head? Hell yes! But has it also kept that same roof over my head, never changing...conforming to the rigor of routine...drowning out my own creativity with the intimidation of other's accomplishments? My answer is yes.

One vision at a time from now on. Too many is too much right now. Do the best at enjoying today, be genuine, surround myself with genuine, and study Chinese.

I have a plan to escape, to shake things up, to get out from under that roof, to show my kids the value of their own lives. This is not a dress rehearsal.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

September Brought School and California Adventures!

September seemed like it flew by. The kids and my husband started school, and we took a late summer vacation to California. We went on a well needed road trip down to Disneyland, with stops to San Francisco for the first time to see a friend and a visit to Hollywood. The vacation was a good way to connect as a family. During the long car rides my husband and I shared stories, laughed, debated, and got annoyed. I got to learn more about my kids while going on the rides at Disneyland. My daughter is the daredevil who is up for most anything, was and ride buddies with Vince. The boys rode with me. Logan was my little partner in crime. I found myself getting nervous on the high up rides for fear that my babies were going to fall out. On the Goofy mini-roller coaster and most every ride I found myself holding onto Logan's arm even though it only provided a false sense of security. Ian's favorite character and ride was Winnie the Pooh. We went on it one last time our last ride of the trip and I almost started to cry when I realized that the next time we come Ian will not be little anymore. I wanted to bottle up that moment forever. /> In times of anger - listen

In times of tears - hug

Monday, August 26, 2013

Children's quotes of the week

Kids sure say the darnedest things. I feel the need to preserve them. My six year old saying that she loves us more than chocolate ice cream. She also wants a bikini and high heels, but not necessarily together. This weekend she got into writing out words she hears, and she came out with a paper saying www.caylee.com. Oh man are we in trouble. Logan my 4 year drew a picture of flowers and 2 people standing amongst them. They had circles on their chests. I asked if it was him and I, and he said mom that is not me! That is you and sissy, because those are boobs to which my daughter declared that she did not want boobs. He also told me that he is older now and is not afraid of anything, and if Bigfoot or a dinosaur comes up to him he will punch his eyes out and jump in them. My 2 year old is starting to say sentences. He is also learning to defend himself by throwing, but likes to warn you. She will say, mom I am going to throw it at you, or mom I am climbing on your bed. He patiently waited to cuddle with me tonight until I got done with my yoga. Love those guys.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August time and the livings easy!

I just looked at the calendar and realized that my son's pre-k starts in 2 weeks. What the heck!? What have we been doing all month? Working and playing and enjoying. This post will be mostly pictures as I this explains it all.

nk it

Ian had his 2nd birthday. He loves baloons!

He is our little Pooh bear, and is always on the hunt for food.

Vince and the kids did the Spartan Race. Hoorah!

Vince going down the Spartan slide

iv> Logan going through the mud and over the wall. I was so busy cheering when Caylee went by that I didn't realize that I took pictures of the mud instead of her.

Fun at the fair.
Vince and I 8 years ago.
Us celebrating our anniversary kid-free at a lightbulb shop.
And by getting a Stash Tea.
And who could forget loving our blackberries.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July was pretty cool

It's July 31st, and I feel the need to re-cap. For starters I should go back a few weeks. One of my elementary school friends sadly passed away at the age of 32 from a heart attack. He was not really out of shape, and I didn't believe to be super unhealthy...no more than me, but it was discovered later that his artery was 90% clogged. My heart goes out to his family as my parents are close with them. The experience put me in a bit of a shell shock for a good couple of weeks, and was not able to write out my thoughts. I had no idea that someone so young and averagely healthy could die of a heart attack and after some unbearable anxiety decided to have my heart checked. It turns out that I am okay, but it reminded me to appreciate life and those around you. It is also a good idea to have a doctor's checkup even if you are young and active.

On a lighter note I turned 32 this month, and Caylee turned 6!
To celebrate she got her ears pierced. It hurt, and she cried but luckily they did both ears at the same time. We got her little diamonds, and they look fabulous! Actually I should say that her dad got her diamonds. The lady at Claires listed off the price ranges of the ear rings from $17.99-$200 to which I quickly responded with, "which ones are the $17.99 ones?" I was going to go with the dull stars, but Vince said she should get diamonds. What a good daddy! Then we had dinner with my mom, dad and sis. On her birthday we took her to an indoor play gym, and was surprised when her "bestie" from school came. They were so cute!

What else happened this month? My husband got his GED! He got bored in school, and never felt the need to take the test, but finally decided to give it a try. He got an 80% overall, and is looking into engineering programs for night school. Life is glorious!

Love you all bunches!

Mama Wilcox

Sunday, July 14, 2013

32 and Better than Ever

I had my 32nd birthday on the 12th. My co-workers were kind enough to bring me my favorite doughnut and leave a happy birthday banner on my desk. My gifts were a Starbucks gift card for my chai tea lattes as I don't like coffee and a bag of chocolate mints from my mom. As I am getting older I feel that the best gift is the time of others. It was surprising how much it meant to me. Vince and the kids and I went out to lunch at a Japanese Seafood Buffet.

For dinner I asked my mom if we could go to her house and she could make us a family recipe of macaroni and tomato juice. My sister and her husband and baby came over, and we spend the evening talking until our husbands could not stand it anymore. My cell phone has been on the fritz for a couple of weeks, and I haven't gotten my new one, so instead of texting me my brother from Utah called to wish me happy birthday.

I heard a sermon today where the pastor talked about ho in our 20s we are learning and growing, in our 30s we are trying to find our purpose in life and in our 40s and up we are actually starting to live it. That is becoming true for myself, so it was nice to hear that I am not losing my mind. When I was in my 20s I would work a good job with benefits that I maybe didn't find personal fulfillment in with no problem. I think I had always viewed it as temporary. Now that I have gone back to work in my 30s after having 3 kids I am struggling a lot with what is my purpose with this? I sometimes feel as though I am not as dedicated and reliable as I used to be, or that motherhood and getting older ruined my drive. I think I need to give myself more credit, and acknowledge that it is normal, okay and acceptable for me to seek a life filled with passion even at work.

I just finished the book, "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World," by John Wood. John Wood was a successful Microsoft employee who quit his job to start creating schools in third world countries after an inspiring trip to Nepal. It was an inspiring example about how a dream can evolve into a full time reality. One of the points that he made is to not get too caught up in the details of planning otherwise it might overwhelm the reality of implementation.

I will end with a favorite quote.

"There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming." -Soren Kierkegaard

Things That My Kids Say During Lunch

This was part of my 2-6 year olds lunch conversation today. It is kind of like a rap song where you are jamming out to the beats and then stop in appallment when you realize what they are really saying. Instead I was getting frustrated at the constant bathroom talk until I realized how silly it was.

"I am sitting on my sandwich."

proceeded with...

"I ate my butt."

"You are poopy!"

"Big Belly" (My 2 year old about his stomach)

"I am sorry I make you old mom." (my son)

"You make yourself old." (my daughter)

"Momma I love ya."

"Love you too mom."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Appreciate What Matters, and Ignore the Rest

The other day I found out that an old friend from my elementary days passed away suddenly at the age of 32 from a heart attack. It turns out that his main artery was 90% clogged. It is extremely sad, and my heart goes out to the family. It is a horrible tragedy that took such a young life who had so much to offer the world. It has been a reminder for me to focus my energy on what is important, and to not focus on negativity. Tonight for the first time ever I told a friend that I have had in my life for 25 years that I loved her. It is a phrase that I usually reserve for my kids, parents or husband, and so I found it hard to say. Isn't that silly? There are times when I feel like telling complete strangers, but I don't. Was I considerate of other co-workers and their opinions or did I bring others down to get where I needed to go? Did I make sure that I told my child I loved him and he is handsome or beautiful before rushing out the door? Am I content with where I am at even though I am always striving for more? Hug your dog, kiss your child, call your dad, appreciate, enjoy, care.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sparkler Safety Tips

Happy 4th of July everyone! It is a day that we celebrate the birth of our nation, and our freedom that was fought for by our forefathers, and protected by our veterans. I hope you all have an opportunity to spend time with friends and those you love with lots of barbeque and happiness. :)

A lot of people are going to be lighting off fireworks. It is a fun pastime in our house, though lately we tend to keep it to simple fountains and sparklers.

Believe it not though sparklers may be small and the mainstream child firework, they can still be dangerous. We found this out first hand tonight. My husband said that after years of doing stupid teenage fireworks that could of blown his hand off he never got hurt, but tonight severely burnt his hand while lighting 4 sparklers.
I wanted to refresh all of us parents on some common sense tips for sparkler safety:

1) Do not light the sparklers while holding them all together (Vince learned this firsthand....or soon to be no-hand lol)

2) Have the kids give at least 6 feet of space in between each other. (Per my pic above I did not follow this rule. Needed the reminder myself : )

3) It is preferable to light the sparkler while the child is holding it as opposed to handing them a lit one.

4) Make sure that the kids wear shoes

5) Do not hold a child who is holding a sparkler

6) Remain standing, and do not throw them

7) Have fun and take pictures

A lot of these seem simple, and they are but it just takes one time to ruin an entire holiday. Let's just say as much as I am sad for my hubby's hand I am glad it was his and not one of my kids.

Have a safe and happy Fourth. Enjoy!

Monday, July 1, 2013

OMG There is a Bat!

I know I just wrote, but seriously as I dried the ink on my keyboard I look up in the dark as we are watching tv and see a freaking bat in my living room. What the heck!? I just saw the shape of the wings, and knew that a bird wouldn't be out at this time of night. My husband next to me had no idea. I instantly threw the blanket over my head huddled next to him, and started saying, "Vincent! Vincent! You had better take care of this!" I was afraid the thing was going hit me. All I could hear was Vince running the house laughing while trying to wave it out the door. Holy crap! He finally got it out. Phew!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Heat

The last couple of days have been hot! It seems like a lot of the nation is experiencing the heat. I need to start out my letter by acknowledging the dangers of heat and those looking for relief from it. Since I have had kids I have a hard time watching the news at night, and rarely do because of the sadness it projects. If I am reading the news, then I can selectively enter into the story. This weekend there were a couple of drownings by people from my kids age and older, and my prayers and thoughts go to those families. I also wanted to acknowledge the tragic loss of the 19 wildfire fighters who passed away in Arizona. It is hard to fathom the amount of loss for the families.

This weekend after the kids went to swimming class we were heading home, and there was a homeless man on the side of the road holding a sign across the street from us. It is nothing new to see them, but I had a hard time shaking it, because it was going to be close to 100 degrees, and he had on a long sleeve shirt and a pair of jeans. I couldn't help but think that he had to be hot. I got onto the freeway to head home, but had this feeling to drop off a bottle of water. After trying to shake it off I swiftly turned onto my last exit of opportunity and bought two bottles of water, and turned back around. When I dropped them off I noticed that he had a dog with him that I hadn't seen and held back tears. It makes me appreciate being able to give my kids food to eat, and shelter from the heat.

On a lighter note the kids got their first slip n' slide this weekend. Once we got it up and running they were having so much fun! It brought back memories of my siblings and I when my only responsibilities were dish duty and homework. I find it hard to get out of mom mode, and just kick back and have fun, so...I took a ride on the slide. My daughter had a stunned expression on her face when I told her that I was going to do it. That told me that I need to let loose a little more lol! The first attempt was pretty comical as I would run down the yard while clutching the blue float pillow that they provide to cushion the blow, and then I halted right before the slide. What the heck?! I couldn't look that stupidly scared about going on it. After 2 more attempts I did it! It was pretty fun, and surprising liberating. I don't know if any other moms out there will understand. I only noticed later the weight and age cap printed on the slide. Oh well :)

Evidence that I did it!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Am I the rider or the horse?

Today my work sent me to an all day Excel course with a couple of my co-workers. What did I end up learning? That I have a heck of a lot to learn! I also have decided to take the guy up on his offer to practice Excel outside of my normal usage for about 15 minutes each day, otherwise I will never get beyond manual entry mode. I must say that I was skeptical at first that the guy would know anything, or worse yet be a know-it-all. It took me about 30 minutes to give him a fighting chance, and found it interesting that he said he was 4 months away from getting his PHD in Psychology. I wondered what the correlation was between psychology and a presentation about computers. When I overhead him say that his mission in life is to eradicate negativity I immediately thought, "Crap! I am done in for sure! He will surely notice my negative vibe from the front row." To my luck I did not get called out once during the entire day, and found value in the motivational delivery. One of the most important concepts that I took away from the entire presentation was his metaphor of a horse and a rider. Everyone in life is either a horse or a rider, and they can decide which one they are. A horse follows routine and habit. If it is not directed it will run blindly, or get spooked away from new paths or unwarranted danger. It is the rider's job to take hold of the horse and determine its direction. The rider pushes the horse to move through challenging obstacles despite the horse's best interests. We can either be the horse running on habit and fearful caution of risk, or we can be the rider and take charge of our lives in order to challenge us to conquer our fears and shift our habits.

Balloon Festival

This last Friday was a ton of fun! Vince and I took the kids out to a hot air balloon festival, and didn't get home until after 11 pm. We partied it down in our young family way. Logan and Caylee and my husband got carnival ride bracelets, and spent over 2 hours going on all of the rides that they could. It was fun to see the kids riding on the rides with their dad and each other just enjoying life. Ian and I walked around to take in the sights and enjoy the awesome evening air. I found the coolest helium balloon for him that was a dog with 4 paper legs that hang off the bottom to bring it low to the ground, and make it look as if he is walking it. After the rides had been conquered the kids got a snack, as we played some games and then watched the balloons as they were blown up in the dusky evening. At one point I have to admit I got a little grumpy. It had been about 4 hours of me not going on a single ride or playing a single game, and then not being able to find the food stand to my liking. The kids were griping that they were thirsty for the 10th time, and I griped that their mother had not gotten anything all night long, and to just relax! I luckily told myself to shut the heck up and enjoy the night even without the ice cream that I so desired. A band played music into the evening as we all danced, especially my little Ian. It was pretty awesome. Logan and I didn't even fall off the back of the golf cart that took us back to our car even though we were in the seat facing the road as he was clutching his 3 winning stuffed animals and I had an arm bar across him. Oh, and I even got my smoothie. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all of the awesome dads out there. I especially want to give a shout out to my dad for always being there to support me, give me endless business advice and tow my first car home after I wrecked it. I also want to show love for my husband for being an amazing dad to my 3 kids. I couldn't have asked for a better dad. I love the weekends, because I am able to turn my brain off (at least the analytical portion), and regenerate. I can honestly say that this successfully happened this weekend, just ask my husband. I was constantly losing my phone, in fact it is missing now. I also lose all sense of direction. This is demonstrated by the fact that as I was heading to the swimming park on Saturday I could not remember what road I had just driven on, or whether I needed to take a left or a right to get back home. Don't worry about me though, because every Sunday night I start to make sense again. Today we took the kids bowling for the first time. The kids loved it. I basically sucked and got the worst score, and I think I let Logan down. I did get one strike, but after my 6th or so gutter ball he sighed and said, "Ugh, mom is not really good at this." and, "Oh man!" At one point Ian was wearing street shoes and wanted to roll the ball, so I thought it would be fun. I walked him to the lane and away he rolled. Then he proceeded to start running down the lane. Well, I had to grab him so I start running down, and did manage to grab his arm, but then swiftly slipped on the oiled lane and fell right on my butt. Caylee could not stop laughing lol! Let's just say that he did not get another chance after that.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Baby Mine

It's the end of the night... 10:41. I am just sitting down. I think my husband is at the gym. He left while I was reading in a lavendar bath. Why is it spell checking lavendar? Oh..."er". I am so excited to have a cup of tea and cup and catch up on a favorite show. The dishwasher is running. I do not know why but ever since I was little the sound of the dishwasher at night was soothing. I remember laying in bed when I lived with my parents loving the sound, and still do to this day. Maybe it is the sound of production...a day of good food and nourishment, and then the cleansing of them for tomorrow. I know, it's weird. My frustrations today were minimal. Just a couple what the heck moments at work when I realized that our new system takes 30 minutes to upload 3 documents instead of the 1 minute it did before, or when I stumbled upon the fact that we are supposed to be entering and hand calculating FICA tax expenses on our spreads even though my non FICA ones have been reviewed with an A rating many times before. Okay, now on to the awesome stuff. Last year I bought an old van at an auction for $900. A 2000 Ford Windstar with 189,000 miles. My husband was not too pleased plus we didn't really need another car at the time since I stayed home and he worked and drove the 2 seater truck. Faster forward to 210,000 miles and 9 months later and aside from a couple of oil changes the thing has driven like a dream. It has a huge dent in the front left bumper and a broken brake light cover, but my kids think its the coolest ride in town. It has finally been giving me some worry as the front right wheel wobbles in my opinion and it is starting to idle slow when I sit or go up a hill. I dropped it off at the mechanic today for a good old review fearing the worst and hoping the best. My budget unbeknownst to them was $420. Well, the diagnosis is a long list of tune-ups and axle stuff, but it only came to $510 and they can get me in tomorrow. I am excited! It is $90 over budget, but very doable considering I only paid $900 for it. Other hurrahs for the day...buying a crap load of groceries at Grocery Outlet for the week with only $50 including $1.50 half gallons of almond milk. The expiration is in 5 days, but heck my family drinks it fast. Baths at bedtime and full bellies make me happy, and the last one is singing to my kids. I used to sing "Baby Mine" to my 5 year old daughter when she couldn't get to sleep. I had forgotten about that, and lately my 22 month old is just a defiant go to sleeper, so I remembered a couple of nights ago and decided to dust off my singing chops. I secretly wish I could be a professional guitar player/singer, the slow ballad style. Well, I was about 3 times in singing softly to my little buddies as they share a room watching my 22 month old slowly drift off to sleep at the sound of my voice. I don't claim to be any good, but it was special to see that the sound of their mommy's voice was soothing and comforting. This is constantly forgotten during my day's hustle and bustle as I sound like a continuous drill sergeant. By the end of the 5th or so song I had to choke back the tears. Singing to them made me stop and just appreciate how special they are, and how they are growing up each day. I am crying right now again darnit! haha. Just a tear.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Learning to Shut the Hell Up

I have gotten a lot of practice since I have been back to work in the art of shutting the hell up. It is a lesson in life that I have tried to apply in all areas of my life in order to no speak more deliberately, and not make myself look like a fool. I do need to work on it more at home as sometimes I have spent so long during the day choosing my words carefully that I get home and just ramble to my husband for 10 minutes straight like a bursting dam. This really came in handy tonight at my daughter's dance class. It is in the school cafeteria. Picture ballerinas in training doing leaps and spins (because I can't spell the other moves), and then this family of 5 with 2 adult parents and a young adult daughter come bursting in halfway through the class. Their kids join the class while the 3 adults proceed to pull out x-rays of some sort discussing over bites and surgeries at full volume. I was thinking, "What the heck are you kidding me?" Then for the next half hour they gab away, intermittently taking phone calls with no volume control so that we could all hear about how so and so brought their 2 year old to a floral shop. How could they? Per the girl... The whole time I am glancing over with a dead stare hoping that they get the hint, but not wanting to start a confrontation due to picturing a round of adult hair pulling. I debate if I should open my mouth, and decide that it is best that I continue to keep my mouth shut, while texting my husband a what the hell text. I swear there should have been a hole in my tongue today.

Breaking the Crust of Habit

It is Sunday night. My week was good. Just trying to stay ahead of the game, and keep with work and life. A lot of the people in my area do not have kids, or are not married even though they are my age. One guy is a 28 year old with a distance girlfriend who lives at home because his student loans are too high. (mine would be too if I couldn't reduce the payments because of being broke with kids). It is interesting because parenting is messy and hard work, but I tend to forget about that, and he gets really intrigued about what life is like with kids, wonders how we can have no active "hobbies" and after hearing me remind Vince about school lunches and such says that it would be too stressful and too much responsibility, and how can we afford it. It is hard, but awesome and I tell him that we don't always have the means to do our hobbies or find new ones but the kids are happy, have food, shelter and a dance class every week so they don't know the difference. Then I wonder how I got so old. Today we were going to take the kids for a bike ride, which resulted in us taking them to the local middle school track. It is tucked back by a field next to forest. On the way up the parking lot on their bikes Caylee's bike breaks (new Walmart bike) and we yell at Logan to stop and wait. I was going to have him go on ahead since it is secluded and safe but asked him to hang back. We ended up reattaching the tire and made our way up to the track to find out that a 270 pound resident black bear had just been by the track on the other side of a 4 foot fence. There were 3 adults up there who saw it, and we literally just missed it by seconds. It left without a fuss, but the couple said that they wouldn't let their kids run around and we agreed and left. It is just crazy to think even though it probably wouldn't have done anything Logan would have been too close to it for my liking if he had gone on ahead. Lastly, I am getting back to church after some soul searching. Instead of throwing away all of my beliefs for fear of being wrong and turning to dust when I die I have given myself permission to have faith even in doubt. This means that I choose to be a Christian, even though I know there is a possibility that it would all not be true in the end. It is okay to not belief with your logical self 100%. Today I asked Logan if he knew who God and Jesus was, and he told me no. I realized that I better shape up or they are going to be hooligans. After I told him he couldn't wear his Avengers shirt to church I told him it was because God was a superhero, and was bigger than all of them. He is the main superhero. He did manage to sit through the 25 minutes of opening singing before his class without a timeout this time, but at one song when we were really singing he plugged his ears because we were all singing too loud. haha. Baby steps. I will leave you with a quote from a book I am reading called "Defending Happiness" by Amy Shea. "All of us have individual wiring, as buried as it may be under the crust of habits we all become if we are not committed-deeply committed-to defending what makes us happy." Love you bunches and have an amazing week!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Putting Dream to Action

It is a lazy Sunday afternoon. My husband has been tied up with a project all weekend that was supposed to only take a day, but it went longer after smashing his thumb and getting heat stroke. Yesterday the kids and I went to their swimming class, and then a last minute dance class. This morning we went to church, and now they are again playing in the backyard asking to go on a bike ride. Am I upset that my second weekend in a row has been taken by this project that results in us not going on a significant adventure? Heck yeah! I am reminding myself how I should be thankful for the project no matter the terms. Easier said than done right now. My passion is to travel and help other people, both of which I am not doing right now. My husband is at least a 3rd generation Vancouver native, and I have been in the area since I was a baby. A lot of my friends and siblings have come and gone, but I still remain. Everytime I have tried to move a reason to stay presented itself, and I bagged my dream. I work at a bank, which could be considered helping people, but not in the right brain fashion that I would like. I feel like a bird who never learned to fly, but learned to function on the ground. Kind of like a female peacock. Funny symbolism is that my daughter just found my passport that was stuck under the microwave lost and forgotten. The funny thing is that its from before I was married 8 years ago. I have never gotten it updated, and it doesn't have a stamp on it. Not a single story to tell. The fact that we have 3 young kids and potentially one more on the way in the future is my current hitch in my traveling lifestyle. I always ask myself, well how will we make money, what will they eat, where will we stay etc? These are all valid concerns, but at the same time they become so crippling that I just do what I have always done to maintain what we currently have, which will never get us to "that" place. Last year I attended a church mom's group on Mondays before I had gone back to work. There was this nice mom that I met with two young kids. Her husband was a pilot, and they rented a home from a fellow member. She had talked about her husbands dream of flying supplies and missionaries into different parts of South America. They had an economical car, and planned to drive the heck out of it. It sounded amazing. Fast forward a year later, and as I am just starting to get back to church when I went today that couple was talking to the congregation about their lives. It turns out that they had acted upon their dreams and had been gone for the past year traveling all over the US. They also set up a relief mission with the goal of raising $35,000 to fund their plans to fly missionaries and supplies into Indonesia. They spoke about about how they have been all over the US, and have put over 100,000 miles on their cars, and just last week had been in Wasilla, Alaska. I was excited to hear about how they put action to dream and did it! Today when I was getting ready for church I was listening to a sermon on tv, and the pastor spoke about having a dream and working towards it no matter what. He gave the example of Joseph who had a dream, and later was persecuted by his brothers to 18 years later become the king. His point was that God puts a dream in our hears, and we need to believe in it even if we don't know how to get there or the set backs. If Joseph had known he would become king he might not have ever gotten there due to the knowledge of the struggles along the way. I pray that God will give me and my family the courage to follow him, even if I don't understand the path to get there, or I am scared to try. I pray that this will be the same for you and your families as well.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

2012 End of Summer Camping Extravaganza

It is still warm outside, but slowly summer is leaving the station. The sun is setting earlier, the leaves are starting to fall and the harvest gourds are appearing. Labor Day weekend is typically the symbol of the end of the dog days of summer. Everyone hitches up their trailers and roasts their last hot dogs. Our family was sick at home with a crazy stomach flu. I am not sure what the heck happened since we didn't eat anything in unison, but one by one we were all puking the night away. When the sickness subsided on Monday we went to go with my husband to do a short roofing job. The kids and I found treasures at Goodwill while he worked away. When he was done at 2:00 I saw the signs for the beach 55 miles away and decided to go. I was determined to conquer the weekend, and not let it slip away without a little fun. We spent the afternoon taking in the beach, racing go karts, taking the kids for a horseback ride and buying saltwater taffy.

The following weekend I decided to squeeze one more camping trip for the year. Vince went to work, and I hauled the kids up to the campground to find it empty. Everyone was recuperating from their prior weekend of vacations. We loaded up the trailer, bought our steaks and enjoyed a night of silence and stars. The following day the campground started to fill up. The kids had adopted a pile of logs across our site as their fort. I was sad to see a truck pull up to the site nearby, but the sadness faded when I saw 3 young boys pile out of the car. The kids ran around all night sharing trucks and candies. That night one of the campsites packed with teenagers started to get out of hand. We found out later that one of the main instigators knew the camp host was going to be gone, and there is no cell service. Scary! Luckily our kids were tucked away in our popup camper because alcohol started to flow and yelling increased. From what I could hear the young guy hit his pregnant girlfriend, which resulted in her mom who was the only adult of the group to scream at the top of her lungs at him in her drunken way to leaver her daughter alone. It was close to midnight, but they proceeded to run around the campground screaming at each other. The dude was running away while trying to instigate trouble with other campsite, while the girl was chasing after him screaming that she loved him as her mom was screaming from her seat. I on the other hand was on the edge of my seat scared crapless and glad we at least had some form of shelter. All of a sudden an unexpected and very close thunder and lightning storm rolled in. I think it was natures way of saying shut the hell up! The hand of God. Vince and I loaded in bed and I sat looking through our window in the dark at their site hoping they wouldn't come our way to start trouble since they would have got another thing coming. Finally the mom got a brain on her head and drove off drunk nonetheless to find cell service down the road to call a cop while the guy went up to our new friend's campsite with the young boys and punched the poor dad in the face after he told the stupid kid to get away from his boy's tent. In the end it poured, we bundled in bed inside of our pop up secured by duct tape while the dad packed up his boys in the rain and the drunken idiot got hauled off to jail.

Daily Purpose of Routine

Today at work I had one of those days where I questioned my career direction even though the last three days have been great. I work at my dream job at a bank, and am very lucky to have it though it doesn't quell my hesitation all of the time. I could barely push the button on the elevator to go up, felt awkward around my co-workers and during a computer system update wanted to scream out, "This is stupid!" I managed to keep my caveman ways to myself, shut my mouth and get through the day. At one point deep in my self loathing I overheard my boss tell a co-worker that sometimes after a productive start to the week he hits a slump and wonders what the heck is he even doing this for? I was surprised and relieved that I was not alone in this stupor, and decided to stick it out with a smile. When 5:00 came I came home to happy kids and dogs, and it made it so worth it. Whenever I come home I have to squeeze and hold my kiddos after a long day of being apart from them. I pinch and bite their cheeks and smile more than I have all day as my suit wearing personality melts off into Converse shoes and t-shirts. Now that summer is coming the kids have been outside all day coming in and out of the back door. Seeing them after they have enjoyed their busy day outside of exploration, and snacks to eat and swimming classes on the weekends reminded me why I go to work even when I don't want to. It is for them to have a roof over their heads, food in their belly and shoes on their feet. It is easy to forget when I am not around them all day. On another note...tonight the International Space Station orbited over our house at 9:41. We could see its reflection from the sun. It was pretty exciting to see. We amped the kids up beforehand by watching a video about the space station. Happy night all!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June is here!

Life has a funny way of speeding along especially when you are having fun. I have been busy with my job at the bank, and actually got a promotion to credit analyst. I also worked as a tax preparer during the tax season at a CPA firm at night. Needless to say I feel very blessed to have been "out" of the workforce for 5 years to be a mom, and then come back to pick up right where I left of and then some. We are finally at the end of the money tunnel for the most part in regards to being able to pay our bills on time. The kids are wrapping up their school years. Caylee loved her kindergarten, and just went to her first birthday part for her friend. It was pretty funny to see her Justin Bieber invitation. I can't believe how tall she has gotten, and how much older she is from her first day of kindergarten. She also is doing good in her dance class. It is one of the activities that centers her. Our celebrations have been reading her first words including the word "Utah" on the back of a quarter, and tonight she mastered her addition unit by learning on her own terms. Last week was the first class of her big swimming class after mastering the eel class in a month. Love her! Logan is my big man, my buddy. Don't call him little, because he will declare you are incorrect. He is finishing his first year of preschool. His little friend Aiden has become his first best buddy. I am sad that Aiden will not be at the school next year. His first little heartbreak. His teacher, Mrs. Cathy has been an absolute delight, and invests so much love into those kids. She has been absent the last couple of weeks due to an unexpected back surgery, but I hope she will be back to say goodbye next week. Logy is into space, astronauts and dinosaurs right now. He always says,"Mom I love you, and you are beautiful." to which I promptly reply, "I love you too and you are handsome." Love him! Ian is my little baby who is not so little anymore at 1 1/2. He is busy, and independent. A guy after his own heart which involves food, music and electronics. He is talking a lot, and lately has lengthy conversations to me with hand gestures to which I have no idea what he is saying, but I love it anyways. He will be the one in the room who is sitting quietly eating a drumstick amongst the chaos of his siblings. Strategic not shy. Summer=morning until night the back door to the deck open with dogs and kids venturing in an out to the yard. Coming in for snacks and stories, and going out for bugs and swings.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

It's not about me

This last year has brought me through a lot of self exploration. I was raised Mormon, and being Mormon becomes your life. As a teenager I went to church a minimum of 6 times a week...7 times if there was a teenage dance. Over the last 10 years I have left the church and its conformities in different magnitudes resulting in withdrawing my records and starting a full arm tattoo. Since then I have embraced and rejected many Christian replacements. One of my main staples is a community church across the street from my humble abode. My husband and I have engaged in it off and on over the last 7 years with no significant commitment as after every re-entry I am approached by a member asking if I am new. No matter the circumstances I have always viewed myself as a Christ follower even with faltering faith. I have to admit though that this last year I have become jaded with religion and God overall. A couple of Netflix documentaries debunking the crucifiction have gotten into my head as well as some bad Christian publicity in regards to gays, lesbians and Chik-Fil-A. In an effort to patch the quilt of my soul I found a free and open church of love, Unitarian Universalists that I checked out and loved. It was just what I needed as they didn't identify with any particular religion, and loved everyone through meditation and candle lighting. The only problem is that it is about a 1/2 hours drive from my house, which is a lot with kids in tow and a limited gas budget. That meant that I worshiped in the church of me...wherever I was doing nothing in particular. Last Sunday my kids and I walked by the old church by our house on our way to the store, and I told them that we should start going to church again not stating which one. My daughter had loved the free loving one, but immediately asked that we go to the one by our house. I nervously nodded, and thought, 'Oh Crap!" It was definitely not my first choice, but it was better than nothing and closer to home. This morning I confirmed with my daughter again, and received the same response, so dutifully prepped and dressed my three kids to go. I dropped my kids off at their classes and settled into a sermon that I aimed was not anything pertaining to me since I was really there for my kids. Was I surprised!? The sermon ended up being about gratitude, and being thankful for little things in our lives even the ability to come to a place of worship. He stressed how we should not be coming into church or other situations with a sense of entitlement for our needs because it will conflict with our worship and life experiences in general. Then he said very plainly and bluntly, "It's not's all about you!" Wow! I almost had to look behind me. With that it ended, and I left to pick up the kiddos. One by one they came out with excitement and stories to tell, but it was my daughter who struck me down today. I went to her class to pick her up, and in my hustle and bustle turned back from the door to find that she was not following. I figured she was helping with clean-up, and waited patiently. That is when I saw her standing near a new friend who relied on the use of crutches as her legs were not operable. She had been sitting on the ground completing a project, and my daughter went to hand her her crutches. She was calm and intent in her own world helping out her new friend. Nothing else mattered. After that she left to go home. Wow again! Here is what I learned. I have a lot to learn about graciousness and kindness for others. It is not all about me. God is God, and I don't need to analyze or approve of each religion 100% in order to participate. I need to be grateful for worship. My entitlement attitude with church and worship has prevented my children from having God in their lives, and building a community of support and love around them. It is my job to introduce my kids to life, love and a higher power. If I don't who will?

It's Never Dull...

It has been a while since I have written. I have been busy with life, and my beautiful and rambunctious family. Here is an update on us: The roofing company my husband became partners with did not work out, as the owner stopped paying us or returning phone calls due to fishing and hunting for weeks on end. That has resulted in him spending more time at home with the kids. Yay for dads! With my husband in job limbo I saw an opportunity to sharpen my work skills, and landed a full time and part time job. The full time job is back at the bank I used to work for pre-kids. They were gracious enough to create a job for me after I had unexpectedly inquired. The part time job is about 7 hours a week at a tax office as a tax preparer, because I love taxes (crazy me)! I also want to have it be my full time future. It was hard to go back to work at first. I bawled my eyes out the night before my first day and at breakfast. Luckily I stay too busy at work to think, and my husband has been amazing with the kids. My daughter is loving school, and is starting dance again soon. She is a sweetheart with sass who challenges me to be a better mom everyday. My son is loving preschool, and is excited to start soccer with his first team. They are called the Stingrays, and I am pumped for his first team experience. I am officially a soccer mom :) My baby is a tenderheart who is always sharing his snacks, but is starting to become impatient with his siblings taking without asking. He is starting to talk a lot, which is crazy. He also is in love with music and my husband's yellow Dewalt radio. He wants it on ALL the time. He is also a dare devil who is constantly climbing and jumping while looking at me and mocking. Oh boy...