Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Another One Down.

Welp, I had surgery again.  This has been quite the year for the insurance company!  Ok, the last 2 years have been pretty full of doctors, but this year for me was a big one.

I started the year out with an umbilical hernia surgery, then I found skin cancer on my arm and had that removed.  A few other things here and there, and then I decided to hit up the ENT to see if there was anything he could do about the static/broken speaker/rattling sound in my left ear.  I'd already met my deductible, why not?

Dr. Meads, my ENT, found that I had chronic sinusitis which had been so severe for so long that the ear problems I have are secondary to the sinus problems.  He sent me to an Allergist to see if I had allergies as he suspected.  Meanwhile, I was to take antibiotics and steroid nasal spray for 3 weeks, then go back for a CT scan of my head.

Turned out I had sever allergies to everything they tested...grass/weeds/trees/animals/dusts, etc.  Basically, if it's alive, I'm allergic to it.  See?!

Right?  Yeah, this is my back on allergens...

I started the Cluster allergy shots right away, which consisted of 4 rounds of 3 hour long Dr. visits that contained 15 shots.  I did this within 2 weeks and my arms looked like I had been stung by hundreds of bees.  It was awful.  And itchy.  Now I just go back at least once a week for a while and will slowly taper down to once a month.
At least these days are over...

By the time I got back to the ENT and got the CT Scan, it turned up that I had major stuff going on in my sinuses.  Dr. Meads suggested surgery to clear out the entire right side of my face, correct the severely deviated septum to the left, and put tubes in my ears to release the negative pressure.
What on earth?!  I just went in to see why it was making the weird noises, and all this?

So anyway, I had the surgery last week.  My sinuses are still swollen and yucky, but supposedly I am going to feel fabulous in a few more weeks!  Wahoo!  Lucky for you, I don't have any nasty pictures of my sinuses, or me looking disgusting with a gauze mustache under my nose.  But I do have this:
Flowers, water, and drugs...ahhhhhh!

I was down and out for the first few days, but today was really hard to stay down.  I am not supposed to lift anything, bend over, or do anything strenuous for 2 weeks.  I have another 9 days of that.  I'm not a sit around kind of person, so this is hard for me!

All I wanted to do today was vacuum.  How weird is that?  But it's only cause I am forbidden to.
I have been so well taken care of, I'm so grateful for my fabulous family and friends!  My parents took the kids for the weekend, basically, and friends brought me food.  Andy stayed home a much as he could and took great care of me.
I stayed drugged up on the couch sleeping until today.  4 days of it, then today I wanted to vacuum.  And make more grape juice.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Noble Cause

Being part of something NOBLE is humbling.   I had the wonderful opportunity to meet another very talented artist, honorable man, and doer of good.  Alex Boye is somebody many of us have at least heard of, if not seen perform.  He is very animated and passionate about his work.  Lucky for us, his work becomes our entertainment!

The first time I saw Alex perform was at a Christmas Concert in 2011.  We have some friends in a band called "Barsie" (you should totally check them out here, they are incredibly talented and on the edge of releasing their album!) that were performing in the concert as well who invited us to attend.  It was very spiritual and uplifting and set the tone for the Christmas Season.  Alex was a big part of that.

He has since made numerous music videos and worked on many projects.  Check out his website, he is one in a million and such a sweet man!

When the opportunity for me to be part of his most recent project came up, I jumped at the chance!  Thank you Emily from "Is This Really My Life?" for inviting me to join you in this project!  

Alex did a cover of Katy Perry's "Roar" in his traditional and catchy African theme.  Being the drummer I am, I fell in love with his version of the song immediately because it's full of drums!  He then dedicated the video to the kidnapped girls from Nigeria.  Seriously.  Check it out!


The experience of being in the video was lovely.  It was a beautiful sunny day that I got to spend with about 40 brilliant and beautiful women who inspire me on a daily basis.  They are all so wonderful.
We were provided with animal print leggings from the fabulous Agnes and Dora and danced the afternoon away in them!

I am always grateful for opportunities to be part of something that influences people for good.  I'm honored to have met some truly wonderful people.  Sometimes I wonder how I've been placed in such a sweet spot at this point in my life.  I don't ask why, I just do all I can to give back and show gratitude.  I am blessed.

If you scroll down and read the notes on the video you will see links to most of the blogs of the women involved.  They are all so great, you should visit them!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The first day of the rest of our lives...

(as of April 7, 2014)

The first day of my dear husband's coaching career.  
He's dreamed of this for nearly 20 years, and today he began living his dream.

My handsome stud of a husband. 

It's interesting how things fall into place long before you know why they are happening.  Before you get any inclination of God's plan, He is shifting us around.

Just when we think we are comfortable and where we ought to be, we get shaken up a bit and repositioned.  Sometimes that repositioning is antagonizing and uncomfortable.  Sometimes it feels right from the very beginning, and this is the way it was for us.

Two years ago:

We were comfortable (or so we thought) in our previous home and neighborhood.  We had been there for 8 years, knew many people around us, and adored the small town feel of Herriman, Utah.
Until one day when my mom planted a little seed in our hearts.

Her suggestion that we move to Sandy was immediately rejected with things like:

"We love our neighborhood!"

"We are comfortable, why would we want to leave?"

"We built our home and landscaped our yard just how we want it, I even have my little white picket fence at the entrance to my luscious (200 sq. foot) garden!"

This is the entrance to my old garden.  I loved the landscaping we had done in that yard!

Within the month, we had some of our best friends ask us why we don't just move to Holladay already.  Again, we rejected the idea immediately, until we got in the car to go home that evening.  We entertained the idea, a little, then didn't talk about it again for a few days.

A few days later, Andy and I decided that if we were going to move, we may as well do it soon so we could be settled before school starts the following school year.  It was near the end of April at this time.

I didn't know what to think, so I knelt down and prayed as soon as we got off the phone.
What happened next was so vivid and real and intense, I will never forget it.  It immediately became very clear to me that we were to move.  Tears flowed from my eyes.  Partly out of sadness to leave the people I had come to love so much, and partly out of pure joy in the experience I'd just had.

As soon as I stood up after that prayer, the home no longer felt like mine.  I felt like an intruder in my own home.  I knew it was not where our family was to remain.
Andy and I discussed it that night, decided to find a realtor and scheduled a meeting for Wednesday.  Our home was put on the market Friday evening, and by Saturday evening we had 8 offers on our home.
At this point we were so overwhelmed and in shock!  We accepted the offer that made the most sense to us and felt right, and we began our search for our new home!

Each of the concerns I had about selling the house and moving were slowly replaced by confirmation that we were doing the right thing.

My only major request for the new home was that it have a garden, or a place to put a garden, AND a large kitchen (large enough to do my canning) with a window that looked over the backyard so I could see the kids playing.  Andy's request was a large family room.  That was pretty much it.
We looked for only 2 weeks before finding this charming little 50's home.
Our new (to us) home!
We fell in love immediately!
And look at the garden I got!  It's nearly 2000 square feet, 10 times bigger than our previous garden.  Slightly overwhelming, but a glorious sight once I cleared all the overgrowth.

Before cleaning it out.
After cleaning it out! 

There was a lot of work to be done in the entire yard, so I got started right away.  We bought a chain saw and I got busy pruning the trees!

Watch out for a woman with her chainsaw...

I also have a large kitchen with 2 windows that look out into the backyard, and the family room is just the perfect size.  The home is a very special place for us, there is a feeling here that is unlike any home we've lived in before.  It's a blessed place for sure.  We know we are here for a reason, we felt like we were led here.

We are lucky enough to know some of the family members who lived in this home, a lot of history about the family and the land, and my sister was good friends with the man who owned the home when she lived in this ward a few years ago.  None of which we knew until after our offer on the home was accepted.

Now that we are here, things are happening that never could have happened if we stayed in Herriman.  The most recent and exciting at the moment is the fact the Andy was hired as the Linebacker Coach for the Skyline Football Team!  This is his lifelong dream!  He's wanted to do this since he played football at Skyline back in 1995-1998.  He has spoken of this ever since I met him.  His dream was always to coach football, and at only 34, he is living his dream.  He is working with his lifelong best friend John Rowbotham as well!  It's pretty amazing.
Andy's football helmet from high school.

Watch out Oly, you have another thing coming once Coach Selcho and Coach Rowbotham get the boys at Skyline whipped into shape!

God is real.  He has a plan for all of us, I know that.  There were many times along the way, and I'm sure many more are to come, where I just don't understand why things are the way they are.  Things get hard, trials come and drop me to my knees.  Every day I have struggles, just like anyone else.
But I have found that the more grateful I am, the happier I am.  There are many ways we could look at our lives, but I strive to look at the good.  The divine.  The blessings.

I love what President Uchtdorf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints said at the latest General Conference.  "Gratitude is a way of life."

I choose gratitude.

In other news...I got a new job as Executive Assistant with a company called Incorporate Massage.  I love it, and it's so nice to be working again.  It's part time and it's from home, and my boss is an amazing woman who I called a friend first.  Things seem to be falling into place for the time being.

Oh, and I took up drumming again!

Go. Be grateful.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sister Song-Writing Sunday

I opened my computer this afternoon and found this on the screen:

"we’re driving down the highway the same amount of sass we look at each other and  say we want to pass the test next friday was coming up so soon we we always have the same attitude about each other we like to skate and we love to dance but we mostly love each other (base base base base)

I’m no better than you are your no better than me we make a great big team oh l’m no better than you are your no better than me we are the same as each other mentally we look so different but we’re the same inside oh yeah but l’m no better than you are your no better than me we make a great big team.base.

we read books and we comb our hair and we talk at the same time even at the skatepark we do the same tricks. and the flips. we ace all the tests together we even share lipgloss we work so well together oh we look so mixed up but we’re the same"

My girls wrote a song together.  They wrote it about their experience with each other, and I think it is so sweet to read of their love for one another.

After I read it, I looked out the window to find this happening.

Sister make-over time!
It is very satisfying to see my girls love each other and having positive experiences together.  Sometimes I feel like all the effort that goes into being a mother is worth every tear, anxiety attack, adult temper tantrum, and yelling match.  Sometimes.

It's the smiles like these that warm my heart so much.

I love being a mom.  I love my children with all of my heart.  And how did my little baby girls get so stinking grown up?  It's exciting and scary at once.  I am so blessed.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Beach and The Dragons

We woke up Saturday morning in beautiful San Diego ready for a day of fun on the beach!

Beach Bums
We shared this vacation with Andy's sister Hol and her family.  We all had tickets to the Imagine Dragons concert in San Diego and thought we'd make a vacation out of it together, and it was one of the best weekends in a long time!

The beach house we rented was right on the beach overlooking the water.  It was also right next to the Bellmont amusement park on Mission Beach.  It was the perfect location!  Luckily, the weather was unseasonably warm and made for a perfect day on the beach.

The girls played a little beach volleyball.

And playing in the sand is always a favorite!

Around lunch time, the boys and my oldest niece Micaela headed out to Coronado to see the USS Midway, an old aircraft carrier docked in San Diego.  They said it was great, Kayman sure enjoyed it!

On their way back from the USS Midway, Andy was dropped off at the concert venue to get in line for the show.  We had GA tickets, which meant that we were on the floor and wanted to be as close to the stage as possible.  If you want to be close, you have to wait in line a little longer than the rest of the groupies.

  *A BIG shoutout here to my incredible sister in law Hol for staying behind and watching the kiddos.  She definitely took one for the team with this decision, and it was not her most pleasant night thanks to my kids.  They did learn a very important lesson though...more on that here.*

Brandon, Micaela, Izzy, and I headed out for the show, grabbed some In-N-Out and took it to Andy in line.  We then waited there for two hours before it was time for the doors to open.  About 10 minutes before 6:00, door opening time, a big group of people started heading for the front of the line.  After a minute of a continual stream of people, we realized that they were rushing the line.  Sooooooo not cool.  We made a run for it (along with everyone else who had been waiting for hours) to stay as close as possible to the front.  A nice organized line with civilized people turned into this crazy mob in minutes.

The security guards didn't have a clue what was going on.  I could talk for a long, long time about the horrible security, disorganization, and general lack of knowledge about the crowd at this venue, but I digress.  We ended up with only 2 people standing in front of us once we got to the stage.  Couldn't ask for much better with a stadium filled with a few thousand.

My favorite band at the moment, Nico Vega, opened the show.

We have seen them a few times in the last year.  They put on such a great show every time.  They have so much raw emotion just oozing from each of them as they perform.  Aja, the singer, is an incredible vocalist and has some killer moves up on stage.
Aja Volkman dancing it up!

My favorite is when she climbs up on the drum set.  Of course.

And she really loves her fans.

Rich, the guitarist, has a fabulous sense of style and some fancy footwork as he shreds on his guitar.  Dan, the drummer, bounces on his throne as he beats those drums and sings simultaneously.  So much talent!

It was really great to hear some of the new songs that will be on their album coming out on Feb. 25.  I can hardly wait!

If you haven't heard them yet, check out their new single here.  "I Believe" by Nico Vega

The second band that played was The Naked And The Famous.  They were pretty good, but it's hard to follow Nico Vega and precede Imagine Dragons, in my opinion.  I like them better on Pandora than I did live.

Then.  Imagine Dragons.
The one and only...Dan Reynolds!
AHHHH!  The show was amazing.  We had a great spot up front and could see the sweat dripping from each of the members of the band.  Okay, that's gross, but we love being so close!
Dan Reynolds

Dan sings and dances his heart out on every song.  He is so much fun to watch because he's so passionate about his music.  Every member of the band is.  The energy they pack up on stage is unreal.  On this tour they have so many more theatrical elements to the show, it's just that much better.  It's less intimate than the days when Dan used to crowd surf down at The Velour in Provo with a crowd of 50 people, but it's still as intimate as possible given the venue.
Dan Reynolds

The encore is always the best.  They end their show with "Nothing Left To Say" and this time they brought Dave Keuning from The Killers on stage.  He rocked out with Wayne for quite a while.  That was pretty cool.
Wayne Sermon and Dave Keuning

They always end the show with a humble bow and genuine thank you to the crowd.  These men and so talented, and have remained very humble throughout this explosion of fame.  I hope they can maintain it.
Wayne Sermon, Dan Reynolds, Ryan Walker(touring member), Dave Keuning(Killers), Daniel Platzman, Ben Mckee

I got the privilege of meeting Wayne's (the guitarist) wife Alex Sermon after the show.  She is an incredible ballerina and a lovely photographer.  I have been following her blog as she tracks the band tour and I love getting the inside scoop on their adventures.  Alex was very sweet to take a few minutes to talk to me and let me take a picture with her.
Alex Sermon and me

Dan and Aja are the cutest rocker couple ever.  How great that they get to tour together!

Rock Star Love Birds

The Croc in the Sand

My wonderful sister in law, Hol, watched our kids for us while we went to an(other) Imagine Dragons concert.  We were originally planning on one of her older daughters to watch the younger kids, but Hol decided to let both of her girls go to the show.  She took the four of them to the beach for a few hours and then they were planning to go get pizza for dinner.  

They had a little problem when it was time to get shoes on and head out...

Usually they can find a way to get along, but sometimes things get quite testy between my girls.

Jess was feeling a little left out, so she buried Syd's flip flops in the sand.  Not completely, but just enough to be more difficult to find than Syd expected.  

Syd did not like that.  Not one bit.  So, what did she do?   
She took one of Jess's Crocs and buried it when nobody was looking.  She dug a hold, put the Croc down in there, and completely buried it.  Then she lost track of where it was buried.


They spent 45 minutes digging around in the sand looking for the shoe.  Ya think they found it?  


Hol helped the girls understand how our actions affect those around us.  Kayman and Ava were not involved in this little tiff of theirs, yet they had to help dig in the sand.  They were all hungry.  They were frustrated.  Tensions were high.  This was not a pleasant experience for anyone, but hopefully the girls learned the important lesson that their actions do affect more than just themselves.  That revenge is not the best solution.  That everybody makes mistakes.  That when you make a mistake, you must make it right.  That making it right takes humility.
Now, Syd and Jess both have to work to earn money to replace shoes for Jess.  They were both at fault, and now they both get to make restitution.

These two are best friends again now.  I hope they can remain close as they grow up.  Who better to share your secrets with than your sister who has been there with you through everything?  A sister is one of the best things in the world!

Sisters.  Best Friends.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Road Trippin'

Reflections in the Sand

I set out to document our latest family vacation and realized that I take far too many pictures.  As a woman who has a hard time letting go of things, (like people, and pictures of people, and details, and memories) this is a bad habit.  Lucky for you, this is only the first post of a few more to come!

Day 1

After spending a bazillion hours making these for Syd's class Valentine party...

...and making 80 of these for the kids' classmates:

Next year they are making their own.

...and then for Kayman's Valentine party, the kindergarteners and I made these:

Tissue paper hearts - thank you Pinterest!

...after all the festivities, I was ready to get on the road for our family vacation over President's Day weekend.  We planned months ago to head out to San Diego to see our favorite band in concert again (any guesses?) and thought it would be the perfect excuse to take a beach vacation in the middle of winter. Brilliant, right?!  It's a good excuse to support our concert-going habit.

We left as soon as Andy got home from work Thursday afternoon, stayed the first night with my parents in St. George, and then left early (5am) Valentine's morning for the beach.  After stopping at In-N-Out for a proper welcome into California, we got to Mission Beach in San Diego around 1pm.  

First look at the water
Andy had a conference call for work, so the kids and I headed for the water to give him some peace and quiet.  Yeah, that's why.
The weather was lovely and warm.  The water had a chill to it but felt so good on my feet.  The kids got a little further in than I did, they were soaked in no time!
 There is no better way to celebrate the end of a long road trip than with a dip in the ocean.  And since it was Valentine's day, Syd drew a cute little heart in the sand.
Happy Valentine's Day!
There is something so peaceful about the ocean.  The sound of the waves is so calming, and the sand feels so good under my feet.  Jess thinks it's "way better than carpet."  

After the kids got their clothes soaked and Andy was off his phone call, the kids changed into swim suits so they could really enjoy the beach the way they wanted to.  They were patient enough to let me snap a shot of them before running into the water.

Sisters on an adventure!

             They built sandcastles together.
I think this is such a precious things to witness as a mother.  I love watching them work together to create something, especially when they are legitimately enjoying one another's company.  That doesn't always happen, ya know.

 Kayman had a strange urge to return the seaweed to the sea.  He didn't seem to mind that it kept washing back ashore with each wave, he'd simply return it to the water once it came in.  Ahh, the simple pleasures of childhood.

Blue Moon
As evening was approaching, the fog rolled in from the West, creeping from the sea to dry land and covered the city in a blanket of silver.  It was very surreal.  I'm pretty sure this is the first time I have ever seen/noticed a "blue moon" for real.  Isn't that gorgeous?!

After walking through Old Town and getting some delicious Mexican food for dinner, we headed up to the Mormon Battalion for a tour.  We happen to have a friend serving a mission there at the moment.  
I didn't think we had a chance of bumping into her because she only serves there half of the day, and it was already 8:30 pm by the time we got there.  As we walked in the doors, Andy noticed her right away just behind the counter.  When she saw me, she hurried to me and hugged me so tight.  She was very surprised, of course, and a bit choked up at the sight of friends from home. 

We spoke for a few minutes, and then she led us on a tour of the Mormon Battalion visitor center.  She did a really great job, she's a natural.  Her calling requires a bit of role playing and acting, and she did it very well.  It would have been insanely difficult for me to do, I'm proud of her.

Jess dressed as a member of Mormon Battalion
Sister Kennedy and me

Sister Kennedy is a beautiful young woman whom I have admired since I taught her in primary 9 years ago.  Once she turned 12, she was anxious to make sure I knew she was interested in babysitting.  I had been hiring her sister, Chanel (who I also dearly love and have kept close with over the last 9 years) and I started hiring Ally also.

Ally is a hero to me, and this is one reason why.  She was diagnosed with severe scoliosis during her Senior (I think) year in high school.  It was serious enough that she had to have invasive surgery to straighten her spine.  She has rods screwed into her spine, a scar down the length of her back, and I have heard nothing but positivity from her.  Always.  She has taken this difficult trial in life and let it strengthen her.  This woman is a gem, a strong and faithful daughter of God.  I am proud to call her a friend.

Day 1 in San Diego was a success! Be on the lookout for Day 2!