Monday, January 30, 2012

Precious gifts

Church was so nice yesterday. I’ve been bringing little Sunday bags of stuff for the kids to do each week, rotating them weekly. We also sit by an angel family who play quietly with our boys, saints. The insanely stressful sacrament meetings of the boys being challenging seem to be dwindling away. I just decided to research on pinterest for Sunday ideas to help little ones, and its been going a lot better. I love it when I get determined. I research online, and then do my best to apply what I’ve learned to our situation. Now, if I could only be productive all the time, ha!

It’s been a month of Shaun being home. I’m starting to forget the long, hard days of him working all day and the boys missing him. He’s had 4 interviews, but nothing yet. We are continuing to apply every day for work, and praying to be led in the right direction. One huge blessing that happened last week was receiving unenmployment benefits. That’s a little bit of help to hold us over until income comes in. There’s always something good that happens!

I had some balloons for a photo shoot. Great fun for the boys! I love these pictures of the family. These guys are my precious gifts. Even when some days are so very hard, at least there’s another day to try again, and give these kiddos lots of love. I woke up this morning and thought, “So glad to be alive, and have another day to be here on this earth with my loved ones.” Seriously! Sometimes, I find myself coasting through the days, and not getting the most out of them. That stinks when that happens. So much wasted time. I find it takes focused effort and lots of daily prayers to remember the small stuff, like having another day to breathe and live. Satan is such a snot to derail our joyful moments. Personally, I think he needs a good bowl of pasta, and he might be a little happier:)


Kevin loves playing with his trains, all the time!! I will lay on the ground with him, and push trains around. He demands ‘play trains with me!’ a lot. With no Direct TV, there’s been more time to do better stuff. Yet, when we do watch TV, all the boys want to see is the ending train part of Back to the Future 3, over and over and over again. The love watching that steam train fly down the tracks pushing the time machine. It’s fun.


So, here’s another week of trying each day to job hunt, continue the school quest, spend time with the family, practice taking pictures, making good food, and trying to make each moment count. I am forever grateful for the examples of my friends and fellow moms. They always strengthen me when I feel like a weakling, and lift me. Guys, I love your blogs. I try my best to comment on all of them, but I do read them and walk away enriched. My cousins are amazing to me. My dear roomates from college inspire me with their adventures they are on. My mommy friends show me how to make life better with every blog post. I just can’t thank everyone enough for letting their light shine so little people like me can be blessed by it. Thank you:)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Staying busy

We are alive. We are doing ok, and we are busy. Every single day, there has been a list of things to do. From going to the welfare office to apply for food stamps and cash assistance, applying for unemployment benefits, and taking the boys to the park, we’ve been busy. Thank you everyone, for all your sweet comments last post. Thank you for caring about our little family. Love you all:)

Every day, Shaun has applied for jobs, from 3-5 jobs daily. Lots of health care work. He’s had three interviews so far, and has another one this week. No word yet on the other interviews. I’m really thinking its in the Lord’s hands. Whatever job is supposed to be the right one for him, that’s the one that will call him back and hire him. So, we’ve been working and waiting. Shaun learned how to do a stellar interview from youtube videos. I told him to always wear a Sunday shirt, pants and tie to the interview. It’s great to see him so confident.

It’s been a dream to have Shaun home everyday. The kids love it, and at times, he gets worn out from all day kids, but he’s enjoyed it. I’ve been spoiled beyond measure to have someone home to help with the laundry, dishes, kids, and everything else that I try to get done each day. Supreme spoiling. I know that when Shaun works again, I will have to get used to being on my own at home, but I’m not thinking of that right now:)

Since the Direct TV was shut off, we’ve had more time to read and do other things. We do enough junk on our phones, and it’s been nice to have that distraction gone.

I was grateful to have one photo shoot for a beautiful model this month. January is the slow month for photographers, so this was a blessing. Just more help to pay utilities. That’s the most important thing we are saving our pennies for now. Keeping up the bills.

In the meantime, we had a little birthday party for Kevin. His birthday was in the middle of the chaotic week of losing the job and reassessing our lives. He really wanted a party, so we had a little one at the park. A few friends showed up for some yummy Oreo cupcakes and to support the little guy. I just love an opportunity to make cupcakes! Everyone had a great time, and it was the simple things like balloons and cupcakes that made it special.





Sunday cuties, although Ethan was not thrilled to take a picture, ha ha!


Best present ever, the Strider bikes. The boys are always on them, and love to take them to the park. It makes me happy to see them be boys and be active at the park. It always puts them in a better mood. 100_0805100_0807100_0809

One of our days doing some school stuff. Just having fun with paints. I had fun taking pictures with my boys. I’m trying to do better at enjoying the moments before they fleet away so fast. I heard an amazing testimony of a mom who has 7 kids. She just energized my love of being a mother. I need to remember every day how lucky I am to have three, beautiful sweet souls in our family.


Brooke is 3 months old, and captures our heart every day. I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s an angel baby. I’ve never had an angel baby before. She sleeps all night, never cries except when she’s tired, and smiles every day. She’s such a gift, and we love her! We love the boys, too, but a girl baby is definitely different.



The cutest dress for Sunday. It’s a 6 month old dress, and she’s only 3. She’s so big!


In the meantime, we’ve been enjoying time with the boys, highly enjoying not getting up at 3:30am for work, attempting to eat healthier, and learning how to have better faith and trust in this chapter. I’ve been attempting to exercise each day on the treadmill. It feels great, yet I always have an audience. The boys love sitting at the end of the treadmill, and putting their cars on it to see the wheels go fast. It’s crazy fun!

I saw “The Help”, loved it, got the book, and love reading it now. In the kitchen, I’m still experimenting with trying to get bread dough to rise high enough to be actual sandwich bread. I struggle with making bread, it’s ridiculous and funny. So far, I’ve learned that I need to cover the bowl with saran wrap, put the bowl in the oven or the microwave, with a cup of hot water in the microwave, to make it rise, make sure the yeast hasn’t expired, and not let the dough rise too long on the second rise. Learned this after many cups of wasted flour on bread, but hey, I’m learning! At the moment, I’m experimenting with the Artisian no knead pizza dough. So excited to see how that turns out. No kneading, love it!

Ok, enough blabbing:)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Humbling times

Ready for a good story? Well, here we go. My life has been filled with adventures. Everything from living in a car with my mom for a small time during 1994, to learning about country life living in Kooskia, ID, (hearing the sounds of a car engine miles away and knowing that its your friend driving up the road, milking cows, cutting trees down for firewood, oh, the joys of country life!) I’ve lived with loads of roommates and experienced the most amazing, spiritual college experience at my beloved Ricks/BYU Idaho college. I spent a small time living in Carpinteria, CA with Mom, near Santa Barbara, one of the most beautiful places to live ever. Fresh flowers at church every Sunday. The beach 5 minutes away. Healthy food everywhere. Each place I’ve been is such a chapter, and my goal is to write it all down for my kiddos to read someday.

Well, here’s the chapter we are in now. The week before Christmas, Shaun came home from work early. I was overjoyed. He was really worried. He was suspended without pay till who knows when. We tried to not worry, and prepare for Christmas. Still felt like we were on pins and needles about his job. Yet, we tried to forget it on Christmas day, and have fun with the kids and their presents. Right now, Christmas feels so far away, but it was a lovely day. The kids got some wonderful presents from family and friends, and our little stash that we started getting slowly starting in September. 90% of their gifts came from Amazon or Ebay. It was so exciting to get packages often in December. LOVE online shopping!

All that time, we prayed and prayed that Shaun wouldn’t lose his job, deathly afraid of not having income to pay all our cruddy bills. A few days later, Shaun got the news that he lost his job. That was a hard day. It’s a shock and a let down, total fear of ‘what are we going to do?’ and lots of tears. Hard to hide that from the kids. They are so precious and innocent, and you just want to take care of them. Went to bed that night emotionally exhausted.

I knew that I could choose not to tell anyone about the job loss, or I could speak of it and ask for help. I chose the latter. We needed help, and I knew that people would have wonderful information and caring support. I emailed a few friends that night asking about food stamps, Medicaid, etc. I knew we were going to need that resource badly. I mentioned the job loss on Facebook. I am continually overwhelmed and humbled by the response. 43 comments  that day of support, encouragement, messages, and more. I can’t express my thanks enough for all the kindness of everyone. It has helped so much. It sounds like everyone has been through this before. I guess its our turn now.

Saturday was fretting, planning, worrying, praying, and brainstorming on what to do. Sunday was a nice break to attend church, listen for guidance and spiritual messages, and enjoy sitting together for the first time in 4 years in Gospel Doctrine class. Shaun and I were released from our callings in Primary, the kids classes. Sitting next to Shaun in the ‘grown up’ class felt like a dream, although I do miss being around the kids.

The next week, this week, has been quite a doozy. We tried to cut our bills down. We canceled Direct TV. Shaun and I worked on his resume while I enjoyed the “Jaws” marathon on Spike for the last night we had TV. One morning, I had a prompting to get rid of our Nissan Armada and get something more within our means. It was so wonderful to feel the spirit that strong for a fleeting moment. It was like “Oh, there you are spirit, it’s been so long.” I guess you only get strong promptings from the spirit when its something big. Maybe the spirit is with you all along, but you have to work hard and listen better to recognize it.

Well, Shaun and I tried to trade it in for a mini van. That didn’t work. It’s funny how friendly a car salesman is before he checks your credit and sees that your not able to buy a car that day. The change in his behavior toward us was so drastic, I just had to laugh about it as we left. We were going to try Carmax, but realized that we just cannot get a car again through a dealership due to our credit being shot, and the darn sales tax and extra fees. From that moment on, we decided we never wanted to go through that again.

I think it was Monday morning when a guy knocked on our door, a lot, to reposess the car. The dogs barked like crazy, we didn’t answer the door, and he kept calling Shaun’s phone leaving messages. The boys and I stayed in our room and watched Curious George while we waited for the guy to leave. We were trying to buy some time, as we were still trying to figure out the armada issue. We took the boys to the sitter later, ran around like crazy doing tons of errands, and came home. Later that afternoon, the repo guy came back, big guy with a goatee and tattoos. Ethan and Shaun were outside playing, so it was no use to hide. We also felt that it would just be better to let it go. The payments were high, and the stress of it was just not worth it.

That was a hard experience. I told the guy ‘just give us few minutes to clean out the car’, and he was polite. I tried to make the situation lighter by telling him ‘You’re job must really suck’. Yea, probably not the best thing I could have said, but again, it was a hard moment. We cleared out the car, and I patted it, thinking of the summer vacations we took it own, and told the car ‘Thanks for the ride”.

Ethan didn’t quite understand what that man was doing with ‘mama’s car’. I hugged him and tried my best to explain that we’re getting a new car, and that we had a good time with the armada. He watched the tow truck leave with the car, and stood in our culdesac for a long time, watching it go. I wanted to cry seeing that. When the car was gone, we breathed a sigh of relief. It did feel better to let it go, and plan for a car that we can get with tax return, no car payments, and doing better at living within our means.

Each night after the kids went to bed, Shaun and I worked on revising his job resume, and applied for jobs. Some nights got pretty late working on it, and things get funnier when your tired. We got to the end of his resume, and listed his accomplishments. They started out logical, and then got silly with his accomplishments being that he could open a can of soda successfully without it exploding, and that we created three wild kids that make more noise than ever, (well, except Brooke). We laughed and decided to go to bed after that.

We’ve packed the boys and Brooke in the back of Shaun’s old Nissan Sentra. I must say it’s a bit tight and cozy with the car seats. There’s always some blessing. The fact that its not summer, because it has no air conditioning. It’s been stolen twice, and the ignition has been ripped out. We start it with a screw driver. Yet, it runs, and it’s helping us right now.

All of this has forced us to learn quick on budgeting better. I made the homemade laundry soap that the Dugger family from ‘19 kids and counting’  use. It made a HUGE amount! So far, the clothes feel and smell the same as if I used Tide. Go HERE for the recipe, it’s great!’

Here’s the neat stuff that has happened. For the first time in a few years, Shaun has been home for a good while. He’s been working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, for much too long because of our stinky debt. It’s been an awakening. It’s been a dream. He says his eyes have been opened, and he’s learned a lot. The kids and I have been loving having him home. I know that he does have to go back to work eventually, but for now, we are a team, working together to figure out how this chapter will go.

A friend gave us a coldstone gift card, to get some ‘screw you’ sundaes for losing a job:) We enjoyed some ice cream, but made the mistake of going there in the afternoon, thus resulting in hyper, non listening boys afterwards. When will we learn? Oh well, the ice cream tasted great!

I was able to get a baby saucer for Brooke from a wonderful fellow Mom friend. Having her in my home for a moment felt like having a celebrity over. I adore her, read her blog, and she always leaves such encouraging comments to me when I am being a pathetic whiner.

Phone calls from friends have been such great medicine. Just to see how we are doing. Thank you so much.

Here’s our tight squeeze!


This is what’s most important, not a big car or a bunch of tv channels, these guys. Aren’t they adorable? It has been a rough week, and I’m sorry to say that not everyday has been good with the kids with the stress and all, but I’m glad today is a new day to try again.


My wonderful bolognese sauce from the Pioneer Woman. It made a huge amount, and tasted great. Me thinks I should have used a bigger pot, huh? Open-mouthed smile


So, let’s see what next week will be for us. I pray we will be led to the right job soon, and we are still waiting to hear if Shaun got accepted to a college here or not. Hopefully this year will be it  for school! Again, thank you everyone for caring about our little family. Love you all!