Thursday, November 30, 2006

Last Day!

Today is the last day of Nablopomo! I made it!

I was pretty much out of things to say, but I finally thought of something. Did you know I'm growing my hair out? My hair has been almost to waist length (when blow-dried straight) before. I really liked how it looked when it was short (not in the next picture, but the one after that), but only on the good days! If you have a bad hair day with short hair, too bad! If you're not working in a "professional" environment, you could use a bandanna or something, but if you are - too bad for you! There are many other reasons I want long hair.

Here's a picture from October 2003:

I was pregnant with Collin here. After this I grew it past my shoulders, and then had a dramatic chop. If I'm not mistaken, I was trying to copy Kerflop's old hairstyle. I neglected to remember that her hair is straight and mine is super-curly. Anyway. I maintained it somewhere close to the length in the next picture for quite a while.

So here's how I started out November 2005:

This is a pretty good hair day. Due to the tightness of the curl, I must have either used a lot of gel, or only diffused it a tiny bit and let it air dry the rest of the way. Remembering how much I liked it at this length, I'm wondering if I made a mistake by growing it. But not really.

Here I am now (I will spare you the hundreds of interim pictures):

This was an experiment. I got out of the shower and let it dry without touching it AT ALL.

I don't like the crunchiness of the aloe vera gel I have been using, so I wanted to see if it was possible for my hair to look decent with no product. As you can see, it looked fairly decent, in terms of not poofing out all over the place, but this picture was taken before it had been touched by human hands. It was a little "stiff" at the hairline, so I wanted to soften it up a bit. As soon as I touched it we were back to the poofiness. But this gives you a good idea of the length.

If I had done anything to speed the drying along (blotting with towel, drying in towel, finger combing), it would look a little longer because the curls would have stretched a bit.

It's going to take me pretty much forever to get to waist length! I have an average growth rate (1/2-inch per month), but a lot of the length is taken up by curl. Measuring from the hairline, over the top of the head, and down to the tips, my hair is 20.5" stretched out (dry) and 16" un-stretched (dry). I'm going for ultra-long hair, which means I can't abuse it any more by blow-frying it straight, or worse, flat ironing it. I may blowfry it on cool/low heat once every few months just to see how long it is straight, but I'm not sure if it's worth the damage I might get from the brush :-P

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Engineer in training

I discovered today that I am officially an EIT (engineer-in-training). The requirements to become an EIT are to graduate from an accredited engineering program (which I did in 2003) and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. The FE is an 8-hour exam testing you on all the classes you should have taken in your college program. Most students take the FE while they're still in school because it's much easier that way. I started to sign up for the test while I was in school, but then I thought "I'm never going to work! I'm just going to be a stay-at-home-mom! Why spend $150 and waste 8 hours of my life?" So I didn't take it. Life changed, and I am working. I finally got around to taking the FE last April, and in June, I found out that I passed. I took it with four other people from my company, and I really want to compare scores with one of them. I'm really competitive about academic stuff :-)

We moved from Texas to Utah soon after that, and I still haven't sent in the forms to become licensed in Texas. Today I decided to find out how I could register in Utah. I couldn't find anything on the State website, and my coworkers confirmed that there is no EIT registration process in Utah. Basically, once you've graduated and passed the FE, you can start calling yourself an EIT. So, in Utah I'm now 'officially' an EIT. Yay, me! I've filled out my papers for Texas (again), so if I ever get around to sending them off, I'll be an EIT in Texas too!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Gingerbread Houses

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Perhaps LittleMan is disturbed in some way, as you can see that he has depicted a murder scene in front of the house, what with the dead snowman and dead tree. I assume that the snowman was chopping down a tree, and an environmentalist came along and killed him for it.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What's left now:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And last year's houses for comparison:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lights at Temple Square

We went to see the lights at Temple Square (Salt Lake City) Friday night. I used the night setting on my camera and got some great pictures (great for me).

This one turned out a bit yellow because I used my flash.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I lied

I was going to post BigGuy's birth story, but I can't find it anywhere. It's probably sitting on an old hard drive somewhere. The basic story is 18 hours labor, posterior presentation, 4 hours transition-type labor, manual rotation, 3.5 hours blue-faced pushing, no medication/epidural, tiny tear, healthy mom, healthy baby. The end. Here we are the day after he was born:

Here's BigGuy's cake this year:

He asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I planned to make a homemade layered round cake with homemade frosting, and then put Lighting McQueen & Mater on the top. But then I decided I didn't have enough time, so I let BigGuy choose one from the store. He chose Batman. He pronounced it "gross", but I think he just got a taste of black frosting or something.

Friday, November 24, 2006


NaBloPoMo is going downhill rapidly. I've resorted to posting quiz results.

You Are 60% Republican

You aren't a full fledged Republican yet, but it's probably the party that fits you best.
You probably consider yourself an independent Republican. You usually support the party, but you also think for yourself!

You Are 16% Democrat

If you have anything in common with the Democrat party, it's by sheer chance.
You're a staunch conservative, and nothing is going to change that!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Random Post

My mind is completely blank today.  So to keep this short, I'll list the medical procedures I've had done (as fas as I can remember).
4 years old - broken leg with cast
10 years old - 4 baby canine teeth pulled to make room for other teeth that were coming in
15 years old - oral surgery to attach chains to two adult canine teeth that were not coming in on their own
20 years old - all four wisdom teeth pulled
21 years old - 1 stitch after BigGuy was born (I guess the whole pregnancy/birth counts as "medical")
22 years old - a mole removed
23 years old - I do not count LittleMan's pregnancy/birth as "medical" because I had a homebirth midwife the whole time and never had any invasive procedures (such as internal cervical checks) done.  I guess I had my blood drawn.  Does that count?
I think that's about it.  I'm pretty boring in this regard.  If I started writing about all my husband's procedures/accidents, it could take months to write them all out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Another Happy Firthday!

Today BigGuy is 5 years old! At this time 5 years ago, I was beyond exhausted. I had been pushing with all my might for 2 or 3 hours and still had another hour to go! I turned 21 just one week before BigGuy was born. I felt much better being a 21-year old mother than a 20-year old :-)

BigGuy was disappointed this morning. He thought that when he turned 5 he would look different. We asked him to explain more, and he thought he would be bigger. BigDaddy and I are both small/petite, so BigGuy has almost no chance at being big, lol. But you never know. My dad is 5'11", and BigDaddy's father was over 6 feet, so maybe there's a slight possibility that someday he'll be a "big" guy.

Cake pictures and possible edited birth story later.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A weight on my shoulders

Lately I've felt like I've been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Then I realized it was just all the stuff in my coat.

My coat was "donated" by my husband. It's an outdoorsy-looking Mountain Hard Wear fleece jacket that is much too big for me. The items in the picture are receipts/papers/birthday card, my ultra-feminine men's wallet, a pair of gloves, a SLC 2002 Olympic headband, my cell phone, a duck-bill hair clip, lip balm, lotion, & a pen.

What's in your coat?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bring It On

Most years, it takes me a couple of months (or more) to remember to write the new year. But recently I've had the opposite problem. For some reason, I keep writing '2007' instead of '2006'. So bring 2007 on - I'm ready this time! Although I'm sure that as soon as January 1st hits, I'll be back to writing 2006 or 2005 or something.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

High School Memories

A few weeks ago I suddenly had a memory from high school:

From the time I turned 16, I drove to school with my sister most mornings. It was always dark on the way, especially during the winter. My high school (Northridge) was in Layton, UT. As we drove east on Highway 193, we could look out across the valley and see the Bountiful temple, shining like a brilliant jewel. The temple was approximately 17 miles away as the crow flies, but it is a huge, brightly lit, white building located up on the hillside, so it's easy to see for miles around. On those dark winter mornings, when I was so exhausted and the world seemed so cold, it was so comforting to look out and see the temple. I watched for it every morning and felt like the day was just a little bit better after I'd seen it.

Here's a picture of the Bountiful temple. Here are some more. From ground level to the top of the spire, the temple is 175 feet tall. The total floor area is 104,000 square feet (on several floors). At night it has powerful lights shining on it, and it just looks so beautiful. Incidentally, BigDaddy and I were married in this temple.

Lest you think my high school days were filled with spiritual visions of jeweled temples, here are some pictures of me as a Senior:

No, I wasn't trying to get some "tongue action". I wish I could still wear shirts like this. My 'chest' size sort of got out of control when I was pregnant and nursing babies, so button-up shirts weren't quite realistic. Now that I'm more proportional again, I'm still nursing, so they still wouldn't work so well. It's a lot easier to be discreet with a stretchy shirt.

This picture was taken on yearbook signing day. I know, because my name cards, pictures, and animal footprint stickers are there on the table. However, I don't think this method of eating was a "let's get crazy on the last day of school" type of thing. This was probably a typical way of eating for me. Maybe this explains why I didn't get asked out as much as I thought I should.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


One reason I like country music, and Brad Paisley's music in particular, is that it's very educational. Who ever heard of a duck blind, trot line, or hula popper? Not me, certainly. My outdoorsman relatives would be ashamed at my ignorance.

duck blind = little shack that hunters sit in while waiting for ducks
trot line = line to put fish on after you catch them
hula popper = fishing lure

I feel like it's cheating to write such a short post, so I'll continue on a related subject.

First of all, KOSY 106.5 has gone insane. They are a soft hits station. In October, they had a poll to see when people thought they should start their continuous Christmas music. I thought "cool. I'd like to see it start early this year, so I'll vote for the day after Thanksgiving."

I went to the poll and the options were "right now", "November 1st", or "Thanksgiving weekend". What the heck?!? Now? October? November 1st even? No way!! I voted for Thanksgiving. Well, they've been playing Christmas music since HALLOWEEN DAY. Apparently November 1st won, and they pushed it back by a day. Personally, I think that there were a bunch of jokesters inflating the votes. Who really wants to hear Christmas music in October? Nobody, that's who. Here are a couple articles about it:

Lee Benson, Deseret News

So now I need to admit something. This week I found out that Brad Paisley has released a Christmas album. I downloaded it and have been listening to it every single day. The best songs:

"Away in a Manger" - At first I thought it was a little too harsh - too much electric guitar - for a sacred song. But I really like the arrangement now.

"Penguin, James Penguin" - A totally fun, rocking kids' song, along the lines of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer". It's about Santa's secret spy penguin. The chorus is "He's Penguin, James Penguin, that dapper little guy. Like a well-dressed duck in a three piece tux, he's Santa's secret spy."

"Born on Christmas Day" - This is a (historically inaccurate) song that Brad Paisley wrote when he was 13. It's very good for a 13-year old. It starts out with the 13-year old Brad singing accompanied only by guitar. During the chorus, they subtly bring in the current band's accompaniment, and then current-Brad changes the key and sings the rest of the verses. On the very last line, they overlay the 13-Brad and now-Brad's voices, and it sounds kind of weird and cool.

"Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday" - The chorus has "it's a completely non-offensive and politically correct holiday", and every time anyone says "Christmas" it is bleeped out! Other offensive words such as "Orient" and "white" are also bleeped :-) It's hilarious!! Apparently this album has been out for quite some time - here's another blog post on it: Sunny Side of Life.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Laundry Room Prejudice

I think that all the washers and dryers that we've had or have used have been prejudiced against me. All of my shirts come out with big oil stains down the fronts. All of my pants come out shrunken. No one else's clothes get stained or shrunken! BigDaddy suggested that perhaps it's ME, not the washer/dryer :-P The thought! So maybe it's true - maybe I spill everything on my shirts. And if I don't spill on myself, the kids are sure to do it for me!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

In Defense of BigDaddy

No more than 1 minute after I published the last post, BigDaddy called to say Happy Birthday! Go BigDaddy!

Rhymes with Firthday

Happy Firthday to you
Happy Firthday to you
Happy Firthday Dear Mommy
Happy Firthday to you!

Today is my birthday! This morning I woke up BigGuy saying "BigGuy! Wake up! It's my firthday! Sing Happy Birthday to me!" He was so excited and sang it so cute. He was very concerned about me not having a cake. He instructed me to buy candles, so we got a '2' and a '6' last night at the grocery store. We'll find something to stick them in :-)

So far BigDaddy hasn't remembered that it's my birthday (and we've already talked twice today). He did remember 2 days ago though.

BigDaddy is taking a load through Utah from Denver, and he thought he'd make it to Ogden tonight. The plan was to meet up at my parents' house (more central location). The number one rule for trucker dads is "never tell the kids Daddy is coming unless the truck is actually pulling up in the yard". But, BigDaddy got excited and told LittleGuy that he would see him tonight. I'm not really sure LittleGuy understood, but BigDaddy thinks he did. BigGuy doesn't know. He just knows we're going to Grandma's.

Unfortunately, BigDaddy got held up for four hours while picking up his load this morning. If he does make it to Utah tonight, it will be at 10 pm or later, and he wants us to wait for him. He will have hometime next Wednesday and Thursday, so I didn't see the point of waiting until 10 pm, not making it home until midnight, and then trying to get up at 5 am tomorrow. But it is clearly very important to BigDaddy, so we'll be going to my parents' house tonight :-) We have to go no matter what, since I already told BigGuy we were going to Grandma's. Going to Grandma's is his favorite thing in the world.

My parents will buy me a Baskin Robbin's Turtle Pie, so we will have something to stick the candles in after all!!

Texas vs. Utah, Part I

To explain the title of my last post - it was my idea to move back to Utah. I didn't insist that we move back, but BigDaddy has always known that I wanted to. So when he decided that he wanted to move back, I was very excited. This summer was supposedly very hot in Utah. However, coming from the Houston death-humidity, it felt cool and refreshing to me. Granted, I wasn't usually out in the heat of the day.

I've been planning to do a post exploring my feelings about where we live. We like Utah for many reasons, but our biggest complaint is that housing and land prices are out of control, at least compared to places like Texas (housing), Tennessee (land), or Missouri (land). I realized that this comparison post could get very huge, so I'll only talk about one thing at a time.

First - weather. Texas vs. Utah (anywhere on the Wasatch Front)
I hate the heat, but I also hate the snow. I know we can't live in California, so that means I have to accept one or the other. Going outside in Houston during the summer (any time from April through October) is like stepping into a death-wave of stifling heat. We were there for 2.5 summers, but I never got used to the heat. I was working all the time, so I never went outside during the day regularly. Maybe if I got a chance to experience it more often, I could adapt to it.

Utah is also very hot during the summer. However, the really hot months are limited to July and August, unlike the full 6 months in Houston. There is another huge difference. In Utah, if you find shade, you are saved! You go into the shade and it feels deliciously cool. You instantly start to cool down and feel better. In Houston, shade does nothing. You get out of the sun, but the heat is just as stifling because of the humidity.

What about winter? As you know, it's only November, and yesterday it was 13 degrees out, with a wind chill to 0! Utah is typically chilly or cold from October through March. Most of the time it's tolerable, especially if you have warm clothes. But days like yesteray just make you want to stay in your warm cuddly bed with your warm cuddly kids all day!

We never experienced this kind of cold in Houston. I don't even think we got our jackets out for two whole years. Last New Year's Eve we went to the Children's Museum of Houston. The kids had on overalls and long-sleeved t-shirts. The museum had water exhibits outside. The kids played in the water, outside, on New Year's Eve, with no coats. I think they might have been slightly cold, but it was still warmer than it is here in September or October.

If you like snow or snow sports, Utah is a great place. The motto on the license plates is "Greatest Snow on Earth!". Other than the 2 years in Houston, I have lived here my entire life and have never been skiing. I like to go sledding a few times. I like to see the beautiful snow when it's covering everything. I love to see it falling. But other than that, I'm not such a big fan. I'm terrified of driving on snow, or worse, ice. I just hate it. I've never been in a snow-related accident, but that's not because of my skill, it's because miracles still exist.

Of course in Houston, you will never get snow that sticks, but you also won't have to scrape your windshields more than once or twice a year and you won't have to drive on ice regularly. Interestingly enough, most bridges in Houston have warnings about icing over.

So - weather. Do we want to suffer the death-ray heat of Houston for 6 months out of the year, or freeze to death half the year? Such a conundrum.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Totally Awesome Website

I was doing a little Googling and ran across this old website of mine from 1999: I hesitated before sharing this, because it has a lot of personal information, but it's too funny!

No, I don't have a black dot on my nose like in that picture :-D

I have no recollection of making this website. All the personal links on the site refer to my site at BYU's engineering department, not Fortunecity. For that reason, I am thinking that I uploaded my site to Fortunecity as a backup for the engineering website.

Here are some of the correct links (the others are obsolete):

Tragic Chia Pet Deaths - LOL! I must have forgotten to water my Chia pets!
Contact Me! - At the time, I thought I was so hot and cool that everyone would want to ask me out, so I made sure to provide plenty of contact options :-)
My Favorite Music Groups and Other Music Info - At one time, I did have every Monkees episode on VHS. It was the first major purchase I had ever made. I bought a set with a damaged box, so it only cost me ~$250, instead of $400. I later sold it. You'll also notice a link to Napster on this page. Living on campus with T1 internet connections allowed us to download a song in ~1 second. This was just when Napster was starting to be seen as illegal. The year after this, my roommate and I deleted all our Napster songs in an effort to be honest. However, I kept 11 country songs on my computer!

I tried to log in to Fortunecity to see if I could remove the site (it's absolutely hideous, especially with 6 inches of ads on top of the page) or at least fix the broken links, but I can't remember my password from 1999. I tried the names of all the boys I dated, all the typical passwords I used at the time, but I got nowhere. I did remember the email address I used to sign up with, so I entered that, and Fortunecity sent my name/password to the email address I provided. Unfortunately it's been obsolete since ~2004!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Extreme Fashion

I freely acknowledge my lack of fashion sense. I would classify my style as somewhere between "80-year old librarian" and "90-year old grandma". I'd like to improve to at least "60-year old hippie". I've documented the carnage with poor photography* over the past few weeks:

The Pants of Extreme Shortness and Ill-Fittingness

I usually wear these with Sketchers lace-up shoes. At least I had the presence of mind to wear them with different shoes this time.

The Most Decent Outfit I Own

I got this skirt at Old Navy in approximately 1998. It was looser then :-)

Knit T-Shirt with Dress Pants

This might look OK if I tailored the shirt a bit. But then I won't be able to wear it if I get pregnant! (by which I mean this shirt looks like a maternity shirt). These are the highest heels I've had since 1999. They kill my feet. I have to take them off when I sit down.

Grandma Sweater with Biker Boots

These are my Jedi boots. I don't know what possessed me to wear them with this dress. I wear this sweater nearly every day - whenever I get cold at work. When I worked in Houston, my office was like a freezer, so I literally wore it EVERY single day. EXTREME fashion, I'm telling you!


My sister gave me these Victoria's Secret jeans several years ago. They were also MUCH looser then! You can tell they are old because they are not super-low-rise. I got this shirt from the D.I. (thrift store). I neglected to try it on first, or else I would have realized it was too tight for my super-conservative modesty standards. Yes, I know I'm weird. I won't wear this out of the house unless it's under another t-shirt.

Normal Dress

This dress isn't too bad. I have another one just like it but it's blue/white and has buttons all the way down the front. I stole both from my sister. She doesn't know I have them yet. I wear each one once a week because they are rayon so they don't fade and don't wrinkle. I like dresses, and even more, I like dresses that require no ironing or complicated care.

Evening Wear

I really did wear this outfit outside the house, but not to work. For work I had on a white t-shirt and black shoes. I switched shirts after I got home so the kids wouldn't stain the white shirt. I got these sandals before Crocs got popular. They're made out of the Croc foam and are pretty comfy. My sister gave me this skirt before I left for college in 1999.

*My camera is pretty decent if it has enough light.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Copying Smitten Kitchen

For today's post, I'll be copying Smitten Kitchen, except with poor photography and generic recipes.

Secret Recipe Chocolate Chip Cookies
(From a recipe card I got in the mail)

Secret Recipe Chocolate Chip Cookies after my 2-year old gets ahold of them while I'm downloading the previous pictures:

I like these cookies because they stand up tall (I measured them, and they are 0.5" to 0.7" high). I don't know if it's all the chocolate chips and nuts, or the huge scoop size, or what. The recipe is similar to Nestle Toll House Cookies, but Toll House Cookies don't stay big like this - they fall after you take them out of the oven, unless you use shortening, which I won't do.

Here's the recipe:

(Click it)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day - Herb Ruth

This is my grandfather - Herb Ruth.

Herb Ruth

Herb joined the Navy in 1947, at age 17. He served for 4 years, left for 4 years, then re-entered. In 1964, he trained at the Naval Amphibious School in Coronado, California, as a member of UDT-R Training Class 32. He was the second oldest individual to be accepted into the training program at the time. He served as a Navy UDT/SEAL with UDT-11, SEAL Team One, and SEAL Team Two.

During his time in the Navy, Herb served in Korea and Vietnam and received numerous awards. He retired from the Navy in 1976. My uncle's website gives more details, stories, remembrances, and pictures and was the source of my information. (The site is newly under construction, so some pictures and content are still missing.)

After retiring from the Navy, Herb worked as a truck driver and then was a Utah Highway Patrolman (UHP). He suffered a heart attack in May 1980. The EMTs and paramedics who responded to the call were friends he knew through the UHP. While he was in the ambulance, the defibrillator would not work. As soon as they got Herb to the hospital and out of the ambulance, the defibrillator resumed working properly. He was meant to be taken at that time. I was born 6 months later, so I never knew my grandpa. My mom is sure that my younger sister must have known him in heaven, as she has some of his personality quirks.

Today I'll be remembering my grandpa and all the others who have served or are now serving our country. Thank you for your sacrifices.

Friday, November 10, 2006


If you were to go back and read my first posts (which I recommend NOT doing), you would find that they were filled with "ideal schedules" and then lamentations that I had not followed the schedules. Rather than break from that boring tradition, I figure I'll continue it at least one more time.

Here's my ideal schedule:
5:00 wake up
5:00-5:30 study scriptures
5:30-6:30 do contract work
6:30-7:00 get ready for work
7:00-7:40 get kids ready for school
7:40-8:00 take kids to school
8:00-4:30 work, taking 1/2-hour lunch (or less*)
4:30-5:00 pick up kids, go home
5:00-6:00 make/eat dinner
6:00-6:30 clean house
6:30-7:30 have fun! play! read! do errands!
7:30-8:00 get ready for bed, set out things for tomorrow
8:00 go to sleep (me too - I need my rest)

*nearly every single person at my company eats at their desk, like hermits. So I would not be unusual if I did this.

Here's my REAL schedule (semi-worst case)
5:00 alarm goes off
5:00-5:42 hit snooze 10 times
5:42 stumble into bathroom, look at clock, think bad words
5:30 time goes back because alarm is set ahead
5:30 think - "Ok, if I start working now, I can keep on schedule. But maybe I could quickly check my email, blogs, and news sites"
5:30-7:10 - 'quickly' surf internet. keep putting off working until it's too late to get anything done
7:10 - suddenly think "CRAP!! we're going to be way late!"
7:10-7:30 get ready as fast as humanly possible
7:30-7:40 try to get kids up and ready in 10 minutes. kids fall apart when you do this. freak out because the kids are "making us late"
7:40-8:20 get kids ready, get breakfast ready, try to calm down because we're already late anyway, what difference will 20, 30, or 40 minutes make?
8:20-8:40 get kids to school
8:40 get to work. Take at least 20 minutes to "check the news" and calm down. Don't get started working until 9, which means I have to stay AT LEAST until 5 or use vacation time.
6:00 leave work
6:30 get home
6:30-7:30 sit around like a zombie, eat dinner, etc.
7:30 decide to do something - errands, cleaning, etc.
10:00 notice that it's way too late and we're going to repeat this over again tomorrow

Sometimes I actually do pretty well and keep on schedule. Other times the whole day is just bad. If you are a working mom, especially a single mom or with a traveling/military spouse, you know how it is!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Due to time constraints, I have decided that we can only do two activities on any given night. Our choices are:

eat dinner
clean house and/or do laundry
read - chapter books & picture books
have family worship - read scriptures, sing hymns, write in journals
run errands - go grocery shopping, pick up milk, etc.

If we can just figure out a way to go without food, we could do so much more -- that would eliminate cooking dinners AND grocery shopping!

I've been leaving work around 6 pm, and I'd like to get the kids in bed by 8. There isn't time to cook and eat dinner and get ready for bed in that much time, let alone do anything else.

I guess the real solution would be for me to get ready on time or early in the morning, get to work early, work hard all day, and leave at 5 or earlier! Also, it would help a lot if I used the Crock-Pot more or made dinners on the weekends.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Some graphics

First, the weather from The Weather Channel.

Utah weather forecast

Please tell me why it has to go from a high of 63 to a high of 38 IN ONE DAY??? I am not looking forward to tomorrow. After living in Houston for two years, I have gained a new hatred for scraping ice of the windshield. I'm even considering making a canvas "hat" for the car - like a car cover that just goes over the windows.

Next, an election graphic (click to see it bigger) from CNN.

election graphic

In the one on the left, the bars representing 50 Democratic seats versus 49 Republican seats show a huge difference. In the one on the right, they show almost no difference. Interesting. Was it intentional, to make the Democrats' lead seem bigger? Was it unintentional? As an engineer, I'm kind of perfectionistic about numbers and graphics. Maybe journalists don't have my graphics standards :-)

Next, examples of me falling asleep while trying to take notes at a meeting today:

sleepy handwriting

This is a very poor attempt - actually two attempts - at writing "Spanish Fork". And no, that's not where I live. If I lived there, I would have written it "Spanish Fark".

sleepy part 2

So, about this tiredness thing. I was so tired that I felt like I was going to pass out. I just wanted to sleep. I couldn't imagine doing anything BUT sleeping. I'm sure the client and the Principal from my company were both very impressed. I'm not too worried about posting this since they were there with me - it's not like they didn't notice. I should've just stood up and walked around the room to look at a map or something. They might've thought I was weird, but it would've been better than looking like I was about to fall over!!

I'm wondering whether this sleepiness is a form of narcolepsy, a nutrition problem (like low blood sugar), or just normal tiredness. It's happened to me many times in the past. I used to sleep through every single event or class I attended during high school and the first year of college - including "The Phantom of the Opera", twice. However, during high school I was going to bed at midnight or later, and getting up by 5:45. In college, I would waste time online until 10 pm and THEN start my homework :-P

Then I got married. I was suddenly staying awake through every class. For once I was getting enough sleep instead of wasting all my time and staying up late. That makes me think it might be typical sleep-deprivation. I usually get in bed by 10 pm and try to get up at 5. That's 7 hours of sleep. I probably need 9, but 7 hours should at least give me a normal level of alertness. However, I sleep with both little boys squished up next to me (dh is a trucker, so is not home). Maybe it's affecting me more than I thought.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wish List

Today Kerflop asked "What would you do with ten million dollars?" I've gotten pretty good at suppressing my own desires in favor of things such as rent and food (these kids think they need to eat every day!) and I haven't dreamed like that recently. I think I'd like pretty much everything Kerflop mentioned. In addition, the other day I came up with a birthday/Christmas-style wishlist. If was going to dream to the scale of 10 million dollars, I could expand this quite a bit!

  • wheat grinder/mill & flaker
  • dehydrator
  • stock pot
  • tiny pot (for small amounts of food)

  • wheat berries
  • grass-fed meat
  • free-range chickens

  • coconut oil (for cooking and hair)
  • jojoba oil (for my hair)
  • cod liver oil
  • butter oil
  • Vitalherbs

  • books
  • homeschool supplies/manipulatives
  • thought/creative toys
  • books
  • more books
  • Hypnobabies class
  • Doula &/or childbirth education certification materials/class

  • book cases or shelves
  • bedside table
  • comfy rocking chair/glider/rocking recliner
  • family pictures/frames
  • home decor

  • Irish dance and/or clogging classes
  • music classes & instruments
  • clothes - jeans, sweaters, shirts, dresses
  • shoes - comfy hiking-style shoes, boots, tennis/running shoes, church shoes
  • self-discipline
  • time to exercise
  • wooden hairsticks (hand-turned by dh or me?)
  • Long Locks hairsticks
  • heat cap
  • Caruso steam rollers
  • microfiber hair towel
  • cultural events tickets (symphony, ballet, opera, etc.) & someone to go with
  • for my dh to love country dance and take me dancing all the time
  • paper scrapbooking/stamping supplies

  • better digital camera? (I think mine is pretty decent actually, but I need to learn more about it)
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • Digital Scrapbooking lessons (DVDs)
  • better scanner? (not sure how high quality mine is)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Much Better, Part 2

BigDaddy is not fired! We thought that this accident wouldn't be a terminable offense, but we weren't sure, especially since it was his first day. (Terminable offenses include any time that you rear-end someone, let your truck roll back on a hill, roll the truck, cause injuries, etc.) BigDaddy has to take defensive driving, but that's the only 'penalty'. The accident will go on his record of course, but if nothing else happens, this is not a big deal. This doesn't mean he'll stay with trucking though - we'll just have to see how that plays out over the next few months.

Much Better!

I am feeling much better this morning! We will probably find out today what the consequences are for BigDaddy (fired, not fired). I just hope I can help him feel better. I thought of him all alone in his cold truck last night, with no one to comfort him and tell him they still love him, and I just felt so sad for him. I hope he's also feeling better today.

Despite feeling like we've made wrong decisions at times in the past, I do believe that Heavenly Father will guide us and help us make good decisions for our family. I am OK with dh working a 'normal' job if that's what ends up happening. I just hope we don't have to lose a lot of income in the transition :-) Yet again, if I get any birthday money this month, I'll probably be using it to cover the checking account >:-(

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Walking Toward the Brink

I wanted to write a second post today, because the other one was really done at 2 am last night, which I didn't really think counted as 'Sunday'.

I am feeling a lot of things that I don't want to feel right now. I want to escape. I want to get everything out. Maybe if I spew every random thought out on to the keyboard I'll be able to get my mind organized enough to sleep.

BigDaddy has been training as a truck driver since August. Yesterday we dropped him off at the yard so that he could begin his first solo route today. I was pretty annoyed at him when we left him. Our checking account will most likely be extremely overdrawn this week. That always makes me testy. I really like to blame things on everyone else, so I figure that this is all BigDaddy's fault. He decided to switch companies mid-training, so we lost income over that. He decided to sit home all this week because he had his concealed weapons permit class on Saturday. He could've easily worked Monday through Friday and been back in plenty of time, but he didn't. His rationale was that he wouldn't get paid in time to help our checking account out, so why did it matter? Um, hello, what about NEXT week, when we don't have any income from this week?

I was also annoyed because I figured that if he was going to sit home all week, he should take care of the house. He did do the laundry, and he took care of some car problems. However, he left me with this fun mess:


I made the picture small on purpose, but it looks much worse in real life. And this is only one surface in the house. I won't show you the rest of the house. But just imagine this type of mess throughout the entire apartment. Since BigDaddy was home this week, I could've easily passed the kids off to him in the evenings and taken care of the housework myself. But I didn't. So I'm at fault too. But I am/was still annoyed at BigDaddy over it.

The Check Engine light on our car has been on at least since April. We drove all the way from Houston to Utah with it on (and got 33 mpg the whole way), so we've been ignoring it. We've known since last April that we need two new oxygen sensors (that's the reason for the 'check engine' light). $400 worth of oxygen sensors, to be exact. The car seemd to be fine without them, so we weren't too worried. However, yesterday our car decided to present some fun new symptoms. It's "missing" pretty badly, and we got a horrible catalytic converter stink from it. We also now have two exciting messages on the little dashboard display: "Drive Slowly. Urgent Service Required." and "Emissions System Service Required." The Check Engine light now flashes. I just put my arm up to block it. What am I going to do - take it to a mechanic and pay them with the overdrawn checking account? Oh, and did I mention that our car has over 100,000 miles, and we still have 2.5 more years left on the loan? That's fun.

So everything I've spewed out so far is not too bad. Today we went to my mom's house and I left my phone in the car. I knew dh would be calling, but I figured I'd just call him on the way home, which I did. He was annoyed that I didn't have my phone on me. He gets worried about us when we don't answer, and it comes out as annoyance. So we made meaningless small-talk for a minute, and then he told me that he'd been in an accident. ON HIS FIRST DAY AS A SOLO DRIVER. Obviously I was talking to him, so he was alive, which I am eternally grateful for (I know it doesn't sound like that sometimes). It was a stupid, stupid accident. It happened in the truck yard after he had stopped for the night. He was going to back in to a spot, and then he decided to pull forward into a different spot instead and something happened, and his trailer crunched another guy's fender. BigDaddy's truck is fine, but the other guy has some significant damage.

A bunch of thoughts and emotions stormed through me instantly when he told me. But I didn't say anything rude or upsetting to dh. Despite my fleeting anger and frustration, my most prominent and overwhelming emotion was empathy for BigDaddy. He is trying so hard to make something of his life and provide for us. We strongly believe that the father should be the provider and that the mother should take care of the children. He is trying to make that happen for our family. And now this. How must it have made him feel to have to call me up and tell me what happened?

This should not have happened to BigDaddy. He is one of the most capable people I know. He can master nearly any academic subject. He can make anything, fix anything. He has risen to leadership positions or prominence in every job he has ever had (and he has had MANY). He was the best student in his trucking class. He learned the shifting patterns quickly, and could back and parallel park his truck and trailer on the first try. I cannot even parallel park our mid-size car. BigDaddy can do anything. He does not "crunch fenders".

Here's an example of BigDaddy's capabilities. He decided he wanted to make segmented wooden bowls. He bought all the tools and equipment he needed (we won't even go into the financial impact of that), and these are his FIRST ATTEMPTS.

segmented bowls

segmented bowls

segmented bowls

Again, those are his FIRST attempts. He thinks they look awful because they're not 100% geometrically perfect. I think they are absolutely gorgeous, and I am awed at his skill. I realize that trucking is not the same skill as woodworking, but this is the level of skill BigDaddy has for everything he tries. Trucking is no exception. That's why I say that this little accident should not have happened.

BigDaddy said he had a bad feeling about this trip from the beginning. He says he feels like he needs to be around for our boys. He is taking this as a sign. I felt sick when he first mentioned working as a trucker. I thought it was just another one of his ideas that would last a week or two and then be over. But it wasn't. He actually went and signed up, and within a week or two, he was gone. Then I realized how much I liked it. When we're together, it's like two hens pecking each other to death. At least that's how I feel. I assume he feels the same way. We have a hope for a better relationship, but right now we're just not seeing it happen. So when he said he was thinking about whether or not to continue as a trucker, I felt a mix of emotions. I want a chance to be out on my own for a while. We got married while I was a sophomore in college, so I've never really been on my own. I have completely lost myself. I don't know who I am any more. I am a mother. I am a pseudo-wife. I am an engineer. But those are all roles that I am in for the benefit of other people. But what about "me"? Where has "me" gone? I thought that with BigDaddy gone all the time, maybe it would be easier for me to figure this out.

I realize that this is not a big deal. No one is hurt; no one is dead. No one is even fired yet (we'll see tomorrow though). It's just that so many little stupid things have been building up for so long, and this fender-bender finally released some emotion. My issues are so incredibly petty and inconsequential compared to others'. I have so many friends whose babies have died. Babies die, children die, spouses die, people get sick and die. People lose their lives spiritually speaking. How can I be this incredibly pathetic over some relatively minor financial, relationship, and job stress?

I think I'll actually feel quite good in the morning. I have a lot of faith. I've always been very strong in my faith. I know that obedience to the commandments will bring me blessings. I know that though my trials are small, I will be given the strength to bear them. I know that things will look better soon. I know that I have the Lord with me through everything. How people get through any trial without the gospel, I do not know. As I was driving, little scriptures came to my mind and comforted me. More than any specific verse, it was just a feeling of comfort, but here are a few that I thought of and that I'll leave with you.

John 14:18 - I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Matthew 11:30 - For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Mosiah 24:13-15
13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

Proof! But you'll have to take my word for it.

I happened to run across this tonight and it relates to today's earlier post (actually it's really late Saturday night, so today is really yesterday. Or something.) Anyway - here's proof that I was a dedicated Crocodile Hunter fan. This picture was taken in the summer of 2000.

Croc Hunter Shirt

You'll have to just believe me that it's a Crocodile Hunter shirt. You may notice that there's a guy cut out of the picture. If I'm not mistaken, I bought this shirt at the Discovery store in the airport on the way to see him in New Jersey.

And yes, I am wearing sexy knee-length shorts and pulled-up socks - woo!

Also, I ran across a picture of my sister's boyfriend from the same summer. Funny, I never noticed his resemblance to Darth Maul before. Makes sense though. Can you tell he's an EX-boyfriend?

Darth Boyfriend

*P.S. - will any HTML gurus out there tell me why the borders aren't showing up on my pictures? I'm not using Blogger's 'picture upload' icon - I'm typing in the HTML by hand.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Steve & Terri

This is the most hilarious video I've ever seen! I originally saw it at SmockLady, but you can see it bigger if you go directly to YouTube. You have to have your sound on when you watch it. In case you didn't go watch it yet, it's Steve Iwrin (the Crococile Hunter) with Ross the Intern. I have never heard of Ross the Intern before this video, but apparently he's on the Tonight Show. I laughed out loud watching this! I usually smile at funny things, but this was hilarious. Of course you probably have to be a Steve Irwin fan to appreciate it.

It really hit me hard when Steve Irwin died. I don't know the right words to describe how I felt - devastated, upset, shocked. I just couldn't believe it was real. Even now, when I think of his death, I think "yeah right, like that could happen". I watched every YouTube or Google Video memorial or interview I could find and even cried some (maybe a lot). I've listened to John Williamson's "True Blue" over and over. It's amazing that it's been around so long - it seems to be written just for Steve.

I felt really silly, because it's not like I knew Steve. I'm generally not celebrity-obsessed. I think it hit me so hard because of Terri, Bindi, & Bob. Since having children, I'm approximately 1,000 times more emotional than I was before. I would've been sad about Steve no matter what, but the thoughts of what his wife and children are going through are what get me the most. He loved Terri and the kids more than life itself and appeared to be the ideal father. They have lost so much.

When I was in high school (1996-1999), I watched Animal Planet frequently, and I loved the Crocodile Hunter show. The first year or two of college I didn't have much time for TV. After we got married, we threw our TV out. So I haven't really seen Steve on TV since 1999 or so. But I always liked him. I still can't believe he's gone. I've read about all the controversies, and I know what has been said about him. But I think he was for real. Maybe he was a tiny bit more of a showman on the camera than he was off, but I think his passion and love for animals was 100% real. I think he absolutely accomplished his goal of helping the public love wild animals.

Even more than Steve, I really look up to Terri Irwin. She is such a great woman and role model. She is beautiful and feminine in her own way. I am a long hair admirer, so I love that she's always kept her long hair. I love the way she supported and loved Steve. She has great strength and intelligence, and great faith. I love that she's a celebrity with a normal body. She doesn't play into the sterotypes.

In her interviews with Barbara Walters and Ray Martin, Terri told stories of Steve playing with the children and messing up the sheets on the bed. Every time, Terri would patiently replace them. She seems to really know what is important and she knows how to appreciate the little things in life. I really look up to Terri - she's a great role model for girls and women, really for everyone.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Here is what is on my current playlist:

Artists are in red
Album titles are in blue
Song titles are in green
My comments are in black

John Williamson - Anthems: A Celebration of Australia - I downloaded this to get the song True Blue, which was performed at Steve Irwin's memorial service. It has a lot of other fun songs, like Home Among the Gum Trees and Waltzing Matilda. I listen to about half the songs.

Gary Allan - entire discography - I only skip a few songs.

Def Leppard - Love Bites, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad? - I always turn these up really loud!

Bon Jovi - Always, It's My Life, I'll Be There For You, Born to Be My Baby - hmm, Living on a Prayer isn't in there. That's my favorite Bon Jovi song, so I'll have to fix that. These also get turned up extra loud. I told you I was guilty of listening to 'blaring' music!

Brad Paisley - entire discography - I skip very few songs.

Alan Jackson - 45 various songs - I've been skipping a lot of them lately.

I'll switch to black now to spare your eyes. Other artists in my RealRhapsody library include:

Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andy Griggs
Antonio Vivaldi
Big & Rich
Bob Dylan
Brooks & Dunn
Bryan Adams
Buddy Holly
Bun' Ber E
Chuck Berry
Crash Test Dummies
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Dierks Bentley
Dolly Parton
Don McLean
Elmo and Patsy
Elvis Presley
Fats Domino
Gabriel Faure
George Jones
George Strait
Greg Simpson
Guillaume de Machaut
Hank Williams
Hector Berlioz
Jeff Foxworthy
Jefferson Airplane
Jimmy Wayne
Joe Nichols
Johannes Brahms
John Michael Montgomery
John Williams
Johnny Cash
Julie Andrews
Kelly Clarkson
Kenneth Cope
Kenny Chesney
Kenny Rogers
Lee Greenwood
Little Texas
Mannheim Steamroller
Marty Robbins
Merle Haggard
Michael Jackson
Michael Nesmith
Montgomery Gentry
Neil Diamond
Patsy Cline
Paul Revere & the Raiders
Peter Tork
Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky
Randy Travis
Reba McEntire
Rodgers & Hammerstein
Rodney Atkins
Sawyer Brown
Shania Twain
Shel Silverstein
Simon & Garfunkel
Sly & the Family Stone
Soft Cell
Steel Drum Festival
The American Military Band
The Animals
The Archies
The Beach Boys
The Beatles Tribute Band
The Byrds
The Hollies
The Jackson 5
The Monkees
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
The Partridge Family
The Real McKenzies
The Temptations
They Might Be Giants
Thomas Newman
Tim McGraw
Toby Keith
Tony Sheridan
Trace Adkins
Tracy Lawrence
United States Amry Band
Weird Al Yankovic

It looks like I've mostly got country, oldies, and classical/instrumental, with a little 80's and a little LDS music sprinkled in.

There are many more artists than this in our library, but either dh downloaded them (Pink Floyd, Van Halen, etc.), or I didn't recognize them. Thank goodness for RealRhapsody! We get access to all those songs for $10 per month. Of course if we quit paying, all the songs go away. But I still think it's a good deal.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I received this quote in my email the other day:
"Have you noticed how Satan works to capture the mind and emotions with flashing images, blaring music, and the stimulation of every physical sense to excess? He diligently strives to fill life with action, entertainment, and stimulation so that one cannot ponder the consequences of his tempting invitations."
(Richard G. Scott, "How to Live Well Amid Increasing Evil," Ensign, May 2004, 102)"

I think that many people use music as a way to 'not feel'. If you're tired of feeling your feelings and thinking your thoughts, you can just stick those iPod earbuds in, and everything just goes away.

All music is not bad. Obviously there is very much good music in the world. Beautiful music can be soothing and uplifting to our souls. It can help us feel the spirit at times when it is difficult for us to do so. It becomes harmful when we are listening to it loudly and constantly and using it to escape.

My religion preaches that nearly all decisions either bring you closer to Satan or closer to God. Now it's easy for me to see now how something as innocent as music can be used to accomplish either. Please don't think I'm saying I'm perfect. I still listen to 'blaring' music at times and use it to escape too! I'll share my playlist in a future post.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


My Halloween story starts a few weeks ago. I admired my mom's new shoes:

Payless Kami pump

I went to get the same style at Payless and I saw these cool boots:

Payless Meredith boot

I knew I couldn't blow $30 on them because when would I wear them? I would wear plain black boots to church, but not with those buckles and straps! I figured I could wear them under jeans, but I don't have any jeans that fit, so that wouldn't be too often. I could wear them with my knee-length black & gray plaid wool skirt, but that would seem a little too provocative for me (I'm super-conservative). I could wear them under my calf-length black/gray dress, but that would look dorky (my usual fashion style). So I passed on the boots.

When we went grocery shopping last week, we saw toy light sabers. I bought one for each boy. At work they had announced that everyone could wear costumes. I asked a trusted secretary if anyone really dresses up, and she confirmed that they did. Most of the engineers don't dress up, but a lot of others do. I figured I'd do it. I'm the only female engineer there, so I can make my own standards anyway. I realized that if I went as a Jedi, I could get the boots! So I dressed up as Padawan Katie-Gon Jinn. I do love all 6 Star Wars movies, although I'm nothing like some of the super-fans you'll see out there.

Katie-Gon Jinn

I got some cheap fabric at Wal-Mart and used directions from the internet to sew a Jedi cloak/robe and tunic. I put my hair back and added a padawan braid. I would rather call myself "Jedi Knight" or "Jedi Master", but I really wanted the braid, so Padawan it was. I also made Jedi cloaks for BigGuy and LittleMan. Given my level of sewing training (7th grade Home Ec.), I think I did an awesome job! I won't bore you with pictures of my seams, but I actually managed to make these costumes look somewhat decent. They'll last a long time, and the cloaks will be great for the kids to play dress-up in all year - they can dress up as any number of things.

Three Jedi

In the Princess Bride, in reference to his mask, Westley says "they're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future." I think the same applies to Jedi cloaks! I may fall deeply into Star Wars dorkdom if it means I get to wear my cloak more often. It feels like I'm wearing a big cozy robe, and I thought I looked imposing and authoritative when I walked quickly, the cloak billowing out behind me and sweeping along. Well, I guess I looked imposing when I wasn't tripping up the stairs over the cloak. I also now understand why Jedi eat food out of little capsules instead of cooking it - those big sleeves are a fire hazard!

I figured I'd make the most of the day and put my makeup on extra thick and heavy. In fact, it was so heavy that a casual observer could almost see it if they looked hard! (I guess I'm pretty conservative in the makeup category too.)


LittleMan ended up looking more like a fat ghost or chocolate chip or something since he had his fluffy winter coat on under his cloak. BigDaddy stayed home to "help clean" so we went without him. We drove up to our main ward area and parked. We went to 6 houses and then the kids wanted to go home. The lots in our ward are so huge that trick-or-treating is somewhat inefficient! The kids got about 10 pieces of candy each, which was just perfect. To confirm his party-pooper status, dh turned off the porch light while we were out. So we are left with a big bowl full of non-optimal Halloween candy. I found out that you have to go shopping BEFORE 7 pm on Halloween night to get the good stuff. Who would've known?