Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm in the market for a good deal...

Joel and I have decided that it might be time soon for us to get back into a regular home. But we don't want just any home. This home has to have certain things to be worth it to us.
These are some of our requirements:
1) payments can't be more than our lot rent, some fixing up is ok, after all we know to get a good deal we'll have to put more money into it and some elbow grease.
2) it must have property and space between our house and our neighbors.
3) must have air conditioning.
4) must have 2 bathrooms and enough room to either have/create 4 bedrooms.

We have one property that we are looking into, but not getting my hopes up for it just yet. It has to go through an auction before I can do a walk through. So if it doesn't sell on the 7th, we will call and ask for a walk through. It went through auction in February and didn't sell, so I'm hoping I have a chance to look at it closer.  It has some water damage in the basement that we need to check out first as well.
Here's some pictures of it...
AWESOME oak tree in the front.  Landscaping needs major pulling and cleaning up.

The view of the house from the road. 

Cool circle window in the dining room. West side of the house.

Fun porch to hang a swing or place a glider. I could see us when we are old and retired hanging out on the porch watching the grandkids play in the yard.

Some of the front porch needs replacing. The old one is out somewhere in the 20 acre woods behind the house :) I would love to created some four wheeler trails behind there!

But, as I said, it might not be available after the 7th, and also I might not want it if I find the water damage is signs of a serious problem.

If anyone knows of any foreclosed homes that fit our needs, let me know!

Friday, June 24, 2011

In search of a perfect blog layout...

Dear Mom,
If you can't read this let me know!
I'm playing around with new blog designs and worry that some are too small.

I've been trying new blog templates and found a few that I love, but there's something on each one that's not perfect and I have driven myself crazy trying to fix them, which means going through my HTLM code line by line, which also makes my head hurt.
I will work on it more later.

A little break before hitting the books again. I think this will be the last time I take a math class during a summer session. Every day we cover something new and don't have any time to work on it, except that night and then the next day we are off on something new! I'm a bit worried I've ruined my gpa with this class. And that worry sets in more since I received a letter today from the college saying I'm on the Dean's List. Yay me! I'd like to stay there if I could.

We had a good weekend for our anniversary and Father's Day. Saturday night Joel and I went to Joe's Crab Shack and had lobster and crab for dinner. Then we went out shopping for a few things. He got some things for his tool box from Menards, I got a Nook from Barnes and Noble. Then we went to a movie, The Green Lantern. It was really good.

On Sunday I got to enjoy a day with no calling. That was really nice, but also felt a little weird. I'm used to getting out of the chapel and trying to beat kids down to the Primary room. This time I got to sit next to a couple of ladies I haven't seen or chatted with in a while and that was so nice!

After church we went to my in-laws. My FIL was able to come home for a little while and so we went to visit with him and bring him cards for Father's Day. He is starting to look better and has color in his face again. He was able to go up the stairs to use the bathroom (with a lot of help, of course), so maybe it won't be long before he will be home and able to get around. They say he is not supposed to put pressure on his half-foot for several weeks yet.

We ended the evening at home with corn on the cob, fried chicken and garlic mashed potatoes. I wanted to take the kids and dog to the dog park for a walk but I still had homework to finish so I had to do that instead. Booo.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Families Can be Together Forever

I love this Primary song.
I did a lot of thinking this morning about how I love my sisters and family so much. I am so thankful that my Father in Heaven has a plan for us to be a family forever.
I was remembering my trip out west last summer when I visited my parents for a couple of weeks. I really just wanted to spend my time there visiting and not really running around doing stuff. I did go out and do stuff, but I also loved sitting around my parents house talking, playing games, etc. I LOVE being there! One afternoon my sister had stopped by my mom's to chat for a while. As she stretched out over my mom's couch we chatted about her job as a teacher and her getting ready for the new school year. It was so nice just to sit and listen to her tell her stories. She's a very kind person, and even though she was having trouble with one of her aids, she was still so kind while she talked about her. I admire my sister so much and the person she is. I just thought how lucky her students are and how neat it would be if I could end up working with someone like her, I would be in HEAVEN!

And when I do get to heaven, I'm so happy I get to be with my sister!

Friday, June 17, 2011


My house was so nice and clean.... a couple of weeks ago!
Since the kids have been home from school their rooms have exploded and things from their rooms have strayed out and been left around the house. So, today they are grounded for the rest of the weekend until BOTH of the little kid's rooms are cleaned. I'm wondering how long it will take. How many tears will be shed. How many, "You are the WORST mom EVER!" I will have to hear. How much my head will hurt by the time they are done.

This weekend it will be 18 years since Joel and I were married in the Edgerton chapel. Bishop Ron Holm married us. His daughter Hannah was a new baby and attended the wedding and reception. Our son Jacob was 4 months old and was at the wedding and reception as well. We moved away to Brooklyn Center shortly after that. During our time in Brooklyn Center, Joel joined the church and we were sealed for eternity by President Sheffield, a dear long time friend of my parents.Many years later, we moved to Shoreview, where Jacob and Hannah ended up being classmates. This last month all of us, Hannah, her dad, President Sheffield and our family were all at the Seminary graduation of our children/grandchildren. The Sheffield's grandson spoke at the graduation. It was a really sweet evening where a full circle had been made.

Joel and I have had so many ups and downs during our 18 years of marriage. He has stuck with me through my crazies, and that amazes me. When I think back to things I've done, I'm ashamed, I wonder how he's had the patience to overlook and forgive things I've said and done. He's truely kept our vows, for better, for worse. He's been a great example to me of love and patience.

(I wanted to share a picture from our wedding, but my scanner isn't working.)

Lately, more especially since medication has brought me out of the dark fog I've been in for the last several years, I feel more strongly committed to my vows I made to him and God. Maybe, at the time I made them, I didn't think about them so much. I just wanted our family to be forever. But now I ponder more in my heart my vows, and what they mean to me, and how I can better keep them and honor him and myself.

Happy Anniversary love!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Old Family Videos

Joshua, February 2006, tangled up in the Valentine's Day balloons I bought.

Jaeden having a tantrum, before she was saying much more than "Mommy" and "Daddy".

Jaeden dancing to the music in her head.

Joshua rapping.

The girls would often hold hands while riding around in the car.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On Death and Dying

A couple of months ago I was taking a Life Cycle Psychology class when we covered death and dying. We discussed the Terri Schiavo case, and it caused me to bug Joel again about his living will wishes. He's never written one, and wouldn't do it for me six years ago when I was making mine. The class has caused me to reflect on my life a bit and maybe make some decisions differently based on new thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Today a friend, on facebook, posted a link to an insightful article by Bronnie Ware about the regrets of dying people. I thought I would share them here (along with some of my mental notations).


For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

This would probably be one of my biggest personal regrets as well, and I would worry that telling people this would hurt their feelings. Although, now that my mind is clearer than it was before medication, I can see that even though I am trying to live how others expect me to, this is a righteous thing. I know that my husband and my parents have righteous expectations of me. If I were to do whatever I wanted, I'm sure it would not be the best thing for me, my children or them, and I would only be selfishly serving myself. And that is not how we are supposed to be.

Enter internal conflict: I have only this life. This one life to live only once. If I am not happiest living it the way everyone else thinks I should- even if it's good- is it worth it? Is that fair to me or them?

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

At this point, we do need to work as much as we do. We have four kids, no insurance and doctor bills up the wazoo. I wish we could get by with less, but it's just not possible right now. Every penny counts. I guess we will have to enjoy our grandkids more than our own kids. *sob*. I do think that maybe I can make improvements on this by choosing less housework and by taking more time to play. I'm glad I am going into a field where I can take summers off to spend with my kids. That IS a plus!

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

Dang if you do, dang if you don't, is my problem. If I do speak my feelings, I feel that only the positive ones will be accepted and listened to. Nobody wants to hear my negative stuff. The hardest person with this is Joel. I want to be able to share everything with him. But, I feel he takes personal offense every time my feelings aren't positive and when I express them it causes problems and fights. He feels responsible for me and my feelings, though he shouldn't.
I'm not ready for the "releasing the unhealthy relationship from my life" part yet, but I really wish I had a partner I could be honest with and they would accept my bad with my good and not feel that if I have a negative feeling that it's their job to take care of it. I just want someone to listen and understand.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

Meh, me, not so much this one. I would wish I'd kept in touch with more family members, like first cousins, more than friends. Maybe as far as friends go, I would wish I reached out to be a friend to others more than I have. That might be a more accurate statement for me.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Amen! This is one I am trying to do. I am trying to let go of things that make me unhappy and embrace and do things that I love and enjoy.

I try to be silly and play with my kids, even though it may embarrass them or others, but the other day I got a letter from Jaeden that said, "I love my mom because she is fun." Man, if that doesn't say it's worth it, nothing will.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.


Regrets of the Dying is soon to be a full-length book, full of personal and inspiring stories about Bronnie's years with dying people. Please join the mailing list, on the contact page, to be advised of its release.
Coming soon in 2011.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Best laid plans...

foiled again!

I have been wanting, for weeks, to get Jake's pictures done. However, time has eluded me, Jake has eluded me, energy has eluded me. So, tonight, I'd had it! He was hanging out on my hammock and I decided that I had to get this shot done once and for all. It was similar to what I had imagined doing anyway. Voila! Here's Jake's announcements...

I love this guy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Well, they took all of Roger's toes off. He's in a transfer house learning to walk and use stairs without them. He will be there for over a month.

Jacob's graduation is on the 7th. And he's graduating with Honors! YAY! We are so excited about this! I can't wait! I have been wanting to take his picture for the last couple of weeks but his work and the kids soccer practices have us booked. I'm so sad I haven't gotten to do it yet. Very sad. He gets his cap and gown on Friday so maybe I will get a few shots with those too.

In the fall he will be getting his Associates Degree. We are hoping he will get to spend a semester at BYU before going out for his mission. I am even more excited for him to do this! I just know he will love it and my family will be so happy to have him around, they will love it! Life for him is so exciting right now!

My math class so far is going good. I think I have a good teacher. He's made things so much more clearer than any other teacher I've had before. This is encouraging! Hopefully my instincts are right. I'd really love to be able to get an A in that class. I don't start my Educational Psychology until July 5.

Josh and Jaeden are taking soccer this summer. I was a loser mom and didn't get them signed up for baseball in time, so we had to settle for soccer. They both, luckily, are very athletic and coordinated so they do well in any sport they do. They played soccer a couple of years ago, so they already know how to play. I still have to decide on something to sign up Joy for. She's a little tricky in the skills/interests area.

I took Buddy for a long walk today and worked on walking past people on the trails without trying to jump on them. He did pretty good! It was a bummer that the trails are paved in black and were hot, so I had him walking in the grass. Needless to say I was picking ticks off of him after the walk. YIKES! I hate those buggars.