Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some photos

Thought I'd post some photos of our trip to Idaho.

This is my mom's tree. I don't know if you can see, but the large round ornaments are actually photos of her grandkids. She doesn't always decorate with these, but this is Chelsea's and my favorite. It is fun to look at the photos of when the kids were little.

This is Carrie, Chelsea, Mikaela and Samantha.

These are my parents' grandkids:
Jennifer, Carrie, Chelsea, Mikaela, Samantha, Justin, and Amanda. What a great looking group. Must take after their parents!

Here are my parents. They love having their whole family for Christmas Eve!

Here I am with the love of my life! It was our first Christmas together and it was wonderful! I am so lucky that he and everyone in my family get along.

It's a tradition for our family to have homemade egg noodles the day after Christmas. The last two years Chelsea and Samantha mixed, rolled and cut the noodles. Mom cooks them in chicken broth with canned whole chicken. They are sooooo good! They are really simple to make so I don't know why nobody makes them any other time of the year. Maybe because this is a special occasion and another excuse to have most of the family together again before we all get on with our busy lives.

There was so much snow in N. Idaho while we were there! This is a photo of dad's windmill. Its amazing how the snow curled around it. There was over 50 inches of snow when we left on Dec. 27th. And it's snowed several times since then!

As you can see, we had a great Christmas. I hope it continues into the new year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We're home

We made it home safely even though the roads were treacherous. It was a long drive and we are all glad to be back home.

Great news! I was looking through the mail and found a letter from the University of Utah. I was just notified that I was accepted to attend graduate school there in the accelerated master's degree program for Social Work! I am so excited! I graduate from Weber State in May with my bachelors degree and start at the University of Utah the middle of July!

Well it's getting late so I am off to bed! Just had to share!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And it continues to snow!

I cannot believe how much snow is falling here! They are predicting 6-10 inches of new snow today! That will put us at about 5 feet of snow for the month of December! I sure hope we aren't getting this much snow at home!

We went to Kellog and bought Mike's new truck. What a nice, easy car buying experience! No haggle price, a fair price for a trade in, no pressure to buy extended warranty, etc. We saved several thousands of dollars by buying through Dave Smith over buying from a local dealer in Utah. So all in all a very productive deal. He got the inferno red 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab. It is a beautiful truck! Hopefully he'll be happy with this for a few years!

Today is our big day for Christmas celebrations. Our whole family will be here later this afternoon and evening. We'll have a big meal, lots of laughter and fun and then presents from my parents. This is a day I look forward to all year. It's just family and we have so much fun together!

Well, I need to get in the shower and get ready for the day to start! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

After 12 hours of white knuckle driving we finally made it over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house! The passes were tretcherous but Mike is a very safe driver so we made it fine. I do have to say that isn't true of many people who ended up in the ditch. We saw several very bad accidents on the way. We were supposed to go pick up Mike's new truck today, but that would mean going back over one of the passes and it is still snowing so we won't be making that trip today. It is supposed to stop snowing later today so we'll see about going over tomorrow afternoon when it is a little warmer and the plows have had a chance to do their job.

Mike has a really bad cold so that didn't make traveling any easier. I slipped and fell at a gas station in Dillon, MT and now my neck and back hurt. I am really hoping it is just pulled muscles. Chelsea is the only one doing okay I think! Dad and Mike are out pulling one of my nieces out. She got stuck on the main street of Coeur d' Alene!

It is nice to be home for Christmas and to have Mike here enjoying it with my whole family. I am going to be lazy, take naps, do a little scrapbooking and probably eat too much. Since I put on several pounds in the last week due to meds. I figure one or two more won't hurt! It sucks that I was able to keep the weight off for two years and now I'm almost back where I started. I looked back at my weight and I was exactly 10 lbs lighter on Nov. 21st of this year! Crazy!

I was hoping to get some running in while I was here and even bought some Yaktrak's which go on running shoes to get a grip in the snow, but with so much snow right now I don't think that's going to happen. I don't want to risk really doing something bad to my neck!

I need to take Chelsea to the mall later so I may just do a couple of laps while I am there. At least it will be warm!

Well, I need to go spend some time with my wonderful mother. I'll post later, hopefully with photos of the new truck!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Life is Crazy!

School is over for this semester, thank God! I have also completed all of my internship hours for the semester. I've spent the last few days making 75 Christmas cards. Next year I'm sending store bought!

Tonight we are hosting an open house and expect about 150 people! We are making it a fundraiser for Sub for Santa because so many people are struggling this year and they are so low on donations.

I've spent the last week working on appetizers, etc. for the party. Should be a great time!

Lucky for me my cousin Robin is coming down from Twin Falls, ID and she will be a big help!

I am trying to finish a few last minute Christmas gifts as well. We cut way back this year, but I think the girls will really appreciate their gifts more.

We cut back on the girls, but Mike is another story. We are picking up a brand new 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab truck while we are in N. Idaho. We got such a good deal that it is worth going there to pick it up. Plus we are going to be there anyway for the holidays. Our attempt at stimulating the economy!

Life is so good for us and we just hope it continues. So many people are having a hard time that we feel guilty for having such a good year.

On a bad note, I have another herniated disc in my neck. Yes, the third one. I had one fused in 2000 and one in 2002. The dr. says I won't find a neurosurgeon who will fuse a 3rd because it really just becomes a vicious circle. Once they fix one the risk of another one going dramatically increases, and I'm living proof of that. Unfortunately there's not much they can do non-surgically. I am now on prednisone which has actually helped. The bad thing, though, is that it really packs the pounds on me! I put on about 3 lbs over Thanksgiving, just from eating too much, and now another 7 lbs. since I started the meds. And on a 5' 1" frame 10 lbs is a lot of weight. Oh well, at least I don't have shooting pains down my right arm!

And I will aggressively work to get rid of the extra weight after the New Year. I am back to running again and go myself the Wii Fit. I will probably lose 5 lbs just by quitting the meds, which run out tomorrow. Then the rest will be up to me!

Well, I've got to get busy getting ready for tonight.

If I don't post again before Christmas I hope you have a wonderful, Christ-filled Christmas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for. I am healthy. Mike is healthy, Chelsea is healthy. Harley is healthy. Eline is healthy. Scruffy is healthy. All of my extended family is healthy. I have a wonderful, loving husband. I have a great kid, a great step-daughter and a great Dutch daughter. I have a beautiful home, lots of nice things, no bills except a mortgage and a comfortable income. I have great friends. I am getting a great education. My life is so good. God has blessed me so much that I sometimes wonder what I did to deserve all of this. I am truly blessed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chelsea's soccer coach

I am very angry right now. We live in one of the most medically advanced countries in the world. Chelsea's 23 year old soccer coach can't get treatment for his cancer, though. Why? Because he doesn't have health insurance. His skin cancer has spread, but because he can't afford the treatment he will die in 6-12 months. How's that for truth, justice and the American way?

A lot of people criticized Michelle Obama when she said she was finally really proud to be American. (Meaning, of course, that she hasn't always been "really" proud, maybe just somewhat proud) Well I think I know some of what she felt. It's hard to be proud of a country that lets people die because they don't have health insurance. Someone said to me "Well he should have gotten a better job so he'd have insurance." Great idea, except that's not always possible, especially when you are that young. And, when you've been diagnosed with cancer before your 22nd birthday it's hard to find an insurance company that will accept you.

So, once again Chelsea learns that there really is no justice in this country for people who don't have money. I just hope it's a lesson she tries to do something about when she's older. That's assuming, of course, that she gets a job with good health insurance, or doesn't get sick if she doesn't.

I guess his family will be thankful tomorrow that they got to have him for this long. Not much else for them to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I got the best news today! Eline is coming home in July for a month! I was so excited I almost cried when she called and told me today! I can't wait! I have a package to send her for St. Nicholas Day. I need to mail that tomorrow. Hopefully it will get there on time.

Chelsea is now working at Old Navy. She's not that thrilled about it but she just needs to learn that sometimes you have to do things you don't like in order to make a living, and she has a car to pay for. I think it will get better once she gets used to it, and once she is cashier trained.

She lettered in soccer a few weeks ago, which was exciting for her. But she got some bad news the other day. Her soccer coach, who is only about 23, found out his skin cancer is back. He was treated about a year ago and was doing fine, but last week he went in for his regular 3-month check up and the results weren't good. He went for a body scan, but we haven't heard anything back. I think that might mean the news is bad. He got skin cancer from playing soccer without using sunscreen. Just something to think about.

Mike turned 49 yesterday. I got him a bird house because he likes to watch the birds in the back yard. I also got him an iTunes gift card. He loves music and wants to download some of his favorite songs. We went out to dinner at Jasoh's. It is a really nice restaurant and definitely the best one we've eaten at in Utah. We like to try new places out and this one was definitely the best. We also ate out at a Vietnamese restaurant this weekend and that was really good, but definitely in a different class.

I know we eat out too much but school is almost over for the semester so I'll be back to home cooking again!

I two papers due and I will finish one of them today. I have two weeks to finish the other. Now, if I don't procrastinate too much I should be done in plenty of time.

We went and bought a new TV today for our living room. We actually have a great room, with a 26 inch TV in it and it is just too small. We bought a 46 inch one today so on Thanksgiving the guys can watch football on it. The kids will be downstairs playing Wii and other video games on the big screen down there.

I am home all alone today. Mike is watching football with a friend and Chelsea is at work. It is actually quite nice. I can listen to my contemporary Christian music with no complaints and I will definitely get this paper done within an hour.

Well that's all for now. I need to get back to work so I can plan for Thanksgiving. We are having about 20 people over so it should be fun!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Lots to report. Chelsea got her license. She totaled her car after 5 days. She's okay, just some air bag burns to her face and neck. Won't leave any scars. I've spent the past week looking for another car. We bought the first one, she has to pay for the second one. It's a 2002 Buick LeSabre. Yes it's big, no it's not something a teenager really wants to drive. I don't care. It's safe and affordable.

Chelsea started her new job today at Old Navy. The best part is she brought home friends and family discount cards. And she will have money to pay for her car.

I got lots of advice about what to do about the wreck. It's been suggested that she pay for the first car ($3400) and now for her insurance ($300 every 6 months). Add that to the cost of her new car ($3000) and she'd be indebted for about the next six years. My philosophy is that she is a good student (B+ average), doesn't drink, smoke, cuss. She is working on her Girl Scout Gold Award (collecting crockpots and creating a cookbook for the Homeless Veteran's Fellowship), she's in marching band, and is trying out for drumline. She goes to church because she wants to, not because I make her go. The accident was because it was dark and raining and neither Mike nor I went over all of the controls on the car with her. She turned on the windshield wipers and they wouldn't stay on. She looked down to see what was wrong, drifted to the right and hit a parked car. Now I'm not saying the accident wasn't her fault because it was. I am saying it could happen to anyone. And yes, the police officer checked her cell phone to make sure she wasn't texting or talking.

So her punishment is that she has to pay for her new car. She has to give me 50% of her paycheck at Old Navy or $100 per month, whichever is more. She has to keep her grades up or drop out of any extra curricular activities. If her grades still are not at least a B average then she will have to quit her job and then she'll have to stop driving the car. I think that's fair. By the way, her insurance did not go up at all. Amazing. I love USAA. They are the BEST insurance company around!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I voted!

I voted yesterday to beat the crowds next week. And speaking of voting, I saw this video with Ron Howard that I thought was cute:


Monday, October 20, 2008

Why Colin Powell just might be the most honorable man in America.

"I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said. Such things as 'Well you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.' Well the correct answer is 'He is not a Muslim, he's a Christian, he's always been a Christian.' But the really right answer is 'What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?' The answer is 'No. That's not America.' Is there something wrong with some 7-year old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she can be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion he's a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

"I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo-essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in you can see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have a Star of David. It had a crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Karim Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American, he was born in New Jersey, he was 14 at the time of 9/11 and he waited until he can go serve his country and he gave his life." -General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, on NBC's Meet the Press this weekend.

Here is where I saw this:


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Snow, more snow, and even more snow!

The news said it was supposed to start snowing yesterday around noon. No snow. By midnight there was still no snow. This morning we woke up to 4 inches. It's still coming down and we now have about 8 inches. The trees are heavy and I'm sure there will be plenty of broken branches because most of the trees still have all of their leaves. It'll be a mess to clean up this next week!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


You have got to be kidding me! Chelsea's Sweet 16 Birthday party is on Saturday evening. And it is going to be snowing! I just can't believe that it will be snowing that early. I may just have to start skiing again!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The emergency room

I have been at the local emergency room more with Mike in the last 6 months than I have been with Chelsea in her whole almost 16 year life.

The first time was in February when he had chest pains after our trip to Seattle. Then it was in April when he fell down our stairs and dislocated his shoulder. And today it was because he sliced open his hand near his thumb. He ended up with 4 stitches and a tetanus shot. I think he wanted an excuse to stay in the house and watch football! :)

Today we picked up Chelsea's car. Here it is:

It is a 1999 Mazda 626. It has 86000 miles on it and appears to be in good condition. Chelsea is very happy with it, as she should be. The people we bought it from wanted $4400 for it and NADA.com said it was worth $4500. I told the guy that since it needed new tires and since we didn't have a lot of money we could give him $3600 for it. And he said okay. It had been on the market for a couple of weeks and they had just bought a new van so they were probably glad to get it sold, especially with the economy the way it is.

I just finished up a 42 page paper and now need to print it out. I am so glad it is done, at least this part of it. It is actually a section of a much large paper, my Capstone, for my bachelors degree. I finished the first section, 36 pages, during last spring semester. I have two more sections this semester and then a much larger section which is due the first day of spring semester, in January. I am really glad I bought a laptop with my stimulus check, because now I can work at the large bar in my kitchen and spread out. Right now I have 8 reference books and several notebooks on the counter that I used for this paper. I probably need to get them put away before my neat freak husband goes crazy! :)

It's time to get dinner started so I am off to feed my hungry family!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


School is going well, but it is really keeping me busy. I just completed a big group project, one down and two to go! I am working on a 30 page paper which is due Monday evening and I'm about half way done. My internship is going really well. I have learned so much in the past month. I am involved in one individual therapy session with an adult and two sessions with young kids. I didn't think I'd like working with little kids but it is actually pretty fun. I have been doing some reception work, but they are in the process of hiring a new admin person so I won't be doing that anymore and will be more involved in the clinical stuff. I have down 3 intakes so far, with my supervisor in the room. I will do another one again today and then I will be on my own, except for the diagnosis (which requires me to be a Master's level student) and assigning the client to a therapist.

Mike was gone to Florida for two weeks and he will be going back at the end of this month for at least a week, possibly two. He has a lot of traveling to do in the next 6 months. He likes his job but he really doesn't enjoy the traveling that much.

Chelsea is busy with marching band. It is football and competition season so they perform quite a lot. They won 1st in visual presentation and 3rd overall at a recent competition. They've revised their performance a little so hope to take 1st at the competition this weekend. As for soccer, they have only won 1 game so far this year. It's sad because they do work hard, but they just don't have the right strategy, I guess. I'm no expert at soccer even though I've been watching Chelsea play for 12 years, so I really don't know what they are doing wrong. I'm just a cheerleader, win or lose. Chelsea is doing well in school with a B+ average. I'm perfectly happy with that!

We are having a big party for her 16th birthday. Her birthday is actually on the 23rd, but we are having the part on the 11th. We are combining it with her friend's party. They are the two youngest kids in the 11th grade (Chelsea's the youngest!) and they are best friends. We expect to have about 50 kids here and will probably have a bouncy castle (yes, high school kids still like to play outside!) and of course Dance, Dance Revolution and Rock Band video games. We are having a Hawaiian theme so I need to figure out what we are going to serve this herd of kids. They only invited 5 boys, so that will be interesting to see. Chelsea's friend has a boyfriend but she's not inviting him because her parents don't know about him and wouldn't approve. As far as I know Chelsea doesn't have a boyfriend, but I told her if she did she could invite him and we would not embarrass him. So we'll see! :)

That's about it for the past two weeks. I'm sure there were other exciting things going on but I don't remember them because my brain is fried!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Busy, busy life!

I am so busy with my field placement, volunteer work, school, plus being a wife and mother! I love my placement! I have been able to sit in on a few intakes and in a few weeks I will be doing intakes on my own, up to the point of diagnosis, which I am not qualified to do. At that point my supervisor will come in, I'll brief her on the intake interview, tell her what I think the diagnosis will be. Then she will actually make the diagnosis. Sometimes I'll be right, sometimes I'll be wrong. Either way I'll be learning how to be a therapist!

Tomorrow night I sit in on my first individual therapy session (not counting my own therapy in 1995/96!).

In my volunteer setting I've had an opportunity to meet and talk with a transgendered client (she is biologically a male, however has always felt that she is a female, and now lives as a female). Very interesting, and also very enlightening.

Chelsea is doing well, playing Varsity soccer for her high school, and she's also in the school marching band. Mike and I went to watch her on Saturday at a marching band review. Later this month is their first competition. She looks so cute in her uniform!

I also have to brag about how smart she is. She took the ACT Plan test last year (it's a sort of pre-test for the ACT) and she scored in the top 10% in reading and science! We are so proud of her!

I am preparing to apply to graduate school and am very busy with projects for all of my classes.

Mike is in Florida for two weeks for his work. I just hope he doesn't run in to bad weather due to hurricanes. He has to go back again in October.

Scruffy is doing very well, and since we've kennel trained him again he hasn't pee'd on the floor for almost two weeks. I am really hoping he won't start again!

That's all for now, and thank-you, Carol, for getting me to update!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

And have I been laboring! With my internship, school, volunteering and being a wife and mother I have busy!!! But it's all good. The other day at my volunteer location one of the residents overdosed on methadone. Very scary. I feel so bad because although the guy is 52 he looks like he's at least 75. Guess that's what a lifetime of drug and alcohol use does for you. The poor guy had been sober for 3 months but unfortunately a former resident came by the place the evening before and we suspect that is why he OD'd. The former guy was forced to leave the program because he kept telling other residents that the rules (staying sober, keeping your apt. clean and staying employed) were BS and he convinced several to drop out of the program. Of course they only get 3 chances at this program and some of them have lost all of their chances. Too bad, but I guess it is their choice in the long run.

My internship is going well. I attended my first group for women with borderline personality disorder which was very enlightening. The place I work is very nice and provides all the diet Pepsi I can drink along with lunch every Wed. for staff meetings. Not too bad. Oh, and all the people seem to be very nice also.

Mike took me to Rickenbackers for dinner on Saturday night for my birthday. It was really nice. Today he gave me a dozen roses and a really nice card. He leaves for Las Vegas tomorrow for the rest of the week, for work so I'll probably not see him tomorrow.

Chelsea just got back from spending time with two of her friends at Bear Lake, this weekend. She had fun, but wasn't too happy to see that I'd cleaned out her room while she was gone. Really, it was so messy that I just couldn't take it anymore! I put all of her misc. stuff in bags for her to go through but her room is clean, all laundry is done and put away and you can actually see the floor!

Mike cleaned out and reorganized the pantry, again! That is his pet peeve, a messy pantry. I try to keep it neat but sometimes I'm just in a hurry when I'm putting things away. Oh well, he enjoys organizing so I guess I'm just helping him get some enjoyment!

It rained like crazy last night and this morning. It was nice because we rarely get a lot of rain, and it's nice to have the temps go down for a change. I even turned the heater on for a few minutes this morning.

I took Scruffy for his first walk since his back problems started. He did just fine and is sleeping right now. Guess I wore him out. Tomorrow he takes the last of his steriods and hopefully is completely healed. One thing we discovered in all of this is that he LOVES Rachael Ray dog food. He can't have food with wheat in it, which is hard to find outside of prescription dog food. We've bought just about every kind of wheat free dog food (even some that is $50 for a 20 lb bag) and he hated all of it. While he was in the hospital I saw an add for RR dog food so thought I'd check it out. Not only does it not have chicken by products but it also doesn't have fillers like so many other dog foods. The best part is that Scruffy LOVES it! Every time I feed him he just scarfs it down. I'm glad to see he actually likes something that is good for him!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mama Mia

Mike is such a good husband! Yesterday he said he wanted to take me to a movie since school was starting (today). He let me pick the movie. I chose Mama Mia. Chelsea and I saw it on Broadway when we went to NY last summer and we loved it. The movie was great too, however Pierce Brosnan just cannot sing! I liked that Meryl Streep actually looked like she could be old enough to be the mother of a 20 year old (and she is). She let all her wrinkles show, with very little make up, and she can actually sing. It as a good movie, but I'm not sure the message of having sex with 3 guys in a matter of a few days is such a good one, but it was the 80's so it probably happened more than people want to admit! After the movie was over Mike said he needed to watch a John Wayne movie to get his manhood back! He was the only guy in the whole theater! Mike has several business trips this fall and winter so I told him I was going to buy the DVD when it comes out, have some girlfriends over, make margaritas and we can all sing along to the movie! He just rolled his eyes and laughed.

Scruffy is doing better, however he still doesn't have complete control of his bladder so we have to cancel our trip to Seattle over Labor Day weekend. We really can't ask people to keep him for us if he's likely to pee on their floor.

Today was the first day of school for Chelsea and me. I also start my internship this week. I will be gone two nights a week with school and work. But I am looking forward to my senior year. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course I start my graduate program next fall so I really have 2 years left. It's all good though. I pretty much know everyone in my classes. Two of them require group projects, which I'm not a fan of, but fortunately I am in two good groups so I'm not too worried about it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We are still alive!

I knew it had been a long time since I'd updated. Carol wouldn't let me forget! But I didn't realize just how long! So hear goes:

We went to South Dakota to visit Larry and Shelia, Matt and Woody. We hiked Harney Peak and saw Mt. Rushmore.

We spent July learning how to be a family of four. Chelsea and Harley got along just fine. Better than most 15 and 12 year olds. Probably because they only have to spend one month a year together. Harley celebrated her 13th birthday here, and her favorite gift was a cell phone, Envy 2, or something. Before this she had a pay-as-you-go phone and couldn't text. Now she has unlimited texting, and according to Chelsea (who gets lots of texts) Harley is putting her phone to good use.

The beginning of this month we celebrated my parents 50th wedding anniversary. It was a great celebration. I got to see some aunts and uncles I hadn't seen in many years. I also saw some cousins I hadn't see since I was about 11 years old! It was great to reconnect and everything went very well. My dad bought my mom a beautiful anniversary ring and they are going on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate.

Friday afternoon I heard my dog howling outside. I went to the back door to see what was wrong and everything looked fine, so I told him to come into the house. He put his two front paws on the step but couldn't get up on his hind legs. I went down and lifted him up and brought him in the house. I set him down and he walked into the living room and sat down. This seemed very strange to me because he always wants attention and if he does lay down it's on the couch (yes, he is spoiled). I went over to him and started talking to him, then I walked across the room and and called him to come to me. He tried, but couldn't get his hind legs to work. I freaked out and called my vet, and of course they were closed. Then I remembered that a family that I go to church with owns an animal hospital. I called there and they got us right in. By that time Scruffy was paralyzed from the waist down. I was crying like a baby, because he is my baby. The vet said she could try steroid shots since I'd brought him in so quickly, and if that didn't work he'd need surgery. Scruffy is only 7 years old, and a Cockapoo. They often live 15-17 years, and my sisters Cockapoo lived for 19 years, so Scruffy is still a young dog. We decided to try the steroid shots and also decided that if that didn't work and the surgeon felt there was a good chance the surgery would work we'd do that. Don't even ask how much that would be! You really don't even want to know how much the weekend at the hospital will be!

Anyway, we picked Scruffy up from the hospital this morning and he is doing very well. He is walking and wagging his tail and looks fine, although he has some recovering to do still. The vet expects a full recovery with the medical intervention and doesn't think surgery will be necessary. This is such great news for our family. We just love this dog and can't imagine life without him. Guess who is going to be totally spoiled (more than usual) in the next few weeks?!

School starts for me and Chelsea next week. I also start my internship working at a private practice which specializes in mental health issues such as depression, alcoholism, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other problems.

I am starting a volunteer stint at the homeless Veteran's home here this week. I need some volunteer hours to put on my master's degree application and this is a program I'm passionate about so its a win/win situation.

I started running again today after about a 3 week break. It felt really good to be out on the road again. I won't be ready to run the 10K race I wanted to run, but I do plan on getting at least one 5K under my belt before it gets too cold.

All in all, I've gained 2.5 lbs since I got to my goal weight this time last year. I am on track again and will lose that before the end of the month, I hope. At least that is the plan.

I am hoping it won't be another 1.5 months before I post again. I'll try to be better! Mary

Monday, June 30, 2008


For those of you who couldn't make the ceremony, here is a video of us exchanging rings and being pronounced husband and wife!

Here we are, husband and wife! You can see our daughters in the background, as we leave the sanctuary of my church.

Here we are again, after the ceremony.

Here are all my girls after the ceremony. Eline leaves this week and it makes me very sad to be losing one of my girls.

Here we are shoving wedding cake (cheesecake) into each others mouths.

I am exhausted after months of preparation and from the parties and dinners and everything and am ready to take a nap. But first I have to take a minute to especially thank my mother, sister Karin, sister Tammy, cousin Robin and brother Bruce for all the work they did during the reception. I love you all very much!

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm still alive!

My friend Carol has been bugging me to update my blog and I was surprised to find that its been almost a month since I last updated. Before Mike and I moved in together I was pretty good at keeping my blog updated. Hmmmm.

Anyway, his surgery went well, he is recovering well and starts physical therapy on Wed. Chelsea is doing great. She has a rare salt deficiency which is the cause of her dizzy spells. Most people get plenty of salt in every day eating, especially with all the processed foods we eat. Female athletes are particularly susceptible to this disorder, but even then it is still pretty rare. So fortunately all she needs to do is add salt to her meals and drink sports drinks when she is physically active. I always just provided water for her but she is thrilled that now I have to buy sports drinks for her.

The wedding is less than two weeks away. I am excited and yet I am looking forward to it being over. I am sure I will run out of food at the party afterwards, that my dress won't fit or I'll trip going down the aisle. I have no idea what to do with my hair, I've never been good with make up and I want the photos to look good. I guess in the end the main focus is that I am marrying a man I truly love, who loves me and my daughters. We've been through a lot in the past several months and have come out fine, so I hope that's a good predictor of times to come.

Mike is back to work after being unemployed for 6 weeks. He works for a military contractor and there were problems with getting the contract re-let. When we decided to buy a house we decided to only spend what we could afford if all we had coming in were our two retirement checks. Little did we know we'd get to try it out so soon! Actually the time off was really pretty helpful because we got a lot done with the house. The new company he works for is much better than the old one, with great benefits and a large pay raise. Very nice!

I am back in school with two classes this summer. I know I'm crazy, however this will really be a good thing this fall. I start a 20 hour per week internship at a private therapy practice plus will have 4 classes. In the spring I'll have the same internship requirement and only 3 classes. If I didn't go to summer classes that would mean 5 classes in the fall and 4 in the spring. A pretty good payoff if you ask me.

Well, I have loads of things to do today so I'd better get busy. I'll do my best to update a little more often. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Well, no surprise, Mike has to have surgery on his shoulder. It looks like he may be in a sling for our wedding, but I don't care. He has been in a lot of pain for a while and I'm glad it will finally be getting better.

Chelsea faired a little better than Mike. She has Vaso vagal syncope, which basically means she needs more salt than most people and more water. She has to put salt on her food (something I don't do) and drink at least 2 liters of water each day. She has to go back on June 5 to have an echo-cardiogram. They want to check to see if she has thick heart muscles. Apparently this can cause sudden death in athletes if this is the case. When the two pediatric cardiologists were talking to us about this they were really nonchalant about it so I am not going to freak out about it. We'll just go on the 5th and then see what happens.

I have to show you what my (almost) husband gave me the other day, for no apparent reason:

He's so sweet! I think I'll keep him!

This is the new toy I got today:

I can't wait to get it up and running!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


It's about time I update this blog. It seems I am so busy that I don't have time, but I do make time to read about 10 other blogs. Good think I use Google Reader to let me know when others update their blog.

I finally finished all the invitations and response cards for my parents 50th Anniversary. I bought blank invitations/response cards and printed them up on my computer. After doing that I had to print return addresses on all of the envelopes, stamp all of the envelopes and then print out address labels (after spending a couple of hours updating addresses) and then putting them all together and getting them in the mail. 132 done!

I need to work on getting some invites out for our wedding sometime this week.

Eline's mom should be here on Tuesday. I say "should" because she gave the airline her nickname rather than her legal name for her ticket and we'll see if she's able to get on the plane.

Mike goes to the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow to see if he will need surgery on his shoulder and Chelsea has her appt. with the pediatric cardiologist tomorrow afternoon as well.

I had the chance to reconnect with one of my cousins and her husband last night. I hadn't see her since I was about 13 years old, which was a few years ago. :) They came by about 7:30 and left around 12:30 am. Guess we all got along pretty well. They are staying in town about two months while Darvin works on a project for his company. I suspect we'll be seeing a lot of them.

Mike, Chelsea and I are going to Bear Lake for the weekend while Eline and her mom stay at the house and do some sight seeing. Eline's mom isn't much for camping so they decided not to go with us.

School started and I am really excited about this class I am taking. It is about learning how to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to diagnose mental illness. So don't be surprised if I start telling you what illness you have!

Yesterday I got up in the loft in the garage to get down some stuff for the pool. Getting up was easy, it was the getting down that was difficult. I am somewhat afraid of heights, but for some reason yesterday I had a huge panic attack and ended up crying and shaking for several minutes, and that's after I finally got down. Mike was a little freaked out to say the least. So was I because I've never had a panic attack before and I certainly hope never to repeat it. Needless to say I'll never get up there again!

That's about it for now. I will try to update more often but no promises.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Big brag

Okay, so if you don't want to read my brag then nows the time to close this page.

So here goes:

Not only did I get my grades for this semester: Straight A's in all 5 classes! But I also was recognized as the central states AYUSA staff member of the week! How cool is that! It helps that I love school and love my job placing foreign exchange students with families.

So now I'm done bragging.

As the spring starts I have so much going on. Eline's mom will be here on the 20th, with Eline's graduation on the 21st. I start summer classes on the 14th. I really need to think about starting the planning for our wedding. Mike gave away his UGLY couch and love seat. So now I don't have to pretend it's okay in the front living room, and then get rid of it in a few years! We are off to Wendover to see a concert and have a night away from all the kids that are always here. Maybe I'll win tons of money while we are there, you never know!

I ran 4 miles today and the weather was beautiful, as is my new route. I love living in this neighborhood as it is just rural enough to have lots of roads with little traffic and friendly people who wave and say hello.

I am hoping to get some work done in my scrapbooking room today, before we leave. No actual scrapbooking, just arranging so I can eventually scrapbook again.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Train ride, etc.

Chelsea, Eline and 3 of their friends rode with me on the Front Runner train the other day. It was pretty crowded on the way down, but we did get a seat. At least for a little while. I taught the girls some manners concerning public transportation. They now know that they need to give up their seats for elderly and disabled people. They didn't necessarily like it until I pointed out that at some point they would be old, and I also asked them how they'd feel if someone made their grandparents stand on a moving train for an hour. I think they got the message.

The ride itself was very nice and smooth. They used extra long track sections so you don't hear or feel the click-clack like the trains in Europe. The nice thing is the train stops right next to the TRAX (light rail) line in SLC so we got off the train, hopped on the TRAX and were at the mall in just a few minutes.

We went down because Eline's iPod went kaput and we were happy to discover that she had about 20 days left on her warranty so they gave her a new one!

Well, Mike is officially unemployed. The contract he was working under has expired. The gov't mad some mistakes when they re-let the contract so now it will be about two weeks before a new contract is signed. Hopefully he'll be hired because it will most likely go to a new company. Fortunately we are prepared for this and put aside enough money to pay 8 months of house payments. With our military retirement checks we can make the house payment and all of our other living expenses but that leaves no money for anything else. The money I make from my two jobs isn't enough to make a big difference but every little bit helps. If he doesn't get hired on with the new contract he'll look for jobs outside of the government which would be just fine with me.

Mike is enjoying having some time off. He left this morning to go visit his best friend in South Dakota for a few days.

I am doing a re-orientation for the local exchange students this evening, preparing them for the shock of going home. For many kids this is tougher than coming to the US because they often think everything will be the same as they left it. My job is to prepare them for the differences in their family and friends, and to understand how to deal with the changes. We are going to do some required activities, then have Subway for dinner and the kids will play Rock Band. I am giving each of them a small scrapbook so they can put photos in it and give it as a gift for their host families. Should be fun!

Then on Friday I am going to my friends house for a "girls night". We are having fondue and drinks. I am really looking forward to it.

Last night Chelsea, Eline and I went looking for bridesmaids dresses. The girls chose cute, short summer dresses instead of the traditional dressy dresses they had at the bridal store. So now I hope to find a nice white tea length dress to wear as my wedding dress.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

School's out!

School is finally out, at least for a couple of weeks when I start Summer classes. I am so glad to be done with this semester!

I started my first day of break with a joyous occasion. One of my Godchildren, Iain, was adopted today! He is such a cute baby and babbled loudly during the whole proceedings. He and his brother Elias were playing, kissing and generally causing chaos and the judge loved it! Elias is also adopted and I am also his Godmother. Here is a picture of Iain's baptism and adoption:

Later today Chelsea, Eline and I are going to ride the new Front Runner train to SLC and go shopping at the Gateway mall. It is a very warm day today, around 80 degrees, but it is supposed to be cold and rainy tomorrow, around 55 degrees.

The other day I was getting ready to take Scruffy to the groomers. My future husband and my daughter both told me to get him a mohawk. Imagine their surprise when Scruffy came home looking like this:

He looks so mean, but he really is still the sweet little puppy he's always been. Mike says he is going to get him a Harley Davidson collar, and he likes to call the poor dog Spike. But Scruffy will answer to anything as long as there is a Pupperoni around to snack on!

And here's a photo of Mike and me taken on Easter (Iain's baptism day):

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's cold!

It's so cold today and yesterday it snowed! Our temperature changed by 40 degrees in one day!
Life around here has been crazy. I have had so many projects and papers to work on. I have two papers to finish (one is going to be about 30 pages long) and I have two final exams next week. I am going to take two classes this summer which will ease my load next semester for when I start my internship!!!!!!

I am so excited about my placement. It is with a private practice that does group and individual therapy. This is a rare placement for bachelor level students so I am so lucky. It is exactly what I wanted but never really hoped for because the list of possible agencies didn't include any private practices, only hospitals, homeless shelters, women's shelters, government agencies and adoption agencies. At my interview with the professor who actually does the placement he spent about an hour interviewing me and then asked if I'd be interested in considering a placement at a different agency and mentioned this practice. He said he thought I'd be a great fit with my military experience and said he'd contact the agency. I went for an interview the other day and it went great! The offices are very nice, as are the therapists. I'll have opportunities to do intakes and assessments, sit in on individual therapy sessions and help facilitate group therapy sessions. This practice recently acquired a state contract to provide education for substance abuse, parenting and other topics and I may actually get to lead some of those classes! I'll work 13-20 hours per week so I end up with 200 hrs per semester. Plus I'll have a full load at school. This means that I will have to quit both of my jobs. Oh well, I'm planning on a career, not just another job, so it really doesn't break my heart!

Mike fell the other day and dislocated his shoulder so we haven't had a chance to get all of his stuff out of storage. Hopefully by next weekend he'll feel better and we can really get settled.

My parents are coming sometime this week. I am so excited to see them! They've been down to Mexico for dental work and prescription purchasing. They will only stay one night but it will be nice to see them and to have them see our new home.

Chelsea continues to feel good with no dizzy episodes lately but we are still going to the cardiologist next month, just to be on the safe side.

It is getting close to the time when Eline will be leaving and it makes me sad to think she won't be here any more. We have all grown to love her and she is a big part of our family, and always will be. Funny how in November I was ready to send her home and now I don't want her to leave. But I know we'll see her in two years when we go to Europe to celebrate my graduation from graduate school and Chelsea's graduation from high school. So it's all good. She knows she will always have a home here in America and I know we'll always keep in touch.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Quick update

We are in our new home and somewhat unpacked, my stuff at least. Mike's stuff is still in the storage unit and we'll slowly get that unpacked this week.

Chelsea is feeling better. She has only had one dizzy spell in the last week. I've decided to let her play soccer, although it's a decision I'm not totally comfortable with.

We've met some of the neighbors and I'm happy to say that I think we hit the jackpot! The neighbors next to us invited Mike and me over to soak in the hot tub and drink beer! Not too bad, huh!? The neighbors across the street brought over cookies. So far we haven't met any high school kids, but that will come.

So is ending fast and I have so much work to do so I need to get busy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Chelsea is being seen at Primary Children's Hospital (PCH) for dizziness. When we were home at Christmas she started complaining about feeling dizzy, and having ear pain. In January she went to the Dr. who couldn't see anything wrong with her ears so he referred her to an ENT. The ENT gave her some antibiotics and Flonase which is a steroid nose spray to see if she might have an infection in her eustacion (sp?) tubes. He also referred her to an audiologist to see if the dizziness was due to an inner ear problem. The antibiotics and nose spray cleared up the ear pain and the audiologist, after running extensive tests, determined that her ears were fine. We were sent back to our family doctor to see if there was some other medical reason for the dizziness. He did a complete blood work up and had an MRI done to rule out a brain tumor or MS. Both came out fine, so he referred us to Primary Children's, which is one of the top 10 children's hospitals in the country. She saw a very nice neurologist who did a thorough exam. She couldn't find any obvious reason for the dizziness but pointed out that Chelsea had been seen at our family doc on Dec. 11th for neck pain following a bad collision with another soccer player while playing indoor soccer. She said that Chelsea could have had a mini-stroke then without our knowing it. She said that sometimes when radiologists look at MRI's for children they don't look for mini-strokes because they are so rare. I guess they are difficult to see on the MRI so you really have to be looking for it to find it. So I am sending off the CD of Chelsea's MRI today to the neurologist to have the radiologist at PCH give it a closer look. Chelsea also had an EKG based on Dad and my brother Randy's heart issues. She has to see a pediatric cardiologist as well, but can't get in until May. Unfortunately this means no soccer or any other type of exerting activity until we figure out what is wrong with her. We should know the results of the EKG by next week. Chelsea gets dizzy about 5 times a day, starts to get tunnel vision and feels like she is passing out. It really scares me but she has no concept of how serious this could be. She just thinks its cool that she has had an MRI and an EKG, but thinks it sucks and is stupid that she can't play sports. It almost broke my heart yesterday when she asked me if she could be the team manager for the High School soccer team if she wasn't allowed to play. Of course I said she could but I'm praying for a quick resolution and solution to this problem. Chelsea is so active that it is difficult to tell her she can't do anything, especially with the weather getting so nice.

If you can find it in your heart to pray for a quick diagnosis and treatment plan I would really appreciate it. I have to say that I'm scared of all the things this could be. In between packing and doing school work this is all I really have on my mind right now.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My friend Tammy

My friend Tammy is a bigwig in the military world. She's a Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) and Command Chief (CCM). We met when I was stationed at Mtn. Home AFB in 1999. We were both First Sergeants, lived with our backyards facing each other and she had a son Chelsea's age and the became very close friends. We spent lots of time together personally and professionally and became the best of friends. Over the years we both moved around, me to Utah and her to TX and then eventually her to Utah. We had loads of fun living in the same area again for about 2 years. But she was still on active duty and was chosen for an amazing job. She is now the top enlisted person at a base in Wyoming. That is a very prestigious position and she has a lot of influence and power to ensure a great quality of life for the enlisted people on her base, and really throughout the Air Force. She was interviewed by the base newspaper for Women's History Month. She forwarded the interview to me. It made me cry, and you'll see why. This is a part of her interview:

  1. Who were your female role models while growing up and why?

Believe it or not, I really had very few female role models over the years till about my MSgt point. This may not be the most appropriate forum to fess up the fact that I really never sought or picked role models based on their gender, any more than I felt I should be “followed” because of my gender. But I will say that as a MSgt/First Sergeant, I encountered another MSgt at one base, then a SMSgt at another that not only became good friends, but phenomenal role models. They both later made CMSgt before me and watching them reinforced my beliefs that you can be a strong female professional without waiving the feminism flag or being extra aggressive to “compensate in a man’s world.” I never felt that being a female was a liability or something to make a big deal about. The two women I mentioned above, CMSgt Mary Swift (now retired) and CMSgt Mary Waddell (also now retired) were the epitome of military professionals who happened to be women. I was blessed to also become friends with them; they influenced me tremendously both personally and professionally.

3. Did it take a while for you to discover your "style" of leadership? What or who has influenced you most? Absolutely. I am a totally different person than the shy (yes!), quiet, goal-free girl that joined the Air Force a billion years ago. I had no style because I truly had no clue what leader was. I frequently tell people that I may be nothing but a great big lump consisting of the many supervisors/leaders that I’ve respected and emulated over the years. So many wonderful folks have influenced me – but a few names that quickly rise to the top are CMSgt (Ret) Norman DePalantino (what a character!), CMSgt Napoleon Walker, CMSgt (Ret) Marty Roth, CMSgt Al Taggart, CMSgt Mike Sullivan and the two folks I mentioned above. And…important to say…all but two of these folks WERE NOT chiefs when I worked most closely with them and at the most “critical time” of their influence. The fact that they later made chief is a testament to their awesome leadership qualities that resulted in their promotions to chief. It is important to say, however, that the one who has been the greatest influence, by far, was CMSgt Mary Waddell. She was/is amazing and I can only hope to be a fraction of the person/leader as she is in my lifetime.

Wow! You can't imagine how that made me feel. I guess it's good to know your friends love you, and even better to know that you have had a big impact on their lives. The only thing she forgot to mention is the margarita parties we had at Mtn. Home where we solved all the world's problems!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Shoes

I pulled out a new pair of running shoes yesterday! I love new running shoes! I started out with Asics running shoes when I first started running. About a year later I tried out a pair of Brooks, just before my first 10K race. Not a smart thing! As I was starting mile 5 my IT band started acting up and I had to walk most of the last two miles. Of course I ended up being last (with the exception of a friend's sister, but she got lost and never did finish). I blame the Brooks shoes, however it could be that the 10K was mostly downhill and downhill running puts a lot of pressure on the IT band. But I prefer to think it was the shoes, so I went back to Asics as soon as I was able to run again (about 8 months of rest and physical therapy). I've stuck with them ever since. Now I need to be on the lookout for another pair when they go on sale.

I did some speed work yesterday for the first time since my 10K in September. Funny how a 10 min. mile seemed like a good pace back then and now seems like I'm sprinting! I want to be able to run the Grace Race this year at a less than 10 min mile pace. I just checked the date though and I think Mike and I will be in Wendover to see a jazz musician, Buddy Guy, playing. I guess I need to see what time we will be leaving, because I haven't run this race in the past two years and I'd really like to run it. Plus I do much better in my running when I have a goal.

I can't wait to move in to our new house:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Mike's house should close tomorrow or Thursday, then mine on the 27th. We move out on the 29th and then into our house on the 6th of April. We'll stay on base in the meantime. Should be cozy! :)

School is keeping me very busy as are both my part time jobs. I did give up being cookie mom for Chelsea's Girl Scout troop because it was just too much. Can't wait for school to be out at the end of April. I hope to have plenty of time to unpack and get the house set up prior to our wedding on June 28th. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


If you want to see our house you can check out the virtual tour at:

http://tours.tourfactory.com then, down towards the bottom right, enter tour # 383875

Monday, March 10, 2008


Realizing that we have two kitchens full of stuff and only one kitchen to put it all in I suggested we get rid of some stuff. The good news is that the Ogden Homeless Veteran's Fellowship, which gets homeless vets off the streets, off drugs and alcohol and into jobs and apartments, will be getting lots of small appliances and some furniture. We should have everything out of his townhouse today, which will be nice. I dread starting on my house. I have a lot more stuff, but I am willing to get rid of lots of stuff so if you are in need of something in particular let me know and if I don't need mine I'll give it to you! Mary

Saturday, March 8, 2008

We bought a house!

Mike and I found a beautiful house that we both love, so put an offer on it on Thursday. It was accepted so we close on April 4th. Chelsea is in Disneyland right now with her HS band so she doesn't even know. Since I didn't tell her, I also didn't tell Eline so it will be a surprise for them tomorrow. I am off to help Mike pack. He has a lot done, but still has a lot to do. Good thing we bought a big house because we both have too much crap! Mary