Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 1: Zip, Zilch, Nada

Well, today did not go as well as we hoped it would go.  We were hoping for some sort of resolution by the end of today.  Hmm, not so much.  We had five hours of pre-court with our lawyer at his office preparing documents and making sure we had every piece of evidence that we needed for the trial.  Then a quick trip to take care of a few things we needed so that we would look presentable for court.  SOMEHOW in the last week and a half I have gained enough weight that none of my work clothes fit me.  Apparently, I eat when I'm stressed.  The diet starts tomorrow.  One hour and one large amount of money later, we were on our way to court.  We stopped to pick up lunch, which both of us were too stressed to eat, and showed up to court at very close to the right time. 

Three hours later, we had made it through Lovely Ex's testimony and her cross-examination by our lawyer.  I just have to say, our lawyer rocks.  He pointed out quite a few of the contradictions in papers she had filed previously compared to papers she had filed this time, questioned her on things that we have evidence she lied about, and got things all set up to put Cory on the stand.  He pissed her off pretty dang good.  The judge had to keep telling her to be quiet and just answer the question.  She kept trying to talk around the issues and turn things around.  You could tell she DID NOT like being told to be quiet.  Her little spoiled snot attitude was VERY apparent, and I really hope the judge could see it.

So now, we have a continuance.  We don't go back to court for almost a month.  I really hope that we are able to pick up where we left off, and have the judge remember everything that happened today.  I would hate to be the judge.  It's basically all going to come down to how the divorce papers are translated.  It's going to be a toss up on a lot of things.  We have a good case, but after today I feel like she has a pretty good case too.  The idiot immigration lawyer who wrote up the divorce papers contradicted things in quite a few different places, and in one place it's in our favor and in the other place it's in Lovely Ex's favor.  Cory and I have decided that things can't get any worse, so the absolute worst thing that could happen is for things to stay exactly the same.  We are making it just fine, so that's really not that bad of a deal.  Ideally, we'd like things to get better, and hopefully that's what will happen.

Cory and I are both exhausted.  Today has been a really long day, and I'm really not looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.  Day 2, my case.  It all starts early again tomorrow morning.  Ugh. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Anti-Social

I'm not sure exactly what my problem is lately.  I've been extremely anti-social for the past couple of days, and I can't seem to kick it.  Friday night, Mae Mae invited us out to dinner and I just couldn't make myself go.  I know!  Me!  Turn down FREE food!  Unheard of!  I did manage to get out of the house to go shopping with my parents, but then came home, got straight in to bed, and didn't get out of it until about 5:30 on Saturday.  Mae Mae invited us to dinner again, and I got up long enough to throw my hair up and throw some clothes on and we went out to dinner.  I made it about an hour in to it, and then I was DONE.  We loaded the kids back up, brought them home, and I was back in bed by eight.  I never did make it out of bed yesterday.  Today's not looking so hot either.  We have a barbecue at my brother and sister-in-law's house in a couple of hours.  I normally love getting together with my family any that are able to make it but I just can't seem to get the motivation to make myself go.  I'm sure, once I get there, I'll have a great time.  I'm just severely lacking the oomph to get up.  I've been sick lately and I'm not sure if that's it, or if by staying in bed I'm somehow trying to prolong next week.  Maybe I'll just start with a shower and see how things go from there. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

On the Horizon

Something big is brewing.  I can feel it.  I hate nights like this.  I can tell something is going to happen, but I have no idea what it is.  Not knowing scares me almost as much as knowing it's coming.  I woke up shaking and crying, in a cold sweat.  The world is dark and quiet.  Too dark and too quiet.  Like the calm before a storm, when the air has almost an electricity to it and you can tell things are about to take a major shift.  Nights like this always cause my mind to wander, and make sleep impossible.  I start pondering all the things that are coming up in our life and all the worst things that could happen.  From there my mind goes to all the worst things that I know have happened in other people's lives, and I start thinking about what would happen if something like that happened in my life.  Things like losing a child, losing a parent, losing a spouse.  I've felt for a while now that my life is too perfect.  Life has a balance, and it does not like to be messed with.  You can almost guarantee that when things are too perfect something is going to happen to even the score.  And so, I continue with the waiting.  It's never what I think it's going to be, nothing that I've prepared for.   

Once whatever the universe has planned happens, I can work through it.  I'm a strong person, and times like this are when I get to show my true strength.  I can put my life back together again.  I've done it before, I'll do it again.  It's the waiting that kills me.  The unknown.  The truth that only the future knows.  There seems to be an evil force in charge right now.  Maybe things will look brighter once the night is over.  For now, I continue waiting and pondering, hoping for the daylight that is still hours away.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What Doesn't Kill You...

...makes you stronger.  This is going to be a rough week.  While most people are looking forward to a long weekend, celebrating with family, and general merriment, Cory and I are going to be preparing for what will either be a fantastic week, or a really crappy week.  We both have court in our respective cases next week, one right after the other.  We will start the week with Cory's evidentiary hearing with Lovely Ex to try to get all the crap sorry, there really isn't a better word to describe it that she is trying to get from us resolved.  We are hoping the judge at least finds some things in our favor, and that at least we can stop paying alimony seeing as how she's been married for a year and a half now.  I think we've found some good stuff that will help our case, our lawyer seems to think we have a good chance.  But, we know that it's pretty split and it comes down to what the judge thinks is fair.

Then, the following day, I have court to try to reverse the order against me saying I am responsible for Delinquent Ex's debt.  Chances in this one are very slim, and it looks like I'm going to have to keep having my checks garnished for a few more months until it's paid off.  Our lawyer has agreed to look at my case, and he's considering coming to represent me in the case to see if we can fight it.  It doesn't look good, but at least I'm trying. 

Basically what it boils down to, is this is a very stressful week trying to get everything prepared.  Both of us are beyond stressed.  It will be a huge relief once it's all over, but right now we really just need everyone's prayers and support.  We love our families and friends, and we know everyone is behind us backing us up.  We really appreciate everyone.

Friday, May 20, 2011

No Longer Hiring

I found out yesterday that one of the restaurants owned by the corporation I used to work for is closing it's doors today.  It's hard seeing a business that was such a major part of my life going under.  This is the second restaurant they've closed in the last two years.  I started there as a server when I was barely 20 with no restaurant experience at all.  For the first two months, I honestly thought I was going to die.  It was hard, I couldn't get a good routine down, I'd forget to bring people things, or I'd forget tables all together.  I think I cried more in that first two months then I've ever cried before.  I know my managers considered firing me on more than one occasion.  But, eventually, I got the hang of it.  I learned to read people, be able to carry on a conversation with complete strangers, and I think most of the time people enjoyed having me as their server. 

Two years later, I became a manager.  I had learned the ins and outs of the restaurant business.  I had shown that I was a capable employee, and I had completed all the necessary training.  It was a bit unnerving, knowing that I was now a "real" grown-up, with a salary job.  I was in charge of the entire restaurant for as long as I was there, and I was on call 24 hours a day if anything went wrong.  I loved it.  I loved the hustle, the complete craziness, the stories that came along with being a manager.  I began to live for the feeling of accomplishment that came along with surviving a hectic dinner shift, or a Thanksgiving three day shift.  The employees there became a second family to me, and some of them are still my best friends.  I felt like I left a part of me behind when I decided to leave, but I knew I didn't want to be a "lifer".  It had fulfilled what I needed it to, but my family and my kids needed me more, and I needed to find a job with regular hours.

I still continued to go back to the restaurant every Thanksgiving for a crazy two days to help.  It helped fill the missing "crazy hectic" void that is missing in my current job, and for those two days I felt like I belonged again.  This last Thanksgiving was my first one without it, and it almost didn't feel like Thanksgiving.  I almost felt like I was letting them down, not being there to help, but I'm sure things carried on the way they always do.  I'm not sure I'll go back.

I think the worst thing about this closing is, from what I understand, the corporation only gave the employees who work at the store a two-day notice that it was closing.  There are going to be quite a few people out of work.  The general manager of the store is a kid (who's not a kid anymore) who I hired when he was sixteen as a host at the restaurant I was in charge of.  This restaurant has been a really big part of his life, and I hope they take care of him and put him someplace where he will be able to be successful.  I guess what it comes down to is I'm glad I got out when I did.  My life would be very different if I had stayed with the restaurant.  I'm glad I'm where I am now. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All I Wanted...

Today was a rough day.  Work has been really hard this week.  The project that I am working on has hit another speed bump.  The kids have been a little rough to deal with.  My house needed to be cleaned.  Tonight was a bath night for the kids which always ends up more chaotic than normal.  Plus, on top of all that, I'm sick.  I have felt like crap since Sunday, and today all I wanted was a nice, relaxing shower.  I wanted to be able to take my time and enjoy. 

I have always taken my showers the same way.  I shampoo my hair, rinse it out, put the conditioner in, and while the conditioner is doing whatever it does I lather myself up.  So, this is where I was today, covered in suds, and the hot water heater decides it's had enough.  Apparently showering both kids, cleaning the house, and doing a load of laundry was all it could handle.  The water suddenly went freezing cold.  I stood there for a minute to see if it would warm back up, and it just got worse.  So, my nice, relaxing shower turned in to a freezing cold quick shower.  The universe is against me today.

**I apologize to all of you who are now picturing me in the shower.  Except my husband.  As you were...

Monday, May 16, 2011

To Speak With a Live Person..

In my line of work I get to deal with multiple insurance companies.  I would say it's probably one of my least favorite parts of the job.  I will do absolutely everything I can think of to find where a payment goes before I call the insurance.  This is how my calls normally go:

Automated system: "Thank you for calling (insert random insurance company name here).  Please listen to our menu, as our options have changed.  For eligibility, press 1.  For claims, press 2.  For authorizations and referrals, press 3.  To hear these options again, press the star key."

Me:  Ok, that's easy.  Claims.  *press 2*

Automated system:  "Thank you for calling the claims department.  For our health plan, press 1.  For our Medicare HMO, press 2.  For our secondary plan, press 3.  For our specialty plan, press 4.  For our advantage plan, press 5.  To hear these options again, press the star key.  If you don't know which option to choose, press zero or hold for assistance."

Me:  Crap..  Well, let's try holding and see what happens.

Holding, holding... *ring, ring*

Voicemail:  "You've reached the voicemail of (random person), I'm unavailable to take your call right now.  Please leave a message after the beep."  *beep*  Automated voice:  "I'm sorry, this voicemail is full."  Hangs up on me.

Ok, let's try this again.  Call, press 2 for claims.  Hmm, let's try just the regular health plan.  *press 1*

Automated system:  "Please enter the member's health plan ID #."

Me:  Easy enough, that's on the EOB.  *enter the numbers*

Automated system:  "Please enter the patient's date of birth."

Me:  Crap..  If I knew who the patient was I could totally do that.  Let's try just pressing zero. 

Automated system:  "We did not recognize your entry, please try again."

Me:  Press zero again.  Twice this time.

Automated system:  "We did not recognize your entry, please try again."

Me:  Press the zero key again.  Not very nicely.  Hurt my finger.  Swear under my breath right as the customer service rep answers the phone. 

Customer service rep:  "Excuse me?"

Me:  "This is (insert my name choice of the day) calling from (one of the many hospitals I do business for).  We have a payment we've received that we need help on."

CSR:  "May I have the members ID number?" 

Me:  Give her the numbers off the EOB.

CSR:  "May I have the patient's date of birth?"

Me:  "I don't have that information.  We are having a hard time locating the patient in our system, and I need to see if I can get more information from you."

CSR:  "Ok, how about the patient's home address?"

Me:  "I don't have that information.  I can't locate this person in our system."

CSR:  "Ok, how about the patient's home telephone number?"

Me, reaching for the Advil:  "I don't have that information.  All I have is the information that is on the EOB because I can't locate the person in our system."

CSR:  "You have no other information on the patient?"

Me:  Duh...  "No."

CSR:  "How about the claim number?"

Me:  Yay!  That's on the EOB, I have that one.  I give the "helpful" person the claim number.

CSR:  "Please hold while I access that information."

Sometimes at this point they put me on hold.  I like those people.  Other times, I get the "small talk".  "So, how was your weekend?"  Well, let's see, kids were crazy, house is a wreck, I was sick in bed all weekend, and barely made it in to work today.  "It was fine, thanks."  "How's your weather out there?"  Would he believe me if I told him it was snowing in the middle of May?  "It's fine."  "Hmm, my computer is running slow, it must be aware that it's a Monday."  Oh for the love of...  *polite laughter*.  "Ok, here is the original claim."

At this point, things can go from as easy as me directing them to the patient account number on the claim form, and it turns out they've just gotten the name a little (or a lot) wrong, all the way to the payment was supposed to go to a hospital on the east coast that is not even remotely related to our corporation.  Most of the time, that's as easy as refunding the payment back to them.  But there are the difficult ones.  The ones that make me want to crawl through the phone and hit them with my shoe.  Unfortunately those bad phone calls are all I have had today.  Which is why today is a day I am living on caffeine and chocolate.  And Advil.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Life as a Maze

I always hated mazes in school.  The teacher would hand them out as a "fun assignment", and all my friends would pick up their little chewed-up pencils and start making their way through it.  I would sit there and stare at it, trying to make sense of all the nonsensical lines.  I could see the starting point, and I could see the end, but I couldn't figure out how to make the way from one to the other.  I would start down one path, going around all the twists and turns.  I could see myself getting close to the end goal, but soon would find it was impossible to get there because the path I had chosen was the wrong one.  I would be close, but it wouldn't be quite where I wanted to be.  So, I would erase my path, and having learned which way not to go I would start again.  It wasn't until today that I made the connection between mazes and my life.

My life has been an endless series of choosing the wrong path.  I knew where I was coming from, and I knew where I wanted to go, but trying to get there was a massive confusing mess of twists and turns.  There were times I was close, certain things would be close to what I knew I wanted, but the end result wasn't where I wanted to be, I wasn't at my goal.  Time and time again, I would "erase my path" as best I could, and head back home to start over again.  I am so grateful to my parents for allowing me multiple attempts at a starting point.  I knew that I would always be welcomed back home to realign my efforts and start again, having learned what path not to take.

I feel like this time as I'm walking down the path, I'm on the right one.  Some of the twists and turns are familiar, things I have tried before, but this time I can see the end.  I can tell that I am on the right path to reach the end point I have been trying to reach all along.  Most importantly, this time I have picked a companion who is not only helping me reach the end goal, but he makes the journey to that goal so enjoyable.  He is always there for me, talking about which turn to take and making me laugh along the way. 

I finally learned how to figure out the mazes they would hand out in school.  One of my sisters taught me that mazes are easy if you start at the end and work backwards.  There is only one end point, and there are many directions to take from the beginning.  This doesn't really work in life..  All I can do is work my hardest at making sure my path is the right one.  I feel like this is the closest I've been..  I'm loving where I'm at right now, and just enjoying the journey along the way. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gotta Love Spring Weather

This morning started out innocently enough. It was sunny and warm. Cory got up on the roof and got our swamp cooler going and then did some weeding out in the yard while I got the kids ready to go with Mae Mae. Not exactly a fair trade, but I'm not going to tell him that.  While I was getting Lexie dressed, she found a pair of shorts that Mae Mae got her that she has been ACHING to wear.  She asked me if she could wear them, and right as I told her yes Cory told me that he had seen some clouds in the distance and it might get kind of cloudy later this afternoon.  I checked the weather and it said sunny and warm in the morning with some clouds this afternoon.  Lexie and I compromised, and I sent her off in capris and flip flops.

After the kids left, Cory and I got ready.  I decided I really didn't want to deal with the heat, so I was wearing flip flops, jeans, and a t-shirt.  Cory decided to go with shorts and a t-shirt.  We went and ran some errands, and then stopped by Sweet Tomato for lunch.  While we were sitting there eating lunch, it started getting dark.  And then darker.  And even darker.  And then it was like the whole sky opened up and started dumping buckets of water.  It was the first summer storm of the year, complete with thunder and lightning.

Of course, the storm hit right as we were finishing up.  There was a whole crowd of people waiting in the lobby for the storm to let up so they could leave.  Cory asked me if I wanted to wait, but there was no way I was wasting this storm.  We headed out, and within ten seconds we were SOAKED.  We parked fairly close to the restaurant, and by the time we got there my flip flops were soaking wet, and so were my jeans up to my knees.  Cory and I were both dripping, but it felt great to be out in the rain.  It was that great, heavy kind of rain where it runs in rivers down the street and the ground just can't seem to absorb it all.  We decided to hold off on the rest of our errands, and came home and spent the rest of the day cuddled up in bed watching movies.  Not too bad for a Saturday. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Son, Houdini Reincarnate

Oh... my.... word.  I honestly don't know what I am going to do with my little boy.  Let me give you the run down of our nightly ritual.  We come home from work at about 5:30.  I take Phillip straight upstairs and strip him out of his school clothes the normal people clothes I let the rest of the world see him in and change his diaper.  I wrap his new diaper in packing tape and put a super-tight straight-jacket looking thing over that that is affectionately called a "goober."  Over this, I put footed pajamas on him backwards, pin the zipper up with a diaper pin that is threaded through both sides of the pajamas, and top that off with a carabiner that is also threaded through both sides of the pajamas.  The carabiner is a recent attempt at keeping him clothed, because he began popping the diaper pin. 

Within fifteen minutes of me getting him in all this garb, he'll poop.  I know most of you are probably saying "why don't you just keep him dressed until he poops?"  Well, my son likes to be naked.  I've tried a few times letting him stay dressed until he poops.  Let me tell you, that does not end pretty.  So, back upstairs we go.  I spend two minutes undressing him again, change the diaper, re-tape, re-zip, re-pin, and re-carabine (?) and back down we go.  He'll stay like this happily until we put him to bed.  Once I put him in his room, I'm not sure what happens.

Two nights ago, I went in to check on him after he fell asleep.  He was stripped down to his diaper, his bed was stripped, and he was asleep on the floor.  I got him dressed as best I could without waking him up, but couldn't get the carabiner done back up.  The next morning, it was gone.  There is not much in Phillip's room.  It's basically just a mattress on the floor.  Don't judge, he's destroyed everything else we've tried to put in there.  I have stripped his bed, shaken everything out, looked in every corner.  It's no where to be found.  I'm starting to get a little worried.  At what point do I take him in for x-rays? 

I have now put him in a size smaller pajamas because he was escaping through the neck of the other ones.  I just went in to check on him, and he had one arm out of one side, the other arm of his goober undone, and his bed was stripped.  I'm running out of options on how to keep him clothed.  HELP!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stupid Ten Cents

There are days I debate the genius of my choice to take this job.  Today is one of those days.  I won't go in to details (because none of you will make it through, my job is incredibly boring to everyone but me) but basically my job comes down to taking these massive accounts, which can have hundreds of line items and thousands of dollars, and get them down to where the line items all cancel each other out and I have this nice, neat little zero dollar account.  I handle 43 hospitals, and each hospital has about 7 accounts.  So far I have resolved two hospitals, a total of 14 accounts.  I have just started a new hospital, and my first account is DIFFICULT.  I have been working on it for about a week and a half, and today I got it to the point where I could add everything up and see if what I had left to resolve balanced to the amount of money left on the account.  I am off TEN CENTS. 

To make myself feel better, I decided to start looking for funny things on the internet.  The following is purely for your enjoyment.  Be warned, it's a little on the risque side:

If you have raised kids (or been one), and gone through the pet syndrome, including toilet flush burials for dead goldfish, the story below will have you laughing out LOUD! 

Overview:  I had to take my son's lizard to the vet.  Here's what happened:

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was “something wrong” with one of the two lizards he holds prisoner in his room.  “He’s just lying there looking sick,” he told me. “I’m serious, Dad. Can you help?”  I put my best lizard-healer expression on my face and followed him into his bedroom. One of the little lizards was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I immediately knew what to do.  “Honey,” I called, “come look at the lizard!”  “Oh, my gosh!” my wife exclaimed. “She’s having babies.”  “What?” my son demanded. “But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!”  I was equally outraged.  “Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn’t want them to reproduce,” I said accusingly to my wife.  “Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?” she inquired (I think she actually said this sarcastically!).  “No, but you were supposed to get two boys!” I reminded her, (in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth).  “Yeah, Bert and Ernie!” my son agreed.  “Well, it’s just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know,” she informed me (Again with the sarcasm!). 

By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.  “Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience,” I announced “We’re about to witness the miracle of birth.”  “Oh, gross!” they shrieked.  “Well, isn’t THAT just great? What are we going to do with a litter of tiny little lizard babies?” my wife wanted to know.  We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later.  “We don’t appear to be making much progress,” I noted.  “It’s breech,” my wife whispered, horrified.  “Do something, Dad!” my son urged.  “Okay, okay.” Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gentle tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results.  “Should I call 911?” my eldest daughter wanted to know.  “Maybe they could talk us through the trauma.” (You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)  “Let’s get Ernie to the vet,” I said grimly. We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap.  “Breathe, Ernie, breathe,” he urged.  “I don’t think lizards do Lamaze,” his mother noted to him. (Women can be so cruel to their own young I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for God’s sake.). 

The vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass.  “What do you think, Doc, a C-section?” I suggested scientifically.  “Oh, very interesting,” he murmured. “Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?”  I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.  “Is Ernie going to be okay?” my wife asked.  “Oh, perfectly,” the vet assured us. “This lizard is not in labor. In fact, that isn’t EVER going to happen... Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they um... um... masturbate. Just the way he did, lying on his back.” He blushed, glancing at my wife.  We were silent, absorbing this.  “So, Ernie’s just... just... excited,” my wife offered.  “Exactly,” the vet replied , relieved that we understood.  More silence. Then my vicious, cruel wife started to giggle. And giggle. And then even laugh loudly.  “What’s so funny?” I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness.  Tears were now running down her face. “It’s just... that... I’m picturing you pulling on its...  its... teeny little... ” She gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.  “That’s enough,” I warned. We thanked the vet and hurriedly bundled the lizard and our son back into the car.. He was glad everything was going to be okay.  “I know Ernie’s really thankful for what you did, Dad,” he told me.  “Oh, you have NO idea,” my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.
 
Two lizards: $140.
One cage: $50.
Trip to the vet: $30.
Memory of your husband pulling on a lizard’s winkie: Priceless!

Moral of the story: Pay attention in biology class.  Lizards lay eggs.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mommies

With it being Mother's Day on Sunday, my mind has been on mothers this week.  Mothers of all stages.  I have an older sister who is ready to deliver any day with her little bundle.  This is such a miracle to me, and this baby is such a miracle baby.  Her family has tried SO hard to get this little man here, and I think we've all held our breath and said a little prayer as each hurdle was overcome.  I am so grateful that they finally get to complete their family. 

On the other end of the spectrum, my little sister just announced today that she is pregnant with her own bundle.  I'm grateful that these two cousins will have each other to play with, as they will be very close to the same age.  I was just commenting to my parents on Sunday when we had them over for dinner that it was neat that my oldest sister would have both the oldest and the youngest grandkid.  I feel like the oldest doesn't really have anyone to play with at get-togethers, and I was worried that now the youngest wouldn't either.  There is a little over three years difference between this little guy and the next oldest grandkid.  I remember how big that three year gap can be when you're younger, and I didn't want him being left out of any of the fun.

And finally, my own mother.  I have gotten much closer to both my parents over the last few years as I have had the opportunity to live with them for a long while, and now right around the corner from them as I get to raise my own little family.  My mom is the most amazing mom I could ever ask for.  She has been there for every single one of her children when any situation has arisen where we have needed help.  That is not an easy task when you have seven children and times of need often overlap.  She is willing to drop anything to help anyone in need, and is always thinking of ways to help other people.  She is constantly providing for not just her own family, but any people in the neighborhood who might also need help.  She is the definition of compassion, and if as I mature as a mother I can be even a quarter of the mother and wife she is I will consider myself a success.  I love her very much, and although I forget to say it quite often, I am so grateful for everything that she does.  Happy Mother's Day Mom.  I love you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend

This weekend was not so much about me being a mommy as it was about me thanking the other mommies in my life.  It was an awesome weekend, and I loved being able to catch up with people and let them know how much I appreciate them.  Saturday morning Cory was supposed to have a paintball game, but it got cancelled.  We had the kids, so we spent most of the morning just relaxing around the house.  Cory left about noon, and came back with one of the most gorgeous arrangements of flowers I have ever seen.  I love how much he spoils me, even when we really don't have the money to spend he always does something to let me know he's thinking of me.  I am so lucky to be married to him.  Right as he was getting back with the flowers, Mae Mae arrived to pick up the kids.  As soon as she left, Cory and I went to Olive Garden for lunch.  We ate WAY too much food, but it was so good!

Saturday night, we had Mae Mae over for dinner.  Cory barbecued steaks, and I made rolls and raspberry jello with pears in it.  Mae Mae brought Diva cupcakes and Nielssen's Frozen Custard for dessert.  It was nice, just being able to relax and have dinner together.  After dinner, we gave her presents, I had made framed pictures of the kids like I did for Cory last Valentine's day.  She seemed to like them.  We discussed life and such, and then she went home.  About 9:45 we got a phone call from a very confused flower delivery person.  Apparently, he had flowers for me but there had been an issue delivering them.  He came by about half an hour later, and dropped off a very pretty bouquet from Lexie and Phillip, care of Mae Mae.  They are sitting on my nightstand by my bed.  Our house is very flower filled, and I love it. 

This morning we got up and went to church with my parents.  Lexie sang in sacrament meeting, and I had promised her we would be there for her.  We had discussed only going for the first hour and then coming home, but after thinking about Mother's Day and my mom, I knew she would want us there for the full three hours.  We went to class with her and my dad, and then my mom and I went to Relief Society.  I enjoyed being there with her.  We came home and relaxed for a couple of hours, and then had my parents over for dinner.  We had chicken crescents, sour cream salad, and green bean casserole.  We finished it off with leftover frozen custard from the night before, followed by gifts.  Lexie and Phillip had gotten my mom a watch with hearts all over it "because that's how much they love her" along with a card with a few gift certificates inside.  Cory and I got her a gift certificate to Western Gardens so she can buy pretty flowers for her yard and to press and make cards with.  Lexie gave me a bottle of lavender body wash that she got from her teacher at school.  She has been SO excited for me to open it, and has asked every day if I could open it early so she could watch.  I love how excited she gets about things.    Phillip gave me some very pretty paper flowers that were made out of his hand prints.  I love the little projects he brings home from school.

It was a very busy weekend, but I wouldn't trade any of it.  I loved being able to spend the weekend with people who are very important to me, and having the opportunity to (hopefully) let them know how much I appreciate having them in my life.  I am very lucky that I get to have so many wonderful people in my life, and I love each and every one of them.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Free Stuff

I have been all in to getting free samples of stuff lately.  I've found some awesome websites, and I think just about every day for the last three weeks I have gotten some sort of something in the mail for free.  I've gotten everything from deodorant, tampons, laundry detergent and face stuff, to breakfast cereal, coffee creamer, and some biscotti from Starbucks.  I've even gotten a few perfume samples from some top of the line fragrances.  It's made getting the mail every day a lot more fun, seeing all these little presents in the mailbox.  Yesterday, however, my free stuff did not come in the mail.

Cory and I took the kids and Mae Mae out to dinner last night to Texas Roadhouse to celebrate selling the motorcycle.  It's Cory's favorite restaurant and we don't get to go very often, so we figured it would be a nice treat.  Cory had mentioned while I was still at work that Friday's are normally really crowded, and maybe we should just get the food and bring it home.  But, we figured since Mae Mae was coming with us we'd sit down and eat there.  They had us in this corner booth with not much room to maneuver around, and Phillip was in a high chair at the end of the table.  Yes, I still put my almost seven year old in a high chair.  It helps me keep him from running around the restaurant.  Everything was going just fine until the server brought out our food.  He put the tray in the corner right behind Phillip. I was keeping one eye on him as well as I could to keep him from grabbing the food, but right as the server picked up the last plate and swung it around Phillip shot up out of his chair.  The plate and Phillip's head collided with a sickening thud.  Cory commented later he had no idea how the server held on to the plate.

Phillip immediately started screaming louder than I think I have ever heard him scream.  Normally when he cries it's a "I'm frustrated" or a "That kinda hurt and it bothered me".  You could tell this hurt him really bad.  It took me a good five minutes to get him calmed down.  The server (who wasn't our server) apologized, the manager came over and apologized, and then our regular server came over and apologized.  I could tell they felt horrible, but really I don't think there was anything that could have been done to prevent it.  So what kind of free stuff do you get when your server clocks your kid in the head with a plate? 



A free Texas Roadhouse slap bracelet.  It took Phillip a little while to get the hang of it, but he ended up loving it.  We also got a free light-up spinning top that was unavailable for pictures.  Lexie took over that one.  Normally all I have to give up to get free stuff is my email and address, this time I had to give up a chunk of my baby's skull.  Fair trade?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bittersweet

bit·ter·sweet [adj. bit-er-sweet] both pleasant and painful or regretful.  How accurately this describes my feelings right now.  In our journey towards financial freedom, there have been quite a few choices that we've had to make.  The choice to get Netflix instead of cable, eliminating texting from our cell phone plans, taking out a loan to pay off the credit card debt.  I think the hardest decision for both of us was the decision to start selling some of our more expensive but rarely used items, the biggest of which was Cory's motorcycle.  He listed it for the first time quite a while ago.  There wasn't much, if any, interest in it.  He didn't re-list it, and since we were doing ok money-wise, it just kinda got dropped.  I knew he loved it, and I didn't want me and our family to be the reason he had to get rid of it.  Then, as we started talking about debt and paying stuff off, it came up again.  It was the loan with the highest interest rate on it.  He had bought it to save money on the commute to and from work before we got together, and with both of us working at the same place we were carpooling now.  I wasn't quite brave enough to make the commute on the bike.  He made the decision to list it again.

We had a few offers, a few people come look at it, and quite a few texts and emails about it.  None of the offers were what we wanted.  Cory knew with it being a good bike and having really low miles on it, it was worth at least what we owed the bank on it.  So, he kept re-listing it, waiting for that perfect offer. 

Last night while he was out helping a friend get our sprinklers going, he got two different texts on the bike.  Both people wanted to see it right then, so he took it out to show them.  One of them made an offer that fit.  And he had cash.  Cory met the guy at the bank this morning to pay off the loan and give him the bike. 

I am so grateful that I have a husband who is willing to give up anything to make it so that we can be successful as a family.  It's very hard "making" him give up something that he loves so much, but he keeps reassuring me that he's doing it of his own free will, and he's fine with it.  We have talked about getting another motorcycle at some point when our family is ready for that.  But that still doesn't make this any easier on my heart, and I know his feels the same way.  This motorcycle meant a lot to both of us, and it's hard to see it go. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lessons in Stomach Control

My sweet husband took me out to lunch today.  We had some errands to run three different banks in one day, all on our way to financial streamlining so we decided to make a date of it.  I love working at the same place, especially when it means that we get to do impromptu dates like this.  We stopped at Carl's Jr for lunch, and I got a Taco Salad and a Diet Coke.  It tasted SO good.  On our way out, I filled up my Diet Coke again.  It's important to add here that I also had 32 oz of Diet Coke for breakfast.  I took my refill back to work with me, and put it on my desk.  I have a huge project that I'm in charge of at work that has become kind of all-consuming.  I got very involved with trying to figure out an outage stupid ten cents and totally forgot about my Diet Coke.  I remembered it when I was putting stuff away to go home.  I figured that I couldn't just waste all that perfectly good Diet Coke, so I chugged ALL 32 OZ OF IT. 

After finishing it, I looked at the clock and realized I still had ten minutes until I had to leave.  Ten minutes really isn't enough time to accomplish anything on my project, so I caught up with my favorite blog as of late, and got lost in all things Rita.  I glanced down at the clock, and realized I had spent eight minutes reading her blog and had to be downstairs to clock out in two minutes.  Normally I wouldn't mind being a little bit late, but my parents had someplace to go right after work and I promised them we would be there by five to pick up the kids.  I was pushing it anyway by staying six minutes later to get the next fifteen on my timecard.  I grabbed my stuff and ran for the elevator.  Caught it just as it was ready to leave, rode it the four floors down, and was running across the lobby to clock out and leave when the 32+ oz of Diet Coke I had just chugged caught up with me.  I reduced my run to a swift walk, clocked out a minute later than I should have, and kept all contents of my stomach and my dignity in the process.  Not too bad for a day's work.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fourteen Months

It sounds like such a long time.  We are past that first "newlywed" year.  We've been married for long enough that it seems weird when he's not around.  We are almost constantly together.  We wake up together, get ready and go to work together.  He is twenty feet away from me at work.  We take breaks and eat lunch together.  We come home and prepare dinner, put the kids to bed, and go to bed together.  On the odd occasion that we do things separately, it feels like part of me is missing.  We have so many inside jokes that I'll forget he's not around and laugh at something that he would instantly get.  Things that other people don't find funny.  It's easier to just not try to explain.

He is the first person I want to go to when anything happens.  He was the one I went to when the bee was trying to attack me at work.  I instant message him when I get so frustrated I can't see straight.  I complain to him about everything.  When I finally finish a project I feel like it's not complete without a "yay! I'm proud of you" from him.  My soul lights up when I see him.  I am so lucky that I get to be married to my best friend.  And I'm even more lucky that my best friend makes my inside do flip flops when I see him.  I love him more every day.  I can't imagine loving him more than I do now, but I know my love for him will continue to grow for the rest of eternity.  I'm the luckiest girl alive. 

To love someone is nothing,
To be loved by someone is something,
But to be loved by the one you love is everything.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A New Niece (or something like that)

Cory and I spent this last weekend up in Idaho with family.  Unlike most of our visits which stem from a long weekend or other uneventful things, this was a much planned ahead and very important weekend.  This was the weekend we got to meet our new niece to be.  Every other time I've gotten a new niece it's been the birth of a baby.  When a sibling has a baby it's a little bit easier to get them to like you.  Children are easy to bribe, they are easily amused, we normally have the same sense of humor, and they have the lovely ability of forgetting you if you're gone for more than a day or two.  This may not sound like a good thing, but if, for instance, you dropped them on their head or accidentally tripped them I still say she slipped on a book all you have to do is go away for a few days.   Come back with presents or candy, and they instantly love you again.

This time, it's a little bit different.  Our nephew Cory's nephew.. I still have a hard time calling him "my nephew" is getting married.  This is the first marriage since I've been part of the family, which means I'm not the new one anymore.  Mat brought his fiance to Idaho for her to be able to meet everyone, and we got to go up and see them.  Kaitlyn is just about the sweetest thing I've ever met, and she fit right in with everyone.  She's sarcastic, funny, down to earth, and compassionate.  Watching her and Mat reminded me what it was like to be brand new in love and engaged, and planning a life together with the person you love.  It's an amazing feeling.

We spent the whole weekend getting to know Kaitlyn and getting reacquainted with Mat, Andrew, Tess and Clara.  Andrew and Tess were sweet enough to let us invade their house, and Clara kept us all entertained with her cuteness.  I can't wait until September when they get married and we get to go up and see everyone again.  In the meantime, we'll just keep petitioning to get them to move down here once they get married.