Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We Need A Little Chrismas

There are times I like to pretend that Cory and my first Christmas as a married couple just didn't happen.  It was not one of my shining moments as a wife.  For those of you who were not around at the time, you can read about it by clicking here. It was a very stressful Christmas.  I kind of felt like the pressure was on this Christmas.  It was almost an identical situation.  We had Cory's kids with us, his parents were staying with us, I was attempting to make dinner..  There were multiple times throughout the day that I felt a strange sense of deja vu.  I am very happy to report that this year went MUCH better.

We got up with the kids a little after seven and all headed downstairs to see our loot.  We started with stockings, and Santa had followed my sister's example and stocked them with breakfast.  We prodded and coaxed and finally got all the kids to eat, and set out to open presents.  We had decided to take it easy this year and just get each of the kids three main presents:  something to read, something to play with, and something to wear.  It was a good thing we did, because when Cory's parents came down, they brought presents too.  The kids each had about six presents to open, which was a really good amount, and they really seemed to like everything that they got.  Lexie was really excited about her Monster High doll (even though Cory disagreed with me about getting it.  The things are disgusting, but it was the one thing she said she wanted).  Michael got two different lego sets that he got to put together and spent quite a bit of time playing with.  Katelyn got a princess duplo set and a Hello Kitty purse and hat that sort of matched the set Lexie had gotten also.  Both girls wore their hats and carried their purses the rest of the day.  And Cory's mom hit the jackpot when she was able to find a larger version of the rubber snakes she had gotten Phillip a few years ago.  They have been his favorite toys and quite a few of them have broken.  He was very excited when he saw them in the box, then was scared when he saw the faces and tongues on them, but then warmed up and hasn't put them down since. 

The kids took over the living room with all of their toys, and I began making breakfast for the adults.  I had gotten the stuff to make sticky buns, a pinterest recipe, and I quickly got it together and got it in the oven.  It smelled amazing, way sweet and gooey.  I overcooked it just a bit, so it came out more sticky then it should have, and Cory said it hurt his teeth it was so sweet.  But, his parents and I ate a good portion of it, and I am still calling it a success. 

After breakfast, I got the roast started for dinner and spent some time just hanging out with the family.  Cory helped the kids put all their toys together, and they all had a blast playing.  Finally, it was time for dinner, and I was a little nervous about getting everything together at the same time.  But, the Christmas fairies were on my side and everything turned out GREAT.  I think this is the first major meal that I have done all by myself, and I'm pretty dang proud that it all turned out.  We spent the next two hours getting the kids to eat.  I swear, when we have Cory's kids we spend about 85 percent of our time feeding them and putting them to bed.  It takes them on average an hour and half to two hours to eat any meal, and bedtime takes another hour.  Finally, once they were all done, we got the living room cleaned up a little bit and got everyone to bed. 

It was a pretty relaxing day.  No major catastrophes, and no food poisonings.  I feel like this one can officially be put in the success column.  Merry Christmas everyone!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Visitation

For the first time without a court order, Lovely Ex has provided a visitation with the kids that wasn't a surprise and that we had more than four hours notice on!  For a while I wasn't sure it would actually happen.  The drama all started about a month ago when Cory initially requested the visitation.  It is our year for Christmas, and according to the relocation statue this is one of the holidays she is required to provide transportation for.  She refused to bring them out unless Cory would sign something and provide it to her lawyer stating the kids would be allowed to video chat with her for ten minutes per child every day that the kids were here.  Our lawyer said that was unreasonable, and told us to respond that every other day was more than adequate for the week that they would be here.  She came back with this big huge long email about all the "damage" that had been done to the kids by her not being allowed to talk to them for the two weeks that we had them in June.  Cory responded that he would do his best to have the kids talk to her every day, but he would not be held responsible if it didn't happen.  She replied calling him every name in the book and bringing up all this old garbage that had nothing to do with it.  Cory responded back stating that he would be in the specified drop off location on 12/22 for drop off, and there again for the pick up on 12/30, and cc'd her lawyer.

Then came the next complication.  She told him that there was no way they could be here by 12/22 because Michael's last day of school was 12/21 and they needed to break up the drive, so he could have them on 12/23.  No biggie there, Cory agreed as long as he got to keep them a day later, moving to pick up to 12/31.

Then Lovely Ex got the family involved.  Cory's sister sent him an email that Lovely Ex had sent to her saying that she had gotten sepsis again (which was her reasoning behind not being able to come out for court in April) and that was why she hadn't emailed her the pictures she had requested.  We were pretty sure she was going to try to use that as an excuse to not bring the kids out, but it never turned in to that. 

Finally, about an hour before the scheduled drop off time, Lovely Ex sent Cory an email with a picture of a flat tire saying she had gotten a flat and she wouldn't be able to be there by two, and would let him know when she had an idea of when she'd be able to be there.  Two hours later, she called him saying she'd be there in about an hour.  Half an hour later, she called again and said she was there waiting for him.  So we loaded the carseats in the car, and drove down there to get them.  Of course, the police were there waiting for us.  I appreciate them being there though, she's crazy. 

We did the standard drop off shuffle, loaded their five bags of crap in to our little trunk, and were on our way.  We came home and began unpacking them, and just like every other time I was amazed at what she packed.  This time she sent five coats for each of them, and five pairs of shoes per kid, but only three pairs of pants for each of them.  Each kid had ten shirts, two sweaters, three scarves, and two pairs of gloves.  She also packed a white noise machine, a garbage bag full of Mexican medication, and four of her tank tops (for the kids to sleep with when they miss her).  I feel slightly bad (slightly...) that she packs all this crap, and the kids literally live in pajamas most of the time they are here.  We figure they're warm, they're comfortable, and most of the time we don't go anywhere.

I was talking to Michael while Cory was arranging the trunk, and asked him about the flat tire.  I told him that can be kind of scary, and what did he think of it.  He gave me this really funny look, and said "we didn't get a flat tire, we were at Costco."  I asked him how the drive from California was, and if he was tired of being in the car, and he said they had been at the lake house for three days with all of Lovely Ex's family.  I really wish we could use some of the crap she tells us in court.  Also, it would be really nice to be able to trust her and have a good relationship with her.  And also, I'd like world peace...  I think there may be a better chance of that last one happening. 

Anyway, we have the kids, it's almost Christmas, and we both have the next week and a half off work.  Bring on the fun!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Government Entities and Child Support

It seems that things are never as simple as they seem.  About a month ago, Cory received a rather large package in the mail from the California office of recovery services.  They stated that Lovely Ex had come in to their office and opened a case with them, and they needed some information from him before they could start withholding the child support from his checks.  Cory panicked a little because although we hadn't received the official order, he'd been paying a reduced amount of child support based off of what the judge had said in court back at our hearing on the petition to modify.  The hearing was in June, and by September when we still didn't have an order (mostly because Lovely Ex and her lawyer refused to file their paperwork), our lawyer told us to go ahead and start paying the reduced amount.  We knew the judge was going to lower it, and we knew he was going to back date it at least until April, so we figured if the amount was a bit more than what we thought it was going to be then it would all wash out. 

Cory called our lawyer and asked him to get in touch with the California office and let them know we were waiting for a judgement, and ask if they could hold off on the case for a few more weeks until we could get the judgement.  Our lawyer's paralegal called and had a nice discussion with California, and then called Cory back with quite the little story.  Apparently, Lovely Ex had gone to the California office when Cory began paying reduced child support and told them that the child support amount was the original amount in the divorce decree and Cory hadn't paid any child support in the almost four years they'd been divorced. I don't think she realized that they would send Cory a copy of the paperwork, and I think she thought they would just start withholding money and she'd get a big fat check.  Cory and the paralegal worked to get the office all the proof of all the child support he had paid, and the California office was appalled at what Lovely Ex had tried to do.  They agreed to hold off on the case until we had received the judgement. 

It took about three weeks for us to get a copy of the judgement.  In it, the judge stated that he was definitely in favor of reducing child support, but there were some inconsistencies in just how much he was in favor of reducing it. 

The judgement paperwork is divided in to three sections.  The first section is called the findings of fact.  This is where he details all the facts that are applicable in our case that were considered when he was making his decisions.  This is where he documented the fact that not only was Lovely Ex not providing the kids for the specified visitation, she was willfully keeping the children from seeing Cory.  He also stated that we had provided adequate evidence that given the fact that Cory is paying above the maximum allowed amount for child support, he can't afford to pay for visitation to see his kids.  He stated that the reasons that were in place at the time the divorce papers were signed for Cory paying above the maximum amount of child support were no longer valid, and the extra money that he was paying could be better put to use by making it possible for him to pay for visitation so he can see his kids. 

The second section is the conclusions of law.  This is where he takes those facts in the first section and applies them to the laws that are in place for the requests we are making.  This is where he outlined that unless there is a good reason for Cory to be paying above the maximum child support (which there isn't) the child support should be the maximum allowed amount.  In this section he said the child support should be *the listed amount in the divorce decree that was the maximum amount without imputing Lovely Ex's wages at all*, and listed out the exact amount.  He also stated in this section that Lovely Ex was violating the relocation statue by failing to provide the kids for their visitation.

The last section is called the modifications to the divorce decree.  This is where he takes those facts and those laws and lists out what changes he is approving to have made to the divorce decree.  This is the most important and the most legal section.  He listed all the changes he had already talked about, but then he said the new child support amount should be based on the amount of money Cory was making at the time of relocation, and imputing Lovely Ex's wages at 12.00 an hour, which was great, but it didn't agree with what was in the above section.  Then he also stated that his judgement was back dated to the date of filing the petition to modify, which was December of 2010.  Cory and I weren't sure what to do about the difference in amounts, so we contacted our lawyer.  He said that we just need to submit for clarification, and the judge will rewrite something more clear that we can use as a judgement. 

We figured we were good to go on the bigger of the two amounts, because that's the most it would be, and even at that amount Lovely Ex owed us almost 13,000 dollars.  When our lawyer had talked to the California office, she said they would be in charge of handling the case, but the actual withholding would be done by the Utah office, so Cory had started working on a case with them so it would be all ready to go when we got the judgement.  However, what we didn't realize was instead of opening a new case, they reopened the case that Lovely Ex had when she still lived here, and because we didn't have a new order they were going off the amount that was in the divorce papers.  We received a letter a few days before we received the judgement stating that the case had been activated and they would begin withholding the money with his next paycheck, which was in just three days.  Cory made quite a few phone calls to the Utah office trying to explain to them what was going on, and eventually had to just cancel the case because they couldn't get it straightened out. 

When we got the judgement, Cory sent them a copy and attempted to reopen the case, and they told him that he would need three different cases, one for the child support he owed Lovely Ex, one for the back child support she owed him, and one more for the judgement amount she had against him for the unpaid medical expenses from last time we went to court.  He said they would not net them together, and that he would have to pay her full child support and we would have to wait for her to have some form of income before they would be able to recoup any money from her.  Then came the kicker.  Cory's case worker said that because the amount in the modifications to the divorce decree wasn't specified, it was basically unusable because "they aren't allowed to do math", and they couldn't go off the amount in the other section because it wasn't in the modification section.  Basically he told us the whole judgement was crap, and when they started withholding it would be at the amount in the divorce decree because as far as they were concerned there was no valid court document that was changing that amount.  Cory told them we had submitted for a correction, and could they hold off until it came through.  They told him it was out of their hands because the case had been started in California and they had to do what they were told. 

Luckily, the office in California is recognizing the higher of the two amounts listed in the judgement, and is putting through a case to withhold at that amount.  We have submitted for a clarification, but of course Lovely Ex's lawyer submitted a rebuttal stating that Lovely Ex has never worked and just because she has a bachelor's degree doesn't mean she should be "forced" to work outside of the home.  Apparently she has forgotten the job that she had after Michael was born which is where that amount came from.  Anyway, now we have to fight that out, and then wait (again) for the judge to make his decision.  I'm really hoping this one will come through quickly.  I am so ready to be done with all this child support crap. 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It Is Official!

I got the job!  I am so excited.  When I met with the supervisor doing the hiring and her manager on Friday they said that they had to go through the proper channels, but that they had heard nothing but good things about me and I "was even better in person" then they expected.  On my way out of the meeting, the supervisor told me that she was so excited and that my interview was the best interview she'd ever had.  She said she has never had such a good feeling about someone or had someone mesh so well with her team.  She started crying a bit as we were walking out and talking, and I started crying a bit too.  I told her I didn't want to assume anything, but was it definitely official?  She said they still had to go through the proper channels, and I could tell Cory but not to tell anyone else.  I was floating.  I made it up to our floor, walked in the door, and Cory immediately stood up from his desk to look over the wall.  I think he had been on pins and needles the whole time.  I immediately turned around and walked back out the door, and he followed me.  We made it in to the elevator, and as soon as the doors closed I said (slightly hyperventilating) "I got the job!"  We went downstairs and talked about it, and I told him I didn't have the official offer yet, but the supervisor said I could tell him.  I told him all about the meeting and how well it had gone, and hoped for an offer by the end of the day.  It didn't come.

We went home that afternoon and enjoyed the weekend.  I kept telling myself that it would have been rushing things to have an offer by Friday, but by the end of the day Monday they should definitely have something for me.  When I didn't hear anything by the end of Monday I was trying to figure out if maybe I had misinterpreted something.  Maybe I was just so excited that I misunderstood something and it didn't really go as well as I thought it did.  Maybe something had come up during the background and reference checks.  Maybe it was all too good to be true. 

By Tuesday evening I pretty much had prepared myself to get an email or something saying that they decided to go a different way.  It was all too good to be true anyway.  It was the perfect job, and with us getting the perfect judgement from the judge and everything else going so well the perfect job was just too much to hope for.  By this afternoon I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to stay at the job I was at, and I should just make the most of it.  Then my phone rang.

I recognized the name of the recruiter on my caller ID right away.  I had pretty much been stalking him for the last three days, seeing when he was online and not, and debating calling him.  I got butterflies when I answered the phone.  I tried to tell myself that I was not going to cry when he told me I didn't get the job.  I was so busy talking to myself I almost missed when he said "we'd like to offer you the job."  I immediately said "yes!" before he could go any further, and then realized there was more he had to say.  The next item to discuss was my salary.  I told myself that even if it was a lateral move I would still take the job.  It was a great opportunity, and it was a job I knew I was going to love.  The money didn't really matter.  I knew a little bit of a raise would be nice.  I wanted to be able to contribute towards our debts and work on getting things paid off.  I had a general idea of what was the absolute most I could hope for.  I figured I wouldn't get it, but I would be happy with whatever I got.  And then he said the number.  I actually had to ask him to repeat himself.  I thought the phone had glitched or something and I was sure I hadn't heard him right.  He repeated it, and it was more than I could have ever dreamed to hope for.  It was way more than I had ever made at any other job I'd had.  I told him I absolutely accept, he said he'd send me over some paperwork to look over, and we hung up.  I wrote the number down on a sticky note, and sat there and looked at it for a few minutes.

I went downstairs to where Cory was still sitting from lunch with another guy on his team, and as soon as he saw my face he knew I had gotten the offer.  I walked around the table and just held out the sticky note.  I couldn't even talk.  He looked at it and said "Is this what they're going to pay you?"  I nodded.  He thought for a minute and said "I think this is more than what I make."  So we had to come upstairs and check.  Sure enough, my new pay rate was more (by mere cents) than what he was making.  This has all changed with his year end increase coming through, but I am amazed that I'm making almost as much as he does.  If I had stayed with my current department, I would have had to be there for about another ten years to even come close to that. 

The final step was giving my two weeks notice to my boss.  I knew there was no easy way to do it, so I went in to her office, sat down, and told her I had been offered and had accepted the job.  She looked at me and said "I already knew."  Apparently what had taken so long was negotiations over when I would be available to start my new job.  My current supervisor was pushing to keep me through the first few days of year end, and my new supervisor wanted me there and available for training before the person I'm replacing was no longer with the company.  Apparently the deciding factor was the vacation Cory and I have scheduled for while the kids are here (hopefully) for Christmas.  The soonest I would be able to start with my new department if I give a full two weeks notice is December 23rd.  I have the next week and half off which would leave me only three days of the pay period left to train.  I would have loved to have my new salary for while I was off on vacation, but my current manager won and I will begin my new job on January 7th.  This is going to be a long month of trying to train everyone on my team to do everything that I'm the only one who knows how to do it.  But really it's only two and a half weeks of work, a week and a half of vacation, and then three days and I'm done.  I'm nervous, but SUPER excited. 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Today was an epically good day.  It started out just like most other Mondays, wake up (late, as usual), get ready, get the kids ready for school, drop them off at my parents' house, and head in to work.  First thing I usually do when I get to work is check my email to see if there is anything that came in overnight that needs to be addressed first thing, and today in my email was a broadcast email from the CEO of our company letting us know that our year end "thank you" payments would be on our next paycheck.  With the economy the way it has been, we weren't sure if we were going to get them this year, and it was a very nice surprise to know that yes, we are getting them, and because Cory and I both work there we get two of them.  This is normally where our Christmas comes from, and that means that now that we know we are getting them and how much they will be, I get to start Christmas shopping. 

About an hour later, Cory came over to my desk all excited, and told me that he had just heard back from our lawyer's office, and we had a signed judgement as of 11/13.  It was being mailed to the lawyer, and then he would send us a copy, but neither of us wanted to wait so about ten thirty Cory headed out for the courthouse about 15 minutes from our work to get a copy.  I was on pins and needles the whole time he was gone, praying that it was good news.  He called me about half an hour later, and was laughing.  All he said was that it was "perfect" and "we got everything we wanted".  He said he had just skimmed it, and he'd bring it in with him so we could read it on break in more detail. 

Almost immediately after getting off the phone with him, I got an instant message from the manager over the department for a job that I had applied for a couple of weeks ago.  I hadn't heard anything back, and in my mind I am pretty under qualified for the job, so I had convinced myself that I just wasn't what they were looking for and had tried to put it out of my mind.  I was trying so hard not to think about it, because the job is an amazing opportunity with a pretty significant pay raise and lots of room for advancement.  She asked me if I was still interested in the job, and of course I said yes.  She asked if I would be available to meet with her and a few other members of the team next Tuesday morning for about an hour.  I am so grateful that she contacted me over instant message, because by this point I was crying pretty hard.  I don't think I had allowed myself to hope, and between the court judgement and the interview I was a wreck.  We set up the appointment for the interview, and I immediately posted about it on Facebook, and then had to go in to my boss' office to deal with an issue.  While I was in there, Cory got back.

As soon as I was done with my boss, I went straight to Cory's desk.  I asked him if he had seen my Facebook post, and he said "yes, I'm just writing one of my own."  I knew he hadn't seen the most recent one, or he would have had more of a reaction than that.  I brought it up for him, he read it, and immediately started crying, which started me crying again.  He gave me the biggest hug (which shocked me, because we DON'T act married at work) and told me he was so proud of me and a bunch of other stuff.  I figured standing in the middle of the work floor hugging and crying was not the best thing for either of us, so we went on a break to read the papers.  Cory was right, they are perfect.

Basically the only thing the judge didn't side with us on was our petition for custody of the kids, which we knew was a long shot and probably wouldn't happen.  He agreed to the reduced child support.  Exactly how much, we are still waiting for clarification on.  In one section, he says that he agrees the child support should be reduced to the amount we were petitioning for as our max, which is about 450 less then what we are paying right now, but then in the ending section he states that Lovely Ex's income be imputed to minimum wage which would actually make the child support another 150 less than that.  He agreed that because she had been refusing parent time that she should have been paying for, she was responsible to make up those missed visits at a time of Cory's choosing and on her dime, as long as he gives her adequate notification of the times of the visits.  Finally, he stated that all expenses on her van other than the loan are her responsibility, and she can't expect us to pay or hold us liable for insurance, registration, or any of the other stuff she's trying to get Cory to pay for.  The best part?  All the judgements in the papers are retroactive back to the date of filing the petition to modify, which was December of last year.  She owes us at minimum about 5,000 dollars. 

Cory has been waiting for the judgment so he could request to have his kids for Christmas.  We knew that if it was up to us to pay, there was no way we were going to be able to have them this year.  Now that we know she has to pay for it, he requested them today and she will be pretty dang stupid if she refuses now that we have the judgment.  I'm not putting it past her, but at least now there is a chance we'll be able to have the kids.  We are making plans and requesting time off, planning presents for all the kids, and enjoying our great day. 

We had a little mini celebration tonight, but I think with news like this we need to schedule something big to celebrate.  I am so grateful for blessings, prayers, friends, and family.   We felt all of you while we were waiting for this, and I don't think we would have made it through without you.  We love you all so much! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Perfect Vision

Guess who now has almost perfect vision?  Me!  But that's nothing new (niener, niener, neiner...)  Hopefully, we'll soon be able to add Cory to that list also.  He has been talking for a while about how he wanted to get Lasik.  His doctor told him that it wouldn't be a good idea until his prescription stopped changing.  Well, we went in for a check up last month, and for the second year in a row his prescription hadn't changed.  He asked the doctor if he thought he'd be a good candidate, and the doctor said that not only would he most likely be a good candidate, his office was running a special in November where Cory could get Lasik for almost half price.  In order to do it, we had to come back in and get his eye mapped and measured to make sure he was really a good candidate, and then we had to arrange to come in on the one day he would be doing all of the surgeries,  We talked about it for a few days, couldn't think of a reason not to do it, so Cory called and made the appointment for the measuring. 

Cory has always had a "thing" about his eyes.  He has never been able to touch his eye, and the idea of other things touching his eye makes him really uncomfortable.  He was nervous about it, and honestly so was I after watching the video of what they were going to do to him.  But, we figured the good would outweigh the bad, and the doctor talked us through all of the things that could go wrong, but also told us there was a very small likelihood of any of those happening.  We planned so that I could be there the day of and the day after just in case, and hoped for the best. 

We got to the eye center about 12:30, and by 1:30 we were done and on our way home.  I was AMAZED at how fast it was.  They took us back in the room, gave Cory some Valium, and talked to us about the pre-op and post-op stuff.  They had me go back out to the waiting room while they did it, and seriously about 15 minutes later they had me come back in.  He was sitting there with his bright red eyes looking a little dazed.  They taped and shielded him up, escorted us out, and I brought him home where he proceeded to DRIVE ME NUTS!

Now, I love my husband very much, but there is only so much of "high on Valium Cory" that I can take.  He gets really goofy and talkative and would not hold still.  As long as I could keep him on the bed he was ok, but if he got up to walk around he would just walk around in circles and kind of.. bounce.  All over the place.  I think he actually gave me motion sickness a couple of times.  Luckily, the Valium was out of his system within about six hours, and that night I took him back to the doctor's office for a follow up visit.  Four hours after the surgery he was seeing perfectly with his right eye, and better with his left than I have ever seen him do previously, even with his glasses on.  His eyes look a little scary, but the doctor assured us that is completely normal and they should be good within a couple of weeks.  He has to go back in on Tuesday to have his eyes checked again, and we are hoping by that point he will have perfect vision in both eyes.  It's amazing the things we are able to do nowadays. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Every year I stress out so much about Halloween.  It happens right at month end, it takes some massive coordination to get to both kids parades, I have to take time off work and attempt to make that up, not to mention I normally procrastinate way too long and end up scrambling to get the kids costumes and don't plan enough time to get them ready in the morning.  This year seemed to go a little bit smoother, but it was still a little crazy.  I also  decided to challenge myself a bit, and actually carved some pumpkins.  I ended up loving it, and Lexie loved helping, and I think it may become a Halloween tradition. 

To begin the week, Cory's nephew Mat has been in town for training for his job, and this time he was able to bring his wife Kaitlyn with him.  They got in to town on Sunday, and since Kaitlyn had never been here before they spent some time downtown getting her familiar with the area so she could explore while Mat was in his all day trainings.  Kaitlyn loves Halloween, so we invited her to come out and go to the kids parades with us.  That brought up the issue of how to get her out here though.  We decided the best way was for Cory to go pick her up and bring her back out here, and then he would take her back to the hotel in his car while I headed straight to work after the parades.

The timing thing worked out pretty well.  Luckily Lexie's costume this year didn't require a bunch of makeup, so it was pretty easy to throw together.  She was supposed to be a dead bride, but her and her dad had tried to turn it in to a devil (kind of..  apparently if you add a pitchfork it becomes a devil).  At the last minute, she decided that there was a good chance a pitchfork could be considered a weapon, so she didn't take it to school, and decided she would just be a dead bride instead.  The makeup didn't really work with that, but she looked pretty dang cute anyway. 

Phillip's costume was a bit more challenging.  He is picky about what he will wear, so we normally end up just going with an outfit of some sort, not really getting in to the costume thing.  This year the only difference was he was given a theme by his teachers.  They were assigned a country (Australia) and were trying to do a theme around that, so all the teachers were crocodile hunters, and the kids were supposed to either be crocodile hunters, or crocodiles.  I had no idea how to pull off either of those in something he would wear.  He doesn't do hats, or anything on his head, and everything I found was kind of centered around the head gear.  Finally, Mae Mae found him a stuffed crocodile that went around his waist, and he just wore that.  He kept it on long enough for the parade, and then it pretty much went straight back in his backpack. 

After the parades we headed back to work, and I ended up working almost a full day after the parade before picking Mat and Kaitlyn up at the hotel to bring them back out for dinner and trick or treating.  Lexie had decided beforehand that she would not be trick or treating Halloween night, but would stay home and hand out the glow sticks we had gotten instead.  We have a deal that dates clear back to when her dad was a kid that if the kid doesn't go trick or treating, the great pumpkin brings them presents instead.  In her whole little life, I think she has only gone trick or treating once.  She put a lot of thought in to it, and even though she had the offer to go trick or treating with her dad, she opted to stay home and get presents instead.

Well, while I was working, Lexie worked really hard and got all her homework done, plus helped Cory clean up around the house, so he decided to reward her by taking her trick or treating to a few houses so she could see her friends and get out a bit.  He took them out and around, and they were already back home by the time I got home.  This caused massive issues with Delinquent Ex, however, because in his mind I was purposefully denying him time with his daughter when he had requested it so that she could go trick or treating here.  He told me that we had to share our time with her equally and it "wasn't fair for me to hog her all the time."  I had to very rudely remind him that if he would like to attempt to share the time with her equally, I would be more then happy to do that, but that means that we also have to share the cost, the discipline, and the responsibility of raising her also.  He apologized pretty quickly after that, but it was still unpleasant.  Lexie heard us fighting and was crying in bed when I went in to sing to her.  I try really hard to protect her, but not sugar coat things, so we had to have a very frank discussion about what I meant and that I wasn't being hurtful, just honest.  Frank discussions don't go well when it is over an hour past her bedtime. 

The night finally ended when we ran out of glow sticks and had to resort to handing out the candy Lexie had gotten trick or treating.  We turned out the lights, got both kids to bed, and sat around talking, laughing, and trying on Halloween costumes.  It was fun to have some time to just relax after the craziness of the day.  I think both kids had a good day for the majority of the day, and hopefully by next year I'll be able to get it down smoothly. 






Sunday, October 28, 2012

Time Out!

This last weekend was a MAJOR weekend for us.  It seems like Cory and I had almost literally every second of it planned.  It all started with Time Out For Women, which has become kind of a tradition with my sisters.  This is the second year that we've gone, and I have loved it both times.  It is CRAZY busy, they say that their weekend in Salt Lake is always their biggest one, and it shows.  There were tons of people everywhere you looked.  The speakers and musical guests were phenomenal, and it was nice to have some time away to just refocus and enjoy.  Anyway, I've been planning on going to that for a few months now. 

Of course, as luck would have it, this weekend just happened to be the first game of Cory's nephew Anthony's high school football championship that Cory really wanted to go see.  I really wanted to go with him, but I figured it just wasn't going to work.  I had made a commitment to my sisters, and I was going to stick with it.  For a little bit, it looked like Cory wasn't even going to be able to go because he needed to watch the kids, but at the last minute Mae Mae stepped in and said that she would watch them so Cory was able to go.  He sent me texts all throughout the game to let me know how they were doing. 

Then, Friday at work, Cory's coworker told him that he had two extra tickets to the Utah football game Saturday night and asked if we wanted to go.  We talked about it and decided that if Cory left Pocatello as soon as Anthony's football game was over and I met him downtown we would make it to the game just barely in time.  It was amazing the way it worked out.  He made it on to the trax station to meet me just before the Trax pulled in.  We had been apart all day, and I was amazed at how much I missed him. 

We rode Trax from the last park and ride station downtown up to the stadium, and it was PACKED.  I really don't think they could have fit one more person on that train.  We made it to the stadium, got inside, found our seats.. or so we thought.  We ended up in the wrong section and had to move about ten minutes in to the game.  We decided we didn't want to have to climb over everyone to get to our seats we were supposed to be in, so we waited up at the top in the standing room section until the first quarter was over, where we enjoyed some fairly expensive marginally acceptable stadium food.  But, since I had stupidly skipped dinner, it tasted pretty dang amazing to me.

We made it down to our seats at the end of the first quarter, and really enjoyed the rest of the game.  It was pretty much a blowout, with the Utes winning, and it was a completely different experience actually being there.  I love football, and being there with the crowd was amazing.  You really get in to the games, and you can shout and yell and cheer, and your husband doesn't look at you like you're crazy (at least not as much as he does when you are home in bed).

We caught the train down to our car as soon as the game was over, and got off at the station where Cory had parked.  I had left my car at the station by our house and ridden the train out to meet him, so he was going to drive me back to where I had left my car and then I would follow him home.  By now, it was about one in the morning.  And his car wouldn't start.  We've had issues with it in the past, but not in quite a while.  Apparently, driving it up to Pocatello and back in one day was too much for it, and it decided it'd had too much.  But, Cory knows how to work his car, and with a little manipulation and creative banging he got the car started. 

By the time we made it home, I was EXHAUSTED.  I think between last weekend and this weekend, I am realizing more and more that I am NOT young anymore.  I think I need to schedule some down time to recouperate.  I'm not sure I can handle another weekend like this. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jazz Game and Unexpected Sleepover

Cory and I got invited to go to a Jazz game by one of his friends from back home.  She was in town with her husband, and her husband's work had given them four tickets to the Jazz game for while they were down here.  She invited us to go, which involved some last minute scrambling to get a babysitter for Phillip, but Mae Mae said she could do it, and our quiet weekend at home with nothing to do turned in to quite the wild weekend. 

We had been out running errands when we got the message from Amber saying they had extra tickets, and had dinner reservations for P.F. Chang's downtown that they could turn in to a reservation for four.  We hadn't showered or anything, so we ran home and got ready quickly, then drove the car to the Trax station so we didn't have to deal with parking down at the game.  Cory had only ever ridden Trax before when he and Lovely Ex were married and they used to take Michael downtown to ride around the free zone.  It's a little different experience when you're riding with a purpose.  We caught the Trax, made it downtown, and walked the few blocks to the restaurant where Amber and her husband Will were waiting for us.  We made introductions, sat down to order, and many many minutes later we finally got around to ordering.  We did a lot more talking then actually looking at the menus.  We joked around, talked, and got to know each other during dinner, and in the process learned that Amber and Will were here to celebrate their anniversary, and it was their first night out since their little boy was born back in August.  We felt a little dumb crashing their anniversary celebration, but Amber swore it wasn't an inconvenience.  I think if you asked her now, she might change her mind about that statement.

After dinner, we walked to the Jazz game, and realized that there was security and metal detectors in all the doors.  That wasn't going to work for any of us, so we made a little detour back to the hotel to drop off our various weaponry we were carrying that evening, and then went back to the game.  We got inside, found our seats, and watched an awesome game.  It was close the whole time, everyone played great, and the Jazz ended up winning.  When the game was over, we decided we wanted ice cream, so we googled where the closest ice cream place was, and set off walking to get there.  We walked through some pretty questionable neighborhoods (sans weaponry since we had dropped it off) and finally made it to the ice cream shop where we sat around talking some more, and enjoying ice cream and french fries.

When we were done there we headed back to the hotel, talking and laughing the whole time.  It was late at night, and we were all parents up way past our bedtime.  It was fun to be out with adults, and know that there was nothing we had to hurry home for.  Oh, but wait.. there was something.  Remember how we had taken Trax down to the game so we didn't have to deal with parking?  Well, Trax doesn't run all night.  The last train from downtown that went to our stop left at 10:52.  Cory and I both realized this at.. 11:15.  We were stuck. 

Will offered to drive us back to our car and then come back downtown, but we figured we'd already imposed on their anniversary weekend enough.  We weren't quite sure what to do, but after some talking and figuring things, we decided why not just stay downtown and get a hotel room?  And what better place to stay then in the same hotel where Amber and Will were staying?  We walked in to the hotel to see how much a room was, and discovered that we could get a lower price online.  We went over by the fire and I brought it up on my phone and booked the room.  Somehow, that didn't work so well.  The hotel didn't get our reservation and we had to sit down there and wait for almost an hour and a half while they tried to straighten things out with the site I had booked on.  Apparently not too many customer service people work at 11:30 on a Saturday night. 

Amber sat downstairs with us for quite a while until finally Cory told her to go to bed.  I felt horrible.  Not only had we turned their anniversary weekend in to an event for four, but now we were interrupting their last night that they could sleep without having to get up with their baby.  She didn't need to be asked twice.  Cory promised he'd text her as soon as we got a room, and she headed upstairs.  We got some complimentary toiletries from the hotel, and that was all we had.  Nothing to sleep in, nothing to take my makeup off with, that was it.  We went upstairs and Cory and I both laughed when we walked in our room and saw this picture on our headboard behind our bed.  How ironic...  We texted Amber to let her know where we were, and we made plans to meet for breakfast later that morning, in about six hours..  So we got a little sleep, got up and attempted to pull ourselves back together again, and went and met them for breakfast in the hotel's cafe. 

After all that was done, Will and Amber did end up giving us a ride back to our car while they were on their way to a store before heading out.  I think they were both pretty done with us by that time.  We'll see if they ever invite us out with them again.  Apparently, my knack for ruining special occasions has expanded from just Cory to everyone.  Look out people, you never know where I'm going to strike next. 


Monday, October 1, 2012

Romantic Getaway (Involving a Gun)

Cory and I got the chance to go away for a weekend without the kids, something that doesn't happen a whole heck of a lot lately.  Cory's nephew Mat and his cute wife Kaitlyn were coming down from Washington to spend some time with the family, and we decided we wanted to try to get up there and see them while they were so close.  Normally it's quite a few hours (like 13 maybe?) for us to get to go see them, and we knew there was not a good chance we were ever going to make it there. 

We were able to take Friday off work, and arranged for Mae Mae to pick up the kids from my parents' house after school, so as soon as we got the kids off to school we headed up.  It was nice to just get to relax on the drive up there.  Normally we are leaving after work so we have to hurry and drive before it gets too late, or we have the kids with us and there is that internal clock that says we have to hurry and get there before Phillip completely loses it.  We definitely took our time getting up there.  We did all the things we think about doing, or say someday we should do, because this time we had time.  We stopped and got snacks for the trip up there, stopped at Reed's Dairy in Idaho Falls for some awesome ice cream, stopped at the falls, and stopped at a few lookout points just to see the pretty view. 

By the time we got up there, the boys and Kaitlyn were all out shooting guns.  Cory immediately set out to find them, and I (being the chicken that I am) stayed in the house.  They came back about fifteen minutes later because it had started to rain, and we all sat around the living room comparing guns.  I grew up being scared of guns.  We didn't have them around growing up, and all I knew about them was they were dangerous and they could kill people.  Cory has been working very hard on me to get me more comfortable with them, and learning how to safely handle them, and a couple weeks ago he actually got me to touch ours.  Just touch it.  And then I promptly cried.  It's such a fear of mine. 

I was very uncomfortable with all the guns being out and around, and I think it was kind of obvious to the boys.  Mat took apart his gun so I could see there was no way that it could shoot, and handed the remaining skeleton of the gun to me.  It took a lot to get me to hold it, but I did, and I think Cory was proud.  Mat and Cory showed me how everything inside the gun worked, and all the different safetys that are on it to keep it from being fired when you aren't ready, and then he put it back together and had me hold the complete gun.  I held it for a few minutes, it was a lot heavier than I imagined, and then said "I'm done" and gave it to Cory.  We went outside and had dinner around the fire, went inside and watched Jon Reep (hilarious!) and then came home and went to bed.  I knew the plan for the next day was to go shooting.

I woke up with the intention of not going shooting.  I didn't want to be a chicken and stay home by myself, but I really wasn't comfortable going with everyone and all the guns.  Cory's sister Jana came to play with us (the awesome badass that she is, she's seriously my idol) and something inside me clicked.  I wanted to maybe try to shoot our gun.  I talked to Cory about it, talked privately to Jana about it, and talked to Cory's brother Troy a little about it.  We decided for everyone's safety to go over all the rules before we set out.  Then we all got in the van and headed out.  The first few places we tried were all too busy for us to shoot, and for a second I got hopeful that I wouldn't have to actually do it.  Then we found a place.  I got nervous, and almost knocked myself out getting out of the car. 

We got everything set up, and Jana pulled me aside with our gun to do a little play shooting, no bullets, just getting used to the process and how to hold the gun.  She had me do a few air shots, and then Troy took me over to show me how to load the gun.  We got it all loaded up, and just knowing the time was now made me start to get nervous.  Troy took me up to the shooting line, and everything crashed down on me.  He was standing there giving me instructions, and my head went all cloudy.  I took a step back and immediately started to cry.  I felt like such a wimp.  Not only is Cory's family all gun enthusiasts and grew up around guns, but Kaitlyn (the little thing that she is) was handling the guns like a pro.

They got me all calmed down, told me I didn't have to do it if I didn't want to, and Cory told me he was proud of me for how far I had already come this weekend, and I didn't have to shoot it if I didn't want to.  I told them I was so close, I wanted to just shoot it once.  I took the gun, came up to the line, went through all my pre-shot stuff, and slowly squeezed the trigger.  It surprised the heck out of me when I saw the smoke come out of the back and felt it jump in my hand.  Honestly, I don't remember the few seconds after that.  Looking back, I remember Cory taking the gun away from me, and I'm so glad he did because I was not even aware of it at that point I was shaking so bad.  I got hugs from everyone and was so proud of myself, and then realized, not one single person had gotten a picture of it.   So of course I had to do it again.

I decided I wanted to try Troy's little .22 that he has, so he took me back to the truck and watched me load it up, took me up to the line, and I fired off all six shots.  I anticipate way bad, and I'm a horrible shot, but I did it.  Getting over that fear was one of the greatest feelings in the world.  Cory is already talking about taking me shooting again, and I definitely do need to get more comfortable with our gun.  If I'm going to be capable of using it to defend myself and my family, I need to know what I'm doing and be able to do it under pressure.  I definitely feel safer now, and it just goes to prove it's never too late to conquer your fears.
 

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Waiting Game

It seems like a good majority of our marriage so far has been spent waiting for something in regards to court.  Whether it's my divorce, Cory's divorce, garnishment proceedings, or whatever the case may be, I feel like we are getting way too familiar with the whole legal process.  I'm not sure if the waiting just seems worse this time, because this is the judgment we've been working towards for years and it has the possibility to drastically change our lives, but it seems like we've been waiting forever.

We had court on June 15th.  We were given two weeks to get our paperwork in to the court on what our findings of fact were, and what we were asking the court to consider changing.  We missed the deadline by a week.  Which, I figure, was pretty understandable seeing as how we had Cory's kids for the next two weeks after court, and neither of us wanted to be focusing on court paperwork during the time the kids were here.  We reviewed and revised things the week after they went home, and our papers were filed correctly the following week.  Lovely Ex and her lawyer were supposed to have two weeks to respond and file their paperwork, and then the judge would make a decision.  It is now September 24th, almost three months past when we filed our paperwork.  Lovely Ex and her lawyer turned in their paperwork.. last week. 

We received the first copy of the paperwork about three weeks ago, and it reads like a really bad work of fiction.  Her lawyer had even gone so far as to put in amounts that he stated they had already been awarded judgment on that were more than double what the amounts actually are.  He accused Cory of everything under the sun, none of which had been addressed in the evidentiary hearing, and none of which was relevant to what we were fighting over.  It was all just a character assassination.  So then we had to go back to them and had them change the parts of the papers that were wrong.  Then, they filed them incorrectly so they "got lost" in the system.  So that took another week or so for them to be found and filed correctly.

We finally received word from our lawyer's office last week that both sets of papers have been filed and they were in the process of submitting for a decision from the judge.  Once that step is done, the judge will take both papers and review them and make his final decision.  It's seriously like waiting for Christmas.  There have been so many things Cory and I have been putting off doing or getting because the money just hasn't been there, and it's so frustrating that it's still just out of reach.  We are hoping to hear back from him within a month or so.  I can't wait.  Let's hope it's something good. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ash and Soot Everywhere

I really wish I could figure out some way to direct Phillip's desire and ability to get in to things towards a good result.  It seems like no matter what we do to prevent him from getting to things, if it's something he really wants he will find a way.  Today, it was the soot in our wood burning fireplace downstairs in the playroom.  He got in to it the first time, and I took him upstairs, cleaned him up, and Cory wrapped duct tape around the handle and the holes to keep him from getting in to it. 

Twenty minutes later, he was in to it again.  Another shower, more tape, and we tried again.  After the third time, we put him in his room to keep him away from the fireplace.  I just went in to check on him, and he found a hole in the drywall.  He was sitting on his floor chomping on a piece and cried when I tried to get it away from him.  I'm not sure what else to do with him at this point.  It's reached a level where I'm pretty sure we're going to be better off just buying the house instead of trying to repair all the things he's damaged in it.  I'm so done today. 



He sure is lucky he's so cute.  I love his little face as he tries to process what's all over him.  I sure love this little boy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tiny Celebration

Teeny tiny celebration today.  I'm not sure if I mentioned in my post about the most recent court date we had in Cory and Lovely Ex's divorce that one of the issues we were fighting on was her providing insurance on the van that we are paying on.  In the divorce papers, it says that all the debt that they had while they were married was Cory's, and that included the loan payments on the van that Lovely Ex got in the settlement.  Well, because she had failed to provide insurance on the van, the bank was adding their own insurance on to the van at a rate of $1500 a year.  Two years worth of insurance had been added, plus interest.  Finally about December of last year, Cory and I talked to our insurance agent and got a storage policy on the van just so we could stop paying the bank's insurance rates while we tried to fight it out in court over who should pay what. 

Well, in court, Lovely Ex provided in her documentation copies of her insurance cards for the policies that she has had on the van for the last two years.  Why it took us taking her to court for it I'll never know, but it was exactly what we needed to get the bank to add the amounts back to our loan.  It took multiple phone calls and multiples of hours on hold and the help of one very special friend, but we finally got everything straightened out.  We got the letters from the bank today that they are crediting us for the full amount that they had charged for the insurance, which decreases the amount of our loan by over $3000!.  I just did the calculations, and with our current kickass interest rate, and the payment amount that we are currently making, we will have the loan completely paid off in less than two years.  Add that to the reduced child support amount that we are hoping comes through any day now, and we should be completely out of debt by the time the van is paid off.  At that point, all of our money can go towards a down payment on a house, and then getting a vehicle that is actually big enough to fit our whole family in it at one time.  No more having to take two cars everywhere every time we have Cory's kids with us.  It was a great surprise, and a perfect way to begin the weekend.  I am so happy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It Was A Full Moon..

Full Moons didn't scare me growing up.  I figured superstition was all a bunch of hookey and that there wasn't much to any of that.  It wasn't until I started working at a restaurant when I was 19 that I really started to notice the connection between full moons and crazy stuff happening.  If something crazy happened, chances were pretty good that there was a full moon involved.  The night the soda machine caught on fire.. twice, the night the hose came unplugged from the ice machine and flooded the kitchen, the night the ceiling caught on fire, and the night Katrina and I thought we were getting robbed were all full moons.  If I would have known this weekend was going to involve a full moon, I would have stayed home. 

The weekend craziness started about three thirty Friday morning with Phillip waking up and trying to crawl in to bed with Cory and me.  That is extremely odd for him.  Normally if he is up, he's running around and going a million miles an hour.  The kid does not hold still.  About five thirty, Cory got up with him so that I could get some sleep.  He came back in about ten minutes later with a puke covered Phillip.  He had thrown up all over Jana's couch and rug.  This kid does not throw up.  EVER.  The only other time he has ever thrown up was when he was really sick with strep about two years ago and I thought he was going to die.  We got him and the living room cleaned up and I went back to bed.  Again, Cory came in about ten minutes later saying he had thrown up again.  So we cleaned him off again, and I gave up on going to bed.  He threw up two more times that morning, and after some deliberation we decided that we'd try taking him over to Mikelle's house where he would stop throwing up on Jana's things and we could put him in the basement playroom and just hose it off it he threw up.  He didn't throw up again..

Then, on the way home from Idaho, Cory was driving and we were behind a red SUV of some sort.. something smaller but I didn't pay attention to the kind.  Traffic started slowing down ahead of us, and Cory started slowing down, as did the truck and trailer next to us, but the SUV didn't slow down.  In what had to be the longest 20 seconds of my life, the driver slammed on his brakes at the last second, pulled hard to the right, went up on two wheels, swerved back to the left, fishtailed a bit, swung completely around so they were facing us, and slammed in to the guard rail on the other side of the freeway.  I swear the earth stood still for just a moment.  I was completely sure I was going to see someone die at the end of all that.  It could have gone so much worse.  The car in front of the SUV that they would have hit had three little kids in the back seat.  There was no one in front of the truck/trailer next to us, and if he hadn't have slowed down he would have been right in the SUV's path.  The SUV very possibly could have flipped or hit someone else.  I was shaking for about twenty minutes afterward, and I wasn't even driving.  We pulled off at the next exit for everyone to calm down and be able to drive again. 

Finally, late Monday night after we got home, we had the kids in bed and were just getting ready to go to bed when we heard brakes squeal and really loud BOOM.  Cory grabbed his cell phone and ran outside, and I followed staying closer to the house so I could keep an eye on the kids.  At the end of the street I could see a lot of smoke, a lot of dirt, and the tail end of a car.  There were a lot of people running around, and it was hard to see what exactly had happened.  Apparently, a few teenagers were driving down the main street that our street feeds in to, and decided at the last second to turn right on to our street.  They were driving too fast, and slammed through the cinderblock retaining wall that separates the house on the corner from the busy street.  They demolished the family's garden, almost going far enough to hit the house.  The three teenagers then got out of the car and walked away, leaving it there, and the car caught fire.  Some of the neighbors chased down the driver and made him come back, but the other two in the car never returned.  It was a crazy ending to a very crazy weekend.  I almost didn't want to get out of bed and go to work today.  Next time there is a full moon, I'm refusing to leave the house. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I Said I'd Never Do This...

I have blogged a few times about Lexie's hair.. It's a bit of a challenge.  We normally have to chemically treat the crap out of it in order for it to begin to do anything I want it to do.  We have permed it, chemically straightened it, etc for the last few years.  This year we chemically straightened it twice, and the second time something went drastically wrong.  I'm not sure if her hair was just weak, or the stuff we used was extra strong, but her hair started breaking off all over her head.  She had huge spots in the back where the hair had completely broken off.  As it grew back, it began to stick up in various places, much like a toddler when they cut their own hair.  You have these funky pieces that you just don't know what to do with.  Well that's how her hair was..  all over the back of her head. 

Mikelle had told me a few times previous to "the incident" that Lexie would look really cute with short hair.  Lexie wanted short hair.  The only one who didn't want short hair was me.  Only the people who actually knew me growing up know how I feel about short hair.  Well, I am now sharing my pain with the blogosphere so you all understand how much I HATE short hair. 

My mom had my hair cut in the standard seventies bowl cut pretty much my whole childhood.  The kind of haircut you would see on a lot of the little... boys... when I was growing up.  I am quite a "masculine" girl anyway.  No one has ever described me as "dainty" or "feminine".  I hung out with boys.  I dressed like a boy.  My third grade teacher thought I was a boy.. literally.  She called me Johnny and though my name was just a unique way to spell it.  I was way too shy to correct her, so I kept answering to it.  I was traumatized by my hair and continued to be teased about it well in to middle school.  You think I'd have learned my lesson. 

The summer before my junior year I went to stay with Mikelle down at BYU where she was going to school.  She had finished her cosmetology school and was earning extra money by doing hair, and her hair and her roommate's hair were both cut in this really cute, short style that I absolutely loved.  I told her I wanted the same haircut, and she jumped on the opportunity.  I went from having hair in the middle of my back to having hair above my ears.  The problem was, I was not nearly as good at doing my hair as they were, and I ended up looking.. like a boy.  Again.  This time, it earned me the nickname "Butch" which stuck until after I graduated high school, and led again to a gentleman on our family vacation calling me "young man."  At seventeen years old.  That was THE END of short hair for me. 

Needless to say, I had panic attacks every time Mikelle talked about cutting Lexie's hair off.  I did not want her to be teased the way I was.  Of course, you think by now I'd have learned my lesson, Mikelle knew exactly what she was talking about.  We all went up to Idaho for Labor Day to get haircuts, and I realized there was absolutely nothing else to do but cut all her hair off.  It looks stinkin adorable.  She has the perfect hair for it, and all the annoying little places in the back where she has all of her cowlicks and everything work perfectly with her new haircut.  She loves it, I love it, and I'm so glad we ended up doing it.  Lesson learned, Mikelle is a hair genius. 

She went from this:

 
To this:


To THIS:

 
 
And I think she looks completely adorable.
 


Friday, August 17, 2012

Ward Campout: Mommy Style

I will be the first to admit I am not a very "outdoorsy" person.  I hate bugs, I get sunburned easier than most people, I don't sleep well on the ground, all the things that would make camping a not very fun experience.  There are certain things about camping I love though.  Enough that there are times I just want to go camping.  It's been quite a while since I have gone, and I have never taken the kids.  I think Lexie would do well, and would love it, but Phillip would be quite a challenge.  Not only is there his love of eating all things found in nature, keeping him safe around the fire would be a challenge, and I have this severe fear of him escaping from the tent in the middle of the night.  He can be so sneaky, and he's WAY too smart for his own good. 

We started hearing about the ward campout about a month ago, and figured that might be a good time to try camping with the kids for the first time.  We'd have a ton of people around us who know Phillip and know his situation.  They'd be able to help us keep an eye on him.  Plus, we'd be camping with a bunch of friends.  We decided to try it.  We started talking about plans on how to do our best to keep him safe, and all the stuff that we would need to get together before we went camping, and then the night of the campout came. 

I had a really rough day at work, we hadn't gotten anything together that we would need to go camping, Phillip had been really rough the last few nights, and I just wasn't feeling up to going camping.  I knew both Lexie and Cory would be disappointed.  Lexie had been looking forward to it all week, and Cory LOVES camping.  It was going to be a hard sell to not go.  Cory understood my reasoning behind it, and he was ok not going.  Lexie needed some bribery.  I think the main reason she had wanted to go camping was a) because she had never been, and b) Mae Mae bought her a pink one person tent awhile ago and she's been dying to try it out. 

I used that as my bargaining tool.  I told her if we went camping she wouldn't be able to use it because she'd need to be in the tent with us.  But if we stayed home she could set up the tent in the living room, we could rent a couple of movies for her, and she could have a picnic in her tent and stay up later.  She bought it.  We set up the tent, rented her a couple movies she's been wanting to see, and she got to stay up about two hours past her bedtime.  Then we moved the tent up in to her room and she got to sleep on the floor, in her tent, in her sleeping bag.  I think that's really all she wanted out of camping.  She is one happy camper tonight. 



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dang Vandals

Cory and I were going to bed last night when we heard a loud BOOM from outside our house.  Neither one of us thought very much of it.  There are loud cars that drive pretty dang fast up and down our street outside at all hours of the night.  One of the benefits of living on a street that feeds right in to a main street.  We figured one of them had hit a box or something in the street and weren't too concerned.

Well, they hit a box all right, but that box happened to be attached to a post in our front yard.  Our mailbox.  Apparently as they were driving by they threw a basketball at it and the plastic post that it was on totally shattered.  The actual mailbox was ok, but there was no saving the post.  Cory didn't realize any of this until after I was asleep, and he called the cops and had to wait for them to show up and file a report so it was pretty late by the time he finally got to bed.  He's a pretty tired boy today.  The cop said that they have had multiple incidents of this over the last week or so.  Apparently school needs to start to give the teenagers around here something to do. 

We got a new post for it, wood this time which will hopefully be harder to break, and after some slight struggles getting it in it looks great.  Cory was talking to a few of the neighbors about it, and the girl who lives next door to us was out in the front yard when it happened.  She said they were going really fast and she didn't get much of a description of them.  It makes me sick that this all happened when it was still early enough for kids to be outside.  With how fast they were going, if one of those kids happened to be in the street they wouldn't have been able to stop.  I'm glad our mailbox was the only thing that got hurt.  The neighbor across the street from us said that his mailbox has been hit three times in the five years they've lived here.  Cory wants to rig our new mailbox with skunk spray and fireworks.  I'm half tempted to let him. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Surprise!

We got an interesting call this afternoon..  Lovely Ex called while we were fixing some things around the house.  Cory almost didn't answer the phone not that I blame him but he finally did, and first thing she said was "Are you in Utah?"  Cory said yes, and she said they were on their way back from vacation and would be stopping in Utah in about three hours, and did he want to see the kids.  Uhm, yes?  He asked her why she couldn't give him more notice than that, and she said they were going to fly home, but at the last minute they decided to drive so they would be coming through.  So we agreed to see them, and she said she'd call when they got close so he could come get them.  They would be here between three thirty and four thirty.  So we finished up around the house, got ready, and waited for them to call. 

Finally, about four thirty, Lovely Ex called and said they would be at the parking lot by her house in about half an hour, and Cory could come pick them up there.  Cory told her that it would be easier if she could drop them off closer to our house, since anywhere they would be coming from would take them down the freeway that is about ten minutes from our house.  She said that wouldn't work because she needed to go get the key to her house from the people who were keeping it and she only had half an hour to get there.  So, Cory headed out to go get them.  He picked them up, brought them home, and since today is my oldest's birthday and it's tradition to always go to McDonalds for his birthday, we took the kids with us and all had dinner at McDonalds, even though my oldest wasn't with us.  Hey, it's tradition. 

So the kids played and ate and we enjoyed having some fun together, and then Cory went and took them back to her.  It was a very short visit, but we'll take what we can get.  It amazes me though how stupid Lovely Ex thinks we must be.  Either that, or she really is stupid.  When Cory went to go get the kids, he said she was in her car from California..  if they were originally planning on flying home, how were they going to get the car there?  Also, we asked the kids where they went on their vacation and Michael said they were at the lake house, their house here.  He said they had been sleeping there for five nights.  I really honestly think that she had something to do tonight and just needed a babysitter.  We're grateful we got any kind of a visit, but if it comes out that she was here this whole time and Cory only got to see his kids for three hours, we are going to have some pretty good evidence to use against her in court next time.  I really don't think she thinks of these things.. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baby Teeth: The Saga Continues

About a year ago, I posted this post about Lexie's teeth and the trouble we were having with them.  To recap, she was born without two of her permanent teeth and her baby teeth needed some help to keep them in as long as possible until she's old enough to do implants.  We spent quite a bit of time at the dentist's office having him put two TINY little crowns on her baby teeth to help protect them and make them look like permanent teeth.  It was fairly expensive, fairly tedious, and not my idea of how to spend a day.  But, they looked great and she was happy with them. 

Fast forward about a year and a half, and we are having issues.  The crowns that the dentist put on her were peeling off her teeth.  Literally.  It started with her left tooth.  She had a little hole in it, right at the top of her tooth, and food would get stuck in it all the time.  I told her to brush it really good so it wouldn't hurt her baby tooth underneath, and we'd just see how it went.  So she brushed it really well and about two weeks later that little hole had turned in to a big hole that you could see her baby tooth through.  So I called her dentist and was told that they had problems with those crowns not being sturdy and they would replace them at no charge, but the soonest he would be able to see her was in two weeks.  Two days later, the crown completely peeled off her tooth.  I had forgotten how little her baby teeth were, plus they had been drilled a little bit so the dentist could fit the crowns on.  She had this tiny little nub, and couldn't eat anything because her tooth was hurting her.  This was on a Saturday of course, so her dentist wasn't open.  I considered it an emergency so I called the dentist anyway, and was informed by the answering machine that he was out of town and would return in a week, but there was another dentist who would be seeing patients with emergencies.

Cory and I talked about it a bit, and we figured if we were going to have to go to a different dentist anyway we wanted to go to the dentist who handled Cory and I.  We had been talking for a while about switching the kids over to him now that they are a bit older (Lexie's dentist is a pediatric dentist) but hadn't decided officially.  I called him and got his cell phone number from his answering machine, took a deep breath, and called his cell phone.  I got his voicemail, and left a message about what was going on.  He called me back five minutes later and we discussed everything.  He told me that there is dental glue in the grocery store and I could go get some and just glue it back on.  I told him that there was nothing left of the crown to glue back on, it had completely peeled off in pieces.  He told me that there was no question then, we had to get her in to get it replaced right away.  He said he could meet me at his office, and did I want to do it now or was I comfortable waiting until later.  I told him I could wait and he said he was "going to finish the movie he was at with his family" and he'd meet me at his office at seven, and hour and a half later. 

So Lexie and I went and met him at his office, which he opened just for us, and I watched as he carefully matched the color of her other teeth and fabricated her another tooth, taking time to try it on her tooth and shape it about five times until it was just right, and then he glued it in.  He took a look at her other tooth and told me that one was coming off also and did I want him to replace the other one.  I felt bad that we had already taken up so much of his time and had to cut in to his Saturday and told him we had an appointment with her dentist in a week, and he had told us he'd be able to replace it for us.  Where they were his crappy crowns I wanted him to take responsibility for it.  He told me that the crown that he had put on should be good and that the dentist shouldn't need to replace it.  I told him I hadn't had a chance to check with our insurance to see what they would cover, and he told me not to worry about it, he wouldn't charge us anything.  I told him I wanted him to get paid for coming in and doing the work, and again he told me he would make sure we didn't have to pay anything, and we could talk about it later.

So we went home and went to bed, and a week and a half later we had her appointment with her official dentist.  We got her in there, and the dentist peeled up what was left of her other crown and replaced it with another prefabricated crown, this one not plastic.  They numbed her up and gave her laughing gas and all that other expensive stuff, and the crown looked great.  Then he turned to me and said "we're only going to charge you half price for this one because the last one was defective."  What!?  I was told on the phone that I wouldn't be charged for it, our insurance won't cover any of it because they only cover a crown once every five years, and he's going to make us pay out of pocket for a defective crown that HE put on. Oh, I was NOT happy.  But, because I'm nonconfrontational, I didn't say anything.  I figured we'd wait and get the denial back from the insurance and see if they actually sent us a bill before we freaked out on them.  Cory got an earful though.  He's so patient with me. 

So, now Lexie has mismatched teeth, but at least they are both protected.  We'll see how long we can keep these on.  Oh the fun we get to have with her genetics. 


Monday, July 2, 2012

Our Love Story Must Be GREAT!


The way I figure it, the better the love story, the better the villain, right?  So if Cory and my love story has three and a half villains I figure Shades is only a half then our love story must be one of the best.  We've had the discussion a few times that our life would be really pretty boring without Lovely Ex, Delinquent Ex, Shades and Parole Violation Barbie to liven things up.   

We had dinner tonight with Delinquent Ex and PVBIt was not something I was looking forward to.  I posted quite a while ago about how blessed I was that they had broken up because it meant my kids were protected from her.  Well, apparently, them breaking up and her attacking him was not a serious enough act for them to stay broken up and they got back together a month later.  Maybe it's just me, but if someone broke my nose and tried to bite my ear off it would take quite a while, if ever, for me to want them back in my life.  But, I can't make his decisions for him.

Delinquent Ex wrote a letter to my lawyer about a month ago letting her know that I was not complying with the arrangements that we had made in court and asking her to please remind me that I needed to follow the order.  That was it.  No specifics as to what I wasn't following, no motions filed, just a letter to my attorney.  Which she then had to forward on to me.  Which she then charged me fifty bucks for her to copy it, file it with the court, and send me a copy of it.  I was a little peeved.  I sent him very not very nice text asking him to be a man next time he has an issue and address me directly instead of being a little (not very nice word) and going behind my back and talking to my lawyer.  I was having a hard enough time supporting the kids without any support from him without me having to pay my lawyer to forward me a letter.  Apparently, he didn't like me using that word to describe him and what followed was one of the worst fights we've ever had.  We did not fight when we were married, and now I am used to dealing with a person who has decency and common sense.  I got frustrated when he wouldn't listen to me and said some things I probably shouldn't have said.  Not that I don't feel them and I don't regret saying them, but they really didn't help the situation.  Cory actually had to leave the room. 

Once we calmed down and were able to talk civilly again, he told me that he was upset he wasn't getting the visitation he was given in the divorce papers, and he was mad that I wouldn't let PVB see the kids.  At this point, I was under the assumption that they were still broken up.  He informed me that they had been back together for about six months and he had forwarded all of her compliance paperwork from her parole officer and drug court to my lawyer which she then charged me again to forward on and he wanted to make arrangements for her to see the kids.  I immediately told him that was not happening, but then after I had a chance to think about it for a few days and he threatened me with court again I decided that the judge probably wouldn't agree with me and I would get in trouble again.  Not to mention then I would have to pay my lawyer AGAIN.  So we set up the dinner tonight to reintroduce her to the kids.  I would really love to say that there was some huge issue and she won't be seeing them again, but no such luck. 

They both seemed to do really well with the kids.  I think she is disgustingly trashy and I cringed every time she touched one of the kids, but they didn't seem to be too bothered by her.  She is very fun, she got up in the play place and was running around with Lexie.  She seemed ok around Phillip.  Not too comfortable, but it'll be awhile before they can take him for any visitation anyway.  I finally realized that yes, he may not be the most competent person for me to leave in charge of the kids I would rate him as a fairly mediocre babysitter but he loves them and I know he would never do anything to hurt them on purpose.  I know that sooner or later I'm going to have to give in and let them take her for a little while, and it'll be much cheaper for me to not have the courts involved.  So, they are taking her for about ten hours on Wednesday to do dinner and fireworks for the 4th.  I'm sure she'll survive, I'll just give her a REALLY good shower as soon as she gets home.