Friday, May 21, 2010

Public Service Announcement

A couple years ago in Utah, they did a huge public campaign on driving with unsecured junk in the back of your truck or trailer.  Like every other commercial on the local stations was about stuff (ladders, couches, mattresses, garbage and everything else} flying off the back of some guy's truck and some other guy running off the road to avoid it OR being smashed by it.  The message got through.

If I were a public servant, I would put out my own campaign.  I already have it ready in my mind...

Miles and miles of traffic backed up...everyone frustrated....5 mph instead of 65 mph....everyone wondering "what is going on up there?"   Cause lets be honest, if you get 3 miles down the road 30 minutes later, and traffic's been slow because of an accident, you let it go.  If, however, you get up a mile and see a sign like this on the left-hand side of the road:

Then you see another one like this:

Then you know that the only reason traffic is backed up for miles is because of idiots who, instead of merging when they see the very first sign...or even the second sign....WAIT until they are all the way up to the very LAST sign and the lane has ended.  So they have to stop, and everyone else has to stop so they can merge.  And the most annoying part is you know that some of them do it just to get ahead in the lane that seems to have no traffic.

SOOO the point to my public service announcement would be:

If you're the idiot guy who waits until the last minute to merge OR if you're the dummy lady who doesn't let anyone merge, YOU'RE the one causing the traffic jam, and thank you very much from the rest of us. :)

Illustration from our last trek to Idaho:

Wow...I feel like I've done a real public least it feels good to have that off my chest. :)  Maybe I'll go out for election next year.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Elephant in the room...

The phrase "elephant in the room" always reminds me of Michael Scott from the office.  It's just one of the things he's said completely out of context.

There's something I am sure you're dying to know, but being the polite blog friends that you are, you'd never ever ask.  It would be weird to asking me how old I am or how much I weigh.

I have had 27 birthdays

and today the doctor said I weigh 156.

Now that THAT'S out of the way, the only thing I have left to tell you (the question you'll never ask) is how much this whole adventure is going to cost to get going and exactly how much we will be cutting our expenses...

So here it is...

Originally we'd budgeted about $12,000 to get started...around $6k each for the trailer and the truck to tow it.  I don't know WHY that was the amount we budgeted...we had NO idea where it would come from.  At the time we made this plan, we had about $0.50 in the bank.  In fact, I feel kind of selfish for not seeing and recognizing this miracle before.  Everything has fallen into place, which makes me believe deeper and deeper that this is the right thing for our family to do right now.  I am grateful for the Heavenly Hand that has held us up.

Anyway, we ended up getting a surprisingly big tax return and spent most of it on our new little home (the little house on the driveway, as my mom once put it...hehe).

1989 King of the Road - 38' 5th Wheel........$4,700

As far as expenses go, there is NO least on paper. :)  I'll let you know how it actually pans out in a month or two. :)  Before we made this decision, our expenses were:

Mortgage: $1080
Gas: $75
Electricity: $75
Trash/Water/Sewer: $50
TOTAL: $1,280

So you can understand where the following numbers are coming from, we plan to live on my mom and dad's property for the summer.  They have an acreage in the country.  One set-up fee there...we did pay $250 for a sewer line to be put in so we wouldn't have to go dump the gray water tanks every 3-4 days.  SO for the summer, we won't have any rent, electricity or water expenses.  At the beginning of September we plan to move back to Utah, where Jeff coaches wrestling.  We'll be there until wrestling season is over in February and they sky is the limit from there! :)  In Utah, we have scoped out a KOA with a monthly parking fee of $350 (I've seen them as low as $250ish) which is where we plan to stay.  SO that's where the numbers are coming from.

Rent: $350 max
Gas: included
Electricity: included
Trash/Water/Sewer: included
TOTAL: $350

That's just including the will stay about the same, so will the gas expense for the car and stuff like that.  There are other expenses, internet and insurance for example, but those won't change much either.  But really...paying 3 times more than we have to just to keep a warm home with hot water and have the garbage picked up...

I think I've said it before, but having super high expenses (or maybe not super high, but out of your reach) is kind of like having a big, heavy something coming down on your head every month.  And you can either let it hit you on the head every month or you can get out from underneath it...and it feels SOOO good to be out! :)

The [much] smaller house feels enormous when I look at the much smaller bills it comes with.  I feel peaceful and happy knowing that all the energy Jeff and I used to put into worrying about how to pay for everything every month, we can now put into each other...into loving and supporting one another.

This is gonna be good.  I feel it more and more every day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

what i learned at brave girls camp

Like I said before, I have been to Brave Girls Camp 3 times so far, and plan to go to as many more as I possibly can.  If I told you what I do at Brave Girls, you might not think it makes sense to want to go.  I mean, I basically spend 12 hours a day for 5 days as one of the staff - caring for, cleaning for and cooking for 35 women.  On the outside, it sounds a little like I'm getting the short end of the stick.  BUT Brave Girls Camp is something incredible.  Being one of the ones to care for and nurture those women is a privilege to me - something I'd never give up.  It's amazing to see how their perspectives they see themselves differently when they leave than when they different we all are, but at the same time how we are SO the same.

Before I go on, let me say I am not a man-hater.  I think men are incredible creatures...I learn more about that from my husband all the time.  BUT since we are talking about women...since Brave Girls is about women, I will say here that I think women are incredible people.  Capable of SO much much love.. so much godliness and grace.  My very favorite part of Brave Girls Camp (and I can't say I won't say another part was my favorite later...I have LOTS of favorite parts), but right now the one that's on my mind is that I learn something HUGE from each person I meet at BGC.  Everyone gives their best and because of that we all take SO much much that it lasts forever and ever and keeps going in my heart for a long time.  Here's what I learned this time...

{Every prayer is heard and answered}

{Sometimes you have to go a long LONG way to find truth...but if you don't stop looking you'll find it}

{Happy faces live on happy people and it shows}

{Sometimes our worst enemies...the ones that tear us down the most...are in our heads.  It is OUR CHOICE to let them tell us how we should be or kick them out}

{Sometimes we have to be brave by just holding on}

{It only takes a few words to make big points and touch hearts}

{Sometimes the strongest, kindest and most powerful are also the quietest}

{Some heartaches never go away...they just don't...we can choose to let it bring us down or build us up.  Building is HARD, but beautiful things come when we choose to let them}

{We ought to stick each each other each other fly}

{If you want to sing out, sing out!}

{People have the power to make anything out of their lives.  Some of the most beautiful lives come from unexpected beginnings}

{Dreams are precious things and should be fought for...things don't always (okay hardly ever) happen just how we want them to, but ALWAYS how they are supposed to}

{Try new things...even things that seem hard at first or don't have to be a 'musician' to sing, don't have to be a 'dancer' to shake it, and most importantly you don't have to be an 'artist' to play with paint}

{Smiles, encouragement and love go a long LONG way...even from strangers}

{Goodness is easy to see in a person's eyes...}

{There's no such thing as 'too sweet'}

{Sometimes friends just need a hand to hold...the best kind of friends are always ready for that}

{The world needs facades...just real, genuine us.  We need it too.}

{All it takes to have incredible friends, is to be an incredible friend}

{Love and service re the keys to a long and happy life}

{Some days it's hard to just put one foot in front of the other...but if we keep trying...keep going....someday we'll look back and see the miles we've come}

{It's okay to be 'closed' for a take time to figure things ponder.  The people who really care are happiest to see you take time for yourself}

{Forgiveness...the REAL kind of forgiveness brings profound peace...leads to deep joy, light hearts, sparkly eyes, and power for good}

{Love is the greatest gift we can give each other...we bless ourselves and everyone around us when we give it freely}

{It's okay if what you want to do with your life isn't what everyone else wants to do with theirs...keep going on your very own path and LOVE IT}

{Happiness is a choice}

{Even incredible people are rarely what they seem to be on the outside...dig deeper for the real treasure}

{We are all just fun-loving, free-spirited little girls in big girl bodies}

{We all want to be understood...nothing is more precious than a listening ear and an understanding heart}

{There's no such thing as 'too happy'}

Love you, Brave Girls!!  Thank you for these and ALL the other lessons you taught me this week - I will never ever forget you! xoxo

what Jackson learned at brave girls camp...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

what IS brave girls camp?

In the last 8 months I have been to 3 Brave Girls Camps and every time I get back I feel like I have a brand new audience to explain it to.  It's hard for me to put into words exactly what it is.  When people ask me, I usually tell them that Brave Girls Camps are "art and life retreats for women".  But that is SO only on the surface.  And since I don't feel like I could ever EVER do it justice, I'm going to let some other people give it a whirl...I feel like I owe it to the people I've tried my hardest to explain it to, and I owe it to the incredible, magical thing that is Brave Girls Club...

First, meet Suzi Blu (  She was at this last BGC.  I'd heard nothing but GOOD things about her from my aunt, Melody, who knows her well.  I had no idea what a free-spirited, fun, loving, creative person I was about to meet.  She teaches video art classes online, and since we've been back, I've watched like 4 of her YouTube Videos (suziblutube is her channel...check it out).  I love her personality and how she doesn't try to hide anything.  She is authentic and 100% Suzi on her videos.  I love will too...just watch...

Second is a video made by Brave Girls Club with interviews from other people who have been there..

This is just the tip of the iceberg so-to-speak.  There is SO much more depth and breadth to Brave Girls Camp that I don't think anyone could ever explain.  The only way to know is to go.  Do it.  You'll love it.

the many faces...

of j.j.m.

In my last post, I mentioned that I have drafted several posts in my mind.  This is not one of them BUT when I was looking through my camera I found SO many funny pictures of the little man I couldn't help myself. :)

{Jackson LOVES to watch movies and will ~mostly~ sit through an entire show.  If ever his car seat happens to be in the house like it was on this day when I had to wash it because he puked all over it, it is his seat of choice.}

 {silly face}

{He thinks it's SUPER cool to hold something in his mouth with no hands.  He's probably right.}

{This face means "you just tried to hand me something and it's not what I want!"  Somebody call the waaambulance...:) }

{The nearest soft thing becomes his pillow whenever we say "nigh night"}

{Happy that he got a hold of the remote, which he knows is off limits.}

{Not sure what this means...certainly not anything happy}

{This one is new...not sure where it came from, but I think I saved the best for last.  It comes with a "shoo-shoo-shoo" sound.}

We sure love this little guy!

So much to say...

I have composed like 18 blog posts in my mind over the last few weeks, but never made it to the computer to get them to you.  I do want to make up for that, and get caught up, so if you're reading this post and think this is it, keep scrolling down - there is more and I am going to put them in under the dates I should have posted them. :)

We spent the last 2 weeks in Idaho.  The plan was to go and spend a week working on our trailer, then we'd go to Brave Girls Camp where I get to go 4 times a year to help cook and take care of the guests.  The weather didn't agree with our plan.  It was windy and rainy the first week, so Jeff couldn't even start on the roof of the trailer.  Luckily for Brave Girls the next week, the weather was just LOVELY.

We are back in Utah now, wrapping a few things up.  I took the "day off" yesterday and rested all day long.  I felt SO tired and not ready to tackle all the things I have to do in order to move and get caught up with all of you.  I feel much better now and maybe even ready to start cleaning everything out for real.

Don't tell the weather man, but the new plan is to go back to Idaho at the end of this week, and we plan to stay there pretty permanently for the rest of the summer.  I say "pretty" permanently because we will be back in Utah to close on our house (probably next month), and for my doctor's appointments and a couple of other things.

Anyway, stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo = Happy Anniversary to Us!

 Happy Anniversary!

Jeff and I were married on Cinco de Mayo 3 years ago.  It's not like getting married on May 5th was something either of us had planned since childhood or just happened to be the day that worked out best for us.  BUT since it worked out that way, we ran with it.

We had mexican food at our luncheon.

And a pinata.

And Jeff wore a sombrero.

We've been celebrating on Cinco de Mayo ever since....though I can't say we've ever had a pinata or a sombrero since the wedding.

This year we thought we'd celebrate in a small way - just going out to dinner  As you know, money has been tight for a while.  We hadn't been out to a nice dinner together for a while.  It was a real treat to go on a real date.

We went to Brick 29...a cozy little restaurant in the basement of an old Masonic temple.

It was lovely.  The food was incredible, the service was great (seriously our waitress brought us our next course as we were finishing the last bites of the last was super-human).  AND as icing on the cake, there happened to be live music that night, which is one of my favorite things.

{Leave it to me to ONLY take a picture of the dessert...and not even be able to wait to take a bite before taking the picture} :)

 {The live music...loved every second of it.  I was too embarrassed to take a picture with get a crappy picture because of it, but I think I did the right thing socially.  My mother would be proud.}

It was nice to sit and talk and eat really good food that I didn't make.  It was really nice to be on a date together and to feel all the feelings that brought us together in the first place.

It was nice not to be distracted by a cute, sweet and demanding little boy and just be able to spend time with my number 1.

We were done with dinner by like 8:30...didn't really know the area or what there was to do.  Didn't want to spend the money to go out to a movie, so we did what old people do and went my mom's house where we were staying.

I can say that this anniversary will go down in history as the most different of them all.  We went home...Jackson was in mom and sisters were in the living room and welcomed us home warmly (as always).  We went into the girls' room where we were staying and saw that Tessa (one of the twins...age 11) had decorated with balloons that said (in her handwriting) "Happy Anniversary".  She also made us a card.  We LOVED it all.  We sat with the girls for a while, watched a little tv, then went to bed in the twins' bunk beds...wonder what next year will be like?  :)

If I were to write a book on how a man should be, I would make Jeff the main character and the 'ideal' for other men to go for.  He is everything a man should be.  He is loving and strong and protective and helpful.  He is fair and helpful and loyal as a friend, a son and a husband.  He never ever laughs at me for my weird ideas...even though I know he doesn't always 'get' them at first.  He makes me feel loved and cherished and honored.  He takes care of all the man jobs in our life.  He always carries the heavy stuff.  He always opens my door.  He holds my hand whenever he can.  I am lucky to share his name and lucky to get to go through life with him.

Yahoo for another anniversary's to 60 more! :)