Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mission Call!

I just realized that I never blogged about Carter's mission call!

Carter's official mission picture, which we included with the paperwork when he applied.

First we must begin with the story of the Prom invite.
Prom is coming up fairly soon and Carter really screwed up at homecoming and never officially asked his girlfriend to go.  They still went but he felt kind of bad about how he bungled the invitation.
Bungled isn't really the right word...FAILED is more appropriate.
Anyway, he wanted to ask his girlfriend to Prom 
and not wait until the last minute and also do a good job.
So we came up with the idea of asking her when she was here to see him open his mission call.
He wrote up a prom invite that looked like a mission call 
but instead "called" her to go to Prom with him.
Then, when his mission letter arrived (he was at work), I steamed it open and inserted the Prom letter.

No I did not peek at his call when I did this.
(I know everyone wonders about that)

So when he opened his mission call, with everyone watching, the first thing he pulled out was this prom letter.  He looked at it and said, "This is for you, Harley"
Everyone was pretty confused.
Some of his friends were thinking that it was a new thing to include a letter in the mission call telling prospective missionaries not to have girlfriends when they leave.
Anyway, she read the letter and it was cute and funny.


His letter arrived on Monday, March 21st.

Frank happened to be out of town that week so we knew he would be missing the mission call opening.  It was kind of sad, but he knew Carter didn't want to wait til the end of the week to open a letter that came on Monday.  So we set up Skype with Frank.  We also had two of Carter's friends from Massachusetts on Google Hangouts as well as Amber in Alaska.  We called Branden on the phone who was at work in Alaska as well.  Plus we had some neighbors, friends and family here at the house.  It was mayhem.  We also wanted to get Austin on the phone but with all the chaos it just didn't happen so we filled him in later.

Frank later said that he had a hard time hearing and that next time he wants to be here.  
Since Carter is our last kid, that "next time" isn't going to happen.
Poor Frank.
I did tell him that he will definitely be around for the next mission call that comes because it will likely be ours!  But that's a few years away yet.

I had put up a world map in our kitchen for people to guess where Carter was going.  Everyone had a fun time writing in their guesses.  I wrote in various guesses that were sent in through Facebook and text.

Carter and I had a running joke that I thought he was going to Boise, Idaho.
It was just my way of reminding him that it doesn't matter where you go!
You are going to do the Lord's work, it's not a vacation.

So it was only fitting that I write this guess of mine on the map.

He opened the call and will be serving in
Fukuoka Japan!

The first thing my sister said to me was, "A first world country!"
haha yes, indeed that is a good thing for a worrying mom.

We still have a lot of preparing to do before he leaves on June 22:
Clothes to buy, passports and visas to get, and hopefully some practicing of the Japanese language as well!
I will not be helpful on that last one.

We did have several correct guesses for where he would be called, one of which was my young nephew, Randy, who was here at the opening. 
I wish I had thought to buy a prize.

I failed to take any pictures during the event.
There was just too much going on I guess.
I'm annoyed that I forgot though...
I had both of my other boys pose with their mission calls after they opened them and totally spaced it with Carter.

My brother took a few pictures of the people as they waited for us to get started.

Don't they all look super excited?

We are very happy that Carter has chosen to serve a mission for our church, 
We know that he will change and learn a lot, serve the people of Japan and grow to love them, and share the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


My adorable little Honda Fit is apparently a death trap.

Well, we do refer to it as a tin can,
and assume that it wouldn't be the best car to have an accident in since it's so small.
So we've never considered it to be the ultimate in driving safety...


this week I got a letter informing me that my car has a safety recall.
The airbag can inflate with too much force, causing it to burst, which in turn causes metal shards to go sailing into the body/face/head of the person in front of it.
Which, as you might imagine, poses the threat of injury and/or death.

The letter informed me that people have already been injured and killed by this flaw.


The letter that informed me of this wonderful news
also told me that the repairs would be available Summer of 2016.


I have a problem with waiting until the summer to fix a problem that might kill me between now and then.

So hubby called the dealer and tomorrow we will pick up our new loaner car.
We don't yet know what kind of car it will be
Hubby is hoping it will not be a Fit.
Driving the Fit apparently injures his feeling of manliness.
It might be the color or the cute little flower on the side or perhaps just the size.
 I'm not sure.

I have never had a car accident (as the driver)
and I certainly don't want to have my first car accident
and die from shrapnel wounds!

So, I say a fond farewell to my little death trap 
until we meet again
when she is all fixed up and safe(ish) again.

Here she is, sitting in my driveway, just waiting to kill me.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Backyard Project Part II

The Fence

Construction on the fence is well under way over here.
We are working with our backyard neighbors to take down the old chain link fence and put up the new wood fence using the existing poles.
The back of the yard with the chainlink
The funny thing is that, as we work on this project, we are spending more time all out there together.
walking into each other's backyards since there is no fence,
their kids are coming into our yard and swinging on our swingset and playing in our sand box.
And suddenly I'm thinking that it's too bad we are building a fence that will separate us more completely.

I know that the backyard will look nice with the new wood fence but I sure am enjoying the interaction.
Because we are using existing poles, we can't build a gate, which is what I want now...
but hopefully we can keep interacting now that we are getting to know each other better.
I have told them to please feel free to bring the kids to use our swingset!
I hope they do.

Anyway, back to the fence.

We bought all of the supplies last week and today Frank did the demo of the old fence.
dismantling the chainlink fence
Then Frank and the neighbor starting putting up the cross pieces
(I'm sure there is an actual name for those pieces but I am no fence builder)

They put up one section of fence so that I could give my ok to how it will look.

I think it will look great!

Update: I started this blog on Friday March 18 and today, Saturday, I came home from work to this:
A completed fence!
Frank was out there putting on the stain so I changed into my grubbies and helped.

Also, as I painted that fence I was really missing my little Isabelle.  
I know that if she were still here, I would have handed her a paint brush and she would have helped me and it would have been so much fun.
We definitely would have ruined whatever clothes she was wearing though.

We will probably need a second coat, maybe next weekend.
As for now, I am sitting on my outdoor couch looking at the view.

Time to research what to plant there. 
Or possibly nap.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Backyard project Part I

The formation of the backyard oasis has begun!

First step: the covered patio

I love my covered patio and spend quite a bit of time out there.
But, for some time now, I have wanted some sort of outdoor couch.
Right now all we have is a table and chairs which works for eating dinner and whatnot but isn't a comfy place to just hang out.

So I've been checking stores on occasion and obsessively checking KSL and Craigslist for the perfect outdoor sectional.

We have this perfect little corner just begging for a sectional.

Last week we found a couple of possibilities on KSL so we went and saw them.
The first one was too small.
The second one was just about perfect so we bought it.
And it was even new, in the box!
(I guess it's last year's model so that's why it's being sold on KSL for 1/3 the price. Yay!)

We were so excited to get it set up that, even though it was getting dark, we started getting it all unpacked and trying to set it up.

The catch is that we have a window well right in the way that we had to deal with.
I put an arrow in the picture to show exactly where the window well is...

Frank actually built a platform out of plywood that the couch sits on that makes it perfectly straight and sturdy.
He had to climb into the gross, buggy, spiderwebby window well to do it.
What a guy!

Having a platform with a couch on top of it right on top of the window well does mar the view from the basement window but I can fix that with drapes.
I'd much prefer the couch!

It was too chilly to enjoy the new set up after we got done but we sat on it for a bit anyway.

I just have to make some colorful covers for the pillows and it will be a cute and comfy little area outside.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


My favorite part of my trip to Arizona and back helping my parents bring home their car was, again, the times when I made my parents laugh.

I think I'm funny sometimes but things get really hilarious when you are driving for hours on end and you are tired.

So, these things might not make anyone but me (and Dad) laugh but I still want to remember them.

Backstory:  The day before they left Arizona to come home to Utah, Mom and Dad got a new neighbor in the RV park.  These people had a NICE RV.  Like the latest, greatest version.  Fancy.
And Mom and Dad got to talking with them and found out that these people got an amazing deal on this RV.  They just knew the right people who happened to want to sell their super nice RV for a steal of a price. This super nice RV is only one year younger than my parents' RV.  Anyway, being right next door to that super nice RV that didn't cost much more than his not-as-nice RV was a bit tough on my Dad.
We stopped for lunch during our drive home and during lunch Dad said, "I sort of wish I had never seen that nice RV."
I responded, "Oh. Did it made you love yours less?"
Dad: "I've always loved mine less."

We both looked at each other for a split second.

Aaand....then we just lost it.  

He just said it with such a straight face and it struck me as hilarious.  I laughed and laughed.  And because I laughed and laughed, Dad started laughing.  Then because we were laughing, Mom started laughing.  And we are not talking about the kind of laughing that is ok in we were all three laughing our heads off.  And then we would stop and one of us would start up again.  We went on like this for quite a long time.

Dad was actually suffering from a pretty bad cough at the time so he would laugh and then cough and cough. And then laugh again. Mom kept telling him things like "no more laughing until you are done eating" or "no more laughing when you have a cough".  Which, of course, made us laugh more!

We finally calmed down and Mom asked for the butter for her roll (we were at a Popeye's Fried Chicken).  I handed her the butter and a straw.  She was confused and asked me if I had been using the straw instead of a knife to spread the butter. I said that I had...because I was too lazy to get up and get a knife.  Which, in our tired state, was hilarious.

And we started up again.
Here is Dad, choking and laughing at the same time

Oh man, it was fun to laugh so hard with my parents.

This and That

I don't want to belabor the point
(although I probably will)
but I am a working woman now.
And it appears that this new development in my life has consequences:

I am tired.
I have even less desire to fix dinner than I did before!
(I know...hard to believe)
I am reading more than before.
This is because I am tired and want to lay around after work, so I read instead of doing things like laundry, dishes or dinner.
I am not doing some things I really like to do, like blogging.

But I am determined not to let this job thing take over my life so here I am... blogging.
And dinner is on the stove.
Yes, it's 7 PM and dinner isn't ready yet, but we have to celebrate minor victories.

Here are a few of the things that have happened around here in the last couple of weeks:

My siblings and I worked to get my parents condo organized before their return from Arizona.
They moved from a 4 bedroom home with a basement to a 2 bedroom condo a few years ago, and even though they downsized a lot, they just had more than the condo could comfortably hold.
So there were boxes stacked along the walls and too much in the kitchen cupboards.
This made the place feel like they weren't really moved in and it bothered my mom quite a bit.
So while they were down in AZ for the winter, we decided to get them all moved in.
Our goal: Remove all of the boxes, organize the stuff that was there, and hang pictures that were sitting around the house.
It was a lot of work but it was fun to see it come together.
And both of my parents are really happy with the final result.

There were two goals:
Help mom feel more comfortable.
Make Dad's life easier.

Doneen, working hard!

We emptied every kitchen cupboard and organized.

This is the "worse before it gets better" stage
Dion dismantled the kitchen and began the organization process

We took away a lot of things they never used (or duplicates of things)...
we have them available until we are sure we didn't take something they wanted.
So far Dad says we did well.

We made their bedroom a bit more of a sanctuary.
We hung pictures and mementos.
On the wall beneath the clock are a bunch of bolo ties that my grandpa made so they mean a lot to my mom.

Over the bed we did a photo collage with family pictures.

We put up a shelf so Dad could have all of his model cars out on display.
He loved this.

I made an airplane wall above my Dad's desk.
It looks better in real life because I think I took this picture at a weird angle.
Dad loved this too.

I'm really glad we did this project and I think Mom and Dad are too!


At my house, we decided to start a project in the yard.
We are building a wood fence along the back of the property.
I love my backyard and wanted it to feel more like a get-away, so we are hoping the fence will help with that.
We ripped out a bunch of bushes that line the current chain link fence...they were way overgrown and they drove me crazy.
The problem now is that I have to come up with what to put back there after the fence is done.
You might recall we ripped out the bushes in our front yard last year about this time and I have never replanted there yet.
So Frank isn't sure I can be trusted to do anything but leave a barren strip of dirt...
he might be right.

Ripping out the bushes was a fair amount of work!
Some of the smaller bushes came right out but the larger ones took some muscle!

Frank getting the come-along all set up.

Carter and I working

Carter and Frank working

(Actually I had to dig out a lot of roots after this)

We filled the back of the pickup three times with all the debris!

This last weekend, we bought the fence supplies so that we can start building soon.
We got lucky and everything was on sale too, so it cost half of what we estimated.
So now I am using that "extra" money to look for some outdoor seating so we can take advantage of our backyard retreat when it's done.

Lots more work in our future before we get to that stage though!


When we were doing all of the yard work, I asked Carter climb up into the cherry tree to help me remove an old swing that was tied up there.
He responded that he didn't know how to do that...he had never climbed a tree.
What the heck?
Ok, so all of the trees in our yard in Massachusetts were like 50 feet tall and not really climbing trees, but still...never climbed a tree??
So I told him it was high time he learned and he clambered up.
Climbing trees is a natural skill for boys anyway.

Excuse the terrible pictures.

That old swing had been up there so long that the tree grew around the rope and there are rope marks in the bark.

It was just an old plastic swing that no one ever used and it was an eyesore.
I'm glad to have it gone...and I'm thinking the tree feels the same way.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Fun finds

While we were organizing things at my parents house, we came across this old newspaper clipping.
My Dad had saved it for the article on the other side, but we had a good laugh over this little article on landing a husband that was on the back.
It is from a newspaper from New Zealand in 1958.

Hopefully you can read some of the things listed.

Here are a few:
Take care of your health.  Men don't like girls who are ill.
Don't whine.  Girls who whine, stay on the vine.
If your mother is fat, tell him you take after your father.  If he's fat too, tell him your adopted.
Resist the urge to make him over--before marriage that is!

Another fun find:

We actually found multiples of this item.
We're thinking that Dad found it at some craft fair or something and thought it was funny and bought multiples to give to the grandkids...but never did.

We had a good laugh over it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Well, I finally got a job.
Not the job I had originally wanted but it seems to be working out ok so far.

What did I want?
I wanted to work for the school district as some sort of receptionist/secretary.  I applied for maybe 8 or 9 jobs and interviewed 4 or 5 times I think.  I've lost track.
Every job had a stack of applications.  A big stack.
One of the interviewers told me that he gets tons of applications for any job he posts because all moms want to work while their kids are in school and be home when their kids are at home.
Makes sense.
I tried to make it clear that I, having no children left in school after this year, would not have any of the potential issues like sick kids to keep me home.  Apparently that wasn't enough to make them want to hire me.
I admit that part of the draw to the school district is the fact that I would get weekends, holidays and summers off.
I have had a lot of freedom in the last number of years and I'm quite used to it.

Trip to Alaska? Yes, please.
Drive down to Arizona to help my parents? No problem.
Head up to Northern Utah or Idaho to visit friends? I'm all over it.
Canning for days on end? Yep.

So the thought of having a job that intrudes on my life was hard to get used to.
I know I sound a bit pathetic and spoiled.  What can I say?  I am somewhat pathetic and spoiled.

Another reason I am interested in a school district job is that I just like working with people. I imagine getting to know the other people there and becoming like a family (which is how I felt about my last job...thanks Ink About It!).  I like being friendly.  And I've been to SO many schools where the receptionist/secretary is just NOT friendly.  Why is that?  If you don't like people much, why get a job where you regularly interact with them?  So I want a job where I interact with people.  And I like teenagers/kids so that seemed like a fun perk too.

Anyway, I had two interviews on Friday of last week.
One was for a receptionist job at a middle school.  There were 5 people in the room interviewing me for this receptionist job that pays $8.80/hour.  They did several days of interviews for the one opening. I felt like I did ok but who knows. (PS I got the call today that I wasn't chosen)
The second job interview was for a retail job at a local bookstore.  He offered me the job on the spot.
I took it.  (I figured if I got the school job I would reevaluate my options at that time. Not something I had to worry about, obviously).

I also recently got hired by the school district as a person who helps test kids' ability to read.  This is a job that is temporary (3 weeks long, 3 times a year).  This job sounds fun and pays better than the other jobs but I was hoping for something more regular.  Luckily, the retail job is willing to work around this temporary job so I am doing both. And maybe this job will be a bit of a "foot in the door" of the school district where it seems to help to "know someone".

I get to work with people, though in a different way than I hoped.
The people I work with are very nice so I think that will be good.
And they seem pretty flexible too, so maybe I'll still have some of the freedom I am used to.
I will have to work some Saturdays and summers and some holidays.
Not my favorite.

I have worked two days so far and I work again tomorrow.  Then I have my volunteer job in the Temple that I do every Friday.  So this week, I will "work" 4 days out of 5.
And I am exhausted already!

Someone said that working is similar to working out, in that you get used to it over time and get stronger.  I hope that's true because I'm tired.

I always figured I would get a job when my kids got older...and I've worked part time jobs here and there.
But now I'm thinking about how I am going to be an empty nester in just a few months and will be working from now on.
I really wanted to find that job that would be a career kind of job for me...something I would enjoy for the long term.
I don't think I've really found that yet but who knows.  Maybe I will love these two jobs so much that I will just keep doing both for a long time to come.

I think I will also do some classes or something to spiff up my secretarial skills...for that future job, ya know.  Maybe as a medical receptionist so I can use my nursing vocabulary and knowledge at least a little bit.

Just thoughts I've got pinging around in my head...

Anyway, I am employed!
If you need me, I'll be napping, since it's my day off.