Sunday, April 10, 2016

It's a girl!

The grand kids got to help announce the gender of the new baby that will be joining our family in August.  That silly string is PINK!

Miss Emma is very excited that a sister is joining the family.

We are finally enjoying some amazing spring days.  There's still snow in the mountains, and we are getting rain showers.  We love living somewhere that is like a 3D postcard each and every day!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Anxiety - Part 3!

It has been such an interesting process figuring out 'life'.  It's something we all do each and every day.  Every person has different experiences that they are working through and different perspectives that they bring to the table - so each and every one of us will have different outcomes.  How I handled my situation that was causing such extreme anxiety in my life may not work for you. 

So - a year plus since my last post on anxiety, and I'm happy to report that I'm doing well!  Let me tell you about that year ----  whew!
  • I quit my job
  • My husband retired from his job 
  • In April we spent three weeks in Utah helping our daughter with a new baby and looking for work and houses
  • Made an offer on a home - it didn't go through
  • The first part of May our house in Missouri sold!
  • We went back to Missouri and finished packing our place up and doing things to the house that had to be be done for the sale to go through
  • Phone & Skype interviews -- that happens when you are 1,000 miles away from where you are trying to find work
  • Lots of emotional good-byes to very dear friends.  Some that we likely will never see again.  Thank heavens for FB, email and phone calls!
  • Packed up and drove across country.  Do you want to know what caused me the most anxiety about all of this?  Driving behind the U-Haul!  I watched it almost go off the road, I watched it look like it could tip over while changing lanes on uneven pavement.  I watched it going way too fast down some very long hills.  I had perfect trust in our friend and driver of that van, but still - that was hard!
  • Moved in with some friends because we didn't have a house of our own.
  • We were basically homeless and unemployed!  YIKES!
  • Spent lots of time with family - so therapeutic!  
  • Went to the LDS Employment Center every day and spent hours filling out job applications, interviewing, crying over rejection letters, etc.
  • I got a job the end of July
  • Bought a home
  • Don's back is getting worse and worse
  • In October or November met with a neurosurgeon and determined that surgery was necessary
  • Major back surgery the first part of December
  • Don was called to be the bishop of our ward, that we had only been members of for three months! 
  • He's still looking for work
 When I scored the events of the year on one of those life stress inventories, the score was quite high.  Anything 300 points or more raises the odds to about 80% of having a major health breakdown in the next two years.  We scored 423!

Even with a high score on the stress inventory, we felt SO MUCH PEACE!   Staying in the upstairs apartment at our friends' place was truly a healing time for us.  When we needed a friend, we just walked down stairs.  We had prayed and fasted and received a LOT of counsel from people we trusted as we made the decision to walk away from those things that were causing us the most stress.  So even with all of the changes that we made, and the stress that they could have (should have) caused in our lives, we have never had a time in our lives when we felt peace on such a consistent basis. 

We have loved being close to our family and enjoying time with our adult children, their spouses and the grandkids.  What a blessing each of them are to us.  What a joy to have those little ones walk in our house and throw their arms around us. 

We did a lot of 'studying it out in our minds and hearts' as to what we should do each step of the way.  We felt the strong confirmation from a loving Father in Heaven as we made decisions that we were on the right path - even when we couldn't totally see the path!  We felt like Peter at times, as the Lord issued the invitation to him 'to come' - to leave the boat and walk to Him on the water.  Sometimes we felt as though we had just taken a flying leap into the wind-tossed waters - but even as we did so - we felt our Savior's outstretched arms there to catch us. 

We feel blessed.  
We feel loved.
Life is good!
We are happy! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February Update - Frost, Friends, Fun and more....

We have a fun place to go play with the grandkids here in town - it's called the Bounce and Slide.  After I got trapped in the obstacle course one a few weeks ago, I decided it was much safer to stick to the the big slide. 

We've had some amazing frost events.  We live in an area where there are a lot of streams so we tend to get more frost.  There were a couple of mornings where everything in our area was covered in this wonderful hoar frost.  It was so pretty.

Our friends, Brad and Martha Cochran brought their daughter Becca to Utah to drop her off at the MTC (Mission Training Center) in Provo.  She will spend about ten days there before flying to Nevada to begin that part of her mission.  They were able to come and spend a couple of days with us and WE LOVED IT!  It was so good to have them here.  See that 'smoggy cloud layer in this picture?  That was covering our entire beautiful valley.  From down in the valley, you couldn't even see the mountains, so we took a drive up into the mountains and enjoyed a beautiful day at Hardware Ranch.  It's a place where they feed the elk during the winter so they don't go down into the valley looking for food and cause property damage. 

 On our way up to Hardware Ranch we saw this moose eating the tops off of the sage brush.  

And then we saw the elk.  The estimate was between 400-500 elk that are fed on a daily basis.  We watched them with binoculars for about an hour.  On the weekends they take you out in the middle of the herd on wagons pulled by horses.  We've done that before and it is so fun. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January thus far....

For all of our friends and family that we don't see much any more, we wanted to share a bit of what is happening in our lives.  

First off, Don had his one month post-surgery check-up last week and passed with flying colors.  Most of his initial restrictions were lifted.  He still can't lift more than 10 lbs and he does need to be very careful about putting himself in situations where he could be injured.  His stamina is not where he'd like it to be yet, but the doctor told him that by the three month check-up, that he would be able to tell a big difference.  

We were able to see some views of his presurgery  MRI that we hadn't seen before. The cross-section view looking down into the vertebrae was amazing.  What was amazing was how little room there was within the vertebrae with the most damage.  When we looked at that one compared to the others she showed us, our comment was: "Where is the spinal cord?"  There was a cyst sitting in there along with stenosis (which is arthritis in the spinal canal) and scar tissue -- we couldn't actually see the spinal cord because of the amount of compression that was on it.  The doctor told us that when she sees an MRI like that, that those people are usually bed or chair-bound because either a) it hurts too bad, or b) they have lost a lot of mobility.  So we count ourselves very blessed.  He is walking 2 miles a day on the treadmill and has been able to increase the speed at which he is walking quite a bit.  

The week after his surgery we had a visit in our home by the new stake president.  Our bishop had been called to be in the stake presidency...we had a bad feeling about that visit!  On December 27th, Don was called to be the bishop in our ward and today he and his counselors were sustained.  This is a very humbling position to fill and we wonder 'why'?!  But we have learned that when our Father in Heaven gives us these opportunities to serve, He will also strengthen us and lift us to accomplish the things that He would have us do. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fall in the Mountains

A couple of weeks ago Don and I took a drive up in the mountains.  The fall colors had mostly come and gone, and there weren't many bright yellows because of a fungus that affected the Quaking Aspens, but it was still an amazing day up in the mountains.  The blue of the sky, the smell of the clean mountain air, the rustling of the was a very therapeutic day. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Halloween Table Runner

I finally had time to do a little fabric shopping and make this cute table runner for our coffee table.  I had some different fabrics in mind when I went shopping, but I'm happy with the results.

 I was going to share with you the blog post that was my inspiration for this table runner, but when I went to the blog I couldn't find it.  I'll keep looking - and I promise - when I find it, I will update this post.  Mine is cute - hers is amazing!

And the little porcelain ghost sitting there?  The fuzzy spider on his head plays music when you push it.  We've had that ghostie for a LOT of years.  Our daughters used to enjoy him, and now our grand-kids are having some fun with him too.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Our New Home

We've been in our new home for three weeks now.  All of the boxes are either unpacked, or they've been opened and we know what's in them!  We have a gallery wall to do, and some updating of pictures that we already have hanging.  For the most part - we are settled!  We are happy to be here and it feels like home.  

As we went to help a daughter with some family pictures this afternoon, we kept remarking about how beautiful it was and what a perfect day.  Clear blue skies, fall leaves, nice temperatures and mountains!  
This our new home!  I cleaned out all of the flower beds on Saturday and I found muscles that haven't been used in a while!  We are looking forward to spring and putting in one or two Knock-out rose bushes, a hydrangea bush and tearing up some of the back yard for a garden.  There is a cement pad out back that will be home to a fire pit.

This is standing in our kitchen looking into the living room.  There is a fireplace on the right side of the wall.

This is standing in the living room looking towards the kitchen.
This is the room just as you walk in the front door.

Love this staircase.  At the top of it is the little tv/play room that is pictured below.

Master bedroom.

Master bedroom looking out to the hall.

There are two more bedrooms and a study/craft room.  Plus a HUGE pantry!  LOVE IT!!
There is plenty of room for company!   Just sayin'!

In the next few days, I'll show some of the special things we enjoy about our home in more detail.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dear Realtor.....

My husband and I have spent the last several months looking for a house to buy.  We've gone online to look, then driven around neighborhoods of houses that we like.  There has been one consistent thing that has made this house-hunting experience very frustrating, and that has been some of the photos used in the advertisement for the house.  We know that you might want your client's rooms to look bigger than they actually are, but seriously!!!!
This is a picture found in a listing....  really?  This bed is for a very tall person who doesn't mind sitting on the edge of it with their knees up around their ears. 

To this realtor's credit - they did include a 'normal' photograph also.  Why even use those wide angle shots?  Hate them.  

To be honest with you Mr. or Ms. Realtor - there are houses that we didn't even go to see because we were so disappointed with the quality of the photos that were used.  Here are a few more examples.  These photos just do not do justice to the home.  I can 'almost' say ok to some of the fish-eye lens shots -- almost....    We did actually see a couple of these rooms in real life.  They looked much better than how they were portrayed in the ad. 

Notice the squatty fridge? 

As a person who is trying to sell your home - ask to see the photos your realtor takes before they go live online.  And I beg you - please don't allow them to use wide-angle shots, they are a disservice to your home and will not help to sell your house.

We did finally find our next home - and not a single picture in the home ad was a wide-angle shot!  Likewise with the house that we sold.  Kudos to good, old-fashioned, picture it as it is photography!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Quiet Book Pages

Last fall I spent a considerable amount of time making quiet book pages for my grandchildren.  I've learned a few things along the way - and the next set I make will likely be a little different than those I have completed.  I made some about 1.5 years ago that were very similar in style to the ones I have pictured here.

Even though I will do some things differently with the next set, the desired outcome has been the same - the kids love them.  They do provide a quiet activity for them to do - especially in places like church or the car.  So no matter how you do them, just do something.  I've got some ideas I can't wait to make happen!

The first quiet book I made, I made my own cover.  This one I used a 3-ring binder.  I glued a layer of warm and natural to the binder, then glued the cover to the warm and natural.  I sewed the straps on before it was glued.  Easy peasy!  Although, I probably should have used a 2" binder rather than a 1".  It really limits how many pages can be put in the book at a time.

After the fabric was glued onto the outside of the binder - I flipped it over and glued it down on the inside.  I then took a piece of card stock and covered it in the green striped fabric and glued it to the inside covers.  This covered up the edges of the outer fabric that had been folded over and glued down.

I love the barn page.  I found the cute finger puppets on-line.  I decided to try using the pencil pouch to store them in rather than making a pocket on the page.  Love that!
Another thing I learned ... SEW EVERYTHING!  When I took this picture I hadn't sewn along the outside of the barn or on the white pieces at all.  It wasn't long before those edges were pulling up and the pieces were detaching from the barn even though I had used a LOT of glue.  Before it was given away - everything was stitched.

The I Spy page made from fabric that is on their I Spy quilts.  This was taken before the finishing touches were put on the page.

This was a fun one to do - but if I were to do it again I might use regular cotton fabric as a background and make the bee so he could be moved around.

I used tablecloth vinyl to make the packet and filled it with buttons and beads and all sorts of tiny trinkets I found.  Use your 40-50% off coupons on this one!

This is one that I glued down REALLY well and figured I didn't need to sew anything.  The first time my grandson was on this page, he was picking at the edges and it was already starting to come apart.  Ugh....lesson learned.   SEW EVERYTHING!

LOVE this page!  I chose to not cut out felt numbers and letters.  Got these in a package of foam stickers.  I added E6000 adhesive to the backs of them and they did stick VERY WELL!

And look - the flaps lift up with little jewels for them to count.  Again, I used the E6000 adhesive to glue them down.

Felt strips with a fabric backing.  I wish now I had used all felt....  You can see the fray edges of the fabric.  These can be stuck together to make a chain, or simply connected one to the other to make a long strip.  Good color practice and eye/hand coordination when sticking them together.

I think this is one of my top three favorite pages!  The fish slide back and forth along the ribbon.  I lined the fish with vinyl so they would slide easily.  The other critters on top were cut out of fabric and glued to felt with a velcro backing on them so they will stick to the 'sand'.  The edges should have been treated with FrayCheck - not sure if that happened before it was given away!  

There were several more pages that I did - Mr Potato Head, tic-tac-toe, an Easter egg with Easter themed finger puppets, etc.

The one VERY IMPORTANT thing that you need to know about making your quiet book is this:  NEVER TELL YOUR HUSBAND HOW MUCH MONEY YOU SPENT DOING IT!!!   I would purchase things with coupons and on sale, and get things a little at a time, but I stopped keeping track of how much it was costing me because they have truly been a labor of love.

As I said - I'm already planning the next set of pages to do.  I will tell you this:  there will not be any holes in the pages.  I'm looking at a totally different way of putting them together in a book.  Can't wait!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Anxiety - Part Two!

So - the previous post I wrote about anxiety - and how I was going to stay on top of it so I didn't have the kind of experience that Sandra Turley had?!  Remember that?  Well - I'm happy to say that I did just that - I had almost exactly the same experience that she did. 

It was Tuesday night, December 16th.  I could not go to sleep.  You know those nights when you lie there wide awake?  Yup - one of those nights.  After an hour or so of tossing and turning I decided to head to the recliner so I wouldn't disturb the hubby.  He had an important meeting early the next morning.  I'd been there about 1/2 hour - just enjoying looking at the Christmas lights - when BAM

My heart started doing somersaults.  Seriously.  It felt like it was violently flopping back and forth in my chest.  Then I got an intense pain around the sternum area.  I thought I was having a heart attack, so was going to call out to the sleeping hubster, but suddenly I couldn't get my breath.  I was nauseous and dizzy and had a difficult time getting out of the chair.  I made it to the hall closet where the medicine is kept and took an aspirin.  They say to do that if you are having a heart attack.  

Now, this is where you DON'T do what I did next.  I could breathe a little easier and my acrobatic heart had slowed down considerably, so instead of waking up my husband and heading to the emergency room or calling 911, I decided to head to the computer.  Yup - that's what we all do when we think we might be dieing, right?!  Guess I should have written my final farewell while I was at the keyboard.  Instead I googled heart attack symptoms and really, it didn't seem like that was what was happening to me.  So I googled panic attack symptoms.  BINGO!  Every symptom - I just checked them off one by one.  By this time I had decided that I wasn't going to die, so I popped one of my pills for anxiety and headed back to the recliner.  Within 20 minutes all symptoms were gone and I felt much better. 

I hope to NEVER have another panic/anxiety attack.  It was seriously the scariest medical situation I've ever been through. 

I had made a major decision to quit my job, which I knew would alleviate some of the stress I was having in my life.  Our little family has experienced a lot of stressful situations this last year.  Some of them were really wonderful - like a new grandbaby being born, a daughter and her family moving into their own home, and another daughter moving back 'home'.  Some were really difficult - like my husband being put on probation at his job unjustly and everything that went along with that including a quick emergency flight home to be with him; opening up a new school with double the student population and everything that goes along with that, including spending time in classrooms once a week.  I'm not a teacher.  I wanted to be a teacher once - long, long ago.  But after that first practicum experience, I knew that I would be eaten alive by those children so I changed my major.  So this experience of being in the classroom often left me in tears in the nearest bathroom when I was done. 

In hindsight, I can tell you some things that I've learned.
  1. If something is being overly stressful in your life - don't play the martyr and stick with it because you don't want to feel like a failure.
  2. Don't worry about doing everything, all of the time.  It's ok to let some things go and not be perfect.  Why is it that we sometimes feel we have to be the 'superwoman'?  That's just wrong!
  3. Be honest with your feelings and talk with someone about them - be it your spouse, a trusted friend, your doctor or another professional.
  4. A strong relationship with your Father in Heaven can help you through really difficult times.
  5. Studying the scriptures can give you insight and strength and help you feel the love of your Savior.
  6. "Those that be with us are greater than those that be with them."  2 Kings 6:16.  I believe that the adversary is working overtime to make us feel that we have failed and that we are of no worth.  I also believe that we have a loving Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ who know us personally and love us perfectly.  Through the gifts and blessings of the Atonement, we can be succored and strengthened through the Savior.
  7. When you are having a medical emergency - don't google it!  Get professional medical help immediately.
 Our lives are full of stress.  Learning to cope - and learning to let go of certain things will help us enjoy the life that is ours to live.  Carpe' Diem!