Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Can't Sleep

I went to bed last night at 9pm because I was so tired and I had a headache. I was hoping sleep would make it go away but I woke up at 1am with a terrible headache that was soon turning to a migraine. I quickly got up and took my cocktail of advil and excedrin knowing that I could stop it quickly. I was so desperate that I took the excedrin even though I knew I would have trouble going back to sleep. Now that it is 4:45am I have completely given up sleep and decided to blog about my evening. I am supposed to get up in 15 minutes to go running anyway.

Yesterday was the beginning of the 4th week of having no kitchen and my house being in total disarray. It was a hard day to say the least. For family home evening we had to spend it in Home Depot picking out bathroom sinks and faucets and eating dinner at Burger King (which I hate). It was rather pathetic. Alan had to help his mom with something so I was left to put the kids to bed by myself. I was really tired and very GRUMPY. Poor Luke kind of took the brunt of all my frustration.

He has a little plastic cap gun that is out of caps but that he loves to shoot over and over again. Usually I just tell him to take it outside and all is well. Last night however, he and Bradley were both running around shooting their guns and yelling and I had had enough. I told them to stop now and don't shoot them again or I would take the guns, break them and thow them away. I don't think I said it very quietly either. After about two minutes Luke must have forgotten or just really couldn't help shooting it and he resumed the noise. I immediately took the gun broke it in half and threw it away just like I said I would. Here is the sad part. He didn't yell or scream or even start to cry. He just sat there and his little lip trembled a bit and he looked totally crestfallen. Mark cried for him though. I asked him what was wrong and he quickly let me know it was ME! We had prayer and I sent them off to brush their teeth. When I went upstairs to check on them I found Luke walking through the hall totally oblivious to me whimpering and muttering to himself, "she just broke it and threw it away. It is gone. In the garbage. Forever." Later I found him sitting on the counter in the bathroom trying to brush his teeth and muttering the same words. It totally broke my heart. If I hadn't broken it I would have gotten it out of the garbage and given it back tomorrow. I think he is definitely getting an orange plastic cap gun for Christmas.
Patience is a virtue that I am obviously still working on. Thank goodness kids forgive quickly and there is always a new day to look forward to and to try again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Remodeling Pics

Here is the kitchen as of a week ago. Most of the cabinets are in and it is being painted at the moment.
This plastic drape is supposed to keep the dust out but nothing can stop that darn stuff.
This is where the entire contents of my kitchen now reside and this is also where Darren spends most of his day. No toy room can compare to a full kitchen at your immediate disposal. This was last week. This week everything has been rearranged by Darren and has an inch of dust over it.
I took this picture because everything is in the wrong place last week. It looks about one thousand times worse at the moment. I sure hope this all ends soon.
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Soooo Tired

I am thoroughly ashamed of myself for the lack of posts. Time has flown by this fall with so much going on. Nothing has been very normal for us lately. We are in the midst of remodeling our kitchen and have gone through a whole house painting and new carpet being installed. I am truly grateful for all of it but I can hardly wait for it all to be done. It is possible that all could be put back together by next Friday but in the beginning we thought we would be done by the end of October so you just never know with remodeling. My entire kitchen is draped in plastic at the moment and painting is supposed to be going on but I haven't heard much in the last couple of hours. I am sitting in the family room and if I want to go upstairs or to the front door I get to go out the garage door through the garage and back in the front door. My house has at least an quarter of an inch of dust over the entire first story. I seem to be running constantly to buy something at home depot or go to another specialty store to see if they have the sink, faucet, lighting, granite etc. I am not complaining I am only explaining the lack of posts. The hardest thing is that I am supposed to carry on life as normal in all of this. I think Eleanor has to decorate a brown paper horse with any material we come up with and turn it in tomorrow. At the moment it is in some obscure spot covered in drywall mudd powder and ceramic tile dust. That just may be the medium of choice for this project.
I just got a new calling on Sunday. I was released from the nursery which is truly one of my very favorite callings and it made me very sad. I am now the second counselor in the primary over scouts and nursery. At least I still get some connection with nursery. Scouting is fun since my boys are totally involved and I now have somewhat of a clue of how it works.
The kids seem to be functioning fairly well in all of this chaos we are all just really dusty and everything is in the wrong place. I am craving organization and cleanliness like no other. (Hooray I finally hear painting starting again) Thats all for now I need to figure out what to feed my family tonight. This one is going to be tough since I have not only no kitchen but also no refrigerator access. We may just have to go visit Wendy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Let's Do All We Can

My sister sent me this link. Please take a minute and watch the video clip. It shows some of the possible outcomes of Prop 102 not passing. I was livid and shocked with what I saw!!Here is the email:If you worry about what is or may be taught to your children at school... Please visit the following link: We should be taking all the steps necessary to ensure that this doesn't get passed in our own state. Copy the link into the browser and hit go http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1352578267/bctid1784521903
Dear Friends,I highly encourage you to review this short video which was sent to me by a friends who's friend is in the actual clip. It will blow your mind. Then please send this clip to all your contacts. The video will prove to you WHY we must pass the marriage amendment.This link was sent to me by my daughter Cheri. Her husband has a brother -- Robb -- living in Massachusetts and he and his wife are in the video clip attached. They've been involved in law suits and all the ugly details affecting this homosexuality agenda. Dear family,It looks like our legal efforts may after all be useful and serve a good purpose during the election this year in Florida , California , and Arizona . Our lawsuit and story are being used in the ads encouraging support to adopt these constitutional amendments. I was surprised to see it mentioned in California 's first TV ad for the amendment, and it is also discussed/printed in the Arizona government official "voter issue" guide. I'm also attaching an internet video clip that is circulating from the Family Research Council showing our story. Anyway, I think we're going to be involved in more media as people get reminded about what happened to us. I've already been contacted by the campaign manager for the California effort. I expect to hear soon from others. Anyway, I'm asking you to forward this clip on to people you know in Florida , Arizona , and California . We all have cousins, in-laws, extended family in many of these states. Tell them that what happened to us is real and will, I believe, undoubtedly come if these amendment efforts fail. This IS a big deal and we need to do what we can - even if we can't send money, we can hit "forward" and remind people of the stakes of this election. My brother-in-law's wife in Arizona is active their state's marriage amendment efforts. One thing she sent us yesterday caught my eye, "Our Area Seventy, Elder Anderson, said that the fight for traditional marriage in Arizona and California is the biggest fight he has been involved with in the Church. He told some volunteers that passing this Proposition is as important to saving our families as it was for the saints in Nauvoo to finish the temple in order to get their endowments before they moved west."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Free Handbag Giveaway

Handbag Planet is having a give away of a free handbag, 1 handbag every hour 24 hours before they officially open their doors. There are some really cute bags at not horrible prices. I'm not a big purse girl but these are great and you just may get one free. Go here to enter to win http://www.handbagplanet.com/contest3

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

bread recipe

Here is my bread recipe it is courtesy of my favorite chef around- Chef Brad. He is wonderful and has so much knowledge to share. If you haven't taken a class from him I would strongly recommend it. I just may be hosting one in my home as soon as all the remodeling is finished. His classes are on grains, breads, pressure cooking and on and on. You can get all of the ingredients that are on here if they sound unfamiliar at Char's Kitchen Store on Gilbert Road at Houston or at the Emergency Supply Store on Mesa Drive by Deseret Book.

The Master Recipe

5 cups warm water (between 95-110 degrees)
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup honey (I put the oil in the measuring cup and then add the honey so they both come out nicely without the sticky mess)
1 heaping Tbsp. Salt
3 Tbsp Saf instant yeast (this really is better than anything you can get in the store)
1-3 Tbsp dough enhancer
1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)
2 cups high gluten flour
6 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour (I use all kinds of grains here. As long as at least 2/3rds of the flour is wheat or spelt you can use 1/3 of any other grains you would like. Just grind them all together in your mill. They will change the taste and texture slightly. You just have to play around and experiment to see which ones you like best.)

Put all of the ingredients above in the Bosch with yeast on the top and then turn on speed 1. As that is mixing add as much additional flour for dough to pull away from the side of the bowl. (It usually takes about 14 cups of flour total) It should only pull initially half way up the side of the bowl, and during the 8-10 minutes of mixing it will pull completely away. It is important not to put too much flour in or your bread will be dry and crumbly. Add back in 2-4 Tbsp of water (more if needed) to keep your dough soft. The stickier the dough the lighter and fluffier the bread will be. Let mix for 8-10 minutes. Oil your hands and counter well. Divide dough into 5 loaves and let rise in loaf pans, sprayed with a non-stick spray. Let rise for approximately 30 minutes in well-oiled pans, until they have doubled in size. While they are rising preheat oven to 375 degrees. After putting bread in oven turn down the oven to 350 and cook for 30-35 minutes until bread is golden brown. You can measure the temperature of the bread with a meat thermometer they should be about 180 degrees. When they are done take them out and immediately take them out of the pans and let cool on a wire rack. I like to butter the tops. Do not bag until they are cool. You can get great bread bags at those two places I suggested at teh top as well. They freeze very well. We always eat one loaf that day and then one for the next couple so I usually freeze three of the loafs or just give them away to friends and neighbors.

Good Luck. I only know how to do my bread with a Bosch. If you do not have one I highly recommend one but they are pricey. I believe they are well worth the investment since I use mine all of the time and they will last you at least 20 years but probably a lot more. Feel free to email me or call or come by with any questions. Or we can schedule a lesson if you want. Just give me about six weeks until my remodeling will hopefully be done.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy 6th Birthday Eleanor!!!

Eleanor and her favorite cousin Jency
She does much more jumping and diving than swimming.
Ballet: She never smiled once during her performance.
This is the most common Eleanor we see. Even mad she is cute.
This morning she had six different breakfast choices for her six years. She chose the strawberries and whip cream, bluberry muffins and of course chocolate donuts.

Eleanor is our unique child. We love her for all that she is both the good and the unusual and the challenging. Her main loves in life are of course number one- Art. She says she is definitely going to be an artist when she grows up. Her mediums of choice these days are markers and trash. Everytime I go to throw away a wrapper or container of any type she stops me and says she wants that for her art. She still sits at the table for hours and colors and creates. Thankfully she produces much less these days because of the hours she is in all day kindergarten. I was constantly having to try and throw things away without her watching. The one thing I had to put a stop to lately was water color painting toilet paper. Way too messy and she wanted to keep every square. When she does art it is in mass production. Eleanor does not do things half way or small. She also loves to swim and play in the sand in the back yard. She became a great swimmer this summer and showed us her brave side. The older boys were on dive team and when they learned a back dive she watched them do it once and immediately pronounced that she could do that too and did an almost perfect back dive. She really loves her gymnastics and does it constantly. I am always getting to watch her latest routine or this new back bend. We are having a contest who can get all the way down in the middle splits first. I was ahead but she is pulling ahead now. She also loves playing with Darren and making him smile and make faces and sounds. She of course loves to play with all her friends and cousins. They love to dress up, play outside, make forts, watch t.v, tell jokes and be really silly. Notice nothing about dolls. Like mother like daughter. She absolutely loves Kindergarten. She is made for school. She loves to obey the rules and to sit for long periods of time and work on things and she loves to be social. Her teacher adores her. When I go to the school I usually run into another adult that works there and they are all telling me how wonderful and cute Eleanor is. I'm glad she saves all her sass and attitude for home.
There are a few things she does not like at all. She hates having to stop an activity and do something other than her idea. She does not like taking showers. She hates having people touch her unless you are scratching her back very softly and just the right way and in just the right places. She is very particular about most things like that. She hates eating dinner. No matter if you put a tablespoon of food or a cup of food on her plate she immediately says that is too much and she cannot possibly eat it all. She does not like to smile and laugh at things when Mom and Dad are watching. She usually laughs and then quickly covers her mouth or pulls the corners of her mouth down so that the smile goes away. She only likes to display emotions on her terms. She hates her art to be messed with or thrown away. She really wants to have a sister but does not want to have to share her room. Most of all she just does not want to be told what to do, when to do it or how to do anything. I think she is a type A personality.

She continues to get more beautiful all the time. That is fine except that I worry that she will define herself by that and not by kindness and compassion and sweetness. Every where we go people tell her how pretty her eyes are and never how kind she is. I wish we could look at a person and tell imediately how loving or compassionate someone is as much as their outside appearance. She is kind when she wants to be and very sweet at moments, but she also knows how to work it and milk people for what she wants. If you wonder if I am afraid for her to be a teenager that is a definite YES! Her toddler years were hard enough I can't imagine what the natural inclination for more independence and freedom combined with hormones is going to do to her.

We love our Eleanor and wouldn't trade her for anything. She has definitely taught us many valuable lessons. She is our very girly, beautiful, and sweet when she wants to be SIX year old!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vacuum Obsession

My little Darren loves the vaccuum. He follows it everywhere, constantly plays with the attachments, loves to sit by the plug while you are vacuuming and unplug it, and loves to hold on to it as I vacuum. Mark happened to leave it running and unattended the other day and Darren siezed the moment. He ran to it as fast as he could and then proceeded to vacuum the same spot for about six minutes while I snapped pictures. He was in heaven. He would concentrate really hard and then turn and smile and laugh at me. We were all busily doing our morning lists but this brought everyone running and we all just sat and watched and laughed. Babies are the best. I wish I could be as thrilled with running this machine. Thank goodness my kids are old enough that they do most of the vacuuming these days.
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Nothing Like Homemade Bread

I have been a bread maker since very early in our marriage. My sweet husband liked it enough and likes me enough to even buy me all of the right tools. In order to make great tasting nutritious bread you really need to have a great recipe, a bosch mixer, a grain mill (wheat grinder), and stone bread pans. In the beginning I always mixed in about 1/2 white flour with store bought wheat flour but since the grain mill I have gone to 100% wheat and then finally to wheat, spelt, rye, popped amaranth, flax, steel cut oats, and many more. I found Chef Brad who taught me how to use grains in my everyday cooking. I now own an electric pressure cookers and use it at least 4 times a week. I love it and my family even likes it. His big thing is not to change your families diet too drastically or it scars them for life since we all have such an emotional attachment to foods. Anyways, back to the bread. My family loves the bread. I bake five loaves about every 6 to 7 days and freeze three of them. We eat one of them the first day because no one can resist fresh bread. So here is why I am posting this. My bread has always tasted great but does not have that store bought professional look to it. I try to cut it just so and store it right. Not until I went to my neighbors garage sale and saw this bread slicing gadget did I finally feel satisfied with the look of my bread. Now I put it in there and use an electric knife and each slice comes out perfect. The feel of each slice is much nicer and it crumbles much much less. I am so excited about this. The bread even stays moist longer for some reason. I have been searching for so long and now I have finally found it. Hooray! I don't do many things very well but I guess I am pretty good at this one. Stop over any time for a slice or even a loaf.
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Working With Family Is Fun To Do Fun To Do To Do To Do

After moving in to our new home we have had quite the opportunity to be outside in the heat working together as a family. We have spent weeks working hours a day to rid this yard of weeds, greening up the lawn and keeping it mowed and removing unwanted cactus and very poky plants that will not work with kids in the yard. I thought it was going to absolutely miserable and we would have to drag our kids out to help. This has not been the case at all. We have had some great "Ensign Moments" working together. Mark and Bradley and even Eleanor have said several times, "I love working together, This is fun, Look at our progress, It looks so much better, This feels good, It's fun to tell stories and work at the same time." It has been amazing to work side by side and have them just talk and talk and talk. It is stunning and has made this task bearable. It does feel really good to all be out there together accomplishing a task that beautifies our home and teaches us all to work. I have not been so hot in I don't know how long or sweat so much but I don't mind at all. Amazing!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Things I love about being home

I dreamed so long about moving back to Arizona and how great it was going to be. It has been so much fun having all of it come true and so much more. Here is a list of some of the great things about being done with school, living in Arizona and in our own home.
-Having a steady and dependable income
-No more visits to the DES office!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Alan is relaxed and happy as can be
-Our own home that we can paint, change carpet or even knock down a wall if we wish
-Family, family, family they are everywhere and wonderful
-A ward that seems to be made for me
*a running group that meets at 5:15am and will run a 1/2 marathon together
*an amazing babysitting co-op (one of the best ideas I have ever heard)
*a fun book group
*lots of families with 4-6 kids in our same stage
*a fabulous cub scout program
*very very friendly and welcoming
*I already feel like I have been here for a year not 2 months
*I get to work in the nursery (I actually love this calling and Darren gets to start early)
-Grandma sleep overs and outings with just the grandkids and grandma
-Paying back not accumulating more student loans
-I can buy little things here and there without any feelings of guilt
-Arizona sunsets
-Warm swimming pools
-Meeting up with old friends in random places
-Cousin play dates
-Having Alan home on Fridays is the best!!!!!!!!!
-Trips to the cabin, hiking, and camping in the desert with the Rangers
-Being able to pay for a date and a babysitter
-Feeling settled. I can finally make new friends without reservation of having to leave them in a couple of years.
-My children can grow up in the same schools with the same friends.

and on and on and on....................

Being done with school is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stress is still there and always will be but it is well cushioned by so much support and love from all our family and friends and security in Alan's job.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happy Day- off to school

The day has arrived that all may be still and quiet at moments in my home again. Yesterday was the first day of school. They started at a new elementary with the new house. Bradley was very nervous and excited and Mark was super cool and calm and Eleanor just flowed into class and said, "Bye Mom." She is so independent. They seemed to have a good day and as usual I had to pull out the very few details they were willing to give up like , "My teacher is nice, I made one friend, we went over the rules and toured the school." That is about all I got. Their school is huge and quite the maze to get around. I still haven't figured out how many levels it has. We only live 1/2 a mile from the school so I bought a bike trailer off craigslist and put the baby seat on the back of the bike and we all ride together to school. I am sure we are quite a site. Maybe I will get a picture sometime. It will be fun to have some one on one time with Luke when Darren is sleeping and to have less kids to haul around town.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Just another day on the lake?

We finally found the time a month ago to try and take advantage of the boat that the practice owns and it turned into a really hot and miserable day. We were so excited to go to the lake and enjoy the boat but after we go it into the water and got out past the no wake zone Alan pushed down the drive and it would not go at all. We ended up drifting over to the marina to see if they had an idea of what was wrong. It took about 45 minutes to get over there and then another 45 minutes to get back to the dock. It turns out that this had been a problem the last time it was taken out and so they took it to the shop but I guess they decided to not fix it. We ended up spending about 4 very hot hours (over 110 degrees outside) just to take the boat back to the shop.

Well a month later we tried again. Full of hopes of good times we once again put the boat into the water but it wouldn't start due to a dead battery. We pulled it out of the water and found that there was also no plug in the boat and that it had filled with quite a bit of water. We could have sunk had we stayed out there for long. We once again went to the marina to see if they could help. Alan purchased three new plugs and a new battery and we were on our way. We had a great day waterskiing and tubing. The kids' favorite thing was just jumping in the lake and swimming around between skiing and tubing. They loved how fast the boat was and we all had a great time.

Right before we were going to go in Alan said I should learn to drive the boat so I followed his instructions carefully and drove Luke around in the tube. I turned it off and we floated around for a while. When he went to start the boat again the drive gear that you push to go just went around in circles and the boat wouldn't start. Of course it had to happen right after I attempted to drive. He messed with it for quite a while and finally got it started and we headed home. The kids were starting to think we were going to have to sleep in the boat. We got the boat loaded up and then headed home. On the way home we had trouble with a latch that had broken and the lid to the engine compartment kept flying up so Alan had to go rig a rope contraption to keep it down. Next we had a flat tire on the boat trailer. Of course there was no star wrench to get the lug nuts off the tire so I got to go find a Checker Auto and bring it back. Then someone tightened the lug nuts way too tight and Alan had to take off another tire on the same side in order to get the other one off. We finally were able to go drop off the boat thinking all the while that we never want to see it again.

Now we understand that people say the two happiest days of your life are the day you buy a boat and the day you sell the boat. Also that BOAT stands for Bust Out Another Thousand$.

I am just so grateful for a husband that can figure out just about anything. He was able to fix the latch and the drive problem the next morning in just an hour. Maybe this boat thing isn't such a perk after all. Boats are so awesome when everything works but a nightmare when they don't.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Luke's Questions

We were at pinewood derby and Luke told me again that he had eggs in his pocket. I was distracted and thought he was talking about the plastic Easter eggs that he and Eleanor play with almost daily. Instead they were real chicken eggs from the neighbors chickens that like to come and visit Grandma's house. He found them in the grass and of course put them in his pocket. He had been carrying them around for about five hours. After one broke in his pocket I realized he had told me about eight times throughout the day that he had these in his pocket.
Eleanor convinced Luke to sit still for long enough to decorate him with her hair things.

Luke is my adorable three year old that has been in the question phase for a very long time. He seems to be more inquisitive than my other three older children or maybe I just don't remember. He leaves me confounded on a daily basis. Right now he is stuck on growing and death because of some recent occurances with some friends and family. Here are some recent examples:

When will I grow up?
When will I be a Dad?
How do you make a tree, grass, table, arm, toes, bees, the sun, piano, window, swimming pool.... (basically anything he sees he wants to know how it is made)
Does Dad love you? (this was followed by no he doesn't, sometimes he doesn't)
How do you drown?
When will I die?
Do you only die when you grow up?
Will I drown today when we go swimming?
How do arms grow back? (Aunt Angela's car accident has brought on much concern and interesting questions)
When will I be in a car crash?
Is this police man going to shoot me? (The one that had us pulled over for speeding. I only got a warning. Thank goodness for a really cute baby that charmed the nice officer.)
When will I be big?
When will I be superman?
Of course all of the body part questions. I will spare you those.
Can I go? Can I go? Can I go? (He will go with anyone, anywhere, anytime.)
And on and on and on.

This could all be asked in the space of about a ten minute car ride. He seems to think a lot in the car because he really hits me hard there. It is not easy to answer most of these with out quite a bit of explanation and caution so yelling an answer over the other four children and all the way to the back seat of the van is not easy.
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Friday, July 11, 2008

What is one to think?

A couple of days ago the kids and I were sitting at the table eating lunch together when Mark very seriously says, "Mom, if one of our parents had to die or we just had to choose which one to live with I would choose Dad because he makes all the money." He looked very pensive and like he had given this a lot of thought. The other kids listened and then put in their own opinion which sadly most agreed with Mark. Mark then added that it would be okay because when it was his turn to cook he can make some things for dinner. What is a mother to think about that. I guess I am nothing more than a cook to my nine and a half year old son at the moment. I just chalked it up to an interesting observation and boys really do not have a clue so much of the time. I sure do love him but WOW!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Future Wrestling Champs?

Mark and Bradley participated in a week long wrestling camp through a local highschool. They took it very seriously and loved every minute. I was totally amazed at how much technique they learned in just a few days. The last day they grouped all the boys into groups of four according to their weight class and had a little tournament. They each wrestled three times so each boy wrestled all the others in their group. It was super fun to watch. Alan happened to be off work so he was able to be there as well. That was really great because between matches the boys would run over to dad and he would give them pointers and advice. We just may get into wrestling. We have been told their are more camps to attend and even a club to join.

Mark was an animal on the mat. He was really intense and loved having Dad there to cheer him on. He won all three of his matches quite handedly. Notice he is the shortest one out of the group. This could be a good sport for him since he will only compete against boys his same weight so his size will not be an issue. It could be a great self esteem builder for him as well.

Bradley did awesome as well. He won two out of the three matches. He only lost the one because he forgot that you shouldn't let the guy up once you take him down or else he will score points. He was adorable. He kept stopping and smiling at Alan and I when he was doing well. He loved the competition and loved learning the correct technique. Darren wanted in on the action the entire time we were there so Bradley finally obliged him.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pictures of the outside

The home is on 2/3rds of an acre and it is well used. We have a huge grassy area, sand area, sport court, rv parking area, and the pool area.
Believe it or not it is no longer green like that. It only took two weeks, a new filter, gallons and gallons of chemicals and 16 -40lb bags of salt.

This is the side yard.
The waterfall and slide to the pool.

Our New Home

Here are some pictures of our new home. For some reason we haven't taken a picture from the front. We bought this home on a short sale so the previous owners were very bitter about losing the home. They stopped taking care of it a long time ago. The pool was very very green and there were weeds everywhere. These are all the before pictures. I will post some after pictures later. Alan the boys and I have worked so hard to clean this up. We have big plans for the inside but we haven't worked on that yet. We have been pulling weeds and removing cactus for hours everyday. Alan has fixed most of the 60 plus sprinkler heads and has spent hours and hours trying to figure out and fix the pool. It is going to be fabulous when it is all done but I'm sure that won't be for quite some time. All of the work will be well worth it especially since we got the house for such a deal. I feel really sad for the family that lost this home because it will be quite a gem someday. I have happened upon a great way to lose several pounds and I wasn't even trying to. It is work outside pulling really big weeds for a week and a half in over 110 degree heat and don't eat much of anything because you are so hot all you want to do is drink water.
We are planning on tearing out the soffet (spelling?), replacing the cabinets and counter tops and all appliances and also reflooring the entire house.
This is the entryway. The living room is at the bottom of the picture and the dining room is up the flight of three stairs where I am standing.

As you can see we have a ton of painting to do on the home. We will most likely repaint the entire home. This is Luke and Darren's room.

And the fun begins......

After much viewing of many friends' blogs I am finally going to join the throng. I thought it may be a great way to relieve a lot of the guilt I have for not keeping a family journal or scrapbooking. This just may be the only record I will keep of our family. I have millions of pictures in albums but nothing written by them or anything cute to make them more interesting. So here goes....

A very brief family history: Alan and I were married in 1997 and we were both going to school at the time. He was doing his undergrad to get into dental school at ASU and I was studying midwifery through the Utah College of Midwifery. We had Mark after a short 16 months of being married. Bradley came along 20 months later. I finally got my midwifery license and completed one client when we took off for dental school at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. It was very difficult to leave home and our beloved Arizona but we knew we were always going to come back. I decided life in San Francisco would be too difficult for me and the kids so we lived in a beautiful suburb called Walnut Creek. Eleanor was born just two months later. We lived in a tiny apartment above what became a great friend Jill Hoopes. She truly helped to save my sanity. She even moved us to a slightly larger apartment when we were out of town one week. Luke was born four months before dental school ended. Dental school was quite the challenge but of course Alan did wonderfully and so we got to go on to Orthodontic school. St. Louis here we come. We met more wonderful people and loved so many things about St. Louis. We will always miss the beauty of the area, the amazing list of free and wonderful things to do there and most of all our friends but not the weather. Darren was born seven months before we finished Ortho school. Alan finally graduated from school in December of 2007 and we were able to go home. We moved in with my parents so we could save for a down payment on a house and so we could find a home to buy. This proved to be much more difficult than we originally thought. Now seven months later we are getting settled in our new home and we love it.

I hope to post often so stay tuned....