Sunday, November 29, 2009

Random Revealings

Thanks to all of you for commenting on my last post...the random winners are #1: Linette, #7: Debra, and #17: Emily. Please email me at with your address so I can send your Christmas Advent Calendar prizes to you! Now for the rest of the story as to why I did that random contest...

Blogging is so good for me. One of my main reasons for doing it is so that I can focus on the positive things that happen in my life. In the beginning, I only blogged when I was in a happy mood, which as I look back, was only a few times a month. Then last fall, I was in a slump of confusion and depression, and hardly blogged at all. This spring I had a moment of clarity, and decided to blog through it all, happiness or depression, and force myself to focus on the positive. I've become pretty good at sharing the positive aspects of my own life. But because of what happened to me last fall, I have difficulties in having a positive attitude about others and their influence in my life. Several of you inquired in January about my post TEN LESSONS OF 2008. I'm finally ready to share with you what some of what happened last fall, so that you can understand why it had such a major impact on me and of how I view others now.

There was a woman who I'd been friends with for 8 years. She is the kind of person who thrives in crisis situations. She loves drama and she loves being needed and helping others when they really need someone. She came into my life in 2001, when Josh and I were separated for 2 months. She entered my life again after the twins were born in 2003. She helped me during my post-partum depression, and she became extremely attached to my twins. A very unnatural attachment, as she was in her 40's and had her own children. The older my twins got, her attachment to them became strange. She invited us over for dinner frequently and would persuade me to let the twins stay overnight so I could take a break. Then she started buying things for underwear, new toys, new clothes, new coats. She cut their hair without asking me first. She had them sit in the hot tub with her. She took them places without telling me. She started having them sleep in bed with her when her husband was out of town. I didn't like the way she was taking over, one step at a time. She loved it when they accidentally slipped and called her "mom". I knew she had some major faults, but I also knew that she had a lot of good in her, so I overlooked her manipulations, her lies and tales of gossip, the way she tried to control my life, and the way she made me feel like I was less of a mother.

Last fall, I was working on a home improvement project of creating cubbies. She came with me to the lumber store to help me pick out supplies. After leaving the store, she told me to buckle up and I told her no, that I don't buckle up. She asked why not, and I told her it's because I don't care if I die. She slapped my cheek and we didn't speak again in the car. After I left her at her house, she called people in my ward (bishop, relief society president, ward members, and my friends) and lied to them all: she told them that I had said I would put a gun through my mouth and kill myself, and that I would put a gun to my children's heads. Her husband is in the bishopric, and everyone just believed what she said. She called the police, who interviewed my husband at his work and came to my house and questioned me in front of my children. She called C.P.S., who came out to the house and had to walk through it taking pictures and asking us questions. The man from CPS is also in our ward and has twin baby boys that I gave all my boys' hand-me-downs to. I was SO angry. Beyond angry. I went ballistic. I felt betrayed by my supposed friend. I felt defensive because nobody believed the truth. I felt worthless. I felt alone. I learned through that whole ordeal who my true friends were. Besides my husband, I had one person who stood by me, believed me, supported me, never gave up on me--and for that, I will always love Hailey.

I don't know why this woman sought to destroy my life; it's been a year and two months since I've spoken to her. But I do know I'm a different person because of this whole ordeal. I'm closer to my husband and my children. My twins are better people without her negative and possessive influence in their life. And frankly, so am I--it feels good to not have her twisted life mess with mine anymore.

But what happened has also affected me in a negative way. I ignored this woman's faults for so long and she used them to hurt me. Now I don't trust people anymore. Once I discover dishonesty, gossiping, manipulations, or controlling behavior in any of my friends, I immediately shut them out of my life, afraid that somehow their faults will eventually be used to destroy me. After that, I can't see past their faults to see their goodness anymore. I used to be a people-person, but now I don't like to be in social situations. I used to be a very open person, but I will never let myself open up enough to be hurt like that again. I constantly feel like a victim. It isn't good for me, and I know it. I've been to therapists and I read a lot of self-help books. I can analyze myself very well--I can tell you why I do the things I do, why I say the things I say, why I react a certain way. But regardless of all my analyzing, I have difficulties with changing myself to who I want to be rather than who I currently am.

So for me, blogging is therapeutic. It forces me to focus on the positive things of my life, and share them with my friends and family from a distance. I feel that I have a relationship via my computer with people who are my true friends. People who trust and believe what I write. People who care about what happens to me and my family. People who accept me for who I am. People who won't hurt me. I'm okay as long as I keep using blogging as my inner outlet and have my fellow blogging friends and family as my close contacts. My blogs are all true parts of my life and my fellow blogger's list is comprised of all true people I know in real life, so even though it's all in a virtual world, it feels real to me.

Just the other day, Josh and I were talking, and I was telling him about some of my thoughts regarding someone I know. He said to me "I don't remember the last time I heard you say anything positive about anyone." I started telling him people who I do like, and the things I like about them. But the list was really short. I want to be different, I want to be the good person that I make myself believe I am when I blog. I asked him what I need to change. He said "You need a change of heart". And I know that he's right. I do.

A few weeks ago, a dear friend posted THIS on her blog about me. It really touched me. I think I've read it like 20 times just to boost myself up. Between what she did for me, and what my husband said to me, I have an idea to start my change of heart: Beginning December 1, I'm going to write good comments for 25 days about the random 25 people who commented on my last post (except the 11th person--"anonymous"...who are you?) December is a great time to start my change of heart, as it is the season for giving and sharing, so for me this will be 25 days of Christmas--just like an advent calendar! I will write positive thoughts and good memories about each person, one day at a time. I'm excited for this self-challenge. Change is good, especially when it's for the better. Here's to all of you for being a positive part of my life!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Random Contest

If you are reading these words, click on comments and tell me your name.

After I have 25 names in the comments, I'll pick 3 names randomly by number to each win a prize. It's just that simple!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Miracle Growth

Remember THIS story?: (click to refresh your mind!) It was truly a miracle, especially after the Tonka Truck Terrorism, but the flower bed not only survived, it FLOURISHED!!!I feel encouraged by the flowers' growth under the care of my previous "black thumbs", and I think maybe next year I will try my luck at flowers again!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Costumes, Characters, & Candy

I LOVE Halloween! I love dressing up, I love seeing all the kids in different costumes, I love all the excitement, I love the chocolate and the candy, I love the pumpkin carving, I love the colorful and spooky decorations--there's nothing about Halloween that I don't like! With all the different parties this year, the kids dressed up in costumes FOUR times!!! Which is pure awesomeness for me, and pure agony for Josh!!!

At the ward party, we were the SpongeBob clan. We've been planning on being the crew from the cartoon show ever since last fall! I did our homemade costumes, which is so fun for me! Josh was Squidward (you can't see his four blue legs in the photo), I was Sandy (as she dresses in her dome home), Ammon was Mr. Krabs, Jonah was SpongeBob, Micah was Patrick, and Kanyon was Plankton (he refused to take his backpack and red hat off for the photo).
For the class party/costume parade at school, Jonah and Micah were identical Spidermen and Ammon was a Zombie.
For the town merchant's trick-or-treating and the school carnival, the twins were their SpongeBob & Patrick Star duo once more, Ammon was a zombie again, and Kanyon was Superman.
For Halloween night and neighborhood trick-or-treating, the boys were all superheroes: the twins were Spiderman again, and Ammon joined Kanyon as an identical Superman! (I love the photo--they were all touching each other like a big circle of love with no prompting from me to do so!)
Josh has just one request at Halloween-time, "only buy candy to hand out that I would eat as leftovers if we don't get any trick-or-treaters". I'll never say no to chocolate--so I was more than thrilled to fill our giveaway bowl with lots of Snickers, Reese's and Kit-Kats!
By the end of Halloween night, after all the celebrations were over, the boys' buckets were super full! Their very first and favorite thing they ate was popcorn balls, followed by giant candy bars and glow sticks, all of which came from some of our neighbors. The boys sorted through their buckets, and Ammon got everything that the twins said they wouldn't eat. His bucket was overflowing!
We had a great Halloween! The boys were happy for all the goodies they got. Josh was happy because we only had a handful of trick-or-treaters so he got to have a bowl full of chocolates! And I was so happy to see the kids' buckets' contents emptied, as the wrappers were all over the floors of the house, rather than the garbage can, for over a week!! Can't wait 'til Halloween next year already!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Perfection

We had a wonderful time picking our own pumpkins out of the patch. Even though none of our original picks were left, there were still plenty of great pumpkins to choose from! Ammon was all about having the biggest one, and he got the biggest one left, which was 36 pounds. Each year, we try to get pumpkins for the boys that range from biggest to smallest according to their place in the family from oldest to youngest. After everyone picked their pumpkins, we weighed them all and surprisingly it worked that way again this year! Kanyon's was the littlest and it weighed 18 pounds. The Monday before Halloween, Josh had a school board meeting, but we chose to carve pumpkins that night as a FHE activity without him. Of course, the first step is de-gutting and each boy scooped out their own pumpkin. We all thought it was hilarious AND disgusting that Kanyon kept eating his pumpkins' guts. I was the unlucky one, with the pumpkin FULL of massive thick spiderweb guts. After the pumpkins were cleaned out, each boy told me what they wanted carved. Jonah and Ammon drew their designs on paper so I would get it right. Micah wanted a horse, and I'm not artistic in any way, so I looked up online how to draw a simple horse and went from there. Kanyon called his pumpkin "Oh Toodles", the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse magical assistant.
(see evidence of the pumpkin's guts around Kanyon's mouth?!)
Josh and I gutted and carved our own pumpkins on Halloween night just in time for the first trick-or-treaters. We both chose to carve self-portraits into our pumpkins, can you tell?!!I'm quite proud of all our Pumpkin Creations! We had such a great time together carving them this year! Even though I'm not artistic, I AM a perfectionist, and I like carving and getting everyone's design's "just right". It's usually not a very peaceful activity when Josh is involved because he doesn't particulary enjoy it! But it was so delightful this year and the boys loved seeing each other's designs take shape:
Seeing our jack-o-lanterns lighted up on the porch was the perfect finale to the fun activity!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Raking the leaves into giant piles and jumping in them is a favorite fall pastime of ours! This year, the boys did it twice, and both times with different cousins!!! There's no better way to spend a fall day than having fun outside with people we love!
In Tremonton, the boys played in the leaves with the Perkins cousins in Grandma Perkins' backyard:
In Salmon, the boys raked and jumped in the leaves with the Forsgren cousins in our backyard and Grandma Tolman's backyard:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Family is of God

I recently heard this song: The Family is of God and I love it.
(To hear the song, pause my blog music at the bottom of this page, then click the song name link.)

God gave us families
to help us become
what He wants us to be--
This is how He shares His love,
for the family is of God.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Funeral begins with F-U-N

Spokane is just over 5 hours from Salmon, and going to my Grandma's funeral was going to be a 24-hour trip for me. I chose to go without Josh and the boys, but worried about driving alone for the long distance in such a short time. The road from here to there goes over multiple mountain passes, with no cell phone or radio reception in several places, and I was afraid of falling asleep. So I asked my friend KIMI to come along. After we got to the hotel, she asked me "Why does Funeral start with FUN?" And it took me a minute to figure out what she meant!
We decided to make the most of the road trip. On Sunday night, I visited with my Grandpa while she worked on homework at the hotel. Then we ate dinner together at Denny's. We ate our hungry hearts out!! And got super bloated and overly full in the process. So, we decided to go swimming back at the hotel to burn off all the calories. We were the only ones in the pool that late at night, and we enjoyed it! We laughed and soaked in the hot tub until exhaustion set in.
The next morning was the funeral, and she came with me and recorded the program for the rest of my family. After we left Spokane, we stopped at a really neat park in Couer d'Alene that is dedicated as a 9/11 memorial playground.
We played on all the cool "Fire-Truck" themed toys. My favorite was the giant Firemans Hat, with a pole on one end and a slide on the other.
Then we looked at the 9/11 memorial model of the WTC. There was a diagram of all the buildings surrounding the twin towers in New York, listing the name of each building, and how much damage was done to each one because of the collapse of the towers. It was amazing to me.
There was also a plaque listing all the firefighters in Idaho who had lost their lives while serving. I checked to make sure Jeff Allen was on the list, a firefighter from Salmon who died in 2003. There was some really neat re-bar sculptures of Firefighters and Police Officers surrounding the memorial area. They were larger than life, and really made an impression on me.
We got back in the car, and drove for quite a while before our next stop: the Cataldo Mission. We got there just minutes before 5:00, which is their closing time, so we didn't tour it inside. But we did take some photos of the place.
We also got a few photos of a dead squirrel lying in the road by the parking lot (we got a few strange looks from drivers passing us by, too)!!!
We stopped again in Missoula for a little bit of shopping and eating, and drove over the last mountain pass before Salmon. We tried to take a self-portrait with the Idaho sign in the background at the top of the summit, but all you can see of it is a little blue blur above my head. But you can definitely see the snow we encountered (the two white circles)!
We were so ready to be back in our hometown! We had a good time and I was SO glad Kimi came with me, but I was physically and emotionally beat by the time I got home at midnight.