Monday, May 31, 2010

Goodbye Spring

Today is the last day of May; so for me, that means today is the last day of spring! Over the last 3 months, we've completed the majority of our Spring Top Ten list! Here's a glimpse at the listed items:

1. See the trees bloom and the grass turn green!
It was a cold spring, so the grass and trees didn't turn green until much later than normal. I truly appreciated when they did! The fruit trees just barely blossomed two weeks ago! I loved watching the world come to life again!

2. Go camping at Challis Hot Springs
This was such an enjoyable experience and it's the only camping trip we've taken so far this year (unless you count living in our camp trailer for the past two weeks, which I don't!).
3. Visiting Grandpa Perkins in Spokane
I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit my Grandpa! I spent two nights at his house, and I learned so much about his life and had the opportunity to rummage through some of my Grandma's things, too.
4. Having the golf course open!
This is Josh's 10th year working as Superintendent for the Salmon Valley Golf Course! He loves his job!!! Josh and Ammon both look forward to when the course officially opens each year!
5. Celebrate Easter with the Perkins family!
This was my favorite Easter yet! And winning the golden egg only helped matters!
6. Enjoy our anniversary with a couple's night away!
Our original plan of staying overnight without the children didn't work out, but we did spend an afternoon alone together window shopping, we saw Muse in concert, and we went to the Twin Falls temple!

7. Planting the Garden
Due to the cold weather, we were a little delayed doing this! We finally just planted the garden TODAY!!!
8. Moving into our new home!
This did NOT happen, but we DID move out of our old home and are anxiously awaiting the day when we can move into our new home (hopefully it's sooner rather than later!).

9. Watch Ammon's 4th grade musical program
This was Ammon's final elementary school musical program. We enjoyed watching him and his classmates perform!
10. Attend Jonah and Micah's Kindergarten Graduation
Jonah and Micah sang so well during the musical portion of their graduation! We were so proud of them! And the children looked so wonderful in their caps and gowns!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Financial Pursuit: a long and weary process

(Out with the Old, In with the New: PART 2)

At the end of November, we started taking the steps to find financing for our new home. We began with the company Quicken, because our home sales company recommended it. Quicken was easy to work with and we were glad! But just two days after being pre-approved by them, Quicken pulled the plug on all manufactured home lending. Due to new regulations set by the government, they chose to not participate in that type of mortgage lending any longer. We were upset, but we went ahead with finding another lender. Our homes sales company started the process for us with Wells Fargo on December 9; and this is where all our lending woes began.

Due to the remoteness and small size of our town, there are no local banks who provide manufactured home lending. The loan officer from Wells Fargo that we were assigned to worked out of Provo, Utah. All of our correspondence with him was over the phone, by email, or fax. After he initially received all of our information, we were pre-approved. We were applying for a conventional loan, and before he could send it to the underwriters, he needed more information. Everyday, he needed different information, such as: a listing of where all the deposits came from on our bank statement in the previous 2 months, an employers confirmation form filled out, a letter proving that our land was put in our name, etc etc. Every other day for several weeks, there was some 'new' thing he needed us to do. Then we sent him $500 for an appraisal to be done, and he didn't receive it for almost 2 weeks. Finally, he sent the papers off to underwriting. After a week, he informed us that we were turned down due to our high debt to income ratio. So he submitted the papers to FHA lending instead. He said we were approved by FHA as long as we paid off a certain credit card. By this time, it was the middle of January. It took us 6 weeks just to get to that point.

In February, our tax refund arrived and we paid off 3 credit cards. For 2 months we were very strict with our budget, and we paid off a 4th credit card. We decided to try getting a conventional loan again because we really didn't want an FHA loan--FHA loans have slightly higher rates and and are required to have mortgage insurance, which meant the monthly payment would be higher. We chose to work with US Bank. The loan officer we corresponded with worked out of a Nampa, Idaho office. He was very friendly and after receiving all our initial information, he told us he didn't foresee any problems with obtaining financing. He needed a few additional documents, he waited for us to send $500 to him for an appraisal. Within just a few weeks, the appraisor came and all the paperwork was done. He sent it off to underwriting. Right before the weekend we thought we'd be moving out, March 13, he informed us there was a problem with the paperwork. The land that we were using as collateral for the loan (equity for a down payment), had a lien attached to it.

Josh's parents own the property that we are putting our home on; it is a part of their ranch. Back in December, they deeded us 6 acres. They paid for a surveyor to come and do a lot split on the ground where we've been living the past 7 years, which is adjacent to their home. They have a home equity loan, and they thought only their house was collateral for it, but apparently it included all the land surrounding the home as well. Their loan was through Wells Fargo,. We still wonder how our own Wells Fargo loan officer didn't catch that problem back in January when it came back from underwriting the first time. We waited for a month for the lien release to come through. Finally, in the miidle of April, it did. After the title company recorded it, they sent it along to US Bank. From there, the situation got ugly.

We'd been hoping and working for financing now for nearly 5 months. In the meantime, our new home had been taken apart and was sitting on the home sales lot ready to be moved. We were careful with our budget and our time planning, because any day we would be moving out of our current house on short notice and we needed to be prepared. We kept thinking that we couldn't commit to activities because we'd be moving that weekend. We told ourselves we couldn't afford to go out to dinner or purchase items because we'd be paying for a mortgage shortly. We were beginning to think that all our efforts would never pay off; we'd never obtain the house that we'd been working so hard to get!

US Bank sent it to conventional lending again, and we were once again denied due to the loan to value ratio. It didn't make any sense to us. The lender said it was the appraisor's fault; the property was low-balled. Our house was worth $110,000 and our land was worth $72,000 but when the appraisor put the two together, he said the entire value was $155,000. So, our loan officer said he would submit our papers to FHA instead. We didn't want to go that route, but by this time, we just wanted financing--no matter what kind or where it came from. He said within a day's time, he would have the decision from FHA. He never called, never emailed. After several days, Josh called, I called, our home sales guy called. Finally, a week later, we were informed that there was some kind of a 'glitch' in the system with our loan submittal to FHA, and that FHA didn't recognize receiving our loan. I didn't understand why he couldn't just RE-SUBMIT it!!!

After another week of hanging in limbo, and not hearing from him, I sent him an email with an ultimatum: I was coming down to Nampa two days later (April 30) and sitting in his office all day until he could get a response from FHA. To which he emailed the reply that we should get financing from someone else. Josh called him, and the loan officer said he would no longer be working on our loan.

We were completely shocked! Josh called our home salesman. Our home sales company is sister companies with US Bank, so they got on the phone with our loan officer's superior, and it was promised that our loan would get the final approval the next day. But, it didn't. The weekend passed. Several days passed. The superior called and informed us that the appraisor that US BANK hired wasn't FHA-approved, and we'd need to have another appraisal done by a different appraisor. Then the loan secretary called and said all our documents that we'd submitted for the loan had now expired, and she needed to call our banks and get a new verification of accounts.

We couldn't take it any longer. By this point, I was so utterly depressed because I'd lost all hope that it would ever happen. We decided to pull the plug on US Bank. They were doing absolutely nothing for us except make our lives hell. Josh went and talked to a private lending firm in town. The head guy there said he would look into finding someone to fund our loan, and just over a week later, he got back with us, saying he found one. Two days later, we walked in, signed the loan paperwork, and picked up a check. The following day, May 13, we drove to Idaho Falls and gave the check to the home sales company. We signed more documents there, and returned home just in time to get a building permit before the office closed.

We'd been working on getting financing for so many months, it was surreal that things could move along so quickly. It's not ideal to work with private financing, because the loan has a higher interest rate and much higher monthly payments. But there's also positives about it: there's a lot less paperwork, no closing cost fees, and no waiting for government inspection on the house before we can move in. We signed the contract with our home sales company before April 30, so as long as we can close before June 30, we will still qualify for the government rebate for new home buyers. We plan to refinance the home this fall. After the house is completely done, we will convert the manufactured house + land into real property, which hopefully will make refinancing much easier than the original financing was!

So, 6 months after we put down our deposit on the house, and dealing with 4 lending firms, mounds of paperwork, and legal documentation, the time had finally come for us to move out!!!

to be continued...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sunshine, Loves, and Rainbows

Yesterday, I was driving to town and I saw the most magnificent rainbow. I immediately smiled. It was so gorgeous: the bold and vivid colors, the grandeur of the giant structure, and the beauty made me stop and think. I thought of the song "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows". I thought of Noah's Ark, and the promise that God made to Noah after the flood. I thought of rainbow quotes and the symbolism that in order to see the rainbow, you first have to endure the storm. And for some reason, I thought of my first love.

(this picture was taken with my cell phone, and really doesn't do the rainbow justice)Josh was my 'first kiss' but he wasn't my 'first love'. He was close--he just missed being so by 2 years!

I was 15 years old when I found my first true love. We were in the high school musical "Fiddler on the Roof" together. We both had background roles (aka "chorus"), so during the scenes when the main characters were rehearsing on stage, the rest of us waited on the sidelines for the scenes in which we would appear. It was during those times that I had the opportunity to get to know him better. He was two years my senior, and he was a senior. He had the cutest smile and adorable dimples. He had a fun sense of humor, and was so charismatic. His eyes were mesmerizing and his voice was music to my ears.

I had a crush on him before he ever paid attention to me. My interaction with him began with a frequent smile and short flirtatious conversations. But one day, my twitterpation for him became something of real substance. We were in the large costume closet, looking for costumes (or at least I think so). It was just the two of us, and after a few minutes of chatting, he shut the door behind me and we were alone. We spent over an hour in there, just talking. He was the first man I've ever talked to about real-life things. We talked about school, about family, about friends, about our goals and dreams and futures, we talked about our strengths and our weaknesses, and about our inner selves. We made a connection that day, a real, true, heart-to-heart one. I walked out of that closet a different person than when I walked into it over an hour earlier--and all that had transpired in between was talking!

Because I was just 15, I had to wait to go on a date with him. And since my 16th birthday was in August (3 months after he graduated), I felt hopeless that I would EVER date him!!! We remained friends throughout the remainder of his senior year: I often sat by him at lunch, occasionally I called him on the phone, and frequently I would visit with him at school functions. My first date, shortly after my 16th birthday, was a double date. I went with an acquaintance and the couple we doubled with was him (my first love) and the sister of my date (does that make sense?). After graduation from high school, he went to college for a year before leaving for his L.D.S. mission. I only ever dated him twice: once before his mission, and once after. Both dates are interesting stories, but neither are pertinent to the reason why I'm telling you all this.

I never could have married my first love. In the beginning I thought so (and I hoped and wished for it, too), but after a few years of getting to know him, I knew it would never work between us for whatever reason. But knowing so didn't mean I loved him any less. I often thought about him after I got married, I wondered where he was and how he was, and occasionally I would hear from others what was going on in his life. I genuinely cared about him, and I truly wanted him to find happiness in his life.

On August 30, 2001, I saw him for the first time since I was married. It was the strangest meeting. We were living in Salmon, it was a Friday night, and I had just gotten off work. On my way home, I decided (very randomly, I might add) to stop at a gas station to put a few gallons in my car's tank. I went inside to pay for it, and the lady at the desk was preoccupied. I had to wait several minutes to be helped. Finally, I walked back out to see a truck pulling a trailer stopping at the gas tank right next to mine. A man got out of the truck, and I stopped and stared, unbelieving that it was him. Only once in the 9 years that I've lived in Salmon have I spotted someone from Tremonton that wasn't related or living here--and it was him. He was on his honeymoon and stopped to gas up one last time before reaching his final destination! I yelled his name and ran and gave him a hug! He told me where he was going and why, and I met his new wife. I told him where I was living and what I was doing, and then we said goodbye.

I remember that date so well because of something else that happened on that same day, something that changed my life forever, something that became one of the hardest trials of my life thus far. The details of that life-altering situation are of no importance now, but at the time, I didn't know where my life was headed or if I was going to survive. Several times during that time period, I thought back to how I'd seen him on that very day, just hours before. It helped me to feel so not alone. I think of it now as a gift from God during a dark time in my life.

In 2007, I became in contact with him through the internet. Our lives had both dramatically changed since we'd spoken to each other last, and it was great to catch up online. We became quick friends once again. For several months, we'd sporadically talk and I enjoyed my renewed friendship with him. But, then things changed (as life always does) and we haven't spoken for almost two years now. Once in a great while, I think about him and I wonder how he's doing, and, almost always, I'm just glad that he's found happiness in his life.

Even though I knew I would never marry him, my love for him ended up blessing my life 3 times through periods of hardship. I honestly think that Heavenly Father was mindful of me when He blessed me with the acquaintace of my first love. He knew what was ahead of me, and He knew that I would need someone on earth to bring me hope during those times of trials.

And in thinking about that, it occurred to me that Heavenly Father has blessed my life so many times through the help of many friends and family. I can look back and see where a specific person was placed in a particular time of my life to help me through certain obstacles that I had to overcome.

The majesty of the rainbow, the memories of my first love, the existence of my friends and family in my life are all evidence of God's infinite love for me. And I am truly blessed to have that knowledge!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Yay! Hip Hip Hooray!
Another blog milestone could happen today!!
Are you my 15,000th visitor?
(Your visitor # is in the small box at the bottom of the right column.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Beginning: a 5-Year Plan

(Out with the Old, In with the New: PART 1)

After Kanyon was born in February 2007, we officially became a family of 6 living in a 2-bedroom house. Using the bonus room we had previously added to the house, we rearranged bedrooms multiple times to accomodate everyone's growing stages. It quickly became apparant that we couldn't live forever in the old single-wide. Of course, that was never the plan--to live there forever. We bought the old single-wide in October 2002 for $2,200. The purchase was the cheapest and best way for us to live in Salmon. It was cheaper than paying rent, and it was better than living with family. We figured we could use the house as a starter house, until we could afford a permanent one. However, less than 6 months after buying the 2-bedroom house, we discovered we were pregnant with twins. So, we grew out of the house much quicker than we anticipated, thus the reason for the room addition in 2004.
A few months after he was born, Kanyon grew out of his cradle, and he had to move out of our master bedroom because there wasn't enough room for a crib. This change began the bedroom shuffle, and also became the beginning of the end of our stay in that home. Josh and I sat down that spring and came up with a 5-year, debt-free plan: the first four years would be dedicated to paying off all our debts--the multiple credit cards, the truck, the van, the trailer, etc., and the fifth year would be the saving up year--we'd save all our money to put a down payment on a home.

We decided that we wanted to buy a brand new double-wide manufactured home in the future. After building that 10x14 bonus room onto our house, we knew we couldn't work together to build an entire house without a divorce included. So, every year, Josh and I would go to different manufactured home lots and look around at the houses on display for sale. We wanted to get a feel for what we liked, what we didn't like, and what we really wanted in a home so that we'd be ready when we could financially afford one. In the casual search for a house, we found one that we loved, and we kept the floor plan layout and looked at it whenever we needed a reminder to stick with our goal of paying off debt!

Last year, we were right on track in year 2 of the 5-year plan. We paid off the van, a credit card, and were close to paying off some more debt as well. In September, we looked at a manufactured home lot in Idaho Falls. They had a special sale, so we thought we'd check out what they had. It was a home lot we'd never been to before, and the stop there was supposed to be like every other home sales lot visit: get out of the car, walk around homes, pick up floor plans, leave. But this time, things ended up different than planned. We found a house that we really liked. A LOT. The layout of the home was different than the other floor plan that we'd become attached to years earlier, but I could imagine our family living there. The double-wide had a simple floor plan that flowed well and felt spacious. The 2,026 sq. ft. home had 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, a family room, and a living room. The kitchen connects the living spaces and has a nice long bar and lots of cabinets, the dining room is just off the kitchen and is next to the mudroom, and the master bedroom suite was complete with a retreat and walk-in closets and an attached bathroom. All for a reduced price of $95,900. We told the salesman we would discuss our options, and get back with him. With the $8,000 rebate offered by the government for new home-buyers, we wanted to take advantage of both the home sale and the government rebate, but there was no way we could financially afford it at the time. We weighed all our options, and told the salesman it just wouldn't work out.

In October, a month later, the home sales office dropped their prices again in an effort to clear off the lot models to make way for the coming new year's models. Our home's price dropped considerably! Right after that, the government decided to extend the special rebate offer from November 30 to April 30. We both felt really good about the deal this time, since we knew we could afford the house in the spring. So, we told the salesman we wanted the house for sure. In November, we put a deposit down on the house, and officially started the process of purchasing it. Little did we know then the long ordeal that was to come in the pursuit of finding financing for the new home.

to be continued...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

out with the old, in with the new

This is our family on a typical evening:This is exactly what you'd see if you were to come visit us in the evening: all of us in the living room--Josh reading his newspaper and watching the television simultaneously, me on the laptop (see where I was sitting?), Ammon reading a book and also watching TV simultaneously, and Jonah, Micah, & Kanyon playing on the floor.

For the past 7.5 years, we have lived in approximately 900 sq. ft. of living space, and we are accustomed to living on top of each other. We bought this 40-year-old, single-wide, 2-bedroom, 1-bath mobile home back in October 2002. And for the most part, this house has been good to us. While living here, we brought home three babies from the hospital, we added a bonus room on to the living room, we got new furniture, we purchased new windows and appliances and flooring, we painted and rearranged and remodeled, and we established a home for our growing family of boys. But the time has come to bid this old house farewell.

So, for the next two months, our evenings will be anything but typical! This weekend, we are moving out of the old house to make room for the new house. And until the new house is done, we will be living in our camping trailer in the backyard!

We started this journey 6 months ago, and it's been an emotional roller-coaster ride thus far! But we are truly excited for this big change in our lives and we anticipate the day when we can finally be in our new home! I will be blogging about this whole 'out with the old, in with the new' home process from beginning to end over the next few months. We've been working towards this goal for years, and I don't want to forget a thing!

Friday, May 14, 2010

FHE Leftovers

Two Monday nights a month, Josh is gone to school board meetings. He's been on the school board now for 2 years. Even though he's gone, we still hold Family Home Evenings without him. He misses a lot of good ones, but we are so grateful for his efforts in the school district and we completely support him in his endeavors.

One Monday night in April, I didn't feel like planning an entire FHE and directing it alone. Instead, I told the boys to each pick a game that we could all play. Jonah picked Memory, Micah picked CandyLand, and Ammon picked Blokus. We played them together one at a time. The games were our entire FHE (except the dessert, of course!).

The next morning, after Ammon went to school, the other boys got the same games out again and started playing them and making up their own rules as they went. After I got out of the shower, I found them just like this:
This photo makes me smile. It's a photo that captures life in a single moment of time. A moment that filled me with hope and optimism and love and gratitude. Sometimes I don't know if I'm a good enough mother, if I'm doing justice for the job, if I'm filling the role properly. But seeing them play with the FHE games, well, it was like eating leftovers, when the food is even more delicious the second time around after having time to soak up the flavors. Even if my FHE wasn't the best planned or most prepared or inspirational, we played together, we laughed together, we had fun together, and I felt happiness. When I saw my boys playing together the next morning, I knew that they had felt that good feeling and wanted to carry it over to the day after! That moment in time of seeing my boys play with the "FHE leftovers" definitely gave me a sense of fulfillment in my calling as their mother, and I felt even more joy while they played the second time around!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Living in Cardboard Boxes

A family friend gave us some giant cardboard boxes.

For the boys, it felt like Christmas morning; they were SO happy!

They played 'fort' in the boxes during the day, and they slept in their boxes for 3 nights.

The boxes were so huge that they took up all the floor space in the boys' room.
Which meant the boys were bringing their toys to the living room to play with, and I was constantly tripping over everything!

On the 4th day, I informed the boys that we are not homeless, and it was time to get rid of the cardboard houses they had created.

It was a sad day for them.

But I was happy to have the space reclaimed and the ability to provide a real roof over their heads once again!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Micah and Jonah HAND-made their T-shirts at Kindergarten to celebrate the occasion!

Monday, May 10, 2010

from Pain to Popular

On Sunday, April 18, Ammon was in an accident.

We had just returned from our first camping trip of the year. Josh and I were cleaning out the trailer and putting things away in the house. The boys ran down to Grandma's backyard and started playing with Grandpa. Grandpa was swinging Ammon around and around on the "May Pole" (aka Giant Stride Swing). He got it swinging really fast, and Ammon knew he was starting to slip, so he yelled for Grandpa to STOP, but Grandpa couldn't stop it fast enough, and Ammon went flying through the air. He landed on his wrist and instantly felt pain.

(To give you an idea of what the swing looks like, these photos are of Josh pushing around the boys on it in Sept. 2008).

Ever since Ammon was in the rockslide accident over Labor Day weekend in 2007, he has become a bit of a hypochondriac. Ammon was crying about his wrist, and he said it really hurt. We knew it hurt, but we didn't know to what extent. We didn't want to make a bigger deal out of it, but we also didn't want to ignore it. We gave him ice to put on it, he took some ibuprofen, and he chilled out on the couch for a while. He had a big homework assignment due the next day, so he had to work on his report later that afternoon. By evening, he was still favoring his left wrist, but it didn't seem to be in excruciating pain, so we figured it was probably just sprained.

That night, he couldn't sleep. He said it ached, and he couldn't get comfortable. He was up multiple times throughout the night. My rule is if the pain is enough to keep you awake at night, then it's bad enough to see a Dr. He took more ibuprofen, took some tylenol, said some prayers, and finally fell asleep. First thing the next morning (Monday), I called the clinic to make an appointment.

He saw an NP (Nurse Practicioner) that morning because she was the only one with an open schedule. He had X-Rays taken, and she determined that it was just sprained. She wrapped it in a bandage, and sent him back to school. He went back to school and went to lunch recess. A half hour later, she called us back saying he needed to come back to the clinic and that he shouldn't play roughly outdoors in the meantime. When we went to pick him up, he was already outside playing football with his friends!!! After picking him up and taking him back to the clinic, she said the wrist bone had been chipped. She then put a splint on it, wrapped it tightly again, and made an appointment for him to see the Orthopedic Surgeon for Thursday morning (3 days away). He had pains in his wrist over the next few days, but only at bedtime. We continued to give him ibuprofen, and he seemed to be okay. The wrist wasn't swollen or looked out of place, and we had no idea what to expect for Thursday. When he saw the Orthopedic Surgeon on Thursday, the Dr. diagnosed it totally different than what the NP had told us. Ammon had broken his wrist--not sprained it, not chipped it, BROKEN it!! He broke his left wrist at the growth plate, which slightly shifted the bone. Ammon received a permanent cast, choosing the color red:

For the first week, he wore red clothes every day to match his cast! Wearing a cast in elementary school automatically makes you popular. His red cast was quickly filled with many signatures! He has to wear the cast for 5 weeks before having it removed. So far, each follow-up X-ray has showed that it hasn't shifted anymore, and it's setting properly. For having a broken bone, the wrist isn't so bad; the Pros outnumber the Cons...

PROS: He got to be done with piano lessons a month early, he's received a lot of attention, he can still write, and he can still participate in P.E. games, and he can use it as an excuse to not do things he doesn't want to do!

CONS: He can't play golf, he can't get the cast wet, and he has a hard time sleeping comfortably at night.

When I took Ammon to his last follow-up appointment, I had all four boys with me. When the Orthopedic Surgeon came into the room, he looked around the room at all the boys, looked me straight in the eye, and said "I'm sure I'll be seeing you again in the future"! And he's probably right!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I love singing Karaoke.

Absolutely LOVE it!!!

The last time I did it was exactly 2 years ago...Why has it been so long?

Because in Salmon, the only place to karaoke now is at a local bar.

I don't mind singing in a bar, mostly because I sound good compared to all the drunks who get up and stagger through a song. And also, since they're all drunk, they think I sound great, too!!!

I just didn't like coming home smelling like I had smoked a pack of cigarettes. I didn't like how the smell permeated my hair, stung my eyes, dried my throat, and stunk up my clothes.

Well, that, and the fact that all my karaoke friends moved away, so I quit going because nobody's willing to go with me anymore!!

BUT, I still LOVE karaoke, and I would go in a heartbeat if it was in a different environment and/or I had somebody to go with!!!

Whenever I would go, I ALWAYS sang "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler, because that's MY song. I've performed it every time I've gone!!!

After hearing Rachel sing that same song on GLEE the other night, I was having doubts that I would ever sing it again. Rachel can nail every song she performs; she is fabulous! And she truly did amazing on that song. Great for Rachel. Bad for Kala. (I have self-confidence issues and inferior feelings occasionally)

But, last night, I felt redeemed. For some reason, I was up late watching TV. Maya Rudolph and Jimmy Fallon sang karaoke to the tune of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on his Late, Late Show. And they butchered it. It was hilariously awful. Bad for Maya and Jimmy. GREAT for Kala!!!

So, once again, I'm ready to belt out the lyrics to "Total Eclipse of the Heart"!!!

That is, if I ever karaoke again!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

a fun party & a not-fun day

I just completed another ward party this past week (I'm the ward activities person), in honor of Cinco de Mayo. We had a "FIESTA"! But it didn't feel like May--when I left the party, snow was coming down hard, and I was thinking about the last Ward Party I did back in December when I was hoping for snow, but there was none. And I was thinking about what a breeze the "FIESTA" was in comparison to the December party "Dreamin' of a White Christmas", due to many unforseen problems that unfolded on that day...

Because December is such a busy month, I chose to have the party on the 10th, so there would still be 2 weeks to do things before Christmas (I choose the dates for the parties months before they actually happen). In the middle of November, I learned that Josh would be gone for 3 nights in December on an all-expense-paid work trip to Alabama. It just so happened that the days he would be gone also coincided with the day of my ward party, the biggest ward party of every year with 200 always attending. I knew that I would be stressed out in his absence, but I also knew that I couldn't force him to stay home on my behalf. he went.

Those 3 nights that he was gone also happened to be THE coldest nights of the year, with temperatures reaching below the -20 degree mark. It was so difficult for me to keep the house warm, and I was waking up in the night stoking the fire multiple times to keep us all from freezing.

Of course, the morning of the ward party, I woke up to find the water pipes had frozen. So, I had no flushing toilets, no shower taken, nothing could be washed. I didn't have time to go under the house and try to heat up the pipes because I had so many preparations to take care of & direct for the party: tables had to be put up, table covers taped on, decorations to hang, food to cook, kids gift bags to make. I put a hat on to cover my yucky hair, and I went to spend the day at the church.
I was tired from waking up all night stoking the stove and tending to Kanyon's needs, I was stressed because I hadn't taken a shower and I had so much to do, I was overwhelmed with all that needed to be done, and I was just plain ornery. Of course, since Josh was gone, I ended up taking Kanyon with me for most of the day and he didn't like having to be tagging along with me doing all my preparations. He was unhappy, screaming, head-banging, and throwing tantrums constantly. So that really helped my mood as well.

All the tables got put up and covered and set (with only a few problems--not enough tables were set out, the tablecover tape was missing, the kitchen didn't have enough plates in stock). The centerpieces were mini snowman bags and mini marshmallows. All the decorations got put out and hung (with only one problem--the stage curtain wouldn't shut). On the walls were cut-out snowflakes the primary made, along the back wall was paper plates with the theme "Dreamin' of a White Christmas" painted on them, along the front of the stage was a paper-link chain, and snowman paper lanterns were hung from the stage curtains. All that was left was the food. I had left 3 giant cans of green beans in my car that I had to cook, and they got frozen due to the low temperatures outside. By the time they started to thaw in the slow-cookers, they looked more like French-Style green beans. But they weren't thawing fast enough, and when it was time to eat, we were still trying to cook them--taking them little by little (the church only had small pans) to the stove to heat up faster. I ran to the grocery store and got the cooked, sliced ham and the donuts and hurried back to the church. The dinner was delicious; we ate ham, potatoes au gratin, green beans, jell-o salads, and donuts. There were 6 missionaries serving from our ward at that time, and I asked every member to bring something small to send in a package to each of them from our ward themed "Dreamin' of a White Christmas". Ideas for items were: mini marshmallows, hot cocoa packets, snowman stickers, snowman ornaments, snow window clings, snowman chocolates/Christmas candy, etc. The packages also included the snowflakes cut out by the children that were on the walls at the party. After dinner, the children all made two crafts. The first was a tri-fold snowman card that they colored on to send to the missionaries.

The second craft was a snowman ornament that they created to take home to hang on their own Christmas trees.The final event for the evening was a program. It went pretty well (with only a few problems--the microphone quit working half-way through, the actors forgot a few cues). The children's book "Snowmen at Christmas" was narrated while youth portraying snowmen acted out the scenes. The YM/YW, Primary, and Snowmen also sang songs throughout the narration that went along with the story, like "White Christmas", "Snowflakes Falling" (to the tune of "Popcorn Popping"), "Falling Snow", "Jingle Bell Rock", "Joy to the World", and "Once there was a Snowman".

The party, from an outsider's view, was a success. It was well-attended, and everyone there had a good time. After the party ended, I cleaned up while my in-laws took the boys home and tried to thaw out the frozen water pipes. By the time I got home after 9:00, there was still no water. I was exhausted and frustrated.

Where Josh was at, he couldn't get cell phone reception, so he wasn't answering my phone calls. But he could get internet, so I messaged him, hoping he would check his email/facebook. My father-in-law couldn't figure out where the pipes were frozen at, and he needed to talk to Josh about it. By the time Josh discovered I was trying to get a hold of him, he was mad at me for waiting all day to tackle the water situation. I tried to convey to him that I hadn't been home all day, and we yelled and fought over the phone. I finally gave Edward (my FIL) the phone, and just sat and bawled. I wanted to use the toilet. I wanted to take a shower--I felt so sweaty and dirty and yucky. I just wanted to go to bed. I was mad at Josh, because while I was living in freezing temperatures, trying to heat the house, living without water, taking care of the children, and running a ward party, he was golfing and getting fed home-cooked 4-course meals, and relaxing in 60 degree weather. I couldn't understand why HE had ANY reason to be mad at ME!

Thankfully, Edward got my toilet running that night, and by mid-morning the next day, the rest of the water came on. The following day, the below freezing temperatures were gone, Josh came home, and all was well once again!!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day

Today is the first day of May, or as I like to call it, "May Day". As a child, I remember many times on this day plucking lilacs from their trees and leaving them on people's doorsteps. Those are happy memories. I want to do that right now. But, due to the late frost, there are no lilacs in bloom in Salmon just yet.

May has officially arrived, and I should be outside enjoying the beauties of spring.
Instead, I'm inside the house, and my head and heart are feeling like the dead of winter.