Monday, June 30, 2008

Montana's a Good Lookin' Place (When You Leave Town)

Jamie, V-Bone, and I went for a nice Sundee drive out to the "Great Falls of the Missouri River" that this fine city is named for, and got some pretty sweet pics of the landscape. Here's a little taste for the kidees at home:

When we finally reached our destination, I have to admit that we were impressed. The city is surrounded by rivers and waterfalls (most of which have had a hydroelectric plant built on them *Frown*), so we saw three of them: The Rainbow Dam, Ryan Dam, and Morony (Mo-Ro-Nee is not a BOM reference) Dam. The "Great Falls" are at Ryan Dam, and they've built a really nice park with a cable bridge out to an island in the river. Here's the account of our experience at the Ryan Dam park:

Mist coming off the water

The cable bridge

My Dove

If the dam breaks, I don't think 8 short blasts will give you enough time to save yourself

The sun was so bright, it was hard to get a good picture

The waterfalls almost look like clouds in these pictures

Me and V-bone

The Mighty Missourah River

They wifey got a nice shot of our bums

This was the Morony Dam
And that is the end of my post. Have a good one, homies....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Maybe I'll Jump on the Bandwagon

Several of our friends have decided to make their family blogs private lately, and it's gotten me thinking about doing the same. It would be nice to keep it public for anyone who wants to read it, but it has come to my attention that there might be people out there reading who I don't want to have access to our blog. I would love to keep friends and family updated with our lives, so with that said, if you read our blog and would like to continue reading our blog, please let me know by sending me an email or leaving a comment with your info! Thanks a bunch!

Hogle Zoo

Here are a few older pictures I forgot to post. The week before we moved, my friend Josie invited us to go to the zoo with her and her two boys. These are few pics of us at the zoo.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's Spanish for "Mountains" but I See No Mountains

So, here in the good state of Montana I sit writing to y'all. Mike has been gone on a business trip to Portland for the last two days which has not been so fun for me. I hate being away from him, and I especially hate being alone at nights. I get so paranoid. The reason Mike is in Portland is because a large branch of the company he works for is located in Lake Oswego, and he's there to meet some fellow colleagues that he'll be talking to on a regular basis. It's funny, because for awhile there we thought we were going to move to Portland, since coincidentally, all the companies that wanted to interview Mike right after graduation were in Portland. However, it seems that Montana is where we're supposed to be for the time being. But chances are we will have the option to move to Portland within 4-5 years when Mike's boss retires. I guess we'll have to see how much we like it here by then. Anyhoo, so Mike's gone and I've been trying to keep my mind occupied with other things. Yesterday I took Vessel to the Electric City Water Park. He loves the water and there is a perfect kiddie pool for him to play in. Today I took him to the Children's Museum. He spent about 2 1/2 hours there exploring the many exhibits. I was able to meet two other moms with children Vessel's age. One of the women has her own salon downtown and so I might go in there to get my hair cut next week. Who knows, maybe we'll end up being friends. I sure hope I make some friends soon because it feels awfully lonely here without anyone to hang out with. I think the biggest thing I miss most about Salt Lake is our friends and being close(r) to our families. Here are some other things that I miss:
  • Temple Square---I think I took it for granted while we lived there. I also really miss just having a plethora of temples nearby. The closest temple is 2 hours away in Cardston, Alberta. The next closest is 4 hours away in Billings. But we are having a ward temple trip next month so we'll get to go then and I couldn't be more excited! I guess I just miss the convenience of having a temple so close to us.
  • Our old ward---I miss all the people there and I really miss my calling in the YW.
  • Harmon's---Okay, this was the best store ever. They had really good meat and deli sections, a great bakery, great produce and an awesome gourmet cheese section. Here I've just found Albertson's and Van's IGA, which are both lame in comparison.
  • Washer and Dryer---I miss having a washer and dryer in my apartment and doing laundry whenever I wanted. Now I have to go to the laundry mat which is super expensive or try to beat the rest of the tenants to the only washer and dryer in the complex. It's less money here at the complex, but at least at the laundry mat I can just get all the loads done at one time and get it over with rather than dedicating my whole day to washing and drying our clothes.
  • Linoleum---You guessed it folks. One of the worst things about our apartment is the fact that it has a carpeted kitchen. It's my biggest pet peeve! If I spill something on linoleum, no big deal, right? Just wipe it up. But on carpet, all you get are stains everywhere. And having a toddler learning to feed himself doesn't make for a great outcome either.
  • Diswasher---Mike and I have had our share of dishwasher-less apartments. I don't mind washing the dishes by hand that much, but the sink here in our apartment is the kind that's like 2 inches deep. So just after breakfast it seems the sink is already overflowing.
  • Bajio---They don't have one here! I used to eat there all the time. Oh, but don't worry, they have about 4 or 5 "Taco Treat" restaurants in this fine city.
  • "The Bubble"---I never thought I'd say this but I miss the bubble of SLC. Some of you know what I'm talking about. Not to be confused with the Provo bubble, which is similar to the Rexburg bubble.
Okay now something I don't miss:
  • Construction on 3300 S. and 900 E. and several nearby streets. Trying to maneuver through that crap was HELL.
So here are some things I like so far about Great Falls:
  • Wal*Mart---The store here is so much better and less trashy that I can't even describe it in words.
  • Butter Brickle Ice Cream---When I lived in Idaho I could find Butter Brickle in the freezer section of my local grocery store. But when we moved to Utah I could never find it! It was disheartening. But as we were walking through the store last week I found Butter Brickle again! Hooray!
  • The River---I'm happy there is a big river that goes through this town. I just found out that they have a River Festival every summer, so I think we'll try to go to it. It reminds me of the Green Belt in Idaho Falls. And there are ducks here, so Vessie can still feed them. Oh wait, I forgot...we aren't allowed to feed the ducks here. Psh.
  • The Farmers Market---We've only gone once but it was enjoyable!
And here are some things I just find plain interesting about Great Falls:
  • One Way Streets---They are everywhere. I have turned into oncoming traffic more than once since being here. I can't get used to the one way streets.
  • ATVs on the street---It's not uncommon to see four wheelers, dune buggies, and other ATVs cruising along the regular roads.
  • Lewis and Clark are like gods here---There are so many things named after them including a holiday. They are a big deal, as is Sacajawea.
  • Everyone has a Canadian accent.
  • In front of the Civic Center are 3 flagpoles---They fly the American flag, the Montana flag, and....they fly the Canadian flag as well.
  • Getting a college degree isn't as sought out as other places---Or at least it seems. Mike was telling some guy in our ward that we both just graduated and the guy asked what I did for a job. When Mike told him that I stay home with our son, the guy was shocked, and didn't understand why I went to college. As if having an education was a bad thing.
  • There are a million churches of various denominations here.
  • EVERYONE has a tattoo, and some kind of body piercing---At the pool, I swear I didn't see one adult that didn't have a tattoo, a belly ring, or a facial piercing. It's no big deal, I'm just not used to seeing it in such profusion.
  • Many more mosquitoes here---Probably because of the river.
  • It gets lighter earlier in the morning and darker later in the day---Maybe it has something to do with the fact that there are no mountains around. (Hence the title of this post.)
So, those are just some things I've observed since I've been here.

Anyway, I guess things are going okay. The carpet cleaners came the other day, but the carpet still has a faint smell to it. I should have made them go over it two or three times. They showed me the water after they had cleaned it and it was BLACK. So nasty. But the rug does look and smell a little better.
I think Vessel is adjusting better to the place and hasn't had many freak-outs this week so far. I am regaining my sanity. I have been listening to a ton of music lately and I've been inspired to write a lot since moving here. So I got a new notebook to jot my ramblings and thoughts and poems. I go through spurts of creativity, and recently I've had such an urge to create. I just want to pull out all my art supplies and make something. I've been thinking about making a bunch of paintings to cover these walls. I'm not a good painter, but trust me when I say it would make these walls look a heck of a lot better. And add some color, which might brighten my mood. I also want to try to learn guitar since we have one just sitting here. We'll see if I actually make time for it though. There are a ton of things I want to learn, but never feel like I have enough time to commit to learning them. Ahhhh, "Someday" I always say. :)

I suppose I better wrap this up and try to get some sleep. I've had an awful cold for the past 2 days and it's wearing me out. So good night y'all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When you're in the mood for something sweet and something sour...

Pineapple Orange Chicken Over Rice

This here is my own little concoction. I took bits and pieces of other recipes and added my own twist and this is what I made.

Cut up a large chicken breast into small bite-size pieces and coat them in batter (flour, seasonings, water) or use store bought tempura batter or Bisquick. Place peices in a pot or wok of frying vegetable oil and cook until golden. (nothing more healthy, I promise ya!) Lay on paper towels to strain off excess oil.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. corn starch
Juice from one can of pineapple chunks
Orange zest (take the small side of a cheese grater and run an orange peel over it a few times)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and add whatever vegetables you'd like. (I used a bag of frozen mixed vegetables but fresh carrots, bell peppers, onions, broccoli, beans, peas, etc. work wonderfully.) Bring to a boil. When it starts to thicken, add pineapple chunks and a few orange slices for flavor. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Add fried chicken pieces. Serve over rice.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Okay this recipe is so old school. It comes from my mom's old Betty Crocker cookbook (copyright 1978.) But don't be fooled, this is a great recipe and very easy to make.

1 pound hamburger
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg

Mix ingredients; shape into twenty 1 1/2 inch balls. (I use disposable rubber gloves and mix with my hands.) Cook over medium head, turning occasionally, until brown, about 20 minutes. Or cook in ungreased oblong pan, 13X9X2 inches, in 400 degree oven until light brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 can (13 oz) pineapple chunks
1/3 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 small green pepper, coarsely chopped

Cook meatballs in skillet; remove. Drain fat from skillet. Mix brown sugar and cornstarch in skillet. Sir in pineapple (with syrup), vinegar and soy sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat. Add meatballs. Cover; simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in green pepper. Cover; simmer until crisp-tender, 5 minutes. Can be served over rice. Makes 4 servings.

Vessel Update

Vessel is going to be 20 months this Saturday. This kid is not my baby anymore. He's my little man. He just seems so grown up. He's talking like crazy. He just learned the word "Jesus" so now whenever he sees a picture of Jesus he'll say it over and over. And if we say "It's time for prayer" he'll fold his little arms like a doll. It's so cute. He also knows how to say "thank you" and whenever he gives us something, he'll tell us "thank you" when it should be the other way around. But he is learning. He's very into bodily functions lately. He knows the words "poop," "diaper," and "potty" and lets us know when he needs changed by patting the front of his diaper or putting his hands down his pants. A few weeks ago he pulled some poop out of his diaper and had it on his hands and came up to Mike to show him. Mike was none too pleased with the whole thing, but at least Vessel understands there's something going on down there. We have wanted to start potty training for a few months now, but with all the chaos of moving we just haven't gotten around to it. We think he's totally ready though, so once we settle down a bit more in this apartment we are going to start potty training. He also knows the words "booger," "tissue," "sneeze," and "garbage." He'll ask for a tissue if his nose itches and he'll pretend to blow it and then say "garbage." When he sees me blowing my nose he'll ask "booger?" He's starting to put words together now like "more juice" or "bye-bye Daddy" or "poop yucky." He also knows some new animal words like elephant and lion. He knows some more food words like oranges, cereal, yogurt and he also knows the words "messy" and "sticky." He likes to ask me to open stuff for him all the time and he'll just sit there begging "omen, omen, omen?" which is his way of saying "open." He also knows the words "attack," "tickle," and "hug." I enjoy telling him to attack Mike because he'll try with all his might to push Mike over or jump on top of him. It's really funny.
He's adopted a new thing lately. Instead of saying "Mom" or "Dad" like he used to, he's been adding a long drawn out "EEEEEEEE!!!" to the end of these words. So when he wants one of us it's now "Mom-eeeeeee!" or "Dad-eeeeeeee!" And you all know the Spongebob pillow that he loves so much? Well, he's got 2 of them now that he can't be separated from. Wherever he goes, the "Bobs" go with him. He'll drag them around the house, to the store, and he'll insist on eating with them or even bathing with them (even though I tried to tell him that Bob can't swim.) Anyway, it seems like he's become more attached to them especially since the move. They are his loveys and I guess I can't deny him of something that is familiar to him or that is comforting. So most of the time I don't mind when he wants to take them everywhere. But the other day we left the house and at the bottom of the stairs he realized he didn't have his "Bobs" with him so he panicked and starting whining "Bob-eeeeee! Bob-eeeeee!" It was hard not to laugh. So now he calls them his "Bobbies." It's actually really sweet, even if I get tired of lugging a kid, 2 pillows, and 5 bags of groceries up the stairs. It's great. :)
He seems to be adjusting better to the move now. It must be hard on little kids when everything in their world totally changes. He's got a different apartment and a different room and different kids in the nursery to play with. And with Mike's new schedule he doesn't get to see his Daddy as often as before when Mike got to work from home most mornings. And I'm sure he senses the stress that I've been under the past week. The first week we were here he had a meltdown at least once a day. I have never seen him that way. I'm sure it was a combination of things. The move, the stress that Mike and I were under, another tooth coming in, and most likely the "terrible twos" that everyone mentions.
Vessel is even more defiant than before. He'll tell us "No" on a regular basis. No if I ask for a kiss, no if I want him to stop playing with Scotch tape, or no when I tell him we have to stop playing and go inside for bed. Plus, he wants to do everything himself. He's becoming quite the self-sufficient little guy. :) He can brush his own teeth now without our help. He can also wash his hands by himself by getting up on the toilet and leaning over the sink. He loves to make "bahboos" (bubbles.) Mr. Independent won't eat anything unless he gets to feed himself. He doesn't want any help at all. So I let him do it and then I usually end up with a huge mess, but how else is he supposed to learn, right? Before, I'd let him use a fork to eat cut up bananas or other fruit, bread, hot dogs and stuff like that. But now he wants to use the spoon for all the messy stuff like applesauce and oatmeal. Although, most days it seems like he hardly eats anything because he's going through a picky stage. A good way to get him to eat is letting him dip his food. He loves to dip, and that's a sure-fire way to get him to eat. Like if I just give him some cut up bagel he probably won't eat it, but if I give him a dish of yogurt to dip them in, he'll have a hay day. He's a dipper.
Vessel hates being pushed around in the cart at the store. He will fight to get the strap undone and beg for me to let him out so he can walk around. If I do let him out he thinks it's great to help me push the cart. He likes to walk around and do his own thing, which is his independent side coming out.
He loves to run and jump and explore. He loves to play on the big kid equipment at the park. He is a pro at climbing up and down the stairs. He can open doors now (if he can reach the door knobs.) He is fascinated with keys and tries to put my keys in every door knob in the apartment. He always wants to help me unlock the doors when we get home. I gave him some plastic keys to play with because when he plays with my keys he always manages to hit the alarm button for one of the cars and then it goes off for 20 minutes before I realize that the annoying car alarm is ours! So now he takes those plastic keys and tries to open up doors with them. His imagination is expanding bigger and faster. He is still interested in the same things he was a few months ago, like drawing and reading books, only now his imagination is developing more and he actually tells me what he sees and hears or what he's drawing. Like he'll scribble some incomprehensible thing and point to it and tell me its a bird or a fish. I am just amazed by that. If he thinks he drew a bird, who am I to say he didn't?
He's so smart and understands pretty much everything we say. He picks up on many things, and I find myself having to spell out certain words like C-A-N-D-Y, because if he hears that word he won't be quiet until he gets some. :)
He is becoming such a big helper lately. He wants to help me do everything. I usually have the patience to let him help me, like put dirty clothes into the hamper, or put books and toys away. I figure that even if it takes more time, it's still good for him to learn these things. He wants to help me make dinner too, so I'll set him up on a chair next to the counter where I'm working and he'll merrily jabber on while I cut up vegetables and what-not.
Not only is his mind growing, but physically he is getting taller and lankier. It's been about 4 months since his last hair cut so his hair is also getting long again and so I like to give him a cute fauxhawk similar to the one he had when he was younger. We consistently get comments on it like it's the most peculiar thing anyone's ever seen. I really don't know why. Is it really that uncommon for a little boy to have spiky hair?
That's about all I can think to update y'all on the boy at this time. He's just a cute kid. That's all there is to it. Even on his bad days. :)
Here are some recent pictures to prove it:

Kissing my cousin's cute little baby girl. He calls everyone his size or smaller a "beh-beee."
Swinging like a big boy!
With his best friend Daddy.
Helmet head.

This was Vessel's first time swimming since he was about 9 months old. He was pretty neutral about the whole idea, as he is with most things. Not afraid of it, but not all that excited about it either. Just, meh. I mean, I think he enjoyed it, it just doesn't show on his cute little face, ya know?
Here is Daddy helping him get used to the water.

I got these cute little swim trunks for him last week. Aren't they adorable?

Ready to venture out on his own!

Taking a breather.

What a heartbreaker!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Welcome To The Real World

Well, where do I begin? I guess let’s start with last week. So…. we moved on Saturday the 14th. That whole week before was just a whirlwind packed to the brim with social events, packing, de-junking, making phone calls, etc. etc. It was exhausting and I went to bed every night wishing there were more hours in the day. On Friday the 13th, (which worried me quite a bit, being the superstitious gal that I am) we loaded the truck and cleaned out our apartment. We had so many people come help us and we were very grateful to those who took time out of their busy schedules to give us a hand. So here’s a big "THANKS" to those who watched Vessel for us, helped pack, load, clean, and all that happy crap! Friday was a crazy day. I thought I had most everything taken care of except a few minor things. I guess I was wrong. Some of the girls (you know who you are) helped me out SO much with all the last minute things I didn't have time to do while I scurried about making sure everything else was going smoothly. So the men came in and started taking everything out even if it wasn’t boxed or ready to go. I was sort of on edge and freaking out the whole night because I am such an orderly person and I want things done a certain way. But I had to let go of my inner OCD for awhile, which was very hard to do. Many can attest I was in stress mode and not my normal self, and I’m sorry to those who may have seen a side of me that wasn’t so great. Mike and I were a nervous wreck because the U-Haul rental shop told Mike that the truck he rented was big enough to fit a 2 bedroom home plus a washer, dryer and fridge. That was a total lie. I kept looking at the truck getting fuller and fuller and thinking “oh my gosh, we still have so much stuff left to load!” And the boys were even doing a great job loading it very strategically. If it weren’t for the fact that we had 2 cars to fill as well, we would’ve had to leave a bunch of stuff behind. Luckily we sold our washer and dryer, got rid of some big pieces of furniture and a few boxes of junk beforehand, eh? So after that was all said and done, a few friends helped me clean and just kept me company while Mike drove our motorcycle down to his parents’ house. We were pretty sad about parting with it, but there was no way to take it with us. But luckily someone bought it since we’ve been here in Montana, so that was a load off our minds. After Mike got back with Vessel and his parents, our friends left. It was a very sad time for us. I didn’t want to say good-bye. It was also the last “Girls Night In” party that night but I had too much to do and was so tired that I didn’t even make it. I kind of felt like a douche not showing up for at least a few minutes to say good-bye to my friends. But we had to get up at 4:00 a.m. the next day to drive to Montana so I needed to get some Z’s in to avoid falling asleep at the wheel and killing Vessie or myself. I’m sure y’all understand, right? Right?

Well, like I said, our friends left and then Mike and I were left to finish cleaning up the apartment and eventually try to get some rest before the big journey. My mind was so wound up that I couldn’t sleep. I felt an emptiness in my heart that I haven’t felt for a long time. I felt nervous, anxious, sad, scared, sick, excited, and physically and emotionally exhausted. And before I knew it the alarm went off and we were on our merry way.

The next morning we loaded up the remainder of our stuff and took off. Since we didn’t sell Burple (the sweet rig) I drove it while Mike pulled Bling (the Cavalier) behind the U-Haul. We were making great time and when we hit Tremonton Mike told me to just go ahead of him because I could go faster and probably get there before him or around the same time depending on how many stops I had to make for the boy child. So I started driving ahead of him and things were going well, until I realized the scenery did not look so familiar anymore and I stopped seeing signs for Pocatello. It suddenly hit me that I was headed towards Boise! I freaked out because I have made the drive from Utah to Idaho more times than I can count and then this time of all times (probably because I was spacing off) I totally took the wrong turn! I don’t have any explanation for it other than my mind was in another place. I had been driving for awhile and couldn’t believe I would have to turn around! I called my dad and his girlfriend pulled up a map on Google and figured out a way for me to get back to Pocatello without having to turn completely around. It worked, but I was now an hour behind Mike. In an attempt to catch up to him I started speeding (just a little) and I got pulled over by a police officer in Idaho Falls. I was only going 6mph over the limit! It must have been the car, right? Just my luck. Fortunately the cop just gave me a warning and sent me on my way. I was so paranoid about getting pulled over again that I set the cruise control to the speed limit until I hit the Montana border. And by that time I figured there were NO cops out on the roads so I gunned it. Ha ha. Okay, I really wasn’t going that fast. The roads were pretty much vacant though so I didn’t have to worry about traffic. The drive itself was beautiful. And Mike wasn’t lying about the “Big Sky Country.” The largest downfall of the trip was that it seemed to take forever. I eventually caught up with Mike but I had to make about 10 pit stops for the boy child to stretch his legs and eat something, otherwise I probably could’ve made it to our destination sooner. And then 10 minutes out of Great Falls the boy child vomited everywhere, so I had to pull over and get him cleaned up. It was disgusting and it made the car reek of baby barf. Ewww. We didn’t arrive at our apartment until 5:30 that afternoon. Only twelve hours after we got on the road that morning. Ugh….

I was just happy to be there….until I saw our new place. Just a word of advice to y’all: Don’t get an apartment without looking at it in person first! We thought it would be okay…after all, the landlord described it to us and it sounded reasonable. Yeah, too bad the landlord was very misleading. The place is probably 100 years old and the foundation is falling apart so there are cracks all over the walls and ceilings. (Are you thinking safety hazard here?) And since the foundation is sinking, the cabinets and doors don’t fit exactly right. The carpet smells of the foulest dog urine and the walls are dingy yellow. Everything just looks rundown and filthy. Mike and I looked at each other and almost didn’t sign the lease, but we didn’t have anywhere else to go! So we went ahead and signed the lease knowing that it wasn’t a permanent thing and we would somehow have to make the place livable. On the bright side, it’s only a 6 month lease. But at the time I still felt depressed and didn’t want to imagine living in this dump for 6 months.

Anyway, thankfully we had some very nice people ready to help us move our stuff in, including Mike’s new boss. Sadly though, our couches would not fit in the apartment. There was no way to get them through the narrow corridor up to our door and then actually turn them around the sharp corner into our apartment. So we ended up getting a storage unit for those and a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t fit, or that we don’t necessarily need right now. That night the EQ president of our new ward invited us over for dinner. It was very nice of them. The next day we went to church and after church we were invited to dinner at a member’s home along with some other people from our ward. They were very nice, but I just wasn’t in the mood to socialize I guess. I was tired and feeling homesick.

So now it’s a week later. The first couple of days here were pretty hard. Mike had to be to work at 6:00 am every day this week and didn’t get home until 5 or 6 at night. The first 2 days I was just so lonely and uncomfortable. My scenario: I’m stuck in this hell hole of an apartment all day in a city I’m not familiar with, no friends, no internet, and a kid who is having a difficult time adjusting to the move. I just wanted to be back in Salt Lake!!! It’s been a struggle for me. And then all of this other stupid stuff happened over the course of the week that just added to my stress. Like I dropped my new $350 phone and broke it. I didn’t have it for more than 2 weeks and they wouldn’t even replace it for me! Also, I was so ticked at our landlord because he told us the carpets had been professionally cleaned but I know for a fact that they weren’t. We didn’t have hot water for 3 days because the gas company wouldn’t turn on our gas without seeing a photo I.D. first and since we got there on Saturday we had to wait until Monday to go into their office, and even though I went in there first thing Monday morning they said they wouldn’t be able to hook it up until Tuesday. Cold showers are none too pleasant my friends. I had to heat 10-12 pots of water everyday to give the boy child a bath, wash my hair or wash my face. Then to top it off, our tub drain stopped working and the maintenance guy took 3 days to unclog it, and then once it was unclogged, the lever on the drain stopper broke and needed to be replaced. Another annoyance is that I’ve had to wash all our laundry at the laundry mat this week (and until we move) because there aren’t washer and dryer hook-ups in the joint, and it’s really not on the top of my list to go sit there for an hour chasing an energetic toddler. Then the U-Haul people were jerks when we returned the truck and made Mike miss work for over an hour. And Vessel has been so cranky this week because he just cut another tooth way in the back of his mouth and he hasn’t been happy about getting his schedule and environment disrupted. I’ve just wanted to rip my hair out! I was an emotional wreck but I’ve calmed down since then. I have faith that we’re supposed to be here and I realized I need to be more supportive of Mike and his new job and be a strong person for him and our son. So I’ve had to suck it up. Plus, I know that despite all these challenges, we have been very blessed. I kind of feel like Satan has been trying to make me feel like being here isn't right or that we made the wrong decision. I mean, after all, it seemed like nothing was going according to plan and there were a bunch of little things to push my buttons, not to mention all the big things. But things are getting better day by day. Like I said, the first 2 days were pretty rough. But then I decided to do something about it. I got out a bucket and dumped some Clorox and hot water in it and I scrubbed down all the counters, cabinets, baseboards, windowsills and walls. I guess I could’ve been mad that I had to clean up someone else’s dirt (or be mad at the fact that the landlord didn’t have it professionally cleaned before we got there) but what else could I really do? So I unpacked our stuff and bought some things to spruce up the place. A tablecloth and some flowers in a vase can go a long way. :) I also bought some good smelling stuff to hide the smell of the previous tenant’s dog until the carpet cleaners come tomorrow. Yay! So the place is looking much more livable now, and with some of our stuff on the walls and all our boxes gone I feel more at peace. It’s not as bad as it once looked so I feel better. And now we’ve got the internet hooked up so I don’t feel so isolated anymore. However, I don’t have any friends here yet, but hopefully I can get involved more in the ward and in the community and get to know people. I decided to venture out last week and familiarize myself with the town better. I found the library, and the Children’s museum, and several parks, including a water park that Mike and I took Vessel to yesterday. We also found out there is a Farmer’s Market every Saturday so we went to it yesterday too. We went a little bit later in the day so we weren’t able to get any fruits or vegetables. (We’ll be sure to do that next time.) But I got some homemade soaps and incense, a loaf of homemade bread, Navajo Fry Bread (a.k.a. "a scone") and Mike got some delicious pork on a stick. :)

Things are getting a little better. We’ve had the weekend to be with each other and recoup from the past week. Great Falls is actually a pretty decent place. There is a huge river called the Missouri River that runs right through it. There is supposed to be a ward rafting trip next month so that should be fun. There are a lot of things to do here if you’re into the outdoors. I hope we get out a lot this summer or I might go crazy!

One thing that made me happy is that we went looking for houses on Friday. The plan right now is to buy a house after our lease ends. The light at the end of the tunnel... We couldn’t get a house right away for obvious reasons. For one we didn’t have time to shop around before moving here. For another we thought it would be best to make sure Mike had been working for a few months before talking to the bank about a loan. So, if all goes well (I’m crossing my fingers) we’ll be able to upgrade to a cute little house by December. Even if we don’t get a house, I know for sure we won’t be living here, so it’ll be okay! I’ve just got to keep a positive attitude and make the most of our time here and have faith that we’re supposed to be here for a reason. And if that reason is just for Mike’s job, then I have to support him in that. But I hope the Lord has more in store for us here. I truly feel like we ARE here for a reason other than Mike’s job, but that reason is still unclear to me at this point. Things will get easier, I know. But right now it’s still pretty hard being in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. And I’m still unsure how to feel about the ward. It is very small. I am not used to the chapel being less than half full during sacrament meeting. And the members here are….mmm….different to say the least. It’s only been my second week going to this ward, but so far Mike and I both agree that there aren’t many people we feel like we can relate to. There aren’t too many young couples and I miss our old ward so much. I hope and pray I can start to feel comfortable here soon. Anyway, that’s the scoop for now. I hope all you Salt Lakers (and others) will keep in touch with this Montana broad! Next time I’ll make sure my post is more upbeat, aight?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Wowsers. That's all I can say at this point. So we've been in Montana for about 3 1/2 days now, and boy do I have a novel coming up for all of you to read. I am currently at the Great Falls library using the internet until ours gets hooked up this Friday. You guys will be in for such a treat when you find out about all the shinanagins that have taken place. Great Falls is a pretty decent town. But wait until you hear about our apartment and other such things. Wowsers.
So, anyway, I don't have a lot of time to chit chat, but just wanted to let you know that we are all alive and I am pretty much missing Salt Lake like crazy right now. Well, I guess I'll post again once we get our internet squared away at our new place. Until then, have a great week, eh?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

101 Things You May or May Not Know About Me

Here ya go ladies and germs. Getting to know all about your good pal Jamie. I saw this on Cheri's blog and decided to go for it.

1. I have a photographic memory.

2. I love having a “to do” list and checking off things throughout the day.

3. I’m a very indecisive person.

4. I love music. It has such a powerful impact on my day to day life that without it I would absolutely roll over and die.

5. I love the cello.

6. I tend to hold a grudge.

7. I worry.

8. I love to read, but it takes me a long time to get through books because I’m such a slow reader.

9. I’d rather be hurt than to hurt someone else.

10. I want to go back to school and become a dietician someday.

11. I love to longboard and snowboard.

12. I think I’ve got mild OCD.

13. I love cartoons.

14. I am a sensualist not a hedonist. ;)

15. I’m quiet, but I try hard not to be.

16. My coping strategy is to sleep it off.

17. Yellow looks horrible on me.

18. My ideas are always changing.

19. I’ve been in quite a few fist fights.

20. If I could have a super power I would want to speak and understand every language.

21. I put things off too much. But it’s okay since I work better under pressure. That’s my justification. Pretty lame, eh?

22. Ice cream is my weakness.

23. I love children’s books.

24. My pinky fingers are crooked.

25. I have an eye for detail, unless I’m nervous. What I mean by that is I can remember detailed things about what a person was wearing, how their hair was, or very specific things unless that person makes me nervous and then I just shut down.

26. I wouldn’t call myself a “gamer.”

27. I brush my teeth for a really long time.

28. I’m a collector.

29. I can out-eat you. Just try me.

30. I hold my breath. I unconsciously stop breathing sometimes when I’m really focused on something or incredibly stressed. At times I’ll just be sitting there and realize that I’ve been holding my breath for seconds at a time.

31. I was obsessed with angels and cherubs when I was in junior high. I had cherub posters, calendars, statues, knick knacks, notebooks…anything you could think of.

32. I take too many pictures.

33. I love candles and incense (Nag Champa will always remind me of the summer after I graduated high school.)

34. I have a pretty horrible sense of direction. I use landmarks to help me find my way around.

35. I want to have a garden someday. We always had a garden when I was a child and I’d like my kids to have that experience too.

36. I got my tonsils out when I was 20 years old.

37. I rarely get bored. I always have something to do.

38. I wish I was more like my husband. For instance, he’s the type of person who can just let things go and he goes out of his way to avoid confrontation. And he’ll be nice to someone even if he dislikes them. But I, on the other hand, can’t just “drop it” and if I don’t like you, you’ll definitely know because I’ll make a point of not looking at or talking to you.

39. I could spend hours at an art gallery.

40. Commercials and infomercials are fun to watch.

41. I am easily overwhelmed.

42. I can play the clarinet.

43. I hate my fingernails.

44. I have an oral fixation. Like when I study I’ll chew on my pen, or when I watch a movie I’ll bite my fingernails (which is why #43 exists.). If I’m concentrating it seems like I’ve always got to be chewing on something.

45. I love the smell of sun block.

46. I hate eating in front of people.

47. I like chemistry.

48. I like to dance and watch other people dance.

49. I couldn’t live in a place where it rains constantly. I need sunshine to feel happy.

50. I can ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars.

51. When loading the dishwasher, I have to place all the silverware (except knives) pointing up in the tray, otherwise it bugs me.

52. I don't necessarily believe in horoscopes (like in the newspaper or whatever) but when it comes to traits and characteristics of astrological signs, the description of my sign (Pisces) fits me to a T.

53. I prefer ballpoint pens to other types of pens.

54. It can take me a long time to do simple tasks.

55. My favorite snack right now is French baguettes with spinach artichoke dip.

56. In 6th grade, a boy named Shad punched me in the nose at recess when a few of my friends and I were playing boys against girls “keep away.” I probably provoked him, but it didn’t give him the right to hit a girl. Can I get an amen?

57. I have a hard time waking up. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, waking up is always a struggle for me.

58. If you try to wake me up when I’m not ready to wake up, be in for a sad, sad day my friend. It’s best to just keep your distance.

59. I’ve eaten fried mealworms before. I’ve also eaten alligator and rabbit.

60. I hate it when “customer service” is rude to me before I even say anything. Helloooooo, your job is to serve the customer (me) and not be a douche.

61. I’m a huge believer in “karma” or “what goes around comes around.” So all you lousy customer service reps out there, you’ll get what’s coming to you.

62. I like going to cemeteries. I also like going to scary abandoned haunted houses.

63. Usually I regret not saying what’s on my mind but I suppose I’ve gotta draw the line somewhere, and that means zipping my mouth on a regular basis. But that's not to say I don't ever put my foot in my mouth because it actually happens quite often.

64. I don’t wear glasses or contacts.

65. I don’t ever want to live in the middle of a big city.

66. I’m not afraid of clowns. They’ve never spooked me out. Sorry Tracy.

67. I always wear some type of make up everyday, unless I don’t plan on leaving the house. I don’t like going out of the house without at least a little mascara or lip gloss. My face just feels naked. However, I am trying to go bare faced more often.

68. When I go shopping, I usually don’t get in and out quickly. Even if I make a list, I end up browsing for awhile instead of just getting the stuff & going.

69. My husband hates that about me.

70. Chewing gum makes me gassy.

71. I hate it when people are flaky. Like for instance, it bothers me if people make plans with us a week in advance and then cancel last minute. It makes me mad because I schedule my whole day around that event and then they cancel! Aaaaarrrrgghhh!

72. I want to get acupuncture and a belly massage.

73. The chore I hate most? Washing dishes.

74. Spring is my favorite season.

75. I am putting off packing for our move by writing this little list.

76. I could probably be a vegetarian, but I could never be vegan. I eat too many dairy products.

77. I used to have a crush on Conan O’Brien. What can I say, I like ‘em funny! Lucky for me Mike is funny AND hot.

78. I’ve never broken a bone. Well, I fractured my ankle playing soccer, and cracked my knee roller-skating. But I’ve never had to wear a cast.

79. I can play the piano by ear.

80. I can make a mean jell-o salad.

81. I have really sensitive ears.

82. I love laughter!

83. I ate a lot of deer and elk meat as a kid because my dad liked to hunt. Beef was something our family rarely ate until I got older.

84. I have really great friends. They are the type of friends who’ll listen to me rant if needs be, tell me the truth no matter what, and like me despite all my flaws.

85. I’m going to miss Utah more than I thought.

86. Like Cheri, I have a truly embarrassing moment every week.

87. I love the feeling of clean sheets.

88. I’m not a big fan of watching professional sports on T.V. Like, I don’t have a favorite team or anything. I like to watch the Olympics though. And I enjoy participating in sports.

89. I wish I was more proficient in my computer skills.

90. I am a visual learner. I pick up things 100 percent better when there is a visual aid or some kind of picture or demonstration involved.

91. My favorite toy as a child was a doll I named Shawna Mama.

92. I want our family to celebrate every holiday on the calendar. Like Secretaries Day, Arbor Day, and Flag Day. More excuses to party is fine by me.

93. I would like to live in California or Puerto Rico. I love, love, LOVE the beach.

94. I was always the teacher’s pet during my school days. Yup, a total brown noser all the way.

95. A few years ago some friends and I were canoeing on the Snake River up in Idaho, and as we were turning a sharp corner the canoe tipped. That made for a very cold rest of the day.

96. I can be a sore loser. Especially when Mike beats me at Dr. Mario.

97. I always wanted a tree house.

98. I love wearing pajamas.

99. When I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up.

100. I am really digging the band Santogold right now.

101. I’m everything and nothing all at once.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Family Night

Sunday we had a BBQ at Mike's parentals' house.

Cute cousins. I love how V has his mouth full.

The boy child still has his mouth full. I don't think he ever gave eating a rest.

Hotties, fo sho.

The boy child is a big fan of lollipops.

Yup, the boy child still looks like he's chomping away. And here's his Daddy and uncle being all manly.

The boy child needs a drink to wash down all that food he just consumed.

The Dave and Karen duo.

The cook (a.k.a. Mike's awesome motha)

The boy child with his Sheltie friend.

K dawg and her boy.

The boy child loved hiding in the blanket. It was really cute.

Me and my adorable V!