Saturday, March 27, 2010

Emie's College Essay...

Emie had to write an essay a few weeks ago as if she were applying to a college.  This was what she wrote & I wanted to post it so I would remember it:
Emie Allen

Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

If you ask any child who their idol is, you can probably bet their answer would be 'mom' or 'dad'. As they get a bit older, their answer might change to a popular movie star, or sports star. But at my age right now, I've come to appreciate the simple answer young children give when they choose their idol. One of the people who has had a significant influence on me is my dad. It's taken me a while, but I've come to truly appreciate what a great example he is to me, how much he's taught me, and how much I can learn from him.

One of the best lessons I've learned from my dad is the oldie-but-goodie, 'honesty is the best policy' lesson. My dad's honesty and integrity is apparent in everything he does. Especially when it comes to business, it's easy to lie, steal, and cheat your way to get to the top. But I've noticed that customers of my dad's businesses appreciate well-run, honest business. His employees also respect and trust him because he has proven himself to be reliable. Another way he has taught that me honesty is always best is through my own experiences. Whenever I do something wrong, I can either confess, or try to lie. If I'm honest from the beginning, the punishment is always much less severe than if I'm caught lying. In every part of life, honesty is crucial; I'm glad I have a great example to look up to.

Working hard is something I can have issues with at times. So I'm glad I have an idol who is one of the hardest workers I know. My dad has always worked hard, whether it be in athletics, school, or career. In high school, my dad was first in state for his position on the football team. He also kept up his grades, despite being extremely busy. When he was in college, he'd work at night, along with his attending day classes, to support my mom and I. He's always been the breadwinner of the family, and has never let us down. Another thing that adds to his great work ethic is his ability to get the job done on time, without complaint. He works just as hard as all his employees do, which makes him a fair boss. From his success, I've learned that if you work hard at everything you do, you can accomplish anything.

Although it may sound like it, my dad really isn't an all-work-no-play kind of guy. On the contrary, my dad is one of the most fun dad's I know. I might be biased, but I don't know too many other dads who like to take their families to the lake, California, Mexico, on road trips, and many other activities just for the fun of it. My dad likes to have a good time, especially with our family. And, he has the best sense of humor, which I've had the privilege of inheriting. It's unique, and something we can enjoy together since not very many people quite get it. This small characteristic has taught me an invaluable lesson; never forget to laugh at yourself. Whenever I'm stressed about homework, friends, and everything else teenagers get stressed out about, I just remember to take things lightly, and enjoy life. After all, you shouldn't take life too seriously; no one gets out alive anyways!

If someone had asked me ten years ago who my idol was, I'm almost positive my answer would be the same as it is today, despite the time that has passed. That’s because my dad has always been there to support me, encourage me, and inspire me. I don't know where I'd be without my honest, hardworking, fun-loving dad. Because of him, I try to reach new heights, and be the best I can be. No matter what life decides to throw my way, I'll be able to handle it, because I have the best example to follow. And that’s all I can ask for.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Healthy Eats...

So we went to McDonalds today, and I have been on a diet (aren't I always kind-of on a diet--maybe that's part of the problem) so I'm trying to find a nice low calorie lunch.  I end up with this:
Good choice, right?  It's like 170 calories--which you get in one BITE of a Big Mac...  Anyways, I get the kids happy meals--and they eat a little bit, and go off to play.  I ate my little fruit and yogurt salad, which I finished in about 2 minutes, since it is like 5 apple wedges, 3 grapes, and a tablespoon of walnuts, with about 1/4 cup of yogurt.  Hmmm...WOW am I still hungry--(imagine that).  Meanwhile, Ashlie's happy meal box is staring at me because it has a whole box of THESE:

Seriously?  You guessed it, in about 5 more minutes, I had downed not one or two, but the whole freakin box (which was a small box--but still...).  Ashlie comes back from playing and says, "Where did all my fries go?"  I had thrown away the box, so I said--"I don't know--didn't you get any?"  She says, "Should I go tell them I didn't get my fries?"  I say, ", they probably just forgot--sometimes they do a few of Jack's fries." 
I am evil--and tomorrow I will probably be up two pounds--I deserve it.

In Case You Haven't Heard...

The new store will be OPEN TODAY!  YAY! 
Check out the new pics & info at:
Now I really have to go to BED!  It's 2 a.m.!  LONG DAY!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Working Mother...

This past week was not a typical Spring Break for our family.  Instead of being on a beach somewhere, or at the pool, or on a vacation, Todd and I, and a few family members worked like crazy to try to get the new store set up and open.  My husband is not a man who enjoys waiting for things--we got the shipment of merchandise in last week, and he saw no reason we couldn't have it all ready to open this week.  Well, can I just tell you that we have never set up a retail store before, and it is so much more WORK than we expected!  We had to count each piece, give it a number, enter it into our computer system, sort each piece, group it with similar pieces to put on display, and then work on displaying it in a way that would be both easy to keep track of, as well as pleasing to the eye when you come into the store.  When you take into account that we have done this with well over 400 different items--with multiples of each-- (and we are not through yet)--this has taken a LOT of time!  Todd and I told our teenagers that this week would be a good opportunity to earn their girl's camp money, as well as work on a YW value project by doing household work, and babysitting during their spring break.  You can imagine how THRILLED they were at that!  You see, I have never been a working mother!  My children have had to babysit their brothers and sisters here and there, for an hour or two, but then we always come home & rescue them.  Rarely have I ever left them with the kids for more than a few hours at a time, and rarely have I left them with a chore list as long as the one they had this week!  This week--they truly got to see what it is like to be "MOM"! 
This week, Todd and I got up and excercised at 5:30, then left by 8 to go to the store, we rarely stopped working, except to eat a meal or two, then we would come home around 7.  Can I just say that my heart goes out to you working mothers?  I don't know how you do it and keep it all straight!  By the time we got home I was DEAD TIRED!  Not to mention that I haven't seen the kids all day, and boy did I just eat Jack up when I walked through the door!  That being said, I can't say that I could give my full time and attention to the kids either, since I still had to get dinner on the table, the kitchen cleaned, and laundry done.  We tried to do something fun with them each night, mostly to ease my guilt from being away all day, but as I sat at the table playing a board game, I was mostly in LA LA LAND, falling asleep as I tried to concentrate!  Most nights I fell asleep before 10 p.m.--and slept like a baby! 
Now, mothers who are reading this and saying, "WAIT, I AM A WORKING MOTHER," because you stay home with your kids--I am not making light of what you do--I have DONE that for the last 15 years!  I KNOW that you work hard, and your work is different than any other--and I believe more important than any other!  But can we at least give much needed PROPS to those mothers who do BOTH!  I just realized this week how hard it is to juggle work and home, and how heart wrenching it is to leave your babies in the care of others every single day.  I thought of my own mother, and sisters, who work for a living, and I am so proud of them for making it work for them, and managing to do the impossible!  I think that stay at home moms, and working mothers alike deserve SO much credit for making their families run!  You are AMAZING!
On another note, can I just say that all of the working this week was not all bad?  I rather enjoyed going into the store, where it was quiet, I could concentrate on a task and accomplish it without 1,000 distractions, I could listen to myself think, and not have kids talking over me all day!  Do you know that I didn't change a dirty diaper ALL WEEK?  That is amazing!  (Sorry Emie and Erin--I know you changed A LOT!)  The few times I had to go to the store to pick something up it only took a few minutes, and we didn't have any meltdowns at the register, or crying kids!  I talked to adults all day, and actually had intelligent conversations!  Most of all, it gave me a chance to do something different, not the same thing that I do every day.  Sometimes I feel like my life is like that movie "Groundhog Day"--different day--same CRAP!  It gets so mundane--so boring, that to get out once in awhile and be able to do something different and creative, where I could use my talents was very fun and exciting!  Maybe when Jack is older I will be able to use more of that side of myself, and actually get to do more of the things that make ME happy!
For now, I will remain a stay at home mom.  A week of being a working mother was enough for me to know that people in this house need me to be here--namely the little ones.  And even though the big ones don't need me as much anymore, I think that after this week, they do appreciate all of the little things that I do for them every day that they didn't particularly notice until I wasn't here for a week!   Thanks girls, for a job well done--and for taking good care of my babies & being nice to them!  You did a great job--and I love you! 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sneak Peek...

I know some of you might be sick of me talking about the new store--but I just went in this week to take pictures of some of the pieces of olive wood, and you just have to click over to the blog to see them!  They are amazing!  Can't wait until you can come see them in person--only a week or two now!  So CLOSE!  YAY!
Old Jerusalem Treasures

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I'm not one who's very good at change.  In fact, I stink at it.  I rather enjoy things staying the same, so I can deal with them.  I like to have the same routine--take the laundry for instance...I do 8 loads a week, (usually on Monday) darks, followed by colors, followed by whites, followed by towels.  I never change the order--I never mix it up.  It works for me, it's comfortable, it's my routine.  Todd is the opposite--as spouses sometimes tend to be.  (I don't know why that is, I guess to balance a marriage out?)  He LOVES change...he thrives on it.  He gets bored with the same old thing, and wants to try new things.  He is constantly thinking of new ideas, new ways to challenge himself, new things he wants to do or try.  Sometimes in our marriage, this presents a challenge.  The last few years the change has been regular and constant.  We sold our business--one we worked for 10 years to build, moved to a new house, in a new ward, in a new school district--which ruffled everyone's feathers a bit, traveled--a LOT, to places we have always wanted to go, and spent WAY more time together than anytime in the last 16 years of marriage.  Now, with our new business, comes another change--and can I tell you that the craziness of starting a new business is starting to hit our family?  HARD.  The last few weeks have been a whirlwind.  Signing the lease, getting the store set up and remodeled, trying to deal with shipments, and inventory, and getting a computer system, and phone lines, and decorating, and paint, and shelves, and mirrors, and glass, and banners, and signs, and on and on.  Todd has been so excited and so busy that we have hardly seen him much of the last few weeks!  While I am so excited for this new opportunity, it has also caused more than a little fear and trepidation, and stress over here.  You see, we have done this all before.  I know what it takes to start a new business, and get it up and running, and make it profitable.  It takes WORK--and BLOOD-- and SWEAT--and more than a few TEARS (most of them shed my ME)!  It takes long hours, and late nights, and sacrifice, from both of us to make it work.  Most of all it takes dedication--and can I tell you how dedicated my husband is when he sets his mind to something?  He is an amazingly hard worker--and when he sets a goal, there is no stopping him, he will work as much and as hard as he needs to in order to reach it.  I love that about him--it's one of the reasons I married him, he has a fire, and a determination to accomplish great things.  So why has it been so hard the last few weeks?  One word.  CHANGE.  Our life is changing, once again.  There will be a new routine, a new schedule, a new focus.  For some, this might come easily--but for me, it is hard.  I tend to fight it--and I have been--trust me.  I have been frustrated, and stressed out, and on edge.  I have been hard to deal with, and stubborn, and impatient.  I am just struggling to find my place amongst these changes once again, and my poor husband has to deal with my craziness--along with everything else on his plate.  The worst thing is, I have made him feel like I am mad at him (which I have been for various reasons--some of which were legit--), but most of all, I am going crazy because I feel like I am going to be losing him for awhile.  Not in a literal sense of course, but I have rather enjoyed having him around the last year.  He is sure fun to be with.   He is my favorite workout buddy, (even at 5 a.m.), he is my favorite person to eat lunch with, he is my favorite person to watch You Tube videos of Jim Gaffigan or Brian Regan with, he is so patient with me and the kids, he loves to do dishes (no really, he does them all the time), he is so much better than I am at getting the kids to do things, like read scriptures or pray (you already know from a few posts ago that no one in this house listens to me when I say things), he is even my favorite skiing buddy.  He is my favorite person to diet with (mostly because we sabotage eachother all the time--and that is the best kind of diet), and my favorite person to talk politics with (because he loves to play devil's advocate--just to drive me crazy) but he usually agrees with me in the end (so he doesn't have to endure endless hours of debate, and so we can stay married).  He is the funnest person to talk to, because still to this day after 16 years of marriage I CANNOT tell when he is telling the truth--or messing with me.  He can still fool me, and get me all fired up about something--(like politics...).  He knows what I like, and what makes me happy, and will bring home a Sonic soda, or chocolate, or onion rings at just the right time, on just the right day.  Most of all he can look past my faults (and there are too many to list here...) and love me in spite of me being me.  He is an amazing father, and an amazing husband, and my best friend.  I'm not sure how I ever got so lucky to have him in my life--but I am grateful every day.  And I will miss him.  This change will be hard to get used to at first, like all changes are--but life will go on, and I will establish a new routine, and it will be OK--it will just take some getting used to.  Todd, I want you to know that I will be behind you, and you will always have my support--even when it's hard.  I can't promise you I won't be difficult--because I have always been difficult--but let's face it, you love me that way, it keeps you on your toes.  And who knows, someday I might enjoy all of this change as much as you do--maybe I'll even find a way to get better at it.  Hmmm...Monday, maybe I'll wash the whites first--just to mix things up.   Yikes...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I found some pictures today while I was putting them on disks.  These two try to pretend like they can't stand each other--but I know there's some LOVE here!  Ummm...I also think they were having a photo session in a public restroom...yuck!  HA!  I sure love these girls!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Star of the Week...

Last week Josh was the Star of the Week for his 1st grade class! He got to take their class pet, Toto home and spend the week doing fun things with him. Thank goodness he is only a stuffed dog! This was the scrapbook page we made for his class scrapbook of all the things Josh and Toto did together. It was a wild week for little Toto! Good job Josh! We love you!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Getting to the Temple..

Sometimes do you feel like when you really need to go to the temple it seems like there are always obstacles thrown in your way? Well, yesterday was one of those days. We knew we needed to make it to the temple before 6 in order to get a session in, it's always so crowded on Fridays, so we were ready to leave by 4:30, and thought it would be an early night. Then, we got a call from Emie, saying she and her friends needed a ride home from track. Okay, no problem. Todd was on his way out the door to pick them up when he got another call from our friend Trasi. Her car was broken down a few miles from our house, and she needed us to tow her car home. We told her to hang tight, and we would be there as soon as we picked up Emie. We could tow her car home (she lives right by the temple), and still make it to the session by 6. Well, Emie's track usually gets out at 4:30--but wouldn't you know it, they kept them until 5 yesterday. So Todd got home around 5:15, and we finally made it over to help Trasi at 5:30. We get her car all hooked up, and start to tow it, pull out onto Val Vista about 5:45, only to realize that there was a huge traffic jam, and Val Vista was backed up all the way from Baseline down past Southern. We needed to get to Broadway. So we went 5 mph for a few miles until we were almost to Southern, got stopped at a little side street light--and BAM--the tow strap breaks. Poor Trasi got a little whiplash since Todd's truck is jacked up and she was in her car driving it and it took a little plunge back down to the ground. So Todd and I drive onto the little side street, I take the wheel, and he gets out and pushes Trasi's car down the street a few blocks where we had to leave it. I couldn't help but laugh as I snapped this picture...isn't this just the best getting to the temple picture you've ever seen!The good news is, we still made it to the temple, barely making the 6:30 session. We left Trasi's car there until we got out, and we went and got David at 9:30 to help us tow it back to her house. Then, we barely made it to 5 Guys right before 10 when they close--to get some delicious burgers and fries! YUM! All in all, an awesome night! Thanks sweetie, you're the BEST! And, SO strong--good thing we've been working out!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Update: I was talking to my sister in law about this post--and she told me about this little short film she had seen on You Tube called Validation. I think it's not just mothers who want to be validated--it's everyone. When was the last time you sincerely complimented someone? When was the last time you really listened to what they had to say? When was the last time you made someone smile? This little film was 15 minutes--but I think they said a lot in that amount of time! Loved it!

Wikipedia defines Validation this way:
In psychology and human communication, validation is the reciprocated communication of respect which communicates that the other's opinions are acknowledged, respected, heard, and (regardless whether or not the listener actually agrees with the content), they are being treated with genuine respect as a legitimate expression of their feelings, rather than marginalized or dismissed.

Sometimes, as a mother, a little validation can go a LONG way. Just because I became a mother doesn't mean my brain fell out of my head. A little respect, a little appreciation, and a little validation--is that too much for a mother to ask?


We saw this driving down the road, and I just had to take a picture. It's a single wide trailer welded onto a school bus--a homemade RV! AWESOME!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Baby is TWO--(it's official now!)

Sunday was Jack's second birthday--Sunday birthdays are pretty uneventful! We made waffles for breakfast after church, which he slept through, (it's all he can do to make it through nursery). Then for dinner we were invited to go eat at David and Jessica's so he had some cousins to have cake & ice cream with. It was lots of fun! He got a little bike for his birthday, since he won't stay off of Ashlie's bike--but wouldn't you know it, he is about 2 inches from reaching the pedals--ugh! These darn boys of mine are too SMALL! Check out the cake we found at Walmart at 11:00 on Saturday night! It was too perfect! I was afraid that our lack of planning would leave us with a crappy cake--until I saw this beauty! Loved it!

Things we LOVE about Jack Jack right now:
1. He LOVES to talk--ALL THE TIME! He is a boy after my own heart! He loves the sound of his own voice!
2. He has the best laugh--I love to listen to him giggle.
3. He has the best mean look--it cracks me up every time when he glares at me when he's mad. It's hard to take him seriously--until he starts screaming at the top of his lungs!
4. He is a CLIMBER! This is good and bad--GOOD when he can climb out of his bed in the morning or after his naps--BAD when he can climb out of his bed in the middle of the night or when he doesn't want to take a nap!
5. Jack LOVES his sisters! They are all smitten by him, and he is SO stinkin spoiled around this house. He has them wrapped around his little finger!
6. Jack is a Daddy's boy (well, as close as any of my kids have gotten anyway). He LOVES his dad, and they have a special bond since Todd has gotten to spend much more time with this last baby than he did with the first few!
7. He LOVES to RUN! It's hard to slow these boys down--even for a minute!
8. He is CLEAN--he still loves to take 2 or even 3 showers a day. If ANYONE in this house is in the shower, Jack will strip off his clothes and jump in with them--whether they want him or not!
9. Jack is loving watching movies in the car now--which makes all of the errands with a two year old almost bearable. Too bad we don't have movies playing in shopping carts or strollers or well, just about everywhere!
10. He is the BEST TERRIBLE TWO YEAR OLD we know! We love you Jack Jack--Happy Birthday Buddy!
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