December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

As I look back on the year coming quickly to an end, I realize there have been many ups and downs, and some bumps and turns, some skids, some nicks, some stitches, some laughs, some cries, some travels, some incomes, some job changes, some life changes, some lessons learned, some lessons taught, some friends made, some love returned, and some very many blessings received. Overall, its been an interesting, long, but yet fast year. So hard to believe that next year is next weekend.

For many we sent out our little Christmas Picture card, with no note attached. Never been a huge fan of the "brag" letter, but have come to see them less as bragging but more as in focusing on the blessings of the year. So I spared you a letter in the mail, but find that I need to write.  Can't guarantee this will be short...it really has been a long year.

Before Christmas a year ago, I started applying for jobs in the area. Though I had been working at the restaurant 2-3 days a week, I wasn't taking home a paycheck, and it was getting impossible to for us to survive as a family, with out an income.

I was hired on in house keeping at McKay Dee hospital. Surprisingly, besides feeling looked down on by many of the staff, and never being called "corrine" only housekeeper, I enjoyed the work. It felt good to get in and clean and see things done. And I loved visiting with the patients, especially since I covered mostly the post partum floor. I worked forty plus hours a week. I left around 6 am, five days a week, when I'd hurry home to have Eric run up to the restaurant, three of those days, since I worked Monday's which the restaurant was closed. Then I worked weekends too.  I went from January to May, not going to our church, first time in my life missing that much church. Fortunately for me, they held church services at the hospital which most of the time I was able to attend on my break.

Anyway in April, after women's conference I felt strongly that I needed to find other work. But didn't know what to do. Was hoping to get benefits and had worked the 3 months, but for some reason nothing happened for me there. And somehow I caught up with a gal from our Ward who had just opened a day care, and needed a director. We spoke and I mentioned my degree and that I should be able to qualify as one. Things seemed to fall into place, and I was able to give my two week notice and join Little Seed Childcare as a director. 

This surely helped with the summer, the kids were able to go with me and Eric was able to be at the restaurant full time again.

In May Eric started getting calls from people in Hawaii about Hart (his previous employer) winning the bid to do the Hawaiian elections again. He passed the numbers on to Hart, and mentioned that if they needed any help, he'd be glad to help out. He didn't fit in the budget and we assumed it just wouldn't happen. Then in June he got a call saying that they really couldn't do the project with out him. So he was assigned to start working in Maui in August.  He was to travel back and forth. To be able to spend some time with the family and be there at the restaurant.

Kids went back to school in August, making life a little more complicated. Seemed like life got a little busier I guess. And I didn't have any of them signed up for extra curricular activities either.  Two our third child started kindergarten, and T-Rex started going to preschool three days a week. Hard to believe my little babies spend so much time away from me. They are growing up so fast. G and Bee, are in 4th and 2nd. All doing really well for the most part. Two and T-Rex are still doing some adjusting. Who am I kidding, Two has a "hard time sitting still and paying attention" and has earned her own desk to help with distractions. And T-Rex doesn't always want to go, but he is still just three and little.

Anyway In mid August, Eric's partner offered to buy his partnership out. We decided it would be best for us, and put that in motion. Everything wasn't finalized til mid September, however, sometime in there, Hart offered Eric a "promotion" moving him from Maui to Oahu again, and from manning just the Maui elections to the whole state. And not able to travel back and forth. It was such a blessing. It was kind of "funny" timing. Because it literally happened a few days after agreeing to a buyout.

Since Eric was going to be there from End of August to the End of November, we decided to take the family out in October for a two week family vacation. Even though Eric worked the whole time, we had fun, and it was the first time in over a year and a half that our family felt "normal" and that we were able to spend quality time together.

As part of his deal, I was able to go out and spend a week, well five days, with Eric on the island of Maui, oh how I fell in love, not just with Eric but with the island of Maui. If I could I think I'd pack the family up and move there. So peaceful and beautiful.

After I left, Eric finished up work there and flew home the weekend before Thanksgiving. He has been home around a month, and still searching for work. I pray that something will come soon for us.

I am grateful for my job, as it has helped with some of the bills. However, with running kids here and there, and school pick ups and drop offs, and sicknesses and injuries, I don't get to work as many hours as I could use.

Speaking of injuries and illness, all but Two have had stitches this year!  Bee on Easter Sunday, while I was at work, fell on her scooter, and the handle bar went through her head, 7 stitches. T-Rex was playing on a slide at the pool, and slipped and split his chin open, he only got 5.  Then G-Man two weeks ago was shutting his bedroom window, while his hand slipped through and broke the glass, another 7 stitches. He had an injury a week later, splitting his eye lid open pretty good, he decided he didn't want stitches, and with out insurance we kind of agreed, I put some sterie strips and its healed pretty good.

Speaking of eyes, Bee joined the glasses wearing group this year as well! I feel so bad that it took us so long to discover that one, as with Two who started wearing them in preschool, and G-Man in kindergarten, her being in second seemed a little late. She was really struggling with reading, I thought an educational delay of some kind. Then she started putting on Two's glasses to read and seemed to improve. Anyway finally took her to have her eyes checked and the poor girl can hardly see! Her reading as gone from just basic sight word books to chapter books in a matter of weeks. She is actually doing really well in school as well. She received a school wide award for belonging, helping others belong.

The kids have held up a little better than me this year, I think. Though it hasn't been easy on them, with me working, with Eric pretty much absent the last while, and then traveling, which with him in Hawaii they didn't notice a difference, if that says anything about how much he was around.

It has been so nice to have him around this month, the kids seem to be a bit happier, but we do seem to have to work out some kinks that life has thrown us, just getting back into a routine.

The other night we were having dinner. Something we have been able to do more of lately, and like normal, everyone was talking at once, and Two took her usual stance, standing on her chair talking, trying to get everyone's attention. It was noisy and I was going crazy. So I told them all to catch a bubble. They did including Eric. For some reason the bubble face Eric was making made T-Rex start laughing hard. Then we all started laughing. And we spun into the "my name is chubby" cheek smashed, can you smile through that chub stuff, and I started laughing so hard, I was crying. The kids were laughing, we were laughing. And G said "this is what family dinners should always be like."  And I agree. I realized that it has been a long time, since I have laughed so hard with my family or with anyone. And feel like I have finally found my laugh again.

We truly have been blessed, and continue to be blessed. Just really waiting for that one special blessing of a great job, career for Eric.  So if anyone knows anyone that is hiring please pass them our way! 

December 19, 2010

Santa's Elves

Last year at Christmas, we had been unemployed or rather unincomed for a year, this year marks basically year number 2. However we have been blessed to have some contract work recently.  Anyway last year and a half has been very tough  to say the least, and the out pooring of help over Christmas was overwhelmingly wonderful.  Many days I'd just cry from sure joy of feeling so loved and blessed. We truly are grateful to all those who reached out to us, many of whom we don't eve know who you are.

The last four months, we have been blessed with some income, and the ability to do some stuff for other people as well as "take care" of our own. However we were just talking about how many santa's evles helped out  and how blessed we were last year and that not as many santa's elves will be helping out. And just reminding the kids that their won't be the kind of gifts like we had.   To which Greg said "What happened to them all this year?  Did they all die or just lose their Christmas spirit?"  It made me laugh.  Though you got to wonder :). 

I truly want to let all santa's elves from last year how much we love and appreciate you! And know you haven't died or lost your Christmas spirit, but like us are serving other families. 

And in case you are wondering, this is my 550th post.   Merry Christmas!

December 14, 2010

Last Nights dinner, next week's treasure!

While Eric was in Hawaii the past few months, I still ended up making enough dinner for the whole family, and usually a little more. Or some nights dinner just wasn't really wanted, or I wasn't hungry. Anyway, I put left overs in the fridge and well they ended up just being thrown out. Then the idea dawned on me, I know it took 35 years....and a little help from an awesome dinner swap group....to come up with the idea to freeze the left overs. 

So I started making a little more, and putting the left overs in a gallon zip lock baggie, flattening it out and freezing them. It has been a life saver.

Just a little note to self and others, write on it, or sometimes it becomes a little treasure hunt for a mystery dinner...like last night. But the kids loved dinner and all I had to do was thaw and serve.

And speaking of dinner swap, I love it. I love getting together the first Monday of the month and having a few different meals in the freezer to eat through out the month. If you live in Ogden and are interested in joining us, we'd love to add a few more to our group!

December 01, 2010

December 1...slippery, shattering, coughing--CAUTION WOUND PICTURE

You know when you make a comment or say something, it can open and cause the total opposite. At least I believe so, and think I need to remember that and not say anything.  Because the other day I mentioned how we have been accident and major illness free for at least 5 months.....July was the last hospital visit.

So I noticed on Saturday T was getting a little congested, and actually spent the whole night crying and kicking. Then by Monday he was so bad, Eric took him to the doctors. He has bronchitis...oh and he is hacking away right now. Poor kid. He sounds so bad. 

Then yesterday, I went to go do a little visiting teaching, I know the last month, nothing like getting it in on the last day. However, my adventure was thwarted by barking jumping dogs and a thick patch of ice and cement stairs. As I stepped on the top step, heading to the basement, the dogs on the other side of the railing jumped and barked, startling me, to where I lost my footing and fell hard down and then slid a few steps.  It hurt. A lot. I composed myself and knocked on her door. I was relieved that she wasn't home, and I as I headed back up the tears just flowed. I hurt. I still hurt. But surprisingly there are no bruises, just a dime size dent in my left arm.

After the kids came home, they decided to help Eric put together a shelf.  I was upstairs folding laundry and trying to clean with my hand held clenched to my chest. G came running up "Mom you need to take me to the ER. NOW!"  I thought maybe he put a nail through his hand but then I saw the blood coming from his fingers that were covering his arm. 

"What happened?"

"T opened our bedroom window and when I went to shut it, my hand slipped and my arm went through it."

I think I was still trying to register what was going on, as I grabbed some paper towels to wrap it. He removed his hand and I almost passed out seeing his cut. Then I asked if the whole window broke.

He said he pulled his arm back out and the glass shattered everywhere. Then the poor sweet kid, who if you don't remember has broke three other windows this year, one car and two house ones, said "I really really wish I had broken the window differently."

I finished wrapping him up and he and Eric flew well didn't fly but took off to the hospital. They got in right away and were out in less than an hour. However I made it over there after getting the other kids to be tended by my friend. 

I made it just in time to see him get the remainder four of his seven stitches. Funny thing. Like I mentioned my arm really hurts, and unintentionally I have/had been resting it close to my body on my chest. I walked into the ER and the security guard looks at me and says "you need to be seen? are you ok?"  When I told him I was here to see my son, the nurse came out and took me to him and asked if I was ok. 

So I just asked the doctor kind of what I should do. He asked me if I could extend my arm, and I showed him I could but that it wasn't comfortable. He said "if it were a fracture you'd be in a lot of pain, not be able to move it. There'd be lots of bruising and swelling. With out looking and really evaluating it, I'd take some Motrin, ice it and if it still hurts in the morning, come back and get an x ray because that is really the only way we can tell." 

It still hurts this morning, but not quite as bad, my shoulder and back are worse for the wear today, but I think the pain has lessen so much in my arm that now I am able to feel the other stuff. But there still is that dent in the side of my arm.  I thought maybe the contact between my arm and the icy cement just had pushed my fat in, but who knows. We will see how the day goes. But I seem to recall a couple of my kids being able to move their broken arms...and no swelling or bruising, but I think my arms ok. Just don't touch it.

November 30, 2010

Halloween...yeah a little late

Tomorrow rings in the last month of the year! Holy Shamoly! I just can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that 2010 is quickly coming to an end! Some ways I truly am grateful for a new year to begin yet sad, hard to believe to see this one go.

Eric and I were just talking about this year packed in a lot! But anyway that's for another time.

Since today is the last day of November I had to throw in some fun Halloween pictures.

T-Rex had a trunk or treat at preschool. That morning he tried on every little outfit we had and finally we landed with a life guard.

Then we had all our school parties on Friday, G was a little on the Halloween bum hum bug, and didn't dress up! Turkey! The girls, however, dressed up. Bee chose to be a chef and Two was a witch (Bee's outfit from last year.  T dressed up like spider man for the day care Halloween bash.

Saturday we went to our ward's trunk or treat and then hit the neighborhood with Tina, and her son and a few other boys from the hood.

The kids got way too much candy but had a blast.

I love Halloween, but not as much as Christmas. So fun to sit here in my decorated house. Thinking about leaving the tree up all year! Well probably not a little too much clutter for me.

November 23, 2010

The Rest of Maui

I never got around to finishing our Maui trip. Maui was one of my favorite life experiences so far. But actually greater than that was the hug I got from G-Man when I came home, he ran to me and hugged me so tight. He was so excited to see me. And I was excited to see them. But I truly did have a blast.

So Monday morning, we kind of just lounged around for a little bit, then packed up and headed out to Hana. We stopped in a little town on the way out to get a picnic lunch. Then we headed on our way. One of the first beaches out of town is a big surfing one, and it was full of surfers. Eric and I stopped and watched the surfers for a little bit.

After that we started en route, to stop at mile marker 6 to have a private swim in some falls and natural pools Kind of funny, well not totally, I had my camera, walking across the wet slippery rocks, when Eric said to me "You are not going to take your camera out there? you will slip and get it wet."  As I turned back to put it down, I fell flat on my back! It started to rain shortly after we were there so we headed on out.

The road to Hana is beautiful, windy and did I say gorgeous?  Stunning. Anyway lets just say I took a lot of pictures. We stopped several times and then finally made it to our little bed and breakfast that was literally across the street from fields and a bluff to the ocean. Unfortunately there was construction going on, Mrs. Hillary Clinton awarded some federal funds to restore all the old bridges on the road to Hana.

We hung out in town and sat on the beach for awhile. Then had dinner at the only restaurant in town.

The next morning we got up early and headed to the Halelakala National Forest and hiked up to the falls. It was amazing. I had never seen anything like the bamboo forest! And then the falls that we ended at were truly awesome. We went under them, and the water was quite refreshing, maybe a little chilly. And as we stood under a rainbow literally encircled us. Majestic.

We hiked back down, and went swimming in the pools below for a bit. Then off for some roadside local bbq plates. Then home for a rest. Then out to dinner again.

Our last day we woke up and headed back out of town. We noticed a car stopped on one of the narrow strips and they had a camera out, and four other cars between them and us. I thought "seriously you are taking pictures?" Then I found out there had been a land slide. It took them about 50 minutes to clean it up. Then we started moving. Then around the next bend, I watched the truck two cars in front of us drive off the road, trying to get around little cars. He literally went over the metal guard rail, and knocked out a portion of the rock wall and was jammed between the two. Took another 50 or so minutes to get him loose. It was crazy. Especially because we were planning to have a lazy relaxed day in town.

We finally started driving and made some pretty good time leaving town. Though we did stop at one black beach. Oh it was amazing! The start were fairly good lava rocks, that turned to more rounded stones, that eventually wittled down to black grains of sand.

We even walked through a little cave to see the waves crash on another part of the beach.

Then we went down town and got a hotel room on the ocean. We were leaving that night but not until ten. So we hung on the beach for awhile. Where Eric "adopted" a baby fish. It just swam up next to his shirt and followed under his arm the whole time we were in the water. It made me giggle. Then something big snapped at my butt, and bumped eric and we ran out of the water. I guess the little fish was trying to tell us something.

After the beach we swam in the hotel pool and sat in the hot tub. We ended up talking to several people, some from Texas. It was kind of funny because Eric commented on that is why he liked our little secluded places that we stayed, we never had to socialize. 

Laundry, rest, dinner then the airport. That's how it ended. What an amazing adventure. And for your enjoyment some pictures.

November 10, 2010

Maui: Sun Rise, Sun Set

Sunday morning we woke up early, wasn't too hard since Saturday we lay down for a nap at 3 and slept through the night. So we got up, dressed, well actually I was already dressed, since I fell asleep dressed. Anyway we drove up to Lakalahala (have no idea how it is spelled) the highest point in Maui, 10,000 feet.

 It was dark and chilly, ok cold. Notice the outside temperature. We left our place and  it was 65 and we showed up and it was 46. Quite chilly but very clear and beautiful out.

 And here comes the sun, I took over 100 pictures of the sun coming up, and for some reason this is the one I chose....the clouds were amazing, and the black here is the dormant crater part of the volcano. It was truly gorgeous!
 And here are our silhouettes with the rising sun.
 That would be me, standing out in the cold wind, behind me, all the clouds and well that is maui down below the clouds...
 Eric at the summit. And after we drove back down the really winding road, we got dressed for church and headed on out. It turns out it was stake conference, and the stake here includes the whole island of Maui and the neighboring islands of Lanai, and Molokai.  When we arrived to the stake center we were a little late, and the place was packed full of people. One of our twelve apostles, Elder Holland was speaking. It was a great opportunity to hear him speak. 

And after church we headed over to the town of Lahaina. Gorgeous little town. We had stopped to get lunch, and walked on the beach. As we walked we watched boats pull up to shore, and Eric and I looked at each other and said, "i'd love to go on one of those." so we went up and spoke to the boat cruising lady, and scheduled a ride. We had an hour and a half to kill before the ride so we strolled the town a little.

You may wonder why I took a picture of this rock? Well it has some great history.
 This is a birthing rock! Can you imagine, all ready to give birth and your doctor or midwife grabs you and takes you out to sea, to welcome your child into the world among the rocks, waves and crabs, yes there were lots of crabs down there.
 Beautiful town!
 The American II our boat that we sailed on. It was an amazing sail. Did I mention we saw a humpback whale too? Yes we did, it was playing around in the harbor while we were waiting to get on the boat. It truly was amazing, and very sad I didn't get a picture of it.
 At some point during the sailing, I literally was standing, and Eric was on the other side, sitting, getting soaked by the water, a little fear entered me, causing me to feel like the boat was going to flip but it didn't but you know its a great sailing day when the captain who has been doing these tours for 12 years, pulls out his camera and takes pictures. It was awesome.
 So this is me, and if my battery weren't about to die, I'd post all the pictures I took while Eric was driving. He was pretty good about pulling over for me, but I got to the point where I just rolled down the window and shot away.
 We did stop along the way and put our feet in the sand and the water, Eric wrote in the sand, "Eric loves corrine" actually I wrote it and he pretended like he did for my picture :)
 Isn't it gorgeous!? Such a beautiful beach. Love the black sand.
One of the many beach pictures I took along the way. I love the water, it just fascinates me. I could sit for hours and watch the waves crash.  Though interestingly enough we haven't spent much time on the beach. 

November 08, 2010

Maui: Sea Life, Ocean, Mountian Side and water!

If you are ever in Maui, where ever you may be staying, might I strongly recommend the Tasty Crust. Truly a local experience.  And reading the reviews one might get the impression that locals only should go but I loved it.  Still craving my fried rice with breakfast meats. It was delicious, and the banana pancakes exploded with flavor in my mouth. Yeah the place is a little run down, old time cafe, not been updated since its opening, but that is what gives it, its charm. Loved it!
 After breakfast we headed to the harbor, not sure which one, or where, but near the island of Lanai, and not too far from the aquarium.  We took a boat out to a little crater thing called Molokini.  Its near another island, can't think of its name, but was used for bombing by the US army and is no longer in habitable.  But anyway on our way out, the dolphins came out to play. I have to say if I were an animal, a dolphin I would be.  They just amaze me, with their playful personalities, beauty and athleticism.  I love to see the jump, dive, splash, flip and spin.  Watching them in the water, was like watching a bunch of teenage boys playing on jet skis in the wakes. So full of energy and life!
This here is a mother spotted dolphin with her calf, they stay so close together and their movements just match each other.

There were so many of them and all over, and the captain kept circling making more wakes, I wish I was able to hold on and take more pictures, but was so happy to see I captured this one on a dive.

 Here we have the back side of Molokini, where we had done some snorkeling. I love being in the water, and just watching the fish swim.  I could spend hours, but we only had 1.5. So after snorkeling we got our lunch on the boat and drove around the "island". 
And on our way back the sea turtles were popping up for air. Did you know they can hold their breath for up to 5 hours? Amazing.

here is my handsome guy on the boat. didn't get to many pictures of the boat or ourselves. but who wants to see a bunch of pictures of us right?
 After our boating, we took a little scenic drive up to Iao Valley. Beautiful lush green mountains, where a famous Hawaiian war took place. The water from several different water falls, converged to form a pretty raging river. The beauty amazed me. I think amazed is the word of the day.

After we walked around and even picked some fresh guava, Eric hadn't had it before, and don't think he ever will, since he spit it out. It is an acquired taste, and thanks to Heather S. J at BYU-H and our hikes behind the school, I grew to like it. We headed home, to shower up and go to dinner. As we drove, we saw the most amazing full rainbow, it was a double but I don't think I got the twin in it.

We arrived home, Eric lay down for a nap and I showered, got ready to go out again, but decided to lay down too, we slept til the next day at 3 am, when we got up and headed out to watch the sun rise. I guess we were really exhausted!

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