Eeek! So, a couple months ago I mentioned that Kyle and his girlfriend Maddie were very unexpectedly expecting. Yes, I am going to be "grandma". Honestly, I've had a hard time coming to terms with it all. Maybe a little bit because I'm only 26 and not even sure that I'm done having babies of my own but mostly because it was all SO unexpected. But something wonderful happened today. A woman that I work with had her 1 year old granddaughter at the office with her for a few minutes this afternoon and as I watched this adorable little girl cuddle with her grandma I realized that not only could I do the grandma thing at this point in my life but I can LOVE it. It's no secret that I adore babies and I know that I will adore this little addition to our family more than I can imagine at this point. So here I go, not only coming to terms with it but embracing being a 26 year old Grandma. By the way, it's a girl!!! Avery Michele Gregory is due on March 25th 2011.
And in the latest news, Kyle and Maddie are now officially engaged so I'm also going to be a mother in law. Wow. The date is set for February 5th but it has changed several times in the past few days and could possibly change again... I'll keep it updated!
Happy Thanksgiving!!! I won't be anywhere near my computer tomorrow so I thought I'd post this today...
I really love Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorites. I love the simplicityof it. It hasn't been commercialized. There is no fictional character that we count on to deliver anything to help the day be better. It's plain and simple. It's about family and reflecting on how good we really have it. I am Thankful to be spending the day with my family. Thankful for my incredible kids. Thankful to have my mom and dad over. Thankful for the 2 sisters of mine who are also over. I wish I could say I was Thankful to have all of my siblings over but that just doesn't happen anymore. We are too spread out. But, I'm still Thankful for them. And Thankful for the modern technology that makes it easy to stay in touch with them. I'm Thankful for my warm home, clothes to wear, and cars to drive. I'm Thankful for food in my fridge and storage. I am Thankful for my prosperity and for the blessing of being able to share it with people who are less fortunate. I am Thankful for a job and being able to find one so easily in an economy that is struggling. I'm Thankful to live in this place... a country where I can live the way that I choose and in a community that I love. I'm Thankful for Thayne and all that he does for me and our little family. I'm Thankful for my kids and how amazing they are. I'm Thankful that they have gone easy on me and made being a step parent easy and I'm so Thankful that I have had the opportunity to be a part of their lives. I'm Thankful for Kyle and his amazing personality. I'm Thankful for his friendship. I'm Thankful for the man that he is growing into. I'm Thankful for Tristyn and the special relationship that I have with her. I'm Thankful for her positive attitude and the way that she gracefully deals with the obstacles in her life. I'm Thankful for her trust in me and her willingness to share her thoughts and feelings with me. I'm Thankful for Kassidy and her fun personality. I'm Thankful that she loves to be creative with me and is my partner in crime for those things. I'm Thankful for how much she makes me laugh and the fun spirit that she brings into our home. I'm Thankful for Jakson. I'm Thankful for his energy. I'm Thankful for all of the entertainment he always gives us. I'm so Thankful for Max. I'm Thankful that he chose me to be his mom. I'm thankful for all that he teaches me about being a mom and being a good person. I'm Thankful the love that he gives me. I'm Thankful for his adorable little personality. I'm Thankful to be able to watch him grow up and to be a part of that process.
I have a lot to be Thankful for. My life is good and God has blessed me so much. I'm so Thankful for a day to be able to focus completely on all of the many blessings that I have. I'm so Thankful to know God and to know that he knows me and has given me everything that I need and that he always will.
I never win anything. It's a fact. I really have never won a drawing or anything like that. Some of the blogs I follow have giveaways and I always enter for them but as now I have yet to win anything. I figure that if I keep entering its only a matter of time right??? Well I hope that the time has come because I really really really want to win this one. It's for the Sillouhette Craft Cutter and I must have it... That means that if I don't win it I'll have to buy it but you all know how cheap I am and unfortunately this thing blows my "never pay more than $20 for anything" thing way out of the water. So please please please keep your fingers crossed for me to win this thing... Heaven knows I deserve to win something finally!
Just a quick update.... it's been a couple weeks and I keep thinking I need to post stuff on here. It's been a busy month or so and things just are not slowing down. I figured that I would take a couple minutes for a quick update today but I promise I will post photos and stuff from the craziness of the past month later. I've been doing some fun things and I don't want to forget them.
I started my job on the 10th and have been trying to adjust to all of that. Working 3 days a week seems like a lot more than I expected. In fact, I don't think I really got any house work done last week. We were all fighting the flu too though. But still, I have really been feeling like I'm never home anymore. I know that I'll adjust and get into a rythm, Thayne will just have to be patient about the house work until then. Max has been noticing how much I've been gone too. He's been clinging to me in some really subtle ways but he never used to cling to me at all before. It will be good for him to get more time with Thayne though and I really have enjoyed letting my brain work a little more. The job is great. All of the people are really nice and I think I'll really enjoy working there. It's been a huge boost to my ego too. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to remember anything about working in an office but once I got there it all came flooding back into my mind. I'm quite impressed with myself. :) And it has been fun to learn some new things too.
Look forward to some new updates and photos within the next few days...
My house needs a new roof, windows and kitchen. If I did everything just how I wanted it we would end up spending about 30k for all of those things. Right now our budget just does not allow any of that so unless we want to be up to our eyeballs in debt I needed to find a job. Luckily, none of these things are urgent so a few weeks ago I started to casually look for a job. And I was really picky about what I wanted to apply for. I think I applied for 3 jobs in the past 3 weeks. I went on an interview for the first one and it was the strangest interview I've ever had so I wasn't surprised when I didn't hear back from them. I went on an interview this morning and I nailed it. I had a good feeling about it from the moment I applied. At the end of the interview they told me they would let me know what they decided by the end of the week. Then, about 2 hours later they called me and told me I had the job! I start next Wednesday. It's a part time job working in the office of an accounting firm. Only 18 hours a week but I don't want to work more than that.
I'm excited but I'm also a little anxious. It's been over 2 years since I quit my last job. Even now I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day so I wonder how in the world I'll be able to manage everything with a job on top. I know it will work out and there are plenty of moms out there who manage to take care of everything while working full time so I should be able to manage.... right??? Let's hope so. Here's to being on my way to my new kitchen! :)
There is one room in my house that I'm content with (for the time being). This room doesn't need to be remodeled in any way. The paint is great. The furniture is great. The decor is great. I look at this room and sigh with contentment. This is my dining room. It's a small dining room but most of the homes in our neighborhood have even smaller ones if they have one at all. Our table fits in there just right to seat our family of 7 and it even works for expanding our table out to seat up to 10. For things like Thanksgiving we expand the table and pull out a folding table and push them together end-to-end. The dining room opens up to my living room so I just move my coffee table and area rug out of the way and I can seat 20 people ate the table quite nicely. It's really quite perfect for me. We got our dining set about 3 years ago and we have loved it. The built in cabinets in the corners are too small to be functional and almost too small even for decorative use. I've struggled with them ever since we moved in until a few months ago when I came up with the genius idea to put all of our family photos through the years framed on the shelves. It works perfectly and I wonder why I didn't think of it sooner. I even have a little bit of room to add some small seasonal decor to make it a little more festive. I put this vinyl up a few weeks ago. At first it was just the saying but I felt like it needed a little more so I ordered the flowery branch. It was all one piece to begin with so I cut it up to kind of frame the saying. I'm pretty happy with the way it all turned out. Thank goodness for having one room that I don't want to change in any way. :) This room offers me a little bit of sanity when I'm getting overwhelmed by everything else we need to do.
This is what my house looked like about 3 years ago. I've always loved my house and thought from the very first time I saw it that it was really cute. The blue paint made it look more like a little country cottage but I was never really feeling it. It was a bit too old lady for me. Lucky for me, the paint was in horrible shape and it was well passed time for a new paint job. So when I was pregnant with Max (yes, over 2 years ago) and my nesting instincts were kicking in we decided to repaint the house. We were so ambitious and completely convinced that we would have it done before Max was born. Ha! Turns out that we were actually delusional. Once we got into it we realized that the cedar shingle siding was in pretty bad shape and it was going to take TONS of preparation for the wood to actually be ready for new paint. We had to scrape off as much of the old paint as we possibly could. A lot of people tell me that we should just pressure wash it but we know from experience with another house we painted before that a pressure washer would just damage the old wood even more. So, scraping it was. Do you see all of the cracks between each of the wood shingles in the photo above? Well, we had to fill all of those with caulk. And most of those wood shingles was also pretty loose so we had to nail them all back in too. Then of course a coat of primer to seal it all up. I told you, it became quite the process just to be able to paint.
Before Max was born we got 2/3 of the front of the house done. The next summer I got half of one side prepped and primed. If you looked at our house from the right angle you could see brown paint, blue paint, white primer and exposed wood all at once. It was like that for over a year. This year I have gotten completely sick of the multi-color house and my ambition came back. Max is big enough now that he can play pretty well on his own while I work on the house. My siblings have also been helpful and dedicated entire saturdays for helping me out. Don't get too excited for me though because I'm not done quite yet. We've barely touched the north side of the house and there's a lot of trim work and touch up stuff to do. We will be working on it again this Saturday and probably every Saturday as long as the weather decides to be lovely for us. I'm really hoping to get it all done before winter sets in. I would be happy if I could focus on my yard again in the spring instead of working more on my still unfinished house.
But, isn't it gorgeous??? (except for the white railing on the porch which will become black when I get around to that touch up work I mentioned) I really Really REALLY adore my little old house. I plan to live here for the rest of my life so it's worth all of the hard work, right?
I like to look at it from this angle and pretend that it is finished and that I will never have to touch a paint scraper or caulk gun again. :) It will be totally worth it all in the end... just keep cheering me on so I don't run out of steam before I get there! :)
‘Tis the season for high school homecoming. We participated in 2 homecoming festivities this year. The fist one was for Kaitlyn, my niece that I adore. She’s a senior this year and has never really had a formal dance experience. I was going to update an old dress that she inherited from someone but as I started getting into it I realized that it would probably be easier and faster if I just made a new dress from scratch but I didn’t have time for that either. So, on the morning of the dance I picked her up from her dad’s and took her to Modest by Design. Some of my dearest friends own it and I even worked for them way back when they were selling their stuff out of their garage. We found her a dress that she loved and got a killer deal on it. Next we had to go shoe shopping and we also bought a dress shirt for her bf to wear that matched her dress. She went on the day date and then came back to my house so I could do her hair and make-up and get her dress on her. She looked gorgeous and it was so fun to be able to help make it an amazing experience for her.
The second homecoming dance was Tristyn’s. She was nominated for Homecoming Queen. They held the pageant on the saturday before the dance. There were 18 girls competing. It was a lot of fun watching Tristyn bring her pageant skills out on stage. That night the judges chose the 6 finalists and then they had another pageant for the student body and they got to do the final voting. Tristyn didn’t get the title of queen but she was a part of the royalty and got a killer tiara. :) Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a good photo of her with her tiara but I will keep searching and post it as soon as I find it!
Ignore the fact that Thayne and I both look goofy in this one... Tristyn looks great and that's the most important thing!
I adore all of my kids. Being a step mom is actually one of the easiest things I’ve done in my life. I think people in general just assume that being a step parent is hard. It’s not. Sure, there are situations when it is but I honestly think that those are few and far between. The hardest part has been the few times that I’ve had to deal with the ex-wives (Thayne had been married twice before me). But I mostly stay away from that because it really is just not my place to be arranging things for the kids with their moms. All in all, being a step mom is one of the greatest things I’ve ever done and I can’t imagine my life without any of the kids in it. Here are a few things that I have learned from being a step mom (a lot of these also apply to being a mom):
It is possible to love someone else’s child like they are your own. Kids just want to know that they are loved unconditionally and supported. No one can replace a child’s mom or dad. Kids like having a parent that they know they can talk to about anything. It is not ok to yell at your kids or say mean things to them. Kids understand that parents make mistakes. They just want their parents to own up to them and apologize when they are wrong. Kids are easily influenced but parents should never take advantage of that. Kids want to be allowed to be their own individual person. You can’t force them into being someone they are not. They start out as kids but all you have to do is blink and they are suddenly adults. They don’t always make the decisions that you want them to but you have to let them make their own mistakes and hope that they can learn from them quickly. It is never fun to watch your kids suffer in any way. No matter how old they get, you never stop worrying for them and hoping for the best possible life for them. The best thing you can tell them is that they are loved. When they seem like they might be in trouble you should always try to help them in whatever way you can. It may be a conversation or something you can physically do but no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it is your job as a parent. Every parent wants their child to turn out better than themself. Telling your kids that they shouldn’t make the same mistakes you did doesn’t make you a hypocrite, it makes you a good parent. The standard minimum parent time schedule issued by the state for non-custodial parents is crap. It is impossible to be a completely involved parent when you only see your kids every other weekend. It is best for kids to have equal time with both of their parents. A non-custodial parent that wants to go to court to get equal time with their children had better have an unlimited amount of time and money and patience for a never ending and ridiculous court battle. And an incredible (and expensive) attorney. The good always out weighs the bad... no matter how much crap you have to deal with, the kids are always worth it.
I have had some headaches to deal with but there is no limit to what I would do for these kids. They make my life full. I am so blessed to be able to be a part of their lives and to see the incredible people that they are growing into. I have learned so much from them about life and everything that is really important. They are my family and they are my friends. And I really do love them like they are my own. Kyle, Tristyn, Kassidy & Jakson, thank you for being the best step kids anyone could ever ask for!
A couple weeks ago my mom fell and broke her hip. I sat with her for about 7 hours on a friday night as they x-rayed and decided the best course of action. They admitted her and scheduled surgery for the next day. She was having a really hard time with all of it. Between the pain and lack of sleep her dimensia was worse than normal. We couldn’t leave her alone so us kids had to take shifts sitting with her. I spent most of the following week at the hospital with her. She had surgery and has since been released from the hospital so now we’re just getting her rehabbed so she can be mobile again. Being at the hospital stresses me out. I really hate it. I got a nasty cold and I totally blame it on being at the hospital. The first night that I was there my brother sam came and hung out for awhile too. I was freezing and I said “Why do hospitals always have to be so cold” his response was encouraging... “to preserve the bodies”.
I grew up in Midvale, Utah (about 15 minutes south of downtown Salt Lake City). I lived in 3 different houses growing up and they were within about 3 blocks of each other. When I moved out on my own I rented a studio apartment in the same neighborhood. My family didn't travel very much. We took a couple road trips through the western states but that's pretty much it. I always knew that I wanted to see the world and live somewhere else. So, it was exciting when I was 19 and I got married and moved to Las Vegas where my husband had been transferred for work. Sure, Vegas is a huge vacation spot for the world and people love to go there to party but I hated living there. I gained a huge appreciation for Salt Lake in the year and a half that I lived in Vegas. Las Vegas is dirty, hot, smelly, windy, everywhere you look you see a mostly naked person, and overall the people are not very friendly. Thayne said Hello to a guy when we were walking into the grocery store once and we were seriously afraid that the guy was going to hit Thayne in return. Salt Lake is clean, has beautiful landscape, four seasons, family friendly, and some of the nicest people. I'm still amazed at how often people say hello to me at the grocery store or walking down the street. I still want to travel the world and experience other cultures but I have realized that Salt Lake is my city and I love it here. I feel lucky to be able to live my life and raise my family in such a beautiful place. Home really is where your heart is and Salt Lake has a tight hold on mine.
The reason I bring this all up now is because Thayne and I were in Vegas just last week. It didn't take long for me to remember all of the reasons I hated living there. The trip was good. We saw some old friends that we hadn't seen since we moved back to Utah almost 6 years ago and we did some fun things with the Biking Convention that we went down there to attend. But I was so happy to come home and so happy that I didn't have to live there any longer than I did.
Life in our home is definitely a circus... but I love it. I have 4 step kids, a 4 year old super hero, almost 1 year old sweet girl, daughter-in-law and a 2 year old granddaughter to keep me on my toes. They are the highlight of my life and make me laugh every day.