Friday, September 2, 2011

3 years old?!?!

My little boy is 3 today. I can't believe it. I remember the first moment that I held him in my arms like it was yesterday. It was the best moment of my life. I felt like my heart was going to burst and I feel that same feeling every time I hold him. If you want to know what true, unconditional love is, have a baby. Even the most awe inspiring things in this world pale in comparison to him. The other night there was an awesome thunder storm. I have always loved watching thunder storms but I could not take my eyes off of Max. Watching him watch the storm made it my favorite storm I've ever seen.

He makes me laugh every single day. And when I get frustrated with the trouble making toddler that he is, he looks at me and my heart melts. Being his mom can be hard but it is the best thing I'll ever do. He fits into our family perfectly. I can't imagine my life without him in it. I am so thankful to be his mom. There are no words to describe it.

Happy Birthday Max! I love you!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

8 years down, 1 gazillion to go...

Let's rewind back to the spring of 2003... I was 18, I worked at a property management company and I was not looking for any kind of relationship. I'd had a string of them that hadn't turned out so well and I was not interested in another one. I was sitting at work one morning being grumpy (because I'm always grumpy in the morning) and I heard singing. I thought, where in the world is that singing coming from? Then I realized, the elevator. Someone was coming up the elevator singing at the top of their lungs. I was not in the mood so I begged the elevator to not stop on my floor. Sure enough, it stopped on my floor. I listened to the singing and waited for the doors to open and I hoped that the singing lunatic would go to a different office on my floor. So of course, the singing man stepped out of the elevator, walked up to my office and right up to my desk. All while still singing. And what was he singing? Well, have you ever seen the animated version af Robin Hood? It's a great show and suddenly I was in the middle of the musical version of it. Instead of stopping singing when he got up to my desk he finished out the song.... "Robin Hood and Little John a walkin through the forest laughin back and forth bout what the other one had to say". I awkwardly waited for him to finish. Then I said, "Let me guess, you have kids?" He asked how I guessed that and I informed him that grown men don't usually go around singing songs from disney movies at the top of their lungs. He shrugged it off and then I helped him with what he needed and sent him on his way. As he was walking out I thought that he was crazy but a small part of me was disappointed that he was probably married (the conclusion I came to since he had kids). But after he left I didn't think twice about it... at least until about a week later when he called my office. He started flirting on the phone and I figured out that he wasn't married. He asked me how my day was and my reply was pretty unconvincing so he asked me again and this time I enthusiastically told him that I was having a great now that I was talking to him. He asked if he could get that in writing (classic salesman right?) and spit out his fax number. Right after hanging up the phone this is what I did:
As I was faxing it over I laughed at myself and thought I was ridiculous for actually flirting with a fax machine. I almost chickened out but I decided I didn't really care if I was lame. Notice the date at the top... April 2nd 2003. So as soon as Thayne received the fax he called me. When I picked up the phone the only thing I heard on the other end was him laughing. When he composed himself he said, "Hey, are you married?" I said, "Wow, that was subtle... no, but thanks for asking." Then he asked if I had plans for lunch and when I told him that I didn't he informed me that I did and he would pick me up at 1:00. I sat there wondering what I was getting myself into.

As promised he picked me up at one and we went to a nearby Chinese restaurant. He was loud and outgoing and doing cartwheels in the aisle next to our table. I laughed a lot. Once the food came he sat still long enough for me to ask him some questions. I asked how many kids he had. When he told me 4 I was shocked. I asked how old they were, 12, 10, 6, 4 and I was even more shocked. He looked to me like he was maybe 26. So then I asked him how old he was. When he said 31 I didn't believe it... Really, I asked to see his I.D. Then he asked how old I was and I told him to guess. His guess was around 24. When I told him I was only 18 all he could do was take a drink of his water. After an awkward silence we picked up the conversation again and the rest of the lunch went well.

I still wasn't convinced that I wanted a relationship so I told myself that I would only give him my phone number if he asked for it. When he dropped me off at my car he made some funny comment about giving me a pedicure. Then he asked if I wanted to hang out that night. I said sure and he started walking back to his car and I started to get in mine but he turned around and said, "wait, how are we going to hang out if I don't have your phone number?" Right. My phone number. So, I gave it to him.

He called me that evening and we made plans to meet at his office. When I got to his office we walked into his conference room and I saw a full pedicure kit sitting on the table. I told him I thought he was kidding and he really didn't have to give me a pedicure. He insisted that he wanted to so I reluctantly gave in. I sat there and as he gave me a pedicure (I'm talking foot soak, massage and painted nails) he told me his entire life story. Seriously, all of it. All of the skeletons came out of the closet (there were a lot) and he told me he wanted me to know what kind of baggage he had before I decided to date him. I sat there in shock. Was he trying to scare me away? It was a lot to take in. But then I decided that it was something to be grateful for. He didn't want to get involved and have me find out what all the dirt was later. So I decided I'd give him a chance. We saw each other nearly every day after that. About 2 weeks later he introduced me to his kids. They were adorable and I fell in love with them even faster than I did with him. After a month I realized that he was the man I was going to marry. But I didn't tell him that. I wanted to be sure that he was sure.

That July he moved down to Las Vegas for work. Every other weekend he drove up to Salt Lake to see me and the kids and the other weekends I drove down and spent the weekends in Vegas with him. A month or so later, on my 19th birthday, he proposed to me at the Chinese restaurant where we'd had our first date. We set the date for December.

A week and a half later it was his birthday and labor day weekend. He'd been planning on driving up to Salt Lake to spend the weekend with the kids but his car broke down. I offered to drive down, pick him up and bring him up to spend his birthday with the kids and then drive him back down at the end of the weekend. I drove down Thursday night and we drove back up Friday morning. As we were driving along he looked over at me and said, "do you want to get married this weekend?" I thought about it for half a second and replied, "Sure." So we planned to get married down in Vegas at the end of the weekend.

We took the kids back to their moms on Sunday night and headed straight for Vegas. We got into town at about 12:30 AM, stopped to eat some tacos, then headed to the city county building to get our marriage license. 15 minutes later we walked out with the marriage license. There were people all along the sidewalk handing out flyers trying to get us to go to their chapel. We found one that looked perfect, as in the cheapest, and decided to go there. Did you know it's $700 to have Elvis marry you and $1000 to get married in a gondola at the Venetian. And that was 8 years ago, I'm sure that it's even more now. So we went to the $40 chapel... and we were advised to tip the pastor also. The chapel's name was A Las Vegas Garden of Love. And they were not kidding. There were plastic flowers stapled to all of the walls, floor to ceiling. We were laughing the whole time. The pastor, Pastor Ray Mayberry, looked like a rocker with his shaggy hair, square rimmed glasses and thick goatee. At the end of the ceremony we were given all of the paper work to sign and an envelope for the tip for the pastor. The envelope had written on it, $40 minimum tip. Yeah Right! for his 5 minute chessy speech? So we put $10 in it and ran. We stayed at the Mandalay Bay in a great room with a great view. Slept for a few hours and then we got up and went out to hit the town like tourists. At the end of the day, I got in my car to drive back to SLC so I could be to work the next morning.

We lived seperate for almost 2 months until I was able to find a job down in Vegas and move. We told a few select people about our elopement but left most everyone in the dark. We went ahead with our plans for a December wedding and had a second ceremony where we very subtly announced that we had really been married since September 1st. I think I actually heard the room gasp in surprise.

I'd be lying if I said it's been a fairy tale ever since but that's real life. It hasn't always been easy but it's been good and with Thayne I have built a life and family that I love and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
It's hard to believe that all happened 8 years ago. What a great 8 years that it's been.

Friday, August 5, 2011


We've been home for almost 2 months now but I figure it better late than never, right???

Thayne and I were wanting to do something special for Tristyn for graduation. We decided it would be fun to take her on a trip somewhere. Originally we were thinking Italy but airfare was just too crazy expensive. We joined a vacation club a few months ago and with it we can travel just about anywhere and get a condo for a full week for just $200. We decided on Puerto Penasco Mexico since it's close enough to drive. That way Tristyn could invite a couple friends too. Only one ended up being able to come, her boyfriend Jake, but it was perfect.

We stayed at the Mayan Palace Resort and it was gorgeous. I was so impressed with it especially since it only cost us $200. I was looking at the regular pricing and the condo we had would normally cost about $550 per night! Insane!

Our housekeeper was so sweet. She left us pets made out of towels every day and notes wishing us a happy trip.

We had our first meal in Mexico poolside at the resort. The food was good but definitely not authentic mexican... Jake had a bacon wrapped hot dog. :)The resort was about 20 minutes outside of town so we alternated our days spent at the resort and in town. The second day that we went into town we went to the aquarium. The aquarium is small but it is run by one of the schools and that is how the school get its money to run. Everything at the aquarium is caught locally. All of the tanks are open and you can touch everything. There is even a tank with piranha in it that is open... there is at least a sign posted on it that they bite. You can also buy food to feed to the sea lion or sea turtles. Jake and Tristyn fed the sea lion. The turtles wanted us to feed them too - one of them snapped at my hand when i was petting it.

Since the resort was situated on the outskirts of town it meant that we had our own private beach. The resort is in the middle of 6 miles of private beach front property. It was so nice that the beach was never crowded and it was so clean and beautiful. Since Puerto Penasco is on the Sea of Cortez rather than the Pacific Ocean, the water is warm. About 80* all the time. The resort had a gorgeous pool but I only got in it once because it was colder than the sea. We spent a lot of time at the beach. It was heavenly.

Jake was our pack mule when we did our souvenir shopping. When the street vendors saw him with his arms full they thought that he must have money to burn so they started hounding him to look in their shops and buy stuff from them. It was really funny. Bartering with the street vendors was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was fun to see how far I could talk them down from their original price. A big smile can do a lot to bridge the language barrier and get a good deal :). Tristyn was terrified of bartering so I did a lot of hers for her. She would stand there and watch me and wonder how I could do it. At one shop Thayne and I were bartering for hammocks. When the shop keeper wouldn't go as low as we wanted we walked out of her shop. A couple minutes later she came running down the sidewalk after us yelling that she would take our deal.
Below is the Mexican version of WalMart. It was strange, all of the tags and labels looked just like the ones in Walmart here just in spanish. Jake and Tristyn loved how colorful the shopping carts were.

On our last night in Mexico Jake and Tristyn went on a dinner cruise while Thayne and I rode horses on the beach at sunset.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kitchen Update

I told you about our plans to remodel our kitchen a couple months ago in this post. We were set back a few weeks by some annoying little things with our house that came up. First it was our water heater. It started spewing water one day. We were planning on replacing it before too long anyway but it would have been nice if it would have waited for us to do our kitchen first. So Thayne took a day off of his work to work at our house and he had one of his workers come over and help him. And since Thayne is OCD, ADHD and just a crazy handyman in general he couldn't just leave it at replacing the water heater. No, he also replaced the old galvanized plumbing that ran from the water heater through the rest of the house. Of course that also meant ripping out the ceiling in the bathroom downstairs. So now I have a new water heater and plumbing and a bathroom with no ceiling. But hey, who needs a ceiling? That bathroom is also on our list of things to do so I guess the no ceiling thing just pushes it a little closer to the top of the list.

Then, a week after that our front yard turned into a swamp and we dicovered that our main water line that runs from the street to our house had a leak in it. Really. So, Thayne took another day off and had one of his workers come over again and they dug up my front yard and replaced the entire main water line. I still have to put my yard back together but this crazy weather we've been having has made it hard for me to do that.

So , after recovering from all of that we finally started on our kitchen project. The photo below is my inspiration for the project. My kitchen is a lot smaller (10' by10') but this is what I'm going for. I love all of the natural wood accents and the painted and antique glazed cabinets. It's exactly what I had in mind.

I forgot to take photos of the room when it was gutted. We tore out the lathe and plaster on 2 of the walls and we ripped out the floor so that Thayne could replace all of the plumbing and electrical. Then we put in the new subfloor and drywall shown above.

Once all of the mudding and taping was done we were ready for the paint and the flooring. We had one of our neighbors who is also one of Thayne's workers come over to prime and paint. He had it all done in just over an hour. He is seriously awesome when it comes to painting. I left him and Thayne's brother at the house while I went to work and I cam home to find this... My floor had been installed! I almost cried tears of joy when I saw it.

That night Thayne and I installed the wall cabinets and put the base cabinets in place. We moved the Stove and the NEW fridge in place. It's getting so close I can hardly stand it! We will be getting a new microwave and intsalling it above the stove and eventually we're going to buy a new stove too.

We installed our lovely IKEA butcher block and I've been working on getting it stained and sealed over the past few days. I could not be happier with the way it looks. This weekend we should be installing the sink and dishwasher (Yes! No more washing dishes in the bath tub!). We will also add the decorative molding to the cabinet drawers and doors so that I can get them painted and glazed. Thayne also needs to finish up with the electrical so that we can have light in there again. We are getting a new wood finish window too but it's special order so it will probably be another month before we have it. After we get that installed we will be able to do the tile backsplash. Then the finishing touches like the wood finish base and crown molding and decorating. I can't wait to have a gorgeous kitchen that I love. It's coming along and won't be too much longer. I will keep the updates coming!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

She's all grown up!

Tristyn graduated from High School yesterday. I can hardly believe it. Time flies by so fast these days and it only seems to be going faster. I swear it was yesterday when I first met Tristyn. She was 10 when Thayne and I started dating. Thayne introduced me to his kids about 3 weeks after we started dating. We went out on a Wednesday afternoon and had a picnic at the park and flew kites. It was so much fun. I remember how natural it all felt. They made me feel so welcome. That was 8 years ago. :( Tristyn and I became fast friends. She was my little buddy who ran all of my errands with me just because it was fun to hang out. One night Tristyn and I went to a dallor movie and to Wal-Mart for a prize. The prize she picked was a "Best Friends" bracelet to share with me. I have to admit that the kids all had a big part in my decision to marry Thayne. I was so excited by the idea to be able to be a part of these amazing little people's lives. And I do have to say that they have all made my life richer and more fun. Watching Tristyn grow up has been one of the highlights of the past 8 years. She has handled so many of her trials in life with incredible grace and integrity. SHE HAS MADE ME PROUD. In all that she has done. I love that girl. I have enjoyed every moment we've spent together. It makes me sad to realize that she is moving away for college in August and the time that I will get to spend with her will be cut dramatically. But I hope to be able to still continue to have our long conversations about life and people and the things we love. I hope that she always feels like she can talk to me in the same way that she always has. I hope that she knows just how much I love her and want only the best for her. I hope that she knows that I will support her through thick and thin and will always encourage her to be true to herself.

Tristyn, you are the more than I ever could have hoped for in a step daughter. I am so proud of you and I love you more than I can say. Congratualtions! I know that there are some amazing things waiting for you in your life and I can't wait to continue watching you experience all that life has to offer!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The long awaited kitchen remodel!

We have been wanting to remodel our kitchen since we moved in 5 1/2 years ago. The bathroom won out and got remodeled first. It was bad. So is the kitchen but the bathroom was definitely worse. I would show before and after photos of the bathroom except I didn't want to remember the before so I didn't take any photos.

Both rooms are original to the house. No updates since 1938. This would be ok if they had been cleaned and well maintained but they weren't. Just old and dirty to the point that it doesn't matter what you do, the dust and grime will not come off.

Then there is the matter of the kitchen sink. I told you here about the new dishwasher that Thayne got me for my birthday. In order to install it we had to take a small section of drawers next to the sink out. We thought it would be fine but through the next few weeks the one side of the sink started to sag (see photo below). It finally came to rest on a peice of wood. So, the left side of the sink has sat about 2 inches lower than the right side ever since.

This wall has been screaming out for cabinets. There will be a cabinet between the stove and the fridge with a little counter space on top. We will also add a cabinet above the fridge and another above the stove with a microwave.

The microwave cart will go and we will be adding a tall utility cabinet there to hold the trash can, broom, cleaners, etc.

We are moving the sink to sit in the corner and that will allow us to shift the dishwasher to the right another 18". Then we will add another cabinet on the left side of the dishwasher.
We are getting the unfinished cabinets from Sutherlands Lumber. They will cost us less than half of what we would pay for basic cabinets from Lowe's, Home Depot, or Ikea. The doors are just basic and flat so we will be adding some molding to them ourselves and then I'm going to paint and glaze them. I'm going to do a gorgeous glass mosaic back splash and the jury is still out on the counter top and floor. We are also going to paint (I have in mind the color I want but I still need to go stare at all of the paint swatches at Lowe's for awhile) and we will leave the copper light above the sink and add some can lights throughout the room. I'm on the hunt for copper knobs for the cabinets. I have a picture in my mind of what it all will look like and I can't wait to show you the finished product. I will also show you our progress along the way. We will be picking up the cabinets within the next few days so I should have some awesome cabinet painting photos to show you soon. :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm being shaped.

No matter how old we get we never stop having experiences that shape who we are. This week has been one big fat shaping experience. I'm feeling stronger and more confident in my ability to make the right choice under extreme pressure but I'd be lying if I said I appreciate the experience. I'm not to that point yet. Not really sure if I ever will be. I don't think anyone should ever have to go through what I have this week but unfortunately I know that plenty of others do. I don't know any personally but I'm sure they are out there. I don't want to get into details on here but I found myself almost losing a close family member and then I found myself in a position of having to choose between doing what I knew was right for her and doing what she wanted in the moment. I had to risk one of the most important relationships in my life to stick to doing the right thing. It was terrible and hard. But I never wavered. Even though I wanted to. I even wanted to curl up in a ball and just give up. But I couldn't. She would never give up on me and I will never give up on her. It's the agreement that we've always had with each other. And we always will. It's slowly improving with each day and there is a long road ahead but rest assured that we will be on that road side by side every step of the way. And in the end, both of us will be better for it. That's what it's all about.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sweet Baby Avery

Avery Michele Gregory was born on Wednesday, February 2nd at about 9:40 pm. She weighed 5 lbs 4oz and was 18 inches long. She surprised us all by coming a little more than 4 weeks early. But what an amazing little surprise. She is doing well for being early. They are keeping her in the NICU and have her hooked up to an IV. They don't want her to lose much weight because she is already so small. She is starting to get the hang of nursing. She also has a little bit of jaundice so they want to take care of that before they let her go home. She will probably have to stay for about a week. Kyle and Maddie are both happier than can be described, as well as all of the grandparents and the many other family members. There will be no shortage of adoration and spoiling for this sweet little girl.

The moment I held her my heart melted. I had forgotten how amazing and spiritual it is to be with a brand new baby. Every reservation, anxiety and fear that I'd had just disappeared. She put me at peace. She let me know that she is supposed to be apart of our family and this is all part of God's plan for us. I don't know why it took me so long to feel that peace but I'm so grateful that I have it now.

Now I can just concentrate on adoring this little girl and being the best Grandma ever. Just look at how sweet she is. I am so excited to start this new phase of life.

This was my first project of spoiling... I made all of the crib bedding. I took Maddie out o few months ago to buy the fabric. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. (btw, I just could not get this photo to rotate so just tilt your head a bit to get the idea)

The skirt is 2 layers so that it goes to the floor no matter where they have the mattress positioned.
I also crocheted a cute little hat for her... I will post that photo later when I'm actually able to take a photo of her wearing it because that's what really makes it cute. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Established 2.5.2011

It's nearly been two weeks since Kyle and Maddie got married. The time has flown. I've been meaning to post this sooner but my camera is broken so I had to wait to gather some photos that others had taken that day. Most of these were taken by Kyle's aunt. When we get the fancy photos from the photographer I promise to post a bunch of those also.

The day was a success. Everything ran pretty smoothly and everyone had a great time. Especially Kyle and Maddie.

Kyle's Bishop officiated the ceremony.

Now it's official!

The Ring :)

I loved her pretty hair and the hair peice. The dress was perfect. (Thank you Heather!)

The flower girls... Maddie's sisters.

Maddie and her Mom.

Kyle and his mom.

My boys!

Thayne & I.

Tristyn & Jake

Maddie is one lucky girl... and Kyle is one lucky guy!

The reception cupcakes were to die for! The lemon ones were filled with custard... I was in heaven!

The cake was super cute.

What other time is it acceptable for a guy to put his head up a girl's skirt in public?

Maddie getting ready to throw the bouquet.

She threw it so hard that it went way over the heads of all the single girls.

It was a long day.

We sent them off to their honeymoon with this masterpiece of a car.

A big thank you to everyone who helped to make the day special for Kyle and Maddie. I'm happy to have Maddie in our family and I'm happy to see Kyle building a family of his own.