Saturday, November 21, 2009

Because everyone needs a good laugh sometimes

I got this from my friend's facebook profile. Her mom wrote it:

"That reminds me of the story about your Grandma Beatrice. Grandpa was away and she had to kill the turkey. She couldn't do it, so she 'gassed' it in the oven then plucked all the feathers off. When she came back in the kitchen the 'naked' turkey was standing on the table. She was so shocked that she couldn't 'kill' it again so she knitted it a sweater. Well needless to say Grandpa made sure he made the Christmas table."

The mental images from this story are killing me!

Oh man, I haven't laughed that hard in a good long time. Good times. :)

And now for some family stuff...
Amelia went for a swim. Now we make sure to empty the tub and close the bathroom door.

Felix found a Warhead and wanted to try it out.

Doesn't he look quite heroic here? He's actually a very smiley kid, but he doesn't show off for the camera.

I used to play in the dirt (and eat it) when I was a kid. We can barely keep them away. I wonder if it's genetic.

Pillows. You're doing it wrong!

How she feels rested after this I'll never know.

Snuggled into daddy's side.

Amelia has found a few pacifiers laying around and has decided that she likes them. She's never been a binky baby, but sometimes she liked to chew on them (still no teeth). So she now wanders around sticking these otherwise-unused binkies in her mouth, often at weird angles. She doesn't care, which makes it even cuter.

She's still not walking, although she's still very close. And in the past couple of days I've noticed her trying out sounds as if she's trying to imitate our speech. More than just mumbling and baby talk though, she's actually getting some of the sounds right. She's a very smart little girl and Brent and I are constantly awed by her. She's also incredibly cute and has even started snuggling with us more than when she's tired. Sure, it only lasts a couple of seconds, but it's adorable!

Felix is finally growing some legs. Poor kid had this long torso and short little legs, but now all his pants are looking too short. He's still dragging his feet about potty training, but it's not like we're making a big push for it either. I keep telling him it can be my Christmas present from him - no more diapers. He has no idea what I'm talking about. :)

Brent read a Parenting with Love and Logic book that suggested saying (with toddlers especially) "I can't hear/understand you when you're whining." Even when he's sick or super tired, if we tell him we don't understand (which often is the absolute truth) he will stop, gather his breath, and say, "Please can I have..." Saying it purposely actually makes it easier to understand, as well as teaching him to be polite. He is also starting to say "thank you" without prompting.

Amelia loves her daddy. He gets up with her in the mornings and also gets her to sleep. I'm often taking Felix out on errands to give Brent some quiet so she can take a nap. Felix, since he spends so much time with me, much prefers his mommy. This is both heartwarming and frustrating, since if I'm around at all, he will refuse to be comforted by daddy.

Either way, we have some seriously cute kids. Don't you agree?

Good thing, because they're snot monsters at the moment. Both have bad colds that make them cough so hard they throw up. Amelia was the latest, and it came at a really bad time. Let me tell you, it's not much fun to have a sweet sleeping baby cough so much it wakes her up, only to be covered by everything in her stomach (just formula, thankfully). I was standing there in Walmart, holding my hand a couple inches from her face so I didn't get covered, all the while dismaying that it was dripping through her car seat over the groceries and forming a nice-sized puddle on the floor. Fun times.

After considering all the options with regards to finances, I called a recommended bankruptcy lawyer in Salt Lake. Besides being one of the most annoying people I've ever spoken to on the phone, I left the call feeling really unhappy. I had gotten some amazing information from my brother Nephi, who is in law school, and this lawyer had contradicted too much of it to be comfortable. The biggest part was about my medical bills. Nephi had told me that because Utah is an equitable distribution state, all debts 'belong' to the spouse whose name is on the debt. This lawyer told me that medical procedures are considered to be community property because they benefit the marriage, so if one spouse declares bankruptcy, the creditors will just go after the spouse. Not cool.

This lawyer actually suggested I get a second opinion, so I did, even though I was pretty hopeless at this point.

Turned out that the very next lawyer I spoke to answered all my concerns.

Like Nephi had said, Utah is an equitable distribution state, and the medical bills are covered under that too. So unless Brent's name is on the medical bills, they can't come after him. This lawyer also said that although he couldn't charge any less than $1400 (ouch!), I could actually file on my own, which would cost me less than $500. Because this lawyer was both honest and respectful (and not obnoxiously annoying), I'm almost tempted to have him do all the work anyway. Then again, the whole reason for the bankruptcy is that I don't have enough money, so cheaper might be better. I figure if I can talk Nephi into guiding me through the process I might be okay without a lawyer. We'll see what he says.

Either way, I have hope again with regards to finances.

Part of that hope comes from a new employer. Starting Monday, I will be working full time for PDC Pages (Phone Directories Company) as an office coordinator. I think it'll be a great fit. The plan is to work for a year to get nice and financially settled (finally get this financial crap behind us). Then we can work on more expansions to our family. One of the nice things about this new job is benefits. I'm almost excited to have insurance again, although I don't know many details about it. That'll come after 90 days. It will also be nice to feel like we're not completely strapped with regards to Christmas. That's no fun at all.

So, while I'll mourn the loss of freedom of time and time with my children, I will really enjoy not feeling so much financial stress. The combination of the bankruptcy and the job should help a whole lot. Heck, maybe someday we'll even be able to pay rent again. :)

Life is good. A bit stressful and overwhelming at times, but still good.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I don't know what it is about blogging lately, but I've had no desire to do it or read it. I'm sorry I'm behind on everyone's blogs, and I'm sorry I haven't updated in a while.

I've been fighting with a migraine for the past couple of weeks now, and although I can function every day, it's a struggle every day. There have certainly been good times in the middle when I can forget about the pain/nausea/discomfort, but maybe there's a bit of depression in there too that makes those difficult and not as often as I'd like.

It has become somewhat of a tradition to play on mommy and daddy's big bed every morning. Brent has been an absolute life-saver in getting up with Amelia, so once Felix and I wake up they come back and play with us. One morning I woke up to Felix crawling around the bed, calling out: "Miiiiiiiaaaaaa.... Miiiiiiiaaaaaa... Mimipaaaaannnnts... Baaaaabycaaaaakes..."

I love the joy on their faces as they discover each other in the mornings.

About a week ago I contacted a debt management company to consolidate all my bills. Brent didn't want to participate (understandably) because he was wary of their business ethics and the effects on credit and such. Turns out that every bit of bad debt that we have is in my name only. I do still have a couple of long-closed credit accounts that we have paid on for 7+ years, but two years ago I had an emergency appendectomy that turned out to be unnecessary. I had no insurance*, so $15,000 of medical bills later, and we're struggling.

The debt management company I found online turned out to be awesome. Kind and respectful and helpful and incredibly knowledgeable. And rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. I was happy to finally have this under control... till Saturday, when I got a call from one of the medical collection agencies. The lady assigned to my account is an absolute jerk (and I'm not just saying that because she's trying to get money from me - her phone manners are terrible) and she informed me that they don't work with debt management companies. Period. And if I don't want them to take me to court, I have to pay them an additional $300 per month - additional to the money I'm going to pay to the debt management company.

Talk about ruining the day! Happily for me, I have a little brother who is somewhat of an expert on bankruptcy law, so I wrote him an email asking for information. The email I got back was full of all the information that I needed. Now, I just need to find a lawyer who can file for me.

I don't think this will solve all my problems or anything. And I still hate the idea of bankruptcy. But unless I get a full-time job, I will never be able to stay on top of these bills. And having a full-time job would pose all sorts of other problems with Brent's own work. It's just not possible right now (besides the fact that it would be nearly impossible to find a job in the first place).

Anyway, I do feel somewhat better now that I've made the decision. Some of the stress that has been plaguing me has lifted.

Now I can concentrate on finishing off this stupid migraine, my new cool calling (primary chorister), losing more weight (50 pounds down!), and keeping up with my two little tornadoes.

Amelia is still not walking and still has no teeth. She has been on the verge of walking for weeks now so it's getting exciting to see her inch closer every day. She and Felix take some sort of perverse pleasure in dragging things from one end of the house to the other, so I'm constantly finding things in the wrong place and missing things that I know I've put away. They also are both totally obsessed with their grandma's plants. I actually remember liking dirt when I was a kid, so I can't totally be mad about it, but pulling them away and putting back the barriers gets old after a while. As does all the sweeping. Maybe that's why I'm not ready for plants.

I can't think of anything else that would be interesting enough to share, so I guess this post is done. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Brent Brown Auto Plaza of Orem

Turns out they really do bend over backwards to help you out. Buying a car takes a billion years, especially when you're supposed to eat every couple of hours and you have a couple of kids with you (and they need to eat too).

Otherwise it was a very positive experience. Most positive of all is the fact that we no longer have to drive our dang Jetta that has caused so much grief. Hooray!

So yeah, it's a much bigger and nicer car, but our payments only went up about $25 per month. Can you believe it? It's an '08 Toyota 4Runner, with 31K miles. I'm thinking of naming it Goldie. :)

If anyone is interested, they have a referral bonus. That means if anyone buys a car from Pete at Brent Brown in Orem and tells him that the Websters sent them, we get a check for $100. Woo hoo!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Trip / Vacation (lots of pics)

My little sister wanted me to come and visit, so the day after Conference I took the kids to the airport (well, with my friend Tawna's help) and we flew to California. Turns out, Alameda is a beautiful place. For those who don't know, Alameda is an island in San Francisco Bay, right next to Oakland. Alameda has just about perfect weather, is safe enough that you can take walks at night without fear, has a great view of San Francisco, and is 15 minutes from the Oakland airport.

Going out there was a little bit stressful, but I have to say that the suggestion to use Sky Cap was genius. I will never fly without it again - at least not if I have bags and babies to worry about.

Once we were there, we got to spend some quality time hanging out with Sarah and Jacob and little Ammon, who followed Felix around expectantly waiting for something fun to happen and who inspired Amelia to try to walk more. Those three little kids had lots of fun. During our 8 days there, we took a couple of great walks, spent a couple hours at the beach (my sis's apartment complex is across the street from the beach), shopped at Trader Joe's (my new fave store, I think), visited China Town and paid way too much for lunch, hung out at the Oakland Zoo (perfect zoo for little kids - smallish and very friendly with lots of great animals and play places), drove out to Sacramento to visit Aunt Lorene and cousin-in-law Andrea (and even cousin's kid Stephanie for a little bit), went to play group with some ladies in her ward, swam in one of the apartment pools, etc. Amazingly, it didn't feel busy at all, but perfectly relaxed. It was my idea of a perfect vacation.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Alpine Loop gloriousness

It's been a busy couple of weeks here. I've gotten in lots of exercise (for those not reading my fat blog, I've lost over 40 pounds so far), seen some wonderful sights, had some bizarre dreams (last night there was some kind of weird communal shower where you stepped into this alcove and just lowered a partial door to cover your important bits. that way you could talk to people while you showered. weird! night before it was some kind of zombie revolution dream.).

Following are a bunch of pics from our recent trips up the canyon. We went twice to get different kinds of light - Brent likes having good pics for drawing reference.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pool Party

It doesn't especially look like it here, but Amelia really liked this. It's a little jumpy chair in the splash pool for toddlers. She was leaning over the side and splashing in the water and sometimes would even dip her face in the water. It was really cute, but the only pic of her enjoying it was a really unfortunate picture of me. Brent is no professional when it comes to pictures of me. :) The kids both enjoyed floating in the water. We went on the lazy river a couple of times, with Felix exclaiming, "Mommy, I floating!" Amelia kicked a lot and held on tight to her life jacket. She didn't mind the water at all. In fact, I think she really liked it.
We went swimming on Saturday as the first part of a birthday party. It was very fun. After the swimming we went to Ian and Amy's house to celebrate Camlin turning 2. The second part was also very fun. Nice to hang out with them. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I figured out a while back that I could only really be productive about once a week. That doesn't mean I won't get anything done the other six days, just that I will be super productive one day and struggle the rest.

It's good to know myself, I guess. I mean, if I know that only on one day will I accomplish much (I'm talking about cleaning and organizing - I can do errands any day), I can actually schedule that day ahead of time.

Last week a friend of mine (I call her a friend, but I'm pretty generous with that term) moved. Since I was her visiting teacher (pretty much a church assignment), I offered to help her out. I spent 3 days over at her house cleaning and packing, and then put on a giant yard sale for her. Of course, I took over a bunch of my own crap to sell too. The yard sale started on Friday and we made about $75. Not too much, but not bad either. Since this friend was leaving that night late, I gave her the whole amount, figuring I could keep what I made on Saturday.

I made about $165. Not bad.

Besides getting royally fried (Felix too, since he spent most of both days with me), the only real frustration was that most of the people who came were Mexicans. Normally I'd be super pleased with this, but it turns out they're cheap. I figured I was being pretty darn generous with pricing toys for 50 cents and clothes the same. There were very few things that I priced more, but they were nice. I had good crap! But man, those Mexicans would pick up a huge armful of stuff and offer me $1 for it. Stuff like that all day long.

My friend Darla came at the end of the day to take all my leftovers for her fund-raising yard sale next week. It was nice to not have to worry about taking it all to DI.

All-in-all, I think it'll be a long time before I do that again.

After everything was all cleaned up, I went to a friend's house for a girls night. There were 7 of us, and it was cleansing. Man, I love those girls.

So, it took a couple of days to get back into the swing of things, but today is a productive day again. I get so sick of the state of my house (like, it totally grosses me out) that I just have to do something about it. Thankfully, at the recommendation of a couple of insightful people, I have discovered Pandora. Hooray for free internet radio and NO COMMERCIALS!!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A house of order

I had the privilege recently of attending a few Education Week classes, courtesy of a very dear aunt and cousin. And while the first couple of classes were very good and uplifting, the most informative class I attended was one on organization.

And so, I will share some of the things I learned. I'm still working on implementing these suggestions, but it does seem at least somewhat doable.

Seven Days to Organization
by Marie Calder Ricks

1 - Make a plan. This would be a plan for your week, a calendar, so to speak. It doesn't matter what form this plan takes, as long as you keep some form of it with you at all times. The mind is for solving problems, not for remembering. Keep memory out of the equation and you'll have a lot more brain space for doing important things.
2 - Family council. This is where you might alter your plan based on the needs of other people in the family. Plan on Sunday so you don't fight on Thursday.


1 - Desk area. You need 3 things to count it as a desk area (not necessarily an actual desk). 1) Flat surface with some space. 2) Drawer - keep all your tools for planning in one area (so you don't get up to get things and get distracted away from the task at hand). 3) File - piled paper is lost, filed paper is found.
2 - Hidden hoard of treasure trash. Everyone has it. Get rid of half. Share the surplus.


1 - Laundry. Everything you need to complete the task should be within easy reach. You shouldn't need to leave the area or room to get important things. Most importantly, put it away (or into the kids' baskets/rooms) while it's still warm. You'll do less ironing this way, and it will never get mountainous.
2 - Bathroom. Finish everything. Don't partially do the task. Teach kids that their shower or bath is not done till the towel is hung, the dirty clothes are in the hamper, the shower curtain is closed. Keep it small and simple and it won't ever pile up.

1 - Kitchen.
2 - Closets.

Four zones of organization. A) With elbows at waist, everything you can reach - things you need most often. B) Arms extended up and to your knees - need pretty often. C) On your knees or on a step stool - need only occasionally. D) Kept way back behind things where it takes some effort to get to - things you want to keep but rarely need to access.
Ask yourself - Is it useful to me now?

1 - Shopping. Buy double, half the time. Shop early, shop alone, always use a list. These will ensure that you don't waste money on impulse purchases, and will allow you to have some stored for just in case.
2 - Use cash. No credit cards. Budget, council as a couple, buy by the year as possible.

1 - Children. Insist on obedience, resist anger. Never get angry. When parents get angry, kids are in charge. Watch until they obey. This will let them know you're serious about the request.
2 - Be early. Things come together when you're prepared. The spirit is more easily with you.


1 - Garage. Everything that lives in the garage needs a home, a specific place so it can be put away. Discard, share, or put away. Everything.
2 - Kids' rooms. Don't make them do it alone, especially while young. Shed extra clothes and toys. It will make cleaning much simpler and more enjoyable.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sometimes your meaning can be mistaken

Daddy: Come on Felix, we're going to sleep now.

Mommy: No, I'm going to attempt to go to sleep now.

Felix: I want to go to tempt.

(much laughter)

Daddy, patting his pillow: Tempt is right here, bud.

Felix: Go to nunno (another) tempt!

(more laughter)

Mommy gets up to get paper to write it down.

Felix, getting desperate: I want to go with mommy to tempt!

(still laughing)

Felix, crying now: Go new tempt!

Man, this kid cracks me up!

And now, a photo dump.

This is a fun Japanese balloon toy Felix got while we visited his cousins in Logan (who are hosting someone from Japan) along with an allergy to bird feathers - we think.

Ammon really liked my canned peaches and even after he'd been fed, he kept trying to take them from Amelia too. She wasn't very happy about it. :)

Amelia is normally a very happy baby and she's got those amazing blues like her big brother.

My lovely sister Sarah who visited us for a week just recently.

Getting changed during a Utah Lake activity with the family.

Before the weight loss... The family outting at Utah Lake in May. Can you tell she gets her skin coloring from her dad?

What a happy slobber baby!

For some reason, Amelia really likes chewing on people's faces.

One month apart. Can you tell who was full-term and who was a preemie?

Once he's sleepy, not much can keep him awake.