Wednesday, February 26

William Orson Taylor

We are now a family of 4! William is beautiful (I'm referring to the younger William, not my husband.  Not that my husband isn't attractive, but he just buzzed his hair fairly short after almost 4 months with no hair cut and, well, I'm still trying to get used to it). At any rate, the new William makes the best faces. Evelyn loves giving him kisses and rubbing his head. She is handling the transition well. I hope we can help her still feel loved and special.

So a few of you have asked about his arrival.  So I'll summarize that and then I'll explain his name/nickname since many people have been confused by it.  

I blogged about my pregnancy in my last post, so I'll continue where I left off.

Wednesday January 14th: I had a midwife appointment.   Since Tuesday I felt like I was...hmmm, how to put this most euphemistically...I felt like I was leaking. So I told my midwife and she did a few different tests.  She checked my cervix for amniotic fluid and the swab came back a very light blue. (If I were leaking a lot of fluid it would have been very blue.) The ultrasound also showed good levels of fluid.  She said perhaps I was leaking a little, but it must have plugged back up or I could have just been leaking a little pee.  :)  I for sure didn't know. It felt different and something I couldn't control, but it was just a little bit here and there so we weren't really too worried.  I went home thinking I'd see her again in a week at my 39 week check up.  At the beginning of my pregnancy, I felt like this pregnancy would happen early.  I'm not saying it was revelation or anything, but I just felt it.  My body had all sorts of issues including carpal tunnel and it was a pretty exhausting pregnancy.  However, by 37 weeks, I started to feel better about being pregnant and in my last post I mentioned how I had learned to be patient and didn't feel he would come early anymore.

Friday, January, 17th-38 Weeks, 5 days:  All morning I was feeling pretty tired.  I don't usually let Evelyn watch TV until after lunch for quiet time if she chooses, but I just had no energy so I told her we could watch a movie. I looked through some of the Disney Movies on Netflix that Evelyn hadn't seen and ended up turning on Aristocrats.  We snuggled together and watched it for a bit. I actually emailed Will after I started the movie, around 10:30, saying: "I'm so tired and have no energy. I feel like a failure and dont know how pioneer woman did it."   (Yes...I'm pretty hard on myself...) He sent an encouraging email back.  While we watched the movie I bought us tickets to go to the gymnastics meet that night. We were all looking forward to going.  After awhile, I felt like I could start doing some chores.  We started organizing all of Evelyn's toys in the toy closet.  We were making great progress.  

Around 12:15, I felt a small gush of water come out. I was right next to the bathroom so I ran  inside not sure if my bladder was being cruel or if the small leak I mentioned previously had intensified.  Turns out that I did have "to go", but after I was done "going", the water kept coming (if you know what I mean).  I wasn't sure what the heck was going on.  Especially since I couldn't stop whatever it is that kept coming (granted, the "leaking" that was continuing was still pretty light).  At any rate, I was thoroughly confused. 

I sent Will an email (to make this blog post as true-to-life as possible, I'll just copy it for you.  I'm curious if the emails Will and I send to each other are typical of most couples.  But I digress...): "So i just started losing some water....ran to the bathroom to go pee and i really think it was way more than just pee....i kept having to wipe and i never pee that much? I'm not sure what to do....if i'm going insane and just peed a ton or what??!" 

Now, before I continue, I suppose I should provide some background info; many pregnant woman find themselves going to the bathroom a lot, and this pregnancy certainly was no different.  I had to go all the time.  But, because I went so often, my bladder never was that full when I'd "go".  So, at this point, the fact that I was losing more fluid than normal was a big indicator to me that something was up.  I called the midwives after I emailed Will and left a message with the on-call nurse.  I really wasn't 100% sure what was going on, so I decided to finish cleaning with Evelyn and wait until the midwives called back before I jumped to conclusions. (Not that I was doing a lot of jumping towards anything at this point.  When you're 9 months pregnant your ability to jump diminishes markedly. :) ).  Around 12:55 the nurse called me back and she said it sounded like it could be my water and suggested I go to the hospital for an evaluation.  It was either right before the phone call or right after where I felt another small gush of water leak and then the rest of the day there was a constant small leak of water.  I called a friend to see if she could watch Evelyn for us, and then grabbed our pregnancy bags that I had put together and some other things I never packed for Evelyn and for me in case the baby was coming.  I felt fine and wasn't really having any big contractions or anything too regular.  They felt like the ones I had been having for weeks.  We hadn't had lunch yet, so I also put together a lunch for Evelyn and myself.  I dropped her off around 1:40 and went to pick up Will.  (Will read through this and insisted that I add at least a few sentences regarding his role in the story up to this point.  When I sent the first email to Will, he was in a project meeting, which he was basically in charge of.  Following that meeting, he had to get on his bike and ride a mile away to another meeting.  He says that his memory of what went on in either of those meetings is basically nonexistent).  I ate while he drove us up to the hospital.  Contractions were becoming more regular, every 4 or 5 minutes but not intense.   I started to realize that he was coming today. I was thrilled that he decided to come early! 

We got to the hospital around 2:30 (I had never actually been to the hospital.  I had planned to take a tour of it the following week.  Suffice it to say that we had some trouble figuring out where to go).  They tested the fluid and the swab had no problems detecting amniotic fluid this time...dark blue!  The nurse checked me and said I was dilated to a 4.  She mentioned how effaced I was and what station his head was in, but I don't remember.  The next few hours seemed to drag on forever.  We got checked in and into our room by 4.  My midwife was not on call, but she told them she'd come in. I was so grateful, especially given the fact that the next morning she was flying to Tennessee for the weekend.

By this point I was getting really frustrated with my body.  Evelyn's labor happened so differently (or this link too).  (I didn't have any Braxton Hicks and then the day she arrived I started having contractions around midnight, which started strong and were 3 minutes apart from the get-go and she arrived by 6am.)  Because I wasn't feeling any strong contractions yet, like I did with her, I was getting really impatient and worried how long it would take.  I kept walking around, but 5 hours after my water breaking, the midwife came in and checked on me, and after expressing my frustrations, she suggested I try nipple stimulation to pick up labor.  A few minutes after starting, I noticed my contractions coming stronger, but they were still pretty easy.  I was hooked up to a machine that tracked the strength of the contractions, and Will entertained himself by watching the graph and encouraging me to see if I could get it up to a certain point.  I suppose he was hearkening back to his days of hurdling when his coach would try to get him to run it under a certain time. He also found my impatience somewhat amusing.  He told me that when I was in the throes of labor and in intense pain, that he was going to remind me of the fact that I was bored a few hours earlier and was longing for the painful contractions to come.  He was wise and decided to refrain from making such a comment when the contractions did come.  :) At any rate, after a while (I think around 6), I told Will he better go get something to eat.  He got a salad and a slice of pizza (Thai was weird).  I had a few bites.  Finally, after an hour or so of walking around the hallway and room, contractions were getting more intense, but nothing to suggest I'd have a baby in a few hours (Will wanted to see how fast we could do laps around the birthing wing of the hospital to really get things going).  My midwife came in and suggested that there might be some more amniotic fluid that was still in there and once that was broken, she guessed things would pick up quickly.  She said around 8:00, she'd come back and do an internal exam and break the rest of the water.

She came in at 8:25 and upon examination she said I was probably at an 8.  Then she reached in higher and grabbed the bag of waters and broke that.  That was very uncomfortable.  She also felt for the baby and said she was going to try and turn him around so he was in a  better position for labor.  Again VERY uncomfortable.  And of course I started having a very intense contraction while she was doing all that and I couldn't get back in my comfortable position to work with it.  As soon as she was done, contractions were INSANE, which I should have been thrilled about, since that meant baby was coming quickly and I was no longer bored...but I lost my happy thoughts when she was doing her exam and couldn't get it back.   The midwife and Will got me into a new laboring position...kneeling on the bed.  They raised the bed into a L and so I was leaning up against the bed on my knees. I grabbed onto the top rail of bed when a new contraction would come.  The midwife left, and said to let her know if I felt like pushing.  As soon as she left, I told Will that I felt like I was transitioning.  So, they started prepping the room.  Around 9:05 I started pushing with my contractions with advice from the midwife and by 9:14 he slid out and I turned over and laid down relieved.  They put him on my chest and he started sucking immediately.  They just let us lay there together while I labored my placenta.  They didn't take him away to weigh him until we were ready, which was GREAT and they waited to cut the cord until it was done pulsing.  We stayed in the hospital until Sunday night to make sure his bilirubin levels were acceptable.  We had a great support system of friends who helped watch Evelyn, and we are forever grateful!

So here is William Orson Taylor:

He's a great baby.  If you are on Facebook you know that we've been having breastfeeding problems, and I'll blog about that later.  Before I end, I'll leave you with the story of his name. 

I assume most people are as picky about names as we are.  I want it to be a strong name and like it have special meaning.  Evelyn was named after Eve. I had been reading a book about Eve and felt a great love and understanding for her example as the mother of all living.  Evelyn's middle name is after my mother Jolene.  So she is named after two great mothers.  

William's name was pretty easy for me. I've always LOVED the name Liam.  When Will and I were dating I told him I wanted to call him Liam.  (wilLIAM) He was saved in my phone as Liam, but sadly, it never stuck...he was Will and I couldn't change that.  I do love his name.  His mother named him William because there are a lot of William's in their family history (William Clayton, song writer of "Come, Come Ye Saints", one of my favorite songs, is Will's 4th great grandpa!) and she specifically wanted him to be called Will because he was strong willed.  (She had a rough delivery and the fact that he survived was a miracle and she felt like Will would have a strong will.)

So, that's William.  Orson comes from Orson Hyde, another great grandfather of Will's. He was a leader in the early days of the LDS church and is notable for going on a mission to Jerusalem in the the early 1840s where he dedicated the area for the preaching of the Gospel (someday we'll hopefully go there to visit the park named after him.

And so we are calling him LIAM.  That last part of William.  Will goes by the first part and Liam the last. And now you know the starting story of one of God's precious souls.  We'll see what's in store for him and for us!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 12

Waiting for baby

Well, hello old friends. Here's a needed update from the Taylor clan. Life in Oklahoma is grand. We’ve had a typically crazy week of weather.  We started out the week frigid, with Monday morning having windchills around -8.  Then today it was 73.  There’s definitely nothing boring about winter in Oklahoma.  Well I suppose Spring and Fall are just as crazy and of course summer you just want to die.

Evelyn has been herself this week.  A few stories worth repeating from the week—tonight before bed Will read to her an alphabet book.  At the end, it has all the letters on a single page.  He would point to the letters and she’d say them.  He was going through in order from A-Z, and she was doing awesome. We were a little skeptical, however, but our skepticism was confirmed when she said (as He pointed to letters), “j, k, l, emeno” (he had just pointed to the “M”).  We decided to go backwards and she did fairly well still. She's learning! We're teaching her how to play the piano. We're not pushing it, but she is interested. We made some colored notes to stick to the keys to help and she's doing pretty well. She knows the name of the notes and that they repeat. We're teaching her how to play Twinkle, Twinkle and "I Love to See the Temple."  She’s now a Sunbeam and loving primary.  The chorister said she sings better than most. She’s really excited for the baby.  She still insists that she has a baby in her tummy too.  Oftentimes when she eats something she’ll inform us that “baby brother likes this” (since we’ve explained that I eat and baby brother gets it).  She really is 3 going on 17.  She’s so independent and so stubborn.  And she speaks very well (today she used the word “either” properly in a sentence).  Although she did argue with me the other day over the correct past-tense to the word “blow”.  I think she was talking about the wind, and she said “the wind blowed” and I said, “no, the wind blew” to which she said something along the lines of “no, the wind blowed.  Blue is a color”.  I think she ended up winning the argument in the end.  One thing Will and I were reflecting on is that although she’s a handful in some ways, we’ve been really blessed in other ways.  For example, since she’s started sleeping without diapers (when she was2) , we can count 3 times she’s wet the bed (although only one time officially counts).  In case you’re curious-The first time was when we were visiting my sister, Amy.  We think she might have wet the bed, but we weren’t sure.  She went to bed right after taking a bath, so she was still a bit wet, which was why we weren’t sure the reason the bed was wet because it wasn't soaked but just damp.  The second time was in Minnesota.  She was sharing a bed with Amy. She woke up in the middle of the night and told Amy she had to pee.  Amy, too tired,  told her to go back to sleep.  And you can imagine the results.  The third time (which doesn’t really count since it wasn’t in bed), we forgot to have her pee before going to bed, and she got up in the middle of the night, and only made it to the bathroom door before, well, it was too late.  Also, she is basically never sick.  I can remember one time when she threw up (other than spitting up as an infant).  She’s had a fever a few times, and a runny nose a few times, and one time had a pretty bad cough, but that’s it.  Another thing that makes us very happy is how well she eats.  We are constantly amazed at what she'll eat.  She eats anything we put in front of her really.  She loves vegetables and even ate the liver from the Christmas turkey.  She wasn't a big fan of the liver, but she ate it. CRAZY! She likes food I don't even like.  Perhaps this is compensation for the fact that she quit taking naps way before other kids quit taking naps.

This week was the week of being Sooner fans.  Monday we got an email saying we could get discounted tickets to Saturday’s game against Iowa State because Evelyn is a member of the Sooner Junior Kids Club (we won a membership).  We figured this would be one of our last chances to go to a game, since going with 2 kids is way more difficult than going with one, and we’d never been to one before, so what the heck.  So, we bought tickets on Tuesday afternoon.  Well, about 30 minutes after I had bought the tickets, I saw on Facebook that one of our friends had 3 tickets to that nights OU-Kansas game he was giving away.  I mentioned it to Will (it was about 5:15, and the game started at 6). We decided it sounded fun, so texted our friend and an hour later we were watching the Sooners and the Jayhawks battle it out on the hardwood for free.  Evelyn wasn’t that interested in the game (she was interested in the OU mascot), but it was still pretty fun.  OU lost, but that was not too surprising since Kansas is, well, Kansas.  Plus they’ve got a player who potentially could be the number 1 draft pick in the NBA (him or Jabari Parker, an LDS guy at Duke who also might be the number one draft pick EVEN IF he decides to go on a mission. We were a little bit nerdy after the game and did some reading). Friday night I went to a book club with friends, but Will took Evelyn to a gymnastics meet (it’s free for him and her since she’s part of that club).  She loves gymnastics, but apparently she loves face painting more.  They had free face painting there, and she kept asking about getting her face painted (we went to a baseball game last year where she got her face painted).  So, they waited in line for 45 minutes to get her face painted.  She also got a balloon animal along the way.  She apparently does not have the same indecisive gene that Will and I have.  When Will asked her what she wanted for her balloon animal, without even thinking about it she said she wanted a lady bug. (She wears her ladybug costume from Halloween almost every other day.)
Saturday, as I mentioned, we had gotten tickets to the Iowa State game.  They were undefeated on the season and ranked somewhere between 7th and 9th (depending on the rating system).  It was a pretty exciting game, and we came out victorious, which was cool. We had a fun time together.  I doubt we’ll go to any more basketball games this season, but it was cool to go to a couple.  I've never been in to sports, but it's been fun to experience OU sports. I even watched half the sugar bowl! I left at the half to put E to bed. But it was exciting! We hope to make it to at least one football game while we’re here in Norman and a Thunder game in OKC, but those tickets aren't as cheap.  Well, I guess you can find some cheap Thunder seats but they are like up in space they are so far away...but knowing OKC fans it would still be fun.  Plus I just love Kevin Durant!

 The baby and I are doing well.  13 more days give or take. This pregnancy has been nothing like Ev's. My only complaint with her was back pain and being tired. This one has had so many aches and pains...oy! This week was actually a lot better than the past few.  How many of you knew pregnancy can cause carpal tunnel? Yeah...not fun. I have small wrists and so the swelling (I didnt swell at all with E) pushes on the nerve and it has been bad. Like worse than just the tingling pain and I can't get dressed and do other things because my wrists hurt so bad. I bought some braces to help stabilize them and that has helped, but not much. I had a blessing last week because of all the pain and a bad headache that worried me and my wrists have felt better and my contractions have gotten much more infrequent.  I'm by no means comfortable, but I've been more patient in waiting for our little man.  I know he's learning all he needs to, and I want him to come when he's ready and prepared. I'm sure he's being taught some important things and my mom is probably warning him about my imperfect ways. I know when he comes it will be because he's ready and not because I was impatient and begging for him to come sooner....although I still pray he does!  I'll be sure to keep you updated! We're planning another natural delivery. This time we're using the Bradley Method. If you want to know more, ask! I love to talk babies and labor....

Monday, September 9

Individual Worth

So, I'm not much of a blogger these days, but I need some help and thought this might be a good way to get it.  As many of you know I work with the young women at my church.  Remember this post where you helped me do Personal Progress? Well I need some help again!  This time with Individual Worth.  This is a TOUGH one for me.  If you know me really well, you know I struggle A LOT with my self I'm really curious to see what you all have to say...since it's hard for me to come up with some of these things....

This is what it says:

Heavenly Father has given you special gifts. Read 1 Corinthians 12:4–1213;Moroni 7:12–1310:8–18; and Doctrine and Covenants 46:11–26. Ask a family member, a Young Women leader, and a friend to write down positive qualities the Lord has given you. List your gifts in your journal, and write how you can continue to develop these gifts and use them to serve your family and others.

  So, can you be my friends and write down positive qualities you think the Lord has given me.  I'd love to see what you think He has also given you too.  Thanks!

Sunday, December 30

Being Cheap Part 2

Ok, sorry but this is going to be another post about money; Will and I feel so weird about how we live sometimes, that blogging about it makes me feel a little less unusual and more aware of others who are similar to us.  Also recently I overheard a girl say that everyone had an iPhone and texted, and that was her excuse to her parents as to why she should get an iPhone.  I just want people to be aware that not everyone has an iPhone and texts and that if you need to cut expenses, it's possible to survive w/o some of the things you think you need. So, here are some more things we have done to save money.

#1: No Texting....and No Data Plans...
WHAT????   Anyone else not have texting and feel a little out of the loop sometimes?  We're SO not with the times, but here's why. I want to stay at home with Evelyn, and since our income is really limited, we've had to think about needs vs. wants.  We may be the only ones in the world who don't text and who don't have a data plan, but we get along pretty well.  There are times where having a data plan would come in handy, or being able to text the babysitter while we're out would be nice.  However, if there was an emergency, I still have a cell-phone that the babysitter could just call.

Now, some of you might be confused because you get texts and emails while I'm out and about some times.  Here's my secret.  Google Voice.  LOVE IT!  You get your own phone number and can send free texts and make free calls from the internet.  Also, I have a Blackberry that I got for $30 on Craigslist that can connect to WiFi.  Thus, if I'm in a place with WiFi, I can go to Google Voice and send a text that way and also send emails or look up things.  Since many stores have wifi these days, I can usually text and send emails or look things up wherever I go, unless of course I'm driving around.  That's when I call my sister and ask for help. :)

#2: No Cable
We have an antenna and get all the basic channels like NBC, CBS, ABC, and a Fox station plus some extra ones, that occasionally have something on.  With Netflix and Hulu you really don't need cable anyway (not that we have Netflix or Hulu, but we'd get either of those before Cable, and be saving a lot of money).  I have some friends we swap babysitting with (more on that later) and after I put the kids to bed, I'll get on their Netflix and find a movie and LOVE the selection and start to wish we had it, but Dave Ramsey said it best, "if you want to live like no one else, you've got to live like no one else."    Any shows I want to watch I can find on ABC or NBC or CBS websites for FREE!  That really is my favorite word. :)

#3 Swap Babysitting.
We've made great friends by doing this.  In a perfect world we'd get to go on a date every other week and babysit the other weeks.  Life happens, so it doesn't always work out perfectly, but we usually get a date in at least once a month and usually more.  We get a great babysitter who has lots of experience and Evelyn can play with the other kids until bedtime. I know you really don't care to read about all this.  I guess I just get frustrated with our society and how people can be on food stamps, yet also have cable and expensive manicures and data plans and iPhones.  I have no problems with food stamps or with people on food stamps.  Between Will's income and the babysitting money I make, we don't make much money and would be considered low-income.  (Thankfully we've been blessed with awesome parents and grandparents who provided a safety net for us, so we do have money in savings.)

I also can't talk about money and not mention the blessings that come from paying tithing.  Will and I believe that all things come from God.  Our financial security and all other blessings are from God.  He has given us everything, so why not give to others?  We believe our Savior has set up a great way to do that through paying tithing.  Every pay check or other increase in our income, no mater how small or big, we always give 10% to our church (which doesn't go to pay church leaders, but rather is used for things like building new churches and such).  Additionally, once a month, we fast for 2 meals, and donate the money we saved to the church, which money is then used to help those less-fortunate (in our church, we call that a fast-offering).  I truly feel that we have never wanted for food or a warm bed or other necessities because we have always put the Lord first and paid our tithing and our fast-offering.

So, there you have it world.   Let's learn to live within our means and reconsider our needs vs. wants. Hopefully this has been insightful to at least one person.

Sunday, December 2


So, I'm not what you would call an extreme couponer.  I could be if I wanted to, I just don't want to put in the effort right now.  I do feel like I do a decent job of finding ways to stretch our money.  I thought I'd share some things that we have done:

Tip 1
I love the dollar store!  Everything is $1 or less and they take coupons now!  Most things you get what you pay for, but there are some good deals.

My favorite thing to get from the dollar store is bread.  We only buy 100% whole wheat and try to avoid high fructose corn syrup.  The walmart brand 100% whole wheat is $1.40 something.  The dollar store sells name brand 100% whole wheat bread w/ no high fructose corn syrup for guess dollar!  Now, it's still probably cheaper to make my own bread, and sometimes I do, but until I can get this whole parenting thing down and managing my time better....I'm sticking to my dollar bread.  Now as a caution, they get leftover bread that lets say walmart over stocked on so it is probably closer to expiring than bread you might buy at walmart.  I am always sure to check the expiration date when I am buying it and find the ones with the latest date on it which usually is still quite a few days left.

Next, if you're a good couponer, you can usually get toothpaste for free.  We sadly burned through our one-year supply of free toothpaste recently and since I took a break from couponing and didn't want to pay the "expensive" prices, I've found that the toothpaste at the dollar store is ADA approved.  That's all that I need to satisfy least while I remain a stay-at-home mom and live off my husband's little grad school salary.

Any thing you love from the dollar store?

Tip 2
Here are some little things I do that help me stretch out products further.  I don't like washing my face with face wash, so I've started to buy the more expensive face wipes.  I love them and they work great for my skin, however they are more expensive.  I started cutting them in half and making them go farther.  Now it's double for the price of one.  On days where I wear lots of make-up, I might end up using the whole wipe, but most days I don't wear hardly any make-up anyway.  Another thing you ladies might use a lot are eye make up remover pads. Maybe this might gross some of you out, but I reuse mine.  I have very thin eyelashes, and don't wear much liner, so if you wear LOTS of eye make-up then perhaps you wouldn't be able to reuse them, but I just use one part and then use a different part until it's all dirty.

Oh and recently a friend blogged about putting oatmeal in ground beef to stretch it further.  We did it and LOVED it!  We couldn't even tell!  Read about it here.  We really only eat ground beef as a way to get protein and guess what, Oatmeal has PROTEIN and other great things for you!

Any thing you've learned to stretch out?

Tip 3
FreeCycle and Dumpster Dive.  (Be careful for bed bugs, but other than those worries, both are great.)  Just so you know we don't really dumpster dive.  Most people leave their "nice" trash right next to the dumpster. We recently got an awesome trash can from the dumpster.  We've gotten a chair, a few other finds and something we even sold.  Freecycle is amazing.  Here's a list of things we've gotten for free from people: lots of nice clothes for Evelyn, and some not so nice that we disposed of, a piano, a play kitchen, two beta fish w/ cute aquariums and food, herbs, toys, and more.  Sign up on

Tip 4
Do your own services.  Make your own food. No brainer, but it has to be said.  Also, learn to cut hair. I cut Will's hair for him.  We only pay for the clippers and they last for years.  I get to know him better and cut his hair the way I like it.  He might get to put a suggestion in too.

Tip 5
This one may be controversial.  I love Dave Ramsey, but one thing he'd murder me for is credit cards.  (We don't have any credit card debt and pay them off each month.)  We love the rewards the credit cards offer to lure you in.  Now, stop reading if you are one to struggle keeping up with credit cards.  I know it can be hard.  We make money off it though.  Lots of money!  My favorite is Old Navy.  Throughout the year they send me special promotions where if I use my card 4 times in a month at the grocery store I get $10 in rewards and at a later month it might be 4 times at a gas station....on and on.  Anyway, I've racked up 40 or 50 in rewards and then every quarter they have a sale where everything in the store is 40% off including clearance.  A few months ago, I got a some clothes for Evelyn and some christmas presents for our extended family and only spent $1.16.  I recently went again and the total was $90, but with 40% off and other other deals and my rewards money the total came to $11.  The receipt showed a savings of over $100!

Well, I could go on and on, but if you have any questions or any tips, pass them on! I'm always up for hearing ways to save!

Sunday, October 7


Hey good friends,

Well I have good and bad news! I've spared you from my political ramblings, but I haven't blogged in awhile.    It's probably better that way. I've had many ideas, but they have been too hard to put into words...I have several unpublished posts that will probably never debut on here.    But then again, it's probably better that way.  Hopefully you enjoy this post. I hope I get lots of comments!

I was called to serve in my church with the Young Women's Program earlier this year.  One of the things we encourage the young women in our church ages 12-18 to do is to work on 8 different values throughout their time in young women.  We call this "Personal Progress"  and this is how it works according to the overview in the Personal Progress book:

"Personal Progress will help you strengthen your faith in and testimony of Jesus Christ as you learn His teachings and regularly apply them in your life. It will help you strengthen both your present family and your future family. It will help you prepare to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple. And it will prepare you to be a faithful, contributing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Personal Progress program uses the eight Young Women values (faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity, and virtue) to help you understand more fully who you are, why you are here on the earth, and what you should be doing as a daughter of God to prepare for the day you go to the temple to make sacred covenants. It will help you prepare for your future roles as a faithful woman, wife, mother, and leader in God’s kingdom. Participating in Personal Progress teaches you to make commitments, carry them out, and report your progress to a parent or leader. The patterns you establish as you work on Personal Progress—such as prayer, scripture study, service, and journal keeping—will become personal daily habits. These habits will strengthen your testimony and help you learn and improve throughout your life."
Well, after I was called to serve in Young Women's I thought it would be insightful to work on personal progress again. I completed it when I was in Young Women's, myself.  It has changed a little since then, but overall it still is very similar.

Anyway, I was working on one assignment the other day and it mentioned discussing something with a mother or  parent figure.  As I am doing this as an adult, I thought it might be fun to get more discussion with some of my peers via blogging about my experiences and seeing what you have to say!  So, I hope you have some advice that maybe I can even pass on to the young women at church. :)

I'll start with Faith #2:

Discover the principles of faith taught by the mothers of Helaman’s stripling warriors. Read Alma 56:45–48 and 57:21. Review what “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” says about a mother’s role. With a mother, grandmother, or leader, discuss the qualities a woman needs in order to teach children to have faith and to base their decisions on gospel truths. How can these principles help you in your life today and help you prepare to be a faithful woman, wife, and mother? Record your thoughts and feelings in your journal.

I'll start the discussion.  I'm nowhere perfect at this, but here are some of my thoughts as I am a mother and am currently trying to teach faith to my little one.  One thing I think a woman needs is to know the scripture through diligent, daily reading.  I also think a woman needs to have a good relationship with Heavenly Father through heartfelt, daily prayer.  It definitely takes experience though to have faith.  I have found my faith strengthened through trials and learning to trust in the Lord and I think our children can tell when we trust in the Lord through our everyday actions and comments.  I think that certainly was the case with the stripling warriors.  Their families had been through a lot through their conversion and loosing so many when the Lamanites attacked them and then leaving their homeland and even some leaving their right to the throne and living with people they were taught to hate.  That takes a lot of faith and the children saw it in their parents.  

I'll add more later, I'm anxious to hear what you all have to say.  

Sunday, July 8

Turning into Cows and Fireworks

Well many of you may have seen from facebook that we got sick a few weeks ago.  As many people were really confused about what we had and had never heard of it before and a sweet grandma of mine told my sister something about cows...we thought we'd share the story here and enlighten everyone on this crazy secret sickness we had.

It all started when, on the last Tuesday in June, Evelyn woke up around midnight crying.  Will went in there and noticed she had thrown up.  She didn't have a fever, so I mothered her and gave her love and tried to get her to drink and stuff while Will did the dirty work and cleaned up her room.  I thought maybe it was food poisoning because the milk she was drinking was close to expiring and I had left some of it in her sippy cup unrefrigerated for awhile as I was trying to get her to drink it.  (She has been refusing to drink milk from sippy cups.)  

Anyway, the next day I started to feel weird.  I drank some baking soda and sprite for upset stomach, and took a nap thinking maybe I had gotten food poising too.  I started to wonder if it was food related though as it was a few hours after Evelyn had thrown up and if we both had food poising it would have happened at the same time.  I went to Mutual that night (I was just called in to the YW presidency!!!!) because I wanted to get to know the YW better, but I ended up throwing up.  I felt better, but Evelyn had still been acting weird that day.  She didn't eat much at all...which isn't normal for her.  Usually she eats amazingly!  The next day I still felt weird and had a little bit of a sore throat, but we both stayed home and relaxed.  Ev still didn't eat much, but I thought maybe throwing up scared her or something.  Friday about the same thing.  Neither of us had fevers at all. Saturday we took her to the duck pond to feed the ducks.  We had a great time, but as we were putting her in the car we noticed she started getting a rash on her legs.  We're horrible parents, but we didn't connect anything and still thought maybe something at the park caused it.  We decided we would take her to the doctor on Monday first thing.  Anyway, my sore throat was getting better, and Evelyn was eating much better and acting like herself so we thought it would be ok to go to church.  Again thinking it was a normal skin rash like heat rash or whatever.  However Will was starting to get a sore throat.  Sunday after church he complained that his whole body hurt and he felt like maybe he was getting the flu.  He took a nap on Sunday. Then the next day his throat started to get worse.  Tuesday his feet started to feel weird and it actually hurt to walk on them.  (The sharp needle feeling after your leg falls asleep is kind of how he described it.)  Because his throat was hurting so much I thought maybe it was strep.  He decided to google it and since his feet were hurting he googled sore feet and sore throat and the first thing that came up was Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease (which is NOT to be confused with Hoof and Mouth disease).  Hand, Foot & Mouth only affects humans and Hoof & Mouth only affects cows.  

Here's the run down.  It's just a virus similar to the flu, but there is no vaccine for it and there is really nothing you can take for it.  It is actually pretty common and occurs most often in children under 10, and it's normal to have a few outbreaks each year.  The symptoms are mouth sores and a rash with small blisters on feet and hands that hurt when touched, fever, headache, loss of appetite.  

I have no clue if this is what Evelyn and I had as the only symptom Evelyn had was a rash and a possible sore throat as maybe that is why she wasn't eating.  I had a very small sore throat and no other symptoms.  It's weird that Will had it as bad as he did.  Especially since he's the healthiest one in our family. :)

So no we aren't turning into cows or anything weird like that.  Actually we are all back to normal now. I was heartbroken on Tuesday night when Will found out what he had.  Independence Day is my favorite holiday. I studied history in college and my favorite thing to study and learn about is American History.  So, I was almost ready to cry when we talked about canceling our plans.  We decided that if we kept our distance from everyone we could still celebrate.  So we canceled meeting up with my great Aunt in Edmond and swimming in their pool and visiting my second cousins, but we did go up there anyway and watch the parade.  Then we got some food and I took Evelyn swimming at our pool.  We were the only ones there.  It was awesome!  Then our two neighbor friends who I usually watch at the pool came to join us.  They love Evelyn.  Then we grilled some burgers and ate yummy potatoes and watermelon and lemon ice and then took Evelyn and the same two neighbor kids to the park where there was a big celebration in town.  They had blow up slides and obstacle courses and a bounce house all for free to use.  They also had pony rides and some music shows.  So we walked around there for awhile and then found a spot to watch the fireworks.  Some good friends from town were brave and joined us.  So it ended up being a great day despite Will feeling weird.  

Evelyn loved the fireworks.  We showed her videos of fireworks in the weeks leading up to the fourth, trying to get her ready and she loved to watch them.  She started to ask for fire videos.  I was worried about keeping her up so late, but she was great the whole night.  They didn't start until 9:50 and before they started people in the distance were lighting some off and she would ask for more.  We kept'll get more.  And when they started she got so excited. It was fun.  Especially since last year she slept through them. :)

Here is a video that kind of shows how cute she was...well kind of...

Anyway, we're all great again.  Evelyn is eating great and being silly as ever.  I'm going to Girls Camp in a week and am TORN!  I'm so excited to have fun with the YW! I loved Girls Camp growing up and am excited to spend some time with the youth and some awesome leaders as well.  However I HAVE NEVER BEEN AWAY FROM Evelyn for more than a few HOURS and Will for more than a few days.  I'm going to go insane!  Sometimes at night after she's been sleeping for awhile I still want to go in and hold her.  I don't know how I'll survive.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 14

What kid doesn't love a sprinkler?

So, the other day it was hot, hot, hot!  I didn't think it would be that hot because the day before it was really nice.  I never learn my lesson.  Anyway, we were outside playing because that's what kids like to do.  If I had it my way, I'd stay inside all day during the summer yucky days, but kids don't care about sweat and heat and sunburn.  Well, Evelyn saw the sprinkler and wanted to get wet.  I didn't want her to because one, we were enjoying swinging in the SHADE and two, I didn't bring any swim clothes for her (although I did bring some the day before when it happened to be cool out...once again...I never learn). (We were at our friends house that I babysit for a few days a week.)  But, Evelyn LOVES of course I obliged.  (Evelyn is in case you haven't figured this out yet.)

So enjoy the videos I took on my it isn't an iphone so the quality isn't great.

Also, I feel like I need to explain a very odd behavior Evelyn has.  Each day she ends up with one or two or three toys that she has to hold in her hand like all day and take with her everywhere or else she has a fit.  See if you can guess what three toys she had in her hands all day...yes I mean all she had to have it while she was eating and even swinging.  I wanted her to hold on with both hands, but every time I tried to take the toys away, she got mad.  Oh, the cup she added later in the day while she was swinging...

Sunday, June 10


So, first of all, let me say thank you to my faithful readers, if any. :)  As I read other blogs, I realize my life is rather boring and my writing rather dull.  I have friends...cough...Courtney...(and others) who have the craziest stories to tell and are really great at telling them.  I read other blogs of friends who share their struggles and trials and really open up and enlighten their readers (cough...Jenny & Alicia...and others...).  I'm grateful I don't really have any crazy stories to share because I'm sure I wouldn't be able to handle any drama in my life right now, but I do wish I had some fun reading for all of you.  I'll work on my writing style, but sadly my twin took all the good writing genes.  She is a great writer and cracks me up.  I should have her pretend to be me and write my blog...Twin Prank!  YES!  She's a poet too. I love her poems.  Ok...I was going to post about some other things on my mind including some highly sensitive topics...but my twin has inspired me and in order to make me feel good about my blog's dull writing style, I would like to share some of her witty ways.  Enjoy!

This one is called Because Everyone Loves Satire and is something she did instead of write a paper...she is also the queen of procrastination...

To Whom This May Concern:

Dear HERSHEY's chocolate people,

So, I'm kind of bitter (and not good bitter like dark chocolate or coffee (I don't even drink coffee but a vast quantity of people do and like it)) that you used creative marketing to deceive me.  It also doesn't help that it's finals week and I'm in grad school and have a 25 page paper I'm working on tonight.  All I wanted was to try the new dark Reese's.  My enthusiasm for seeing the word dark on my favorite chocolate made me completely oblivious to the actual ingredients in this "new" product.  I succumbed to the marketing scheme and purchased it.  I was not even eating sweets until Christmas.  However, this would have been worth it.  I guess my loyalty to Hersheys (true American Chocolate) and my intense obsession with Reese's convinced me that they could be inspired to create the best sophisticated chocolate combination: Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter.   Dark chocolate is what every "intellectual" needs to be inspired.  And as a grad student, I appreciated this treasure at this extremely demanding time of my life.  However, after the first bite I was immensely disappointed - instead of dark chocolate, it was semi-sweet.

Now that my evening is ruined and my hopes and aspirations for accomplishing this paper are crushed as well as my " No - Sweet December", I request that you pay my student loans (I work 30 hours a week, so I can promise it's not a huge demand - I'm sure we can come to some sort of agreement).  In return though, I offer my services for the creation of a true Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and request only 10% of the profits acquired for this potentially rewarding idea.  

Also, you have Mounds - so why haven't you ever developed a dark chocolate Almond Joy or just put an Almond in the Mound?  If it's because you've been lacking inspiration for what to call this divine creation, I will generously also take that responsibility upon myself.  One idea thus far: a Mound of Joy.  That would be heaven on earth and I'm pretty sure you would convert the entire world to believers and followers of Hershey.  (I propose this study for my first research project (I am in grad school after all)).  So, the secret is dark - but not semi dark - pure dark heavenly Hershey chocolate, and I offer my services in return for sufficient compensation.  

Thank you for your time,

My paper is due Wednesday, I'm sure there is something you can do by then.



(and yes, she really sent it)

This is one of my favorite poems she has written:

The Mind Race

(For my friends who know how crazy I am...
...and for those who like to run with me!!!)

s.P.s. The uh is it a paragraph in parenthesis I've decided to delete, but I wrote it so long ago I hated to kill it so brutally. I thought a nice sweet peaceful death would be better. The diagnosis is's just saying his goodbyes....words words words.

I’m bored, really bored, what can I do?
I’ll call my friends –friend one and friend two.

Well, Even if they answered (my calls were in vain)
could they have taken my boredom away?
So shattered are the plans I never had,
What can I do? I shall run myself mad.

Oh, there’s an idea.
I haven’t been running today.
Not with all the “to do’s” in my way.
It’s late the sun is setting,
my socks don’t match, but I’m only running.
Where are my keys?
The IPod’s not charged.
I call my sister and tell her how far.

I’m off to the park; all lights remain green.
I guess this evening was just meant to be.
Park the car, pull the emergency brake
Oh my, how long do sunsets actually take?
Say a quick prayer;
though faith is unshaken,
fear is always stridently taking;
no doubt I’ve been reading tragedies lately.

Last minute decision:
I must run blind.
My glasses will just play slip and slide.
No worries,
Running fast
I’ll be home before dark.
It’s too bad I can’t read the signs in the park.

There’s no turning back:
My feet are moving
The crickets chirp a call so soothing.
The smell of lilacs and honeysuckle
happily liven and rejuvenate my soul.
STOP. Cough. Almost choke
That bug just ran into my throat.
Memory brings words of wisdom to late
an open mouthed runner warrants a taste.

Now I’ve reached mile marker one
only to lose the race against sun
But my steps keep stepping
My thoughts keep thinking
Over and over as darkness is creeping.
Past ponds over bridges
And just when I think it’s silent
Nature composes its songs for the night.

(The wind sings like the strings
a long sustained whisper
The frogs moan like the basses
With jumping syncopation
A bird sounds the words
So sweet and so gentle
But the crickets,
with no idea what they’re playing
are lost in the music like fluttering flutes.
though somehow,
Nature’s orchestration is perfect.)

The trees have thickened
Only shadows remain
Wet leaves are puddles, spiders, scorpions – my bane
My vision is terrible
I cannot see
consequently, Imagination runs with me

The peace I once felt
has set with the sun
and with each step and lurch forward
I find I’m an irrational coward
pondering rumors of night stalkers, gangs, and meth labs
quickening my pace and stretching my abs.
Onward I trudge into paths of darkness.
Is victory certain in this disastrous quest?

I know I’m moving somewhere
unless, perhaps, I’m on a treadmill
and this ‘quick little four mile jog’
has quickly become a long voyage.
Where is the guy who was walking his lab?
or the girl modeling a fanny pack?
Aren’t there other brave souls who wander the parks
or are they too smart to stay after dark?

Hopeful, unless my eyes deceive me,
or are the trees actually receding.
And is that somewhere in the distance
a light to brighten my existence?
Rejoicing, I’m still alive.
I race to my car so I can drive.
No stretching, no walking, I hurry home
I got bored, so I ran a poem

I love her and her writing.  She sent the funniest letters when she was on her mission and I personally things she should become a writer.  But, she's in Ukraine now studying and in love with her chosen field.  I miss her.  I'll admit, I'm not the best sister, and I'm awfully critical of her and her choices.  Her calling me 50 times a day sometimes drives me nuts too. :)  But, I miss it now.  

Love you sis!  Here is to you not becoming a writer except for when we prank people on my blog.  Can't wait!  

Wednesday, May 30

The Spray Park

So today Evelyn and I had a chance to give our friend a ride up to OKC for a PET scan to make sure all his cancer was gone.  I had promised myself that this week would be a week of swimming and splash parks for Evelyn. She loves the water!  On Monday we drove home from Arkansas and stopped by a lake right off the freeway.  It was the coolest spot ever.  It was like a secret spot that we found because we're so adventurous and cool...riiiiight....  Anyway, so Evelyn got to splash in the lake for a few minutes and take a break from driving.  It was great.  Then on Tuesday we went swimming in the pool at our complex and Ev had lots of fun.    So, I thought, hey maybe I could find a splash park in OKC and I could take Evelyn while we waited for our friend and make Wednesday a water day too. Sure enough there was a pretty cool park a few miles from the cancer center.  I was really worried because yesterday we had a HUGE STORM come through the metro and OKC got 6 inches of rain and many people were w/o power!  WHOLLY SMOKES!  (We got a lot of rain and wind, but no hail and luckily didn't loose power.  Some friends of ours did though.  Tonight is looking pretty I better knock on wood.)  So, I thought maybe the park would be flooded and would it even be warm enough to go.  Well, it wasn't that hot, but it wasn't that cold either, and it actually wasn't that flooded.  Sadly we were the only ones there, but we still had a great time.  Here are some videos of Evelyn enjoying the moment.  She literally was laughing the whole time!  I love my little angel.

Swidget 1.0