Monday, March 17, 2014

Who wants a gold star?

Ethan has been doing so well with everything. Forgive the bragging but he's so smart, and he loves school so much. He's sweet and takes good care of his little brothers, when he's not trying to take their toys. One of the major problems we're trying to figure out with him is food. He will not eat! He's never been a good eater, and considering this has been going on for like four years it's hard to accept the "it's just a phase" response. Like a lot of little kids he doesn't like to try new foods, but Ethan takes it to another level. Trying to get him to eat dinner usually turns into an epic battle of wills in which no one wins. We try not to make a big deal about it, we ignore it but then we demand, we bargain, we threaten, we try and trick him and he counters by screaming like a banshee and throwing a tantrum worthy of Paris Hilton, or just not eating. It's gotten to the point that his teachers have sent a note home worried he'll make himself sick because he doesn't eat much at school either. I've started packing his lunch with things I know he'll eat so that's helping with school, but not at home. I don't want him eating the same things over and over, and he needs vegetables! While I'm open to suggestions, Derek and I have decided to try something classic. Elementary school classic to be exact (I've always thought this but teachers are geniuses). We've decided to make a star chart. I'm not going to get into the psychological debate about child development, discipline and reward blah blah blah. This might work and it might not. He's not a carved egg, he'll be OK.

We're mainly trying to encourage him to eat, vegetables more than anything else (he gets two stars for eating veggies and one for everything else), but we didn't want to focus purely on that so we added some other goals we want him to reach. He has to earn a certain number of stars for the week and if he meets his goal he gets to pick a treasure from the treasure box! Who doesn't love a treasure box? It just has little dollar store toys but when we sat down with him and explained everything he was over the moon about it. It's been a couple of weeks and so far he's earned one toy, so there's still some work to do, but there's also some progress. He even tried green beans the other day!

I love this box! I totally stole it from my dad
This experiment got me thinking about what goals I want to accomplish. Lately it seems hard to get much done; my current excuse is because Sammy's not sleeping through the night anymore. So, how do I get motivated? Hmmm... Derek and I were talking and we've decided to make star charts for ourselves. Why not right? We each have different things we want to work on and knowing my habitual 'all or nothing' mentality Derek helped me set reasonable goals. If we meet our goals for the week we earn a $5 credit. Last week was our first and neither one of us met our goals. I was afraid I would be put off of the idea but today I'm even a bit more motivated to earn my gold stars than before, so I guess it's working. I kind of feel like a little kid trying to earn an allowance but I'm pretty OK with that if it helps me improve. Now, if you'll excuse me I have some gold stars to earn. Bye y'all!

Oh, and here's a random family picture:

Saturday Morning anyone?
The End.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Long Time No Read

I have to be honest with myself. I'm a frustrating person to get a hold of. I love my family. I love my friends. I’m interested in their lives and I care about what’s happening with them. Facebook and Blogger help make me feel connected with them even from such a great distance. I forget that they would feel the same way about my life. I’m not very good at keeping in touch, everyone knows this, and while the computer is no replacement for personal contact I’m not good at keeping up with it either. Sorry y’all. While I’m not going to take it to the other extreme and post about everything in my life I’m finally realizing how important it is to open the window into my life and welcome in those I love.

So, in the spirit of improvement welcome to a long awaited blog update! So much has happened! We are now a family of five. Whoa! I'm still not used to thinking of myself as a mother of three boys. When did that happen? Oh wait, that's probably what you're asking. Well, let's see...

We spent about a year in California. It's amazing we were able to stay there for so long, and there's no way we could have done it without a ton of help and support, but it finally came to a point when leaving was our best option. We met some great people, and even though we had a rather hard go of it there, it wasn't all bad. Logen was born, we were able to see Alexis and Micheal, we were able to see the ocean, visit the mall where 'Back To The Future' was filmed (that was a big one for Derek),we visited the zoo and Griffith Observatory, Ashlyn and Eric came to visit, my mom came to visit, Derek was able to spend time at Universal Studios and we were finally together again as a family after being separated from Derek. I think Derek discussed his side of things in more detail in a previous post.

We were able to stay with Derek's parents again until we could figure out a direction. It's so frustrating not knowing what's best to do for your family. Derek was applying for job after job with nothing materializing and still we had no direction. After almost two months Derek and I decided that coming to North Carolina would be the most promising move. Thankfully, my family was OK with that so we made the very long drive. I was terrified to make such a long trip with a toddler, an infant and a cat couped up together in a car for so long but amazingly enough the it went pretty smoothly. Don't get me wrong, it was a long, long trip, but it was OK and we made it to NC in time for Christmas and my brother Chris and his cute wife Kari's wedding!

The Whole Family!

Kari and Chris
Around New Year we found out that I was pregnant again. Unexpected. We were excited because we love our boys and we wanted another one, just not right then.  I had no idea how we were going to figure this out, but again with help and divine guidance everything has been possible (that's the most accurate word I could come up with). So, here we are. We've been here a little over a year. We're staying with my parents, who have been so supportive, and while we're not settled we are making the best of our situation. Derek's working with OfficeMax while completing a CompTIA Network Security Tech w/ Linux program (I just say computers) at Miller-Mott College here in town. He should finish up in July and we're really hoping this opens up a lot more opportunities for employment. That would be sweet! Ethan is in Pre-K and he loves every bit of it. He's learning so much too! Sometimes I'm amazed at how much he's grown since he started. Logen will be two in May, crazy! He's having a blast playing with Derek and I as much as possible, especially when Ethan's at school, and he's reached his get into everything possible while laughing maniacally then run away stage. And both boys adore their little brother Sammy. They love to make him laugh and he saves his biggest smiles for them. Sammy's six month old now and doing so well, he's playing, laughing, starting to try new food and sleeping through the night (Yes!). We were able to get bunk-beds so now all the boys are in the same room, and it's working, cue heavenly choir. It's crazy and crowded having us all in such a small space but we're getting along pretty well, and thankfully we seem to have as much time having fun as throwing tantrums, so it evens out.

Picture break!




Sammy at six months
Logen, Ethan and Sammy Christmas 2013

As for me, this has been the hardest few years of my life but I can still say that I am happy. That's amazing to me.I'm happy to be so close to family, I've found some new TV shows that I love, I'm baking up a gluten-free hurricane whenever possible (not all chocolate by the way), got a new hairstyle, tried Zumba and loved it and learned how to use Windows 8.  There are a lot of personal things that I'm trying to figure out and it's going to take me a while to do it. One of the biggest issues I need to conquer is my health. While not having anything physically bad to deal with I do need to get control of my weight. Thankfully, all of my boys are healthy and the pregnancies didn't have any complications but I was labeled high risk and developed gestational diabetes during Sammy's. I'm gluten intolerant and not nearly active enough. So, my main focus is getting down to a healthy weight, getting regular exercise and taking better care of myself in general. Bring it on! I do love being a mom and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I learn as much from 'Super Why' and 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood' as the boys do and I'm not ashamed to admit that I get a lot of parenting lessons from them. It makes me smile when Ethan and Logen sing the songs to themselves while they play. On a distantly related note, morning dance parties are always great fun too!

I can't forget Polly! We've had Polly since she was a little bitty kitten. Wow, that was almost seven years ago now. She's moved all around the country with us, and has had to adjust to new places, new animals and sharing our space with three little boys. She's been wonderful through it all, and while she can be grumpy she's really good with the boys. We're trying to adopt a stray cat as well so we'll see how she does with that. In the situation we're in I wouldn't normally think about adopting another cat but I saw this one and fell in love. I hope it all works out.

Whew, if you're still reading, Congratulations! You're done! You made it! That was a lot of exposition and I'm really out of practice so thanks for hanging in there. I'm going to make a sure effort to post more regularly so stop by again soon!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Well, after some negative responses to my last post, "'We're Back - Part Three' Cancelled", I just want to make sure that everyone knows it was all just a prank. It was just me dragging out the attention more and trying to get everyone a little more riled up about not finding out what is currently happening with us. So... sorry. Please don't hate me.

So, just to re-cap, "We're Back - Part Three" is still on it's way.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"We're Back! - Part Three" Cancelled

Due to unresolved conflicts and creative differences, we regret to inform you that the third and final installment of the "We're Back" series has been officially cancelled. We apologize to our readers for any inconvenience this has caused and we hope that you will all continue to follow us as we seek a replacement for the regularly scheduled post.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

We're Back! - Part Two

"And my classes were awesome. I learned a great deal about writing and the film business in the short time that I was there..."

  I love that inscrutable dot, dot, dot; sitting there telling you that the story isn't finished and there's more left to be discovered; teasing you by holding back the things that are bound to come for who knows how long. It's so exciting, isn't it?

October 1st, 2011 - General Conference Weekend
  I had just moved out of Mike and Alexis' apartment and into a hotel to wait for our apartment to be made ready for us to move in. Jo and Ethan were still staying at my parents house in Arizona. I had been attending film school for almost a month at this point and I was really, really missing my family. I had limited use of my cell phone during the time and couldn't talk to Jo for very long at a time. We did some chatting on Facebook, but planning out times to chat was dicey since I had a 25 mile drive to and from school and the traffic was completely wretched and unpredictable. Depending on when my classes ended, the drive was anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Good ol' L.A.. Most times I didn't get home until around 11 P.M., so chatting wasn't a great option.
  So, being that I really missed my family and it was General Conference weekend, I decided I would drive over to Arizona early Saturday morning and back late Sunday night so I could spend as much time as possible with Jo and Ethan.

 While in Arizona, I received a call from Randy, a good friend from BYU-Idaho. Randy worked for a video production team that did videos for Intel, and he had a proposition for me. One of the main video teams used by Intel was getting over-paid for some low-quality work they had done on Intel training videos, and Randy was getting less and less tolerant of this situation.
  Randy and I had worked together on BYU-Idaho's student news program and he knew that there were several talented college graduates looking for video work that could give the Intel video team a run for their money. He proposed the idea of creating his own video team to his boss, promising higher-quality results with a lower price requirement. Randy's boss liked the idea and gave him the green light to start working on a proposal for the higher-ups of Intel.
  Randy explained this story to me and asked me if I wanted to be a part of the team. Needless to say, I was thrilled at the opportunity to get paid to create videos AND to be working on a video team full of friends. Randy said that this proposal was still in very early development stages and that I shouldn't expect anything to start happening for another year or so. I agreed to be patient, but jumped for joy after getting off the phone nonetheless. (I guess my reaction would be even better explained if I told you that I had been vainly trying to find a job in video for almost two years at that point.)

December 2011
  Randy promised to keep me updated on the project and by the time December rolled around, things had progressed at an alarmingly fast rate. At this point, we had the official proposal meeting planned for mid-January 2012 and were trying to create at least five impressive videos for the project. It was all very exciting, just busy. Alongside of working on the videos, I had to write a feature-length screenplay and a TV series episode for "Castle" among other bits of homework. Also, we had just found out that Jo was pregnant not too long beforehand, so lot's of prep was going into that as well.

January 2012
  My new semester started with a bang. The first week of school required us to make a short film. After that, we were required to write another feature film, revise it, write a TV episode of "Community", and create a pilot episode for an original TV series.
  During all of this, I was knee-deep in working on those videos for Intel. I was swamped with work! I really wanted to work hard in school because I love movies! I'm sure you all knew that. But I love video as well! I'd be happy getting paid to do either one. But the thing that was most influential for me was the fact that the project for Intel would likely lead to a paid career sooner than the film work. And the fact was, I was drowning at the moment in both endeavors and I really needed to decide which one I was going to focus on if I didn't want to fail on both sides.
  So after much prayer and discussion with Jo, I decided to defer my current school semester until the summer and devote my time fully to the Intel project.  Here are the videos we created:

February 2012
  So we turn these videos into Randy and he heads over to Portland for the big Intel presentation (I heard that there was a good sized audience present there) while we [im]patiently wait to hear how it goes. Randy calls us that night and says that the presentation went very well and that everyone was quite impressed with our work. He says that there will need to be some discussion over the next couple of months between all the big-wigs and he will keep us updated on what happens.

April 2012
  After two months of some intense waiting and hoping, Randy calls. From the tone of his voice, I can tell it's not the happiest news. He proceeds to tell me that the current video team is too integrated into other parts of Intel to be replaced at the time. He says that while we were very much the choice of the Intel heads, it was just impossible to try and have us replace the team, and not in the budget to hire us on alongside them. (SOUND EFFECTS of HOPES being CRUSHED)
  But then Randy's tone changed and he proceeded to tell me that while our video team may not be a possibility, there IS a chance that I may still get a job from this...

To be continued in "We're Back - Part Three"

Sunday, July 29, 2012

We're Back! - Part One

So, it's been a while, hasn't it? Considering that we haven't given a real good update since last summer, this post will be rather long and action-packed. Jo asked me to write this post since most of our recent adventures surround my pursuit of a filmmaking career. So, here we go...

   To begin, let's jump back to the year 2011. It's a hot Arizona Sunday in January. My parents are away at church. Jo and I lay sick on the couch while Ethan runs circles around us to release some of his pent-up energy. As usual, my mind is caught up in trying to figure out how I can get into the filmmaking world from our current situation.
   At this time, I had a temp job at an Amazon warehouse that promised to eventually blossom into full-time position if I worked my posterior off. The job was good, but it wasn't what I considered a worthy career goal for me. At the same time, I had been in contact with some friends from Rexburg and making videos for various competitions in hopes that we could win some money that would eventually help us establish ourselves as our own video production company. That option wasn't panning out very well for us. At the same time, I was trying to get a small business loan to start up my own video transfer service. That wasn't looking good either.
   Well, Jo and I began to talk this over and discuss things that we could do for the time being. Eventually, the conversation floated over to film school. At first, I rejected this idea with great rejecting powers. I had just finished school and, in my mind, I was done with my education. Well, the more we discussed this, the more it seemed to make sense. Eventually, I felt very strongly that going back to school was the best path for us to pursue. So I began looking at a number of film schools and working on applications.

   Skip ahead to May of the same year. I had already applied to several film schools and was awaiting replies. I had actually been approached by 3 schools already at this point: Full Sail University, Academy of Art University, and New York Film Academy. I had already turned down these schools in hopes of being accepted into higher-rated schools like UCLA, USC, and the Los Angeles Film School.
   As far as my temp job was concerned, I had already been promised a full-time position if I didn't screw up in the next month or so. Me and Jo were looking at local apartments so that we could move out of my parent's house. Things were moving along slowly, but progressing better than they were back in January.
  May 10th... I had gone to work and was in a particularly bad mood that day. I really didn't want to be at work (no specific reason) and was moving slower than usual. While working, I was approached by a happy co-worker. He asked me how things were going and I said, "Eh, they're going," trying not to be obviously grumpy. We preceded to have a short conversation before he randomly asked, "What are you doing here?" Confused, I asked him what he meant. He responded by asking me what my career goal was. When I told him it was filmmaking, he again asked me what I was doing there. I told him that I was just working to build up our savings until I was accepted into school. This optimistic man then proceeded to toss out a series inspirational stories and quotes. He finished our conversation by telling me that I needed to stop wasting my time at Amazon and go out and be a filmmaker.
   As he walked away I felt the Spirit strongly confirming his words to me with an unmistakably powerful urge to up and quit Amazon right then and there. But that seemed too illogical. I had no back-up job, we hadn't raised enough money to support us for longer than a month or two, and I didn't exactly know where to go from there anyway.
  For the next two hours I continued to work and tried dismissing the feeling as a symptom of my bad mood. But the feeling got stronger and stronger with each passing minute until I could no longer ignore it. During my first break, I phoned Jo and explained everything I was feeling to her. She said that if I felt that strongly about it, then I needed to act on it, no matter what my doubts were. Emboldened by Jo's faith, I walked back into work and quit.

   After quitting, I felt that I needed to contact the New York Film Academy and see if their invitation was still open to me. It was, and I accepted. The next three months were filled with grueling trials that built patience and strengthened faith as we tried to figure out how I would get there and where the money would come from.
   Two weeks before I was to start school, I received an email saying that I had missed orientation and that I wouldn't be enrolled in classes. Confused, I called up my school supervisor and asked him about the email. It turns out that while the email was not meant for me, it did lead us to discover that I had somehow been withdrawn from enrollment. We fixed my enrollment, but due to the error, my student loans weren't released to me until halfway through the first semester. Just another trial of faith.

   I started school in September of last year working towards a Master's degree in Screenwriting. For the first month, I was graciously allowed to stay with Alexis and her husband while I searched for housing and Jo and Ethan stayed behind at my parents house. We eventually found housing and moved in in the second half of October. And here were are, in a sunny suburb of Los Angeles.
   While attending, I loved school. I had really great classmates and we all got along very well. While my classmates loved going to bars and getting drunk over the weekends, they still liked me enough to enjoy alcohol-free parties at our home every now and then. They are all very talented story tellers and an inspiration to me. We have all formed a very strong friendship in a short amount of time and I am grateful for that.
   And my classes were awesome. I learned a great deal about writing and the film business in the short time that I was there...

To be continued in "We're Back - Part Two"