Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Little Nothings

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is having a good day, or at least able to find something good in your day. Mine started allright with the kids this morning. As we were doing their hair and stuff for school, we were laughing and having a good time. Then Kate started to get emotional when she told me she hasn't been able to find a friend to play with after school. She really misses her old friends. We we decided to host a girl party this Saturday night. She is going to invite a couple of her friends over from the old neighborhood while the boys are at conference. She wanted to make sure that we invite Layna Lou, also but she wants to make the invite phone calls herself. She is so excited! We have this movie called the Last Unicorn that I loved when I was a kid and she wants the girls to watch that. Hopefully they will enjoy themselves. I felt so bad for her, she really wants to go home.

To add insult to all of this stuff, Bryan tells me about an article on KTAR's website about how HUD is helping people keep their homes, even when they have already started foreclosure. I seriously doubt that would get us our home back, but the idea is so great. Just made us both sad, cause we want to go back to our home. This one is nice and all, but it is not our home. It really sucks sometimes! I keep thinking I need to be happy with what I have and find a way to have peace and bring a happy spirit into our home for my kids. That is so hard when I feel like my world has been shattered. I am trying, tho. I am making an effort to play and smile and laugh, even when I don't feel like it. My kids and my husband deserve that at the very least. So here I am putting on my happy face!!

This morning, Alex and Connor (the one I babysit) were fighting like cats and dogs (so not fun!) and I thought I would get them out of the house. We went on a nature scavenger hunt in our neighborhood. They loved it. We found pine cones, rocks, several different flowers and leaves and they got to fill up a bag to take home. It was a nice little adventure. Then when we got back, we took turns being a scary ghost and playing monster hide and seek. They had a blast! Now, they are taking a Dora break and are not fighting at all! Woo hoo! A moment to blog! That never seems to happen anymore! I have to be creative to keep these kiddos happy and entertained!

I was reading Sarah's blog this morning, so jealous of her scrapbook room, by the way. She has a plan for getting Christmas taken care of. I am so jealous of that too! I usually have quite a bit of that done already and I don't know how I am going to make that happen this year. How can I tell my kids that Santa can't afford to come this year? Especially when they think that now we have a chimney that Santa can get in easier now and that might make him happier?!? I am stressing out about it already! I know there is no way to duplicate what we did in the past, and I don't even expect to, but I just want to be able to give them something! Oh well, I have 2 1/2 more months to pray for a miracle! Somehow, it will be ok. There is nothing wrong with a small Christmas, in fact I think it is better. We will definitely be having a Christ centered Christmas. We have been moving in that direction the last few years, so this will just give us a shove that way, anyhow.

Well, those are my random thoughts for the day. Some happy, some sad, all of them true-unfortunately! Seriously, I hope everyone can find a moment to play/laugh/be silly with your family. They love it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Slightly Hectic, but going fine!

The title says it all. Slightly hectic, but going fine. I have been watching Connor for 3 days and while him and Alex will fight over toys now and then, they mostly get along well. He is a cute kid and naps really well! That is probably the most important thing to my sanity. Today, I forced Alex to lay by me in bed and thought I am gonna get this kid napping if it kills me. I didn't kill me, just put me to sleep, too! Only for a half hour, which was just what I needed to feel more alive. Alex and Connor stayed asleep for 2 more hours!!! Then I got the house cleaned up, planned and prepped dinner and even watched a new show that is really cute (called Priviliged on CW). Not to shabby! If only this morning didn't feel like I was a continual referee, then it would be an even better day.

I have a headache that won't go away, Jon has a game tonight and Bryan has to be at YM tonight, so I am a bit overwhelmed- that and Connor and Alex are both awake and arguing over who wants their daddy most. I swear the level of competition between those two can get irritating! But, they do like each other, thank goodness! Gotta go and distract/redirect those two!

Just for Bryan and Jeremy: "Have a Better One!"

Friday, September 19, 2008


I finally have another child joining my daycare! Right now, I watch Tatum twice a week, she is great with Alex. Such a cute girl. I also watch a boy named Jayden, but only 2 hours a week. Not enough to pay didly squat, but I have a full time 3 year old boy coming!! His name is Connor (at least I won't forget it :) ). He will start on Monday, which is fabulous cause I need the dough right away, too! So, I now have only one full time opening left and my budget is so much closer to being in the black!! Not in the black yet, but a lot closer!! So, good news!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hooper Kids Blog

Hi everyone! My kids have been bugging me for their own blog. Well, now they have it! So go and check it out! http://hooperkids.blogspot.com/ It will make their day! They would love to see a comment, too. Thanks!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bryan!!!!!

Happy Birthday to my best friend and handsome hubby, Bryan!!!!!! You are such a good man and bring laughter and fun to our family. I am so thankful for you! Have a great birthday!

This picture is after we had just started dating.

A wedding photo

Bryan's version of the same photo.
Connor's birth (first one with a digital camera)
Bryan on a monkey bike!
Camping trip!
Trip to Old Tucson in 2004
Baby Alex in 2005

Scout Camp in 2006. Bryan loves being a part of scouts, especially when he gets to work with his own kid!

Mentos and Diet Coke. Thanks Mythbusters for giving us a really fun way to get sticky!

Halloween in 2007. Bryan loves to get into Halloween!

Connor's Baptism in 2008We all love you so much and want to wish you a Happy Birthday!
If we could, we would fix up your Chevelle until it looked like this! Until then, you can look at the picture instead!
Happy Birthday to our Main Man!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Frustrations and Aggravations!

So, I am so frustrated and annoyed today! If it can go wrong today, it seems like it is. Now, it is nothing earth shattering or serious. Just the little ticky tack things of my life today. It all started yesterday when I was trying to help my dad save a little money on his wireless bill. He has been paying for 4 phone lines, 2 of which are smart phones. (One of the regular lines Rich still has. He is former employee of my dad's who has been using the phone for free for like 8 months.) Those four lines used only 650 minutes on average each month (after the my circle and mobile to mobile minutes) and he has been paying for 5500 minutes!!!! So, I finally convinced him he can go to a cheaper plan and he will be fine!! Then I realize that my phone (my dad's business line that I carry around and answer the 5 times it rings a week) was being billed as one of the smart phones. Turns out my mom has been using this really nice and expensive Palm phone that is hooked up! Only she only knows how to dial a number and the rest has been wasted. My dad thought we should switch. Works for me, right? It has been such a nightmare with All tell trying to get them to switch. It's not like they use sim cards on their phones anymore. I was on the phone with them last night and 3 more times this morning trying to get it all sorted out. You wouldn't believe the level of incompetence I have dealt with on this. They kept using the phrase "rest assured" that they would fix the problem. I haven't rested assured yet! After throwing my phone (home phone) across the room and throwing a royal screaming fit in my room out of sheer frustration, my line finally works. Not my mom's line, tho. Now I have to physically go over there and get the phone and call them and try to get them to fix that one now. I am so not looking forward to that.

I am excited about the new phone, tho. My dad said I can drop my other cell and use his as my primary phone. That is awesome cause I have to drop mine and Jon's anyway in order to save money each month. Jon is lucky that he has a cool grandpa hooper that sill let him join under his plan, provided jon does his yardwork and stuff. He is so grateful for that! Thanks to them both. Now I can email and all sorts of cool stuff!

The other frustrating thing was this morning I had to help Jonathan with our ward flag fundraiser. We actually got to the church at 6 and figured we would be home by 6:30. Um, no. We both got a 15 minute lecture on how this ward does things differently and just what we have to do and how he gets credit for doing it. We were like, please. We are not stupid and can figure it out. They think is is ran so well, whatever. Our route had wrong addresses (and we have no idea where the members live yet, so that was fun-not!) and there were individual instructions for each house as to where to stick the flag and to find the post. They were all wrong and were messed up. They had instructions for the houses all switched. This was taking all morning and I had to get back before the kids woke up (didn't happen tho). One of the men running it started to feel sorry for us and found us on our route and said. Oh, this route is all messed up. We were like, "You think? Really?!?!?!" We were so frustrated by the time we got home. I barely got the kids off to the bus- don't judge me on their hair today! That is when I realized that the phone switch that was supposed to happen at midnight didn't and spent the next 2 hours fighting with Alltell. ARRRGGGHHH!!

Then, I decide to make cinnamon rolls to sweeten the day (which I have had no problems with yet) and start an early dinner by throwing something in the crock pot. Yeah, right. I get the meat all thawed and all the stuff ready and I can't find the lid to the crock pot to save my life! Now I am like "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?" I can't even remember if I had used it in this house yet. So I search my kitchen up and down 3 times, I search the garage boxes and the DI pile twice. I search my china hutch just in case. Nothing. I am like, now what. I don't know how to make pulled pork without a crock pot! Fortunately, my sister, JoAnn will save the day and bring one over later. I think she is only coming to get my cinnamon rolls! But now my roast is in the fridge and will be cooked tomorrow. I have no idea what we will eat tonight. Maybe we will just have cinnamon rolls. Only kidding!

Now, I am telling all of you so you can share my frustration and help me laugh about it. Sometimes that is all you can do when nothing goes the easy way! I am really hoping that the rest of the day starts to go a bit more smoothly! Have more fun than me today!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

Today is the day we celebrate what exactly? Laboring? Whatever, it is a day off!!!! I love it! The kids are playing at their new friends house and were so excited to go. Almost as excited as we were to have them go! Bryan has been home and we love it! So, it is a good day!

We gave our talks yesterday and I will copy Leslie and Jeremy and post the text version of our talks below. I always change/tweak what I say vs what I write, so it will be a bit different. I think it went well, except for the fact that I was crying before I really got going. I am a baby, I admit it. It was a tough topic and I felt the Spirit so strong, that I knew it would happen- I am just glad I didn't have makeup running all down my face.

Thanks to everyone who came- my parents, Grandma Gurr, JoAnn and Saige, and Gerry! It was nice to have so much support!

I was so nervous, but I think I was wven more nervous to meet with the Bishop after church that day. He is helping our family right now. There was no reason to freak out, he is a very kind and gracious bishop. He made me feel like we are wanted and respected even with all our problems. I really appreciated that, it made things so much more bearable! So thanks to him and our ward. That is such an understatement, but Thanks so much!

Anyway, here is the talk minus the ending. I usually don't write one. I kinda make one up as I feel it, so you can make one up if you want! :>)

My name is Michelle Hooper. My husband, Bryan and I and our 5 children moved into the ward about one month ago. We are happy to be here, while the change has been a bit hard, the ward has been very accepting and gracious. You have all made us feel welcome and we really appreciate that.

Let me tell you all a little about ourselves. I was born in Florida and moved to Mesa when I was 2 and other than a year in Las Vegas, I have lived my entire life here in Mesa. My parents, Frank and Carolyn Standage have 7 children. I am the 5th. I have 3 older brothers, one older sister and two younger sisters. Some of you may know one of my brothers, Todd Standage, he and his wife Julie have been members of this ward for a few years. Although, when we moved in, we had no idea we would be in their ward. So it was a fun surprise. I grew up in Central Stake and graduated from Mountain View. My husband is a native of Arizona; he grew up in East Stake and also attended Mountain View. His parents Gerry Hooper and Eva Hooper have 5 children with Bryan being right in the middle. He has an older brother and sister and a younger brother and sister. Bryan served a mission to Fresno, CA. He really enjoyed his mission and I love hearing his stories from then. We met shortly after I graduated from High School, very shortly after. My family had just moved into his ward and he was one of the Young Single Adult Rep’s. He saw our family had 5 single adults at that time and called to invite us to a waterskiing activity. Well, Bryan and I talked on the phone for about 30 minutes. We started dating shortly after that and were inseparable ever since. We were engaged a month and a half after we met and married 3 months later. I like to joke that my family decimated the single adult program in that ward. Within a 6 month period, my brother, Judd married the other Single Adult rep and another brother Lee married a girl in the ward. My sister Jenny married during that same time period, but she didn’t marry someone from the ward. My poor parents had a very eventful year! Bryan and I have been married for over 15 years, he is a wonderful man and I am lucky to have him. We have 5 great kids, Jonathan, Kaitlyn, Connor, Jenna and Alex. I feel so privileged to be their mother. They are such good people and I love them so much.
We have been asked to speak on adversity and I have been asked to focus my remarks on why we have adversity. I found an article called “Finding A Safe Harbor” by Joseph B. Wirthlin. This article is actually a talk given during the April 2000 General Conference. His talk touched me so much, I saw myself in these words and wanted to share parts of it with you. He says things so much better than I could alone.

He begins be telling the story of Jesus and His disciples when they set sail upon the Sea of Galilee. The scriptures tell us that Jesus was weary, and He went to the back of the ship and fell asleep on a pillow. Soon the skies darkened, and “there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves.” The storm raged. The disciples panicked. It seemed as though the boat would capsize, yet the Savior still slept. At last, they could wait no longer and they awakened Jesus. You can almost hear the anguish and despair in their voices as they pled with their Master, “Carest thou not that we perish?”
Many today feel troubled and distressed; many feel that, at any moment, the ships of their lives could capsize or sink. It is to you who are looking for a safe harbor that I wish to speak today, you whose hearts are breaking, you who are worried or afraid, you who bear grief or the burdens of sin, you who feel no one is listening to your cries, you whose hearts are pleading, “Master, carest thou not that I perish?” To you I offer a few words of comfort and of counsel.
Be assured that there is a safe harbor. You can find peace amidst the storms that threaten you. Your Heavenly Father—who knows when even a sparrow falls—knows of your heartache and suffering. He loves you and wants the best for you. Never doubt this. While He allows all of us to make choices that may not always be for our own or even others’ well-being, and while He does not always intervene in the course of events, He has promised the faithful peace even in their trials and tribulations.

“Then,” the world would ask, “why does He sleep when the tempest rages all around me? Why does He not still this storm, or why would He let me suffer?”

Your answer may be found in considering a butterfly. Wrapped tightly in its cocoon, the developing chrysalis must struggle with all its might to break its confinement. The butterfly might think, Why must I suffer so? Why cannot I simply, in the twinkling of an eye, become a butterfly?

Such thoughts would be contrary to the Creator’s design. The struggle to break out of the cocoon develops the butterfly so it can fly. Without that adversity, the butterfly would never have the strength to become something extraordinary. Adversity can strengthen and refine us. As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people. It makes us strong.

I remember about a year or so ago there was a moment where I felt so happy. I felt like everything was right in my world. I had a great family, good friends, and it almost hurt that my life was going so well. I then had this feeling that it was too good to be true. That something would happen to break my perfect little world. I became afraid. I was filled with fear, and I called my husband and told him what I was feeling. He told me to relax and stop worrying all the time. It was a short time later that my world did change.

My husband was working with my father in his company. My dad’s company lost its biggest client with only a few days notice. We always knew that this was a possibility, but in the 15 years my dad has been building his company, it only grew bigger. As a result, we have had to start over with his career and we have lost so much. As you can expect, this has been a difficult time for our family, but not just our family. My parents have been affected as well as several other employees that have had to find other work, including my brother in law on my husband’s side of the family. They have lost so much too and have had to start over as well. I tell you this not to make you feel sorry for us, but to tell you that it will not break us. My family is strong. I am strong. I have not always felt this way, but I know that I am strong. I can deal with this and still smile. I will have days or moments when I feel like I may break, but I don’t!

I don’t think I could bear the trials that my family now faces if I hadn’t already struggled with and overcame adversity in the past. I have dealt with many things in my life, some trials were small and some felt so big at the time. But each time, I have learned something from it. My trials and challenges have molded me into the person I am today. I would not change that. I cannot understand and appreciate the beauty and joy of life if I don’t also experience the pain and sorrow of adversity. I still don’t have the answers, but I know the Lord is leading me and my family. It may not be the way I would have chosen or the easiest path, but it is the Lord’s all the same.

I have felt His hand in almost every aspect of our lives right now. I know we are here for a purpose. I have felt that so strongly, and it keeps me going. I know that the Lord knows me and my family and everything we are going through. I also know that if the Lord knows me this well, that he also knows each and every one of us. He knows our situations in life and He will not leave us in our time of need. You are stronger than you think. Our Father in Heaven does not wish us to cower. He does not want us to wallow in our misery. He expects us to square our shoulders, roll up our sleeves, and overcome our challenges.

I remember a conservation I had with my sweet mother several months ago. She was telling me about some trials she was experiencing. She thanked me for being there for her and for giving her an understanding ear. She said that I had been through so many things and that I had so much compassion because of the things that I have experienced. I had never thought of my trials that way before. I knew that adversity would make me stronger, but I hadn’t appreciated the increased understanding and awareness of others needs that my trials would bring. There is much need for compassion in our lives, and if we have not endured many things, how can we in turn build up and support those around us in their times of need?

I have felt such love and support from family, friends and ward members. The small things they have said and done have been a strength to me. Their examples of faith and endurance give me the courage to keep going. I believe as members of the Church that is one of our responsibilities, to reach out to those who may be struggling. Often just a kind word goes a long way, it can remind someone that they are not alone. We are blessed to have ward families and that helps to develop relationships. These relationships can be a source of strength, compassion, and love. Follow the promptings of the Spirit and you can be a source of help and support to someone who may need it, both in and out of the ward.

As you overcome adversity in your life, you will become stronger. Then you will be better able to help others—those who are working, in their turn, to find a safe harbor from the storms that rage about them. In D&C 122:7 the Lord is speaking to Joseph Smith and He says, “know thou, my son, that all these things shall be for thy good.” He doesn’t say that they will be pleasant or easy, but they will be for our good. I know that the adversity we face in our lives is difficult and at times may feel like it is more than we can bear, but it is for our good. We will be stronger and more compassionate and better prepared for the next trial. We do not have to go through things alone. Our Father in Heaven is there for us, our Savior, the ultimate example, has suffered all things for us. We can find peace and even joy in our trials, take time to see the small things- like the butterfly, the smile on a child’s face, a perfect rain cloud. There is beauty and goodness all around us, sometimes we just need to stop and notice it. I would like to close with my favorite scripture. It is one that is very dear to my heart. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.