Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jenna!!

Happy 7th Birthday to my beautiful, sweet Jenna! We love you so much!!

We are so glad you are in our family!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

17 years and Counting!!

Happy Anniversary, Bryan!!

Our Carriage Ride
Our families

Happy Anniversary, Bryan!! I can't believe its been 17 years!! What an adventure our life together has been, but through all the ups and downs you have been my best friend and the love of my life. I am so glad you put up with me!

In other happenings, Jonathan is becoming quite a missionary. I am proud of his courage to speak up and share the gospel. He gave a Book of Mormon to a friend and now she and her mom are having the missionaries share the discussions. I have always been a bit more reserved about sharing the gospel and I am humbled by his good example to me. I thought parents were supposed to teach the children but I find I am always learning something from my children.
Another fun tidbit, totally random but fun is that I won some money from my bank! I never thought that would happen!! It is a program that every 5 minutes they refund a purchase made with a debit card. I actually won my purchase back! It was $31, but that is still awesome. I have to admit that I thought it would have been nice if one of my bigger purchases was refunded, but I will take the $31 and be happy with it!
I want to wish a Merry Christmas to all of you, may your Christmas season be happy, fun and full of hope! :D

Sunday, December 13, 2009

School's Out!!

I am officially done with the Fall semester! Woo hoo! I have a whole month off, just in time to enjoy the holidays. I did fairly well this semester and still managed to get a B in Anatomy even though I bombed part of the final exam. (I mean bombed!!) So glad that part is over. Spring semester doesn't start until January 11 when I will take the second Anatomy class and a World Religion class. The anatomy class sounds stressful and the religion class sounds really interesting, but hopefully easy! I need an easy class after that ridiculous Eng 102 class. I am going to really enjoy this break! Happy sigh. :)

Right now I am content and happy. Life is still so far from perfect but I am grateful for the blessings I do have. My sweet family, they are my joy. I was able to listen to them and my super talented in-laws play their instruments today in Mountain Vista ward and I was overcome with gratitude for them and the talents they share and have helped cultivate in my own family. I am humbled by the love my Father in Heaven has shown to me and my family and know that He will direct our path if we let Him. Have faith and be patient and long suffering. (Sometimes the long suffering is the hardest part!) So many friends and family around me are burdened with difficult trials: physical challenges, lost jobs and financial crisis, divorce etc. I am always strengthened by your faith and courage. Your example shines bright!

Best wishes to you all!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Answers in the Scriptures

I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father. I would be lost with out the guidance of the spirit to get me through the problems in life.

We have a leak in the ceiling of this house and I am now cleaning the bathrooms so the workers can come in and I won't be embarrassed. I have let things get a bit out of control since I had my surgery. Anyway, today has been a tidal wave of stuff. I should have known because life always throws me a curve ball the minute I start to feel that things are going to be ok. My roof is leaking, my management company informed me today that they are going to sell my house. I have a doctor appointment to hopefully remove my stitches unless something goes wrong there again!! Connor is in the nurses office again with wheezing and he just finished with a strong antibiotic and steroids to fix it. Not sure whats up with that yet. Top that off with a final exam to study for and church callings, I feel like life is starting to spiral out of control.

But, I do feel blessed because in the midst of all of this, a scripture came quietly to my mind. Instead of ignoring it, I went and found where this scripture is and I know that Heavenly Father is aware of me and my "issues". It will all work out the way it is meant to.

The scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I don't know how, but I do know things will be ok. I am calm. (That is something if you know me really well!! lol)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Christmas has come to our house! I love this time of year when we can pull out all of the Christmas decorations and transform our house from the everyday to that wonderful holiday feeling home. We have a great time decorating and we always decorate together. I don't remember being able to help decorate the tree when I was little, my mom always wanted the perfect tree. So, here we do the opposite! lol Bryan sets up the tree and puts the star on the top and then me, Bry and Jon do the lights. After the lights come the gumdrop strands. Which I love! The youngest kid always thinks they are real candy every time we pull them out. Makes me laugh every time! Once those things are done, then it's free reign for the kids to put on the decorations. We have so many decorations that mean something to us that it is so much fun to decorate and remember when that ornament was made or purchased. For a long time we bought a new one every year and have the year written on them. We haven't bought one this year, but have for every other year. I will have to get on that! Bryan and I were married on Dec 18 and a smart lady in my ward who was helping with my Bridal Shower asked that the guests put an ornament on top of the presents instead of a bow. So I have so many fun ornaments from that shower that remind me of our wedding. My favorites being a handmade Bride and Groom. The bride and groom are not the prettiest ornaments, but they are a lot of fun! We also have an ornament for the first Christmas of each child's life and they love being able to put their own ornaments on the tree. It is a happy tradition that I hope will continue always!

I love the enthusiasm that the kids have for Christmas. Alex keeps saying he is "so excited for Christmas!" Their bright eyes are full of anticipation and I love that about them. I love that my four youngest kids still fully believe in Santa (and the easter bunny, toothfairy, etc!). It kinda cracks me up, really. Some of these kids are getting a little old and I am glad they are still innocent! Too many things in life try to take away from that.

This Christmas feels so much different from last year. We didn't have a lot of good things happening last year and it was hard going through the holidays and trying to find happiness. But we tried and put together the best Christmas we could for our children with the help of kind family members and a wonderful ward. This year feels so much better! Bryan and I both talked about how this year we have hope. Hope that life is getting better and that we have a chance to break free from the problems that have plagued us in the past two years. Much of that is due to his new job. He enjoys what he is doing and learning and it's fun to see him come home happy from work. That is a switch!! He has generous bosses and they are good to both of us. And if the company does well, there will be raises in the future that will eventually allow us to breathe again. All I ask for is to be able to breathe again! Surely that is not too much to ask for, right? Having this new job has changed our outlook and we are so enjoying the start of the Christmas season. It will probably be a small Christmas again, but that is ok! I will take hope in the future over stuff any day!!

We still have to set up the lights and stuff outside but that will have to wait till Monday night. Poor Bryan has to do most of that alone as I am still supposed to be off my foot and now Jonathan has ripped a tendon and has a sprained ankle. :( Poor kid! He is bummed out about that right now. He has no idea how he will be able to handle school with crutches and a violin. On top of that, he has baseball tryouts going on right now. I know that it is hard for him to miss out on all of that and I know he is frustrated when we are decorating and he just watches. He did have some fun this weekend when he was asked to Winter Formal by a cute, fun girl in the stake. With the help of Tyrel and Kimberly (Kimbo!!) and us, he answered her back by sending her on a scavenger hunt ending with a pair of mittens and a ice chest full of snowballs. Inside the snowballs were letters she had to unscramble to find her answer. It was yes, of course! Anyway, should be something fun for him to look forward to. Hopefully he will be off of the crutches by then!

I am going to make me a cup of apple cider and enjoy the rest of this cool, rainy weather! Good night!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Primary Program

Yesterday was our Primary program. It is much later in the year than in other stakes I have been in, but it just gave me more time to teach the kiddos the songs! They did so well, I was so proud of them. With my mother in law Eva's help with some song arrangements, the music was beautiful! We had violin and flute duets on a few of the songs and they added so much to those songs. It touched me several times and I had to push the emotion away and focus or I would lose my place in the music! lol Music has always been an easy way for me to feel the Spirit and to help strengthen my testimony. I love a beautiful song, sung sweetly especially by children with shining faces and smiles. I felt so proud of each one of those sweet kids singing, they did a wonderful job!

My favorite part about being the primary chorister is having the chance to be with my four younger kids every week, but to see their faces and smiles as they were singing yesterday was a sweet moment for me. I am so proud of my children, they are such wonderful people and I am grateful to be their mother. Luv u guys!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Update on my foot

As many of you have seen, my foot has not healed very well. It turn out that the cyst in my foot ruptured over and over and the fluid inside the cyst was damaging the tissue around it. So the doctor took out more tissue than he had planned. As a result, the blood vessels were to damaged to give a good blood supply to a part of the incision. This led to a lovely dead spot that scabbed over but is healing too slowly. The skin is trying to regenerate coming in from the sides instead of under the scab. There is no heathly skin under the scab. So, the doctor wants to make a larger incision and remove the dead tissue and stitch the healthy stuff back together. Gonna be a super lovely scar there! At least this time it will be a in office procedure and shouldn't be as big of a deal as last time.

This is scheduled for two weeks from now to give my physical therapy a chance to continue to help me regain some movements that were lost from excessive scar tissue building up. I have to say I love going to my physical therapy. I get to go to the office that Jodi Maclay works at and we have a great time laughing and talking the whole time. She says Hi! to all of the Preston warders! The therapy doesn't hurt very much and I can already see the difference it is making. So, thats the latest there.

Everything else seems to be going pretty good. We had the funnest family night last night. We went to the park and just played with all of the kids. We played tag and did underdogs on the swings and just laughed and played! The most fun I have had in a long time. Even Bryan and Jon were running and playing. I am so grateful for a wonderful family. The fun times we have always help hold me up for the rest of it!

Have a good day, everyone!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My's long and maybe overdramatic, so only read if you are up for it!

I keep thinking I need to update my blog about my life and not just a birthday post. Sometimes it is hard to want to put anything down for everyone to read, I don't really want to write about the bad stuff. When I look back at some of my journals from the past years, it seems like I only wrote when I was upset. It was an outlet for my frustration. I know that is a healthy outlet but it seemed like I was upset more than I wasn't and that's not how I remember my life. Whenever I think back on the almost 17 years of my life with Bryan and the kids, I hardly think of anything other than the joy of being a wife and mother. Even though it feels like I have been through so many obstacles and sometimes it feels as if my life is just one big obstacle. I don't want to give the impression to others that I am totally negative, because I don't feel as though I am. This past 2 years have been the hardest years of my life. It's as if I am living the life I NEVER wanted to have to deal with.

When I was younger, my family had a lot of instability with my father's construction business and when it finally went under in the late 80's, he changed jobs a lot until he found his footing and started a new business that has supported him ever since. He didn't find this new job until right before I got married. As a result of his first business going under, my family moved a lot when I was a teenager. We had lived in one home for 10 years and when I was in the 9th grade we moved from Mesa to Las Vegas where he got another construction job. I was really happy in Las Vegas and didn't want to move back here when his job ended, but being a kid, I had no choice. So, I moved to Mountain View area in the middle of my 10th grade year. We lived with my grandparents for about a year. My parents were trying to buy my grandparent's house from them, but when my dad lost his job again (this time he was working for my uncle and his company shut down too). My parent's couldn't come up with the mortgage payment for a month and my grandparents asked us to move out.

We had nowhere to go, so my parents rented a 2 bedroom apartment after my junior year. 2 adults and 6 kids in a 2 bedroom apartment. This apartment was in Dobson Ranch, so I changed schools again. I had a very difficult time there. Starting out my Senior year at Dobson was like a nightmare. I never made any friends there, other than my little sister JoAnn's friends being kind to me. Then my dad got another job and we were able to rent a house in my cousins (the Johnsons) ward. This was the middle of my Senior year and back to Mountain View. My cousins (and aunt and uncle, too) were so good to me. It makes me tear up to remember how they made me feel included after feeling so alone. They let me in there circle of friends but with the only cousin my age being a boy (Joel, he was still cool!), it was still hard. We stayed in this house for only 8 months and then had to move again. Thankfully, it was one street over and my parents were able to eventually buy that house and they stayed there for about 10 years. I met Bryan right before we moved for the last time. He was the young adult rep for the ward and I had just graduated from high school. He was just what I needed. Someone to love me with his whole heart, wanting to be with me and needing me as much as I needed him. He is my best match, best friend and my strength. His family opened their arms to me and his mom made me feel wanted in their lives and I will always appreciate her kindness to me. I think they changed my life back then.

That was 17 years ago. I never intended to write so much back story and so much of my soul here. It is hard to put my most painful parts of my life out there, I admit it I am afraid of criticism and even ridicule. But, I feel in order for people to understand why these last 2 years have been so hard for me, I have to explain my life somewhat. Losing Bryan's job and having to move my family from where they were happy was so very hard for me. When Bryan lost his job and we had to move, Jonathan was the same age I was when my family lost everything the first time. I was so afraid of him going through the same things I went through. I did not want my children to go through this and have the same fears I had.

I feel as though I have been searching for stability since I was a child. Bryan's last job, while overall it was good for us, was totally unstable and made me so anxious sometimes that I couldn't handle it. I feel as if I have grown so much over these years and I know that we have gone through this for a reason. I am stronger now than I have ever been. But I still have a long way to go. I am not even close to where I need to be.

That being said, my children are doing so well. So much better than I think they would be if we had never moved. All of my kids have straight A's (except Jon who got 2 B's, but that's ok!). Alex loves his school, Jenna is a smart little cookie and a budding artist. Connor is loving ELP and is so smart, he gets bored in class. Kaitlyn, miss Vice Pres, has so many people who love her and now she is the only student to get straight A's in her class. Her teacher made sure to tell me that! Jonathan has a fantastic group of friends now, they always seem to include him and I know he is grateful for them. I am grateful for them and how they make my son feel. We love this ward. We have felt accepted from the moment we moved in, flaws and all, broke or not, it never seemed to matter here. I feel so blessed to have been led to a place where I know we belong. I am happy here. I just need to work on finding happiness even when I get so overwhelmed that I forget which way is up. This is why I do not blog very much. Overall, I am a happy person. I promise! But when I am happy, I do not have the urge to write, instead I play with kids, cook, sing, go on walks, etc. When I am sad/angry/frustrated, that's when I think to write. Except tonight. I needed to share how I feel tonight. I am proud of my children and how they are coping. They are strong. Stronger than I was, that's for sure. And I wouldn't have it any other way!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy 16th Birthday, Jonathan!!

I can't believe how quickly time has gone by. My first child is now 16 and will be driving soon! I would tell you to watch the roads, but he is a pretty good driver so maybe just be a little more cautious when he is out and about! ;)

I am very proud of the young man he has become. He is strong and kind, sweet and funny, handsome and good, loyal and honest. He is a great son, always concerned and caring for his parents feelings. He makes it easy being a parent, rarely questioning what he is asked to do. He is a good brother to his brothers and sisters. He is a great babysitter, always playing with them and making it fun for the kids when we are gone. He is learning so much all the time, right now his passion is his Chevelle and he has already learned so much about cars. He rotated my tires and changed my oil. (Love that!) He also is becoming a really good cook, he is always interested and willing to help make dinner. He is a gifted musician and we love to hear him play the violin. He is one of very few Sophmores to make it into Chamber orchestra and also to make it into the Regional Orchestra.

He is also a very spiritual person. He has a lot of faith and is often sharing the gospel with others. He is never afraid to invite someone to church. He will be a wonderful missionary someday. I can't believe that is 3 short years away!!

I hope you have a wonderful birthday, son!
Jon and Grandma Hooper at his concert
Jon and Grandpa Standage and Grandma Standage
Jon and Grandpa Hooper

Jon and us

Jon's friends from the ward put candy all over the car
and they filled it with balloons and confetti.
More baloons!
It was a fun surprise for him, the only problem was that my car broke last night, so Bryan had to take the Chevelle to work and it required a lot of cleaning before it could be driven! He usually takes Jon to A hour on his way to work, so Jon missed A hour today! Oh well, he will have to consider that a b-day present too!

Have a great day, son!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bryan's New Job

Well, it's official, Bryan has a new job. He turned in his notice at US Foodservice on Tuesday. He ig going to work for Offsite Backup Solutions, the company my brother Todd started a few years ago. They offer data storage for individuals and companies so their data is secure even if they have computer problems. (We are going to put our family photos on there because I never want to lose them if my computer crashes. Shameful plug, I know! :)) I don't know if Bryan has a title or anything but it sounds like he will be an office manager. He will help Julie (my sil) with the books and billing and also assist with any support calls and such. I am not positive on the specifics, but he thinks it is something he will really enjoy doing. He said the stuff that Julie does is interesting and while he doesn't know a whole lot about the support side, he thinks he should be able to pick it up quickly.

We are excited about this job because it has the potential for being a great career and not just a job. Something that he will enjoy being a part of instead of just putting in his hours and going home. We have seen this business grow for the last few years and it is even growing during the recession. We hope that it will continue to grow and can be a great career for Bryan. It is a small company but they are still offering benefits. (We have come to love those paid vacations in the last few months and are so glad to still have them!!) It pays more than he is making now and if the business continues to grow (we think it will) there is the possibility of some great raises in the future. We feel like this is the best shot we have at getting back to where we are more comfortable and in a few years to buy a house again. Yay!!

So, we are hopeful and a bit nervous at the same time. Change is so scary! And since they are family, we hope it can be a situation that benefits us and them and not complicate relationships later.

If you want to check them out, here is a link: .

Wish us luck!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Bryan!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband, Bryan! You are the perfect partner for me. You are kind, gracious, loving, supportive, funny, sweet. You always put your family ahead of yourself. I know that life has been difficult these past months and because of that, I have come to rely on you and your strength more than ever. You are strong when I am not, you are patient and good. I am a better person because of you. I want you to know how grateful I am for you and I love you! I hope you have a great birthday!

1970What a cute kid! Our boys look so much like you!I love this picture, Dec. 1992Graduation day, 2004. We are so proud of you!You are such a great dad!
Happy Birthday, Bryan! I hope this next year will be better than the last, but if not, you are there to make us laugh anyways!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who is the parent here?

Sometimes life is just rough and this afternoon we were hit with an unexpected blow. Just brought us down a little, but we will fight back and be fine. Sooner or later! Jonathan had noticed that we seemed a little more stressed than usual and said he had been feeling that we needed to pull together as a family more and have a little more faith. That we need to make sure we are having our scripture study and always fasting as a family. He said the word "faith" kept popping out to him during his own scripture study. He was so cute and sincere about it and was actually worried that he upset me with his comments. I just had to smile and ask him "Who are the parents here?" Sometimes he seems too old for his age. To share such wisdom with his parents at only 15 astounds me. Were did this wise and sweet kid come from? I am thankful to have a child who is able to humble me and help me be a better parent.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Doctor Update

I just got back and the reason I had to go in was high cholesterol, like I kinda thought. My HDL level (triglycerides) is 368 and should be under 149. It is worse that I initially thought, but it is very treatable. A diet high in good fats like fish and lean meats, low fat dairy and such will help as well as daily exercise. All of those things I have been really wanting to implement into my routine anyway. Now I have a reason to have to do it. Sometimes I really need a kick in the behind to get moving! lol

I have to get more blood drawn in 3 months to see if my efforts have paid off, so I will update then!

Small Annoyances

I am a little bit annoyed right now. Just stupid little things that get on my nerves! As you may know, I am having surgery to remove a cyst on my right foot. In order to have this surgery, my dr wanted me to get a pre-op clearance through my primary care physician. No biggie, I figured so I went and got the blood work and xrays done. My primary care dr's office called to say they needed to discuss my blook work results with me. I ask them if there is a problem and they won't say. I tell them I just need a clearance and that I really don't have the time to come in unless it's important. They still won't tell me anything. It takes so much out of my day to go the the dr's office. Usually I have to arrange a babysitter for my son and the kids I babysit and it cuts into my budgeted studying time. I also hate interruptions to my schedule because it sets my school timeline into my family time and i try to avoid that as much as possibe.

So now I get to go to the dr's office this afternoon to hear the blood work results. And it is probably all totally fine! It just irritates me how they can't or won't tell you anything over the phone and you worry for nothing!

My other annoyance is my Anatomy and Physiology class. I had a Lab quiz and a quiz on the first lesson. The lesson materials covered 3 chapters: Anatomy terminology, chemistry of life, and the cell. About 80% of the quiz covered these materials and the rest had info on genetics, characteristics of blood traits and other things. I reread the lesson and nowhere does it go into these areas! So irritating! We went over most of these things in my previous Biology class, but it has been two years since I took it! I should be pleased with the fact that I got a B on both quizes, but it just irritates me! I feel like if they are going to quiz you and tell you which areas will be covered, they should stick to those areas. Anyway, I am just annoyed today and hopefully posting this nice long rant will get it out of my system so I can go about the rest of my day and be happy! Here's to a happy day for you, too!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cause I'm A Blond...yeah, yeah, yeah!

Yes I am a blond, usually proud of it, but I have been having a lot of blond moments lately! This last one is just...duh! Seriously a "Duh!" moment! I filled out my book voucher form for Rio Salado (this will allow me to get books and they will take the cost of the books out of my financial aid when it comes in). The only problem is I put Bryan's social security number instead of mine. Duh! Of course that's not gonna work! lol I use his a lot when I am paying bills or whatever and he is usually the primary social on most of our accounts, etc. So I rarely use mine, but still, Duh!!

Oh well, it won't be a hard fix. I just have to go down and fill out a new form and show them my ID and pick up my books. What really is lame is my Biology books are about $250 and I have to find out if the study guides are worth another $50. My English book is only about $40 and then a novel I have to buy for another $20. So there goes over $300+ already. The classes themselves only cost $500 together! They really gouge us on books. Lame! But, I do love to learn. Remind me I said that in about a month when I am loaded down with homework! lol

Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Surgery and School Frustrations!

I am so frustrated right now I could scream!! I am trying to get books for my classes and I am about to burst a vessel in my head! Bryan had to really tell me to calm down and thank goodness he did! He is probably about the only person that can get me to actually calm down! I am registered for Rio Salado and am taking 2 classes this fall. ENG 102 (the essay writing one :/) and BIO 201 (Anatomy and Physiology). I should be getting financial aid to cover the cost of school and books. The financial aid will not be awarded and dispersed until mid september and in order to help those of us who don't have the money up front to pay for the books, they issue book vouchers. These will allow me to get my books and take the money out of my financial aid award. Well, in order to get a voucher, you have to jump through 500 hoops and there is no one helpful at the school. I call and they say do it on the website and I just feel like I am getting the runaround. I try the website and I cannot log in to save my life. Even Bryan could not get it to work. By this point I have steam coming out of my ears I am so mad. Finally, I get logged in and get the form half filled out and their website gets overloaded and I get kicked off. Screw it! I will deal with it tomorrow after Alex's party. School starts next week and I really need to get those books! ARRGGHH!! Anyway, I will deal with school later because nothing I do with it seems to be working.

Now on to surgery.....My doctor informed me that the cyst I have on my foot will not get better on it's own and in fact is just getting worse. It keeps growing and has already about tripled in size in area. It will get really big until one of my kids jumps on my foot or a shoe pushes on it and pops it. It will then drain and start the process again. Gross! Since it is bigger in area, it isn't quite as high as it used to be, but that lump still looks big and gross to me. It is attached to a tendon and that sometimes causes pain and the stupid thing just has to go. I can't wear running shoes or any shoe that presses on the top of my foot because it just hurts but mostly the doctor wants the cyst as full as possible for surgery. It increases the chances of getting it all out. So I have my surgery scheduled for September 3. My doctor says I can expect to have it immobilized for 3 weeks. 3 WEEKS!!! I am going to take about a week and a half off of babysitting to recover and hopefully I can get around enough after that. I can't afford to be off any more than this. Bryan, thankfully, has paid time off so he will be with me on the Thursday the 3rd and the 4th. Then I am on my own with Alex for the next few days. It's my driving foot, so I am a little worried about getting around, but hopefully I will get by. I have to follow doc's orders or the pesky cyst can regrow and I do not want that weird thing back!

Anyways, that is what is happening here. I am going to go chill out for a while or I may just bite off one of my kids heads!! Lol

Happy Birthday, Alex!!

Happy Birthday, Alex!!
Today is Alex's 4th Birthday! He was an unexpected addition to our family but we wouldn't have it any other way! He is a bundle of fun, energy, silliness and sweetness. We love you, Alex!!
Alex had to go back to the hospital and go under the lights when he was a week old.1st birthday
2nd birthday

3rd birthday
His first "homework" from preschool. He was so excited!He is so excited to take birthday treats to his school today to share with his friends.
I hope you have a great day, little man!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Oh How Lovely Was The Morning"

The sweet sound of stringed instruments playing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" filled my living room this morning and I couldn't help but think how lovely this morning is. Jonathan has put together another musical number for church in September and they held their first practice this morning. He is playing 2nd violin with a solo, his Grandma Hooper is playing 1st violin, Grandpa Hooper is playing the cello, his dad, Bryan, is playing the bass and Sis Hansen is accompanying them on the piano. It was so beautiful and I am so grateful for the gift of music that has been passed down from Grandma's and Grandpa's to Bryan to my children. I hope that one day my younger children can play along also. There is no better way to bring the Spirit into our home than through beautiful music!

Grandma and Jonathan


And this was a sweet moment between Grandpa and Jenna, I had to post it!

Have a wonderful day!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Toy Drive

Jonathan is doing a toy drive for his Eagle project and I just wanted to express my appreciation for all the friends and family that are helping out. We have had family offer to help during the toy drive and also donate toys and water bottles for the volunteers. We have had friends ask what they can do and I am so pleased at everyone's generosity. It is humbling to see how many people want to support Jonathan in getting his Eagle. I am so proud of him, because he is doing all the work. Bryan guides him and he comes to me when he needs support and we are both happy to help him, but almost all of the work has been done himself.

I am also pleased at the generosity of our local businesses that have donated things too. Staples donated 500 copies for fliers to hand out at the toy drive. Paradise Bakery donated 3 large bags of cookies, at least 150 cookies and Krispy Kreme donated 8 dozen donuts. During this economy, I feel grateful for their support!

Anyways, I hope tomorrow is a success for Jonathan, and I am sure it will be mostly because he has a kind, loving and supportive network of family and friends. Thank you everyone, for showing my son that people will step up and be there for him. It means a lot to me!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

When do I breathe?

I feel like I am so busy that I haven't even had time to breathe! This past week especially. I have barely looked at blogs and facebook. Life is so crazy and this is summer! I have no idea how I am gonna keep up this fall and later in the spring when I will have all the kids playing baseball again. Oh well!

I have spent the last week running a "camp" for my mom's two foster girls that she has had for years. They are older girls, ages 22 and 21. They have special needs, which is why they are still in the foster care system. Due to these needs, they have been kicked out of every camp they have ever attended, so my mom came up with the idea of me running the camp. It went better than I thought, but it was really hard on my family. They felt like their whole lives were invaded, and they were. The girls were difficult and ornery at times and sweet and grateful at others. Mostly, they are really hard to be around for extended periods of time. Some of the activities we did were: makeover day (getting them hair cuts and TRYING to teach them that 21 year olds don't wear blue eyeshadow and glitter all over their faces!!) They act like they are about 9 or 10 years old, so that is a really hard concept for them to grasp and makes taking them out in public potentially embarrassing!! Then we had some cooking classes and basic instructions there. We had movie day and took them to see the newest Harry Potter movie. They laughed and made all sorts of noises at weird times so I am glad the theater was crowded and they had to sit a row behind us! (I know I am a little bit of a jerk there, but I can't help it!!) We took them to Saguaro Lake on the boat and let them do a lot of tubing. Which they loved and I so wished that I had a camera to take pics of how funny they looked bouncing up and down on that tube! And finally, of Friday we took them camping overnight. They had never been and really did enjoy the experience.

It was a really busy, hard and frustrating week, but worth it. I am so glad it is over! Anyway, now I need to de-stress and get my house/life back in order. It's also time to get the kids ready for school. All 5 of my kids should be in school this year. Alex is enrolled in a preschool program, although I had a small snag in the registration for it, hopefully it will work out. He will go 4 afternoons a week for 2 hours. It will be weird having my kids all gone for a part of the day. It's almost too bad I have to babysit, cause I will still have kids in my home. Unfortunately, I still need the income. Oh well, gotta do what I gotta do.

Anyway, that is why I haven't returned emails, calls, posts, rsvp's and such. I do feel bad about that and will hopefully be back on top of things again!

Friday, June 19, 2009


I was so surprised last night! I never saw my surprise birthday party coming! Let me start at the beginning...Yesterday was my 35th birthday. I thought it would be fun, but I didn't think it would be this fun! My day started with no babysitting (first time in over year that I didn't have any kids to watch) and so my sisters, Mom and Laurie and I went shopping. We headed out to Superstition Mall for the excursion.

We were waylaid by an Estee Lauder sales lady and were talked into trying new makeup and stuff. I got a whole facial and makeup redo and stuff. She had a hard time finding a foundation that would work on my fair skin and had to go with the palest color they had. Her nickname for it was "Butt White". We laughed so hard at that! My face color is butt white! LOL Anyways, I love what she did with my eyes and I am going to try to duplicate the results with a much cheaper product!

We then head to the store Down East Basics. I had never even heard of this store but they have some great, inexpensive clothes. Lots of basics like tees and stuff that cover garments and are a little longer in length. The store originated in the Salt Lake Valley so that makes sense. I got a new swim suit that I love, only problem is JoAnn already has it and it is her fav one too! So I promised her I would coordinate with her if we ever swim in public together! Not really gonna be a problem! lol I also got a few fun tee shirts and my sisters really wanted me to get this really comfy blue skirt, but when they weren't looking I put it back and kept this pink tuxedo tee that I loved. After lunch, I confessed that I pulled the skirt out and they took the bag from me and gave it to Charity and asked her to go back and exchange it! It was so funny! I think Laurie was surprised how easily I caved to whatever my sisters said I should get. I have learned that they have much better fashion sense than I do and they are usually right on, so I tend to go with their suggestions! Anyway, I have a little birthday money left and I am going to go back and get the pink shirt today! LOL

All in all, the mall was a blast! We laughed so much and really enjoyed each other and the time just flew! We were there for 6 hours! I couldn't believe it! Usually I hate shopping! Well, then my sisters were saying they had to go and I knew I had to get back because Bryan was taking me somewhere and wouldn't tell me where. I got home and was shocked and impressed that Jon had watched the kids all day long and the house was sooo clean! I thought he was just being a great son for me today and it was a kind thing to do for my b-day. I quickly made dinner and then Bryan and I set off for my surprise.

We end up at Krispy Kreme. They give a free dozen of doughnuts for your birthday and while it made sense that we went there, I was kinda let down. I was hoping for something a little better than doughnuts! But I tried to stay positive cause I didn't want Bryan to know that I was not super excited for his surprise. The doughnut lady was not that nice, she asked for my ID to prove it was my birthday and then in an almost rude monotone said Happy Birthday. We were taken aback by her attitude. It was weird! Anyway, I said I didn't want to go home quite yet and Bryan was more than happy with that (I thot that was a bit weird, too!) so we went to Target. I really needed a new pair of shorts and that was the only thing I didn't get at the mall, so I found some cute shorts and we also got Bryan some new sandals. I told him his old sandals should only be worn to the lake from now on!! LOL, they were really worn out!! So after this, I asked if he wanted to wander around Target and he usually does but he is like nope, lets go! Again, weird, but I didn't want to push him so we went home.

We pull into the driveway and I just start talking to him about a few things (mostly the grumpy old neighbors) and he is like, lets go in. Again, weird, but ok. I open the door and everyone is inside and yelling Surprise! I just about fell over! I couldn't believe it! my sisters and Mom and Laurie were back after spending the WHOLE day at the mall. Talk about devotion! My brother Lee was also there and all the Hooper's and Smiths came to. I also had a few friends there, the Smithsons and Mursets. It was so fun! Gotta give a shout out to Nathan who was stylin in his new hat! Really cute!

It made for a wonderful day, full of fun and laughter. I think this is the best birthday I have ever had! Major props go to Jon, Bryan and JoAnn for pulling this off! Apparently, I almost caught the schemers sooo many times, but I tend to be totally clueless and it wasn't a problem! Thank you everyone for making my birthday one to always remember! Love you all!

(I will have to post pics that Leslie took, they really catch my surprised face!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Yes, that is the sound of me screaming (in my head!!). First off, remind me to never, never blog about not having a headache. That is a sure way to bring one on! It hurts. Stupid headache.

The rest of my screaming is because I have been trying to enroll in classes for the fall. I need to help my family out and apparently the economy isn't going to get better anytime soon and I don't feel like I can wait any longer, so I have been working on the enrollment process. I got approved for a grant at MCC (yea to free college!!) and then wanted to enroll. Well, all the classes I need are full. Of course. Yep, of course they are. So then I try Rio Salado. I didn't really want to go this way because with online courses you tend to study everything and not focus entirely on what the teacher wants, so it takes a lot more time. A lot more, like hours per week more. But, that is my last option if I want to go in the fall.

So I try to register online and it won't work, so I call and register for BIO 201 (Human Anatomy and Physiology 1) and try to register for ENG 102. They say I have to take a placement test because my last English class at MCC was in 1997. Stupid, I thought because it should still be ok. I call them back a few hours later and they say that no, I don't need a test and they will register me. So then I am registered for 2 classes and I think I am all good when I ask to be transferred to Financial Aid. They then say that I need to drop all classes until the Financial Aid is finalized or risk paying for the classes myself. I am like- Are you kidding me? It was such a pain to get the classes in the first place and my aid has already been approved on the federal level. She says they don't have a record of it with Rio yet cause I had to transfer it from MCC and to not register for classes until they say so. Now I am seriously frustrated and slightly confused. Since I doubt there will be a problem getting the aid, I am staying in my classes and will drop them later if I have to. Stupid college. Stupid headache. Just stupid all around!!

Hope your day is a lot less stupid than mine!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Catching up...

So much has happened and yet none of is seems really blog worthy. So I will just type and see what comes out! First thing I can think of is my migraines. Or lack thereof!! I went to see my doctor about two weeks ago and had a really bad migraine when I went in and was hopefully able to convey the "depths of my despair" (I always loved this quote from Anne of Green Gables). My doctor doubled the dose of the daily preventative medication I was taking and I was hopeful that would work. And so far it has! I haven't had a serious migraine in just abt two weeks. I also had my first full body massage (Jenny Gibbons in my ward is amazing!!!). LOVED it! How could I not....Jenny has a room set up in her home with calm, beautiful decor and soft relaxing music piped in. She was sooo good and I felt so comfortable! I could really get used to those massages. Seriously! I think the massage helped a lot, relieving tension and stress in my body. I went to bed happy and I woke up happy. I may need one of those daily if it helps me that much! LOL ( I wish!!)
The last two weekends in a row I have taken any available kids and went up to Heber to help my parents plant some trees to hide the cemetery that borders their property. They want to sell a large portion of their land and think that camouflaging the cemetery will help. They may be right there, but the land is really nice anyways. We worked hard, but it was so beautiful there! Ok, maybe I didn't work that hard the second time, but I won at Phase 10. Doesn't that count for something?
On Sunday, we were in sacrament meeting and I was teasing Jon just a bit about going and bearing his testimony abt their super activity they had just come back from. He actually wanted to bear his testimony but said he was too scared. I told him not to worry and just say what was in his heart. He then asked me to go with him. I said "No way!" Then I started thinking about it and my heart started pounding and I knew I had to. I had been feeling lately that the Lord has guided us here, in this home, school and ward. I felt like I needed to acknowledge His hand in where we are. My kids are really happy here, more so than I had even hoped. So, I did. I know He looks out for me and my family and that He has not abandoned me. So often I had felt that way. Sometimes it is so hard to keep going, but I know He has a plan for us. I just wish the bad stuff would be over already! It is too hard on us. Especially my husband. I think he is really struggling right now. It almost seems like we trade off highs and lows. Right now, he is low and is kinda freaking out. This summer will be a real test of our faith. I am not babysitting very much now and the money just seems to fly out of our account faster than we can put it in. I don't know how we will get by for the next few months, but I know that we will. I am not that worried about it, or maybe I am just trying to not think about it, I don't know. But I do know it is weighing very heavily on Bryan. It is hard for him to shoulder this burden and I know he feels very alone a lot of the time. I love you, babe. We will make it. Somehow.
I do have to say, Jon bore a sweet testimony (Luv u kid!) and he was kinda leaning on one elbow on the podium and he looked so comfortable up there (although I know he was not!!), one man in our ward joked with Bryan that he already had his Bishop pose going on! We had to laugh about that. I hope my kids can make it through being teenagers and be strong members when they are older, Bishop or not, doesn't matter. Just strong and happy!
There is a lot for sale in my ward that we have our eye on. There is no way we can buy it for at least a few years, but we would love to! It is big and in a county island so we could do almost what ever we want with it. I was talking to Jon about how in 4 or 5 years maybe we could build a house with a basement and stick him on the basement so he could have some space and he laughed and said but I will be on my mission so it doesn't matter where we would stick him. Kinda caught me off guard there. That's not too long. Really, in just over 3 years my son will be leaving for his mission. Suddenly that doesn't seem that far away! There was a lady in my ward whose daughter got married last week and she was having a hard time letting her go. I think this will be me every time one of my kids leaves home. Makes me wanna go hug them all right now!
Anyways, that is some of what has been on my mind lately. There is more, but I don't wanna type anymore today!! lol Have a good week!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day at Canyon Lake

I loved having a 3 day weekend with my family. We had a great time just being together but we wanted to do something extra on Monday so we decided to go to either the lake or the river to play. We originally wanted to go skiing and such on the boat with Grandpa but he had some skin cancer removed off of his face of Friday and wasn't quite up for it. We could have taken the boat ourselves, but it was the first time the boat would be out this summer and knew Grandpa would want to be there for the first time, so we decided to attempt the river.

One of our main goals on this excursion was to let Jon try out his new fishing pole, so we didn't really care where we went. We left about 1pm, much later than originally planned due to a stupid headache (hate them!!). We didn't' get far in our attempt at the river. The roads were all closed because it was so crowded. We then decided to go to the lake, knowing that it would also be overcrowded and we probably wouldn't get in there either. It was so crowded! Cars were parked in every single place along the side of the road and all the parking lots to the beaches were closed. We figured we would try the pay beach by Canyon Lake Marina and then when we couldn't get in that we would go back and go swimming at Grandpa's house and make the best of it.

Well we pull into the parking lot and it didn't look good at all!! Cars were just stopped and getting nowhere. They were doing u-turns and backing out of our side of the road so we figured we were out of luck. Bryan suggested that Jon and I walk up to the toll booth just to check prices and availability, so we did. There was a really nice guy working there and once he saw that it really was just our little family and not a huge group of people, he said we could be the last car in for "day use". Woo hoo! We drove down and surprisingly there were a few spots available and while the beach was crowded, it didn't really feel like it. The beach was grassy and nice and the water was cool. So we had a great time!

Jenna and Alex thought is was fun to sit there and pour warm sand on their arms. They loved the beach!

Ring around the rosies, except we jump up. Alex loves it!

We stayed for a couple of hours and then when a lot of people had left, we headed over to the fishing dock to let Jonathan try out his new fishing gear. He caught his first fish, a small blue gill, on his first cast. We were impressed! Then it came time to pull out the fishing hook and Jonathan couldn't do it. He tried and was kinda worried about hurting the poor fish. So I had to do it. I have NO experience with this stuff and Bryan wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole, so I did the best I could and ended up tearing a small piece of the fish's mouth. Poor fish! So sorry little thing!

While Jonathan was debating whether or not to put the fish back, he said some of the funniest things! Forgive me for posting it, Jon, they are too great not to! He wanted to keep the fish but was worried about upsetting the fish's family! He thought the fish's family would be feeling bad and missing this little fish. I died laughing, it was so sweet and funny at the same time! Once we corrected his thinking about fish families, he decided to throw it back anyways cause it was so small. While it was funny, it was nice to see how much he cares about Heavenly Father's creatures and doesn't want to cause unnecessary pain to one of them. He was kinda upset that I tore that fish's mouth. So was I actually, poor little fishy!! So, what a funny bunch we are I guess!!

It was a wonderful day with my family! It reminded me again how lucky I am to have these people in my life. They are good, kind and loving people and I am blessed to have them all in my family!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Staying strong!

As some of you know, I have had a really hard time dealing with the hand that life has dealt me. I still am, but today I am feeling stronger. One foot in front of the other. That's the best I can do, right? It's been hard to accept that I don't know when or if things will ever get better. There are times I feel angry and times I feel jealous and even resentful of others and what they appear to have. I know it's not right or fair, but it's how I sometimes feel. But today, I don't have any of that. I am still broke and my hubby is still dreadfully underemployed and nothing has changed, but I am trying to be grateful for what I do have.

Besides, JT won Survivor and Kris won American Idol, so things can't be all that bad, can they?

Oh, on the funny side, at least to me it's funny, Jonathan always says he bombed his finals in a class or two and I always tell him that he does better than he thinks. He said he bombed the science final and I laughed and told him he would get an A like he always does. He was very insistent that he failed so I was starting to believe him this time. He just texted me that he got a 100%. Silly kid! that's a perfect score, sooo far from bombing! He is funny, to me!

Anyway, I am trying to find humor and fun in this crazy and depressing time in my life. I hope you can all do the same in the bad times and make sure to recognize and appreciate the good times. Whenever they are!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Meet the New Vice President!!

Kaitlyn won!! I am so excited for her! I honestly did not know if she could win because there were 9 kids running and we have only been here for about 8 months. SHe was so happy, she came in the house and said that another girl won and she looked like she was trying to be happy. In reality, she was trying to contain her excitement! So, yeah to my smart, beautiful, kind daughter who was brave enough to go for something she wants! CONGRATULATIONS!! You Go, Girl!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Super Duper Kaitlyn Hooper!

Kaitlyn has decides to run for Vice President for next year. The campaining starts this week and she has to do a speech on Thursday. I am proud of her for putting herself out there and trying for this! Her slogan is "Super Duper Kaitlyn Hooper for Vice President!" Note the Superman logo with an H instead of S. We thought it was clever! Voting is either Thursday or Friday, not sure, but good luck, Kaitlyn! We love you!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

So busy! So loud!!

Man, I don't seem to have 5 minutes to myself now a days! So busy here! Every night baseball, meetings, YM, grocery shopping or whatever. I will be glad for things to slow down! And the noise! There is always someone laughing/talking/singing/crying/wannabe beat boxing or whatever! Sometimes I would just like to stand in my living room and scream "BE QUIET!!" Lol! Oh well, that's not gonna happen! Mostly the sounds are happy, but mix that with the TV and it's like chaos exploded in my home! I have had my nephews a bit more than usual, my sil is battling something and is stuck in the hospital. Going on 4 days with no end in sight. She should be ok, but I am still worried about her. Her boys are being good, but they really miss their mom. 4 days without seeing her tiny girl and sweet boys! Poor kids and my poor brother! He doesn't like being a single dad!

On another note...tonight is the first night in about 2 months where we don't have to go anywhere!! Yeah to being home! I am gonna catch up on laundry and start to empty my DVR. It is exploding! How old am I getting when I am so happy to stay home on a Friday night? At least I am in a good mood!! Yeah for cheering up and so happy to have my hubby home soon!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I keep thinking I need to blog again, but I have no idea what to say. When the bad seems to outweigh the good, sometimes it's better not to say anything. So here is a brief rundown of life instead. I have friends who have lost their jobs, family members who are worried that they will lose their jobs and me, who is not sure how long I will have the one I have too. I have sick family members and those who are struggling who shouldn't be. Then there are those pesky migraines that may not be as frequent, but still so potent. The last one landed me in the hospital and I have still not been able to shake it. There is so much stress in my life that sometimes I don't know if I can handle it. It has definitely come between me and my other half and that is really upsetting as well. Without his support, I am not nearly as strong as I used to be. So, there it is. Reality sucks. I don't think I can pretend today, sorry! I probably should have taken my own advice and said nothing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Teenagers really don't have it easy...

I used to think that teenagers have it pretty good, you know, they usually get most of what they want and get to come home from school and lay around or just unwind or whatever they want to do for the next few hours. Sounds good to me, right? If only it was that easy. After having a conversation with my oldest son, I am really worried for all of my kids. Yesterday was national weed day or something like that. So many of his friends and acquaintances were taking drugs in one form or another. Smoking it or weed laced brownies (really popular with the girls, I guess) and other ways I am not sure I even understand. He was upset to see so many of his baseball team high and so many of his acquaintances were also high. The hardest part was seeing the kids that he felt were "good mormons" high or talking about getting high later. Even high during seminary. Many of these kids were giving my son a really hard time about not participating. One time won't hurt they said. They went so far as to laugh at him and tell him he is an idiot.

He just blew it off the best he could, but he was still upset this morning. He asked me why so many people make Mormons out to be so weird and something that people would make fun of. I told him that Satan wants to destroy anything good and this is one way he goes about that, but that wasn't enough. I wanted to talk to him for a while, but he had to go in order to catch his bus. But this conversation left me shaken. How can I teach my child to be strong and to be a good example when EVERYONE around him at school is telling him how stupid or weird being a good Mormon is? Even other Mormon kids? Some of the kids he thought were strong were so weak. He is hanging out with more of the "popular" kids at this school than at his last school and if this is what it means to be popular, than forget it! Who needs those kind of friends? I would rather him go through high school with no friends than be like these kids.

I used to think there was a lot of peer pressure when I was in school, but it is so much worse now. It's not just drugs and dating and such, just being a Mormon anymore is a cause for ridicule. My son is being told frequently that Joseph Smith is wrong/crazy or whatever and that Mormons believe things that we obviously don't. He will correct these kids but they just tell him that he doesn't want to admit the truth. He knows it is futile to try to change these kids opinion of the church, but he tries anyway.

I am proud of my son, he has already dealt with a lot in his life, and I really hope he is strong enough to stand up for what is right through the rest of his high school years. I tell him that it may feel like things are really hard and that it won't always be this way. High school may feel like forever, but it isn't. It's just 4 really tough years. Stay strong, hold your head high and hang on to your values. Follow the teachings of the Lord and you will come out of this all right.

I think these 4 years will be really hard for him, but I believe he will make it through ok. But how much worse will it be by the time my younger sons enters high school. That's 5 & 10 years from now. Will they be strong enough to stand up for truth? What about my beautiful daughters? I worry about the pressures put on young women even more. How difficult it will be for them to remain virtuous and righteous young women? My daughters are trusting and kind (most of the time) and so sweet. I hope I can teach them and instill in them enough to get them through the crazy teenage years.

Is anyone else worried too or am I overreacting? Give me your thoughts, please. Thanks everyone!! Now, I am gonna go and play with my younger kids and my nephews. We are busting out the playdough, quickly followed by some paint!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Baseball pics!

If I am not at home babysitting or at church, then I am at one of my kids baseball/softball games. We have 4 kids playing this year so I am posting pics of each one! Bryan is the best photographer in the family, but I actually took some of these posted here. I am kinda proud of a few of these pics, esp the action shots of the boys!
First is Jenna (with her Dad as an assistant coach) playing for the Ironbirds T-ball!

Next is Connor, playing for the Owlz in the Minors division! Check out his pitching sequence...he is awesome! (Yes, I took the pitching sequence. Go me!)

Next is Miss Kaitlyn, also in the Minors division but she is playing Softball! She is doing really good and just got her first hit!!

She is in the middle of this pic, playing 2nd base.

Next up in Jonathan, playing for the freshman team at Shepherd Jr. High. He has worked his way from not playing much to playing quite a bit and even starting some games! (I took the pics of Jon when he is in the blue jersey.)

He is now in the blue jersey and base running on 3rd. This pic is best enlarged, but the look of concentration on his face is awesome!
He started this game playing first and if you look right above his throwing arm, you can see the ball.Again, this pic is best seen enlarged, but look closely and you can see the ball coming off his bat. It was a nice line drive over short stop's head for a single!!
Jon and his best friend, Stuart, when he was really young. Stuart plays for Taylor and we killed them in this game! Shepherd is still undefeated this season! Way to go Shepherd!

And lastly, this is what Alex does to keep himself entertained during the games!
This is how I can tell when Bryan has been taking pictures. There will end up being an airplane and always some nature shots!

Anyway, baseball has made us crazy busy, but we enjoy watching the kids play and it won't last that long!!

Have a great day!