My Talented Family

Three of my family members gave me handmade gifts this year, and they are some of my favorite presents ever!

For my birthday my sister made this very cute zippered pouch:

And then for Christmas my brother made me a letter C to add to my collection.  He designed, cut, welded and painted it himself. 

And my mom made a whole bunch of adorable pillows.  The flower pillow is my absolute favorite!

All these mean so much more to me since I know they spent so much time on them.  Thank you all!

My Birthday

My birthday was last weekend.  I am now 28!  I got to do fun stuff all weekend.  Saturday morning while out doing some normal grocery/pet food shopping, Pat stopped at a game store and I got to pick out a new game for my party that evening. 

Pat made beef stew with home-baked bread (from the freezer) for dinner, and his parents and Brent & Megan came over.  Dinner was delicious, and Megan made some awesome giant red velvet cupcakes for dessert.  Pat's parents gave me $50 to add to my $100 RC Willey gift card so that I can buy the Kinect that I want (just as soon as they get one in).

After dinner Pat's parents left to let us kids play, so we broke out my new game: Pirate's Cove.  It is made by the same people as Ticket to Ride, which is a game we really love, and the game store owner said that they guarantee you will like it or you can get your money back.  It was quite complicated to start from scratch and figure out what we were doing. 

By the time we got everything set up, my brother and Liz & Aaron had showed up, so we decided to take a break and play Rock Band instead so we could switch out and everyone could play.  Liz & Aaron had to leave early because of work, so after they left we started playing Pirate's Cove.  We finally got the (basic) hang of it, and had a good time while we were at it. 

By the time the game was over it was pretty late, so Brent & Megan headed home too.  Since it was so late, I decided to make a run to Wal-Mart while it was mostly empty.  I had been looking for some light green shatterproof ornaments and hadn't been able to find them anywhere else.  They did have some, so maybe I will finally get around to putting up a Christmas tree...

Sunday morning (after sleeping in a while) we went up the the hospital to visit Grandma Belle and meet Pat's parents.  After the hospital we went to TGI Fridays for lunch, and then went shopping.  They wanted to get us stuff for Christmas, and stuff from Grandma Belle for my birthday.  It was lots of fun having a girl to shop with while the boys sat and waited and carried out bags.  Plus spending someone else's money is always more fun!

We ended our afternoon with one more trip to the hospital to show Grandma what she bought for me.  Then we had to get home and let the pups out before heading to my parents' house for dinner.

We had a usual Sunday dinner at my parents': roast beef, veggies, rolls, and LOTS of mashed potatoes with gravy (the best part).  After dinner we played chickenfoot, which we apparently hadn't taught my family before.

Then we took a little break to eat dessert and open presents!  My sister made me crepes for dessert, by my request.  They were delicious. 

Then it was present time.  I had already seen a few presents because my mom made me try on some shirts so she knew they fit.  I also picked out a hat while I was shopping with her at Gardner Village.  But, she also gave me a Fiesta brand tablecloth that perfectly matches my kitchen (bright stripes), and some ceramic pie weights for baking pie crust shells.  I am excited to try them out.

My sister gave me an adorable little zippered pouch that she made herself!  I was so proud.  Plus some cute little birds that she painted yellow and green instead of the boring black they were to begin with.

The only downside to the entire weekend is that I started to get a cold Saturday night.  My throat started hurting, and then Sunday it got worse and my nose got stuffy.  Monday (when I am writing this) my throat was better, but I left work after half a day because I was so miserable.  I've been sneezing and sniffling all day.  I've been taking medicine, but I don't think it is helping very much.  It stinks not being able to give Grandma a kiss or play with my nephew. Hopefully it will be a fast one and will be gone before this weekend.

Sickness aside, I really enjoyed my birthday weekend this year!


In a Bountiful Basket I got a few weeks ago they gave us about half a dozen persimmons.  I had never eaten one before, and had to look up what they even were.  When they came, they were quite hard, but I put them in my kitchen window for a while and they softened up.  When I finally ate one, I was in heaven.  It was delicious!

The next time I ordered a Basket, they had an option to purchase an entire case of persimmons, so I did!  I found all sort of great recipes to try with them.  Cookies, bread, cake, pie, smoothies, you name it.  I did eat one of them hard, and decided that they are much better when soft.

The first recipe I tried was a persimmon pie for early Thanksgiving (the Saturday before because my grandma was leaving on a cruise).  It turned out pretty good.  The flavor was nice, but they were still a bit too crunchy for my taste.

Second was a persimmon birthday cake for my sister-in-law's birthday.  It was very dense, but still tasty, with cream cheese frosting.  It uses a puree of the fruit, not chunks.  My niece came over and helped me decorate.

I still have most of the case that I need to get canned or frozen, but they are all still good and hard and seem to be lasting.  Hopefully I will have a little free time soon.

Grandma Belle

Joey & Carl (Pat's parents) with Grandma Belle (Joey's mom):

Sorry for being gone so long.  It has gotten a little crazy around our house lately.

On Thanksgiving morning Pat's grandma had a seizure that was pretty serious, so we've been spending some quality time at the hospital.  Luckily she was staying at Stef's (Pat's sister) house so that there was someone there to call the ambulance, or we would have lost her.  She normally lives by herself.

They had to put her on a ventilator in order for her to breathe.  She was in a deep coma for a day or so, then was awake enough that she was able to wink at us and squeeze our hands.  It was pretty scary to see her like that.

Pat's parents drove all the way up from Yuma, AZ in one day to be with her.  Once everyone was here, the decision was made to take out her breathing tube so that she could actually talk to us and tell us what she wanted.  Once the tube was out, she started breathing just fine on her own and didn't need it anymore.

The doctors did lots of test and scans, and determined that she has a cancerous brain tumor.  She elected to have brain surgery to try and remove the tumor.  It took them several days to get the equipment to the hospital for the surgery.  In the meantime, they discharged her from the hospital and sent her back to Stef's house for a few days.

She won't be able to live on her own ever again, and she is not very happy about it.  There is a nice new assisted living facility near Stef's house, so she got a room all set up there and had a chance to get used to it for a few days before going back to the hospital for the surgery.

When they did the surgery, they determined that the cancer had spread enough that they would not be able to remove it, but it did seem to relieve the pressure on her brain a bit.  They said no chemo for her, but that radiation is an option if she wants to look into it.  She hasn't decided anything yet.  She is just trying to get strong enough to leave the hospital again.

Her memory seems to be the thing most affected by the tumor, but in mostly minor ways (like not remembering a certain word).  We thought we were going to lose her right after Thanksgiving, so we are very grateful that we get some more time with her, however long that might be. 

We love you Grandma!

Friday Photo

I found this on Pat's camera from a couple of weeks ago.  I just really love the way it came out!

2010 Annual Pumpkin Shoot

We had a much bigger turn out for the pumpkin shoot this year than we usually get.  It made for tons of fun though!  Even though we had to wade through thick, slippery mud.  It was also freezing cold, but we all made it through somehow. 

It was really good to get out shooting.  We don't get to very often anymore because the price of ammo has gone up so much.  We really appreciate all the friends & family who drove up clear from Salt Lake to come with us. Hopefully we can do more together sometime!

We stopped at The Pie on the way home for some lunch.  Pat and Brent ran in in socks since their shoes were all muddy.

(PS.  I still feel embarrassed about screwing up Justin's name.  Sorry.  Again. :/ )

Jezebel is a Cross Dresser!

A few weeks ago were in Salt Lake helping Pat's grandma out with a few things around the house.  We were in the Jeep on our way to Lowe's when somebody rear-ended us.  There was a lot more damage to her little Rav-4 than our Jeep, but she did completely mangle the tire carrier and mess up the rear bumper a bit. 

Since we wanted to upgrade those parts eventually anyway, we figured that now was the time.  We took it to the insurance's body shop and got an estimate, which the insurance sent us a check for right away.  We did a lot of research online and finally found a set of parts that would work for us, that was also in our price range. 

After doing a bit more digging online, we found the same parts at another site for quite a bit cheaper.  Then I found a coupon code for 15% off, and then we found out that the manufacturer was offering a rebate.  With all the discounts we had quite a bit of money left over, so we decided to buy a matching front bumper too!  We ended up putting only $140 towards the whole purchase out of our own pockets.

It took about three weeks for the parts to actually get delivered.  Pat and my brother spent one night getting everything put together, and now it looks great!  Here's Jezebel with her new manly accessories:

Nice and tough looking now, right?  Really, they will be much nicer all around for our four-wheeling adventures.  Plus having the weight of the tire off the gate and on the frame will help with things rattling.  Now we just need to get out and use them!

New Blog Venture

I've been trying to do a lot to expand my wardrobe lately.  Not just buying new things, but trying to mix up the items I already own to be a little more creative.  I used to just throw on slacks and a sweater and call myself fit for the office, but that has gotten a bit dull.

I started a new blog to track all of my outfits, more for myself than anybody else. Hopefully I can also learn from the experience, and see in my photos which shapes and colors work for me and which don't.  However, the fashion blogging community is huge and I think it would be fun to interact with a few other like-minded souls now and again. 

I know that a lot of people won't care, or don't have time to look, and that is totally okay with me.  But, if you are interested in seeing what I come up with, come check it out!  I would love to see what you guys come up with too, if you are up to the challenge.

New Office

Here are some photos of my new office. I don't really think the decorations I had in my old office are going to match, so I need to figure out something else. Guess I will be searching my house for things that will work, and searching online for (cheap) ideas. If anybody has seen something cute, please let me know!

October Book List

In October I was on waiting lists at the library for about a dozen books.  They all came in at the same time, and several were only two week lends.  I managed to stuff in a lot of reading, but there are still many more books I have to fit in this month as well.

Changeless by Gail Carriger - 374 pages
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews - 310 pages
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews - 349 pages
Blameless by Gail Carriger - 355 pages
Death Masks by Jim Butcher - 374 pages
Masques by Patricia Briggs - 294 pages
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvanter - 390 pages
Linger by Maggie Stiefvanter - 360 pages
Crave by JR Ward - 454 pages

TOTAL - 9 books - 3,260 pages

Happy Halloween!

We attended one party at a friend's house, and had our annual party this year as well.  They were both tons of fun!  We thought about wearing different costumes for each, but weren't ambitious enough to get around to it.

Yummy food:  cheddar beer fondue (with bread, apples, and pretzels fr dipping), chocolate covered pretzels, and white chocolate popcorn

Jae as Black Widow

Bunny Megan , Ugly Betty Megan, and 80's nerd Ashlee (sans prom dress)

School Girl Me and Naughty Professor Patrick

The whole party at Jae's house.


I am starting a new job tomorrow.  It scares me.  A lot.  I have been with the same company for four years now - the longest I have ever stayed at a job.

Many changes have happened over the years at my job.  My boss was laid off.  Our company was bought out by a giant corporation.  Laws and rules became more strict. Our company started requiring that we take days off without pay (or by using our vacation time).

The market has slowly declined in that time.  Since my job is rather directly tied to real estate, it has affected me a lot, and business has slowed.  The company has generally provided a marketer to help us grow our business, but as budgets got tight, we were left without.  I haven't gotten business from new clients for many months.

I was contacted by some great people at a competing company hoping to steal me away to grow their business in my area.  I really didn't want to leave my friends and coworkers.  I've gotten to know almost everyone in the company and they are all wonderful people.  However, I felt like I was not been given the help I needed to grow, and if things were stagnant, soon there would be nothing left at all.

I feel blessed because people have recruited me for the last three jobs I have had.  It makes me feel like people value me and my skills.  I do try to do the best I can with what I have been given, especially because all I have is a high school education, though I hope to change that in the future.

I have enjoyed talking to the people at my new company because they are so positive and energetic.  I hope that it is what I need to start loving my job again, instead of just trying to make it through.

I hope that this was the right decision; that it will lead me to the future I want to make.  I am constantly worried about our future.  How can we start a family when so much is uncertain?  Have we wasted the last eight years of our lives?  Should we sell everything and start over?  Is that even possible?

I hope I can find the answers soon.

October Family Night

My mom and dad were in charge of family night this month.  They got the idea from my cousin (thanks Melissa!) to play games from the TV show "Minute to Win It".  We didn't have a lot of time that day, but we had dinner and got three different games in.

First up, we had to try and roll a ping pong ball down a measuring tape and into a shot glass.  You had to try and get 3 balls in a minute - one from each of 5, 6 and 7 feet.  We didn't have any shot glasses, so we used other smallish glasses from the kitchen instead.  Even then, only Paige was able to get a single ball in. 

Second, we had to try and keep three balloons in the air at the same time for a minute.  I'm not sure who ended up winning this one, but it was pretty entertaining and made for the best pictures I think.

And third, we had to put a cookie on our forehead and move it to our mouth using only our facial muscles.  Pat beat us all at this one - I think it took him about 3 seconds!

It was lots of fun, and the best part is that there are lots more Minute to Win It games to try next time!  Next month it is my turn to plan, so hopefully I can come up with something good.