Friday, August 31, 2012

Life in Dinosaur Land

I was pretty bummed when I wrote Monday's post (was it Monday? I don't even remember now). Since then, things have really shaped up. I feel better in every way. Life has settled into a pretty good routine again, for which I am VERY glad.

We got a new windshield this week since our car failed its first Utah safety inspection. It cost 220 bucks, but we got our refund check from our last apartment that same day. What a blessing! The refund covered a few days that they got someone else to move into our old apartment, so it ended up being more than enough to cover the cost of the windshield. I would call that a tender mercy.

like a ninja!
Our power randomly went out this morning. I tried flipping all the breakers just to make sure, but nothing. I called the power company, and they said I'd need to flip the main breaker out behind the apartment, and that I should call management. As if! I went and did it myself. Not to complain, but the management here is horrible. They don't even provide screens for our windows, which is totally stupid, in my opinion. It's nice that there aren't any (or many) mosquitoes, but our house does have its fair share of flies right now.

I have no idea what we'll do this weekend. I, for one, am getting our first Bountiful Basket! The fridge is looking pretty sad and empty right now. Joseph has a new-found obsession with going to Wal-mart, so I'm going to take him with me tomorrow. I think that will make him happy.

Part of my stress has been with budgeting. Not everything is as cheap as it was in Idaho, but I can't really raise the budget on anything since our rent costs more. We also have our debts to worry about, but I know it will all work out. I'm just glad that I've been obsessively cheap over the last few years, because it's totally necessary in order for us to live on one teacher salary. I shouldn't worry too much about what I don't have yet.

Kenny is now rolling both ways. He learned back to tummy first, since I was lazy about tummy time, but he learned tummy to back about 2 weeks later. He also has no problem holding his head upright. Tummy time is overrated. :)

Monday, August 27, 2012


It's been one of those days. For no apparent reason, I keep having to drag myself out of bed at 6:45. I have no reason to be that tired, because my boys never wake me up at night and go down by 8:30. I don't go to bed late. Maybe James's alarm is waking me up at the wrong part of my sleep cycle. I wish I knew! I haven't been feeling 100% over the last week: just tired, on edge, and moody, not to mention hungry.

I also can't seem to shake my feelings of inferiority to many other families. It's hard knowing that we will be living on one teacher salary for the rest of our lives, so we will never be rich. I will likely never have my "dream house" with the wraparound porch and turret. We will be lucky to afford a house at all. Most teachers' wives also work (commonly as teachers!), but I'm staying home. It's a huge sacrifice but definitely the right thing to do. I suppose that my fears are not unfounded. My mom tells me of the time that her dad worked as a teacher and her mom stayed home. She said it was really hard. That's coming from a woman who's been really frugal her whole life.

My greatest fear is that I won't be able to provide for my children: that they will be ashamed of eating homemade bread (because who eats that more than once in a while?), that they will reject "new" clothes from yard sales and D.I., and that they won't want to have their friends over to a house that probably needs some fixing up.

I'm doing everything that I can to save us money, but I often feel that I'm not doing enough. Am I really doing my best, or can I do better?

I hope that my children will continue to be easy to please. Joseph usually snacks on bread and butter, because it makes him happy and he requests it. Grandma sent him a pack of graham crackers recently, and you would think that he'd died and gone to heaven. Graham crackers are a luxury here.

I don't say these things to get pity or to brag about how cheap I am. Sometimes I enjoy being a tightwad, but other times it's not as fun. Some people go to yard sales and D.I. because it's fun. I shop at those places out of necessity.

I never realized how important my skills are to my household. Instead of being out there earning money, I'm working hard to save it. It's not an easy job. Nobody is standing here telling me that I'm doing a good job. I don't get a printout of how many hours I've spent working or how much money I've saved us. I will probably never know. We will never come close to keeping up with the Joneses, but I'm still going to do everything to have my dream home, even if it's not a dream house.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Now We Live in UTAH...Info Overload

If I said this week had been easy, that’d be a complete lie. My stress level was probably comparable to my first week home with 2 kids. That’s all better now, but let me explain the goings-on for the last week and a half…

Mom and Mara arrived last Tuesday. We’d just returned from vacation the previous Saturday, so there wasn’t a lot of time to rest up. Since our car only seats 5, we didn’t drive anywhere all together. We took 2 trips to get everyone to church! We did go on some walks together and to the pool a couple of times. Even in the hottest weather of the summer, the water in Idaho never quite gets to the “bathwater” warm that I’m used to!

We started packing on Friday and worked Saturday and Monday to get it all done. Lots of people came to help load, so it went very quickly. We’re really going to miss our Nampa ward. It’s been the absolute best. I even got to go visiting teaching on Sunday, which was bittersweet.

We left on Tuesday, the 14th, to make our epic journey to Vernal. It couldn’t have been better. Mom and Mara were able to help with the kids, so we only had to stop twice, a miracle, considering that the drive took us 9 ½ hours. The evening was rough, mainly because the kids hadn’t slept well in the car and nobody could find anything. Once Kenny started screaming and refused to eat, I retreated to my (empty) room, sat in the corner, and cried. I felt helpless and didn’t know what to do. Thankfully, he was just overtired, and he went to sleep soon after I got in the room. I wish I could say that I slept well, but that never happens on my first night in a strange place.

Wednesday was a rough day. We had to drive 2 ½ hours (so 5 round trip) to return our truck in Green River, WY. The drive was gorgeous, but the kids were whiny. I don’t blame them. I felt the same about making another trip! However, the trip to WY saved us about 400 bucks. Thank you, Budget! I wish that Mom and Mara had been around still, but I dropped them off before we left at the Vernal airport (now officially the smallest airport I’ve ever seen). Once we returned and unpacked some more, I went on the most depressing shopping trip ever. I have discovered that living in a small town in another state means that everything costs more. So lame. I didn’t get everything on my list, and I’m really missing Winco right now because of its huge selection, especially in produce. Thank goodness for Bountiful Baskets. I’m signing up for one as soon as we have internet. I’m going to have to shop at 2 stores and pay attention to sales to pay what I paid in Idaho.

Thursday and Friday were teacher work days for James. I finished unpacking and even did some cooking. It’s great to have fresh bread in the house again.

We got library cards at the brand new library! It’s only been open for 2 weeks! I have to brag: they let you check out movies for 3 weeks, and the fees are only 10 cents a day. Heaven.

It’s been nice and cool so far. I don’t need AC, which is great, because we don’t have one. The climate here is right between Nampa and Rexburg, so I think it will be pretty nice. I’m getting used to washing dishes by hand. I’ll miss my dishwasher every single day, though. We did manage to get a washer and dryer in Nampa before moving, thanks to Dad checking craigslist. 125 bucks! I love good deals. James got it all hooked up with Dad’s help.

There’s still a lot left to do paper-wise, but we’re enjoying our small town so far. We are most definitely in the middle of nowhere, but the view is really nice.

Saturday was another low point for me. I’d reached a point of exhaustion by afternoon after such a hard week (and a bunch of laundry that I finally got to!), so I tried to read. I ended up falling asleep instead, so I missed out on a good opportunity to go to the library and use the internet before it closed. I tried going to McDonald’s instead, but I ended up leaving because of a creepy guy who wouldn’t leave me alone. If I’d been thinking straight, I would have realized that he was a little challenged, but he was asking me where I lived and if I would “be his”. (So glad I’m married!) Anyway, I left because he was being really distracting, and I was really hungry since it was so late. I got absolutely nothing done, which is why this blog post happened now instead of on Saturday!

Our ward seems pretty nice. The building is really close by, of course. There are a few other families that live in our complex, which is nice. Joseph already has a new friend to play with. She’s 3 ½, which is perfect, because his last “best friend” was also an older girl. He still misses her and asks about her almost every day. It’s cute. We will be going to the park tomorrow with the other young moms in the ward.

Vernal definitely lives up to its name for being “Utah’s Dinosaur Land”. There are dinosaurs everywhere, even on the street signs! I think it’s kind of cool. One of these days, I will take a pic of all the dinos I can find, especially the big pink one with long eyelashes.

the Uintah Basin, as it's called


more scenery

makeshift entertainment center

and recliner...which fell apart soon after

new kitchen (which is actually ancient, esp. the floor. yuck)


bath w/ a new shower curtain. (finally replaced after 3 yrs!)

bath. closet

my bedroom

boys' room

shoe organizer, version 2.0

office/ man cave

linen closet

living room from the front door

living room from the hallway

first ever coat closet
Thanks for reading! If you didn't, I don't blame you. :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Lee Reunion: Pictures Included!

2 family reunions in one summer means lots of traveling, but lots of fun. This reunion was for James's mom's side of the family, which is much more wide-spread than the Heads. All of his mom's siblings, spouses, and children came, minus 2 cousins. (One, I still haven't met.) The families live in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Utah, and Idaho, and we all met and Grandma and Grandpa's house in Rigby, ID. Wow. It was a great reunion.

Tues. night we ate dinner together, and I met the relatives that I hadn't met yet. The cousins had a great time playing in the yard together.

Wed. we went to Yellowstone. If you've never been, go! It's my second time, and it was just as beautiful as ever. Just like last time, the only animal we saw was one buffalo (bison). I actually ran into some people I know from Nampa at Old Faithful. Crazy, huh? I even visit teach her, and I remember her saying that they'd be in Yellowstone.

Thurs. we went to the Pioneer museum in Rigby. It's small, but really cool. Joseph played with the big dollhouse while I looked around. We ate lunch at my in-laws' house and relaxed. The guys went shooting. There was a program for the Lees' 50th anniversary, and Uncle Mark took family pics. He's a photographer (and a really legit one) so the pictures look awesome. I will post them once I have them. I'm so glad to have a family picture!

Fri. we walked up Cress Creek after a breakfast of grits & eggs at the Lees' house. We forgot Kenny's stroller, so we rigged one of Jacob's wheelchairs to hold the car seat. It was awesome. What can I say? James is a genius. We then went to Rigby Lake for lunch. I didn't swim, because any non-hot spring water in Idaho feels like melted ice cubes. We then had some of Uncle Joe's homemade sausage at G&G's house. It was to die for. I would love to make homemade sausage, but I need a meat grinder attachment first! (It's been on my wish list for a while now.)

Sat. we drove home and settled back into quiet, peaceful rest. Well, today has been restful, but I had lots of laundry to do on Sat. since I hadn't done any while we were gone. I didn't quite finish, and I was folding it at 11:00 last night since I took my last trip to Winco to get a little food for the week and stock up on spices. I am totally bummed about moving so far away from a Winco.

Joseph caught a little cold, and I'm sure that all the junk food and lack of sleep didn't help. I stayed home from church with him today. He's almost all better, but his little voice is all hoarse. It sounds hilarious! He and Kenny were such troopers during all of our driving this week. I'm really blessed to have such awesome boys!

We're glad to be home, even though it's only home for 1 more week. :( Time to start packing! Well, in a few days...

Ruby and Atticus with the Josephs

Old Faithful

Mt. River Ranch

This just cracks me up!

love this goober
Mom and Mara are coming on Tues., and I'm excited. Vernal, here we come!