Respect, the missing component in today’s world.

I’ve been on the fence about adding my 2 cents to all that has been going on in our country as of late. As things have gone on my social media feeds have been filled with people supporting one side of the matter or the other. It truly has been overwhelming. The one thing that has really stuck with me is that I’m seeing the same scenario play out over and over. Someone states their opinion or shares a post doing so and seconds later people are posting saying why they are wrong for believing what they posted. There is no respect. No kindness shown, just a blatant “you’re wrong for feeling this way and here’s why.” I’ve even seen an uptick of “If you don’t agree with me then just delete me now” which to me just confirms the idea that has slowly been brewing in the back of my mind. I’ve commented on it here and there in the past but now it’s at a critical level.

Plain and simple, we don’t respect each other anymore. Haven’t for a long time now. There is a general lack of respect at all levels in this country. Starting from the home and moving out into society. People have such a lack of respect of other peoples property, family, jobs and even lives. Yes I said LIVES. Everyone is so busy trying to be heard in their own way we don’t just stop, listen and respond with ” how can I help?” And to that end every one is so worried about stepping on toes that they just try to ignore the problem in hopes that it will just go away. Well, I think we can all agree that that doesn’t really solve anything. It just pushes the problem further down the road for it to be another generations problem. I believe that the problems have been pushed as far as they are going to go and that finally, finally the people are ready to address these things head on.

How do we do that you ask? Well, for starters it’s going to be tough. Tougher than anything we’ve ever faced but I believe that our strongest spirits were sent to this earth at the right time. We are preparing a way for this younger generation to really push the work forward. It is my responsibility as a parent to learn how to be better and do better so that my children can learn from me and then go and do better. If we give this generation coming up the tools to be respectful, to listen, to be compassionate and tough I think we just might be ok.

We cannot keep going the way we are. Every one is yelling so loud ” BLACK LIVES MATTER” ALL LIVES MATTER” POLICE LIVES MATTER” It has almost become a retort now. Like an excuse, when one is said another is thrown in your face. That isn’t right and it just takes away from the issue at hand. Whether we choose to believe it or not facts are facts and there is a serious injustice that runs deep in our country. Why it every became whites/blacks and inferior/superior is beyond me. Skin tone should never dictate how you are treated. It should be by your words, actions and personal merit. I believe a lot of this if not all stems from a lack of respect for one another.

Respect means due regard ( or consideration) for the feelings, wishes, rights or traditions of others. “Basic respect is a right that does not have to be earned. Gaining the respect of others is the next level above this. And this type of respect is earned by what we do and how we act. But getting respect would be impossible without us starting by offering and receiving basic respect.” (http://www.encouraging-appropriate-behaviour.com/blog/index_files/starts-with-basic-respect.php) Basic respect means to judge others on their actions alone. It doesn’t mean to judge them off of race, religion or where they live. It means to communicate in a civil manner. Your words, tone and body language should say, “I want to listen” and not be aggressive. When we listen it helps us start to be able to understand what people need, plus being heard helps build a better relationship.

I know things aren’t going to change over night, we’ve been marching down this road for over 200 years, but we can start, right now, today. We can start showing others respect in our own corners of the world and one day it could change the world. You can start by listening instead of talking, Affirm the matters that are brought up instead of denying things or pretending they don’t exist. Serve, be kind, show some grace and just try to understand where others are coming from. Accept people for who they are, even when they don’t look or think like you. Some of my best friendships are with people who have different views than mine and you know what? That’s OK! We can discuss things in a calm and respectful manner, I get to see her points and she gets to see mine.

My personal plea to y’all is this: Be the Change. Start today. Listen and Go Learn Things.

Till next time!

~ Laura


Welcome to Our New Blog

“You, and only you are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are”

— Rachel Hollis

This is the first post on our new blog. I’ll keep it short and sweet. I decided that since I am such a story teller… I needed a place to tell my stories. So here we are.. Hopefully you’ll be entertained, maybe even uplifted. Who knows? Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates and find out for yourself!

How life is different in the 5 years since I lost my Mom.

I was asleep, curled up in my covers,  pregnant with Wes having a strange dream. My phone rang, shaking me from my sleep. It kept ringing,  wouldn’t stop.. forcing me to wake up to a reality I wasn’t prepared for. My dad was on the other end of that phone call informing me that my mom had passed away.

One of many road trips

Let me say here that Mom had bad health.  A whole list of things that didn’t work the way they were supposed to. Her death was  something that was unexpected in a few ways. Yes, she had health problems but none of us figured or thought that they were actually enough to cause her to die. My mom always seemed so full of life and like she had everything under control. The news was a complete shock. Numbing,  hurting, strangely calm, deep gut wrenching sobs I felt it all.

The most surreal thing I’ve ever experienced was walking back to the emergency room bay where she was to see her one last time.  I didn’t want to but I knew I had to.  My brain did not want to process what I was looking at. Yes, it was her body, but it was just not her.

Sitting around discussing when to have her funeral, remembering her wishes and trying to honor those with family was both kind and stressful.  In the middle of everything we had the gender and health ultrasound for Wes that day. Greg and I chose to keep the appt. All I can remember is when we walked into the office and the receptionist or tech would talk to us I just wanted to blurt out “my mom died today” so that they could understand why my smile didn’t quite reach my eyes.  Greg and I were delighted to find out we were having a boy, there would finally be a grandchild to carry on the Smith name ! But our happiness was short lived.

After finding that out the next week was a blur. We had to finalize plans for her celebration of life, find pictures,  ask people to speak, take care of bills to help dad, BE there for Dad and Sam and in the middle of it all try not to throw up. Pregnancy hormones and grief do not go together well.

I have never known an exhaustion like I did the day we finally had her celebration of life. When we were finished all I wanted to do was snuggle Illa and sleep. Yes, mom and I had had our issues, what mother and daughter don’t? But I never imagined she’d be gone.. and that I wouldn’t have her around to talk to, to drive me crazy or to give me advice.

One of MANY girl’s camp adventures!

Her memory lives on in our family.  In her recipes, telling stories and our Christmas traditions.  I talk to Illa and Wes about her all the time. They make it easier to not be too sad about her passing. They constantly ask me “why is your mom in heaven?” And ” I’m sorry she isn’t here anymore”.

I’m a firm believer that little kids can see and hear things from the other side that we can’t.  The day before Wes was born I was busy in the kitchen making a dinner for a family that needed it and Illa was on the counter helping me when out of the blue she says ” mama? Mama Juju is proud of you!” In her little almost 3 year old voice . It surprised me, those were big words for her and not what I was expecting. So I asked her what she said and she repeated it again perfectly ” mama juju is proud of you!” I scooped her up in a hug and cried . How would a 2 1/2 year old know to say that? She wouldn’t thats how, she was told. I heard ya mama. I heard you.

Life has been different since she’s passed. The first year was a blur, I was really good at keeping myself busy and not letting myself deal with the feelings. Year 2 was very rough. I finally started to process the feelings of being sad that she was gone but feeling guilty about wondering if this was what was best for her because of her health before she passed. I felt guilty because I missed her like crazy during the holidays but also felt a sense of relief at not having to deal with family drama over not spending enough time for Christmas or Thanksgiving. 

Grief, guilt and hindsight all go hand in hand. That’s one thing I’ve definitely learned.  In the years since she’s passed I’ve learned more about myself, how strong I am and where I stand on things.  I’ve really come into my own as a mom and as a woman. I owe much of that to her. Julie was a determined woman. She was brave, headstrong, kind, a little manipulative, funny, passionate, beautiful and compassionate. Her memory did not die with her, she will always be with us, of this I’m certain. 

Till next time

~ Laura

1 year blog-iversary!

Wow,  I’ve made it 1 year telling our stories.  1 year of trying to document the tiniest glimpse into our lives. We go on many adventures and I’m glad to have an outlet to tell our stories and have them for when Greg and I have lost our minds and need to remember our history (The Notebook style)

In true Smith fashion we celebrated the 4th out camping.  We went to the same area-ish as last weekend but stayed in the mountains rather than a campground.  Even though we just went last week, we still struggled to get on the road at a decent time. I spent the week getting our trailer cleaned out and making it more “ours”.

Putting in a step stool,  broom and holders on the wall was a must. We also switched out the mattress and I wanted to rethink how we stored things. So I grabbed some nice clear bins to hold straps, all the dog stuff ( leashes, bowls and treats) and of course the toys for the kids. There were a few other things as well I worked on before we left that I think will really make traveling better in the future. 

The day we were set to leave both children regressed in years and did things I could not believe. I was loading our clothes into the trailer when Greg marched both children out to me so they could explain what was going on. Wes walked in and was covered in what looked like baby powder. (I was right) Illa came in after him not nearly as covered but with some her. Greg had been outside working on the rzr and walked into totally mayhem. I left them alone for 10 minutes. 10!

The kids started talking and telling me that Illa wanted her room to look spooky when she got home so they had covered it in baby powder. I had flash backs to 5 years ago when she did this the first time.

Thank you Time hop. For the caption and for reminding me when I had repressed this.

I calmly say, ” was that the best idea?” To which they say, “no, sorry mom.” I told Illa she was in charge of cleaning up. To wipe Wes down and to vacuum her room. I figured it was taken care of and went back to packing.

When I walked in the house it can only be described as pandemonium.  Kids were crying, Greg was yelling and I had no idea what I was walking into. Turns out when I told Illa to wipe Wes down and vacuum her room she took that as me saying, flood the bathroom and pour BUCKETS yes plural, of water on your bedroom floor to clean it up. I kept my cool with the bathroom mess but when I got to her room and saw the level of destruction I snapped.  I had to walk into my bedroom and take a minute so I didn’t start yelling.

I calmed myself down and walked out and told both kids they were in charge of soaking up the water and cleaning the bathroom. And that I didn’t want to hear a peep unless it was to tell me it was all cleaned up the right way.

Why? Why did they do that?! I asked myself this question over and over. Didn’t they know that as soon as I was done we could load up and leave? Why make a huge mess? The only answer I could come up with is they were wanting attention, but that makes no sense to me. Especially after the last few months. We’ve done nothing but be around each other and do things together. I’m still racking my brains about why that occurred but who knows..

I went back to packing all the food and was finally done with my portion of packing and went to help Greg so we could set off sometime this century. After we got everything loaded and many trips back inside to grab last minute items we were off. This time we drove the backroads down to Bryce Canyon and I have to say it is my absolute favorite.

I love going through all the little towns and seeing things off the beaten path. We ended up being so tired that we pulled over to sleep back at Butch Cassidy’s boyhood home. It made the perfect spot. We pulled the rzr out of the trailer and made dinner and went to bed. I just have to take a moment and say that this is probably my favorite part about traveling with a trailer. I love that at any time we can pull over, make a meal, rest or use the restroom. Without having to go into too many places. It’s convenient and makes traveling fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love driving in a car doing 80-ish to get where we are going in a hurry, but there is something peaceful about taking the slow route.

Just look at these cute little stinkers!

We finally got to camp, which was by Tropic Reservoir we ran into a herd of cows. A baby cow was down in the cattle guard so naturally Greg and I hopped out of the truck to help it. While we had good intentions the boss cow saw us as a threat. She came just a bitchin’ in our direction. I’ve never had the privilege to watch a cow “have a cow” but it was something else. She made it very clear that we and our help were not welcome. After we got Bessy sorted out we finally got to camp and got set up.

It took us a hot minute to set up camp but it was worth it when we were done. I mean it was like we were camping in a postcard.

Having the screen open and the backdoor down with a breeze is the absolute best.
Out the trailer door, no filter!
Best sunset!
Wes spent his time panning for gold lol
Illa was a fish, once she went in, she didn’t come back out!
again, no filter

We took advantage of the gorgeous views, trails and swimming this trip. The kids had a blast!

We had movie nights with popcorn and s’mores!

We had a little stream that was on the outskirts of camp. The kids played in it and caught fish. Wes actually fell in and got soaked but you know, you gotta experience it full body apparently.

Wes caught a fish and named it popcorn!

One of my favorite parts was when the kids put on a 4th of July Parade for us at camp. It was cute, thoughtful and I loved it. We even got them to sing the National Anthem!

Wes was the pan beater… I think they were going for Fife and Drum music LOL

I love the 4th of July, I love celebrating our country and thinking about our founding fathers. They were so brave to band together and set forth not only the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution but the Bill of Rights as well. What an exciting time to be alive. Almost as exciting as today. Our country is in turmoil again and I believe real change is on the wind. Of course that idea of change looks different for all of us but that’s what makes America so beautiful. We have the opportunity to change things for the better. To BE better but not at the cost of throwing those opportunities into the very faces of those fighting for them. Let us all choose to be better Americans moving forward. Tolerant,listening, compassionate, helpful, strong, brave Americans.

Till next time!

~ Laura

Camping with ‘rona

Camping with the corona virus was interesting. For the most part things were status quo. We busted our butts to get ready, took 5 hours to get there even though it was supposed to take 3, kids complaining,  Greg white knuckling it all the way there. But getting gas, going inside to grab things means wearing a mask and using purell like it’s free.

One thing that I actually liked about having to do things a little different was the fact that we got to have a little picnic with dinner  instead of sitting inside. We left on Gregs birthday and he wanted Costa Vida. We stopped in Fillmore, UT at their Costa Vida, grabbed food and threw our blanket out on the grass and enjoyed the evening. * on a side note, that costa vida is the BEST one around. The food is always fresh, the staff is friendly and they always put on extra cheese.

Yes I took this upside down, promise I didn’t load it wrong 😉

The sunsets are beautiful here,  it’s one of my favorite things about Utah.  We were treated to a spectacular one while we munched on our quesadillas. This picture just doesn’t showcase it , but then again I think the faces in it are just as spectacular. 😉

We had so much fun this past weekend rona aside, when you’re out on the rzr you can forget for a small moment that the world is going to shit and just enjoy the outdoors. We went with our awesome friends the Ford’s,  and it  didn’t disappoint! We went to Bryce Canyon and stayed at an RV park there called Ruby’s Inn. We don’t typically camp in a park but when we do, this place is one of the best. Signs of the ‘rona where every where. “Only one person in the office at a time” ” please wear your mask” ” if you feel sick go away” and so on.

We got there really late so our fun didn’t start till the next day. I had a few trails mapped out that we were gonna hit and we packed a lunch and off we went. One of the cool things is that you can ride straight from the park to get on the trails. We headed in the direction of a cool area called Tropic reservior.  It was really pretty!

Rzr riding always puts him to sleep

Even though the weather forecast said no rain on Saturday we were treated with a sudden and forceful little storm.  We bundled the kids up to keep them dry, they thought is was fun and were oddly very quiet with the blanket on… maybe I should have used that on the way home.

After the storm passed we kept going and found this pretty and unexpected view point along the trail.

My map skills led us on an adventure,  I was going off of the trail maps they have online with my Google maps that had spotty service at best. Even though I swear we were going the right way we ended up in a whole different area than originally planned.  But it was still fun. The country there is beautiful and peaceful with lots of ponderosa pines and open grassy fields. There were ample rivers as well and spotted throughout the valleys there were a few damns from generations past that were beautiful to see.

What was supposed to be about a 30 mile trip ended up being 75 and by the time we got back to camp we were all a bit dusty.

No, that isn’t spray tan.. it’s dust . At least it makes my teeth look whiter 🤣

We were also treated to a fun new guest. A cute chipmunk (or chickenmunk as Wes calls them) was at camp. I learned that if I ever wanna keep my kids entertained for HOURS all I need is a chipmunk. Every move it made was met with ” MOM, DID YOU SEE THAT?!”

He’s by the tire.. he played the “if i don’t move a muscle they won’t know I’m here game” for a while before he gave up and made a run for it.

I wanted to celebrate Greg’s birthday since we weren’t able to sing to him on his birthday. We had a lovely dinner and then I surprised Greg by shoving a candle in some brownies I made before we left and having everyone sing. He was a good sport. Lol

Make a wish!

We hit the pool up after that and kept to ourselves as best we could, then went back to the trailer and had showers, watched a movie and popped popcorn.

The next day we went into Bryce canyon national park. Since rzr’s aren’t allowed in there we took the shuttle service. That’s were the ‘rona and the “new normal” was more evident. Signs were everywhere and masks were required on the bus. Hot? Yeah. Annoying? A bit. But we make the masks look good !

My favorite part was when I went to snap everyone pic and hollered ” Smile!” Hahaha couldn’t see them if I’d wanted to.😅

The park wasn’t overly crowded so we could at least take them off while we roamed around. That was helpful. To say it was windy was an understatement. There was huge gusts that almost knocked you off your feet, but the scenery was breathtaking and so worth it!

We finally had our fill of pretty sights and Illa and Greg started getting hangry so we headed back to the trailer to make lunch and head out.

If I had only known… our trip home would take 17 years. We took the dogs for a walk and then loaded them up and headed to get gas and a drink. The place Greg stopped didn’t do fountain drinks *thanks ‘rona* so he ended up grabbing something different and some ice cream bars and we headed to a nearby park to enjoy before we hit the road. Again.

Still windy.. so windy in fact it blew most of illa’s chocolate off of her ice cream 🤣

The kids wanted to play on the huge play area but again that was a no-go because ‘rona. I explained it to them, which they understood and took fairly well. We started driving again only to go about 40 minutes and have to stop again because Wes needed the bathroom.  Luckily,  the boyhood home of Butch Cassidy made for a perfect stop!

We saw the sights and enjoyed walking around. Greg and I explained to the kids that this was the way people used to live,  the whole family in a house that size. Illa was baffled that they could all fit. It made for a fun conversation about having just enough to live comfortably. 

We had been on the road for about 15 minutes when both kids declared they were starving. So we found a rest area and pulled over. Again. Greg made us dinner while I let the kids run and walked and fed the dogs.  It was still windy. So windy it blew the dog food dishes away and we had to chase them down.

Beautiful rest area! They even had donkeys🤣

That stop took an hour, after everyone was fed, had a drink and had used the restroom we set out once more for home. I should mention here that Wes and Illa had been fighting/talking the entire time.  Normally Wes falls asleep and we have a bit of peace and quiet for a hot minute but not yesterday.  He feels the need to constantly fill the silence  by telling stories, asking a bazillion questions or irritating illa until she snaps. It makes for fun drives. We had been on the road for about 40 minutes when greg had finally had enough. They kept arguing and he snapped and yelled out ” 1,2,3 QUIET GAME,  now shut the hell up!” Greg looked at me and said, “I just can’t anymore, I love them, but holy cow Wes hasn’t taken a breath in 4 hours.” 

15 minutes later Wes had to pee again.  Greg snapped and so did I . We pulled over and at that point I pulled out a pull-up after Wes used the bathroom and threw it on him.  I also grabbed there tablets and headphones and we got back in the truck to keep going.  At some point we had to actually  get home.  We left bryce at 4 and should have been home by 8 at the latest.  We got home at 11:30. It’s times like those I miss the motorhome. 

It was an adventure,  it always is with this family! I love it, the good, the crazy, the irritating, the funny, the absolute best parts of our family,nothing brings that all out like a road trip.

Till next time!

~ Laura

14 year anniversary was supposed to be Gold Jewelry…

To be honest though, I don’t really like gold, white gold sure, or maybe rose gold.. I’m getting off topic though. This April 29th we celebrated being married for 14 years. I think the REAL celebration should be the fact that we have been around each other 24/7 for 48 days and both of us are still alive and kicking. * Cue the confetti cannons and balloons*

Since we became parents we normally would use our anniversary as an excuse to have a weekend to ourselves. I would plan a fun getaway, somewhere reasonably close and we would drop the kids off with grandma and head out to remember what it was like to be just Laura and Greg and not necessarily mom and dad. Obviously that wasn’t happening this year. To say I was not happy about it is an understatement but I understood. So I decided to turn my attention to having a stay-cation, you know, if you can’t see the world bring the world to you. Well that didn’t pan out either. I was hoping to have a little backyard clean up happen, get a fire pit put together and some decent patio furniture to go around said fire pit. Then I thought it would be super fun to do an “around the world with cuisine ” theme. Like I mentioned in the last post, i’m an over achiever.

What actually happened was something I couldn’t have ever planned for. The day started off fine, I had ordered the fire pit from amazon weeks ago and we had finally put it together the night before, all we needed was to go fill up our propane bottle and we were golden. I also needed to hit the store to grab a few things for our fun dinner. WELL… as soon as school got over with I ran upstairs to get ready for the day and since we would be venturing out into the world and it was our anniversary I decided to take extra time on my hair and do a little makeup. I discovered quickly that I have completely forgotten how to apply eye liner so that was pretty.. and while I was upstairs we got a knock on the door.

Now let me explain, when someone would knock on our door before all this BS started I would be wary and not want to answer because anyone that knows me knows I expect a call beforehand. Or at least a courtesy text to alert of an incoming drop by. But now?? The door hasn’t been knocked on in so long that Greg and I just stared at each other like “what are we supposed to do?” So I piped up and said ” well that sounded like a manly knock so you better answer that.” HA

Turns out a guy was looking for a motor-home and his friend knew we had one and a trailer. He had decided to stop by and see if we were interested in selling. We were actually looking to sell it we just haven’t been in a big hurry because of how the world is right now, and it needed a couple things fixed up on it. So Greg takes him to it, shows him around and explains what needs to be fixed and so on and he says ” SOLD!” Greg comes back in and let’s me know that we now have to gut it and clean it ASAP. * sigh* Alrighty, going to the store is put on the back burner and I get busy. Three hours later the dang thing is gutted, spotless and ready to go. If only I could say that about my living room which is where EVERYTHING got thrown in Greg’s attempt to haul ass.

Who knew so much crap could be shoved in a motor home?!?!

Needless to say when I walked in I was ready to hit the floor. So much freaking stuff and where to put it. Not to mention, all my time to run to the store for stuff and cook it was totally eaten up by this. I made the decision to scrap my idea of a fun dinner and just order Cafe Rio. By the time I had placed my order the guy was back to pick it up. Wesley has always been very attached to the motor home and would start crying every time we mentioned selling it. I knew it was going to be very tough for him to understand why it as moving on to a new home. I sat with him and explained that even though we had had some really fun times in it , it was time for it to go to a new family and let them make memories in it. He was still sad but seemed to understand. We got one last picture with it before they drove off.

Bye bye !

After that we all piled into the car and ran a quick errand to pick up the kids new belts for karate, They have still been hard at work, even through the quarantine! Then off to pick up dinner. I had hoped that once we got home we could eat dinner get the kids to bed and Greg and I could still salvage the night by having a little ” Fire Pit” time. When will I learn?! Greg informed me over dinner that he had some work he had to do still that was important so fire pit time wasn’t gonna happen. *deep sigh* I was pretty bummed but i’m getting used to that feeling with every freaking thing that I had planned for this year getting unplanned.

I ended up setting up the teepee we had gotten for the kids and shoved in the motor home and never opened so they could play for a bit. Other than the set up kicking my butt it was pretty fun to watch them play and enjoy!

So cute!

After all the fun with that it was bed time,I got the kids to bed while Greg worked and about 10 minutes after I sat down the power went out. Illa can not handle the dark, she sleeps with her lamp on, so she was in our room in a flash. Wes was already asleep, lucky duck. We made the best of it with flashlights and chilling out on my bed. Illa had a blast and kept referring to it as ” the blackout” and when the power came back on about 40 minutes later, she finally went to bed. We ended out the night by Greg working some more and me watching a true crime documentary. Happy 14 years to us! HAHA

Eventually, one day, maybe I might learn to just stop with the plans. Maybe that was the point of this damn quarantine. To break my planning spirit. I hate to say it’s working but dammit this is hard. Everyday feels like ground hog day, no matter how hard I try to break it up. To be fair my determination to do fun things and provide the kids with entertainment has evolved into them coming up with whatever sounds like fun at the moment to them and me saying ” eh, why not?” You wanna run through the sprinklers for 6 hours? Knock yourself out. You want Ice cream after every meal? As long as you eat what’s on your plate, sure. You want me to carry that teepee in and out of the house 17 times? Why the hell not?!

Here’s to hoping that one day (Lord knows I’m not gonna say a day anymore) we eventually make it to the backyard for our “Fire Pit” time.

Waiting in the car for our Anniversary Dinner lol
Can you see the crazy glint in my eye?!

Till next time!

~ Laura

Fast times in Quarantine Hell

That title sounds a little bleak. But truth be told so are the times. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on to update this thing because life has been at best, a shitshow. We have had some awesome moments don’t get me wrong but what I want to actually write about is this quarantine BS.

When I got the news that basically the world was shutting down for two weeks I was a bit shocked. I mean part of my brain was thinking “Is this it? Is this the start of the zombie apocalypse? Are we prepared enough? Do we have enough tp? Is the world gonna actually stop for 2 weeks? I can do anything for 2 weeks.. It goes back to normal AFTER 2 weeks, RIGHT?”

2 weeks is what I was prepared for. Those weeks were hectic but we did ok! School was a little rough to get into a routine but we did it. Then we had the earthquake on day 3 and I have never felt more unprepared and thrown off my axis before in my life. To look into Greg’s eyes as it was happening and watch the emotions playing out on his face that were mirroring my own was an experience that is seared into my brain. Even after that we kept plugging along. We got into a new routine of all of us being around each other 24/7 and we were adjusting.

Then week 3 hit and the wheels fell off the bus. Actually, truth be told the wheels feel off the bus, got stripped for parts and set on fire. It hit me like a ton of bricks that this wasn’t changing anytime soon and I was adrift in despair. That is the best way to describe the feeling. I was emotionally exhausted. I cried all the time, tears were just always at the edge of my eyelids waiting to spill over and let my feelings run down my cheeks. I didn’t want to get dressed, or eat, or do home school, or be a parent. The thought of preparing food and serving it took so much energy that I was exhausted before I even began cooking. The kids would ask me constantly what we had planned for the day to which I would reply ” Nothing. We have nothing to do and all damn day to do it.” They eventually stopped asking. By the time we hit the weekend I knew I was in a bad place mentally and needed to reset.

100% Accurate

Greg has been working from home since the beginning but the major difference was the first week he was in the house with us and could be kinda helpful and a buffer. After that first week he moved out to our shop so that he wouldn’t be interrupted on calls as much and we wouldn’t all have to be quiet every time his phone rang, which is approximately every 2 minutes during business hours. This was fine until our internet just wasn’t quite as strong as it needed to be support his mission control center he had set up. After many phone calls to me in which he asked “what’s wrong with the damn internet” like i’m some kind of IT genius he finally moved back inside and holed up in our room. I still get phone calls asking about the “damn internet” occasionally, i’m sure to remind me of better days but for the most part he seems happy locked away in our room. I have noticed one large detriment to having Greg work from home and that is simply that he can’t shut it off. He is working longer hours now than ever before. Which kinda blows my quaran-plans to hell.

See, when this all started I thought, well with Greg home and clearly no where to go we can get SO many projects done around the house. By the end of week 1 I had stuff in the online cart at Lowe’s to finish the master bathroom, plans to clean up the back yard and if we had time to squeeze it in we could re-do the kitchen. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Bless my poor little over achiever heart. The stuff is still in my cart, all that has been done on the backyard was to add a trampoline to it for the kids and we moved one trailer. As for the kitchen? Well the counter tops we painted on 7 years ago are starting to come up in earnest now and I started scratching ” we need new counters” into it. So yeah, our remodel plans are dead in the water at the moment.

One thing that I have learned about myself during this mess is I handle stress and anxiety by throwing myself into a project and not really dealing with the feelings. I make myself so busy accomplishing things that I don’t give myself time to stop, tackle what’s really wrong head on and move forward. While this approach has worked in the past and pushed me to be one of the hardest working individuals I know, it has not been preparing me for times such as these. I mean WHO KNEW?! These last few weeks have been ROUGH. Rougher than that third week by far. I am having to process how I feel in real time with no “Remodeling distractions”. It’s not pretty y’all.. poor Greg is constantly asking how I am, and my answer half the time is ” Hell, I don’t know..” Depression has hit me hard between the eyes. But I am trying my best to see all of this for what it is and to work through it and process it. Burying the problem just won’t cut it anymore. I mean for Pete’s sake this is what I’m going to school for, I can’t very well be a good therapist if I can’t even learn to work through my own issues. It’s funny to me how hard your mind works against you to do everything BUT what needs to be done to feel better.

Moving forward into these next few weeks will be interesting. Greg and I will be celebrating our 14 year anniversary next week. We normally go of town together for a couple days, that would be nice and all but at this point I’d be happy with a date night. We haven’t had one of those in AGES. I mean we could get our crap together and do one after the kids go to bed but most nights he falls asleep watching a show and I just sit in stunned silence, dreading going to bed because I know we gotta get up tomorrow and do it all over again. Is it really that bleak? That’s probably just my mental state talking I mean at the end of the day, we have been lucky. We have each other, plenty of food, water and tp. We aren’t sick *knock on wood*, and Greg thank the good Lord still has a job. I really do try to focus on things to be grateful for but sometimes you just gotta get it off your chest a bit you know?

Today marks 43 days since we last really went out into the world. 43 days. 43. I mean we’ve ventured out for groceries and the occasional errand but 43 days since our old routine. I miss it. I know the kids miss it too. Greg and I explained all of this to them and they have done really well and been pretty darn understanding, but I know we are all so done with all of this. I think the best thing that has come out of all of this is this: I can now make beaded lizards, mermaids and sharks like it’s my part time job, I can make play dough masterpieces like Michelangelo and my painting skills are getting stronger everyday. I’m enjoying taking long walks to the front room where I can sit and watch people like a creeper, sipping my diet coke and listening to my water fountain outside. Life really is fulfilling when you think about it.

Till next time!

~ Laura

We got that 2020 Vision

And just like that another year over and a fresh new year is here! 2019 was a wild ride I tell you! December was a super busy month. We decided to surprise the kids with the Disneyland trip that I covered a bit in our last post. While on paper (or social?) that was a good idea in real life it was a little stressful. I had to get everything I could do done before we left because by the time we got back I would have just 3 days till Christmas.

So we got home had a day of rest and then hit the ground running. Greg went back to work and the kids and I got busy making neighbor treats and last minute shopping and wrapping. Christmas day is actually one of my favorites simply because for me it has this deep feeling of “PHEW” I either got it done or I didn’t” I can finally rest.

Not long after Christmas is my birthday and this year was one of the best ones I’ve had! It was filled with rest, friends and food. So much food. I had a great day and was asleep by 8:30 . I know, I’m a party animal. Also this year I dealt with a little denial. TOTALLY thought I was turning 32. Nope. A kind friend reminded me that I in fact, was turning 33. Sssshhh… why ruin the dream?! haha I don’t math. Clearly.

Birthday Dinner at Red Lobster

The next day was New Years Eve and we had a fun day together , hit up Costco, let our stomachs do the shopping. (Bad idea y’all) When we got home we did our annual ” New Years Eve kiss” picture then we celebrated the countdown at 10-ish with the kids. Big thank you to Netflix for that! That picture started out as me wanting to get a cute picture of everyone getting a kiss at the same time about three years ago. The first year was such a hoot that it quickly became a tradition. Once the kids were in bed I started looking where we could watch the ball drop for Greg and I , it’s tradition! We have some streaming services but none of them are LIVE so it was a bit of a chore. Finally found one, or so I thought and then we watched a show till the magic moment. WELL….. when the time came the ROKU channel that it was supposed to be on played only commercials and never showed it. Greg hurried and came over and kissed me real quick while I was frantically looking on social to find SOMETHING. I searched for 15 minutes and finally decided that we were just gonna not have that as part of our New Years celebration. I’ll admit I know it seems silly but I’ve grown accustomed to that. I was sad to miss it but it was memorable in its own way!

For some reason when I said kiss Wesley heard lick…

New Years day was filled with snow and sledding, a first for our kids! They have had sleds for over a year and finally got to use them. It was nice to take the day and just spend it with them. They had a blast, well Wesley got pretty ticked there for a hot minute. They had built these little snow hills to use as a jump and he wanted to go off of one so dang bad. When he tried and tried and still didn’t go off it he had a major fit. I’m sure there is a meme in his video, I’ll figure it out one day, it’s funny and heartbreaking, ( as his mom) to watch.

So much passion ha

I know I say every year that I’m excited for the new year, but I REALLY mean it this year. I’m learning and growing so much and am trying to pass that on to my family. I have a ton of things that I want to accomplish this year. Goals that are HUGE and a little scary but that I want to tackle because I love a challenge. I’m going full steam ahead on school and am so grateful that I have the opportunity to not only go back to school but that I have a supportive family.

Health is going to be another focus of ours this year. The entire family is getting a healthy mind and body over haul. Greg’s health has plagued us long enough and while I generally just keep trucking along and get crap done I know that my body would feel better at a healthier weight. We are getting healthy and we are going to feel better because I say so. We have too much to accomplish to have this keep getting in our way, so watch out world, we are on FIRE!

The promise of a new year is a little intoxicating I feel. Last year I did something that I liked and will be repeating this year. I not only set forth new years resolutions I broke them down so that each month I added a new thing. Instead of saying ‘ I’m gonna do ALL the things at once” I brought change in gradually and I’m happy to say that I have stuck with my 2 major goals from last year the ENTIRE year. That folks, has never happened in my whole life. This year is going to be the same. Introducing the changes gradually so that they are LASTING changes.

2019 was good year , onto better things! I’ll just leave you with this little gem to celebrate the new year!

Till next time!

~ Laura

When things don’t go your way. A lesson in learning to ask for help.

So we are going to Disneyland. Me, Greg, Illa, Wesley and my best friend Jessica are all scooting along the freeway on our way.

It’s been hell trying to get everything ready for us to go. I won’t sugar coat it. Everyday leading up to us leaving was filled with crossing things off a ridiculous to-do list. But I did it !

Things were going pretty smooth till yesterday. That’s when things started to go shall we say, downhill? The morning started good enough, I got breakfast made and then cleaned the kitchen, checked my school work, meal prepped for our dinners down there (have Intant pot will travel, yo), cleaned out the car, ran to Costco, got gas, did laundry , helped greg put the roof rack thing on and generally kept picking the house up.

All the while I kept checking tracking on some awesome custom shirts I’d had made for our trip. Every time I checked, it kept saying it was out for delivery .. well the post lady came and went and it still wasn’t there. I was starting to panick.. what the hell where we gonna wear now?!

Instead of dwelling on the negative I decided it was time to do the scavenger hunt. I had planned out a scavenger hunt to let the kids knowthat we were going to Disneyland. That idea went up in flames. Illa was excited Wesley was not. We had clues all over the house that would lead them to the final clue that was taped to the bathroom mirror. Illa excitedly ran from room to room following each clue and getting more excited by the minute. Wes decided his time was better spent complaining on the stairs about how lame it was and that we should ” just go to the arcade”.

When we finally got to the final clue, Illa was tired of Wesley’s attitude and quite frankly so was I but he agreed to go check out the final clue with us. They argued over who got to open the letter because, why not? And when they finally opened it Illa got it pretty quick and was SUPER EXCITED.. Wesley not so much.

He got mad at Illa for screaming from excitement and smacked her which made her cry.. at that point everybody went to their rooms to cry, myself included. STRIKE 1

I had been planning that for WEEKS. I saw it going so differently in my head but I guess that’s life with kids. I checked to make sure illa was ok and then made dinner and at that point it was time to pack.

I kept checking the tracking but it still hadn’t budged. I even tried to make an account and change the delivery address but no luck. I finally just accepted that the shirts weren’t gonna happen and got all of our bags packed. STRIKE 2

I was excited to debut the “landmark bags” I had assembled. Basically it is six different bags that were filled with different things and they had tags for us to open at certain times. Examples ” open after first stop for gas” and ” open when we pass St. George ” I put an assortment of treats, coloring books, movies, stuffed animals and books for them to open along the way. The first bag was treats and a new movie ( The Incredibles 1 & 2 ) I totally didn’t realize when I bought them that they were blu-ray… the DVD player in my car is not. STRIKE 3

The next few bags went over the same but I finally struck gold with some road trip kits I put together with my Thirty-one Get Creative Zipper pouch. I filled them with large crayons, stamps, stickers and a notebook that had a puppy one it. Wesley thought it was the best thing ever!

Oh and while we were driving I finally got notification that the dang shirts had been delivered…*sigh*

The headphones where a big hit as well… for ALL of us.

I switched Greg out at the big A Chevron so I could rest my eyes for 5 and also do something really crazy for me.

It may come as a shock to some but I really struggle asking for help. I’m getting better, but I still struggle. I don’t want to “put people out” I know everyone is busy and has their own lives so I would just rather do it all myself . So while greg was driving I reached out to my friend who was watching the dogs and asked if there was anyway she could take the dang box on Monday and have it shipped to the hotel by Wednesday. That way we’d have our shirts for the majority of our days at Disneyland.

This friend of course said “YES! I’ll help!” And got them shipped off on Monday and they arrived Wednesday without a hitch! Thank you UPS! We were like I said able to wear our shirts for the majority of the days and I was so very happy I reached out. Thanks friend!!

See? Aren’t they cute?! 😂

Greg’s shirt got a few chuckles while waiting in line

I guess my point/take away from all this is 2 fold. 1- I need to not build things up in my head.. they are going to go how they are and I’m working with other humans who have their own outlook and reactions to things and 2- it’s ok to reach out and have others help you. You’d do the same thing so don’t assume everyone is too busy to help.

Go out there and help others like my friend did, show the world (and fiercely independent suckers like myself) that it’s ok and that we won’t die if we ask for help!

Till next time!

~ Laura

In our spare time we do this..

I didn’t get a post written last week. I just couldn’t find the time, why you ask? Well, between Thanksgiving and an awful snowstorm and what we were up too, time just slipped on by. Then December started, WHERE HAS THE YEAR GONE?!! We were busy putting up the tree and decorations and getting our house ready for Christmas. I love the end of the year and all the traditions it brings with it. That makes it one of my favorite times! Pop on the Andy Williams Christmas Album, cringe when the children singing ” Away in a manger” are off key and get busy making memories.

The last 2 weekends have been filled with what I like to call Greg’s side hustle. He loves finding old crap ( sorry to the crap but it IS old), it always seems to be in a far away place and buying it. But that is only part of the fun. The REAL fun for him is loading all of us in the truck grabbing a trailer and sometimes a friend or two to help and going to get said piece of crap. I guess I should be fair, it isn’t crap to him. Beauty in the eye of the beholder I suppose. Where I look at something and don’t want to waste my time he sees a “good ol’ beast” as he likes to put it and that it seems to still have a purpose. I wonder if there is an symbolism with his own life there? Hmmm.. that’s just me over analyzing. Back to the point, I guess I should introduce the biggest member of our fleet. At this point I believe a dealer plate would be cheaper for us but oh well.

A little over a year ago Greg decided he wanted something a little bigger to pull his heavy equipment with. He showed me pictures of what he was looking at I half paid attention because he is ALWAYS showing me pictures of something he wants. I don’t think either one of us actually realized just how flipping huge this thing was. The day he brought it home he was like a 16 year old kid. You could not wipe the smile off his face. He was SO happy. On the drive home he just kept saying ” You aren’t going to believe how big it is” well…. he was right. When he pulled up the kids instantly fell in love. I need a bit more time to get used to this new behemoth that was quickly becoming the “other woman” . He looked at this truck like all his dreams had come true. I’ll admit, it took me a solid 6 months before I could look at it and not shake my head. Wes named it Monster Truck right away and it seems to have stuck. The rest of us call it Graybeard and yes, we are that weird family that names their vehicles!

The week Graybeard became part of the family!

As with all vehicles that are “new to you” there were some issues and kinks that needed to be worked out. Truth be told the dealer we bought it from flat out lied when he used the phrase “mechanically sound” we learned that this truck had been one of the earlier builds by the Diesel Brothers before it was sold to another person and then to the dealer we came to get it from. We have worked through a lot of issues with it but we are finally to a place where it is running great *knock on wood* and pulling it’s weight, literally. There were times when Greg was ready to throw in the towel, finding someone to work on it is harder than you would think. Every one wants it in their shop but they all seem too afraid to touch it and actually fix any problems. Factor in Greg’s health and we both were ready at some point to give it a viking funeral. BUT finally, finally we are enjoying it to it’s full capacity and it has been great.

About a year ago, we took it to California to pick up a antique semi. That was the first trip that I actually started to like it. The room inside is great and my favorite part of all is that when you passed semi’s the wind off of them didn’t push you around. Score 1 for Graybeard. I even got to drive it a little and help Greg out. I’ve been trying to step it up and help with driving loads and backing trailers. (quickest way to start a fight? Take 2 hot heads and have one driving the trailer and the other trying to “guide” them backing up … Kaboom.) But I’m getting better and will with more practice!

That was a heavy truck!

Well jumping forward to these last 2 weeks, Greg had purchased another semi, a parts truck if you will and we needed to get it. We had bought it awhile ago but due to the issues I mentioned above we needed to get those addressed before we hauled anything. SO we got those fixed and went about making plans to go pick up this other semi. We decided to enlist the help of our awesome friends and make an adventure out of it. With Greg’s back it’s easier on him if we don’t have too much in one day. We decided to drive down the night before, sleep and then get up the next day and load it up and such. Little did we know that mother nature was laughing at our plans. By the time we had stuff packed and everything loaded on the trailers it was snowing and sticking. Not my favorite road conditions to travel in. Even in that beast. We were in Graybeard with the gooseneck trailer and the backhoe and our friends were in our other truck pulling a 40 ft trailer we rented to haul the semi back with.

Quick stop for Gas and back on the road

It was a long drive but we made it. The next day was loading time and the boys had a blast using the backhoe and winch to help get that semi onto the trailer.

Getting the backhoe ready to work!

Greg loves this. He is in his element most when we are doing stuff like this. I not so secretly think that it isn’t necessarily the acquisition of things that he enjoys. I think it is more that he loves looking for items, meeting the people they belong to, the loading/unloading, the adventure of it all. Even though it is hard on his body and hard on me ( I’m tired of stuff coming and never leaving) I can’t deny that when he is doing this he seems most happy. There is a joy and a peace and happiness about him that is almost contagious. I love seeing that and so, we keep ending up with more stuff.. But honestly , how could you do what he does in this video below and not have that put a smile on your face?!

This last weekend our adventures took us to a tiny town above Elko called Mountain City. This town was about 15 houses a store and a bar. Oh and a post office. The entire 3 hours we were there loading I didn’t see a single person. I did however have a very friendly little dog come hang out with me for a bit. Naturally my true crime lovin’, over active imagination kicked into high gear. It seemed really weird that I saw no one. It was eerily quiet, the only sound was us and the occasional car that drove through the main highway. I finally did see 1 person. It was right after the sun went down. 1 lonely person that was just walking down the side of the road. I looked away for a second and they were gone. By that point the fun was over for me and I just wanted to get the heck outta there. My creep-o-meter was going nuts.. Greg finally did his last strap check and we were ready to go! Thankfully we could put that eerie place behind us. * side note, I’m sure Mountain City is a great place, I know it’s just how I perceive things, but then again…..maybe not you can never be too careful*

Loaded and back to a normal town

We also stopped for lunch at a fun place called Mattie’s Taphouse and Grill. They had a dang good French dip! It was good to stop and get out of the truck for a bit we were starting to get a little silly at that point. See below pic for evidence, Ha.

See?! Crazy..

These adventures are just that, an adventure. We never really know how it’s gonna go something always happens but I like to think we are getting pretty good and a little quicker at our jobs. I’m learning skills I never thought I’d have and doing things I never thought I’d do. It is teaching our kids how to be around heavy equipment and Wesley already loves every piece of machinery he lays his eyes on. While i’ll admit I get frustrated sometimes when we do this, it’s mainly because it puts all the things on my to-do list back even further, we are making memories as a family and as a couple and that is worth it. Making memories after all is what life should be about! Onto the next adventure!

Till next time!

~ Laura

The decade challenge … why not?!

This whole “challenge” thing is a hoot. I love it! When I went back through my photos.. WAY back in the archives to find pics from 10 years ago it wasn’t pretty. Kidding, kinda… my makeup is better these days, I have eyebrows now.. And I feel like blonde is definitely my color. Especially with the pink!

See what I mean? eyebrows… they make a difference lol

2009 was an interesting year for us. It was still just Greg and I although we had tried and failed to remedy that at the beginning of the year. You see, 2009 is the year I very first got pregnant. We were both so excited and over the moon. I was sick and exhausted but didn’t mind, at that point we had been trying for 2 years . Sadly, that didn’t end the way we had planned or hoped and by March 12th I wasn’t pregnant anymore.

2009 was the start of a whole new life for me. One where I felt out of control and tried so very hard to control it anyway. Maybe that’s were a lot of my issues come from.. who knows. I was a shell of my former self for months. It really messed me up. I took up crocheting and cake decorating as a way to keep my mind off of trying to get pregnant.

I still only know one stich when it comes to crocheting and I’m only really good at baby blankets because I lose patience with it for a full size blanket. SO if you’ve ever received a full size blanket from me just know that a lot of blood sweat and tears and cuss words went into making that. Oh, and love. That too.

The cake decorating I’ve stuck with and grown in ways that even surprise me somedays. Fondant still kicks my butt but I love making and decorating cakes . It makes my soul happy!

In the years that followed 2009 I grew in ways I didn’t know I could. Greg and I grew as a couple, I mean I was still growing up in so many ways. We finally weren’t living paycheck to paycheck and could start to do home improvements and make this bachelor pad a home.


It took a lifetime still for our family to come along and while it was one of the hardest things we’ve gone through as a couple it has helped me to help others and I suppose that is the point I was supposed to take away from all of that. In the last 10 years we’ve also dealt with Greg’s health. That has been just as hard as infertility if not harder. Understand I do not say that last sentence flippantly. Infertility can suck your very soul out, tear a marriage apart and make you go insane. Greg’s health has been all that, and more.

We have dealt with one issue or another for the better part of these last 10 years. Chronic pain, bone spurs on his spine, muscle spasms so bad that they bend him in half. Not to mention the kidney stones and leg/ ankle problems. He is such an incredibly hard worker and has done his absolute best to not let it slow him down but it’s taken it’s toll on him and I know he is so very tired.

The last 10 years haven’t been all bad, promise but they have been very real. We have shared some truly beautiful moments. Like welcoming Illa and Wesley into our family and experiencing every mile stone with them. We’ve also grown apart and back together again . I suppose that’s normal, but we are both too damn stubborn to ever let what we have go. So we fight for it. Every dang day. This last year has been rough but we both made a promise to each other and are working our butts off to be better to each other, better to others and better people in general.

I mean, look at this goofball! His hair was so crazy! He was trying to give me the stink eye…. doesn’t he know by know that’s MY thing?!


I’m so excited for the next decade, things are in place to really make the next 10 years better than ever. We are going places and doing things and both of our health is getting an overhaul. I want to be better for our kids and Greg is ready to turn a new leaf. We are excited to be Better, Stronger. Next 10 years, bring it on!

Till next time!

~ Laura