March 22, 2012

Exciting news!

I've moved!  Come visit me at

I promise to have all the things you love about this one, plus more features like snapshots, quotes, and thoughts about anything and everything. 

Drop in and drop me a line!

February 3, 2012

Where I've Been...

As some of you who are friends with me on Facebook know, I lost my mind a few months ago and decided that working full-time and being a mom were not nearly enough to keep me busy.  After all - the hours between 2:15 a.m. and 5:30 were not booked!

Whatever was a girl to do?!  Well, if you were this girl, and you were smack dab in the middle of a class you were taking at the university called "Personal Finance," you got really scared about the fact that you and your husband were going to be forced to become the old people who live off of canned cat food in your retirement - but only if you've been diligent about clipping coupons.  Otherwise, be quiet and chew your kibble! 

This class was excellent, and I think it's one that should be required of all high school seniors.  I remember when I was in high school (wayyyyy back in the day), our "financial training" consisted of being required to write out fake checks (no problem...  I can totally write out fake checks, even to this day!) and balance a fake check register in Mr. Olaveson's (he who was too busy chatting with the jocks to help anyone with a question) math class with nary a budgeting lesson in sight.  I was now prepared to survive on my own!

And survive I have, sometimes by the skin of my teeth.  However, I thought it would be good to take this class and maybe learn a few things I hadn't yet picked up in the 20+ years since high school.  Plus it fulfilled the Depth Social Science requirement that I needed towards my degree (also 20+ years in the making), and seemed more relevant to my needs in life than "Western European Politicians and the People Who Love Them" or something similar, so sign-up I did...

So what was my main take-away lesson?  We will never be ready for retirement, and our best hope is that Jesus returns to sweep us up to heaven before then or we will indeed be those sad Friskies-eating octagenarians.

One of our in-class exercises was to figure out what we need to keep our current standard of living, what we expect to get from Social Security (hahaha... excuse me while I try to stop my tears of laughter), what our savings and liquid assets amount too (sorry - here comes another hysterical fit of laughter), and how many years left until we can retire to calculate - TA DA! - the amount we should be putting into our retirement accounts each MONTH.

Are you ready for this? (Because I certainly wasn't).

To live at the same standard we currently do (have you seen my house? the Taj Majal it's not!) - we need to be actively saving $1800 per month.  That's right: One Thousand, Eight Hundred George Washington's EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH.  That's $21,600 every. single. year. That's more than half of my salary!

Anyhoo, plagued by nightmares of our future, I decided it was time to quit "pussy-footing around" as my grandma would have said, and get serious about finishing up my degree, so I plan on taking at least 2 classes every semester and should finish up in just over 4 years (Whoo-hoo - I'm almost a junior! Just three-tenths of one credit away...).  

Which leads me to the whole point of this long, winding story:

Last night I came home from work to find Savannah on my laptop.

"I need you to get off of there so I can do my homework," I said.

"Give me a minute," she said, rolling her eyes.

So I went in the bathroom to change into my comfy pajamas.  Unfortunately, while I was in there one of my sadly-neglected novels that I'd been reading before classes started whispered to me from it's perch: "Psstt... over here.  Just a few pages won't hurt ya. You'll like it..."  But you know how it is... One page turns into another, and then it's just a slippery slope to an all-nighter on the bathroom floor, butt numb as it sits on the bath-mat, your eyes weepy because you just cannot believe that's how the author ended the book after all you've given up for it.

Resigned to my fate, I had just turned another page when Savannah knocked on the door and then entered. 

"Why aren't you doing your homework?" she asked, eyeing me sitting indian-legged on the floor, book in hand.

"But I'm soooo tired, and I just wanted to relax for a minute," I whined replied in turn.

"Don't make me count to five!" she snapped and then started the count-down as I scurried to my computer, her no-nonsense eyes boring a hole in my back.

She's going to make a fine mother some day! But will she help carry our bags of kitty-food when we're older?

January 7, 2012

Top 10 (but who's counting?!) of 2011

Lately I've been pathetic about practicing my photography, as well as blogging.  Actually, I've been pathetic about a lot of things , and I don't know why.  Hopefully the start of a new year (along with taking not one - but two! - classes at school) will help get me going again. Or leave me blubbering and talking to myself in a corner. Either way... :o)

Anyhoo, over at You Capture this week the photo assignment is to show your top 10 images from the last year. Now that I can do... I've tried to not repeat others I used earlier in the year, but some of them I couldn't resist sharing again. I know it's a few more than 10, but I did narrow it down from 40 or so (you're welcome!).

So, in no particular order, here are mine:
Here, nature's own version of sepia tone.

Savannah and some friends at her 12th birthday party had me taking tons of pictures. Looking back at them all now, this seems especially poignant as they're all walking away from childhood and entering those "tween" years.  I can't believe how much these girls have all grown and matured these past few months. The time flies by much too quickly for my tastes...

 Our adorable little Fiona... I can't believe how much I still miss her! 

Couldn't resist this shot of our flowering crabapple tree, right after it snowed. In May. Welcome to Utah, people.

Braden - My crack-up of a son.  You can just see the personality sparkling in his eyes!

 I couldn't resist reshowing this picture of my Dad and his owner, Tiny.  :o)

 Evan... How'd I get such handsome, fun boys?!!!

Savannah and the new trampoline.  If I would let her live on that thing, I believe she'd do it. 

Summer in Paradise... It truly doesn't get much better than this.

Savannah's little friend at the zoo... Even though these little prairie dug bubbles were horribly hot, I had to drag her away. 

 Another repeat, but I still can't get over the emotion I feel from this photo. 


My first encounter with a hummingbird (or sphinx) moth. I had never seen one before, but they are so cool! They're huge and, like a hummingbird, their wings beat breathtakingly fast. I never thought I'd say it, but I think I now have a favorite insect!

Finally, a picture of my goofy daughter. I love this picture just because I can feel her personality shining through so much. 


I have a tendency to take more landscape photos, I think because they're so much easier.  Mountains and trees don't make faces or groan when you take their photos like my family does.  However, going through the photos from the last year, my definite favorites are those photos of people that are not staged but show the emotion.  My goal for the next year is to expand on catching those day-to-day moments. And hopefully I'll have a few more posted before this time next year. Wish me luck!