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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My First Time

Heidi tagged me on her blog so here are my answers and the rules:
Answer the questions using only one word. Then tag four other people. I am going to tag Evelyn, Felicia, John M., and Jessie. :)

1. Where is your cell phone? Counter

2. Your significant other? Jessie

3. Your hair? Lame

4. Your mother? Wonderful

5. Your father? Interesting

6. Your favorite thing? Peace

7. Your dream last night? Upsetting

8. Your favorite drink? Milk Shake

9. Your dream/goal? Writer

10. The room you’re in? Office

11. Your hobby? Sleeping

12. Your fear? Death

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Secure

14. What you’re not? Peaceful

15. Muffins? Cupcakes

16. One of your wish list items? Millionaire

17. Where you grew up? Virginia

18. The last thing you did? ChaCha

19. What are you wearing? Underwear

20. Favorite gadget? Crochet Hook

21. Your pets? Lizards

22. Your computer? Dell

23. Your mood? Down

24. Missing someone? Family

25. Your car? Van

26. Something you’re not wearing? Bra

27. Favorite store? NA

28. Like someone? Sure

29. Your favorite color? Blue

30. When is the last time you laughed? Smiled

31. Last time you cried? Sunday

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Top Guide... AGAIN!

I didn't post recently because Jess was home AND I'm obsessed with ChaChaING to make some money. Usually I post at night... well, I'm working at night now. (ALL night most of the time!) So, basically I've been putting emphasis on earning money where I can and WHEN I can. Ya know? Now that I'm STILL a TG (top guide) until next Wednesday night, at least, I'll contin

This Morning's Big Activity
Jess took the girls to the library this morning! YEAY!!! It's been THREE weeks since they were able to go because of illnesses (2 weeks in a row) and then forgetfulness on Mama AND Daddy's parts. The girls had such a good time. :) They painted dragons with watercolors. I hung them up almost immediately because they are REALLY beautiful! And, of course, they had the opportunity to play at the playground, which they ALWAYS love.

No work for Jess on Tuesday and Wednesday. We went on a walk each night as a family. Tuesday night our walk was a WHOLE 34 minutes and Wednesday night it was 45. It felt like I was making some progress back to my old times, but then tonight a big storm was rolling in RIGHT when I was leaving to walk, so I only stayed out for 22 minutes. :( What a bummer. However, on the bright side of THAT, I walked faster (since I knew I couldn't walk as long) and still had the sweat drippin' something fierce by the time I got home. And nothing hurt except for the tight BH belly! (But that's pretty much standard for any activity at this point!) I'm REALLY trying!!! Hopefully the weather will be conducive... but there's no telling since 2 more storms (tropical or hurricane!?!?!) are headed this way. UGH! ahwell

Florida BUGS
I experienced one of THE worst aspects of living so near water and in an area that retains standing water... MOSQUITOES! :( I was only out for 2 minutes when I was LITERALLY swarmed! No, SERIOUSLY! Thankfully, after I killed a few and batted others away, those than managed to tag along or catch up (or SOMETHING) seemed to stay mostly around the trailer (stroller thing the girls ride in). This doesn't bother me at all because it's AWESOME. It is entirely enclosed when I pull the bug guard down (which I did right away upon realizing there were so many bugs afoot). I didn't put the rain guard down, though, because it would have been just WAY too hot in there for them AND I didn't think any of the Geeters were small enough to squeeze through the bug guard.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jess at Home

Today and tomorrow Jess has off from The Club. I was up SUPER late doing ChaCha last night, so stayed in bed later than "normal" today. I was up, basically, until 4am and didn't leave my bedroom until just after 1pm! While that may sound like "the life," it REALLY is NOT! I had, prior to starting ChaCha, just started to be able to sleep most of the night... this is a HUGE deal for me because I've had tremendous sleep issues for quite a long while. For the most part I've coped, but it was really REALLY nice to start to feel sort of normal with the whole sleeping at night thing going! That didn't last long, obviously. I have to say, in comparison of sleeping by day/working at night OR sleeping at night/being up during the day, the latter is MUCH preferable!!! The quality of my sleep is downright pitiful. Not only because the girls are up for MANY of the hours I'm trying to sleep, but because SO IS THE SUN!!! It's difficult and frustrating, but I'm coping - as always. When Jess is able to more fully provide for our family, I will definitely cut back on the ChaCha and do it only as possible during the day and for a SHORT time after the girls go to sleep! It's just wearin' me down, man!

On the positive side, Jess is experiencing a LOT more of the frustration that comes with dealing with our daughters for MANY hours. He's still only got them, on his own, for about 4 hours... MAYBE a little more. Usually a bit less, actually. But by the end of the night tonight, he was the way I feel after 12+ hours with them! It was rather comforting to me, in a way... and frustrating in another way. Comforting because I feel like we're definitely in the roles that we should be in (with me staying home to care for our kids), but frustrating because with the way things are going he will be able to take vacation after the baby is born. The point of that is for him to take over EVERYTHING for a week after the new baby arrives so that I can rest and stay in bed with the baby. This is something each of our previous midwives have wanted me to do. With Ria, I sort of did... but at the same time I had to get geared up for returning to work, so I was pumping before the end of the first week to build a stash and did shopping by the end of that week for things I thought were necessary. And then, after Kat was born... we were moving when she was only 3 weeks old, so I had 2 days of "respite" that I allowed myself and then I was packing and cleaning and DOing WAY too much. As a result my body was WAY wrong for WAY too long. I'm NOT going to repeat THAT... and really, I want to have the experience I missed out on after the first two... just being a Mama getting used to a new baby! So, I'm worried that Jess is going to go absolutely BONKERS with having to take care of the house, fix meals, AND deal with our two older kiddos! YIKES! We'll see how that goes, eh? :)

Another depressing amount of time on the my walk today. A sweet friend shared some encouraging words and I'm grateful for them, regarding my walking time yesterday. But I can't help feeling frustrated about it (and today's!) because I've been trying so hard to keep active this pregnancy so that I'll be healthier and have a smoother labor... and then I'm not even able to maintain my time for the walks! The distance had already become pitiful before my experience Sunday, but I accepted that because the belly really does add something - even if it's not weight - that made the 4+ miles I was walking just NOT do-able! I'm still the same weight, but my breathing is greatly impacted lately (and the baby is low, NOT in my lungs at all!), I sweat profusely even when walking at what I KNOW is a leisurely pace for ANYone else... it's just crazy! But then to not even feel able to keep going for 1/2 as long as I was walking! UGH! Today was a little better, at least. I was able to walk for 34 minutes... but I was completely and utterly exhausted when we got home. Jess came with me and we let Ria walk... I'm sure he was completely unimpressed with my speed, but he kept saying he was just glad to get out of the house. He wasn't winded and definitely didn't break a sweat. I actually walked a bit faster with him along (even though I didn't mean to, I felt guilty when I asked him to slow down), so the sweat was literally dripping and pouring off of me! I sweat pretty easily, but NOT like THAT!

Oh, and just as an update... my back is still VERY tender and slightly painful (I think just as a reminder so I don't overexert). My belly hasn't had cramping (YEAY!!!), just BH when walking, and is only tender in the obliques (from the barf fest). My back is painful in the way it was when I thought I was in labor AND as a result of the throwing up (they are two totally different sensations!), but thankfully it's definitely a lot less. Hopefully it'll be completely gone by the end of the week. We'll see.

Not a lot going on here, really. Just blabbering about lots of nuthin'. ;) Thanks for caring and reading me here! I'll be back soon, I'm sure.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back Pain and a Depressing Time

Thankfully, the only residual effects of the craziness of Sunday (yesterday) is a horrible back pain all day today. I woke up and was relieved to feel that I had NO pain, but after standing and walking enough to get something to eat... the back was REALLY hurting a lot. It continued through most of the day and during my walk. And it's not just some minor lower back stuff... it's throbbing pain along most of my spine. Added to that is the muscle pain along my obliques from the barf fest yesterday. I'm sure the throwing up has effected the back pain in more ways than I can recognize. Plus, there's the whole BREECH BABY that could add strange pressure to the spine (since s/he has only been in this position for 5 days or fewer). Somehow, after sitting for dinner and taking a shower, the pain is less.

It could be, though, that it has MUCH more to do with the Ensign article I read after FHE tonight. It was about a Grama who wanted to take the pain of a burn from the hand of a Grandchild. She learned, through The Holy Ghost, that even THAT kind of pain has been felt for US in the Atonement! I thought... well, why not back pain, then, too!? And it was soon after that that the extremity of the pain diminished. In this case, I rather think that a reminder sort of pain is necessary because otherwise I would just do TOO much and push too hard and make things much worse. Ya know?

I went on a walk tonight. The pace was ridiculously slow because of the constant ROCK HARD tummy I experience on most walks now-a-days (Braxton Hicks, of course). On top of that I forgot to pee right before I left, so I had to stop at the playground potty (only 9 minutes into my walk). On top of THAT I knew I really shouldn't walk for long because of all that I'd experienced yesterday and through the day today... so I walked a whole "HUGE" total of 25 minutes! :( I feel so lame and frustrated. But at least I don't have tummy pains tonight! ah well.

Jess has tomorrow and Wednesday off from The Club. Hopefully we'll be able to manage getting him to Orlando on Wed, but it may have to wait until next week. We'll see.

I can't believe my "little" sister is going to leave the U.S. in less than 3 weeks! I won't get to meet her new baby in person until the little cutie is already 1 or almost there (IF we can get to where they are next summer!). Such is life, I suppose.

ChaCha is going well... relatively. I haven't been able to do as MUCH as I would like, but what I'm doing is at a higher pay, so the $$ are adding up much more quickly. As a matter-of-fact, I'm going over to do that right after I finish up here. :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jessie's Accused and An Emotional Rollercoaster

I forgot to mention the thing that happened with Jess yesterday. He hitched a ride with a couple who live a few blocks away to go clean the church yesterday morning. On the way the three of them talked a bit. It came out, in process of conversation, that Jess wasn't a member of the church. They were both surprised and they discussed that a little bit. Jess even shared with them the "Closer" experiences he's had with a few missionaries. The funniest bit of all of it, for me, was Jessie's description of it. When he first started telling me he had the strangest smile on his face. The kind he usually has when he's going to tell me something I'll think is hilarious. So, before he was even telling me about the conversation I was smiling. But it wasn't a hilarious story, to me. It just makes sense. I mean, like the couple said, Jess just does all the things Members DO! I think, in a way, he might think it's kinda cool that people think he's a member, but that it also amuses him. As he explained it to the couple, he attends church and does all that "stuff" because he wants to be a part of the way he and I have agreed to raise our children. What's not to be thankful in that, right!? So... yesterday Jessie was "accused" of being a member. I chose that word to describe it because it seemed to fit the sort of humor he found in the "accusation." ^_^ I think it's wonderful, for the most part, that people think he is a member!

My Ride on the Rollercoaster
Last night I started having some FIERCE cramping and back pain. It all started on my walk and only the Braxton Hicks subsided after we got home and I was able to sit a bit. The light menstrual cramp-type feeling (that always proceeds active labor for me) became more intense... to the point that I had to quit ChaChaING for the night to lie down, drink lots of water, and hope they went away.

They didn't.

The cramping and pain subsided enough for me to get sleep for most of the night, but it wasn't completely restful and I was trying to drink a bunch to stay hydrated (cause the more water in the system the less cramping a system will experience), so I was, of course, up a lot to use the potty.

Last night Jess TOLD ME that I would be staying home from church in the morning. If you know me, then you know I'm not one to take "being told" very well. I had a plan all figured out for how I was going to get him to let me go to church in the morning because I was certain the cramps would be gone.

They weren't.

I didn't even mention my plan for going to church because my back hurt so bad (like back labor!) that I was anxious to lie down and take it easy and drink lots of water!

Jess left with the girls for church on time (8:30am) so that he could deliver my Primary folders. I tried to lie down and rest. I didn't get to rest at all, really, because I was up every 10 minutes or so to use the potty and it wasn't to get rid of water! I started to feel a little worried after the 4th or 5th trip in such a short period of time (about an hour). This is the sort of thing my body does when in labor! I was so scared. I actually started to think about calling my midwife. If you know me well, which few people know me THIS well, you will know that I do NOT call my midwife for much of anything! I might write her an email, but I RARELY call! Poor Karen has received, now, 2 calls within 2 weeks from me and BOTH on Sundays!!! :p How annoying!

Well, I started to feel jittery a short time later and decided that I did, indeed, need to call my midwife. We spoke briefly and she said she's be over to check me. I felt a bit of relief when we hung up and called Jess to let him know what I was doing. It was right around 9:30am (right in the middle of Sacrament Meeting!). I also asked him to be prepared, should I call again, to speak to Joey and Tim about coming to give me a blessing before he left. I didn't think I would actually call him again.

I was wrong.

At 9:51am I threw up a TON! I was actually violently ill when I was preggie with Kathryn, but as I recall I was not as far along in the pregnancy with her as I am with this one. Also, the illness I experienced way back then did not have all the same signs as the beginning of labor. When I was sick with Kat I was SICK! I had a fever, diarrhea, the works!

As you can probably imagine, I called Jess right away. I was super scared by that point and needed my rock and better half to be right here next to me. He came home REALLY fast. I know HE knows how really unusual it is for me to barf... unless I'm in labor and then it just sort of happens. He was totally solid for me. He kept telling me that he knew it was going to be all right. He doesn't always say that, so when he says it I believe it.

He did speak to Joey before he left church. Shortly after Jess got home, Joey and Tim arrived. They gave me a blessing for wellness and comfort. I did feel comforted and before they left my belly had stopped cramping so much. My back remained (and remains) achy, but I haven't thrown up again. I thought I was going to lose it (anything in my tummy) again right before they pulled up.

Karen arrived a little bit after Joey and Tim departed. She checked me and everything is GOOD... except that the baby is breech. *ah well* Can't win 'em all, right? ^_^ I'm actually not worried about the breech bit at all because this baby rolls and turns SO much more than either of my girls did. I've felt hiccups (usually) in the lower right of my belly, but also in the upper right and left! So, I know this isn't a stationary babe. And it's probably a bit flustered by all the crazy stuff going on around it... cause I KNOW baby felt some of those cramps!

So, whether I was getting ill with some sort of barf bug, or going into labor, the crisis was averted by two faithful Brethren and some Faith! I'm so grateful! Seriously... it was NO walk in the park to barf every hour when preggie (with Kathryn) and I seriously do NOT want to walk that road again! So today will be even more "lazily" than normal a day of REST for Tori! I'm so not wanting to push the whole "what if" button!!!

That's my drama for now. Hope your Sabbath day is more peaceful!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Temple Trip, Top Guide, and Through The Storm

Our day of being in the eye of the storm was quite good. The storm seemed to barely budge Thursday. Although we did have SOME rain, it really wasn't all that much and we didn't have horrible winds, for sure. We rather expected to have a lot more weather issues through the night and into Friday.

Perhaps our town and the nearest city did get a bit more weather on Friday than Thursday, but we weren't here to see it. We took our monthly trip to the temple. And I have to say that the inland bits got hit a LOT harder than we did! Basically all the way to the temple and home we saw a LOT more standing water than we saw back home... and heard about a LOT more flooding in the cities we pass through to get to the temple. Crazy, huh?

Our Temple Trip
The sweetest thing happened right as we approached the temple. We can JUST see the spire above the trees as we come up to it. AS SOON as we could see this Kat just let out this shriek of delight! Then, as we turned the corner, she raised a jubilant, "Bumple!" It really sounds a lot like she's saying 'bubble,' but I can hear more sounds in it than that after lots of hearing her ask for the song "I love to see the Temple" and just talking about the temple. It made my heart glad to hear my "baby" so joyful over seeing the temple! Ria was super excited to get to go to the temple, as well, of course. She asked, on the way there, if we could start going to the temple EVERY Saturday! Oh, I wish. We definitely cannot afford that kind of gas money... even if the gas prices have descended a bit.

ChaCha News
I'm a Top Guide with ChaCha now. YEAY! It's a weekly qualification thing, so it could change easily, but I'm very happy about it for now. Top Guide means that I'm making $0.20 per question as apposed to half that (which I was making)! It's amazing how much difference ten cents makes in how quickly the cash accrues!!! I was pretty worried about whether I would be able to get my payout up to $100 (the minimum necessary to get paid) by September 15th, but now it seems MUCH more DO-able! I'm so glad.

Dance Class
September 4th Ria will start dance class again. I'm excited for her, but very sad that Kat won't get to do a class (we wouldn't be able to pay AND there isn't one available for her age). The first class Kat will be able to take is when she's 3... which, actually, she won't BE 3 when the class starts, but as long as we live here, I'm REALLY sure they'll let her start because they can see her desire already! So, that's a bit of a reason for me to hope we stay in this area (especially right where we are, even), but I don't think it'll happen. Who knows, though! I think I do (know, I mean), and then realize I just don't even care... as long as we're doing what The Lord wants... THAT is what I want more than anything!

Baby News
In case anyone was wondering, I realized recently that I forgot to mention that my brother Ben's baby WAS born on 8-8-08. She was 8lbs 13oz! Love those chubbers babies!! Barb, the mama, is a champ pushing through some tremendous nursing difficulties. I'm SO proud of her because I KNOW from experience the temptation to quit is ALL too real. Keep pushing through Barb, I know you can do it!!!

Josh's newest addition is trying the same stunts as his siblings before him. Caroline started preterm labor the other night (she's just barely 31 weeks along)! Poor thing is now on bed rest with medicine (and a 4 and 3 year old running around)!!

Even with all the pain I've had, I'm SO glad my body carries babies well and relatively easily! At this point bed rest would help me accomplish my crocheting, but would be fearsomely debilitating in the whole "work" that I'm doing for some money for our family! Hopefully Caroline will be able to hold the baby in until 37 weeks... that's usually the optimum week for premies, but she's aiming for 36... GOOD LUCK Caroline!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Eye of the Storm

Isn't it crazy how the eye is SO very calm with all the turbulence of frightful noises of the parts around it?!? We've had quite a long time in the eye today. It's been nice because the girls were starting to get stir crazy. We spent a bit of time outside, before the rain/spray started to fall harder. Ria ran around the house 6 times, while Kat and I walked around about 4 times during the time we were outside. Then the girls ran the length of the driveway. We finished up with some more yard running (between a light post and a tree). Those two little ladies have been MUCH nicer to be around since that time in the sun and running!

This also happens to be the best/safest time to use the internet for update and ChaCha purposes. So, here I am! :)

We are well. The rain has been pretty heavy and we've lost some roofing, but not more than a few of the tile thingys. So, no worries as yet. We still have the last half of the storm to get through. Supposedly it's bigger, which means more rain... the biggest concerns we've heard are flooding and tornadic activity. We're definitely staying aware and trying to keep our ears open. I'm sure all will be well. We are prepared.

I'll try to update again tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Wind and Rain

Apparently Fay is not only not a hurricane, but it is also not a tropical storm? Well, at least that's what the news seems to say. I suppose it's true, but with the wind and rain we're seeing and feeling WE wouldn't agree.

Fay is out to sea, but we're still in the bands of the Fay experience. Brevard county has seen a total of 30 inches of rain (they are WAY south of us), but the news suggests Flagler County (where we are!) will see something similar! YIKES!!! Okay, so on one hand, and as Jess says, at least we're in a good draining area... between the Ocean and the inter coastal waterway. On the other hand (as I worry)... we are IN BETWEEN the ocean and the inter coastal!!! :P AND we get to worry about whether the bridge will be closed. UGH! I'm sure it'll all be fine.

Tomorrow, Thursday, is supposed to be the worst day for us here. Fay will come back inland this afternoon/evening (according to the best predictions available) and traveling right over us through the night and we'll still be in the bands through the day tomorrow. So, we're in for some GOOD rain. Too bad it's not GA, right!? They would jump up and down for some of it right now. As for us... we've had rain almost daily this summer. So, a BUNCH more isn't terribly exciting at this point.

Jess is out at the Fire Station filling some sand bags right now. It's free sand and bags... you just have to bring your own shovel. So, that's nice. It IS raining, though... so I'm not too happy about him returning a drowned rat and wiped out. But at least we can cover our front door, back doors, and garage. We get inward leakage on the garage door and the front door is totally NOT sealed well... we wish for a storm door/screen door quite often! But sand bags will hopefully help with the worst of it. Wish us luck, please!!

Midwife Visit
Our appointment was actually for tomorrow, but because of the weather forecast, we called to ask to be seen today. Initially I was planning to have my cervix checked because of all the development pains, but that's SO not my preference. I decided to let it wait until the next appointment (in two weeks) and check on it then if the pains continue with any regularity.

Yesterday when the storm moved in I TOTALLY felt it in my belly (PAIN!), which I attribute to the barometric pressure or something. But my cervix hasn't actually caused me tremendous concern or pain for at least the last 2 days. So I haven't been as worried.

My blood looked too light today. :( That will mean some iron fortifying pills and another test. It actually hurt this time, so I'm not excited about that. ah well! And I'm spilling a little protein in my urine... but that could totally be because I just awakened and hadn't eaten much. My blood pressure was 130-something on top! :P But the bottom was a nice 60-something. Probably, since the top number is effected by situation, it's high because of my feelings of stress over the weather, money, and having my blood taken! ^_^ So, we're not concerned.

We were able to give over two checks for the remainder we had due to pay our midwife! What a GLORIOUS feeling!!! The $1000 I told you about isn't good for cashing for another few days because our bank put a hold on it for processing or something, but at least THEY have the check and money promised therein! :) Isn't that totally lame?? I mean, banking is so totally done electronically, you'd think they pipe over a question about whether the money exists and then 30-45 minutes later they know and the money is available (and that's at the most, I would think!). But NO. It takes FIVE days!?!?! Unbelievable! ah well. I suppose it has to do with the bureaucracy of institutions. What do you think?

Karen palpated my belly today to check on position. Baby seems to be nicely head down. YEAY! Hopefully s/he will stay that way! I'm still measuring 3 weeks ahead, but at this point I think it's TOTALLY likely that I'm *really* only 2 weeks ahead, but because Karen measures differently than either of my previous midwives, it seems to be 3. Who knows, though, really! :)

And now to make some chocolate chip cookies! ;)

What do YOU do When a Hurrican Approaches?

My habits prior to hurricanes, at least, are very firmly entrenched. I'm not really sure how I "decided" upon the things I do. I can, however, recall doing these same sorts of things even as a teenager in my parents' home... so it's been a while.

As for me, I get agitated, snippy, and head-achy. I try to prepare things not yet in place (as much as possible) for quick departure. I try to rest when necessary (especially when preggie and the last time I faced a hurricane as an adult I WAS preggie!!!). I CLEAN and then I bake and/or prepare treats! No, I'm serious. I do these things mostly in that order... the snippyness sort of lasts through all of it... though I THINK it might be a tad better now than 5 years ago when last I faced similar circumstances! (I HOPE!)

When I was preggie with Ria (see above 5 years ago reference) I set out to bakin' and sweet stuff makin' and had the sink piled HIGH with all kinds of dirty dishes because I was in SUCH a flurry of preparation with only enough time to wash what I might need for the next thing I was makin. I ended up, after much hustle and bustle in the kitchen, and snapping at Jess to stay out of the way... with two different types of cookies, a bread, and rice crispy treats. Jess was just totally blown away, smirking, and making comments about how weird I was and how he didn't "GET" me at all. But when we were sitting in our horribly hot trailer, stressed out because we didn't have water OR electricity he was REALLY glad to have those sweets to sort of soothe our ragged nerves!!!!

Thus far, and without making the connection until only a few moments ago (as I wrapped up the cookies and bread, actually), I've prepared a double batch of No-Bake Cookies as well as a double batch of pumpkin bread (less ground cloves because we're out). I'm hankerin' to make some chocolate chip cookies (and I just happened to find some chocolate chips in my food storage closet yesterday!). So, that will happen as early as I can manage tomorrow, assuming electricity is still present.

Prior to the whirlwind kitchen activity of this evening, I spent about thirty minutes in the garage trying to tackle the tremendous amount of work I have to do in there. I could've/ should've/ would've swept the house (which is much more necessary, really), but I can pretty easily do that even through a hurricane. The garage, however, might not be terribly good for me to hang out in during high winds. Ya know!? I became just completely wiped out tired after that little bit of lame work in the garage. The belly was achin' hard core and I ended up taking a nap for an hour.

Only after some ChaCha work, which I felt tremendous anxiety to do because of the fear that electricity will abandon us (and I just figured out last night how many queries I have to answer daily to get up to $100 for my September payout), that I felt the urgent need to create culinary "masterpieces" in the kitchen (while the girls ate dinner). ;) Hopefully the electricity and water will not absent us this time, but at least, if they do, we'll have sweets to soothe the savage beast of stress!!! ^_^

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Have You Met One?

My visiting teachers came to visit me today. I enjoy having them and definitely felt the desire to visit with them by myself this time. I often welcome my VTers to come when Jess is around because I'm happy for him to see my sisters in the Gospel love me. But I wanted the attention all for myself this time. I've been feeling a little needy... okay, a LOT needy lately. Do you think it's all the time online with no actual person with whom to share my words? You may have something there! Yes, by-jove, I think you hit the nail on the head! ;)

Well, it was a lovely visit - as usual. :) During the course of conversation Leslie made comments about Jessie and what a wonderful husband he is. She was specifically impressed with his attendance at church (in general), but specifically spoke about seeing him on Saturday morning to clean the building, which, as she said it, 99% of the MEMBERS won't or don't do ("including me, as yet").

Jess mentioned at least a month ago that he wanted us to get back (actually he wanted to go back and wanted me to stay home with the girls because he doesn't like that I'm having so much pain already) to clean the building. But now that we're getting assistance from the church for our groceries, we both feel that we HAVE to contribute to building maintenance. We were not asked to do it as part and parcel of the aid, but we would rather do something than do nothing. I guess we wouldn't be doing nothing anyway, technically, since I have a calling and Jess teaches the Food Storage Food Preparation classes... but still!

The main comment that Leslie made in all of her gushing, which I find so striking was, "He's just a dry Mormon is all!" Now, probably you've heard that term before, if you're familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But the funny thing about WHAT she said was: I'd had this very specific thought myself only within the last couple of weeks! Really, it was since the meeting with our Bishop.

I think I mentioned that Bishop told Jess there were many requests for him, Bishop, to call Jess to this calling or that calling, but that he, Bishop, couldn't give Jess a calling until Jess was a member. I think Jess was disappointed about that... but not enough to seriously consider being dunked! heeheehee ^_^

Anyway... I'd specifically thought to myself (and only in my own head, for sure!) that Jess really was a good DRY member... except for the smoking bit... and occasional brown tea drinking. Honestly, he's quite a bit "better" (if that's possible, really) than lots of member guys because he's completely supportive of my Membership. I mean, how many member guys would take over any part of their wife's calling for her at any given time? And how many member guys put up a stink about their wives attending the temple? I know I've heard of none and plenty, respectively! (If you are Evelyn, Heidi, Barb, or Caroline... yall have some EXCEPTIONAL GUYS!!! I know they totally would be on the positive side of both of those questions about member guys.)

Jess takes over my calling every time I miss church and he attends. Thus far I think we've ALL missed church a total of 2 times in the last 2 years... but I've missed at least 4 times since this pregnancy (and only one of them Jess missed as well). So, he's taken care of the folders for my calling at least 3 times without ANY reminders from me. And as of this last Sunday Jess took over my folder duties (as Primary secretary, responsible for putting folders out, picking them up, and knocking on the doors). I actually asked him to plan to take over the previous Sunday because my fatigue and hips have gotten so bad. When I'm too tired at any given time, my hips cause my excruciating pain. And, lately, I'm always too tired at church because my sleep schedule is NOT in line with what is "normal," for sure! Yall already know we attend the temple monthly and not only does Jess watch our girls, but he comes along with me so that we can spend the time there and back as a family! I also feel very desirous of being close to my family as a whole unit when I emerge from the temple. And I know Jess has felt something different about me when I come out of the temple. And I think it's a difference he likes and wants to enjoy. I could be reading too much in... but I think not. Anyway... WHAT guy does that EVERY month!?!?!?!

Anyway... Leslie is right. Just too funny that she mentioned it today... to mirror my silent thought! ^_^

HIS Blog
Jess is just SO tickled with himself and his blog! He has SUCH fun with the linking. If you pop over there and click on the very first one for Tuesday, you won't find much, but he's going to fix it soon. I strongly encourage you to check out his links. By so doing you will have a good look into the WEIRD and eclectic sense of humor that is JESSIE'S BLOG!

If any of you are seeking a link to get you to a place that will help you find recipes for random ingredients... Jess HAS it! The last link on his post (Tuesday) is WAY cool. He was REALLY impressed with the wide array of recipes the site provides after inputting some pretty basic ingredients (like pot roast style ingredients).

And, thus far, thanks to my lovely and loyal visitors... I've now earned a marvelous $0.02 cents!!!! Can you hear me falling to the floor in fits of giggles!?? Yep, I did! Okay, I actually did NOT, but I wanted to! ^_^ I don't know how to get lots of people to check it out. I mean, technically I know how, but I don't know how to get people to give me "linky love." Did you KNOW there WAS such a term?? Well, there is. And basically it's one of the only ways to get ranked on Google... and the higher your rank the more easily others will find you... thus increasing traffic. *sigh* So much to figure out... and absolutely NO time to do it. MAN, it's going to take a VERY long while to get up to the minimum of $50 for a payout with that gig!!! ;)

Monday, August 18, 2008

A New Way to Know Me

Come check out my other blog Mommy Life! I've got a few entries up thus far. It's starting out as mostly an intro to me, so if you want to know how I view my past, or you want to get to know some things about my past that I don't really talk about currently, this is a good way to get a feel for me in that way!! :) It's going to be a focus on how I feel about my life as a Mommy, obviously, but I definitely believe history plays a big part in today... thus the intro stuff. :)

That blog is a paid blog, which is cool, but it's paid based on traffic... come make some traffic!!! I would really appreciate it and look forward to comments, too! I LOVE comments!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pictures From July

Kat silly smilin'! She does this SO often when we take pictures...
closeing her eyes this way and scrunching up her face.
Funny girl!

It's so rare to be able to get a look at those eyes of hers.
Can you see why people always comment on her beautiful eyes?
The picture doesn't even do them justice, really!

The Following are Pictures of Kat Sleeping
I fell asleep on the couch (which is right behind Kat).
Kat was actually playing quietly next to me.
I awakened and couldn't find her right away,
but had to laugh when I did!
Her head, upper body, and arms are on the baby car seat given to us
and her legs are under her on the floor.
Sorry it's sort of difficult to see.

Kat was actually in her room in trouble for hitting
(which I've realized she does a LOT more of when she's tired!)
and fell asleep this way! :)
She actually goes to Ria's bed for comfort regularly.

Kat snuck into Ria's bed after I left their room at nite-nite time.
Aren't they so sweet?

Some Silly Random Pictures
Daddy and Ria

And this is what the girls do with Daddy!

You know, of course, he did have to help them get this way. ^_^

Introducing my friend Philline!
She lives in Atlanta full-time.
We often get to see her and her daughter
on a monthly basis because they have a house
here in town! We got to see them TWO times in July!!!!

And her daughter Genevieve!
The three girls together...
they actually play really well together most of the time!

Pictures From June

They've definitely got the cheese going ON!

Come on, sing along with me now,
"I'm too sexy for my shirt,
too sexy for my shirt..."
heeheehee ;)

Something Ria Said

I obviously will not work today, as it is still Sunday, so that frees up a bit of time for things I haven't allowed myself to do much (since it would eat up MORE time with the girls AND/OR time I could work). Like BLOG! ^_^

Okay, so I was gathering some resources for reading class this week. (Ria is interested in learning more about Dinosaurs, so I'm trying to get together some reading material that she can handle on her own as well as some for us to tackle together.) While letting some material print out I remembered something really wonderful that Ria said during Reading Class (you see the connection, I hope).

We were reading one of the books I'd printed from Reading A-Z, which is an internet site for helping teachers and parents teach reading. I purchased a membership a few months ago and printed out bunches of books when we had plenty of ink and haven't been able to do much more because we ran out of ink. We've actually had plenty of ink for the last month or so, but I haven't had plenty of time to print the books, then fit them together, and glue them in together. Homeschooling is a LOT of work when you have very limited resources! Anyway...

Alistaire's Night is the title of the book we were preparing to read. It's an "I" in the reading levels (which go from "A-Z" on the site I mentioned. As part of the public school's expectations for education a K or 1st grader (I'm doing them together, so I don't know which it actually is) should be able to identify basic parts of a book, recognize the author, and illustrator.) So, we were talking about those things. Ria was sort of noticing the book's size and appearance and she commented to me, "Mama," in a very serious and slightly concerned tone of voice, "I think this story is missing a lots of pages!" I soothed her concern and told her all the pages were there. She seemed confused, but accepted what I told her. I was thinking about what she said tonight and realized that she was SO worried because she's become accustomed to reading Henry and Mudge and other books that are at least level 2 Readers (another way of ranking levels and I'm not sure exactly how they compare except that "I" and Level 2 are both somewhere in the first grade of expected reading ability. Anyway... Henry and Mudge books are at least 34 pages long with at least a few lines on each page OR a whole page of words and then a picture page facing it. So, Ria isn't put off by lots of words on a page... AND based on the comment, perhaps even enjoys it!? Isn't that AWESOME!? I LOVE IT!

Just as an added note on the reading level at which Ria is consuming books... I picked out a Barbie ballet reader book the other day (these numbered books are from the library) that was a Level 3, completely expecting that I would have to help her through a lot of it. As it turns out, Ria needed help with MAYBE 5 words and 2 of those were names! She's learned through observation how to break words down into parts so she can sound out long words... which makes almost any word consumable/readable! Isn't she AMAZING!?!? I'm such a pleased Mama!!!!

An Amazing Blessing and Gift

Yesterday I picked up the mail. Jess often, if not usually, does that. But it was really nice that I got to do it and that he wasn't around to witness the ugly blubbering of his pregnant wife. I read a note (which I always tear into straight away because it's SUCH a treat to me to get actual mail and not just bills or junk!!) and almost immediately tears were streaming down my cheeks. Soon after the tears came sobs that totally surprised me and alarmed Ria. The note itself was definitely enough to get me crying, but I do think that the sobbing was pregnancy induced. I have, actually, gotten MUCH better at being a bit more reserved in my shows of emotion (especially the ones that make people uncomfortable). If you've known me for a while, you KNOW what I'm talking about! ;)

Okay, so what got me sobbing uncontrollably? Well, a little back-story is rather necessary here... I know I mentioned in a prior post that we've been having a much more difficult time with finances since Jess isn't working the part-time gig anymore. We're actually doing so poorly that we are receiving food assistance from Church. If it weren't for the help we are receiving from them we wouldn't have fresh milk, fresh fruits & veggies, or any real meat AND we would MUCH more quickly be tearing into and eating up our food storage. That's what it's for, of course. And I'm SO very thankful for the blessing of the anxiety Father bestowed upon me to gather together food stuffs because it enables us to ask for far less from our Church than we would otherwise need to ask. Needless to say, probably, we have little money for anything beyond our bills. We're eeking by with gas and asking for rides as much as possible.

I'm working doing the ChaCha thing and trying to get other things going to make money. I'll receive my first paycheck, since quitting the teaching thing a few years back, in the next few days. That money is set aside for gas for the van and Dance class for Ria. The latter may seem odd, or even frivolous to some, but it is SUPER important to me for MANY reasons, but I'm going to share the main two reasons. #1 reason dance class is so important to me that I'm willing and DO sacrifice in many other areas personally and as a family: Ria is and will continue to be homeschooled. We don't have tons of opportunities for her to spend time with other children her age. We often cannot drive out to playgroup activities with the Mom's groups in the area and/or to other friends' from church.

#2 reason: I know that dance as an activity will cultivate in my daughter many desirable attributes and characteristics that would be difficult to help her attain without it. For instance, and as only one example, Ria LOVED being on stage! Would we have discovered this about her without dance and her opportunity to participate in the recital at such a young age?? I don't know... but I really REALLY don't think so! Attached to that attribute (her enjoyment of the "bright lights and applause") is the feeling I have that as long as she can look forward to recitals she will, in some way, retain her enjoyment of being in front of people in that way. I LONG for my children to be comfortable in front of groups where I totally was not and had to and STILL have to REALLY stretch to put myself "out" there.

I could go on and on about why dance class is super important as a part of Ria's home education, but I won't. Basically, because the van sucks up tons of gas, that and the dance class will eat up my meager earnings from ChaCha, so I was trying to come up with more ways I could earn money to pay for our midwife. (Thus the blogging for money and searching for writing work.)

The whole issue was causing me great anxiety, which I was using to feed my work on the ChaCha thing and search for more work. I can't illustrate completely the amount of time I've sat on my butt in front of this computer lately. I wonder if I'm going to develop bedsores! No, not really... I DO still walk almost daily. But my butt REALLY does hurt by the time I go to bed around 2 or 3am (I do most of the consistent work I'm able to get done between around 9pm and 2am or later). In addition to the seriously late nights, I also do the ChaCha thing when the girls are watching their after-Ria's-reading-class-movie. If they happen to take a nap together, I work. If they are playing nicely together, I work. It's been stressful and I've felt like SUCH a bad Mama because I've spent so little time with my kiddos and so much time saying, "Ok, I'll be there in a minute." :( I know I'm not a bad Mama, but the feeling is still there. Ya know? Anyway... the point?

Well, yesterday we received in the mail, which I was so lucky to have to pick up!, a very sweet note from an anonymous benefactor. In the communication their love was extended and they expressed their desire to assist us in paying for our midwife. They'd heard we were in a difficult situation and didn't know how we'd get the money to finish payments (due at 36 weeks gestation, which is speedily approaching!). They'd been pondering for a while how they should use the "free" money from the government, which they'd recently received. When they realized our situation, they explained, they felt their answer was in that information. So, they sent the money on to us... and as of the next time we see our midwife, we will be: PAID IN FULL!!!! Can you believe it? Isn't that amazing and wonderful and... a MIRACLE!?!?!!?

If that's not the most awesome and amazing thing... let me add a bit more detail to help convince you. ;) The night before (Fri. night) I'd knelt in earnest prayer and tearfully shared my heart with Father. I truly feel that we really are doing the best we can and that I, personally, didn't feel that I could do any more than I was doing (by then I'd already added looking for additional writing work and such). I explained that and immediate I felt the complete peace and a sense of, "It's going to be all right," communicated to my mind. This feeling totally did NOT jive with my mental figuring, but I've had enough of miracles in my life (especially since just before and since our move here) to know that I should trust in the feeling rather than continue to try to figure it out. And then the special piece of mail happens the very next day!

Now, I know that the note and check were already in the mail when I said that prayer. But, you see, to me the miracles Father has bestowed upon me and my family are SO much in timing! For instance, someone may have been planning something for a while, but then they DO it for us right after I made a wished in my heart or prayed specifically about it. And, to me, that's still an enormous and amazing miracle!

We are tremendously blessed! I'm so grateful to those who have blessed our lives - in this moment I feel surging love for the benefactor who has acted as an Instrument in the Father's Hands in blessing us with the gift of decreased stress and anxiety over payment of our midwife by providing it for us! Thank you!!!!

As an ending note... I feel SO much less anxiety and so much MORE motivated by desire (rather than anxiety) to continue working ChaCha and to continue efforts to find additional (and hopefully significantly better paying) work to fill in the current gap in our finances. This is a wonderful and exciting feeling to/for me because in the past, when anxiety has been relieved (in situations similar, in any way, to what we're in now), I didn't feel the need or motivation to continue previous efforts. This time I feel inspired and just plain ol' motivated to keep going! That, too, is a HUGE blessing of this gift and I'm tremendously, heart-full-to-exploding grateful!!!! ^_^

American Idol

I'm not much of a TV watcher, since we don't actually receive television stations to our boob tube. But Jess works with a guy whose made a pretty big cut! Chris made the top 100 and had to sign his life away... not really. He did have to sign a confidentiality contract, though.

Jess is SO excited for him! In a way, it seems a bit of living vicariously for Jess. Chris is a server at The Club, which is how Jess knows him, and a great musician as well as a singer. He'd already recorded his own music and shared it with Jessie. As a result, Jess became an immediate fan (and has been for many months now).

In a strange sort of way, we're sort of invested in the guy... Jess (and I, to a lesser extent) helped to save some foreskin related to Chris! ^_^ Chris and his wife had a little boy a few months ago and were planning to circumcise while Mary was still preggie. Jess started talking to Chris about the issue and why they should reconsider - ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that they were planning to do it for religious reasons without considering that Jesus Christ's sacrifice negated the necessity of circumcision. Anyway... After lots of back and forth on the subject they ended up NOT circumcising their son! YEAY!!! Can you tell Jess and I are intactavists? I actually consider us intacta-lactavists! ^_^ That means just that we try to inform people about the reasons for and benefits of leaving boys whole (intactavist) as well as why breast milk is best (lactavist).

The funniest result of the choice to leave their son intact was that Chris and Mary brought their little boy to The Club pretty soon after he was born. Jess was there so he got to meet the little guy and even hold him. While holding him, the baby smiled, which, as I understand it, was a rare experience and Chris hadn't been able to get his son smiling. I think it was Jess who said something about how the baby knew he'd had a part to play in helping him keep his whole penis and that's why he was smiling. The couple took a picture of Jess holding their son and told Jessie that they wanted to have it so they could show their boy who to blame if, at some point in his life, he was displeased with that foreskin Jess worked so hard to save! hehehe Pretty funny, right!?

So, when Chris makes it to the group that will compete, you'll have to root for him with us! :) We're really happy for him and hopeful that it helps him with his music since that's what he years to do most. The positive well wishing you could offer would only benefit him in his efforts, I'm sure!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pictures From July

Ria and Kat with a friend.

Another New Blog in the Family!

Jess started his own blog! (Click on the word "blog" to check his shtuff out!) He's wanted to do one for a while, but made the time to get the work of it done this morning. It takes a while to get these things going, ya know! :)

He's very happy with it, I think. On one hand I could feel, "Oh, so I wasn't doing a good enough job with our family blog?" But, no. It's not about that at all. He wanted to have a FOOD BLOG. You know, Chef... Food... and all that he thinks about concerning those two and their combination. Well, I mention food here and there on this, our family blog, but food is not MY constant obsession - as yall know quite well by the content herein. Anyway. He's just started it, so you can get in on the bottom floor and follow the mind of this amazingly talented and brilliant man and Chef! (So proud to call him my hubby!)

I wasn't accepted by two of the opportunities I've applied for in my job/work hunting. Pretty disappointing since at least one of the two would have been a good steady income and not as much work as I'm putting in to ChaCha! But life is full of disappointments. I should, I suppose, have to experience my fair share in the search for writing (and other) work.

I would like to mention that I've thought about writing for money for quite a while now. I've sold some of my work before and it felt REALLY good. But I also spend a LOT of time looking for the work. In addition to the time spent writing, there's the research time, and formatting, and blah, blah, blah.... But two things happened close together in the last week that spurred me to get back to work on trying to find writing work. One was an email from my best friend since I was 12. She urged me to sell my writing. The other thing was the fact that I didn't make Top Guide with ChaCha and my pay went down $.05. That may seem pretty piddly, but it makes a HUGE difference in how quickly the money accumulates. ahwell At least I can slowly make SOME bit of loot. So, Thank you, Heidi (and ChaCha, I suppose). :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tori IS Entering the world of Paid Blogging!

New Work Without Working
Notice anything new and different? Well, you'll have to look to the bottom of this post. I'm pretty excited about it. It's a LEGIT way for you AND me to make a little dough, yo! heeheehee Basically, you write a review on what I've written in my post and get paid for it... and I get paid because you do it! Isn't that the coolest? This is from the same site I mentioned yesterday. Can you tell I'm a little bit obsessed with trying to get some flow goin' on? I am. I figure I should do whatever I can and I can write! At least that, right?

Blogging Right Here and Getting Paid
So, the payperpost (you can review this through them and get paid) is a writing job that will lead me to post about certain things right here in my own blog and then, upon approval, I'll get paid for the posts. It's really neat. The only requirement was a preexisting blog that wasn't just pictures. Well, I had THAT! And here we are. I'll be putting in some posts (at most 3 daily) for this gig. I'm intrigued to learn through experience how it will work out! And YOU'LL get to learn right along with me!

Blogging Elsewhere and Getting Paid
I started a new blog this morning. It's http://mommylife.today.com/ and I'll earn a little bit each day I post. It's pretty neat. I haven't learned all I need to about that particular opportunity, but eventually there are referral and other money-making opportunities within that arena as well. Neat, right!?

Writing Elsewhere and Getting Paid

I've also found another site that I'm going to write for! Can you believe it?!?! I'm waiting for information on my approval so that I can actually get started. I've already BEEN approved, I just need the code to get in, or something. It's a format and opportunity I can definitely see a few friends/family doing well with and will share further information! I'm so excited!!!

Are You Wondering Where All This Is Coming From Yet?
A few weeks ago I picked up a packet from the library at church. It's been VERY helpful and I'm so grateful for it! It's an "Employment Training" packet put together by my Ward. In it there's ALL kinds of interesting and informative stuff to read. The items I've found most practically useful for my work on Jessie's stuff AND my own WAH (work at home) efforts have been sample resumes and a list of online job search sites! The resumes were tremendously helpful to me in my work on revamping Jessie's resume. I condensed it down to almost only the front of one page rather than the sprawling 2 pages it was. It also became much more "scan-friendly," which, we all know, is SUPER important in today's job market. Right!?

The one bit of information that has been most useful for ME (in my efforts to find legit work I could do from home and potentially earn more than $0.10 for 1.5 minutes+ of work - ChaCha) is a website on the job search list. It's AWESOME!!! I'm going to share it and hope that you'll love it as much as I do. Ok... are you ready?? Here it is: http://www.ratracerebellion.com/ Even more interesting is that there's a seminar coming up in HAMPTON ROADS!! It's not free, but reasonably priced at $29.99 (with discounts available for Military and/or? groups of 10+). I'm hoping my Mom and sisters might go together with a few others (for the discount) because, even if they don't NEED to make some money at home, it would be REALLY great information for if they MIGHT need it at some point in the future. Ya know? If they go, they could share their info with me!! ^_^ heehee

So, long story short... I've found all these blogging/writing opportunities through the website above. Isn't that awesome? I feel like I've been lead to these opportunities. My hope for things to get better is higher and I feel much more empowered than I've felt in SOME time now. What a BLESSING!

I've mentioned before that I write about that with which I'm obsessed. Can you tell what it is right now!?! Silly question, I know. I want to appologize if this is totally uninteresting to anyone. I hope, though, that it is REALLY interesting and that you might feel even more hopeful and empowered by the opportunities you may find through ratracerebellion.com at least, if not the things I'm specifically into. LET ME KNOW!!! I ALWAYS love comments and have felt rather lonely lately! ;)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jobs OH, JOBS!

Looking ALL Over
Jess went to Orlando yesterday in search of work. I'm very glad about it. It's amazing how much work I end up doing for these job hunting epeditions. I keenly and clearly remember the time investment I put in when we were still up North and he came down here to check out the market for Chefs.

Jess was gone from around 8 in the morning until around 7:30pm yesterday. Of course, more than 4 hours was driving because of getting from here to there and then from each place to the next, but the rest was spent in interviews and such! He had a request for a second interview with Disney, but it wasn't management. He DID, however, learn how to go about applying for a Sous or Executive Chef position! YEAY!!

Naturally, if you know anything about our lives lately, you KNOW I've had the girls on my own for longer than the time he was gone yesterday, but RARELY after being up until 3:30 in the morning the night before! THAT was rough! why was I up so late? Well, there were a few things that needed to be updated in Jessie's "I LOVE ME BOOK," which I feel is very important for him to have to show prospective employers. There have been many impressed with it and it adds a bit of an edge. In addition to that, I spent a lot of time updating the look of his resume, altering his cover letter a little, updating references, and putting those items together in little packages so he could easily hand them to an interviewer or someone of importance. On top of all that (and, mind you, these things were done ALL day the day before yesterday), I also spent a good deal of time creating directions in Google maps for Jessie to use in traveling to the various locations we'd determined he would go to apply. Can you tell I was busy? Well, I WAS! So, I didn't get much of any ChaCha done that day... Tuesday. Yesterday I was just too darn tired. And then today I find I'm at $.10 a search. I'm pretty bummed about it, but determined to keep going with it for at least SOME additional cash flow. I need to have a way for pay for Ria's dance class and our current income from Jessie's work just won't.

So, today I've done some ChaCha, but I also have looked for writing work. It's SO time consuming! I haven't found anything in the freelance realm of my interests/abilities, BUT I did find something else that's pretty interesting. I'm hopeful about it since I love to write in my blog anyway. It's PayPerPost and it's a way to sort of make a little bit of money by blogging where I already do anyway! I've started the process and looked at a few jobs and it looks like it'll be a more enjoyable work and potentially pay more that ChaCha. Plus, I'll be WRITING! ^_^

Look for some weird and interesting posts for the PayPerPost gig. Hopefully they'll be some things that you're actually amused by or interested in, too! :)

I'm also considering trying for a job with Sylvan... but, without knowing the details, it seems like I'd have to commit to certain hours and such, which is just not terribly workable at this point. We'll see. I know I'm eligle since my teaching certificate was not revoked! :)


So, in case you didn't catch it in the info above, I didn't make the top guides for ChaCha and now I'm making $.10 per answer. :( WHAT a bummer! Still, I've earned around $120 with what I have done up to this point. Not too shabby, all things considered.

The Girls
Both have been sick in the last 2 weeks! :( How annoying! Kat was the worst, but seems to be much better. I'm so glad. I would MUCH rather be ill than have my children ill!

Ria is still reading amazingly well and Kat is using the potty even more consistently. She even lets us know when she needs to pee when wearing a diaper most of the time. Pretty awesome, right!?

Is well. He was planning to be the food preparer for our Ward picnic on Saturday, but now has to work. Pretty disappointing. He was really excited about it. Ahwell... what can you do??

I'm all right. Worn out, is all. The belly is getting huge and I'm just not sleeping well. This is upsetting because I was around 34-36 weeks when this hit with the girls. Too EARLY now! I'm only 32 weeks! I have a feeling this baby will come earlier than we've been expecting.

I've walked pretty regularly except for one week (was it last week!?!?). I feel SO much better when I walk regularly. Actually, it's about that time now. Must run! :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Today we had a meeting with our Bishop. It went well. I was really intrigued when he made some comment about talking to Jess on his own and hightailed it out of there as quickly as I could without being rude. When we were walking to the van after the appointment I asked Jess about the private interview. He said something like, "Oh, it was another one of those CLOSER talks." I laughed SO hard! You see, since Jess isn't a member of my church, but attends more regularly than many of the member men people wonder all the time whether he's interested in the Gospel (like being baptized, specifically). I try to explain that he attends church to support me and to make sure we have that time together as a family (for the most part). I've never really had the opportunity to actually speak to Bishop about that so I suppose he was just wondering and wanted to hear from Jess where the man himself was.

In the past there have been a couple of missionaries who really pushed boldly in conversation with Jess about joining the church. Jess has always stood his ground, of course, and as he should. But when those missionaries leave he usually makes comments about them trying to "close the deal" or something. It's always been pretty funny to me that he puts it that way, but it was just too much to take when he said that about Bishop. I laughed for at least 2 minutes, which is really good for me lately! Anyway... upon further questioning I learned that Bishop had asked Jess where he was in his conversion. Jessie's response, "I didn't know I was in a process of conversion." I laughed pretty hard again and can't help but smile in thinking about it all!!! ^_^

Feeling The Spirit
Today Jess actually got a little choked up in listening to a musical number by Sister Mary Kay Stefflick and her sisters'-in-law. Mary Kay plays the piano beautifully and her sisters play the violin. It was lovely! When I asked Jess about it (after the conversation about the Bishop's talk with him) he confirmed that he had been choked up. I asked him if he knew what that was. He said, "I know what you guys call it." I responded something like, "Well, if it's something else, tell me what it's called." He couldn't and so I said, "Well, if it IS what we call it then why is it 'you guys'?" He didn't say anything and I didn't push any more. Interesting.

My time is getting better, by and by, which means I'm earning around $.15 a minute sometimes. Isn't that hilarious!? How far I've come from making $32K for my first year teaching! ahhh... BUT at least I'm home with my girls and not losing my mind like I was when I WAS teaching!!! Let's look on the bright side, right!? :)

I've earned almost $100 thus far, which means I will get paid sometime after the 15th of this month. This will be money for gas and to start Ria in Dance class! I'm so grateful and relieved about that! I was really worried that we wouldn't be able to get her back in dance and she'd be just crushed. She talks about dancing on stage SO often! Kat will probably have to wait another year because there's no Mommy and Me class scheduled. Bummer. Hopefully she won't notice too much... or maybe they'll let her take the other class for Pre-Ballet? Who knows. She won't even be 2 by the beginning of the "school year," so probably not. Ahwell Hopefully, if I need to and am able to keep it up, this money will eventually go to bills. But it would be even MORE awesome if Jess had work that would enable ALL of that. So, that's what I'm praying for!

Friday, August 8, 2008

A New Farrell?

On the way... PERHAPS!
So, my brother, Ben, called this morning to share that he and Barb were in the hospital and she was in labor. She was 1 centimeter dilated. I called him back (since I was on the phone when he called and couldn't answer) after dickering about it to give them some things to think about. Hopefully they went home, but I'm afraid they probably stayed. I'm interested to hear what has transpired. Sooner than later, though, we'll have another addition to the Farrell clan (as apposed to the extended Farrells, consisting of the Pieper and Gollihugh children). ^_^ So exciting!

Trivia Gleaned During ChaCha Guiding
Just as a bit of trivia... 8-8-08 (today, of course) is the opening of the Olympic games in China, as I understand it. The officials chose this date because 8, to the Chinese, is an auspicious number. However, according to numerologists, the date (numbers) aren't as totally positive as they seem on the surface! (Weird stuff to learn about, right?) Anyway... according to numerology, today's date has more 7 energy than immediately apparent and it's not all positive, either. The day is supposed to have huge CHANGE and other implications... anyway, just a rather useless factoid learned as I'm Guiding. :)

ChaCha News
By the way, that's going pretty well. I think. I mean, I'm up to $77, which is great because my goal is at least $100 by the 14th (so that I'll get paid on the 15th... or 5-7 days later). Unfortunately, at this point, the pay will cover gas and Ria's dance class rather than extra payment of bills. But... at least I have a way to start her back in dance class again! I'm sooo relieved about that! I was REALLY worried that I wouldn't be able to afford her return and would have to tell her she couldn't do ballet class. She's missed it TERRIBLY this summer. I think, if possible, that next summer we'll do whatever summer classes we can afford... especially if we can't do swim class (like this year). Unfortunately, Kat will have to wait a whole year to start dance. I'm sure it's going to be really difficult and interesting to keep her away from the lessons. *sigh* I just hope the new baby will be less of a handful during dance class time. Yeah, right... I KNOW!

There's a contest this weekend for ChaCha Guides (they run lots of them as incentives and so forth). I'm going to try to do something toward it... probably won't get anywhere near a part of the top Guide list, since I won't be working on Sunday, but it can't hurt to try, right. At the very least, I may be a lucky guide to be randomly selected during one of the hours they check the work Guides have done and I could win $100!!!!! Oh... pray that I win (if you would)! That money would be all for groceries and we wouldn't have to accept as much (or any!!?) help from the church on the next order. We did get an emergency order... we did actually need it. I'm grateful for the help, but hate that we need it, just the same!

So, Jess has been applying to places in Orlando for work. Since I did the research and "proved him wrong" in the housing argument he would always make against moving to Orlando, he's been a bit more willing to consider that route. I've had a feeling, basically since we moved here, that he should check out Disney. I'm hopeful that this is an inspiration-type feeling because it would just be AWESOME if he could work there! I mean, my girls... I wish I could adequately explain to you how much they would BOTH love to go to Disney. There's a specific preview that comes on before many of their Disney movies. In it this little girl is getting ready for and going to Disney. You see her meet certain characters and do little things. Ria and Kat sit mesmerized through this ad EVERY time. Kat even says certain parts (which is huge since she really doesn't talk all that much) and she holds her fingers up like the little girl does (to count something). And they both get these glowy sweet smiles on their face when the little girl finally meets Mickey Mouse and says, "I've been waiting my whole life to meet you!" Anyway... just a Mama dreamin'. "But if you keep on believin, the dream that you wish COULD come true!" Can you guess where that quote originated?? Cinderella, of course. :) They LOVE that movie. It's one that Kat will sit through almost every time, which is saying a LOT. We were given the original and they've seen the 2 sequels, but we don't own those. I'm hoping we will at some point because they have pretty good lessons in them... sweet... ^_^

Oh, also, Jess went out and put in an application locally for a morning job. I'm hopeful and also relieved. I've been super stressed about money. Have no idea, at this point, how we're paying for our midwife. :( At least we'll be able to make a $60 payment this week. So piddly. We'll still owe $1000!!!!! YIKES! Well, I just have to keep believing it'll all work out somehow. Hopefully not in the 9th hour! Our CLUB check covered our monthly bills (except cell phone, which isn't due until Sept.) and bought a tank of gas, at least. The next one will cover rent and hopefully buy some more gas. This time we have $40 for food/gas for 2 weeks. :( Thus, the assistance from the Church. We have a high gas need right now because Jess is going to Orlando at least one day next week for job hunting. You have to apply in person at Disney... weird, huh? But I'm cool with it. Hopeful that he'll speak to someone who will be impressed. ^_^

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I managed to forget...

We (Ria and I) had a really amazing experience that I forgot to share in the entry yesterday.

On Sunday, after church, I was sitting in the kitchen and Ria came over and talked to the belly briefly. Then, out of nowhere she said, "Baby, can you hear me!?" Almost immediately the baby kicked DIRECTLY toward the direction of Ria's voice! I was so amazed that I asked her to do it again. The SAME thing happened. That was just too amazing. She had her hand on my belly for the second one and she thought it was awesome, so she did it again... and, can you guess? YES! The baby kicked right up at her voice!

So, Ria and I are just certain that this baby is ONE SMART COOKIE! Another smarty to add to the Gollihugh Clan's Smart Troupe! ^_^ Pretty amazing, right?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Keep Keepin' On

No new news, really, which is why I haven't written. Last week was REALLY bad for my walks. I only did one of the regular duration. The others were totally lame and only amounted to about 20-30 minutes each day (2 other days than the regular walk). I'm back on track this week, though. Yesterday and today I did around my 60 minute goal. It was SUPER painful yesterday and only a tiny bit less so today. My hips started to MAJORLY act up again last week. MAN, what I would give for a chiropractor like the Wynkoops in Va Beach!!! ahwell... I'm trying to REALLY stick with my walking, especially in light of the hip pain because I'm certain it got worse at the end of the week as I didn't walk (my long walking time) for more and more days in a row! Definitely don't want to deal with that sort of thing during labor!!!

A new newlywed couple moved into Flagler Beach recently and we crossed paths when I was out on my walk yesterday. They ended up stopping by later (as we were getting home), bearing a turtle to show the girls. If you don't know my kids in person, you won't get the tickle of knowing how WEIRD they are around living things they've never been in touching distance of before. Mary Kay would ask them if they liked the turtle and they both pretty much said yes, but then when she would put it near them they would BOTH shrink away from it like it was a scarry monster or something. It was pretty funny. Tim and Mary Kay came in for a visit (thank GOODNESS I'd just swept the house earlier! ^_^) and Mary Kay asked Ria to read for her husband. Mary Kay is our chorister and she's been duly impressed with Ria's reading ability. :) A sure pleasure for Mama to have someone else mentioning my child's ability, I must say. And, really, since the secret was let out when Ria gave her talk in Primary other women have told people about it MUCH more than I ever have... except for here in my Blog. This is actually the only form of sharing my children's accomplishments that I actually DO. I figure their abilities will show themselves sooner or later. And if people ask me things I do, of course, share what they can do and how we've come to that. ^_^

Anyway... it was a wonderful visit! We had FHE after they left. Both girls really love FHE. You might not know it with Kat since she's wandering hither thither and yon during much of it. But she definitely learns a lot even though she's not sitting right there and attentive the way Ria does/is. They are DEFINITELY two different children! ^_^

I've been SUPER engaged with the "work" I'm doing. It IS actually work that I get paid for, but the pay is pretty piddly. However, given our situation at this time, I feel it's really necessary even though it takes my attention off the girls a LOT more than I would prefer. I'm also not crocheting like I really need to as a result. But such is life, I suppose. I'm working for ChaCha. Have you heard of it?

Well, if you check it out and want to be a part, I would LOVE it if you would use my email as your reference. secretsshallebb@hotmail.com If you do, you'll be part of my "team" and I'll be able to get 10% of whatever you answer. That doesn't make much sense if you don't know what it is... ChaCha is this new SMS answering service. It's pretty neat, I think. The pay is pretty bad, but every little bit adds up and I'm sure there are people without kids and no job who make pretty good money (since they have a lot more time to devote). Basically people submit questions via call, text, or computer to ChaCha. ChaCha routes the questions to Guides (like me) and the Guides answer them by searching the web (and sticking within some pretty specific rules/boundaries for those answers) and submitting the answer/info within 160 characters to the person who requested the info. Pretty neat stuff. I think it was introduced widely at the Sundance Film Festival. Anyway. I've been doing it for about a week (a little less, actually) and I'm up to just over $50 and I haven't yet worked tonight. My answer time is getting better, which will inevitably mean I can earn more as I answer more questions per minute and so forth. Check it out and tell me what you think. :)

I have pictures to upload, but my program (for the camera we have) is throwing fits, so I don't know when I'll get them. Hopefully in the near future.

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