Thursday, July 29, 2010

Special Jocelyn Time

My mother sometimes tells stories about how she'd keep me home from kindergarten just to have me to herself. I was the baby, and maybe it was hard to let go.

I don't remember those days, but I imagine them and how special they must have been for both of us.


Tonight, I just wanted to play with my almost-no-longer-a-baby baby. Justin worked late so it was just the two of us.We went to the store and I bought her an adorable watermelon dress. We ate McDonald's chicken nuggets and fries without a vegetable in sight. We sat together and watched two entire episodes of Super Why. We played with her toys. Walked around outside until she sat in the gutter. I kept her up an hour past her bedtime to just be together and play. But as my mother taught me, sometimes it's okay to "break the rules" a bit and make a special memory.

I love being a mom.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Unplanned Life of a Perpetual Planner

My 27th birthday - a month before my official diagnosis with endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

I like to plan. I have already planned my funeral. I have planned exactly what I would do with a windfall of money. In fact, I have several plans ranging on the amount—anywhere from $10k to $5 million (yeah, I’m an optimist!).  I have our whole ten-year anniversary trip to Venice planned (which seems doubtful we can afford unless the aforementioned windfalls happens within the next ten months). I have a backup trip to Myrtle Beach planned. I have the entire menu planned for the breakfast restaurant I dream of opening someday. I’ve even picked out the name. I have detailed outlines of three to four novels I’ve already planned on writing.

See what I mean? I am a planner.

(I am not always the best at following through, but I am trying to get better at that.)

Planning a family is hard when you’re infertile. I think my biggest jealousy of the fertile masses is because of their ease in family planning. I had to give up some of my planning OCDness when we adopted Jocelyn. It was totally out of our hands. Talk about a nightmare for a planner! But as soon as we had Jocelyn, we started planning our next adoption. We already had planned the number of children we wanted and how far spaced they should be.

But like I said before, planning a family is hard when you’re infertile.

I am feeling so impotent lately.

Jocelyn is 15 months old now. We’ve been thinking about a lot about a sibling for her lately.  It’s hard to plan an adoption. It took us a little less than a year to get Jocelyn. But the wait for baby number 2 could be much less—or much more. So we have to plan for that. Once you’re on that adoption list, you could get called any time. I know people who have literally only been on the list two weeks and been called. And I’ve known people who have waited several years. Do you see my dilemma?

We’re thinking the time to get back on that list is fast approaching. We talked about being on the list when Jocelyn was 18 months old. That way, if we got a baby right away, we could handle it. Sure, they’d be close, but we don’t have the luxury of planning. And if we had to wait a couple years, they wouldn’t be obnoxiously far apart.

But, alas, there are more things to consider than just timing.

Money.

This time a year ago, we were in a pretty tight spot. After a year of expensive fertility treatments, then extending ourselves for adoption expenses, taking the maximum maternity leave, and then paying for all the new baby expenses (not to mention Justin having to take an unexpected and unpaid leave of absence for work), our savings were depleted and our debts were high.

We’ve recouped a lot in the past 12 months. Which feels really great. Our budget is in much better shape. We have slashed some debts and have saved a few meager pennies.

Still, I’m afraid we are in no shape to do that all again. We could probably afford the homestudy and fees related to getting on the list. With some creative budgeting and allocation of assets, we could maybe manage the placement fee…and possibly the medical expenses. But then when I think about taking 3 months off work…and subsequently enrolling another child in daycare and doubling that bill, my heart sinks. It seems impossible.

I know all things are possible. I know that sometimes you have to take a risk and just figure it out. I know that if you wait until finances are all ready, things probably won’t ever happen. I know that Jocelyn’s getting older every day—and I want our kids to be no more than 3 years apart.

But I also wanted to have my first kid by the time I was 25. That didn’t happen, and it wasn’t the end of the world. I also really wanted to not have to work and be able to stay home with daughter. That hasn’t happened—and I’m still trying to convince myself it’s not the end of the world.

Frankly, I have to work to afford my child(ren). Justin’s job took a lot of education—and doesn’t have the highest salary. We have issues like broken cars. We have the same issues as everyone. And we’re better off than a lot of other people out there. I am so lucky to have a good, stable job with generous benefits. But still…I would rather be at home with a messy little toddler. I worry that the fact that I work and don’t stay home will deter other birth moms from picking me. If I were hand-picking a mother, I’d want a stay-at-home mom.

This post is kind of meandering. And kind of whiny. But I am just having one of those moments. See what happens when a planner can’t plan? Everything turns into a whiny mess.

Sometimes I wonder if we need to scale back our family dreams. Less kids. Maybe just be done. Maybe it’s not something we can think about for five or six years. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll get that windfall I’ve planned for. J





P.S. I like the name of this post. I think that's what I'll title my autobiography.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Any Word Press Experts?

Are any of you WordPress masters? My husband (with some of my writing skills) is starting a website/blog. We bought our domain name and set it up through Word Press. We found a Word Press theme we like and installed it. And now...none of the links work and I can't figure the bleeping thing out.

So...I'm asking for help. Any ideas? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Favorite Summer Meal

Summer's in full swing. Hot July days. In Idaho where no one has air conditioning, cooking is practically a cardinal sin.

This is one of my favorite meals. Chicken salad in cantaloupes. Now, I was thrown by the cantaloupe container the first time Justin told me to serve it that way (he had eaten these at a work function). But it's actually really good.

Check it out.



Cooked chicken (canned works fine, too)
Mayonnaise
Garlic salt
Chopped green onions
Chopped celery
Cashews or slivered almonds
Grapes chopped in half


Mix together. Serve on rolls or in cantaloupe halves.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Proposed Zoning Laws Could Ruin Idaho Forests


Guys, it's late. I am not feeling all that well. But I have to post something really important for all my peeps who live in Bingham County.

Tomorrow night there is a public hearing followed by a vote by the county commissioners that could change the laws and allow 490-foot tall windmills to be build in lands zoned for natural resources (canyons, forestlands, scenic vistas, etc.). I am not against wind power, but I do believe that we need to protect and preserve our forests. Frankly, Idaho doesn't have that many trees. :)

I want to get more into it, but I am so exhausted. I've worked so many late nights in the past week. Check out my friend Stefanie's blog for some more details. And please, exercise your voice as a citizen and come to the public hearing tomorrow to let the commissioners know how you would like them to vote. They are public servants and need to know how we feel.

7:00 pm
Planning and Zoning Ordinance Meeting
Bingham County Courthouse
Courtroom #1
501 North Maple Street
Blackfoot, ID
 
If the the zoning ordinances pass, it will set precedent in Idaho and before we know it, these huge windmills could be in all our natural lands - places like Island Park and Sun Valley. I don't have anything against windmills - I think it can be a really great alternative - but we have to make sure they are in the right places and that we don't compromise our beautiful natural lands for them.

Let me know if you want to carpool!

The Universe Wants Me to Have a Wii

My company picnic is awesome. Just awesome. There is nothing else like it, I swear. Roasted pigs. Unlimited snow cones, cotton, candy, popcorn, and soda. Games like 3-legged races and wheel barrow races. Wading pools for the kids. Pony rides. Mini golf. Play lands. Helicopter rides for contest winners. And prizes. Oh, the prizes.

But in order to qualify for the prize drawings, you have to be present. Two years ago, I didn't go. My name was drawn for a Wii. I was so mad at myself for not going. I wanted a Wii so bad, but we had decided not to afford one. So winning one would've been so awesome.

Well, we finally got one this past Christmas and we've really loved it.

Anyway, back to the picnic.


Justin with Joci on his shoulders. There were like 5 of those ginormous tents.


Fun stuff for the kids. Joci is too young to enjoy it fully, but there's always next year!


Mini golf


Afton going down the slide


Joci is not big on sweets. Justin gave her blue cotton candy. She tried to pull it out of her mouth but it had already dissolved. She was so confused. Funny!


At the end of the day, I came home with this prize...a Nintendo Wii.

How ironic! Of all the prizes...PS3's, flat screen TVs, outdoor patio furniture sets, cameras, trips to Disneyland, grills, and on and on....and this is what I won. I guess the universe really wanted me to have a free Wii!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Catching Up on Summer

I have some catching up to do. The good news is that means we've been enjoying our summer! Lots of pictures!

Jocelyn helped me plant flowers.


She loved getting all dirty


We fished Henry's Lake and didn't catch anything but "weed fish."


We stayed at a cabin in Island Park

We enjoyed peanut butter sandwiches with Grandma's homemade plum jam

Jocelyn sat in the dog's water dish. Can you see the water pouring out?

Jocelyn's getting so good at walking

We went to my brother's company party at Heise. We took Joci swimming for the first time.





3 month old Paige even enjoyed the pool!


Jordan and Afton went down the water slide a few times.

It was a little fast for Afton.



Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fourth of July Recap

Sorry for the lack of posts. They are building up in my head, but not on the blog. My family came for the famous Idaho Falls Independence Day Freedom Celebration (ranked in the nation's top 10). Everyone but my sister Julie. We missed her. But she is on the phone in this picture. :)


Lots of fun. My dad brought his boat and was able to take those who wanted to fishing and boating. We had a barbeque in my yard. And while my brothers decided dry ice can be a bit unpredictable and bloody, it's not really a 4th of July celebration without homemade explosives, so Jordan brought the potato launcher he built.






The Melaleuca Fireworks show was as awesome as ever. Joci did pretty good for staying up so late. Thank goodness Grandma was there to entertain her and take her for walks. When the fireworks started, Joci was enthralled. She sat in her stroller and stared at the sky, kicking her legs and clapping with glee.

Joci with Grandpa at the fireworks. I forgot her jacket so she wore my hoodie. It was kind of chilly.


Trying to keep warm. Grandpa even put that red cloth napkin around his neck to the keep the chill off. :)


Our little firecracker with Justin and Grandma H.


This is my favorite holiday. I LOVE family. I LOVE the craziness of homemade explosives. I LOVE macaroni salad and ding dongs wrapped in tinfoil and grilled beef. I LOVE the fireworks. Our town coordinates the fireworks with a radio program that fuses great music and narrations and snippets of historical speeches. I admit, it always makes me teary eyed thinking of our freedom and the great visions of the men and women of yesterday who created our constitution, broadened our freedoms, fought for it and for the freedom of others, and on and on. My heart just swells. Those things just speak to my spirit. I know that God ordained those men and His hand is evident in the birth of this nation - the rabble of villages fighting against one of the best trained armies in the world and winning. My heart gets so full.


A photo I took that night.

I am SO grateful that we live in a peaceful land. I know that we have troops overseas and security issues all over, but the fact that I can overeat crazy-unhealthy food, launch potatoes in my backyard, and sit amongst the community by the river to watch a beautiful display of fireworks reminds me how much peace and freedom I have on a daily basis. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Check Out My Amazing Daughter



These past few weeks have been really busy with visitors and madness at work. Sorry about the lack of posts. Check out my cutie baby. This was filmed last night. It's only been 2 weeks since she took her first steps and she's already mastered standing up unassisted, picking up objects, and walking around. Maybe I'm just a proud parent, but I think she's pretty amazing. She's quite coordinated with the ball. She loves to play with it and we will play catch for pretty long stretches of time - like 20 minutes straight. She'll also pick it up, toss it in the air, and catch it herself over and over again.

She was playing with my cell phone about 20 minutes ago. I don't usually let her, but she's not been feeling that great and I was trying to avoid the drama of taking something away from her. Plus, Justin was right by her, keeping an eye on what she was doing. Well, in the blink of an eye she managed to unlock my phone and place a call. Not to Indonesia or Rhode Island. No - she called the cops! How embarrassing to have them call back and take down our names and address. Oh boy. She's never playing with a cell phone again!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oh, My Inner Tween Is Screaming!

Not for Team Edward or Team Jacob...but for the Babysitter's Club!

Ann M. Martin is writing a prequel to the Babysitter's Club series...and I am excited. Justin, if you read this, here's an idea for my birthday: then entire BSC series. Totally cheesy and lame, but I *heart* them.


Anyone else? Who was your favorite? I always liked Stacy. And Dawn. And Logan Bruno was my first crush!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Go Hillcrest Knights! Ten Year Reunion

Guess what I was doing ten years ago?

Well, ten years, one month, and ten days ago?

Graduating from high school!

See, Mom, I actually did something right...wink, wink. :)

This week I enjoyed attending my ten year high school reunion. Thursday night we attended a family barbeque at one of my favorite parks where I took swimming lessons as a child. And last night we attended an adults-only dinner at the high school catered by Johnny Carino's.

My graduating class of 2000 had 304 students in it. I think maybe 50 people showed up last night (that includes spouses) and at the barbeque there were probably twice that many people - a lot of them different people, and of course, they had their kids too.

I felt a little awkward at first, and then it just clicked. It was very natural, just like seeing these people in the halls every day for 4 years. Except most of them I'd seen since middle school - so 7 years. And a good chunk of them went to preschool and elementary school with me - so, yeah, I've known a lot of these people for a good portion of my life. It was good to see them again and say hello and catch up. There weren't too many surprises. Justin Baker is finishing his PhD in biomedical engineering or some kind of nonsense. He was always an over-achiever. :) Jackie Hartzler is a successful attorney, like she always said she was going to be. . John Hendricks is getting his master's degree in Human Resources (you can't deny that he's a people person!), Jessica Doggett is a teacher, I bet she sure is fun. Some people are mechanics and salesmen. Stay-at-home moms. Doctors. Just a lot of awesomeness. Maybe the biggest surprise was hearing Jon Loop is now a Catholic priest. He was always so argumentative about religion - agnostic and borderline atheist.

I sat with my high school bestie Vanessa and our good friend Jackie and their husbands Jason and Scott, respectively. Oh, and my husband was there too. I am so glad that Justin was on board with going to this reunion. He didn't complain once. I know he was happy that Jason would be there because we've hung out together several times. But boy were they being silly last night!

Our class president, Robert Sullivan, had us all stand up and talk about what we've done for the last ten years. About a third of the way through the introductions, Jackie whispered to me that the speeches were kind of depressing and no one seemed very excited about their lives. We kept hearing comments like, "I just stay at home." And "I still live in town." "We just own a small business." Anyway...I decided "just" and "still" are naughty words because they take away from the actual satisfaction and accomplishment of life - no matter what phase you're in.

I live very close to where I grew up - and it was a choice I made and I LOVE it!

I have a job that doesn't exactly impress but I am good at it, I enjoy it, and I get paid!

I wish I could afford to stay home with Joci - so there was something particularly sad about those women who said, "I just stay at home with the kids." I can't wait until someday I can say, "I am lucky and thrilled to stay home!"

After dinner, we explored the high school, looked at the pictures on the walls, reminisced and got silly. Justin and I even found a dark hallway and made out - something to make my high school self blush. :) The reunion - both nights - were a lot more fun than I anticipated. And I'm really glad I went.

So in remembrance of Hillcrest High School's Class of 2000, here are some Lara-pictures (my scanner at home died and the one I ended up using didn't have the greatest quality pictures):

Biker-tattoo Lara
(drawn by Joe Ostenson on the bus ride home from the Natural Helpers retreat at Badger Creek, 1996)



Celebrating state drama victory Lara and friends
(Lara, Kelly Callister, Jessica Doggett, Sharla Boyle, and Cady McCowin - slumber party at my house)


Choir-singing Lara
(Sara Ostenson on far left, Amy Brower, Lexi Perry, Lara, Tiffany Yost, and Jessica Doggett)


Cheerleader Lara
(actually this is middle school. Go Dragons! I'm on the bottom right)


Miss Hillcrest Pageant Lara
(1st runner up - 1999)


Old-lady Lara
(Ben Jemmett, Maria Finch, Vanessa Skidmore, and me)


Much Ado About Nothing Lara
(Drama III play, 1999)


High School Graduation Lara
(with Dana Shearer and Melissa Thoreson)

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