Friday, August 24, 2012

6 Month Closet Challenge

I have way too many clothes - That's not the problem. Ok, maybe it is. But another problem is that I don't wear most of them anyways. I've seen this idea on Pinterest and other blogs and figured I'd give it a go. Here is a picture of my side of the closet.

Yes, I sort my closet by color - It just makes finding clothes so much easier! I have an extra closet rod that hangs from the first one. I got it from Walmart, it is this one. What you can't see is that some of my clothes spill over into Aaron's side. I also have some winter clothes in plastic totes under the girls' bed. Oh yeah, and all of my dresses and skirts are hanging in the girls' closet too.

See how the rod is bulging? That's even after I've adjusted it a little bit for the picture!All of my jeans are on the top shelf (can you see how many pairs I have? Half of them need mending or I'm too chubby for. Le sigh), along with special shoes that I keep in their boxes.

Getting to the point - If you'll notice, I've turned all my hangers the wrong way on the closet rod. The idea is that if you wear one of the items, hang it up the right way after you're done wearing and or washing it. After six months any clothes on  hangers that are still the wrong way should be donated.

I've set the calendar on my phone for six months... Let's see how I do!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Big, BIG Changes!

I'm a terrible blogger - But at least I can own up to it! Honestly, I don't care. My thought is that if I am too busy actually living that I don't have time to blog then good for me!

I'm married now. Yep, you read that right! We had a small family wedding mid-July and it was perfect. There was only one disaster day of, caused by a 10 lb fur ball, but other than that everything went according to plan. You can view pictures of the wedding here. Aaron's SIL is a photographer and so graciously offered to do our pictures. She did an exceptional job and I couldn't have asked for more! I am so thankful to you, Tara! I'll probably do another post of just wedding pics and I'll credit/link up to everyone involved.

We honeymooned in Las Vegas and had a really good time! Let's just say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Ok, just kidding! We found discount tickets to Cirque du Soleil's Mystere and it was so cool! Other than the show we did a ton of walking, eating, and lounging around. It was extremely hard for me to get back to daily life after the wedding and honeymoon were over!

After our honeymoon we moved in together. It was so much work and we still haven't gotten completely settled in. With Aaron and I each living on our own for so long we ended up having double of some items and just a lot of things that we don't need. I think most of that is me, I have so much stuff! We have the bulk of things setup, it is the small details that need work. Curtains, decorations, etc... We'll get there, but I'm not sure how soon!

Besides the news of the wedding, I should also share that I enrolled in nursing school!!! I signed away my life for about $60K of student debt and start at the end of August! I'm nervous, excited, anxious and feel like I am going to throw up all at the same time when I think about it! I am doing an accelerated program that lasts 22 months and when I graduate I'll be an RN. I have given my notice at work and am trying to stay focused during the last few weeks. It is SO hard! They haven't found a replacement for me yet, which is somewhat of a worry. I guess I can't stress too much, because soon it will no longer be my responsibility. I'll miss my coworkers, but am more excited to move on with life. I am still kicking myself for not listening to my mom when she told me to go to nursing school after I graduated high school. I guess you live and you learn!

Things with the kids change on a daily basis. Same with Aaron's ex-wife. One day we're all happy-go-lucky each living our separate lives and the next is major fighting or accusations being thrown around. I've only been face to face with her once and it was a miserable experience. I just wish we could stop playing the "he said," "she said," stuff and move on. It is interesting, seeing how much the kids pick up when no one says anything. Don't let them fool you by their age, they are super intelligent! I still adore them and care for them a lot. It is hard to show it sometimes, their mother has told them I am not allowed to hug them or pick them up (seriously?!) so I always wait for them to come to me. I know life isn't easy for them and try to put myself in their shoes so I can understand their actions and feelings. Sometimes they say they don't like things at our house, the activities we do, our food, etc... not because they don't actually like it, but because they feel they have to be loyal to their mom and automatically hate me. I wish it wasn't that way, but all kids with divorced families go through that. We try to have family prayer every night they are with us, and soon we'll start having scripture study. I feel like I am always nagging, and it isn't a good feeling. I know it is just part of (step)motherhood, but it's going to take some time getting used to it. The first few years will be the hardest, but Aaron and the kids are definitely worth it. I love them all so much!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ginger Peach Lemonade

I actually made this last summer, but didn't get it posted in time and have been anxiously waiting to post it this summer!

We had a Relief Society potluck and not having an oven I am kind of limited to how much stuff I can bring. I volunteered for a drink and went to work searching for recipes. I couldn't find what I wanted, so I took a recipe and added to it!

I doubled the basic lemonade recipe found here, Then I added ginger and peaches! I used a very fine cheese grater and shredded a chunk of fresh ginger (after I peeled it). Once it was shredded I'd say it was about 1/4 of a cup. I added that, as well as one peach (I did not remove the skin from the peach), shredded the same way, to the simple syrup and let it boil for a minute. After that I followed the recipe and added everything together. I shredded another peach and another 1/4 cup of fresh ginger, then sliced a peach to be floating at the top. I let it sit overnight, but only because I didn't have time to make it the day of the activity. I'd recommend letting it sit in the fridge for a few hours before enjoying!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Step Family Class Week One

One day while driving around Aaron saw a billboard for step family classes. After going to the website from the billboard we decided to sign up. It is a six week program run by Utah State University. We thought it would be a good idea not only for Aaron and I, but the kids as well, if they were willing to go (and if his ex wife was ok with it). They are on Thursday nights in Orem, although they have several different locations and schedules to attend. We just figured this one would be the easiest. The program provides a free meal and dessert to the family as well!

I was pretty nervous for the first class, but looking back it was totally silly to feel that way.We invited Aaron's ex wife, but she didn't come. Maybe that's why I was nervous, because I thought she was going to be there. I haven't met her yet. All four kids came with us and we had pizza and salad for dinner. After dinner they divided us up by age groups. The adults/couples all stayed in the main room, kids five and under went to a playroom, kids 6 - 11 went to one class with a designated teacher and kids 12-18 went to another class. Aaron's kids are 5, 7, 9, and 11, so the older three were all in the same class.(Their names are Dacia, Kasia, Tagan, and Sierra, respectively)

When it was just the adults in the room they put bowls of M&M's on each table. They instructed us to each take some, but we weren't allowed to eat them. After a minute they explained that for each M&M we took, we had to share a fact about ourselves. I can't remember how many I grabbed, I think it was around 6 or 7. One guy grabbed like 16! So they capped the facts at 10. it was a fun little activity and would be great for a simple "get to know you" game. It was interesting to go around the room and hear a little bit about each of the couples; how long they had been married, how many kids they each had individually, how many they had together, etc... In one couple the wife had 3 kids, the husband had 3 kids, they had one together and they had just found out they were pregnant with twins! CRAZY. Aaron and I had the least amount, since I don't have any. We were the only couple where one spouse didn't have any kids, and we were also the only couple who was engaged. Everyone else had been married for at least a few years. Once we shared about ourselves they let us eat the M&M's. :)

After going around the room and hearing about everyone we went straight into a lesson. They showed a true or false questionnaire on a big screen and had us go through each of the questions individually, then as a class we went over them. The questions were mainly about what most people think of divorce nowadays compared to 100 or 200 years ago. The answers were shocking!! I wanted to share some of them, but I seem to have misplaced my handouts with notes on it. If I find it later I'll come back and edit this post, but for now, some divorce/remarriage stats I wrote down in my notebook.

- About 1/2 of first marriages end in divorce
- About 65% of couples who have divorced have kids
- 75% of divorced people remarry, most within 2 years
- About 1/2 of marriages in a year are remarriages
-Remarriages are most at risk within the first 5 years (this one is scary, but of course I can see how it is true)

After the bulk of the lesson they gave us another handout and wanted us to list our favorite thing to do with each of the family members. They also had a section at the bottom that had questions like, "If I could change one thing about our family it would be..." After about 5 minutes of completing the handout they brought the kids from ages 6 to 18 back in the room. They had filled out a similar worksheet and we were to each to share ours. The kids worksheet had the same information on it, but it was in a different layout. Theirs had a big flower and they were to fill out a family member for each of the petals. Aaron's second oldest, Tagan, who is 9 didn't take anything serious and filled everything out with either burping or farting. He told us he hid under the table through most of their class time and made farting noises by putting his hand in his armpit. He wouldn't discuss anything serious with us about his worksheet and wandered away to one of the couches in the room. I'm not sure if he thinks that by avoiding talking about it and ignoring his feelings they will go away or what. Kasia was really good about sharing hers, but didn't put me in one of the petals. It kind of hurt my feelings, but I can't hold that against her. Technically, I'm not a family member yet. Sierra included me on hers, and she wrote that she doesn't know me very well yet, but she is trying. Out of all the kids, Sierra has probably been the most open about her feelings and accepting of me. It is probably because she is the oldest, but it does make me feel a little better.

After sharing what we learned in class they brought the younger group of kids in and we all had dessert. They served us giant cookies, like the ones from Costco. We asked Dacia what they did in her class, and pretty much they just played the whole time - must have been fun! As soon as they served dessert they basically said everyone could leave when they were ready. We were the last ones to leave, as we were still discussing some things with the kids. At one point Kasia was standing on a chair and asked her dad to pick her up. I offered to pick her up and put her down on the ground and she told me her mom told her I was not allowed to pick up or hold her or Dacia. Ouch. I knew she wasn't saying it to be hurtful, it was completely innocent and she was only repeating what he mom told her and following her mother's rules. Aaron got down on her eye level and asked why her mom said that. She told us it was because I was not a mommy or daddy and only mommies or daddies could hold their kids. Aaron asked about grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, or family friends (he named his best friend and his wife by name). She didn't know how to answer. Aaron then asked her what she thought about me picking them up. She just stared at him with an unsure look on her face. I told Kasia and all the kids that I am not their mom, that they will always have their mom and dad no matter what, but I am the girl who their dad is marrying. We left right after that. I was really bugged by the whole situation, but I wasn't going to let the kids see. Aaron could tell though and after I was back at my house in Salt Lake we talked about it a little.

Marriage is difficult in any situation, regardless of a previous divorce or whether or not kids are involved. Do people still get married?? You bet they do! I know this isn't going to be easy, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to marry Aaron.

Lastly, I want to share a quote that was presented in class and I felt was important:

"To marry again represents the triumph of hope over experience."
-Samuel Johnson

I feel this is especially true for Aaron. I'm so grateful to have been introduced to him.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Proposal

If I haven't told you already, or you haven't guessed it yet - I'm engaged!! Here's how it all went down:

Aaron and I had been texting back and forth throughout the day and we decided I'd go down to his house in Provo after I got off work and he would come up here on Wednesday night. A few hours later I realized I had a doctor's appointment down in Provo on Wednesday and I'd be down there anyways. Aaron said he would go ahead and come up to my house. He actually beat me there! I had to run a few errands after work and got home around 6.

When I got there I started preparing a simple dinner, chicken salad sandwiches. I took a huge shortcut and used canned chicken because I was already hungry and didn't much feel like cooking. We ate dinner sitting next to each other on my sad excuse for a couch like we always do. After we ate we went outside for a bit and were looking at my backyard (If you saw it you would understand) before deciding to go on a walk. We put the dog on a leash and walked a few blocks. After we got back to my house I was telling Aaron how in the summer there is a water fountain at the mall by my house and they have live music. Similar to The Gateway, kids run and play in the water fountain. I was telling him it is nice to get frozen yogurt and sit and watch the kids play. I told him I wondered if it was open and he suggested we go to City Creek because we for sure knew it was open. Usually when he comes up here if we go anywhere we take my car, and vice versa, if I go down to Provo we take his truck. I hopped in my car and he said he had to get his wallet out of his truck. Little did I know, he was getting the ring!

We didn't want to pay for parking at City Creek, so we drove around to the north side of the Temple and walked in the Temple gates. I figured we would just walk straight through to City Creek, but when he gently tugged my hand in the direction of the reflection pool I was a little suspicious. I didn’t question it and I just followed along. We walked on the south side of the Temple and were pointing out how the stars at certain points were right side up and how some of them were turned. Then we got to the pool and sat on the bench. I was looking up at the top of the Temple and was talking about the Sun, Moon, and Star symbols (for an explanation of what they mean click here and scroll down to Temple Symbolism) and pointed out the clouds. I felt something on my finger so I looked down; he had slipped a ring on my finger and said, “Kayleigh, will you marry me?”

Of course I said yes! And since I’m such a baby I instantly started crying, we hugged and kissed (don’t worry, we kept it PG) and I cried some more. We sat and talked for a little longer before walking the rest of the way around Temple Square. We did eventually make it to City Creek, but it was after all the shops were closed. We also drove around the Capitol Building; I wanted to get out and walk down to the park, but it was dark and we decided we'd go back another time with the kids. I had a perma grin for the rest of the night! 

Aaron said he has had a ring for about a month now. He also said he was going to propose last week, but the weather wasn't cooperating. I'd told my mom yesterday that I thought he was going to propose, but when plans changed and he ended up coming up here I didn't think it would happen... But I'm so glad it did!

Sorry for the bad pic, it is hard taking a picture of yourself when you can't see what you are doing! You can totally tell I had been crying, too!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Update

I know I posted that I was in a relationship less than a month ago, but.. It was long overdue. Anyways, We're getting married! No, it isn't official yet, as in I don't have a ring, but we have looked. Yes, lots of people think we (more specifically, I) are crazy.

We are only having a teeny tiny wedding with family and one friend each. No reception. We would like to get married in the Temple, but it's proving difficult as Aaron was sealed to his ex-wife. We've been told many different things about the process of being able to get married in the Temple and it has been very emotional for me. Both Aaron and I have met with our Bishops and started the process (whatever it may be), but we can't schedule an appointment at the Temple until we have the letter of approval in our hands. We've been told it will take 6 - 8 weeks. To make matters worse, the Salt Lake Temple is closing for the summer from June 24th to August 13th. Getting married in July or August isn't really an option due to other circumstances. We want to get married in 9 weeks, so I'm nervous about everything. I've already cried on multiple occasions and am so stressed about everything. We're hoping and praying it will all work out!

Monday, March 26, 2012

"In a Relationship"

I've been pretty vague about this guy, but it's time I write about him. Aaron. I mentioned him in one of my Valentine's Day posts, just not by name. He is seriously the sweetest guy ever. I was introduced to Aaron at the beginning of November by a friend from my old singles ward in Orem. She is married now, and her sister's husband is married to Aaron's best friend. 

We first met on a blind date back in November. I was skeptical; how many blind dates actually work out? Slim to none, I know. Not only that, he is divorced with four little ones. I figured I would just go out with him the one night and never hear from him again. I've had lots of dates like that. And the four children scared me! But my friend talked him up a lot and told me he was a really good guy. For our first date we went ice skating at seven peaks and then made pizza. It was Aaron and I plus the two other couples; Ashley and her husband Josh (Ashley is Amanda's little sis) and Amanda and Jake (Jake is Aaron's best friend). 

At the end of our first date Aaron walked me out to my car and was totally a smooth operator and asked me for my number. There was no hesitation, I had a really good time and he was easy to talk to. And he was cute, too! I figured I could just date him for fun and at least have some good dating experiences. We've gone out at least once a week since then. There were a few times where I considered telling him I couldn't handle the kids and ex wife and couldn't see him anymore. I'm so glad I didn't. I was so caught up in being scared about that stuff that I had a hard time seeing Aaron for who he really is and that those things can be worked through. I was also hung up on the fact that I want kids. We talked about it and worked through everything - he told me he wants more kids (just not too many!). I got over all of my worries and fell for him head over heels.

Not everyone in my family is supportive of my relationship, but I can't let that bother me. That's their problem. They haven't even met Aaron! He is seriously a good guy. I can't even explain it. He is the sweetest and most thoughtful guy ever and he is a really good dad. And speaking of him being a dad, I met his littles this last weekend. Not only them, but two of his brothers, their wives and children. I was SO stressed about it, and truth be told it was silly of me to worry. I was worried that I wouldn't know what to talk about with his kids, worried that their mom had trained them to automatically hate me, etc... They are super cute kids and they each have very different, yet similar, personalities. His oldest is 11. Yikes. But that's ok. I met her last Tuesday night, just Aaron, Sierra, and I. She had a dentist appointment up in Salt Lake (oh yeah, Aaron lives in Provo and his ex in Lehi/Highland) and I'd told him that growing up my mom sometimes took us for ice cream or a milkshake after going to the dentist because we couldn't eat anything and the cold felt good on our teeth. He suggested I meet up with them for froyo. I think I was more nervous to meet Sierra than the other three. Anyways, it went well and Aaron texted me later saying that Sierra told him she liked me. Saturday I just tried to breathe when I got nervous, thought about everything I was saying (just so it couldn't be taken the wrong way if it got back to their mom) and tried to have fun. I definitely did!

Our plan for Saturday was to meet up with Aaron's brother, wife and son at City Creek/Temple Square before Aaron, the kids and I went to a Real soccer game. After meeting up with everyone else we chatted for a while and let the kids play in the water at Temple Square before heading to the game. The game ended up being sold out and I felt so bad. Aaron had really talked the game up to the kids and they were looking forward to it. We got rain checks for a later game and ended up going back to my house to play with the dog. The kids loved Kingston! They had a lot of fun playing with him and didn't want to leave. I think they wore Kingston out, he went right to sleep after they left. Aaron told me yesterday that his third oldest said that Saturday was the best day ever. And his youngest asked if they could go back to Kingston's house. How cute is that?! Aaron is such a good dad. Watching him play and interact with his kids was the cutest thing ever, I don't even know how to describe it. It just melts my heart!

*Please ignore the fact that I look disgusting and we didn't do much posing. It was hard to tell when the pictures were being snapped and after we left the booth we realized that there had been props! I totally wanted another run, but there was a line and I didn't want to make the girl running the booth mad.

 So there you have it.