Life’s a whirlwind

David A Bednar quote on inspiration

So, we were just floating along living life as usual. Nothing crazy happening, mostly just status quo. It was good. We were happy with it. Except for one little monkey wrench. We had a new baby coming and after a year of searching my husband still didn’t have guaranteed full-time hours as a nurse. If you live in Utah you’ll see a lot of advertisements for nursing schools. They all tout that with a nursing degree you will automatically have a recession proof job helping people. Many of them talk about a nursing shortage. Unfortunately, many of these claims are either exaggerated or downright false. Yes, we will always need nurses, regardless of the economy, but that doesn’t mean that companies won’t try to limit there numbers when times are tough. And there isn’t a nursing shortage yet, the baby boomers haven’t retired. And while jobs CAN be found, most of those jobs are PRN or as necessary (without benefits).

This whole situation has affected our family a lot. Don’t get me wrong, we were some of the blessed ones. My husband was working a lot of hours – he just didn’t have the benefits to back up the work. It was getting disheartening. Then, around Christmas time hubby ran into an old friend from high school who was back in UT visiting family. His friend had moved to Arizona for school and work in the medical field and he mentioned that A) nurses get paid better in Arizona and B) there really IS a need for more nurses there. The bug was planted. My hubby, a man who loves his home town more than anyone I know was considering applying for work in Arizona.

He came home, we discussed it, we did some research about what the job prospects are, we learned about several accredited graduate programs, we prayed, and we decided that hubby needed to start filling out applications in Arizona. We knew that if things went quickly, we could get Arizona residency just in time to start applying for grad school.

Two weeks later, hubby had four job interviews lined up, two days after that he had two offers. Both offering full-time, benefited work, on the floor of his choice.

We were overwhelmed with how quickly everything was falling into place. We felt that the Lord was setting everything up for us, but it was a lot to process in such a short time.

We prayerfully accepted one of the offers and a month later, here we are, living in Arizona. The timing was both perfect and imperfect, convenient and inconvenient. We’re hours away from family and preparing for the arrival of our second child. We’re here just in time to get residency before hubby finishes his BSN. It’s daunting and exhilarating and exciting all at once. And it’s also really frightening and unknown.

It’s times like this that I wish I could see the big picture. It seems like the Lord just illuminates a tiny bit at a time. Here’s your next step – no, you don’t need to know what the step after that is – just trust me and take this step. So we’re stepping with faith that the Lord is in charge, and everything will work together for our good.

The following message by Elder Bednar describes it perfectly

Valentine’s Craft Anyone?

Anyone remember my potential new blog topic?

Amber may be… a wannabe crafter who finds/comes up with cute but ridiculously easy craft ideas and then shares them with you!

Yeah, that one? Well, I thought I’d get one step closer to making it official with another craft idea. This one was inspired by my recent anniversary. We don’t have a lot in the budget, so I thought I would craft a special gift for my wonderful and amazing hubby.

I call it: My cup runneth over. The idea is to make a love jar full of reasons that you love someone. I did 365 – one for every day of the year. Obviously, you don’t have to do the same number I did. You could do 101 reasons you love your sweetheart, or 500, or maybe even 42 (if you have a sci-fi geek of a hubby that would be a great number!). Or, it doesn’t even have to be something to hubby. This could be a family activity where you craft cute love jars and encourage each person to put reasons they love each other in the jar. Awww cute jars, your possibilities are truly endless!

What you need: a mason jar, mod podge, paint brush, cute scrap booking paper with love sayings, lots of reasons you love someone, paper to put those reasons on, scissors to cut the reasons out

Cost: Less than $5 easy!

So, it’s pretty darn easy (as promised in my potential crafter topic name).

1) come up with your lovey dovey reasons (this is the hardest step if you choose to come up with an inordinately large number)

2) type the reasons up and print them out (or physically write them out)

3) cut the reasons out

4) paint your mason jar with a thin layer of mod podge (if you really want it to last you can preface this step with some sand paper to your jar)

5) apply fancy scrapbooking paper bits (I used odds and ends I already had)

6) let dry

7) fill jar with reasons

If you’re an over achiever, make a matching love letter

Voila! A beautiful love jar and a cheap Valentines Day gift.

Easy and Inexpensive Valentines Day Idea

DIY baby leg warmers with matching hair clip

So I’ve been thinking of introducing a new category for a while now. I’m not sure what I would call this category quite yet but the gist of it goes as follows:

    Amber may be… a wannabe crafter who finds/comes up with cute but ridiculously easy craft ideas and then shares them with you!

Too long for a category name? Yeah… I thought so too. Anywho, if I were to do the

    Amber may be… a wannabe crafter who finds/comes up with cute but ridiculously easy craft ideas and then shares them with you!

category I would start with this super easy craft that I did for my baby girl. It’s a simple how to from an awesome blogger that shows you how to make cute leg warmers for your baby/toddler/self – hey the 80’s are totally coming back!

I initially looked up how to make these because I can’t afford a million pairs of pants for my sweet little girl and these are both cute and functional why? Well, let me give you a list:

1. They are cheap: I bought the socks I made these out of for a buck each at the dollar store
2. They are easy: Me plus sewing machine = disaster, let’s put it this way, the last time my mom touched a sewing machine she literally sewed her finger to her project. I take after my mom in a lot of ways so touching a sewing machine is a bad idea for me – for this all I needed was a needle and thread
3. They are quick: Making these socks should only take you 15 minutes to half an hour depending on how fast you are.
4. They are easy with diaper changes: You don’t even have to take them off
5. They protect crawling knees: My little one has only recently started crawling, but her knees get ripped up SO fast!
6. They are warm: Do I need to say more?

Any way just follow this LINK for the warmers and follow her instructions exactly (except for throwing out the scraps, I’ll show you a cute idea for those) And then follow this LINK for the matching hair rosette thing (see I told you to keep the scraps)

Wanna see how it turned out for me? Here are some pics

K, so I made three pairs, but two are currently in the laundry so here’s a super crappy picture that I took with my phone – it should at least give you the idea :)


I found the site to make the clip after the baby had gone to bed, so I have no pictures of her wearing it and the leg warmers. Sorry! Hopefully this will suffice.


Amber may be… a sick mom

I’ve been sick for the last couple of months. Don’t worry! I’m not seriously sick. Nothing life threatening or anything. I just keep catching all these dang viruses floating around. Whether it’s a stomach bug or a cold bug or whatever I catch it. I haven’t gotten sick all the time like this in years. I was kind of a sickly kid, it took me a while to build up my immunity, but eventually it built up and I stopped getting sick every other week. So why has my immune system suddenly failed me? I think I figured it out a couple of weeks ago – it was a flu then – when my father-in-law looked at me and said, “You look terrible!” he then repeated you look terrible something like five times. Thanks Pop! (You have to understand that my in-laws love to tease! So why I may have in all actuality looked terrible he was just repeating it as a joke) He then told me, “You know what I think it is? I think you’ve run yourself ragged and your immunity is gone down.”

That good ol’ father-in-law. He’s a common sense kind of guy and his common sense really clicked. I keep getting sick because I’m a mom and I can’t seem to get better because, well, I’m a mom. Being a mom, as wonderful as it is means:

  • reduced sleep (self explanatory)
  • increased worry (don’t try to tell me not to, ’cause it won’t work!)
  • irregular meals (too busy feeding, watching, entertaining baby to remember to feed myself)
  • less nutrition (sorry, the occasional taste of baby food doesn’t count)
  • inability to rest (if we moms rest a few things happen, first of all the baby cries, the hubby doesn’t feed himself, the house goes to pot, the fish dies, OK OK I don’t have a fish, but if I did it would probably die should I try to rest, basically chaos ensues.
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    Struck by my blessings

    I was walking through my home the other day and I was suddenly struck with how blessed I am. With Thanksgiving just over I guess it’s a natural thing to be struck with, but it was a different kind of struck. I don’t know exactly how to describe it. Think of a clear bell, like the one that signifies an Angel got his/her wings in “It’s A Wonderful Life” – that’s the normal kind of struck, a pleasant sort of ah – ha moment. K, now think of the big bells in Quasimodo’s tower, those huge bells that require a grown man to sound them and have rendered poor Quasimodo deaf over the years. The ones that can knock you over with their power. It’s a struck that isn’t as pleasant but hopefully has more lasting effects.

    You see, my struck came with a measure of shame and embarrassment. I felt like I was one of the nine lepers who didn’t come back to Christ to thank him. Instead I was dwelling on the negative and just skating through without appreciating my amazing life. I was focusing on all the wrong things, mainly all of the THINGS we needed to get done.

    As I looked at my living room I noticed that I have a REALLY nice place to live – a place that I often describe as small, but is far more than we need. When so many families are living in squalor, or squished into one bedroom homes I live in a beautiful two bedroom rental. I noticed that my fridge is full of food when so many are hungry. I noticed the Christmas tree my husband and I lovingly put up – something we don’t really need but are blessed to have. I noticed the pictures on the walls: a large painting done by my husband’s late great grandmother, a photo of our baby when she was only a few weeks old, a wedding photo of myself and my husband. I felt the blessing of a caring and hard working husband, of a beautiful and healthy baby girl, and of an eternal family.

    I was struck with my blessings, and after I took a moment to thank the Lord the Quasimodo bells changed from warning bells to clear strong and resonant bells – still the kind that knock you over, but with Heavenly Father’s love rather than my own shame. And I resolved to do better to remember what’s really important.

    Squid Soup

    For those who don’t know my sweet husband is kind of like alphabet soup. He is currently a CNA, EMT, and LPN. He will soon be an RN. A year after that he will most likely add a BSN, and he plans to go on to get either a DO, MD, or DNP. If you can’t tell already he’s in the medical profession and planning to stay in it. It’s a long haul, but it’s one that he loves and it’s very rewarding.

    This all may seem pretty unrelated to soup, but it’s a necessary introduction if I’m going to tell you the story of what took place after one of his clinicals.

    Hubby works hard, often going from school, to work, and back again. And no day does he work harder than on his clinical days. He has to drive 45 minutes to and from the hospital on top of an all day shift with very few breaks. For this reason – along with the fact that I seem to be infinitely more productive when he’s not home – I try to make dinner special on clinical days. I usually plan ahead and have it hot and ready for him when he gets home.

    On this particular clinical day I decided I would pack up the baby in the stroller and walk a mile to the local Hispanic market in order to get some extra special (and on sale) ingredients. I marched to the market with three dollars in change rumbling in a stroller compartment. Once at the store I purchased two bollos (big rolls) and one seafood mix bag. These were all things I had purchased before with raving success.

    When I got home I made what I lovingly like to call squid soup. It changes every time I make it, but it always has a Mexican seafood mix in it – basically a pre-maid bag of oysters, shrimp, squid tentacles (chewy but good), and fake crab. It took a lot of time and effort, but I was sure it was worth it as I smelled my creation.

    Hubby got home after the mix had been simmering on the pot for two hours, just long enough to let the flavors really meld. We said our prayer, and sat down to eat as my hubby told me about his day in the operating room of the hospital. We both began to eat when hubby stopped and picked up something textured, green, and attached to a squid tentacle.

    “That,” he said, “is an organ.” And he visibly swallowed back what I’m guessing was what he had already eaten of the soup.

    “Just take it out, it was probably in there by mistake,” I told him. I guess the rest of this is pretty predictable. The super on sale seafood mix had more than just a few squid organs in it, and even though my hubby dutifully picked them out and ate his bowel of soup I was crushed. How selfish of me right? But I had spent SO much time and energy on that soup. The entire time I was walking home from the store I was envisioning my hubby’s delighted response to such a special and exotic meal. But after spending all day in the OR looking at live organs he just couldn’t stomach eating squid ones – not that I ate them either.

    Over the course of the week I ate the rest of the left-overs myself knowing that my husband wouldn’t. I’m not gonna lie the squid organ soup was actually pretty tasty but man did I get sick of it. Still, I learned a couple of very important lessons. 1) Don’t buy seafood mix when it’s super on sale at a Hispanic marketplace and 2) if your hubby is kind of like alphabet soup don’t serve him organs of any kind – or else you will have to eat the left overs.

    “skirty” feelings – hee hee

    I got some new shoes the other day. A friend of my cousin’s gave her a bunch of her old shoes and I was lucky enough to fit into some incredibly cute ones! One pair was bohemian orange, and I knew it would match perfectly with an old skirt my mother bought me just before going off to college. And since I recently lost those last two pregnancy pounds I knew it would fit.
    As I put it on, memories of starting college at BYU-Idaho rushed through my whole body. They were the kind of memories where you don’t just remember them – you feel them. I remembered how excited, nervous, and lonely I was those first days at college, but at the same time how excited I was to wear my new skirt. It seems silly when I think about it, but it hasn’t changed, today I’m excited to wear my “new to me” shoes.
    I remember I was the first girl to arrive at my new apartment and I was all alone. I arrived on a Saturday, and the next day – Sunday, I got dressed and ready with the skirt. It wasn’t the first time I’d worn it, but it felt like it was. The skirt is brightly colored and in my hometown in Utah, it would have been considered the latest fashion.
    I walked to church ready to meet new people and enlivened by the spirit of Ricks. As I was walking I heard some girls start to giggle. I turned around quickly, hoping they could be new friends, and smiled at them. They laughed harder and one of them choked out, “Nice skirt!” in a thick southern drawl, they continued their giggle fest until another said, “You look like a moovie staar!” her long nasally voice giving extra emphasis to the words movie star.
    I was mortified. They were making fun of me and my new skirt. I turned red in the face, and quietly said, “Thank you”. Then I turned around and marched to church without looking back, although I couldn’t help but hear their raucous laughter.
    The day wasn’t all bad, one of the girls in my ward would turn out to be a life-long friend, and I tried my hardest to ignore those girls, who I ran into a few more times. I defiantly kept wearing my skirt, refusing to let them dictate my fashions and I soon discovered that there were those who would love me for me – even if I did get teased for being the Utah girl.
    And even though I can’t look at my skirt without remembering my second day at school, I can definitely wear it without worrying about what people think. Because I still think it’s a totally cute skirt! And though I’m still influenced by what others think of me, I’m outgrowing it – Little by little. Need proof? OK, here’s the skirt. I’ll post a picture online. Ta Dah!

    Christian Courage

    One of my all time favorite conference addresses was delivered by Robert D. Hales in 2008 and is entitled Christian Courage. With the current political tide I thought it might be appropriate to point out.

    The talk explains why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints doesn’t always actively defend itself when it is attacked. In my non official interpretation the talk teaches us to turn the other cheek and behave in a Christ like manner when we are confronted about our beliefs.

    It’s definitely worth reading when someone has accused you of being a member of a cult or has announced that you aren’t a Christian.

    I think it’s something we all will need to work on as the election gets more competitive, especially if Romney or Huntsman win the Republican nomination. I know I’ll try to read it before commenting on any news articles or blogs. Just like they said in The Best Two Years – “When you wrestle with a pig you both get dirty, but the pig loves it.”

    Dancing in Wal Mart

    baby with yellow flowersMy husband and I were walking down the grocery isle in Wal Mart. The baby was in her car seat in the main section of the cart and she had just woken up with a big smile. Oh how I love that smile! Nothing fills your soul like the smile from a sweet baby.

    That smile has great influence over me. I will do all kinds of things to coax it out from its hiding places. In this case, I forgot that I was in a very public place surrounded by people, and I began to do a little dance as I wiggled my fingers above my baby, chanting “I’m gonna tickle! I’m gonna tickle!” in a high sing-songy voice.

    The baby laughed and cooed and my husband chuckled. Wanting more of those sweet baby sounds I continued my dance. My husband’s chuckle turned into a full out laugh, and I realized he wasn’t just laughing because of how cute the baby is… at the same moment I realized he wasn’t the only one laughing. I looked up and saw that almost everyone within 20 feet of me was laughing. On the other side of the isle two middle aged men were copying my movements as they laughed and several women were quickly turning their heads so as not to appear as if they were staring.

    Oh dear, I thought, I’m putting on a free comedy improv. “They’re mocking me!” I told my husband, “No, they just think it’s cute.” he told me. “You’re a fun mom.”

    Then it hits me. I may be a cool fun mom now, as I dance in a crowded grocery store for my baby, but in a few short years I will be the so not cool mom who forgets from time to time that free comedy improv doesn’t illicit the same coo and giggle it used to.

    Oh well, I don’t have to think about those days yet. All I have to think about is how to make my baby smile and laugh, because I’ll do all kinds of things to see that smile.

    Sweet Spirits

    I have a lot of faults. I can be lazy, prideful, and generally annoying. Sometimes I procrastinate, show up late, or lose my temper. It’s pretty normal to be imperfect, but if I could snap my fingers and choose one thing to change I would change my general judgemental-ness (there I go again making up words).

    When people treat me well, I’m pretty good about not judging them. But isn’t it the case that those who need love and kindness the most are also the ones that treat us the worse.

    We are all affected by obnoxious people. Whether they are family members, co-workers, school-mates, neighbors, or ward members makes little difference. They’re those people who insist that they are always right and you are always wrong. The ones who have to disagree with everything you say. They’re those people that are always sending little jabs your way whether the jabs are open or thinly veiled.

    And with every mean word, with every criticism, with every dark look it gets harder and harder to like them. I wish I was the kind of person who can just turn the other cheek, that sweet person who just laughs it off and forgets it. I’m sure I’d see an increase in happiness.

    I was talking to my husband the other day, and I mentioned an occasion when one of those obnoxious people had said something rude to him about his schooling. He didn’t remember the occasion. I know it bothered him at the time. I remember his comments when we were alone that night, but after a while he just let it go. He forgot it and regardless of whether he was treated any different (which he wasn’t) he frankly forgave.

    Wow. I’m good at forgiving when people change the way they’re treating me, but when they continue being jerks I just can’t seem to wrap my head around it.

    Instead I tend to judge them. I sit and think about how mean they are when I should be thinking about their situations. When I do that I realize that almost every jerk has a back story. It’s just like in the movies where you learn about the villain’s sad child hood or low self-esteem. Unfortunately, in real life the behavior doesn’t change after having a touching heart to heart. But here’s the thing, who am I to judge?

    I think it’s one of those out of this world concepts I’ll be working on for the rest of my life, one of my big weaknesses, but we’re promised that our weaknesses can become our strengths right?

    So consider this my official online declaration that I will try a little harder when dealing with obnoxious jerks. They may be obnoxious and jerky but they have their own reasons for being obnoxious and jerky and it’s not up to me to judge those reasons (other than to observe and say I won’t act that way).

    Hmmm…I think I’m sounding less than sincere. Does being non-judgemental mean I have to sugar coat everything? What? You think I’m an idiot? Well, that comment doesn’t make you a jerk… it makes you a… sweet spirit. Yeah, that’s it, a sweet spirit. :)