Friday, December 30, 2011


I'm not gonna lie.
Brad and I TOTALLY and COMPLETELY spoiled our kids this Christmas. We bought everything they asked for. (Fortunately they didn't ask for a car or anything that was truly out of budget) I don't know who was more excited for Christmas morning, the kids or Brad and I. And admittedly, it is WAY more fun to give gifts to kids than adults. They just get all giddy and don't care about being proper or adult-like. I love that. And I don't feel bad one bit about doing it either. Our kids deserved to be spoiled. They're good kids. And we deserved to do it. Our kids have had Christmases in the past where they got nothing because we couldn't afford even one thing. They've had lean Christmases too where they all just got what they got from Grandparents (thank goodness for them) and that was all. Of course, our kids never cared, but as a parent, it's heartbreaking to spend Christmas morning staring at a tree with nothing under it or to know that your kids were aching for a particular thing that you couldn't in any way afford to give them.
So we bought everything they asked for and some things they didn't ask for but we knew they'd like. And our kids did most of the Christmas shopping. We let them buy things for each other rather than all the gifts being from us. It was so sweet to hear them tell each other thank-you and give hugs and have Novan say, "thank-you so much Beya! I love you!" when he opened up his Laserbeak transformer. The moments when your kids get along so beautifully are such a blessing.

We didn't really spend any money on anything else for Christmas. We still used the same 3 foot fiber optic tree we've used every year since we got married. We used the same fake holly flowers and homemade Christmas ornaments from our nieces and nephews that we received years ago, the same set of glass ornaments my college friend Kelsey gave us the year we were married... although there are about half as many due to breakages over the years with 4 kids. The only thing we DID spend a little extra money on was our Christmas dinner. We're all meat snobby and there isn't anywhere to buy free-range anything here in ND (unless you want to buy a half a cow) so I ordered a duck online for our Christmas dinner.

One of the things I love about this ward that we live in now is how everyone doesn't care much for proper etiquette and trying to leave some kind of false good impression. We go over to our friends' the Clarks many Sundays for dinner and no one puts on some kind of dinner party show. There are no fancy deserts and Kami Clark doesn't go out of her way to make a fancy dinner. When Brad invited the Thorntons over to our house for Christmas dinner, I didn't know they would then extend the invitation to another family without telling me or that Brad had also invited one of the men in our ward who lives and works in Williston but who's family lives in AZ. I don't stress about stuff like that. I just figure out a way to make it work because nobody really cares if your duck is too small to feed that many people. Everyone was just happy to chip in. Fortunately though, I had also ordered some massive free-range ribeyes along with the duck for Brad for a Christmas present so we had duck AND ribeye steak for Christmas dinner along with all the other Christmas dinnery type things. I had wanted to make a bunch of yummy deserts and maybe some homemade rolls on Christmas eve for the following day but we were out of town most of the week at my Grandma's funeral and didn't arrive back in town until Saturday night, late late. No worries. Tiffany Thornton had already forseen this and picked up some pies from the store for the occasion. It all just kind of came together. We were with friends and we got to spoil our kids and it was WONDERFUL! My favorite Christmas ever probably. Brad likes to say that money doesn't solve all your problems but it solves all the ones that are caused by not having any. =) And we finally have money, so we spent some of it on my favorite holiday. And we remembered Christ. And every day we reminded the kids of why we celebrate Christmas. And we were so grateful to be here in North Dakota. To have a good job. And to have good friends and a supportive family.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Is it just me or is my McScreamy actually screaming less? It could be that he's screaming just as much (because he does still scream) but he's just being more fantastically cute and charming. Whereas before all I wanted to do was confine him to his room so I didn't have to listen to him, now I just want to squeeze him and make him laugh and ask him questions to see how he'll answer.
Yesterday I was taking his clothes of to put PJs on him. I had a new diaper ready (because I diaper trained him before I left NC) and when he saw it, he informed me, "Mom, I'm not poopy."
"OK, good," I replied, yet when I pulled off his diaper while he was standing up, he was indeed poopy.
"Oh no Iyov!" I exclaimed, grateful we were in the kitchen over linoleum and not carpet in case something got on the floor. "Ok, we gotta wipe you." I said, grabbing the wipes.
Iyov, instead of laying down customarily, plants his little feet and puts his hands on the floor in front of him and pushes his dirty little bum in the air... truly the ideal poo-wiping position but a hilarious one, nevertheless. I thought it was pretty intuitive of him to recognize this would be helpful and I shrugged and proceeded to wipe.
"You welcome, mom." he said, looking at me upside down from between his legs as I got to work.
I chuckled in reply, and said, "Oh, excuse me. THANK-you!"
When we were done, I stood up and Iyov said, "Sank-you, mom!"
"You're welcome, buddy."

And that's just the kind of interaction I get a lot with him. Please, thank-you, and your welcome were among Iyov's first words and it's like he knew at a very young age that the use of polite words could quell any situation with Mom. He's also recently discovered "Sorry, Mom" which he says in a pitiable and small voice, with head hung when he does something wrong. I often wonder how sincere he's being but if he's not, he's such a darn good actor that it's hard to be upset with him after he says it.

He really likes Lightning McQueen and he refers to anything Lightning McQueen as "Ka-Chow!" He'll see his McQueen jammies go into the washer, "You washing my Ka-Chow mom?"
Or he'll choose a movie to watch, "I want Ka-Chow."
Maybe he'll see a Mater tow truck toy at the store, "Ooooh, Ka-Chow!"

His vocabulary has increased quite a bit in the last few months and he's still at that age where it's still cute to say words wrong, like "Crit-mus" for example.
"Ohhhh, Crit-mus tree, mom?" is what he said when we set up our tree.
"Ohhhh, yay, Crit-mus!" is what he said after we explained Christmas presents.
One of my favorites is his words for blueberries, grapes, blackberries, and any other kind of berry.
"Can I have boobies?" he says, pointing to the grape container in the fridge.
"I want boobies," he commands, holding a frozen blueberry package he got from the freezer.
Another favorite is "shoop" which is his word for 'gun' or 'shoot'.
"mom, shoop me!" he says, handing me an invisible gun.
"Where's my shoop?" he asks, referring to his lightsabre which he uses like a gun because we don't actually buy the kids any guns.
"Shoop" is one of those uber cute words that everyone else in the family has now picked up. We all call guns "shoops" now. It's kind of like Novan who used to say "Mac-tie" when referring to semi trucks. We all started doing it too because we just liked the word better.

Iyov has also, at 2 years old, mastered the art of giving facial expressions. If he hasn't actually mastered it, then we're in real trouble because that means he can only get better at using them. He makes me laugh out loud daily at the facial expressions he gives me which range from, "if I'm not the cutest thing you ever saw, then you must be blind" to "I just totally did something wrong but if I make you laugh first then you won't be as mad at me." My favorite is, "make a cute face while trying to make you think I don't know you're looking at me" (because you know, accidental cuteness is cuter than on-purpose cuteness, and he knows it).

His other tool, which he uses quite effectively is, "Need to hug you, mom!" or "Need to hug you, dad!" This is what he does when all else has failed. When mom or dad has been pushed to their brink, when little bums need to be spanked or hard words spoken, the appeal that he needs some love and cuddling ALWAYS accomplishes his goal. It's not that he avoids the consequence but he knows that hugs can fix any mom's temper. He pretty much shortens the time I'm upset with him as he runs and throws himself on my leg with a tearful eye, "NEED to HUG you Mom!!" in a sad but insistent voice.

Like I said, maybe I'm used to the screaming or maybe he's FINALLY figuring out that it doesn't work. Whatever it is, I just want to kiss these cheeks and squeeze this little boy whenever I get the chance!

Friday, December 9, 2011

I finally did it

Today I enrolled my child in public school. I know my kids have pretty much been in school before but it felt a lot less official when they were at  ABC. It was technically private school after all and they certainly didn't call it KINDERGARTEN! Plus I have this built-in mistrust of all organizations mandated and funded by the government...and I also have a year's supply of food. Now if only I had some ammo and money under my mattress I'd be a full fledged citizen militia, you know, especially with all the kids I've got.
It went kind of like this. I had been researching the local schools and determined that academically they all seemed to be the same. So I cruised up to the local school district office this morning and walked in with said 6-year old boy and infant-in-baby carrier in tow because I figured I ought to show up with the kid I'm going to be leaving with them... I don't know if that's required for enrolling but I wanted to have all my i's dotted. It kind of felt like I was going into enemy territory, and as I type this I realize how silly I'm sounding. That's cool. I'm kind of a conspiracy theorist that way. Anyway, I left the other kiddos at a friend's house because I didn't want to scare anyone or have them assign Novan some awful teacher because Iyov climbed on the desk or spit water on the floor or rearranged the furniture. (yes, he has done all those things in the past)
The lady at the desk who was maybe 40's and had an incredibly stylish haircut was incredibly nice (just like everybody in this town) and the first thing she asked was, "Where do you live?"
Everytime someone asks me that I answer the same way, "Ahh-umm... well I have an address but it's not a mailable address."
She gave me a pleasant smile, "No problem, we just need to see which school he'll be in."
As I give her the address I'm thinking about the bus driver who's going to have to figure out how to come get my kid who will be picked up right outside the Nabors man-camp. I shake my head ever so slightly at the novelty of this place. I do that a lot. There are a LOT of things that are novel about Williston, ND.
"Hmmmm." The lady with nice hair says in a concerned tone.
I perk up at that, because you know, I've already got my back up anyway because I pretty much ALWAYS expect to run into problems when dealing with government organizations. I raise an eyebrow.
"Hey Jerry!" she calls to this cover-all suited guy down the hall who's carrying a big walkie-talkie. I honestly have no idea what she would need this guy Jerry for. He looks more like grounds maintenance rather than the go-to guy for elementary school assignment.
She turns her monitor towards Jerry and I. It has something like google earth pulled up with 16th Ave West the closest real street to where I live) shown clearly. There are what appear to be school district lines running through it.
"I just don't know if you are technically within the school district. We aren't doing open enrollment for students outside the school district."
As she and Jerry discuss school district lines I'm thinking 2 things. 1-If I'm not in Williston school district, what the heck school district am I actually in? I live behind the Wal-Mart for goodness sakes! There isn't another town for 30 miles! 2-Wow, it sure would make this decision about putting Novan in public school now a lot easier. I could actually keep him home without feeling like a rebel delinquent parent. (I had actually been strongly considering not sending him to school for the remainder of the school year.)
"Your good!" declares Jerry, resident school district line expert. Who knew you needed all that cold outdoor gear just to know everything there is to know about school district lines?
"Great!" I say with a smile although inside I feel like I've just sealed my child's fate. They know where I live. And they'll know if I don't send my kid to school. There's no turning back!
Ok, so that was a whole lot of drama to find out where Novan would be going to school. No one strip searched me, or asked for 3 forms of ID, or passport, or, heaven forbid my immunization record!
So Novan and I head over to Hagan Elementary where everyone is pleasant and nice, and interested, and exuberant. It looks like a typical elementary, small, but typical. We even meet his teacher. And no one challenges my decision to start him in January rather than Monday. And once again, no one asks for any ID or vaccine record or birth certificate. Honestly, I found that a little weird. But it was pretty much painless and Novan, after seeing the innards of the place, gave it a stamp of approval. All the kids in his class said Hi to him in synchronized fashion, just like on TV when they introduce the new student. Novan informed me when we left that he sure was going to have a lot of new friends! So that's good. But I'm sad. He's going to be gone from 8:15-3 every day during the week! That's a long time to be under the influence of a government organization. Anything could happen! And after all that school district line rubbish and my worry about pick-up outside a man-camp, I find out they don't even have a busing system!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Making Beauty out of Despair

I felt inspired to share some thoughts I have had over the last few months, things that have occupied my mind, my prayers, and my day-to-day life. As I am sure we have all experienced, there are times in life that you feel that you can reach out and touch the Father's hand; that's how close you feel to Him. His influence is so real that it seems like His appearance in front of you would only equal how closely you feel His presence.

The last couple years seem to be riddled, in my mind, with the hand of the Lord I cannot look back on any one experience and say that I didn't see Him there, not just watching over me, but guiding me, guiding the events of my life, and influencing those around me in ways that would inspire me to be better. Sometimes, when I allow myself to explore all the things He has done for me, I feel I cannot bodily contain the joy that fills me up. I tangibly feel that my cup runneth over. I could write a novel documenting each experience but today, I will just talk about the last 4 months.

Early August, 2011: The total dissolution of our livelihood. Watching the sacrifice and work of the previous 6 years get stamped with a big fat "Worthless" label. I watched my husband go from capable and confident to fearful and helpless. Day after torturous day of watching the market careen up and then down in a few hours time made my heart and my mind scramble for some way out or at least a fast-forward button to escape the moments.
The blessings:
-An unshakable confidence that despite the moment, my Heavenly Father knew what was happening to us and there was something waiting for us at the end of this dark tunnel. As cliche as the phrase is, I KNEW everything would be ok. There was sickness in me over the loss of so much but it never overwhelmed my certainty that the Father always looks after those who seek Him. And I was seeking. I searched for the cracks in my faith, places that needed shoring up but to my peaceful delight, there were none. I found my faith rooted to the right foundation. While I had experienced plenty of hardship in the past, this felt like the maiden voyage in which you test the limits of your faith. But I didn't even see the limits. I felt the heartache, oh how many times did I cry out for guidance and understanding. But I never wavered in my confidence in the solace of my God.
-An appreciation for those things which cannot truly be taken away. My husband. He is such a good person. His heartache was almost constantly over the lives which he had adversely affected. Despite wanting to kick his butt back into gear and get the confident and positive husband I knew back on a couple occasions for suffering so constantly and immovably, I appreciated knowing that he was demonstrating the charity of Christ in regards to others. My kids. Their oblivious joy and loving natures were a strength to both Brad and I. We spent more time with them. We listened to them. I grew to appreciate even more how this task of raising righteous spirits doesn't stop when life is in an upheaval. While some earthly things may pass away, the raising of children in a manner which pleases our Father continues on. It is a way to focus on the eternal even amid circumstances we cannot control. My faith. Life is immensely hard! It does NOT get any easier as time passes and the only thing that CAN get easier is how quickly we think of and turn to our Heavenly Father and His Son, thus making the burden lighter.
Late August-Early September: We determine, after searching for a local job to supplement our income, to no avail, that Brad should go to North Dakota to seek employment. Shortly after beginning to apply for jobs in ND, he gets a job offer from Tractor & Equipment. The catch is that we have no idea when the kids and I will be able to join him.
September 15-November 20: Brad leaves for ND, sleeps in his car for several days after arriving as he looks at the local job market. Kind people from the Williston Ward feed him every Sunday and allow him to take a shower at their house. Meanwhile, I'm overseeing the work on the house necessary to beginning the process of finding tenants for our downstairs unit. We are forced to fire our one employee who fails to perform while unsupervised and as a result, we decide to shut down the operation of Magnum Opus Financial in the upstairs unit. Thus begins work on the upstairs unit to make it tenant-ready. Painting top to bottom, installing a kitchen and laundry room, new carpet, and windows are among the items on the list. Brad has accepted the job offer from Tractor & Equipment, discovering that the benefits are pretty much unheard of at the other available jobs (at least right away) and the pay is competitive. He finally has a place to live in a trailer with two other guys provided by T&E. We await the news of when our "family trailer" will arrive in Williston and be ready for us to occupy it. I've set a date of Nov 21 to depart NC and have made arrangements with a moving company. November 18th I sign a contract with Laura Farrell (of to find tenants for me. She calls me later that day with a young well-qualified family, ready to sign a lease. Quick work! November 21, a grad-school couple signs a lease for the upstairs unit... did I mention I love Laura? The best part is that Laura charges a fee for finding tenants but does not manage the property for a portion of the rent each month. EXACTLY what I had been looking for (Thanks to Etta to turning me on to her).
The blessings: As if all that work ACTUALLY getting done on time wasn't blessing enough, I gained spiritual blessings which I value far more than the temporal ones. I discovered how much I can kick butt at managing a household, children, and a remodel all at the same time. I say it flippantly but I mean in all honesty that I am CAPABLE. In the past, I've pretty much deferred to Brad on household administrative matters. He's pretty particular and I've always found it easier to defer a decision/action to the person who cares the most about how something gets done. It's not worth it to me to argue a point unless I feel strongly about it. As a result, the last 10 years of marriage have not involved a lot of me making solo decisions. However, this time, because Brad was working SO much, he gave me pretty much complete autonomy to make decisions especially relating to the remodel. It was also up to me to plan and carry out the logistics of everything. I don't know how many of you have experience with home remodel and if you haven't you'll have no idea what it's like and the challenges it presents. Suffice it to say, I was GRATEFUL for the major renovation we did 2+ years ago and for all that Brad and I both learned about getting that stuff done on a time schedule. I spent every day DOING something. There were no wasted moments.
Furthermore, I recognized that being solo and under immense stress, I was going to need some extra armor so I resolved to start reading my scriptures TWICE a day instead of just once and to fill my solo working moments with conference talks via audio and good music. What happened as a result of that was being incredibly in tune with Heavenly Father. I found myself having conversations with Him more often through the day. I would ask what I should do about what kind of stove to choose for upstairs, if I should spend time trying to get cheaper cabinets, if I should move cable lines, what was the best carpet, if I should pay a professional for a certain water line, etc. Silly, it seems, but in a way, I had companionship that I was missing by not having Brad around to ask those questions to. I felt the companionship of the Holy Ghost more because I was filling the "spare time" in my life with scripture, music, and conference talks rather than TV shows, novels, and popular music. John Bytheway, a popular speaker in LDS culture was known in one of his talks for asking the question, "What would you give up to know God? Would you give up your favorite TV show to know Him?" We would be hard pressed to use the justification, "How could giving up ONE TV show possibly affect my relationship with Heavenly Father that much?" I think we foget that "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."
-Alma 37:6
During this time I also found a joy in service. I can't quite recall what made me decide to turn a new leaf but it was before Brad left for ND. I decided that excuses would always find a way of ruining good intentions and that service would not ever be convenient. So I took every available opportunity to serve that arose. I raked my neighbor's leaves when I was out doing mine one day, I babysat, I made meals, and I called people I knew were having a hard time just to talk. And I found time for it all even though it seemed so silly to be spending any time doing something other than the work that needed to be done so immediately.
So lots of people asked me during my single months how I was faring and if I was "really looking forward to being reunited." Well of course I was looking forward to that and of course the road was hard but I was just so GRATEFUL for that time I was sharing with my Father. Of course I missed Brad but I was also appreciating him more by not having him there because I was appreciating myself and all the talents I had been given and blessed to discover. I was looking forward to being reunited and showing Brad a more beautiful me inside. When Brad and I were married, we wrote our ceremony from the book of Proverbs 31.  And now, when I look back at it, it gives me chills to think of how much of it seems like my life and how I feel about what I have accomplished. When we and the minister spoke those words, it was really a prayer and how little did I know or understand the role the words would play in my life!
 10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
 11 The heart of her husband doth safely atrust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her ahands.
 14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
 15 She ariseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the adistaff.
 20 She stretcheth out her hand to the apoor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her aclothing is silk and purple.
 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
 25 Strength and honour are her aclothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of akindness.
 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of aidleness.
 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
 29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
 30 Favour is deceitful, and abeauty is vain: but a woman that bfeareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

Friday, December 2, 2011

All I want for Christmas is some BANDWIDTH!

Hello my blogger friends. I have SOOOOOOOOOOO much to share about my new adventure and so many pictures to upload but unfortunately, picture-free posts are what you're going to get for a while. I had to buy an air card today from AT&T just so I could stop sending e-mails from my iPhone (which is amazing in itself but my fingers are tired of that cramped keyboard). The card works great but I've noticed that uploading is a little slow, and also air cards do not provide unlimited usage and I have to keep my downloads and uploads to a minimum so as not to incur exorbitant monthly charges.

I've been here in Williston, ND for one week and one day. We've been living in our house (mobile home) for 3 nights. We've only had hot water for 1 day. We've had cold running water for 2 days and we still don't have a properly functioning sewer system. I have no idea where one is supposed to put trash in this place and I'm getting a little tired of burying the kid's do in the yard. (Oh yes I did!) But we have a place to sleep and it's got heat which is a HUGE blessing considering we still didn't know where we were going to live when we left NC.

I've been researching internet here and at my location I cannot get anything faster than basic DSL which is probably fine for most people. However, I've been living a plush bandwidth life for some time as we had the very fastest broadband connection we could get while living in NC. DSL seems a lot like dial-up to me in comparison to what I had. I know... snob right? Well some DSL might be ok if it weren't going to be a minimum of a MONTH before I can get it. So I'll just pay for my meager 3G internet connection in the meantime, thank-you very much.

We are so very glad to be here finally though, despite the fact that Dad actually does work at LEAST 12 hour days EVERY day except Sunday. Just knowing we're all in the same 10 mile radius really does make it nicer. I certainly haven't been any less busy since being here though. There's all this unpacking and reorganization taking place. I hate moving into a new place and trying to figure out how you are going to make all your stuff work. Moving from a 5 bedroom house to a 3 bedroom single-wide is difficult even if I did leave a LOT of stuff behind. Nevertheless, the place is larger AND nicer than I expected which is a plus.

This place (Williston, ND) is absolutely fascinating. I really feel like I must be on some other planet sometimes. The pace of life here is so much faster. Everyone is in a hurry and every place of business is busy. It's amazing to me how drastically different the overall feel of it is. In NC, (and out of NC), I knew so many people out of work. I knew so many businesses slumping under economic recession. Life for many seemed to crawl along. People were barely making it and many getting laid off. It's strange that all of that is still happening when all around me there are people working at ALL hours of the day, through the holiday and every business having a "Now Hiring"sign outside. There is such a need for things to be done NOW NOW NOW! There's a waiting list for EVERYTHING and there's no real answer on WHEN things will get done.
I have to tell you though, that the most fascinating thing to me is that despite the rush and lack of available service, everyone is absolutely PLEASANT. You'd think that people, not really being worried about whether they can keep their job, and knowing how many other jobs are out there, would take the opportunity to be total slackers and not care in the least about customer service. That just isn't the case though. EVERYONE I have dealt with in a business fashion  has been SO nice and SO helpful and so HAPPY. It's not just customer service. It's the lady in Wal-Mart who assures me over and over "Oh it's fine! Don't you worry about it in the least!" when I apologize for my children being painfully unaware of the inconvenience they are causing her by not moving out of the way. It's the fact that I'm sitting at a green light for a good minute because I'm not paying attention and NOBODY honks at me to get my butt moving. It's the guy who definitely looks like he works outdoors on a drilling rig (it's 20 degrees and snowing) telling me to go ahead of him in line because Iyov's acting like a nut-job and I just want to get him away from the public ASAP. I don't think I have encountered a single person who is sour, in a bad mood, or just plain tired the entire time I've been here. I haven't observed any cross words between anyone in a store or elsewhere.
It's kind of weird. But it's pretty much wonderful and refreshing and it makes my day every time I get to see people be nice to each other for no reason at all.
Yeah, I think I might kind of like this crazy place.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I stand by my claim

that carpet is NASTY. I just ripped up old carpet and pad in the upstairs bedroom and I could not WAIT to wash my hands. It stunk. And carpet dirt isn't like dirt in your backyard. It has this clingy residue that sticks to you and I am honestly grimacing right now just thinking about it. And then when I was finally done, I scrubbed my hands and then stripped my clothes off. Y.U.C.K.
But, I was super excited to get it done. The upstairs is almost done! AND, I have some really promising prospective tenants for downstairs... actually I'm a little worried they're gonna fight over it. =P

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I think my child probably has a lot to learn

In the interest of my lack of time, I've inserted part of my journal entry here so that I don't have to repeat myself. But I wanted to blog about it and figured, hey, I can just cut and paste and voila! Anyway, see below:
   Well, I am not going to get into the day-to-day goings on. There’s not enough time. It’s already 11:30 PM and I should be in bed. But I was feeling so GOOD today and GRATEFUL I felt like I should really sacrifice a little in order to talk about it in my journal. You just never know who is going to read it. First of all, I am IN LOVE with my husband. He is so GOOD. He always wants to improve and will do ANYthing for ANYone and I just love that. He gets that service is never convenient and inconvenience and pretty much anything in general should not stop us from trying to help others. And he works hard. No, he works REALLY REALLY HARD. He goes and goes and goes and really doesn’t complain about the fact that most of his waking hours are dedicated to working. I work all day too but at least a lot of it involves my kids who are awesome, by the way. They have their moments, especially Novan, practically daily, but when it’s all said and done, they are all full of awesomeness.
     Speaking of kids, I am thankful for them today. They do funny things all the time. They are so full of wonder and amazement with life. Granted, life is pretty easy at this point for them, but still, I wish we all could retain some of the wild abandon that kids possess. Anyway, today Novan insisted on not wearing a diaper to bed. Actually he’s been saying since his birthday pretty regularly that he is six and thus too old to wear a diaper. Yeah, I wish. I haven’t wanted to concede to this idea because I just don’t have time to wash sheets every day right now. I told him to wait til we move to ND and then we can try not wearing a diaper to bed again. Well tonight he said he just wasn’t going to wear one. I really didn’t feel like fighting that battle but trust me when I say I do not have high hopes that he will wake up dry. So I sighed and told Beya that it would be a good idea if she prayed that Novan could remember to go to the bathroom. She replied, “OK Mom, I will, and I’ll help remind Novan too.” So sweet, that girl. So she said her prayer and asked Heavenly Father to please help her help Novan to go to the bathroom before he pees the bed. Beya barely said an “Amen” before Novan started his prayer and prayed, “Dear Heavenly Father, help Beya NOT help me go to the bathroom. I can do it by myself. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” 
I really couldn't help myself. I totally busted up laughing!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Word in Edgewise

I've had so much I've wanted to blog about but it is not some flaky excuse when I say I just have NOT had time. I should be going to sleep now but I felt like I should at least fit a few words in and a couple pictures so at least I don't feel all out in blogging limbo.
First is my house, which was painted last week.
If you are on facebook then you have already seen it but this is for those of you who aren't. So when they first started painting, I was a little worried that I'd gone too bold on the color. Exterior paint really gets a brightness boost in the sunlight. Keep that in mind when you are choosing exterior colors. However, the more they painted, the more I liked it. Then when the black went on, I was sold. It just looks so dang good. I do think it's on the edge of eye-catching and too much but is still safely on the pleasingly eye-catching side.
I've been working upstairs mostly these days getting it ready now, to rent. I've been getting a laundry room put in and closet as well as a small kitchen. And I'm repainting practically everything. That's time consuming. But I have the best visiting teacher I've ever had who has been over to help me paint so many times that I've lost count. She has a baby the same age as Keshet so the two of them are usually sleeping at the same time for a couple hours while we knock out all the painting. It's nice to have a painting partner. It helps me feel motivated when I am already so sick of it.
A few other things have happened like having some guys from church help me move furniture to the storage unit, arranging for gravel to go in the driveway, getting carpet quotes for the upstairs bedroom, buying electrical supplies for Shane (mentioned in an earlier post) to run lines for the kitchen, and packing.... always with the packing. Ugh. I really wish I had a better idea of what our future held and then I would know what I could get rid of. But I don't. So I'll probably arrive in Williston, ND with enough crap to fill up half of our single-wide top to bottom. Seriously, everything about that place is a pain so far. Housing is still up in the air and we've yet to find an available storage facility in a 50 mile radius. Brad keeps telling me that the place is nuts and I just won't "get it" until I get there and see for myself. I believe it though.
Anyway, thanks to my in-laws, I'm in the midst of a kid-free weekend (with the exception of Keshet who doesn't really count because she's so good and doesn't mind breast milk for every meal) so I've been kicking butt on finishing up upstairs. And it's reeeeeeally quiet around here. It's eerie. But I am seriously loving this. Wish Gammy and Grandad would move closer to ND so I can have one of these long weekends once a year at least.
Anyway, here's my kidlets in their Halloween costumes.

I have to just put a note here that this costume was given to Novan by one of his teachers at school. They all know how much Novan loves transformers and one of the teachers saw this costume at a consignment sale and knew Novan just had to have it. That's just the kind of teachers they are. That's really the kind of school it is. And I am going to sorely miss it. And so is he.You wouldn't believe the kinds of things he's learned there and he's really just a kindergartener. He gets spelling words every week. I believe last week's words were: wind, water, boat, fish, sun. Novan knows what prepositions and pronouns are and he can name off many of the countries of the world off of a map. They learn about volcanoes and bugs and they talk about what an island is and Novan will tell you his favorite country is Jamaica.  He can add numbers together in his head, even 300 +200 and count by twos, fives, tens, and hundreds. My MIL told me just today how Novan was pointing out that there was a "diversity" of cookies in her cookie bag. And he talks to people. He actually answers questions that strangers ask him and when Dad calls every night, Novan just goes on and on talking about anything and everything. I really do owe it to that school big-time for saving Novan and getting him ready for public school. For the first time I think he could go to school and be alright.
LOVE. I love ABC. We are so blessed to have had our kids at that school. Really truly.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Feeling Accomplished

Ok, don't hold your breath because I have a LOT to post about.
I've been doing some major projects in the last couple weeks with the help of some fabulous people.
What better place to start than with the young women at church? One of my lovely visiting teachers happens to have a calling in young women and so she rallied her girls on a Saturday morning to come and help me with some yard work.
Once again, like a doush, I did NOT take a proper before picture but I should have. They did some major work to this area:

Unfortunately that picture shows them almost done but here is the after picture:

The before picture was pretty much this old rusty metal fence with lots of vines. Beneath the fence was a bunch of bricks overgrown with more vines, vines growing up the side of the house... vines basically. And prickly bush things on the left side. It was rough. I had intended just to get the vines away from the house for now and spray them next year but they hit that place like a tornado and disassembled anything that looked like a vine. It was fantastic!
Then my mom got out her chainsaw (yeah my mom is an awesome biker chainsaw chick) and started cutting down anything that gave her a dirty look. There's just something about holding a piece of machinery that can cut through trees like butter that makes a person want to cut down everything in sight. I had to restrain her before my back yard was tree-less. =) Then all the young women hauled all that stuff to the curb and we cut it into small enough pieces to satisfy the city. And here we are in front of our haul.

These ladies also disassembled the fencing around my garden which was super helpful and now my back yard looks huge... also a result of all that chainsaw action. Again, no before picture, sorry! Also, the wood and stuff is now gone so it really is empty back there.

Ok so my mom is not only handy with a chainsaw and motorcycles, she's also handy with pretty much any tool. I want to be like her when I grow up. Yes I do. One particularly boring but necessary project she undertook was fixing the access points to my sewer main. My sewer main runs down the driveway and has 2 access points that stick up (according to building code which we were forced to adhere to when we replaced the sewer and water main a year ago). I think the reason they stuck up so much was to be high enough to be level with a future driveway but anyway, not having the means to put in a proper driveway, Brad drove over them and broke the caps. So mom dug around them, cut the pipes down, installed new caps and then buried them more properly. So now they are safe to drive over.

Another project, thank goodness I have a before picture:

And After. My mom's head silhouette makes an appearance :-) and yes, she installed it herself.

Purely awesome. I was a little skeptical of the impact a new storm door might make to the look of the house but now that I have one I think all the time "Storm door, where have you been all my life??" I really love it not only for how great it looks but how darn convenient it is to have my main door open and the storm door closed so I can watch my kids on the front porch or across the street with the neighbors. Plus it shuts by itself so I have yelled at my kids approximately 50% less because I no longer have to yell for them to shut the door behind them. Oh the simple things can really make such a difference!

A few other things have happened too like having 2 windows in my kitchen replaced. What a difference! I feel like the kitchen is more open because I no longer have those ugly 12 pane windows, yuck! Plus I can actually SEE through the window. I keep thinking I've got a hole in my wall I need to fix.

I had a corner section of my roof repaired that was in SERIOUS need. After picture again.

Along with some help and a pickup truck, I got the big giant pile of concrete out of my back yard from when we dug up the driveway to replace the sewer main.
My two super awesome visiting teachers Tiffany and Katie, my new neighbor Kate, and I painted: my laundry room a delightful pale green instead of the bright orange that it was, touched up paint in baby's room, put an entire fresh coat of paint in the kids' room, and touched up trim paint. Painting the laundry room also involved me pulling out my washer and dryer and cleaning behind it. I found several items that I've been missing for quite some time like my tape measure. Also, you can see the before color of orange (ok I was never a fan of orange walls but I did it for Brad who LOVES orange and I thought if he could have any color he wanted on the wall, I'd let him have the laundry room. I think that makes me a pretty terrific wife)

I've also sold a BUNCH of stuff on Craig's list and made pretty good money and de-cluttered all at the same time!
And in case I haven't rubbed it in enough, here's a picture of my grass that you should be coveting.

Finally, and this is a HUGE accomplishment for us because we've been working on it for almost 4 months, Novan and Beya memorized all THIRTEEN Articles of Faith! And actually, I did too.

Articles of Faith
We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Oh yeah! My kids are memorization rock stars! (They get those skills from me by the way)
And yes, they did have incentive, $50 each to spend on whatever they want. So I took them to the store for a shopping spree and it was like Christmas around here... except better I think because they picked out EXACTLY what they wanted and it was in the wake of a huge accomplishment. Honestly I think I should get a reward too because making those kids practice EVERY day was no picnic. Sometimes I felt like I was pulling teeth. But it was so worth it!
I've really been busy but also quite blessed, not to mention entertained by my 4. Here's one I captured of Novan doing....I don't know. But I found him like this. He really adores Keshet and loves to be cuddled with her in any way possible.
And then there's Iyov, of course, ever the entertainer. I also found him like this. And FYI, he's got no pants on.
Oh my baby girl. Such a good baby and soooo smiley. When she's awake she's either smiling or blowing raspberries, constantly.
Such a blessing these kids are. I really have the best job. It never gets old. There's always something new and as my friend Melissa's blog touts, every day holds simple surprises that make it all worth it.

And as a teaser for next time. Here's a project we just started a couple days ago. Ok, I didn't really do anything except choose colors and hand over money. :-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beige is just not my thing

...and taupe is a fancy way of saying "boring." But that's just me. I know there are plenty of people who go for the boring route on paint but I guess Brad and I spent way to many years renting and enjoying the boring side of paint. So when we bought our house, we pacted to paint much more interesting colors. There are plenty of rooms that need touching up after 2+ years of little tornados running through the hall and little girls who think their art belongs in a permanent setting. But there are two rooms that I planned to repaint. One of those is the living room. Of all the paint colors in my house, that room has "gotten old" and besides that, I knew if I wanted to rent it out, I should probably opt for a color that would appeal to a wider audience. So this General Conference weekend, my project was to paint.
Here's the before picture. I'd like to throw in there that the picture is after I took the TV off the wall. It was pretty difficult because the TV is really heavy and there was this hex bolt holding it in place that I could not find the right tool to remove it so I had to use a lot of force to get it out of the bracket.

Then here is the after picture. Pretty plain, huh? Well I'm not sure why the picture is so grainy but the color is pretty much accurate. It's very very pale blue. I refused to do anything beige or boring. Light blue was the best I could do and still feel like the room had any color at all. The project took me pretty much the whole weekend but it's done!

Finally, I did some work outside picking up the bricks strewn around the yard, moving some stumps and stuff. But one of the things I have thought over and over is that I wish my spigot was not over dirt. I always wanted some kind of rocks or concrete or something beneath it where you wouldn't get your shoes filthy when you went to turn on or off the spigot. So I took some bricks I gathered and put a nice little "patio" under the spigot. It took me about an hour and a half because I had to level the ground well enough that it didn't look completely ghetto. I'm pleased with the outcome and now I can turn on the water (helpful for all this grass watering I've been doing) without getting my feet all dirty and tracking the dirt in the house. Yay!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some fabulous curb-appeal

Project #5 Ever since I learned about Liriope from my mom, I've been a little obsessed with it.
It's a variety of plants that I guess you could call "decorative grass" as it's a clumpy sort of thing with grass-like leaves of varying colors and patterns. Well, it turns out I have a bunch of this stuff in my yard and of all the plants that appear to be "landscaped in" at some point in the history of my house, they seem to be the heartiest as they seem to like growing just about anywhere in any conditions. A while back, Brad and I transplanted a bunch of these from the backyard to line our front porch with. Since learning about their hearty quality, I have been mulling over the idea of transplanting the rest of them from the back yard into a more landscaped setting. Specifically, I wanted to move them to the side yard bed which before was a dirt patch full of weeds and a couple small bushes. When my sister came to visit this past weekend I decided it was the perfect project to put her to work with. It's funny that every time a family member on my side visits, they get a project. Maybe that's why they don't visit often. =) Actually, I think they prefer it that way.  So Sarah (my sister) and I transformed this once forgotten and forlorn plot of dirt into a lovely and hearty and pretty much maintenance free curb appeal.
I wish I had taken before pictures but here's a kind of before in which Sarah and I were weeding the patch first.

And here's the after picture.

Once we had transplanted everything, I bought a bunch of mulch from Lowe's to make it all purty-like and also to help manage the weeds that are sure to grow in the future. I have a LOT of varieties of this liriope in my yard spread everywhere so this patch is quite a sampling. I also worked on getting those 10x10 border beams into a straight line instead of looking like they were just thrown on the ground (which is how they looked before).

Project #6
This is kind of a big one and ongoing. It involves a little packing, a little storing, and a lot of purging. Since we will be moving to ND to probably a smaller and possibly already furnished space, I have been whittling down what I think I will be bringing. Everything else is being put in the attic. The attic, consequently, is being gone through and stuff that is inevitably in storage for the duration of it's life is either being thrown away or donated to a yard sale which will happen and Novan and Beya's school (ABC of NC) for a fundraiser. Other items, which might possibly be of worth to the right person is going to be put on Craig's list. Purging is one of my favorite things to do. I just love getting rid of things. Except for stuff in my fridge apparently. Brad could tell you all about the crazy mold and fungus I've grown in there over the years. Anyway, I have loved going through things and getting rid of so much of it. A lot of the stuff I've forgotten I even had which is an excellent excuse to get rid of it. I think I'm going to single-handedly stock this yard sale. Packing is happening slowly as I mull over the necessity of everything. Almost all of my decorative items are being stored along with photo albums, pictures, and almost ALL of our HUGE book collection. My downstairs and upstairs is kind of turned upside-down at the moment but I actually have accomplished over half of these packing, purging, donating, bringing tasks. No picture. That would be boring.

Project # 7
Electrical Work. We had some odds and ends that needed tying up. I'll spare you the details. The most interesting part was getting a new ceiling fan in the kid's room. Obviously my part was picking out a ceiling fan and then buying all the things I needed for the other electrical odd jobs. Fortunately Shane Burgess from church did the electrical work for me for a reasonable price. Here's a pic of the fan. I know it's probably not that interesting to you but it just looks sooo much better than the piece of junk that was there before.

Huh... I wonder who's yard THAT is? I thought it was so nice that it deserved a close-up.

I'm kind of in love with this grass. I go outside just to look at it sometimes... mostly because it just keeps seems to be getting thicker and thicker with each passing hour. I'm feeling pretty triumphant... and possibly a little too prideful. I should probably go repent now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

So many projects!

Melissa suggested I should post pictures of my porch handiwork and I figured the only thing that was going to be happening in my life in the next couple months is whatever project is occupying me and my daily thoughts are probably going to be about whatever the next project is. Well I strive to be a capable person and I think that I might like to show off what I've done. I probably won't take pictures of EVERYTHING though because some of it is mundane such as touching up paint. Who wants to see pictures of that? Not me. I don't even want to take pictures of something that boring.

Project #1 was actually touching up trim paint around the house, which I've done, for the most part, except for places behind heavy furniture I haven't gotten to yet. I finally got around to painting over the primer white shoe mold in my kitchen which actually gave it some pep and I was impressed. I painted the window trim in the kitchen which had previously only been primered... shhh! I don't think anyone ever noticed that. I also painted the front and back doors (inside) because you know, of all the things in your house, doors seem to take the worst hit with hand prints and general staining. Sometimes its just easier to paint over than clean, ya know?

Project #2 The porch floor. I might remind you that my porch was 100% replaced almost 2 years ago. We primered and painted the flooring (which is a tongue and groove type flooring in trying to keep with the original concept of the 1920s when it was built) at that time. It started to chip within a couple of months so we painted it AGAIN. Then it started chipping again some time after that. And before you ask, we bought floor grade latex paint so it was SUPPOSED to hold up to foot traffic. Not so!
So the question had become what the heck we were going to do about it. I had originally wanted to paint an oil based paint over it. I don't know. Oil-based, in theory seems like sturdier stuff. The Lowes guy convinced us that the best course of action was to strip the latex paint off of it and put down a stain. So I KNEW how difficult stripping could be and I told Brad, under no circumstances am I going to strip that thing by myself. Brad, having no experience with stripping, thought "Oh sure, I'll help! It will be a piece of cake!" Well I think he gets it now. It became clear, rather quickly, that it was NOT going to be an easy job. Fortunately, my mom came into town in the early stages of the project and pretty much took over the project with my occasional help. She got all the right tools and perfected a method that got all the paint off while, when Brad and I did it, we stripped most of the paint and sanded off the rest. So here's the finished product, after I put 2 coats of stain on it. I realize it looks like paint but its a very opaque stain. And I didn't get a picture right after so it's dirty from traffic while I was in the middle of project #3 which I'll show you next.

Project #3 The gutter downspouts. Long story short, I buried piping that led from the gutter downspout to the hole in the retaining wall around our front yard so gutter water can easily get to the street. Fortunately, the trench for the piping was mostly dug from like a year ago but I had to use a hacksaw to shorten the gutter downspout and the piping and then dig up packed down dirt to bury the pipe. Not much to see but this is after I buried it, plus the picture will give you an idea of what the yard looks like after project #4.

Project #4 I think it's a man thing to want grass because Brad has been trying for years to get grass to grow on our front yard. His method has pretty much been the same, throw seed down and water it. We had the argument over and over that I didn't think grass was ever going to grow because the dirt is packed down and seed is just washing down the hill. Since I took the project over I got some straw to put over the seed to hold in moisture and hopefully prevent some of the seed from washing away. Plus, despite the fact that I hate watering, I've been watering it daily. So the outcome of this project remains to be seen.

Oh and as she makes a sneak appearance in the picture for project #2, I thought you might like to see my most important and ongoing project.
Novan and Beya are in school for 6 hours a day and Iyov is always somewhere trying his best to stay in trouble. Keshet prefers to watch me... at least I hope she does as she doesn't have much choice. She spends her waking hours observing my projects so I guess you could call her my foreman, or forewoman, or maybe just forebaby. So cute!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Doing what it takes

One of my favorite qualities about Brad is that he is willing to do whatever it takes. I suppose the term is "tenacity" and it's no ordinary commitment he has to our family. It's more than working long hours or sleeping little. Brad's willing to look like an idiot, venture into the unknown, endure physical and emotional stress, and everything in between. I've never in my life known anyone who will go to such extremes as he will.
Brad was watching a special on CNBC about North Dakota and how it has 0 unemployment, how there are plenty of jobs, how there's nowhere to live because housing can't be built fast enough, and how salaries are incredibly competitive due to a large oil find in Bakken shale around Williston, ND. We began to consider our current financial situation... the same situation we always seem to be in, and how it would be really nice to have a cush JOB working for the man and paying off some massive debt we've accrued. Even in a seemingly forsaken place like ND, where it apparently gets 20 below zero (I don't even know how to imagine that), we would be willing to live for a period of time if we could just stop worrying about our bills so much every month. You get tired of it, you know? Considering how the stock market has recently given our income a downturn, it seemed somewhat like a call to action-- drastic action.
And so my DH, being the amazing man that he is, who is always up for any challenge, is off to ND, to seek our fortune (so to speak). It feels kind of like we are prospectors looking to find our fortune in the gold rush. I have been feeling a strange urge to don a bonnet, petticoat, and possibly pull a handcart ;-) So in the last few weeks, as we've been preparing for his departure, I've been resume tweaking, making home repair lists, and mentally preparing my children for their father's imminent departure. Not to mention undertaking some projects... like stripping and staining my front porch (I owe my mom BIG for helping me out on that project. I LOVE having such a capable mother).
People, who have known that Brad is leaving, have been asking me what the plan is, ie, where we will live, how long we'll be separated, what his job will be, where he will stay in the interim, etc. Well I just don't know. You may not believe me but it is IMPOSSIBLE to get a reservation at a hotel in Williston, ND. There is such a huge influx of people that the hotels stay booked as people are living there and paying 150$+ per night. There are man camps... tents, RVs, etc where the excess stay and my DH will most likely be in his car until he actually accepts a job offer. He actually has already gotten a job offer (which includes housing arrangements among other tantalizing bonuses) but we plan to see what else is available, in person, before accepting any job. Once he has a job, I will be working like a mad woman, trying to get our house ready to rent and then myself and the kids will be following Brad out there.
We are hoping that we will only be there 3 years max because, let's face it, working in oil drilling just isn't Brad's dream job and our agreement, when we decided to do this, was to do everything we could to keep Magnum Opus Financial alive in the meantime. We now even have a full-time employee to man the ropes during the trading day. Brad is good at that, and he loves it (most of the time) and it's extremely important to me that he has a career that makes him feel fulfilled.
So there you have it. Another crazy Kelly adventure. I'm pretty sure I'm going to write an autobiography one day. Every time I think about our life thus far, I think we must be nuts. But hopefully it means we just have a lot of faith, a lot of that "enduring to the end" stuff we hear about in church so much.
Today was a sad day though. Beya summed it up in the following picture that she drew of herself "sad because Dad left." Notice the very sad looking face.

Of all of my children, I worry about Novan the most. He gets the most bent out of shape when things change and especially when Dad isn't around. The following picture pretty much demonstrates his thoughts on the day:

One person seemed rather unaffected, at least (other than Keshet who was sleeping the whole time). Or maybe it was because he thought he could stow away. Either way, it's hard to be sad with this smile around.

Me? Well, I might LOOK like I'm taking it all in stride, but I was pretty much aching inside. It sucked. Big time. It pretty much gave me a new appreciation for military husbands who are deployed 18 months at a time. At least my husband won't be shot at... and something has gone terribly wrong if I have to wait 18 months before I see him again. So I suppose it could be worse. But it was still pretty awful. I am so fortunate though, to have a husband who will do whatever it takes. I seriously love this guy.