Friday, October 9, 2009

Not a secret at all

Here it is October and I haven't posted since February! At the last update, I was joining a gym, working out and preparing to do the Portland Marathon 5 mile run.

Well, in keeping with tradition, things didn't go as planned. For awhile I was doing great at the gym. I went up to 5 times a week, and worked out as diligently as I could. It was hard, but I started to see some results. And then: In March I changed jobs and everything changed. My schedule changed, my job responsibilities changed and my motivation changed. To make things worse, the medical clinic I'm working in, is right next to the cafeteria! We're not talking gross school cafeteria, but good, home made foods and soups and treats!

I tried to say no, but the smells of bacon each morning got the best of my taste buds. Before I knew it, I had gained 5 pounds in 2 months! I scaled way back on the cafeteria food, but....the 5 pounds didn't go away. Neither did my self loathing.

Then summer came. I had 2 pair of shorts that "fit". I REFUSED to shop for a bigger size! I don't want to waste my money on something I don't want! Each week I kept saying, "I'll start going to the gym on Monday.....", but it never happend. Finally, my 35th birthday was fast approaching. I was feeling so depressed about being 35 (not sure why 35 was so hard....). I didn't want to have another year go by feeling the way I did.

One evening in early July, I was so down, and I was watching T.V. feeling sorry for myself when I saw a Weight Watchers commercial. I don't know what came over me, but I stood up right then and there, walked to my computer, found the nearest Weight Watchers location, hopped in the car and drove straight to the meeting. I signed up that evening.

I was DETERMINED to succeed at this! I went home that evening with all my parphenalia, read through it with vigor and felt rejuvinated!

I can't control time. I can't control getting up at 5:30 to get kids off to school and be at work by 7:15. I can't control volleyball games, young women activities, scouts, meetings, schedules, or working late. BUT: I CAN control what I eat! I can control how MUCH I eat, and WHEN I'm going to eat it.

And....that's exactly what I did. I followed the plan without missing a beat. I thought it was going to be difficult, but I soon realized: This is NOT hard! This is a "piece of cake", so to speak. It's not about "dieting". It's about healthy eating. It's about making good choices and reasonble portion control. It's not about going hungry, and then binging, or denying myself something because it's the latest "fad". I like to EAT! Everything. I can't be told NOT to eat something, or that's all I want to eat.

Weight Watchers gave me just that! There isn't any special "food" I have to buy. There isn't any food that is "off limits". There is just calories/fat/fiber in the right amounts for ME. Once I figured out what MY amounts could be in order to lose weight, the pounds started to dissappear. I've had cake, ice cream, rice, pasta, steak, Mexican food, Italian food, German food. I've eaten out at a number of resturants, and even had dessert several times a week. Never a day has gone by that I went to bed hungry.

I turned 35, and even though I wasn't at the weight I wanted to be: I was IN CONTROL! I felt great, and I was happy with myself. Finally. I can do this.

As of October 9, 2009 (10/9/09), I am down 22 pounds, and 3 pant sizes. My self image is not perfect. I still wake up on some days and feel "fat". I know it's ridiculous, and it drives Ted BONKERS! But, at the end of each successful day, I go to bed knowing that I'm doing something for myself, and it shows. My only regret: I didn't run the Portland 5 miles this year. However, even if I HAD been training: Coming down with the swine flu would have put a stop to that race anyway. There's always next year though, right?

There. The secret is out.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Quick update

It's been awhile since I posted here, so I figured I would let you all know how my "Life Change of '09" is coming along.

I joined a local community center which has a full gym including aerobic classes, spin classes, kick boxing, yoga etc. I have been going 4-5 times a week, for at least 30-45 minutes each work out. I sweat more than a 500 pound elephant sitting in a sauna, but....I am really trying hard. I haven't really "weighed" myself, so I'm not sure if I've lost weight but my clothes are starting to feel nice and loose! More importantly: Overall, I'm feeling much better about myself, and my health. I can run 2 miles (sometime 2 1/2 if I'm feeling good). My goal is to run in the PDX 5 mile marathon. I'm almost halfway there!

I should also mention that Ted has also joined the gym with me, and he uses swimming as his work out program. I'm so proud of him! He swims 4-5 times a week as well. We're making this a family event.

Thanks for all of your support and I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Life change for '09

Okay, after the last few crazy years of my life, things are finally starting to settle down. I've married a wonderful guy, have a great job, and things are looking up. However: I've really let myself fall by the wayside. I completely stopped exercising, and truly taking care of myself. I'm embarrassed to say that I've gained about 15 pounds! Yikes!

The last couple of years I have "walked" in the Portland Marathon 5 mile walk sponsored through my company. I have promised myself that this coming October (the next date for the PDX Marathon), I will run the 5 miler. I would like to run the 15 miler, but.....that is a LOT of training. So, for now my goal is to run the 5 miles.
This is a picture of me getting my packet for the 5 miler from this last October.

Wish me luck! I'm going to need it!

Gingerbread house fiasco

We decided to get the "cheaper" gingerbread house kits this year. It looked so fun, and we pulled out all of the items, only to find that we had to mix our "own" icing and things did not go well.
Our gingerbread houses were a bust. They would NOT stay together.

The roofs kept sliding off the houses, the walls kept falling over and everyone started getting impatient. So, we ate our gingerbread houses, before they were even built. They were delicious. Next year: We'll spring for the deluxe model homes.

Artic Blast!!!!

Portland does NOT snow. Maybe a few flakes will sprinkle the roads a couple of times during the winter, but for the most part: We just get rain. Lots and lots of rain. However, it seems about every 5-6 years we have a monster snow storm that shuts the city down completely. This year was the year. Of course, it had to hit within days of Christmas, so it really put a damper on the last minute shopping.
We all spent about a week stuck inside of our house because the roads were too dangerous to drive anywhere. It was a little maddening! Talk about cabin fever! The first couple of days were fun, and exciting. After that, it was just annoying and inconvenient.

These are pictures of the front and back of our house.

Christmas tree

The NorthWest is known for it's beautiful, evergreen trees. Therefore: We have some great choices for Christmas trees. We have a tradition of going to a Christmas Tree farm, choosing the best one of the bunch, and cutting it down on the spot.

My favorite kind of Christmas tree is a Noble. When I lived in Utah, it was a real treat to get a Noble tree because they were so expensive. And...if we were lucky enough to buy one, it usually had a huge gaping hole we needed to hide in the get the picture.

This isn't the case up here. We can buy a beautiful, perfect 7-8' tree for $25 or less. Each year our tree is more and more beautiful. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the tree with all of its decorations but was another year for a wonderful family tree.

Pumpkin carving!

I figured we worked really hard on our pumpkin carving, so I should at least post the finished product. I think they turned out pretty cute!
I'm still a little nervous letting the younger kids use the knife to carve, so we had some "kid friendly" carving utensils.

One of these pumpkins does not belong.


Friday, November 14, 2008

My wonderful husband

It might not seem fair to make a list of why I love my husband, since we've only been married for 4 months, 8 days, and 19 hours but: I think it's important to make these lists no matter HOW long you've been married. That way (when he's acting like a total DORK) you can refer back to "the list" to remind yourself as to why you're with this guy in the first place.

Reasons why I love Ted:

1) He is patient with me all of the time.
2) He believes in me 100%. Even when I don't believe in myself.
3) He supports everything I do.
4) He never makes me feel dumb.
4) He is freakin' hilarious!!
a. He can do a multitude of voices, impressions, and noises that crack me up almost constantly.
b. He sings songs and changes the words to fit whatever is going on in our moment. Usually it involves him and I being naughty, but not always. Either way, it's hilarious. He's actually a good singer too!!
c. He is not afraid to be silly with me.
5) He is almost always the first person to apologize if we argue.
6) He loves me for the good and the bad things. He never expects me to change, and doesn't criticizes me for who I am.
7) He is very helpful around the house.
8) He is wonderful to our kids.
9) He tells me how beautiful I am, and really means it.
10) He listens to me babble on and on without complaint.
11) He is a great kisser. (He's good at other things too, but we won't get into that.)
12) He holds me at night.
13) He wipes away my tears when I'm sad.
14) He cooks.
15) He very rarely gets angry. About anything.
16) He doesn't stress out over everything, and helps me to calm down too.
17) I trust him with my life.
18) He's a good worker.
19) He can fix anything.
20) He's passionate!
21) He always says "I love you."
22) He goes clothes shopping with me, and actually finds clothes for me that are flattering!
23) He doesn't judge people.
24) He is easy to get along with. I can take him ANYWHERE and he charms the socks off most people.
25) Last, but not least.....He is my best friend.

Wow, what a wonderful man I have. Thanks Jodi and Jana :) for this great idea.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Lisa had a great idea! Kids really do say the funniest things. Here are a few of my favorites from my rugrats:

1) When Kayleen was about 4, she loved to play dress up. I bought her a trunk with a bunch of dresses, necklaces, hats, and shoes I had found at the goodwill. She liked to have a different name when she dressed up, and Ashley was her favorite choice most days. One day she came walking out of her room wearing a red dress, hat, high heels and a necklace. She looked like a street walker. When I asked her if her name was Ashley, she replied: "No. Today I'm Sha'Neena". I thought I was going to die laughing.

2) I was driving to work one day with Kayleen riding in the back seat. She was about 4 or 5 years old, and was quietly looking out of the window. I took the same route to work every day so she was familiar with the drive and the buildings we passed. On this day however, one of the buildings had been torn down overnight. As we passed the empty lot, Kayleen shouted out: "What the hell......?? MOM, that building disappeared!!"

3) We were driving to work (again in the car). I was pregnant and had just found out that I was going to have a boy. Kayleen had been excitedly talking about having a baby sister, since we had told her I was pregnant. I was worried she would be upset when she found out the baby was going to be a boy. When I said, "Guess what Kayleen? You're going to have a baby brother!" She was silent for a few seconds and then said, "But Mom. Boys are so yucky!!"

Kayleen was known for saying words wrong when she was little. Here are a few of my favorites: Pasketti (spaghetti), mazagine (magazine), and my favorite of all? Graham crapper (graham cracker.

4) When Jack was about 4, he was pestering me about wanting something. I repeatedly told him "No.". After a couple of hours of denying him what he wanted, Jack finally announced: "Mom. Just so you know, I'm going to keep asking you until you say yes."

5) Jack is our family jokester. I knew he would be our funny kid when he was about 3, and told his first joke, un-prompted by me or his Dad. Grandma and Grandpa Ford were visiting, when Jack walked up to them and said in the cutest little voice: "Grandma, why did the toilet paper run down the hill?" We were all a little confused about what he was talking about (not realizing he was actually telling a joke.). So, Grandma said, "Why?" Then Jack p0inted to his bum with his cute little pudgy finger and said, "To get to the bottom!!". He's been cracking us up ever since.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Holiday blues

For the past few days I've been really emotional and I'm not really sure why. Nothing significant has happened (I know it's not PMS), yet I've been walking around on the verge of tears (okay, okay. I've shed a few).

I think I've figured out what is wrong with me.

I miss my family. I'm crying as I write this now. :'(

Growing up, our family was my life. My best friends were all of my wonderful cousins. I often think of the endless sleep overs, and family parties, and get-togethers we had, and I have nothing but fond memories of those days gone by.

As we all grew older, and matured into teenagers/young adults, many of us grew apart. Not because we didn't love each other, we were just busy doing our things with school, sports etc. But our love for one another never faltered, I'm sure of that. I have always been proud to tell anyone who asks what my life was like growing up. I tell them: "Have you seen the movie, 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'? Well, my life was kind of like that, but Mormon instead of Greek." It usually brings out a laugh or two, but what they don't realize is that it's the truth. And I love it. I miss it.

Fast forward 30 years (give or take) and here we all are. The same age OUR parents were when WE were frolicking in Grandma's back yard. Grandma and Grandpa loved each and every one of us so much. They had their door open for every single member of their family 24/7. They wanted us to be close, to love each other, to support each other. I like to think they were the ones who instilled in each of us the importance of family.

I've lived in the Portland area now since 1994 (actually, now I live in Vancouver, Washington...10 miles north of Portland, just over the Columbia River). I have spent many a Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Reunion, Halloween, wedding, baby blessing, etc. away from you all. It BREAKS my heart to know how much I've missed out on everything. I really did try to move back to Utah, but it just didn't happen, for reasons beyond my control. Now I'm going to be spending the rest of my life here, in the NorthWest with my new and wonderful husband and his family. And I'm okay with that.

But, as each year passes, I find the holiday season more and more difficult. My sadness grows deeper, and last year it was almost unbearable. I was miserable, and I did a lot of crying. I know many of my emotions were due to the situation with my divorce and everything associated with it, but really: It was about wanting MY family. So, here I sit. Thinking of the Thanksgiving I will miss. Rejoicing in the fact that I will be able to come home for Christmas, and I can't help the tears. They just happen.

When I confide to Ted that I am lonely, and I wish I had more friends here, he encourages me to find friends that I enjoy doing things with. "See if there is someone at work you can start scrap booking with." "Ask a friend out to dinner or lunch on a Saturday." Well, I've tried. And tried. And tried, to find someone that I can call a real friend. Someone I can call at the last minute and say, "Let's go out to lunch today." Or, "Hey, come on over and we'll scrapbook and the kids can play...." Someone I can count on NO MATTER WHAT. It doesn't exist for me. I know I don't have that kind of relationship in my day to day life because I am here, and my family is there.

Family is forever. They are comfort. They are happiness and joy. Friends are wonderful too, but they can come and go ( and usually do). I have told him endless times: If my cousins were here, I would have a TON of friends. And I know that it's true.

I am going to try to keep my sadness at a minimum, for the sake of my husband and children, but the fact remains: My heart will never be as whole as it once was, back in 1982.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin patch

We have started a family tradition for Halloween.

I just love autumn, don't you? Each year we drive down to Woodburn, Oregon in October to visit Bauman Farms pumpkin patch. It’s not just a pumpkin patch though. It’s like the Six Flags of pumpkin patches!
They have multiple corn and hay mazes, zip lines, hay rides, several obstacle courses, food, cider making demonstrations, petting farm…you name it, they have it. We LOVE going there. This year, there were so many activities, we didn’t have enough time to do everything! They make the BEST cider donuts! Oh my goodness! YUM!
One of our favorite things is the dark hay maze. It’s literally a hay maze that’s pitch black. You have to have a flashlight, and it can take over an hour to find your way out. Which…for us it DID take over an hour. Lot’s of tunnels, and slides. By the end, my hair was full of hay. We really have a great time and we’re looking forward to next year.

This is a pic of the kids running around the "hay ship". It was literally a ship made out of hay. Once we got to the top, there was a fun slide to take us back to the bottom and we did it all over again.

There was a giant inflatable plastic bubble and we had a grand time jumping all over the place.

One of the many obstacle courses. I felt like I was on an episode of Survivor! Ted had just as much fun as the kids.....

A spinning tube that the kids loved spinning around over and over.....

Ted liked it too. :)


This year Kayleen tried out for the volleyball team, and made the varsity team! She was sooooo excited, and we are really proud of her. She has games every Monday and Wednesday, and practice every morning at 7:00 AM. She has worked very hard, and we love cheering for her during the games.

Serving was difficult for her at first, but she really practiced hard, and now she's awesome.

She was excited that her jersey number was "13", because that's how old she is.

She's made a lot of good friends from the team.

New school year

I cannot believe it’s already another school year!!
Kayleen is now in 7th grade, and seems to have adjusted (for the most part). Middle school has been quite the eye opener for her. She’s still playing the Viola, and is now on the varsity Volleyball team. She’s still the Beehive President in our ward, and taking lots of honors classes. Needless to say, she’s a very busy girl! We’re very proud of her because she seems to be taking it all in stride and manages to excel at everything she does.

Jackson is in 3rd grade this year, and I’m pretty sure he grew at least 2 inches over the summer! Most people think he’s 10 years old when they first meet him. He really likes his teacher this year, and claims the reason he likes her so much is because she “tells a lot of jokes”. Jackson is our funny, silly jokester so being put in her class was a very good match. At parent teacher conferences a few days ago, his teacher said Jackson is “off the benchmark” in all of his subjects. We’re trying to find ways to keep him busy, occupied and out of trouble. He is taking karate this year, and still loves going to Cub Scouts.

Sean is in 1st grade at a new school this year. He was a little worried about being at a new school, but has found that he really likes his new friends and teacher. Sean is ever the athlete, and is very good at any sport you “throw” at him. No pun intended. He got a dirt bike for Christmas last year, and he just scoots around like he was born on a bike. Even when he has an occasional fall, he dusts himself off, and is back to business in no time. He’s still the sweet, loving boy that we enjoy having in our lives. Of course, he still loves torturing his sisters…..

Claire is still in pre-school and talks about her school friends all of the time. She loves her dollies, and is an excellent mommy. She fills her day with playing, running, laughing and everything a cute pre-schooler should be doing. Sometimes she says the most hilarious things and we all laugh until our sides hurt! She locked her Nanna out of the car last week, and made Nanna “dance” before she would unlock the door. We all had a good laugh at that one. Of course…she learned that trick from the best of the best (me and Ted).

It took about a month, but I think we’ve finally adjusted to the new schedule, and things have calmed down a bit. Thank goodness! :)

Radiohead concert

This past summer was filled with tons of fun! Weddings, cruises, trips to Idaho for the Fail Family reunion (I accidentally deleted the reunion pics!!) But, one of the things we did that we were really looking forward to, is going to the Radiohead concert.

Ted is a HUGE Radiohead fan, and we drove all the way up to the Seattle area (on a weeknight) just to see them! There were tons of people there! We had lawn seats, and of had to rain 3/4 of the way through the concert. By the time it was over, we were soaked to the bone. I was freezing, and exhausted, and slept shivering most of the way home. But...I'm really glad we went. They put on a GREAT show. I have video of some of the concert, for those of you who might be interested, and I'll send you the video link. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More wedding pics

The night before the wedding, our family along with Ted's parents gathered together to have a 4th of July celebration. Our house is on a circle, and many of our neighbors really get into the spirit of the holiday. This enthusiasm mixed with Washington's lenient fireworks laws, made for a very exciting, and fun evening. We had quite the show with all of the mortars, roman candles, firecrackers, and anything else that went really high, and very loud. Of course the boys (and men) were feeling right at home with all of the things that go boom.

The next morning (wedding day), we woke up to rain. Of course we had planned on doing an outside ceremony, but.....we quickly realized we might have to change plans a little bit. We moved forward as if there was nothing to worry about. The wedding was held at the Vancouver Washington Hilton in a room with a balcony that had a beautiful view of Overlook Park. We were supposed to have the ceremony on the balcony, however once the wedding started, we felt the rain drops. Just a few at first, but soon we were running for cover. The wedding was held inside, but turned out to be just as beautiful and wonderful as I knew it would be. Rain or not. It didn't matter.

We had a little reception immediately following the "I do's", with the cutting of the cake and punch. It was the most delicious wedding cake I have ever had. We then proceeded down to the restaurant located on the main level at the hotel. We had a beautiful dinner catered for everyone, and had a lot of fun talking and eating. We ended the night by saying our many thank yous to everyone, and came back to the house to pack for the flight to L.A. in the morning.
We were so grateful for all of the support we had on our special day.

We know we couldn't have been able to do it without our wonderful families.

I love you all!


Friday, August 8, 2008

It's been too long

Hi there everyone!

I know I posted on here once, and then disappeared. So I figured I would update you all on what's hapened in the last 8 months:

First of all, the BIG NEWS: Ted and I were married on July 5th. Yay!! It was a wonderful wedding, and I was so happy to have Mom and Dad, Angela and Dan, Donny and Liz, Rachel, Uncle Ron and Aunt Kathy, Dallin and Jared there to support me. It was a very small ceremony, but it turned out beautiful. The bishop from my ward married us, and he did a wonderful job.

After the wedding, Ted and I went on a cruise to Mexico. It was a lot of fun, and I didn't get sea sick like I was afraid I might. We snorkeled and went on a cool tour, and basically just relaxed. *wink, wink*

Once we got back from the honeymoon, we had all 4 of our kids for an entire week. Talk about jumping into the deep end of the pool! It was crazy, but we worked it out. I'm so happy that Ted and I are finally together, and we can move foreward together as a family. He is a wonderful man, and I'm very grateful to have him as my partner. Many of you will get to meet him at the reunion next week. Be nice! :)

I still work for Kaiser, but I'm currently looking for a new position. One of those: I've done just about all I can do here, and it's time to move onto bigger and better things. I do want to stay with the same company, so I've started sending out my resume to open positions I'm interested in. It takes forever for this company to do anything, so this might take awhile.

Ted is now living with me in the house in Vacouver, and his work transferred him to Vancouver. It's so great to have him working so close to home now. He is truly a blessing to our family! Kayleen and Jackson love him and are glad to finally have him with us all of the time. The other day, Jackson was upset with me because I was telling him he needed to finish his chores, so he snuck away with the home phone, and called Ted. He just got Ted's voice mail and left a message that said something like: "Mom is being really rude. When are you coming home?". We had a good laugh at that one.

Kayleen is in Young Womens, and is the Beehive President. She was shocked when they called her (I wasn't), and she's doing a wonderful job. I have mothers of the girls in the ward stop me in the halls at church telling me what a wonderful daughter I have. I just smile and say, "Yes, I know. Thank you." She will be going into the 7th grade this year and she's NOT looking forward to going back to school.

Jackson is going to be in 3rd grade this coming school year. He is getting so big and tall, I can hardly remember him as a baby anymore. His favorite thing so far this summer was going to scout camp. He's a cub scout, and loving it! The last day of camp, he was so bummed out, that he said "I wish I could go to scout camp every day of my life.". He is the resident family comedian, and his timing is perfect. We always seem to find something to giggle about when we have Jack around.

Sean is just about to turn 7, and loves his daddy very much. He follows in Ted's shadow, and wants to be just like him. He is going to be in 2nd grade this year, and he's very excited. He has become quite the athlete and plays baseball, soccer, or football at any given time. He loves to ride his bike, and of course: Play video games. We all have such a great time when we get to see him.

Claire is still as adorable as ever. She's using her cuteness, and "the youngest" card for all it's worth. She doesn't let anyone boss her around We hear the phrase, "I can do it by myself!", a lot lately. She loves to sing primary songs, and tell stories in the car. It's always interesting to hear her versions of "classic" fairy tales.

I'll put up more pics of the kids, wedding and honeymoon as soon as I figure out this blogging thing......

Love you all!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Baptisms, weddings and teenagers, oh my!!

Wow!!! What a year 2008 has already been for the McDonnell family!

To start things off, Jackson was baptized on January 5th! It's hard to believe he's actually 8 years old. The years go by so fast.

Grandma and Grandpa Ford drove up for the special occasion, along with Uncle Donny and Aunt Liz, and Aunt Rachel. After the baptism, we were so happy to have Grandpa and Uncle Donny help confirm Jack a member of the church. Once we were finished, we all gathered together to have ice cream Sundays! It was a very special day.

Later that night, Grandma and Grandpa and took us all out to a Portland Trail Blazers Vs. Utah Jazz game at the Rose Garden! To support the Utah Jazz, we all wore individual letters on white T-shirts to spell out: U-T-A-H -- J-A-Z-Z-! Despite a few "boos" from folks behind us, we had a great time. Unfortunately, the Jazz lost.

Kayleen is currently in 6th grade at Discovery Middle School. This is her first year in middle school, and it's been an interesting experience. She is taking 4 honors classes, and after her first report card of the year, ended up on the honor roll!! We are so proud of her. Not only is she in 6th grade, she is also a Beehive in Young Women. She has already gone to the Portland LDS Temple to do baptisms for the dead. She even did some family names last month. Grandma Ford was so excited to have Kayleen start helping with the family genealogy. Kayleen is beautiful, funny and seems to make friends wherever she goes.

Jackson is now in 2nd grade and seems to be the smartest boy in his class. After a reading test at school, his teacher told us Jack is the "fastest" reader in all of 2nd grade! We knew he was smart!! Jack also seems to be our "science" kid. He loves to collect rocks. We can't seem to go anywhere without Jackson bringing home a rock souvenir. He loves anything that has to do with science. He loves to read and learn about new, interesting things, and we encourage it as much as possible. Of course, he's still our silly, full of energy boy we all know and love.

I am working at an HMO called Kaiser Permanente. I've been there for about 1 1/2 years, and I really like my job. I make appointments for all of the doctors. I also triage the phone calls and send messages to the doctor's nurses for patients needing advice. It's an interesting job with a lot of interesting stories. It also pays pretty well, and I have great benefits, which I am very grateful for.

I'm not sure if any of you know about this or not but: I'm engaged!!!!

On Christmas Eve, my boyfriend of almost 2 years, Ted, proposed to me. He did it in front of his family at their Christmas party. Kayleen and Jack were there, along with his two kids from a previous marriage, Sean (age 6), and Claire (age 3). Ted had me stand in front of everyone, got down on his knee, and gave me a ring. He wouldn't give it to me until I said "Yes". It was so sweet. Once I said "Yes", all four of our kids started yelling and cheering. They're all very excited, which made it that much better.

The official date is, July 4th. We decided it would be a lot of fun to always have fireworks on our anniversary. Besides, Ted's parents, (Ted Jr. and Stephanie) were also married on July 4th. We figured it would be good luck to get married on the same day as his parents since they've been married for almost 34 years. Kayleen and Jack call them Nanna and Pappa, and absolutely love them! When we visit Nanna and Pappa's house, I practically have to drag them out to the car kicking and screaming. Nanna and Pappa treat my kids just like their own grandkids, which make’s my decision to be a part of their family even easier.

For those of you who don't know Ted, here are some things you might want to know: Ted is going to be 31 in February (I got myself a younger man!! Woo hoo!!). He has two kids from a previous marriage, Sean and Claire that are very sweet.

Sean is in 1st grade right now, and learning to read. Sean loves to spend his time outside riding his bike, playing video games, and having fun with cars. Sean got a new dirt bike for Christmas, and took to riding it like a fish to water. Basically, he's your typical boy. Sean loves to do anything Ted is doing, and seems to idolize his Dad. Sean lives with his Mom during the week in The Dalles, Oregon, but looks forward to his weekends with Daddy. He has lots of friends, and is a very happy, loving boy who likes to cuddle on the couch at the end of the day to watch a movie before bed.

Claire is a precocious 3 year old girl with TONS of spirit and spunk. She walks around with her shoulders high, and has no problem, "telling it like it is". She's very smart (sometimes for her own good), and her greatest achievement lately is going potty in the big toilet! Claire is a very good mommy to her babies, and can spend hours playing make-believe with them. Polly Pockets are a new favorite toy also recently discovered. Don't let the dolls fool you though! She can wrestle with the best of them. She is always a delight to have around, and seems to have the cutest commentary in every situation.

Now, back to Ted:
Ted also works for Kaiser Permanente as an IT supervisor at one of our hospital/clinics. For the time being, he is the only tech on that campus, so they keep him pretty busy. He's really good at what he does, and they're really happy with how reliable, efficient and smart he is. He works just up the street from my office, so we have lunch together most days. Even though we work for the same company, we didn't meet at work. We actually met on an LDS dating website. I can't believe I actually met someone on-line. At first I didn't want to even try "on-line" dating, but figured I would try it out for a bit. After 4 days, Ted and I saw the other's picture, and started e-mailing each other. 4 days after that, we met for the first time, and it's been almost 2 years. I love him because he loves me just the way I am. Good days, bad days, ugly days...he doesn't care. He is very supportive and sweet. He's also very funny and always makes me laugh all of the time!! Ted is always willing to do whatever it takes to help me around my house, which is always appreciated. Another interesting fact is, Ted went to Thailand on his mission and still speaks fluent Thai. It makes it interesting if we go out to dinner at a Thai food restaurant. I'm so glad to know I found a wonderful man who loves Heavenly Father, and has a testimony of the Gospel. He is a great example to all of our children.

One of the most important things to me, is that my kids love him, and he loves them. He is very supportive of them, and makes time for them as much as possible. He only gets to be with his kids every other weekend, so we don't see them as much as we would like to, but we do the best we can, and love them all the same. It really helps that our kids love each other. They're really happy to have another brother/sister, and talk excitedly about it all of the time. I'm sure at times it's going to be hard to raise a "blended" family, but I know with the support of family and friends, we are going to be very happy.

Well, that pretty much covers everything for now. I'll keep you all updated on the wedding!

Until then, I love you all!


--We could have saved the planet--