Monday, December 19, 2011

14 days is too long, and not long enough :-(

One day and my love will be home for two whole weeks.  This happens every month.  He works for 14 days and is off for 14 days.  For the two weeks he's off we have all 6 kids and it's like heaven and for the two weeks he's working it's just Adam and I and it gets lonely.  Today is December 19th, and since tomorrow is his last day on, that means he'll be home for Christmas and New Years.  Yay! 
I love spending time with him and I'm pretty sure he likes spending time with me, which is good because we have the rest of our lives (and longer) to spend with each other.  He's so amazing.  I don't know what I'd do or where I'd be without him.  We're figuring each other out, having less tension, and learning to share our lives and our children.  I'm so excited to have our entire family together for the Christmas Holiday.  Last time the kids were here and George was off we started getting ready, but we still have so much to do once they come back, and only a few days before Christmas!

Seritta and Camilla decorating the tree

I love this picture of Jarom

It was fun making the graham cracker village with the family

Adam helping set up for Trees for Charity

Apparently Seritta thought the icing was for eating, not decorating.
The title of this post is "14 days is too long, and not long enough".  Doesn't make much sense until you understand our living situation.  The 14 days I have with the entire family is not nearly long enough, and the 14 days they're gone is just way too long.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Accept Accountability? I don't want to!

My girlfriend Lezhai posted a link to a blog on my FB page for me called "30 things to stop doing to yourself".  I thought it was a good read so I browsed the site and found several other good thought provoking articles and eventually came across one called "12 ways to get a second chance in life".  It looked interesting to me so I started reading but stopped at number 4 which read:

4. Accept accountability for your current situation.

Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will. And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.
You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life. And no, it won’t always be easy. Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them. You must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles. Choosing not to is giving up.

For whatever reason this made me uneasy.  I couldn't put a finger on WHY it made me uneasy so I've been sitting here thinking and I realized I just don't like it.  I don't think everyone is responsible for their current situation.  I say this because looking back 2 years ago in my life, December 2009 my husband Steve moved out.  This was not something I chose, however I tried to take responsibility for his choices and it tore me up.  I took blame for everything from gaining too much weight to nagging too much to not praying hard enough or reading enough scriptures, clear back to 9 years earlier when I made the choice to get married without really praying about it.  So what was it?  Was I too fat?  Did I marry the wrong person and the consequences came 9 years later?  At times I find I still wonder what it is and what I did wrong.  I know I made mistakes, and I know I made mistakes that were a big deal and more often than I should have but I don't believe I did anything "bad" enough to end up alone in a place where I knew no one and was suddenly abandoned by the one person I should have been able to depend on 100%. 
I had to realize that I wasn't in that situation because I chose to be or that it was my responsibility.  What it boils down to is that he chose his addictions over his family.  He was given a choice to keep his family and give up an addiction that could ruin the lives of our sons if they became ensnared in it, or leave and take his addiction with him.  He chose the latter.
I can't look back in my life and pinpoint the one mistake or choice I made that placed me the situation I was in because there isn't one.  When I got married I had no idea he had the problem he did.  It took me a whole year to figure it out.  I wanted to help him, I wanted to fix things, and I went to my bishop a year later when I found that I couldn't do it no matter how hard I tried.  My bishop counseled me to stay, through good times and bad, sickness and health, just as I had promised in my wedding vows.  So I stayed.  I went through another 7 years of heartache, finding the problems over and over, struggling with my self esteem, wondering what I did wrong and giving him chance after chance because I knew if I tried, the Lord would pull me through and make everything better.  I followed him to California, sure that once we were in a place where he was happier, with a job that he enjoyed doing, he would lead a better life and be the husband he should have been all along.  He left us 3 months later.
I think if we Accept Accountability for ALL of our situations, we'll end up in a cycle of regret and guilt.  If I choose to blame myself for suddenly becoming single, I would forever question and wonder and have feelings of failure and shame.  And if I choose to believe that I was being punished for marrying him 9 years earlier, then I know I would be too scared to do anything for fear it may not end up the way I want it to, therefore resulting in more guilt for making a "mistake" I didn't know I was making. 
So, I can accept that allowing myself to get up to 172 pounds made him unhappy with the way I looked.  I can accept that I nagged too much, that I was short tempered, and that I made many other little mistakes over our 9 years together, but I will also accept that these things that made him unhappy are not the reason he left.  They aren't the reason we were in a crappy situation.  They didn't help but if it comes down to just one reason, it's that I wasn't good enough for him, which wasn't my fault.  I can accept that how I've handled my life the last two years since then is my responsibility (for the most part) but that I can't make people be nice, I can't make them love me, I can't make them be honest, and I can't keep them from hurting, abandoning, and affecting other peoples lives. 
But I'm so grateful that Steve took his problems and left when he did, because without his choice to walk away, I wouldn't be here in my warm comfortable home, married to the love of my life who makes me feel amazing, and surrounded by my 6 wonderful children.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winters from my past

Last night it snowed. And snowed.  And snowed some more.  This morning when I headed out to start my vehicle, I found that my sweet husband had cleared a path from the front door of the house to the drivers side door of the Sequoia.  He does little things like this that are not little things to me, and it's all part of why I love him so much. 
I've been thinking of winters in the past, and the memories associated with each one, some good and some not so good.  I'm going to share a few of these memories, mostly for myself to clear my head I suppose. 
I'll start with the first memories that entered my head on the slippery roads this morning, the annoying ones like chopping wood in the freezing cold, slipping and falling on the ice while I carried baby Camilla, and all of my children getting RSV, each on different years. 
Dwelling on the annoying memories brought worse ones, like the Christmas Steve had to work and Adam and I spent Christmas Eve with Ryan's family, feeling out of place.  The car accident near the college which spun us around twice and smashed Camilla's leg between the door and the seat.  The winter in Provo when Steve was unemployed and I made the kids stockings small since all we had to put in them was a bag of candy the bishop brought.  The first divorce, right before Christmas.  The second divorce, 9 years later also right before Christmas.  The year Latrisha's baby died. 
Strangely, with these thoughts in my head, I was suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude that my children are all with me and that my life is what it is.  The bad memories were replaced by sweet, fun, and happy ones.  Christmas two years ago in Fountain Green.  Jan and Annalee under the house with me in below zero temperatures replacing pipes again and again, sometimes in the dark and sometimes early before the sun had warmed the day but always laughing with or at me.  Me and the kids sitting on the cold linoleum in the kitchen with our feet in the air by the woodburner.  Watching Steve roll over and over down the hill we were sledding on and him laughing in the cold snow that he hated more than anything in the world.  Chase dropping our Shih Tzu in the snow and laughing when it disappeared.  Christmas caroling with the missionaries when I was a teenager with Jared and Sariah Hill.  Me and Becky hurrying out of the family room to avoid feeling awkward when we saw the tears in mom's eyes the year dad replaced the synthetic stones in her mothers ring with genuine stones.  Colin pulling his winter hat over his face and down to his neck so he could stick his head in the snow like an ostrich.  New Years Eve with Karl and Tammy in the big family room at mom and dad's watching the ball drop as the clock struck midnight when Karl looked at my dad and with genuine disbelief and said, "Wow, 1995 already.  Can you believe it?"  Colin falling off the roof on Christmas day and breaking his arm and dad getting mad because mom took him to the emergency room.  Mom answering the phone "Merry Christmas" instead of "Hello".  Kevin chucking a can of stain in the family room Christmas night as we watched it explode all over our new gifts.  Colin chasing down whoever was leaving packages on our porch for the 12 days of Christmas (he didn't catch them).  The tree falling over 3 times in the family room with Joan on the ladder.  Finding Stella's letter under the tree that said she loved me, and knowing it was true even though I was awful to her.  That same year we unwrapped and rewrapped our presents so mom wouldn't know, even though I'm sure she did.  Ice skating on the pond behind our house.  Sledding by the highway with Liz Cranney.  Grandma Sadlier giving us gloves for Christmas. The year Granpa Elliott lost our Christmas gifts and found them months later in his top drawer.  Moon boots and snowsuits in the entryway.  Everybody getting leatherbound scriptures for Christmas in the Naples house.  Snowmobiling at the Naples School.  The ugly trees that looked like sagebrush dad would bring home from the book cliffs and mom would turn them so the gaping hole in the middle faced the window, away from the family.  Fudge and peanut brittle in the electric skillet.
A lot of these memories came as I was typing other ones, and most of them are in order of my life, from the most recent to memories from more than 20 years ago.  I may complain about my life and I may find myself resentful and bitter at times just before Christmas but when it comes down to it, I only put a fraction of my past in this post.  I have so much to be thankful for.  So many times that my family has been there making me smile and teaching me lessons that I'll always keep with me.  I'm sure in the next few days I'll post more recent memories of the last 13 years with my kids and the memories we've made together, since this post is mostly about my childhood memories and not theirs.  I love that thinking back over the years I'm finding good memories that overpower the yucky ones :-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Halloween, Thanksgiving and George's surgery

How do I sum up the last month and a half?  I don't know... perhaps I need to set an alarm to remind myself to blog every week or two.  We had the kids for Halloween and it was of course, a blast.  George's ex-wife Stephanie came along and I think it was good for the kids to have both of their moms together sharing their memories.  Kellie and I spend most of the week before Halloween making Jedi costumes for her family and Death, Grim Reaper, Vampire, and witch costumes for us.  It was a lot of sewing, and also a lot of fun!

Seritta, Adam, Cami, Dominick Jarom, Chase, Kellie, Draden, Jake, Savannah, Vanessa, and Brian.

Adam and Grandma Merrell

Dominick, Jarom and Adam

George's wig was the bomb!

Thanksgiving was spent with George's mother, aunt Lois and cousin Kacei, Annalee and Brian, and our children.  I love George's family :-)  They've been so welcoming to me and they're great people.  I wish I'd known George's dad, Norman.  I've heard the stories of him and what an amazing person he was.

Adam and cousin Kacei at grandma Merrells house on Thanksgiving. Isn't she beautiful?

I've started working for my neighbor Adele Hanchett at the local bridal shop, Bridal Affairs.  That name cracks me up.  Every time I say that's where I work I get a raised eyebrow or "Is that REALLY what it's called?"  It's a fun place to work and I felt like I belonged from day one.  I'm surrounded by lace and ruffles, sparkles, jewels, pearls, and all other sorts of girliness!  Camilla and Seritta came in one day and played dress up with some of the prom dresses.

George and Seritta went hunting the day after Halloween in Wyoming.  Just after Seritta got her buck (they'd both gotten a doe that morning) George put his hand through a fence post!  They stitched it up out there but did a pretty crappy job and more than a month later he ended up having surgery to figure out why the infection won't clear up.  We still don't know, and his hand still hurts and is yucky.  He's now having to pack it with gauze which totally grosses me out. 

George and Seritta and their deer.  It was Seritta's first.
Seritta's Whitetail buck!


Still gross, a month later

George after surgery. 
He called the nurse Baby while he was dopey!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fun in the bathroom

When I was single with girl roommates and company always in and out of my house, my little family and I started leaving messages on the bathroom mirror with dry erase expo markers.  Little I love you's, you're amazing, thank you, etc. 
Since marrying George, I've bought some more markers and we continue our fun game in the main bathroom.  Most of the time I don't want to erase it because everything on there is so sweet.  When George and I have tension, the girls leave little notes or scriptures reminding us that we are in love and trying to help us along the sometimes rocky path of blending our family.  Usually the only people to leave a mark on the mirror are me, Seritta and Camilla but lately the rest of the family has started messaging now and then and I find I really really like it :)

I love my family.  So much that sometimes I almost cry just thinking about them.  I am truly blessed to have such amazing people in my home sharing my life with me and I would be lost without them.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bras for a Cause

My girlfriend and neice Annalee is always doing volunteer stuff.  She's on the relay for life team and her latest endeavor is called "Bras for a Cause".  So... a bunch of people decorated bras in all crazy looks and wore them to Little B's last Friday.  Several were auctioned off and although I don't know the exact amount, I think they raised quite a bit of money for breast cancer research.  My friend Niki and I spent an entire afternoon decorating and here's the finished product:
It was a fun night, but being in the bar scene just didn't feel right and with my arthritis in such a flare I can't wear heels for too long and I was in 3.5 inchers that night, ouch!  So we went, got checked out and hit on by the drunks and left after only 30-45 minutes.  It was a fun memory for us and we'll probably do it again next year :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I found the stalker!

It's Kelly Townsend, who commented on a post I have deleted without even knowing she commented!  Oops.  Just found them in the comments section.  Ah well, unfortunately I deleted the post a few weeks ago without seeing the comments beforehand.  So... On with my life I go :)

I'm being stalked :-)

So, I have a new follower which means my followers has gone from 9 to 10.  I'm in the double digits now and I'm gaining in popularity.  The problem is this follower is confused. 
He or she has their name listed as Fake Friends Suck (there's a hyphen in there somewhere but I didn't pay enough attention to remember where).  I don't know if it's a he or a she or maybe a she-man. 
I, however am a real person with a real blog and a real name and real followers, although I think very few of them actually follow, which is fine because as anyone can see this is just a venting place for me.  My own husband doesn't even read my blog.
I think anyone with a follower named Fake Friends Suck would check out that particular profile, which is exactly what I did.  Like, a few times.  And guess what?  They don't have a blog or a name, in fact they only follow one blog.  Which is of course mine.  They've had 4 profile views and I know at least 3 of them were me, maybe even all 4.
I'm very much a people watcher, therefore I've become a blog stalker and a Facebook stalker.  I  Facebook stalk everyone.  I FB stalk my ex husbands girlfriends so I know who my kid(s) are being introduced to, I FB stalk my ex husband's sister because she tried to sue me for the boob job my ex husband is supposed to be paying for and I want to know her life sucks (which it does).  Petty, I know.  I FB stalk my ex boyfriends because, well who doesn't?  I FB stalk the bishop, the primary and relief society presidents, the neighbors, the kids teachers and friends who have an account.
I stalk pretty much anyone I can, and anyone who says they don't do at least a little stalking is lying because we all want to know something about someone.
I know I just made myself sound like a crazy person so lets get this straight.  I generally drop in on someone once. Or in some cases every few months.  I look at pictures, check out the family, make sure they aren't too weird and if they clog up my newsfeed I unfriend or block them, and if I never see them on the newsfeed I forget they're even on my list.  I don't have time to stalk more than that.  I have six kids and when I don't have all six of them I have a house to clean, people to visit, an adorable dog to play with, FIVE kids that I babysit and haul around even when I don't have my own children, and other important things to do that other moms do over the period of a month and I do in two weeks.
So the point of this post is that there's really no point other than to let the stalker know that I know they're there and that I'm ok with it.  It almost freaks me out, but more importantly makes me feel sorta like a celebrity.  So, thank you stalker who may or may not be a she-male and may or may not even stalk me at all (um, ya right) but who has now put me in double digits and made me feel important.  I should have found a stalker years ago.
If I actually have anyone who reads my blog, please visit this link so my stalker can have a few more views than the 6 I've made (I had to check the page to make sure the link worked, so now the views are up to 6!  Congrats stalker!)
And I just have one question.  If I have a real profile, and Fake Friends Suck has a fake profile, doesn't that mean I'm real and they're fake?  So are they saying they suck since they're a fake friend on my profile?  Now that's deep.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Rules

George and I just hit our 4 month anniversary. No, not our 4 month wedding anniversary, but our 4 month anniversary of the first time we met. And a week before that we hit our 2 month wedding anniversary. When we talk about memories that we've made we're always like, uh were we just dating or were we engaged at that point? Then I thought, we can't remember because we dated for just under 3 weeks, and were engaged for like 4 weeks after that. It feels like so much longer. Feels like we've been a family forever. Our children bonded immediately, the girls went to camp right after he proposed and the bonding that happens at girls camp is so amazing, I remember the times I was camp leader and the connections and friendships made. The girls introduced each other as sisters and they've BEEN sisters since then. They text each other, they support one another, they protect and love each other and it's wonderful to see and feel.
I have a connection with the teenagers Camilla and Seritta.  George has a bond with 7 year old Vanessa. We both love them all but it seems that I've sorta claimed the older ones and he naturally babies the little one. The boys are just boys and we love them all the same :-)
So, back to my adorable husband. I swore when I moved here that I would never marry a Vernal boy. Ever. Because I didn't want to be stuck in this podunk town for the rest of my life and the chance that we were related was much too high. That was rule number one.
Rule number two was I would never marry an oilfield worker. There's so much porn and swearing and drugs and infidelity out there and I know the temptation is hard for men to resist. Also, there's the chance that they could leave for weeks at a time and that hurts the bond between husband and wife. I know this because my last husband would leave for weeks and I was pretty much a single mom with young kids. Raising kids alone wasn't as hard as missing my husband. So, oilfield worker was out.
Rule number three was nobody with kids. I get really attached to kids and if there's a breakup it destroys me. So, no dating anyone with kids because I wouldn't be able to let them go. That's hard to find in a Mormon town and I knew I'd be single until I was ready to go back to California. 
And rule number four. No talk of marriage until at least 6 months of dating.  I met my first husband four months before we married, my second..well... one date.  For reals.  I got my third ring less than two months after meeting and we broke up right after.  My fourth ring took only two months and we broke up six weeks later.  So... I've never had a serious relationship that lasted more that a few months until I either married them or we called the wedding off.  I never knew about the addictions, girlfriends, history, etc.
All of that was ruined with George. And I'm so glad. He was raised in Vernal, knew my whole family, and we went to the same ward. He was six years older (I've mentioned that) than me so I don't remember him but his sister lived next door too him, and her daughter (his neice) was one of my besties. We used to play barbies together and she was my boss at Ace Hardware a few years ago.  We chill at the Chinese restaurant from time to time and have girl bonding. Her son and my daughter were in 1st grade together and now go to the same middle school. So, since my family was raised in Jensen and his in Naples (like 5 miles apart) there was a risk we were related. He actually checked before our first date because he was also nervous about being related and although there were a few marriages between members of his family and mine, like cousins and second cousins, there was no blood relation. Rule number one, no marrying a Vernal boy, out the window.
Rule number two, no oilfield. Well this is an oilfield town and he works on a rig, one of the most dangerous oilfield jobs out there, but good money. He's so amazing and so into the gospel that he will never give into the temptations out there because he knows he always has the protection of the Lord and the Holy Ghost as long as he lives right, which he does. In fact it's just opposite. He's a good example to those around him and he knows it. There's stability in that he's been at the job a long time, there's peace in knowing he doesn't participate in "extra curricular" activities at the rigs. So, rule number two out the window as well.
Rule three. He had three kids. He had a teenage daughter, and I adore teenagers. That was probably the scariest part, because the bond I felt with his oldest daughter from day one was so strong and I knew I would be heartbroken if I fell in love with his kids. So out with rule three.
And rule number 4, a very important rule.  No engagement until at least 6 months of dating.  George and I met and married in 7 weeks.  I don't think I've said much about that time because I was so afraid he would leave me.  So afraid of the humiliation that comes with telling everyone I've met Prince Charming and that he and I will live happily ever after in his castle, only to turn around and tell them I was wrong once again and that Prince Charming is still in love with someone else, or that he has an addiction that is far more important to him than an eternity with me, or that he just doesn't love me enough.  That I simply wasn't good enough, spiritual enough, thin enough, calm enough, and that he couldn't handle who I was and am and will always be.
I finally found Prince Charming.  I kissed a lot of frogs to get to him and found a lot of heartache (and some happiness as well) along the way.  And we live happily ever after in his Castle, where he comes home to me every night and I know that to him I am good enough, spiritual enough, thin enough, calm enough, and that he can handle me.  And I know he's in love with me and only me and that nothing is more important to him than an eternity with me and our family.  He is everything to me.  I couldn't imagine life without him and I haven't even known him for six months, let alone dated for that long.  I can't imagine feeling like I have before where I knew I wasn't worthy of being loved or of feeling this kind of love for someone else.  I thought he was cute and fun and maybe acting a little more religious than he really was and probably playing up the wonderful family man, but we all try to show our best side at first, right?  Wrong.  He showed who he really is.  He loves his children, he loves his religion, he checks in on his mother and he lives a life I thought impossible for a man to live without a woman pushing him.
So, I'm finding that when I'm involving the Lord in my important decisions (which I didn't the first three times, not sure what happened with the fourth because I thought I was involving the Lord with him and actually recieving promptings and answers) that he will guide me in his own time.  I was praying about George before I even met him face to face.  I was getting a blessing right after and learning about him and praying like crazy.  He was fasting and praying 8 days after we met and found my ring on day 9.  I didn't expect this, I didn't expect him, and I didn't expect the Lord to answer my prayers, at least not so soon.  But he did.  And it was so right.  I have seen my testimony grow since I found George.  I've started to trust the Lord, to love myself, and to want to be a better me every day.
I now know that I can make as many rules as I want and map out my future perfectly, just the way I think my life should go.  But if the Lord has another plan and I listen to him, I will choose to live the life he has planned for me and understand that his plan is sometimes different than my plan.  And that's ok.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Ok so making salsa.  Wow, making salsa was CRAZY.  Like, 50 onions, 30 green bell peppers, 25-ish jalapenos, garlic (no clue how much), vinegar, and SUGAR!  Over a period of 2 days, it felt like we got hardly any salsa out of it.  It was ridiculous and I'll NEVER EVER EVER do it again!  My hands smelled like onions for days, and my hair as well, no matter how many times I scrubbed it.  I will say the salsa turned out out yummy and sweet and perfect for me.  Too sweet for all six kiddies and my husband so I made a mild/medium batch which was like super hot for me, perfect for everyone else in the family. 
The bonding time I had with Vickie and Kellie was the best part of it and almost worth the time it took to make the salsa.  I love that I'm able to bond with my kids stepmother (Kellie) and that she's like a sister to me.  I love her very much for who she is.  So, salsa was a success, the experience unforgettable, but I'm so over it.  Never again, I swear it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Peeing in the corner

(pre-note): after that last blog entry, the crap hit the fan.  Apparently he still blog stalks me.  And I thought I was creepy for FB stalking every few weeks.
Ok, so on to me being domestic.  I made jam.  Lots of jam.  Like, 65-ish cups of jam.  It was freezer jam, and although I did it over a period of two days because I had two shipments of fruit, it could have been done in a day because  it was very simple.  40 cups were made one night between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. with my friend Niki and it was freaking hilarious.  Our boys slept in the living room and Adam had a sleep walking episode.  Here goes, I know I'm going to have to delete this entry and most likely put him in therapy if he ever finds out I posted this but I'm just a bad enough mother that I'm cool with that.
Around midnight he woke up.  My home is a tri-level with a split stairway between the front room and living room, one set of stairs leading upstairs to two bedrooms (one of them massively huge), a bathroom and a hall closet, and the other set downstairs to another bedroom, a bathroom/laundry room and the family room.  The boys room is upstairs.
Back to sleepwalking.  Adam woke up and headed toward the kitchen rubbing his eyes.  I asked him if he was ok, he said he's finished.  Finished with what, I asked.  Finished thinking.  Then he walked headfirst into the wall between the two staircases.  I started laughing, he looked up at me like I was crazy and headed upstairs.  Niki asked what he was doing, and I said don't worry, he's asleep.  She pointed out that his eyes are still open.  Don't worry Nik, he's still asleep.  So we continued smashing raspberries.
I started to wonder what he was doing when I didn't hear the bathroom door close.  When Jarom and Dominick aren't around he generally wouldn't volunteer to sleep in his bedroom alone given the opportunity to crash in the living room with Niki's son, Cadon.  So I headed upstairs and at the top, I knew he was in the bathroom because I could hear him peeing.  And the door was open.  Not really cool.  So I reached in to shut the door, but there was no one there. Weird?  My first thought is our wonderful dog, who never ever does anything wrong (except chase cars and bark and stab me with his ridiculously long nails at night) is peeing in my house!  In my disgusting boys room!  I hurry in there and no, it's not the dog peeing in the corner, but my eight year old son.  Super not cool.
Now, I don't know how many people deal with sleepwalkers, but I have learned not to startle them or they freak.  So I put my hand on his back and said quietly... son, you're peeing in your room.  He turned away and finished peeing as I'm telling him, you're pottying in your room... you're peeing on your closet door... eventually he turns around, does up his fly, stares at me... and laughs.  And I started to laugh.  I asked him if he'd been sleeping, he said yes, crawled into bed and fell asleep.  So I went downstairs, knowing I was going to have to scrub carpets in the morning, and smiled because I knew I'd have a great story to tell him.
When I told him, he laughed and laughed until I was finished with the story and asked.... How old was I?  Uh, dude, it was last night.  His eyes about popped out of his head.  How emabarrassing he says and starts laughing harder!!!
It's a great blackmail story and other than the pee on the carpet, I think I'd be willing to make jam every week if I got entertained like that!

Next blog entry... The horrors of canning salsa.  I'm a bit too traumatized for that post just yet.

Friday, August 26, 2011


I am no longer Amber and Company, family of 4 without a daddy but WE are now Amber, George and company, family of 8 with both a mommy and a daddy and a dog named Jack.  So, now I think I will change my blog, play with it a little bit, and add pictures of my wonderful family.  I don't talk much about my children on here and I just noticed that as I was scrolling through past blog posts.  So... here's a little bio on each of my beautiful children:
Seritta Merrell was born August 15 1997, which makes her 14 as of this post. She is quiet, level headed, slow to anger, and just plain sweet. She is tall and beautiful with dark hair and hazel eyes and she takes after George's family when it comes to looks. We've been playing around with makeup (especially eyeliner) and with or without it, the child is lovely. Most importantly, she's been the mother of her father's house. Because of that she's learned patience and kindness and she is an amazing example of true charity. She scrapbooks, journals, talks about boys, takes care of younger siblings like a pro, and reads her scriptures often. I feel like I can relate to her on a level I never expected.
Camilla Jade Hall was born August 17 1998 and is 13. She is short and adorable, looks like me but has her aunt Hillary's cute pouty lips and chin. She has one of those faces that can pull of any look, but with her height (or lack thereof) she looks younger than she is. Throw some makeup on that girl and she suddenly becomes a teenager. Sometimes I look at her and my heart almost breaks at the thought of her in three years when she's 16 because she really does get more beautiful every year. She's so very kind hearted and joined me in donating ALL of her hair a few years ago for cancer victims. She gets her feelings hurt because she is so tender and would never intentionally hurt another person, therefore she has a hard time understanding. She wants to do what's right, loves her family and the gospel, and she is loved by everyone around her.

Jarom Chase Hall was born April 15 2000.  He's so very serious and cautious.  He is concerned about things around him, and worries about his family and friends.  He's smart.  Like, super smart.  He skipped a grade last year and caught up in about 6 months.  He has thoughts that are incredible, often too deep for me to understand.  He has dark hair and hazel eyes like his dad but he looks enough like me that people often say he takes after my side of the family, until they see him next to his daddy.  That child is the clone of his father, with a dash of Sadlier thrown in.  He's so sweet and sometimes has to fight back tears when he sees an injustice.  He's also a little small for his age but he makes up for it in his strong personality (ok, its more like attitude but whatever!).
Dominick Merrell was born April 29 2002 and he turned 9 this year.  He's ALL BOY.  He plays sports, farts, burps, shoots things like prairie dogs and dragonflies (really) and adores his dad.  He's the only blonde and I've been trying to decide who he looks like.  I have a picture of his dad at his age and he does look a lot like a Merrell but I can see some of his mothers side in him as well.  He is into sports and George is wonderful about helping with and going to games.
Adam Stanley Meager was born November 13 2002 and will be nine in a few months.  He is crazy, funny, carefree and intense!  When he's happy, he's hecka happy and when he's sad, the whole world is crashing down.  He's also very much a boy and he and Dominick are best friends.  He tells jokes and stories and loves to play with other people.  He looks like me, with dark hair and eyes and just enough of Steve to look like a Meager.  He's a crackup and sooooooooo fun to hang out with!

Vanessa Merrell is our baby, born March 2004.  She's a diva through and through.  She thinks she rules the house, and she sorta does.  She has lots of attitude and personality and pretty much gets whatever she wants because she's so headstrong.  I fear we may have some clashing with her soon, simply because she's used to ruling the roost, and thats now my job!  I love Vanessa so much for who she is, probably because she's so much like me.  She looks just like her mother with dark hair and eyes, but she loves her daddy.  She and I look enough alike that she could pass for mine easily, and we love each other just like she was born mine.  She can kick her brothers butt when it comes to wrestling, but she pouts and bats her eyes like any princess, which is what George calls her.  Click here to read another post about Vanessa.
I would love to elaborate on the children as a family, and not just individually but I am out of time today.  I must go get my boy from school and pretend to clean my home.  I will just say I love these children and I'm so very happy that I get to mother them :-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


My new life has begun :)  I anticipated happily ever after from the start.  For the first time, I did it right.  I married a man who reads his scriptures daily, reminds us to have family prayer, and never forgets his personal prayers every night.  A man who loves the Lord, loves me, loves our family, and wants to do whats right.  But.... it wasn't happily ever after from the start.  It was a power struggle from day one.  Both of us having been single for a while, him almost 3 years and me a year and a half, with him living the bachelor life for two weeks and stay at home daddy for two weeks, spending his money where he pleased (Basin Sports for hunting stuff.... like hundreds maybe thousands of dollars.  For reals) and me living the typical single mother of 3 life, working one job 4 days a week, another 7 days.  They weren't the hardest jobs, but they were an emotional strain and several days a week I wasn't home until 6 p.m.  I was dancing and partying on weekends, attached to an on-call phone every day and the clubhouse every night, and spending my money on my children but allowing myself the luxuries of shopping, manicures, and chocolate when I needed "therapy".
Suddenly I am a stay at home mother of six two weeks out of the month and a stay at home mother of one the other two weeks of the month.  I have my sisters children 4 days of the week... so I am surrounded by kids... which is fine.  But I have a man here and we both are used to having our way.  It's hard for me to be the wife and mommy and give up the dancing, the manicures, the new heels every month and the freedom of doing what I want when I want.  So yesterday I decided I won't.  We've had tension because I've felt like I must be the martyr, giving up the things I want because I now have responsibilities as a wife and mother and my identity was changing, I was no longer independent Amber, mother of three, wife of none but not unwanted, owner of everything I wanted from men, ruler of my own house and my own life.  I realize now I don't have to lose myself in this man who loves me.  He doesn't expect me to become what he wants, because he fell in love with me, with who I am and not with who he wants me to be.  He wants me to be me and I will be just that.  I can't go back to the wife and homeschool mother I was in my last marriage, because it was never me.  I just thought it was.
And now, since I've decided to be me, to spend the time and money I need to keep up my high maintenance life, we are happy :-)  I am happy and because I am happy he is happy because he loves me and thats what he wants, is happiness. 
I love him so much, I love who he is, what he stands for, what he believes and what he has planned for us and for eternity.  So, I've been married a day short of 3 weeks and I realize that I am so in love that I trust him enough to be myself and to let him see me for me, and not the typical Mormon wife I thought I should be.  Knowing he loves me, and knowing I love him and that together we love our children, I am so completely happy.  I truly love my life... and it doesn't mean I don't miss my old life or that I don't have adjustments, but I do truly love my life.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

88 hours 45 minutes

88 hours and 45 minutes until my wedding.  And I'm not ready.  I don't think I'll ever be ready.  I'm excited and not afraid about marrying this wonderful man, but worried about how the families will blend.  I wonder if it will be hard or if it will come naturally.  I hope it isn't like a warzone it our house.  Our house... the sound of that is so amazing :-)  Our house, and our kids and our life.  And what a wonderful life I'm anticipating with a man who loves me, loves the Lord and loves his children.  And I thought moving to Vernal meant giving up my chances at marriage so that my kids could be near their dad.  How wrong I was, and how grateful I am that I came back and found my future waiting right here at home.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pre-wedding stress

Two weeks from tomorrow is my wedding day.  While I'm stressed that all of the planning has to be done in such a short amount of time, the wedding isn't the main worry tonight.  It isn't even the issue of moving a family of four in with another family of four and becoming a family of eight.  In a three bedroom house.  With six children born over a period of six and a half years.  Or moving all three bedrooms around so the three girls get the biggest room since two of the girls will be teenagers and praying that those two teenage girls who are suddenly sisters become best friends rather than mortal enemies.  It's not having all three boys (two of them only six months apart) in the smallest bedroom and hoping they survive each other.  And that the bedroom and furniture survive them.
Tonight, while my soon to be husband is at work and my son is sleeping on the couch as I update the blog rather than work on moving the bedrooms, I find myself feeling scared and excited and wishing I had more time but also hoping the next two weeks passes quickly.  Now we'll have a husband and daddy who loves us and wants to take care of us.  And he really does love us, and he really does want to take care of us. 
I just hope it doesn't go away like it has in the past, over and over.  I hope we'll have a happy loving family with children raised in a home centered around Christ and the gospel.  And I hope and pray that I don't fail again as a wife, because more than ever I just want my children to understand that life is about more than parties and dances and endless dating.  I don't want them to believe that marriage is disposable, that relationships are temporary or that daddies leave when things get too tough.  But it's so very hard to expect the kids to believe in happily ever after when I've proven to them that it doesn't exist.  So tonight I will pray that I can finally show them it does.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Proposal

The boyfriend is now the Fiance!
Not sure if I've even mentioned his name on here because I was trying to avoid drama if this didn't work out. Apparently it will work out perfectly. He is George Merrell, and he is wonderful. I met George years ago as a child I'm sure, although neither of us remembers the other. I think we were in the same ward, as he lived only a few miles away and knew my older brothers. Back in October or November (can't remember) our friend Misti... who I now owe my LIFE to... introduced us on Facebook and he sent a message now and again, completely disappearing during the times I was in a relationship and engaged but popping back up when I was single. I moved back in May, and we went on a hike June 11 with his three children and my Adam.  Pictures were posted on Facebook that night and everyone assumed we were dating and had been for a while. 3 days later he held my hand for the first time and 3 weeks plus a day after that, on July 6 he proposed. Add it up, and we had 3 1/2 weeks from first meeting to engaged. We'll be married August 4th, less than 2 months after meeting.
I don't know exactly how it happened, or how fast. Many of my friends say I'm crazy, that I'm on a rebound, not thinking straight because of my recent breakup, lonely or just want a daddy here for Adam. All I know is that I've prayed, had a bishops blessing and felt peace and happiness.  I truly believe the spirit is present when we're together in his home, watching our children and planning our future. George fasted and prayed before proposing and I know he loves the Lord, he loves the gospel, and he listens to the spirit. Had he not gotten an answer that this is right, we wouldn't be together planning forever. I love this man, I love his children, and I love the thought of knowing he'll be mine every day for forever.
All this talk of forever... does this mean temple marriage? Unfortunately not yet. I am still sealed to my first husband and anyone who has experienced this in the church knows how long it can take for a sealing cancellation to process. We both have some steps to take before we're at that point, and hopefully soon I'll be able to submit the paperwork to the first presidency.

And finally... THE PROPOSAL!
Last Wednesday we went to Red Canyon Lodge up by Flaming Gorge dam for dinner. I had been hoping and feeling a proposal was on the way, however I didn't expect it that night and I thought his niece (one of my best friends since we were babies and still one of my favorite people) had just given him my ring size a few days earlier.
After dinner, we went to the lookout where the weather was perfect and the view was beautiful. He kissed me, took my hand, and asked me to marry him.  It sounds so cheesy on here and doesn't even compare to the thoughts and feelings that were in that moment. I was full of love and happiness as I looked at the man I adore and thought of our future together.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


"Sometimes God gives us reminders to hold those we love just a little nearer then we did the day before. Life can change in an instant, or what you thought was one way is really another."
My sister in law, Shalain posted this quote as her Facebook status a week or so ago and I have no idea if she said it or someone else but I found it interesting in light of what my dad has recently gone through. Here I've been contemplating life and eternity and when I called my mom to check on dad Sunday she told me that our cousin Donny had died. He was older than me, and we weren't close but he had teenage boys he was caring for and he will be the third child his dad will have to bury. Although I wasn't close to him personally, I felt the shock that we all feel when someone we know has died and my thoughts immediately went to his father, and then to my children and my own parents. The common theme in my blog posts has been how grateful I am to be back home and this weekend was just the same. More reminders of how wonderful my crazy family is.
Yesterday was independence day and last night I had a barbeque with my niece, Brianna and her husband Matt and my nephew, Tyson and his wife Kim. Afterward we set off fireworks with some of the people in our ward and ended the night with a visit to see my love. The entire day was full and fun. I went shopping in the afternoon with one of my best friends, Annalee and just had some good girl bonding time. Every Independence day, Vernal has an annual parade as most cities do and I sat in front of Jubilee with my older children, their siblings and their stepmother as we watched the typical Vernal parade (which is actually really pathetic). The kids ate sticky blue popsicles and when it was done they headed home with their other mother. After the parade, my boyfriends children passed by and said hi, his youngest daughter stopping for an enormous hug and after they left and my own kids were gone I sort of felt the same sting I felt at the airport last week when I dropped my baby off to fly in a big plane all by himself. I was sad for a little bit, seeing the kids in my life walking away but I remembered my uncle and cousin and was instantly grateful that these kids, mine and his, were all coming back to us.
We get to plan vacations, high school graduations, proms and dances, missions, and one more baptism. And although we will share some of these experiences with other people in their lives, other family members that are here because our families are shared families with shared siblings who found each other because of death, divorce, or remarriage of their parents, I know that I would much rather share my children with other people who love them and to say goodbye while they visit their other families than to not have them at all.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Being a mother and a daughter

Yesterday I flew my baby boy to San Jose, California to see his daddy.  All alone.  And since my older two are at their dads for the summer I suddenly felt empty and lonely.  This week I've had to question my life... who am I... what life am I giving my children? 
As I watched my little 8 year old board the plane ever so excited for his adventure, I was able to hold back the tears until he turned the corner, but as soon as he was gone they started to spill over.  There was no open sobbing, but a mother behind me saw me wipe at my eyes and sweetly asked, "Is it his first time?".  When I nodded she told me it gets easier with each flight and I thought how sad it was that she knew this and that her children experienced the same thing.  I felt like such a horrible mother as I noticed other people looking at me with concern, probably pitying the single mom and the boy from a broken home.  How much of this was in my own head, I don't know but the feelings of sadness and failure were still there, and the thought of my child in a huge plane way above the clouds with no mom or dad to hold his hand was scary.  I had images of the plane going down in a fiery ball of fury and I was near panic when I saw them begin to taxi onto the runway, and I followed along watching through the windows until it was out of sight.  He's gone for 8 days.  8 days is a long time, longer than he's ever been away from me. 
During the 3 hour drive home from the Salt Lake City airport with some of my best friends there with me, I started to wonder if this is how our Heavenly Mother felt when we left.  If she worried about the lives we would have with the "other parents" that she was trusting us with, hoping they made the best choices for their earthly children just as I was worrying about my child so far away with his dad.  I'm sure she watches us during our short time on earth and hopes for our safe return, just as I hope and pray that my son comes back to me safely.  We often think of our Heavenly Father and question his plan and his feelings for us, but lately I've wondered about his partner, the mother we left and will hopefully return to some day.  I must trust my children to make the best choices they can when they're away from me, to take care of themselves the way I've taught them and to remember their value and who they really are, whatever their circumstances may be, and I'm sure our Heavenly parents hope the same for us.
So here I am, wondering about life, about my future... worrying about my parents AND my children... and I feel once again that coming here was the best thing.  The best thing for my almost teenage daughter who I felt needed her father at this critical time in her life.  The best thing for my sons, who no longer have to live without the priesthood now that we have Jarom and Camilla's dad just minutes away and my father here in our home. The best thing for me as I find myself drawing close to my friends who even with my three year absence are here for me, loving me and forgiving me for not being the friend I should have been while I was gone.  And the best thing for my soul as I find peace in those around me and feel love from my Savior, my bishop and my old ward. I think I'm healing as I now see how unhealthy the life I had in California was for my family and I'm so very grateful that I made it back home to my parents, who I'm sure felt the same way about me while I was gone as I'm feeling about my son during his little vacation.  The judgement I thought I would feel, the critisism and scoldings about my facial piercing and the plastic surgery I had in California have not come, and I almost feel like the prodigal daughter welcomed home with open arms.  Funny how even at 31, when I've been on my own for nearly 15 years, I still need the comfort of my family, the strength of my father, and the security of knowing that my mother is near if I need a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fairytale moments

I don't think I've EVER travelled as much in my life as I have the last month.  Between the move from Cali, our vacay to Four Corners and our recent trip to St. George, I'm tired of the car.  Why St. George though? My super tough daddy had surgery for lung cancer.  He found out he had it over a month ago and it's part of the reason I came home. 
The reality that my father is not immortal, as I'd always thought, was overwhelming.  I had to realize that the people who love me most were two states away and thats where I belonged.  The surgery went well but I was not prepared for the state my father would be in after the doctors had their way.  He was in intensive care for a day and when I first walked in I saw Superman with a forced oxygen mask on his face, tubes coming from his body, some of them draining blood from the surgery and others pumping medications into him like crazy.  His monitors showed a heartbeat that was way too slow and his breathing was shallow and sometimes he'd go too long between breaths.  I didn't realize he was on a machine at night for sleep apnea and I'd never seen him breathe like that.  I only stayed a few minutes and abandoned my sister with him before he woke up.  A few hours later I braved the creepy ICU again.  He was sleeping and I didn't dare wake him for fear I would either have to see him in pain or even worse, start crying in front of him, so I just sat and watched him until mom came in a few minutes later.  I will never ever forget the way she took his hand and placed a cold washcloth on his forehead or how he slowly opened his eyes completely unaware that I sat in a chair just a few feet away from him and softly said to her "I think I must have died and went to heaven. There's an angel in my room."  Over the last ten years I've watched my dad slowly change from a grumpy old fart into a husband who clearly adores his wife.  He's still got his grumpy fart moments but he's definitely softened.
Watching my mom stand over his hospital bed with the monitors that read his scary heartbeat, tubes filled with blood, and a morphine button at his side was a moment in time I'll always remember and that they'll never fully understand. 
Finding myself single after having planned a future with 4 different men, two who I married and two that ended before the I do's, I've learned that "The Fairy Tale" simply doesn't exist.  That everything I've been told about love and eternity and happily ever after is just a myth, or perhaps I was just one of those girls who had pissed God off enough that he didn't feel I deserved it.  Either way, watching them together in that moment made me realize that while life is not a fairytale, it can have it's fairytale moments and those moments can carry us through to the next fairytale moment.  I haven't found a prince willing to wait for the moments that make the tough times worth while but I suddenly believe he's out there and I can't wait to start our story.
As for my Superman dad, he's doing a little better.  He's still in the hospital, still having pain and still not wonderful but I have faith that he'll be ok in time. 
If I didn't believe that, I think my world would suddenly twist and contort from a fairytale into a nightmare.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I made it to UT!  And we left for vacay the next day to see Four Corners, Mesa Verde, the Aztec Ruins and Silverton, CO.  Mom and Dad and dads long lost cousin, Jake Zimmerle went as well as my sister Joan, her husband Jeff and their five kids; my sister Stella, her husband Jon and their 6 kids.  And of course, Adam and I.  It was so fun and so tiring!  I'll be adding pictures soon.

Last night my old friend Laura came over to help clean out the closet of the room I'll be staying in.  My parents own a company and on top of that... they NEVER throw anything out.  The combination makes for a ton of stuff in their home so adding me plus three kids seemed impossible.  Once we got started we realized we had much more room than we thought due to extra vertical space provided by the high vaulted ceilings.  Yay for extra room!  BUT by the time we were done we were laughing hard enough to pee ourselves. 
The reasons for the nearly peed upon blue jeans can be shown through some of these pictures.

a reciept for a soda mom purchased 9 years ago, 

Sadlie thought she found a Reese's... come to find out it was just an empty wrapper, Grandma.... you got same splainin to do!

Why does the oxygen tubing need to
 be tied to the suitcase?

Patterns from 25 years ago

Ok Red Onion Saloon? This is just WRONG!

As I was going throught things, finding this and that (especially the stuff I KNOW was made at least a decade before I was born) I couldn't help but be thankful for my mother and how hard she worked to take care of us.  I never fully appreciated it until I was an adult, and I'm sure I still don't but she is really amazing. And she's ALWAYS happy.  I tried several months ago to call and tell her these things but I know the words didn't come out right. 
So, last night with one of my best friends, Laura beside me, going through memories and telling them to Laura's daughter, laughing and thinking of my mother and dad, I realized that although I'm homesick for California and that I miss my friends and my recent ex fiance.... I'm exactly where I need to be.
 I'm homesick, lonely at times, moody, emotional and heartbroken over the life I had planned for myself only to have it go away.  And now I need nothing more than to be with my mother and father, the people who have been a constant for me my entire life.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm back

So, it's been a year since I posted. I've been blog-stalking all of my friends and figure I should update mine as well.
So.... here's the last 11 months in a nutshell:

June: Nothing much happened. Lots of parties and fun with the midsingles.

July: Fireworks at Sheila's house. A little about Sheila... she's amazing, beautiful and wonderful. One of my best friends, always there when I need to cry or when I need to be put in my place.

August: Family visit to the farm. I realized I had become a California girl through and through.

September: Midsingles conference in San Jose. I decided at this time that I REALLY wanted the gospel in my life. At the conference, George Dale took me on roller coasters at Great America!

October: A HUGE Halloween party at Libby Altop's house. I dressed as the devil :)

November: I lost a wonderful roommate, Priscilla. She moved into her own place with her daughter... but I gained another wonderful roommate, Eva and her daughter.
Thanksgiving at the clubhouse with the mids. It was amazing. My friends are wonderful, I wasn't alone for the holiday and we had an incredible day with lots of food and games.

December: BROADWAY!!!! I went with my good friend Lezhai to see Donny and Marie on broadway in New York City! It was awesome!!!! I met some wonderful friends and made incredible memories... not to mention had the chance to catch up with a beautiful woman who I've not seen since I was 14 years old.
I also entered a relationship with George the roller coaster riding bee keeper. It was short lived but we gave it a go and I'm so grateful for him in my life because he gave me a little faith in the men of our church. George was my first boyfriend since my divorce was finalized and he left me a better person and more ready for other relationships. The George update is that he is now dating a beautiful woman named Kim who I see as a good friend and love like a sister because she is simply wonderful.

January: My youngest son, Adam got baptized. That was hard for me. His grandpa came out and did it, and it was wonderful but so sad to realize that he was growing up.
I started dating Steve Kneeland this month. More on that one later. I imagine LOTS more on that one later.

February: I turned 31.... wow

March: I got engaged! March 6th Steve proposed to me... it was one of the happiest days of my life.

April: We broke up and I felt like my whole world shattered....

May: That brings us to now. I'm packing my crap and running home to mommy and daddy. It's where I was born and raised, it's where I learned to hunt, cook, sew, pray, swear, play stinkbase and do everything else I love. It's where my family is, my friends, my LIFE. And even though I never thought I'd go back... it's where I belong right now. I'm terrified, excited, sad, and happy. I'll get to attend every reunion this year because I'll be home. I'm going to go on the deer hunt... scary. I'm going to float down the river and sleep out on the trampoline. And I'm going to love life, be grateful for my family, live with my mommy and daddy for the summer and make incredible memories with them while my children are surrounded by their cousins and friends.

Let the party begin.....