Friday, November 30, 2012


I received this in an email and think they are some very good insights. Given where our country is headed I thought I would share this. It is a good time to get prepared, even if you can only do a little at a time. Pick up a little something extra each time you go to grocery store. Every time you empty a 2 liter bottle of pop, clean out the bottle and fill it with water and store it. That costs you nothing extra! Just an idea. Well, here are some great ideas by Frantz Ostmann who lived through the Hurricane.

Something to learn from someone who has been there.
Things that I learned from Hurricane Sandy

by Frantz Ostmann on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 7:13am ·

1. The excitement and coolness wears off around day 3
2. You are never really prepared to go w
eeks without power, heat, water etc. Never!
3. Yes it can happen to you.
4. Just because your generator runs like a top, does not mean its producing electricity.
5. If you do not have water stored up you are in trouble.
a. A couple of cases of bottled water is “NOT” water storage
6. Should have as much fuel as water
a. Propane
b. Gas
c. Kerosene
d. Firewood
e. Firestarter, (kindling, paper, etc)
7. Even the smallest little thing that you get from the store should be stocked up.. (spark plug for the generator, BBQ lighter, etc)
8. If you are not working, chances are nobody else is either.
9. I was surprised how quickly normal social behavior goes out the window. I am not talking about someone cutting in line at the grocery store.
a. 3 people were killed at gas stations within 50 miles of my home.
b. I did not say 3 fights broke out, 3 people were killed.
10. Cash is king (all the money in your savings means nothing)
11. Stored water can taste nasty.
12. You eat a lot more food when you are cold
13. You need more food than you think if your kids are out of school for 2 weeks
14. Kids do not like washing their face in cold water.
15. Your 1972 Honda civic gets to the grocery store as well as your 2012 Escalade… but the Honda allows money left over for heat, food, water, a generator, fire wood, a backup water pump, you get the idea..
16. The electrical grid is way more fragile than I thought.
17. Think of the things that are your comfort, your escape, a cup of hot chocolate, a glass of milk and a ding dong before bed, tequila, etc. Stock up on those too. You will need that comfort after day 3.
18. You quickly become the guy in the neighborhood who knows how to wire a generator to the electrical panel, directly wire the furnace to a small generator, or get the well pump up and running on inverter power or you are the guy whose Master’s degree in Accounting suddenly means nothing. (Love you Steve!)
19. A woman who can cook a fine meal by candle light over the BBQ or open fire is worth her weight in gold. And women, whose weight in gold, would not add up to much, usually die off first. Sorry skinny women.
20. It takes a lot of firewood to keep a fire going all day and into the evening for heat.
21. All the food storage in the world means nothing if your kids won’t eat it.
22. You might be prepared to take care of your children and their needs, but what about when the neighborhood children start to show up at your door?
23. Some people shut down in an emergency. There is nothing that you can do about that.
24. Your town, no matter how small is entirely dependent on outside sources of everything.
a. If supply trucks stop rolling in due to road damage, gas shortages or anything else you could be without for a long time.
25. In an emergency Men stock up on food, Women stock up on toilet paper.
26. I was surprised how many things run on electricity!
27. You can never have enough matches.
28. Although neighbors can be a great resource, they can also be a huge drain on your emergency storage. You need to know how you are going to handle that. It is really easy to be Bob the guy who shares on Day 3, not so easy on Day 11. Just reality.
29. Give a man a fish he eats for that day, teach a man to fish and he will never be hungry again.. Now I get it.
30. All of the expensive clothes in the closet mean nothing if they don’t keep you warm.
31. Same goes for shoes… Love you Honey!!!!
32. You cannot believe the utility companies. They are run by politicians!! Or so it seems,
33. Anything that you depend on someone else for is not avail anymore.
34. Quote “A man with a chainsaw that knows how to use it is a thing of beauty” hahaha
35. Most folks don’t have any emergency storage. They run to Wal-Mart and get water and batteries and then fill their tubs with water. That is it. A lucky few will get a case of Ramen and a box of Poptarts. That will be your neighbors supply. (especially if you live outside of Utah)
36. Fathers, all the money you have ever made means nothing if you can’t keep your kids warm.
37. Mothers, everything you have ever done for your kids is forgotten if your kids are hungry.
38. You really do not want to be the “Unprepared Parents” The kids turn on you pretty quick.
39. Small solar charging gadgets will keep you in touch. Most work pretty well it seems.
40. Most things don’t take much power to operate.
a. Computers,
b. Phones
c. Radios
d. TV
e. lights
41. Some things take a ton of power to operate.
a. Fridge
b. Toaster
c. Freezer
d. Hot plate
e. Microwave
42. When it gets dark at 4:30pm the nights are really long without power.
43. Getting out of the house is very important. Even if it is cold. Make you home the semi warm place to come home to.. not the cold prison that you are stuck in.
44. Someone in your family must play or learn to play guitar.
45. Things that disappeared never to be seen again for a very long time.
a. Fuel, of all kinds
b. Matches, lighters of any kind etc.
c. Toilet paper
d. Paper plates, plastic forks and knives
e. Batteries, didn’t really see a need for them. (flashlights??? I guess)
f. Milk
g. Charcoal
h. Spark plugs (generators)
i. 2 stroke motor oil, (chainsaws)
j. Anything that could be used to wire a generator to the house.
k. Extension cords
l. Medicines (Tylenol, Advil, cold medicine etc)
46. There was a strange peace to knowing all I had to do each day was keep my family safe, warm, and fed, but my peace was someone else’s panic.
There were also many things that were not learned from hurricane Sandy, but reinforced. Those things were the importance of my family and their love and support, especially my lovely wife, that my Heavenly Father is really in charge, period, and finally that I am very thankful for the upbringing and experiences that have taught me and brought me to where I am .. Wherever that is…God Bless!!! (Frantz Ostmann)

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Rob has been on vacation this week. He took it off so we could get our Christmas shopping done, our tree up and take care of a few things around the house. So instead he began the week with some dental surgery that's taken him a few days to recover from and we are just now starting to think about anything closely related to Christmas.

Today he got lights for the outside of the house which he has been wanting to put up since we moved in. I think it would look nice but I am not near energetic enough to make it happen. If the weather holds he will get it done tomorrow. The kids are really excited about seeing him put them up--not about seeing the lights but about seeing Daddy get on the roof! Lol! It's funny what children get excited about.

I am really good at taking pictures but terrible at ordering them. I've taken pictures with my camera and my cell phone camera for a year now and I am trying to actually get them printed now. I LOVE the convenience of having digital pictures and not messing with film--especially when you can post them on a blog or facebook or even in a digital frame so easily. It's just that it is such a chore to order them in print. At least, I think it is. It always seems to take me hours and hours -- running into days and days to do the ordering and editing of them. I don't know if I'm making it harder than it is or if it really is this hard. If it is this hard--it's just wrong! If it isn't and I'm making it too hard--someone save me from myself--Puh-lease?!

Well, it's late and my munchkins want me up early so I'd better get some sleep. Night all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


So, today I went to pay bills like I normally do and decided to check my online credit card statement against my paper one just to make sure the amount was right. Turns out last Friday we were miraculously in two states at the same time and in the second state we weren't aware we were in "we" were making rather large purchases on our credit card. In case my tongue in cheek speak wasn't clear--they call it credit card fraud!

I guess I was lucky to catch it so quickly since I don't always do a double check like that. It actually happened on Rob's card and the good thing (if there is one) is that we were here using his card at the same time it was being used in another state. The credit card company told Rob when he called to report it that the criminals have gotten really clever now. If they can get your number and your 3 or 4 digit code off the back or front they are actually making their own look alike credit cards now. They told Rob this because Rob still has his card but it was showing up as having been "swyped" in the systems where it was used. That means someone has an actual card. They also said that these same criminal types aren't even concerned much anymore whether they use the correct name with the number they've stolen as long as all the numbers are there and the right expiration date.Think about it, if they can make a fake card, they can make a fake ID.

I saw a show once on credit card safety that said try not to let your card ever leave your hand, if possible. Of course, there are high end restaurants where the waiter comes and gets your card and then brings it back to you but they said it's actually times and places like these where opportunities present themselves to criminals and your card is in the most danger of being stolen. They mentioned even if you hand your card to a clerk and they bend down behind a counter with it to key it in or run it that they could be copying it. They showed a group of credit card thieves using the old style credit card readers to make an impression of your card and then running it. Others put it on a copy machine or used mimeograph paper--while still others just plain old copied it down.

The other nasty trick that is happening are thieves with cell phone cameras. Too often when we are paying for something we get our money or credit card out and stand there with it until it's our turn, never thinking there may be someone at our side or over our shoulder who's entire goal is to get the numbers off our card. We are so used to people being on cell phones or even taking pictures with them that it would be easy enough to be fooled into believing someone was motivated by a call or taking a picture instead of actually after our card number.

After we reported Rob's card today, he and I went through our credit card statement and looked at every purchase he made and figured out where he had personally swyped the card and where a clerk or waiter had done it for him. That is feedback we can give our credit card company to help them track this criminal. It is also feedback to help us avoid a similar situation.

I thought this would be a good story to share as we go into this busy holiday season. Keep a tight hold on your credit card.  Swype it yourself  EVERY CHANCE you get! Don't hand it off if you don't have too. Also, when you pull it out of your wallet to swype it, keep it in your palm covered and even when you go to swype it keep as much of it covered as you can. There are eyes all over the place who would love to know your business. Trust me.

As for us, I think we will be handing our cards off just a little bit less in the future. This was a good lesson. I am very grateful we found it so quickly. My best wishes and high hopes that you never run into this type of problem!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


This morning I took my husband to have some dental surgery and they put him completely under. I have to tell you he is quite comical coming off major drugs. His brother has had a couple back surgeries and so we've seen him in similar form and he is so funny we've named him Drunkle Steve. I'm thinking Rob should have a similar nickname.

It was one of those things where the nurse is giving you the aftercare instructions and tells you in detail what you can and can't do. Then every two minutes Rob would ask the same question over again. We answered him like he hadn't asked it before--being the polite, nice people we both were and all. Lol! He did it all the way home, too. Then about an hour after we got home, he turned to me and said, "Did they give us any written instructions for aftercare or say anything about what I could or couldn't do today? I said, "Yes, Honey, they gave me a pamphlet and they listed off several things." Then, with that nose-out-of-joint-sneering-kind-of-tone he says to me "Well, it sure would have been nice if they'd told me what was going on!" Lol! All I could do was laugh as I explained to him that they had--about forty times. ;)

Monday, November 26, 2012


Okay, it's that time of year again when I ask if anyone is out there? Is anyone reading my blog? Am I writing to anyone besides myself? If I am writing for myself and my kids, I am OK with that but it would be nice to know.

So, if you are out there will you just shoot me a note, make a comment on something I write or post? It's just nice to have some feedback once in a while.

Rob and I just finished watching a Jackie Chan movie. We love to watch his choreography. He is so amazing.

Hey, for any headache sufferers--big news-EXCEDRIN IS BACK! Yay! I can't' believe they were off the market for almost a year. Not good for migraine sufferers.

Well, I obviously don't have anything of major import to say today. So, why don't you speak to me? Good idea. Night all.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Friday night we went to have some new family pictures taken. I know, we did that not long ago BUT Megan wasn't with us. (Well, neither was Sara and her husband who are living in Oregon or our eldest, Katie, and for that matter they aren't going to be available for a photo for some time.) However, since Megan is close by and I really did want to get as complete a family picture as possible, I set up an appointment for pictures while Julie was home from college on break and Megan was available. The good news is we managed to pull it off.

We loved the studio we went to. It was our first time there and they were terrific! They spent lots of time with us and had many backdrops you could choose from. It was great. We are still choosing our favorite photos but here are a few we like.

Our family

Their real faces

Me with the love of my life, Rob

My little man

My GQ Boy Jono

Miss Carly

Carly with some attitude -Lol!

The Sibs

Jono and Carly

Julie and Megan

Jono sneaking in Julie's shot and copycatting!

Miss Julie

Miss Megs

Jono's favorite trick with sister Megan

Saturday, November 24, 2012


We had a fantastic Thanksgiving! We had almost all the family here--the only ones missing were a couple of my older kids who couldn't get here. We fixed the turkey, trimmings and all the goodies and just enjoyed each other's company. The cousins loved being together and had lot's of fun. I think Grandma and Grandpa were really pleased to have all of us together in the same place.

Our little ones are sad tonight as we had to take Julie back to college today. She will be back home for Christmas but that is a long time away for a 3 and 4 year old. Hopefully, they can muster up some patience. Well, I hope you and yours enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving-- and are now recovered or at least in recovery mode.;)

 Here are some pictures from our holiday. Take care!


Grandma, Susan's husband Russ and daughter Alyssa


Carly and Jonathon


Sarah's kids Ian and Alex

Grandpa with Sarah


My first appearance at Black Friday was kinda sorta accidental and started late Thursday night when I "had" to make a Walmart run--at least I thought I did.
My impressions: Enough police cars were lined up across the front of the store had I realized it was Black Friday I would have thought a robbery had taken place and there were hostages inside. The parking lots of different stores throughout the night reminded me of the LA freeway during rush hour traffic. Lines to pay cashiers for bargain basement priced purchases looked like the pictures I used to see in LIFE Magazine of starving Russians lined up to buy bread from the cold war era. The craziness in the air and in the eyes of many of the customers was reminiscent of frenzied fans in the front row of a Beatles or Elvis concert--incidentally pictures I'd also seen in LIFE Magazine.
Honestly, the scenes of Black Friday were like a bad traffic accident you didn't want to look at but couldn't take your eyes off SO--my daughter Julie and I stayed for six hours. I may never recover but just this once, it was worth it! Yep, I hung out with my college age baby girl like I was a teenager again and we had a blast! Black Friday: SHEER MADNESS! Spending precious time with my Julie: ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Spent most of the day chasing kids and shopping for last minute things I need for Thanksgiving Dinner. We got Julie home today. Rob went to get her and got home with her tonight. Just before they came home Megan's car broke down on the freeway so they stopped and helped her get it taken to a mechanic to be looked at. It wasn't a terribly interesting day but a busy one for sure.

The kids were so happy to see Julie when she walked in there was hollering, giggling and straight up laughter for about ten minutes. I wish I had recorded the whole thing. They out right jumped her! Lol! So cute. It is really nice to have her home for a few days. I love having her back under the same roof. Even though it's not gonna last long, it makes everything feel just plain old perfect for a few days. :)

Monday, November 19, 2012


I was busy in the kitchen tonight when I turned and saw Jono sitting on Grandpa's lap. Grandpa was reading him a story, or so I thought. Then I looked closer at the book. It was a small photo book I had put together for Jono of pictures of him from his birth until now. He likes to look at it and sometimes it keeps him occupied when nothing else will. The cute thing Grandpa was doing was making up stories about Jono and what he was doing in the pictures. The great thing is that Jono was fascinated! This little boy sure loves his Grandpa and I sure love both of these guys!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Sorry, I haven't posted since Thursday (I think). It's been a busy weekend. Time just seems to get away from me. Friday I took the munchkins down to the university to model for a good friend of mine. They were doing an email/web Christmas card for their Alumni and needed some children to pose in front of the Christmas tree and stockings and so she asked if mine could participate. They were happy to oblige and even got a t-shirt and a surprise for doing it.

Before we left, Jonathon got a lecture from Daddy and Mommy on being good because he tends not to mind Mommy very well when we are out in public, especially when Daddy is not around. I was amazed at how perfect he was for the entire shoot. I kept thinking--is that really my little boy? He was so quiet and did everything he was asked to do when he was asked to do it. He didn't run around and scream or throw any tantrums. I couldn't believe it.

When we were done, my friend, the kids and I went to lunch--and found that Jono had been perfect for as long as he could muster. I had to give him credit for that, too. But, my little wild one returned at lunch time with a vengeance! He was climbing all over (and under) the table and chairs. He kept calling the waitress (Hey You!) and trying to give her orders. The first thing he told her after getting her attention was "I don't like your salsa!" Never mind that he continued to eat it. Next, when she brought his and Carly's drinks, he didn't like that Mommy had ordered them ice water. So, he took matters into his own hands. "Hey, hey you! Can you give me some Sprite?!" "NO." Said, Mommy. That didn't stop him from trying a couple more times.

Finally, when we were finished and ready to leave, he hopped in my friend's back seat. Carly had gotten to ride to the restaurant with her so he figured it was his turn to ride with her--only this time we weren't going to the same place. We all tried to coax him out but he wasn't having any of it. I threatened to leave him but he thought it would be an adventure to stay with my friend so that didn't work. I finally had to just grab him and pull him out of her car. He didn't like that much. For the next fifteen minutes of the drive all he could do was whine and say out loud how much he missed my friend. He is such a ham.

It had been a long day at this point but we were headed home; little did I know it was about to get longer. I stopped in a neighboring city to catch an open post office and when I got out of the van I noticed I had a completely flat tire. Instead of being upset, I counted my blessings, realizing it could have blown out on the freeway and caused an accident. Luckily, I had my cell phone and was able to call Rob. He called and arranged to get us help and within a couple of hours we had a new tire and were on our way again.

By the time I got home with the kids it was past their bedtime and it had been a very long day. All in all though, the kids had a good time and Jono was unbelievably good at the right moments--and everything else was pretty much just kid's stuff!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Success! Yippee! I finally found someone who braids hair who is fast, experienced, friendly, good with children, affordable and close by! I know that is a tall order and believe me it was hard to fill. I had gotten to where I would stop any and every person I saw with braided hair and ask who braided their hair to get recommendations. It has paid off more than once but never completely filled the bill until the stylist we found today. There was always a component missing before--sometimes I had to drive a couple of hours to have Carly's hair braided, or the braider would take hours and hours. Others I found who could do it were horribly expensive and still not very fast, but today we hit the motherlode! We found Sunshine!

I ran into a woman with twin girls yesterday and both had their hair in braids so, of course, I stopped and asked her who she used. She told us about a woman this terrific woman named Sunshine. As luck would have it I was able to get Carly an appointment with her today. Sunshine was everything the lady said she was--fast, friendly, affordable, great with Carly, close by, AND SHE LIKED US! We are both sold!

Carly is one happy little girl to have her long hair back! Here's my little cutie getting her hair done. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the final look--so tomorrow (she's sleeping now) there will be more pics coming!

Miss Carly getting cornrows
Carly having her cornrows crocheted with curly microbraids

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Here are more of the pictures we had taken in September. I especially love the ones of the kids with each other and with their dad. I sure love these wonderful little people. Oh, and that really handsome giant one, too!

Rob, Julie, Carly

Carly, Julie, Jono
My Tough Guys
Rob and Jono

Carly, Julie, Rob, Jono (Clockwise)

Carly, Julie, Jono

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Just before dinner time I'd about had it with my toddlers. I was downstairs talking, or I should say "TRYING" to talk, to my parents about what they wanted to eat. Everytime Mom, Dad or I tried to say something to each other Jono or Carly, usually Jono would interrupt one of us. (Or as my mom likes to say "interruft--I guess that is how I pronounced it at their age.)

Finally Dad and I started interrupting Jono everytime he tried to tell us what he wanted. We kept doing it until we had him exploding with laughter. I'm not sure that was our goal. I think we were trying to frustrate him the way he was frustrating us. At least that was my plan--and maybe we did a little, but not enough because he thought we were hilarious.

Anyway, it seemed like only a minute or so until he was over that and back to his three year old little boy antics that were getting him into trouble again. My dad just looked at me and said, "You know what he's gonna be when he's twelve don't you?" I didn't miss a beat. I looked him square in the eye and said, "You bet I do. He's gonna be YOU! I heard my Grandmother's stories and he's already YOU!"

Frankly, I'm not exactly sure what my Dad had planned to say. I mean, I know the general idea. But, whatever it was it slid right back in his mouth and down his throat and a great big smile crossed his face. He had that knowing glint in his eye because he knew he'd told me one too many stories about his childhood. That's right ladies and gentlemen, his momma didn't tie him to an apple tree for kicks and giggles! Oh you'll have to ask him if you want to know more about that story. Lol!


Got up this morning, snuggled and read with Carly before Jono even woke up. He's a late sleeper. I had plans for them to do play with play-doh and paints but they chose a movie instead. I've got to figure out a way to entice them away from that T.V. I could order it but I don't think it would be near as effective. Though, I may resort to it in the end.

After Rob got done with work stuff, he and I went and did some shopping. He got some new toys and I got a new outfit. Mine was from Grandma and Grandpa for my birthday--a giftcard I hadn't used yet. I love my new outfit!

We piece-mealed dinner tonight from Sunday's left-overs. Grandma made a marvelous meal. She made Swiss Steak, Homemade Rolls, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and Peas. It was all very delicious.

It is freezing here--well, not quite literally but almost--it's 35 degrees right now. Brrrr. It's a good time to stay inside. Hope you are warm!

Monday, November 12, 2012


It always seems a little strange to me to say "Happy" Veterans Day or "Happy" Memorial Day--even though many of us do it. I think things like that just become part of our language and we don't think much about it or what it is we are "REMEMBERING." I use that word because over the years these two days especially have become "pseudo" holidays. They have even become "days off" work for some and it has become easy to take our time off, relax and have fun without giving much thought for what or whom these days were named for. They aren't necessarily "happy" days, especially for those who are remembering lost loved ones or who cared for or continue to care for those who were injured for their love of country.

I worry for our youth, especially that they are not learning the history of our great nation the way they should. I think it is so important that we as parents and grandparents teach them family history as it relates to those who have served to protect our nation. It is one thing for them to read an author's account and hear a teacher's lecture on the wars our nation has fought - both will be colored by their opinions and views. History always is. BUT--wouldn't it be better for our kids to have the added benefit of knowing their family stories--colored only by family views and opinions? I mean, that's what life is, right? Almost everything we teach them is somehow adjusted by our view of it--just as everything we were taught by our parents had a tinge of their viewpoints on life coloring it. And that's okay. It's our job to teach and raise and influence our kids.

It seems everything I read these days talks about our history books having some of the very real history taken out of them, (i.e. the Holocaust.) I'm very uncomfortable with that. We cannot change our future, if we cannot review our past. We must be able to see the mistakes we've made so we can try something different and not repeat the things we have failed at in the past. If we can't always count on history to be taught in classrooms, then we have no choice but to count on ourselves. We must be historically present in our children's lives. We must remember the stories we've lived or been told and pass them on--especially the stories that involve service to our country, patriotism, honor, love of God, and sacrifice. THEY MATTER. They make a difference in the type of human beings we are raising.

I am so blessed to have been and be surrounded by some amazing men and women who have served this country in gallant ways--most of them, family members. I am grateful for a grandfather and great-grandfathers, for uncles and cousins, for friends and neighbors and so many more in my family history who have all blessed me with my freedom. Thank you, thank you for being willing to answer the call. Thank you to those of you who volunteered to go. Thank you for being willing to lay your life on the line so our lives could go on and our freedoms continue. You truly are heroes to me. May God bless and keep you always.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


This morning we woke up to about six inches of pure delight! At least the kids thought so. We even built a snowman--although, it turned out to be a snow woman because Rob named her Ilene --get it I lean because she got all melty before the day was over or should I say tipsy?! I didn't get any pictures of the snow creature but I did get a few kid pics. Surprise, surprise! Lol! Carly's pictures didn't turn out so well but some of Jono's did. We have more snow falling right now so maybe I can re-take some of Carly in the snow again tomorrow. Here are a few of Jono today. In the meantime, hope you are relaxing on a warm beach somewhere!

Friday, November 9, 2012