Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I love living in Lehi! I love living in the heart of town too. During Lehi Days there is always a stock parade. It's always hot, because it's in the evening, but I can't make myself miss it. Kenadee had softball practice and needed to miss it, though. 

Then the grand parade! I love this parade!! I was sad I had leave early. It was Madeline's bridal shower up in Alpine, so I only had about 20 minutes of the parade before I headed up there.  Taylor sent this picture of the float and Josh. Josh works for American Fork city and is the float driver for their city royalty. I laughed my head off when Taylor sent me that picture! 

I guess I am so out of what is "hot" in the kitchen world. Apparently these things are little lids to put on stuff to keep them warm. They come in all sizes. I was sitting next to grandma sonja and told her they were pasties. I about died when she "tried them on"

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Oh man. This is a post that's been coming for a long time. It's hard to talk about, when it isn't over yet. 16.5 weeks ago, Taylor was let go from USS. At the end of 2014, the company had over 1,000 people. They are down to 300, now. The oil prices are so low right, it's insane. These prices are hitting worse than when the entire market crashed in '08-'09. In '09 the market bounced back immediately, and it isn't right now. 

We knew another round of lay offs were coming. USS told the employees on Feb 19 that by the next Friday it would happen. We actually told the kids it was coming this time (even though this was like the 5th round of layoffs). The stress was high. I don't think you ever "know" when it's coming. If it's going to be you. But something was different this time around. I told Taylor out loud, "This is going to be a hidden blessing for someone." I've been telling Taylor for a while now that he should get out of the oil industry. But he loved that company. It was seriously a good company, with some great people, and he loved his job. So it's really hard to choose to walk away from that. 

On Wednesday, February 24, Taylor got called into office and was told his entire department was being let go. Him and few guys were over the smaller companies that bought their products. They basically gave those businesses to people who are over the larger companies. He was given the choice to stay at the company but to be put on the floor making the parts, since he came up thru the production. It would be a huge pay cut, and he wouldn't get a severance. Taylor knew that wasn't the right choice for us. I was out running errands with the girls, when he told me over the phone that "it" happened. 

Oh. Man. It was rough. We cried together when he got home. And within an hour, all the kids were home from friends' houses, so we sat them down. Taylor couldn't contain his emotion, so he asked me to tell the kids what was going on. Ok. I can do this. I told the kids that Dad lost his job. They immediately got teared up and even more so when we told them that we would do anything for them, even if that meant we had to sell our motorcycles. The boys were bawling at this point. Out of no where I started about it in a spiritual way. Telling them the Lord HAS to help us. That we are doing everything we should. We are reading the scriptures, we are having FHE, we are saying our prayers, we are magnifying our callings, we are going to the temple, we are serving others. Telling the kids that we have been promised, that we won't be forgotten because we are doing what we should be. It was a great talk we had together, and it came from Heavenly Father. Those things I said hadn't crossed my mind, and they just came out of my mouth. 

I've always been a church-going person. I've always had a testimony of this church. I've never seen huge blessings poured upon my life though. I've seen the hand of God in my life, but never in an over powering way. I don't see a flower blooming and liken it to my daughters blooming testimony. I'm just a very normal person, with a simple (but strong) testimony. Well, all that changed in the first week of this trial! 

Wednesday: being able to feel the Spirit about an hour after this happening. I had a long talk with everyone in my family that evening and they were all super supportive. Blessings.
Thursday: we went up to the Becks and told them. Dave gave Taylor a blessing. While we were up there, the ward missionaries called Taylor and asked if they come by the house. Ugh, not the day for that, but fine. They show up and the ward missionary, who we'd never met, literally said, "Here's the lesson that we're suppose to give, but we're gonna talk about not wavering in times of earthly trial." Ummm, ok. The other ward missionary was unable to make it; I guess he's never been unable to make their weekly trips. So Bro. Caprio called and called and finally found someone to go out to do visits with him. Bro. Babcock. Well, Bro. Babcock lived down the street from us in our old ward, and now lives two houses down. It was his idea to visit us. The Spirit was with both of them for sure, that night. After giving us this lesson, it was obvious that his lesson was hitting our soul. Bro. Babcock asked what was up, and again Taylor passed the torch to me to tell them what was up. Aaron Babcock immediately told us that we were in this ward for reason. That THIS is where we were suppose to be. (of course, we just built this house and I was 100% doubting that this was the right choice for us. Could I really want this house SO bad, that I made myself feel like it was the right thing to do??) Blessings that day.
Friday: Taylor's sister and spouse stopped by with Swig drinks and cookies. We had a good talk and cried. We knew they were on our side and had our back. Later that night, the missionaries came by for dinner. The kids, during both prayers in front of the missionaries, prayed that Dad would get a job. Totally embarrassing, but they didn't say anything and just powered thru. They showed us a video from the church's site. A video that showed the perspective of this bush. It was growing bigger than it needed to be, and wasn't producing flowers because of it's size. The bush desperately wanted to stay big, like the trees around it. But the gardener knew that bush's ability and cut it back so it could produce beautiful flower again. Wow. Again, exactly what we needed to hear. Blessing that day, too.

 Saturday: We'd been going on walks the last few days. An excuse to get away, get some fresh air, and talk. This day, Taylor was suppose to go on dirt bike and just didn't feel right about it, so he didn't go. We went on a walk that morning instead. We went a way we hadn't gone before and happen to walk past somebody who Taylor knew in high school. This guy, Cael, was also a mechanical engineer. Taylor asked him where he worked and if they were hiring or needed anybody. He said that just the other day, he was talking to his wife of how they needed to hire another sales engineer. Over the next week and half, Taylor had met with Cael and his business partner a few times and toured their facility. It turns out that his company is a few months away from hiring someone. So even though it was a dead end in the job area, it kept Taylor's hopes up and gave him a purpose to wake up.  Blessings.

Sunday: Fast Sunday. Someone bore their testimony and looked Taylor in the eye and said, "Satan will try to tell you that you can't do something, but you can." That really hit Taylor. The following Sunday, Taylor was asked to give the lesson in Elders Quorum. Here was his lesson. I literally laughed in his face and told him good luck. I ended up going the Elders Quorum that day to support him and he did a fabulous job. Blessings.

I stopped keeping track of the days at this point. But a random neighbor showed up at our door step, who happens to also be a mechanical engineer. There was just glimpse of hope every week. Interviews going well, people calling. The bishop called Taylor every few days for the first two months, then at least every week. Taylor's siblings showing up, his parents taking us to dinner. An old friend dropped off a goodie basket.

I was good and optimistic for the first two months. Then I started feeling sorry for myself. THIS isn't where we were suppose to be. We both worked our butts off while Taylor went to school to finish his degree. He worked his way up really quickly at USS and had his "dream job." He was on track with the pay tier he was in, and was suppose to be making a lot more than when he was, when he was let go. Last spring, the company had every other Friday be a mandatory day off. Plus they had zero bonuses anymore. (those two combined was about 35% of his income, just non-existent anymore. Perfect time to start building our new forever house, right?). I saw all my friends buying new cute clothes and going on trips, and I couldn't have a $20 hat that I wanted. It wasn't fair. I knew I was having a pity party and that having a hat (or dress) wouldn't make me a better person, or even happier. But I felt sorry for myself.
One day I had a bunch of kids at my house, and I decided to go pull the weeds that were in the area where the extra concrete pad will be. (in the front yard, like an rv pad) The kids were all playing nice, but I just wanted to feel sorry for ourselves and be alone. So I pulled and pulled those weeds. I was so embarrassed with our yard. The weeds had gotten out of control, but we couldn't afford to put our yard in. Literally 2 minutes in to pulling, my neighbor who is still building his house joked, "You're not going to pull them all, are you?" Elijah really is a nice guy, he was just making  joke, but it made me even more sad. He didn't know that Taylor lost his job nearly 3 months earlier. The next day, Kenadee came home from softball practice, I was home alone cleaning with the windows open, and she said "What's our neighbor doing?" I had no idea, we're use to hearing his big machines every day, all day. "He's in our yard, mom." Oh. I look out the window and he has his little loader with the bucket lowered to the ground, and was dragging our weeds out. I started bawling, but tried to hold it together for Kenadee. He had the entire front yard done in 10 minutes and it looks SO much better. Here I am probably 4 weeks later, and it still looks so much better. That simple act of service was huge to me. I needed that little extra bit of love. 

Jed had the idea to do a family fast. I don't want to be someones charity case, but I will take all the prayers that I can get. As the day got closer to fasting, I decided to let my family know and give that opportunity too. That was kinda hard to swallow my pride, and even let them know we were having a fast. The day of the fast was incredible though. I was able to feel everyone's deepest prayers on our behalf. It was kind of overwhelming, like we didn't deserve all that love and support. I'm crying just writing about it. It was amazing and very humbling. This first picture is one Natasha sent me, from Elder Holland's recent conference talk. And then my brother's text. Tears again. I am so grateful I have my big brother, and that he has such a strong testimony. I'm grateful for every "spiritual" conversation we've ever had. He is such a strong person and helps me to keep things in perspective. I love him more than I can explain.

We didn't have the best of luck during unemployment. Thank goodness it wasn't medical stuff. My phone screen shattered 3 times in 3 months. My phone's screen hasn't shattered in probably 5 years, and it happened 3 times. We {finally} had someone come and spray the weeds with poison. Well, the only thing we can think of is that they used the water spicket by the front door. Because a few hours after they left, and after we were gone for softball games, our neighbor told us the water was left on and half pressure. It poured into Kenadee's room and left us with some water damage. (still haven't heard from the guy if they use the house's water. But I saw the employees standing and pointing at it right before they left....) Oh well. Just little dumb things, but bad luck non the less. 

We took off one weekend to go camping with Jed, Megan, and some other friends. It was actually at week 14. We were really expecting to hear from a few companies any day. That Saturday night, June 11, a company that had been stringing Taylor along for the last month, wanted to take us out to dinner. I was slightly freaked out! I can see that they wanted to make sure we were a team and the job required some traveling (mostly local, but a few over nighters a month), but I was SO stressed out about meeting with these two owners. Megan sent this text after getting home from camping with 
them and before our dinner. 

Us, before walking in for this dinner. I totally cried on the drive there. It went good. I mean, I'm not sure how else it should of gone, but I was happy to have it behind me. 

Industrial Solutions, the company that took us to dinner, has their weekly meetings on Mondays. We were fully expecting to hear an offer from them on June 13. Nothing. Tuesday, nothing. Wednesday morning I started getting pretty nervous. There were 4 companies that we were expecting to hear from, and NOTHING! It has been 15 weeks to the day, now. Just before lunch on Wednesday, June 15, as I was walking out the door to meet up with Annie at the splash pad, Taylor told me he just got an email from a company that said they were going with someone else. We thought that company was a sure thing. What?! Why is this happening to us? Throw us a bone, already!
I gave Taylor a hug, told him I was sorry, and met up with Annie. I was a disaster. The biggest mess I'd been up to date. I bawled and bawled to her. I hadn't cried to anyone but Taylor thru all of this. I was strong to everyone around me, but I was hurting. I was scared for our future. I knew we'd be ok, but at what expense? I apologized for all the crying and kept trying to change the subject but she was there for me. I really needed to vent my worries out loud and to not be judged by them. Soon after I got back home, she sent this to me and I cried again. So grateful to be surrounded by wonderful people. 

Turns out that Wednesday, on June 15, ended up being a good day. About by 6pm, Taylor got an email from Industrial Solutions with an offer. Not a great one, but it was what we were expecting from them. At least it was something! He called Fiero and told them he just received an offer and got the response, "How funny! I am literally in the middle of writing you one. You should have it by 6pm." Uh, ok! He then called BullFrog and told them he had an offer, and they said they needed a few days to make a decision. About 5pm, Taylor got a phone call from an old college school mate that he works at Fiero. He told Taylor how much he loved his job and how family comes first with this company. That was an amazing phone call to get and we both had tear eyes when Taylor was telling me about it. Totally random to get a call from this guy 5-6 years after meeting him at the University of Utah. (Just shows to always to always be nice to everyone. You never know when that nice-ness will come back to help you!)  Turns out, at exactly 6:00, during Kenadee's softball tournament (they got first!) this second offer came thru from Fiero. It was better than we were expecting and Taylor felt really good about it. So when BullFrog got back to him and made him an offer a few days later, he still knew that Fiero was the right choice. 

He started with them on June 22nd and is a sales engineer for them. They sell parts (conveyers, robots, scanners...) for businesses that are building machines. He enjoys meeting with people and building relationships, then helping solve their problems. The first few days of anything aren't usually awesome; there is a huge learning curve till you feel like this is the new normal, and feel confident in what you're doing. But so far, so good. It doesn't really feel like we are out of this trial yet. Definitely out of the hardest part of it, though. And for that I am grateful. 

We have learned so much the past 4 months. That really, truly, the Lord has a plan for us and knows what we are capable of. That Heavenly Father really hears and answers our prayers. That there are some really good people in this world, and I will continue to try to be the Lord's shepherd for my friends and neighbors. I learned that Taylor and I can do hard things! I learned how strong my testimony is and how much this gospel means to me. 

I'm sure one day, we'll look back and remember all this. I'm sure we'll see how we are better off now. It wasn't fun, but we came out stronger and people. This final quote from the prophet sums it up pretty well. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day to Taylor! He's such a great dad to these crazy kids an I love him more and more every year! I am so grateful to have such great examples of men in my life! I normally have the kids all do something handmade for Taylor, but this year, I gave them all $5 to spend on him. Kenadee added some of her own babysitting money to that and got him a Cabelas gift card. Fisher picked out a cute gift with treats and soda from Pioneer Party. Jackson and Kolbi combined their money and got him a stainless steel mug. I loved what they all came up to get him. 

Just a little father/son time on the deck grilling dinner. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

I finally brought my camera to the pool! And on the perfect day, too! We showed up when the pool just opened and it was empty! We got a pool pass again this year and we have gone several times a week. We love the Lehi Outdoor Pool! Of course I didn't bring the camera for our next time at the pool, when Taylor and I got in and played with the kids. We went in the evening, the last few hours before it closed. It was a lot of fun. Everyone jumped off the diving board and Taylor perfected his back flip, even from the high dive! I love spending time with my family!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

 It was a great season! She really improved this year and it was a lot of fun to watch her play! The Mariners beat them in the tournament, so they needed to beat them twice, coming out of the losers bracket, TWICE to take first. They beat them during the regular season, so they knew they could do it. The rest of the teams they played were pretty easy wins. We knew it would come down to the Mariners and them. Game night came and they totally beat them in both games!
Kenadee was so excited to win their tournament! I loved this picture of her cheering the other team on, who had two of her friends. 

The boys team took 4th! Not to shabby out of about 25 teams, I think. Their team is really fun to watch because it's so much more competitive! They both played great and they really improved as the season went on. Both are going on to the state tournament in July! Hooray!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Today Kenadee and Jackson went to this Timp Cave hike. (there was a minimal age allowed to go)  It was a free program thru our rec center. They picked the kids up and drove them up the canyon to the cave. They had a tour, hiked, and they even provided lunch for them. They all said they had a great time and the lady in charge even took all these pictures! I was grateful for this opportunity for them!

Monday, June 13, 2016

We took off for a 24 hour camping trip with some friends, including Jed and Megan. It was a much needed get-away! I didn't stress one bit while we were up there. The weather was great. We got a tiny bit of rain, but it was nice and cool up the mountain. We hardly ever go camping with friends, but this  totally changed my mind about that idea! The kids were all so happy and entertained with each other. We literally got to sit around and relax with our friends! SO awesome!

The kids all piled into the truck and we went down to the pond to catch some frogs. Sheesh, they were a lot harder than I thought they'd be!

The boys took the frog and made the thing fly with the little car. haha! These kids were SO entertained!
The girls and their hammocks. 

Jackson's face! hahaha!