Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beauty Bible

I like to be informed. Being the nerd that I am, I have to resort to reading about beauty in a book! The thing is, I don't trust most people because either they are selling a product and thus are biased or they are parroting back what a salesperson told them and therefore are ignorantly biased. I have to do my own research to try and find out for myself. For some reason I trust the published word over word-of-mouth.

I found a book at our library called "The Beauty Bible." Since I don't have it on me right now, I looked it up at Amazon and I think I found the right one. The author is most likely Paula Begoun. I've found a few helpful things that I'd like to share with those who are interested. It's a huge book and I've only skimmed it, but here are a few things I remember:

Apparently more talk than walk. Advertisers use the word "serum" to sell the stuff because it makes it sound good. She wasn't too clear on whether or not it really was a helpful product or not though. It just sounded like perhaps it's not as great as it's hyped up to be. I'll have to find out more about this.

A good thing. Need to read more on this; just thought it would be good to know what stuff I use is actually worth using! (Even if I don't really know why...yet).

Eye Creams:
A lot are a scam. People sell a tiny bottle for lots of money (the Arbonne eye cream does contain less than the regular face moisturizer and yet is the same price). Read the ingredients because, according to her, they have the same ingredients as any regular face moisturizer. I checked the Arbonne products the best I could (the lists are mega-long and all the words are totally foreign to me!). The eye cream is similar, but did appear quite different from the moisturizer. Perhaps now-a-days they really can add stuff to help with dark lines and puffiness that makes it better then a regular face cream (the book may be a bit outdated). The author, though, is of the opinion that around the eyes doesn't need anything different than what you would use on the rest of your face. Those of you who are more involved with experimenting with this stuff may have a different opinion. I'd love to hear it!

The major problem with eye creams that the author pointed out made so much sense to me. They don't have an SPF!! That means that while you try to cover up and heal wrinkles and such, you are actually creating more wrinkles in the long run by leaving the most sensitive part of your face vulnerable to sunrays. I just make sure to put my face moisturizer (that has an SPF) over the eye cream...do you think that defeats the purpose of the eye cream??

The author explains that sun probably causes most of the damage to our faces and the best way to stay as wrinkle-free as possible is to wear at least an SPF of 15. Arbonne's Anti-aging moisturizer has SPF 8, the Not-So-Basic moisturizer has none, but the foundations appear to all be SPF 15.

That concludes this beauty update. Stay tuned for future broadcasts and be sure to contribute your own tried and true opinions so we can all become more educated.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I hate Our Stupid Insurance!

I just have to vent for a minute. It seems that with every medical bill there is something that drives me crazy! There has been nothing but problems with our Insurance and the most irritating part is that when we reviewed all the plan options for this next year, it was still the best one offered!! I never had any problems with my medical stuff in Utah as a teacher. The benefits were great and if there was ever a mistake, it came out that I owed less than the original amount. In fact, a few days ago I got $40 from my doctor in Utah because somewhere somehow I overpaid one year-and-a-half ago! So much for pleasant surprises! Here, my surprises are all negative and I end up owing up to $400 more than the estimations and the way it all works makes it seem like we're paying more out of our pocket than they are helping! I think I would like to add up what we pay monthly and then what we pay for our deductible (for each person) and then our co-pays and co-insurance and whatever random stuff it seems like we have to pay for and see how much the Insurance really is helping!!

Now I know that we probably have better insurance than a lot of people so I probably shouldn't complain, it's just that coming from my situation as a teacher in Utah where there were no problems, it gets so frustrating!!

The current issue is that I received the bill for Annalee's 18 month check up only to see that the Insurance covered $0.00!! What?! I called the number on the bill and they told me that usually the Insurance companies don't know that there are several mandatory well-visits during the child's second year and so I just needed to tell them it was a mandatory visit and it should be ok. So I call the Insurance and guess what? Our plan only covers two well visits during the second year which were met with her 12 month and 15 month visits! Never mind that she has to have these visits, it's not part of our plan. The crazy thing is that they help with the immunizations, but not the office visit. So can I just take her for the immunizations and not the office visit??

Another irksome thing is that on that particular visit she picked up a bug (I'm assuming it was from that, but I really don't have proof...but it's a safe assumption and was even suggested by the doctor himself!). So for those of you who don't know, Annalee's body overreacts to illness and it gave her a fever that spiked too quickly and made her go into a seizure shortly after we were even aware she was sick! I watched my baby convulse for several terrifying moments as I thought for the second time in her short life that I was going to lose her! The Ambulance showed up and assured us all was ok since her fever had gone done and she stopped convulsing and we just had to keep her fever down. I had to take her back to the doctor two days after her well visit so they could try to figure out what bug she had, if it was serious, and if they could help in some way. After all the extra tests, they couldn't figure it out. Nevertheless, this second visit is on the same bill and guess what? The Insurance covers their part of the charges! So why the heck don't they cover a mandatory regular office visit?? Next time I'm going to tell the doctor that she is sick and they can send the bill in as a sick visit instead of a well visit so the Insurance will pay up!

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Personal Spook Alley

My heart was pounding and fear clutched at my throat, restricting my breathing, as I nervously surveyed my surroundings. Where was I? Not in a haunted house. Not lost. I was in a mall!! Apparently the scariest place around for me! I had forgotten how terrifying walking through a mall by myself is. It really does a number on my nerves with all the people and the noise and the mass confusion. I especially dislike the vendors in the middle of the paths who jump out in front of you shoving soaps and potent fragrances in your face. It reminds me of Mexico. I can hear them now in thick Spanish accents: "Almost free for you." I hope none of them spoke Spanish because most of the time I passed by I leaned over and pretended to be engrossed in conversing with Annalee, but was really saying the same thing each time (hey, when you're nervous, fresh ideas run low in the brain). One time I sped up to walk on the outside of someone else...they caught her instead. The last time I was fortunate to be on the phone with Lee and realized that was my ticket. From now on I'll just pull out the trusty anti-social device and avoid any human contact!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Role of a Referee in Soccer

When a team loses a match, whose fault is it? The referee's. When a team wins, to whom does the credit go? Their supreme skill of course, with no thanks to the horrible calls from the referee! While some may say the original intent of having officiators in soccer was to enforce the rules and to protect the players, it can be argued that an added bonus has emerged. The current role of a referee is undeniably to be a scapegoat... (Click to read the rest of the article)

That's the beginning of an article I wrote that has earned me $0.01! (...I know, I'm racking it in :) For those of you who don't know, I love to write. I have slacked off the past few years and have decided to pick it up again. Almost a year ago I found a website that you could join for free and possibly earn money for articles you write. How great would that be to get paid to do something you love?! However, I didn't do much with it until about two or three weeks ago. I'm still figuring it out. Lee found another site that supposedly earns more money and it's based solely on page views. I'll put up some links to articles I post there, but for now, I want to see how I earn money on this other site. I think it has something to do with page views as well. So, do me a favor and click to read the rest of my article about the role of a referee in soccer. Even if you don't know anything about soccer, humor me and at least visit the page. It's not at all technical and it's actually not a very serious article like all the others. I wanted it to stand out from the others so I took a different approach. Some people appreciated my twist because it's ranked 3rd out of 9 submissions.

If anyone else is interested in trying out these sites to get paid for writing about stuff you know about, let me know and I'll send you an invite because I think that's another way for me to earn money! Otherwise, I'll keep everyone posted here on my blog as to what I think about these sites and if they're worth checking into.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Doctor Visits

Luke: 2 Months
Luke is a whopping 14 lbs 10.9 oz! Annalee was barely 14 lbs at 4 months! This kid is a monster! He's in the 97th percentile for weight and only a little lower in height (24 in). I think he's in the 50th percentile for his head circumference, but the doctor reassured me a smaller head has nothing to do with brain power!

Annalee: 18 Months
Annalee is still creeping through the 20 lb range and really I don't remember much else of her stats. She's pretty low in the percentiles, like in the 25th or so...maybe as low as the 10th in one area. But she's perfectly healthy and hitting all her milestones like a pro! She is still pretty scared of the doctor's office, particularly of the table. She went crazy when we had to lay her on it to try and measure her! The worst for both was definitely the shots. Annalee went first. It started off bad since she had to lie on the table again. But then he sobbing just about killed me as they pierced her with the needles! It was over super quickly though and she tried hard to control her tears. She helped me hold in Luke's pacifier while he got ready for his own torture. It terrified Annalee to see the nurse stab the needles into Luke's legs and then to hear him scream at the pain. In fact, I think she started crying before Luke did because she watched them do it and knew what was going to happen to her poor little brother. So naturally, I had two crying children, both of who wanted/needed comforting at the same time! It helped to have Annalee give Luke kisses to make him feel better as it temporarily distracted her from the horror of the scene she just witnessed. I think that next time I won't let her watch!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Bucket List

I'm not planning on dying any time soon, but there are a few things I would like to accomplish sooner than later. Here are a few I could think of, the top three being long-time dreams of mine:

1. Write a book (I would say publish, but that's out of my control. All I can do is write the book and hope that it's good enough to get published...and maybe be a #1 Bestseller!)

2. Compose a song on the piano

3. Write music and lyrics to a song (possibly the same song as above, but who knows, maybe I'll write more than one)

4. Learn to sing...well

5. Learn to play the guitar

6. Crochet an afghan (this one is already in progress...slowly but surely)

7. Learn to sew (I already have material for projects I have in mind...all I need now is a sewing machine!...oh yeah, and a few lessons)

8. Learn to garden

10. Learn another language (or few)

11. Visit church history sites

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Boy Named Goo

Lucas Edward, aka "Goo" according to Annalee, was born July 23, 2008. His name means bringer of light. He is six weeks old and is a wonderful baby! Life with two kids is better than I expected so far, mostly because he doesn't cry too much and is easy to soothe. Annalee loves her little brother. She's always giving him kisses and is so concerned when he cries (especially when it's her bed time!). She likes to point out his facial features, though I try to limit it to the ears since she tends to poke his eyes out, honk his nose too hard, and gag him with her finger down his throat! I am constantly telling her to be soft (suave), which means that any time she rubs his head (or ours for that matter) she says, "wawee, wawee." Diaper changing time is fun as she pulls out all the diapers in her effort to help.

Luke was born 8 lbs, 1 oz. According to my scale, he now weighs about 12 lbs! He is growing like....like something that grows fast (sorry. Limited sleep makes for limited vocabulary!). Oh, I know. I believe the saying is that he is growing like a weed. He is sleeping well, though he likes to grunt a lot instead of cry. This means that I wake up to all the grunting during the night, only to get up and find he has fallen back asleep! He is keeping his eyes open longer during the day and is getting some good head control. His favorite time to survey the world used to be between 10pm and midnight, but he's much better now.

Overall we are really enjoying the two kids and we're can't wait for the time when they can interact a little more together!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

To Eat or To Sleep?

That is the question. When two basic life necessities come head to head, what would you choose? There was a time in my life when food would probably win out over anything (especially if there was something quick to grab and swallow on the way to the pillow!). I couldn't sleep as well on an empty stomach and would often find myself waking up and unable to sleep until some piece of food had filled the void. If food did not come first on my priority list, it would often lead to extended drowsiness and/or headaches.

However, in my current situation with a newborn and a young toddler, I'm afraid sleep is the obvious victor. For those of you who are worried I'm becoming malnourished, have no fear. Eating has only slid into second place, not disappeared entirely. The concern these days is sleep deprivation. Believe it or not, it is possible to eat with one or both little ones awake. This is not the case with sleep. A few minutes of shut-eye are so rare to come by that one must seize the opportunity without much delay or that second may be lost forever.

So what is it for you? When you must choose between food or sleep, what'll it be?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Laws in Ancient America

As an introduction to the story of Korihor in Alma 30, a brief explanation is given of the way their laws worked back in 74 B.C., more specifically about their separation of church and state. They could have no law against a man's belief in order to keep men on equal ground and allow everyone the agency to choose to serve God or not. There were, however, laws against murder, robbery, stealing, and adultery. That was interesting to me. In today's world, adultery is seen as a religious/moral issue, not one punishable by the law. I wonder why back then it was a matter of the state instead of religion? Why is it not punishable by law today?

Sunday, July 13, 2008


In silent contemplation of my doings of the day, I planned my excuse for the things I had not done. The words were simple and over-used, "I didn't have time today." The absurdity of that statement awoke me to a deeper pensiveness as I realized the time I had that day was the same amount of time I had every day. One doesn't simply have no time, for it is always there, steady and continuous. What is it then that I didn't have or rather, what kept me from certain tasks? My own will of course. I was the one who made the choice to not use the time I had for work I needed to do. I had filled my day with plenty of things, and for those I had the time. Every day is given to us the same number of hours. Every moment we must choose what to do with ours. So instead of blaming unfinished work on the absence of time, we must put the blame on the true culprit: ourselves and our decisions. For we truly do have that power to do what we wish with every hour. "I didn't have time for that" should really be "I chose not to use my time doing that."

But one must be aware to not go to the extreme. For too often we think that with the power to choose the way we use our time, we then own it. But, you ask, what is the danger in such a presumption? C.S. Lewis plays the devils advocate in his book "The Screwtape Letters" and shows how believing in the ownership of time can dramatically change a person's attitude. Keep in mind as you read the following excerpt that it is written from the devil's perspective and therefore is the opposite of what God would say.
"You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption 'My time is my own'. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright."
If we start thinking that we own time, we begin to begrudge the time required of us in every day aspects of life. Everything becomes a burden and we expect some kind of reward or payment for our sacrifice. Isn't it much easier to share something that belongs to another than to give up something we deem as our own?

In contrast, I think of King Benjamin's sermon telling his people that they are no better off than the dust of the earth because everything they have, even the very air they breathe, comes from God. Thus, we are unworthy of even the smallest blessing (including time) and yet if we attempt to pay our debt and serve God day and night, yet we would be unprofitable servants for we would be blessed even more.

We must always recognize our unworthiness of all of God's gifts and recognize that time is not our own, but rather a gift. We are simply allowed the opportunity to choose how to use it. If we can think in this frame of mind, it will be a lot easier to use the time we have been given for useful and productive activities and be more willing to give it in the service of God and our fellow men.

"Time is free, but it's priceless. you can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back."

Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires. ~Charles Caleb Colton

The Future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. ~C.S. Lewis

Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can't buy more hours. Scientists can't invent new minutes. And you can't save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow. ~Denis Waitely

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hypothetical Situation

Summary: A patient was sent by her doctor for two "procedures" (for lack of better word) that turned out to be completely unnecessary. The reason the patient was sent was due to a lack of research or a simple verification of information on the part of the doctor (a.k.a. failing to ask the patient one question or to give the patient a thorough explanation of the procedures). In the end, there was no physical damage because of these two mistakes (as far as modern medical science is able to prove at this point), but financially it cost the patient about $500 from her own pocket. Naturally, the patient is frustrated with the incompetence of the doctor (and for other reasons as well), and wonders if there is any type of compensation available. Is there anything at all that can be done other than give poor recommendations for this doctor and never return?

Procedure 1 was a total of $1,129 with the Insurance Contract Adjustment leaving the charges at $790.30. Insurance paid $715.42 while the patient paid $74.88. One of the charges on this bill was for a consultation that consisted of the doctor asking why the patient was there because it was totally unnecessary. Apparently that's worth $345. Thank goodness the Insurance decided to cover most of that one!

Procedure 2 was a total of $1,161.85 with the Insurance Adjustment leaving the charges at $606.47. Insurance paid $139.84 leaving the patient with $415.54. Why wasn't more covered? The patient intends to look more into the Insurance side of this bill. The patient has called the number on the bill to understand the charges. The associate had no idea why one was listed as a delivery room charge (almost $200) and the other pharmacy ($960), but both charges on the bill were apparently for the shot (which, may the reader be reminded, was completely unnecessary in the first place).

The Doctor has already been confronted, but mostly as a verification that the two procedures were unnecessary (which was confirmed without an apology) and following only the $75 bill (the other had not been received at the time). "We usually don't even ask because most people don't know" was the Doctor's response. In other words, "What do I care if someone actually does know the answer? No skin off my back, I don't lose out on $400."

Other Questions:
Is $1,160 the normal cost of a shot these days?
Is there any way for the patient to find out if those charges are correct (since the associate on the phone only knows what is on the bill, not if the charges are right)?
Is there any way out of the $500?

If there is anyone reading this who is or knows someone with knowledge of these matters, please comment with advice for this poor patient. Five hundred dollars is not pocket change.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Small & Simple Things

I'd heard that pregnancy can conjure up bizarre dreams, but I never experienced it much with with Annalee. Currently, though, I have had some pretty interesting night-time drama. Mostly it's just incredibly strong, negative emotion. Things will happen in the dream and I lose all control in fits of anger, hatred, and frustration. Yelling and throwing things are not uncommon in my uncharacteristic night-self. Last night was no exception. I was playing soccer for my dad's team, apparently as a guest. He put me in for my sister as the last defender. The other team got a few goals and I was put in a different position, replaced by my sister again. We must have ended up losing and at first everything was fine. I guess my dad or somebody said something and it occurred to me that I was being blamed for the loss since they had scored when I was on defense. My nighttime Incredible Hulk personality exploded and for the rest of the dream I was in a rampage blowing up at people, yelling, arguing, running, throwing things, etc. Can we say ultrasensitive?? Needless to say, such strong emotion often wakes up with me. Sometimes I can carry on with the morning and my inner Hulk goes back into the shadows. Other times it is not so easy.

This morning Lee came to give me a kiss goodbye and told me I could keep sleeping because Annalee was still asleep. Unfortunately, even in my grogginess, my appointment alarm buzzed in my brain reminding me of Annie's early doctor visit. Since I had to get up anyway, I called Lee back in so we could say our morning prayers together. So far so good. My emotions from the night's dream seemed buried with the moon. Too bad it didn't last.

I won't go into detail of the exact situation, but let it suffice to say that I made a stupid mistake that I was consciously trying to avoid (something with the computer) and all the sudden, the Incredible Hulk from my dream burst out into the light. When it happens in real life, it's just the strong emotion of frustration. I don't actually start screaming and yelling and hitting things...for the most part. In tears, I got Annalee out of bed and we got ready for the appointment. Surprisingly, Annie ate all her breakfast and fairly quickly so we were actually almost on time. From then on, things got even better.

As I look back, everything was amazing. The radio played good uplifting songs that lifted a bit of my load. Annalee was the best she's ever been with the doctor, actually letting him do a complete examination. She continued to be fabulous on our little shopping spree, which is unusual since we made lots of quick stops. Even though I was still unsuccessful at finding a swimming suit for my pregnant self, it was actually enjoyable somehow, probably thanks to Annalee being a doll. Then as I was just finishing up, I got a phone call from my wonderful husband to see if I was out and wanted to meet him for lunch. Not only did I get to spend time with him, but I didn't have to go home and try to figure out what to make for lunch.

On my drive home, I almost teared up as I realized the turn of events in my day. It started off with remnants of negative emotion from my dream and turned into a magically good morning. The Lord blessed me in so many small ways and I had to wonder why. That's when it occurred to me that we had said our morning prayers. Funny how doing such a small and simple thing can bring such small and simple blessings that make a big difference.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What Is Our Law Today?

In preaching to the priests of Noah, Abinadi carefully explains the purpose of the law of Moses emphasizing how useless it is without the Atonement of Jesus Christ our Savior. No matter how faithfully the people followed the law, it would do nothing to save them had Christ not redeemed them (and us). And yet, he continues to point out the value of the law in their daily lives.
29 And now I say unto you that it was expedient that there should be a law given to the children of Israel, yea, even a very astrict law; for they were a stiffnecked people, bquick to do iniquity, and slow to remember the Lord their God;
30 Therefore there was a alaw given them, yea, a law of performances and of bordinances, a law which they were to cobserve strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him. (Mosiah 13:29-30)

Upon reading this, it got me thinking of "performances" and "ordinances" that we are asked "to observe strictly from day to day." Are we not asked to have daily scripture study and prayer? What about weekly Family Home Evening and especially attending our Sunday meetings and keeping the Sabbath day holy? Renewing our baptismal covenants with the sacrament, visiting and home teaching (and receiving them as well), magnifying our callings, helping the poor and the needy, paying tithing and fast offerings...and the list could go on. Are not these duties the "law" we are asked to keep? The purpose, then, is to keep us in remembrance of God and our duty towards him. Our salvation may not rest on whether or not we miss a day of scripture study or we skip out on FHE or church activities, but if we do these things, we will remember God and God will remember us.

I invite everyone to ponder on performances and ordinances required of them and find in what areas improvement could be made. Then, observe them strictly.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Question 103

Does the fact that you have never done something before increase or decrease its appeal to you?

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Power of the Holy Ghost

Read this closely to see the many ways the spirit can bless and change us physically, socially, mentally, and spiritually. A few of my favorites are that it makes us smarter, prettier (or more handsome), better socially, kinder, healthier, and happier! Who wouldn't want these??

"The gift of the Holy Ghost adapts itself to all these organs or attributes. It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands, and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates, and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form, and features, it tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being" (Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, p.61)

So perhaps our energy would be more efficiently expended if directed towards obtaining and retaining the spirit instead of striving for each of these attributes individually in a different/worldly way. Next time you skip church, a devotional or fireside, scripture reading, or prayers in order to study for school, exercise, or take more time beautifying yourself, remember that, while good activities, it would actually be better* to first do those things that would bring the spirit in your life. It would really be more productive than would be your own weak humanly efforts. It is true that if we seek first after God and godly things, we will be blessed in every other aspect of our life.

*(See talk by Elder Oaks in October '07 conference, Good, Better, Best)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Her First Steps!!

I was getting her ready for bed last night and she was standing up after I had taken her jumper off over her head. She was playing with the maraca in her hands when all of a sudden she looked at me intently and staggered four-and-a-half steps, falling into my arms! I was so excited I ran and told Lee. He ran upstairs and she did it again for him! Naturally, when we got the camera out, she didn't want to perform, but after a few attempts we finally caught a step or two as proof! So far today she has yet to repeat the feat, but at least we all know she can do it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Peaceful and Happy Homes

I was just looking through the Sunday School study guide I received on Sunday and found this great quote from Marion G. Romney:

I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity--the pure love of Christ--will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1980).

Isn't this what we all want in our homes?