Friday, March 30, 2012


Wednesday was one of the most important days in my entire life.  And it has nothing to do with a beautiful wedding dress {although there is a stunning wedding dress that became mine that day}. It goes much much deeper than that.

Wednesday was healing. I don’t mean metaphorically or symbolically either. I literally mean I had a miracle take place – a walking on water, healing of the leper’s kind of miracle. 

I remember talking to my best friend Lynsey one night “I feel like I am never going to be there…I feel like I am broken and no matter how hard I try I will just not catch up.”

Because somehow – a long time ago – when I was just a very little girl I was told I was bad. And that I was unlovable. That no one could love me or want me…and that it would be better if I just hadn’t even been born.  And I was too little to know any better. So I buried that secret in my heart. 

And it changed me forever.    And it changed my life.

And then life’s events started to convince me that this was truth. 

 I lived in so many different homes with so many different families - and my little buried secret would whisper “this is because you are bad…and so unlovable”

My husband loved so many others and I was just never enough for him – and again I knew that “I was broken and unlovable. “

These past years have been incredible. I have often felt like I am on some great adventure – discovering myself for the first time. Seeing the pieces of me that are lovable.  And good.  And beautiful.  Finally seeing that little girl and realizing how good and lovable she really was.
 Oh how I wish I could go scoop up that little baby Andrea and tell her just how good and strong she is. I want to whisper in her ear, “Don’t you believe a word of it. You are amazing and you will come out of this okay. Just hang on…there is happiness and love and peace – years and years of it waiting for you on the other side of all this.”

And yet even with all of this there was still that little voice that whispered, “it’s you…you are the reason. You are broken, and bad, and unlovable.”  I mentioned this in my 3 Trees Post (you can read that here) a couple of years ago that I have felt like I am carrying this burden alone.  Sometimes I felt like I was climbing this steep mountain all alone. Terrified to fall backwards – worried there would be no one to catch me.  

And then the most loving and perfect women I know gave me this gift. Not just the gift of a beautiful, stunning, breathtaking wedding dress…because as nice as that is it’s just a dress…but the gift of healing that piece of my heart. The gift of knowing that there are (and always have been) people waiting to catch me if I fall backwards on that hill. The gift of pure, unselfish love –putting that secret lie to rest once and for all. 

Because it isn’t true.  And for the first time I really really know that. 

I have never felt so loved. I have never felt such goodness and kindness and loyalty and friendship. It was one of the most sacred experiences of my life.

I read each of your letters and saw each of the friends who had supported me and I cried. When the day was over I think I had a love hangover. It was overwhelming – in the most beautiful, grateful sense of the word. 

And like all service does – it turned my heart once again to a Heavenly Father who never ceases to amaze me in His mercy and kindness.

I kept thinking of the years that I felt so lost and forgotten and alone. I specifically remembered one particularly painful night when I was curled up in a bed next to a man who had just broken my heart once again and I remember sobbing myself to sleep. I remember wondering if He was aware – if my prayers were even being heard. Feeling lost and trapped and terrified that happiness was never to be a possibility.
And then yesterday, I swear, I had this image in my head of this giant cookie jar in heaven. And that during all of those years of pain and heartache and trials God just kept putting this goodness and bliss away for me. “Not yet,” was my answer. Because without the bitter I would never have treasured the sweet.
And it felt like the floodgates opened. The whole cookie jar was just poured down on me. In the form of Shawn – amazing, perfect Shawn – who loves me and my boys perfectly.  In the form of inspired friends and kindness from strangers and love. Years and years of it all condensed into one day. Seriously, we are lucky I lived. My ticker almost couldn’t take it all. 

I want you to know that you have touched and healed a piece of my heart I wasn’t sure could ever be fixed. And for that – I am forever thankful to each of you

I Love You

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A lot of catching up to do...

I am a slacker. I have so much I need/want to add to the blog. But I have been busy the last month and so this quick update will have to do. Here are the boys, Mr. Harry Potter and Mr. Draco Malfoy in their Halloween Costumes. We bleached Tyler's hair and I have to say that I think he's a pretty cute little blond. 

Ethan, my little activist, started a club at his school. He asked to borrow a poster-board and this is what he created. He cracks me up. This is one of my favorite parts about being a mom - I love seeing their little personalities emerge more and more each day. 

 I went home last week for my grandpa's funeral. I always knew him as "Papa Bob." And I was heartbroken to hear that he had passed away. He was a lot like a father to me. I spent a large portion of my childhood living with him and my grandmother. I am sad that my children won't get to know him, his goodness and sense of humor the way I did. But I am so grateful that I had him as my grandpa. I am grateful for the legacy he left me of charity, faith, hard-work and so much more.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Out of my comfort zone

The boys just finished their fall break. And we had a really good time.

And I am really proud to say that I took them camping ALL BY MYSELF. This was a big deal to me. I was very anxious about it and yet I made a decision a while ago that I was going to do everything I could to still "live" even though I am single. That means having date nights on Friday (even when I don't have a date....Me + Rubio's Chicken Tacos + and a really cheesy girl movie), that means learning to hang curtains and taking my pipes apart when we had plumbing problems, I have figured out car problems and cub scouts and lots of things I was not super involved in when I was married.

So this week...taking them camping was a new adventure and to be honest I wanted to chicken out a few times. But I am so glad I didn't. It was one of my favorite things I have ever done with the boys.

We camped on Mt Lemon and although I had nightmares of the hyenas from the Lion King eating us in our sleep we had no problems other than one skunk who wanted some of the boys s'mores.

PS. Watch for the stupid straw hat that Tyler insisted we all wear and that made an appearance in almost every picture!!

Playing some serious battleship

In the hammock...this was the best idea. I laid in the hammock while they played battleship...HEAVEN

On the hike

At Colossal was pretty creepy

Jumping off rocks on our hike....see the hat???

I love this one...see the hat on the stick? Cracks me up!

Mom - trying to be a good sport about the hat.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Just incase my head ever gets too big...

Yeah, this actually happened. I found this recently. And I DID NOT remember it. AT ALL. So that must mean that I blocked it out. Understandable.
Things to address:
1. The hair, more specificially the bangs
2. The sweater. I was in 5th grade. What on Earth was I doing in that sweater
3. The doll. First off the doll is creepy as he**. Why oh why did I bring that thing. I have a sneaking suspicion it wasn't my idea.
4. The Bow - I think we may have stolen that bow off a Publishers Clearing House check. That thing is the size of Texas.

I think thats a good stopping point....

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's opposties day...

Things I Love: stains on white shirts (especially chocolate and mustard), slow drivers, blind dates, temper tantrums, air conditioning repairmen with B.O. that smells like fire, lost keys, earwigs on my face in the morning, broken bones and nails, the man mowing the lawn by my window at 6 am, studying, pop quizzes, pretentious professors, 106 degree afternoons, guys named Denver, broken toilets, showering in my neighbors hose, gas prices, stomach aches, and cilantro. 

Like I said, I am a glass half full type of girl. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Anyone up for an awkward conversation...

A friend emailed me today asking for help with the big "talk." Ironically, her email came on the day of my big "talk" with Ethan.

i am not really nervous about it. honest. don't look at me that way...i really am not worried or nervous at all in the slightest.

maybe a little. but just a little.

mostly sad. i am learning that i am the mom who finds each new milestone incredibly exciting and heartbreaking all in one. motherhood is not for the weak of heart. or stomach for that matter. i went upstarts today and found a whole lot of bodily substances in the restroom. but that's a whole different post.

However, I feel like the 400+ hours( but who's counting) of sexual addiction  education and the undergrad in child development and the heavy course load of counseling classes has left me with one certain conviction. In this area - PARENTS MUST BE FEARLESS.  Seriously, if I have learned anything its that.

So I told my friend I would post the books that I think are good and helpful on my blog today. I hope this helps. I am not "In Love" with any of these books. I have read a lot of them and I think these are good. But not perfect. Maybe one day I will attempt to write the perfect one. Because I do think there is a gaping hole in the market. But for now I just pick and choose what I like from each book and use them the best I can.

  1. Amazing You by Gail Saltz  - A good beginner book for kids. I started my boys with this one at around 6. 
  2. Before I Was Born by Carolyn Nystrom - I really like this book. It's a Christian centered book and I do like the focus it gives on morals and values. There is a page in here that I would save for the "big talk" at 8. But overall one of my favorite books!
  3. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle -  This a good book for older children (8+) This is the book I am going to use with the big talk. Again, not perfect but a good clear educational book. This book is recommended in the book I will talk about next.
  4. How To Talk To Your Child About Sex by Linda and Richard Eyre. I love this book - its the best I have come across. It's written by the Eyre's (the founders of joy school and parents to 9 children!) It's in my opinion the best place to start. It gives you dialogues for every age from 2 to adulthood.      
  5. It's So Amazing by Robbie H Harris. I have mixed feelings on this book. I love that its comprehensive. I mean it covers EVERYTHING. It should be called "El Encylopediao De Awkward Conversation."  However I think its a good one to have to cover about everything. I don't personally agree with all the views in this I filter it a bit.
Like I said, there really isn't a perfect book for this. But this is a good start. I have TONS of other books I really like and maybe I will post those soon.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

what do i write? i know there is a blog post in my head - it has been rattling around in there for days.
i think it may take a few more days to make its way to coherent sentences.

in the meantime a few tidbits of my life. {because i am told by well meaning seniors in the checkout at albertson's that 'one day you will want to remember this}

tyler was tramatized today. we watched a churchish movie called "spiritual crocodiles." its been a decade (at least) since I watched this movie and i forgot that there was a scene or ten where an unsuspecting water buffalo is attacked and devoured by a crocodile. so I (andrea-i-am-trying-to-teach-my-children-morals) show them this movie and before I know it Tyler is sobbing and CANNOT stop. this boy loves swords and star wars and is CONSTANTLY reinacting battle scenes...but a baby water buffalo getting eaten killed him.
I may or may not have told him it was all pretend and they were just actors. and that no water buffalo were actually eaten. (yep...teaching morals.) he cried off and on all day. and at bed time told me that he hoped the water buffalo didn't hurt too much while being 'crunched and devoured" by the crocodile's mouth. i am gonna start putting money away this week for the future therapy he will need.

school starts soon. the boys start on wednesday. i return on the 17th. its a bitter sweet thing. i am happy for the return to routine. i have learned this summer that all of us - especially me - are happier on a routine. when and if i am ever finished with school and if there is ever a time that i am once again a stay at home mom (a girl can wish can't she??) i now know this about myself. as much as i loved relaxing with the kids and the freedom to go and do whatever we want i was restless this summer. i need a routine and schedule. its weird how i had more time than i ever did during the school year and yet I feel like i accomplished less, strange huh? but i am sad for it to end. the late night reading sessions. the baking whenever i want. the pool. the outings with the boys.
i am excited to dive back into my counseling classes. my summer classes reaffirmed to me once again how much i love this material  - and that this is exactly what i need to be doing.

gonna go enjoy one of my last evenings of freedom. i am reading such a good book!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Being "Hot"

I was stuck in a hotel last night. sounds so ungrateful. I mean it could have been worse. I could have been stuck at home. And that people, would have been a tragedy. You would have seen our faces plastered on the newspapers:

"Mother and Two Young Sons Cook to Death in 92 Degree Home" 
They would have found us huddled together with bags of frozen peas all over us. 

You can learn a lot about yourself in time of stress. I now know what I always suspected about myself - heat brings out the rage in me.

It was time to take Ethan to scouts and we had been in this 90 degree house for a few hours and I needed to get out....NOW. Ethan, who was sweaty and lethargic from the heat was moving very slowly and I could feel my face getting redder and redder and my anger was rising. I have a vague memory of telling him that if he "didn't get his scout shirt on and get his bum in the car in 1 min that I would feed all his stuffed animals to the sharks at Sea World." Yeah, that happened. Mother of the Year. Future Therapist in training....

While stuck at the hotel and unable to sleep I ended up watching a whole lot of trashy TV. I never really watch TV. I read a lot. I watch movies on Netflix sometimes , I Tivo "Antiques Roadshow"(don't you dare judge me). And I found myself in this trance watching some show starring the Kardashians. I am not sure which it was - they do have a lot of shows now-a-days, don't they? 

I didn't want to watch it. I literally felt the brain cells melting out of my head...disappearing forever.  I really wanted to stop. But I had to know what was going to happen with the psoriasis crisis that could possible ruin her modeling career. Or the teenage birth control controversy. Or the appendicitis.

And I know I am about 12 years to late to this conversation - but does anyone else think that show is scripted?? I mean, seriously.  Why does anyone watch? ( okay, disregard my earlier paragraph about my trance like binge on Kardashian last night...) 

Then this morning while eating breakfast at the hotel the boys saw the news in the lobby. It was about some young boy who had killed someone and the death penalty was being considered. Well, what a way to start off the day. 

They boys were disturbed. I think I have done a pretty good job of sheltering them from things like this. I am not sure - until today they ever had even considered the idea that people kill each other. They have seen  Harry Potter. But that's wizards with wands and cloaks and beards and all things very very different from the world they live. And so Tyler has been asking me all day about jail and who goes there. Murder and who does it? The death penalty and if you can get it for pouring milk in some one's new purse (which made me rush back and check the interior of my very favorite new purse...) 

They are 8 and won't be much longer till the innocence is over. Its really sad. I love that they think the world is "fun" and all people are "nice." Everyone is a future friend and trust is something you give to all....But after today's news I could see the slight change. I saw Ethan lock our hotel door when we got back in.

We are home now...waiting for the AC repairman to come and save the day. I am hopeful that we'll have AC tonight...because that one night in a hotel was too educational!

PS. Kim got the psoriasis figured out and her modeling career is a GO. Whew! That was a close one.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Smores Bars.

Made these this weekend and they were a hit. Enjoy.

½ c margarine ( i use butter...its against my religion to bake with margarine)
½ c packed brown sugar
1 c flour
½ c graham cracker crumbs
2 c mini marshmallows
6 oz chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts

  1. Beat margarine and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Add flour and graham crackers – mix well.
  3. Press into bottom of 9 in square pan.
  4. Sprinkle w/ remaining ingredients
  5. Bake @ 375 for 10-15 min

Note:  If this recipe is doubled press into a jelly roll pan.


Dear Body,

I would just like to apologize for the excessive amounts of Diet Coke I consumed today. I know its not good for you. Please forgive me.


PS. I would also like to apologize in advance for the Diet Coke that will be consumed tomorrow.

Obviously this one hits close to home...

I watched this tonight. I have a Roku player and LOVE it. I use it for netflix and pandora and amazon on demand and facebook and a trillion other things. I just discovered that I can get BYU TV on it and the "Mormon" channel. Which means I can access all of these amazing-inspiring videos. Its a good way for me to start my day...focused.

I watched this today. I didn't cry. I just ached. It's a deep ache that I am not sure will ever go away - no matter how much time passes or how much healing takes place. A knife wound can heal - but there will always be a scar.

I wish I could speak to anyone struggling with this. Look them in the eyes and tell them what I know. I know its hard. I know that addiction - any addiction - is difficult - possibly more difficult than I will ever understand. I wish I could show them where it leads. How it a car with no brakes until it crashes and kills.
Poison that consumes and destroys everyone it touches.
Hurts and breaks hearts.
And families
And children
I wish I could let you glimpse what it has done to me and countless others  just like me.
There is another way - you are not in control -  but there is One who is.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

To the Birthday Girl

So she's going to hate this. She has this whole i-hate-to-be-the-center-of-attention issue.

But in honor of my best friend’s birthday I have to start the celebration with this post about one of the most amazing women I have ever met.

I love the movie "It's A Wonderful Life," actually - it’s my favorite movie of all time. I love the idea that one life can have such a profound impact on the world. Change countless lives...
I remember being fascinated by the "butterfly effect" when I first heard of it as a child.
“When a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world it can cause a hurricane in another part of the world.  “

And it got me thinking. About what would have happened if…
I had never crunched my way through her chocolate cake filled with bay leaves An expensive perfume hadn’t been used as bathroom spray.
She hadn’t been my partner in crime in stalking a famous “David”
Or helped kick men out of mothers lounges
What if there had been no talking under blankets
Or crying long distance
No packages after announcements
And after losses
What if we hadn’t annoyed about 28,164 people with our movie photo shoots
 Or what if she hadn’t been living with me the day my world came crashing down… and my air conditioning went cranking up?
What if she hadn’t patiently persisted when I closed her out…
Or gotten mad for me -when I couldn't
What if there hadn’t been any stinky muumuu nights
Cheese Danishes
Blanket burning parties
Bridal show getaways
Or purses full of lamb.
What would my world look like without a women who believed in me when I couldn’t for myself?
Who sees the best in me 
Who sits in darkened chapels with me
Who listens when I ramble
Or cry
Who teaches me about tolerance, kindness, unconditional love
And really good ice cream.

I don’t know. I am glad I don’t have to know. My life will forever be changed because of her. And I will forever be grateful for her and the “leafy” chocolate cake that brought us together.

 A little video of total humiliation and embarassment...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Color Coded Closets and Robert Redford

Leaving my old house and my AMAZING closet was a little heartbreaking to this woman who loves her shoes to be organized. And so...finally after a year of closet chaos I organized. And although it's still tragically small (did I really just use the word tragic in reference to my closet...) it makes me so happy every time I open it and see those neat little rows. Here is a picture of half of my closet in all her organized glory. (the other half looks just as lovely...)
You know I have entirely too much time on my I-am-out-of-school-hands when I am posting pictures of my closet.

Also, I watched "The Horse Whisperer" for the first time today. Where have I been the last 13 years since it came out??
  Let me say I now officially have a crush on Mr. Robert Redford. Bye Bye Ryan Reynolds...Robert has taken your place. You may think that is sick...that he is too old for me. But to that  I say - his body may be old but his soul is still young.
Give me a clean closet and Robert Redford on a horse and I am one happy lady.

See this is what happens when I am out of school....its not pretty I tell you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


The only thing I would do to improve the amazing state of Arizona is get rid of its summers. 
And have free sno cone Mondays written into law.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Some days I think that having kids is the coolest thing I have ever done.
Today is one of those days. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yep...this is a good one

Love this spinach dip. This dip was shared with me by Julie almost 3 years ago and it has been my go-to dip ever since. And I feel like its healthy. I mean, it has spinach and artichokes and no mayo (which most spinach and artichoke dips have) Although, I do believe the brick of cream cheese and Parmesan cheese may not be the most heart healthy.
Anyway we had it this weekend and I was reminded of the beauty that this dip and a chip can produce. LOVE it!

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

6oz Chopped Artichoke Hearts
½ c frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1package cream cheese
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
½ tsp salt
½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Boil artichoke hearts and spinach in one cup of water over medium heat until tender( you don’t really have to do this…I never do. I just drain them and add them to the mix); drain. Warm cream cheese in microwave. Mix drained artichoke mixture to cream cheese and add remaining ingredients. Serve Warm

Makes about 3 cups

A little song about desperation...

remember good ol' chuck woolery. those were the good days. 
My sister had a friend in Boston who lets just say was not the most attractive(or best smelling) person you have ever met. I mean, I have nothing against a little individuality when it comes to dress - but I think when it comes to showers or clean underpants indivuality is very overrated. He fancied himself a musician and liked to sing about his love troubles (which considering the state of his hygiene isn't too surprising to anyone, is it folks?) One of his songs and my personal favorites was titled, "A Little Song About Desperation." Lovely, no?

So in honor of him and his song I have decided to add a few of my favorite lines from some rather desperate fellas in the world of online dating.
 Let me clarify. I am not online dating. Repeat: IT IS NOT HAPPENING. However, Lynsey and I( who sometimes like a good laugh in the evenings) decided to set up an account and - well, as they say in the movies - the rest is history.
So without further ado I am now presenting my top 10 most hilarious/desperate/concerning messages -
(Grammer has been untouched...)

  • "I dot have a car. I dot have a job. But I could do your dishes and listen to you whenever you are sad. Can I plese be your boyfriend?"
  • "Read all of Moses & Abraham tonight...I promise you you will enjoy... pray before hand for the spirit to instill the strength of the words within you...tell me how it goes"
  • "the only thing your eyes haven't told me is your name" (my eyes didn't need to tell him that - it was already on the dang profile...)
  • “This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, Chocolate MilkShake to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”
  • "Is youre smile always so cheesy". (ouch...that definitely won me over.)
  • " You must be from Pearl Harbor, because baby you’re da bomb." (no I am not joking...this actually happened)
  • Can I just say you're Babilicious! (the answer to that question is no. no you may not say that...)
  • "Where you hiding your wings?" (really? I think I got that one at 14)
  • "I see you graduated, i thought you got your beauty degree before you left the pre earth life???"
  • How YOU dooooin?
  • "You're hotter than my daughter." (yes, this one came from a more "mature" gentleman. )