Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Lots of adjusting going on at the Stephens household. Monday - Friday I wasn't feeling so great about moving here and longing for a lot of the things I knew from Arizona. Stresses I felt from the last week:
  • Our house was a complete disaster. Jordan put away a lot of stuff while I was in Utah, but the kitchen wasn't organized the way I needed it to be and I felt really frustrated I couldn't find what I needed in order to function in this house (I mean really I felt like I couldn't find a single thing in this house, my room, the kids rooms - you name it and I couldn't find it).
  • Matthew was dealing with the change with a lot of disobedience - backtalking, peeing his pants, disobeying lots of rules.
  • Last week it was raining a ton and COLD.
  • I'm dealing with a lot of personal change. Staying home with the kids full-time and everything that goes along with that is a new way of thinking about myself and my role in this household. Not bringing in money is a bit tough on my ego.
  • I'm feeling guilty about being completely behind on all things Christmas related.

Changes that we've made during the week and this weekend to help make this a smoother adjustment:

  • ORGANIZATION - Working on cleaning up and organizing the house. The bottom is in good condition and I completely reorganized the kitchen to what works better for me. We've made good progress and we only have a little bit of Isabelle's room, our room/bathroom, and the craft room which both are huge undertakings but I think we can finish this week.
  • MATTHEW - Changing my attitude with Matthew. He can make my temper flare and push my buttons to the max effectively. I've had to give myself a serious talking to and really tell myself to keep calm and just keep being consistent. We've moved timeout to the garage with the door closed. I know it sounds extreme but after about 6-7 timeouts this way on Thursday I think Matthew is getting it. He's cooperating better and if he forgets to obey I only get to about count 2 and he's decided he wants to obey. I'm also trying to be better in telling him the great things he's doing. I'm trying to loosen up on things that ultimately don't matter. If he wants to take 1 hour to eat 4 chicken nuggets and he isn't bothering me and is staying at the table then I'm just not going to care anymore. It's a work in progress but I'm hoping in a few months he'll be adjusted and his behavior will really improve.
  • RAIN & COLD - I had a 40% off coupon to the Gap and went and bought myself a new lightweight jacket that is perfect for Oregon. I really love it and it's helping me not be as cold. Me + cold + rain = 1 ornery wife/mommy. The downpour rain really sucks, but a light drizzle I can deal with.
  • SELF WORTH - I'm still working on the whole not working and staying home with the kids bit. Yes, I really love having a flexible schedule and not getting up to get ready for work. I love running errands during the day and having dinner under control before Jordan gets home from work. I love going to the gym during the day so I don't have to go late at night. I love being able to watch a show, read a book or rest while Isabelle is taking her nap and Matthew is having quiet time (a new thing we started too for my sanity). I do miss the other adult interaction and the good work I did. I'm still trying to not feel guilty about not working outside the home, but can attest that being a stay at home mom IS the hardest job out there. I just need to train my brain to think differently about all of this and I do know that being home with them IS really important right now.
  • CHRISTMAS - We did a lot of decorating on Sunday evening and it feels pretty Christmasy now. I'm still way behind on projects but will be buckling down this weekend and next week to get everything done. I did get our stocking advent activities all organized last night and everything printed and in the socks. I almost bagged the whole thing, but I know it will be a fun family Christmas thing to do and finally convinced myself it was better to start late then not do it at all.

I'm working on the glass half full theory and having a positive attitude. We have been impressed with how friendly people have been. My neighbor (who we rent from) invited some of the neighbors over on Thursday so I met about 4 women. 1 of them is LDS as well and she dropped off a ward Christmas party invite on Saturday for that night. We are usually not the type that would have gone, but we are trying to be better about putting ourselves out there. We had a good time and met some people so Sunday wasn't bad at all. We had so many people come up and introduce themselves so we are already feeling really great about our neighborhood, our neighbors, our ward and making new friends. We even had a family invite us over for dinner and went tonight. The wife loves reading too so I think we'll start a bookclub when the New Year starts. I made a call today to a preschool that I've heard has an opening and is really good so I am hoping to hear back tomorrow as Matthew needs some friends and the learning environment of school.

Things are looking up and this weekend and today I have really felt that we are here for a reason and that it's going to be a good place to be for awhile.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Saying Goodbye...(for now!)

It has been a pretty tough week saying goodbye to so many good people and friends we have made the last six years here. To think where we started in a little apartment in 2004 and no jobs and where we are now it's amazing. We've both been blessed with amazing jobs and two amazing children. We've had the opportunity to make some long lasting friendships and to solidify some friendships that were started many years ago. We have loved the weather (ok not really the brutal months but right now it's beautiful outside) and the fun things we have done here. We have loved our house and community but won't really miss the commuting into "town".

I am so grateful we followed the promptings of the spirit to move here after Jordan's MBA school. He wouldn't be at Intel now if we hadn't as they've been on a hiring freeze for awhile and we wouldn't be starting a new journey.

I am excited for the new opportunities, friends, and ward that is awaiting us in Oregon. I'm excited to see how Matthew and Isabelle adjust to everything that's new and am glad we'll be staying with family for a few weeks before settling in. I have so much to do once I get to Oregon as I need to find Matthew a school and I want to start a weight-loss support group at our gym. It's definitely going to be a change not going into work every day, but I know being with the kids right now while they are young is the best thing at this time.

Arizona...so long for now. We will miss you and you never know we may just be back in a few years.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bows, Headbands and Bow Holders for sale!

I was a vendor at a little carnival tonight and things didn't sell well so I put together some pictures of my inventory. If you are interested in anything email me at flwrgirl@gmail.com and I can answer questions. I can also take close up pictures and email them to you of individual bows if you want to see them closer.

I'll be heading to Utah next week so if you are in AZ I can stop by before Wednesday and drop them off or if you are in Utah and I can stop by anytime the next 3 weeks starting on Monday November 8th.

If you live outside of Utah or AZ I'm happy to ship to you too. Please share my blog link with anyone you know that might be interested in buying bows.

All bows are hand tied individually with wire and the double bows are tied and then glued and stacked on each other and the ends are finished so they won't fray. All my bows are tied especially so they poof and don't lie flat like most bows do on the market. They are all finished with covered clips on the back. I can add some non-slip to the clips for no charge. I do this to all of Isabelle's clips since she's still little and has thinner hair.

All the hair bow holders have 2 ribbons so you can clip onto both or just the top ribbon and has a D-Ring on the back so you can hang on your wall. I love this in Isabelle's room so my bows don't get smooshed in a drawer, I remember what I have, and they look really cute hanging from a flower.

Stretchy Headbands: $2.50 - great for babies as you can clip on the bows while they don't have hair.
Single Bows: $5
Double Bows: $8
Sparkle Headbands: $9
Fabric Headbands: $10
Bow Holders: $15

Stretchy Headbands

Only come in white and are 1.5 inches tall. Stretch well and don't hurt. I used similar ones with my daughter. The little holes in the band are great for clipping on bows and mixes and matches well. I used my white one the most.

Types of Ribbon
I mainly use 3 types of ribbon - Grosgrain, Satin, and Sheer
Grosgrain - Has a little ribbing to it and is thicker and stands up better
Satin - Is thinner and feels softer and is shiny
Sheet - See through ribbon

Single Bows

Bows L-R, Top to Bottom:
Blk/White Polka Dot Satin, Gingham Satin, Green Flower Satin, Blk/White Gingham Satin, Blk/White Polka Sheer, Green Polka Grosgrain.

Double Bows

Yellows and Whites

Bows L-R, Top to Bottom:
Yellow flowered ribbon w/yellow sheer ribbon, Yellow flower ribbon w/white grosgrain ribbon, White grosgrain ribbon w/yellow satin polka ribbon and yellow flower middle, White satin ribbon with blue polka grosgrain ribbon.

Creams/Light Pinks

Bows L-R, Top to Bottom:
Pink polka grosgrain with light pink lace like ribbon and pink flower middle, Pink Polka grosgrain and white satin, Off white/Ivory grosgrain and light pink lace like ribbon, Light Tan grosgrain and Light/Dk pink Polka/Stripe grosgrain ribbon.

Dark Pinks

Bows L-R, Top to Bottom:
Pink/Red Polka grosgrain and lace, Dk Pink grosgrain and white satin ribbon, Dk Pink Stripe and Black Diamond grosgrain, Dk Pink grosgrain and lace w/dk pink flower, Dk Pink w/black stitching grosgrain and Black Polka sheer - SOLD, Dk Pink grosgrain and pink/green striped


Bows L-R, Top to Bottom:
Black Polka Dot grosgrain and Solid red grosgrain with red flower, Grey grosgrain and red polka grosgrain, Red grosgrain and red/dk pink polka grosgrain, Red polka grosgrain and white/black polka sheer, Red/Dk pink polka and red striped satiny with clear jewel center, Red polka grosgrain and red striped satiny, Red striped satiny and black/white polka sheer


Bows L-R, Top to Bottom:
Bright Green striped grosgrain and green polka grosgrain, Bright green striped grosgrain and multi-colored striped satin with dk. pink flower center, Kelly green polka grosgrain and white satin, Kelly green polka grosgrain and White flowered sheer, White Satin and green flowered satin, Green polka grosgrain and multi-colored satin


Bows L-R, Top to Bottom:
Dk Purple w/ white stitching grosgrain and stiffer lace like cream ribbon, Dk Purple w/ white stitching grosgrain and black/white gingham with clear jewel center, Cream lace and light purple polka satin, Dk Puple w/white stitching and light brown paisley satin, Dk puple w/white stitching and light purple polka satin


Bows L-R, Top to Bottom:
White Satin and Light Brown Paisley Satin, Brown Polka grosgrain and Light brown Paisley satin, Brown satin and Light pink lace like, Brown Polka grosgrain and Green flower satin, Brown polka grosgrain and brown lace, Brown satin and Royal blue polka grosgrain

Black and White

Bows L-R, Top to Bottom:
Black/white checkered satin and pink stiffer lace like, Black/White Polka grosgrain and b/w checkered satin, b/w polka grosgrain and b/w polka sheer

Holiday Bows

Bows L-R, Top to Bottom:
Red satin and red/green satin, Gold metallic and red/green satin with gold edging,Gold metallic and red/green satin with gold edging with green and red holiday balls middles, Green grosgrain and red/green satin with gold edging, Green grosgrain and red/green satin with gold edging and red/green holiday balls middles, White/gold metallic stripe satin and maroon velvet.

Sparkly Headbands

Red/White Polka with white bow on Red Sparkly Headband

Stiffer Cream Lace like bow w/dk pink flower middle on Dk Pink Sparkly Headband

Black/White Polka Sheer on Black Sparkly Headband

White Flower Sheer Ribbon on Dk Pink Sparkly Headband

Light Olive Green Satin Bow on Sparkly Grey Headband

Red/Green Holiday Bow on Sparkly Headband

Fabric Headbands

Light Pink Polka w/Light Pink Lace Like ribbon and Light Pink flower middle

Blk/White Polka with Blk/White Gingham Satin

Blk/White Polka with Blk/White Diamond grosgrain

Bow Holders

Bow Holders L-R:
-Yellow/Pink Flower Ribbon and Yellow Polka Sheer with Large Yellow Flower
-Dk Pink/Red Polka Grosgrain and Blk/White Diamond Grosgrain with Large Red Flower
-Dk Pink Grosgrain with Blk/White Checkered Grosgrain with Large Pink Flower
-Dk Purple w/white stitching Grosgrain and Light Purple Polka Satin with Large Purple Flower
-Brown Satin and Royal Blue Polka Grosgrain with Large Cream Flower
-Kelly Green Polka Grosgrain and White Grosgrain with Large Cream Flower
-Blk/White Polka Satin with White Grosgrain with Large Dk Pink Flower
-Muli-Stripe Satin with White Grosgrain with Large Light Pink Flower - SOLD

Thursday, October 07, 2010

New Digs!!

My parents came and watched the kids this past weekend while we went on a househunting trip to Hillsboro (suburb of Portland). I had made a lot of appointments and our first appointment of the day on Friday ended up being the winner. We went through the house and could really imagine living there. The landlords are the next door neighbors (have a girl Matthew's age) and just recently bought the house we'll be living in and have been fixing it up. They are super friendly and the neighborhood sounds really great. All the houses that we ended up going to after paled in comparison.

It has a beautiful backyard, 3 car garage, and the rooms upstairs are pretty nice and roomy. It even has a den downstairs which will be our computer room/craft room. So if you are visiting you don't have to share a room with my craft stuff anymore. We are way excited for a corner house, the garage space so we don't have to rent a storage unit, beautiful scenery and being close to things again. Jordan's work is 5 minutes away, my gym will be about 10 min., Costco (the largest in the U.S.) is just around the corner and Target is about 10 min. Talk about a change of life.

I think we are ready for some slowing down and enjoying a slower pace of life, the kids, and spending time together. It's getting too crazy with juggling my work, babysitters, Matthew's preschool, trying to make sure the kids are covered when I'm out of town, and then keeping up with regular every day house/life stuff that needs to get done. I haven't even had a chance to do many hobbies lately as I'm too tired at the end of the day after working, going to the gym, and getting the kids to bed.

Anywhoo…we took a few pics of the house on our phones that we wanted to share. Really, it is so gorgeous in Oregon and such a change from the Desert. It was chilly, but I think I'll be able to adjust.

Sweet 3 car garage!

Backyard - has a huge tree and we love the covered porch especially in the rain and it has a cute firepit where we can roast hot dogs or mashmallows.

Looking down our stairs. Isabelle is going to love these.

Not a great pic of our kitchen. Our current kitchen is way nicer but it will work. If we ever buy this house we'll definitely redo the kitchen.

Our living room. It will be weird to NEED to have a fireplace again. The rest of the pics of the house weren't great. You'll just have to come and visit us!!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Change is blowing our way...

I think our word for the year should have been change. First we tackled me and my change and now we are tackling change with our family.

A lot of things have happened at work in the last six months. I've been pretty unhappy and only because of the IsaBody challenge and Celebration have I lasted this long. I told myself that I was going to quit after Celebration no matter what. I can't keep up this craziness of our lives and with our babysitter going back to school after the summer I knew I didn't want another person coming into our household to help with the kids. I've really been praying a lot in the last few months to know what to do about the situation.

Unexpectedly, Jordan has recently been given the opportunity to work on a really cool project but it would only take up 1/2 his time so he would need to find something else to fill up the rest of his time. He was talking to his boss about options and his boss mentioned moving to Portland where there is more opportunity to work in the areas that Jordan is interested in. Jordan came home and talked to me about it. I knew immediately this was the answer I've been searching for. Change isn't easy and starting over again is kindof scary but exciting at the same time.

We decided in many ways that moving to PORTLAND would be best for our family at this time. I can't believe we are really doing it. The paperwork is final and we are headed in two weeks to house hunt. The final actual move date hasn't been set yet, but it will be sometime during the first two weeks of November. There are many pros and cons to moving so I thought I would list them here.


-I won't have to work full-time and can be with my kids. I have been working full-time for the last 14 years so this will be a HUGE change for me. I'm a little nervous about it, but with Matthew in preschool and going to Kindergarten next year I need to be around to get him to and from school and I feel like it's just time to be home with the kids. They are growing up too fast and I need to be with them NOW. I do need to do a little work so I'm working on part-time options that I can do from home that will work with our family. I know we're supposed to move and know that something will work out.

-We'll be closer to some family. We haven't lived close to family since moving from Utah 11 years ago. My younger brother Brent and his wife Sam live in Seattle which is only 3 hours away. It will be fun seeing them and spending time with family more than 2 times a year. (My family in Utah will about the same distance and Jordan's parents/brother in the Vegas area will be further away.) We are way excited about this aspect to moving.

-Cooler weather. I don't love cool weather, but I also hate all this sweating I've been doing lately and feeling like my kids are going to die the instant we turn off the car or get into the car.

-We can get out of this financial sink hole of our house. It's $150k upside down and isn't going to turn around anytime soon. We have already met with an agent and will listing our house for short sale. It's in great shape and is beautiful and someone is going to get a steal of a deal.

-Decluttering. We're working on it now of things to put in our garage sale. Once we find a house in Oregon then we'll know what we'll be storing away and what we'll be moving into the house with us.

-Intel will move us. They'll be packing our house and unloading the boxes on the other end. We've never had that luxury before.

-I can spend a good chunk of time in Utah in the summer visiting family and friends. My vacations are always packed to the gills and usually I have to worry about work when I'm there too. Once Matthew starts Kindergarten we'll have even less time to be going places for vacations outside of summer.

-We'll be close to the Ocean. The Oregon coastal water is chilly, but we'll be pretty close so I'm excited to have the option to go on the weekends if we want.

-I can quit work and leave on good terms.

-Yummy ethnic food. I can make a mean Mexican meal, but Chinese/Thai is more tricky. We are way excited to explore new eating places up there.


-Leaving all of our great friends. I start crying every time I think of it. This is our 4th location move and we've always left great friends and have always managed to make great new ones. This will be especially hard since some are friends we've had since college. :(

-Parting ways with our babysitter Amy. She has been watching Matthew since he was 18 months old. She is a huge part of why I am able to work and has been the biggest blessing in our life. We truly feel the reason why we felt the huge need to back out of the first house we signed on and move into this one was because of her. She lives 5 houses down, is really responsible and cares for our children like they were her own siblings. We couldn't have made it through the last 4 years with me working without her.

-Bunco and Bookgroup. It sounds trivial, but I've been involved in these groups for the past 4 years. The people are always changing, but it's time I consistently make to get out and spend time with other women. It's hard when I work full-time to get together with other moms. I've known some of these girls for the 4 years and will be sad to go. I'm just hoping there will be other groups to join in Portland or I guess I'll have to start some of my own.

-The weather. Yes, it's a Pro and a Con. I really do hate chilly weather and I do feel better when the sun is shining. I guess the tradeoff is in AZ you have to survive about 5 months of crappy hot weather and in OR you have to survive 5 months of crappy chilly drizzly weather. We'll be moving at the start of crappy weather so I'm hoping by May we'll have the start of a nice spring/summer. I have no closed toe shoes as I wear sandals year round. Matthew recently told us he hates socks and Isabelle tries to take off her shoes within 10 min. of putting them on. Cold weather and shoes is going to be an adjustment for all of us.

-I will miss my house. It's cute and is a great fit for now. I'll miss not being able to do what I want to my house when I want to.

-My gym. I really, really love my gym. It is really far though to drive to from our house, but is convenient after work. I'm hoping to find another one that I love as much with a good childcare facility. It's a requirement of our new house. I need somewhere close to go to so I can fit it into my routine easily.

This change is not what I thought I would be going through 1 month ago, but it's a huge blessing to our family. It's something we've been needing for awhile and it's a good change in so many ways. Things I'm needing to find when we go house hunting are: a good house in a good location, a good preschool for Matthew, great gym and eventually FRIENDS.

All of you are welcome to visit anytime (say after January once we've settled in).

Saturday, September 04, 2010

San Diego

After my convention was over Jordan headed to San Diego on Wednesday with the kids. We stayed at a hotel in Mission Bay for 2 nights.

We went to Sea World our first day (we didn't take too many pics). It was really fun and the kids did pretty good. Matthew loved everything and I taught him how to sound like a seal and he does a great impression.

Matthew wanted to go on this ride which he never goes on rides. We were heading out of the park so we stopped for 1 ride. Not too scary so right up his alley.

Isabelle was super cranky (she was fighting a cold) so we stayed in the room and Matthew and Jordan roasted S'mores. I think Matthew had a fun time even if he was scared of the fire.

Isabelle would not quit crying in her pack and play so eventually I put her in bed with me and we slept by each other most of the night. She tried to roll over on me a few times so we finally moved her into her pack and play.

The next day we headed to the Zoo. Super fun! This is typical silly Matthew. Trying to get a good picture of him is getting harder and harder because of his silliness or weird smiles.

Camels in the background. So fun! I think Matthew loved every minute of it. He was super good. Isabelle was kinda cranky but did ok.

Cute Koalas! Poor Isabelle was stuck in the stroller most of the time because she would throw a holy fit after she got put back in so it was easier to just leave her in there.

The Pandas were pretty active. Last time we came (2.5 yrs ago) one of the Pandas had just had a baby. The cute little baby was out with the momma this time.

I don't have a picture of the Gorillas, but we sat down on this bench by this older guy who knew lots about the Gorillas. He told us a lot of great information. When we were leaving Matthew told the guy "thanks for telling us about the Gorillas" all on his own. It was so cute and moments like that make be feel he is a really kind boy even if he's crazy around us.

Before going to the zoo we moved to the Hotel Del on Coronado Island. We are doing an event there next April so they offered to put me up.
After staying there I've realized I am not a fan of really old hotels even if they are historic. I would rather be in a new hotel. The Hotel Del has a lot of character and right on the beach so that was nice! It's very expensive though all the way around from the rooms to the food to little shops and ice cream.

It was pretty chilly on Saturday morning when we went down to the beach. The sand is so nice there though and it was really good for cranky Isabelle to be outside. She loved just playing in the sand and probably just played for 30-45 min. dumping sand back and forth into the buckets we had.

Jordan was trying to make sand castles with Matthew but he kept wrecking them. Of course, he thinks that's hilarious.

Isabelle ate sand and then it stuck to her snot nose.

After lunch Jordan took Matthew back to the beach so Isabelle could take a much needed nap. I read and rested a little too.

Matthew was playing in the waves and a big one snuck up on him and knocked him over. He was soaked and that was the end of beach time.

Cuddle time! So much fun spending time with the kids and Jordan and not worrying about work.

We went for a walk Saturday evening down the street where all the restaurants and shops were. We found a cute Italian place that made their own pasta and had a great dinner. Afterwards, we found a yogurt shop where you can pick your own yogurt and toppings and then you pay by the oz. Yummy!

The view from our room was amazing!

After dinner and yogurt we came and hung out on our balcony enjoying the breeze.

I bought Matthew these pirate and dragon figurines. He was in heaven and had a great time playing with them all weekend.

Such a great trip, but I was gone for 12 days between Convention and vacation. So good to be home! We are getting ready for more change in our life which I'll be posting about next week.