Friday, August 22, 2008

Travels to Utah

On our way to Utah, Alexis said some pretty funny things.

Chad: I'm going to run into 7-11 and get a drink.
Amber: Can you get me one too?
Alexis: Daddy, can you get me a slurpee?
Chad: Sure.
Alexis: Can I come in?
Chad: No.
Alexis: That's okay. I'll just tell you what colors I want. I want red, pink and blue. And if they don't have pink...just get red and blue and if they don't have red...
Chad: ...then just get pink and blue. And if they don't have pink and blue...just get red. And if they don't have blue...get pink and red. (laughter)....I got it. (he just about shuts the car door and he hears this...)
Alexis: Wait, daddy. If they don't have pink, red or can just get me a treat instead!

Driving through the mountain pass (the gorge) between Vegas and St. George at dark.

Amber: Look at the mountains, Alexis. Aren't they pretty?
Alexis: They look scary. I think there are snakes and spiders that are going to bite us.
Amber: Alexis, we are in the car. If there were snakes and spiders they couldn't even get us. We are going too fast.
Alexis: Yeah, but if we got out of the car they would.
Amber: If we mind our own business and leave them alone they won't bite us.
Alexis: Mom, when we saw the spider on the boat at the river ...were we DOING our own business?

After arriving at my Grandparents house in St. George to spend the night we put the kids to bed. They were half asleep because of the transfer from the car. They were still in bed while Chad and I went to watch the Olympics and get some ice cream. The kids were on the other side of the house and could not hear us. After I finished the ice cream I went to check on the kids.

Amber: Carter, lay on your pillow. (they were in bed but definitely not wanting to fall asleep)
Alexis: I smell something.
Amber: Oh yeah.
Alexis: Yeah. Let me smell your breath.
Amber: (confused, but for some reason blew out some air)
Alexis: Yep. I smell ice cream.
Amber: Really?
Alexis: Do you have ice cream?
Amber: NOPE.
(come on....I didn't have ice cream right then. The question was "do you" not "did you.")

The next day in the car I was telling Chad the story and Alexis chimes in.
Alexis: Yeah, daddy. I knew mommy was lying. I knew she had green ice cream.

What in the world. How does a four year old already recognize the smell of ice cream on someone's breath...and what flavor nonetheless. That is crazy. If it were my mom or sister who always keep their freezer stalked with mint chocolate chip I would understand. But we rarely have it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

10 Year High School Reunion

Last Saturday was the big night. I was looking forward to this night and Chad could never understand why. I have gone to school, played soccer, and been in ASB with so many different people I had lost contact with and I was excited to see what a lot of them were up to. Chad was a good sport and most of the people remembered him, too. He went to our rival High School but he'd come sneak on campus to have lunch with me or sneak in at the end of ASB (leadership class).

When we arrived the awkwardness and disappointment rushed in. We met up with Amanda and Luke so we could go together and that helped ease the tension with eyes staring at you the minute you walked up. Seriously, it was so weird. Most people hadn't changed too much. They were all very successful. One of my guy friends is the marketing director for Major League Soccer. Most of the girls had pretty advanced degrees too. The minute I walked in, "AMBER look exactly the same." It was a little embarrassing because people had started drinking before we got there so the volume was a few notches higher than I would have preferred. Out of a graduating class of 650 or so...there were only a little over 100 people but most of them were people I didn't care to pay money to see.

Unfortunately, even a few of the people I did want to see were only worth talking to for the first 30 minutes. When you go to give your friend a hug and she can hardly stand up, then wobbles and her eyes roll when she looks at tend to take a few steps back. And that's what I did. I choose not to be thrown up on! I expected most of them to drink, but I thought at 28...they'd have a little control especially on a night they would want to remember...or not apparently. Most of the people that were really drunk...I choose not to take pictures with...too close for comfort. So I only have one picture with the people that could physically handle their 10 glasses of wine.

Me*, Marie*, Ryan* & April*

Me*: "So sober it was extremely obvious" My drunken friends came and corrected Chad and I when we put our mashed potatoes on our plate and not in Martini glasses. I've never heard of such a thing. But when we looked around sure enough everyone had theirs in martini glasses...and the 15 Mormon's stood out like a sore thumb!

Marie*: "Don't talk to me if I didn't talk to you in High School" You have to know her personality. Marie is someone I have kept in contact with and we try to go to lunch together a few times a year. She is incredibly successful and runs a financial advising company here in HB. She is often misunderstood as being rude. Which was still the case at the reunion. She is honest. She doesn't care to be fake and go out of her way to pretend she cares about people she knew nothing of. She has always been such a good friend to me. We sat next to each other in almost every class since Kindergarten...even in High School when I was so preppy and she was literally as gangster as you can get. But somehow that never stopped our friendship. Which ,to me, is amazing if you would have seen us side by side in High School.

Ryan*: "The loud drunk that brought up embarrassing stories!" In a screaming voice..."Hey, Amber...remember when I was cold on our whale watching trip in 5th grade and your mom sat on me with her fur coat to keep me warm." Yes, Ryan...I remember. Ryan will never forget that momentous moment when I was so embarrassed I remember running to the back of the boat because my mom literally sat on him! Ryan has always had a cussing problem...even since 2nd grade. If he cussed I punched him. And for some reason he understood and let me punch him. Of course, I stopped being immature and punching him in Middle School...but the first thing he did when we started talking: the minute he cussed, "Oh, Amber...I'm so sorry. I'll clean up my language for you tonight." There was another Mormon girl there too and she said, "Ryan, you didn't clean up your language for me." And he said, "It's different...I always have for Amber." He definitely associated me and not cussing together even after 10 years of not seeing me. Parenting lesson: Hit someone if they works! J/K

April*: "The happy go lucky, I don't wanna stop dancing drunk" Not even for a picture. But she is always happy. April and I planned the activities for High School and she headed up the reunion since she is Activities Director at Newport Harbor. She did it all and I was grateful for that. April and I didn't hang out much outside of ASB but knew a lot about each other since she was Marie's neighbor. EVERYONE always got the two of us mixed up!

The four of us went to school together from Kindergarten through High School. We all hung out with completely different people by the time we went to High School but we still talked at school.

Amanda & Me

I was so glad I had Amanda. We became close friends from a random day in High School. She sat next to me in a class. I had heard she was taking the discussions at a families house she babysat for.
But we didn't talk much. It was at the end of our Junior year and one of my friends told me before class, Chad Pitt (my husband now...but someone I had this crush on then) had asked Jamie Orgill (who was drop dead gorgeous) to Prom since she was a senior and he could ask me the next year. A few weeks earlier he had told his friends, who told me, that he was going to ask me. IT WAS THEN END OF THE WORLD. I was crying pretty bad when I walked into my AP US History class. All the Asian kids were staring at the white girl crying like a baby.

That's when Ms. Barkawi started class and said, "Amanda Dardis can you take Amber on a walk." We didn't know each other...but she got to know me real fast! We were good friends our Senior year but people were shocked we were roommates at BYU and still very close friends today. Amanda didn't tell many people about her decision to go to BYU. She had started the application process and when her parents saw BYU they threw it away. She had been accepted to Ivy league schools graduating ranked #12 in our High School. She is brilliant. But she was interested in the church and her parents were 100% against it. She decided to apply but used my address. Got accepted. Very few people knew. Her parents told her if she got baptized or went to BYU they would disown her.

In August 1998, my Dad baptized her, her parents literally dropped her and her stuff off at BYU ( in and out in 30 minutes). And that was money, nothing! She did it all on her own and slowly regained her parents contact after writing them even when there were no responses.

I remember when they sent her a letter and it had $20 inside towards the end of our freshman year. We cried in our dorm. It meant something. Twenty dollars had never meant as much as it did that day, and probably never will. They still cared. They still supported her no matter how much they disapproved. Even if it was only twenty dollars. I will always look up to her for the sacrifices and respect she showed her parents even when she was making all the right choices in her life. The sacrifices were always worth it to her and she was never willing to walk away from the church so life could be easier for her. She is such a great person and someone I admire!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


If I had a gasket...Virginia in the underwriting department just blew it!
If I was pregnant...I would be in the hospital in pre-term labor!
If you could see my'd be very, very scared!
I feel like my eyes grew springs and popped out of the socket!
I sympathize with my children because, right now, I would like to (for just this once) throw myself on the floor and scream at the top of my lungs!

Get it. I'm mad.

So why doesn't Virginia get it. I have been dealing with her for 3 months and I have, as our mother's would say: HAD IT UP TO HERE!

So let's go back and catch you all up on what led to this explosion. Chad started his own business in December thus putting us on our own for insurance. No big deal right.

Wrong. Chad has high cholesterol so individual insurance doesn't weight out in our favor. So we started going the business route. Only, it's now a new year. Last years taxes have to be done. Only...we got really tweaked this year but I'll spare you the details. So we needed a second opinion and an extension. So that's that.

Then we find out Costco has pretty decent insurance now. So we started the process. Then we find out there is no maternity coverage for I have to drop out of what seems to be this never ending race to get insurance...all while praying along the way that no one gets hurt and my health holds up better than last year. So Chad and the kids are still on board. I start applying for individual insurance by myself since I am in great health. Despite last years freaky rashes (doctor's diagnosed as an allergic reaction) and my lump in my breast (scar tissue from nursing).

So, we wait. And wait. And wait.

"A few more days"..."we're very busy"..."something isn't filled out right" (but on our copy here at home is! urgh...and we faxed it so how was it any different!)..."we're very busy"...then "we just got your medical info from your doctor"..."we're busy"..."underwriting is reviewing your medical information" and the comment we were sick of hearing..."CALL BACK IN A FEW DAYS!" Seriously, I am going to rip someones head off!

So we go to the river. Come home and we have our letters. HALELUJAH!

Wrong, again. They raised Chad's premium for his high cholesterol...started the insurance without approving the new premium. But, oh well, at this point they are covered at that's what matters.

Then, drum roll envelope. D-E-N-I-E-D! What? You've got to be kidding me. Denied. I'm healthy. And the reason..."Upon review of medical records." Did they misunderstand things? Thinking what happened last year was serious. Scary, yes. But, all checked out fine.

So for 2 1/2 weeks I have been trying to find out exactly why! I leave message after message. No call. Finally about a week later. A call...but of course I was at work with a message "call us back." So message. message....what someone answers. Fabulous. When I asked why I was denied I got this in return..."Oh we can't give that information over the phone, you'll have to email us."

So I email them. Followed with 3 follow up emails within 1 1/2 weeks...and no, not one response.

So I call the main underwriting department again. What is going on? They then tell me..."we can't disclose that information to you buy phone or email. You have to give us written consent to give it to your doctors who can give it to you." They say the reason...HIPAA. Really, because HIPAA is to protect ME! Only I should be able to get that information. So I say, "So you are telling me, I write you a letter...allowing you to send a letter with the reasons for denial to my doctor they in turn give to me." Since when are doctors in the middle of me finding out why I'm denied for insurance!

So I fax them the letter this morning. Conveniently, they didn't receive it. So we send it again. They get it this time now that I'm annoying and they say, "Ok, we will forward this on to the appropriate department and it will take at least a few days for processing." WHAT? Why couldn't I email it directly to that department! Can I have their phone number? But they tell me they don't have a number for that department. So, I throw a fit...and insist her supervisor calls me immediately (but she's not in, of course). I hang up...and there you have it...I've somehow BLOWN A GASKET I didn't know I had.

And I'm back at square one. No insurance. Wanting to get pregnant. And now needing to take my husband and my kids off their insurance because business insurance won't accept me alone! There goes my other gasket!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Meet my new NIGHTMARE...

While we were at the river, we (a few of Chad's sisters and I) decided to have a little obstacle course/race. Two of us had to jump off the rocks about 20 yards up river from the dock. Then we had to swim down river to catch one of the two ski ropes hanging off the boat (which was secured to the dock). We then had to pull ourselves up river along the ski rope and be the first one on the back deck of the boat. This can get pretty tiring because the river is pretty fast in the middle of the afternoon. So Chad's little sister decided to go against me first. Chad's mom, Alexis and his sister's Alissa and KT stayed on the boat to watch. When I finished I pulled myself up onto the back wood deck of the boat and laid on my back with my hair in the water. I was shocked how exhausted I was and definitely need to rest before standing up. I started to get up to let Emily onto the deck when Alissa started screaming bloody murder pointing next to my head on the deck. I looked to my left and this is what I saw SIX INCHES from my face. So picture that view...and this one... picture that on the palm of your hand...cause it would cover the whole thing! No joke at least 3 inches big...these pictures aren't magnified people. The hair on it's legs were seriously spiky...and all I could think of's not a tarantula...more like a deadly spider because it was freaky looking!

So we all started screaming and jumped in the back of the boat. Alexis was there and saw the whole thing screaming...."someone get my daddy!" However, Daddy, Jake and Grandpa were in town. So we are literally screaming there for 45 seconds unsure what to do. Would it attack us if we moved? Kt's husband was in the front yard asking how many legs it had cause we were afraid it was a brown recluse spider. (Something I have been deathly afraid of for the last two years---if you don't know about those...whew...I won't even go there since it necrosis your skin faster than the doctors treat it!) Patrick was holding their baby so he wasn't really going to run to the dock to help us. So the spider is frozen from our screaming...for 45 seconds! Then we decide to move because we were sure it wasn't going to leap on us since it was scared too!

So we move...the boat rocks from our shift in weight and the spider leaps onto the river and gracefully jumps up river 4 bounces like a rock skipping on the surface. It jumps around in a large circle and then onto the side of the boat. It definitely knew what it was doing. There was no "oh, what's this...water...I'm going to drown." leaped like it was laughing at us! So we check the side of the boat and it's crawling under the boat...into a void in the back of the boat where it isn't in the water. It just waited there hiding.

We started rocking the boat to get the water to touch where it was hiding. It peaks on us through the boat and the back deck where we originally encountered it. Seriously, it checked on us...eyes and all! So Alissa starts jabbing it with the flag..which didn't touch it because it had already gone back into hiding. And KT yells, "Alissa it's on the flag!" So Alissa
(who is deathly afraid of even little spiders) throws the flag in the river and KT says, "I was just kidding!" So Alissa reacts quick and jumps in the river to retrieve the flag! But she just hung on the ski rope because she was afraid to go near the deck (the only way back on without floating down river.)

So we never saw the spider again. For all we know it could still be in/on the boat! And I think it's a fishing spider after many days of's some freaky information on them:

-they rush across the surface of water to attack
-they can also dip their legs underwater and grab swimming tadpoles and small fish
-they are usually around 3 INCHES BIG
-For them, the surface of the water is like a dance floor
-or they can ROW with the middle two of its four pairs of legs. First it swings back its third pair, then the second pair, and when both pairs are extended as far back as they can go, the spider raises them from the water and brings them forward again
-or they can GALLOP, which can propel fishing spiders at three feet per second, it's hard work. Spiders probably use it only when they need to reach top speeds to chase fast prey or to avoid becoming prey themselves. At less urgent times
-the spiders may rely on a third and more efficient form of locomotion: SAILING. When a breeze blows, fishing spiders sometimes wave their two front legs into the wind (smaller spiders raise their entire bodies) and let the breeze push them across the water like sailboats.

SO, WELCOME TO MY NEW NIGHTMARE! (let me know what they do to you in your dream)

The Moon

We ate at "The Dock Restaurant" at the river the first night we got there. Carter was getting restless so I took him outside to look at the river. That's when he said this in a sad voice:

Carter: "'s boken!" (pointing up to the sky)
Amber: "What?"
Carter: "The's boken."
Amber: "
It's broken?"

We never really talk about the moon or point it out so I guess a full moon is all he's ever seen!