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Mother of the Year Goes to.... Not Me

Every morning I go to the gym to exercise. I love it because I have a lot of friends there (it's my adult interaction for the day...hahah...but seriously...), endorphins are released, I feel powerful and strong....etc. Fast forward to about 10 minutes after I arrive home.

Kids are fighting over who grabbed the box of cereal first.

Tears are rolling down cheeks from, "Cameron looked at me in a mean way."

Fights are breaking out between who has to be the flippin' monkey in the middle...

You get the idea.

So pretty much all the good I do at 5:30 in the wee early morning hours gets completely undone. (Perhaps I should schedule my workouts to after the kids leave for school instead?)

Anyway, today was no different. The kids actually all got ready on their own really well without any fights. They had a good 20 minutes to kill before we had to leave for school. They decided to play a game (but not the blasted Monkey in the Middle game...No! No! I banned that game [and 'jinx&#…

Matt and Me, Our Courtship, and First Few Years of Marriage

I attended Utah State University (home of the Aggies!) in the fall of 2003. Tenille and Brad had been married for a few months and were also living in Logan (from BYU Hawaii). It was nice to have family still close by. Tenille was very pregnant with Kobe, but would still cook me Sunday dinner and let me do laundry at their house.

I began majoring in Interior Design, but I later switched it to Journalism & Communications (with an emphasis in Public Relations). Writing and public speaking were really more of my forte. I loved my major, and had some really neat professors. I got some great hands-on experience, and was even awarded the “Most Outstanding Junior in the Public Relations Department.” I wrote articles for the online newspaper, “The Hard News CafĂ©” and was featured at my favorite ice cream joint (Charlie’s) since I had written a review on their ice cream. (It’s still matted and framed in their parlor if you want to check it out!)

I loved college! I dated a few guys, I enjoyed my classes (I had a 3.75 GPA when I graduated), I loved my singles ward, I loved my friends, I played intramurals (volleyball and basketball), and I worked for Aggie Ice Cream. Things were definitely going right.

I met Matt while my boyfriend at the time was playing city league basketball and intramurals. It was in my freshman year, and I attended the games, and saw Matt on  his team. But I did not care for Matt at all. I thought he was way too cocky. He was good at basketball, and he sure knew it. I remember he was being guarded by a tall black guy, and Matt was the point guard. He leaned over to his defender while dribbling the ball at half court and said, “Do you want me to shoot it from here? Or do you want me to dunk it?” The defender told him to shoot it, and so he did. And it went in the basket perfectly. I was so bugged. I was hoping he’d miss it to show him he wasn’t as good as he thought he was. Then after the game, Matt always had a bunch of girls there cheering him on. He’d go over to them after, and they’d be all over him. He truly thought he was God’s gift on earth. I used to tell my boyfriend, “UGH! I can’t STAND that guy named Matt on your team.” My boyfriend would just laugh it off and be like, “Ya, but he’s funny.”

The following year my boyfriend went on a mission, and I thought I’d wait for him. The cocky guy, Matt, happened to be in a few of my classes that semester. He approached me and said, “Hey, aren’t you Brian’s girlfriend?” I said, “No, he’s on a mission anyway.” The next day I had another class with Matt, but he couldn’t remember my name, so he looked at my paper from the quiz we had that day. He couldn’t pronounce it, so he asked me, “How do you pronounce your name again?” I told him, and we got to talking. I don’t know how long it was that I thought his name was Derek, though. Ha ha.

Because the first week of classes end so early, we sat out on the quad and talked. He got my phone number (I was the fourth girl he had gotten a number from that day), and told me to save him a seat in our classes we had together. When he didn’t show for one of the classes, though, I got upset. I felt like a retard for saving a seat for someone that was trying to play games with me, so I gave it away. I saw him in another class, and it turned out he transferred out of the class he missed. I figured, “Hey, if you don’t want to be near me, that’s fine.” But then he started saving me a seat. We got to talking, and found out he liked sports as much as me (if not more). He asked me if I wanted to go to a football game that weekend, and I said yes.

I still had no interest in him, though, because a) I still thought he was too cocky, and b) I thought he was a “premie” (a pre-missionary). When I found out he wasn’t (because he wore a Chinese CTR ring), I started to like him a little more because he was “old” (he was only 22 at the time, and I was 19). My friend, Amy, said he was pretty cute. And so, being the competitive person I am, I didn’t want her to get together with him, so I flirted with him all night. We held hands at the game, and went to a party at his apartment afterward. We were both really flirty, but when it came time for him to take me home, I promised myself he was NOT getting a kiss, as I had a missionary still. Well, he didn’t get it, nor did he even try for one. So I was kind of upset. I thought to myself “He’ll try again. But if he really likes me, he’ll have to wait a month.” The next night he invited me over to his house, and he kissed me while we were watching a movie on his Luv Sac. And that was the end of that. We couldn’t be separated after that.

I won’t get into any more specificities of our courtship, as it is all documented in my hand-written journals. So we’ll skip down to our engagement. We were engaged January 22, 2005 in my sister’s parking lot. We had just gotten back from an Aggie basketball game, and he got down one knee and popped the question. My first response was, “You didn’t ask my dad.” We were married a few months later on May 7, 2005 in the Mount Timpanogos LDS Temple. We honeymooned up Ogden Canyon to Eden and stayed at Wolf Creek Lodge. We went fishing, bbq’d, and just relaxed before we moved to Montana where Matt would sell Dish Network and I worked at Sears as a cashier. After living in Montana for just over a month, we moved to Reno so Matt could do roofing with his brother. We lived in Reno for three weeks before moving back to Great Falls, Montana for the rest of the summer.

At the end of the summer, we moved back home to Logan. We lived in Canyon Terrace Apartments and absolutely LOVED our married student ward there. Everyone was around our age and so much fun. We had a lot of fun activities with the ward, including a Fall Dance. We hung out a lot with the other couples and loved it.

Shortly after moving to Logan, Matt began working for a roofer while I finished my degree and looked for a job myself. I graduated just under three years of schooling (in 2006) and landed a part-time job working as a Staff Assistant for the State 4-H Office at Utah State. That summer, it turned into a full-time position. I was so excited to have a “career” with benefits and a 401K plan. Matt quit roofing after a little while in order to volunteer coach at Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum (and from then on until we had a kid, I was the main breadwinner for the family). He assisted with both freshman and sophomore teams. The poor guy was so busy having early morning practice with the freshmen, followed by attending classes, and then an afternoon practice for the sophs. He also attended the JV and Varsity games, so our life got to be really hectic.

The people at Mountain Crest were so neat. I quickly became friends with them, and loved their community. It wasn’t long before Matt and I decided we wanted to live there some day permanently. The next year Matt became the head Freshmen coach, and would coach there the following year as well. He loved it, and everyone loved him. (He also coached football his first two years out there.) Because of volunteering his first year, he found out that’s what his true love was—and he decided to major in Physical Education so he could be a teacher and a coach.

While Matt kept busy with that, I continued working for 4-H. I loved my job and the people I worked with. I was able to be creative as I developed flyers, brochures, presentation boards, and other marketing things. I also served as a secretary, but liked the designing part of my job better. I thought about going back to school and getting a graphic design degree, but that would have been another two + years. Our biggest events were held in the summer—State Contests. There was a LOT to be done, and I was constantly busy—but I loved it. It was nice to feel needed, and to feel like I was in a position of leadership. During State Contests I worked so many hours in 2 ½ days that I got to take the rest of the week off. It was awesome.

While in Logan we decided to try managing apartments in exchange for free rent and utilities. I never actually thought we’d get the job, but we did. We moved into a 2-bedroom apartment and dealt with a lot of crap. It was nice, though, because it was flexible with Matt’s schooling and coaching. We lived there for two years before moving to a one-bedroom to relieve ourselves. We were just too busy to deal with it. Matt began working for a taxidermist while attending his last semester of school, and coaching.

We sent in over 40 different applications to school districts across the states of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas, Oregon, Arizona and Nevada. Matt interviewed over the phone with a few, and the rest didn’t contact us at all. It wasn’t until there was a basketball camp up at USU that Matt ran into an old friend/coach who was working at Tooele. He told Matt to apply there, and so he did.

It was around this time that Matt had a LOT of stomach problems. For about a year he was seeing different doctors to find out what his problem was. Randomly he’d wake up early in the morning throwing up or dry-heaving. We noticed it especially got worse with certain greasy foods, or if he had stress. Needless to say when he was looking for a teaching position, he was in a lot of pain—physically. The day of his interview with Tooele he almost didn’t make it he was so sick. But I’m glad he did, or we wouldn’t have had a job.Matt was hired on the spot, and we began looking for a home. There weren’t many homes we liked within our price range, so we settled on a townhome near the school. It had three bedrooms and two baths, and was sufficient for us. Around this time I was a few months pregnant. I got a job at the USU Tooele extension working as the Assistant to the Dean. The people were friendly, but the work was too easy for me—too repetitional, and boring. So it wasn’t hard to quit when Taylor came.

A few months before we had our first child, Matt underwent surgery to remove his gallbladder. He had a long and hard recovery. He said it was the most pain he had ever gone through (and this guy has had a lot of surgeries! From pancreatitus, to appendix, to pyloric stenosis, to fixing broken bones, etc. Yes, my husband is accident prone!) He was fine for the most part afterwards, but every once in a while got sick if he ate something his gallbladder-less stomach couldn’t handle.

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