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My teaching license expired a few months ago. I haven’t stood in front of a classroom in over three years so really that chapter of my life has been closed for sometime now, but there was something about my license expiring that made it seem so final. It was a sad moment and I even looked into renewing it, but came to the conclusion that it was nearly impossible because I haven’t stood in front of a classroom in over three years.

Ellen's Piggies
Ellen’s Piggies

Becoming a mother was a hard transition for me and in the beginning I felt somewhat sheepish when people asked what I did. Then when we were in the thick of buying our house I felt so unimportant because none of the banks really cared about me or what I did since it didn’t appear that I was a financial contributor. Last year I took a job that I was very excited about. I was excited to get out of the house for for a few hours and do something “important.” Even though I had really good feelings about accepting the job, it was a fairly terrible experience. The job was an ill-fit, finding a babysitter and figuring out payment were a huge pain, and most of the time I just wished I was at home. One day I was at the salon getting my hair cut and the stylist asked me the question I usually dreaded. When I told her I was a college recruiter it felt so hollow and I quickly tacked on, “But being a mom is my most important job.” Even though I was very relieved when the job was over, I am very grateful that it helped me realize what I actually want to be doing for the moment. Now, whenever someone asks me what I do I am able to confidently say “I’m a mom” without regret or embarrassment. (And if I’m feeling particularly cheeky I tell people I run a non-profit for needy children.)

"Baby" Cooper
“Baby” Cooper

Someday I’ll renew that teaching license or get a Master’s in something else entirely. Or maybe I’ll just work on projects and enjoy the silence. But for now, I’m lucky to be able to spend so much time with these crazy little people.

Ellen soaking her feet in the dirty dishes . . .
Ellen soaking her feet in the dirty dishes with her socks on. So relaxing. . .
Cooper's fashion forward box kilt.
Cooper’s fashion forward box kilt.


Patience is a Virtue, But Sometimes Something’s Gotta Give

Patience is a Virtue, But Sometimes Something’s Gotta Give

Sometimes it just isn’t okay to wait 42.8 years/until your children are teenagers/for the millennium to use your ipod again/sleep more than three hours uninterrupted/expect “responsible” adults to do their jobs.  Instead of riding out what life is dishing, you have to charge at it hard. Fortunately, I’ve got a fair amount of spunk and some top notch googling skills, so watch out world here I come. To all my fellow warriors out there, keep up the good fight!

PS In case you’ve had similar ipod problems, I found this youtube video to be very helpful. 
The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind

I’ve always been one of those people that liked to be busy. When I was in college I always had at least two jobs, took a full load of classes, managed to regularly feed my exercise addiction, and was still able to maintain some semblance of a social life. Being constantly on the go really did give me an adrenaline high. I loved having a full calendar and testing the limits of how thin I could spread myself.  Having kids has changed my ability to maintain that type of momentum. It’s just hard to do much of anything with much speed when you have to multiply every variable  in the daily equation by three. Needless to say, working this last month and still fulfilling all of my mom duties has kicked my trash.  I really don’t know how working moms do it. The logistics of babysitters, preparing meals for when I’m not going to be around, and pumping all the time, ugh. All month I just had to keep dropping things because I didn’t have time for them and our eating out budget was through the roof.  I’ve loved driving around in a quiet car and wearing fancy clothes, but it’s nice to slow down and not get dressed till 10 (or later . . . ).   After my last high school visit earlier this week, I just laid on the floor and watched my kids play with cars for almost an hour. No joke.  I’ve spent the last couple of days recuperating by making lavish meals, running my washing machine non-stop, and fitting in a few workouts. I’ve definitely been reminded that being a mom is a legitimate full-time job. And for your viewing pleasure, a small gallery documenting the work of my primary bosses.

Who Doesn’t Love the Spot Where the Sagebrush Grows?

Who Doesn’t Love the Spot Where the Sagebrush Grows?

Me with the two kids, two stroller, two car seats, and one bag. I’m pretty sure people were taking not so secret pictures of me.

Less than 24 hours after getting back from our peaceful camping trip, I did something even more adventurous than camping with children. I flew by myself with our two kids. I’d been kind of nervous about taking on such a task all by myself, but thanks to some careful logistical planning and the kindness of strangers things actually went pretty well.  And I even say that after getting my double stroller jammed in the doors of a DIA elevator and having to get patted down at the SLC airport. (Guess the lotion I used earlier that day had enough glycerin in it to test positive for explosives . . . The security people were all very nice about it though.)

Cooper and Ellen held hands on take-off on our way to Utah.

The trip itself was pretty short and most of my time was spent in meetings, but we were able to squeeze in a few visits with friends and relatives that were dying to meet Ellen.

Ellen with Great Grandma McConkie and Grandpa Wayne.


Ellen with Great Uncle David, Great Grandma Olsen, and Great Grandpa Olsen.


Ellen and her Aunt Joy.


Ellen and Andrew. Robyn and I are in the process of working out the details of their arranged marriage.

Oh, lest I forget to mention the technical reason why we flew to Utah: I’m going to be recruiting for my Alma Mater this next year here in the Denver area. Go Aggies!

Things I Don’t Put On a Job Application, But Want To

Things I Don’t Put On a Job Application, But Want To

Tell us about a time when you had to be self-motivated to accomplish an unsupervised task.
That would pretty much be every day for the past two years. It’s my job to look at the tasks that need to be done, organize them by priority, and execute my plan with zero supervision and plenty of people trying to derail me.


  • Natural Childbirth (2010, 2012)
  • Cloth diapering (2010-present)
  • Convincing my two-year-old to eat Toasted Cashew Curry with Tofu (2012)
  • Remaining calm when my two-month-old spits up all over me and my two-year-old is trying to eat wood glue (2012)
  • Surviving on less than six hours of sleep (2010-present)
  • Preparing and not ruining dinner while people are screaming at me (2010-present)

Letter of recommendation from my toughest boss:

To whom it may concern,

I first met Audrey two years ago when she accepted the position of Chief Operating Officer at Merket, Inc. She is the most hardworking person I know. She meets all the needs of Merket, Inc without complaint, works long hours for little to no pay, and is available 24/7 including holidays. She is one of the smartest members of our organization and quite innovative. I have never seen someone construct such a delicious meal plan out of scarce resources the day before a grocery store trip. I would highly recommend Audrey for any position that becomes available.


Cooper Merket


Merket, Inc



You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic. Break free. Ride a bike.
© Antoine at Bike Friendly North Shore

When we were house shopping, commute time to my work was a very important part of the decision. We were quite adamant about it and had even picked out a neighborhood. Nevertheless, our real estate agent found it difficult to believe. We were shown several houses that were “only 15 minutes farther away” and supposedly cost less. Ultimately, we got our way and paid a little bit more for a shorter commute.

Now as I leave work and turn onto the street riding my bike, I see cars lined up to get on the freeway and I smile to myself because I know that I will be home before they get to the on ramp. I ran across this article the other day written by a fellow Coloradan and found out that not only am I not stuck in traffic, but that living close to work will make me rich too. I feel so vindicated.




Some of you know and others of you might have guessed, but we haven’t been in Colorado for the past month. We’ve been in DC while Noel worked on a month-long assignment for one of the parent organizations of his company. For a month we’ve been posing as a young, hip couple living in a happening apartment in Georgetown. We’ve adapted the local ways of scoffing at escalefters and avoiding the Smithsonian Metro station on weekends. We’ve waited in more lines than we’d like to remember and seen the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom. By the time this news hits the internet we’ll be on a plane headed to DIA. While DC has been fun and had many perks, we’re excited to return to a more low-key lifestyle and our single family home in a quiet neighborhood. There’s a lengthy gallery of photos below for those that are interested and I’m sure a few stories will sneak their way into our posts in the next little while.

So, I Married a Super Nerd

So, I Married a Super Nerd

Noel is an engineer, so it almost goes without saying that he has an inner nerd that thrives on numbers, gadgets, and efficiency. My dominant right brain doesn’t quite process that way. I never would have thought of making a dawn simulator out of our bedroom lamp or even imagined it was possible to bake cookies in your car, but I can appreciate the genius that is revealed to me through email links and unusual dinner table topics.

This past weekend Noel choose our Saturday activity. He borrowed some equipment from work in order to do a blower door test on our house to identify places where heat was being lost. (Note that we are renting and can’t make any changes to the house, so this was merely a quest of curiosity.) We got a few strange looks from neighbors as we set up all the equipment –  there’s no escaping it now, we’re officially the weird neighbors. The saddest part was that after setting everything up, we realized that we didn’t have the install disc for the computer program.  That’s okay though, just makes it so we have something to look forward to for another Saturday.

When I Grow Up

When I Grow Up

Even though I went through 5 1/2 years of school to get a degree and a teaching license, I often find myself considering different career paths. Here are my current favorites:

1. Event Planner – I actually had a couple of summer jobs where I did this. I’m a planner and I like schedules. There’s just something exciting about orchestrating the lives of hundreds of people, even if only for a few days or hours. I loved the adrenaline rush that came during the duration of an event. Most of all, I liked feeling important.

2. Fashion Designer – I often find clothes shopping to be an awful experience. Things never fit either my size or personality quite right. I’m not a particularly trendy person, but I do enjoy the challenge of putting together outfits. I’ll even whip out the sewing machine sometimes when I’m struck by some sort of genius (this came in very handy during pregnancy when I wasn’t willing to fork out money for cute clothes that actually fit me). While I like creating, I don’t know that I would say that I love sewing. I know how to. I have decent skills. Sometimes I just lack the patience to make a truly high-quality  product. I figure if I became famous enough I can hire some to bring my ideas to fruition.

3. Bakery/Cafe owner – I like cooking and baking, but it’s hard for 2 people to eat more than a cake a week. (Okay, Noel could do it in a day, but I don’t let him.) Every time I watch the movie Stranger Than Fiction I feel a need to make the world a better place with cookies. There’s just something comforting about good food. This weekend is our church’s chili cook-off/spooky dessert contest. We checked out a stack of cookbooks from the library for inspiration. Noel’s making chili; I’m making dessert. We have high hopes for our entries.

4. Bed and Breakfast owner – This would kind of be a combo of #1 and #3. Noel and I already talk about what sort of breakfasts we’re going to make and what kind of a set up the B&B will have. Maybe when he retires.

5. Aerobics Instructor – I don’t know that this would be a career, but maybe a side job (maybe something I could even do as a mom to keep my sanity). I LOVED teaching aerobics during my student teaching. I just don’t want to pay to get certified 🙁

The funny thing about all of these ideas is that all except #1 and #5 appeared on my junior high Student Education/Occupation Plan. I chose English teacher because it seemed like the most realistic possibility. Maybe I won’t always have to be so sensible.