Stott Sphere

The entire world in one small home.

The One Where the Car Insurance Costs More than the Car March 26, 2016

Filed under: Fun Days — Jen @ 3:59 pm

We bought a new car this week.

And by “new,” of course I mean, 13 years old with 140k miles on it. But in far better condition than the old Nissan.

Don’t get me wrong, the old Nissan has served the measure of its creation, and done it well. We bought that little Nissan from uncle ElRay for $700 some years ago, and well, it looks like a $700 truck. It’s rusty. The starter doesn’t work. The windshield wipers are broken. It has no power steering. The speedometer is eternally stuck at 0, and the odometer has read 165,000 for years now.

But Quinn is happy to inherit it.


We had been searching for a new truck for Robb for some time. It’s tough to find something that is between the $700 variety that we have now, and the $12,000 variety which is really more than we wanted to spend.

Our neighbor had a FOR SALE sign in the window of his green Ranger, and we decided to talk to him about it. A couple days later, the truck was ours. Robb is excited to drive it, but there is just one problem…

One substantial problem…

The cost of the car insurance.  We already thought our $340/month insurance bill was outrageously high, but adding one more vehicle means we now have 4 cars and 4 drivers, 2 of whom are teeneage boys. And when you have 4 cars and 4 drivers, every driver gets listed as a primary on one of the cars. Which is particularly expensive with teenage boys. Especially when one of those boys has a speeding ticket.  (*cough* Ryan *cough*)

When I told Robb that the new car insurance monthly bill would be close to $500, he lamented that, over a year, it would cost almost as much as the car itself. Which is ridiculously expensive.

I asked the insurance guy about it, and he suggested that if we could convince one of the boys to go on a mission or go to college, our insurance costs would decrease dramatically.  Which sort of made me want to scream, “WHAT DO YOU THINK WE HAVE BEEN DOING?!!” because convincing those two to implement a life plan is getting a little frustrating.

And so, until we decide on the cheapest car insurance option, this new baby will be staying in the driveway.

People always told me that teenagers are far more expensive than babies, and I guess I didn’t really appreciate the fact until now. Between the car insurance and Quinn’s upcoming graduation, we’re feeling the sting.

We just keep saying… It’s lucky they’re so cute!



To Brooklyn: It’s imperative we find an appropriate name for the Ranger. Immediately.
To Quinn: He gets to start driving the Nissan, so INDEPENDENCE!!!!! He can barely contain himself.
To Ryan: Maybe he’ll have fewer chauffeuring duties now.
To Robb: He finally doesn’t have to be embarrassed of what he is driving. Also, his knees fit in this truck.
To Jen: Robb is a hard man to take care of. Finding this truck and convincing Robb to buy it basically makes me an awesome wife.


We Love Spring!

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 3:26 pm

Robb loves planting and gardening, and he is always so excited when spring comes around. He gets lots of plans, usually far more than he can accomplish in one season. But we’re giving it our best shot.

Last weekend, I decided it was time I class up our front porch with some plants, and I went the nursery in search of something porch-worthy. Unfortunately, every nursery was empty.


Completely empty.

Except for pansies, which don’t count.

This weekend, we found a better place to shop, and came away with $60 worth of plants and fertilizers. I filled a couple small pots for the porch, and Robb made big plans for the clematis.


The front porch will still need some filling out, but it’s a good start, consider it’s not even April yet.

We didn’t stop there. We also trekked to Lowe’s, where we scored a couple big black garbage cans, which, after some strategic hole-drilling, are perfect for composting.


Well, we hope they’re perfect for composting. It’s a new experiment Robb’s been reading about and has never tried before. Wish us luck.

Monster looked on with jealousy at our ability to walk untethered around the front yard. We keep hoping he will learn to stay by us in the yard, but he is just too curious.



Dreaming Fights and Fighting Dreams March 21, 2016

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 5:12 pm

I noticed that my last post was nearly a year ago, when I began my job. I have had a tough time adjusting to the schedule, and trying to fit everything in, and unfortunately, this blog has slipped between the cracks.  But after Quinn told me he had been reading this, I remembered that my teenagers are as entertaining now as they were 10 or 15 years ago (maybe more so) and I want to remember this time of my life too.

Quinn gave me a great story to share right away. He told me he has sometimes had dreams that woke him up. I was thinking of the dreams that have woken me up in the past, and they usually involve me running and trying to scream, but no sound comes out. Terrifying stuff.

Quinn’s dreams are different. Quinn never runs. In his dreams, he is fighting someone, and wakes up kicking and punching the air. When he was on the bunk bed, he sometimes even hits various body parts on the ceiling.

And true to form, Quinn is always disappointed when he wakes up from such a dream, because those are his favorite!


Gainful Employment April 12, 2015

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 7:38 pm

During our 19 years of marriage, I have never had an actual job. I’ve taught piano, helped run the family lawn business, and grown my own food blog from nothing to the masterpiece *cough cough* you see before you now.  But I’ve never had a job which required me to leave the house, fill out a W4, and collect a regular paycheck. I count myself fortunate.

However, the growing children come with growing expenses, and with missions and college on the horizon, I was starting to feel quite nervous about our future financial position. I told Robb I thought I should get a job, and while he is definitely reticent about my not being home with the kids, he has been super supportive of my desire to have a career. I told him that at 40 years old, I didn’t really want to start my working life with a minimum wage job, but with my extremely empty work history, I wasn’t sure what I could find.

Robb pointed out some of the things I have learned through my last 3-4 years blogging, and he suggested quite strongly that there would be several businesses out there that would consider hiring me to do manage their blogs, their social media, etc. That thought really piqued my interest, and I immediately went searching for such an employer.

I felt very nervous and apprehensive while creating my resume, but I sucked it up and sent it out to 5 or 6 companies, and went on a couple interviews. Things really seemed to fall into place after that. My first choice job called and offered me a position, at a salary higher than I expected. Ryan got his car that same week, and is now able to take over the afternoon carpool duties. Brooklyn has a new after school activity that makes it so she can’t ride the bus (she is helping out the track team), but a neighbor offered to bring her home every day, since she is out there anyway. Robb has started working from home occasionally, and can take care of a few of the things that will be tough for me. And my new job has hours that are light and flexible. All in all, it is the best possible situation for the family. I am thrilled.


So I’m proud to announce that I am now working as the Director of Digital Content at Be Locally, and online marketing company. I manage several contract writers and editors, and the blog posts and articles for dozens and dozens of small businesses.

This will certainly be a big adjustment for the family. They have been kind of apprehensive about me having a job, and not being there when they might need me, but they have also been very supportive and understand the position we are in. I’m hoping this will work out for the best for everyone!


That New Car Smell

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 7:01 pm

There are two new cars at our house. It’s been a very exciting transition.

I have been getting sick of my old Jeep for quite a while now. The needed repairs (and associated costs) were piling up, and the odometer was on the verge of breaking 200,000 miles, and I was starting to wonder how long we could survive before the car became a literal death trap.  Robb, naturally, thinks I’m being overdramatic, although he was sympathetic to my desire to not spend any more money fixing that old car.

I went online and started searching for cars, just to see how much I would need to save to get the car I wanted, when a sweet deal caught my eye. I decided to check it out, and just buy it now before someone else did. And that’s how I came home with a gold 2005 Kia Sorento. It’s not exactly low miles, and it’s not without it’s history, but all in all, it is in much better shape than the old Grand Cherokee was, and it’s nice and easy to drive, so I can’t complain. I’m calling her Golde, and insisting everyone remove their belongings and trash from the car each and every time they get out of it.


Ryan followed in my footsteps almost immediately, when he was offered (my brother) Andy’s old 99 Hyundai Elantra. Andy and his family are moving to Florida soon, and they did not intend to take the Hyundai with them. Ryan spent about half his life savings on it, and is really enjoying the associated freedom.

He is doing things like taking himself to McDonald’s during his lunch break, and going to movies with his friends after school, and driving around the corner to the neighbors house, which literally saves him about 3 minutes of walking time.

I can’t complain, though, because he also does a fair amount of my chauffeuring, with very little dissent. The biggest question on our minds now, besides how he’s going to afford his new monthly car insurance bill, is what to name the car. I suggested we keep the nickname “The Work Truck,” which was such an apt name when Andy was driving it. He always kept his tools, golf clubs, and random things like sprinkler parts and pipes in the trunk. Ryan thought about calling it “The Ex-Wife,” since the car left Andy and came to him. We’re still toying around with the possibilities, and we’re open to suggestions.

Hint hint.


Prom Pictures and Food Pictures

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 2:46 pm

The last few weeks have been exciting. A lot has been happening here at the Stott house.

The last weekend of March was Prom. Ryan, thankfully, had a choir tuxedo that he could wear to prom, as well as a black bow tie, so we only had to rent the vest. Quinn, on the other hand, talked me into buying him a new suit, on the grounds that it was much needed and that he hasn’t grown in 6 months.

He might be stuck at 5 feet 11.5 inches. Poor kid.

Here are some photos of the big event.


I was in California that weekend, and missed the whole affair. I begged for pictures, went on and on about it, told them not to be stingy, and the two you see above are almost the only two I got.  *sigh*  Boys.

Since Quinn doesn’t have a drivers license, and Ryan was with a different group, Robb got to chauffeur Quinn and Marianne around town. The dance was a Rice Eccles Stadium, which is a good 30-40 minute drive, and he met up with a big group of friends at a restaurant near the stadium for dinner. Robb and Brooklyn both dressed up, and they had dinner at a different restaurant on their own, after dropping Quinn and Marianne off.


They had a nice Italian meal, and asked for the oh-so-fancy San Pelligrino sodas to drink. The waiter poured it into wine glasses, and Brooklyn was very impressed and feeling so grown up!  They had a fun time.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… I spent the weekend in California at a food photography workshop with some blogging friends. I loved the trip and learned a ton!

food-photo-collage-1food-prop-2 food-prop-1

Here I am with my friends in food prop heaven.

I learned a lot about lighting and food styling, and I was pretty proud of a few of the photos I took while I was there.  I’ll put a couple of my favorites here, but if you’re at all interested, I made this little album of just a few of my favorite food photos, several of which were taken during this workshop.


And lest we forget, Monster had an exciting weekend too, though I’m not sure he noticed it. Robb built this totally amazing doghouse for him, which has been finished for a while, but now that it’s spring, Robb finally took it out of the garage and put it in place in the backyard.


I personally think it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. The dog really couldn’t care less. He has no intention of spending any time in there at all. We figure some stray cat will probably have babies in there at some point, so we have that to look forward to. Maybe when it gets hot, he will learn to love it in there.

Or maybe we’ll just bribe him with cheese to go in there so we can take his picture and make everyone think he uses it. That’s far more likely.

At any rate, it will probably be a while before we have a weekend this exciting again!



I’m Kind of a Big Deal

Filed under: Daily Life — Jen @ 1:29 pm

Water polo season started this week, and Quinn warned us what the first game would be like by telling us that he is “kind of a big deal.”  If by that, he meant he is a top player on the team, then he was saying it sarcastically, because he is still second string.  If he meant he has improved by leaps and bounds, he was speaking truthfully.  I could hardly recognize my once timid son in the pool.  He was certainly playing like he was a big deal.

In all fairness, he is still far too sweet a soul to be playing water polo.  I feel weird giving him advice that basically sounds like, pretend you are at war and kill some people.  But it’s basically the advice I’ve been giving him at karate for a decade now, so it’s nothing new, I guess.


This photo, by the way, is terrible, I know.  But it was the least terrible of all the terrible shots I took, so this is what you get.  I tried to get his friends to come watch a game, but they shuddered at the thought of seeing Quinn in a speedo and those weird caps they wear.  I’m sure Quinn is going to love that I have posted it here.

I had to include this picture of him tilling, too, just because it warms my heart to remember him doing this kind of work.  Worst mom ever, I know.

Ryan is in California this week, going to his choir tour.  They took an all-night charter bus ride to Anaheim, where they are staying about a block or two from Disneyland.  They also visited Six Flags and the beach.  He sent me a couple photos from beach day.


My text conversations with him have been frustratingly low on information.  Typical boy stuff, I guess.  Here’s an example:

Me: How’s it going?
Ryan: Fine
Me: What are you doing? Can you send me a fun selfie? Do you have time to talk later?
Ryan: I’m on the bus.

And then he never answers the remaining questions.  *sigh*  After asking three times, he finally sent me these beach photos, and he told me he has been taking a lot of pictures on his phone, so I guess there is the promise of seeing them later.