Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Little Something for Tax Time

Just in case you're wondering, this is me -- Andrea -- writing this, not my resident tax man. But I've heard this over and over again during Kirk's year as an IRS man, so when I read an article that addressed it today, I thought I'd share.

You probably know people who claim a home office on their taxes. In official tax speak, this is apparently called "business use of home." If you walk into said office, you are quite likely to find that while the person does conduct business there, they are probably not using the space exclusively for business. While most of the tax questions you could think of to ask Kirk draw the answer of "it depends," business use of home is not one of those.

He (and this article here) will tell you that the law is actually very clear on the fact that the space must be used EXCLUSIVELY for business, or as Kirk generally puts it, 100%. Not 99%, but a full 100% for business. That means if you set up a pack-n-play in there for your niece to stay in when your sister comes for a weekend stay, you don't qualify. If you sit in there and read a book because your kids know not to bug you when you're in your office, you don't qualify. And don't just assume, oh the IRS agent won't be able to tell. They're not just going to ask, "Now, you just use this room for business, right?" and take your word for it. They'll ask sneaky little questions throughout the interview to get an honest answer out of you, and you may not even realize you gave yourself up.

According to Kirk, business use of home is one of the most frequently (and easily) disallowed items during an audit. So what do you do? Well, you basically have two options. Either only use your business space for business use, or decide upfront that claiming it probably isn't worth it. If you want more information about the "not worth it" reasoning, talk to Kirk about the issue of reclaiming your office depreciation when you sell your house. That area's a little too technical for me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

25 Things Not Commonly Known About Me

I saw this on someone's Facebook and decided to play along. Thanks, Chrisella, for giving me an honest look into what makes you, well... you. Here goes for me.

1. I contantly have a personal dialogue going on in my head. Even now, as I type, I am planning out the next 24 entries in my head.

2. After breaking up with my first boyfriend and before meeting my husband, I was insanely insecure. I tried to validate myself by making out with just about any guy who would hold still long enough. I will always regret the people that I hurt during this period of my life.

3. I have a very irrational fear of papercuts. (Especially papercuts on my tongue. You should see me try to seal an envelope.)

4. I have a very rational fear of large falling objects. I had a piano fall over on my leg when I was in 8th grade.

5. I screwed up a full-ride scholarship to Utah State University by pretty much never attending class and never doing the homework.

6. I hated playing the piano and wanted to quit until I was probably 15. **Thanks, Mom, for not letting me!*

7. My political views are often in conflict with my moral views, because I don't believe the government should take away agency.

8. I am incredibly non-confrontational when it comes to anything that matters, but I will mercilessly argue about pointless things.

9. I would be thrilled to continue specializing in boys. Little girls scare me.

10. If I ever have the time, I like to sit down and watch an episode of I-Carly. It makes me laugh, and is far from thought provoking.

11. I don't like watermelon or oranges, based solely on their icky-feeling textures.

12. I am only organized once every month or so. On this day, I sit down and over-organize everything so I can make it through until the next stroke of organization hits. (Case in point, I have the menu planned for the next three months, and I chose the songs for the ward choir for the entire year in one sitting.)

13. I am really selfish, and I have major sharing issues. I pretty much always think of myself first and others second, and I have to fight this urge even when parenting.

14. I don't believe in ghosts, but I do belive that other people have good reasons for believing in ghosts.

15. I will read anything. Science fiction, fantasy, mystery, the back of a cereal box, The Reader's Digest, historical fiction, text books, instruction manuals, billboards, lame celebrity magazines, biographies, blogs... if it has words, I WILL READ IT! (And I will love it!)

16. I miss having a "best friend" who is a girl. I love and adore my husband, and he will always be my best friend, but I wish I had more time to nurture my relationships with other females and have one best girlfriend to giggle with. (Thanks though to all you girls who keep me sane through our when-we-happen-to-have-time-for-each-other friendships!)

17. I love my cat. I've always been a dog person, but right now, Roxie is the perfect pet.

18. I was born in Ohio. (I've lived in Utah since I was 4, though)

19. As a child/teen/young adult, I struggled very much with honesty. I wanted everyone to think I was perfect, and when I didn't quite measure up, I'd just lie to make up the difference. One of my biggest life goals is to first learn how to do the work required to be that person that I want everyone to think I am, and secondly, learn to be okay with myself when I fall short.

20. I'm a total checklist person, and I thrive on a routine. I love to come up with systems. Unfortunately, I'm really bad at completing my checklists, stickign to my routines, and following through with my systems.

21. I have a marketing degree, but the thought of working in an office scares me. After being a stay at home mom for 3 1/2 years (or working in a teaching environment), the thought of deadlines and pressure and politics makes me almost panic. I'll be happy if I never have to reacclimate myself to an office job.

22. I was a Realtor for about a year. Yeah, I got my real estate license only to find out that I pretty much suck at selling. My mom tried to tell me, but I guess I had to figure that one out for myself.

23. Alex has got me wrapped around his finger. Seriously, that kid says, "Jump," and I say, "How high?" I've got to get that under control!

24. I love quiet. Background noise (like TV I'm not really watching, dishwashers running, or kids playing) has a tendency to really annoy me. Thanks to my noise-loving husband for trying to give me at least an hour or two a day without the TV on.

25. I love being short. I may complain about it sometimes, but it is who I am, and it's kind of how I identify myself. I love being the shortest person in a room, because it gives me a role to fill.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Character

Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and found a character that you just identify with? For my husband, maybe it's the guy in Stranger Than Fiction (ok, not really, he just has the same job.) For my sister Lisa, it's Mulan. For me, it's Gertrude McFuzz, the bird with the one-feather tail, invented by the imagination of Dr. Seuss.

Gertrude was brought further to life by the Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens in their musical adventure using the characters and storylines of Dr. Seuss. In the script, it describes Gertrude as "very self conscious and aware that her one-feather tail isn't perfect. Gertrude changes during the show from a vain, neurotic, nervous and shy bird into one with the power to protect and care for a baby elephant birde and commit herself to Horton. In other words, she stops worrying about her looks and grows up."

As much as I wish that wasn't me (I'd love to not care about my looks or about what others think, or not be vain, but, well... I do, and I am), I love how Gertrude transforms throughout the show, and I feel like I'm somewhere on that same path. Which (in addition to the awesome songs) is why I've always wanted to play Gertrude in Seussical the Musical.


I just got cast as Gertrude in Seussical the Musical! The show is being produced by the Draper Arts Council and opens March 12th. I am beside myself with excitement, and I really don't think I'll be able to sleep for a week. Thanks to my awesome husband for encouraging me to audition, and thanks in advance to my sister-in-law Heather who will probably find herself picking up some of my slack and being "mom" to my kids while I'm at rehearsal. Thanks also, to my sister Michelle, who came and auditioned with me and is going to stick with the show even though she didn't get the part she wanted. [moment of silence for Michelle] I would never have had the confidence to do my best throughout the audition process without her there with me.

Thanks, also, to all those of you who are going to put it in your schedules to come see me. :) Seriously, it is an AWESOME show with great family values, life lessons to learn, and fun, catchy music. March 12, 13, 14, and 16th.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Longest Christmas!

I didn't blog much in December because I was waiting to post one all-inclusive holiday post. Looking back, I now realize I should have posted this little by little. If you're brave enough to continue on, enjoy the ride!

This is a picture of our Christmas tree the way the boys decorated it. They could only reach halfway up the tree, and they have no concept of spreading out the colors, so it was pretty clumpy. While they were eating breakfast, I slyly redecorated.
Our family at the Salt Lake Temple. Thanks, Uncle Robert, for the invite!
I could have posted a picture of our kids actually on sleds here, but that would have been misleading. We took them sledding, but really, Alex just ate the snow, and Adam pushed everyone down the hill.

The annual Christmas Eve party at Aunt Enid's was small this year, so Michelle Lewis and I had to help out with the nativity play. You can see Adam as Joseph and Alex as a Wise Guy.
My sister Lisa loves Christmas Eve and was very sad that she couldn't be there this year. (She lives in Georgia.) So I brought her along via web cam. She plays the Angel every year, and being on the other side of the country didn't stop her. (Yeah, that's a flashlight she's holding!)
Adam and his cousin (and newfound best friend at all Nelson gatherings) Morgan.
Christmas morning... Alex's gift from Santa. He calls it his "Giddyup"
Adam's present from Santa. Quick story on this one. I had him unwrap the game first, and then I convinced him that Santa must have brought it to the wrong child because Adam didn't have a leapster. I had him convinced that the game really belonged to his cousin Kaleb. He was beside himself when he unwrapped his very own Leapster.
My mom spoiled the kids this year with a tool bench and a big tunnel/tent thing for her basement. Now they'll have more toys to play with when they are at Grandma's.
There should have been some pics right here of Christmas Day at Grandma & Grandpa Fifes, but I was apparently having such a good time that I didn't get the camera out. Ooops.
Our trip to Arizona didn't quite go as planned. We got stuck overnight in Beaver, Utah due to a snowstorm and road closures.
Alex's gift from Great-Grandma Casdorph.
Adam's gift from Great Grandma Casdorph.
Our family plus Great G&G Casdorph at the Mesa, Arizona Temple.
A Casdorph family tradition continues... This camel is in the park behind my grandparents' house, and we take a picture at it every time we visit.
We had a picnic at the park, and Alex was very protective of his food (and very wary of the pigeons).
Adam took a different approach and just hollered at the pigeons.
Just hanging out.
Hmmm... this picture is really out of order! This is all our stuff on the side of the road near St. George where we had to stop to fix a flat.
Adam and the big boys at GG Casdorphs. Thanks to Jon, Mike, Mik, and Brandon for being so willing to let the little guy tag along.
My family at our "Christmas Party" dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant.
Yeah, and there was a picture of Lisa, Brett, Jack and I right here, but I just accidentally deleted it, and I really don't care that much.

Brett & Lisa were in town, so we had one last Christmas on January 7th.

Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope your holidays were as awesome as mine!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Alex, Where Are You

It's Monday, and it's naptime, and Alex is doing his usual... screaming in his room. I once again face the decision to let him cry it out, or go in and see what I can do to help him give up the fight. This time, I choose to go check on him. So, I open his door and visually scan the room. NO ALEX! I switch from visual senses to audio (for some reason, they don't seem to be working simultaneously) and deduce that his cry is coming from inside something!

My incredibly slow cranial processes begin checking off possible places. Closet. No. Under the bed. No. Toybox. Possible. In fact, very possible. So I race over, sure I'll find my 21 month old child lying helplessly at the bottom of his toybox. I open the lid. NO ALEX. I call for Kirk because at this point, it's just getting a little weird!

Then I see it. The pull-out section of Alex's dresser that houses his dirty clothes hamper. I unlatch the keep-the-kids-out device, and slide the huge 3-sided drawer forward. In the back corner, I see a very sad little boy, sitting there with crocodile tears streaming down his face.

My scrapbooking instincts say, "Leave the crying child there and go get the camera. Hurry! You'll want a picture of this!" but for once, my maternal intincts win out. I pull the boy from the drawer and cuddle the 'terrified' right out of him. I have no picture, but that's okay. I will NEVER forget the day I found Alex inside his dresser.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Games and Family

In 2008, both of my sisters got married, which was awesome because now we have two awesome brother-in-laws. But then Lisa & Brett moved to Georgia, taking our numbers down by two. But they're in town this week, and so we all got together last night to kill some bunnies. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, invite yourself over and we'll teach you.) The game went amazingly fast. (For all you bunny-killers out there, we were done in about 90 minutes... can you believe it?!) So we also had some time to play the new Phase 10 Twist. Thanks, Brett and Lisa for coming for a visit, for getting everybody together to kill bunnies, and for bringing Jack along with you. We sure are going to miss you guys when you head back.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


For as long as I can remember, my Grandma Casdorph has made delicious goodies (especially around Christmas time) and stored them on the shelves above her washer and dryer. When I was young, my Uncle Butch and I would "sneak" into the laundry room, announcing our intentions to do some laundry. We'd come out with our hands, mouths, and bellies full of Grandma's yummy snacks.

We've been at Grandma's now for 5 days, and my boys have already caught on. Alex, whose vocabulary is still limited to the barely intelligible grunts of a not-yet-two-year-old, has mastered a new word this week. "Laundry." I've always called him our little Casdorph baby!
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