Ok, so I finally figured it out. I now can do things other than just the knit stitch!!!! YEAY!!! I realized that you actually have to move the supply of yarn to the front of the needles when purling and behind the needles when knitting. That is why I ended up with all those extra bizarre stitches in all my soon to be demolished work.
So, I tried a few different things out last night: all purl (garter stitch), alternating rows of knit and purl (stockinette stitch), all knit (more garter stitch) and then I alternated knit, purl repeating on one row and purl, knit on the next to make the seed stitch (mom, I believe this is your dreaded popcorn stitch). So, I had fun and finally felt a little less like a knitting noob.
As frustrating as it can be to learn things by yourself, there is that sick sense of satisfaction when you finally figure something out that you have been struggling with for awhile. Now that I can do more conplex stuff, I think I'm going to practice and make a scarf/hat for myself in this neat purple yarn my mom got me when she was up in Maine last week. Here goes nothing.... This is a cool site I found that tells you how to make a bunch of different knitting patterns: KnittingontheNet.com
Oh, and by the sheer fact that I have posted, you have proff the cat didn't kill me in my sleep.