Monday, August 25, 2008

Not good

I found this picture from our trip to France last year.
Today I wore the same shirt.
This afternoon, when I went to change my shirt, the sleeves got stuck on my arm flab. LOVELY.
And I can't pull the jeans on past my thigh.
It stinks.
I'm going to go finish my lunch.
I'm eating pie for lunch.
Not good.
(PS. That Coke in my hand is not contributing to the current situation since I haven't had any of that stuff in a good while. I'm beginning to think the Coke diet works for me [not Diet Coke, but drinking enough Coke to not really eat as much] since I am still packing the same extra pounds for the past 3 months.) Bleh.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Because my last post made Daniel uncomfortable, I thought I'd post a couple pictures of some of the loveliness we have been experiencing in the desert:

I'm not sure how closely you have to examine those pictures to see our fabulous collection of scorpians that we have been collecting this week. Yes, apparantly the new bug service does truly kill scorpians (and the crickets and cockroaches, too.) These 2 photos were taken the morning after the spray and we were pleasantly surprised to see that it was working.
I went back and forth with the serviceman whether or not he thought we had an "infestation" or just an outbreak. Not that I want to win the argument, but we've seen enough to wonder if all the scorpians have invited their friends to hang out at the Barlows. GROSS! I knew we had to do something when I had full-blown nightmares about the scorpians for an entire night . . . as a grown adult that's pretty ridiculous. Another motivator was when I had some of my nephews and a niece spend the night on our toyroom floor on the same night Tyler smashed a 4 incher that was creeping by the master room doorway, yes that would be INSIDE. Perhaps the deal-breaker was Caylee's actual sting in her armpit since a baby scorpian was hanging out on her swim towel when she wrapped herself up after a swim Saturday-before-last.
So, basically, I am hoping there'll be a night when I can walk through my house and not be a little squirm-y that I'll bump into the stinging critters. So far we've killed 2 inside and 1 outside by ourselves, but we've found several dead around the house. The plan for tomorrow night's FHE is to clean out the garage so they can give us a good spray when they come back in two weeks for a follow-up.
So, while that problem is in the process of getting better, it presents an issue of firing our other pest service. I told Tyler it was his job since I have a "relationship" with our current guy (meaning we exchange pleasantries, ask about each others' families, and he's seen my house a wreck and put up with my kids following him around each month), but he hasn't done it and doesn't WANT to do it either. Any suggestions on how to fire someone you like? Pretty much we've had him since our old house and except for the scorpian issue (WHICH IS A BIG ISSUE) we have no complaints other than he never got rid of our scorpians . . . I dunno, I am too nervous I'm gonna hurt his feelings and he's going to not like me anymore. I know. Worrying about peoples' approval is an issue I'm working on. sigh.
Anyway, other than that it's back to school tomorrow (YAY) and back to a schedule (YAY) and hopefully more done (YAY!) Hope y'all had a good weekend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dr. Snip Snip

I only have a few minutes to share this memory-making experience with you all because I am on a scrapbooking roll and the scorpian killer is here and when he's done I have to go pick up Mackenzie from activity days. (And, Yes, I know that was a really long sentence and I could have blogged about all those events individually, but I'm trying to streamline my life, so you just get one hurried post - let's not complain!)

Some of you regular readers (aka our friends and family) know how after Brock was born (in 2005) and we had 2 girls and 2 boys and a very full plate that I was feeling very complete (and blessed) as a family. Most of you know the story how Tyler conveniently "missed" [I call it chickened out] his consultation appointments with Dr. Snip Snip (in 2006) and was content with the "We'll wait for Sarah's other ovary to go bad" method. And if you're a true reader of this blog (even you lurkers) you'll remember/understand how our "surprise" baby #5 turned our super-organized and children-complete [or so we thought] world upside down (in 2007). BUT if you don't recall any of those spectacular moments in our life, it would be suffice to surmise that Mr. AND Mrs. Barlow are now BOTH committed to permenantly pass on by the procreation station of our lives (in 2008).

SO, that's how I found myself, this morning, at Dr. Snip Snip's office. I'll call him Dr. Snip Snip to protect his reputation (which, according to my OBGYN is that he's the Doc that "does" all the other docs.) The minute we walked into the waiting room I felt a little out of place. It was probably the fact that we were probably 30 years younger than anyone else in the waiting room. Or that I was walking in holding a baby carseat while the two out of the other three patients were in wheelchairs. The whole time Tyler was filling out his paperwork I was thinking of the roles the "supporters" played at the urologist. It's a tender area, let's face it, and I didn't know if I was calming Tyler's nerves at all, but I was grateful I didn't have to shout at him loud enough for the entire waiting room to hear, like the other two women who were "supporting" the other patients. When we had a question or comment we simply, quietly spoke while everyone else was broadcasting their situations. I totally got an earful about the 83 yr. olds' issue as his daughter dutifully filled out the paperwork and he deduced that it was the tomato paste when he made chili that did a number on his urethra. (He would say, "It must be the acid" and his 60-something daughter was getting a kick out of the questions, like, "What area is the problem affecting?") Also quite interesting was the super-elderly woman in a wheelchair with her daughter and son-in-law who kept asking when it was time to go home and the daughter kept saying, "When you get your bladder checked, honey." I thought, as I was sitting there taking care of Briggs, "One day you'll be rolling me into the urologist with your wife and you'll offer me water and try to be patient with me as you fill out all my paperwork." Anyhow, I know care-taking a parent can be thankless and tiresome, but they did give me something to watch while Tyler filled out his forms. Oh, and would it be bad if I admitted that I found it entertaining anytime the daughter of the elderly woman patient, kept saying "Shit!" when her mom coughed or when she knocked her Starbucks coffee cup over or when her husband tripped a little as he was headed outside?

Anyhow, while the waiting room gave me a lot to think about, the exam experience totally had me, well, laughing. I think, as a woman who's borne children, I am used to exams that start with "Here, pee in this cup," include a "Put this gown on and strip from the waist down" and end with a "We'll see you in a few weeks." Tyler, on the other hand, was about to lose it! When he came into the exam room after he pee'd in the cup he said, "I didn't know I was gonna have to do that" and bemoaned his lack of planning. "Oh ye of little experience," I thought! The nurse came in shortly after his deposit and took his blood pressure. She giggled a little when it was a little high and she asked, "Are you nervous?" You go girl. Probably at this point I was feeling a little satisfied in turn-about-being-fair-play and all that, but when she handed him a paper gown and told him to strip, then left him standing agape, I about lost it. Isn't that awful? I was sure I couldn't think of any words of comfort at that point (he was seriously trying to find the emergency exit out of the exam room or the candid camera hidden in a corner) so I did what any loving, supportive, nurturing wife would do . . . I totally started to laugh. Like. Tears were coming out and I couldn't catch my breath as I watched him panic-stricken wondering around totally bewildered at what to do first? I totally had to walk him through it: "Take your shoes off first," "You can leave your socks on," "Drape your pants on the carseat over there since I'm sitting in the chair," "No, babe, unless you want your sphincter checked, the gown opens in the front." And the whole time Tyler's comments ebbed and flowed from aghast to disgusted to embarrassed and back to shock . . . all over the humiliation chart. And I was wiping the tears. In effort to make him feel better I tried to encourage him to think about the future and how much better it would be, to, ya know, which he stopped me pretty quick and said he didn't want to think about that. We tried making conversation about what kind of person becomes a urologist, but that didn't help him out either because he was mortified when I suggested him going to a female urologist instead of Dr. Snip Snip. Bless his heart. It was really trying for him. And I was STILL chuckling.

Well, pretty quick, Dr. Snip Snip came in and I immediately notice the Dr.'s laser-hair-removed arms, his flimsy handshake, and his high-lighted hair that could VERY well have been plugged into the top of his head. He asked what # Briggs was and didn't flinch when we said 5. He asked if we were sure we were done, and then took a gander at my, well, my gander. I just looked away at that point and listened to him tell Tyler what he'd be doing, how to shave, etc. And thankfully it was over. I KNOW, despite how medically professional Dr. Snip Snip was, Tyler felt completely violated and the only words of comfort I could give him once we were alone again were, "Now you kinda know what a woman goes through pretty much every OBGYN appt." Once we made the official appointment I decided we needed to go get some Mexican (his fave) and that tonight I'll give him something he really likes . . . chocolate cream pie. Cuz, nothin' says "Thanks for being fondled by a random stranger" like chocolate pie.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I am so not cool

Did y'all see this comment that my dear, sweet, loving brother made on my "What a rip" post?

ah that sucks. Who is AmberCrombie? I went to school with a girl named Amber last name Crombie who wore a lot of ABERCROMBIE. Any relation?Love, Nate

I did not know ABERCROMBIE did not have an "M". In fact, I had typed it with no "M" and thought, "oops, good thing I caught that typo" and then went back and made it AMBERCrombie. Yes, I am a dork who only shops at Target. I am not thin or rich enough to shop at such a swanky store that has hot couples half dressed hanging on posters all over the store LET ALONE notice how they really spell the name of their store. But thanks for making me feel like a bona fide NERD on the WORLD WIDE WEB, Nate. I love ya.

Just checkin' in

Yessss, my pictures came in the mail.

Yessss, Tyler (my wonderful husband) took Brevin and Brock on his campout with the scouts.

Yessss, I got to scrapbook all night long.

Yessss, my friends came over AND one brought her daughter for my girls to hang with so they were "yessss"-in' too.

Yessss, we say Michael Phelps win by 1/100 of a second (So FREAKING amazing . . . I love the Olympics)

Yessss, I went to bed at 3:30am.

CRAP, I had a migraine today. Blah.

On a total good note, though, Brock's first year is almost completed. Woot Woot!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What a rip!

This is to let Chris know I'm still alive :)

And to say how much it stinks when I order pictures online and just two days later get the "package key" in my mailbox. And so, in my excitement, I figure out this whole blog about how fabulous this photo website is and how I'm going straight inside to blog about my 20 sheets of pictures I ordered for all the layouts I will get to finish now that I received my pictures SO QUICKLY!

BUT . . .

The package is not for me. It's for the neighbor across the street with something darling (I'm sure) from AmberCrombie & Fitch. [Not that I opened it, because that's illegal, but I was tempted. However, she's in high school and, like, size 0 and I don't figure I'd look so darling squeezing my not-size-o self into it. Plus jail's not worth it.]

What a rip.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Vacation Chronicles IV

I know this isn't the most exciting thing in the world, to read about one more of our trips to Utah, but this is the last in our 2008 summer chronicles and I thought I'd share some fun pics from Tyler's Mom's reunion. Tyler had to stay and work (thank you struggling banking industry) and so once again I hit the road with my five kids, SOLO. Briggs, naturally, was my biggest concern, but it ended up Caylee was more of a problem with the CONSTANT whining. My SIL, Alexis, was headed up the same time, also solo with her two girls, so we stayed close enough and had lunch together in Beaver. *Note from all my travels to Utah this summer: Wendy's in Beaver is WAY cleaner and has better service than McDonald's.* I was master multi-tasker, though, pumping with a battery-pump so Kenzie could feed Briggs a bottle so we didn't have to stop. Oh yeah, I'm sure there were plenty of truckers thinking I was a freak!
Anyhow, Thursday we got all settled into the condo and went to meet the family at this Mexican restaurant which was a pretty big joke considering how small the restaurant was and how LARGE the family is. Tyler's mom is one of eight girls and that equals a large posterity. We're really lucky to have such a great turn-out and I L-O-V-E that entire extended side of my in-laws. Nothing against my FIL's side, I just don't know them that well, but "the sisters" and their kids are wonderful, wonderful. And how cool is it that Tyler's grandma is still coming to the reunion. Being one who lost all her grandparents by the time I was 16, I sure appreciate the chance my kids have to be around their great-grandma, even if they don't spend a ton of time with her during the reunion since they're so busy playing with all the cousins.

Friday morning they did kids' crafts and games and then that night we had pizza, dancing, and karaoke. People laugh at how "dramatic" my girls can be, and I jokingly have said they get it from their dad. Well, in all seriousness, there's something to that. There's a lot of entertainers in that family, and so the rockin' out and cuttin' loose can't all be attributed to me being "born to dance."

Kenzie playing with the parachute (above) and Brock (below) with his tattoo. Yes, Aunt Carol always brings the coolest rub on tats and kids and adults partake. This year some of the boys opted for the tummy tat. My moon shaped out of stars is actually still on my ankle, but at least I didn't shave my body to adhere it better like my BIL did.

Aunt Jeannette and Aunt Karen were in charge of kids' crafts. Here's Jeanette's stressed look:

Kenzie and her cousins:

After a fun dip in the pool, we (and by that I mean Lexi [since I was feeding Briggs]) fed the kids:

Here's some of the dance and karaoke pics:

Okay. Note Kenzie's lips in the above photo. That, apparently, is her dance face. She posed like this for the majority of her last dance recital. I had no idea where she got it from . . . until I saw this one of Tyler's brother, the fabulous Uncle Brandon:

Yes, the pucker is particular to Tyler's side of the family, I guess.

Saturday was a lot like Friday with activities in the morning, swimming, lunch, naps, and group dinner with the auction to raise funds for other reunions. Saturday afternoon my girls headed over to the Marriot pool (with Aunt Jeannette's Jessica). Before they left, though, we made the coolest tie-dyed shirts. I loved it!

Although I was a solo parent, I have to thank all the pseudo-parents that helped me out. Everyone was great to offer, but the Krums, the aunts, my MIL, Lexi, and Brandon were particularly helpful. Here's Briggs with Jon:

The auction was a success (as always.) We scored a print of a picture that Aunt Sara painted of Great Great Grandma Thompson, a sewn pillow from Great Grandma Martenson, a High school Musical bag-o-stuff (that I donated and ended up buying back for Caylee for $15), a couple of skirts from Grandma Dodie, and some bath stuff. I just love seeing how creative everyone is and enjoying the back-and-forth as everyone raises the money for a good cause.

Sunday pretty much STUNK, with the exception of the family lunch. We loaded our stuff, went to church (where I decided I will be inactive if Tyler leaves me solo with five small kids), had the family lunch and shared memories of Great Grandma Martenson, and then travelled home. Briggs was not so great on the way home. Luckily Brandon rode back with us or we'd probably still be in St. George trying to work the courage to get back in the car. I did, also, misplace my debit card on Sunday, and was so spent by the time we got home Sunday around 9pm.

A lot of the grandkids shared memories of picking black berried and raspberries at Grandma's and all the cool stuff Grandpa used to have. Brandon and Kevin McGrath (cousin) really touched me when they shared their memories, killing slugs and snails with salt [Brandon's] and how his testimony, which was strongly influenced from his mom originated with Grandma's [Kevin's]. I got really choked up remembering Grandma and Grandpa coming to mine and Tyler's wedding (four days before Christmas) in 1996. It was not an easy trip for either of them, but how much I appreciated their efforts. I shared how Tyler has often commented on remembering how HIS grandma would spoil them with treats and goodies just like his mom spoils our kids. Here's a picture with us and Great Grandma Martenson (in our cool shirts):

Good times. We won't be meeting again until 2010 and that's a little sad, but well worth the wait!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Sista-Friend!

30 years ago today my life changed in a most profound and important way. I was 13 months old when my mom brought home my baby sister and my memories of us have pretty much been a packaged-deal since then. So, in honor of Erin’s big 3-0 b-day I thought I’d share 30 memories I’ve had of her. I’d like to say they’re in a particular order, but my memory is NOT as keen as hers, so I’m sure she’ll (and the whole family) will be able to correct me and add some of their own vivid details to these thoughts:

1) Our attic bedroom. In the first house we lived in, Erin and I ended up sharing the attic as our bedroom. The house was old and the stairs creaked as you walked up the stairs, but we spent a lot of days completely wrecking that room with all our stuff. I remember having our toys from one end to the other. I also remember the two of us hovering over a bee trying to work up the courage to smash it. And, on hot nights, Mom had the two of us sleep in our undies without jammies so we wouldn’t be so sweaty (no air conditioning.)

2) Our red bedroom. When we moved to the house on Dennis we still shared a room (this time it was in the basement) and we still had mess issues. Most of the time we spent “cleaning” our room was actually “bickering” over whose mess was whose. One time, in frustration with each other, we lined our shoes up halfway across the room (with a pathway to the door) to distinguish “her side” from “my side.” [And FYI my girls have the same argument about EVERY time they are sent to clean their room! Karma!?]

3) When we had bunk beds, we would play around at night after bedtime and pretend we were falling off our beds into an ocean or some other unpleasant place. The ONLY thing that the other could do to save the other one is pull their entire body weight back up by one finger or one toe. Yes, as gross as it sounds, we’d pop the heck our of our joints in each toe, one-by-one, as we “saved” each other.

4) I also used to ask Erin if she wanted to sleep with me and we’d get our pillows and blankets all arranged just so and we’d fall asleep in one single bed . . . until sometime in the middle of the night when I’d kick Erin out of my bed and back into hers because I didn’t have enough space. One time, when I invited her, she made me promise I wouldn’t kick her out. And I promised. And then I kicked her out again in the middle of the night.

5) Erin had this “junk” drawer when we were little where she kept her, well, junk. [Not to be confused with my mom’s junk trunk J] Anyway, Erin would have the coolest things and I’d ask her where she got it and her answer would be her “junk drawer.” Pretty soon she’d be walking around with MY stuff and when I’d ask her “where’d you get that?” she’d just simply answer “My junk drawer” and that made it hers. We had many an argument over that until my parents intervened.

6) And speaking of arguing, I should clear my conscience with this memory. Erin always had good, strong, longer, sharp fingernails. If our arguing got a little physical, for a while, she took to digging her fingernails into the underside of my forearm, which left pretty good claw marks. Well, knowing she got in BIG trouble for that with our folks, I’d antagonize Erin to the point where she’d claw me out of frustration. I did feel a little bad about that the night she had to get all her fingernails trimmed short so she couldn’t dig into my skin anymore! Sorry.

7. [Here’s the drowning story, sorta] One day at swim lessons at the city pool, Erin drowned. She had been with her class jumping off the diving board and when she was supposed to be walking down to join her other classmates in the shallow end of the pool, she got cold. So midway from the deep to the shallow she jumped back in the water. Well, it was too deep, and she couldn’t get herself back up to the top of the water and poof! out of air = drowned sister. Erin and I had matching purple swimsuits with a big pink circle on the side, but one other girl also had that swimsuit. I remember SO vividly watching the lifeguards pull this swimsuit out of the pool (I was across the pool with my class) just telling myself that surely it was NOT Erin, but the other girl and at the same time searching for Erin’s class so I could validate that my sister was okay. It wasn’t until I saw my mom running in from the bathrooms to the group gathered around her body that I realized it WAS Erin. I just knew I could do something to help so I tried swimming over to all of them, but my teacher pulled me back and held me [even though I kicked him hard in the groin] the whole time I watched them do CPR on her, watched her cough up some water, heard the approaching ambulance wail into the parking lot, watched them put her on the gurney, load her, and drive her and my mom away. It was, without a doubt, one of the most helpless moments of my life. The family friend that took me to her house asked me if I wanted to pray for Erin, and it’s one of my first memories of kneeling down to pray for something in desperation. When I could go visit her, she had this cook ET light on her finger (the pulse-ox reader) and I remember shopping with my dad for a special nightgown for her while she recovered in the hospital.

8. Erin and I (and our neighborhood friends) would spend a lot of time playing “house” or “school” or whatever we fancied. I remember sitting at our little table and chairs discussing, like girls do, all the details of our pretend before we could actually pretend. We had to establish the facts first, like our names and our jobs and our husbands or boyfriends and whether or not we smoked or not.

9. Okay, this memory’s a little fuzzy cuz I can’t remember exactly WHY Erin wanted to run away, but I remember she fully packed her red Dworshak duffle bag and was running away from home. She worked it out with Megan and she was gonna stay in the Nelson’s shed/playhouse attic. The entire day we worked out the story because I was going to have to cover for her and then break the news to my parents. I remember admiring Erin’s courage for actually leaving. She was “gone” then entire day and my mom didn’t even know. Not because she didn’t care, but that was back in the day when kids played outside all day and since Erin decided to “move back home” by dinner, Mom found out when we gave out daily report of what we’d been up to.

10. One night, when Jerolyn spent the night, we were playing “rocket launcher” in the living room. We got in trouble because we sounded “like a herd of elephants” to my parents who were trying to watch TV in the basement.

11. Another memory of the city pool and Jerolyn is the afternoon we spent playing there laughing our little butts off as we’d come out of the water, hair plastered to our heads, moaning “Harr-Dee-Har-Har.” I remember asking Aunt Randy, when she picked us up, if she could hear us from the parking lot because we were laughing so much!

12. Another shenanigan with Jerolyn was the time we convinced Erin we were sticking cherry pits up our nose and pulling them back out of our ear. Well, that slight of hand trick took a turn for the worse when Erin jammed a pit so far up her nose, we could see it poking out up toward the bridge of her nose and she was crying because it hurt. After we couldn’t press it out or have her blow it out, we had to go get my mom and be scolded for playing a trick on her.

13. When 10 speeds were all the rage, my parents told us they’d go half-sies with us and Erin and I spent a summer mowing my grandma’s lawn. She’d do the front and I’d do the back or vice versa. We both ended up with maroon-ish red bikes, but I always liked hers better because my foam handle bars weren’t as cool as her black taped ones.

14. I remember loading the van to drive to Vegas and how devastated I felt. I was bawling because my BF Kara had gone to the store with her grandma and was going to come back when they were done, but we left before they made it back. I was totally bawling and Erin was fine. In fact, I think I remember her saying stuff like, “Why are you crying. It’s not that big of a deal.” Oh, I was so sad, but later that night, around St. George at 3 or 4 in the morning, we had a great time rolling down the windows in the Greeners car, letting the warm wind whip through the car. I am so grateful that I had Erin when we moved. The first couple years we had few friends, especially in the neighborhood, and we spent a lot of time together,

15. I do remember getting to sleep over at Melissa Perritte’s with Erin one time (I think I’ve been told it was because our parents were out of town.) Talk about a third wheel situation. I finally understood why Erin loved spending time with Melissa since we swam AND played Nintendo while we were there. Sharing friends was not our strong-suit at that point in our lives, and I could tell Erin was bugged that I was there. I remember, though, that she was really good about it.

16. Erin shaved her legs before me. I remember being totally JEALOUS.

17. One summer Erin and I were going to get to go stay with Megan in Burley ALL BY OURSELVES. Shortly before we left we found out she had to miss the trip to stay home and have a rod put into her back to help her scoliosis. I ended up still going up there and one night Megan and I went and saw “League of their Own” at the theater. By the end of the movie I was BAWLING at all the sister-ness. Knowing she was lying in the hospital bed while I was enjoying our vacation really made me feel bad and sad and anxious to get home.

18. Which brings me to my memories of Erin’s scoliosis. I could not have born the burden that my sister did in junior high. The whole time she was at K.O. Knudsen, she had to wear this brace with a neck/chin support and all the screws would tear holes in her clothes and tangle in the back of her hair. There were many times of tears for Erin during that time and I remember being so happy for her when she got to leave the brace at home for a day (only happened a couple times, I think, for pictures.) I probably can’t convey how strong she was at the time about the whole thing. I’ve admired her strength in dealing with hard (mostly physical) situations ever since then because I know there’s no way I could have endured what she has with the grace, not-complaining, and resolve that she has shown.

19. When she was in her brace and we would fight, we couldn’t be too physical with each other. Well, we could, but she was made of freakin’ steel and hard plastic, so I took to slapping her across the face when I’d get particularly frustrated with her. And then she’d chase me to hit me back. Once she locked me out of the house. I deserved it. I’d slapped her hard. I think I ended up at the Jensen’s calling her until she promised to let me in without severe retaliation.

20. Erin and I stayed home the summer I was learning to drive while my parents went to Idaho. Our van’s registration expired August 1st and I had to drive our VW bug or risk being pulled over. Poor Erin about died as I stalled that bug almost every time I had to stop at a light. Harmon was the worst for all the hills and the trouble that brought with stick shifts. I couldn’t even count the buckets of sweat we shed that week any time we had to go somewhere in that un-air-conditioned car as I was trying to get going and Erin was freaking out at the traffic building up around us.

21. Erin and I had separate rooms in Vegas, but we had daybeds with trundles and one time Erin made her two twin beds into this monstrous king-size bed. After seeing a mouse in my room, I slept with her for a month or so because I was too scared to be in my room. She finally had to take the bed down so I’d get back into my own room. The mouse incident was solved when we returned from Idaho (by ourselves) and Erin discovered the mouse dead and drowned in my parent’s toilet. (Fully bloated, BTW). I remember the hysterical phone call we made to our parents, who were still in Idaho, and my dad impatiently insisting that we flush the mouse down the toilet. We had visions of clogging, but that mouse went down just fine. Gross!

22. The Sprenz summer. One summer Kevin Sprenz moved in and Erin and I shared a room. And ended up spending a lot of time together since we got big-time grounded. I would wake up in the middle of the night to Erin talking on the cordless phone she had snuck into our room so she could talk to Kevin. (I think she was 13 at the time!) We actually got mail from our friends that summer since we were THAT grounded (from the phone and everything!)

23. Erin and I had to buy our own clothes and I remember being at Ross Dress-for-Less when I found THE COOLEST polyester shirt with bright stripes of fruit on it for $1.50. When I tracked Erin down amongst the racks of bargains and showed her the shirt, I still remember her turned up nose at the hideous-ness of the shirt and her reply of something like, “Of course it’s only $1.50 because nobody would actually wear that.” Well, I did buy it and love it and it was one thing Erin did NOT ever ask to borrow.

24. When Erin and I would get home from school and my parents were at work and the boys were still at school, we’d spend our hour or two together of “No one in, no one out” time watching TV and eating after-school snacks of cheetos, pudding, and Little Debbie snacks. I don’t ever remember doing our homework. I remember timing it so we still hung out at the Jensens or somewhere else, but rushing home so the boys wouldn’t tell on us for not being inside like we were supposed to be. I made Erin watch TJ Hooker.

25. The Church History Trip. There are really far too many memories on this three week excursion across the country. I’m glad, though, that at some of the most profound spiritual experiences that I have ever had, I shared with Erin. I do remember her sensitivity when my camera double exposed my pictures of Nauvoo and her insensitivity when I had a raging Migraine (that was Jer, too, BTW.)

26. Hawaii in 1995. SO fun with her and everyone else in choir. I remember, particularly, running down the stairwell with her during a fire alarm and waking up late for Pearl Harbor and having us roommates run out of the hotel to see the tail lights of the busses.

27. Erin and I almost died when the tire blew on our way to drop her off at BYU and we spun around on the freeway. I remember feeling it my responsibility to sit in the middle of her and the creepy tow-truck driver who pulled the Dodge Colt into Nephi. Okay, maybe she just plain refused to do it, so I had to sit by him, but I took it as my duty. And he ended up being really nice, even bringing us a big soda because he figured we’d be thirsty.

28. Swiss Days. Now, technically, that’s a bucket-load of good memories X’s the 4 years I have been, but it only gets better and I can’t share half of the things we have talked about. Here’s a smattering: Talk Sex with Sue, stall foot-tapping techniques, threesomes in the master bedroom, IKEA stock ups, nachos on tennis shoes, and sooo much more!

29. Mom moments. I can’t really list every moment we’ve shared in our current phase of mom-hood, but I will just say that Erin has been an inspiration EVERY step of my way as a mom. I remember, vividly, lying in my bed when she called one spring morning to tell me she was pregnant and expecting in January 1999. I was so torn between excitement for her and jealousy of her [I really wanted to get pregnant, but the timing for us was NOT good that spring.] It was the first defining experience that she would be doing first and it was such a role reversal for me. HOWEVER, I couldn’t think of a better time for it to happen. Erin has blazed the mom-trail, albeit only by 5 months ahead of me, with the style and determination. She’s been so supportive and helpful and I really am grateful that she not only raises her 4 kids so well, but has such an important role in raising my 5.

30. There have been a few times when Erin and I have been in the temple together for various reasons. The night before I had Briggs, we were at the temple and I had the distinct impression that the good feelings I was having that night were just a taste of what realizing our earthly quest for eternal families would be like. I am grateful that I have the chance to be with her for forever. I can’t imagine not having my best friend, playmate, confidant, psychiatrist, and sister with me for all eternity. There are many memories of Erin helping me work my moral compass and inspiring me to be better, and for that (AND ALL THE MILLIONS MORE MEMORIES) I want to thank her!

Love ya, Sis!