Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat?

Probably depends on who you ask?
Today I met Erin, Kevin, Angela, and Jennie at Cafe Rio for a lunch (sans kids, thank you Nevada Day!) and before I ever got there got a text from Jennie that Senator Harry Reid was lunching at the Rio with his family. Sure nuf. So, I busted out my handy camera, pulled my Democrat sista into the photo and had Jennie take our phot-o. The guys at the table next to us were, pretty much, aghast. They were ready to start shouting "McCain! McCain!" Angela explained that Erin and I are Obama fans, but she and Jennie are pro-not-Obama, but regardless we are all friends. They were shocked by that too. Funny people. Can't we all get along? So, yeah, it was a treat for me. Big one. Cuz, ya know, Harry's been on TV, like, a lot. And yes, I count C-SPAN. And I know some of you are haters (Tyler already told me he was wicked), but he was very gracious and kind and his family seems very nice and normal. Well, normal except they were dressed pretty nicely for a Friday afternoon (granted it IS Nevada Day and I was comparing them to myself who wore her camp shirt [inside out], my grubbie capris, and had yet to shower for the day.) But still, treat!
Now if only I could recover from tonight's festivities (which I will blog about later) to get my fanny to the Obama rally in the morning. I cannot wait for Tuesday.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In the Spirit of Full Disclosure

Please study the picture below. An analysis to follow. Yes, I know it's a bad picture; my photographer was a 9 year old anxious to play on the park playground. Sorry.
This post is for Jill T. and her friend, who I know lurk here from time to time and I think they have the wrong impression of me. Soooo, in the spirit of full disclosure I will explain what is going on in my life at the time that the above picture was taken.

I had Mackenzie snap this picture because it is not an uncommon scene in my life. Let me point out some details:
1. I am carrying Briggs on my left arm. That is where I always carry him to leave my more adept right hand available to answer my phone, grab one of his siblings who enjoy darting in front of cars in parking lots, and/or to get into my car. The muscles in my left arm are much stronger than the ones in my right because Mr. Briggs is getting rather large.
2. I am also holding Brevin's Spiderman backpack because he asked me to hold it (with my spare hand) while he went to play on the playground. While he practices soccer, the other kids play, so being the nice mom I decide he can have some time, too. I forget that that means he'll ditch all his gear in order to get in an extra slide down the slide.
3. On my left shoulder is a camp chair so I had a place to sit while watching aforementioned soccer practice. However, it's a kids camp chair (which is incredibly sturdy), but I spent practice feeling like the giant Alice in Wonderland sitting on someone else's baby furniture. Nothing says wide thighs and big mom butt like a camp chair with an 8" wide seat.
4. In my right hand is the box that is carrying out our dinner leftovers, water bottles and snack trash. That's because Tuesday nights are eat-out nights. As soon as the girls get home from soccer we have violin drop off, dance drop off, violin pick up, dance pick up, dinner take-out (yummy Port of Subs), and then soccer practice. None of that is so bad as knowing I have to bathe the kids by myself when we get home (which, probably is why I let the kids play longer . . . the Brevin bit is kinda bologna . . . I'm just procrastinating) and finish the homework that didn't get done in the car going from here to there.
5. On my right shoulder is my trusty diaper bag. Isn't it swanky? Yeah, it's a big black hole. I yearn for the day of small purses with only my wallet and cell phone. Instead I schlep the bag around with: the family calendar, pencils and pens, lipstick, diapers & wipes, an extra pair of shorts for Brock (just in case), an extra onesie for Briggs (just in case), gum, checkbook, two wallets (one with my grocery cards, frequent shopper punch cards and my debit card and another with all the other cards that mom's carry - insurance, library, appointment, etc.), a toothbrush, random legos, some fruit snack packages, and all other sorts of other knick knacks.
6. If you can't tell, I'm sure my legs weren't shaved that day, I have make-up on from the day before, and I'm guessing I was feeling a little sweaty after making it across the field with all my adornments . . . what I wouldn't kill for a quiet, uninterrupted bath!
7. And if you look close enough, yes, my boobs are totally crooked. I'm sure, 9 times out of 10, when walking around I look like a mess since nursing has completely wrecked my proportions in the chest area. I swear I could make a ba-dillion dollars creating a nursing bra that supports and compensates for the discrepancies that come after there's only time to nurse on one side and not the other.

So, yes, my life with five little kids is crazy and hectic and stressful. I'm blessed, I know that much, to be a mom. Every day (especially on Tuesdays) when we all survive it, I feel very accomplished. And aren't I JUST a picture of loveliness?

Boo-Yah! Mommy Warrior :)

Sermon on the Mount

Tonight as we were reading scriptures, Brock was thumbing through an old Relief Society manual. When we get our family Book of Mormon out to read, he pulls out any other churchy book he can so that he feels like one of the big kids, I guess. So, as Tyler is reading, Brock is having his own dialogue where he is "reading" what's in his book. Of course, he's 3, so he's looking for the pictures and I've pretty much got him tuned out, trying to nurse Briggs and listen to Tyler. Then I heard Brock say, " . . . and dere's Jesus sitting on his bum on da rock." I looked quickly before he flipped the page and it was a painting of The Sermon on the Mount. I'm sure one day that story will have more profound meaning to him as he learns the beattitudes Jesus taught, but for now I was loving that he recognized Jesus and that he was "sitting on his bum."

I love that kid!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pruning the Roses

Today I committed myself to do some yard work.

When Tyler's bank closed, we knew we needed to scale back our finances and George, our hard-working lawn maintenance man (and his gas-leaf-blowing team), was one of the first cuts. It was pretty much a bummer because Tyler and I do not like doing yard work. And I've determined that if the hours from 8am-10am on a Saturday are filled with other activities (i.e. scout campouts, soccer games, sleeping in) then Tyler's window for yard work has been closed and he'll have to wait until the next Saturday to see if he can fit it in. Because we have a large yard and it's desert landscaping (ick!) I also tend to completely ignore it. On Saturday, though, while waiting for my nieces to arrive, I decided to clean out the entry way and the front shrubbery. ANYWAY, I didn't get everything blown out and cleaned up AND because I'm a little OCD, I tend to spend hours picking up dead leaves and debris I knew I needed to dedicate a good chunk of my Monday out in the yard.

For as much as I put off working outside, I really like it. I think I'm pretty good at it and I don't really shy away from the harder stuff. Basically I'm saying I'm not afraid of running the leaf-blower or mini-chain saw, and I can go to town with my hand-held pruning shears. Working in the yard gives me a lot of time to think. Picking out crab grass doesn't take a lot of thinking other than finding the root and pulling it all out and hacking back over-growth doesn't take a lot of skill. So, basically, I enjoy the work because it gives me the time to think.

Today, as I was trying to work some magic with our rose bushes-gone-bad I was feeling really frustrated. See, I love my rose bushes. The couple who lived in this house before us planted rose bushes sporadically along the east side of our house and we've tried to fill in some of the gaps with extra plants. One day I would love to have all the bushes grown into each other and produce these gorgeous blooms of various sizes, colors, and varieties all in unison. And I love the smell of fresh roses. I've never smelled a store-bought variety that comes close to the sweet fragrances of our flowers. It reminds me of the smell of raspberries. But while some of our plants grow and produce beautifully, others are struggling to grow and produce anything. And some of our plants that have been healthy and strong have this weird leaf-rotting-look going on (I gotta google it . . . I'm hoping it's just weather related.) On Saturday I trimmed and cleaned up most of the plants, but today I realized I hadn't worked this one last rose bush.

This rose bush is huge. It sprouts these 10 ft. high stalks, but rarely do the roses ever burst from their bulbs. To make matters worse, this bush was planted right next to our air conditioning units, and today it was time to clear off some of the growth so it didn't end up jamming the fans of our ancient AC units. When looking at the rose bush, it didn't seem too different from the ones I had cleaned up on Saturday, but upon closer inspection I noticed all these dead limbs gnarled around the struggling live stalks. I took my shears and started cutting off all the dead, crusty parts, but I was having a hard time getting my hand in there without getting all cut up. Because this plant has particularly honkin' thorns. But I persevered. I found myself personally invested in the life of this plant. I started taking some of the plant and pulling it the opposite way of the air conditioning unit so it'll grow into a safer zone. I cut off all the half-wilted semi-blooms and I cut off all the dead barky parts of this rose bush that have been around forever. I swear I could almost feel the rose bush breathe easier.

Or maybe it was that I could empathize with the process of finally getting rid of all the strong, gnarled, old branches that were really confining the new, healthy ones trying to grow. I began to think about how what I was doing to the rose bush was not a lot different than what we do for our loved ones who have become tangled in hard and crusty things. Yes, I was getting totally gouged every time I stuck my hand into the mess, just like sometimes it's uncomfortable to confront or comfort a loved one who is struggling. And I felt a little repentant that I hadn't done something earlier. Every other time I did my yard work, I'd invest just a bit in that rose bush knowing I could come back to it later, and ultimately ended up hoping George would just fix it for me. And I've done that with friends and family members before, too. I keep it real surface and sometimes hope someone else will step in to help or to do the work.

I'll have to keep you posted . . . I'm sure you're all thinking, "Lame post about yard work," but it was a real thought-provoking few minutes and since those don't happen too much, I'll hold on to it. Cuz the scent of it was really sweet.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bringing Our People Together

I'm getting so weary of all the political banter back and forth. I think it's all good and healthy for the whole process, but it is getting a little tiring. I'm grateful for the whole process and that we can all make our voices heard. And I'm grateful for mended fences over differing opinions. I have begun to laugh at some of the absolutely RIDICULOUS political emails and attachments that have been sent my way. I find them ignorant, one-sided, and complete propoganda while others find them to be the truth, but what the heck?! that's part of the process, I s'pose.

I feel I've exercised a bunch of restraint in blurting more of my political views online (which is probably why I have really enjoyed those blogs who have been able to let it rip - thanks for being a bit of my voice.) I have traded emails back and forth and they've been . . . enlightening. Anyway, I know this is all cryptic, so I will just share this photo my mom sent me.

Yes, yes, the world will one day be right again. Just keep the vision in your mind where EVERYONE is willing to reach across the dance floor and boogie like we have no problems.

A quick minute of satisfaction

This morning, as the girls were headed out the door to school, Brock said, "Bye Cay-yee, I wuv you!" and the door shut. Undeterred from her lack of acknowledgement of his affections, I heard his bare feet pad across the floor to the front door. He pulled the door open and, this time, yelled, "Bye Cay-yee, I WUV YOU!" to which I heard her call, "Bye Brock, I love you too!" and then he shut the door to go about his business.

I have to be honest that most days being a stay-at-home mom feels real mundane. I spend most of my time nagging and harping and refereeing in between the housekeeping and chauffeuring. It's an immense amount of pressure, I think, to be given the responsibilities of raising decent human beings and I've accepted the payoff for all this "work" will mostly come later in life, as my kids are more grown.

But this morning was a feel good moment. It was quick and brief. But I've been feeling warm fuzzies every time I think about it. Maybe it's because the exchange was between Brock and Caylee who can be really difficult or maybe it's because I want my kids to grow up to love their brothers and sister(s) as I love mine. Maybe it's both, but this morning I had a real, genuine sense of accomplishment that if they love each other, then I must be doing something right.

{Now switching gears to something else that gives me satisfaction}
ScrapFest Registration is here again. This year, though, it's all paperless. You can find out more about this super fun get-away that I put together (with the wonderful support of my peeps) each year by clicking on this link here: SCRAPFEST 2009. We're limiting the spots to 60 people this year, so HURRY and register because after day 1, we're 25% full for the weekend. Trust me, you won't want to miss out :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Tonight I was asked to speak at our ward's Young Women in Excellence. The theme was the "Worth of Souls" and the girl who was doing it as one of her YW projects used a whole shoe theme with "soles." Anyway, it was way cute from invites to refreshments and it was so good to be there. Serving in the stake means I don't really get to mingle as much with the young women, so it was a good change.

After I was done speaking I was going around talking to some of the girls and leaders, and as girls do (old and young) there was some hugging. I guess by the time I went out to the car I had some thoughts to process about the many kinds of hugs. For example. I went to hug the gal who organized the whole program tonight and tell her what a good job and we both opened our arms to embrace and we embraced {insert warm fuzzy and encouraging words from me here} and then she begins to rock from side to side. I seriously thought, "Oh, that's swing-y" and I guess I am just not a real swing-y type of hugger.

On my way out the door, one of the mom's walked up to me, with her arms extended (which invites a hug, right?!) and told me I did a nice job and so I thank her and reach in to hug her, but APPARENTLY I was invading some personal space because she backed right back up. I was totally perplexed. Did she want a hug? Did she want a side squeeze? Maybe just a back pat? It was weird and then there was all this awkward body movements trying to get our own space back . . . I'm tellin' ya, it was weird.

And once I got in the car I started thinking, there's got to be some sort of hug etiquette. Like, you don't have to squeeze the guts out of someone; that's kinda rude. Intimate hugs should NOT have back pats [one time Tyler and I totally cracked up because he gave me a back-pat-hug on his way out the door to work. As soon as he patted me and started saying his good-byes, I interrupted him to say, "Did you just pat my back?" I was genuinely surprised. Then it was kinda funny because it is just not how you hug your spouse.] I'm a fan of the side squeeze, especially if I'm not sure the person wants a hug and/or it's someone of the opposite sex. Just put my arm around the shoulder and give a little squeeze; nothing too serious. No grinding with hugs. That's not necessary, (I'm still trying to convince Tyler of that idea, though) but y'all know there have been times where you've thought, "Ew, too much chest there" or "that was a full-body press fer sher!" And how do you hug when one is standing and one is sitting? It's terribly awkward, I think. I tried it tonight, but I ended up totally squeezing the woman's head . . . and it was bad. I'm just gonna throw it out there, that proper hug etiquette would require the sitter to stand.

Anyway, just some random thoughts. And here's a cyber {hug} for each of you that read all that rambling.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Sweet Moment with Brevin

So tonight I called Daniel to get his professional opinion about the computer driver that Caylee knocked off-track and now won't close. Our conversation was moving into a deeper conversation about his blog when Brevin (who was hiding out in my room to avoid bed time) and I have this exchange.

Me: blah, blah, blah, blah about the blog

Brevin: Mom

Me: and blah, blah

Brevin: Mom

Me: Blah? Blah, blah, blah, and blah

Brevin: Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom

Me: What Brevin?

Brevin: [silently looks at me since he's surprised to have my attention] Um . . .

Me: What is it? [I'm all impatient since he's interrupting me. When he paused I honestly thought he was going to just give me a kiss or tell me he loves me since I have called on him and he didn't really have anything prepared for when I finally acknowledged him]

Brevin: Um . . . Why do you look so fat? [And at this point he reaches up and caresses my belly]

Me: What? I thought you were going to say something nice now that you have my attention!

Brevin: Well, it's just that your tummy is so big.

Me: Thanks Brevin. [Daniel is laughing now.]

Brevin: It looks like you're going to have another baby.

OH YEAH! I can tell those early morning workouts at the gym are making a BIG freakin' difference!

Whatever. I still love the little stinker!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

No Tag Backs!

My mom tagged me. And since I always do what my mom tells me to do with no complaint or contrary opinion, I will be answering this tag even though I can't think of anything remarkable interesting that I haven't shared on this blog yet. This stuff stresses me out for some reason - oh wait, that could be a random thing about myself!

*Link to the person who tagged you
*Post the rules on your blog
*Write six random things about yourself
*Tag six-ish people at the end of your post
*Let each person know he/she has been tagged
*Let the tagger know when your entry is up

#1. I do not know the lyrics to very many songs. I stink at name-that-tune type games and I am frequently busted by my hubby for totally making up words. However, this issue does NOT keep me from totally singing out loud. I love to sing and I'm pretty decent with the tunes, so I just can't help myself. I have to read and re-read lyrics and sing it over and over again before I feel confident that I kinda know the song and even then I usually screw it up.

#2. I love the water. I love to swim and float in my pool. My dream vacations have to do with beaches and oceans. I find waterfalls, lakes and rivers enjoyable. I celebrate when we finally get rain. I take baths and showers regularly. I drink water, too. And I cook chicken in water. I'm a fan of water.

#3. I have gotten to the point in my life that I enjoy and emptier fridge. I find when our fridge is packed I believe we are not using our condiments efficiently and that has started to bug me. I like to think I subscribe to the depression-era-mindset of using every last bit, especially when it comes to food. Tyler's dad has always remarked how certain leftover will "make a great sandwich tomorrow" and I totally believe that. Most of my lunches at home consist of leftovers and I feel accomplished when I clear out some tupperware.

#4. I prefer even numbers. I get a little weirded out at the produce department if I end up with an odd number. I buy four apples instead of five. I won't stop my sit-ups at 9 crunches, I push it to 10. I always wear two shoes. I enjoy all 20 of my digits. The only thing I'm content with being an odd number is my number of kids. It's okay to have 5 of those . . . but really when you count Tyler I have, like, 6, so THERE!

#5. I have about 10 bins of Christmas decorations (not counting the several boxes of Christmas trees). I decorate each year and then never have a party to show off my fun stuff that sits in our garage taking up space for the other 11 months of the year. Maybe this year I should host something to make all the work worth it.

#6. I am a bed-napper. Sleeping on the couch bugs me. I would much rather get in my bed to take a snooze, even if it's just a quick cat nap. Tyler is a couch-napper. I think it's weird.

I tag Amy E., Amy B., Angela J, Moana, Barb, and LEANNE cuz she never blogs anymore!

In-laws vs. Outlaws

For Stacy, who suggested to me, "you could blog about your great in laws." So I am.

I love family. I'm not sure how to make it more simple. I love them. I love the immediate, the extended, the barely-technically-related, AND my in-law family. I feel very blessed to be connected to so many wonderful people, not only on this earth, but for eternity. I don't mean to make some of you vomit a little in your mouth - those of you who may not be feelin' the love for your family, but I really, truly do cherish all my in-laws.

STACY (wife of my brother) was a score for the entire Garrard family. I will probably never understand how many angels worked in our favor so that Nate and Stacy and all their children (2 now, bazillions to come, right Stac?!) would be entwined in my life. After Erin and I were married for so long and since we had been so close for forever, I wondered what it would be like when one of "the boys" got married. I am so grateful it was Stacy to blaze that trail. Stacy has been a blessing in my life as she makes me laugh, brings the best out in my brother, and is a great mom to her kids. I love that they have lived so close and we could hang out and watch dippy reality shows together. More than anything, Stacy has taught me how to be more patient (I mean, really, she is incredibly patient with me and my over-bearing, bossy, oldest sister thing.) Now that Stacy and Nate have moved their little family to Connecticut (okay, not really, just across town), I will really miss knowing they're just down the road, that they can hop over to McDonald's for lunch, or I can drop in to get a Gus and Zoee fix. It's been good to have another Garrard sister in the mix, and she is oh-so-one of the daughters!

KEVIN (husband of my sister) officially joined our family a month after Tyler and I joined forces. However, long before Erin and Kevin married in January 1997, the two of them "imprinted" and have been a thing for longer than I can even pinpoint (I know we were young and it had something to do with the Mother/Daughter sleepover at the Mohlers . . . I think.) Kevin is a good man. I don't say that to keep it simple or generic, but with the most reverence and sincerity. Heavens knows we've butted heads (especially as teenagers), but I love that Kevin is funny, loyal, hard-working, dedicated to his family, and completely in love with my sister. Tyler and Kevin can commiserate, er, I mean hang out together when we all get together and I know Tyler appreciates having Kevin around. He'll often ask who's going to be at my mom's when I want to go hang out, and then will specifically check to see if Kevin's going to be there. They're a little brother-in-law team, I guess. What I love about Kevin is that he is kind to my kids. They like Uncle Kevin and he's not scary and I can trust he will take care of them and look out for them (whilst trying to pull out all sorts of family secrets from them, but hey, who cares about that?!) Beyond all that, Kevin and Erin have four beautiful children that love to come over and chat and visit with me . . . okay, not really, I can barely get most of them to say more than four words to me, but I know they love me by the way they nod their head when I ask them if I'm their favorite aunt.
DODIE AND BRUCE (parents of my husband) deserve way more than just a blurb on this post. When I say I have loved them long before I loved Tyler, it would be no exaggeration. It has been a great blessing to have Bruce and Dodie in my life, first, as my piano teacher and our ward's young men's president long before they were my parents-in-law. It's pretty amazing, actually, that they love me considering all the hanging around I did :) Bruce and Dodie have both given everything they have for the benefit of their family, and then some. I have laughed with them, cried with them, lived with them (boy, was that a fun year or what?!), travelled with them, confided in them, trusted them, worked with them, and just appreciated them in my life SO much. I can't imagine better grandparents for my kids and every time my kids get to spend time with either or both of them I feel so much gratitude that they have a good, memorable relationship with each of them. Really, there are cheers when we announce we're going to Grandma Dodie and Grandpa Bruce's. More than anything I can say I'm grateful for the man they raised. Many of my favorite attributes of Tyler were home grown and exemplified by his parents; things like honesty, hard-working, fun-loving, family-orientated, and loving.

LANE and AMY (eldest brother [of my husband] and his wife) were married 7 months before us and their wedding marks the beginning of mine and Tyler's romantic relationship. Lane was a good friend to me when he got off his mission and I remember vividly being home from college my freshman year at BYU, over at the Barlows for a Christmas visit, and Lane being totally pumped up to proposed to Amy. For as long as I have known Lane he has been hard-working and completely dedicated to his wife and family. And to say Amy is one of the best moms I know would be a drastic understatement. Amy is a good example to me of how to enjoy my kids and I wish I had half the energy she has to do all that she does for her kids and her family. In addition to being great people they have given me four of the SWEETEST, loving niece and nephews EVER. I kid you not that every time we leave a family function we can count on hugs from Lizzie, Hayden, and Owen (Camden's a little hit and miss, but let's face it, there's a lot of us in the crowd to work for a little guy.) I love their kids and just about want to eat them up all the time. Too, I watch with great interest to see how Amy handles her life with three boys who are spaced exactly like my three sons.
JARED AND MINDIE (younger brother [of my husband] and his wife) have been my friends for a really long time. Well, most of the time. When we were younger Jared and I fought like, well, brother and sister (who would've thought we'd eventually really be related) and Mindie being best friends with my sister made her feel pert-near related. I'm very grateful for the love and support they have always shown me and Tyler, not to mention the MANY laughs and memories. The past few years I have been so blessed to have served with Mindie in the stake Young Women's organization and I love it. I know, poor thing, she probably gets so sick of being around me! No matter the ups or downs Jared and Mindie have been through (and yes, they've really been through a lot) they have exhibited an incredible amount of faith and positivity. When there are panicky times, it's Jared who reminds us that it will be okay. And Mindie, no matter what trial she is facing or the rest of us are enduring, will remind us how many ways we are blessed. Jared and Mindie are invested in each other and their entire extended family, too, and no matter how draining that is, they don't give up on us (any of us, really.) Their kids, too, are a complete joy in my life. There's not a lot better than having a good conversation about Connor's soccer game, about Courtnie's shoes, or about Blake's latest accomplishment. (Okay, Blake doesn't really chat it up yet, but he can throw anything and everything like a champ!)
BRANDON (youngest brother of my husband) is pretty stinkin' great. I love 'im. I drive him crazy, I'm sure, but nonetheless, I know he'd do anything to help me (like come play nurse and nanny the night of Tyler's vasectomy so I could go out for girls' night.) Tyler and Brandon can tease like no other, especially when it comes to playing each other with sports. And without fail Brandon cracks me up. He's one of my kids' favorite uncles because he takes time to play with them and listen to them and make them feel important. I can't wait for the day when Brandon gets married and has a wonderful family of his own because I know what a great treasure he is . . . seriously ladies, he's a hot commodity!
ALEXIS AND WADE (sister [of my husband] and her husband) are also a blessing in my life. Ever since Alexis would steal my shoes while I was taking piano from her mom, I've thought of her like another younger sister. When she found Wade, we all agreed it was a perfect match. Lexi is a great mom and wife and all home-maker-y AND she is one of my closest friends. We talk all the time and Brock and Caitlyn are the bestest of friends. I admire Lexi for always trying to be the best mom (even if she's too hard on herself) and for Wade working hard for his family (even if he doesn't change quite as many diapers as Lex does :)) The Christiansens are really centered in the gospel and have strong testimonies (which is a strength to all of us.) It's been fun for me to watch them experience all the raising kids stuff and they're so nice to listen to the rest of us pretend like we're experts even though our kids are the ones beating up on each other and our kids are totally ignoring us, their parents. I love their girls like they're my own.
So, there you have it. I love my in-laws and I mean it when I say they are my own family. Thanks, Stacy, for giving me the chance to let you know how great YOU are (and the rest of my clan!) Love ya.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mom Survey

•What is something mom always says to you?
Mackenzie: Turn the TV off
Caylee: Pumpkin
Brevin: Don’t touch Brock
Brock: Get on your bed.

•What makes mom happy?
Mackenzie: When Brevin says that you’re pretty and when we do our chores.
Caylee: Every single child doing their chore
Brevin: Just not talk to her so she can relax
Brock: Uh, keen up.

•What makes mom sad?
Mackenzie: If we get lower than a B on our progress report
Caylee: When you’re pushing on her baby
Brevin: If somebody hits you.
Brock: Um, not keen up.

• How does mom make you laugh?
Mackenzie: By joking round with me when I’m mad
Caylee: By tickling me
Brevin: When you tickle me.
Brock: When you chase me

• What was mom like as a kid?
Mackenzie: Different than me and a lot less selfish than I am.
Caylee: She had brown curly hair and I’m guessing a church dress on.
Brevin: You were a nice kid.
Brock: Ride a bike

• How old is mom?
Mackenzie: 31
Caylee: 31
Brevin: 8, 19
Brock: [holds up 4 fingers]

• How tall is mom?
Mackenzie: 5’9
Caylee: About 60 inches
Brevin: big
Brock: big

• What is mom's favorite thing to do?
Mackenzie: Scrapbook and read
Caylee: Watch TV
Brevin: Relax and take naps
Brock: Color

• What does mom do when you're not home?
Mackenzie: You watch TV and clean
Caylee: I’m guessing taking a nap cuz you love to take naps
Brevin: You just hang out.
Brock: Um, I miss you.

• If mom were famous, what would she be famous for?
Mackenzie: Winning the Nobel Peace Prize or writing a best-selling book.
Caylee: I’m guessing a movie star
Brevin: To love
Brock: Um, go home. (huh?!)

• What is mom really good at?
Mackenzie: You’re good at reading and guessing the mole.
Caylee: Watching TV and taking care of Briggs
Brevin: She’s really good at tickling and scratching my back.
Brock: Playing soccer

• What does mom do for her job?
Mackenzie: Babysit, pretty much
Caylee: She does cleaning
Brevin: To help people when they’re sick.
Brock: Color

• What is mom's favorite food?
Mackenzie: You like seafood
Caylee: Shrimp
Brevin: Potatoes and tomatoes
Brock: Juice

• What makes you proud of your mom?
Mackenzie: That you actually make us do our chores and you help me with my homework and you’re not mean a lot of the time (98% of the time you’re not mean)
Caylee: When your nice
Brevin: That she loves me
Brock: When we go somewhere out.

• If mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Mackenzie: Betty Boop
Caylee: Um, Dora
Brevin: I don’t know. Not Barbie.
Brock: Spiderman

• What do you and mom like to do together?
Mackenzie: Cuddle
Caylee: Play a game
Brevin: I like to hang out with you and sometimes watch the news.
Brock: Tickle

• How are you and mom the same?
Mackenzie: We look a like and we both like to read
Caylee: Same eye color
Brevin: We’re both nice and we like to share with each other.
Brock: You have like my foot. (We both have feet.)

• How are you and mom different?
Mackenzie: She wears make-up and I don’t
Caylee: You have a bigger head and I have a small head
Brevin: I’m a boy and you’re a girl.
Brock: Because I standing and you sitting in the chair.

• How do you know mom loves you?
Mackenzie: Because you say it a lot of the times, like when we have an argument before school and then you drop me off, you always say, “I love you.”
Caylee: Because I am sweet and nice and she tells me what to do.
Brevin: Because we kill all the time.
Brock: Because you love me. You just do.

• What time do your kids wake up? Brevin and Brock wake up right around 7am and Caylee and Briggs wake shortly after. We always have to go wake up Mackenzie by 7:30am and even then it’s a fight.

• On a good night, what time do your kids go to sleep? 8pm. Sharp. I countdown until that sweet hour.

• How long have you been a mom? 9 ½ years.

• How old were you when you became a mom? a month shy of one month

• What is your favorite kid's show? I enjoy . . . okay, I can’t really think of one.

• What is your least favorite kid's show? Pretty much all of them annoy me.

• Favorite meal to cook? Probably potato cheese soup. It starts with a roux, which is pretty much as savvy as I can get in the kitchen and it makes a lot and is GOOD!

•What's the meal cooked most often? Grilled cheese.

•What is the kids' favorite meal? Baked spaghetti

• What are you favorite things that your husband does with your kids? Takes them all camping; takes them and their friends for treats at Sonic; daddy-daughter dates; plays sports with them.

• What are 5 things that make you smile while being a mom? 1) All their funny-isms 2) When Caylee and Mackenzie read to each other and to the boys 3) Watching the kids fight over who gets to kneel next to Tyler at family prayer 4) A clean house 5) When all the kids play together.

• Where do you want to take your kids some day? To France, to Hawaii, on a Disney cruise, a church history trip, NYC, Washington DC, etc., etc., etc.

•When was the last time you and your husband did something without the kids? Last weekend we went to Olive Garden for the never-ending pasta bowl.

• One thing you said you'd never do as a mom? Go on and on and on when I’m mad. I can see that glazed-over look that means they have tuned me out and they are getting irritated with me.

• Favorite past time with your kids? Going to Disneyland.

• Advice for a new mom: You can’t love them too much, even when mommy-hood is hard on you.

• When was the last time your kids said "I love you"? Yesterday when the girls went to Grandma Dodie’s and this morning when the boys and I were hanging around the house.

I challenge you all to try and do this. It makes for an interesting evening and conversation with each of your children. So if you are reading, consider yourself TAGGED!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fox Force Five, er, Six!?

When I was a little girl I used to plan out my wedding. An integral part of my plans included a HUGE wedding party where all my bestest friends would be my attendants and we'd wear fabulous taffeta gowns and high heels. In fact, at the end of each school year, I'd identify one friend from that school year that would be given the honor of being in my long line. Having one sister was a bonus so she'd be in some poofy number as my maid of honor. Kortni Beck, Kara Schenk, Audrey Christiansen, Meaghan Ashliman from my Burley days; Emily Rowland (my first Vegas friend), Cindy Davis and Tiffany Davison were my middle school picks; Cyndi Ross, Leanne Lawson, Jill Kleinworth, and Heather Stewart were my easy high school picks. Then I hit my freshman year at BYU and my whole plan fell apart. Okay, in all reality I had given up the long line, but IF I had held strong I would have been in a dither narrowing down just one friend who affected my life for the better.

Heather Stewart [Rice] came with me from Vegas. We'd been friends clear through high school and I could not have been more blessed with a confidant, roommate, cheerleader, good example, and friend. The above picture was our Christmas card picture. How cute were we? We seriously sent a cute Christmas poem with these pictures. I can't tell you how many times she endured my interruptions on her studying (Heather was a far smarter and better student than I was) or how many shirts she let me borrow (like the white one under my red shirt in the above picture.) I can tell you that Heather made me a better person, kept me laughing, had endless patience in high school, at college, AND now that we're grown-ups!

Remember this, Heather?

I made this one afternoon when I was supposed to be studying and we hung it on our fridge in our dorm room to make sure we avoided the dreaded freshman 15. This poster was one of MANY we had hanging around (which probably explains my low GPA after first semester.)

I only have two journal entries from my freshman year of BYU. In the first entry I found this about the fifth day up there (a Sunday): "We had ward prayer and then went tunnel singing. That was unbelievable! There were about 300 people singing church hymns. Here it's like singing is a cool thing to do. Then we just talked to Nancee and Jenn who live down the hall. They're kindof rowdy girls, but they make us laugh."

That's Jenn Dorsch [Stanworth] and here's Nancee Phillips [Tegeder]
(She's the energy train and you're on board, woot! woot!) Don't they look rowdy? I don't know what I was talking about back then! I do know I would have been very sad if those southern CA girls hadn't, just a few days later, taped a faux honor code violation referral (for dress code violation) on mine and Heather's door. We were freaked out a bit until we called the phone number on the "referral" and it was Jenn and Nancee's dorm room instead of the honor code office. How grateful I am for the both of them, who had also come as a package from high school. Jenn was the pinnacle of together-ness and organization (still is!) and Nancee was brilliant and a blast all at the same time (still is!) We always welcomed them in our room and frequently invaded there's. U-Hall 3rd floor Northside had nothing before or since like us group of girls. But wait, there's more . . .

Then Jenn and Nancee introduced us to another southern CA-ite who's room was right next door to them, Moana Bartholomew [Amador]

And it was ALL OVER from there. I connected with Moana on a level that I can't really explain, but she was slated to be my roommate our sophomore year (until I went and got married . . . I know, bummer timing to fall in love, huh!?) Obviously Moana is beautiful, but there is so much more to her than just beauty. She's got an amazingly open spirit and is giving and loving and non-judgemental. And have I mentioned what a tough cookie she was/is? She used to crack us up when she'd come in our room and tell us about . . . well, about anything and everything because then she'd end her story with, "I was gonna DIE!" None of us, being young and stupid even understood the complexities that Moana would face with her health the decade (and then some) since we were all freshmen, but thankfully she is freakin' tough! And I love her. And she FINALLY started her blog, but I know I've already mentioned that - I'm just trying to pimp her out some more.

Somewhere along the line we were dubbed the Fox Force Five. I don't know if we called ourselves that (which seems semi-egotistical) or if someone else named us that, but either way, we were a force to be reckoned with and we ALWAYS had each others' back. We spent a lot of time together and kept up on each others' lives, sharing our likes and dislikes, eating at the Morris Center, and SO MUCH MORE that I could never blog about (not that it's naughty or anything, but there's so much!) Here's a sampling:

Don't ask what we were doing in the above shot. The next picture is us with a super great group of our guy friends we called the BIC Boys (because they had shaved their heads with Bic razors) when we had taken them on this group sports date thing. Take special note of Heather in the front - I love her.

The next picture was one night before some "mission" we were on. I'm trying to remember, but I think we were spying on some guy that Jenn liked and I want to say his name was Marc Stanworth. And yes, that would be her eventual husband. She knew it even then.

And this would explain my low GPA, too, cuz this is how I studied. First I screwed around and then I finally cracked a book. PS. That book is for physical science - WORST COLLEGE CLASS EVER!

Here's another one of us, minus Jenn. I think she was already in bed, which is NOT surprising because the girl had serious discipline.

And when we had occasion to celebrate something (or anything) we'd go to Chili's for dinner. I'm pretty sure a good chunk of change of one of my student loans paid for my share of chicken crispers with mashed potatoes (still my fave, BTW.) This picture was of us right before we headed home for the summer. We were expecting to all reconvene the Fox Force at the Riviera apartments in four short months, and these four made it through the summer single. Me, not so much.

So, who'd we add, you might be asking. That would be Miss Molly.

When Moana moved out of her dorm room at semester, Molly moved in and we quickly absorbed her into our group. Molly was fun-ny and I will always remember pulling an all-nighter with Molly in the basement laundry room to study for our semester Biology exam. She's the original Brainiac! Molly is hard-working and loyal and now she's a crazy lady running in her neighborhood (K. you have to read her blog to get that, but it cracked me up!)

I have been so lucky in my life to have good, strong woman influence me. These girls from BYU were integral in shaping who I am (you can decide if that was good or not.) When I think back to that time in my life, it is with fondness and gratitude, which is why I will always love Provo. I've long said that if I could change one thing, it would have been to fall in love with Tyler a year or two later, and frankly it's because I missed not hanging with my girls any longer than we did. However, now, there's not many days that pass that I don't get to peek in on their lives and see how beautifully and gracefully they are aging. They are strong woman raising spectacular children and supporting wonderful husbands. They serve those around them and sacrifice for those they love. I read their stories or talk to them about their lives and I am proud . . . no, blessed, to still consider them my bestest friends.

(August 1996; l-r: Moana, Heather, me, Jill (another foxy HS friend who lived at the Riv our sophomore year), Nancee, Molly, and Jenn.

I love you girls, and yes, we're still a Force of Foxes!