My photo
Eagle Mountain, Utah, United States
My name is Lauren, and I live in the bubble. I am wife to Marshall, the biggest BYU fan in the world; and mother to Carly, our big girl, and Wes, our wild man, and Calvin, our new addition. I graduated BYU with a degree in Social Work, and I went forth to serve at LDS Family Services. I like scrapbooking and going out to eat at nice restaurants. I am fascinated by new cleaning products at the grocery store, so I have to shop in wide circles around the perimeter to avoid the temptation to buy. I love chocolate.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The best day of your life

What makes a day a great day?

This is something I have been pondering in depth this week. I had the privilege of hearing a letter read on air during the Dr. Laura show on Thursday. It was from a woman who had just been diagnosed with a degenerative disease that would eventually result in a horrible death. But she was grateful, because she felt as though she had been given a gift. She had knowledge that most people would not have: knowledge that this day-today- was literally the best day of the rest of her life. She would never feel better, she would never be more capable of living. She knew that each subsequent day she would only get more limited in her mobility, health, and comfort. She wanted to live each day thoroughly and wring out all the love, happiness, and goodness from it.

I was left profoundly impacted by her words. I have had great days... but have I been creating them? How does one create the best day of one's life? Many of my best days have been the product of circumstance- the events of the day have all transpired to make it great and memorable. But how can you create greatness? How can you "wring all the love, happiness, and goodness" out of a day?

If you read to the end of this hoping to see my epiphany, I apoloigize. Honestly, I'm not sure what the answer is yet. I would like to think it has a little to do with keeping a positive attitude, a lot to do with serving others, and everything to do with being Christlike.

I would love to hear what you think. Any insight would be appreciated. I really want to try to wring greatness from every day.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

For parents, present and future

Have you been in a major car accident before? Have you been in one with your children in the car? Heaven knows Marshall and I have been in our fair share of car wrecks since we have been married (3...2 resulting in "totals"). Luckily, we have not had to go through the experience of an accident with a child in the car. But chances are, knowing our luck, we will at some point. For this reason (and because I love Carly sooo much), car seat safety is pretty important to me.

These are some videos regarding car seat safety. I find them to be important (and emotional, and enlightening, and empowering). Everyone has different opinions, and YES, I am trying to sway yours. So please watch if you have a moment!

The Importance of a 5 point harness car seat from Laura Bower on Vimeo.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Day in the park

Today we went to the park after Marshall got off work. It was Carly's first trip to the park, and we think she enjoyed herself. It was a lovely day!

Carly Lou Who?

I have been told (by my brothers) that Carly's recent hairstyles make her look like Cindy Lou Who. What do you think?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sabbath Thoughts

I don't always share my testimony as often as I should. I often have a small story, or a small thought that has impressed my heart during the course of the week, but I find myself self conscious. A child in a room of giants. And I don't often blog about religion, as there are so many with such great insight who already post regularly on provoplatinum. Again, self conscious. But I was thinking that maybe we could ALL take the opportunity to past a little insight from our weeks on Sunday. Maybe we could share the stories we didn't get the chance to in church. Or perhaps the thoughts that came to us during the lesson that got passed over for lack of time. So I am instituting Sunday Sentiments. I "tag" all those who read this, and specifically all those who I have a link to right there -------------------------------------->
So I hope we can all take a moment on Sundays to share a little bit of our testimonies. You never know who might need to hear what you have had in your heart all week!


So this weekend I had the opportunity to drive from Richfield back up to Provo (about 2 hours) all alone. I didn't have great reception on either the radio or my cell phone driving the winding roads of the Utah countryside. So I decided to listen to a CD. If you know me well, you know that I love to listen to good songs on repeat, as in the same song over, and over, and over again. I don't know quite why I like to do this, but I always have. I feel like it lets the song "sink in." It gives me the opportunity to really think about every word, every phrase. By the end I usually have the song memorized. Marshall hates it when I do this, so when I get the chance to drive alone, I always pick a song and listen away.

During my drive, I decided to listen to "Come Thou Fount." It has always been one of my favorite hymns, and it isn't one we get the chance to sing in church. I had the most wonderful time, listening to the beautifully haunting melody and contemplating the words and message of the song. I was driving through the beauty of desert Utah, watching a setting sun and thinking about Easter the following morning. This song isn't normally an "Easter"-y song. But I really feel it shares a wonderful message about the atonement and our need for the interposing blood of Christ. It just made me so grateful for the opportunity I was going to have today to celebrate the wonderful gift and sacrifice of a loving older brother, and a wise Heavenly Father.

Come, thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.

Happy Easter!

Marshall had to work on Easter morning, so we didn't do much on Sunday. But on Saturday, I took Carly to the park for what I *thought* was a ward activity. When I got there it became pretty evident that this was a community egg hunt, and my ward was just participating.

Carly was a little unsure about the whole thing...she can get a bit clingy around large crowds and new places.

But when they blew the whistle, we made our way out to get some eggs.

Then we had to take the standard baby-group picture with all the wardies that showed up.

But then one of the little boys started getting fresh with her. And she wasn't having any of it! Happy Easter!

The End.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thanks mom!

My mom sent Carly an Easter care package today. There was some cute stuff!

A cute little dress/hat combination that she sewed herself...

And matchy socks!! Yay!!

I gotta say I love matchy items. Too bad she didn't make me a matchy dress and hat!! Jk.. ;)

Thanks Mom!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


We made hamburgers for dinner the other night. Unfortunately, none of us knew normal sized patties shrink on the grill.

Apparently, if you want a normal sized finished product, you need hugely overestimate how much raw meat you can eat. Now I understand why they're called "quarter pounders." I used to think they were exaggerating.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


We thought that a DVD guard would be a very useful invention when it came to baby-proofing our home. It is meant to keep little fingers off of the buttons on your tv related electronics, while still allowing the remotes to work. Genius! So we registered for one.

Well, it turns out that babies can just grab ahold and pull these down. I mean, I guess I could use that foam tape stuff to secure it, but that would just ruin the wood.

Our little monster, however, has come up with quite the creative use for this otherwise useless invention.
I'll just post the pictures, they explain themselves:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

2 for 1

Today I decided to put cute little pigtails in Carly's hair. I thought it would be fun to have a different hairstyle (for as much as you can style 3 inches of hair).

I didn't know you got another totally awesome hairstyle when you took the pigtails out! It's like a 2 for 1!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sexual what?

Marshall recently got a new job with an ambulance company. (YAY, no wildland this summer!)

Today when he got home, he was telling me all about his full day of training. At one point he was talking about how their training group (9 guys and 1 girl) were getting sized for their uniforms by their instructors. He thought it was funny how the trainers, upon seeing the new female hire, remarked, "So YOU'RE the hot new blonde everyone has been talking about!"

A little disgusted I asked what his instructors had them do next that day. Marshall's response: "Oh next we watched a video on Sexual Harassment in the workplace."


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Constantine Black, or perhaps Jack Maroulis?

Okay, I love American Idol. And I think that this season is really great so far. One contestant who has done pretty well is David Cook, but I can't stand to watch the guy sing. I think he pulls some funny faces. Half the time he looks really creepy, like Constantine Maroulis, and the other half he looks funny, like Jack Black. It's like Constantine and Jack had a baby and named him David Cook.

But NO ONE else sees it!!

So tell me what you think:

"Creepy Consantine"

"Deranged Jack Black"

Yeah, yeah, so now you probably all think I'm crazy. Well that's okay. I know that next time you watch David Cook sing, you will be bugged by his close resemblance to Jack Maroulis.

Monday, March 10, 2008

LATCH lies

So I bought my car as a college freshman, and one of the things I really wanted was the LATCH system. I thought I might still have that car when I had kids, so I researched LATCH and looked only for cars 2000 and newer. I bought my 2000 dodge in 2002, and was happy that someday I would get to use LATCH and have a safer ride for my future kids.

Well, here I am 6 years later, and we have a baby. We have been using our newer car, and the "old dodge" has been consigned to a spare car. Well, today was its day of glory! I needed to use it with my daughter's carseat. I went to install it, and couldn't find the LATCH bars anywhere. I must have dug around in that seat bight for 15 minutes, until I finally was able to admit that my car DIDN'T HAVE LATCH!! The owners manual confirmed this, and I had to install using the lap belt.

Later, I was talking to my husband about my shock and surprise that my 2000 model car didn't have this feature, and he said simply, "of course." He then reminded me that cars are produced 1 year prior to the year they are named! UGH!!! I'm so Stupid!! So my 2000 was really produced in 1999, 1 year (probably only a couple months) before LATCH was a required safety feature. I've been tricked by fancy car naming, and for 6 whole years!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

If you give a Carly a biscuit...

You are left with a very big mess!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

First baby doll

When we were at the museum the other day, Carly met another little girl who had a baby doll. Carly wanted it. She chased the other little girl around the bench trying to take the doll. So we thought that maybe it was time to buy Carly her first baby doll. We went to BabiesRUs and picked out the cheapest little doll they had. When we got home, we took it out of the box and gave it to her, camera ready.

Their relationship started off nice enough. Carly looked at the baby adoringly. We thought we were geniuses for buying her a toy she so obviously related to.
But it soon went downhill....

We've raised a cannibal!! Maybe it wasn't the other baby's doll she was chasing after....

Tag! I'm it!

Two Names You Go By: 1)Lauren 2)Creeper (Marshall's weird)

Things You Are Wearing Right Now: 1)glasses 2) baby food

Two things you Want (or have) in a Relationship: 1)Communication 2)Good times

Two of Your Favorite Things to do: 1)Go out to eat 2)Stay in and cuddle

Two things you did last night 1)Went to the Mayan with some fabulous friends 2)went to the Casteel's house

Two people you Last Talked To: 1)Marshall 2)Carly (does she count?)

Two Things You're doing tomorrow: 1)Church 2)Watching Marshall and Russ play hours of Smashbrothers on the Wii

Two Longest Car Rides: 1)The Christmas Loop 2)Church history tour (the entire Church history) on a BUS!

Two Favorite Holidays:(As an adult) 1)4th of July 2)Christmas

Two Favorite Drinks: 1)Real lemonade 2)Hot cocoa

Two Things About Me you may not have known: 1)I love reading song lyrics 2)I LOVE footrubs

Two jobs I have had in my life: 1)Beauty supply sales 2)Waitress

Two Movies I would watch over and over: 1)The notebook 2)50 first dates

Two of my Favorite Foods: 1)Any and all chocolate 2)I really like french onion soup!

Two places I'd rather be right now: 1)Hawaii (I can dream, right?) 2)In a house that we own (again, dreaming here)

5 people I am tagging now:
Bryant (I know, that's 6)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

This is why I LOVE my job

This last week has caused me to take a deeper look at my job.

As many of you know, I work as an adoption and birth parent specialist for LDS Family Services. It is I can't think of a word special enough, so I'll just use "special." It can be heart wrenchingly devastating, and sweetly inspiring in the same moment. Every client that comes into my office, whether desperately aching for children, or faced with the uncertainty of an unplanned pregnancy, enters with a prayer in their heart and hope in their eyes; each is there seeking comfort and guidance. I often tell my husband that I feel like I get to go to work in the temple everyday, because the Spirit in my little office is so strong. Indeed, the work I get to do is sacred and holy.

I am so lucky that on some tiny level, I get to be a part of creating forever families. I get to witness the sweetest, most important moments in my clients' lives. I get to hear the first-hand account from an expectant mother of the sweet witness of the Spirit the first time saw "her couple's" profile. I get to witness the moment that a couple who has known the desperation of infertility finds out that they are going to become parents: "The due date is in 7 weeks. Oh, and by the way, it's a girl." I get to be present the first time a couple meets the mother who is carrying the sweet angel that she has chosen to place into their family. I get to watch in silent reverence as a birth mother, a first mother, with more tears and heartbreak than one can comprehend, gently places her precious baby into the aching arms of the woman that she has chosen to be known as "mommy."

Often I find that I feel like an intruder, a voyeur, in these special, private moments. But I remember that ultimately I am privileged to be part of something so sacred. My job is to be a Witness of Miracles.

This explains why I love my job so much more than I ever could:
"So much in my heart"

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