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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.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mia Maids Time Capsule- 1999

So in 1999, our Mia Maid class at church (group of 14-15 year old girls) made a Y2K time capsule. The idea was that we'd write letters to ourselves and have a forced reason to get back together in 10 years. In the last 10 years, we'd forgotten that it had been a church activity, and forgot who all was involved. But we knew that we were supposed to get together around New Years Eve in late 2009.

I can't believe how fast the 10 years flew!

We remembered that it was buried at Emily's parents' house, and we remembered some of the people who were involved: Emily, Breann, Jessica, Amber and Me. So we picked a day when we would all be back in Ojai and available for a get together. We brought our little families and dug that time capsule up! It was nice that this time around we each had a husband, so that the men could do all of the dirty work.

We also couldn't remember where exactly it was buried along Emily's fence. So the guys were digging for a while. They basically tore up the whole flower bed. But we finally found it, just when we were wondering if we all had a collective false memory.

There was some concern about how well the bucket could have held up. We figured that the pictures and letters must have all been yellowed or water damaged.

But the outside of the bucket was in pretty good condition! We could even read all of the signatures we had put on the outside the day we buried it. Once we read the outside of the bucket, we quickly realized that we had not gathered the whole crew. We were missing a few other girls and the leaders who had organized it. (Sorry Wenona!) But honestly none of us had remembered it being a church activity.

I made sure to take lots of pictures so that those who weren't there could enjoy what we found:
Breann Keller (now Farlow) Wenona UtterLaurel RenteriaAmber Criger (now Alvarez)Emily Ashby (now Bishop)Jessica Johnsen (now Aikens)Samantha KelschLauren Erickson (now Andrews)Aimee Crossett (now Poyner)
On the bottom of the bucket we had all been brave and declared who our crushes were at the time. We must have figured that after 10 years and once we were all married, this would be silly fun. I don't know why we didn't think this would still be embarrassing! lol! So I'll skip those pictures. Some of us had written names of boys others of us had eventually married, or names of guys who are good friends now. So some things are probably still better left unsaid.

When we opened the bucket we were pleased to find that the contents inside still looked as new as the day we put them in. We had included a newspaper with the headlines, and some ads so we could compare prices (not all that!)
But the best parts were the letters we had written to ourselves back in 1999. Some were all about the boy that person was in love with at the time, some were about our goals we hoped to achieve, others our testimonies. Mine was my testimony and the declared hopes I had for myself at 15. I listed the things I hoped I would have achieved by 25, and admonished myself to stay true to my testimony of the Gospel. It was really, really neat to read what I had to say to myself. I couldn't have been more proud of the girl I was at 15, or more tickled that I stayed true to what that girl had hoped for. I listed a few goals for myself, defined where I hoped my life would be at 25.

My hopes for my life at 15 included:
-Attend and graduate from BYU
-Have a career I love
-Meet a "choice son of God"
-Marry in the Los Angeles temple
-Have kids (I even suggested names I liked, though I have to pass on those now)

And I am very happy to say that I reached each and every hope and goal. That's knowing you've lived well! To know that you made all of the 10-year resolutions you made as a kid.

I hope that in 10 more years I have reached all of my new goals for myself.

It was really fun to see all of these girls I love. It was especially fun that we are all old married ladies now. I have 2 kids, and 3 of these ladies are expecting their first (as you can tell in the picture!) It is amazing what a difference 10 years makes.

What a fun idea our young women's leaders had. What a rewarding experience and fun reunion.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

So for Christmas this year, we travelled down to visit my side of the family in Ojai, California. We only had a very few days off of work, and I even had some placements occur in Utah while I was gone that I couldn't be there for, but we had a great time visiting with my family for the time we were there.

Here's a short rundown of our visit.

Wes slept in a drawer. Seriously. It worked wonderfully as a baby bed, and maybe now in the future I'll be a little more lenient when doing homestudies. Because who really needs a crib when you have a dresser in the room?
Adam had a new girlfriend and he and she spent a lot of time together, and a lot of time entertaining my toddler. Works for me! Here they are making gingerbread houses. Carly loved this and still talks about making 'ginnerbread' houses. She also still talks a lot about Morgan. I think she likes Morgan more than

The finished product:
I got to visit with friends and have a little reunion. More on that to come in its own post!

As for presents, lets just say that my kids are spoiled. Rotten. Wes got more toys than he knows what to do with. Literally. He is happy with staring at his hand, or at most eating the paper. But we are so blessed to have a truckload of baby toys now. And Carly did better opening them this time around than she did at her 2nd birthday. Back in May, Carly got really distracted and essentially done with opening presents very early in the process. We were practically begging and bribing her to open more. Well this time around she had the idea. She loved her red tutu, her crayons, her duplo blocks, and her microphone. She also got tons of cute outfits...but the tutu rarely comes off anymore. My favorite present this year was from Marshall. He actually got my blog bound into a book! It is sooo awesome! I highly recommend this present to those considering gifts for a blogger. My book is a little over 250 pages, and has all of my writing and pictures from Sept 2006 through the beginning of December 2009. What a treat! It's like scrapbooking without all the effort.
And Marshall made it into such the secret. I think everyone in the family knew but me, and he really had me guessing for the last month what this huge project was that he was working on. Great idea, great surprise, and the perfect gift!

And my favorite part of all while visiting California is to get pictures of my cute kids and handsome hubby at the Ventura beach. So please enjoy a late December day at the beach. The most shocking part of these pictures is probably that Marshall allowed Carly out of the house wearing so much red!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The magic bed

I married a pretty awesome guy. Not only is he funny, and handsome, and occasionally sweet to me-- he is just the best father! Picking a guy to marry is a funny process. There are a lot of factors to consider, but one of the ones that will be the most imperative once married- the father gene- isn't always on the forefront of a girl's mind while dating. I mean, it's not like while at BYU there are a million ways to test how a date is going to be with children. You talk about kids, know that he wants kids, hear what he has to say about the kind of dad he wants to be, and you pray about your choice. But if you're like me and married a guy who does not yet have nieces or nephews and who doesn't have younger siblings, ultimately their father gene is like unwrapping a present. You really hope and pray it is awesome, and you trust that it is because you know the gift giver pretty well otherwise. But you just aren't always sure what you are going to get.

Well, that said, I hit the jackpot when I married Marshall. Every day I get to see more and more just what a great dad he is. It's like he was born to be a dad. I'd have to say that his daddy side is his very best side. He does daddy-ing better than he does pretty much everything else.

He is playful, patient, creative, and fun. Carly just adores her daddy. He can do no wrong. Their relationship is so fun to see. They practically have their own language. And he just can't get enough of her. She never annoys him. Never wears him thin. They are like each other's favorite people. When I am at the end of my rope and my patience has been worn completely away, and it's been one of those days where I want to close my eyes really tight and hope when I open them I am alone on my own tropical island, I am just amazed by Marsh because he just doesn't have those days. I lose it sometimes. Lock myself in the bathroom for a breather while Carly whines on the other side of the door. Marshall never does. He has unending patience with her. And he's a super hands-on dad. And it's not like he isn't around her one on one very often. Marshall is the stay-at-home parent 2 days a week while I work. So I've just got to say, he is an impressive father.

One of my favorite things about Marshall as a father is the funny little traditions he starts. The kinds of things that are so random, yet consistent, that you just know they are going to be memories. One in particular that I love is the "magic bed." Marshall loves buying Carly little presents. Toys, books, stuffed animals, cars. And Marshall does his shopping while Carly is sleeping- in the gas station during his night shift, or at the store while picking up milk at 5am on the way home . When he gets home, she is still sleeping, so he sticks it under her bed. I don't know why he decided to do this, or when the first time was. But it has become a tradition, and at least once a week Carly has a present waiting for her under her bed in the morning. Her magic bed. Most days I notice her on her belly at some point, searching the darkness beneath her bed to see if any more magic has happened. These are the kinds of things that make me so grateful to have married a guy who takes such an interest, and such initiative to make his children's eyes light up.

I am a lucky lady.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Family Portraits

While our families were in town, I really wanted to have family pictures taken. So I called up Kristen Spencer, the fabulous photographer who did Wes' newborn pictures. She was so obliging and willing to meet with us for a double session full of a lot of walking, a lot of cold, and a lot of angry babies. (and she prices VERY reasonably too)

Look how big my little brothers have gotten!!The whole big groupAnd I really like this one of our family, even though we don't look exactly thrilled. (this was the end of a very long morning!)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Latenight snack

9:30 I wanted deviled eggs.
11:00 I was eating them.

It's just too bad I don't have any paprika.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

5 months

Wes is now 5 months old. In the last month he has gotten a little bigger, a little cuter, and a little more talented.

- Wes can now pass toys shakily from one hand to another.
- He now laughs at funny noises and faces, not just tickling.
- He enjoys sitting up more and more and tries to do mini baby crunches when laying down, though he still can't sit unassisted.
- He tries to use his hands to help hold the bottle, though he can't really do it yet.
- He is about half and half breast fed and formula fed. My supply just keeps going down and down, sadly.
- He actually tries to eat rice cereal, even though his tongue gets in the way and pushes it all out. But at least no more tears!
- He is still the squeal-iest baby of all time. He certainly knows how to express himself.
- I think he'll be army crawling soon. He can push his whole upper body up on his hands, and can push off of things with his feet.
- He is blowing raspberries, which is cute on a baby (not so much on a 2 year old, I'm finding)
- He actually bounces in the bouncer. Boy gets some air! And he loves to try to reach up with both hands to grab the parrot. Such coordination.
Wes was blessed on the 29th of November, when all of our family was in town following Thanksgiving. Marshall did the blessing, and it was wonderful. It was kinda fun to bless a baby so old because Wes was awake and aware throughout the prayer. He knew all of the faces of those who stood in the circle, and was giving smiles. He also spent the majority of the time reaching up and grabbing at Marshall's face- his nose, mouth, and eyes. It was a really sweet moment for our family.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Little monster

Just now I asked Carly if I could put a clip in her wild hair.

She said "no!" and ran away.
I sighed in exasperation and called her a 'little monster.'
Carly stopped, very concerned, and corrected me "No, I Carly, not a wittle monster."
I said "well, Carly would let me put a clip in her hair, and a little monster would run away. Are you Carly, or a little monster?"
"I Carly," she insisted.
"Okay then, come over here so I can put this clip in your hair."

She thought for a moment and then smiled widely, declaring "I a wittle monster" while proudly pointing at herself.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

From our family to yours!
This year our whole family was able to come out to Utah to spend the holiday. On my side, that included my mom and dad, and my 3 little brothers (not so little anymore). On Marshall's side, that included his mom and dad, and his sister Kiernan and our niece Kalen (Russ already lives out here, so he didn't have to travel). It was a really nice visit where we were able to take some family portraits (post to come), see Twilight, the boys went snowboarding, we played a LOT of boardgames, and ate some really great food. And the finale to the weekend was Wes' blessing.

Tyler meeting Wes for the first time

Adam "playing doggies" with Carly

Grandpa A. with all 3 grandkids...Kalen giving Wes a sweet kiss!Hanging out waiting for the big dinner.Carly helping Grandma A. make the rolls. Carly had such a fun time being a helper in the kitchen this year. With these rolls, Carly helped with every step, from mixing the ingredients, to watching the dough rise, to rolling the actual rolls.This is the whole group at Wes' blessing. Thanks everyone for making Thanksgiving 2009 memorable.And yes, this is how we felt when it was all over. Gut included.

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