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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.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Not our favorite Christmas tradition

Marshall and I have horrible luck with cars. And driving. Truth be told, I get lots of speeding tickets. And Marshall is an incredibly cautious driver, but he has been in lots of freak accidents. And mechanical problems on our cars come in sets- We had a year of random popped tires; like 4. And a year of replacing 3 windshields. And this last year it was major mechanical problems like transmissions and radiators. Our cars have been egged, keyed, and a couple years ago one was even stolen!

While we live in Utah, our families are in California. This means that driving home a couple times a year, one trip always occurring at Christmas. So when our bad-car-juju and our annual Christmas trip combine, we get our least favorite Christmas tradition: the car accident.

1st time- Hit a deer on the freeway in southern Utah. Snowing and low visibility.
2nd- Spun out while driving 25mph with chains over the Sierras. Hit the center median. Actually ripped a chain and had to spend the night on the side of the road to wait out the storm before continuing the drive.
3rd- Rear ended at 55mph while at a dead stop on the I-5 in California. I was 17 weeks pregnant. The car was totalled. The guy who hit us was an undocumented immigrant, so thank goodness for uninsured driver insurance.

After this point we flew a year, and once Wes was born we decided to reduce our risk and only drive to one family's house in CA and switch off each year, instead of doing the long loop to visit both.

But still the tradition continues.

This year we had Christmas Crash #4, and it broke usual form. Marshall wasn't driving; I was. And I wasn't speeding; cruise was set at the speed limit. The weather was clear.

Marshall worked the night before, so the plan was for me to drive the first half while he slept. I usually stay up too late the night before and only get a couple hours of sleep, but I had packed ahead of time and was in bed by 9pm. But that morning I was still really tired. By Wendover I was yawning, so I pulled off and bought a Mountain Dew. I don't drink caffeine, so when I do I really feel the effects. We got back on the freeway, and I was wide awake.

A mile or two later I slightly drifted toward the left shoulder. I think maybe I was putting my soda down. But even before I hit the rumble strip, I corrected. But the road was a little wet, and apparently icy. The back began to fish tail. I couldn't correct the spin, and apparently if the wheels aren't facing forward in an orderly fashion, the brakes don't work. I tried to pull over on the right, and instead shot us off the freeway. We went down a little embankment, and the car began to go up on two wheels. Marshall yelled "we're going to roll!" and I said "I know, it'll be alright."

We came down on the passenger side. It was completely surreal to be looking down at Marshall, and watching the ground slide past, inches from his head. I just keep praying we wouldn't skid over a rock. The car came to a rest still on it's side. We all sat there a second and took stock, grateful we were all fine. Marshall jumped up and unbuckled the kids. Some truckers had stopped and we passed the kids to them up through the driver's side window. Then we climbed out and waited as police and fire responded.

Everyone was shocked we were fine. More than one person said "you don't just all walk away from a roll." But we did. Not a scratch, not bump, not a sore muscle. None of the glass broke in our car. It was truly amazing. When we got out of the car, we were just elated. We were probably the happiest crash survivors those fire fighters had ever seen. We were laughing, and joking, and taking pictures. We considered flipping the car back over and just keeping on our drive. But the tow truck driver informed us we'd need a rental. Then we considered just driving to CA and announcing our crash once we arrived and people noticed we were in a rental. But instead we sent this picture via text message to our families.

They weren't as amused as we were. Apparently that's not the best way to tell family you've been in a car wreck.

Ultimately we made a claim with our insurance, took a taxi to Elko, got a rental, and were on our way to California once again within 4 hours. We arrived safely, and are waiting to hear from the adjuster tomorrow about what is happening with our car.

We are so grateful we are safe and unharmed. A lot of it was luck with where we went off the road. But our safety was also definitely due to proper seat belt and car seat use. If one of us hadn't been restrained, that crash could have been deadly. Wes was safely cradled in his rear facing car seat. Carly was safely harnessed in her 5-point harness. Our car seats were properly installed.

I've had a few friends ask me about our choices to be overly-cautious with our car seats since the crash, so I'll link to my past post about car seat safety, and to the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to rear face until 2.

Though rear facing Wes definitely protected him in our crash, the biggest difference, I believe, was due to Carly being in a harness. Many people think that once a child reaches 40lbs, they need to be moved to a booster seat. But you can harness children safely in seats that go up to 85lbs! In a roll over, a 5pt harness is more effective than just a shoulder belt. And seeing Carly hanging from her seat made me extremely grateful I wasn't just relying on a lap and shoulder belt (especially since many kids improperly wear shoulder belts, pushing them behind their backs). Yay car seats!

With each crash getting worse than the last, I feel like we are tempting fate a little. Maybe from now on, we'll keep our traveling to the summer months only. Or take up a collection for plane tickets?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The magic of flat irons

We got a foot and a half of snow yesterday and last night. It's cold, wet, and miserable out there. So in looking for fun things to do indoors with the kiddos, I decided to satisfy my long time curiousity: What would Carly look like with straight hair?

It's much longer than I thought! Wow!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Putting that sewing machine in its place

I am not great at sewing. My mom is. She majored in it at BYU. I could hardly sew a straight line by the time I left for college. And I didn't have much interest to learn at that point.

But slowly, I have gained more interest. And the more interest I gain, the more I realize just how much I do not know. I can do a straight line around a baby blanket. But a skirt? Scary stuff.

A little over a month ago I was in a fabric store. Just looking. I don't dare buy fabric unless my mom is visiting and can help me accomplish my vision. But while in the shop, I came across the cutest diaper bag I had ever seen. As fate would have it, my diaper bag (that I had been using since Carly was under 1 year old) was just about dead. My heart stopped. Time stood still.

I never considered actually making it. I just wanted to buy the already put-together version displayed in the store. But they wouldn't sell it to me. I begged. Offered large sums of money.

And finally, I bought the pattern.

Too intimidated to even cut out my fabric, the pattern has been sitting sealed on my kitchen counter. Finally, this week, I decided to not let IzzynIvy (design company) terrorize me any longer.

And I started to sew.

After 3 solid days of not doing anything else (my husband can attest to that), I finished my bag this evening. Kids are largely dirty and unfed, dishes are 4 days old in the sink. But I actually MADE that bag! And it didn't turn out too bad.

I ruffled.
I put in a magnet snap.
I basted canvas.
I ironed interfacing.
I zigzagged straps.
I hand stitched.
I bind-ed (bound?) What is the passed tense of put on a binding?
My fingers are poked and bloody.

I believe I can now claim that I can sew.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Proverbs 22:6

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

My mom had this embroidered on a sampler that hung in our house when I was a kid. I would think about what kinds of things I would want to 'train up' my kids in from a young age.

Be honest
Be polite
Be kind

and bleed BYU Blue!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Santa Claus

We had our ward party tonight, and it was a lot of fun. There was great food, singing, some showing of talents, and best of all Santa came! The kids were all so excited!

I wondered how my kids would do. The last time Carly took a pic with Santa was a two or 3 years ago, and she wasn't very happy about meeting him at the time. This is Wes' first time meeting the jolly old man, so I figured he'd probably cry and scream.

But surprisingly, both kids did great!

Wes went first. He didn't seem thrilled or anything, but also didn't cry. Success!

Carly went next, and was completely enthralled. She whispered what she wanted and listened to his advice.

Then we had the two of them sit on Santa's lap together. You can tell by this point what they were both most excited about.

Yep, candy cane trumps Santa. Or mom with the camera.

Getting unpacked

Marshall got into the UVU paramedic program, so we moved back down to Provo. He starts in January, but I really didn't want to move in snow, so I begged to move asap. We're renting- who knows how long we'll actually be in Provo, but most likely just a year.

I've had some requests of pics of the new place. So as I get rooms unpacked and clean, I may post some pics on here. We moved 2 weeks ago today, and these pictures were taken on Wednesday. That's some speedy unpacking!

Main floor:

View from the stairway

Looking past the couch into the dining area

Carly trying to be in every picture

Standing by the table looking back at the living room


The kitchen (love the pantry!)

Upstairs bathroom:

Downstairs there is a playroom, a guest bedroom, and another bathroom, and our 2 bedrooms are upstairs. So more pictures to come!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

First things first

We got the keys to our new place on the 18th, and moved in on the 20th. Those first 2 days were spent prepping the house for our arrival.

What could be so important it would take 2 days of work?

The yard.

We only wanted to rent a place with a yard. It was super important. This place was great- the yard was smallish and manageable, and completely fenced. But the yard itself was an overgrown garden. Peppers, strawberries, pumpkins. And lots and lots of weeds.

I wanted a lawn.

Luckily, the yard is smallish (meaning tiny), so landscaping was reasonable.

We spent the first day (and by we I clearly mean Marshall) ripping out all the old foilage. And raking the 2 inch layer of dead leaves. Then we rented a landscaping rake and put down a bunch of topsoil and fertilizer.

The next day we drove to the sod place. I called a bunch of sod farmers and found that the general consensus is that fall is a great time to lay sod. Even in Utah. So we bought our 200 square feet of sod, and loaded it into the back of the minivan. Yeah, we're cheap like that. We at least put down a tarp first.

The van was sooo low. Like trailer hitch 3 inches off the ground low. We took the drive from Orem to south Provo at like 20 miles an hour with the hazards on. All the other drivers on State Street loved that.

When we got home, Marshall did a great job laying all the sod. Russ stopped by to lend a hand. What a great team!

And in the end, wah lah! A green, grassy yard. And it was amazingly cheap, too. The sod was only 40 bucks.

2 weeks later, we had our first good snow, and this is what Marsh and Carly managed on Sunday after church. The face is m&m's, hence the weird bleeding appearance.

Yay for a yard!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Birth Control

You thought you wanted (more) kids? Take a while to really make sure. Babies are cute and all, but at some point they reach the age where they can be willfully bad.

And by bad, I mean evil.
And by evil I mean horribly destructive.


Yes, yes, this is the work of my 3.5 year old. The 3.5 year old who knows better. Who REALLY knows better. This wasn't just innocent examination. Not just curiosity.

No, no. This is willful destruction.

QUICK willful destruction. I was only out of the room a couple minutes. And I came back to a near empty keyboard and a pile of keys. As I rounded the corner, she was frantic to claw off as many as she could before I came down on her in my wrath.

I considered for a minute just scrapping the computer entirely. I mean, HOW do you come back from something like that??!! I have put a key or two back before. But 37?? I figured the computer had been rendered useless, and was really really sad I had decided last week that we could last until next black Friday before needing another laptop.

The best part (and strongest proof she's willfully bad), is that when I asked her why she did it her response was "I didn't! Wesley did!" Umm, no he didn't. He was locked in his high chair.

A half hour later, and after some yelling and kid-thrown-in-rooming (hey, I'm not perfect), I was feeling much better.

I did have to sacrifice two keys for the cause though. Which two would you have chosen? I choose the [ and ] keys. I mean, really, how often do you use those? It's not like I sit here doing algebra on my laptop. My emoticon options got a bit slimmer, but at least I can type sentences.

Welcome back, computer! Goodbye desire to ever reproduce ever again!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The best week of Carly's life

Earlier this month, Carly had quite the week. First, on November 9th, she got to go to Yo Gabba Gabba Live. The tickets were purchased months ago and mom and dad waited in anticipation. The day finally came, and Carly didn't fully grasp why we were so giddy with excitement.

We got to the stadium and she took a while to warm up. She didn't quite understand what we meant when we told her that she was actually going to see the Gabbas in person.

But then the show started, and whoa! did she suddenly understand! It was a room full of dancing, singing parents and toddlers. And Carly was in love. At one point, after the intermission, the Gabbas came out onto the floor seating area, and Toodee gave Carly a high five. She continued on to the stage, and Carly was scrambling over the chairs trying to follow heryelling "I'm coming Toodee!!"

We all loved the party in my tummy number.

Daddy was really excited about Reel Big Fish.

And mommy was impressed to see Biz Markie in person for Biz's Beat of the Day.

Awesome concert!

And just when the week couldn't get any better, Daddy scored some cheap tickets to Disney on Ice. This time, Carly knew how to be appropriately excited from the beginning. Lights! Ice skating! Princesses! The perfect daddy-daughter date.

I'd say it was her best week ever.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Repeat offenders

Once again my wallet started getting a little thin. I had no idea that the hallway vent was going to be a daily problem.

This time it was 100% Wes. I caught him in the act, and chased him down the hall. He dove for the vent, card in hand, as I chased. He was sooo sad when I tackled him and took the goods away. When I got the vent open, I have to say I was impressed. He is getting quicker and sneakier!

And Carly's artistic abilities are really blossoming lately. She loves drawing people, and sometimes monsters. Mostly her drawings have been limited to paper, but the other day she surprised me when I visited the bathroom.

She came in and proudly explained to me that it was a giant, holding a flower, standing on grass next to a tree. And there is a sun and some clouds in the sky. She used 3 colors, and even 'framed' it herself! We left it up this last week to enjoy because we have to scour the walls next week before moving anyway. I can't wait to see what the next draw will be in our new home.

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