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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.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More baby blankets

So I've been learning to sew baby blankets. I like sewing baby blankets. It takes me forever, and there are a lot of flaws. But they are all I can do. They're all straight lines, which I can kinda handle.

Emily had a little guy, Heath, a couple months ago. I had had the fabric to make her blanket for a while, but was intimidated to start because I hate sewing on minky. Its slippery, and sheds, and bunches, and never lays flat. But I had an idea in mind and was committed to do it. So I finally got it done, and sent it off to her. Now that she has received it, I can blog the pictures without ruining the surprise. I am proud of myself because this involved a lot of measuring and extra sewing since I used 3 fabrics (a first for me).

Maranda is due with a baby girl, name tbd, in a couple weeks. I found this cute fabric and knew it had to go to her little girl. This blanket is more basic, just 2 fabrics and both flannel. But it is probably my best yet and took the least amount of time to make. I could tell I was getting better, and think it turned out cute. She just had her shower last weekend, so no surprise ruined here either.

I also (not so recently) made a blanket for Breann's little Amelia. I forgot to take good pictures of it before I gave to her at her shower. But I did get some pics on my cell phone. Sorry about the bad quality. The blanket was flannel on one side, brown furry minky (same as Heath's border) on the other. This was a beast to sew! That brown minky is the devil, and I don't think I'll be using it again.

But now the surprise is ruined for everyone else. If you invite me to a baby shower, you'll most likely get a beginner quality home made blanket.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm so glad when daddy comes home!

Marshall has been working 72 hour weeks the past month, and so we haven't seen as much of him around here. Last week we had an evening where he was actually home, so we took advantage and went on a family outing down to Provo. Where in Provo? BYU of course!

The Bean Museum

Then we hit up dollar bowling night at the BYU Games Center in the Wilk. The guys in the lane next to us were there for their bachelor party! So fun!

(Who knew they made toddler bowling shoes?!)

Then we headed over to the Creamery on Ninth for some traditional BYU creamery ice cream.

On our way to the car, Marshall helped the kids run off some energy.

And then he worked off some of his own energy tossing them in the air.

Wes loved it.

Carly did not.

So Marshall went back to throwing Wes some more.

It was the perfect evening, in the perfect place, with the perfect daddy!

Thanks for the fun BYU!

I hate p90x

Okay, so hate is a strong word. And I probably won't feel that way next week. But let me tell you- if I don't hate p90x, then at least it must hate me.

Saturday morning I lamely attempted the plyometrics video. And no one part was particularly hard on its own. A bunch of little squat here, jump there and "you can do anything for 30 seconds!"

Yes, yes I can. Then my legs can stop working, and I can feel like dying.

I thought I might feel better the next day.

I feel worse.

My quads are like stiff wobbly jello (is that even possible?) Wobbly for complete lack of control over those muscles; my legs have mutinied. Stiff for fear. Just getting up off the couch and hobbling to the fridge is enough pain to make me reconsider eating. Ever. Maybe that's the real trick of the program- movement causes so much pain that you have to really reconsider if that bowl of cereal is worth it. And wahlah! 15 lbs lost!

I haven't been this incapacitated by physical pain, and my body's refusal to move through said pain, since Carly's birth. Maybe some day I'll post about Carly's birth. Then you can all feel really bad for me. And then you'll remember this post, and feel really really bad for me.

In the mean time, once my legs return to some amount of function, I will continue on in my attempt to develop peaceful feelings toward p90x.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why I'm Mormon

My blog is somewhat laced with religion. It's hard to not include my faith when talking about my daily life since the two are so intertwined. My religion is who I am. However, I generally don't talk in depth about my religious beliefs or about the doctrines of the Church because I know that many of my friends who do read this blog are not LDS. I probably wouldn't read some heavy blog about another religion all the time. And this blog is to keep in touch with people and share our life, just as it is to be a record for our family. I don't want to be all preachy like that.

So with that said, if anyone would like to know more about my personal beliefs or why I am Mormon, you can follow the new link over on my sidebar.

Whew! Now on with the regularly scheduled blogging.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Carly lately

- Carly was being bossy so I asked, "who put you in charge?" She said, "Mommy did." I asked, "I did, huh? Why would I do that?" And without missing a beat she said, "because I've been trained as a pirate!"

- Carly has started to get very opinionated. She has an opinion about which clothes she'd like to wear, and if I bring her an outfit she's not feeling, she'll tell me "No, that outfit's not right for me." She prefers skirts and dresses over pants, and when given the option will always choose pink. How did I raise a girly girl?

- At church a few weeks ago, Carly had to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes. By the 4th time we were in there, I asked her "where did you drink so much water?" She answered right away, "I drank a lot of water today in the bathtub." mmmm....bath water.

- Carly and I were playing a game of "baseball" a couple weeks ago with an imaginary bat and ball. Apparently my imaginary swing wasn't up to par- she corrected me "No, mommy, like this. You have to step into your swing!"

- A couple days ago, Carly had an accident. I asked her to go put new underwear on after she had put the old pair in the wash. She told me, "No, first I have to dry off." She then spent about 5 minutes bending over with her tush aimed at the fan. She would lift one leg, then the next. Only after she was sufficiently dry from all angles, and I had died laughing, did she go get new underwear.

- Today I told Carly she could have some cookies, but the she'd have to pick up her toys once she was done eating them. I asked her if it was a 'deal,' and she agreed. After she finished her snack, I asked her to pick up. "No!" she said. I reminded her we had a deal. She smiled broadly and said "It wasn't a real deal; we didn't shake on it." I was actually kinda proud and worried at the same time.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Low maintenance

One time my husband and I were out on a date, and I was wearing one of the only 2 pairs of jeans I own (one is maternity!), and he said "I think it's so sexy that you are so low maintenance." I was a little confused- it kinda came out of nowhere. I asked what he meant. He said "Your jeans. I love that you wear them even after they are frayed at the bottom. I love that they are the only pair you own. And I love that I know you aren't going to go buy another pair just because they're worn out."

I was a little surprised. Not because he was wrong. But because he was exactly right.

My jeans had long frayed pieces of denim hanging off the cuff where I had stepped all over the hem, and I hadn't even considered buying a new pair. They still fit. They still covered me. Otherwise they were sturdy. I thought they looked nice! Who notices the cuffs anyway?

Well my mom came to visit about a week later and pitched a fit. "They look trashy" she insisted. I compromised and cut the tattered shreds off.

Most girls have numerous pairs of shoes. Some women are 'shoe girls' and collect dozens of pairs for occasional use. I am not a shoe girl. Maybe I would be if I had money to spare. But in general, while I can admire a cute pair of shoes, maybe even covet, I can't see the purpose of spending money on every cute pair you see. You don't need that many if you have the basic staples.

I have 4 pairs of shoes.

- I have a pair of flip flops I stole from Marshall when we got married. These are my casual summer shoes. They are now 7 years old and in perfectly useful condition.
- I have a pair of Ugg boots I wear every single day as casual shoes in the winter. They are now 5 years old. They leak a bit, but should last one more winter.
- I have a pair of running shoes that gets occasional use. I just bought these new in December, replacing the pair I had had since 2000.
- And lastly, I have a pair of black flat dress shoes. I wear these most days year round. They are my work shoes, worn with my black dress skirts to work, and they are my 'dressier' casual shoes worn with my [one pair of] jeans when 'going out.'

I wear my shoes out. Not just until they're scuffed and a newer pair would look nicer. I wear shoes until I can't anymore. Until it's time to go replace that pair with another similar one for that staple's purpose.

Today I had to buy new shoes.

I'm glad that Marshall thinks it's sexy. My mom just thinks it's sad. And I don't think much about it at all, obviously.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

When reality TV becomes beneficial

My dad was on his way out to visit, trying to catch a flight out of LAX. He was running late, and Delta wouldn't let him on even though the flight didn't take off for another half hour. He was frantic (doesn't deal well with stress) and waiting in a line for Delta's service agent who reassigns flights. The line was at least 40 minutes long, but the last flight that day left in an hour.

He and my mom were calling back and forth, stressing and not sure what to do. They were checking ticketing websites, but didn't want to pay $400 for the last minute ticket. They also didn't want to just lose the money invested in the flight he missed. How could he get to the front of the line? How many seats were left on that flight? How many people in front of him in line wanted the same limited seats on that flight?

But I have a secret weapon.

I am a reality TV addict.

One of those shows is The Amazing Race. It's the finest tutorial on booking last minute airfare around.

"I'll call Delta" I offered. "Sure, why not" they said.
I don't think they thought I'd be able to do much.

3 minutes later, my dad hadn't moved an inch in line. But he was confirmed for the last coach ticket on the 6pm flight. And it didn't cost a dime- they just transferred the ticket. The ticket lady didn't even charge the 50 dollar transfer fee. I'm that good.

Moral: everyone should watch Reality TV. You learn a lot of useful stuff. Either that, or you should have a friend you can call who is a reality TV addict. It's useful when stuck in line at the airport. I kinda feel bad for all those other people who just waited in line and didn't get on that flight. They must not have had such useful knowledge or friends.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

My crazy work week

Work lately has been a bit crazy.

Normally when my mom visits, I just take a few weeks completely off. I plan before hand and take care of any time sensitive issues before she gets here, and don't schedule any appointments while she is here.

Not this time. My mom got here last Monday, and it couldn't have been a busier time at work.

In the days before she arrived, when I would normally be scouring the kitchen and folding laundry, I had an overnight placement. I got a phone call at 8:15pm, and when my work phone rings that late, I know something is up. I called the couple and told them they had been chosen for a baby at 8:30pm, and a few hours later we were all at the hospital meeting the birth parents. We were out until after midnight that night, and then returned the next morning at 9:30am for placement. Then, after all is said and done, and the couple is home having sleepless nights, I am neck deep in paperwork.

Being a caseworker means that every contact relating to a case needs to be documented. So when something happens that quickly, and that late at night, it makes sitting down and remembering every phone call and every bit of information given a little difficult. Did I tell them that? Was that on Wednesday or Thursday? The 4th phone call or the 5th? And then there are the legal documents and reports to write with every placement. The summary of every gift given, every document signed and witnessed, and every statement made showing claiming or bonding.

And then one week after that placement, I got to do it again. Well not quite. It's not an overnight placement. But another couple was chosen a couple days ago, and the birth mom is due any day. So the whirlwind of phone calls and paperwork begins, face to face's on short notice, and reviewing placement documents with the couple.

Not to say I am not ecstatic to be a part of such wonderful events. I LOVE when my couples get babies. It is the best part of my job. It just made for a crazy week- and a dirty house when my mom got here.

It's been a bit of a crazy year in that respect. In the last 12 months, I have placed 14 babies (that I can remember), and taken 2 relinquishments (meaning I was the birth parent caseworker when she placed her baby). I have 3 more couples due to get babies in August.

Also happening this week at work, we are opening the Springville office.

Yes, yes, I live in Salt Lake, and Springville is even further than Provo. But the commute is actually about 5 minutes shorter. Instead of cutting across the valley for 12 minutes, I just continue on the freeway 2 more exits and I'm there! So that is why I offered to go to Springville.

But opening the new office has been a bit crazy. We do not have an adoption manager hired yet, so there has been some confusion and lack of direction in getting things going. For a long time, concrete plans were just being put on hold while we waited to see who would be hired as manager. Then, as it became clear that hiring a manager was a ways off, those decisions were placed on the caseworkers. Luckily the other caseworker transferring with me is a full-timer and in training to be a manager. So she can make those decisions much better than I can. Budget, opening date, which cases to transfer, decorating. We have a credit card with the agency's name on it (literally), and have put it to good use purchasing big framed artwork, and little potted plants, leather ottomans, pillows, and lamps.

We even got a Ford Escape, which is both neat and scary. Neat because it is a different car than most other offices- they all have Camry's. Scary because the reason we got the cool SUV is that our catchment area (the area we cover in our office) goes from Springville, out to Price, to Moab. And clients have to have home visits throughout the year. I may be driving those backroad highways in the dead of Utah winter.

It's a good thing my mom likes shopping, because that is all we did the first half of the week she was here! We open for appointments tomorrow, and while the artwork isn't hung yet (church contractors have to hang it), and we still have a lot more decorating type stuff to buy, my office is mostly put together at this point. We are still waiting on some clocks and pillows. We can't decorate with other than church purchased items until after the dedication, which isn't schedule until August 26th. So for now this is all I can have out. But after that, I'll have up my calendar, some more artwork from home, my degree and licensure, and I have a collection of the photos of every child I have placed.

It will be really nice not having to share my office space. Not that I didn't love my Provo co-workers. But it will be nice to not have to split the available hours, and to able to run in on a day off, and to not have to readjust my chair height every single day, and to always have pens in the desk.

Another part of opening the Springville office is splitting the Provo caseload. We had a meeting a week ago where all of the caseworkers sat down and went over each case and determined if it transferred to Springville, or stayed in Provo based on address. Then we assigned them to their new caseworkers. Typically the part time workers carry a caseload of about 20-25 adoptive couples and 5-10 expectant parents. With all the placements I had in the last year, my caseload was a bit lower to start, about 20, because once couples finalize their adoptions, I close them. You may have noticed that my available couples listed on my sidebar has been shrinking. Well, I transferred 3 of my couples to workers staying in Provo, but the majority were going with me to Springville. Then I received 14 new cases; 13 of which are approved waiting couples. So watch for my list to almost triple!

Also new with work this week- the FSA national conference. When my mom told me she was coming out the last week in July, I told her that that'd be great because she would get to go to the conference with me! I'm not sure how much she enjoyed it; she doesn't eat breath and sleep adoption like most of the people who attended. But I hope she was able to get something out of the sessions we attended. I took her to a birth mother's panel (one of my birth moms was speaking!), to a session on openness, to a class for expectant parents on how to choose an adoptive couple, to a class on the Utah foster care system, and to a panel on the whole picture following a case through the eyes of the birth mother, birth grandparents, adoptive couple, adoptive grandparents, and caseworkers on both sides. I actually got to present on that panel, as the case was one of mine. So now my mom is an adoption expert! (whether she liked it or not)

The last big news at work (of course also happening this week) is that the agency is coming out with a bunch of new policy. This new policy will come out officially tomorrow, and there are a lot of big changes for my couples. So we, as caseworkers, have had a lot of policy to read, and meetings to discuss, and I still feel like I am flying a bit blind. I hope I fully understand the changes before I am answering big questions about them. This also means that I am writing an entire home study this week, and that I am actually scheduling some appointments next week in order to get one couple approved and others' homestudies updated before the new policy would effect them.

Ok, big deep breath. This crazy week will pass.

And my mom is getting to see more of my job than she ever wanted to. And now, if you read all that, you did too!

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