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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, April 29, 2012

Some missed holidays

For Thanksgiving, my parents came up and met baby Cal.  We mostly stayed in and relaxed, and snuggled the new babe.  

My dad also gave some horsey rides.  

Marshall worked on homework, while I set up the Christmas decorations. 

 For Thanksgiving dinner, Carly demanded a turkey leg, and Wes wasn't feeling the Holiday spirit, so he only wanted cereal.  I didn't think it was worth the fight.  I just wanted to add the disclaimer that I didn't offer Cap'n'Crunch as an actual Thanksgiving side dish.

I didn't manage to take ANY pictures of Christmas this year.  Bummer.  I'm lame.  Marshall had to work Christmas day, so we had  Christmas on Christmas Eve.  It was the first year we haven't traveled over the Holidays, which is probably a good thing based on our track record.  We just hung out with our own little family, and were preoccupied waiting to hear back about the house.

Easter was our first holiday we spent in our new home.

We took some Easter Morning pictures by the flowers in the front yard.

Then we had our egg hunt in the back yard.  We dyed eggs the night before, but every store I went to was out of egg dye, so we just ended up using food coloring and vinegar.  It worked really well!

 It was nice to be started traditions in our home, and I look forward to many more holidays to come.

Getting unpacked- The Boys' Rooms

Calvin's nursery; Before:


Wes' room; Before:


We brainwash them young around here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

House Hunting

So we went from the stress of academy, right into the stress of a new baby in the family.  And a few weeks after having the baby, we decided it was the perfect time to add in the stress of house hunting.

Marshall and I knew the general area we wanted to search for a house.  With his job in Salt Lake, and mine in Springville, we wanted to split the difference and live somewhere in north Utah County.  We spent a lot of time online looking at home listings in the Lehi/Saratoga Springs/Eagle Mountain area.  Okay, okay, I had been spending too much time looking at house listings for about 3 years.  But by November, I was able to get Marshall on board with at least looking at houses online.  By December, I had lit that fire under him, and he was ready to maybe visit a few houses and speak to some mortgage people.

By the 2nd week of December we were feeling pretty overwhelmed.  It was like we just didn't know where to start.  We were being given conflicting information from realtors and lenders, and weren't sure what we could afford, or if we could get approved.  We spoke to a few different realtors, and worked with a few different mortgage brokers until we found the right fit for our family.

When we finally found our realtor, she met with us for like 2 hours that first night and just answered our questions.  How do you buy a house?  How do you put in an offer?  How do offers work on short sales?  Pre-approvals? Earnest money?

I mean, we really knew nothing!

Then we had to decide what we needed and wanted in a home.  Did we want only 3 bedrooms, and unfinished basement so we could expand later?  Or did we want 4 bedrooms now so we won't be stuck later unable to afford construction?  We needed a fence, but would we looked at unfenced yards and build a fence within a month of moving in?  Did we want to live on a busier street?  Were we okay with an ally-load garage?  A grand master bath would be nice, but would we even look at houses without at least a standard master bath?

We went house hunting 3 different days within a week and a half with our realtor.  Just about everything we saw were short sales, and we put offers in on most, knowing that we weren't the primary on any- just in the back up offer pool.  On the third day of house hunting, we saw like 10 homes.  While we were in our last house for the day, we got an email alert from the MLS that a house we had on our "dream list" had dropped price and was now in our target price range.

We drove right over to do a walk through, since it was vacant.  On the way, we drove through a neighborhood we hadn't visited before.  We drove past a pretty park with a splash pad and playground.  We pulled onto a quiet culdesac lined with big shade trees.  As we pulled up out front, I felt immediate excitement, and I remember telling Marshall that this was the best location and neighborhood we'd seen.  We knew we wanted a house as close to perfect as we could find, since we didn't want to do the whole 'starter house' thing.  We wanted to find something big enough and in a nice enough neighborhood that we could see ourselves there until all our kids were grown.

It was listed as a 4 bedroom 2 bath.  As we walked through, we realized that it was actually 5 bedroom 3 bath.  Super confusing!  We checked and rechecked the listing, and counted and recounted the rooms.  But it was indeed mislisted.  And it was at a fantastic price for such a large house.  It even had the unfinished basement so that someday we could expand if we wanted, but we also had plenty of room if we never had the cash to do that.

It was a day or two before Christmas.  We put in an offer and waited nervously.  A few days later our offer was accepted.  And this was the only house we saw that wasn't a short sale- closing was just 30 days away!  The next month was a whirlwind of inspections and appraisals, getting contractor quotes, and scrambling to pull together documents for the underwriter.  Even with having 3 less business days than a normal month due to all the holidays, we were able to make closing on time on January 28th.

We had a few projects to do before moving in, such as refinishing the hardwood floors, installing a garage door opener and a few other appliances, and some painting.  So we actually moved in on February 9th.

Here are the pictures of the house during one of our pre-closing inspections.  Before any of our changes and before we moved in.
Front porch
Entry way
Formal living room
Kitchen view from living room
Kitchen view from deck
Master bedroom/bath/closet
Cal's nursery
Boys' bath
Wes' room
Stairway up
Upstairs family rooms
Carly's room
Upstairs bathroom
5th bedroom- playroom
The mess that is the backyard (at least it's big and fenced!)
Still coming: room by room pictures of our house currently!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

8 years

Happy Anniversary to my Best Friend.  

Wow!  We were just kids!
Sucks that you have to work today. Miss you, love you, see you tomorrow!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mr. Baby

Calvin is my Mr. Baby.  He has been my easiest child so far.  He is so patient and so content and calm.  Everyone asks "does he ever cry?"  Of course the answer is yes, but I think the set point for his tolerance is much higher than the average baby.

I'm convinced Calvin's personality has a bit to do with being the 3rd child- in line behind some pretty demanding siblings.  So either I've ignored him into complacency, or I just lucked out with a super calm kid that can handle the kind of neglect going on around here the last 5 months.  It seems like I am constantly busy with the other two- stopping fights, cleaning messes, making food, disciplining, chasing my runner.  Calvin is content to sit in his bouncer/car seat/swing and take it all in.

Wow, I'm making myself sound like a real winner of a mom.

But really, he is just a sweetheart.

Calvin seems to be on target with my other two developmentally.  He began rolling in February- right around 3 months.  He enjoys standing with support, and tries to take steps on our laps.  He's in the bouncer a lot and enjoys the sounds and lights, but hasn't yet started the frantic jumping that is sure to come.  He loves tummy time and currently loves getting up on his knees, dragging his face forward on the ground.  I'd bet in the next month he'll be rocking on his hands and knees.

Calvin is a good sleeper.  But I wouldn't say great like the other two.  He usually sleeps all night, but lately he's been waking up for a bottle or two at ungodly hours.  It's hard for me to decide if giving him the food is reinforcing bad behavior, or simply being a good mom since my other two didn't have night feeds anymore past 3 months.  All those bottles also mean that he usually pees through everything by morning. ::Sigh::   I've basically decided to wait and see how he does with solids, since I'll be loading him up with heavy foods right before bedtime.  There will be no way he'd be hungry at 2am once I start that.

Because of my sheer laziness and his unpredictable sleeping, I've let him stay in the bedside bassinet.  I know, I know.  It's terrible.  Marshall is more than ready to have him evicted from our room.  And we moved, so we have the space!  The nursery is totally set up.  I have no excuse.  I just really REALLY don't want to trek through the house 2 or 3 times each night to give bottles or replace binkies.  I've been spoiled by the other two, and I just need my sleep, dangit!

Calvin has the best belly laugh.  He's quick to smile and easy to laugh.  He's very ticklish under the chin, and on his tummy.  When we make eye contact, or walk over to him to pick him up, he has near convulsions of happiness.  He also loves to talk.  He and I can just sit and coo at each other for hours.

Me and breastfeeding.  We are not friends.  Well, I like breastfeeding.  I want to be friends.  I secretly admire like some weird stalker.  But Breastfeeding- she's mean.  And she doesn't like me much.

I find breasfeeding to be really easy and second nature.  Never get sore, never have trouble latching.  But always around 4 months I lose my milk.  With Wes I went all Rambo with my efforts to keep breastfeeding around.  The pumping, the medications and supplements, the oatmeal, the lactation consultants and doctors.  I still was completely dry by 6 months.

So this time, I decided to not stress about it.  When my milk goes, it goes.  And that's that.  No guilt.  No sleepless nights.  No medications.  So Calvin is now on formula full time.  And I'm a little sad about it.  But there really isn't much I can do about it.

Calvin is a little on the small side so far.  At birth, he was measured at 8lbs 6oz.  I'm pretty sure the scale was off.  Because later that night, he was weighed at 7lbs 14oz.  Umm, that's a big difference.  And he stayed in the high 7's/low 8's for a few weeks.  But even after gaining weight, his curve is about the 25th-30th percentile for everything.  So he's just a little guy like Wes was.

Calvin was born with darker hair than the other kids, and he still has his darker hair.  It has lightened up a little, but it's still definitely not blond.  And we thought he'd end up with brown eyes, but so far they've stayed blue.  He also looks a whole lot like Marshall, at least in my opinion.  And a little like Carly as a baby.  But I don't see much resemblance between him and Wes.

Another really...memorable...thing about Calvin are his stinky poops.  TMI, I know.  But the kid smells like sulfur.  No matter what he eats- regular formula, gentle formula, my milk- it doesn't matter.  He smells like super acidic rotten eggs every time he needs a change.  I hope that is something he outgrows some time soon. I'm sad that I never got the reprieve of non-smelly newborn poops.

Anyway, I think he's pretty cute.  And we all love him around here (even Wes, who went through a period of poking/hitting).  He's just the perfect fit for our family, and has certainly been a big blessing.  Although his timing was not our plan, I can definitely see the Lord's hand and divine intervention in our lives by his timely arrival.  There have been so many blessings because of this little guy.  We needed him, even if we didn't know it on our own.

First trip to firehouse- 5 days old
I have 3 kids! 1 week old.

Sleeping all stretched out- 2 months old

Hanging with dad- 2.5 months old

Meeting Great Grammie- 3.5 months old
Meeting Grandpapa- 3.5 months old
Happy kid- 4 months old
Big Smiles! 4.5 months old

Bumbo time! 5 months old
Bath time 5 months old

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