Monday, December 12, 2011

Books For Gabriel

So I had an amazing experience the other day. I was procrastinating doing something, I forget what, so I checked my Facebook like I am prone to do when I am procrastinating. My friend Jenny from Burley had posted a link to a book drive her friend is doing. I thought that was interesting so I clicked on the link, and read the story about a little boy named Gabriel. My heart broke as I read about how at 17 months old, this beautiful little boy just quit breathing and after a few days in the hospital, passed from this life into the next, to the sorrow of his loving parents and siblings. The story written by his mother Amy is so touching. I just can not even imagine going through something like that.

As Gabe's third birthday approaches, Amy is gathering books to donate to kids in hospitals in memory of her little boy. As I sat at the computer with tears streaming down my face, I remembered that I had just cleaned out my kids' book collection and I had a box of books that I was going to put in storage for a while. I was so excited to think I could donate them and maybe help someone just a little. I sent Amy a message and got her address, and then loaded the kids in the car and drove to her house in Saratoga Springs. Amy was so kind and grateful, and I felt so good to be able to help in some small way.

I have decided to try to collect as many books as possible and deliver them to her the week before Christmas, so I am asking that if you have any books that you would consider donating, please let me know and I will be glad to come and pick them up, or you can drop them off at my house. Hospitals love getting books for kids up to age 18, from baby board books to chapter books, to young adult books. They are such a comfort to families who are in the hospital for extended or unexpected stays. Please read Amy's blog post here and let me know if you would like to help (there is also a link on the blog to donate money for books if you are unable to donate actual books). It is a wonderful way to extend service that will truly make a difference, especially at this time of year. I would like to deliver the books this Saturday. You can email me at or call or text me at 801-592-1531. Thanks!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh, my life...

So I know you are jealous that I am married to a hunter and my life is non-stop, constant excitement. Seriously. There is never a dull moment. Take Monday night, for example. I didn't really have anything planned for Family Home Evening. I mean, I was planning to have it, but that's about as far as I was with it. So when Jason's mom called in the afternoon and said she had a raccoon in a trap that needed to be shot, well hey, there's FHE right there.

After dinner we loaded up the kids and the bows and arrows and headed to Grandma's. I thought a gun would be easier than bows and arrows, but Jason informed me that it is illegal to shoot a gun within city limits. Also, I should add that my mother in law called the fish and game to see what to do with the little critter and they said NOT to let it go, that raccoons are nuisances and need to be... done away with. Well, the job proved to be a little harder than originally planned. Apparently raccoons are kind of like cockroaches and they just refuse to die. I was inside trying to block out any mental images of what was going on outside when the boys came in with the news that well, the raccoon was still holding on, but they were working on it. Finally Jason came in and said the job was done. I will spare you any further detail. Okay, well, I thought, that was bad but now we can move on. Wrong! Jason had the awesome idea of taking the raccoon home so he could skin it for the boys. We watched Where the Red Fern Grows recently as a family, which turned out to be a horrible idea since the whole thing is about catching raccoons and turning them into coon skin caps. So yeah, we should do that! Just because Billy did in the backwoods of the Ozarks 100 years ago. Sweet. As a result, the raccoon came home with us in a garbage bag in the back of the van. I was not okay with that. It didn't matter.

I was hoping Jason would forget about his little "project" and end up disposing of the remains after a few days. Wrong again. I returned home from running errands on Tuesday afternoon to find the VERY disturbing image of a creature with its back legs tied to a rope, tied to the RAILING of the garage steps and my husband sitting right exactly where I park the van, just skinning away. When he saw me, he yelled, "Don't look!" but it was too late. Fortunately for you, I don't have the words to describe a skinned raccoon. "Horrific" is a start, but just imagine a shaved cat, but about 5 times bigger, hanging from its feet while your six-year-old watches in fascination and, well, there was some blood involved. I'm sorry to have to tell you that, but I'm the one who has to STEP in it every time I step out of my vehicle now. I do actually step around it, but it isn't easy, and it provokes very negative thoughts in my mind about raccoons and hunting in general.

I'm sorry if you were hoping that was the end of the story. So was I, but it's not. The raccoon skin made its home on the back of Jason's 4-wheeler in the garage for a few days. It was there the last time I saw it and tried not to make eye contact with it. Then last night I went down to the basement deep freeze to get a bag of chicken. There was a Kohl's bag with a suspicious lump in it inside the freezer. I thought, hmmm, must be some deer meat that Jason's dad brought him from their hunt last week or something (forgetting that Jason's dad isn't HOME yet from the hunt last week). Later I mentioned it to Jason and he said, "Oh yeah, I put the raccoon hide in the downstairs freezer so it doesn't rot". Well, if that isn't just great news. I just touched a dead raccoon in a Kohl's bag. Why was I born? What am I supposed to learn from this? I'm trying to be a better person, honestly I am, but I just don't understand why these kind of experiences are necessary for me in the eternal scheme of things. I guess I still have a lot to learn. I just wish I could learn it all in a very sanitary, death-free, non-redneck sort of way.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

They say bad things happen in 3s...

I hope it's true that bad things happen in 3s and I'm not just starting to have an unlucky, terrible life! Ha ha, it's not that bad, but sometimes it feels like it. It started last Friday, the week before Thanksgiving, with my arms aching. I thought that was weird, but I continued on with my life. Until I couldn't continue on any more because my whole body was aching. Then the fevers started. Then they would break, and I (and my pajamas and bedsheets) would be bathed in sweat. TMI, I know, but I had to live it for four days! One night I went through five sets of pajamas and ended up sleeping between beach towels because I ran out of blankets. So lovely. Finally, Tuesday evening I dragged myself and my four little neglected kiddies to the Instacare and was diagnosed with pneumonia!! I did have a deep cough, but the cough was the least of my worries. I just kept waiting for the fevers and aches to go away, but they never did. Fortunately, the doctor gave me some strong antibiotics and I had a day to try to recover for Thanksgiving. By Thursday, I was feeling much better. We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving with Jason's family, then hopped in the truck and drove to Burley that night so Jason could, what else, hunt early Friday morning. Truthfully, I wasn't really feeling up to traveling, but I made it and it was nice to be home with my family and just relax. While I was there, Bad Thing #2 happened. My cell phone was accidentally dropped in a body of water. Also known as the toilet. Argggg. It has been out of commission ever since. So it will be fun to brave the Verizon store during the holiday season to try to get that whole mess figured out. Then, as we were packing up to leave Saturday afternoon, Bad Thing #3 happened. I was holding Jake, trying to balance a few bags on my arm and lean over to pick up a few more, and I somehow tweaked my back. BAD. As in, I still can't even walk. If I lie still in one position, it's okay, but if I have to move, well, I just can't. Getting Jake in and out of his crib is quite the ordeal. So that's my little gratitude post for Thanksgiving. I'm grateful that I'm not dead and I know things could be worse. I'm grateful that I don't have much going on this week and I can try to recover and maybe even get into the Christmas spirit. Or not. We'll see...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall Update

 My mom always used to say that fall was her favorite season. I thought that was really weird. What could be better than summer? Or spring or winter? Then I realized she said that every year right around the time school was starting... hmmm, suspicious. Did she actually ENJOY us leaving her home with nothing to do? I couldn't imagine that! Until I had kids. Now fall is also MY favorite season, but there are several additional reasons. Mostly food-related. I also love the cooler temperatures, the colors, the change of pace, and of course hunting. Well, not really on the last one, but I'm trying to be supportive here, people. My life is what it is. Soooo, on to the update. The kids and I had a great trip to Burley while Jason was on a hunt somewhere (I can't keep track anymore). I went hunting. And then there was Halloween.

This is at a cute little place called The Pumpkin Patch. It is north of Paul, which is north of Burley. Who knew?
The kids with my cute, wonderful, fun, adorable mom.
Heading out to pick pumpkins. I love how Jake is always just trying to keep up!
Abby got to pick out a gourd. She named him Gordy.
Jakey in the pumpkin patch.
On the hunt for the perfect pumpkin.
One of the highlights of going to Burley: golf cart rides with Grandma.
I love this picture: my dad teaching Dallin how to play "Porcupines have Prickly Quills".  So precious!
And now on to hunting. We hiked up to the top of West Canyon and the sunrise was amazing, as always.
Oh, he's so proud of his little wifey! Mission accomplished.
Love the sunrise over Timp!
Jason and his brother Chad on the look out for deer. We actually saw some and took a few shots, but no deer were fated to die that day, which was all right with me.
We actually did a theme this year for Halloween! Kind of amazing. Luke was a  football player (Steelers).
Dallin was also a football player, but a Chicago Bear.
Abby was the referee, and Jake was the runaway football.
He was kind of a homeless little football, but what do you do.
We had a fun night of trick or treating in Grandma Yates' neighborhood. This is the best picture I could get of all four kids, which is kind of sad, but not really, because it is our life. Jake is out of focus, but I love the big grin on his face. Dallin has figured out that if he looks at the camera it will be over much sooner. Luke can only focus on his sucker. And Abby is off in space. Why do I love my kids so much? They just crack me up.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Cooking Class With the Food Nanny/Best Day Ever!!

 So you may or may not know that I am a HUGE fan of the Food Nanny on BYU-TV. I first read about her on a blog last spring and then I saw the book in Costco (where else?) and had to pick it up. I was instantly hooked. She is a huge advocate of family mealtime, which is something that I had been struggling with for a while. My husband works most evenings and is only home for dinner once or twice a week. This leaves me with four small kids and a great excuse to scrounge up some lame food most nights and not make anything special. I had a nagging feeling that I should be doing more, because I do love to cook, but was I being wasteful by making nice food for little kids who didn't appreciate it? And should I be eating well/gaining weight if I didn't have to? Cereal seemed to be the answer most of the time. I'd cook up something that sounded good once in a while and overindulge, then feel guilty and swear to eat cereal for a few days. My kids seemed to be happy with whatever I put in front of them, so I didn't have the motivation to make any changes. Then I found the Food Nanny, Liz Edmunds. She has raised seven children and attributes her success as a mother to consistent family meal times. What I can most relate to about her is that her husband was gone most of the time (he was a pilot), and she still brought her family together every single night for a home-cooked meal at the dinner table. She says she just needed something for her and her family to look forward to every single day. It was like a light bulb went off in my head after learning that. (What, her husband was gone all the time, too, and she STILL did all this? Well, why can't I?) I also love her philosophy about eating real and not dieting. She says you should eat what your body craves, but only until you are satisfied. Then you just push your plate back. And she obviously practices what she preaches because she is tiny! (So you mean I can make good food for my family AND eat it? And not spend my life counting calories? Sign me up!) Her cookbook is nothing short of amazing. Her recipes are simple but gourmet at the same time. Everything I have tried has been great. Everything. I absolutely love her philosophy about Family Dinner. "It's the most important time of the day!" she says repeatedly on her show. You can watch every episode on and I highly, highly recommend it. I have tried so many new recipes and methods of cooking that I never thought I would even attempt. Most importantly, my family has come to expect Family Dinner every night (or most nights!) whether Dad is home or not. It's not always fantastically planned out with the table set and wonderful food, but the kids don't seem to care. I just do my best that day, whatever it is. My kids love sitting at the dinner table together and discussing their days. We each tell the best part and worst part of our day and it leads to some pretty interesting conversations! Abby can't seem to distinguish the present day from the past, so we all have some great laughs over what she thinks happened that day, which probably happened several weeks ago, if at all. The other night Jason was with us and he was telling me all about what happened at work that day when I noticed Dallin was pouting. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "Why don't we just call this Mom and Dad Dinner instead of Family Dinner, since you two are the only ones talking?" I had to laugh. I asked him what he wanted to talk about and he was just busting to tell everyone about how his CapriSun had sprung a leak in his lunchbox that day and ruined his lunch. I love that he was saving something that was important to him to share with the family at dinner.  
You can imagine my excitement a few weeks ago when I saw on the Food Nanny's Facebook page that she was going to be hosting a cooking class AT HER HOME for a very reasonable price, and it would include one of her cookbooks (Happy Birthday, Mom!)!! I immediately signed up and trusted that it would work out, and it did. I told Jason that it was my present for him going to Texas to hunt whitetails this week, which he had to agree with. It was SUCH a fun day. The thing I love most about Liz (I can call her Liz now, we are kind of tight like that) is her energy. She is a TINY little thing, but she is so excited about life and so full of passion about what she teaches. I always thought she was adorable, but wondered if maybe she was just a rich lady that loved to cook and had a lot of breaks in life. Not so. She is a humble, kind and hard-working lady who has made the best out of everything she has had to deal with in life. Her house is amazing, but it is not fancy. Just simple and beautiful and functional. Mostly, it is welcoming and comfortable. Very down to earth. I loved it. There were about fifteen people in the class and she made all of us feel so at home. I wanted to just stay afterward and hang out and help her do the dishes, but I had a babysitter at home and an hour drive ahead of me so I was sad to have to leave. The class was GREAT. She made so much food and ALL of it was fantastic. Apple Pie, Apple Crisp, French Baquettes, Bruschetta, Arugula Pizza, Chicken Marsala With Mushrooms, Spaghetti Carbonara... am I missing anything? She impressed me so much with her passion about cooking for her family. It's not like she just had her kids grow up and leave the house and got bored so she decided to write a book. She really lives it. She has lived this philosophy for 40 years and made a rich, wonderful life in the process. That is what I want! I want my kids to know what HOME feels like, and I think family meals around the dinner table on a consistent basis are the foundation for what I have been looking for. Even if it's just the kids and me most of the time. When Jason is home it is just all the more special.

Baquettes fresh out of the oven! So easy, and how cute is that little pan?
Liz made a special bruschetta that will be featured in her next cookbook (can't wait!!). It was amazing. I am still thinking about it.

Here she is adding the chicken to the Chicken Marsala. Wow, so good!
Here are just a few of my favorite recipes from the book, for your FYI (ha ha, I love it when people say "For your FYI" because it doesn't even make any sense!):
p. 34 Roast Chicken with Gravy - I make this for my VERY special friends when they have babies. It is probably my favorite meal to make in the world. I used to have a fear of raw chicken, and what the heck do you do with a whole chicken anyway, but Liz helps a lady who HATES raw meat make this on one of the shows (It's called "Chicken Chicken") and suggests using plastic gloves when handling raw meat! I picked up a box of surgical gloves and my life hasn't been the same since. I feel so liberated!
p. 78 Chicken Marsala With Mushrooms - I was so excited when she made this at the cooking class! It is the first thing I have ever made with cooking wine and it is SO fun and delicious. I love making it.
p. 182 Slow-Cooked Chicken Noodle Soup - Easiest and best chicken soup I have ever made! Sometimes I use potatoes instead of noodles. I also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs and it is fantastic.
p. 149 Grilled Salmon - I had never made salmon on the grill before, and this is now one of my go-to meals because it is so simple and my kids love it! Plus, I'm so excited to be feeding them fish! I feel like Mom of the Year.
p. 234 Liz's Crescent Dinner Rolls - Hands down, my favorite recipe. These are better than Lion House Rolls, in my opinion, and so easy! I make them way too much. I'm making them today, in fact. The best part of this recipe is that it makes one big pan of rolls that only needs 12 minutes in the oven, instead of three pans for 20 minutes each. Who has that kind of time? I can whip up the dough in ten minutes in the afternoon and pop them in the oven a few minutes before dinner, and wow. According to Luke, it's heaven.
There are so many more recipes that I love, and my secret goal is to try every recipe in the book. Probably won't really happen, but at least we will be eating good in the mean time! 

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Friday, October 28, 2011

My Spider Solution

I hate bugs. Like, really, really hate them. More than the average person. I realize few people really, really like them, but my entire day can be ruined by finding a spider in my baby's room, or seeing an earwig pretty much anywhere on my property. Yuck and a half. Hence, the semi-annual visit of my spider guy, which I have always hated paying for but couldn't force myself to do without. Jason does NOT understand the need to pay to have the house sprayed inside and out every spring and fall because he says we don't have any bugs. Well, the reason we don't have any bugs is because our house is sprayed inside and out every spring and fall! Still, I would schedule the visits at times when I knew Jason would not be home just to be safe. This fall I decided to do a little investigating and see if I could find a product that I could spray myself and save a little $$ and not have to feel like I was sneaking around behind my husband's back. So I took a little trip to IFA and asked the lady behind the counter if she had any suggestions. Her face lit up and she practically jumped over the register. "I have just the thing for you. This is what the professionals use! They come here and buy it, and then they spray your house with it!!" She led me to the pest control aisle and showed me this nifty little bottle. 

It's called Tempo SC Ultra Insecticide and it is professional grade pest killer that is safe as soon as it is dry. You mix 16 ML (it shows the measurements in the little section at the top of the bottle) with a gallon of water and spray along the baseboards inside your house and along the foundation of the outside, just like the professional little spider guy used to get paid way too much money to do. My whole house, inside and out, only took one gallon. The bottle contains 220 ML and costs about $45. I also bought a gallon tank sprayer for $12. Since I was spending at least $65 every spring and fall to have my house sprayed, plus $5 to spray the inside of the trailer, it seems like a pretty good deal. And man, is it fun! I just whip through my house whenever I feel like it. No one will ever charge me $5 to spray the inside of my trailer ever again. I can spray the heck out of it for free. Whenever I want.  So there, Spider Guy. I felt like charging him $5 for talking to me on the phone when he called to try to schedule an appointment recently. $5, my tail. Sucka.

The IFA lady also told me to spray around the doorways of the outside entrances to my house to keep the flies out and it actually worked! It's been a few weeks since I first sprayed and we haven't had any bugs and the flies disappeared almost immediately. I also just love the little line of dead bugs around the outside wall of the garage. I bless the IFA lady every time I sweep them up. No offense is intended to the pest control industry by this post because I am sure they are all good people in their hearts. I'm just really glad I don't need them now!

Monday, October 24, 2011

My favorite "under" shirt: Hapari Shores

I pretty much wear a "Shade" type shirt under my regular shirts every single day. I have them in every color and style and brand. It's a little embarrassing how many of them I have, actually. I have a whole section in my closet dedicated solely to shirts that I will be wearing under other shirts . However, recently I discovered Hapari Shores, which are basically little half-tees and I think I may need to purge all 350 of my old shirts and replace them with just a few of these. They fit so great and I love that I don't have to worry about tucking in or not tucking in an extra shirt, especially under dresses. They look like a real shirt, too, none of that unfinished edge business that you find with other brands that looks like maybe I didn't mean to have my undershirt sticking out, but maybe I did, and people are just left to wonder if I got dressed all the way or forgot something or do I just have four kids and can't keep anything straight... it's confusing to everyone involved.  Shores aren't too pricey, either, about $16 each, and I just got an email with a coupon code for 60% off the entire site!! Just enter the code FALL60 at checkout. If you want to, you can go try them on at their store in American Fork, at 69 East Main Street. I don't know if everything in the store is on sale, so I am just ordering online. Who cares about shipping because Jason owes me big for the deer hunt that I am going on in about 4 hours that I did NOT agree to, but I am trying to have a good attitude and be a supportive wife, though it may be through gritted teeth. I digress. I love all my Hapari swim suits, too, so check those out while you're there. I am ordering, um, several new shirts, and then I will be downsizing my undershirt collection. I can't wait! My journey to minimalism has begun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Greek Yogurt: My Favorite Breakfast

Several months ago I tried Greek yogurt. I've always been a yogurt fan and I'd been reading about how great it is and how much healthier than regular/sugar-laden yogurt. For example, I would generally buy light yogurt, which in a one cup serving has 100 calories, 0 grams of fat, 13 grams of sugar, 15 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein. The ingredient list is about a mile long and includes things like fructose, aspartame, and about a thousand things I can't even pronounce, including phenylalanine, whatever that is. One cup of Fage Greek yogurt has 130 calories, no fat, 9 grams of sugar, 9 grams of carbs and 23 grams of protein. The only ingredients are milk and live active yogurt cultures. And that much protein! Plus, I don't really like the flavor of light yogurt, but I can't justify 40 grams of sugar in one serving of regular yogurt. So I decided to convert.

My sister-in-law warned me that Greek yogurt is very similar to sour cream: thick and not really something you want to spoon into your mouth again and again, which you would need to do to get in the one cup serving requirement and reap all the benefits of eating it in the first place. I thought, sure, but I love yogurt and it can't be that bad, so I picked up a container like this on my next trip to Costco:

The problem is, it really was that bad! I could hardly gag it down. It sat in my fridge for several days until my cute, precious, adorable sister Kristen saw it one day when she was visiting and said, "Hey! You should try mixing your Greek yogurt with Crystal Lite! It tastes so much better, and there's no sugar!" So I did. And a new addiction was born. I now eat (at least) a cup of Greek yogurt every single day. I can't go a day without it. It is so rich and creamy and I love it. I feel like I am eating custard. My very favorite flavor addition is this:

Sugar Free Hawaiian Punch Lemon Berry Squeeze. I only use a half of a single-serving pack for one cup of yogurt, so I figure the artificial sweetener won't take too many years off my life. The benefits of Greek yogurt far outweigh a half serving of Splenda, or whatever the heck is in there. So now I will share with you how to make my yummy yogurt. You might want to write this down, it gets a little complicated. Put one cup of yogurt in a bowl, sprinkle on half a package of drink mix...

Looks about like this:

Then you stir it til it's nice and creamy...

And there you have it! I always add fresh or frozen fruit and my favorite granola that I also can't live a day without. Seriously, you should make this granola. It is so easy and so good. I will never buy granola again! Step-by-step instructions are here, courtesy of my good friend Sierra. All her recipes are amazing, by the way! I LOVE her web site.

Since strawberries are about out of their glory this year, I am currently using the Costco, yes Costco again, brand of frozen triple berries. I like to set a cup of berries in the fridge at night and then add them to my yogurt in the morning when they are nice and thawed and all that juicy juice can mingle with the creamy goodness of the yogurt. Yum.

The bad news about Greek yogurt is that it's way more expensive than regular yogurt. The good news is that Costco just released their very own Kirkland variety that is way cheaper and just as good. It comes in a twin pack (8 servings) for about $7. The Fage brand, my first love, is about $5 (I think) at Costco and a lot more expensive at grocery stores and it is only 4 servings. So go with the Costco brand, even though it has 3 fewer grams of protein per serving. 20 is still a lot. Give yourself an extra spoonful or two if it means that much to you.

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While we are on the subject, yes, I do go to Costco way too much. I just can't stay away from the place! I need intervention.  I think the employees are getting sick of me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The reason I can't get anything done lately...

I've just had to accept the fact lately that my house will be DESTROYED in about 4 seconds the instant Jake is on the loose. He considers it his personal mission in life to empty every last cupboard/drawer/closet in the entire house about 50 times a day. Every time I enter a room I hear myself say, "Oh no, what have you done now!!" He also loves toilets, so it is now MY personal life mission to keep every bathroom door in the house closed. If I had a dollar for every time I yelled, "Are the bathroom doors closed?!!!" I could hire a stinking nanny to patrol them for me. I think Jake has Evil Baby Radar that leads him to open bathroom doors no matter how vigilant I try to be because I still find him splashing happily away in one toilet or another on a daily basis. I've considered putting child-proof locks on all the cabinets/closets/doors in the house, but man, I hate those things. I'm just hoping he will grow out of this... eventually! In the meantime I am trying to be grateful for happy, healthy kids and crazy, naughty babies.

This is a typical EVERY DAY scene in my kitchen, except he is only about a third of the way finished with the job. 
The little naughty!! I should probably edit out all the junk on his shirt, but hey, I'm just keeping it real here. 
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jake is One!!!

This last year totally feels like a time warp. I can't believe it's been a year since my little Jake was born!!! But at the same time, I can't even remember life without him. How strange that must have been! He is such a sweetheart and a huge part of our lives. He is truly a fun little guy and has a very wild, adventurous streak! He is full of life and loves to be the center of attention. He is into EVERYTHING. When he is awake and prowling around, the whole family has to be on high alert. Any chance he gets he goes STRAIGHT to the toilet, which is just awesome. He has finally learned to go up AND down stairs. He has taken a few steps already and I know once he figures he can run, he will start walking. He is just too fast of a crawler to make the transition! What a nut, but I wouldn't trade him. Here are a few pictures from his party. It was so fun. I love seeing his little personality develop and blend into our family. Love you, Jakey!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, Alison!

Today is my sister Alison's birthday. Al is one year younger than me and we were always pretty inseparable growing up. She was one year behind me in school, so the only year I didn't have her close behind was my freshman year at BYU. Luckily, she followed after me and came to BYU for her freshman year the next year. I lived with her basically my entire college career. Then we both got married in the same year and she moved to Springville, but eventually made it to Lehi a few years ago and just a few miles away. She now lives across town, but at least still in Lehi. At times in our lives we have spent so much time together that we could have entire conversations with just one look. Alison is as smart as a whip and the most organized person you'll ever meet. She can do ANYTHING. Whenever I have an Anger Management Moment where I can't open a jar or figure out how to put something together she just shakes her head and holds out her hand and has the job done in about 2 seconds. Many times during the day I get frustrated with something and think, "Where is Alison when I need her?!!" I wish I could hire her as my personal assistant. On top of that, she is HILARIOUS. A story isn't a story unless it's been told by Alison. She owns the audience!! She is beautiful and smart and always the first one to help anyone in need. We've been together through thick and thin and I'm so grateful for all of our experiences together. This morning my sister-in-law Christa and I brought her cupcakes and ice cream and had a little party with all the kiddos. It's always fun to get together and especially to see how much fun our kids have together. Love ya, Alison!! Happy Birthday!

The whole crew (minus me, taking the picture). It's a wild bunch with ten kids age eight and under, let me tell you! I'm not quite sure where the little girl in the bottom left came from, I think she is a friend of Halli's, but all the rest are ours!
Alison, me with Jakey Jake and Christa. I wish I had a picture of our four little boys together. Alison has a 2 and 1/2 year old and Christa has an almost 3 year old and a 15 month old. This little generation of boys is SO cute (not to mention LOUD!!). I can't wait to watch them grow up and be friends with each other.
Katelyn (Christa's), Dallin, Luke, and Halli (Alison's). Katelyn and Halli are only a few days apart in age and my boys LOVE to play with them!
Abby and Alison's little Josie. Josie and Luke start kindergarten this year, which is just crazy!! They were just born.
Luke's tooth was on the verge of falling out the entire time we were at Alison's, and as soon as we got home it popped right out! He was pretty proud, but disappointed that it didn't happen at the party so he could show Alison that he lost his first front tooth on her birthday. Pretty special. So here it is. HB Al!!!

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