Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dumb Goals

Am I the only one who does this? Sets some random goal, like completing 100 Sudoku puzzles for no reason, and then drives myself crazy until I accomplish it? Please tell me other people do this. Of all the goals I should have and all the things I should be doing with my days...

It started last week at my in-laws' cabin (that almost burned down recently, see how pretty it is with all the new grass poking through?). We took the kids up there for fall break and I thought it would be super fun to play games (insert enthusiastic mom-voice here) as a family. We're not really game-playing people, and by that I mean, we never try. So I dug out a few brand new, dust-covered games and was determined to teach my kids to play something. It went great. 

We started with Monopoly. The boys LOVED it. We had several all-out battles and they couldn't get enough. I felt so successful. We got so wrapped up in Monopoly we didn't even take a crack at the other games I brought.

Then one afternoon while the kids were out fishing with Jason and I had the place to myself (insert choirs of angels here), I decided to try my skills at our never-opened game of Sudoku. You will notice it spread out on the floor to the right of the crazy six-year-old who is NOT jumping on the couch (sorry Grandpa). The game is organized with puzzles from 1 to 100 from super easy to super hard. I learned how to do Sudoku puzzles years ago but well, I was a little rusty. I am "super worried" that my brain is atrophying as I age. What could be a more perfect brain exercise than number logic puzzles? 

Except then I got addicted.

And I made it my goal to complete all 100 puzzles.

See the little spider hanging from his web, watching me play? I was so excited to have company!
He's the only one who understands me.
But it's so fun! I have it spread out on the dresser in my bedroom and it's perfect for a quick little diversion when I'm passing through. Or when I need to waste an hour or two and I should be doing something else.

Or when I have a mad baby on my hip who doesn't want to me to sit down and I'm tired of trying to do anything productive with only one arm. Liv-Town, seriously, how do you know when I'm sitting down or standing? I really wish babies weren't built with radar.

The other day I thought, "This is ridiculous. I'm only on puzzle 14. It's going to take me 14 years to get through all these. I'm just going to skip to #100 and be done." So I did. Puzzle 100 took me a while, but it wasn't THAT hard. I mean, I finished it... eventually. And I kind of loved it. I was too sad to give up my goal, so now I'm back on track, on puzzle 16 and I can't stop thinking about it. 

The thing about Sudoku is, after a while you get to the point where you can just look at a column and know, hey it needs a 7, without even counting through the numbers. Or glance at the whole thing and think, hey, almost every box has a 5, so it will be easy to find the last few fives. Kind of like when Solitaire was the only computer game and you got to the point where you could click through mindlessly for hours and know exactly what to do with out thinking. And you felt amazing when the cards started jumping around and you didn't even remember how you got there.

So maybe what I really need is just a mindless diversion. Hey, it's better than online shopping. This is free, convenient, and I feel like I'm getting smarter every time I play. It's like I'm doing math without actually doing math. Did I mention I hate math? So I can work with numbers and feel smart, while actually I'm just zoning and figuring out where things go.

Now I just wish I knew how to pronounce it (Su-do-KU? Su-DO-ku? Sud-OKU? Sudok-U?). Everything Asian confuses me. For example, how are Asians so fashionable? Every time I see them walking around the mall in moon-shoes and totally rocking it, I feel so inadequate. How do they do that? And make it cool?

I think it confuses him, too.

Other dumb goals I have are keeping my house perfectly clean (ha ha), giving away everything I own (then I just keep buying new stuff), and only going to Costco once a week (good luck with that one, lady). See how all my goals contradict each other? And make no sense? Why can't I set some meaningful goals and stick to them, like exercising daily or becoming a better person. I don't know. My new goal is to set some meaningful goals. I will think about it while I work on puzzle 17.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A birthday and a baptism

Last Saturday was a special day for our family. Sweet Abby turned 6 and Luke was baptized that same day. Luke was very serious about his decision to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I couldn't have been prouder of him. Abby agreed to do most of her birthday celebrating the day before so we didn't have to squeeze two big events into one day.
Abby loves her kindergarten class and had so much fun being in the spotlight. The kids got to ask her questions, which mainly consisted of, "What are you doing for your party?" and "Why wasn't I invited?" Being the resourceful mom that I am I told her she could do whatever she wanted. Then I suggested that she invite two friends and we could take them anywhere she wanted. Then I suggested the two friends, and that we could go swimming and to McDonald's. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Yeah!" so as long as she's happy, I don't feel too bad that she didn't get the friend party of her dreams again. That was last year. Sorry, 15 little girls in the neighborhood and 10 in her class. I just didn't feel up to it this year.

Abby's teacher this year is Mrs. Mason. Abby LOVES her. So much in fact, that the only complaint Mrs. Mason had at parent teacher conference last week was that often Abby will want to sit and talk to her during recess instead of going out to play on the playground. I guess that is a good thing? Also, I brought in little ice creams for the kids, which you can see Abby holding hers, and it was a bad idea. I always do this for the older kids and it works great, but the kindergartners were a little deficient in being able to get the lids off, and when they did, they flung them every which way. Then they ended up taking the ice cream with them because they ran out of time, and I'm sure the drippy remains ended up on the bus floors and the bus drivers all hate my guts for ruining their day that lonely Friday afternoon. So then don't be a bus driver. It's not my fault.

After school I took these three little cuties to the Legacy Center to swim for an hour. I thought they would branch out and swim all over the kiddie area, but they just wanted to splash around right in front of me. It was really cute. It may have been the humidity of the enclosed pool, but I just felt so happy and warm. Then we headed over to McDonald's and met Jason and the rest of the kids. I tell ya, why do we do fancy things for our kids? Give them a happy meal and 40 minutes in the dirtiest play area in town and they think they've died and gone to heaven. Hopefully everyone's immunity was boosted just a little bit that day.

Abby picked out this pink tiger striped cake at a grocery store and thought it was the greatest thing ever. She blew out the candles the second it was close enough to her face, so I don't think she made a wish, but I don't know if those things ever come true anyway. I'm still waiting for my million dollars to show up from the last 30 birthdays I've had. From my calculations, that should be about 30 million dollars. ANY DAY NOW...

Which brings us to Abby's actual birthday, Luke's baptism day. For such a sweet, happy kid, he sure hates to smile in pictures. And what the heck is up with my fuzzy camera lately? I can't seem to get a clear shot to save my life.

Oh whoa, wait a tick, he's smiling... a terrible smile! Just look natural, son. All dressed up in your white jumpsuit with your dad. I guess you're precious no matter what you do.

Here we are, the whole crew. All SEVEN of us! It's just so many people. I keep forgetting how many kids I have. There is a BATCH of them. And they are all nuts. How am I going to do this?

Luke with his "Burley grandparents". My sweet mom and dad made the trip to be there for Luke's special day. Of course I couldn't have managed without my mom's help, and my dad spent the afternoon installing new headlights on Jason's truck. What fun for him! Thanks, dad!

I have a sneaking suspicion that Jason's dad, Grandpa Doug, hates pictures just as much as Luke does. I love this picture because he just looks TICKED. He's actually a really nice guy, right Dougie? You handsome fella, you.

Luke and his great grandpa Stevens (Jason's mom's dad). We love Grandpa Stevens. He lives in Pleasant Grove and it is fun to have him nearby. My kids are so lucky to know their great grandparents! Mine were old as the hills.

Oh, for precious! I told you Doug is a character. He can be so mischievous.

Grandma Rita and Grandpa Doug, how cute can you be? If you are not familiar with my mother-in-law's amazing blog,, you should take a gander. She is probably the most talented person I've ever met and she shares all her secrets on her blog. I should have taken a picture of the quilt she made Luke. Oh wait, here it is. Now you can make one too! Seriously, amazing. And here are the quilts she made for Livi: #1, #2, #3. Also, baby bib aprons, or shall we say, baprons? Oh, the creativity.

This is Luke's great grandma Evelyn (Jason's dad's mom). We love living near Grandma Evelyn and appreciate her efforts to be a part of our lives. She is so kind to these kids and all of us. I also love this picture because of Jason's brother Lance and his wife Tess in the background. Lance loves to hold Livi, but only until she cries. I think secretly, he just likes babies, even when they cry. Lance and Tess are so great. 

Here's a little better shot of the beautiful Tess. She makes everything fun. Jake is just bombing on through. Something about him just makes me want to squeeze him every chance I get. Also in attendance were Jason's sister Lacey and her kids, and my brother Ryan, his wife Christa and their kids. I didn't do a very good job of documenting all the guests! But I did appreciate their presence. We have such great family support and it means so much to me. It was a really special day and I can't believe my little Lukie is already eight years old! He was just a year old when we moved into this house and it seems like yesterday in many ways. But honestly, for all my sentimental talk of, "Oh, I"m so sad, how did my kids get so big!" I wouldn't go back. I wouldn't trade these days right now for anything. Each kid just seems so perfect at the age he or she is at. Not that my kids are perfect. We have a lot of time outs and way too much drama sometimes, but I really enjoy each of them right now. It amazes me that these individuals all came from the same place (me!), but then I remember, no, they really didn't. They came from my Heavenly Father and are all unique spirits with a unique mission on this earth. I am just grateful for the opportunity I get to be with them and I feel privileged and honored to be their mother. And hopefully I don't lead them too far astray in the process.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Meet Alivia

Well, hello friends, it's been a while. I would like to introduce you to the reason I have been a little behind on the old blog. My sweet daughter Alivia Anne was born June 3, 2013. She was born four weeks early because of complications with placenta previa and acreta, but everything went well and she is a healthy beautiful baby.

Alivia was 6 lbs. 12 oz. at birth. I don't think anyone bothered to measure her length. If they did, they didn't tell me about it. I had to deliver in the operating room, in a different hospital, with different doctors and all these big teams of specialists. They had to put me out, and when I came to, nobody cared... it was not the glamour-shot delivery I'm used to having. But apparently, the important thing is a healthy baby. So I am grateful for modern medicine and the fact that Alivia and I are both here to tell the story!

My little family was beyond excited to meet their new sister. I was so happy because the older boys immediately fell in love with her. When they found out I was having a girl they were not impressed but I was confident once she was actually here they would change their minds. And of course I was right.

How could you not love this little weasel?

Luke was especially taken with her. He was so in awe of how tiny and perfect she was. He was kind of a baby hog in the beginning. And he still loves her, but he is more willing to share now.

I had to stay in the hospital for five days. That is a long time when there are four kids at home who need their mama! Jason stayed in the hospital with me most nights and it was fun to have the time with just the three of us.

This is the reason everything was able to go so smoothly. My lovely mama stayed with us for two weeks! She took care of everything while I was in the hospital, and then stuck around to take care of all of us once I got home. This is after she had just spent several weeks taking care of my Aunt Wilma and had not been home in so long! I will always be grateful for her sacrifice and willingness to do whatever was needed. There is nothing like being taken care of by your own mother. I love her so much.

Livi was so tiny and sweet those first few weeks. I love that time with a newborn. There is nothing quite like it in all the world.

Ohhhhhh.... there are no words. 

It was kind of a lame summer for the kids with me recovering from a c-section and trying to adapt to life with five. We did a lot of fishing and we even went to temple square on the fourth of July. I feel bad that we didn't have our usual fun summer of swimming and camping and Yellowstone, but we did alright. 

Alivia was blessed on August 4. It was a very special day. I was really nervous to have #5 and it has been bittersweet because I know she is my last baby, and I'm trying to absorb every minute of it. In some ways I'm looking forward to kids getting older and more independent, but as my older kids grow I'm realizing that the joy of little kids is just the pure, unconditional love they give. It is always there, and even though it is time-consuming and sleep-depriving, there is nothing like a newborn. I adore this little girl and I can feel how special she is every time I look in her eyes and hold her close. It is humbling to be responsible for this little family of mine but I love them more than I ever thought it would be possible to love anything. 

Add in one amazing husband that loves us all just as much as we love him, and life just couldn't be any better.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A tribute to one of the greatest mothers I have ever known.

I wrote the post below on Mother's Day but couldn't bring myself to publish it all week. My Aunt Wilma passed away today, May 18, 2013 and I am filled with so many emotions. Sorrow that she is gone. Relief that she is free from suffering. Gratitude that I will see her again someday. She was such a special lady. I love her so much. She will be so missed.

Wilma with baby Abby, October 2007.

May 12, 2013 - Mother's Day
This is my Aunt Wilma. Today is a very bittersweet Mother's Day for me because yesterday I said good bye to her for the last time. Less than one month ago she was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was unbelievable because she is a marathon runner and has never smoked in her life. She was in great health, but the cancer progressed so quickly. Two days ago the doctors told her there was nothing else they could do and she was free to go home to spend her final days. She is my mother's sister, and our entire family is heartbroken. She has always been the center of the Crane family and a mother to all of us, even though she never had children of her own.

I visited her in the hospital just three weeks ago and she seemed completely fine to me. I was nervous going in, hoping it was a good time to visit, and it was perfect. I felt so good being there with her. I spent an hour talking to her and laughing and being reassured that this was just a bump in the road and she was going to be fine. I just knew everything was going to be okay.

But now it seems that "okay" is different than what I had envisioned. After visiting her yesterday, I know it's okay for her to go now. The change in her in this short amount of time is huge. It's like she's aged 20 years in just a few weeks. It's a blessing she won't have to suffer much longer. She still knew me and greeted me with open arms. "Oh, Anne Marie, Anne Marie!" Just the way she says my name is so loving. I must have hugged her ten times. It was so hard to walk away.

I have a little secret I'm not sure my other Crane cousins should know. It's that I think I'm her favorite. The thing is, they each think they are her favorite, too. Wilma has this way of loving so completely that you never doubt you have a special place in her heart. All nine of her siblings had many children of their own, and now all of us cousins are cranking out the grand kids like you wouldn't believe. She knows us all. Our spouses, our kids, what we are up to. It's nothing short of amazing. She has turned our lives into her life. I just can't imagine life without her.

I've never had the experience of talking to someone who knows they won't live much longer. Like always, she has a great attitude and acknowledges that this isn't the way she hoped things would go, but it's going to be okay.
May 11, 2013
I think one of things that makes Aunt Wilma unique is her genuine interest in others. I have always felt like she loves me and cares about what is going on in my life. When I was in college I spent some time in Europe with a room mate. When I returned, I spent the night at Aunt Wilma's in Salt Lake City before driving home to Idaho the next day. I had a boatload of pictures and I was so excited to share everything I had experienced. I remember Aunt Wilma sitting down with me and going through every single picture, asking questions and listening to my stories and wanting to hear every last detail. I loved sharing my experiences with her and I was just busting to go home and go through it all again with my parents. My parents, however, were like most people and hearing about someone else's trip for hours didn't exactly rank high on the radar. I don't think they ever even looked at my pictures. It has always meant a lot to me that Aunt Wilma did that for me, and even pretended like she liked it (and maybe she did!).

I lived with Aunt Wilma for about a month after I graduated from college. I was taking some computer classes in Salt Lake and my dad didn't want me driving too far each day, so I moved on in with Wilma. It was such a fun time. I'll never forget how each morning she would set out a glass of ice water with a straw for me, along with a cereal bowl and spoon. She had to leave earlier than I did and I loved coming upstairs to a little breakfast table set just for me. She would make dinner for me each night and listen to me talk about my day. After several years of being on my own, it felt so good to have someone take care of me. I will always cherish those days.

Each year my mom's family has a reunion in the hills above Bennington, Idaho, where my Grandpa Crane herded sheep. Aunt Wilma made stick horses for all the great-grandkids and would take them on a tour of the area and tell them lots of stories about our family history. It was one of the things my kids looked the most forward to each year. I hope we can keep the tradition going, but it won't be the same without Wilma. When I explained to five-year-old Abby that Wilma is sick and is not going to live much longer Abby asked, "But then who is going to lead the reunion?"

I guess the thing I am most grateful for about Wilma is her Christ-like example. Her testimony of the gospel never wavered and she truly loved others as Christ did. I never felt anything but love and acceptance from her. Her positive attitude and love for life touched everyone she met. I will always be grateful that I had the opportunity to know her in this life, and especially that I got to sit down with her one last time and tell her I love her and thank her for her influence. How grateful I am for the knowledge that families are forever and I will see her again. I love you, Aunt Wilma!

Monday, April 1, 2013

36 Things About Me

So last week was my birthday. I used to hate birthdays. All through my twenties, I thought it was just terrible that I was growing old. But now that I'm in my thirties, I say, bring it on. I can't wait to get old. Like, old old. I hope I live to be 100. You can get away with anything when you're 100. And no expectations. Congratulations for being alive. That's all you get, every day. I wish someone would congratulate me for being alive every day at 36. Also, it doesn't bother me if you know I am 36. The only thing that would be better is if I were 63. Can't wait for that day.

Anyway, in the spirit of who-really-cares-anyway, here are 36 things you might or might not know about me. I know, these lists went out of style in 2007. But I'm bringing 'em back, baby! Who really cares anyway?

1. Well, I guess I just said this, but I'm excited to get old.
2. Cause when you're old, anything goes.
3. I'm hoping for a catheter.
4. I'm the only person I know (besides a few of my sisters), who wants a catheter.
5. One of my favorite things about being in the hospital having a baby is that I get to have a catheter. When the nurse comes to take it out afterward, I'm always like, "No, I'm good. Check back in a while." I try to put them off until the nurses change shifts and forget about it. I've gone a solid 24 hours without having to get up to use the bathroom in the hospital before.
6. What could be better than never having to get up from your bed to use the bathroom?
7. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want a catheter. Makes no sense.
8. My mom is going to be really embarrassed that I am writing about catheters on my blog.
9. Switching topics, I really love to play the piano.
10. My goal is to learn to play the organ and play in sacrament meeting by the time I'm 40 (that will redeem me in my mom's eyes).
11. It terrifies me to play in front of people and I think that's why I want to do it so badly. I have to conquer this fear.
12. I've been playing the piano in Primary for over a year now, and it is my favorite calling ever.
13. I'm still not good at it, and I consider it a success if I can make it through the Hello song, which we sing every week, without too many mistakes.
14. I'm really scared to have five kids.
15. I keep telling myself if I can get through this next year with a new baby, I can do anything.
16. I love newborns. I don't care about the sleepless nights or looking like death. Newborns are so precious to me.
17. The age I struggle with most is the "newly mobile" stage, around seven to fifteen months. Please, for the love of humanity, just sit there for a few minutes and stop putting crap in your mouth.
18. Although I'm sad my kids are getting older, I love going through all the new phases of life with them.
19. I beg my kids to tell me who they have crushes on, because I remember all my grade school crushes, from kindergarten through jr. high. Every year I had at least one true love. I don't think a single one of them ever liked me back. Good thing, because I'm pretty sure half of them are in prison now. I guess I shouldn't say that, because maybe I could have done them some good in their lives. But most likely, I would just be in prison with them by now, had we ended up together.
20. I love and support my husband in everything he does, even if I don't like it (I'm looking at you, hunting).
21. But I'm glad my husband and boys have something that keeps them close and gives them something to do together.
22. I think one of my greatest talents is making fun of hunting. It is probably the thing that comes the easiest to me of everything I do.
23. For one thing, there is a never-ending source of material.
24. For another thing, it makes NO sense.
25. It's not like I'm against it, really, I just don't understand it. I'm trying though... You want to kill an animal, why? Okay. Why not.
26. I really admire my husband's drive and motivation for hunting. He does not give up on his goals. While his aspiration in life is to slay all 20-something species of big game animals with a bow, mine is simply to not have to get out of bed at night to use the bathroom. He will probably be successful. I won't. I really need to be more like him.
27. I'm a pretty reserved person and I don't speak up as much as I should. Probably because I'm usually thinking about things like the ones on this list, and I know people will think I'm weird if I spout them off.
28. Stuff stresses me out. I have an overwhelming urge to throw away everything in my house on a daily basis.
29. I used to think I loved to organize. Now I realize the less stuff I have, the less I need to organize. It's easier to keep track of 2 things than 227 things. Duh!
30. Yes, this does mean I need things I threw away last week.
31. I don't care. I'm still happier without it.
32. Of all the clean things I love, clean kids are my favorite. I love just-out-of-the-bath, squeaky clean kids. Even if it doesn't last very long.
33. I think almost every bad mood can be cured by a good bath.
34. I've always dreamed of driving an El Camino. Possibly living in one.


35. See how useful they are? Now I'm going to be thinking about El Caminos all day.
36. Being old is going to be awesome. In the 2070s I'm totally going to be driving my El Camino around with all my grandkids in the back and telling them how I was born in the 1970s. I might even go as far as putting a camper shell on the back. Oh yeah, and don't forget the catheter. I'll never even have to pull over.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A few things Jason probably doesn't want you to know

If you know my husband at all, you probably think of him as kind of a man's man. A big, tough hunter, a motivated businessman, a talented athlete.Yes, he is all of these things. But there is more to him than meets the eye, my friend. Let me introduce you to the softer side of Sears, or Jason, as the case may be.

Inside the rough and tough exterior and all the talk about shooting things and who could take who in a game of one-on-one is kind of, well, I was going to say a teenage girl, but that's not really accurate. More of someone a teenage girl could relate to. Which is great, because I'm kind of a teenage girl at heart myself.

Let's start with Jason's secret love of the Bachelor. He will argue with this and say, "Whatever, you made me watch this season with you!" This is true. I decided that this year we should watch it together. Instead of him watching it late at night and waking me up every time someone's old boyfriend showed up on the set, or the most decent girl got sent home. I've watched a few seasons over the years, but I've never watched the Bachelorette, which has been viewed for many seasons in our home but not by me. So he also loves the Bachelorette, in addition of course to the 433 hunting shows that are queued up on our DVR, so it all balances out his manliness in the end.

Watching the Bachelor this year with Jason has been one of the best decisions of my life. Not only do we laugh for a solid half hour after the show, in addition to the joy of critiquing every moment of the actual episode (which is usually 2 hours), I also have the opportunity to laugh at Jason the entire time and his in-depth knowledge of the show. After protesting watching the first episode with me, it only took about ten minutes into it until he was saying things like, "Are you kidding me, he is giving out the First Impression Rose already? What a joke! Come on, Sean!" As one who has never even heard of a First Impression Rose, I was very impressed, and I also died laughing. I especially love it when he tells me the rules of the game, like I am a huge idiot because who doesn't know that whichever girl doesn't get a rose on a 2-on-1 date is automatically sent home, and things like that (I don't know if that is an actual rule, I can't keep them straight, you'll have to ask Jason).

Anyway, watching the Bachelor with Jason has been one of the finer experiences in my life. I do realize that's not saying a lot. In any case, I am anticipating tonight's final episode, but also dreading it because then we have to wait until what, the fall, to watch Des fail to find love as the Bachelorette (because you know the Bachelorette is going to be Des). Because I'm pretty sure I'm going to watching it with Jason.

Poor Des with the crazy brother. She was so close to finding true love with an amazing man.
Another teenage-girlish thing I love about Jason is that he is full of surprises, even when he is predictable. Every single night on his way home from work, he calls to update me on his life and everything that happened at work that day (predictable). I am usually busy in the kitchen, bustling away to get dinner prepared, so I put the phone on my shoulder and give him the opportunity to vent for his fifteen-minute drive home by inserting the appropriate "uh-huh, so true, you're absolutely right, what a jerk, etc." that he needs to hear to soothe his soul and satisfy his need to be understood before he walks in the door.

Well, the other night I was uh-huh-ing away, listening to how rates are bad, and title companies are idiots, and every person in the world is terrible, and then all of a sudden he was saying, "And then there's this horse! Every single day all he does is just stand there on the corner and look at me and wish to be with the other horses! I'm so sick of it. Why does he have to be all alone when there are a bunch of other horses right across the street that he could be with instead of cooped up all by himself all the time? I've had it. I'm just going to set him free!"

It took me a minute to realize that he was talking about the horse on the corner as you enter our neighborhood, who, yes, is all by himself, stands in the same place every day, and is without a doubt sad and lonely, but I don't think that gives Jason the right to turn him loose when he is only 10 yards from the highway. I tried to convince Jason of this, hoping he wasn't getting out of his truck at the time and messing with the fence. Hunters can be so unpredictable.

See how sad he is?
Fortunately, I heard the garage door going up in the middle of my argument, so I knew Jason hadn't taken any drastic measures. Yet. He still talks about that dang horse every time we drive by! The kids report to him every time they see the horse eating at the opposite end of his pasture because Jason doesn't believe the horse ever moves, and that justice needs to be done. I have to hear about it every time we leave the neighborhood, and every time he is on the phone with me and drives by the unfortunate animal.

Just yesterday we passed The Horse as we were driving up to my in-laws' and Jason talked about it for exactly half the trip. Words like "the poor thing!" and "it's not right!" were repeated over and over. I'm about ready to set the horse free myself, but I know the owners and I love them with all my heart so I can't do that to them. But I really wish they would get a friend for that horse.

I guess what I'm saying is, when you get married, there's really no way to know what you're getting into. Fortunately for me, I got a lot more than I bargained for in a good way. Yes, there is a lot more blood and fur than I anticipated, but there are also a lot more surprises and laughs than I could have imagined. Also, you better hurry and read this because Jason will probably make me take it down the first time someone at church says, "So, Jason, how's the Bachelor?" Work with me, people, and don't say anything. Just laugh as he walks by.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

An Announcement and Dallin's Tenth Birthday

Well, I realize I've been missing from the blogging world for a while now. I have a good excuse. I'd like to take this opportunity to announce the impending arrival of our fifth child, and the cause of my retreat into the dark abyss of winter and anti-social behavior. I am so excited to have a new little nipper in the family, and also excited to finally be getting over the curse of morning sickness. My family is also very excited about that. Yay, mom is cooking again! Mom is moving again! It's a Christmas miracle. I promised myself this pregnancy would be better and I wouldn't let myself succumb to out-of-control hormones, but alas, I was lying to myself. What can I say, the first part of pregnancy is hard for me, but now it is over and I am ready to embrace life once again. The new little one will arrive at the end of June. We can't wait!!

It's crazy to think about a new little baby, because it seems like about ten minutes ago that my oldest, Dallin, was handed to me in the hospital. But that was ten years ago. TEN. Yesterday was Dallin's tenth birthday. I still can't believe it. He is such a great kid and he makes me proud every single day. Being a parent is tricky business, and I am far from perfect. I'm grateful to Dallin for being such a good sport as I fumble my way through day by day, using him as the guinea pig for just about everything. Being the oldest is hard work, but he does a great job of being a good example, and also being my favorite buddy. It's rewarding in a totally different way than having a newborn. I love that he gets my jokes now. I love his sense of humor. I love his passion and enthusiasm for every thing he does. He is motivated beyond belief and I rarely have to remind him to do homework. He is a great athlete and has a confidence I envy. Watching him play sports is incredibly stressful to me because I think, "If that were me out there, I would be dying under all that pressure!" But luckily he takes after his dad and has the ability to just go for it. Wow, he didn't get that from me!

The birthday boy after his Jr. Jazz game.

The kids had so much fun playing football on the turf at XSI Factory at Dallin's friend party Friday night.
Luke played with them, but tended to get a little upset when things didn't go his way.
Jason was the "coach" and I think he had more fun than the boys.
What good boys. A little wild and crazy maybe, but good kids.
Dallin begged for a Chicago Bears cake, so of course I delivered. Here I am thinking, "Dallin, you better not make lemur eyes at the camera," while Dallin makes lemur eyes at the camera. Makes me so mad!
Then he had to be a lemur for his "ten" shot, too. Ohhhh, I'm going to whip him. I didn't spend all that time figuring out how to make a Chicago Bears cake so he can look psychotic for posterity.
Here we are, all looking a little psychotic in one way or another. Dallin is being decidedly anti-lemurish so we're just going to have to go for it. Another great birthday, another year gone by. I'm so grateful for this little family. I couldn't ask for anything more. Maybe a nap once in a while, but that's it. That's the only improvement I can think of right now.