Thursday, February 28, 2008

Our Vegas weekend

Disclaimer: There are lots of pictures. If you think it is painful for you to check them all out imagine how much of a pain it was for me to load them all. Not to mention the agony of deciding which ones to post!
This past weekend was a much needed vacation for all of us. It was so nice to get away, and my only complaint is that it went by way too fast. Even though we had two babies and one pregnant lady things were wonderful. On Friday we met up with Jason, Tawnie, Dustin and Darlene in St. George and enjoyed lunch at the Senior Citizens Center, aka Chuck-A-Rama. Then the girls headed for the mall while the guys checked out some trailers at an RV dealership. Guess which group took the babies with them? Need I ask... After shopping (why is it that I can't ever find clothes that fit unless I swear that I am not going to buy anything?) we headed to the Nut house in Beaver Dam. I can tell that we are getting older...this year I think we were all in bed that night by 10:00. But we did have a full day ahead of us. The next day we decided to cruise the mini-van to Vegas. It seats 7 and we had 8 so it was a bit of a squeeze, but well worth it. It's much more fun to drive in a large group. The first thing we did once we got there was go to the New Orleans casino for their buffet. It is a few blocks off the strip, but so worth the detour. I highly recommend it, and I normally am not a fan of the buffet. Jason and Tawnie accidentally found it a couple of years ago and never miss an opportunity to eat there. This year we decided to do things a bit different. Instead of wandering aimlessly down the strip we had actual destinations. The first was Hoover Dam, at Jared's suggestion. It was a bit chilly, but the sights were incredible. I can't even imagine taking on a project like building that, or the new bridge that is going up.

Tyler and Brynlie's first trip. I'm sure that they really appreciated the experience and will look back on their memories fondly.

I really liked the first picture that was taken of Jared and I more than this one, but Jason just can't help himself and had to stick his hand in it and ruin it. Actually, he had to ruin a lot of the pictures that were taken. Just like he always does.

I was so impressed that I got all three of us in the picture!

After Hoover Dam we hit the strip and picked up some gifts for the kids at the M&M's store and the guys rode the roller coaster at New York, New York and then the Nascar ride. Ever since having babies I get so sick that I don't even try to ride the rides anymore. If I do, I'm sick and ornery and have a headache for the rest of the day. Jared used to try to get me to ride the rides; now he refuses to let me because he knows what a wreck I am after.

That night we went to Mandalay Bay and saw the Shark Reef. I don't think that I have ever been in that casino before, but I really liked it. The exhibit was a lot of fun, and a great way to end the night. We have a picture of the three of us that I will have to scan and post later.

Look how gross the glass was... You couldn't see the nasty finger prints and smears until the flash lit them up. GROSS!!!
I had lots of really great pictures of Tawnie, but knowing that she has a blog of her own, and plenty of ugly pictures of me, I am not posting any of them. You are welcome, Tawnie!

Darlene was such a good sport the whole weekend, even though she is pregnant and has morning sickness. As I told Jared, if it had been me, you'd have heard me complain about every three steps. Which is why we decided at the very last minute last year not to go.
I have always known that I have a great baby. Brynlie is just so easy going, and rarely fusses, and does long stretches between feedings. But this weekend she really impressed. We could not have asked for a better baby. She was so content to sit in her stroller, or be packed around, even when she was tired. And she didn't cry once on the drive to or from home. Not once! The only time that she got cranky was Saturday night. It was about 2:00 in the morning when we got back and she had been up most of the day and was off schedule and missed her bed. I loved it though because she never lets me snuggle with her and she was so tired that she snuggled right into my shoulder and let me rock her to sleep. I really wish I hadn't been so tired so I could have enjoyed that more.
Sunday we got up and stopped at Wingers with Jason and Tawnie on our way home. After enjoying such mild weather we were greeted with a miserable storm on the way home. Jared was in the back watching a movie and I was trying to not kill us on the slick roads. I have been spoiled working from home all these years and discovered that I don't practice driving in bad conditions nearly as much as I used to.
When we got back into town we stopped at Vince and Meagan's to pick up the two girls. They were so excited to see us and tell us all about their adventures they had while we were gone. Thank you so much to Vince and Meagan for taking the girls Sunday (so Kristi and Chuck could get home for work) and entertaining them and baking cookies. They love spending time with Vince and Meagan and we are so lucky that they live so close. We also need to give a huge thanks to Kristi and Chuck who came down from Logan and spent the weekend at our house so that we could go. Not only did they spoil the kids rotten taking them to the aquarium, Carl's Jr, and visiting puppies, but they also took the time to clean the house and do some laundry before they left. How cool is that to come home to a clean house? Seriously, I couldn't have been happier! And I'm sorry Mom and Dad that you may not end up with as many grand kids now that Kristi and Chuck have sworn off having kids of their own. Maybe with enough time they will forget the weekend long enough to have one of their own!

Little girls and their scissors

I have much blogging to do to catch everyone up on our past week, but before I start that (huge) blog I figured I'd share one of my "blessing" this past week. Last Wednesday I walked into the kitchen to find a doll and some hair lying on the floor, and Sadie hiding nearby. I immediately inspected Sadie's head, and after making sure that none of her hair was missing, I laughed. Why did I laugh? Because this was all the damage she did. Compared to 15 months this is nothing! In fact, I'm glad that she did it. Now maybe she has the hair cutting bug out of her system.
Now lets discuss 15 months ago when Kylie got a hold of the same pair of scissors. At first glance, I saw the barbie and thought it was the barbie's hair. It took me about two seconds to realize that no barbie has that much hair.
And there was more than one color of hair. And there was only one barbie.
And Kylie was holding scissors in her hand. And Kylie was trying to hide her head. And then panic set it. And then the tears came (from both of us)...
Kylie had such long, beautiful until that night. It went from bad to worse when I finally got her to look at me and I realized that she had cut her bangs to her scalp. And when I thought it couldn't get any worse Sadie walked in and I discovered that Kylie hadn't left her little sister out of the salon experience. So today, I count my blessings. My girls still have their hair.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Babies, Cookies, Black Eyes, and Snow Drifts

I have given Sasha plenty of time to get on the internet and write up a quick blog about her ultrasound this week, but her time is up. I'm outing the sex of her baby. She is having a girl! Or, as Jared put it, the Merrell curse continues. If you think about it, it has been 27 years since the one and only boy was born into this family. The only way that we get boys to join is through marriage. Even Jason was able to have a boy, until he married Sasha. And now they are having a girl. This should be good news for them though because I have lots and lots of little girls stuff and no more babies to use it on. I am a little bit scared to hand over my stuff to them because I just know that if I give it all away I will end up pregnant again. You think I'm joking, but I seriously think this will increase my chances of having another baby.

Since Valentines was this week I let the girls decorate some sugar cookies. I gave Sadie one cookie and a container with candy sprinkles and about 5 seconds later she was done. Here is her cookie...

After this cookie she was all decorated out and Kylie got to do all of the rest. These are the ones left after her daddy ate a plate of special ones that she decorated just for him. She was so proud of herself. She even took the picture of the cookies all by herself.
I've been a parent for 5 1/5 years and three babies, and we finally got our first black eye. Sadie woke up Thursday morning with a nice shiner. This picture was taken 5 days later, as it is starting to fade. It took some coaxing, but the girls finally admitted that they were up playing after Jared and I were asleep and Sadie lost her grip on Kylie nightgown that she was pulling on and fell and hit her head on her dresser. You can see it in her picture with her cookie too.
The snow storms this year have been never ending. I am grateful for the moisture, but I'm sick of being a prisoner in my own home. This is the "view" from our front door Valentine's morning. Our porch was completely covered. Normally you have to step up to step into our house. Notice the nice new blinds covering the window to the right? :)

I am really looking forward to spring, or at least our trip this weekend!

Monday, February 18, 2008

My day at church.

I was called to the nursery in June 2006 and released from that at the end of the year so that I could teach the CTR 5's. I was in that calling until this past October when they released me, soon after having Brynlie. Since then I have not been able to sit all the way through a full day's meetings without Brynlie distracting me or making me get up and take her out. I feel like a lot of the time I am only there to wait for Kylie and Sadie to finish their classes. Sunday mornings always seem like chaos, no matter how much I do to prepare the night before. This morning was no different, and it didn't help that I had slept in. At the last minute I decided that I really needed to lose those 5 lbs I've been mentioning before wearing the shirt I had on. So I told Jared to go on ahead as I hurried to iron another shirt. He took Sadie and I followed behind a few minutes later with Kylie and Brynlie. When I got to church I immediately knew this was not going to be a good day. People were parking on the streets in the surrounding neighborhood because there were no available spots in the lot. Our lot is normally packed and requires some to park out on the streets, but the recent ABUNDANCE of snow was plowed taking dozens of spots with it. I finally gave up and dropped Kylie off before parking down the road and hiking in through the slushy streets. Today was ward conference and the Bishop and a counselor in the stake presidency spoke, both giving excellent talks about "murmuring" and things of that nature. Sadie sat with her cousins giving me a chance to actually listen to their talks today. The day was definitely getting better. Sunday School was also a good lesson, and I made it through the full class without needing to take Brynlie out. Relief Society and Priesthood were combined for the conclusion of ward conference, and this is why I blog tonight. They began by handing out the pamphlets about food storage and personal finances and the President began discussing the importance of both. Brynlie began to get really fussy and I had to take her out. I felt strongly that I should be in class and even though she hadn't fallen asleep I returned to class after several minutes of calming her down. I missed him talking about food storage and joined as he was finishing up on the part of personal finances. Jared loved the lesson on food storage (of course. :) He always loves talking food storage.) and said he was interested in the new emphasis on having a 3 months supply of food we regulary eat. I caught the end of the lesson on finances as he was discussing how no matter how deep in trouble we are financially we can still get out. He said that we need money in savings, and that we can't count our available credit on our credit cards as savings. He also said something that hit home with me. He said that the most important thing that we could do is to go home and discuss our finances with our spouses. He then asked for a raise of hands of those willing to do this! This is a problem in our house. Since I work for the credit union where our accounts are I see all of the balances and what goes on, but Jared does not. He is always questioning where our money has gone and I'm always immediately defensive, feeling he is blaming me. I see how we are wasting money, but Jared doesn't see it until he finally presses me and presses me and I tell him how much we DON'T have and then we fight. This is my fault because I need to be more open with him. He stresses easily so sometimes (okay, most of the time) I find it easier to just avoid the subject of money. Anyway, we finally had a good money talk earlier this week and vowed that in today's uncertain economy we needed to make some changes to help assure our financial well being in the future. I can't tell you how happy I was that we had had that talk BEFORE today's lesson. It made it much more comfortable sitting there knowing that we had already put this principle into motion. The next part of the lesson was given by President Murphy, who is actually in our ward. I could immediately tell that he was nervous. His lesson was wonderful. I find that in our church some subjects are uncomfortable and tend to only be very "lightly" address, leaving many gray areas for members to interpret. And let's face it, sometimes we need to be told in much bolder words. For those of you that aren't interested in some of the uncomfortable things he had to say you are welcome to skip on ahead to the next blog, my feeling won't be hurt. :) This blog is my journal, and I want to write down the things I heard today. Tawnie and Jamey, since you were gone, here's your recap! You missed a good one! He gave counsel on a few various topics that the presidency felt we needed to hear. I can't remember all, especially the beginning when Brynlie was a bit fussy, but here are a couple of highlights. He mentioned the Relief Society's use of the "good news" minute that they have at the beginning each week where anyone with good news can share. He said it is great, but to be sensitive to others situations and to not come across as prideful. He also talked about relations between a husband and wife. He said that more and more spouses are pushing the limits in these relationships and asking each other to do things that are not natural and causing things to happen that are not respectful to each other, and that can lead to a loss of temple recommends. He touched briefly on staying away from pornography, which leads to thinking that the things seen are normal and not a perversion of what is sacred. And this is where he got really brave. He talked about the "sex parties" that have become quite popular lately. These are parties that sell items of an "adult nature" for women. I'm sure he brought this up because the local news did a big piece on them recently, mentioning how popular they are here, and interviewing several LDS women that host them or attend them. (Yes, the news made sure to mention their religious beliefs. I hate that. Just because they are doing something and are LDS doesn't mean that the church agrees with it.) He said that these "slumber parties" have inappropriate dialog and lead to discussion about things that are personal and shouldn't be discussed, and that the things that they sell lead to inappropriate behavior. I won't go into as much detail as he did... Anyway, President Murphy then talked about the way we dress. He made a couple of very specific points. He said that at church, flip flops are not okay. Ironically, we had a lesson a couple of years ago in RS that hit on that and no one could agree. It's nice to have someone spell it out for us. He said that we also need to dress better when attending the temple. Men should be in long sleeves, and women should be wearing "hose". Funny thing...last year Meagan and I couldn't decided if it was okay to not wear nylons to the temple for Annie's sealing. No one had told us either way, and we really didn't want to. One of us decided to wear them, one of us didn't. Guess which one of us felt guilty sitting in class hearing that? :) I am happy to now have an official answer to that question! I know that the lesson was not the easiest for President Murphy to give, but I really do appreciate him being in tune enough with the spirit to say the things that we needed to hear. My only request is that next time they have a lesson about how it is the priesthood holders responsibility to take the garbage out. Tawnie and Jamey....can you agree with me on this one?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not the world's best mom.

What an awful, horrible night! Kylie was performing at the Jazz game pre-show last Saturday night and she has been so excited for this night. They have been holding practice three times a week to get them ready and Kylie was constantly practicing around the house. They were supposed to be there at 5:30 and the dance was at 6:30. Because we were required to buy tickets to the game to get in it was only going to be me, Kylie, and Brynlie (who got in for free). Jared said he would take us and drop us off so I didn't have to fight traffic, find a parking spot, and walk a couple of blocks. At about 4:45 I told Kylie to grab her dance bag and make sure she had her ballet slippers so that we could get in the car. Kylie brought the bag to me with only 1 ballet slipper in it. I had hot glued her slipper that morning and handed it to her, telling her to put it back in her bag so we didn't have to search for it. And of course, it's not there. I started searching for it and Jared went out to the car to wait. After about 10 minutes he comes back in to find me freaking out that I can't find it. We TORE the house apart looking for it. Bedding was thrown off beds, cushins removed from the couches, toy boxes dump all over the floors, laundry basket emptied with clothes strewn everywhere. It was awful. I was so upset and kept yelling at poor Kylie for losing her shoe. Jared finally gave up and started watching TV. At 5:30 I told him that we should just go w/out the shoe. Sasha and Jason were also going to the game and I had just called them to see if they would run to a payless to see if they could find some near her size. (I didn't have much hope since they NEVER have much selection). We got in the car and I told Jared to hurry since we were already supposed to be there. We almost ran a lady from our ward off the road in our hurry (I apologized to her at church the next day.), but we made it in 24 minutes (a miracle). I called the downtown payless on the way and they didn't have any in her size, and she said that none of the stores in the valley did. Kylie wears a 12 and they had an 11 or a 13 1/2. I told them to hold both up at the front and Sasha would be in to buy them. Jared dropped me and the two girls off and we RAN in and around the building to the door that we were meeting at. Of course, the dancers were long gone and getting ready, but another dancer's dad saw me with Kylie all dressed up and pointed me to the right portal. I hurried down there and got Kylie situated and then went back up that long set of stairs with a very heavy baby in my arms to wait for Sasha and Jason and the shoes. While waiting I dug through Kylie's dance bag for my camera and discovered that I had left in it the car. The ONE thing I told myself not to forget, and I forgot it. And then Brynlie spit up all over me. Of course. Sasha and Jason showed up right after that and informed me that when they got to payless the employees told them they didn't know what they were talking about, there were no shoes there waiting for them. They only ones they had close to Kylie's size were Jazz shoes, not ballet slippers. Knowing I was desperate they had bought them. I ran them down to Kylie as her class was all walking out onto the court. The poor little thing was so embarrassed to be wearing her tennis shoes. I threw the jazz shoes on her as the dance studio owner came up to me and told me that someone had left a size 12 ballet slipper at class Thursday night!!!! At first I didn't think it was ours since I was sure that we had had both, but as I thought about it I realized that I hadn't ever seen both slippers, just the one that I had hot glued. I returned to Jason and Sasha and did not tell them about this new development since I had made them go on such a wild goose chase. (Sorry guys!) I asked Jason to please take pictures since I didn't bring my camera. Six pictures later the batteries he had just put in that morning died. What else could go wrong?! The dance itself went great and Kylie was so beautiful. She really is quite a good dancer. All of the groups danced to different songs from the Hairspray movie so I'm thinking of buying her the soundtrack or maybe even the movie. On the way home, I broke down and cried. I felt so bad for stressing Jared out, and putting Sasha and Jason through so much, and mostly because this was supposed to be such a special night for Kylie and it turned into such a mess. I had yelled at her and accused her of not putting the slipper away when I should have checked her bag the night she got home to make sure everything was there. I should never have lost my temper with her and vowed that night that I would not let something like this happen again. I love Kylie so much and I am so lucky that I have such a forgiving little girl. I will chalk this one up as a hard earned learing experience, and try to remember it as I try to be more patient with my family.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's been awhile.

I'm not quite sure what has been bothering me for the past week or two, but I wish I could snap out of it. Jared keeps asking me what is wrong, but I don't have an answer. I just feel down. I'm sure part of it is the weather. I am ready for warmer weather so that we can enjoy being outside and not trapped in the house all the time. I want to get out and start walking again and get into shape. I think that part of my problem is also the current politics and election process that are going on. My pick for president was Mitt Romney, and while I honestly didn't think that he would be the winner (I personally thought/think that 2012 is a better bet for him), I never really thought that the front runner would be McCain. Now that the field has been narrowed, I'm really not impressed. Can we have a do over in the Republican Party? Pretty Please? Three kids is also starting to catch up with me. I feel like I do not have enough hours in the day to meet each of their individual needs, plus my husbands, and my own personal needs, not to mention keeping up on the house, meals, and laundry, all while working full time. Kylie is learning so much right now in school, and I feel like a horrible parent rushing her through her homework at the last minute, feeling guilty when we don't read every day, and not sitting down and just spending time with her. She begs me to come to her class and help out, but with work that makes it difficult. And when I get stressed with everything that is on my shoulders, I expect too much from her, and snap at her when she doesn't keep up. I've also tried to start working out again, and night after night I am mad at myself for not finding time to exercise, or I do a quick couple of minutes that really don't count for much. I was really hoping to lose 5 lbs before Vegas in two weeks and I'm frustrated that I can't even manage that. Another thing that I think is bothering me is that I have started reading my scriptures again (see my chart on the right to see how my progress is) and any time I push towards the right direction spritually, the devil pushes with all his might in the other direction. The passing of the prophet, while a wonderful event for him, has also caused a somber mood. He became the prophet while I was in Jr. High and during those very important seminary/high school years, he was my prophet. His presence and personality will be missed. I am not trying to be negative, but maybe by listing these things it will help me recognize what I need to do to cheer up! The past week and a half have been busy ones so I'll try to update everyone on our lives. On Friday, the 1st, Jared's dad went in for surgery on his neck. As soon as Jared received the call that his dad was out of surgery and okay I could just sense his relief. It was a bit scary since they were cutting a hole in the front of his neck to go in and fuse some of the bones together. Hopefully this will relieve him from some of the pain he has lived with for the past several years. The next morning, as we did our taxes, President Hickley had his funeral, and we got a phone call that our Niece Kayla was born a couple of weeks early. We went up to Ogden that evening to visit her and her parents, Jacob and Mindy.

Brynlie and her newest cousin, Kayla
Baby Kayla. She was very awake and alert when we came for our visit
Sadie woke up just in time for us to leave.
Kylie loves little babies!
Sunday was Stake Conference, which meant no church. I'm sure Mom and Dad are reading this and shaking their heads, saying this is not how I was raised. And that's okay, you are better parents than us because NO WAY were we going to sit through two hours with these three girls! Speaking of church, yesterday I decided to let Brynlie try out the sacrament water for the first time. Bad idea. The moment that water was gone she started screaming. She was MAD that I took it away from her. I had to get up and take her out because she was not going to calm down until she got something else to drink, which meant a trip to the mother's room. Earlier in the week Vince and Meagan came over to help install the blinds that we bought from her brother Jason and his wife Jan. (How many Jason's is that you ask? Her brother Jason, Sasha's husband Jason, Jared's brother Jason, and his son, also named Jason. NO MORE JASONS!!) They were so nice to come over and install them, without us even asking, since Jan and Jason live in Vernal. And the blinds are wonderful. If anyone is in need of some blinds I can point you in their direction! Some of you may be wondering why I feel the need to blog about something as trivial as blinds... After two and a half years of showing the neighbors more than they asked to see it is exciting to have that glass next to the front door finally covered. Saturday was Kylie's big dance day. She was dancing at the pre-game show for the Utah Jazz. The evening deserves it's own post so I will blog all about it tomorrow (and let me tell you, it isn't pretty. Just ask Jason and Sasha.) I do want to mention that while I have been so ornery these past couple of weeks Jared has tried very hard to be patient with me and has tried very hard to make me happy. One day he called and told me that that night we would have a housecleaning party that night when he got home to help me catch up on our messy house. He even took some cash out of the safe one night and told me to go shopping (without any kids!!) and buy something for myself. Thank you Jared! I love you! Oh, I just thought of another reason for my bad mood. Sadie left a barely eaten fudgsicle on our coffetable that melted all over the middle of our living room floor. For those of you who know me well, you know that that alone could put me in a bad mood for a week!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Vegas baby!

Every year a group of us goes down to Vegas for Valentine's weekend. Jared and I seem to go about every other year. Last year I was pregnant and my morning sickness really started getting bad the week of Valentines so Jared and I decided not to go. I didn't think that we would be going this year since we have a 4 month old, but we have decided that we really need to get away and so Vegas here we come! Jason and Tawnie will be bringing Tyler, who is only two months old, so we won't be alone. The recent snow storms have only made me more excited for our vacation. This year we will be waiting until the weekend following Valentines to see if we can miss some of the crowds that show up ever year to get married in Vegas on Valentine's. And let me tell you, the people that go to Vegas on Valentine's Day to get married...they are some high class people. I mean really, what is more romantic than that? They do make for some interesting people watching though so I can't complain too much. In honor of our upcoming trip, here are some pictures from our 2004 and 2006 trip.

Jared and I at the top of the Eifel Tower.
Jared, Jason, and Jacob
Kim, Me, Tawnie, and some idiot in the background.
Jason and Tawnie
Kim, Kendal, Mindy, Jason, Jacob, Jared, and Tawnie

Jared, Jason, and a pregnant Tawnie.
Jason, Tawnie, Kim and Kendal
Jared's toes. He's probably going to make me take this picture down once he sees it so enjoy it while you can. He and Kendal fell asleep so we painted their nails...
and Kim did Kendal's make-up. Again, I may be forced to take this picture down so enjoy it while you can.

Jason trying so hard to stay awake since he know's what just happend to Jared and Kendal.

Kendal, Kim, Jared and Jason
Jason, Kendal, Kim and Jared
Tawnie and Kim
Me at the Nut House
I owe a special thanks to Kristi. She called a couple of weeks ago to see if she could come visit for the weekend and keep the kids while Jared went out on a date. Even though she had a horrible time (Brynlie screamed most of the time) she has agreed to come back next month so that we can go to Vegas. Of course, she told me that if we hadn't planned to take Brynlie she would have said no. And another thanks to Vince and Meagan for agreeing to help out too. They kept the kids for us last time we went, and almost kept them for us last year too, before we decided not to go.