Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good people

I love associating with good people. Their goodness rubs off on me and inspires me to be more selfless, giving, and loving--all great qualities that I could implement more in my life. Last night I had a humbling experience and realization--accepting service. Now I just accepted lots of service a few months ago as many wonderful people brought over meals when I came home from the hospital. That was even a little difficult to accept because I feel and logically think in my head that TECHNICALLY Jeff or I can feed my kids after coming home from the hospital. I could feed my kids nuggets or heck even cereal for dinner. It's not the healthiest and I wouldn't want to do that but I could if I had too. That kinda leads to my story last night.....
  I asked a babysitter to come over after mutual while my kids were sleeping so she could hold Macie while I cleaned the house. Jeff is gone in New York until Friday night, Macie just had shots and has been wanting to be held constantly, family is coming tonight, and my house needed some picking up. She came over to hold Macie but what I wasn't expecting is for her mom to come and help me. She had to insist and just start cleaning because I didn't want her too. It made me feel bad because TECHNICALLY I could do the dishes and sweep. It wasn't like I was incapable of accomplishing these tasks. She helped and after an hour the laundry that had been sitting at the top of my stairs for 2 days were put away. The bathroom and bedroom for guests were picked up, dishes done, floor swept, things picked up from the floor, and trash thrown away was done. I was so grateful. It would have taken me a lot longer and I learned a valuable lesson. It's okay to accept service even though I was capable of doing those things. I don't have to feel guilty or awful. I could of done those things but I did need assistance. By the end of day 2 with 4 kids on my own and entertaining them ALL day, I did need the help mentally and emotionally rather than physically. Even though I woke up to a kid puking, I felt rejuvenated that my home was clean before guests and that I didn't have to stress and nag my kids or have them sit in front of the TV all day in order to clean the house. I hope to remember in 10 years when my kids are older to help moms with young kids like the woman who helped me last night. This morning I remembered my friend's MIL was having surgery and offered to send her kids here for a few hours to swim. Service is just one revolving door that keeps circulating and never stops:)

2 months

On Memorial Day Macie turned 2 months. She's grown so much. She's grown 3 1/2 inches and 4 lbs. She's currently 24 inches (95%ile) and 12 lbs (84 %ile). She's one healthy baby and I couldn't be more happy. She received her first shots and had a fever that night. It was the first time in 6 weeks that I actually had to turn on the light and wake up with her (2:30am). She's sleeps amazingly well at night and has since she was 2 weeks.  
 A picture I snapped in the morning. Seriously how am I suppose to get house work done when I have this perfect little baby too stare at? Needless to say, I stayed in bed an extra 45 minutes doing just that while Jeff got Sydney off to school. I feel that was an equal trade, right???
 A picture after her bath. I have to make sure and wash the crusty, old milk under one of the several folds under her neck.
 I couldn't resist painting her cute little toe nails.
 She's smiling people (while her eyes are open)! Her first smile was during this month--May 18th. Jeff got her to smile at him while they were chillin' by the pool.
 At the Gilbert TempleVisitors Center. The visitor center closed today, May 26th, because they need to finish the landscaping. They estimate the open house of the temple will be in Nov/Dec. I'm so excited for my kids to see inside a temple and remember it. Sydney was about 18 months when we went to the Newport Beach open house.
 2 months have flown by and it's fun to see and compare how much she has grown in just a month.
Her left eye that always got goopey went away on it's own and she stopped hiccuping. It was a nightly occurrence at about 9:30pm, even in utero.

Natural Bridge

On Memorial Day we drove to Payson and went on a hike to Tonto's Natural Bridge. We went with the Theurer's. They have kids about the same ages as ours. It was fun to hear the conversations that was said between each other. For example, Jeff heard Jordyn say to her friend, "Just think about when we're back in our cold car watching a movie and eating a snack."
 We made it through the bridge. I was carrying Macie in the Baby Bjorn it was a trek to get to where we are in this picture. There was about 1/2 mile of climbing over boulders, streams, and slippery rock. Once we were under the bridge it was dripping water on us. I even slipped once. The rocks were SO slippery. I'm glad we made it. It was like a class IV hike for little Macie. Her first hike and she was a champ. The kids were awesome too! I owe that to their friends. We've noticed there is less complaining when they have friends to hike with.
 Levi was an amazing hiker. He was keeping up with Sydney and Soren (he was in her first grade class). Jeff could barely keep up with him.
 Macie and I after going through the bridge. At one point there was a park ranger to lend a hand because there was one part that was steep, slippery, and no place to hold on to. I pretty much sat down on the rock, with Macie, and slid down.
 The trail to get to the bridge was hard to follow because there was no trail it was just climbing over boulders.
 The kids found a cave to sit and catch their breath. Who am I kidding, kids don't need to rest; they have more energy than their parents combined.
 A shoe tree we found outside of parson.
 A view of the natural bridge that they believe was created by lava flowing through it.

Preshool Graduation

I've always thought preschool graduation was kind of a silly thing. This is our second preschool graduation. They go all out. The graduation was at Queen Creek High School at night and we had to purchase tickets too. The kids sang several songs, there was a slide show, her teacher gave a speech, while the kids changed into their cap and gown and then they walked across the stage to receive their diploma. The whole thing lasted about an hour. 
 Jordyn hugging her teacher Ms. Shiela. We started this preschool in January. I'm amazed at what Jordyn has learned in 5 months. She counts to about 130. She counts to 100 by 5's and 10's. She counts by 2's to 20. She adds (like 9 + 9). She learned her basic phonograms and started reading. She's awesome at sounding at each letter. This school was amazing and I feel good knowing Jordyn is more than prepared for kindergarten. In January she wasn't.
 They sang "You Raise me Up" by Josh Groban in Sign language. They would have a ASL lesson, spanish lesson, cooking lesson, PE lesson, and art lesson occasionally.
The two other boys we car pooled with: KJ and Josh (they aren't brothers). Jordyn and Josh are going to the same school next year. Yes they are all 5 years old...Jordyn is just really tall. Now that I think about it she had a little heel on her shoes too. I made her a candy lei and all of us went out to dinner after. Jeff unfortunately wasn't able to come because he had a campout that night.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Another long story up Jeff and I met and stayed in contact before we got married.
When I first went to LHHS I didn't know anyone besides my parents and Brooke who went to the school. Technically I should have gone Brea HS. The friends I eventually met had gone to Junior High with Jeff but Jeff and his family moved to Vegas the summer he started HS. Had they not moved he would have also gone to LaHabra HS. In retrospective it's a good thing he didn't. I think he would've broken my heart in HS and that would've been the end of that. But he lived in Vegas. My new friends asked if I knew him because he was Mormon and they showed me his pictures (which I thought he was cute).  Our first introduction at a x-country invitational race at Mt. Sac in Oct 1993 was quick. It's a vague memory now. We first hung out with each other a few months later in January. There was a big earthquake the same weekend I met him. I was at Erin Cardenas' house close to where Jeff's grandma lives. A group of us just hung out and there was a connection, but we were only 14. We started writing each other (7 years) and that continued until he got back from his mission. I saw him here and there when he would come to visit his family. We would see each at stake dances and a group of us would eat a Denny's after. We would dance together but I didn't like touching his completely drenched white shirt and the smell of sweat that surrounded him. This was the case with most guys. Either the a/c didn't work or there must have been a ton of people. There were many months when we didn't talk because he called me a "molly mormon" because I wouldn't kiss him at a Denny's parking lot...and did I mention he said that his friends dared to kiss me. Hmm. Some things you just don't say if you wanna kiss someone. Again he was 14 or 15. But at the time I was offended and he knew it. Months passed and he called outta the blue. Time had past and I was over it but he had called to apologize. We were 16 now. Those 2 years make a big difference. We kept in contact during college even though he went to Ricks and I went to BYU. We were each other's first email and starting emailing than writing on paper:) He came to visit BYU my first semester there with some friends. It was good to see him. He felt like family at this time in my life when I was feeling lonely inside. He was having a hard time too because his parents had divorced and they were dealing with too much to support him financially or emotionally. Jeff supported himself by donating plasma, cutting hair, selling cookies and school books throughout college...oh yeah and getting good grades. Thankfully he had academic scholarships to help him. When he left for his mission I went to the MTC. Looking at those pictures makes me cringe. I wore overalls and of course my hair was nappy:) What a surprise that I had nappy hair:) We wrote throughout his mission as well and he came to see me at Liberty Square when he returned home and was heading back to BYU-Idaho now. When I graduated from BYU, I moved back to my parents home and the first Sunday I went to their ward and guess who walks in...JEFF. He took the semester off and was living with his mom and working to save money. We were finally living in the same city and it was just kinda obvious that we would start dating. We had talked about it once when he visited BYU--if we ever lived in the same city, which never seemed like it would actually happen, we would have to date since we had been friends for so long and were definitely attracted to each other.
Some of the things that I admire and love about Jeff:
1. His friendship. As I already mentioned we were friends first. Truly friends. We both genuinely cared for each other. Every year since we had met (age 14), he remembered my birthday and usually mailed me something special. It made me feel special that he remembered and even sent something even though I was never his "girlfriend."
2. His Loyalty. The fact that we kept in contact for so long and sustained a constant relationship with many miles between us. I have still yet to have kept the same contact with anyone else like I did with him.
3. Kindness. One time my parents and I flew to Utah and had a layover in Vegas. He met us at the airport with a dozen donuts. Let's admit it....It's always a hassle to go to the airport, park, and go inside. He did it and then even brought us donuts. So nice even though I don't like donuts. He always speaks to me with kindness as well and their are other sweet, nice things he's done for me and others.
4. Charismatic. He's usually always upbeat and in a good mood. He likes to do fun things. One date he got an old limousine and a bunch of friends together. We drove to LA and went to a comedy club. Our first date: blown up boat and rowed around Newport Harbor with random questions he had written down to ask each other. And he's a have to be charismatic to get educated, busy doctors to talk with you.
5. Drive, assertive, hard working, creative. He's worked since he was 8 in commercials, plays, and a movie. He's sold candy and fireworks outta his locker in Jr High, earning money; that was until the principal found out. He played guitar on the strip in Las Vegas to earn money, washed dishes at a restaurant, tutored someone, cutting hair, selling cookies, school books, and plasma, and then some jobs that actually gave him a W2 form. Another memory that comes to mind is when he made a powerpoint presentation to my parents when he asked them for my hand in marriage. He catered to both my mom and dad. Slides for my dad were about how he was going to provide for me and slides for my mom were about why he's was in love with me. He works very hard with his job and has always found creative ways to drive sales and to reach out to people.
That's a short version of our story and why I fell in love with him. Of course since we've been married, there are more examples and more traits that I love about him but that is another post for another day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

School troubles

As I was running today I was thinking that I want to create a blog for my mom and teach her how to do it so she can write some stories down throughout her life and make a book for my sister and I that I can share with my kids and so on. (hint, hint, mom if you're reading this. I'm making you a blog when we visit). Then my thoughts turned to my life and writing some things down that happened before I started my own blog. I thought I'd write about my school troubles throughout each stage of life: Elementary, Junior High, HS, college, and post graduate. It kinda all begins in my young childhood. It wasn't until I was 3 years old and still not talking that I finally got tubes in my years and my mom realized I hadn't been hearing this whole time. I had tubes multiple times that caused scar tissue on my eardrum. This caused some hearing loss and then I had to do some major catching up with my speech.

Elementary: In elementary I had to sit in the front of the classroom to hear the teacher well and read her lips. I did that a lot because background noise definitely impacted my hearing. I remember practicing for spelling test was difficult for me. I always spelled words phonetically, which in the English language, doesn't always work out so well. I did well in school because I behaved well, tried my hardest, and wanted to excel. At this time I struggled outside of school visiting my read dad and step mom every other weekend. I hated those weekends I had to visit my dad. I love my dad and all but the spirit in the home was different than what I was used to. The weekend went like this every time. 
Friday night--go to Del Taco for dinner and then go to the kids club at the gym while my dad worked out.
Saturday--watch a few cartoons. Go to my half brothers soccer game and was embarrassed when my dad would yell at my brother and the refs. Go to McDonalds for a happy meal. Go grocery shopping with my step mom. Play soccer with dad, brooke, and brothers at a school field.  Pizza for dinner.
Sunday--go to a Catholic church in the morning with my step mom, brooke, and brothers. Dad stayed home. Come home and play in the backyard and/or playroom. Clean up, pack, and Kraft Mac-n-Cheese for dinner. 
I was so excited on the 20 minute drive back to my real home. I don't blame my real dad, but I just didn't have fun and didn't feel the love like I did with my mom and other dad.

Junior High: Such an awkward age with caddy girls who didn't like me because the boy they liked liked me. Still shy, still a good, hardworking student. In Junior Nat'l Honor Society. Puberty. Don't remember much cuz I didn't like the school--snobby people. Went to Washington D.C. Went to the school dances. Co-ed parties, spin the bottle, and believe it or not being exposed to drugs and it was offered to me. Seems way to young. Was good at saying "no" and no kissing boys yet for me. Also was sealed in the temple with my family.

High School: Not so shy anymore and way more social. Participated in x-country, basketball, softball, and dance and other extracurricular activities. Went to most all the school games and dances. School seemed hard in the sense that it didn't come easy for me. I'm sure most people thought school was easy for me since I was always in the top 100 of my class and was in honor classes and Nat'l Honor Society, but it wasn't. I always got help from teachers during lunch or after school and it helped that my parents were teachers that could help me too, although, I think most times my math lessons with my dad ended in tears of frustration than learning the concept. I fought with my sister as can be expected and sad to say I was glad and felt a sense of freedom when she left for college. I felt she soaked all the attention from my parents and when she left my relationship with my parents was strengthened (not like it was bad before) and my identity as Lauren and not Brooke's little sister was acknowledged. I also enjoyed not getting patronized and somewhat bullied too. My parents taught at the same school I went to. I liked it. They kept out of my hair for the most part, which I'm sure was hard for them. Needless to say I didn't have a boyfriend until my senior year and wasn't making out in the halls like most couples did. Was accepted to BYU, was homecoming queen, got my Drivers Liscense when I was 16, received my YW recognition, and some other rewarding things. I was pretty much on top of the world....then college started.

BYU: When I think of BYU, the word humility comes to mind. I was now a little fish in a big ocean.  School was definitely hard my first two years. So hard that I was even on academic probation one semester. The sad part is that I was studying my bootie off and nothing was working. Prayer was a huge part in my life pleading for some added intelligence. There were lots of tears during this time. The "testing center" was my enemy. I hated that place and most of those tears came from walking home from that dreadful place. Seriously I was starting to believe I was mentally retarded or something. It wasn't until my junior year that things changed. I don't know what it was but my studying was more effective apparently because my grades picked up to my high standards. My diligence and perseverance was paying off. Picking a major was a struggle also and during a temple visit one morning I distinctly knew Linguistics would be my major and my minor would be Communicative Disorders. My freshman  year I lived in Helaman Halls, Stover. My heart was broken by someone and I broke someone's heart as well. Sophmore year--Village Square (I think it was called that) and Junior and Senior year: Liberty Square. Luckily I had roommates that I still talk to today. They were all good girls and we all got a long. It was a relief I didn't live with a PSYCHO. I'm proud that I graduated without getting married at BYU. Not like that is a bad thing, but I think I surprised many people that I didn't. I love surprising people ;) Graduation day was exciting and my biggest accomplishment up to that point in life. I succeeded on my own. I had a lot of support from my parents, friends, and of course the Savior. But I had done it on my own. No one bailed me out. Trust me there were times I wanted to quit.

Post-grad: I moved back with my parents and got another BA in Communicative Disorders. It didn't take long because it was my minor at BYU. After I got married we decided I should get a MA in Education. I went through all the classes and paid a pretty penny and then I just had to take one test to graduate. The test was about 120 bucks. I took it 8 times and never passed it. The agony, the tears, frustration, feeling of defeat pained me every day. Every time I studied for this test I tried a new strategy and every time I got the letter saying "FAILED" I cried and landed on my knees in tears and prayer. Finally, I gave the problem to the Lord and he took the burden of stress off my shoulder and I decided to take a different test (for elementary ed instead of HS math). I took it once, there were 4 parts and passed them all at one time. I was shocked when I got the letter saying I "PASSED." It had taken me over a year. Once again, my perseverance and diligence paid off. I was 8 months pregnant with Sydney when I graduated and I was so proud that I wasn't defeated and that I had accomplished this on my own. I had support from Jeff, family, and friends. I learned that anything rewarding in life is hard work and in many cases requires blood, sweat, and tears.

Now I'm so grateful for the education I received. I don't currently "work" in the workplace, but I have something I can use if I need. And most of all I learned more about sacrifice, hard work, picking up myself when I didn't think I could than I did about teaching kids. To my Heavenly Father who knows me, is always by my side, and listens to my prayers, and loves me is a treasure. I'm happy to know and believe these things rather than walking through life feeling empty and anonymous.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mother's Day

I love Mother's Day. I distinctively remember being a kid and every mother's day this thought ran through my head, "They should have a special day just for kids." But now that I'm a mom I realize that moms make kids feel special least I try to. In our home Jeff knows that on mother's day I am not allowed to cook, clean, change diapers, or put kids to bed. It's a day off...which is kinda weird I know. A holiday to celebrate moms and I'm requesting to NOT BE A MOM for one day. Jeff sets the rules to the kids: If I'm in the kitchen, I'm in trouble. If I'm picking things up, I'm in trouble. The only rule is for mom to take a nap. The kids jaw dropped like, "taking a nap is something she is required to do???" I love the rules. I enjoyed all the things the kids made for me. Sydney wrote me a note that said this. 
"Your life will lead you to rainbows wearever you are. When you feel the wind blowing it's me that love's you. When your in the desert and you see a snake don't weary be happy because I'm with you. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Love, Sydney" How cute is that? It melts my heart.

Jordyn's preschool had a mother's tea party. She escorted me in her classroom and served me water and cookies and gave me the presents she made for me: flowers, a coupon book, and some questions she answered about me (the bottom picture).

 All of us before church. I love the calling and privilege of Motherhood.
 Macie and I- She is 5 weeks here.
How do I show my mom I love to her: HUG
My favorite thing to do with my mom is: LIE DOWN
My mom's favorite color: BLUE--yes
Her favorite food is: CHINESE- -no, not really
If she has extra time she likes to: SPEND TIME WITH ME AND DAD--yes
When my mom grows up she wants to be a: SHE WAS ALREADY A SCHOOL TEACHER BUT THEY GRADUATE--:)
My mom and dad met at: THE BEACH--no :)
My mom laughs when: JOKES--yes
My mom is how old? 34--yes
What my mom loves most is: FAMILY--yes
She did really good answering these questions!

Sydney's award

A few weeks ago Sydney was invited to attend a dinner banquet for coming in 3rd place for a district wide essay contest. She wrote the essay at school so nobody received help from parents. This is her essay--  I feel happy when I go on walks with my family and dog. Sometimes I bring a friend. We tell funny stories when we are walking. I love going on walks with my family.

By the way, we don't even have a dog :) It was a fun evening just Sydney with Jeff and I.

Sydney's "SPRING SING"
Sydney's school had a little concert on the lawn. Each grade sang a few patriotic songs. Sydney was excited to use the kazoo.

 This is a face I haven't seen before but I love it. She was excited to perform and be with her friends outside of school.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Sydney: "Dad, what's that big freckle some people have in between their eyes."
Jeff: "They're Indian."
Sydney: "Grandpa's Indian and he doesn't have one."
Then we talk about the difference between people who live in India and Indian people. (and my dad is like 1/16 Indian. He gets VERY TAN in the summer but that's the only thing that's Indian about him).

Macie was crying and Jordyn in a baby voice says, "Are you crying for some people who have cancer?"

Next morning Macie was crying again and Jordyn asks her (again in baby voice), "Are you exhausted? Don't cry, it's USELESS."

We were at a baptism and while the 8 year old girl was getting dressed, Jeff had shown a video about Christ. Jordyn [has a loud voice] and in this voice says at the end of the short clip announces, "THAT WAS A MORMON MESSAGE. DAD. YOU SHOWED US A MORMON MESSAGE." I was sitting in the back hiding under a hooter hider feeding Macie and the lady next to me says, "Isn't that your daughter?"

At the same baptism the Bishop was speaking and asked the 8 year old, "what is the word of God?" By this point Jordyn had made her way to the back with me and was sitting on my lap now. The 8 year old wasn't answering and Jordyn yells, "It's the Book of Mormon." I was just so happy she knew the answer. (Sometimes I wonder if she's ever listening to Jeff or I or her primary teachers. It seems like she's in a world of her own most times).

Levi: "Mom, I like your bones. I like your eyes. I like your nose. I like your bathing "babying" suit. I like your boobs. I like your skin. I like your mouth. I like your hair. etc." I liked all his complements. Okay, the boob one was a little disturbing. If he still says that in a few years, I'll be getting him some help.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

1 month

I can't believe it's been a month since Macie has been born. It's gone by so fast. Our little girl is doing a good job at growing. At her 2 week visit she had already grown 1 3/4 inches. She was 22 1/4 inches tall (96 %ile). I'm sure she's even taller now. We weighed her on on 4/27 and she currently weights 10 lbs. 2 oz.
So what has the past month been like....
Macie has been my best newborn sleeper EVER. I'm not exaggerating when I say she sleeps through the night. She's done this for 2 weeks with the exception of two nights. She's been sleeping from 10:30ish pm to 6:30ish am. With 7-8 hours of sleep I am one happy mom. I'm just hoping this lasts but I've been around the block to know that things can change. Her fussy time is 7:30-10:30 at night. During the day she sleeps, eats, goes potty, and has a little bit of awake time. She likes to be held. She likes to stare at the ceiling fan and our canopy bed. The kids love her and love on her constantly. Macie loves being in the baby Bjorn carrier and she loves bath time too. My new favorite app is Noise Box. It makes white noise or rain/ocean noises that soothes her. Her first outing was last week. Jeff and I escaped to the movies and Macie tagged along. We saw the movie 42 (good one). She pretty much slept in my arms the whole time. 

 The other day I went to Costco with just her and Levi. I wasn't planning on it, but I ended up feeding her half way into our shopping trip and then of course she pooped and I just changed it on the bench in the middle of the store (thankfully no one saw), then Levi had to go to the bathroom. I put her back into her carseat and she cried the whole time. Finally got to the car to open the back and realized there were 2 bikes back there, my phone is ringing, and I'm being pressed for time now because I have to run home and then pick up Sydney and Levi now is whining for a popsicle. You know, just a typical day. Please tell me you can relate.
But then I come home, relax, cool down (cuz it's getting hot now), and get some cuddle time. I love all my little kiddos I get to raise and be with forever.

 I plan on using this chalkboard idea and documenting her growth for 11 more months. The chair and car seat will give me a reference just how much she grows month to month. By the rate of this past month I think this year will fly by.

the flu

Last night something happened that I've never witnessed in the 10 years that Jeff and I have been married.....he THREW UP. I'm definitely jealous that he never throws up. In all honesty I throw up AT LEAST two times every year for as long as I can remember. So I woke up at 1am to Jeff hacking and his first response was something like, "I don't know how you survived 4 pregnancies and 4 bouts of morning sickness throwing up everyday." Although I feel bad that he had just thrown up because I know that horrible feeling very well, I was thrilled that he "gets it" now and has a little more empathy and respect for what I went through with the whole pregnancy thing. Funny though, I'm mostly likely done with being pregnant.
Then this morning he said, "the last time I remember throwing up was when I was 15 and was challenged to drink an entire gallon of milk in 5 minutes." That made me laugh. It totally sounds like a teenager-boy thing to do. What is it about boy teenagers (and girls too sometimes) that don't think 10 minutes into the future. Then I remembered some of the other malicious and dumb things Jeff has told me of things he did when he was a teenager.
* doing a flip off the roof of a house and into a pool. Luckily he cleared the 4-5 foot of cement before landing into the pool.
* Filling a water gun with water and adding red dye to it and then shooting a street performer in Vegas that was dressed in all white with this red water.
* Pulling the fire alarm at church because he didn't feel like going to sunday school. They evacuated the entire building.
Those are just a few. I'm sure his older brother can fill multiple pages with many more stories. Having said this, I love Jeff and now that he's older and not a teenager,  I love hearing these stories.