Thursday, March 31, 2011


Today wasn't the best day I've ever had.  Have you ever been in a situation where your only option was to just let the child scream bloody murder because you've tried everything else?  

I have.

More than once.

I remember when I first had Evie; we were still in the hospital, and they sent in a nurse to teach me a little something about babies: they cry.  Yes, it surprised me too.  I specifically remember her (the nurse) sitting at the foot of my bed, telling me about Shaking Baby Syndrome, or whatever it's called--something to that effect, and she said "It's OK to set your baby down in the crib and go outside for 5 minutes to collect yourself.  Your baby will be fine.  You take care of yourself when you get to that point."  

I feel like I've taken that advice, a lot.  And it has saved my sanity.  So, note to all you expecting and future mothers: It is OK to set your baby down, screaming till they're blue, and leave the room while you search for the remnants of your sanity.  Don't feel bad.  You're doing that baby a favor.


That's one of the keys of parenting, just so's you know.  I have to remind myself of that lots...especially since Evie has entered a repetitive stage of her vocal development.  Summoning my patience for the constant marathon of "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom"  "What, Evie?" "Mom, Mom, Mom," etc, has become a more frequent challenge in recent months.

These two musings comprised my morning, and I just kind of...floated through the rest of my day.  Not a whole lot of energy.  My supply for the day was gone by 10 am.  AND, I took my vitamins and ate my Honey Nut Cheerios.  Still, it left me.  

Sad story.

Fortunately for me, my husband loves me, spoils me, for some reason.  He took care of dinner for me tonight, and bought me cupcakes from my FAVORITE place :-) The Sweet Tooth Fairy Aw, cupcakes :-)  What a great, wonderful, intuitive, sensitive husband I have :-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Cleaning...For Realz.

Well, I decided that since we have lived in our apartment for...(thinking)...10 months, it's time to de-clutter.  In anticipation of some MAJOR, THOROUGH cleaning and sterilization, we bought a couple of storage bins for our holiday decorations, which was just the start.  Today, I got some intensive therapy by going through all of our closets, throwing out the trash, vacuuming with my new vacuum :-), and working out an AWESOME compact-storage system.  I managed to get all of our storage into Evie's closet! Plus + I got all of our food storage in one general area...within the kitchen.  Good day :-)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Evie's United Way Photo Shoot

Evie did a photo shoot for United Way (obviously) and these are the results :-)  The only catch was I have to put in a plug for United Way, so go check out their blog:

For those of you who may not know, the white board that she is holding is a place holder for the PR and communications people.  So, when they go in and edit the pictures, it's easy for them to put in the United Way logo right where they have the white board.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Question to everyone: What do you do to relax?

I often feel exhausted taking care of the apartment, doing my internship, and constantly running after Evie.  I know some of you have one child, more than one, or none--and I'm assuming ALL of you have some amount of stress.  So what do you do to relax and unwind?

The best thing for me are these at my fingers...

...and this musical genius's sheet music in front of me...

...and I am good to go.  

Nothing puts me in a better mood than letting all my pent up emotions run rampant through my fingers as I play his songs.  I just...LOVE to play his music.  (If you haven't heard any of his songs, find some to listen to.  He is AMAZING.)

Now, back out to you.  Share with me your stress-relieving techniques!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


So, I dislike several things about being female, but one I dislike the most is how unpredictably emotional I can become.  Lame.

Moving on.  Despite the inconvenience of this fact, it has also been a blessing.  "How" you may ask, "you look like an idiot with tears streaming down your face, and smeared mascara and foundation in its wake."  Being a detail-oriented person, maybe even anal retentive (yes, I know what that means--I have paid for several psychology classes) I tend to get bogged down in the small things of the day.  For example, all last week I was sick to my stomach, not because I was ridiculously busy, but because I wasn't able to wash my dishes for three days straight.  Pathetic, I know.

Right, I was explaining the blessing part of this.  So, because I get so caught up in the stupid things, becoming emotional makes me think about the big picture.  Like my friend who's about to pop (shout out to you Britany!) I am reminded of all the life lessons I learned throughout my pregnancy with Evie.  And those lessons have served to strengthen my testimony and faith in Heavenly Father and the Plan of Salvation.  Or just now when I read my old roommate's rant on under-appreciated veterans (that's you, Jen).  I totally agree.  And being emotional makes me all the more grateful for the freedoms we have and that I was saved for such a time as this.  I don't think I would have survived during any other period of history :-)

Anywho, as you may have guessed, I am emotional at the moment.  And I needed an outlet that didn't consist of making Brandon panic about having done something wrong--because he didn't.  And there I go again...I have such a great husband.  I really do.  (River of tears.  Brooke signs off.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Now that I have the pictures....

A picture update of our lives since we moved to our own little apartment last year--

So sweet asleep.

Align Center
We made a breakfast run for donuts. Evie couldn't wait until we got home.

Yes, we made our daughter dress up as Batwoman for Halloween.

Evie loved that I babysat little Kymbree last semester. They were so cute together!

I just think she's so gosh-darn cute in her church clothes :-)

I bought some curlers for experimenting on my hair...Evie REALLY wanted to join the party.

Who doesn't like bathtub shots?
(Please no off-color remarks).

My first attempt at french braids in Evie's hair. I thought it was successful :-)

Evie excited Christmas morning...

...and the carnage begins.

The cutie grandkids at Christmas. This was the best picture I got of poor Alex's eye :-(

Evie's thoughtful Uncle Zack got her bear feet slippers which she refuses to wear

One of the traditions in our home is to take pictures of our German pancakes right when they come out of the oven. We like to see how high the sides rise... :-)

One of Brandon's employees makes cute little tutus, and she gave this one to Evie.

Evie attended her cousin, Hawnee's, 3rd birthday party in January

Hawnee with her daddy and my cousin, Chris.

This is our happy family :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Month 2

Here's just a quick update about my weight loss goals--this is mostly for me; it keeps me accountable :-) To date, I have lost 14.6 lbs, and 12.5 inches around...everywhere. Yay!

Friday, March 4, 2011


It occurred to me as I fell asleep last night, that some of the things I said in the previous post may have stuck out more than the point I was trying to make. Here are my clarifications:
  • First, I think a higher education is an admirable thing to work for. It has merits of it's own, regardless of what you use it for. However, I don't think that earning a Bachelor's, or even a Ph.D. should be the peak of anybody's accomplishments in life. What you do with your degree should be more significant than actually earning it.
  • Second, I believe that service to people other than your family is commendable. Like young men and women who serve missions. Kudos to you! I don't think I could have done what you did as well as any and/or each of you. You are an example to me. Another example: people who join the Peace Corps. I admire that people like that care enough to donate their time and energy in such a way. You are a rare gem.
  • Third, I truly am not trying to blow my own horn. I am not saying that everyone should have done everything the way I did, because I have made my own mistakes, and am certainly a far cry from perfect. I am only trying to make a case for growing up and taking on the mantle of adulthood, rather than lounging in a single's paradise.
  • Finally, I have the highest respect for charitable organizations. I'm interning at one right now. The men and women who have worked to make it a viable program are some of the best people I have ever met. But...I think that they would agree with me that raising a family is the most important work they have done. That is why our specific organization focuses on empowering parents. Because investing in children brings back the biggest return.
This is the point that I'm trying to make. Doing a stint in the Peace Corps, or volunteering with various charities is a beautiful form of selflessness, but raising--taking care of and responsibility for--a family is a full time job, that will encompass most of your life. And devoting your time to that is the most selfless act you can do, and it is the act/goal supported most by the Church. Create an Eternal family.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What is it all about anyway?

This is just a rant, so don't read it if you you're not in the mood.

I have held a complicated grudge for a while now. Not against people I just can't get along with, but against people that I cared for. No, I am not related to these people.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon), I was taught certain things growing up: EVERYONE is a child of God, families can be forever, and Eternal life is achieved through a life of service, primarily. Now, as a member of the above mentioned church, I have gained a testimony of these statements, and I have had one for as long as I can remember.

I'm not trying to brag, I'm just setting the stage for what I thought was common-sense and common-understanding among other members of my faith. Because of my belief in those things, I have always tried to work towards becoming a better person. My goal has always been to get married in the temple, to be a mother, to raise a family, and to teach my children the gospel. And I thought that those were basically common goals to all members of my church. It wasn't until I moved to the center of the LDS universe (Provo, UT) that I became acquainted with some of the stupidest people I have ever met.

Disclaimer: I am in no way generalizing members of the LDS church, or those that live in highly concentrated "Mormon" areas. In moving to Provo, I have also become friends with some of the best people I could ever know, and am honored to know them at all. I am merely making an observation about certain "mind sets."

Having grown up in a rural town in Texas, it was drilled into my head that people are ALWAYS watching you. If you tout religious beliefs, people will call you on it if you screw up. And perhaps that's why I am the way that I am.

Back to Provo. After having had 14 years of living what I believed, moving to an area stuffed full of people who shared my beliefs was like a breath of fresh air. Finally I could relax. I didn't need to be a missionary to these people who were already converted. The next four years, that was my mentality. Not that I slacked off or anything, it was more I expected other people to behave the same way I did. I expected the same upbringing. Obviously I took my upbringing for granted.

High school is a time most people use to branch out, find their niche. Which lends itself to those adolescents making stupid mistakes. I get that, and I don't hold that against them. However, I do expect these people's parents to have laid the groundwork so that these kids don't screw up the rest of their lives by exploring, or not exploring, their options. My parents weren't perfect, but one thing they did well was stressing the fact that I was responsible for my future. It was my responsibility to put myself through college, and I WAS going to college. It was my responsibility to internalize my beliefs and become the person I wanted to be. They would be the example, and it was up to me to do what was needed for myself.

I think certain people I knew well didn't benefit from that same lesson. I realize that not everyone did their homework during high school. I realize that not everyone had a job then either. And that is fine. What I don't get is people not preparing. What I don't understand is just...doing NOTHING. I don't understand all the...APATHY I have witnessed, the lack of progress. I saw potential in these people during high school. That was 5 years ago. And several of them are in the same place. Yes, they may be in college, yes they may have a job one step up from the one they had in high school, but they aren't MATURING.

What is all for then, people? What is that Bachelor's, Master's, Ph.D. going to do for you if you aren't maturing? You want a better job? Why? Are you dating? Do you have a spouse, or children? You could get by just fine working for $10.00/hour at the call center if the only plan you have is to support yourself and have fun. Then you wouldn't have to waste all that time and money on a higher education. You want to make a difference in the world? Let me tell you a secret: Giving service to people on the other side of the world is going to open your eyes to the fact that you can only do so much by yourself. What it comes down to is building a stronger, better, future generation. What is going to make the MOST difference is going to be people staying home with their children--putting hours, days, years into instilling morals and virtues into the future. Don't get me wrong, service is wonderful. Like my dad would tell me, it's the most selfish thing you can do. The blessings received are more than we deserve for the service performed. But guess what. The FAMILY is the building block of society, not charitable organizations, and it isn't just the LDS church that says so. The best effort to fix the problems our world is facing will be to raise the best kids our world has ever seen.

After spending more time than I care to admit trying to figure out what I have against these people that I love, I realized it was that. I have always known that ultimately, building my family would be the greatest thing I would accomplish in this life. And somehow, my friends couldn't, or wouldn't, wrap their heads around that. THAT is the reason...for EVERYTHING! Life is short. What are you doing sitting on the couch, hanging out with your friends? I'm not saying that everyone should be married with a kid by a certain age, but you should at least be DATING by the time you're 23. Get off the couch, get out of the salon, and go on a bona fide DATE. Put the time and effort into making yourself the person you want to spend eternity with! I can't count the talks and quotes given by General Authorities saying this, and STILL, some people don't get it!

It blows my mind that some people don't realize this, that marriage--a family, is what it's all about. That is the center of the gospel. And they must not understand it, because, in my mind, they wouldn't behave the way they do if they did get it. Anywho, that is my beef. Moral of the story--Parents: teach your children what it's all about. And not just that, be their PARENTS, not their friends. It is just wonderful if you end up having a great friendship with them, but your responsibility is first and foremost to parent them, and you are doing them an ENORMOUS disservice if you don't teach them to take responsibility for themselves, if you don't teach them that having a family is what it's all about.

Grow up people. We aren't kids anymore.