Sunday, October 31, 2010

Appy Aween!

So I know Halloween isn't officially over yet, but for the most part, the festivities are so I'm gonna go ahead and post our pictures.

I am still learning to use my new camera but it seems to take a pretty good picture.

Friday night we went to Boo at the Zoo. It was really neat but waaaay more crowded than I expected. They had a hay bale maze, a craft center, lights on practically every tree, and fun displays in all the animal pens. 


 This hillside was full of jack-o-lanterns. So cool.

Saturday we carved  our pumpkins. I carved Jocelyn's then helped her paint it.



Later that night we went to our ward Halloween party and had chili and cornbread and got lots of candy.

 I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but our pumpkins were HUGE. Jocelyn is standing by hers, which was a good size, but Justin's and mine are behind me on the porch. They had to be thirty pounds a piece, easy. We got them at a roadside stand for $5 each. I was scared of how much work hollowing it out would be, but I found that it was easier than smaller pumpkins. Who knew?


Can you believe this haul? This only came from Melaleuca and the ward party. We didn't go door to door this year.  Joci can say "andy" (candy) and she can say "Appy Aween!" (Happy Halloween)


My pumpkin is on the left, Justin's is the scary one with sharp teeth and Joci's is the happy face. 


We didn't want Joci to get too much sugar, but I snuck her a piece or two of candy (and apple cider) and Justin did the same thing. She even stayed up past her bedtime and she was WIRED. Candy really does hype kids up! We were laughing and watching her literally bounce of chairs, couches, and the floor. It was funny until she threw up a tiny bit. Twice. But that didn't stop her! She still wanted to run around like crazy. After Justin and I both admitted to each other all that we had given her, um, yeah, it was way too much for an 18 month old. :)

Justin and I enjoyed watching Frankenstein (the one with Kenneth Branaugh - excellent I might add) and overall, we've had a fun weekend. Hope yours was good too!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Melaween

Here are pictures from our wild west town at work. Click through the slideshow. Click on the little yellow dude in the bottom left corner to read the captions. There are a lot of pictures.






P.S.  I got a new camera yesterday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cheeseburgers at Walmart


Being a working mother is hard. I think it's harder emotionally than anything. In case you don't know, women have this massive guilt-gland which is triggered into overdrive when children come into the picture. Most days I can assuage the guilt of working by shelling out boocko bucks for a top-notch daycare, so that since a stranger is raising my child for 9-10 hours a day, at least it's the (supposedly) best stranger in town.

Then there are days like today.

My company gets really into Halloween. Each department goes all at out with decorations. Somehow, I got roped into being one of the main orchestrators of this creative chaos. Long story short...I picked up Jocelyn from daycare at about 6:15. I really needed to shop for Halloween supplies so we can start putting or room together tomorrow. Justin worked until 8:00 p.m., which is fairly normal. So I did what I often do when I need to do a shopping trip at dinner time with a toddler who doesn't exactly understand what it means to have dinner pushed back an hour: I bought a dollar cheeseburger from the nearest fast food joint and fed it to her while she was sitting in the cart.

And of course...I ran into someone from work.

Not someone I know well. Maybe I give myself too much credit, but those who know me well know that in general I am a pretty put together person and this is not the norm for me. This person was someone who recognized me, but may not even know my name. I know hers though. We smiled and exchanged pleasantries and I walked away with a red face because I was feeding my 18 month old daughter a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger while meandering through a Walmart.

I am totally ghetto.

And it made me hate myself for a little bit.

As soon as we got home, I make sure my kid had a banana and some milk. That makes up for it, right?

The sad part is that this is the second time in a week that we've done this little dinner/shopping date scenario.

Working is rough. I feel like I don't get enough quality time with Jocelyn. I do what I can in the 2-3 hours we have together at night. You know, all that quality time in between cooking dinner, eating, cleaning up, bathing, bedtime routines, and so on.

I have it on good authority that it's important to simplify life. I've cut back on cleaning. So if you come over to my home and it's a pigsty, don't judge me. My priorities are in order. Honest.

And on the flip side, I'm not as good as employee as I was when I was childless. I still work hard and I am probably more efficient. But I can no longer pull all-nighters in a crunch like I used to. I can't be the heroic martyr. I have to set limits and walk away and deal with the consequences another time. Sometimes that means letting others take over projects I desperately want. Sometimes it means working at home when the rest of the family is asleep.

I feel guilt over that, too.

I know that many brave women went through hell to give me this opportunity to "have it all." It's an urban legend, though, this myth of having it all. There are losses on both sides. And that's just how it is. I feel like a bad mom. I feel like a bad Mormon. I feel like a second-class employee.

But I figure out how to make it work. Even if it means eating Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers at Walmart.



Monday, October 25, 2010

614 Douglas - The House That Built Me

This is my house. The one I grew up in, not the one I live in now. I still think of it as home.

This is what it looked like the winter after I was born.


And the summer I was 17. My bedroom is the window on the left. I am standing in the yard if you can tell. (My dad sold me the camper. I still have it.)


This is my bedroom on the inside. I mean was. This was my bedroom, circa 1997.

I picked the colors, the wallpaper, and the bedspread myself when I was 12.

We always had a garden in the backyard. That's my sister Julie, me, and my brother Jordan in 1986. I was not quite 5. We would later bury two of the best dogs to ever grace the planet on the spot where we are sitting with our pumpkins.

I built snowmen in the front yard. This one is hand painted with water colors. Not super effective, but points for originality, right? (1987)


I learned to ride my bike in this driveway. Well, the trike came first, then the bike came eventually. (1984)


I bawled and bawled when my parents sold this house and moved down south where it was warmer. Fourth of July 2002 was the last time I slept in my old room. I think I still make my mom feel guilty about selling it. To me, it was as part of the family as any of us.

A year after Justin and I bought the house we currently live in, my childhood house went up for sale. It's only about seven or eight miles from us, so we toured it with a realtor and cringed at the bright yellow paint in my bedroom and other decorating choices they had made. They had torn out the tomato garden for an RV pad. They replaced the authentic wood burning fireplace with one of those newfangled gas contraptions. They had let evergreen bushes overtake the gardens of annuals my mother put so much of her heart and soul into.

They were asking an awful lot for the house, compared to the price they had paid for it just four years prior. Plus they hadn't done any major upgrades. We put an offer on it though. It was lower than what the owners were asking, and they turned us down. Turns out that we were the only people to make an offer on the house. Six months later it was off the market and the same people still live there to this day. One of my worst fears is that they will make other changes and tear up the bits of cement with all of my siblings' and my hand prints in them.

I drive by this house every now and then. I like to see what they do with it at Christmas. I'm happy to see bikes scattered along the front porch.

I someday fantasize about buying it back. It shaped so much of who I am. My family says I am way too sentimental. Maybe I am. Is it a bad thing? Does anyone else feel this way about their childhood homes?

Miranda Lambert captured perfectly the feelings I have for the house at 614 Douglas Avenue. I can't listen to this song without tearing up. It's called "The House That Built Me." What a perfect name.





Saturday, October 23, 2010

Have You Joined the Coupon Craze?


I have.

Sort of.

I am intimidated by coupons. They seem like a lot of work. And I question the value at times. But yesterday at work I attended a coupon seminar and came away feeling shocked by the amount of money these women saved, inspired to do the same, and, yes, intimidated that the time commitment and organization wouldn't be as easy as they proclaimed.

But I dutifully went home and checked out some coupon sites. Like:

Shopathome.com
Coupons.com
Redplum.com
Krazycouponlady.com
Smartsource.com

The thing that inspired me the most to figure this out was not necessarily the monetary gains (which you think would've been motivation enough). No, it was the promise that I would never have to step foot in Walmart again. I hate Walmart. It is so crowded and busy and impersonal and just...cheap. It sucks a little life from my soul every time I go there. I always told Justin I would consider myself rich when I didn't have to shop at Walmart ever again. Now that I know how to watch the sales cycles and find coupons for what I need, I get to shop in lovely, organized, colorful, cheerful places like Target and Albertson's and Smith's.

Today we did our shopping at Target and Smiths. Our Target trip was quite small. Not a lot of needs there. But at Smith's, they were having a ten for $10 sale, and I stocked up on a lot of canned goods of things we normally purchase. Justin eyed the cart suspiciously, asking if we needed to take out a second mortgage on the house to pay for all the groceries. I shrugged. Maybe it would be a little more money upfront to invest in a two month's supply of canned fruit, but it would ultimately pay of in the end. That's what I was hoping, anyway.

Our total came to $126.04. With sales prices and coupons, we saved $51.93 (42%) and payed $74.11 for not only this upcoming week's worth of groceries but a large supply of canned and dry goods for future use. We were thrilled! Justin especially. I was ecstatic to have bought only name-brand foods at a lovely, clean, colorful grocery store and still come out WAY better than a Walmart trip. We were so happy, we swung by Jack in the Box and got eggnog and pumpkin shakes to celebrate. :)

Do you coupon clip? Any tips for a beginner? Any other websites for great deals?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Twenty-Nine for the First Time

My camera is still broken. No pictures of this birthday. Justin was bummed, but I told him I have pictures from 28 other birthdays, I'm good.

At work today, my coworker Dan asked me how old I was. Twenty-nine, I told him. The last year of my twenties.


He just smiled knowingly and told me it would not be the last year of my twenties. I will turn twenty-nine many more times in the years to come. :)


The birth day

1st birthday (and yes, I still have that unibrow)

2nd birthday - showing off the pretty dress my mommy made

3rd birthday - still wearing my beloved birthday dress. what a cake! my mom is awesome.

4th birthday. i always had halloween parties.
5th birthday. one of the few store-bought costumes i ever had. i loved shera.

5th birthday again! yay for parties!

6th birthday. i guess i've always had a thing for lady bugs (see here and here)

{pictures not yet in albums...and not yet the digital age...}

25th birthday

26th birthday with niece afton and brothe jordan
  
27th birthday (what a great camera angle - my waist looks so teeny!)

28th birthday


P.S. I just noticed that I wore the same shirt on my 25th and 26th birthdays. Weird.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Corset Tales

My last few blog posts have been a bit depressing. Or predictable. Or something else that isn't exactly fantastic.

New topic.

It's amazing what kind of attention you get when you tell people you own a corset.

Some just raise their eyebrows and say absolutely nothing.

Others ask what it looks like and where I bought it.

Some may even comment on it casually and hold it up. This someone may or may not have been a male coworker who shocked me to the core by doing this.

And then there's Amber, the girl who sits by me at work, who loudly proclaimed, "I am not surprised you own a corset. Anybody raise their hand if they're surprised that Lara owns a corset." She looked around the office. "See? No one is surprised."

I maintain that absolutely no one was listening to her. She, of course, maintains that we all secretly knew I was the corset-wearing type.

It's for Halloween, folks, I swear. I bought it for Halloween 5 years ago. And this will make the third Halloween I've used it. Not saying it hasn't seen a little recreation on the side...

At work, our Halloween theme is Wild West. (If you work with me but are not in my department, pretend I didn't just spill the beans.) I am dressing as a saloon girl floozy. Two weeks ago, I went to the costume shop to find all the pieces of my costume. I had the corset and I knew that would be an integral part of my floozy girl. But I wanted to find a ruffly skirt and a basic white shirt to go under the corset. The proprieter of the shop helped me find just what I was looking for. I explained my costume to her. Naturally*, she asked, "Do you need a corset?"

*I say naturally, because naturally she was trying to up the sale. I don't think it's natural to ask someone whether or not they own a corset in mere casual conversation.

I told her that I didn't need one, that I owned one that I would use.

She enthusiastically replied, "Good for you!"

It's been two weeks and I'm still not sure how to take that.

Halloween 2006: The corset in question. And yes, Amber, those are leather pants. Fake leather pants. And no, Amber, no one is surprised that I own fake leather pants. Or a pair of wings.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

October 15 was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. (I know. I'm late.)

For those who have lost a pregnancy or an infant, my heart hurts for you. There are too many women who face this pain. Often, they suffer alone in silence.

When it comes to miscarriage, stillbirth, and ectopic pregnancies, mothers are "consoled" with comments of "there must've been something wrong" or "nature takes care of its mistakes" or "at least you didn't know your baby" or "at least it wasn't older."

Those children never leave us. They will always be part of our families and our hearts. While I am late in honoring the official day of remembrance, tonight I will light a candle for those mothers who mourn and remember the children they dearly love but never got to hold.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Makin' Changes

Having fun with my blog. I would really, really like to hire a professional for a blog redesign. I made the last header myself, and I kinda like it. I like the idea of it, but not the execution. So back to people who do it better than me.

I've also added a Question of the Week. Feel free to answer the question on any blog post or even on Facebook.

Blogger has a new widget featuring a blog's most popular posts. I've installed it. It's kind of wonky and some of the words are cut off, but it's cool to know what resonates with readers.

So, yeah. That's all. For now.

18 Month Check-Up

 Jocelyn is 18 months old!


She weighed in at 23.08 lbs and is 31 inches tall. That puts her in the 40th percentile for weight adn 60th percentile for height.

Some new things:

  • She crawled of the bathtub on her own a few days ago. Definitely gotta keep an eye on her!
  • She signs short sentences like "Help, please, Mom."
  • She has mild eczema.
  • She always wakes up very happy.
  • She doesn't have a specific security item, but she does like to carry something around - her lovey, a blanket, or any stuffed animal.
  • If a binky is out of sight, it is out of mind. If she sees one, she wants it.
  • She loves pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
  • She likes to help unload the dishwasher.
  • She is down to one nap a day.
  • She goes to bed at 8 pm and wakes up 8 am.
  • Bananas, mandarin oranges, pasta, and green beans still rank high as favorite foods.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Goals!

Apart from my screaming knees and stiff joints, I am feeling pretty good about myself. I've achieved a couple of important goals.

Cindy and Lara

This morning, I ran my first 5k race. I have been training for about a month by running around the Idaho Falls Greenbelt. However, the greenbelt is only 2.4 miles and a 5k is about 3.1 miles. I was nervous about the extra distance. I was nervous about a lot of things: a cold, semi-rainy morning, a new route I hadn't ran before, and the idea of competiting in something I am not good at nor really passionate about. I ran with my sister-in-law Cindy. It was her first race too. I got a side ache (too much breakfast?) and had to slow down for quite awhile. But we both did really good, I think. I kept a slow and steady jog pace most of the time and never got painfully winded.


taking off!


Right at the end, I found the strength to sprint. I wasn't planning on it. It just happened. It made me think that a lot of things in life are like that. We do what we can to endure to the end, but when we finally see the finish line, a reservoir of unknown strength is somehow summoned forth, allowing us to cross that finish line with glory.
moments after crossing the finish line. Cindy is crossing in the background on the right.

While I didn't really set a time goal for myself - I was just hoping to finish in general - I secretly hoped to get under 45 minutes. My official recorded time was 41:48. I was happy with that. Will I do it again? Maybe it definitely gave me a new motivation to exercise. It took the exercising focus away from weight goals or because "I'm supposed to" and put it on something much more concrete, which was cool. Maybe I'll do it again if my sister comes up for Thanksgiving and enrolls in the Turkey Trot with me!

And yesterday marked the deadline for our Total Money Makeover Baby Step 1. And we made it. We actually  had all the money a week ago, but we didn't put it into the bank until yesterday, making it official.

we reached the goal!

And now on to Baby Step Two, which consists of paying down all consumer debt. It's a much longer process. I think I will actually break the baby steps down into smaller steps to make the goals a little more immediate. So for us, Baby Step Two will be paying off our credit card with the smallest balance. We will give our budget a little leniency for Christmas. So my goal is to have this card paid off by the end of the year.

Making this financial goal is really rewarding. We've been focused on needs vs.wants. I know we can do better in this department. One way I gauge my discipline is to always take a thing or two out of the shopping cart before I check out. Even if I think everything is a "need," I still find something to leave behind. Even if it means getting it next time I'm at the store, it just helps me practice patience and get out of the immediate gratification mode I've been living in for so long.

Here are some other things I've been doing (trying to do anyway):
  • Limiting how many times I eat out (it's hard to say no to work friends, but I did!)
  • Put off shopping trips for even just a day
  • Pay attention to sales!
  • Go generic for more things than I usually do
  • Better about eating leftovers and not wasting food
  • Borrowed my brother's camera when mine broke. I am still waiting on an estimate on repairing ours.
  • Deciding not to host our annual Halloween party. *Sniff, sniff* (We didn't host it last year, either. I guess maybe it's not annual anymore)
  • And again, Justin's been doing on-call work with Child Protection Services
  • All my profit sharing and bonus money is not being treated as a "bonus" but goes straight to the Baby Step
  • We put a goal thermometer on the door to our garage so we can see our progress every time we head out
  • Oh, and I just enabled AdSense on this blog. Call me a sell-out, but maybe I'll make a dollar or two a month. So feel free to click on the ads! 

I'm feeling good about it all!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Undiagnosed

I was late this month. Late enough that some little embryos of hope started to develop. I paid no attention to this bit of hope. I kept it below the surface and did everything I could to just ignore it. I told myself to just wait. That's all that can be done anyway.

Five more days, I told myself. If nothing happens in five more days, then I'll start to wonder.

Five days went by.

Three more days. I won't think about it for three more days.

Three days went by.

And then a couple more.

I didn't say a thing to anyone. I barely even acknowledged that growing hope myself. There was a world of emotions brewing below the surface that I never fully explored. I got glimpses though...

Joy...at the thought of another baby.

Relief...at the thought of bringing another baby into our family without paying thousands and thousands of dollars.

Fear...that I would be shunned by the adoption community. That I would somehow be a hypocrite. That Jocelyn's birth mom would hate us. That someday, Jocelyn would hate us. And hate her sibling. And hate her birth parents. That our families would look at our children differently.

Trepidation...at the idea of pregnancy and childbirth.

Faith...that God had healed me.

Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore and I told my best friend who lives in Seattle. I asked her not to make a big deal because it was probably nothing, because I couldn't deal with excitement and what-ifs and expectations. Her only words were that I was crazy for waiting and building walls. She suggested I take a test, because then I would know for sure. Because the hope would grow daily. Better to know sooner and deal with whatever fallout the news would bring.

I went home that night. I still had a pregnancy test from the days when we were actually trying. I would use it the next morning.

Laying in bed that night, fantasies swirled in my head. Telling Justin the good news. Seeing a dancing peanut shape on a sonogram. Would we want to know the gender? Announcing it in Relief Society. Darling maternitiy clothes. Photo sessions. Would I be brave enough to try to have a natural childbirth or would I go straight for the epidural?

The next morning, I peed on a stick.

Three minutes later, it unassumingly flashed the words Not Pregnant.

I threw the test and the box and the instructions away in the kitchen garbage where my husband wouldn't find them.

I texted Jamie and told her. We made a lunch date that we knew neither one of us could keep. I hate that we live so far apart.

An hour and a half later, I cried. Just a little. But I cried.

I had no idea this would still happen to me. Not that we do anything as a preventative measure, but I'd kind of given up on that whole pursuit.

I thought I was past this.
The problem with undiagnosed infertility is there is always a sliver of hope. There's no documented reason for the infertility. And maybe, just maybe, given the right circumstances under the right star signs, maybe pregnancy will happen.

It hurts as much as it ever has.

Touché, infertility. Touché.

Learning to Lose

I like to think of myself as a winner.

Don't we all?

I was pretty close to a straight A student in school. I have a good social circle of good friends. I've had some pretty cool achievements. I live a comfortable life.

I also have some big dreams. And I would really like to see some of them materialize. Someday.

There have been a lot in life that has come easy to me. Academics. Friendships. Jobs. Promotions. Love. I promise I'm not tooting my own horn. All these successes are because of a higher power. But I have been blessed nonetheless. The problem with easy success is that failure is a terrifying aspect. You grow use to getting what you want and getting praise for your achievements that you begin to distance yourself from things you might fail at, so you don't look like a loser. Like the kids in high school who got straight A's without trying then went on to college and really struggled because they didn't know how to buckle down and study.

That's totally me.

I've been trying to push myself. Not push myself to win. Push myself to fail. Because new, courageous things are hard. They are beyond my comfort zone. And I am ready to be more. I read a quote once, I can't find it now, so paraphrasing, it said something along the lines of "You'll never know how much you can do until you do too much."

I'm ready to do too much.

This Saturday, I am running my first 5k. To many, this would not be a big deal. For me, it is a big deal. See, I'm kind of allergic to exercise. I hate physical exertion. It's painful. It's taxing. It's time consuming. And I have yet to experience any benefit whatsoever from it. If I were to rewrite the Divine Comedy, the seventh circle of hell would be a gym full of treadmills. That's how strongly I feel about exercise.

I am not good at running. A month ago, I couldn't run 60 seconds. That is not an exaggeration. I have slowly been building my stamina and strength. Today I ran/jogged/walked 2.4 miles in 32 minutes. It was brutal and not fun. And I think the "runner's high" is just a stupid myth. I even got lapped by some tall Nordic looking dude. He ran the entire 2.4 loop around the river and lapped me in less than eight minutes.

Saturday I am going to show up. I am going to not win. I am going to fail. But I am going to cross that finish line. Hopefully I won't be the last one, but even if I am, that's okay.

But I believe that failure is an essential part of success.

I have always wanted to be a published author. It's hard to admit that dream. Whenever I say that, people inevitably ask what kinds of books I would write and I am bashful to say because I am afraid my imaginations and thoughts are stupid and unworthy. I started dozens of books over the years. Dozens. And finally, I forced myself to finish a novel. It is a huge achievement in my book. And I queried literary agencies. And I have gotten...oh...at least 30 rejections. Maybe even closer to 50.

Maybe my book isn't good and will never see the shelves of a Barnes & Noble. But I discovered something. Those rejections didn't kill me. They didn't injure my pride. Sure, there was disappointment. But I took it in stride and every six months or so, I send out a few more queries, just in case. There's a lot of crap published these days. Someone is bound to like my crap. And I am working on my next novel. Maybe this one will fare better.

My point is, failure isn't as bad as I thought it would be. It's kind of strengthening in a way. I hope I find the same sense of strength for failing on Saturday. Because all winners must start as failures. Hopefully you can cheer me on in spirit as I learn to lose. And in turn, I will learn to win.

"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that's where you will find success."


- Thomas J. Watson
 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sisters

Missing My Sisters

There’s something about sisters. No other bond like it on earth.

If any of you know my sisters Stephanie and Julie in real life, you’re lucky. They are a couple of my very favoritest people on the planet. Smart. Funny. Pretty. Spunky. Spontaneous. Quirky. And we all carry the same brand of emotional damage from being raised by our parents (love you, Mom and Dad!).

I talk to each of them about once a week, give or take. Stephanie lives in Utah and Julie lives in Arizona. They are both too far away. I always nag them about blogging more, but it’s just because I miss them so much and want to see all that they are up to and read their thoughts and just feel closer to them.

When we all get together, craziness happens. Like when we had a family reunion a few years ago and compared bra sizes. That’s probably pretty normal for sisters. We took it too far when we decided to go a step further and compare the, um, firmness of Steph, who had nursed four children, Julie, who was currently five months pregnant with her first child, and me who hadn’t experienced pregnancy or nursing. Our husbands are still scarred.


I always idolized Stephanie. She has always had a very caring spirit and was a second mother to me. She’s just so sweet. I loved brushing her hair and helping her get ready for dates. I remember when she went to Rick’s College (now BYU-I) and I spent a few days with her. It was awesome! I felt so mature and loved every minute of it, although I am sure I was royally obnoxious and probably embarrassed her in front of all her roommates and FHE brothers. Being the youngest child, I didn’t have a lot of experience with babies. Stephanie was brave enough to let me discover that world with her children. We all still laugh about the time one of her twin boys began peeing while I was changing his diaper. She told me to catch it with the clean diaper, so I held open the clean diaper like a baseball glove and tried to get under the arc of the pee from about a foot away instead of just throwing the diaper right on top of the baby.


 
Julie and I had a love/hate relationship. Being the closest sibling in age to me, and also a girl, we shared rooms a lot when we were little. We even shared a bed. There was often an imaginary line down the center of the room and we were forbidden to cross into enemy territory. We fought. Physically, at times. And sometimes we played. I loved tagging along with Julie and her friends. She, of course, hated it. I often borrowed her clothes when she was in high school without asking. She would get so mad. She left for school before I, so I got in the habit of asking her empty bedroom “Can I borrow this?” And then at least I had asked, even if she wasn’t there to respond.

Julie is currently ready to pop with baby number three. She’s been given so many due dates, it’s hard to keep track, but I think October 13th was her first one, so I am anxiously awaiting news of a new little nephew. With three kids age 3 and under, I don’t think she’ll have a moment for herself until her oldest starts kindergarten, but I am happy for her.


My mom also has a fun relationship with her sisters. My mom and two of her three sisters (and their husbands, of course) all moved to southern Utah when they retired. They now play cards together all day, go to the theater together, and go camping together, and lots of other fun things. I really hope in 40 years to be in the same situation with my sisters and their husbands.

Love you forever, ladies! 


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