Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

I guess I might as well do my annual Christmas post. We had a great Christmas! As always, our Christmas is divided into three--we spend a few moments opening a few gifts at our house, then we go to my parents and open more, then we go to Trevor's parents and open TONS. That part takes about two hours! I really like this setup--though I'm sure as my kids get older it won't continue to work. Anyway, on Christmas Eve Trevor sent me upstairs to bed while he "got a few things ready" and it took him forever. I had no idea what he's up to, but when he came upstairs at last he said, "MUAHAHAHAH!!" So I knew he was up to something.

When I carried Afton down the next morning, Trevor was standing there with a camera, and this is what I saw:

Really? He got a digital TV? I was so excited! In hindsight, I'm pretty surprised I didn't see it coming. 

  1. Trevor talked getting one non-stop and then suddenly seemed to "drop it." He never drops it. I should have known that meant he already bought one.
  2. Usually we don't look at the credit card bill items until after Christmas so we are sure to surprise each other, but I noticed the bill was much higher than I expected and I thought there might be fraud on our account. But when I asked Trevor about it, he said, "Don't worry about it."
  3. I did, after all, tell him that if he found one from under a certain price, to go ahead and get it. I just believed him when he said he didn't find one. Hmmm...
I think I am purposely obtuse when it comes to Christmas. I want to be surpised so bad I don't let myself think about anything!

I think that Christmas morning at our house was actually my favorite part of the day. Afton was so cute and so excited for each present. She "got it" when it came to unwrapping presents--this year, more excited about the gift than the box and paper! She wasn't yet overloaded by too my presents or distracted by the cat or her other toys. It was so fun.

We then headed to my Mom's, where we had, as usual, a quiet, humble, and practical Christmas. Trevor grew up in a home where there was more disposable income than mine. For his family, Christmas is about getting what you want. My mother is always practical--I totally get it from her. Although we still got things we wanted for Christmas, we also got what we needed. It was a very nice morning. Afton was so darn cute!
We had the traditional quiche that I make, and then we headed to Trevor's family by 11:00. This is a HUGE Christmas. Trevor's dad pretty much goes nuts over the holidays, and Trevor has inherited this. We had a nice big lunch, and then started on the gifts. Both Trevor's siblings are there with their kids, so there's a lot of us, and it takes a while to get through everything. But oh, it is so fun!
Afton immediately made a bee-line to her princess couch, and she and Madison sat on it a lot. It's pretty much her favorite gift. It's in front of the TV now, and she loves to pull it out like a bed and watch movies while she eats her "nacks." (fruit snacks)

Afton wasn't too happy about getting this family photo taken after all the presents are open!

I surprised Trevor, too. I got him the chainsaw he wanted really really bad. I totally splurged. Unfortunately, he totally splurged too. So we both broke our budget rules, had an awesome Christmas, and will now spend the next six months or so trying to get that damn credit card paid off before the twins get here!

It's strange to think about next year's Christmas. I will have THREE FREAKING KIDS! I just can't imagine that. The twins will be about 5-6 months old. So strange. I think next year we'll HAVE to stay in our budget rules no matter what!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reality Begins...Tomorrow...

I'm sitting here on the eve of reality, and I'm not liking it one bit. When I think of everything I have to do tomorrow, and the day after that, and for the next few YEARS, I am so completely overwhelmed. On December 1st Trevor and I were due to fly to Las Vegas for a conference for my work. It made sense to schedule our first appointment with the doctor that day since we are both home. Oh how glad I am that Trevor was there with me at that appointment!

As you know, the doctor informed us that we are having twins.

And then we embarked on a four-day vacation in the most unrealistic of cities, Las Vegas. The last few days have been a whirl. We keep looking at eachother and mouthing, "twins!" because we can hardly believe it. In Vegas we told loads of people about our exciting news--complete strangers--because it never gets old. People are always so excited and delighted for you. We went out to eat, walked the strip, attended museums, and had a fabulous time. During the day I went to the conference, and in the evening Trevor and Adam, (the husband of another teacher who went with us, about the same age) hung out all day at the strip.

We knew, of course, that when we got home we'd have to face the reality of our situation. We'd have to sit down and hammer out the finances, and figure out exactly how screwed we are--and yes, we ARE screwed. There is no possible way we can afford these babies without help. Would I change it? Oh no. I'm absolutely ennamored of these babies already! But still, the practical side of me kept reminding me that coming home would be difficult. I'd come home to laundry, dishes, and ornery (but adorable) baby, three days of missing work and students to catch up, straightening out our finances after the trip, figuring out how to get a new key cut for my Toyota--which WILL NOT start with the key now (a fact we learned at the SLC airport. 20 minutes of trying before it finally turned. ) And of course, the reality that we REALLY ARE having twins. That Trevor is starting nursing school the same month they will be born, and will be working and going to school for two years. That our daycare is going to go from $260 a month to at least $600 (if we are lucky), and that there is no visible way of lowering our monthly expenses without taking out tons of student loans. I had planned, of course, on winning a million dollars at the slot machines, but about $10 later it hadn't happened so I gave up.

But that's tomorrow. Tonight is Sunday. I've got laundry in. The dishwasher is running. Trevor is playing with an obnoxious and demanding Afton downstairs. I don't want to think about the daunting task of paying for and taking care of three children under three. I want to pray that they will be both be born healthy and on time. I want to imagine holding their tiny little bodies against me and know that here is the rest of my family, in one neat little package. I want to hope that my body can handle this, that I can carry them to term and give birth as easily as possible. Is that too much to ask? Can't I just focus on the joy of being a twin mom, of knowing that the Lord has trusted me with these tiny little spirits? Can I let go and just let the Lord help me find a way to make it all possible? It seems completely impossible right now. I am trying very hard not to freak out completely. I had it all planned out--and this was not the plan at all. And now I have to rely completely on faith. And the charity of friends and neighbors and the United States Government. But despite the stress and the edge of hysteria, not to mention the double morning sickness, I am happy about it all. We'll find a way to make it work. They are coming--and we are going to be ready for them!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Thanksgiving Video

Thanksgiving this year was at my sister Aundi's house. As always when the Nielson family gets together, it was complete and utter CHOAS!! First we stopped at Trevor's parents, just to say high and give his parents a Thanksgiving gift. It was so quiet. So ordered. And they we get to Aundi's and it was a MADHOUSE. I actually really like this about both sides of our family--both atmospheres are great and have their advantages. Unfortunately, I didn't take many pictures. Grrr! Getting my family to sit still long enough to listen to anything is pretty much impossible. At Trevor's house, we were able to quickly gather round and present his parents with their copy of "I'm Grateful For..." A book I made from Afton to her Grandparents on Thanksgiving day. At Aundi's, we finally gave it to Mom during dessert. (Which, by the way, was FAB-U-LOUS. Cindy made these adorable mini desserts! SO GOOD! I love how she doesn't just make delicious and original desserts--they always LOOK to good!)

Anyway, we finally gave Mom her own copy of the book, and she began to read it aloud.  No one really listened except Dad and Jen and Rusty and Cindy--who was video taping the whole thing!

So, here is an exerpt of the video. If you want to see the book, click here!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random Thoughts During Dancing with the Stars

I've been a little "slumpy" lately. Can't think of a darn thing to write on either of my blogs. I'm just blah. So I'm sitting here watching Dancing with the Stars, and a lot of thoughts are running madly through my head. Here they are. Enjoy.

1. Why is Christina Aguillera performing on this show? What does she have to do with anything? And why is her face plastic? Hmmm...I think I'll go post that thought on Facebook.
2. I am SO SURE that Jordan District won't cancel school tomorrow. That would be a COOL thing to do, and everyone knows we aren't the "cool" district. Canyons is. That's why they already have this week off. Granted, at the expense of their teachers, but I'm still jealous.
3. How on earth is Bristol Palin still in this competition? I've admired watching her grow in this competition, but if she wins, that just bites.
4. Is that Afton crying? Maybe if I ignore it it will go went away...
5. I am so disappointed in this blizzard. I wanted it to be REALLY REALLY AWFUL! We didn't even have the lights go out. That sucks.
6. Why do people still  watch The Bachelor? (during a Bachelor commercial.)
7. What does "pickle me walnuts" mean, Len? (DWTS judge)
8. I love Harry Potter. I'm reading book 4. I want to read it instead of watching this endless finale. Seriously--this is the LONGEST finale. AND, I missed the first hour! What the!
9. That outfit that Lacey Schwimmer has on is the ugliest she's had all season. And that's saying something.
10. I really, really hate "The Situation." Seriously, I want to punch his big fat ugly pompous face. Like really bad. I hate him. I hate him SO DARN BAD.
11. Just give Jennifer Gray the trophy already. I'd rather be reading Harry Potter or playing the sims. Why am I watching this?
12. Open breaks? You are doing just boring old OPEN BREAKS? Come on, Lacey and Kyle, you can do better than that.

That is all.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Two Little Girls + Diaper Cream = TROUBLE.

I went to pick up my little girl today at Grandma Rees's, and found there was QUITE a story. An "incident" as Karen called it. Afton and her cousin Madison, 16 months her senior, apparently had a few unsupervised moments with a brand new tin of Penaten, a diaper cream that Karen uses.

The results, of course, were both disastrous and hilarious. My father-in-law got home just after it happened and, thankfully, managed to grab a camera between burst of laughter. Unfortunately, Afton's face had already been mostly wiped off, though Karen says it looked pretty much like Madison's. It was EVERWHERE. In her hair, her eyes, even her nostrils!

Karen was swabbing it out of her nose, her eyes, and it was all over! She gave them both baths and had to wash Afton's hair three times! And it's STILL a little greasy! Those little stinkers!

I think it's hilarous! And SO glad it didn't happen during MY watch!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Not Cool Anymore

You know what? I'm not cool anymore.

I am totally lame. I'm just a mean, tired, OLD junior high teacher. I'm the one who yells at them in the hallway for swearing. I'm the one that doesn't dress up for Halloween, and won't join in the fun at school dances. When did this happen to me?

As a first year teacher, I was so friggin' awesome. I had so much joy and love for what I did--I still do, but just not in the same way. Man, the stuff I did when I was new at this. I just played with the kids. Like when I'd pull out my big red plastic bat and have kids pitch wads of paper at me so I could hit it around the room. Or the time I snuck a picture of Mr. Barton, then Photoshopped him (with students watching) to look all fat, then printed 40 copies and let the kids make paper airplanes out of it. Then we chucked them in his room. I was funny. I'd read the announcements in accents. My whole class stuffed into my back room to hide from another teacher. We turned all Barton's desks upside down while he was at lunch, then he pennied my door and we couldn't open it. Every period was stand up commedian time, and I loved it.

I don't do any of that anymore. I could, I know, but I don't really feel like it. On Thursday I had an Auction with my CTE Intro kids, and somehow I was just in this hyper mood. I was cracking jokes right and left. And they all laughed their heads off and had no idea who this new teacher was. Am I really that boring? Have I lost something here? I mean, how long can you be the funny cool teacher? Isn't there a point where you are just too old to pull it off?

I usually love Halloween at school, though the other teachers hate it. I dress up. I join the kids dancing. Usually I have my ballroom kids there and I dance a couple of swings. Trevor used to come too, both of us in costume. But today? Today was awful. The kids were obnoxious. I didn't dress up. I don't do ballroom anymore, so there were no boys trained to dance. (And, might I add, that when I DID do ballroom, kids actually danced at the dances. Once a few of my kids started, the other kids would realize it's ok, and they'd dance too. Today? NO ONE DANCED)

I walked around and yelled at kids. Well, no mostly I took pictures. But then when this group of about 10 hoochies started grinding with each other, I had to become the "bad guy" and break it up, then cart them off to the principal's office when they kept doing it. Really, it was quite disgusting. I've never seen girls behave so badly at a dance. They were all dressed so slutty--somehow their more modest costumes from 1st period became shorter and lower and by the end of the day. They flaunted everything they had--and didn't have--not at the guys--at each other. It was amazing to see these girls just totally go after each other. Unbelievable. Has it been this way always, and I never noticed because I was having fun and playing? Is it the mean boring old teacher in me that has me noticing this behavior and yelling all day to stop it? Or...maybe this 9th grade class is just plain nasty?

At any rate, I feel bad that I am taking my job for granted. I know that if the day ever comes that I quit and stay home, I will miss the classroom terribly. I love what I do. I really do. I just think that as you get older, the way you do it changes. Am I wrong? Oh well. Who cares. It's the weekend. Job? What job?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Picture Tour of Afton Darla Rees

Ok, ok! I'm FINALLY updating my blog! I haven't updated in forever--I just haven't been able to think of anything to write about! Nothing's really ticked me off (that I can write about on a public blog, anyway) and I haven't been thinking deeply about anything (that I want to share on a public blog, anyway) and mega-happy "my-life-is-awesome" posts can be SO annoying. But---well, my life is awesome! So, here's a little video tour of the last month:

September 20, 2010

Afton was sick in September. Seemed to last forever. It's amazing, though, how quickly you forget the particulars after the fact. Anyway, I miss those days when I had a tiny baby who would just sleep on my chest. I thought those days were over until I had another baby. Poor Afton was so sick and slept so much, she'd sleep anywhere!

She fell asleep while DeLayna was holding her. She loves her Del.

October 1, 2010

Sometimes, Afton can get a little clingy. Especially on Daddy. On this Sunday morning, she refused to leave him alone. He had to eat and hold her at the same time. It was so cute.

  October 8, 2010

Afton and I hang out outside a lot--or, as she says, 'side.
This month she's started talking a lot--I mean, she's always talking, but now I can actually understand some of her words! Today I heard her say "Tarzan" for the first time (our cat) and then "I love you!" which was more like "Ah Juh Joo!" It was SO cute. Trevor and I had tears in our eyes, hearing her say that for the first time! Anyway, here she is outside and, as always, obsessed with the water tap.

October 9, 2010

I was upstairs getting something, and I got distracted. Afton was downstairs. I heard her rumaging around. I looked over the railing to check on her, but although I could hear her, I couldn't see her anywhere. I went downstairs, and found her here---in the entertainment center under the stairs. She's obsessed with the movie cases over there, so I guess she needed a closer look.

October 10, 2010

Getting Afton to look directly at the camera and smile is pretty much impossible. On this day, she looked SO cute so I did a little photoshoot of her playing in the front yard. And I got so many good ones!

October 14, 2010

You know, it's getting to the point where I'm constantly grabbing the camera to get a picture of her doing her newest strange thing before I miss the moment. She's just
 such a busy little thing! I can't keep track of her--she's always into something new!

October 18, 2010

I watched Dancing with the Stars on Monday. Afton loves Dancing with the Stars. She dances...with the stars. They dance, and so does she. She's awesome. Daddy came and sat with her, and then the TV held no charms for her. Daddy was near. That's all she cared about. So she gave him a kiss.

October 21, 2010

Today Afton was really on it. She got into everything! I let her--if she's occupied and it's easily cleaned up afterwards, what's the harm? First she got into the tupperware--I'm sure I'm not the only mother who has a kid in the tupperware. I have vague memories myself of playing in the tupperware drawer. It was an amazing, interesting place. But since Afton has discovered it, it seems we can never find matching lids anymore.

Yeah, it was a mess but like I said, easy to clean up. After that, I started making dinner. She got into the tin can cubbord again. She loves taking the cans out and dumping them on the floor. It keeps her occupied. I was just glad she wasn't grabbing my legs and whinning. So I let her go for it. Then I heard that sound--that unmistakeable sound of noodles hitting pergo. It is a sound I have heard before! I looked over and sure enough, she'd found an open bag of spaghetti noodles. Did I get mad? No. I grabbed my camera. And then let her continue to play in it for 10 minutes while I finished dinner. I mean, the noodles are gone anyway, she might as well enjoy them, right?

Sorry this post is pretty much ALL about Afton. But I have no pictures of anything else, really. Sorry. Though i DO have pictures of the shield Trevor's been working on for Halloween--that will be a post for another day. It's pretty awesome.

So yeah, that's the last month for me! I sure got a cute baby!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What I Like About YOU!

Ok. Afton was SO funny yesterday. We got a lot of video of it, and I've been thinking its about time to put a video of her on my blog again!

I'm not sure how I found time to do this today while teaching 7 periods--must be my supreme multitasking skills. And I'm not being sarcastic here--they really ARE supreme. Enjoy!

(I apologize in advance for how annoying my voice and comments are on this video. I'm SURE I don't really sound like that in real life.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

My New Calling - Primary Chorister

WARNING: Unlike most of my posts, this is a very CHURCHY post. Be warned. If you are not a member of the LDS church or are not very active, this post and it's meaning may be a complete mystery to you. I apologize for being exclusive on this but...sorry. It's what's on my mind today.

I always thought that my IDEAL calling in the church would be Mia Maid advisor. But then I became a junior high teacher and I realized that mia maids are like--in 8TH GRADE. YUCK. Well, I STILL think that would be a pretty cool calling, but I'm also pretty sure I'll never serve in Young Women's. Young Women's advisors usually follow a certain pattern:

1. Skinny
2. Blonde
3. Super Spiritual
4. Kissed less than 4 guys
5. NEVER served a mission themselves
6. Married to a return missionary
7. Self-sacrificing
8. Sweet as sugar
9. Married by age 21
10. Have beautiful well-behaved children

(This, by the way, is also my definition of SYT, pronounced "Sit". SYT stands for Sweet Young Thing. There's nothing wrong with SYT's, except that they tend to marry all the RM's really fast and leave nothing for the sister missionaries to date when they get home.)

Ok, I know, this is a total stereotype. There are many different types of women serving in the young women's. Some aren't married, some are fat, and a very few might even be return missionaries. But in my experience, if you are most of these things, your chances of getting called are pretty darn good. Seeing as I only fit in about...well, TWO of these (married a return missionary and blonde. Afton is beautiful but not always well behaved :) I'm pretty sure I won't be seeing the inside of a young women's room any time soon. I'm too blunt. I'd tell it like it is. I'd even admit to them that...shhh...kissing is fun. I know--we try to keep this fact from them but I'm pretty sure they already know.

Ok. I'm going off on a tangent here. This post is NOT about the ideal calling I always wanted, but the one I just got. Primary Chorister. I think this is a calling you can only love or hate. It's one or the other. It requires a lot of preparation to be good at it, and there are a few requirements you want to have--like the ability to sing and lead music. Sometimes, this requirement is overlooked. I've actually always wanted to try this calling. I remember sitting in Primary as a teacher, watching our poor chorister trying so hard, but she just didn't seem to know what to do. She really did try her best. But oh--oh I wanted to run up there and just TAKE OVER! I knew how I would do it! I was full of ideas! I was frustrated to just sit there and grit my teeth and sing.

Well, I've been chorister for two weeks now. And guess what? IT IS THE BEST CALLING IN THE CHURCH!!! Move over Mia Maid Advisor. You've been replaced. I absolutely love this calling. Let me count the ways:
  • I get to be creative! I get to make stuff and glue and paste and print and glue some more. It's awesome. I don't get to do that much as a jr. high teacher. Teenagers don't care. But these kids love it. Last week I made boxes and put songs in them. When I called on someone to pick a box, they got to KEEP the box. It was mayhem. They all wanted them. I never heard kids sing so well. You just don't get that kind of enthusiasm and excitment from older kids.
  • It's not that hard. I mean, sharing time has to be all meaningful. This is just coming up with fun ways to sing. The majority of the time, the kids are singing. That's easy. I love to come up with new ways to make singing fun!
  • These kids CRACK ME UP. Seriously, last week we were DYING of laughter in senior primary. I made this Primary Song Wheel, and this kid spun it and got "Sing Slowly." So I had to pick a song to sing slow and I picked "Scripture Power" which is TOTALLY not a slow song. IT WAS HILARIOUS. Even the leaders were laughing.
  • I get to teach my baby how to sing! For the last ten minutes I go into nursery, and there is Afton being all cute, and I get to teach her and all these other little ones a song! They totally don't sing, but they are pretty darn cute. I never thought I'd enjoy anything nursery related but it really is so fun.
  • I get to have fun at church. Seriously--FUN. I love standing up in front of crowd. I love to make people laugh. And we just have so much fun together.

I don't know how long I'll feel this way--I'm sure I'll be totally burned out in a year. But right now I'm happy as a clam, and actually SAD that it's conference next week and I don't get to do my calling. So pathetic I know. But hooray! It's fun! Thanks Heavenly Father. You got this one dead on.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blogging with Jeykll & Hyde

When I was a missionary for my church, I served in South Africa. It was a great mission. But, of course, it was hard, too. It was 2000-2001, and at the time, emails were not allowed. My mail from home was a long time coming and outdated when it got there. I devoured it all the same.

When I left for my mission, my sister gave me a really great idea. I bought a three-ring journal at the distribution store, along with several packets of three-ring journal paper. I lef the journat home, but took the paper with me. All my letters home were written on that journal paper. After my parents finished reading the letter, they would put it in the journal. I came home 18 months later with a journal all ready for me and easy to read--all my letters home. It really was a brilliant idea, and I've spread it on to other missionaries going out.

But it did have one strange side effect. It was the birth of what I called the "Jekyll & Hyde journals." When I was frustrated or having a difficult time, I didn't usually write about it in detail in my letters home. What was the point of worrying my family with issues that would be long over after I read them? My letters home were full of happy times, success stories, bearing my testimony and encouraging words. These things were all true, I wasn't lying. And I would tell them if I was struggling--just not in any detail. This journal of letters became my Jeykll journal. All the good stuff. All the happiness and goodness of serving a mission.

I kept another journal on my mission. Up until this point in my life, I was an avid journal writer. I was actually quite obnoxious about it. But once on mission, I was so busy I didn't have much time to write. So I only wrote when I needed to get my feelings out--something I have done since I started writing in my journal in the 3rd grade. When I'm upset or need to sort out how I feel, I write it down. And thus, my Hyde journal was born. It helped at the time, but that journal isn't so fun to read now.

If you were to read one of the other of these journals, it wouldn't give you a very accurate depiction of what my mission was like. In one, you'd think it was a piece of cake and I had no problems. In the other, you'd think I hated every second of it. But when read together, the real shape of my 18 months down there become more clear.

I don't write in my journal much anymore. I have a file that I update every few weeks with the goings-on of my life. Once married, I found that I had precious little to write about. My feelings are generally on an even keel and I don't need to "write it out" all that often.

And then: Enter the blog.

Which journal is this blog? Is it my Jekyll or my Hyde? I have recently been informed by a long-time friend that my blog is really negative. This hurt to hear. I was actually quite upset about it. I didn't think I was all that negative. I looked over my last posts--and sure, some of them were perhaps "negative" but more, they were me getting out my feelings. Writing it out. Sorting how I feel. And perhaps this isn't something I should do in a public place. Obviously it's not understood. I think that's one of my problems--I always assume people just understand me and know how I meant to say things. But they don't. It gets me into trouble.

So, to all you readers out there, if my blog has seemed negative to you--I apologize. I hope I have not given the impression that I am a negative person, or that my life is not a happy one. I guess I don't see much reason to have some annoying Jeykll blog--to post constantly about how great my life and my husband and my child are--posts like that are kind of braggy and annoying. But--I DO have a great life. And a great husband. And a great child. I AM happy. In fact, the last few days I've had moments where I catch myself grinning in happiness for no particular reason.

But for me, writing is a way of thinking. It helps me think. It helps me understand myself. And I guess that means that sometimes, this blog will be a little bit Hyde. 'Cause sometimes life is hard. Sometimes it's not all rosy. And it's nice to share it with friends and realize that sometimes, they feel that way too. I guess that's why I blog. Why do YOU blog?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Have I Deteriorated?

I often tell guys that when you marry a hot girl who is under 21, you really have no idea what you are getting. They, after all, haven't really gotten their "real" body yet. You have no idea if they are going to get fat or stop caring about their appearance. Better, I tell them, to marry a girl in her mid to late twenties, who has already done her "deteriorating" and become pretty much what she's going to look like for the rest of her life. Then you have a better idea. Not just looks, of course--older girls also have SOME INKLING of who the crap they are and what they want in life.

I thought this was pretty sound logic. But...I was wrong. I did not take into account what marriage and child-bearing can do to you. It's amazing how all the superficial things men look for in a wife are exactly what she gives up once she marries him. She gives up her figure to have a baby. And then she has a hard time caring what she looks like as her priorities totally shift.

Of course, there are those women who hold on to everything and manage to stay skinny and beautiful.

Let's not discuss those women. Because we hate them.

I got married when I was 27. Surely--SURELY--I had already done my "deteriorating" and Trevor was sure what he was getting. Granted, I was no size 8 anymore. He knew when he married me that I'd never be skinny. And that's a comfort. But poor Trevor. When I met him, I had just lost 30 pounds. I looked the best I'd looked since I was 20. I TOTALLY fooled him. In fact, we were discussing this the other day. I said "Man, we were so much hotter when we got married," (Trevor has put on a few too!) "we really fooled eachother," I added.

Trevor said, "Yeah. We really let the fat out of the bag."

When I lost all that weight, I was just getting into Photoshop. Obsessed with my newfound weight-loss, I took a lot of photos of myself. Then I'd pull them into Photoshop and play with all the features. It's a practice that eventually led me to digital scrapbooking. Here are some of the photos of me from back then--about 2005, 2006:

Ok, maybe they are a little--arrogant. But I learned so much about photography! The one on the upper right was my profile on an LDS dating site. I had to remove it because when I met guys I could tell they were disappointed that I wasn't that cute. Oh, the things Photoshop can do...

Tonight I pulled out the camera again. Trevor wasn't sure what I was laughing at all by myself in the computer room...

So here's my question to you all out there--and be honest. I know it might be hard to tell me to my face but...

Have I deteriorated?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Whose Taking Care of Me?

Ever feel like, although you are the ramrod that holds your family together, you are also the least important person in it? I mean, take Mom out of the equation, and the whole family would fall apart. Or at least flounder. And yet, mom's needs are very last. Dead last. I think I am just a little too selfish to accept this difficult fact. Am I the only one who struggles with this? Am I just more selfish than most moms out there? I take care of the man and the baby--but who takes care of ME? Oh wait--I do. When I get the chance. Which I rarely do.

I spent the summer being a Stay At Home Mom. I wrote a post about how work was easier. Well, this what I have to say about that...WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING????

I have never struggled with working as much as I am right now. I've never wanted to be home more. I've always said I like my job, I like working, and I am ok with not being a SAHM. But now--now I'm not so sure. I just can't keep up! How did I do it last semester? I'm tired. No--I'm exhausted. I am teaching seven periods a day with no break. I did this last semester--how did I not, like, DIE? Every second is insane--I'm getting new students sent down every period, and they interupt what I'm doing and I'm multi-tasking and trying to settle them and keep the other kids busy. And then I'm teaching the same thing over and over again--why is this suddenly so difficult? I've been doing it for six years! And then school gets out and I'm rushing to pick up the baby and get dinner on for Trevor and keep the house clean.

He comes home, eats dinner. And he goes to bed.

I do the dishes, sweep the floor, make dinner and serve it, do more dishes, feed the baby, put her to bed, go back up there twenty times to soothe her before she actually goes to sleep. I try to get scrapbooking and blogging done--when I'm lucky enough to have the time--and get lunches ready for the next day and clean up messes and do the laundry and pick up EVERY SINGLE THING he's ever worn which is on the floor since he can't figure out how to use a hamper. I'm tired. Is it ok that I'm tired?

And I'm really not being fair. Trevor will be ticked when he reads this. He's really great with Afton. He puts her down to bed almost as often as I do. He works long 10 hour days and he's tired too. But seriously--how hard is it to use a hamper???

Today was just the hardest day. Work was long and stressful. Trevor is really, really sick. He's throwing up constantly and he's really dizzy. We aren't sure why. Am I a jerk because I'm not thinking, "Oh my poor darling! I'm so sad you're sick! What can I do to serve you?" but instead I'm thinking, "Damn! Now I have to do EVERYTHING!" He can't drive, so I spent the whole evening driving Afton to my sisters, then picking him up then going to Instacare, then going to Walgreens to get his perscription, then getting Afton, then picking up the perscription (and Walgreens took FOREVER so I'm not going there again!) And we get home--and still I'm running a mile a minute feeding the baby, getting her down, running to the store for milk. He sits and watches TV. Like he's been sitting and resting all day.

But he's sick! He really is! He really CAN'T do what I'm doing--I know this. I know he's not faking it. I've seen the blood run from his face when he stands up, and how heavily he leans on me when we walk, and how he had to run to the bathroom when we got to the Instacare to throw up yet again. Why am I not more sympathetic? Why am I not more Christ-like? Why can't I feel more empathy for him and take care of him the way I'm supposed to? Why am I complaining, when he has a geniune and real need?

Maybe because I also have genuine and real needs--but they are NEVER as important as anyone else's.

Ok. I'm done. Please don't think I'm a horrible person. I love my husband with all my heart. I'm completely nuts about him. Everyone knows that. (Gosh I hope he doesn't read this...uh..I LOVE YOU HONEY!!!) I love my baby girl. I am honored to have them both in my life and to be able to serve them. I just want a break! Is that ok??

Friday, August 27, 2010


I got in a fender bender yesterday. My fault. And guess what? I was talking on my cell phone. Yup. I'm that girl. I was stopped at the corner ready to turn right, and talking to Trevor. I was only a minute from my mother-in-law's house. I glanced to check the light, and when I turned back, I was bumping the car in front of me.

I was horrified. I haven't had an accident since 2003. My record is almost pristine. Trevor's IS pristine. And I got in an accident. And I WAS ON MY CELL PHONE! The woman I hit drove a convertible--it was a 2001 and not new, but it was still a beautiful car. She got out of the car and started yelling at me for being on my cell phone. Having ended my call abruptly, I immediately and humbly apologized. What else could I do? I can't deny I was on my phone. TOTALLY took the wind out of her sails. I think she would have much preferred it if I'd yelled right back. We pulled over. There were no injuries--Afton was in the back and didn't seem to really notice it had happened at all. My mother-in-law came and got her soon after so she didn't have to wait in the hot sun. My car is totally fine. There's has a two small dents in the bumper. Not sure how this is going to pan out with my insurance.

Anyway--I wondered to myself, after the lady yelled at me, if SHE had ever talked on her cell phone while driving. I mean, don't most people do that? And as annoying as it is when you see a reckless driver on their phone, it's NOT illegal (yet). Thank goodness I wasn't texting! But then, how many times have I thrown up my hands in fury when I get cut off by someone with a cell phone attached to their face? Don't we all know its dangerous? And we do it anyway! In fact, I SAVE certain phonecalls for when I'm driving, so I have "something to do." How ridiculous is that?

So I've been very aware since the accident. I said to myself, "no more talking on the cell phone while driving." And to my surprise--it's something akin to giving up drugs or alcohol. It's REALLY HARD!!! It's like some kind of addiction! Suddenly driving is so BORING! Remember those days when we didn't have cell phones or computers? And somehow, we got through the day without dying. Now it's like I've had my arm cut off. It's so pathetic. We are so addicted to our technology!

Anyway, that's my story. I hope this doesn't kill my premiums. I hope that ticket doesn't cost me a fortune. Thank goodness the police officer only sited me for following too closely, and not for distracted driving! And I sure hope those people don't suddenly claim an injury. They seemed like the type that would get the most they can out of this situation. But then--I DID hit them. And THEY are the ones that will have to go through the hassle of getting their car repaired. URG!!! I can't believe I'm THAT GIRL. The annoying chick not paying attention while talking on her cell phone! I hate that girl! I yell at that girl all the time! And now--she's ME!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Think I'm Going Crazy

Do you ever find yourself rehearsing conversations in your mind that you WISH you could have, but know you never will?

In describing myself, I've always said I'm the type that doesn't hold grudges. I forgive and forget quite easily--sometimes to the point that I really DO forget that someone has treated me badly, and then I find myself in the same situation a few months later when they do it again. It's true I don't really hold grudges--I simply can't. I'm the complete opposite of stubborn.

But I was thinking that there are a very few people in my life that have treated me badly or disappointed or frustrated me enough that I harbor a grudge--a BIG one. I mean, I don't think about it often. But when it comes up--I just sit there and go over and over madly in my head what I would say to them if I had the chance. And yet I know that if I DID say any of it to them, they'd think I was an emotional psycho and I'd look like a total idiot, and then I'd feel even worse. I think that is why I get so mad--I know there is absolutely NOTHING I can do about it. Nothing is more frustrating to me than to be deliberately misunderstood.

I remember in college this guy thought I'd done something that I didn't do. The evidence against me was pretty strong, but I maintained that I had not done what he thought I had. And he WOULD NOT believe me. No matter what I said. No matter how I explained. He had decided and that was that. It was utterly maddening. And the more I tried to explain, and the angrier I got, the more certain he was that I was "protesting too much."

It's all so very annoying. Why do I let things get to me? Why can't I just let it go? I've been back to work for one day and already the stress and frustration is creeping back. Everything I try to do, all my extra projects that I enjoy, are sabotaged by the same person--who isn't aware they are doing it, and would think I'm totally crazy if I pointed it out.

I think I'm going crazy. Maybe I am crazy. I remember a companion on my mission that made me crazy. She'd do something SO irritating, so I'd do it back, to show her how irritating she was. And then she'd accuse me of doing it! And tell me I'm irritating! And I was like, "But you started it!" and then guess what? I sound like a crazy idiot again.

Such is my life.

I'm going to bed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Whole New Lagoon

We went to Lagoon on Tuesday. It's has been six or seven years since I've been there, and wow! It's a whole new park! I can't believe how many new rides there were! Everything was all newly painted and looked great! I have a new favorite ride. The Spider. It's friggin' awesome. It was there the last time I went, but it was closed. So I'm so glad I got to go on it! And then there was that new ride The Bat. WHERE did that come from? I don't remember anything in the commericals about that ride opening. Wicked was a great ride too--but I still liked the Spider the best!

Anyway, we went with our friends Heather and David--both of whom served with me in South Africa on my mission. We had a total blast! Heather, who didn't grow up here, pointed out that Lagoon must be total childhood nostalgia for me, since I was constantly pointing at things and saying, "I remember when..." And she's right--I used to go there every summer, sometimes several times. That's back when you could afford to do such things. Now, it's just so expensive! (Thanks to my sister-in-law Becky who tracked down those discount tickets for us! You saved us like $30 bucks!!)

And you know what? I finally got kissed on the Terror Ride. I've been waiting for that since I was like 12. I don't know why this is such a big deal, but it is. Because I've never gone to Lagoon with a boyfriend. How is that possible? And Trevor and I have never been together, either. HE hadn't been for about six or seven years, too! So, I required him to kiss me on the Terror Ride. I'm so glad he complied. I had a roommate once who told me that her FIRST kiss was at LAGOON with a BOY SHE MET there on the TERROR RIDE. It just gets better and better. That's like, every teenager's dream. Ok, maybe I was just a weird teenager. The picture on the left here, by the way, is me ON the Colossas. Heather took it while we were still on the ride! She's so funny!

There's not a ride at Lagoon I won't go on. But I found that I had a little more fear than I've ever had before--which I think is what being a parent does to you. And I got a little light headed on a few of the rides, like the Swings and even Colossas. I never get light headed! I'm getting so old! But--I wasn't as bad as our wimpy men! Though both of them are usually fine at amusement parks, they both had a few stomach issues. Heather and I were totally fine. At one point we just ditched them while they lay at the terrace, and went on a ton of roller coasters without them! They even had to buy some Dramamine! (How do you spell that?)

By 7:00 the boys were done--they refused to ride anything for the last two hours, the big babies. So Heather dragged me on to the Rocket as our last ride. It's one of those rides that you feel a lot of anticipation, and then--it's just OVER. The whole ride is like 2 seconds long.

We went out to eat after that, and then went back to Heather's house and watched a movie. We didn't pick up Afton from my Mom's until 1:00 a.m.! What a great day! Afton, on the other hand, did NOT have such a great day. She spent half of it with my sister Cindy and half of it with my mom. But the poor thing was sick! We had no idea--it just hit her that day! She was throwing up! Poor little thing. She slept in until 1:00 p.m. the next morning!

So, now I've been to Lagoon, I want to keep going every year. I'm hoping to have a family reunion there next year. Our family is at a great place to do that next year--even the littlest ones can ride SOME rides, and the older ones are big enough to go off on their own. I hope we can pull it off. It's no Disneyland, but still--I love Lagoon!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


A week and a half! That's all I have before everything changes! How did the time go by so quickly?? Usually, this is a fun time of year. I'm looking forward to going back to school. There's something exciting about brand-new 7th graders, the smell of sharpened pencils, and putting my room in order for the new year. But this year, I have never felt such a feeling of dread. I mean, when I think about school I get this deep dark heavy feeling in my chest. I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK!

I wish I could say the main reason is because I don't want to leave Afton and would prefer to be a stay at home mom. This isn't quite true. Now, when I mention aloud that I don't want to leave my baby, it' s hard not to cry. Because I DON'T. I love being home with her. But--I really don't mind being a working mom. I'd love to work part time--so long as work is a good and happy place to be.

But it's not.

That's why I am feeling such dread. Everything has changed so much at my school, moralle among the teachers is really, really low, and I don't get along with my boss at all. He doesn't like me. I don't really blame him--I'm a total psychopath around him. Somehow, he just brings the worst out in me. I think it started last summer when we had our first meetings before the start of the school year, and he told all of us that we couldn't use our cell phones during school hours. Everyone was pretty ticked, but I was HORRIFIED. I raised my hand, and said something like, "So, if I need to call my baby..." And then I got all choked up and couldn't finish and actually left the room a few minutes later and bawled in my classroom for 15 minutes. I'd just left behind my tiny new baby, and the idea that I couldn't use my cell phone to call the daycare whenever I felt I needed to--well, I couldn't take it. If I DON'T use my cell phone, then I'd have to call on my school phone which is in front of all my students. And people can't call you at school--it goes straight to voicemail. So if there's an emergency, my daycare can't call my phone? Are you serious? He never enforced that rule though. I talked to him about my problem later and he was fine. So see--he's not a bad guy.

But yes, that's where it started. And incidents similar to that continued all year long. One thing after another. I didn't handle any of them well. He thinks I'm a total mess. Again--I've earned that. But now that I'm not in his little favorites club, I'm pretty much a doormat. My opinions mean nothing. I have just shut up, say nothing, and wait till either he retires or I can find another place to work.

I don't want to go back! I don't want to leave my little girl! I don't want to feel that stress I felt all last year! Like when, in May, he refused to pay me for the hours I spend creating and keeping up the school website, even though he'd said earlier in the year that he WOULD pay me. Man, how I stressed over that! I needed the money so bad (and we're talking less than $200 here) but he refused. I was so tempted to pull down the whole website and let the parent complaints juts come rolling in. But luckily my department paid me for it, so it all worked out. But I was so upset and emotional all the time! How can I go into this new school year and stay calm and just NOT CARE?

Ok. I better stop. I'm sure this is not remotely interesting to anyone else. My boss is not a bad guy. He's actually a good guy. But somehow, we just don't work out. I'm not sure how to change that. I'm not sure I can. I think I'll just sit back and not care--and then what? Become like all those other junior high teachers that don't care? I don't want to be one of those! Grrr...Ok. The rant is over. I'm SO sorry...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Slow Results is Better Than...OH SUCK IT!!

I'm having a frustrating morning, fighting with that age-old deman--WEIGHT. I'm so sick of this crap. I really am. I was talking to my size 4 mother-in-law about it last night, and she sympathized, although she's never had to deal with it herself. I was so jealous. Can you imagine never having to worry about your weight? Are there really people like that?

I've been working out 4-5 times a week for SEVEN weeks now. I eat pretty healthy, too. I've been SO much more careful. And what do I have to show for it? A loss of only FOUR pounds. FOUR!!! What the hell!! Yes, I've lost 11 inches, and I can feel a small difference in my clothes,'s been seven freaking weeks! And when I say I'm working out, I'm REALLy working out. We're talking P90X, people! I have never worked out so much and so hard in my life.

So now, for the standard answers:

1. Muscle is heavier than fat. Oh shut up! Whether it's muscle or fat, I'm still fat! Does NOT help me, people!
2. Slow results is better than no results. Ok, I keep chanting this to myself. I know it's true. I mean, if I give up, there's no chance of it getting any better. If I keep it up, then eventually, something HAS to happen, right?
3. Are you counting your calories? Ok. No. This is my change this week. I have a great program to do it in (fitday) and I've got most of what I eat already entered. It really won't take very long. Maybe I'm eating more than I think I am. So that's my new goal this week--count the calories. I've tried the Weight Watchers and all kinds of other stuff, but in the end, old-fashioned counting is best. Gag.

You know, I've only lost a significant amount of weight once before in my life--25 lbs in 2004. I worked SO HARD to get that weight off. I was single then, and had a very flexible schedule. I was younger. And I had the motivation of, "Get the weight off or you'll never get married!" In all the years since then, everytime I tried to lose weight again I'd remember how hard I had to work then, and I'd know I wasn't ready to work like that this time around. And I'd know that I don't have as good a schedule, and I have a kid. And I have a husband. And I have a LOT more goin' on around my middle than before. And there's a couple of muscles in my middle that don't work any more thanks to a C-section. And now I have the motivation of, "Get it off now, before you have another kid and it's stuck there forever!"

So, despite all this whining, I'm still going. I'm still quoting to myself that adage of "Slow results is better than no results." The fact is, working out makes me feel good. And I don't beat myself up all the time thinking that I SHOULD be working out. At least I'm trying. But oh, when I see pictures of myself I just want to cringe. I refuse to be that person who WON'T have pictures taken because they are fat--I remember all too well how much fun it is to look at those "fat" pictures once you've lost the weight. When I see a bad picture, I think, "oh, one day I'm going to LOVE this picture..."

So, here's to protein shakes, chicken meatballs and spinach frittata's--I'm gonna keep going!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Introducing REAL SCRAPPY!!!

Ok, you hoardes of breathless followers--I am introducing my new blog! That's right--I've started a new blog for digital scrapbooking.

I've found that there are a lot of digital scrapbooking sites that are oh so helpful and oh so overwhelming. Where do you actually start? Who can explain where to begin--in small increments, step by step, from the very beginning? Oh yeah. It's totally me. I teach 7th graders to use EXCEL for heaven's sake--how hard can Photoshop be? Having taught Photoshop to adults before, I figure this is the perfect thing for me to do!

I plan to update my blog each week with each new step. I've already got three posts now including an introduction, and two lessons. My site includes video instructions on how to get started! So, if you are interested in learning about digital scrapping, checkout

Please visit! Become a follower! Hope you like it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Picture of the Day - 1st Grade

Ok, couldn't think of anything to post. And then I remembered my friend Leslie said once that if you can't think of anything, find an old picture and tell a story. So that's what I'm doing. I pulled out my old scrapbook that my mom kept for me growing up. Bless her for that, by the way. I sure wish Trevor had a picture book from his years growing up! Anyway, I chose this picture.

1st Grade
Mrs. Baum's Class.

I remember this picture very well. I loved that Mervyn's dress very much. I especially liked sucking on the bow. I sucked on the bow all the time. I think a lot of 1st graders suck on stuff. I knew this girl in my class that sucked on her hair all the time, until her mother got fed up and CHOPPED OFF HER HAIR. All of it. Uneven, and like a buzz cut. How rude is THAT? I mean, how could sucking on her hair possibly have done more damage than getting all the scoffs and scorns from her peers with hair like THAT? I wonder if she's still scarred from it? I wonder what HER 1st grade picture looks like? Her sister-in-law works at my school. Maybe I'll ask.

Anyway, I digress.

So, my mother was well aware of my bow-sucking addiction. I remember this very clearly. She said to me as I left for "picture day" to make sure I ask the photographer if my bow is straight. She swore me to it. I was determined to do this. I was not so determined, obviously, to just not suck on my bow. I remember when it was my turn, and I knew I had to ask the photographer--a GROWN UP that I DIDN'T KNOW--if my bow was straight. And you know what? I remember--I was no shrinking Violet. I didn't chicken out. I totally asked him. I don't remember his response--I'm sure it was something like, "Yeah sure, kid," POOF!!

I bet photographers hate picture day at schools. I bet they dread it. Tons of annoying little kids, whining, crying, sucking on their bows. He just wanted the day over. He didn't care that I sucked on my bow. And now--I have the proof of this uncaring and bored photographer to keep forever.
Here's to you man, whoever you are...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oregon 2010

Well, we've been back from our Oregon trip for almost a week now. I figured it's time to update! Ever since I was a kid, going to Oregon was magical. It was a yearly trip, every summer, and I couldn't wait. I even made homemade calendar's to count down. My mother grew up in a town called Vale--only about 17 miles out of Ontario. It's a small farm town, but to me growing up, it was an amazing place. It gave me an appreciation of another lifestyle different from my own--I think every kid should grow up visiting the farm! Trevor did the same thing going to visit HIS grandparents in Loa, so he really appreciates Vale, too. For years, we'd go up every summer. Then Grandma moved down here, and then she passed away, and we all got older--and for a few years we didn't see much of the family up there. But now, we try to go every year. My aunt and cousins still live there, and there is so much to do. The farm isn't quite the same as it used to be--but it's still Oregon. And there's nothing better than introducing your children to the same joy you had as a kid.

(Getting ready to go home from Oregon, about 1987. You can see how sad we were! That's grandma and grandpa Mikkelsen with us.)

(Visiting Aunt Carolyn's house, in about 1989. That little baby Samantha is all grown up and married now! It's so weird!)

(I think we took this before going swimming at the dam. Me with my cousins Loni, Chad, and JoAnna.)

(My mom with my Grandpa Mikkelsen--and ornery old farmer with the BEST sense of humor! I miss him!)

(Not sure what the cake is for, but that is my Aunt Janice, Aunt Sharon, Mom, and Carolyn--all sisters--and Kathy, who is Carolyn's daughter-in-law. I think she's pregnant with Jeremy?)
(Ah, the RAFT. My cousin Cheryl and I spent all summer playing in the ditch. on year we built a really crappy raft that we just loved. It took us all day.)

(Another "going home" picture, this time with my Aunt Janice's kids, who were from California. Clearly, they didn't want to go home either. This picture was taken in 1988. It was the last time I saw my cousin Jodi--in blue in the back right. He was killed in a fire only a few months later.)

Anyway, we're ALL grown up now. We've all got kids--and the grandkids range from mid-twenties to brand new babies. This was Afton's first time up there, and we were so excited to introduce her to the farm! After a surprisingly pleasant 7 hour drive up there (thanks to my friend Heather who lent us her DVD player, and my neice Kylee who kept her company) we visited my Aunt Carolyn for a while and then headed to Loni and Tonya's--Loni is Carolyn's second child. Anyway, they have horses. And let me tell you--my AWESOME daughter wasn't remotely afraid.

She was a real hit with them. It was so fun to visit! We got there first, since Nicki stopped in Ontario and poor Cindy had car trouble in Boise. The rest of the family came later that night. We stayed the night at Carolyn's. Friday morning Trevor went golfing with Matt. He was gone for most of the day, which sucked, but at least he had fun. We all went to Carolyn's and visited and let the kids get used the farm and play with their second cousins, whom they don't know so well. It was so fun to watch them! Afton loved the farm!

Then Friday night we went back to the Bed & Breakfast we were staying in (though I don't know why they call it that--the beds SUCKED and there was NO breakfast...)

We had dinner, and just sat and visited. There was a kiddie pool in the back that Trevor and my Aunt Sharon used to cool off in! And later, Afton sort of fell in it--but she was ok. That's the closest we got to a hotel with a pool in Oregon.

And then my cousin Shannon's husband brought out his guitar and bongo drums. THEN the real fun began.

Afton went CRAZY. She was a dancin fool! It was so fun to see everyone gathered around watching MY baby, and realizing what a special amazing little kid she is! I'd never seen her dance quite like that, even though I've known since I was pregnant with her that she loves music. She also was dubbed "The Binki Bandit" when she went up and stole a binki from Tyson, and later Shannon's Emma, and ran off grinning. Anyway, here's the video of her dancing. It's kinda long but I couldn't cut it--it's too cute!

Friday night after things were calming down, several of us walked all over Vale looking at the town. I love that Trevor came with us. Even though he didn't grow up there, he still appreciates it and is interested in it.

On Saturday we spent the whole day at Carolyn's. What fun it was! And I FINALLY floated down the canal! Growing up, the older grandkids did this from time to time, but as I'm the second to youngest grandchild, I was always too small. So this was my first time! My body got pretty beat up by the rocks and the unexpected cement barrier we went flowing over, but still--it was great! Luckily Nicki rode along the canal in her SUV and took some pictures!

I have no idea how Loni's girls were able to get out of the steep sides of the canal and then jump off, but it was fun watching them!

There was great food, and a weenie roast that we pretty much missed because we ran back to the hotel to put Afton down for the night, and Nicki stayed with her and with her kids. So when we got back, it was mostly over. But--SOMEONE still took pictures with our camera while we were gone, so it still looks like we were there...

When we got back, it was time for poker. Unfortunately I got no pictures--I don't think anyone did. I got out of the game quite early, and went home with Mom and Dad, but Trevor stayed a while. Aunt Carolyn ended up winning the jackpot!

And then it was time to pack up and come home! So sad! Afton was great on the way home, too, even through the ridiculous "construction" in Box Elder County, which added an hour to our trip for no apparent reason. Still, all in all it was a great trip! I want to go up to Oregon as much as we can for as long as it lasts--and each year Afton will "get it" even more. Here's a few more pictures!

(The five sisters--it's so awesome all five of us were there. That's a first in like--15 years. Seriously.)
(Afton on the tractor. We were taking pictures of her, and then Jen found a blade of wheat in the nearby field and it totally made the picture!)

(Mom and her three sisters. As you can see, we come by the all girls thing pretty honestly!)

(Trevor tries his hand at the bongo drums. Pretty much everyone did, especially the kids!)

(The kids loved the swimming pool at Carolyn's. Well, not Afton. She'd cry every time I took her near it. But it kept the kids busy and mostly out of hair, so we all loved it too.)