Some Awesome SWAG...

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We sure did. Here are some highlights from our day...

On Christmas Eve, Kyle was held against his will by his aunt Stephanie, who decided he did not look festive enough. She painted his toenails red to rectify the situation. (Actually, Kyle sat remarkably still for the entire thing, much to his father's dismay...I think he was fascinated by the process.)

Kyle LOVES to "type-type" on the computer, so Grandma got him his very own laptop for Christmas. As you can see from his characteristic grin, he was absolutely thrilled. In fact, he wouldn't put it down for the rest of the morning, so everyone else had to open the MILLION more presents he had.
Speaking of laptops, Cole got one for Christmas too. He was just as thrilled as Kyle...but minus the cheesy grin.

As for me...my brother got me this AWESOME pair of turquoise heels. It's like he knew EXACTLY what I wanted! (I told him exactly what to get me, and I was with my mom when she bought them for him.) Cole also got me gift certificates to a spa, which I'm SO excited about. The best gift I got?

Yes, Cole bought me Wii Fit. It's actually turned out to be more of a family gift, though. Everyone in my family has taken a turn with it every day. My mom and I are making it an integral part of our weight loss. We all like to sit around and watch each other try to head soccer balls and hoola hoop and box. We just have to keep Kyle from sitting on the board...


Merry Christmas

The Christensen family wishes you and yours the happiest of holidays!


Twilight Musings

There has been a lot of hype over the Twilight series lately. Between the release of the fourth and last book and the premiere of the movie adaptation, it's practically impossible for someone to be (at least partially) unfamiliar with Bella Swan and the coven of vampires with whom she associates. Now, I understand that typically any publicity is good publicity. But, I think Stephenie Meyer is getting a bad rap from a lot of overly critical people.

Let me describe how my "relationship" with the Twilight world came to be. I first heard about the Twilight series about a year and a half ago. A few of my co-workers were in the process of reading them and had VERY different opinions of the books. One was beyond obsessed with the series and only had good things to say about them. The other was reading Twilight only because her book club was reading it, and she told me she thought it was "overrated" and "just as bad as a dirty romance novel." My curiosity was piqued. I don't usually respond to peer pressure when it comes to my literary choices, but in this case, I felt compelled, albeit grudgingly, to see what all the fuss was about. I started Twilight and scoffed at Stephenie Meyer's awkward diction and syntax (believe me, it doesn't start out great). Once I got past my grammar obsession and let myself become absorbed by the story, I whizzed through the series in mere days. I waited in anticipation for the final volume to be released, and I stood in line at midnight to buy my copy. Now, the series is my go-to when I have a yen to read but don't have any new material. I've read all of the books at least 4 or 5 times.

I honestly feel critics give Stephenie Meyer's writing prowess WAY too much credit, and give female readers WAY too little. First of all, Meyer never set out to write "the next great American novel," and she has never claimed these books to be anything but what they are--young adult fiction. Second of all, women and girls are not mindless drones. What we think and feel and understand are not completely determined by what we see and read. We are able to develop opinions independent of outside influence.

I am particularly offended at the argument that reading Twilight distorts a woman's view of the men in her life, because Edward Cullen is "perfect." Anyone who has read the series can understand that, while being very appealing, he is most certainly not perfect. Sure, he's strong, and beautiful, and rich, and various other great physical things. His physical appearance and surroundings were never what captivated me. He is a GENTLEMAN. He opens Bella's doors for her. He's polite to adults and people in positions of authority. Best of all, he's moral. Bella constantly tries to push boundaries, and Edward always draws a line. Most would tell you it's because he doesn't want to hurt Bella, and though this is true, it's also because he doesn't want to take her virtue or ruin his (they actually discuss this concept in Eclipse). He does have some flaws, as well. Emotionally, he can be a total wreck. He's overprotective, almost to the point of smothering at times, he's jealous, he's got a short temper, he's possessive, and he's condescending at times. If I were to describe the perfect man, Edward would not qualify. Those who are superficially familiar with the story don't understand that.

A second argument I despise claims Twilight is the antithesis of feminism. Stephenie Meyer responded to this argument on her website, and I think she put it well. Everything in the books are about the choices Bella makes and the consequences that come from them. Bella never allows outside influence to pressure her decisions. My idea of an anti-feminist heroine is one who does not act, but is acted upon. She is content to live the life she is given by man on the terms of man. Bella is most certainly not anti-feminist.

Some people may wonder why I read the Twilight series more than once. Something I despised in high school English was the constant searching for themes and symbols and allusions. Back in high school, I used to always say "well, maybe the author wrote it like that just because it sounded good, and it doesn't mean anything." I don't believe that anymore. If someone takes the time to write a novel, he or she has a purpose--a deeper intention than is initially seen. That purpose intensifies when a reader takes a theme or meaning from a novel that is applicable to his or her life. It sounds silly, but I have a personal connection with those books. Edward the so-called "perfect man" did not leave me wanting something more from my husband. Rather, it made me love him more, because the things I admired in Edward (i.e. his manners and moral compass) are the things I admire in Cole. One of the themes of the series is Bella's desire to spend eternity with Edward, the man she loves. Any LDS member would have to be blind to miss the parallel. I'm particularly grateful that Cole's and my eternity together is far easier to achieve than Bella and Edward's. Another theme of the book deals with Edward's constant temptation to kill humans and drink their blood because of what he is. He and his "family" are excellent examples to all in this regard, since they completely abstain from temptation and choose a better course.

Please don't tell me you're choosing not reading the series "on principle." To me, that says you think you're better than I am because I indulged in what you think is ridiculous, overhyped trash. I personally think anything (within reason, of course) is worth trying once. If you DO decide to give in, at least you know your expectations won't be let down, since they're not that high to begin with. :)


Dear Worthless Co-Worker...*

*name omitted to protect the obnoxious

We need to have a little talk. I know you've been working here since the dawn of time, and I know that it's common for someone that's two days older than dirt (not unlike yourself) to be quite firm in their ways...

or my mind will explode.

I'm sure you think you're funny when you pretend to be an angry guest and complain about the service you received from yourself. I'm sure you think you're affable when you chat about everything under the sun during a service call to a housekeeper or an engineer and waste their valuable time. I'm sure you think you're intelligent when you spout off about your (at times closed-minded) political views to any unsuspecting passer-by and pretend that "Mr. President-Elect Barack Obama" has you on his speed dial. I'm sure you think you're awesome when you brag about all of the great vacations you take--BY YOURSELF.

Sure, maybe you're just quirky. It would be petty for me to dislike you solely for any of these reasons when I really only spend maybe 8 hours a week with you. In fact, they are just proverbial icing on the cake. My real grievance? I'm doing your job, in addition to mine, at least 60-70% of the time. Sure, I send room service calls to you, but that's because I don't have access to the program that would allow me to take those calls. I guess you get even, though, since you busy out your phone for 10 MINUTES while you finish putting in an order and I end up taking all the other calls that come in during that time. (FYI, I've taken room service orders before--it's not that hard! It shouldn't take so long for you to put them in.) You also make all of your personal social calls while you're at work, and since you're such a "friendly guy" they all last about 45 minutes each--more time where I have to answer all of the business calls that are YOUR responsibility in addition to doing my work. Sure, I understand making a personal call once in a while. Heck, I've even done it! But, unlike you, I always place my personal call on hold when a business call comes in. I make work a priority when I'm at work (wow, what a novel concept!).

And you know what really gets me about you? You CRITICIZE other employees for being lazy.

I'm SO sorry you have to DO YOUR JOB sometimes.

By the way, that faux hairpiece? Classy and understated. :)

Sincerely, Your Disgruntled Co-Worker



Friday Fill-Ins

1. Snow is actually something I'm looking forward to now--too bad we don't have any!
2. I'm looking forward to taking 3 big vacations next year.
3. Cole is the best husband ever! (Not that I'm biased or anything...)
4. One of my favorite old tv shows is Bewitched.
5. I'm done with wrapping presents--until we buy more.
6. The most enjoyable thing around the holidays is the almost universal spirit of giving and selflessness.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a date with Cole, tomorrow my plans include serving at the Ward Christmas Breakfast and finishing up Christmas shopping, and Sunday, I want to take a much-needed nap!


Life Goes On...

Wow, quite the lapse in substantial blogging for me!  Life has been a little crazy lately, and it's kept me away from the computer.  Here's a quick update on what we've been doing...

Cole and I have been working, as usual, but luckily for me (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) they've cut my hours in half because the hotel is so slow this time of year.  So, I get to spend a lot more time at home with Kyle!  It's been really fun, and it really makes me look forward to a time when I'll be able to stay at home full-time.  

I've been to the doctor three times in the last two weeks for my gall bladder.  My doctor told me I have classic symptoms of gallstones, but the ultrasound I had came back negative for stones.  So, today, I had what is called a HIDA scan.  Basically, the radiology tech injected me with a radioactive isotope, and then stuck me in a scanner, where I had to lie still for 2 HOURS.  Not fun at all.  Hopefully this test will have some conclusive result.

We've got virtually all of our Christmas shopping done.  We only have to get gifts for two of my brothers and finish our shopping for Kyle, and that should all be really easy.  I'm really excited for Christmas, especially to see Cole's reaction when he opens what I got for him!  (I bet he was hoping I'd say what it was here--he's dying to find out!)

Thanksgiving was a lot of fun!  We had dinner with my mom's side of the family.  All of my aunts, uncles, and cousins were there (with the exception of one family), so we had dinner at my grandparents' church.  The highlight?  Most definitely the fabulous, homemade stuffing brought by my aunt.  I ate everything I wanted, and I still managed to lose weight that week!  (only 0.6 pounds, but hey, it's a loss!)  

Kyle continues to grow, both mentally and physically.  We've started to get him 18 month clothes, because he's too tall for all of his 12 month stuff.  He chatters all the time, and we're getting a lot more discernable words now (his best being "done").  He's finally figured out that signing means something, and he signs "please" all the time.  I think he's realized that we'll give him just about whatever he wants when he does it.  He also signs "done", "cookie", "eat", and "treat" fairly consistently.  He cut his first one-year molar and is working hard on cutting the others.  He has the funniest quirks, too.  About a week ago, after changing his diaper, I handed it to him and showed him how to put it in our Diaper Champ and turn the handle.  Now, after getting changed, he picks up the diaper and heads for the garage door (where the Diaper Champ is), and he throws a major fit if we throw it away somewhere else.  My greatest achievement to date, however, is FINALLY getting him to give me a kiss!  He walks around with his stuffed animals all the time giving them kisses, but he's too stubborn to give any humans a kiss.  The other day, he was standing on my lap and he took my face in both of his hands and kissed me!  I was pretty jazzed.  Too bad he won't do it on command yet. 

Anyway, that's all about us for now.  I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!


Friday Fill-Ins

1. My stomach is all jacked up because of my jacked-up gall bladder.
2. My aunt's fabulous home made stuffing is what I ate the most of on Thursday.
3. The yard is covered in soggy leaves blown from our neighbors' yards.
4. At home with my boys is where I'd rather be at any given time.
5. The smell of Acqua Di Gio reminds me of falling in love. This is the cologne that Cole wears, and it always makes me remember the first time we dated and the excitement I felt all the time.
6. A long winter's nap is what I need right now!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to cleaning the house before my parents get home, hanging out with Kyle, and working off my Thanksgiving gluttony; tomorrow my plans include finding out I lost at least 1.4 pounds this week (hopefully!) and going to the Fernelius Family Birthdays (version November); and Sunday, I want to hang out with my family and listen to Christmas music--it's finally ok now that Thanksgiving is over!


Twilight Review

Cole and I saw Twilight at 2:40 AM on Friday morning (I know, insane much?). I was pretty excited to see it, since the Twilight series is currently my guilty reading pleasure. However, since I'm fairly critical of movies adapted from my favorite books, I was expecting to be a little bit disappointed (I'd rather sit through a 4-hour movie than have parts of the book cut for time purposes). Unfortunately, I was more than a little disappointed with the movie. I felt completely let down. Here is my list of grievances. *spoilers ahead!*

First, the casting. I think the supporting cast was overall excellently chosen. Bella's friends are ridiculously amusing, especially Jessica, and I loved the competition between Eric and Mike for Bella's attention. The Cullens were fabulous, and I think they should have gotten more screen time. My only beef with them is that Alice didn't quite have enough spunk for my taste, but that could have been just because she wasn't in many scenes. James, Laurent, and Victoria were amazingly creepy. For once in my life, I absolutely loved Jacob Black. It's a good thing the back-up characters were so good, because the main characters were absolutely dreadful. From her very first line, Kristen Stewart dulls down Bella Swan to an almost catatonic state. Even her most passionate, emotional lines are delivered with a monotone drawl. Sure, Bella is quiet and semi-reclusive, but she has spunky, vivacious, emotional moments. Stewart portrayed Bella as a jaded, depressed, colorless teen the entire time. I almost rooted for James to kill her at the end of the movie! As for Robert Pattinson? Well, he wasn't much better. He played the tortured vampire role very well...but I was more convinced his torment resulted not from an uncontrollable thirst for Bella's blood but from an unpredictable GI tract. He appeared nauseated, constipated, and in intense physical pain in many different parts of the movie. It was almost comical to watch. Stewart and Pattinson did have good chemistry, though, in the ONE scene where they got to kiss.

Second, the SFX. I know the budget for the movie wasn't huge, but seriously? The scenes where Edward has Bella on his back and is running are just horrible. There's got to be a better way, because he looked so obviously fake.

Third, the dialogue. My favorite lines were "Your scent is like a drug to me...like my own personal brand of heroin"; and "I dream about being with you forever." Seriously? I'm pretty sure these gems were not actually said by characters in the book. I know the first, in some shape, is part of the text, but I'm fairly sure it's more like commentary by Bella describing her understanding of Edward's thirst for her. Commentary? Ok. Dialogue? RIDICULOUS! Of course, a lot of the dialogue problems stem from bad delivery (and the fact that Twilight isn't exactly high-quality literature to begin with), so I'll give the script writers the benefit of the doubt.

Fourth: ANGST! The movie was practically dripping with it. I felt like I needed a shower after all of the ANGST. First, it's Bella: "Boo hoo, my life is so hard because my mom wants to move to Florida, and I'm being a big person by moving to a podunk town with my father that I'm not even close to so she can follow her dreams and her trophy husband." Then some more Bella: "Why does that really, really ridiculously good-looking boy Edward hate me? And if he hates me, then why did he save my life?" Then throw in some Edward: "I want to suck your blood so badly it hurts, but I don't want to be a bad person! Oh yeah, and I want you for more than just eating, too." And, of course, more Bella: "All the vampires want to kill me. Why can't I just become a vampire so I can hang out with them instead?" Yes, there's angst in the book, too, but it's ANGST in the movie. Kinda like it's hopped up on Red Bull and caffeine pills. It's so bad I couldn't stop my eyes from rolling around in their sockets uncontrollably. The ANGST downplayed the gravity of the situation (because face it, being desired by a vampire for more than just lovin', then being hunted by another "non-vegetarian" vampire is pretty serious business) and placed it firmly on the level of any other high school "I want this boy but he doesn't know I'm alive and wastes all his time with what's-her-face" drama...which does not a good movie make.

Fifth: The script writers changing/leaving out minute (and sometimes important) details. For example: Rosalie drives a red BMW M3 convertible. In the movie, her car is very much a red Mercedes convertible. Edward's car is a HATCHBACK (not sexy) Volvo, rather than the S60R he drives in the book. Come on! Stephenie Meyer made it so easy for you by posting pictures of the cars on her website! Next example: Bella's prom ensemble (actually, the entire prom scene). Alice is not a participant in Bella's beautifying process. In fact, Bella appears to be going willingly, which is contrary to Bella's very nature! Plus, Bella wears a Converse sneaker (*shudder*) on her un-broken foot. Ew. It would have been a thousand times more comical if Bella had been tricked into going to the prom, and it would have given the audience a chance to see Alice's moxie and quirks.

Don't get me wrong; the movie did have some good parts (Stephenie Meyer's cameo being one). It wasn't a total waste of money. It definitely was not worth losing sleep to see (plus, I had to listen to the screaming of all of the violent fangirls--ugh.). Overall, I'd give the movie a C+.

Maybe I'll go see it again when I'm well-rested and headache-free, just to see how much those things clouded my opinion. After all, I'm a glutton for all things Twilight at the moment. Plus, most people seem to have an extremely positive opinion of the movie, and I'd like to believe humanity isn't lost yet, so I may be in the wrong here. Unlikely, though. :)


Friday Fill-Ins

1. The last band I saw live was Faith Hill and Tim McGraw in June 2007.
2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is stuffing! It always tastes better on Thanksgiving than it does any other day of the year.
3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is minimal, thank goodness.
4. Thoughts of a long winter's nap fill my head.
5. I wish I could wear a size six again. I've got about 15-20 pairs of nice jeans in that size (from my single, clothes horse days) that I REALLY don't want to give away.
6. Bagpipes do not make music--they make noise.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleeping off my Twilight hangover, tomorrow my plans include trying to avoid watching the BYU-Utah game and doing weekly chores, and Sunday, I want to sing as loudly as possible at church!


Friday Fill-Ins

I have several friends who do this every week, and I think it's a good idea...plus it'll keep me from neglecting my blog for too long.

1. Please feel free to spend as much time with your family as possible.
2. When I use a dryer sheet with my laundry I can't help sniffing it occasionally.
3. My favorite thing to cook is cake of any kind...then my trouble is not eating it all.
4. Time with my little family is something I can't get enough of.
5. That's the thing I love most about fall--overcast days, sweater weather, colorful foliage, and the upcoming holidays.
6. Getting cut off in traffic always makes me think to myself, what the heck?
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to vegging in front of the TV watching the first season of Bones, tomorrow my plans include seeing my amazing brother in Seussical, and Sunday, I want to sing Christmas music in ward choir!


Review Time!

So last night Jessica and I went to Hillcrest High School's Production of Seussical the Musical. Now keep in mind that I was in two plays at Hillcrest: Oklahoma and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Jessica was in Joseph and Footloose. so, we are well versed in the ways of plays in high school. Furthermore, both of our moms have been involved with the choral department at Hillcrest and the plays. My mom was involved for over ten years covering every play possible. Jessica's mom has been doing it for almost as long, and has been even more involved with the productions of the plays. This year she handled all of the costumes, and sewed half of them for almost a month straight. Anyway, so we know that usually there are some screw ups with these plays including missed lines, mics cutting out, leads singing off key, and horrible lighting. Most of all, you usually get half of the cast that doesn't care too much about the play, so they kind of only go at half. Anyway, on to my review and thoughts of..........

So, the play started right on time, and started with this little boy who is the one imagining everything in the play. Now that person was played by none other than my very talented and amazing brother-in-law Daniel. Now, I will leave him out of this for now and come back to him in his own little paragraph. The show was amazing from beginning to end. It is the first play that I have ever watched where I have been so enthralled from start to finish. There was so much detail put into everything in the play. Every single costume was different, the set was so amazing, and every single cast member was so talented. There was only one time where there was a noticeable problem with the mics, and one time where a cast member tripped when dancing. I was very impressed with all of the leads especially the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, Jojo (Daniel), and Horton. Every single member of the cast was going 100%! That doesn't happen very often, especially in large casts like Hillcrest always has.

I will honestly say that Seussical was the best play that I have ever watched, and that includes the two that I was in. I am very proud of my brother-in-law Daniel, and now I will say something about him. I have been in the Kenner family for almost three years and known them for more than 15 years. Daniel has always been the comic relief for the family, and the performer. Daniel was the boy/Jojo in the play, and he was amazing. He starts off the play on stage, and is probably in 80% of the show. He is always running around, singing or dancing, he never broke character, and was always fun to watch. He has the most amazing voice that I have ever heard, and he can hit notes that I can only dream of. There are a lot of women that would be jealous of some of the notes he hits. He was never off key, and was always singing his little heart out. He had great chemistry with every character he was involved with. Daniel is amazing, have I said that yet? Ok, that is enough of that, and if Daniel reads this, I love you to death! I seriously look "up" to you for all of your goodness and kindness, and all of your hilariousness. You did amazing! See you on closing night.
I will wrap this up, it was an amazing play for adults, children and families. It runs through Saturday if anyone wants to see it. Have a great day!

Isn't he a stud?


Twilight: The Lost Script

I find this ridiculously comical, and fairly spot-on.


WARNING: Do not read if you take yourself, or your obsession with Twilight, too seriously.


Happy "Howl"oween!

Kyle was a puppy (more specifically, a pug) for Halloween. We actually took him trick-or-treating for about an hour, but he didn't really understand what it was all about. He was more interested in the real dogs we saw along the way. Plus, he kept trying to get inside every house that we visited. He actually was really good about the costume. I thought he'd try to pull the hood off every chance he got, but he must have been aware that everyone thought he looked cute...he likes to be the center of attention.

We also carved Kyle's first pumpkin! My mom picked a perfect little pumpkin for Kyle from my grandma's patch, and I thought out the pattern for the face (yeah, I know it's not super fancy, but it's a pumpkin for a one-year-old!) Cole, of course, did the actual carving, but we did let Kyle try to pull the guts out...he seemed fairly disgusted by the texture of pumpkin innards (he is his mommy's boy in that respect). Kyle was pretty fascinated with the whole process, though.
I had to include a picture of Kyle's trick-or-treating buddy. This is Chris' and Brittany's miniature Doberman Pinscher, Maddie. She weighs about 2 pounds after a big meal...seriously, she's that small. They dressed her up as a hot dog, and she was just as big of a hit as Kyle! (By the way, I'm pretty sure that costume weighed twice as much as she does.) Don't worry, though, Maddie's Halloween was completely chocolate-free.


A Little Catch-Up

I should probably make use of my free time, since moments like this have been few and far between lately. Kyle had his one year well child visit with the pediatrician, and he's healthy as a horse! He weighed 22 pounds and was 31 inches tall...he's my little string bean! Fortunately, he's finally big enough to sit in a forward-facing car seat!

He was pretty jazzed the first time he got to ride in it. He outgrew his bucket seat about 8 months ago, lengthwise, and he's hated facing backward--he's really big on being able to see everything that's going on around him. Unfortunately, we had to wait until he weighed enough to turn him around. Now, he's FINALLY heavy enough, and he loves being able to see Mommy and Daddy and watching everything outside the car window.

We all are enjoying the surprisingly lengthy autumn Utah is experiencing this year. Kyle was outside "helping" Cole rake leaves, and he ended up getting covered by them instead.

Kyle has recently started making what we call the "Spanky" face (like Spanky from The Little Rascals).  He's such a character!

Finally, Cole and I got the chance to go on a date last night! We spent a chunk of change and went to Body Worlds 3 at the Leonardo downtown. It was worth every penny! For those of you who are not familiar with Body Worlds, it is an exhibit of real human bodies and body parts that have been "plasticized" and preserved. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life! We saw individual organs, muscles, brain slices (my personal favorite part), cross sections of body parts...we even saw the entire circulatory system of the body! I've never been more in awe of our bodies and the intricate way they function. It made me truly grateful for a Heavenly Father who loved us enough to give us such wonderful, amazing physical bodies and who paid meticulous attention to every tiny detail when He was creating them. If you have some money to spare, I wholeheartedly recommend you go see this before it closes in January.


I've Had a Birthday! Shout Hooray!

Dear World,

Today was my first birthday...I'm not really sure what that means, though. Everyone kept singing and talking to me, though, and I LOVE to be the center of attention, so I think I like this birthday thing. My mommy and daddy even had a party for me, and all of my aunts and uncles, and even my great-grandma and grandpa came! My grandma made this little cake just for me!

My dad made my favorite foods for dinner: chicken nuggets and french fries! Look how yummy they looked! I've got my trusty sippy cup of milk to wash it all down, because milk does a body good! I didn't eat a ton of food because I caught a glimpse of something pretty awesome that interested me WAY more than nuggets and fries: PRESENTS! Now I'm really sold on this birthday idea.

I just HAD to get my hands on those presents! When Mommy and Daddy finally let me have them, I wasn't really sure what to do. Usually I'm not supposed to tear paper, so I was confused when they told me it was okay. So, Mommy helped me. I got a bunch of new clothes and a coat (boring!), but check out those trucks! I also got my very own four-wheeler! It makes some pretty awesome sounds that everyone (except me) is already tired of hearing. I haven't quite figured out how to push myself around on it, but I will.

Mommy and Daddy also got me this awesome fish tank full of fish! I love to watch them swim around. Daddy even put it on the desk near my crib so I can watch the fish as I go to sleep every night. It's the coolest night light ever! Now, I can't stop saying "fishie" every time I look at them. For some reason, Mom is really excited about that.

After opening my presents, Mommy INSISTED on putting this really dumb hat on me. You can see how much I liked it. I was so mad that I yelled for a long time after someone took it off, and I didn't even notice my cake in front of me. I finally calmed down once I realized the hat was gone, and then Daddy gave me a spoon so I could eat my cake--I didn't want my hands to get TOO dirty.

Oh boy, did that cake taste good. Chocolate frosting is the best! Thanks, Grandma!

After eating my fill of cake, Mommy and Daddy made me take a bath (what's with that?). Then, I FINALLY got to play with my new toys!

All in all, it was a pretty cool day. I can't wait until I get to have a birthday again! (Can it be tomorrow?)
With Love,



I loathe politics. It seems to me that every politician is little better than a snake-oil salesman, making false promises and selling a big story just to get into a position of high importance. Every two years I get a little more sick to my stomach as November draws nearer (the local elections that happen in off years don't seem to bother me as much). Much to my chagrin, this year has been an even bigger circus than most election years because of the departure from the traditional. Who would have thought we'd have an African-American man and a woman on the major party tickets for president at the SAME time? While I celebrate Senator Obama and Governor Palin for having the moxie to defy tradition, I dread turning on the television, knowing full well I will be inundated with political propaganda from one party or the other.

To set things perfectly straight, I am not affiliated with any particular party. I think the bipartisan system is ridiculously flawed, but it IS functional, and I know we're unlikely to find a better one. I believe in voting for the candidate, not the party.

Now, with that being said, I'm not sure I'll vote for president this year. I know, it's my duty as an American citizen, but I have such a hard time committing myself to either candidate, and I probably shouldn't do something silly, like write in Brad Pitt. There are several reasons why I feel this way, but I'll just present one major issue I have with each candidate.

I cannot vote for John McCain because he supports overtuning Roe vs. Wade. Do not misunderstand me: I DO NOT SUPPORT LEGALIZED ABORTION as a rule. I generally believe that if one is "responsible" enough to have unprotected sex, one is "responsible" enough to carry a child full term and give birth. There are always plenty of couples ready and willing to adopt the result of an unwanted pregnancy. However, I am of the opinion that abortions should be legal in the cases of rape and incest, and when the physical, mental, or spiritual health of the mother is in question. Personally, I would never have an abortion under any circumstance, but I wholeheartedly believe that a woman that had pregnancy forced upon her should have the chance to make that choice, if she felt it was the right one for her. Overturning Roe vs. Wade is the first step down the road towards abortion being completely abolished, which I feel is wrong. It would deny women who had no choice the chance to make a choice. Think about it logically rather than morally, as well. If abortion is declared to be unlawful, will all abortions immediately stop? Of course not! During the Prohibition Era, did all alcohol production, sales, and consumption cease? Ha! Are we not currently fighting a war against the sale and possession of powerful mind-altering drugs that are, in fact, illegal? Indeed, we are. History has displayed that simply outlawing an item or action does not make it disappear. Women will still be able to find someone to perform abortions. The difference will be that these abortions will not be performed by doctors or specialists in sanitized clinics or hospitals. Anyone seen Dirty Dancing? That's what I imagine will happen to many upset and desperate women if abortion is illegal.

I cannot vote for Barack Obama because he supports a government-sponsored universal health care system. I fully believe every American deserves to have health insurance, but I don't think this is the way to do it. A universal health care program eliminates the need for multiple, competing health care programs. Competition drives people and industries to provide the best care and service possible. Currently, if you don't like your health insurance provider, there are several more that are eager and willing to accept your patronage. With one, universal program, I feel like the quality of health care that we receive will deteriorate, simply because the bigwigs in charge will know that, with nowhere else to turn, we will keep coming back. In addition, the medical conditions that Americans have are diverse and widespread. Health insurance cannot be one-size-fits-all. I don't want to pay for coverage for conditions that I don't have and will never have, but I don't want others who need the coverage to go without it. With multiple providers, we are all more likely to find a program that fits our specific needs without having extraneous costs. Finally, I'm curious to see where Senator Obama intends to find the money for a universal health care program without raising our taxes. (Incidentally, If it were possible, I'd like to see discounts and tax breaks offered to ease the burden of paying for health insurance--that way, it would be easier for all to have health insurance, but we would still have the luxury of choice.)

There lies my dilemma. Like I stated before, these are not the only causes of my hesitance to vote, but these are two issues about which I feel strongly. I guess it will come down to choosing the lesser of two evils, but haven't decided who that will be. Brad Pitt is starting to look really good in my eyes...



You are a

Social Moderate
(55% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(31% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test
Too bad this doesn't help me decide who to vote for...


Reality Sets In

There's nothing that teaches you more about the frailty of mortality than seeing one of your parents lying helpless in a hospital bed.

Last Monday, my dad fell off the roof above our porch (about 15 feet above the ground) and was rushed to the emergency room. Fortunately, I wasn't there to see it happen (Cole was the first on the scene, and he's still having nightmares about it), but the image in my mind still makes me shudder. My dad was eventually transferred to IMC (lovingly called "the Death Star" in my family), where he stayed until Saturday afternoon. We eventually found out that he broke 7 ribs on his right side, which, all things considered, is pretty lucky for how he fell. Because of the pain, he hasn't been breathing very deeply, so he's been on oxygen, which ages him about 35 years. He looks so frail and vulnerable, which seriously scares me.

Parents are supposed to be invincible! I know that eventually children reach a point where they understand that their parents will one day die. But, I think there's a subtle difference between understanding the mortality of one's parents and realizing it, a difference that doesn't surface until one loses or comes close to losing a parent. I met that difference head-on last week.

My dad isn't even 50 yet, so to see him so seriously injured was a complete shock. I realize, not just understand, that my parents will one day be gone, and I think I'll be better equipped to handle that when it comes. Until then, I'm going to cherish every moment I have with them and never let them forget that I love them. I implore everyone else to do the same.


For Real?!?!?!

During a particularly slow moment at work, I decided to waste time and surf the web. I came across one of THE weirdest stories I've ever seen...

How 'Bout a Double Scoop of Mama's Milk?

FOR REAL?!?!? WTF?!?!?

I'm all for the ethical treatment of animals, but this is ridiculous. Obviously PETA activists have no concept of supply and demand in nature. Cows are used to producing mass quantities of milk for human consumption. If we up and decide to stop milking cows to "reduce the suffering of cows and calves", their milk production won't INSTANTLY decrease. Nursing moms--ever been engorged? We'd have countless herds of engorged cows. Wait...isn't their suffering supposed to be DECREASED?

Don't even get me started on the idea of milking HUMANS...


I've Been Tagged!

8 TV Shows I Like to Watch:
1. The Office
2. Bones
3. House
4. So You Think You Can Dance
5. Gossip Girl (a recent and gratuitous pleasure)
6. American Idol
7. Wipeout (Have you SEEN those people bounce off those giant red balls? Hilarious!)
8. 'Til Death

8 Places I Love to Eat:
1. Carrabba's

2. PF Chang's
3. Texas Roadhouse
4. Outback Steakouse
5. Bonsai (Japanese Tepanyaki)
6. Applebee's
7. Rumbi Island Grill
8. Toaster's (a REALLY great deli in downtown SLC)

8 Things That Happened Yesterday:
1. I got a raise at work (not anything spectacular--I've just been there for 90 days and it's a standard raise)
2. I found out I've lost 6 pounds in the last 2 weeks
3. I missed Bones because I had to work
4. I snuggled Kyle back to sleep after I accidentally woke him up at 11:30 pm
5. I went to Wal-Mart with my mom
6. I exchanged 400 Canadian dollars into US dollars
7. I unwillingly received a business card from a person pushing a multi-level marketing product
8. I walked 2 1/2 miles

8 Things I Look Forward To:
1. Kyle's first birthday!
2. Christmas (and my family's crazy White Elephant party)
3. Taking Kyle to Disneyland next April
4. Spring (I really dislike winter)
5. Cole entering the management program with Hilton and us moving somewhere else in the country
6. My days off from work
7. Thanksgiving
8. Finally losing all my marriage/baby weight and (maybe) fitting into my old jeans again

8 Things I Love About Fall:
1. The color of the changing leaves
2. Wearing sweaters
3. BYU football!
4. Thanksgiving
5. Cooler weather
6. The exciting feeling that comes with knowing the holidays are around the corner
7. Roaring fires and hot chocolate
8. Cuddling with Cole under a warm blanket

8 Things On My Wish List:
1. Our car won't cost more than $500 to fix
2. Kyle will never need a trip to the emergency room (Ha! We'll see how THAT one pans out...)
3. Several new books to read

4. Lots of free time to spend with my two favorite boys
5. A LONG, relaxing day at a spa
6. To be a stay-at-home mom with my children
7. Eternity with my family
8. World peace :)

8 People I Tag:

I'm not sure there are 8 people that read my blog...so if you feel so inclined, consider yourself tagged!


Wedding and Kyle

I (Cole) would also like to acknowledge my Brother-in-law's wedding. I am very happy for them, and I have been the biggest jerk about the two of them the whole time. But, as I too sat in the temple I truly saw Chris in a new light. We have become pretty good friends since he got home from his mission, and it was like losing a brother. I am glad to have Brittany in the Kenner family, she is a sweet addition to the otherwise rough group. It is also going to be way fun not to be the only married couple in Jessica's family.

I also wanted to post this picture of Kyle, so everyone can see how incredibly handsome our little man is. I can not figure out why we were so lucky to get such a great kid. He is well on his way to walking. He will do it when no one is watching or when he doesn't even know he is. He should be walking very soon! Yikes!

For Ever and For Always

My little brother got married on Saturday! It was a really LONG day, but a really good one. I learned a very valuable lesson, too.

My siblings and I are very close. There's five of us in a six year span, so we very literally grew up together. This has made us very protective of one another. When Chris and Brittany first started dating, I was worried for a few reasons: 1-Chris had recently been horrendously dumped by the girl that wrote him all through his mission; 2-Brittany had just turned 18 and had not yet graduated from high school; 3-They got serious REALLY fast. My protective instincts kicked in like a reflex, and I was very quick to judge and dislike Brittany. I always tried to treat her nicely, because I knew Chris felt very strongly about her and I wanted to trust his judgment. Before we knew it, they were engaged and planning a wedding.
Now, I've planned a wedding myself, and I knew that emotions tend to run high, and that the tiniest things out of place can send a person careening off into insanity. Despite this knowledge, I found it so easy to criticize and poke fun and eye-roll. I mentally compiled a rather long list of reasons why Brittany was not right for Chris. But, I was either too chicken or too respectful to voice my concerns to Chris. So, the wedding plans continued...
After what seemed like years, the wedding day finally arrived, and I found myself sitting in sealing room A of the Salt Lake Temple, waiting for the bride and groom. As I watched them come in, I suddenly realized something: it didn't matter what I thought. I saw my brother's face and the happiness and love that it radiated as he looked at Brittany, and all my concerns melted away. I felt strongly that he was exactly where he needed to be, and that he had chosen a wonderful young woman to spend eternity with.
Congratulations and much love to Chris and Brittany Kenner! I'm truly so happy for you both, and I'm so excited for the chance to get to know my new sister-in-law.


Soul Mates?

Okay, this post will probably make me sound horribly unromantic and pessimistic, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot, especially with my younger brother's wedding in the immediate future.

I was at my future sister-in-law's bridal shower yesterday, and all of her friends were talking about how Chris and she were "perfect for each other" and all of that schmoopy stuff that comes out at bridal showers. I thought about that concept as I was coming home, and I realized that I think it's a bunch of bunk.

This opinion of mine was not formed without personal experience and lots of thought. There was a time when I was pretty sold on the idea of a "soul mate". When I was in high school, I dated the same guy from the time I turned 16 until he left on an LDS mission 3 years later. For the first year of his mission, I wrote him faithfully, fully anticipating our marriage when he got home. I was pretty sure that we were "meant" to be together. Then, of course, life did what it is so good at: threw me a curveball. It was a particularly attractive curveball in the form of Cole. Even though Cole and I had known each other for 10+ years, having grown up in the same LDS ward and attending all the same schools, the thought had never crossed my mind to date him. In fact, it was WEIRD. At the same time, however, the idea intrigued me for reasons I didn't understand at the time. So, when Cole got home from HIS mission, I agreed to go on a date with him. Our first date ended with a kiss, and a week and a half later, we were talking marriage.


What happened to the missionary, you ask? Well, he got Dear Johned. But, the story wouldn't be a good one unless there was another twist. Less than a month after we talked matrimony, Cole and I broke up. We both knew overwhelmingly that it was not the right time for us to be together. So, the missionary got un-Dear Johned, and, to his credit, he forgave me wholeheartedly. I spent the next six months harboring two separate dreams: 1- that missionary boy and I would work out (since it would be the quintessential fairy tale); and 2- that somehow Cole and I would find our way back to one another (at the time, it seemed wholly impossible).

***PAUSE FOR MODERN-DAY INTERJECTION*** If a "soul mate" exists for everyone, why was I simultaneously hoping for a happy ending with TWO different but equally wonderful guys?

Continuing on...Cole and I did find a way back together, and then I was forced with a painful decision: do I cut the missionary loose and try again with Cole, even though the last time ended less than desirably? Do I pass on the chance with Cole and stick with the steady, dependable missionary? Do I wait 5 months for the missionary to get home and decide then? I struggled a lot with this choice. Finally, I decided: come hell or high water, I was choosing Cole. Instantly, my entire future became clear, and I knew exactly what would happen. The missionary got Dear Johned AGAIN (which makes for a comical story, now that it's all passed--he got Dear Johned by the same girl for the same guy TWICE? Come on, that's funny!), and I never looked back again.

Spencer W. Kimball once said, "'Soul mates' are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price." I fully believe this is true. I know that if I had chosen to stay with the missionary, we both would have been committed to make our marriage happy and successful. If I had chosen any number of righteous young men, we could have made a happy marriage, as long as we both worked hard to make it happy.

At the same time, I cannot discredit the extremely strong feelings I had to marry Cole. Therefore, I also believe that there are some individuals more suited to one another than others. I was fortunate enough to find someone who complements me in many ways. Is he perfect for me? No. He's becoming more and more perfect for me every day. I think that's something you grow into. It's impossible for two strangers to know each other so completely that they are perfect complements of one another. That's something that takes years and time and commitment. I don't doubt that in the years to come, Cole and I will be perfect for one another, and I look forward to the journey we will take to get there.

Personally, I think this idea is much more romantic than having a soul mate.


Feng Shui

I now have increased respect for feng shui. Not that what I've done is actual feng shui...but I believe that rearranging the furniture in a room CAN improve your mood!

Cole, Kyle, and I have been living at my parents' house since the middle of April. At the beginning, we only intended it to be for a month or two while we found an apartment. It turned into several months while we saved to possibly buy a home at the beginning of next year. Now, it seems that we'll be there for a year total. Cole has applied for the Hilton management program, which he will most likely be entering next May/June. What does this mean? Well, it means that we'll be picking up and moving somewhere in the country (Cole says Tennessee is looking like the most likely at the moment) so Cole can train as a manager at another Hilton. Ergo, we've decided it would be prudent to stay with my parents until we move, because finding an apartment for only six months would be difficult, and we'll able to save more money for the BIG move next year.

Since we didn't expect to stay in my parents' basement for so long, we left the majority of our stuff in a storage unit, including Kyle's crib. He's been sleeping in a pack n' play for the last 4 months. Yesterday Cole pulled the crib out so Kyle has a more comfortable place to sleep, so we had to figure out a way to fit it in our room. Crazy feng shui rearrangement ensued. If Cole had his way, he would rearrange the furniture in any and all of the rooms of the house every week, but I have always been reluctant to change anything like that. The furniture in our room (which was my room growing up) has been arranged the same way ever since my family moved into this house almost 14 years ago. I am surprisingly happy with the results! In fact, I feel more organized and neat. I'll never roll my eyes at Cole's spontaneous redecorating again.



This is totally and completely a post in which I will release some pent-up frustration...reader beware!

*steps on soapbox*

When I get bored at work, I have the habit of "blog-stalking." Basically, I follow links to other blogs that I find on friends'/acquaintances' blogs. Lately, I've been reading blogs I've found through a girl that was in my last BYU ward before I got married. All of them are what you would call "crunchy". This girl is a bit crunchy herself. Now, I'm of the "to each his (or her) own" school of thought, so even though I see some of the ideas and notions these ladies as a little absurd, hey, they're free to live as they choose. The thing that irks me is that some of these ladies are not as open-minded as I am about the choices others make. I'm talking primarily about the views they have on childbirth and mothering.

I had what I thought was a fairly typical pregnancy and birth with my son. I had regular prenatal visits with a OB/GYN (though I occasionally saw the nurse midwife in his office). I did not start having contractions on my own, and my doctor was concerned about the size of my baby, so he induced me at 41 weeks. I was admitted to a hospital for my labor and delivery. I had a pitocin drip all through my labor, and I got an epidural about 3 1/2 hours in. I pushed for 15 minutes and birthed a healthy, 9 1/2 pound boy. I was informed and aware when I made the choice to be induced, and the choice to have an epidural.

Now that I'm a mother, I've tried to make the best choices for my son. I started out breastfeeding him, but at about 6 weeks it started to become a fight between him and me--he's always had a strong will. I held out for another month and a half, and then I finally made the hard choice to bottle-feed him. In the end, we both did a lot less crying. I went back to work after 3 months of being home with him, but Cole and I have tried our best to work our schedules so Kyle spends as little time as possible with people besides us. When it doesn't quite work out, Kyle spends the time with my mom or other relatives of Cole and me. When I'm home I try to spend as much time with him as possible. We try to keep him on a good schedule, since he's happier that way. We've taken him to regular visits with a pediatrician, and he's received immunizations. I know I'm not perfect, but I do my best. Despite that, due to my nature, I am extremely critical of myself, and I often feel like I'm "doing it wrong", or, when I'm feeling especially down, that someone else could do a much better job of raising Kyle. I still regret not being able to breastfeed Kyle longer than I did, even though I know I tried my best and I honestly believe that Kyle is, by nature, too independent and he decided he was done breastfeeding. I frequently doubt myself and the choices I've made.

Now, this all sounds like a personal problem, I know. And it is, I admit. What irritates me about these "crunchy" mothers is that they assume their way of birth and parenting is the best way, and anyone that chooses differently is wrong or stupid or causing undue harm to her children. If you trust a doctor for prenatal care or labor and delivery or pediatrics, you're a sheep that has been brainwashed by society, or you don't trust your body to do what it's built to do. If you immunize your child, you are perpetuating the country's dependence on medical personnel. If you stop nursing your child before they can talk, you are depriving them of vital nutrients, which is catastrophic to their health and well-being. None of these ladies attack me personally, so any offense taken is purely my own fault. However, if I ever met any of them on the street and we struck up a conversation about children and birth, I have little doubt that their judgment of me would show in their words or in their body language (if they have more tact). The idea that someone who doesn't even know me would judge me like this irritates me, but it also makes me that much more self-conscious about how I raise Kyle...and THAT irritates me even more. NO ONE should be made to feel guilty about how she brings children into the world and how she chooses to raise them, so long as she is making an honest effort to do her best. What's right for one mother and her children is not necessarily right for another mother and children.

Now, to be fair, I know there are plenty of folks who have similar views as I do that are just as judgmental. I only wish that everyone would be more accepting and less judgmental, no matter what he/she believes.

*steps down from soapbox*


Nine Months! (give or take)

We FINALLY got Kyle's 9 month pictures taken...now that he's almost 10 months old. I tried to get them done 3 weeks ago, but he did NOT like the lady that was helping us and absolutely refused to smile. Rather than settle for mediocre pictures, I decided I would try again another time, and I'm so glad I did! Kyle was really good, and we got some cute shots of him. I can't believe my baby's getting so big!



A-MAZING!!!!! Breaking Dawn was so worth the wait. I will, of course, post no spoilers for those out there who don't read quite as quickly (or obsessively) as I do. However, I'm pleased to say that this book left me completely satisfied with the way Stephenie Meyer concluded Bella's and Edward's story. In addition, I wasn't left with a gnawing sense of loss/emptiness when I finished, as I was when I finished the last Harry Potter book.

I don't know how they'll adapt it for film, though...


I Know How Smokers Feel...

Okay, I'm being a little bit dramatic. Nicotine addiction is SLIGHTLY more extreme than french fry addiction (but only slightly).

Perhaps I should provide more explanation. For as long as I can remember, I have been hopelessly addicted to french fries. It's never been much of an issue before--in high school and in my first few years of college, I was one of those girls who was effortlessly thin. I could eat anything and everything and not think about it twice. Then, I got married. I don't know how my body could tell the difference, but all of the sudden anything and everything I ate went straight to my (insert various body parts here). So, I finally made the painful decision to give up the one food item I crave the most. I've only been fry-free for about two weeks, but I'm proud that I've stuck to my guns. The other day we stopped to get something to eat, and I valiantly passed on the fries. Cole didn't, and he had his fries sitting between us. They were fresh. They were hot. They were absolutely the most divine thing I could ever possibly imagine eating. It was at this point that I realized just how hard it must be for addicts to quit. I mean, I was losing my mind over FRENCH FRIES, which have no inherent addictive qualities whatsoever!

Fortunately, I was able to overcome my animalistic desire by virtue of sheer willpower, and not one french fry crossed my lips. I already feel a little bit thinner.

***AFTERTHOUGHT: I'm reminded of a scene in Freaky Friday (the sorta lame one with Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis) where the daughter (in the mother's body) is eating french fries, and the mother (in the daughter's body) freaks out because of the havoc it will wreak on her (the mother's) body. Then, the mother realizes that because she is in the daughter's body, she can eat the fries with no consequence, and she says "I haven't eaten a french fry in 8 years." I hope I have willpower like that.

***UPDATE*** I totally fell off the wagon yesterday. I was doing really well, but my mom, my sister, and I went to Five Guys Burgers and Fries yesterday, and I had a few more fries than I would have liked. THEN, Cole and I took Adam to Texas Roadhouse for dinner, and Cole decided to order cheese fries. Yikes.




This is my new favorite picture of Kyle. Cole spiked his hair using some gel...he looks so big!



So, my blogging has been sparse lately--a combination of working (seemingly) all the time and just not having anything exciting to say. I thought I'd break my silence by doing one of the "tags" that I've seen floating around on other blogs.

10 years ago: Let's see--1998. I had just finished my first year of middle school. That's about all I remember. Seriously.

5 years ago: 2003, the summer after graduation. I was lazy and hadn't found a job, so I sat on my behind all summer, bored out of my mind. I was dating Jeff Ashton (which sounds so weird to me now that we're both married to other people) and preparing to start BYU in the fall. My stake youth conference for that year was a pioneer trek, so I walked 36+ miles through the scrub and dirt of Wyoming with a "family" of people that I'd never spoken to prior to this event, and had the time of my life.

5 months ago: February 2008. I was in my second month back working at the Provo Marriott after being off with Kyle for 3 months. Kyle began rolling over every time we laid him down, so I had to be especially careful where we put him. We got stuck on the freeway for hours in one of the worst snowstorms I've ever seen while trying to come up to see my brothers in their Renaissance Feast and ended up missing the entire thing.

5 things on my "to do" list:
1. lose some poundage (I've gained 50 lbs in the two years since I've been married...yikes! I can't blame it all on the pregnancy, either)
2. fold and put away my clean laundry (I never seem to have time to do it, so we live out of laundry baskets sometimes :S)
3. save more money to put toward buying a house (why is it that money always seems to be gone the instant we get it?)
4. spend as much time as possible with my cute husband and son
5. go to bed earlier (I never seem to get to bed before 1 a.m. these days, and Kyle gets up at 7 like clockwork, so I'm losing out on a lot of sleep)

5 of my favorite snacks:
1. goldfish crackers (I have to fight Kyle for them now--it's his new favorite snack too)
2. yogurt
3. Milky Way Midnight candy bars
4. dry roasted peanuts
5. french fries
(wow, now I can see why I'm not losing weight very well! Ü)

5 purchases:
1. a new catalytic converter before August (unfortunately, that's what all our savings are going for right now--we need our car to pass emissions)
2. diapers and wipes (a constant when you have a baby)
3. a new digital camera
4. Rock Band for the Wii (totally more on our wish list than our actual purchase list, though)
5. gas for the car (sigh)

5 places I've lived:
1. Springfield, OR
2. Orangevale, CA
3. Clovis, CA
4. Sandy, UT
5. Springville, UT

5 things you may not know about me:
1. I am deathly afraid of falling. Not heights, falling. I don't mind being up high as long as there's no chance that I'll fall off the edge of something. Plus, even falling off a curb or tripping when I'm walking across a flat surface gives me that "heart in your throat, rush of panic" feeling.
2. I have a mild (but undiagnosed) case of OCD. Many, many things in my life have to be "just so" or it makes me crazy. My clothes have to face the same way in my closet and are arranged first by sleeve length and then color; I always have to eat bite size food in pairs (one for each side of my mouth), and if I have an odd number, I bite the unpaired item in half...etc. I have so many quirks that it's hard to think about them all. It definitely makes Cole crazy sometimes.
3. I really, really enjoy helping people. There's just something about going the extra mile to make someone's day better and the way his/her face lights up when you do something for them that's completely unexpected that just gives me a thrill.
4. I've graduated from college and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
5. I absolutely love being pregnant. The downsides (i.e. morning sickness, fatigue, etc.) are nowhere near enough to overshadow the wonderful feelings that come with carrying a child.

5 best friends throughout life:
1. Cole (always and forever!)
2. Megan Orton, Kristen Carter, and Jennica Pickett (Can this count as one? We were all extremely tight in high school, and I couldn't pick just one of them as my "best" friend)
3. my mom
4. Natalie Mossi Sadler (she was there for me during the hardest time of my life with a listening ear and reassuring words. I can't even count how many times we avoided homework and sleep and instead spent hours talking about everything under the sun)
5. Jeff Ashton (again, weird to think about now that we're married to other people, but it still doesn't make it any less true)

5 things I love:
1. hearing Kyle laugh
2. the smell and feel of the earth after a good rainstorm
3. Sunday afternoon naps with my two favorite boys
4. sitting with my brothers and sister and talking for hours about ridiculous and random things
5. knowing that my family is mine forever and ever
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