Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Every Who down in Who-ville loved Christmas a lot.
But more than Ann Lacouture? Oh, no. I think not.
For she just LOVED Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
You want to know why? Well, I’ll tell you the reason.
It could be the lights, music, Christmas d├ęcor,
It could be the trees and the wreaths on each door,
But I think the most likely reason of all,
May have been all the presents brought home from the mall.

But whatever the reason, the gifts or the trees,
She stood there at Christmastime loving the Me’s.
She made her wish list at the start of November,
And made it a point to help others remember—
The clothes, shoes and doodads; the make-up, the gum—
Then she pranced around waiting for “Santa” to come.
Which was all good and fine, but the problem, you see—
Was that Ann’s selfish heart was the size of a pea.

And for many a year things continued this way—
(Until recent years—I’m embarrassed to say)
But change slowly did come; one thing, then another—
Getting married, moving far, and then being called Mother.
Yes, little by little her heart started to grow—
And continues to do so—I think you should know.
Christmas, she’s learning, doesn’t come from a store—
Christmas, perhaps, does mean a bit more.

It means being grateful for the blessings I’m given:
Three super cool kids, and a warm house to live in;
For a hard-working husband (with a really strong bod);
For food, friends, and family; and the goodness of God.
It means loving others—yes this is a must—
The way Christ would have us—the way he loves us.

Now I know what you’re wondering: “Does she still make a list?”
Alright! Fine! I do! But the point here is this:
I’M GROWING UP, PEOPLE! And what’s even more—
I even made treats for the neighbors next door!


P.S. Here's a little of our Christmas fun. "Wii" are going to get fit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fa la la la la

I'M DONE WITH ALL MY CHRISTMAS STUFF!! Glo o o o o o o o o o o o o o ria ! Eat egg shells each day-0! Glo o o o o o o o o o o o ria! Eat egg shells each day-ay-o!
Well, except for one thing.
I love sending out Christmas cards (as I mentioned last year.) I think I love sending them mostly because of how much I love getting them, but also because I love writitng my Christmas letter. I think about it for weeks before I write it, and I try to make it a little unique every year, and it's really fun for me. So a couple weeks ago while I was at Costco, I picked up some of my Christmas cards. I like to get one of those variety boxes where all the cards are different and they all kinda have a hand-made look to them. Anyway, the wiser, cooler angel on my left shoulder was saying to me, "Ann, at a time when you should really be saving money, do you really need to get those Christmas cards?" And the stupid impulsive devil on my right shoulder was saying, "Cork it, cheapskate. Ann, don't think about what's wise for the future--live in the now!" And they had it out for a few minutes and the devil won, so I bought the cards. But anyway, I was finally able to sit down and scratch out a Christmas letter, and April came and took our picture, and I had them developed, and everything was ready to go. And as I began to put a letter and a picture in the cards, I thought again about what a waste of money those dang cards were--considering I don't even write hardly anything in them. The only purpose they really serve is to hold the letter and picture. So anyway, since I had bought them, I went ahead and sealed them all up and addressed them and they were ready to go. Well at some point in my preparation, I had noticed that up in the little box on the envelopes where the stamp goes, there was a litte message that said, "May require extra postage." Hmm. So I stopped by a shipping place on Tuesday night to have one weighed. Well, to my disgust, the girl told me that they would each be around 79 cents because they weighed over an ounce, and they were bumpy and would not run properly through the machine. Whatever. So I went to the post office yesterday morning for a second opinion only to be told that the cards would actually be counted as small parcels and would therefore cost more than a dollar each to mail. Can you believe that! These people are out of their minds! If I had only listened to the other shoulder! So anyway, what am I supposed to do now? Well, I remember that I did buy and send out the same cards last year, and I didn't seem to have a problem then, so I decided to try a little experiment. I mailed one of my cards to each of my friends that live in Eugene (since they'd get them the soonest) and I put one stamp on one of them and two stamps on the other, and I'm waiting to see if either of them gets delivered. If the one with one stamp gets delivered, I'll go ahead and mail them all out. If only the one with two stamps gets delivered, I may just mail the ones going to my grandmas, and if neither of them gets delivered, I'll just have to send out a Christmas email. Lame.
I cannot stand to feel like I am wasting money. I know everyone spends money differently and different things are worth more or less to different people, but buying 27 cards that cost well over a dollar each to mail definitely falls in the "wasting money" category to me. (I do have to admit, that luckily for me, not all of the cards I bought were the Costco ones. The other ones I got were fine, so atleast 12 people will be getting a card.)
This whole horrible ordeal reminds me of how much I hate it when I realize I have not gotten a good deal. Almost everything I buy is one sale, and I'm not kidding---when I buy something and then find out that I could have gotten it cheaper somewhere else, I seriously have to breath through it and keep myself from screaming. It bothers me that much. It's like last year when I went to Reed & Cross's going-out-of-business sale and I bought this stupid Christmas fern thing for 15% off(ooohh, try not to go crazy with your discounts, Reed & Cross)--so it cost $60-- and then I went to Home Depot and saw the same exact ferns for $19.99! I tried to remain calm as I furiously shuffled through purse to find my receipt. "All sales are final?" AHHHHHHHH! I wanted to die.

But ANYWAY---not counting the card fiasco, my Christmas stuff (including gifts, stocking stuffers, Christmas Eve dinner stuff, shipping, etc.) is all done and now I can just sit back, watch Christmas movies, listen to Christmas music, and frost Christmas cookies. Ahhhhh....

P.S. You know what makes me so sad? Brian doesn't care about Christmas nearly as much as I do(which is probably similar to all of your husbands). In fact, he's seemed a little upset lately. I am so grateful, though, that he goes along with most of my craziness. And atleast I have Camp to be excited with me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Smashing Success

Throwing a party is a risky thing, and I am all too aware of some of those risks. When I was in sixth grade, I had my first boy/girl party and I had invited Jess Warren, on whom I had a major crush. My excitement for him to come was only matched by the fear I felt that at my party he would meet and fall in love with my friend, Kim, who did not attend our school. Kim and I had been best friends through elementary school and she had always been the cuter and funner of the two of us. She had been the one the boys had always liked. So anyway, party time came and sure enough, Jess couldn't get enough of Kim. I was heartbroken. This had been (and for several more years continued to be) the story of my life, you see, and I could almost not bear it. I remember leaving the party and going into my mom's room to cry, and I remember my mom telling me that I needed to pull it together. It was horrible. Funny thing--I also remember that the next morning, I was cleaning with my mom and that song, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to" came on, so I took the opportunity to turn to my mom and say, "See, Mom. It's my party and I'll cry if I want to." (Just a side note--despite how this story might depict my mom, she has definitely always been my biggest supporter.)
And then there was the party that my brother threw after we had moved across town. He had been so excited to get his old group of friends together for a reunion, of sorts, but it ended up being the worst night of our lives up until that point. It was the weirdest thing. Nobody ate; nobody talked; nobody did anything except stare at the walls. I remember all of us kids and my mom hiding up in her room to escape the awkwardness that was rapidly permeating the entire downstairs. My mom kept saying that somebody had to go downstairs, and each of us would beg for it not to be us--including my brother. We swore we would never throw another party for as long as we lived, and it took a good many years for us to build the courage to try it again. Don't worry too much, though, because there have been a few good parties throughout the years, too. Remember those New Year's Eve breakfast parties, guys? Those were super fun. (Thanks, Mom) And Camp's four friends were happy enough with the toilet paper game at his birthday party this year. So it all evened out.
And My Favorite Things party? Well, let's just say it tipped the scale in my favor. It was fabulous. We had a ton of fun and I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time. We ate a bunch of my favorite things and then I went through a list of my 30 favorite things (or atleast the things that had come to my mind over the previous week.) They are: chapstick, It's a Wonderful Life, Krinkles ornaments, decorating (especially with red), El Pato tomato sauce, Brooke's pumpkin dessert, the pan my mom gave me, tupperware, socks, my Dyson, bleach, Christmas music, my magazines, my round brush, truffles from Costco, bedding, down pillows, wood, checks in the mail, Simple Pleasures fabric softener, rubber spatulas, my tool box, blankets, my minivan, my ferns, baskets, Crocs, Airwick plug-in oil burners (harvest spice) and last but not least--DRUM ROLL--Chelsie and Mark's dance to Bleeding Love. Oh man, I seriously cannot get enough of it.
So after naming my favorite things, I gave the girls a few minutes to write down as many of them as they could remember, and the girls who were able to remember the most, got to pick a gift from under my Krinkles tree. (Each of the gifts was one of my favorite things.) Then we watched the video on You Tube and I said that whomever would be willing to dance to the video when I played it again would get a gift, too. Nobody would do it alone, so several of us decided that we could all do it together. This is when the laughing started. I was seriously crying. I have been wanting to unleash those moves for so long! Oh I felt so liberated! I thought I was going to die of complete bliss and fulfillment.
Oh, also--each girl had brought with her a gift that was one of her favorite things and had put it under the tree---and later we all grabbed different gifts and took turns opening them and guessing who's favorite thing each was. Fun, fun, fun.
And the party was fun enough, but Becky was in town for the weekend, too! She is such a fun guest! I love to have her because she enjoys everything just like a kid does and she gets excited for everything that gets me excited. Can't wait for you to come again, Becky.
So that's it. Another good week.
P.S. Any good ideas for my Christmas letter?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You are invited

So here's the new bedding that I made. I have always loved Paisley--even before it made its comeback. It is traditional, but not too feminine. Thanks again, Mom.

Also, Jane turned three, and she is seriously the most adorable three year old that I have ever seen. I often have to keep myself from eating her.

And we've had some fun family time--we recently went up the lighthouse with the kids. And we had a pretty good Thanksgiving, except that I should have made a fruit dish. Don't ever attempt to pull off a Thanksgiving dinner without a fruit dish. It just isn't the same. And Brian got to play in the annual Turkey bowl, and we put up our Christmas trees (I LOVE CHRISTMAS!)and I had my birthday. Brian built me a beautiful book case and I LOVE it. Man, I scored with Brian.

And Brian let me get myself a new side table as my Christmas present, and I love that, too. And my mother-in-law is coming to visit tomorrow, and on Friday I'm throwing "My Favorite Things" party. That's right. No selling. Just giving (although on a teensy bit smaller scale than Oprah). And guess what? You're invited! So what is your favorite thing? Stay tuned, because after my party, I'll share with you some of my favorite things!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Five bucks to whomever can guess what this little drawing is a picture of. Yep. You guessed it. It is a rough sketch of my profile. And it's a flattering one. Mom, remember when Laura and Audrey used to tease you for having "Isma boobs?" Well don't you worry. Nowadays I'm right there with you. It's amazing how fast these things can happen. I guess I should be grateful, though, because you see that little curve on my backside? Well, I've worked six long years for that curve. But anyway, that's inappropriate.

Maybe what I should tell you is that we had a great Halloween, too. The kids looked darling and got tons of candy--atleast one ton of which was eaten by Brian and me--and I made two kinds of delicious soup (a new family tradition) and we watched E.T. It was great. And I wore my fake eyelashes, which would have been the coolest part of my Halloween except that my pumpkin turned out to be even cooler.

And Brian kept the Birthday roll going--he turned 30 on the seventh. This year I took him to Eugene and we had a ton of fun--except for the fact that we spent an hour and a half driving around trying to find a hotel just to decide that we would rather keep the money and stay with Jen and Tim instead. But anyway, we went to a fun little steak house downtown and then dancing at one of the U of O's ballroom dance club dances. And then, since we had burned 2000 calories burning it up on the dance floor, we went and got dessert at Applebees. And since the desserts at Applebees didn't quite do it for us, we went and got Pizza Pipeline breadsticks. Did any of you BYU alumni used to get those in Provo? Ohhh, man. So it was totally fun.

Other than that, I'm pretty much just enjoying rolling with my homies. Thanks to Ninja Turtles and Kung Fu Panda, Camp has turned into a karate-chopping crazy man. The other day I was defending myself against him and he told me I was doing pretty well because I was copying his moves. And he has already decorated the entire house with paper snowflakes.

And Jane is doing pretty well at potty training, except that she only has like five pairs of panties so she wears Camp's underwear most of the time. And she's now at the stage where she HAS to pick out her own clothes, which can be interesting. I'll admit that it is not uncommon for my kids to look a little scroungy much of the time, but I do try and draw the line with some types of apparel. You serioulsy wouldn't believe the number she insisted on the other day. It shouldn't have even been in her drawer. That part was my fault. It was a hand-me-down hand-me-down, and I had intended for it to be a costume or something. But one morning Jane insisted on wearing it. As we were getting ready to go to the gym, I told her she'd need to take it off until we returned home, but I soon realized that I was not going to win the battle and that it shouldn't be a battle I should be choosing anyway. So I consented and decided to curl her hair for the first time just to complete the package. Oh, it was so funny.

And Danin is saying "Mama" and "Dada" (sometimes) and has finally birthed the three teeth that should have come down three months ago.

And me? Well, for my birthday in a couple weeks (which is the grand finale of the family birthdays) my mom paid half for some awesome fabric so I'm going to make myself some new bedding. Do I need new bedding? Well, no. But can a girl really ever have too much bedding? I think not.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm not dead, but right now I kinda wish I were.

No, I didn't die. The thing is, my computer did. So I had to live without one for awhile. And it just so happens that while I was trying to get by without my computer, I lost my cell phone. And that was horrible at first, but now I'm realizing again that people really CAN survive without cell phones--it's just not as convenient. Anyway, now I've got a computer again, and plenty to post about, but I'm way too stressed out planning our enrichment program for Thursday. BUT, as soon as that is over, we are back in business. So don't give up on me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Do I stink?

I mentioned in a previous post how I really want to have a house that smells good. Well, right now our house is for sale and the other day we had a brokers' open house. (No need to worry. We don't NEED to sell our house, but we've lived in it for two years now and so we're (well, more like I) anxious to sell it and build another one.) So anyway, the house was all spic 'n' span and I had lit candles and everything, and I was on my way out to the garage when our realtor and a couple of others got here. They might have been totally taken by the spicy aroma in the air except that I opened the garage door. I tried to squeeze myself and Janey out the door without opening it more than a crack, but it was too late. The stench from the garage came trespassing in. I don't know why the heck our garbage was so dang rank this week, but it was, and I can't help but think the realtors got a whiff. Dang it! After all my hard work... But anyway, that scenario got me thinking about stinking, and thinking about stinking brought to mind:

The girls in my family are exceptionally cool--all except for the fact that we sweat. No, no. Not the normal kind of sweating, like the kind that happens after you've run a few miles, or the kind that happens when you haven't showered in days. The kind that drenches your armpits any time you leave the comfort of your room and your sweats. Oh, my heavens. It has been such a curse my whole life. At one point,my mom even took me to the doctor and I got a prescription for a special deodorant/antiperspirant. I think it was called Certain Dry. You had to take a shower RIGHT before you went to bed, dry thoroughly, and then apply it immediately. And it actually did help significantly if you followed those directions exactly. However, if you let yourself get distracted and say, brush your teeth before applying the deodorant, you were screwed. Not only would your armpits start sweating, but they would start itching like the dickens, too. No joke. So what did I do about it? Well, I survived the best I could--I stuck pantie liners in the armpits of my dresses when I went to dances or was giving a talk or something; I'd run into the bathroom at school and wipe my pits out with toilet paper; I'd wear multiple shirts; I'd wear colors that didn't change color as badly when they were wet....and I just tried to keep my arms down at my sides as much as possible. Like that isn't totally weird. So my whole life I've just had to fumble along trying not to be drenched in sweat. But it's getting better as time goes by--is it possible to wear out your sweat glands? I was even able to sing Once There Was A Snowman today in church without worrying about lifting my arms. (By the way, did you know that it is deodorant mixed with sweat (not just sweat alone) that makes those nasty stains on the armpits of your white shirts? So if you don't wear deodorant, you'll never get stains there. Don't worry. I don't go without deodorant very often. But sometimes, when I've just showered and I'll be wearing a nice white shirt to go out for a few hours, I'll skip on the deodorant and just wear perfume in order to keep the shirt looking good. I can only get away with it now that my pits are drying up.)

And constant sweating might be the biggest problem related to stinking I've ever had except that in college I had a bigger one.
Sarah and I were running errands one day and we were sitting in the car when she said to me, "Ann, you have the worst breath I have ever smelled. It smells like something is rotting in your stomach!" Yeah, THAT hurt. But it didn't hurt because it wounded my pride, it hurt because I was then horrified that I had just kissed Johnny earlier that day and I was going to be seeing him again later that night (despite being broken up. Oh, brother.) So anyway, I cupped my hands around my mouth and blew into them in an effort to smell my breath for myself, but it was to no avail. I couldn't smell a thing. I trusted my sister, though, and took her word for it as we left in a frantic to get me some help. We bought gum, mouth wash--you name it, and we went home and gave my mouth a good deep cleaning, but it just didn't do the job. So finally I decided to call my uncle (who is a doctor) and describe my symptoms to him. He told me that I most likely had a sinus infection--which would have been fine except that you can only kick an infection with antibiotics and time was of the essence. make a long story a little bit shorter--I did go on my date that night, and as unseemly as it is, I did still get a little fooshnickens (remember that work, Meg?). Come to think of it, it is quite remarkable that it wasn't my breath that day that finally broke us up for good--we all know what it's like to kiss someone with bad breath. And I did end up having a sinus infection. Turns out that my sinus infection was also the reason behind the loss of hearing in my right (or maybe my left) ear that I had been experiencing. And that experience taught me a couple of important life lessons: 1) the cupping-your-hands-around-your-mouth-to-check-for-bad-breath trick does NOT work and 2) just because a boy kisses you does not mean you are not totally repulsive.
So despite the fact that I obviously no longer have a sinus infection, I still have a lingering paranoia that I could have bad breath at any time without knowing it.

Enough about stink, though. Camp turned five! Yes, this is the season for birthdays in our family. He is really becoming a neat boy and I've been so excited to see him grow to share some of my passions--as of late: grilled chicken sandwiches, oreo blizzards, and decorating for holidays. And unlike for Danin, I did have a little party for him. I wasn't sure how I was going to pull one off without Becky being here. She's the one who always makes the really cool cake that Camp loves. I stretched myself to my creative limits, though, and made an oreo ice cream cake which I stuck spiders to. We bobbed for apples in the bathtub, played musical chairs and used toilet paper to wrap each other up like mummies. And the boys seemed to have fun, so that's cool.
Jane is as darling as ever except for the occasional "You are TUPID!" And oh, man. There is nothing that warms my heart more than experimenting with mascara on my daughter and being so pleased that she got Brian's eyelash genes and not mine.
Danin is still pretty bald, but there is evidence of some beautiful reddish hair. And she's so enjoyable.
Brian is still keeping himself busy and he has been losing weight. I've been really impressed because he has been eating really healthily for a month or so and he is really looking and feeling great. He and I went to the stake ball last night with another couple from our ward. It was titled Arabian Nights and I assumed we were supposed to dress up. Brian's always told me, though, that 'when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me', and I guess he was right. We were the only ones dressed up--as Arabs, no less. Someone asked us if we were going to be in a skit. Ummm, nope. Oh, well. It felt good to live a little.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Pee Wee.

Happy happy birthday, children dear-- Happy things will come to you all year. If I had one wish, then it would be-- That you would give all your presents to me.

As a kid, the original song got a little boring, so I decided to change it up a bit. And I've loved singing it ever since.

Yesterday was Danin's 1st birthday. And even though I don't really believe in getting presents and throwing parties for kids who are too young to understand what's happening, I did want the day to be a little bit special. So I did make her a [burnt, woops!] pancake in the shape of the number 1, and I did put her in a new outfit, and I did give her a cupcake (which she totally understood) with a candle . And all day long I really did feel even more love and gratitude for her than I always do. She's such a good girl. I was going to tell you all of the things she does, but it would just be too hard for me not to brag, so I'll just avoid the temptation, and write it all down in the journal that I used to use. You're welcome.

Instead, I'll just ask you: Have any of you seen how REAL SIMPLE has those pages where they talk about new uses for every day household items? Well, today I came up with my own:

Everyday use: Plate holder

Aha! use: Magazine rack for the bathroom

Saturday, October 4, 2008

All jokes aside

As you've probably noticed, I dedicate much of my blog to reflecting on my past. I think I do it because it is interesting for me to analyze myself, and also because I plan on having this blog serve as my personal history of sorts. That being the case, I feel like the following will be an important inclusion.
As a youth, my testimony--and the way I interpreted the gospel, was almost entirely borrowed from my parents. And it wasn't until after Scotty died that I started realizing it. Suddenly my parents' understanding and application of the gospel seemed to be changing and it was very hard for me. It was hard because I had come to accept and trust that their previous ways were correct and now I was being forced to question it all and try and sort things out for myself. Let me clarify. It wasn't like my parents had testimonies before Scotty died and not afterward or vice versa. It was just that their understanding of different principles changed, and as a result, the way they were raising kids changed as well. So I was left trying to figure out which way was better--the old way, or the new way, and I found myself being frustrated with my parents for causing me to have to go through this. (In case you care, the old way was good, but the new way is even better.) What I came to realize, though, was that I was really frustrated with myself for never having really developed my own understanding of the gospel.

So anyway, since then, I have been working hard to figure things out for myself and more importantly, I have been earnestly seeking for the Spirit to testify to me of truth. And I still struggle with some things. Specifically, I don't have the testimony I want of Joseph Smith and his prophetic mission. I believe he was a very important prophet and that he was the most important catalyst in the restoration of the gospel, but I don't think I've had the Spirit seal that testimony in my heart yet, as it has other things. And most importantly, I have not yet developed the relationship with the Savior that I want to have. And as hard as it is for me to say, I think it is because I am just now BEGINNING to understand and apply his atonement. In all my life, I have not sought forgiveness so much as I have the last three years as a mother. As a mother (and as a wife), I am being made painfully aware of all of my weaknesses, and I desperately yearn to be forgiven and to become more the mother and wife that Heavenly Father wants me to be. And despite how hard this has been, I feel so grateful to finally be recognizing a need for dependence on the Savior. And while I was visiting Sarah, she shared some of her insights on the atonement that I really appreciated. She said she feels like it is Christ's suffering for our sins and sorrows that allows him to give us the gift of Charity. In other words--Charity is a GIFT that only the SAVIOR can give because only He has suffered for all of us in a way that created such a perfect and pure love. (Man, I hope I got that right.) So anyway, don't get all worried about me, because I am working on it, and I am confident that my understanding and testimony of the Savior and his atonement will grow as I continue to work on it.

In the meantime, let me just say this--that I do know and have never doubted that Heavenly Father loves me and that I am his daughter. I know that he is aware of me at all times. I know that he listens to and answers my prayers. I know that he expects a lot from me, but that he is proud of my efforts and has great hope in my learning and becoming better. I know that he is a God of miracles. I know that he is a just God, but I swear I experience his mercy so much more often than I do his justice. I know that living righteously brings happiness. I know and have experienced the power of the Holy Ghost and I am SO grateful to enjoy its companionship when I am worthy. I am so grateful for the example of the Savior and for his perfect love. I know that it is his eternal mission to bring all of us back to our Heavenly Father. And I know that I feel the closest to Him when I am serving others.

And you know what else? I love the Book of Mormon. When I was growing up, I was super fortunate to have parents who both loved studying the scriptures. They were great examples to me. I saw them reading and studying the scriptures often and I knew that they loved to do so. They STILL do. And I've always trusted that the scriptures--particularly the Book of Mormon--contain the gospel and are very important, but it used to be difficult for me to comprehend how my parents could actually enjoy them so much. You know what I mean? So I went a lot of years wondering if I'd ever be able to say that I love reading my scriptures the way my parents do, and guess what? Now I can. I take that back. I can't say that I love reading them as much as my parents do because my parents even love Isaiah and Exodus and all that stuff. But I can say that I have really come to love and enjoy the Book of Mormon. Right now I'm not perfect at reading it every day, but when I do, I really do enjoy it. I've always appreciated the gospel gems, but now I recognize and enjoy the stories, I love noticing new details, and I love the power that comes from reading. The Book of Mormon even makes me laugh sometimes. So that's cool.
And I love General Conference now, too. It gives me the spiritual feeding that I really do hunger for now that I am a mom and my opportunities for Spiritual feedings are harder to come buy and usually interrupted by noise or needy or hungry kids. (Sorry for the run-on.) And it just feels so good to hear truth.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Home Sweet Home

"Going home" meant something different when I was a kid. "Going home" meant leaving my cousins (who were my life blood) or leaving Grandma Hatch's house--where there were fun neighbors and other cousins to play with, midnight runs to Dairy Queen, parks and water fights, and a fruit stand (where we bought lots of cheap candy) about a quarter mile away--or just leaving a friend's house in order to do chores. I remember "going home" many a Sunday after having taken a family drive up to the rich neighborhoods by the temple to ooh and ahh at all of the big houses. It was like a tradition that upon returning to our own house, someone would comment, "Ooooohhhh, look at THAT house!... and we would think ourselves so funny.

But going home is different now. Despite how wonderful a trip is, I love to come home--my own bed, my own drawers, my own little flowers, my own ward, my own schedule. It's funny how the smell of my house, along with the texture and color of the carpet and tile, becomes new again, and I find myself looking at everything like I've never seen it before. Weird.

And this trip really was a wonderful one. I'm really grateful for having been able to go away for so long (although I wish Brian could have been with me for longer.)
Laura's wedding was fabulous. She looked beautiful and she and her husband seemed very happy. The reception was especially good becuase it was in my parents' backyard, the weather was perfect, there was lots of good food, and John, Laura, and their friend Sfen (sp?) gave us a super cool concert afterward.
And we went to Disneyland with the Lacouture side of the family, and that was a blast as well. My sister and brother-in-law are Disney experts and therefore know every secret to having the best experience at Disneyland. Camp was tall enough for every ride but two, and I think we were able to get him on every one of those. I'm not sure which ride was his favorite, because everytime I ask him, he says something different. Jane loved everything she experienced as well--except for the Captain Hook character who accompanied us at breakfast one of the mornings we were there. And Danin was happiest whereever there was water for her to play in. My favorite rides were Splash Mountain, Pirates, Flying over California, and the Tower of Terror.
And I got to spend a few days at Sarah's house. I'm so grateful to have a sibling with kids. As I've said before, I love being with Sarah. I feel totally comfortable with her, our kids have a ball together, and I learn something every time I'm with her. (More on that later.)
Kat ran the marathon up in Logan last Saturday and I got to be there to cheer her on. Man, what a high. She has the most beautiful legs, so it is only fitting that she is such a good runner. (Or maybe she has beautiful legs because she is such a good runner....) But anyway... she did great and loved the experience and now my mom is talking about all of us girls doing one together next year. I would love to do one again, and doing one with my sisters and mom would be the coolest, so we'll see what happens. You can do it, mom! Even if you really do run a twenty minute mile. All you need are some good tunes, and I've seen what a little crazy music can do for you.
And all of the rest of our time was spent playing with our Lacouture cousins or at my mom and dad's house with Charley, Kat, and Seth (and Audge for a few days). Good times. Good times.
I'll post a few more details of the trip later.

Oh, and I can't forget to mention my new van. Love it.