Monday, November 5, 2012


Tyler has had a successful year. I'm kind of jealously proud. There, I admitted it. But I am so happy for his accomplishments this year. It's why I married him....always the Renaissance Man to me.

Starting with......graduating from BYU Law school on April 20th. And I stand corrected from this post last week. He did not graduate Summa Cume Laude, but Magna Cume Laude, so not as high. But he did graduate 10th in his class of about 140 students, so not too shabby, eh? He did make it into the Order of the Coif, top 10, however.

Here are some snapshots my dad kindly took the day of his graduation. It was a FULL weekend. We decided to enlist the help of our families while they were in town and let them help us move the day after he graduated. Luckily, the weather was perfect the whole weekend and we BBQ'd outside that night of graduation. Keeping it simple. We did, however, take all of our parents and his grandparents (for helping him along the way, financially and emotionally, through his schooling) to the Chef's Table in Provo. Lovely lovely restaurant. We've been three times and haven't been disappointed yet.

Ready for a TON of pictures?

 Don't you love how photogenic we all are?

 Many of our family came out for the occasion (not all pictured).

 The 6-guy study group. We really grew close to these families. Some of my best friends now. I miss them all already as we're all over the country now. (two spouses/4 children missing).

 The guys....they spent a lot of time together. Now they do it through Fantasy Football!

 Tyler conducting closing song. I bawled. The end of an era. The student era....hopefully. (I honestly won't be surprised if he gets his PhD one day). Plus I think it was "America" or "The Star-Spangled Banner" of those patriotic songs so it really got to me.

Tyler and his bro, Troy.

 Tyler with his mother.

 Tyler and his father.

Tyler at his carrel. He spent maaaaaannnnnnyyyyy hours here in this little cell. Uh, the peace sign is something he picked up on his mission. 

After graduation he began work at a law firm in SLC, the same one that he interned with last summer. He's enjoying the work thus far, and the hours are incredibly manageable. Starting in January he'll clerk for Chief Justice Durrant in the Utah Supreme Court. It's a prestigious position, to clerk, mainly because it's great one-on-one experience with judges. He interned for several other judges while in school and he really enjoyed the work so he's looking forward to it.

Then in July he took the Utah Bar and in September we found he passed! Wahoo! All the hours of studying are behind us...sort of. He's planning to take it again in February so he can do legal work in Colorado, mainly for family that may need it in the future.

Sometime before he graduated he completed the course work to become a licensed Utah Realtor. Part of the classwork/hours he took in law school so then he just needed to pass off a few more classes and take the test. So if YOU need a Realtor to buy or sell your home, or your cousins home, or your parents home, or your brother's home, or sister's or friend, give him a call! (or email me). He's happy to do business!

In October he completed the Tough Mudder race experience in Las Vegas with Troy. He had fun training for it all summer and had a blast being in it. Look how tough he looks :) He plans to do to it again next year.

In addition to all of this, he auditioned for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in August. They hold auditions once a year and it's a rigorous process. And we just found out over the weekend that he passed the first three phases. The final "test" is to train with the Temple Square Choir and Chorale School starting in January through April and see if he "passes" then he'll be an official member....we hope. And I'll be an official MOTAB widow. That's what I am going to call myself, lol.

So, I think that is everything thus far this year. He's been very busy. But he handles the stress sooooo much better than I do. For Father's Day I secretly made him this video. He's a great father, husband and friend. It's been a joy to watch him mature and grow (and lose some hair ;0 ) over the past 15 years. Love you honey! The video "unlisted" so please don't paste it all over Facebook, as I'm sure you are wanting to do. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


A few years ago, when Jocelyn was about 3 1/2 years old, we noticed she could do a cool trick--cross both eyes. It was a pretty funny trick. One that she could do on command if we asked her to. We'd laugh and ask her to do it again and again. Then it got to the point that she'd do it for attention. Then it got to the point that we were worried that old saying, "Don't make that face or it'll stick" was beginning to apply to her. Then we asked people not to laugh and give her attention anymore. Then she couldn't do it on command anymore. Then it was only her left eye. Then she'd do it when she was playing excitedly with her toys and more importantly, when she looked closely at things like books and toys. Then we knew it was a problem.

So we took her to Dr Abrams in Orem, at the Excel eye center. By this time she was 5 years old. Luckily we had health insurance for her. He checked her several times, did some basic tests and sure enough, we weren't crazy. She was crossing her eye. It was strabismus. He suggested she get surgery. Neither glasses or a patch would help cure her eye. I had Tyler come into one of the appointments to confirm this. He didn't believe it was that bad. We both thought she was mentally allowing herself to cross her eye for attention. Or I thought it was a "tick" that some children pick up when they feel certain emotions. But Dr Abrams suggested it wasn't mental at all. That it was her muscle in her eye that was forcing it to cross to the center. So she had surgery.

February 24th: I was nervous for this but had to be brave so she could be brave. She had to fast once dinner was over the night before. We had to be at the surgical center at 7am to check in. She got a special t-shirt to put on and then we had to wait. The nurses came in and told me briefly what would happen and what to except  And then I had to say goodbye. I couldn't go in. They felt it was better for that I, the parent, wasn't there to distract her. So she had to go alone. They tried to make it as comfortable as possible for her. She willingly obliged and went with the nurse. She was to breathe into a tube that would relax her and then they would give her anesthesia. Then they would operate, on both eyes, which took very little time. Once she awoke from her anesthesia they'd bring her out to me.

Dr Abrams insisted she would not feel any pain once she woke up. He said it would feel like the foreign body syndrome, when something is gone or added to your body and you can't get rid of it. Or like a speck of dirt is in your eye, but you can't get it out. Baloney. She was in pain. She was scared. She was uncomfortable. She cried bloody tears. I felt so helpless. They let us wait in the recovery room for a few minutes until I could get her to walk by herself or be willing to go outside to the car. She was hungry. She was tired and she was scared. She was afraid she was blind. Afraid to open her eyes because it hurt to her. She just wanted to be held, so I held her. Reminded her not to rub her eyes too hard. Not because it would disturb the stitches or the work that was done on her eye muscles, but because it would not hasten the healing process. She would not accept a popsicle, a drink or anything. I just held her and tried not to cry myself. It was hard.

After 15 minutes or so, we drove home. With no pain medication. They said it wouldn't help. Perhaps Tylenol if she really needed it but it wouldn't focus on her eyes anyway. I encouraged her by telling her she would be able to pet our new puppy when we got home. That gave her comfort too.

A few days before her surgery with our brand new puppy, Zoey.

I put her in bed and suggested she "sleep it off." She still hadn't opened her eyes. She finally  went to sleep and when she awoke we let her eat whatever she wanted. She requested chicken nuggets. So Tyler went and got her some Wendy's. She wore her sunglasses constantly as her eyes were still very sensitive to light.

By the end of the first day she was in good spirits. She barely opened her eyes but mainly she walked around, with her arms outstretched, feeling her way around furniture, like a blind person. It was actually sort of humorous.

By the second day, with her bloodshot eyes, she felt better. She was scared of her own eyes at first. I was too. They looked scary  But then it became something she was almost proud of. She'd go around and stare at other kids hoping they'd notice her creepy eyes. Then, if they did, she'd tell them why, and wait for their curiosity and fascination.

I still marvel at how brave she was. Although she did not expect it would be so intrusive to her. It was probably better that she went into the surgery "blindly" otherwise she would have been too scared. She doesn't want to go through it again, and I don't either. Sadly, the surgery was not a complete success and her eye still crosses, but not as severely. It does not affect her school work but it does need to be cured before it gets worse. So after we moved to SLC I decided I wanted a second opinion. There are only about 5 doctors who specialize in this. So we went and now she is getting bifocal glasses. I'll post a picture in a about a week once her glasses come in. She's excited about it, which is GOOD. But now I wish I would have gone  to this doctor in the first place....wondering if she ever needed the surgery at all. But I can't know now. A gal I visit taught in Provo had a grand daughter with the same problem, but worse, and she went to the SLC Dr and she had surgery too. And this same gal knew of another girl in the stake who had to have the surgery at least 3 times! Then I also visit taught a girl who had a SIL who didn't get her crossed eye surgically fixed until she was 30 years old! She lived with it her whole life, in embarrassment. So I am glad there are options out there.  And glad for a mostly healthy Jocelyn.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Catch Up

I don't even know where to begin? I'm so behind in blogging! Start in October and go back to the past? Or should I start with the spring and move forward?

I think I had better just capture the important events, starting most recently, and then fill in the gaps, if I can. Or just kind of do both at the same time? Confusing!

Since we moved in late April a lot has happened! Our family is growing up!

First off, I survived from my post in February. Those first four months in this good year of 2012 were tremendously busy. Perhaps the most busy since I can remember.

I turned 32.

Jocelyn has since recovered from her eye surgery. She had pink bloodshot eyes for months afterward. She has strabismus. It did not fix the problem so we got a second opinion here in SLC. Glad we did. She'll be getting bifocal glasses instead of surgery again. Much less intervening and easier on our bank account. Such a relief!

A few days after surgery.

Both Samuel and Jocelyn learned to ride bikes without assistance this summer. They love it!

Our dog Zoey is alive and well. Big and cute and annoying and smelly and funny and loving and all of that stuff which comes with a dog. Our family unit loves her. My extended family pretty much hates her. I was a dog dis-liker before we got her too. She's all bark (and jump) and not bite. Total sweetheart. Even is she doesn't like your smell :)

We have church callings. I am no longer anyone of great responsibility. Wahoo! Such a nice break. Tyler and I team teach the "high school" Sunday school class. At most, we have 3 students at a time. And they just called another team of teachers so now we only teach every other week. So nice!!

                                      Don't you just love how photogenic our children are?

Tyler graduated from BYU Law School! Summa Cum Laude, Order of the Coif! Good job, Honey! He rigorously studied hard for the bar exam, took it on July 24/25th and passed! He was sworn in as an attorney on October 16th. His mom was able to be in attendance for it. He has a job for a firm in SLC. He'll start a clerkship for a Judge at the Utah Supreme Court in January. He'll clerk for one year. By the way, the clerk is not the same as a Secretary or a stenographer. He doesn't "take notes" for the judge. He actually researches and writes the opinion for that judge. He's looking forward to it!

Upon graduation we moved from Provo to SLC, our 10th move in 10 years of marriage! We live up
the hill in a historic part of SLC behind the Capital. We love it up here. It's certainly a different feel from anyplace we've lived before. I am finally, after 6 months, getting used to the shopping, the daily routine, the culture, etc of being up here. We're living in a basement of a great mother/daughter duo. We love our landlord/owner and it's been a huge blessing to have found this place. It always works out!

The other big achievement was that Samuel turned 8 on September 23rd and chose to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was one of the most memorable days of my life. Seeing him all dressed in white and then receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Amazing. He's matured so much in these last few months, it's been so enjoyable as a mother to be a part of. He also started piano lessons and boy scouts, both of which he enjoys, especially scouts.

Cecily....well she's still our little angel. Though sometimes she has a bit of toddlerhood sneak out. She loves playing on the ipad, Snow White is her favorite princess and she's still our resident blond.

Jocelyn started Kindergarten, full day (no choice at her Title 1 school) and she LOVES it. I love it too. I don't have to drive back and forth mid-day and I can get more done at home (or waste more time).

Then in October Tyler and I celebrated being married 10 years! Crazy! We've been "together" since high school, so technically for 15 years! Our relationship keeps deepening and getting better. It's been a great learning experience and adventure. To celebrate we went to our annual trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival and celebrated extra specially by going to an over-priced restaurant. Only picture taken....poor quality. Then we went to Zion's for a couple days for a work retreat. It was so nice sleeping in a comfy bed with a beautiful view of the red rocks. And I could watch TV/nap/Facebook/Pin at my own pace. So relaxing.

I've managed to stay less busy since we moved and it's been wonderful. Now my life is much more full with my children's lives and still developing my talents by being creative. I haven't thrown as many parties and it's been nice. I still have a lot of projects in mind, and like to post recipes on my other blog so I can publish a cookbook through Shutterfly or Picaboo one of these days. But for the most part I'm just trying to figure out a regular routine that works with my desire to be organized, my crave to create, my obsession with saving money/finding good deals while shopping (online or around the valley in a car), and building it around Tyler's (easy) work schedule, kids school schedule and my own need for personal space and time.

Life is good. I hope to fill you in in more detail, but for now, here is the condensed version for journaling purposes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Angels all around

Hello. I know, I know. It's been a long time. A very long time since I blogged. It's been a fairly laid back yet usual summer. Tyler graduated in April and started work. We moved to Salt Lake City. Had lots of fun doing summery stuff. Still haven't unpacked completely. And school has started again and going well. Tyler passed the bar! I will have to catch up....later. For now, I wanted to share a personal experience before I forgot it.

Tyler's third sister, Stephanie, got married a little over a week ago. To a nice guy named Kyler. What are the odds? Tyler....Kyler? Very confusing. And to make matters more complicated Tyler already had a sister named Hannah (so there are two of us....and her birthday is the day after mine) and then his brother married Jana. Yeah, it gets confusing at their house sometimes. Anyway, I digress. She got married in Idaho and her reception was the following weekend in Colorado. Tyler and I were not planning on attending but very last minute, due to a casual text from his father saying, "You guys should come to Colorado....go to the reception, watch the Utah/BYU game and head back on Monday...". Tyler asked me, at 1pm on Friday, if we should go. Normally, I'm not a fan of impromptu things like this but we had nothing major that we had to attend that weekend. The kids were out of school and it would be fun to surprise them all! So we loaded up the car, left at 3:30 pm and arrived at 11:30 pm. The kids were great...Watched a movie, we stopped for dinner, and they fell asleep the remainder of the trip. Nice and quiet. Pretty good timing. Oh, and his parents were totally surprised, but gracious for letting us pop in on them. Tyler and the kids went straight to bed and I stayed up with Hannah until 1:30 in the morning talking about boys, college and growing up. It was fun!

We had a great and brisk weekend. Saturday was full of visiting, reception and then the doomed Utah/BYU game....which ended at 11:59 pm...another late night.

Sunday came and we planned to attend church, eat steak dinner with his grandparents and parents, then a quick one hour visit with my brother and his family who live nearby. We, or I, thought, leaving at 4pm again would be beneficial. First, we could visit longer with family. And secondly, the kids would sleep again and we could have a quiet ride home and slip them into bed. thinking was flawed. We should have left right after church, when we were more awake. After a long weekend of playing, sugar, and fun, we were both beat.

Tyler drove most of the way. We stopped for dinner, the kids watched a movie and were asleep by 9pm. We had 3 and half more hours to go. Through dark and barren Wyoming. He was doing well until the last two hours. He had finished off his mountain dew and cracked enough ranch flavored sunflower seeds I was starting to doze off and so was he. So he asked if I could drive. I said I guess I could. I wanted to eat a brownie to get the taste of too many seeds in my mouth anyway. Plus Jocelyn was complaining of a sore throat. Great....more illness. We were all just getting over colds. We pulled over. I gave her some medicine, ate my brownie (or three) and got in the drivers seat. I hate driving at night. I feel claustrophobic. I feel like I have tunnel vision. I hate it. Tyler stayed awake for a bit and then dozed off. And then I felt the sensation. The sensation of drowsiness. The sensation of darkness, my eyes closing, starting to dream. You know the feeling? It feels like you're on a cloud for a bit, quiet, soft, but not really relaxing.  Then a flash of lights come before me. The lights of a trucker on the other side of the freeway passing....don't worry. Not hitting us. Nothing like that. Just a reminder that I am in a car, and I must be in control of this vehicle. This beast. This big, heavy, strong, purposeful thing. I had to control it. I just remember for two hours not really being there....not out of body...just not really aware. Barely aware enough, however,  that I have three kids in the backseat, my husband sitting next to me, driving his precious car (that we will paying off for quite some time), and remembering that we did not pray before we left for this trip. So I said a silent prayer, several times, to keep me awake. I didn't want to admit that I was too tired to pull over. I wanted to get home. The kids had school in the morning. Tyler had work. I had to make up for being gone all weekend. And then Tyler woke up. I remember him asking if I was swerving on purpose. I slurred, "sometimes." Then we got to Park City and there were all these orange zone. It was like a maze of barrels. Somehow I got through them without hitting a barrel. Until at one point Tyler said, "Hannah, what are you doing???" and I became alert enough to see that I was way too close to hitting a barrier between a concrete barrier and a line of barrels, and I swerved and avoided it. And that moment I realized I needed to stay awake. Now. Stay awake. And then I heard the song on the ipod playing. It was Enya, my favorite singer. The song was called "Angels." I heard "angels are aware" but that's not really in the song....but I heard her singing it....It was my answer. We were being protected. We were 30 minutes from home. I could do it. We could do it. We rolled onto our street. Unharmed. Safe...and sound. The next morning (today) I felt like I was hit by one of those trucks (I think I may be sick....body aches and the lot...which may have contributed to my fatigue) and rested most of the day. And counted my blessings for being alive.

Sometimes we make stupid driving home too late, or being too prideful to pull over. And then sometimes music speaks to us. Sometimes prayers are answered through music. Sometimes the love of Christ is felt through unexpected ways. Sometimes I realize we are being protected. There have been several other moments in my life that it had been this vivid. That there were angels protecting my children. My family is being protected, for a purpose. And sometimes we are closer to heaven then we realize. And not enough times, we are grateful. And we are alive and blessed.

Monday, February 27, 2012


So, I've been pretty busy lately. At one point I thought I was going out of my mind, and maybe I am. Who knows?

While the girls watch a movie and I avoid folding laundry and getting dressed for the day, I am going to blog. It has been too long on this family blog. I've been blogging a lot over at Bonne Nouvelle (check out all the parties, recipes and tutorials here ). And I've been busy everywhere else in my life. Ready to listen? I need to vent. You'll get tired and might need to take a treat break but please come back and visit?

In a nutshell, if you don't have the energy to read the whole thing. Basically, I'm a glutton for punishment. So these major events, in addition to regular wifery, motherhood, exercising, domestic houselife, book clubs and such....
**Jocelyn's Birthday Party
**Build dollhouse
**Hotel Hannah
**Super Bowl Party
**10 day diet
**Anne of Green Gables
**Hotel Hannah
**Potty Party
**Puppy Dog
**Eye Surgery
**Church Video

I thought that once Christmas was over I'd have a slower speed of life but that wasn't the case. Jocelyn's birthday is two days after Christmas and it was her year to have a birthday party again (I let them celebrate with friends at ages, 4, 5, 7 and every other year after that, if that). So we celebrated in January. I also decided to get her another huge Christmas/birthday present this year. It may seem unfair to you since she got the kitchen last year but this gift was really for both girls. And my way of justifying it is staying within my birthday/Christmas budget and keeping it comparable to Samuel's, which it was. So I scouted KSL for several months and found a Barbie sized house for $40 that needed some TLC so I gave it an update. I'll reveal that later on when I complete the finishing touches. Okay, sorry, this is turning into a VERY long post. So week one was devoted to her Alice in Wonderland Tea Party birthday party. Week two--the dollhouse. A little break.

Then Hotel Hannah reopened for the season. Troy and Jana and their boys came for a weekend visit. It was great to have them visit with us though it certainly showed Cecily's terrible two's side :( We made a visit to SLC to the aquarium and signed a lease on a new place in SLC! (we'll be moving in April). But they also decided they were going to buy a puppy which got Tyler to thinking (again) about that notion.....which got me to thinking about that notion......

Then the the next day we hosted a Super Bowl party. We had about 20 people at our house for that from Tyler's study group. We love that group and had a lot of fun. I didn't watch a lick of the game :)

For the next two weeks it was drama with the landlord and management company for the new place we were going to move to. We ironed that out. But there were several late nights in which Tyler and I discussed getting a dog. There are so many cons to getting one. We were never "dog people". But after having struggles with Samuel's behavior I felt it was right for him and the kids. So we researched and prepared for a dog!

Plus, I was on a 10 day diet! Trying to lose weight. It worked but I think I've already gained it back.

Then Valentine's Day. It was off to a great start with chocolate waffles and strawberry cream. Personal love notes and candy. But by the end Tyler was sick and went to bed early. I ate ice cream and my new favorite candy, junior mints.
In the meantime I was planning a potty training party (you can read about it here) and auditioning for a play. Then Tyler's family announced they were coming for a visit over President's Day weekend. The ENTIRE family, the same weekend that rehearsals started and this party was happening. So I kindly invited them to leave for the morning of the party and they cordially helped me with party prep. They were okay with that :) So we had four adults sleeping on our living room floor. Two nephews in Samuel's bedroom, two adults over in the extra room at my grandma's (across the driveway). Then the other two sisters (and an extra friend) stayed over at Tyler's married sister who is going to BYU. 13 adults and 5 children I fed and hosted for 4 days. Wow, talk about exhausting. Fun but exhausting. Home cooked meals, Just Dance on the Wii, card games, talking and visits from the pups that were coming home after everyone left. We finally finished up Tyler's sisters wedding portion of the DVD that we were commissioned to make for her October wedding. We handed those off to his parents and can sigh that we don't have any wedding videos to make anytime soon. Phew.

So Tuesday, the day after everyone left, rehearsals commenced (I got into a PLAY! Anne of Green Gables, the part of Marilla!!! Talk about scary. Fun but intimidating for that role. So far, it's going a lot better than I thought and I don't have to play her like she's 60 years old). Come and see it if you're in Utah!

Tuesday afternoon we picked up Zoey, our new pet puppy. She's a lab/retriever mix. More on her in another post. You can see photos on Facebook.

Two days later Jocelyn went in for eye surgery. She's had an eye that has crossed for about 1 1/2 years and it was getting worse. So we took her into a specialist. A patch or glasses wouldn't fix the problem so she had surgery. She handled it well. The first day was miserable, she was in pain. But after that she's been handling it well. Her eyes are still bloodshot (and will be for another week). I'll blog about this too and show scary pictures of her eyes.

But this "semester" of life is not yet over. I still have lines to memorize and a video to make for our Relief Society activity coming up in March. Then moving. I've contemplated participating in a boutique up in SLC, one that I've done before, but that would involve more stress and a lot of time sewing. I think I'll have to say "no" to that  which makes me sad but I've got to give somewhere. This church activity is the last "big" one I'll get to plan for this ward. It entails a lot of work though (and creativity on my part) and I'm tired just thinking about it. But happy about what it'll end up with (a video involving portraits taken by a talented photographer in the ward, visiting teaching messages, service vignettes filmed of sisters in our ward, and history all rolled up into a 20 minute program made on Adobe Premier). Plus I still have a closing social to plan for our Law Partners group (of which I am a board member) for 100 people in April. Crazy!!

So, yes, we are moving in April, the day after graduation. We found a walk-out basement home in a nice neighborhood in downtown SLC that allows pets. It has a horribly small kitchen, large yard and 4 bedrooms. It'll do for the next two years. Tyler will be working for a Law firm in SLC while studying for the Utah bar. Then next year he'll clerk for a judge in SLC for one year. So we know what we'll be doing for the next 22 months of life.

You tired? I am. But having FUN! I'm trying not to think of this as survival mode. I'm trying to cherish these last few months of living on student loans, wic, and a student schedule. Life is changing! We're growing up and growing closer together. I look forward to another good year!

Thanks for listening! Please leave a comment letting me know you're still there :)