Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We had a great Christmas. We were basically snowed in, so we stayed home, warm and cozy with just our little family. We missed our extended family, but had a nice day with just the four of us. Taylor's parents visited today, and my family will be up tomorrow. We got some great gifts, and the kids got some great toys. We've been playing with them for two days now.

On the 21st we celebrated out sixth wedding anniversary. We stayed at the Anniversary Inn here in Logan. We got the student rate ($129 for any room!) on a great room. We can't believe that six years have passed since we were married. We have come so far.

On the 22nd we went to Salt Lake to Body World. It was cool. Definitely a must-see.

On the 23rd my family had our annual night where we stay up all night long playing games. When we were little we did this so that we could sleep on Christmas Eve (instead of being up all night too excited to sleep). We have added in-laws over the years, and it gets better every year. This year we were really into the Wii Nintendo games. I even finished higher than last place on a few turns at Mario Cart (really impressive for me).

On Christmas Eve we had dinner at my folk's house then headed back to Logan. We went through the light display at Willard Bay. It was really neat. Claire kept saying, "Wow! Would you look at that!" Kyle made great baby noises, and we all enjoyed the display. We were very grateful to make it home before the storm started. We finished all of our wrapping and santa activities and made it in bed by midnight!

Our kids slept past 9 on Christmas morning (yeah!). Kyle was a crazy present opener, and tore into the wrapping paper. Always a helpful child, he handed each scrap to Taylor to put in the trash. Claire was pretty funny with her "Oh! Thank You!" after each present. She's wanted a backpack for over a year, and we found one for $4 at Kmart that is really cute. When she opened it she said, "Oh! Just what I wanted! You guys are SO sweet!" Pretty funny girl.

And oh how it snowed. Last night before we went to bed a little before 2am (see next paragraph) we opened the front door. It was so bright outside that it actually illuminated our front room. It was so cool to see all of the snow. It's so deep that it's touching the bottom of the swings on Claire's swing set. Bless Taylor's heart he has scraped and scraped our front walk. There is talk of going sledding tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it.

The excitement has caused a delay in Claire's good going to bed behavior. She's screaming at Taylor as I type this. We're at our wit's end with her. She won't stay in bed. She's out of her room every 5-10 minutes. She was up past midnight last night. She's causing a serious problem with our sleep and other bedroom interests.... (TMI?) Would it be wrong to handcuff her to her bed? Maybe just with soft ribbons? Also, she changes her clothes all night long. Are there any serious objections to us sewing her pajamas shut? Just a few stitches, and she goes potty before she goes to bed. We're sick of cleaning up the mess and having a popcicle child join us in the middle of the night wearing a sun dress.

I'll post pictures later. The camera is downstairs, and I really don't want to go down and then come back up. Lazy. I know. Maybe that can be a New Year's Resolution.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kudos to Taylor

Taylor did two outstanding things today. First: I took Claire to the doctor (just regular stuff), and when I got back he had cleaned out the coat closet. Really. I didn't even ask or hint. The thing is that we keep all of our coats there, and we've hidden our DVD/VHS shelf in the back of it, so it entailed quite a bit of effort. Yeah Taylor!

Second: I love Jim Brickman. He played in Salt Lake on our wedding day. I still believe that I could have made it to his concert (a matinee) in between our luncheon and reception. It would have been close, but I think it would have worked. No one else thought it would, and I didn't go. SIX years later I was presented with tickets to his concert in little old Logan today. Yes world, Jim came to Logan (he seemed just as suprised as we were). And at about one-quarter the cost you all pay to see him in the big city! Taylor just bought the tickets on his own initiative without even checking with me. (A very brave thing to do.)

The concert was amazing. The piano playing was incredible, but the violinist, Tracy Silverman, really stole the show. I have never heard anything quite like him. He played an electric violin, and it was the coolest (for lack of a better word). If you get a chance to see the show, take it. It was way better than Kurt Bestor. If you don't see Jim, go see Jon Schmidt---he's every bit as great as Jim---and still better than Kurt (I liked the Kurt Bestor concert the first time when I went 15 years ago, but it's got a little to much about the show, and not enough about the music).

Anyway, good job Taylor! And as I type this he's putting both kids to bed. Isn't he great?

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I'm going to share some personal photos here. I would normally hesitate to share these pictures of me looking a little not like Miss America :), but since it's all going to turn out in the end (keep your fingers crossed), I'm going to share because I know you'll be interested.

So, I've had four eye appointments in the last week. On the first day I had an impression taken. It hurt. They have this little funnel thing with holes in it. She puts that into my eye and injects this plaster stuff (the same stuff from the dental impressions you've all done) into my socket and inject it until the pressure builds enough so that the stuff goes through the holes. It really stings. Here is a picture of the tube that leads into the tunnel. Isn't it weird? Click on it. Make it big. That thing is sticking out of my eye! (And yes, Ibroke my nose when I was little when my dad rolled up an automatic car window while my head was hanging out. It hit me smack in the nose and it hasn't been straight since.)

Next she made a wax mold from the impressions. She slowly slowly slowly shaved/melted the wax down layer by layer until it was thin and the right size to fit my eye. Here is a picture of what she ended up with on day one. It's pretty weird looking, but just keep reading for weirder.

The next appointment was to find the center of the eye for placement of the iris (colored part). She did this by using a red wax to mark where the color would go and then attaching a little stick to it to mark the pupil. Pretty cool pictures, huh?

The next day I was supposed to pick up the final product, but it turns out this is the hardest fit and the hardest color she has ever done. In my life I have always tried to not take the easy route, and I hold others to that standard. Although I am quite pleased with the progress she has made so far, I am looking forward to the final product which will be ready (hopefully) on Friday. Carole has worked tirelessly to make my eye as good as humanly possible, and I cannot say how wonderful it is to have a medical professional actually really care about me. The last ocularist would have sent me home after a few hours with a second-rate eye.

Carole did let me take the eye she had made but rejected, and I wore it to Thanksgiving. Here is how it looks. (And if you want to remember how i looked pre-surgery, click here.

It looks a lot better than before, but we're still hoping to adjust the color, the eyelid, and how it lines up with my other eye. Apparently this eye is looking a little to the right of where it should. I have no doubt she'll get it. Either way, I finally feel like I can have hope in my life again, and that's a good thing. Ironically I'll get the final eye one year and one day after the initial surgery. It's been long enough. Oh, and for all of you wondering what this little lab looks like, here is where I spent most of last week:

And that's it. If you made it to the end of this post, here's a little spoiler: I'm coming up on my 100th post and that means that I must follow the trend of a couple of my friends and host a giveaway. If you comment on that post (and I'll make it clear that it is the 100th post) I'll have two fabulous prizes ready to give to two random winners. And since I have about 4 people who comment regularly, it's going to be a tough race! However, I do know that at least 40 people regularly read this blog, so maybe we'll get more than just 4 comments. It will certainly be exciting :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rise and Shout

One of the good things about living in Logan is getting in free to the BYU USU game. Here is a page of Taylor and Claire cheering their little hearts out. They've actually attended another game together. They are little peas in a pod when it comes to cheering for sports. It's cute to see how much she want to be like her daddy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Digital Scrapbook Site

I just found this new site and I'm so excited about it. I'm trying to gain digital converts, so I thought I'd share. It has tons of free downloads for all of your scrapbooking needs. Check it out! It really fits my style.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Victory is Mine!

Ha! After 14 months of planning and preparation I finally got up the nerve to tell the Jehovah's Witnesses that I do NOT want them to come back! Yeah! I've wanted to say this since the first time they came. Today was the day. "No, thank you" I said. "We are very happy with our religion. We're very Christian." I said.

They were disappointed. I stood firm. "I'm sure there are other people who need you more than I do." They've come more often than my own visiting teachers. I felt a little bad, but stuck to it.

Taylor was so proud he took me to Cafe Sabor for lunch.

Farewell, JW's, until we move again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good and Bad News...

Good news first: Kyle is walking! Kyle started some serious attempts at walking on Friday, and he hasn't stopped yet. Everywhere he goes he just walks a bit (4-5 steps), falls, then continues crawling. He's very excited. He also learned THREE words on Saturday almost doubling his vocabulary: balloon, kitty, and pat-pat-pat. Oddly, balloon was also one of Claire's very first words too.

Bad news: My brother Jake and I planned a surprise birthday party for my mom's 50th birthday. My grandpa read the invitation to her over the phone when he had a question about the party, only realizing it was a surprise the second time he read it to her. Oh well, she didn't know when it was going to be, so that part was still a surprise.

Good news: My brother Dan and his wife, Meg, surprised everyone by flying in from Minnesota for the party. It was the best surprise ever! We got to spend Saturday evening and most of Sunday with them.

Bad news: Three weeks ago we were at a store and someone side-swiped our Escape and fled the scene. It didn't do much damage, but now the doors squeak when you open them, and the rubber siding stuff sticks when you open the doors.

And yesterday Taylor came home from work and parked behind our Escape on the street. Apparently someone felt the need to hit it from behind and didn't let us know. The bumper is all scraped and the back door is smashed. Lovely. Come on people! If you hit something, own up to it! The worst part is that I am perfectly capable to inflict damage on my own vehicle and have managed to not injure this one in two years (which may be a record for me, although I did get a parking ticket the other day...)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Me in Mosaic

I found this on my friend, Shannon's, blog and I thought it was fun to do.

Here's the deal... you answer the following 12 questions about yourself (
my answers are in parentheses after each question):

1. What is your first name? (Jackie)

2. What is your favorite food? (BBQ)

3. What high school did you attend? (Lehi)

4. What is your favorite color? (green)

5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Dean Cain---I actually had that exact pin-up on my wall in high school)

6. Favorite drink? (Diet Coke with Lime---there, I've said it openly. I need it.)

7. Dream Vacation? (Mexican Resort)

8. Favorite dessert? (plain cheesecake)

9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (president)

10. What do you love most in life? (families are forever)

11. One word to describe you? (trying)

12. Your Flickr name? (jacherrin)**My Flickr name didn't give any results, so I used my last name.

Wanna play?: Type your answer to each of the above questions into Flickr's search. Using only the images that appear on the first page, choose your favorite and copy and paste each of the URL’s into the Mosaic Maker (3 columns, 4 rows)... Enjoy!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More it's a boy...

Here are a couple more ways Kyle and Claire are different. Claire has never put anything unapproved in the toilet. Never. Kyle has already dropped a crayon in and has made several other attempt to dunk bath toys in the toilet.

And just an hour ago while we were watching conference he was playing with Taylor's cell phone. I thought I heard someone answer the phone. Who did he call. 911 of course. Of all numbers to call our 11-month-old called 911. Claire hasn't managed to accomplish this in 3+ years of living.
I hung up as I grabbed the phone, so of course they called right back and we had to explain the situation.

He's a boy. We love him. Enough said.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Up-side of things

It seems like I am always sweeping up Cheerios from our kitchen floor. The Up-side? It's mindless work, I never have to wonder if I've covered an area, if it's Cheerio-free, it's been swept---if not, it hasn't.

I only have one eye. The Up-side? I only have to buy 12 contacts a year---not 24. What a savings!

Kyle gets up around 5am every morning. The Up-side? I love the feeling that I get when I crawl into bed. I get to do that at least TWICE a day!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How I really look one week later

If you look through my blog you'll quickly notice that there are no pictures of me. My "small" surgery in December that was suppose to come along with a long six week recovery. I agonized over how I would make it through. Then those six weeks became eleven weeks, and I cried for days. Eleven weeks passed, and then the doctors let me know that it would really be close to a year and multiple surgeries. I am now 9 1/2 months into that long year and two surgeries down. I have made a point to stay out of pictures as much as possible. However, to document the progress that has been made, and really just to show off my really cool bruise, I am going to post a picture of what has been done to me.

The pictures are kind of gross, so don't look if you're not prepared. I wanted to show the HUGE improvement that has been made even with how funny I do look right now. Hopefully everyone who donated to my surgery can feel like they've made a good decision. Once I get the new eye in October I'll definitely be sharing more (and hopefully better) pictures.

I want to preface it by saying that it really doesn't hurt anymore. Well, the pretend pretend eye that is jammed in there does hurt. It has some rough edges. Hopefully the swelling will be gone soon so that we can put a "realer" eye in there. I included a picture of me from Miss America. You can see that it wasn't perfect, but it looked pretty good. (I also chose one from Miss America because the whole "beauty pageant winner" thing seems a little ironic. And those earrings are always worth a second look---I love them!)

The next picture literally makes my stomach sick when I see it, but I'm okay to share it because I know I don't look like that anymore. It was taken on Easter, so four months after the first surgery. This is how I have looked since December. When you see it you'll see why I've been complaining so much (and why I've ignored so many of you in your requests to meet up with you for lunch/dinner when we're in town). Seeing it also really makes me irritated when I think of all the times people (I'm sure who meant well) say that they can't see the difference. Um, okay...

The next picture is how I look today. And I put makeup on one eye and did a little smile because I still have a small amount of self-respect. Though looking at it now I should have added some lipgloss:)

So here it is. Click on the picture and make it bigger to see the cool colors in my bruise.

You can see that the creases are a similar shape and that it is much less hollow. If the eye in there wasn't in that ridiculous position it would be fine. I really feel bad it's not closer to Halloween, I could win contests.

One day I'm going to blog on the emotional toll this has taken on me, and the lessons that we think we were meant to learn from all of it. But for now, at least it's getting better.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I will survive...

I made it through the surgery. I write this while I'm on heavy doses of percocet, so please excuse the mistakes that I'm sure will be abundant. My surgery started around 2:00 yesterday, and we made it home around 7 or so. I actually fee great. Both my side (from the fat transplant) and eye hurt, but are certainly manageable. The biggest problem was that sometime during the surgery something got into my left eye which is causing a significant amount of pain. Apparently they can't tape the non-operated eye closed during this surgery because they need to compare my eyes in a natural state for the fat fill. About 5 minutes into waking in recovery I noticed the stinging which got significantly worse as time passed. When I was pregnant with Claire I got herpes in my cornea along with blisters that would pop on the surface of the cornea. This pain was even worse than the herpes which is suppose to be the worst pain you can experience.

They gave me two doses of morphine and it made no difference. Taylor and my mom got the job of irrigating my eye for what seemed like an hour while nurses tried to reach my doctor who was still in surgery. We were a little worried about the fact that the pain wouldn't go away as it is my only seeing eye. Taylor's grandparents live about three blocks from the surgical center, so they stopped by. Grandpa came into the recover to assist in a blessing, though he had to wait several minutes. From the moment he sat down I started feeling progressively better. They gave me a blessing, and the pain lessened quite a bit. I'm so grateful for the priesthood and the power that it has. I'm also grateful for Grandpa, it certainly seems his prayers have a lot of persuasion power.

So, the pain in my seeing eye is subsiding and only comes in waves now. I did pretty well during the night, and now I'm just happily recovering and watching the Olympics---my favorite!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lots to say

This may be a long post as I have a lot to catch up on. Well, long if the kids stay asleep. Scratch that, Claire is not sleeping yet, so if she goes to sleep we'll get it in.

We've had a fun week with lots of visitors and visiting. We spent the 24th-26th in Salt Lake. After dinner on Thursday Claire was chasing birds in her usual fashion when Taylor and I noticed that one was injured (it flew right into a wall). We told Claire that it was hurt and that she shouldn't chase it. About twenty minutes later we were in the car and Claire said, "I have an idea! Mommy, does birdies wear Ban-Baids?" The sweet little girl had spent the whole ride home thinking of how she could help the hurt bird. We told her that the bird's mom would get him a bandaid and take care of him. What a thoughtful little thing!

We got to go to the Osmond/MoTab concert Thursday evening with Kerry Lynn, Whitney, Dan, and Meg. We all got split up, but had a nice time. We then went to Lehi and had ice cream and adult conversation with Dan, Meg, Suzy, and Dakotah.

On Friday we went to have my pre-op appointments in Provo. Things are looking good, and my inflammation has settled a lot. We're still planning on the 12th. The surgery has to be paid for this week. As of last week we had planned to put it on a credit card, but we are very humbled to have had a number of family members contribute to our plight. Big thanks to the efforts of my mother-in-law who took the initiative to arrange for all of the fund raising, she was able to gather enough to pay for this surgery and for the new prosthetic. The amount we owed was staggering and overwhelming to our little family. We are so grateful for the generosity of others. This gift has given us an even bigger desire to someday be in the position where we can help others. In the meantime we will just have to keep offering ourselves and the meager dinners that I enjoy bringing to those in our ward who need them.

Suzy came up to spend Sunday and Monday with us, and she was met here by Jake and Britt and my parents who were on their way home from Yellowstone. We had dinner (I only neglected to add the two main ingredients), and I saved myself by presenting a wonderful frozen strawberry dessert. Suzy and my mom stayed the night, and we had a good time Monday just hanging out, playing the Wii, and wading in a tiny river in the canyon.

Of course both of my children are sick. They do this whenever I'm stressed (we're the only people planning the ward party Friday) or whenever I'm in the hospital (I'm sure this is just the beginning of ear infections or pneumonia due to settle in the day of my surgery). Kyle had his 9-month checkup today, so that was convenient that they were actually sick before the appointment. We got him some medicine, but Claire spits hers out (she's never done that). Kyle is a little over 20 pounds. He's right above the 50th percentile in both length and height. Best of all his little head has stopped growing at such a rapid rate and is not longer huge and off the charts. This is a big relief to us.

So that's our update for now. I've posted a few new pages in my scrapbook, so check that out on the link at the top of the page.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Little Hints

Today I was astounded when I bought contacts at Standard Optical. They were HALF THE PRICE that I had been paying for the last 7 years! I'm certainly going to make sure to shop around more things. Oh, the money I've spent needlessly.

I also learned a little thing about fonts. I love fonts. I love them so much that I may let them slow my computer down just so that I can use more of them. Well, I learned that you don't have to install fonts to use them. Just keep the font file in a folder, and when you want to use one, simply open up the file that shows you the font. As long as that window is open (minimized doesn't work here), then the font will appear in your list and you can use it. Yeah! I just made a little list of all the fonts I like with an example of them, and I don't have to worry about slowing my computer down. There are some cool dingbats out there that I'm excited to use.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Yesterday after church Claire had quite the story to tell about nursery. It went something like this:
"Mom! Today a boy was eating a teddy bear, and he throwed up all over his snack. He said, 'I want my mommy!' And we all had to go in another room, and they closed the door with the throw up." She then apparently remarked to a leader, "I throwed up yesterday," so you can bet they were thrilled with us for sending a sick child to nursery. We had to explain that "yesterday" to Claire means any day previous to this one. (She last threw up in March.)

Last night as she was saying her prayers she asked Heavenly Father to help the boy who threw up to feel better---twice. What a sweet little girl!

One of the nursery leaders commented that Claire is the sweetest little girl she's ever seen. They've told us a number of times that she's the best baby in there. We're so glad to have a little girl with such a sensitive heart.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oh the pageants!

Last night was the final night of the Miss Utah pageant. I only made it to one night this year as we live so far away and Kyle is still so unwilling to drink from a bottle. We had our traditional big dinner with family and friends at Charlie Chow's and had great seats at Capitol Theater. My parents and Suzy and I sat in the past queen section with Natalie Johnson, Amy Davis, Julia Bachison, Katie Millar (who is due in six weeks), and a couple more queens who are even more ancient history than I am!

The evening gowns were quite nice, something that has sometimes been lacking lately. The show was a little more laid back, and I liked that, although I know a lot of people would disagree. I think though it is nice to have a big flashy show, it's so much better to put the money into scholarships and Miss America preparation and wardrobe. Here's the winner, Miss Sanpete County (I'm assuming this is a first for them): Kayla Barclay.

She's a pianist, so I always like that. She had sleeves and a one-piece swimsuit. I like both of those things too. I'm excited to see more of her, and to see how she looks by Miss America. I'm very interested in seeing her resume as it seems she captivated the judges from the beginning winning both a swimsuit and evening wear preliminary. She's just 18 and from Manti (not that that's bad, 20 and from Lehi isn't much better!).

In other pageant news. Thanks to Kerry Lynn who called to remind me that the Miss Universe pageant was on. I turned the TV on just in time to see Miss USA fall for the second year in a row. In case you missed it or want to see it again (and again and again), here's the link:

(And by the way, I fell down the stairs in a pageant, so I have every right to post that.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More eye drama

We had some interesting things happen with my previous surgeon. On three separate occasions he has promised to take care of us should I need surgery. He told us it would be fine to switch our insurance and he'd take care of it. Well, as I wrote a couple weeks ago we scheduled surgery with him, and though he did give us a discount on his fee it was still way too much. My current insurance won't cover either of my next two surgeries, so that's a lot of money for us in our school situation. I got a second opinion from a guy in Provo who came highly recommended and will do the surgery for almost 50% less. We haven't loved our experiences with our last doctor, so after a lot of thought and prayer we've decided to switch surgeons. Although I'm nervous about changing and have absolutely loved every other experience at the Moran Eye Center, I just really want this all to be over and to look normal again. We will also be working with a new ocularist (prosthetic eye maker), and I'm more than excited about that.

So I will be getting the same surgery that was planned with an additional process where they will remove fat from my side and transplant it into my eye socket (stop your emails now, all of you who are willing to donate your own fat, I get first dibs on fat removal! Though I am going to suggest that it be removed from my pregnancy-induced slight second chin, but I doubt that will happen). We have schedule surgery for August 12. I'll be down for at least five days. I am thrilled about the timing as most of you know what an Olympics freak I am, I'll watch it guilt-free 24/7 (except for when the pain meds knock me out). In October I'll have my upper and lower lids done, and we should be seeing some significant improvement. Hopefully.

So that's the plan for now. If I feel particularly adventurous I may even post a picture of myself post-surgery. Now we just need to win the lottery in the next 6 weeks...

If nothing else, we are entertained

The other day I was vacuuming, and Claire came into the room running and screaming in that high-pitched voice all little girls (and some little boys) can conjure, "What is the heck of that?" She yelled it over and over like it was one work, "WhatIsTheHeckOfThat?!" I guess it's her trial version of "what in the heck is that?" She's never been a fan of the vacuum.

Suzy (bless her heart) has taught my darling daughter to say, "Son of a B." However I have forbidden that kind of language. Suzy tried to get her to say it to me the other day and she whispered to her, "I can't say that," glancing in my direction. Claire let Suz know that we say "Son a of gun." And no, that's not a structure error on my part, Claire has reversed the 'a' and 'of' all on her own. She will also tell you it's okay to say "shoot," but you must trade out "stupid" for "silly."

We also have a problem with hair pulling. Whatever we do we cannot get Kyle to stop pulling Claire's hair. If she's on the ground or in their side-by-side stroller, he's constantly reaching for her hair. She screams, and I don't blame her. Those tiny slobbery baby hands can sure grip. A couple nights ago she had had enough when he snuck up behind her on the floor and gave a good yank. She screamed, turned around, thought for a while, and gave him a good two-hand shove! He toppled over and screamed. Taylor had to take her to her room and talk about being nice to Kyle, but we couldn't be too strict as he has had it coming for quite a while. You can bet we giggled later that night over her first real show of a negative emotion toward Kyle.

We will take ANY suggestions that anyone has on hair pulling. We cannot get him to stop.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Our ward has a playgroup every Tuesday at 11:30 at various parks. Our numbers are dwindling since it's gotten hotter, but I'm willing to brave the heat for adult conversation---even if it's just with one other like-minded mother. Today was ridiculously hot and the other family bailed in about 20 minutes. Claire was not about to leave a park that quickly and soon joined up with another group of little people while Kyle and I lounged in the sun. She started to look quite flushed and sweaty, so I gave in to my indulgences, dug through the car for $2 in quarters and got us a medium snowcone (the stand was conveniently located at the front of the park). I let Claire pick the flavor and she settled on pink cotton candy. We sat in the grass next to 4 macaws and a number of monkeys and ate our deliciously big snowcone out of a purple flower cup. Kyle even had some bites. It was an ideal afternoon. Even better they were all tuckered out and should have good naps.

Now to the title of the blog: sunscreen. Before they play with the other kids I always slather them up with sunscreen. I was just cuddling with Kyle before his nap and could smell the sunscreen on him. Isn't that the best smell? Honestly, when do you wear sunscreen and not have fun? (Okay, so I've never had a landscaping job, or really done any outdoor work at all, but hang with me.) Sunscreen reminds me of days at the pool, 7 Peaks, and Lagoon. I remember girls camp, 4-wheeling, and other long summer days. And now I get all of those memories combined with the love I feel for my little family all rolled into one when I smell sunscreen on them. There simply is no better smell.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boys vs Girls

Maybe it's just a difference in personality, but we sure have noticed a difference at Kyle and Claire, even in the early stages of life.

This is how Claire learned to crawl and walk: Claire was almost nine months old by the time she decided to try to crawl. Even once she learned how to it scared her and she literally would cry the whole time she was crawling. It was the same thing with walking. She just hated walking between two people by herself, she cried the whole time. If she was standing and holding onto something she would hold on for dear life and never let go. I still remember how my thumbs and fingers would ache from her holding on. When she was 14 months old she just stood up one day and started walking. That was that. No trial and error; she waited until she could do it. Claire is confident, calculated, and careful.

This is Kyle: At 6 1/2 months I went upstairs to grab some clothes for Kyle. I could hear him squealing with delight and hurried down the stairs to see him up on his hands and feet, rocking and laughing. The next day he learned to dive forward on his chest, get back up, and dive again. Even though he can crawl in the normal way, he still resorts to his dive/scoot. Then before he was even 8 months old he decided he can crawl up onto things (stairs, suitcase, large toys). And even worse he's decided that he can stand up and hold onto the couch, Claire's couch, the stairs, the exersaucer, the TV stand, and anything else he can crawl to. This would be fine except for the fact that once he's up he lets go and crashes. Sometimes he'll even just start to walk and let go. I spend most of my day chasing him and catching him at the last second. Why would a seven-month-old think that walking is the next step? Kyle is daring, dangerous, and determined.

So maybe it's a gender thing or a personality thing, but we sure like how different they are. Kyle certainly is a care-free little guy, where Claire thinks through everything before making a choice. It's fun to see so many great qualities developing in these little people.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Silent Night

Claire goes through a bedtime routine with her dolls during which they "request" songs. One of the dolls's favorites is Silent Night and here are the words:

Silent night, ho holy night
All it's gone, all it's bite
Round yon bird in mother in child
Holy in handsome tender so mild
sleep in heavenly peace
sleep in heavenly peace

She also sings I Need Thee Every Hour:

I need V every hour
in joy, in face
I come to V

On Father's Day

In honor of Father’s Day I decided to make a list of 50 things I love about Taylor. I could go on and on, but my kids only nap for so long :) Some of them are obvious things and some of them are things that you probably didn’t know about him. I followed it up with the answer to 25 questions about him.

1. He puts up with me
2. He never complains about anything I do or do not do (however I’m sure he has a list of complaints somewhere).
3. If he is around he changes the diapers. Always.
4. He is happy to leave Sacrament Meeting to take a kid out.
5. He lets me sleep in often.
6. He reads to me.
7. He edits the swearing when he reads to me.
8. He embellishes the, um, “love” scenes when he reads to me.
9. He starts the laundry a lot.
10. He starts the dishwasher and puts away the dishes.
11. He can fold clothes better than I can.
12. He does more than his fair share of putting Claire back in bed in the middle of the night.
13. He always dresses nicely when we leave the house.
14. He drives me everywhere.
15. He carries the car seat.
16. He buckles both kids in every time.
17. He’s at about 97% at putting the toilet seat down (you can understand how surprising the remaining 3% is as I usually realize that in the dark).
18. I usually only have to ask him one time to do anything. Usually.
19. He kept our sidewalk better shoveled than any of the neighbors this winter.
20. He’s willing to spend more time than I am to find just the right jeans for me.
21. He does the Hot Dog Dance with Claire.
22. He takes Claire on little adventures to ride the bus, buy cookies, and stop at the Doggie Store, so that I can get a break.
23. He’s our post-Church mac-n-cheese maker.
24. He’s always in charge of making rice.
25. He’s always in charge of making pasta.
26. I’ve taken over the tools and fix everything in the house. He’s okay with that.
27. He squashes all the spiders.
28. He’s made a couple valiant attempts to fix car problems.
29. On more than one occasion Taylor has left to buy me medicine in the middle of the night.
30. On many occasions Taylor has gone to the store to fulfill my pregnancy cravings.
31. He tucks me in every night.
32. He goes to the gym regularly. He says it’s to impress me. Though sometimes I think it is to get away from me.
33. He and Claire do about 80% of the grocery shopping lately.
34. He has finally learned how to use apostrophes correctly.
35. He gets about 70% of his commas in the correct place and can correctly identify most conjunctions.
36. I find lists all over the house. Usually they contain a few sports names or teams I recognize. I’m humored by his need to categorize things.
37. Taylor is actually a very talented artist.
38. He has perfect handwriting (especially with contrasted with my horrible handwriting).
39. His scriptures are very used and very marked.
40. He has insightful comments in Church.
41. He can name every prophet in order.
42. He can name all the general authorities.
43. He can even tell you their approximate ages are and a number of other life facts about them.
44. I married Taylor because he listens and retains information that is important to me.
45. I have a complete inability to remember to watch my favorite TV shows. Taylor makes sure to record our shows—and he even reminds me that Days of Our Lives is on if he is home at 2:00.
46. He brags about his new “sexy” haircut.
47. He makes sure I get my Sunday naps.
48. He pushes the stroller on our walks unless I feel particularly ambitious.
49. He lets me make most of our family decisions and goes along with my ideas.
50. He’s a wonderful father.

25 Things about my love
1. What is his name? Taylor Cameron Herrin
2. Who eats more? Usually Taylor. But if I’m pregnant or nursing 8 hours a day, and especially if we’re eating french toast, I can easily top him.
3. Who said I love you first? I did. His response? “That was brave, Jac.” He claims he was going to say it later that evening.
4. Who is taller? He is by a few inches.
5. Who is smarter? Definitely Taylor. Although for some reason he thinks the opposite.
6. Who is more sensitive? It’s a toss up. We’re quite equal in a lot of ways. Although I do expect him to read my mind and get upset when he doesn’t.
7. Who does the laundry? Taylor did it exclusively until we had Claire. Now it’s shared, but I should do more.
8. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? If we’re in bed he’s on the right. We both like to face the outside of the bed, and my eye problems made it so I could only be on my left side, so that’s how that happened.
9. Who pays the bills? I do. Taylor’s still a little confused by online bill pay.
10. Who cooks more? I cook meals, and Taylor cooks quick things that we tell ourselves are meals (things that come from bags).
11. What meals do you cook together? If we are making something that requires rice, Taylor is the man for the rice. If we are having pancakes or other breakfast foods, he’s the man for the eggs.
12. Who is more stubborn? I am. Enough said.
13. Who is the first to admit they're wrong? We actually agree on most things. If we don’t, we agree to disagree and that’s that.
14. Who is cleaner? I’ll admit I’m not a neat freak. I wish I was, but I can’t find it within myself. Taylor’s better at being tidy.
15. Who has more siblings? I do. I have two brothers and a sister. He has one sister.
16. Who wears the pants in the relationship? I do, but only because I’ve borrowed them with permission. Like I said before, I make the decisions, and he goes along with what I want. Unless it’s in ordering a drink to share. It’s always Coke though I like root beer.
17. What do you like to do together? We like to play frisbee, go on walks, watch our TV shows, read books, stay up late talking, drive, talk about the news and school, play with our kids, talk about how cute our kids are....lots of things.
18. Who eats more sweets? It depends, but if you’re going with portion size, he’s got me.
19. Guilty pleasures? American Idol. We wouldn’t miss an episode (that’s not true, we don’t watch the result shows). We go through root beer float stages where we have them every night for weeks.
20. How did you meet? Neither of us can remember actually meeting. Therefore Taylor makes up the story. He was just at his parent’s house while I was getting my fittings for Miss America during the summer of 2001. Our first date was in January 2002.
21. Who asked who out first? Taylor’s mom kind of got the whole thing rolling and convinced him to call me (But, this is after I received his family’s Christmas card, remembered how cute he is, and emailed his mom about going out with him.)
22. Who kissed who first? I waited THREE months of dating for him to get up the guts to kiss me (he claims that he was simply building the anticipation). By the time he did I already knew I wanted to marry him.
23. Who proposed? Well, there was an official proposal which he did perform. But about two months prior to it I basically told him he would marry me. He hasn’t complained about it yet.
24. His best features? Taylor is really easy going and level-headed. He’s a wonderful father. He has beautiful eyes. I love to hug him because he has such a broad chest and shoulders—it makes me feel small.
25. What is his greatest quality? Taylor is dedicated and motivated. His motivation is actually the #1 thing that attracted me to him when we were dating. Along with that he has a strong testimony of the gospel and actively seeks to improve both the depth and breadth of his gospel knowledge. When I married him I knew that we would always be spiritually secure and that he would live up to his temple covenants. I know he’ll never let me down.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thought on repentance

Last week in Sunday School the teacher made an analogy that I wanted to pass on. We were talking about repentance and moving on past mistakes in life. She said that life is like driving. Sometimes we'll be driving along and get in an accident. We have to stop, make arrangements to cover the damages, then we get back on the road. However, if after leaving the site of the accident we continue to look at the accident in our rear view mirror we cannot make much forward progress. And if we constantly look back and dwell on the accident, we can cause a lot more accidents. Sure, we have to occasionally glance at what is behind us, but must decide to learn from our past mistakes and move on, looking forward and toward our destination. Going further with the analogy, it's easy to think of the Savior to be like car insurance. We cause an accident; we pay as much as we can, and he makes up for the rest of it.

Just wanted to share the thought.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The saga continues

So I saw my surgeon again today. We've decided to save money and not have any work done on the prosthetic until after my surgeries. I'm not very thrilled about it, but have learned to deal with they eye I have. Again, with the intent of not telling the story and drawing the picture a million times, here's the plan:
To explain what will happen I've included a little visual I cooked up. It's not too impressive, but will do. The picture on the left is a normal eye. Notice all the yellow squiggly stuff? That's fat. Apparently we all have a lot of fat surrounding our eyes and holding them in place. Because I had glaucoma that fat got squished because of my eye enlarging from pressure. The blood supply to the fat was also compromised during my 13 previous eye surgeries. This is not good for fat. This is why I have a hollowness next to my nose and a gap on the outside. This is shown in the upper right picture. The pink is the ball that now fills what is left of my eye, and the blue is the prosthetic. They sit deep in my eye because of the lack of fat volume. I'm told that a normal eye is 30cc's (whatever a cc is), and normal implants are 18 cc's, and mine is 20--the largest possible. It still however is not as big as it should be.

So the solution is to go in under the eyeball and socket and to add a few plastic pieces (shown in purple) to bump the eye up and a few plastic wedges to encourage it forward. Oh, and it doesn't just bump the eyeball, it bumps the eye tissue. It sounds painful. Then they inject something that will fill the upper part right next to the eyelid. They will also most likely tighten up my bottom lid. If all goes well about 8 weeks after that I'll have upper eyelid surgery.

So we scheduled the surgery for August 8. It takes about 2 hours. Right now my insurance won't cover my eye problems (stupid insurance). So we're trying to come up with creative ways to get immediate insurance that will. The best thing would be for Taylor to be employed by the state with DCFS or something for the last half of the summer. The state of Utah has great coverage that starts the day you start. If anyone else has suggestions for companies that have good insurance or any other insurance ideas, feel free to comment.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Long Day

Some days are longer than others. Some have really long parts. Today was a long day with a long part. One of the things I dreaded about having two children was going to the store with them and without another adult. Today I ventured to Walmart for a couple grocery items, Father's Day item, and other stuff. As I went to get Claire out of the car I stepped in gum. If that wasn't enough of a sign to just go back home, I should have turned around when the pharmacy line was literally to the doors. I just thought I was lucky to not need drugs today.

We needed WD4o. I consider myself a modern woman, and I'm not intimidated by tools or repairs of any kind. This should make me capable of finding WD40. Oh no. Of course it would be by screws and picture hangers. Then there were two Father's Day items that I was certain would be at Walmart. I looked and looked to no avail. Then I decided that I could ask for help---if only someone spoke English. I gave up after a valiant effort.

Next it was time for the groceries. I started getting the baby food when Claire announced she needed to use the potty. She went before we left home, so I wasn't too worried. We got a few more things and she mentioned it again. Then we couldn't find beef bullion cubes or frozen hamburger patties. Then she said she really needed to go, so I bypassed the produce and breads and headed straight to checkout. The lines were horrendous. I got in what I assumed was the smallest line, only to find half-way into it that the woman three people in front of me was so large that she blocked the view of her very full cart. Then there was a lady next to us who had very obvious birthmarks. Claire told me very loudly, "Oh look! That MAN got hurt on his neck." This was repeated a couple times before I could distract her. And she never got the gender correct.

Next thing I know Kyle goes from sitting pleasantly to red-faced screaming. As it was almost my turn to load my items I was unsure of what to do. I got them all loaded while trying to calm him. Then the nice lady behind me asks if she could hold him with an explanation that her grandkids live far away. This was either true, he was being much more annoying than I thought, or maybe she just wanted to hold our cute boy (who really does have a cute pathetic cry).

By this point we've been in line twenty minutes. Claire keeps pulling things off the conveyor belt and chewing on them. My head hurts. It's like 90 degrees, and the lady in front of me can't decide if she wants to buy pillows after finding out their price. All the while I'm waiting for Claire to announce that she's had an accident. Kyle, by the way, is quite happy and gaining an audience of well-wishers. I offered to take him back, but she wouldn't give him back. I wasn't too sure what to do. When I was paying for my stuff I couldn't get Claire far enough away from the credit card thing to stop pushing buttons. She messed it up twice. We spent well over 25 minutes in line. Not fun.

I finally got everything loaded in, expressed gratitude to the baby holder, put Kyle in his chair, and now Claire says she doesn't need to use the bathroom, she wants to go sit on the big toy machines (she still hasn't figured out that putting money in them makes them way more fun). So we sat on Tigger, Mickey, and the spaceship. After some coaxing we loaded everyone in the car, fortunately avoiding the gum this time around. We got home, and I went to get Kyle only to find that I had never strapped him in (I'm admitting this only because Shannon admitted to making the same error more than once).

So that was our fun, fun trip which I will not repeat any time soon. Oh, and during dinner Claire pushed her booster seat off her chair and it broke an outlet cover. Good thing bedtime is in an hour (if I'm lucky!).

Monday, June 2, 2008

Funny Claire

Last night just before bed Claire turned to Taylor and said, "So, where are you going tomorrow, Dad?" He replied that in the morning he'd go to the gym, then to class and be home a little after 11. Then he'd go to the family institute from about 2:30 to 7:30. Her reply, "Um, so what time are you going to the gym?" First of all, how did she even notice that he didn't give a time for that? And secondly, can she really have a concept of time at all? Sure, she can accurately count to 13, but she can't always accurately count objects, so I don't think she really understands numbers. Yet she has an obsession with time. She's always asking what time it is and what at what time she will be doing her regular activities. Maybe she needs a watch.

Also, Taylor's story about Claire's foot getting stuck in the shopping cart (see his previous post) reminded me about another incident. Last January Taylor was set apart to be a teacher in the Elder's Quorum. Kyle was all of a few weeks old, so I was holding him. Claire sneaked off and started playing with a chair---the plastic stacking kind found in most churches. I thought she'd be fine, so I kind of closed my eyes for the setting apart. Suddenly I hear, "Help! Help!" and I opened my eyes to see Claire stuck in the chair with her head and one arm through the hole in the back. She was backing up as crazily as a cat with a lampshade stuck on its head. I panicked a little about what to do with Kyle, ended up setting him on the ground and went to help Claire untangle herself---it was not easy. All the while there is a poor man trying to perform the blessing and everyone was trying not to look. It ended quickly, we're not sure what was even said, and everyone had a good laugh once I explained the situation. She's a little nutty, and that's all there is to it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Eye update

Just so I don't have to repeat this information a million times, here's the update.

I saw another ocularist (prosthetic eye maker) in Salt Lake yesterday. I just wanted to get a second opinion on my eye as I'm so disappointed with it. She felt like I was definitely justified in my concerns. It really is the wrong color, the outer ring really is too wide, it isn't aligned correctly, it's too small, and there really isn't enough sclera (white part) next to my nose. She said that the surgery part looks like it went well, but the prosthetic is a failure. She was also much more compassionate than the guy we previously worked with, and seemed to see me as a person, not just another case.

Though I'm extremely disappointed that I really did just get a bad deal, I do feel better knowing that I'm not just being overly sensitive like a lot of people have been telling me (if I hear "I can't tell which eye it is" one more time I'll go crazy!). She feels quite confident that we can at least get the eyeball itself to look exactly like the other, and that with a surgery on both my eyelids I should be a more satisfied.

So for right now it looks like I may be cancelling my appointment to get work on the eye done next week. I'm doing this because it's super expensive to do, and apparently I'll need a brand new eye after the surgeries anyway, so it seems ridiculous to pay so much in our situation where my insurance doesn't cover prosthetics . These eyes are not cheap. The woman I saw yesterday also wants to give me a discount in exchange for using me in advertising---which seems like a great situation, because if she's advertising with me I assume she'll do her very best work. So we have a lot of phone calls and decisions to make, but that's the update for now.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

One of the dumbest things I ever did

I was talking to my dad the other day and told him a story about what a couple friends and I did when we were in high school. Looking back I can't believe how incredibly stupid and risky it was for us to do what we did. It's funny how as a teenager you really just can't see consequences very clearly. Anyway, here's the story. The people in it are pictured above from left to right: Michelle, Bryce, Ashleigh (not in the story, but still in the picture), Lee, and me. I think I have the story right, but it has been ten years (yikes! we're old), so, Lee & Michelle, let me know if I'm wrong.

This must have happened during our junior year. Michelle, Bryce, and I were in Bryce's van at the Phillips station getting gas and there were two empty parking stalls in front of us. One of the stalls had what looked like an empty paper bag in it. A car full of seniors guys that we knew pulled into the stall next to the bag. One of them got out, picked up the bag, got back into the car and drove away. We weren't stupid. We were 90% sure that the bag contained drugs. Any normal person may report it to police or just let it go. But not us. Our gas was done pumping and
we were in hot pursuit. We followed the car through the back roads of Lehi for a really long time. They must have known we were following them because they kept trying to lose us, but we kept finding them. At one point they threw the bag out of the car. We of course stopped to retrieve it. We threw it in the van and then continued the pursuit. I don't remember who opened the bag, but I do remember that it took quite a while for one of us to get enough courage to open it (and all the while we were still following them)! We opened the bag and it contained......(drum roll please)......some stale carrots! True story. But it doesn't end there. At that point we rallied and decided to go switch cars and pick up Lee (I think). So we got in Michelle's big white boat of a car, got Lee, drove back to the southern most parts of Lehi and amazingly found the car again. Michelle continued following them, and at this point I'm guessing it has been well over an hour that we've followed them. The height of our evening occurred when they drove into a dead end and turned their car so that they couldn't help but see who their followers were. All of this time we had not considered what would happen when we caught up with them or had to face them. All the while we're facing the immediate need to flip a U-turn in a huge car with these questionably drug-using senior boys waiting for us.I will never forget crouching on the floor
of the car with Bryce. Michelle was screaming "What do I do? What do I do?!" And Bryce yells back, "I don't know what you're going to do Michelle, but you better think of something, and you better think of something fast!" That moment really is one of favorite memories from all of high
school. Michelle did the only thing one can do when coming to a dead end. She slowly, slowly did a three-point turn, which inevitably was five- or six-point turn because of the size of her car and narrowness of the road. The whole time the boys are sitting there with their headlights on our car. I can just see it from their point of view with Michelle, frantic, white-knuckled, and white-faced and the rest of us wimps safely tucked nearly underneath the dash and other chairs. And we drove home. And that was that.

So I told my dad this story, and couldn't believe how stupid we were. These boys obviously had picked up drugs (though what a weird way to distribute them). It couldn't have been anything else. I don't have a lot of experience with drug users, but I'm willing to bet they were ready to fight for the drugs or to protect themselves. I don't think they got a glimpse of who was following them until the end, so they must have been pretty scared. I also remember that when we found the carrots we didn't consider that perhaps they were NOT the original contents of the bag. And I think it is so weird that we were able to leave and switch cars, come back and pick up where we left off. We NEVER considered what we would do if they stopped to confront us. We never even had a clear goal of what we were trying to accomplish in the first place. I guess that just shows that even though we thought we were in an elite group in school, and more intelligent and thinking than a lot of our counterparts, we were still just stupid teenagers who weren't thinking and could have gotten in a whole lot of trouble.

So there's my story. I guess if that's the worst of it I'm pretty lucky :)Think about the dumb things you did when you were a teenager and didn't think ahead about the consequences. Maybe post them on your blog so we can all laugh too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

More Potty Success!

I'm sure all of our MANY readers will thrill to hear this news...however if you aren't a parent yet and you are not yet surrounded by constant talk of diapers and potties and other such delightful things, you may want to skip this post. Claire has now worn her panties for almost the entirety of the last three days. We started telling her we were busy when she asked us to change her diaper. After a couple times of waiting 4-5 minutes she has started to think it may be better to just use the potty. We even went to two stores yesterday and a restaurant today (to celebrate her success) without a diaper on. She even asked to use the potty at the restaurant.

It has been fun to see her gain confidence and figure out how to do all of this. She does a great little "potty dance" and so do we :). She's been great at getting to the potty every time, except tonight when she ran to go and we discovered that we had forgotten to put the bowl back in her potty after the last cleaning. She had a tiny tiny tiny accident and cried so hard. It nearly broke my heart to see how upset she was.

Her little chart is filling up fast, and the rewards are definitely encouraging her. Because last night she finally managed to do #2 (maybe that's TMI?) we got her the bathroom set for her dollhouse(with a toilet AND a potty chair and tub and vanity) , and my parents got her the living room set, complete with a mommy dog and four puppies. For some reason this has all been terribly frightening for her, and she's been so brave. This is definitely progress, and perhaps we have bought her last box of diapers---yeah!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On Mother's Day

Well, it’s Mother’s Day and I need to pay tribute. I have been surrounded by some of the best mothers in the world, especially my wife. Jac is the best person I know and I am forever grateful to be sealed to her for Time and all Eternity. I have several goals in life and I have managed to accomplish the most important one—marry someone who is out of my league. I’ve clearly married up and am thankful for that every day of my life. My wife is probably the toughest person I know. She has been through many trials in her life and has consistently found ways to improve herself through those trials. I have always viewed trials as evidence that God sees us as worthy to prepare for exaltation, and Jac has been a constant strength through the trials our family has faced. It makes it easier when I recognize that we are being prepared for Eternal life—together.
Some lyrics from one of my favorite songs have always intrigued me:
I've never been the praying kind
But lately I've been down upon my knees
Not looking for a miracle
Just a reason to believe

I love those lyrics because I think that all of us are looking for a reason to believe. Even though I do view it as a miracle, the most obvious reason for me to "believe" is my family. Nothing keeps me going the way my family does.
In the last few years I have seen my wife take on the role of mother. She is amazing and I could not fathom a better mother for my children. She is kind, patient, and loving toward Kyle and Claire, even when we experience the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It has been Jac’s dream to be a mother. People often encourage her to write a book or do other innovative and impressive things, but for Jac all these things take a backseat to being a mom. I know she will pursue those things later in life (and have no doubts that she will accomplish them), but for now she just wants to be a mother. Considering all of her accomplishments in life, that is amazing.
People often tell us how lucky we are that our kids are so good. It baffles me that people seem to miss the obvious—we have great kids because they have a great mother. I took some time this week to sit down and think about my life and all of the blessings I have received, and it became obvious that I am a very lucky man. I have beautiful kids and I am married to the girl of my dreams. Five years in and I can say—unequivocally—I would do it all over again because any trials we face together have been worth it. Jac, I love you, and I appreciate everything you do as a mother to hold this family together. Forever.

Happy Mother's Day

There are four days of my life that would fit into "Best Day of My Life" or "Most Pivotal Day of My Life." They are: the day I won Miss Utah, the day we were married, the day Claire was born, and the day Kyle was born (pictured above at the moments I first saw them).

If I got to choose to re-live two days of my life, I would choose the day my children were born. (Only beating the wedding day because we get to kind of re-live that every time we do sealings---and it was really, really cold. Although significantly less painful than childbirth when I think about it...) Anyway---even though I'm only 27, I've got to do some really cool things in life. I spoke at my high school graduation, I won a couple pageants, I competed at Miss America, I've done a lot of things with organ donation and other community service opportunities. I've been a lot of places and met a lot of people, but the experience that I treasure most is that of being a mother. Being Miss Utah was great, but I'd give it up in a heartbeat for my two babies.

Today in Church a sister announced her latest pregnancy as "a promotion at work." And my "work" certainly has been interesting since Claire was born. I've never been more bored or more busy. I've never been more challenged or more care-free. I've certainly never been as good at coloring before.

I have never felt more deeply about anyone or anything since my two "co-workers" joined my life. They have taught me about the love of God. They have helped me understand the love that my parents must have for me. They have taught me why it is important for families to be together forever. They have shown me unconditional and unfailing love. They have brought out sides to me that I never knew existed. (For instance, I DANCE to "Popcorn Popping" almost daily---sometimes even with the curtains open!)

I admire Claire's sensitive soul and empathetic disposition along with her zaniness and interest in life. I was so stressed out during Kyle's pregnancy that I thought for sure he'd be a high-strung demanding baby, but he is constantly happy and smiling and ready to roll with any punches we send his way (figuratively, of course). Just one dimpled grin from either of them sends me over the edge with happiness and gratitude that they are mine. I am so glad that I am a mother. And I am so glad that I have a husband who supports me in my desire to be a full-time mom. His sacrifices are not un-noticed although they are often un-thanked (there's probably a better word for that).

However, as wonderful as I have made motherhood seem, there are days when I am certain I (or my children) will not survive. And sure enough my own mother is there to rescue me. Whether she is here in person, on the phone listening to me complain, or the voice that I hear in my head, my mother influences my life daily. I may have said this many times before, but it bears repeating: I need my mom more now than I ever have before. I don't think parenting ever ends; there will always be more life situations for which I will need guidance. So, thanks mom! And thanks also to Taylor's mom who is also always there for us and helps out at the perfect time in unmeasurable ways.

So Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers reading this. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. Now lets all go have a nap.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Claire's First Joke

Last night Claire told her first joke---and it was original material too! We were eating dinner and she said, "Hey, Mom. You know what a piggy bank sounds like?" After a well-timed comedic pause she said, "Oink! Oink! Oink!" It was pretty cute, and she knows it's funny.

Apparently she had tried earlier versions of this on my Dad while they were swinging that day, and every time they'd swing she'd say "Oink."

I was also surprised earlier today when she gave me a detailed account of when I fell down the stairs last August, just a couple days after her second birthday. It included who was here, what was on TV, what she said, what I said, how I rolled into a box at the bottom of the stairs, and how Kyle was still in my tummy. (Pregnancy does not make me graceful.) I couldn't believe how much she remembered about an incident that we haven't discussed since the week it happened.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Twins!

Happy Birthday Dan & Suz! 24 Years Old! I had Claire at that age (hint, hint, Dan).
We love you both so much and are so happy that you are such a part of our lives. Claire just adores her Dan-O and Suz, and so do we!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Visit Salt Lake!

We just got back from a fun, fun weekend in Salt Lake City. We got the fabulous connect pass which allows you to visit twelve of Salt Lake's best attractions for a very, very low price. We went to Discovery Gateway, saw two shows at Clark Planetarium, Hogle Zoo, Red Butte Gardens, Thanksgiving Point Gardens, Living Planet Aquarium, Snowbird, and had lunch at The Lion House Pantry both days---all for what it would have cost just for lunch and to visit only one attraction. You can get it too at: We got the two day pass and had a blast.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I can't sleep!

Last night we had a particularly difficult time trying to get Claire to go to sleep. Here are a few of the things she hollered down the stairs to us. We just giggled at her as we tried to watch Idol Gives Back. Although after more than 3 hours we giggled a little less.

"Mommy? Can you please bring YOUR bed in here? I no like my big girl bed."

"I a baby. I can't go to sleep by myself."

"My bed is too short. My bed is TOO short!"

"My tummy empty! My tummy saying, "Feed me, Claire! Feed me!"

"Hey you guys! You should be in your bed!" When did we become "you guys?"

Finally around 12:30 she went to sleep. Of course then Kyle was up at 4 they were both up again at 8. I miss sleep most of all.

In other news, she has named the dollhouse cat "RockyMyBoy" (all one word). You'd have to hear her say it, but it's hilarious how consistent she is with RockyMyBoy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


After a wonderful Easter dinner we set out on our long trip home from Salt Lake. I drove while Taylor did homework. I started to get tired just as he finished so I chose the next exit, we pulled into a gas station and traded. Claire determined this was "Because Mom a bad driver."

Much to our dismay when we went to get on the freeway again we found that there was not an entrance on this specific road. We were in Ogden, and I have long believed that that city just isn't set out correctly. We soon found ourselves extremely lost. The farther we went the darker it got and the more spread out the houses were. We saw no open stores or stations. It was so dark that we couldn't see mountains or any landmarks that would give us an idea as to the direction we were going. After about a half hour we ended up calling my dad who was on the way home from St. George. He just got a couple fancy new GPS units. He pulled over and with a little luck was able to determine that we were in Plain City (and practically swimming in the Great Salt Lake and/or Willard Bay at times). It took us 25 minutes of intense descriptions on both of our parts for us to find our way back to I15. All the while Claire was complaining that it was too dark. "Dad! I can't see my toe jam!" seemed to be her biggest complaint.

We made it back safely and only about 45 minutes behind schedule, but it was quite the experience. Claire learned a great lesson about keeping the Sabbath Day holy too. She was very thirsty and we had plenty of opportunities to explain to her that it was Jesus' day and it makes Him happy when we don't buy things on His day. She seemed okay about being thirsty when she understood it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Claire's Art Gallery

All of you regular readers out there (ha! All 6 of you) will notice a change in our blog. I've added a gallery on the right sidebar of some of Claire's artwork. She has been anxious to share it with everyone. She's into water painting and especially into tearing construction paper and then gluing it to other papers. You'll notice she's actually quite talented for a 2-year-old (says the beaming mother). I'll update it periodically for you.

Fun at our house

Poor Kyle got his shots Friday. He whined for three days with the most heart-breaking, pathetic whine you have heard come out of a baby boy. My parents spent Monday with us, and we had a really nice respite from ornery babies. He was still a little off-schedule Monday night, and here's how Monday night and Tuesday went:

Claire in bed at 12:30
Kyle needs to eat at 2:00
Claire is in our bed at 3:00
Kyle needs to eat at 5:00
Kyle needs to eat again at 6:00
Kyle cries for at least an hour
Claire gets up before 8:00

Claire has pickles, strawberry milk, chocolate milk, fruit snacks, pickles, and chocolate chips in the hour before her nap. (Somehow I knew this would end badly, and even texted Taylor and Suzy with my concern.)

Claire wakes up from her nap, rolls on the floor complaining about her tummy and starts throwing up. I put her in the tub and brought Kyle up to watch. In the midst of her crying Kyle started crying, and Claire looks up and says, "Kyle say: What wrong with my girl?" I love that she could tell he was worried, probably because she worries about him when he cries. And of course, I'm sure he refers to her as "My Girl" when he thinks of her :)

We had our tax preparation appointment that night, and we'd already cancelled twice, so we had to go. Bless Becky's heart, she was willing to watch Claire who had been fine for 4 hours. Of course I didn't tell her not to give Claire anything to eat, so as soon as she had water it came right back up. The sweet girl couldn't stop saying, "Sorry Mom, Sorry Becky" all night. She says that it was "really bad" and she's never going to throw up again. If only it were that easy.

And so go the best days of our lives.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Zoo

We've just returned from a trip to Hogle Zoo, and as Claire said, "We had really fun at zoo." Our first stop was the albino alligator. If you haven't seen this you need to. It was so cool, almost a light lime green color. I couldn't stop staring. On our way to see the apes we passed the camels. I asked Claire what the camels were, and without hesitation she responded, "Chipmunks." Just imagine the size difference that has occurred in her little head whenever we see Chip and Dale. After running all around for a while Claire saw a little wooden curb, sat down, and said to me, "I'll just sit right here and wait for you until you come back." She was so tired! I offered her a turn in the stroller which she gladly accepted, but only for a while until she could walk again.

When we saw the cougars they were walking all around. One jumped up on a rock and she proudly sang her song [to the tune of the "Look Down" song from Les Mis], "Get down! Get Down! No standing on the rock!" [We sing that to her when she stands on chairs or in the tub.] She thought she was hilarious, and she was.

My favorite thing we saw was the tiger drinking. They have a new nice exhibit for the tiger, and he came right down to the pool (which you can see into through glass) and drank about 3 feet away from us. It's worth watching my slide show just to see that. We saw a number of sleeping animals, and Claire told us to "Shhhh!" every time we spoke while near a sleeping animal.

We finished our trip with a stop at the big elephant for pictures. I put Claire on the trunk for a couple pictures (which are SO cute), and this time she said, "I just wait here while you go look at birdies." She really would have too! She was asleep before we left the zoo parking lot, and we had to wake her up for dinner. Claire's cute quotes were matched by Taylor's voice cracking as he exclaimed, "Look, Dad! The Cheetah is running across his enclosure!" And Don's excitement over "The Red Pandas are on the move!" It's fun to see exactly where Claire get her love for the zoo and animals.

Another funny thing she said today was when I asked her what the horses across the street were named. I suggested Prince or Bob or Jim. "No Mom! That horse not Jim! Whitney go to GYM and run with her green shoes on!"

Taylor says his favorite thing about Claire is her little touch of insanity. She's a nut!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Conversation I just had with Claire

About thirty seconds ago I had this conversation with Claire:
Me: Do you know what your name is?
Claire: Yes. It Claire.
Me: Good! What is your middle name?
Claire: Fireman [and she said it in her monosyllabic way: Fye-Er-Man]
Me: Nope, it's Elle.
Claire: Oh. Elle.

I'm still laughing. Claire Fireman Herrin. Why didn't we think of that?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Picture This

I've finally decided that I need to get rid of a little baby flab, so I had Taylor pick up a couple of exercise DVDs from the local library. My favorite is "Yogalates," a mix between yoga and pilates and uses resistance bands.

And here's the part I'm writing about: Yesterday I thought I could do the video while both children were awake (my first mistake). I sat Kyle under his baby gym and gave Claire one of the bands to use herself (she'll usually exercise with me). The DVD begins with a relaxation exercise. As soon as it starts Kyle starts whining. Claire doesn't like this part so she starts playing with my hair. All the while I'm trying to sit up straight and relax. The DVD continues and Claire is now wrapping the resistance bands around my throat and torso alternating by hanging on me in her "I love you/I'm choking you" special way, Kyle is now whining louder and the lady on the DVD is saying, "Relax, just relax. Breathe in, breathe out." Yeah, right! I was giggling too hard imagining what we looked like.

Then we got into the video. And I'm doing my pelvic scrunches or whatever special word she uses to avoid saying "sit ups." Claire decided to do hers directly behind me, so every time I lay down I land on her. She found this to be hilarious. I found it helpful. Every time I leaned back she caught me with her feet and pushed me back up. I'll admit I'm always up for a good way to cheat while exercising!

When it comes to exercise, does "it was the thought that counts" apply?

Monday, March 3, 2008

ABCs of Me

I got this in an email and thought it was a decent one to share:
A: Attached or single: Attached
B: Best Friend: Definitely Taylor--and then Claire, she listens to what I have to say and doesn't offer back unwanted advice :)
C: Cake or Pie: Both please! But nothing beats a good fresh peach pie a la mode.
D: Day of Choice: Any day my mom is coming to visit. If I have to choose a day I like Mondays. The weekend refreshes me, and there is hope for a good week.
E: Essential Item: Disposable Diapers. Two kids are wearing them, enough said.
F: Favorite Color: Green
G: Gummi Bears or Worms: Neither. They give me a headache.
H: Hometown: Always will be Lehi
I: Indulgence(s): Cookie dough---it's got to stop!
J: January or July: July! I love all the celebrating for the 4th and 24th. Plus the holidays are not really tied to a lot of candy that hangs around for days.
K: Kids:2. Claire is 2.5, Kyle is 4 months
L: Life is incomplete without: Family, computer, Disney Channel
M: Marriage Date: December 21, 2002
N: Number of Siblings: One Sister, Two Brothers, Three Sisters-in-law, One new Brother-in-law
O: Oranges or Apples: I have a new love for oranges in the last few years
P: Phobias or Fears: I hate having water on my face. I also fear falling down the stairs every time I'm carrying a child down them.
Q: Quote(s): "You are a Child of God with great strength. You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness no matter what your circumstances."--For the Strength of Youth
R: Reason To Smile: Kyle smiles at me whenever we make eye contact, you can't help but smile at those gums and dimples.
S: Season: Spring holds my birthday and the promise of all the best parts of the year. It just smells good too.
T: Tag Six: Mom, Dad, Taylor, Kerry Lynn, Don, Suzy
U: Unknown Fact About Me: I really enjoy cooking (just not the mess or paying for the food).
V: Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animal: I like animals---alive and on my plate.
W: Worst Habit: I'm not embarrassed to admit I drool in my sleep when I'm really, really tired (so that's every night lately).
X: X-Rays or Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds! They always have revealed good things for me even when it involves a painfully full bladder.
Y: Your Favorite Food: Dad's barbeque chicken and funeral potatoes
Z: Zodiac: Taurus

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More Good News

Claire has crawled into our bed every night since Monday with a high fever. Dad gives her medicine, and I take her back to bed and sing to her for 30-45 minutes until the fever breaks. (You can guess which act of love she remembers most---the medicine.) Today I took her to the doctor and he was almost certain it was the flu. I could just imagine the next month at our house as we slowly passed it between all of us. He checked her ears last though, and she's got a bad infection in the right one. So some antibiotics ought to clear it up in a few days. Thank Goodness! I'll take anything that's not contagious! While we were waiting for her medicine we bought her some construction paper and new WASHABLE (lesson learned) watercolors and brushes. I got a big spontaneous hug when those went in the cart.

However the doctor also got a look at Kyle, and without even weighing him suggested that we cut back a little on the feeding! He's a big boy despite the fact that he spits up constantly. Hmmm, maybe I should just cut back on the cookie dough and that will lessen his caloric intake.

And the Jehovah's Witnesses stopped by today. Jill and Sandy. I talk with them because I think that if Karma is real, maybe someone out there will talk to our missionaries. Today's "five minutes" was about the suffering that is in the world. They think that Satan is the ruler of this world. I don't know about that. Though I'm not blind to the fact that there is suffering in the world, I think there is a lot of happiness. One thing I know, if there are babies somewhere, there is also happiness---a lot of it. One quote I find myself saying over and over daily is from For the Strength of Youth: " You are a child of God with great strength. You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness, no matter what your circumstances." Of course I didn't think of telling them that at the time. They'll be back. That's for sure.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Good News

I just got back from Relief Society Enrichment Night--or group, or whatever it is now. I was in YW's so long it's going to be a while before I get all the terminology right. Either way, the evening was called "Cooking with Beans." The funny thing is that just a few weeks ago I told Taylor that I really wanted to learn to cook with beans. So I determined to go when I heard about it on Sunday. I haven't really done much in this ward because I had Kyle so soon after we moved here and then I had my surgery. So this was big for me to go.

Anyway, the good news is that I think I may end up liking it here after all. I had a nice time talking with the other women who seem quite a bit like me. It would seem that no one else can both cook exciting, delicious and nutritious meals while simultaneously keeping their house perfectly clean either! Though I'll always miss our Ridgecreek Ward friends, I just might be okay here, and I'm excited to get to know everyone. I don't know how people move without having the Church around for making friends.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Eye

A number of people have asked about my eye, so here's the deal. I finally got the eye on Valentine's Day. (It's pictured above in its creation process) It unfortunately is not what we expected. When I got myself into this mess I was told that it would be a surgery with a six-week recovery. I would quickly get a prosthetic eye, then possibly an eyelid surgery soon after, and that would be it. Turns out that it's a huge process. I had evisceration surgery December 4, but someone messed up on making appointments so it was 11 weeks until I got the prosthetic. Because of normal residual swelling, the prosthetic won't actually fit properly until June (if I am lucky). In June they'll make it fit correctly and then I'll see the surgeon for major eyelid surgery which will hopefully be in the late summer. Needless to say we're disappointed that I won't look normal until August at the earliest. Right now though the eye itself looks normal, the fit does not look similar to my other eye. It's a different shape, and it's quite far back in the socket. Although I feel better about going in public now than when I had the pirate patch, it's still incredibly disheartening to have expected near-perfection in six weeks and find out it's actually closer to a year before people will stop staring at me.

Fortunately pageants gave me the chance to learn a lot about makeup, and I'm slowly finding ways to mask the differences. Though I can't say I'll be sharing a close-up picture of myself anytime soon. This too shall pass I'm sure, but it sure won't be easy. Anyway, that's my rant for now.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wedding Day

It's finally here (and already over)! Whitney's wedding has come and gone. We had such a good time catching up with family and friends throughout the day. Claire had such a good time re-aquainting with cousins and dancing the night away. She ran from one side of the dance floor to the other until she was so worn out that she could barely walk. It wore her out---after it was over and almost everyone had gone I found her trying to drink out of a water pitcher. She also loved the availability of candy as it was on every table and relatives were more than happy to oblige her polite "candy, please."
Whitney and Rob looked so happy and we are so happy that they are so happy. However upon our return to our snowy home and their departure to sunny Mexico, we're pretty sure that after five years and two children we deserve a second honeymoon. That will happen as soon as I can ever have more than a couple months in a row that I'm not nursing or pregnant---and there are really no gaurantees on that one.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

As Valentine's Day is the day for love, I've been thinking a lot about love. One of my favorite things to watch is the love developing between Claire and Kyle. I like that she has no reason to really like him---he stole a lot of the attention and time that used to be solely hers. If that were me, I'd be pretty mad, but she has this intense love for that little boy. Sure, she's not perfect, and she gets upset sometimes when I have to feed him or when others pay attention to him, but for the most part I'm amazed at how well she handles it. She LOVES him. And she tells him she loves him all the time. I really think that that is pure love. I think her love for him is a perfect example of Christlike love. She loves him simply because he is her brother. The best part about it is that I really think he feels the same way. He watches her so closely and smiles so big whenever he catches her eye. I just know that they'll be good friends forever.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

First Post

In the last month I've received about five emails from friends saying that they were the last in the universe to start a blog. As each email arrived I had to consider starting one for our family, and finally gave in. So I guess I am officially the very last person in the universe to begin a blog. I don't know if what I have to say is necessarily interesting, but I can post the things that Claire says; and though she is also not necessarily interesting, there is a good chance that what she says will be funny. And I think that is worth hearing. If all else fails I can post pictures of my kids, and that's really what will make people come back time after time. Well, who am I kidding, the only people that will read this are probably our parents, but they'll like it. Here goes nothing...