Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, after much deliberation, I've decided not to go backwards and catch-up on the myriads of missed blogging opportunities I've had over the past couple of months. I know, I know, some wonderful things have happened - Thanksgiving and Christmas to mention the two biggest - but I suppose I never really have loved to blog about things that didn't make me think, or laugh ... and, if we're being honest with each other here, I haven't thought or laughed much recently - it's all just been kind of a blur. :)

For Christmas, I'll just say, that it was wonderful. There were so many unexpected pleasures of having our very own Christmas. Of course we missed our families, but there was a quiet sweetness to watching our kids open their presents on Christmas morning and sharing the 'secret behind the magic' with no one but my husband. And, it was pretty funny acting out the nativity scene on Christmas Eve with no one else to be the donkey but Brian. :)
So, with that much of a catch-up, we'll push forward and enjoy the brand-new year!

Do you think it's bad that I probably won't make it much past 10:30 tonight? I love, love, love holidays - I love any excuse to turn an ordinary day into something extraordinary. So, when I woke up this morning and felt a little overwhelmed at the thought of making today a holiday (complete with games and ringing in the new year with my kids at around 8:00pm), I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. This resulted in a small epiphany: Just because it's New Years Eve doesn't mean I HAVE to celebrate it! My husband is not home, my kids do not care...and likely would not even remember it even if I do put a lot of thought and energy into, really, it would all be for me. And, if it's stressing me out, then WHY do it?! Such a liberating thought!

So, instead of spicing up the day with a lot of extra activities and fun food, I started it out by finishing up my laundry. It felt WONDERFUL to put clean, folded clothes into drawers and know that I had no more laundry to take care of for at least 4 or 5 days! That hasn't happened for a while. :) Then, I took the kids to the museum, ran a bunch of errands all over town, organized my thoughts and goals, tidyed up for a quick sweep with the vacuum, vomitted, realized that I was pushing it a little too far to try to vacuum after my 'busy' morning, took my kids to Chick-Fil-A for an AWESOME New Years Eve dinner, put the kids to bed, soaked in a nice hot tub (and wrapped up in one of our nice, extra soft and fluffy 'special occasion' towels), and am now relaxing with my computer on my lap and Shrek 2 playing in the background. Pretty sweet New Years Eve, right!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Missing me yet?

Whew! Well, I'm sure you've all been extremely sad and crushed as I've been so infrequent in my postings recently. I know you're going through withdrawals, because I know how much your happiness hinges on reading about my thoughts. Or, wait...maybe you don't really care. Either way, I do have a rather exciting excuse. Let me share with you a little bit about what my life has been like over the last couple of months:

*This porcelain fixture has gotten to know my face a little too well.

*I've been carrying a stash of these around in my purse, as well as in both bathrooms.

*I am generally NOT much of a nap-taker. If I lay in bed in the middle of the day, my mind starts screaming about all of the other things I should be doing with that precious, quiet time. However, for the past couple of months this beautiful piece of furniture no longer screams "TIME WASTER", but invitingly sings lullabies all day long until I finally succumb to it's gentle promptings and fall into a deep, dreamful sleep in the middle of the day. In fact, all of my free time is spent in it's warm embrace. (Which does not bode well for blogging.)

*I wake up from my dreams feeling like my life has changed in some drastic, yet nonsensical way.

*I can't eat sugar. Such a horrible side effect to have at this time of year. Logically, I know that the beautiful pies, and delicious chocolates, and plates and plates of goodies taste absolutely divine! Yet, my stomach seems to churn at the very though of ingesting...even smelling...the goods. Horrible, horrible.

*My work-out routine went from running 3-4 miles a day, to running for 2 minutes and walking for another 20, to nothing at all. Even walking down the hall gets me all out of breath, nauseous and light-headed.

*It takes me at least 30 minutes to shower. (Wash my hair, sit and rest for a minute, condition my hair, sit and rest for a minute, etc...)

*One of our barstools has a permanent place in my bathroom. This way, I can sit while doing my hair and makeup. (all 5 minutes of it)

*My house looks like a tornado went through it - and I don't even care! This is wonderful to me...the fact that I don't care about it. Generally, my personality would be stressed beyond belief if my house was in the state it's in right now...but, I consider myself accomplished if I can get out of bed and get McKenzie to school with her hair done. Cleaning is not on my list of to-dos at the moment.

*My garbage bin went for FOUR weeks without being taken out on garbage day! Thankfully, we don't really produce that much garbage, so it all fit in the trash bin nicely without stinking up my house...but the recycling bin was overflowing and spilling into the road on that fourth week!

*I had to actually alter my budget to fit in my disgustingly delicious cravings. I don't want sweets, but give me a burger or some fried chicken and I'm in heaven! Thankfully gas prices have dropped so much that I actually have a little extra money to play with!

*I spend a little more time looking at the world through a teary mist - provoked by all sorts of silly things: commercials, cute kid phrases, disobedience from my kids, a husband running late, fighting kids, a nice phone call, memories, Christmas, large messes that I have to clean, etc...etc...etc...

*One of my latest trips to Costco yielded only these two items. You have to understand that I very rarely go to Costco for just a few things - in fact, I think I could probably count the number of times I've spent fewer than $80 on one hand!

*Whenever I feel a sneeze coming on, I have to brace myself lest the tendons in my stomach feel like they're being ripped from one end to the other. I guess on the fourth pregnancy, my body doesn't have much 'tightness' left to it. *sigh*

So, while I haven't been blogging much lately, rest assured that I haven't forgotten you. There have just been...other things...that have been taking my time. :) But, I've made it though my first trimester now, and I'm starting to feel MUCH better - so, hopefully, we'll be back to our regular routine in no time!

Friday, December 12, 2008

WARNING: Side effects may include BBS

Do you ever look at something about yourself and think, "Hmmm...I wonder if that's normal..." Unfortunately, that happens quite frequently with me. When Brian and I were dating, he made fun of many of my 'anatomical wonders' (as he called them). The funny bones sticking out of my feet and wrists, my crooked middle finger, my ever-dilated pupils, my pinky that won't straighten, my curled toes. The funny, tickly feeling I get in the back of my throat when I get licked by a cat, or eat a lot of cheese, or get my bangs cut (and I'm STILL trying to figure out what those three things have in common). The fact that the common 'achy flu feeling' is concentrated in my buttock when I'm sick, or how I feel an uncomfortable 'prick' in my salavary glands under the back of my tongue when I'm about to vomit.

There are some other less bloggable anomolies which I will keep to myself - but I have recently found a new one...or, rather, my doctor has recently found a new one: I have a lazy butt. A lazy butt, I tell you! Allow me to explain:

Ever since I was about sixteen-years old, I've had a slight discomfort in my lower back that comes and goes, and has shown itself to be uncomfortably aggravated by pregnancies - actually rendering me immobile for times with each child. I figured it was just something I'd have to fight through with each pregnancy, so I was quite scared and frustrated when the pain started coming back in July, and got increasingly worse so that by October I tweaked it a little and - BAM - it put me flat on my back for two days. And WITHOUT the help of pregnancy. Poor Brian had to take those days off of work because I seriously could not move - he had to help me do everything (going to the bathroom included), and I realized that I had to do something about this.

So - to the chiropractor I went! He did a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, muttering "hmmm...." and "okay...." and "so....." to himself the whole time, and saying, "lay like this..." and "bend like that..." and "point your toes up here..." to me. At one point, he had me laying face down and had me lift my leg straight up a couple of inches off the table. "AHHHH!!!" he exclaimed. "That's it!"

"Did you find something" I muttered intelligently into the cushion I was face-planted into.
"Yes," he replied. "I want you to keep your leg lifted, and poke your hamstring with your finger." I did so - it was flexed and hard. "Now, take your finger and feel your lower back." I did so - it was flexed and hard. "That is not supposed to be so hard," he explained. "Now, poke your butt." I did so - oh my.

Do I even want to admit how perfectly it jiggled - just like a bowl of freshly scooped jello?

"THAT," he said, "is supposed to be hard."
"Oh...oh, dear," was the only worthwile thing I could think of to say as I felt my face begin to flush with a little embarrassment. After all, I'm not quite used to talking about my butt with some man I hardly know! :) He had me sit up and went on to explain that my pelvis is tilted at an odd angle, making it less convienient for my body to use my butt muscles and that, over the years, my body has compensated by using the muscles in my lower back for all those motions that a butt muscle would generally perform. This, of course, has put extra strain on my lower back that it coudln't handle.

Solution: Butt exercises! While the chiropractor has been working to straighten my pelivis out a little more, I have been in charge of building butt muscle. But, you see, there's a problem with that. I'm developing BBS (big butt syndrome). Oh, the muscle is coming, and the pain is decreasing drastically, but...*whisper* the jello is not leaving. No, The muscle is simply pushing the jello farther and farther away from the center of my body - and - well - I now have BBS.

I've decided that I have to be okay with this, however. After all, it does give me something else to add to my 'anatomical wonders' list. :) And, oh yeah, I can walk again.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


It's foggy outside. If I squint just right at the streetlamp's cone of light, and don't look too closely at the ground, and imagine a quiet stillness, it almost feels like it's snowing. I stood for a long time in the dark tonight, squinting out my window at the fog, letting the Christmas tree lights dance in my peripheral vision, arms folded and toes curled up into my slippers for a little extra protection from the dropped temperatures. And, after a little while of quiet contemplation, unexpected tears started to fall from my squinted eyes. I guess I kind of wished I wasn't standing alone in my living room, pretending to see snow. I opened my eyes and backed up into the couch to cry for a while, and look at my little Christmas tree. We put it up last night, and I was kind of excited that I would be able to spend the whole Christmas season in my own house, looking at my own tree, and focusing on my own little family.

I guess I feel differently tonight.

Tonight, I miss my families...the one I grew up in, the one I married into and, of course, my overworked, exhausted husband...and I'm having trouble swallowing the fact that I won't see them this holiday season (or, at least not much of them, in the case of my husband). I'm sure I'll create more memories of this '1st Christmas at home' but , is it wrong to cry a little for what won't be?

Ah, here I am, miss gloomy-doomy - and after such a long time of silence in my posting! Sorry. I guess I'm just 'ebbing' a little again. I haven't really done that for a while, so I suppose it's about time. Well, I'm sure the tide is on it's way in - and, this time, I think I'll take President Uchdorf's advice and try to lift up someone else, as opposed to sitting around and waiting for the tide to come in itself. I have a feeling that he may know a little secret on how to help me bring in the tide myself. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anyone Wanna Help Me Rake? whole front yard and driveway look about like this - give or take a few spots.

We have been LOVING this fall season with all of our trees! How fun to live in a place where the annual 'leaf-fall' is much greater than the annual 'snow-fall'! I have to smile to myself when it snows here...the whole city shuts down (for valid reasons), yet individual blades of grass still rise above the skiff. Not so with the leaves! Almost every blade of grass is concealed underneath the vibrant layers of tree-debris. It's been so fun for me to stare out my big front window, mouth open in disbelief, and watch the leaves fall so steadily from our trees. As steady as a light snowfall, yet so much more colorful! So far this season we have logged hours of raking, and disposed of numerous piles of leaves...and yet - less than a week after the latest raking session - this is what (only about 1/8th of) my yard looks like:
Perhaps more disheartening than all the leaves on the ground, is all the leaves still left on the trees! I look up, and can barely tell that they've started to shed:

And so, I've thrown my arms up in the air and decided to let them all fall before I rake again. It's just not worth spending 5 hours outside to only enjoy a few hours of 'cleanliness'. So, if you come by, don't be scared off by the concealed driveway, or the seemingly non-existent path up to my front door...just enjoy the fall season as much as I do as I drive on the crunchy leaves, and kick them back up into the air on my way inside the house. Fall only lasts for so long. :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

10 pictures and a few (more) words

So, I've been trying to think of a creative way to share our October month without boring you with another 'Halloween post' to read. But, I seem to have no creativity streak at the moment - so I cut, slimmed, trimmed, and filtered all of my pictures and experiences into just 7 pictures and a few words. (You should all be impressed!)


Love it, love it, love it! We got away with only severing one or two layers of human skin, which happened to be on McKenzie's hand. It totally could have been worse, like, with blood and everything...where was her mother?

McKenzie, the Ballerina

Carson, the Spider

Brian and Lindsay, the pair of eyes. Kind of funny story actually: I'd had this unfinished idea in my head for about a month before Halloween, thinking Brian might actually enjoy staying true to his ophthalmologic profession, but as I finished making the 'eyelashes' Brian said, "Uh, Linds, doesn't this kind of look like a girl's eyelash? I don't think I want to be a girl's eye." So, you'll note that while my eyelashes are nice and curled, Brian's eyelashes are more unkempt and ... uh ... manly, I guess. :)

Brian was a good sport about getting some pictures in the privacy of our own home...but the eyelashes didn't stay on his head too long after we'd made it to the church *sigh*. So, I was kind of the 'lone eye'.

Breakfast: Witches brew...aka, cereal with green food coloring...

Lunch: Grilled Cheese Spiders - I was actually quite surprised with the way these turned out - cute! Since my kids don't like the crusts of their bread, we cut them all off, buttered them, sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on them, broiled them for a few minutes, and they magically turned into tasty spider legs! And, since we LOVE pomegranates in our house, we had plenty of seeds to make the eyes (of which, McKenzie taught me last week, spiders have eight! As if they weren't gross enough already!).

Dinner: Fruity pancakes - okay, nothing specially 'halloween-ish' here - but they were good. :)

And, I just had to throw this 'after' picture in the mix. Notice her totally raggety hair, the holes in her tights, and the mascara smeared under her eyes. This was not due, as one might suspect, to the fact that she had an immesurable amout of fun skipping and running from house to house in the neighborhood (which she did). No...she actually started trick-or-treating looking much the same way. Why? Well...

At around 5:30pm, we had actually decided not to go Trick-or-Treating that night (much to both my and McKenzie's disappointment). Brian was working at the hospital all night, and Carson was so sick he was having a hard time breathing, speaking, walking, crying, etc. I just thought it would be a bad idea to take him out into the cold air and to stay up way past his bedtime. So, it was decided that we would put Carson to bed early, and have a McKenzie-Mommy-Movie-Munchies party instead. She was actually pretty excited about our transformed night. We finished dinner, got into our pajamas, and I sat down to give Carson a nebulizer treatment to help his little lungs. McKenzie was put on 'candy-duty' and answered the door each time trick-or-treaters came by...and little by little, each time she dropped candy into another little kid's bag and shut the door behind them, I watched the excitement for our McKenzie-Mommy-Movie-Munchies night turn into longing for the Trick-or-Treating night we would not have. She tried so hard to laugh when she closed the door behind the 2nd group of trick-or-treaters...but it was quite forced, and when she turned around, her smile was half gone already.
"McKenzie? Do you really want to go trick-or-treating tonight?" I asked
"Yeah," she responded sadly. Then she gave me a little half-smile that said, "But I understand, Mommy."
I barely choked back the tears at her sweet show of sacrifice for her little brother, and I said, "Go get your costume on. We'll go right after I'm done with the nebulizer."
OH THE EXCITEMENT! She got herself dressed all by herself (choosing the holey tights), and her hair and makeup had been done 11 hours earlier for her preschool parade (explaining the rest of the look). And as we walked out the door, I took a glance at the clock on the wall. 7:00. 'Funny...' I thought to myself, 'I wanted to get my kids in bed by now.'

But, we went.

And, I'm so, so, so, so, so glad we did! Because now, that day has turned into yesterday...and I have some great memories of my 4 year old, skipping, dancing, running, jumping, and squealing with delight as a little ballerina in search for some candy on Halloween night!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

100th Post!

I feel like this should be a momentous occasion! I feel like I should be blogging about something insightful and beautiful! It's kind of like when you hear 'caller number 7' win $1000 in gas money, and you hope that he's really worthy of such a gift. You hope caller number 7 will value that $1000 as much as caller number 6 or 8 would have, had they received it. You hope caller number 7 is not some unappreciative soul that feels a sense of entitlement from the world and who has a bank account already holding millions of dollars. And you listen to his reaction to the gift and try to discern for yourself whether or not you think he deserves it. (You all do this, right?!)

Well, I suppose I kind of feel like that with this 100th post. I'd like this post to have some confidence and excitement about this, and I'd like to give it something that will make it feel deserving of such a title. But, since I just realized that I had 99 posts about 5 minutes ago, I don't have much! I suppose there is something sort of historical that has happened in my blogging world, though: I have changed my blog title. I'm not sure if that's taboo or not, but I've done it anyway. :)

My blog title used to be "All We Ever Need is Right Here!". This name was not just an arbitrary name chosen to deceive others into thinking our family life is perfectly content and full of sunshine. It was, instead, a sentence that came out as I was writing in my journal 3 years ago after I'd given birth to our stillborn son. Instead of an exclamation point at the end of the sentence in my journal, however, it was a period. A period of boldness and seriousness. (I changed it for my blog so it would appear a little more light-hearted.) It was during these dark moments of my life that I realized that everything I really need is within the walls of my own home. My husband was my rock - showing enough tears to be human, and enough strength to pull me along. He was my shoulder to cry on - and on - and on - and on. My daughter was my little sunspot - forcing me to get out of bed, to smile, and to laugh again. And my Heavenly Father (who played the most important role) was there to comfort me through his Spirit and reassure me that everything would eventually be all right. 'All we ever need is right here' became the sentence I latched on to...the one I think about when I'm disturbed by some outside problem...the one I always want to remember...

So, why did I change it? Because I've found something new to latch onto. I will take the previous sentence and tuck it gently into a comfortable, padded room called 'things that mean the most to me'. And I will pull a new sentence out...something that will hopefully develop a different side of my personality...

'Turning Tomorrow into Yesterday". This name is not just an arbitrary name chosen to sound philosophical and analytical. It is, instead, a thought that came from my little preschooler on our way to school. She asked, "Do you remember when yesterday was tomorrow?" My mind turned the statement upside-down and I thought to myself, "Yes...and soon tomorrow will be yesterday as well." I couldn't get these thoughts from my mind for 3 whole days as I turned the words around and around and around, analyzing it from every perspective imaginable. A family motto is forming around these ideas as I've realized how important it is to spend each day creating positive memories that will last into tomorrow. I feel like I waste so many hours of a day...whether I'm vacuuming mindlessly, reading to my kids with no emotion, watching a dumb TV show, or sifting through pictures on my computer without letting them touch and remind me of the experiences they came from. I think that, maybe, each experience can be an enriching one - one that will make memories and/or teach life lessons. President Monson quoted a grandmother who said of her young mothering life "I wish I had enjoyed the doing a little more, and the getting it done a little less." I guess this is what I want for my family as well. To enjoy doing things...and to always remember that we are, right now, turning tomorrow into yesterday.

And so, in my 100th post, I officially change my blog name from 'All We Ever Need is Right Here!' to 'Turning Tomorrow into Yesterday".

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sisters. Friends.

*I guess the settings were a little weird on my camera when this picture was we're a little red and shiny. :) But, it's the only one I have of just the two of us!*

It was funny, while my sister was here, to hear all of the comments that had something to do with the fact that we look alike. Funny because we don't really see it - yet it must be true. Even studying this picture above, I don't see it as clearly as everyone else seems to. Maybe it has more to do with our personalities and facial expressions than the hard-core visual evidence...I guess I don't really know what I look like when I'm talking and interacting with other people (I only sometimes practice conversations in the mirror.....), maybe I look a lot like Michelle. It's hard to fathom, though, because as we were growing up, I was AT LEAST a foot and a half taller than her (two feet? three feet?), ganglier (oh, the long arms!), very blond vs. deep brunette, and we were never taken for look-alikes (except when we were very young and my mom would dress us in matching clothes...). I've always loved the fact that we're only 16 months apart...and now that we're 25 and 26, those few months seem negligible. It makes me excited for when my brother comes home from his mission, and my 18-year old sister comes home from Thailand...I love the new relationships that are forming - changing from 'siblings' into 'friends.' Wow, I think I could write a whole post about this...but that's not what I came here to write about, plus, I feel like I'm rambling - so I'll get back to my sister's visit!

My kids were so in love with her because she played and played and played with them. After we got home from the beach, we only had a couple more days with her before she flew back to Utah. So, we spent them playing around the house, visiting the museum, going to church, and showing her the big toys at SouthPoint mall. It was sad to see her go, but we hope she'll come to her senses and move out here to North Carolina real soon. :)

Here are some of my favorite pictures of her while she was visiting. (I can't help think to myself, 'It sure would be nice if I looked just like her!' )

More favorites:

Come back soon, Michelle! We love you!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Caged Aquatic Life

On our way home from the beach, my beautiful sister, Michelle, treated us to the aquarium. It was really awesome - though I wished I had a better camera...I wasn't able to get any good pictures of the actual creatures. :)

You may notice in the bottom left hand corner of this picture there is a little blue sign. That sign says "Please do not sit or climb on the alligator." Whoops. I didn't actually see that until after I took the photo. I thought the kids looked pretty cute in it, anyway.

We got to pet sting-rays...slightly disgusting.

You know, ever since we returned home from our beach trip, I've been contemplating and analyzing my oceanic fears. And I've realized something - I don't think I'm really scared of ocean life (I'm actually quite fascinated by it)...I think I'm more fearful of the unseen ocean life. I loved snorkeling and swimming in the clear waters of Hawaii, where I could keep an eye on the open waters around me while snorkeling, and where I could easily see where I was stepping while swimming - but add a bout of cloudiness to the water and I'm a panic-attack waiting to happen.

One of my fondest memories is one where I literally swam with a wild sea-turtle for a few minutes in Hawaii. He was playing just outside the breaking waves, but the energy soaring through the swells was enough to carry us both in a rhythmic sort of dance. I didn't quite dare to touch it - it's beak looked a little intimidating - but it sure was fun to watch it glide so effortlessly in the water. Contrast that to one of my most terrifying memories: swimming in the vision-thick waters of Emerald Isle last year two days before the triathlon. I couldn't even see my hand clearly as it sliced through the water just more than a foot in front of my face. Each time I put my face back into the water I couldn't help but envision gaping jaws, with rows of razor-sharp teeth, invisible to my eye until it was mere inches from my face. By then, it would be too late. My breathing was extremely strained as I practiced in that ocean for those few minutes. I had to breathe every-other stroke, as opposed to every 3rd or 5th stroke I had practiced in the pool. I seriously had to coach myself with encouraging words as I felt a panic-attack coming on.

Anyway - long tangent to maybe explain why I liked the aquarium. :)

Merrill actually found one of these on the beach - we mocked him for thinking it was something cool when it was, for sure, just a piece of man-made plastic. Looks like he was right! This is a skate egg sack - the skate's 'wings' (like a sting-ray) are all rolled up inside, and as it breaks free from it's sack, it unrolls in the water, swims away, and the egg sack washes up on shore.

Carson's favorite animal was the baby octopus...and McKenzie's favorite animal was the jelly-fish.

Two Crabby Kids. :)


And, completely unrelated: I have this small problem with chocolate chip cookies. One of my best friends makes the most outstanding chocolate chip, you can imagine my excitement when she gave me the recipe. The only problem is, I can't seem to make them right. Every time they come out of the oven, they're flat as pancakes. I've heard it might be because I'm mixing them too much...but I'm fairly certain there was no extravagant mixing today. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make beautiful chocolate chip cookies?

Well, we made some chocolate chip 'pancakes' for you tonight, Daddy. Can't wait to share them with you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Relax and Unwind

I think the beach is probably my favorite place to be. And, when surrounded by great friends, it's just unbeatable! We've made it a sort of bi-annual (sometimes tri-annual!) tradition to rent a beach house for a few days with some friends, and I always come back feeling happy, content, refreshed, and a little tired. :) This trip was especially fun for me because my sister, Michelle, was able to come with us. I'm pleased to announce that I didn't get a hint of sunburn (or, unfortunately, an ounce of color...) - turns out sunscreen really does work!

Well, without further ado, I'll present the picture-log of our fun vacation to the beach:

One potato, two potato, three potato, four......It didn't take long for the kids to stake their claim on the room with the television! Couch potatoes all lined up on the beds watching cartoon after cartoon after cartoon. I found it funny that it was sometimes hard to tear them away from it to go to the beach! Ahhhhh - vacations!

Once again, I didn't get a family picture at the beach...whoops! But here are some singles (and, by the way, thanks to a friend who recently blogged about how much she loves to take self portraits, I had no shame as I took my own. That happens when you're the only one in your family concerned with getting pictures).

We've learned from experience not to let the kids into the hot-tub unless we wanted to relax in warm, cloudy, yellow pee-water for the last half of our stay. So, the Becks brought a little inflatable pool that Merrill filled with warm, siphoned tub water from their bathroom. It turned out to be a fantastic idea! The kids thought it was great that they had their very own 'kids-hot-tub'.

What's a good beach trip without a little football in the water?! I think the top-left picture is Brian, Aaron and Paul...but I could be wrong about that one. The bottom picture was taken when the guys decided to go for a little late-night game of 500 in the ocean. Natalie was the only smart one to bring her I stole this picture from her blog...I hope you don't mind, Natalie! Judging from the picture, they were all pretty proud of themselves for braving the waves with only the light of the moon to guide them!

Now, if any of you know me rather well, or if you've been following my blog for a while, you've probably gathered a small bundle of evidence that would suggest that I love the beach. Whether you've read my Hawaii posts, (part one here, and part two here), my emerald isle posts (here, here, and here), or have just simply heard my love expressed through my mouth, it's not hard to figure out that I have a mild obsession with the beach. Given this obsession, it's rather quirky that I'm actually terrified of the ocean. Oh, don't get me wrong - I love to look at it...but getting inside it is quite a different story. I like to play in the waves...but I simply cannot get past the squeamishness I feel when I think of the creatures swimming all around me. Even as a child, I would feel uncomfortably anxious when I'd swim in Lake Powell and catch a whiff of that disgusting fish smell. That same anxiety is only magnified by thousands when I think about sea creatures - especially those that are able to inflict pain or (gulp) death on a human. And so, it took hours of persuasion and courage mustering for me to finally consent to walk out into the ocean with my sister. The water was warm, and it was kind of fun to scream as the waves hit into us...

It was fun, that is, until we both saw a FIN swimming TWO FEET AWAY FROM US! I am as serious as I've ever been in my life - Michelle and I both saw the fin at the same time, screamed and ran back onto the shore (thankfully we were only about thigh deep - so running was still a possibility). We could have TOUCHED it, it was that close. It is still to be debated whether it was a shark or a dolphin...but either way, I was terrified and made no further attempts that day to get into the ocean. Can you even imagine!?

At random times throughout the next two days, I'd finally be ready to try again when sting-rays made their presence known. A fisherman about 30 yards away from us caught one and let it go back into the ocean. THE SAME OCEAN I WAS JUST ABOUT TO GO INTO, might I add...Megan felt one swim between her legs while she was jumping in the water with Harrison...and Michelle stepped on one, slid across it's back, and felt one of it's 'wings' flap up onto her foot.

So, now I will show you these next two pictures...and I want you to praise me, encourage me, and be impressed by the triumphant amount of will I display here:

Was it worth it? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. Maybe just for the sole purpose of bragging on my blog. :)

I loved this picture of Carson and Brynnlee. The kids had so much fun - watching multiple movies a day, gorging on snacks, soaking each other with water, running from the the kid dream. :) Here are three more of my favorite 'kid' pictures...and, of course, another 19 pictures in the slide show...just in case you haven't seen enough already.