Friday, March 28, 2008

Nudey-Toody-Run-Around

Apparently, we're raising a couple of nudists. (See here.) Amelia has taken a new interest in her bike helmet. The other night she got out of the bathtub, found her helmet and insisted on wearing it before she got dressed.

She was so proud of herself!

I guess we can be glad that at least she'll wear the thing now and it fits her a lot better than when she was 9 months old.

Our girls may be training up for their futures at the nudist colony, but at least they know how to accessorize!

Boredom

This is what happens at our house when none of your friends can play and your mom won't let you watch a movie.

Yay Us!

Dan and I have completed Baby Step 1 in our Total Money Makeover! We've saved our $1000.00 emergency fund. It's the most savings we've had in our twelve years of marriage, so I'm feeling pretty proud of us! We have also paid off the first 5 items on our debt snowball and now we're really going to start knocking stuff out! Just today I made the final payment on Amelia's birth expenses (now that she's 18 months old). It's an awesome feeling to have that monkey off my back!

Because Dan and I are both self-employed and don't have set paydays, we have relied on our emergency fund to cover us between paychecks, when necessary. But each time we've gotten paid we've replenished the emergency fund and added more when we could till now we're at $1000.00. We plan to continue to build that to $2000.00 as soon as possible because of our somewhat unique employment situation (we really are gluttons for punishment, both being self-employed.)

I told my friend's mom today that we had our emergency fund and she was horrified to hear that a mere $1000.00 was the most money we had ever saved. But I fear that most people are like us, living paycheck to paycheck. Having that emergency fund has cut the stress in my life tremendously because now I don't have to worry about overdraft fees or having to use the credit card if something comes up. Dan had to get his wisdom teeth pulled this month and we paid cash for it. I have to get some dental work done (a gum graft) and we're going to pay cash for that with our tax relief check. And it's true what Dave Ramsey says, that paying with cash saves you money. Not only in finance charges, but the oral surgeon gave us a discount for paying cash at the time of service. Sweet!

If you didn't read my post about Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover, you can read it here. We just checked his book out at the library and started applying his principles, no cost involved. It took us 4 months to save the emergency fund. And we haven't used our credit cards in 6 months. And we can pay our bills every month. When I told Dan today that we'd reached our $1000.00 emergency fund goal, he kind of bah-humbugged about how far we have to go. But if you consider that we have an emergency fund, we are no longer accumulating debt, and we're paying our bills every month, we're much farther than $1000.00 ahead of where we were just 6 months ago.

So I say, "Yay Us!"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cutting the Apron Strings, the irreverent version

I took family photos for my good friend Kris last month. She and I served in the Young Women's presidency together when I lived in Midvale. Well, Kris is a riot. And she thinks she's 17. So this makes for a very fun portrait session!

We did these pictures just before her only child, Alex, left for his mission. There were lots of great shots and I put several up on my photoblog. You can view the "nice" pictures here. But there were just too many funny ones, I couldn't resist posting them. Since viewers of my photoblog might not know me well enough to appreciate my sense of humor, I thought I'd better post these here.

So, here is the gag reel:

Can I get a little Blue Steel?

Oh, yeah, Magnum baby!

The Brock Dalgleish. You hafta know him to appreciate how accurate this is!

Kenyon: Sucker...as soon as he's gone I'm taking over his room and putting in my Star Trek collection.

Don't be hatin' boys, just cause you can't work the wind machine quite like Kris.

Whatcha doin' with that hand, Kris? Kenyon's smiling awfully big.

Sue: Ok, guys, gimme "Bad A@@".
Kenyon: I learned all my moves from Michael.

Kris: Don't make me laugh. I gotta pee!

Kris: Al, show us again how you're gonna kiss Lu the night before you go? (Must enlarge to appreciate this one.)

Alex: Nice rack, Kenyon
Kenyon: That's the most action I've seen in a month.

Alex: Do you think my companion will like me, Mom? I'm really a very nice fellow.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Stalker makes her debut

OK, I'm outing Lori Gerten, my oldest BFF. She has been stalking many of my family's blogs, the Carlsons blogs, Hilary's blog, and on and on. But she never leaves comments.

Well, she has decided to become legitimate and start her own blog. I am super excited and now I think we should all go comment on her blog and make her feel guilty for not commenting on your blogs! Check her out at More Ramblings of Myself.

This picture goes with "P" in the alphabet tag. It was taken in the Minneapolis airport while she and Grace were waiting to fly out to visit us last July.


Rest assured, it was just a little something to take off the edge...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I'll take a Dozen

Dan and I celebrated our 12th anniversary today. Well, "celebrated" is a gross overstatement since Dan worked all day and into the night. But I'm sure later in the week we'll go crazy and go to dinner and a movie or something.

Here is our engagement picture in 1996.

I loved this photo because we were so snugly and let's be honest...I chose it because it was the one where I thought I looked the best. Dan has always rolled his eyes at this picture, calling it the "crooked neck" picture. Mock me if you must, buddy, you're the one who was wearing lipstick.

This picture was taken in Fall 2007 and don't say anything about Dan's hair (or lack thereof.) You might hurt his fragile ego.

All kidding aside, I have been married for 12 years and I am still amazed at how much I love my husband. I was pretty young and immature when I got married and really had no concept of what deep and abiding love could be.

Here are some things I have learned in the last 12 years:
  • I made a very wise choice when I married a man who knows how to fix cars.
  • Commitment and loyalty are some of the finest qualities in a spouse.
  • Love isn't about always feeling good or feeling like you're getting your needs met. It's about genuinely caring about the happiness of your spouse, above your sense of fairness or equal effort. My very favorite quote about marriage is from President Gordon B. Hinckley: “I have long felt that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion.”
  • Whether you want to admit it or not, your sex life is a pretty accurate indicator of the overall quality of your marriage. Not that you need to have the same libido, but you need to have a clear understanding and a healthy respect for what sex means to your spouse.
  • Having children increases your love for your spouse exponentially.
  • Having children molds your character and brings out your true nature. Sometimes that's good, and sometimes that's scary.
  • A sense of humor is essential to making it through life's daily grind.
  • Laughter can melt bitterness and resentment.
  • You have to respect that your spouse thinks differently than you do; that their mind operates differently. And it's not just the difference between men and women. It's that we are all individual children of God, with distinct personalities and gifts. This is one of the hardest things to embrace. It took me a long time to learn that there was nothing wrong with the way Dan dealt with religion or spiritual things. In my immaturity, I assumed that my way was the "correct" way and since he wasn't like me, he must not have a strong testimony of the gospel. I couldn't have been more wrong.
  • Men bear a tremendous burden, especially if you believe in the traditional family setup of father as the main breadwinner. Men deserve a HUGE amount of respect for the fact that their whole lives they will bear the burden of supporting their family. Now that Dan is done with graduate school, working full-time, and starting to bring in a salary to meet our needs, I can't tell you how much less pressure I feel. I still work and I still need to contribute a significant amount, but I feel so much relief and love in sharing the burden. And I feel so much pride in my man. Because Dan is filling this role, I find myself actually liking keeping the house clean, willingly ironing his shirts, feeling like cooking so Dan can have leftovers for his lunch the next day. It's a service I can render to him, the very least I can do to show how much I appreciate his efforts.
  • Running a household is a lot of freakin' work and is worthy of society's respect.
  • Being on the same page about finances is essential to peace at home. I was reading in the Bible today and came across a verse I loved in Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? It totally made me think, "now that's some scripture that Dave Ramsey would quote." It is so comforting and gives me a great sense of security to be unified in our financial goals.
  • Living on a tight budget isn't as hard as people make it out to be. Going without for a little while is totally worth the blessing of being able sleep at night, of falling asleep without worrying about overdraft fees, and of knowing that if we are persistent we will live a life of financial freedom in the future.
  • It's awesome being married to a really intelligent guy. You wanna know something, ask Dan and he's probably read about it extensively. His science background and analytical thinking make many subjects, like religion, very interesting to discuss. And he's teaching Lily that if she's curious about something, just read, read, read. You can educate yourself about anything. Just ask Lily about the taxidermy video.
  • A man who worries about being a good father is priceless.
  • It's nice being married to a man who is secure enough to be OK with his wife spouting her opinions on the internet.
  • Dr. Laura is right. Men are pretty simple. Meet their basic needs for respect and affection and you're pretty much set. One of my favorite quotes from her book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands is from a man who said, "Men are simple. If I'm not horny, make me a sandwich."
  • A good fart joke can rescue an otherwise lousy day.

Love you, Bin!

(I think there must have been a butt pinch involved in this picture.)

2007 photos by Camilynne Photography. 1996 photo by Smokey the Bear (the tripod and self-timer.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Babies and new Daddies

My cousin Chris and her husband Shad had their first baby last week. I took the girls to the hospital to see baby Sedona and when I held her for the first time, I exclaimed, "Oh, she's CUTE!" Apparently it was said with a little too much force because Chris was like, "You act surprised! She is my kid, after all." Apologetically, I said, "well, most babies look a little squished and jacked up for the first few days, but she's adorable!"

That's me. Queen of Tact.


Sedona has the most beautiful black hair and delicate little lips. One of my favorite things about the visit was hearing Shad talk about his baby girl. He was so proud of her and excited to describe each of her fine features. He's the one who put the bow in her hair, people! His face was full of excitement and pride as he described the details of her birth. I said, "isn't it amazing how you can just sit and stare at them and never tire of it?" He said, "Oh, I know! After she was born the nurses were giving me a hard time because I was just sitting there marveling at Sedona and apparently getting in their way. I was like, 'Back off! This is my first kid!'"

It brought back a lot of memories of when my girls were born. There's really no words sufficient to describe the feeling of watching your husband love your child. It adds a whole new layer of love to see this man you love hold the child you created together. To see him hold her so gently and marvel at her beauty.

This is one of my most favorite pictures from Lily's birth:


When Lily was born we were fortunate enough to have a room with two beds but only one patient. Dan got a real bed to sleep on (I know Shad, you're totally jealous!) and a place to lay and snuggle with his new baby.


This is an image from Lily's birth that is seared in my mind. I remember looking over and thinking, "Man, she looks just like her dad!"

Amelia's birth was pretty amazing because I got to see how excited and proud Dan was of me giving birth the old-fashioned way (no, not drug-free, but vaginal instead of cesarean.) He was busy taking pictures with his right hand while he held one of my legs with his left hand. That's my man!


Amelia had to be on oxygen for the first day or so because she aspirated some meconium at birth and her lungs were a little gunked up. They held her hostage in the nursery and we were both so anxious to hold her. We finally talked the nurses into letting us hold her in the nursery with the oxygen mask held by her face.


Finally, we got her into the room with us and once again, I enjoyed the image of Dan laying there with his sweet girl.

Seems like I'm the only one not having a baby this year (and I'm totally OK with that!) Congrats also to my cousin Jen & Dalin and baby Patch, Lee & Kris and baby Dallin, Matt & Mindy and baby Tessa, and two more cousins for Lily and Amelia arriving this summer.

It's definitely spring, time for new life.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Making of a Toothless Grin, Part 1

Well, it's official. I have a real "Big" kid. The teeth are comin' out and I'm having the best time watching Lily's toothless grin and hearing the funny way her words sound because there's no teeth on top.

Let me take you on a photographic journey of my big girl's rite of passage. Lily lost her first tooth at our Cox Family Reunion in Eden, UT on July 13th. She had been waiting to lose a tooth for at least a year, ever since she'd seen an episode of Arthur about the tooth fairy. She was so excited about the tooth fairy that she willingly went to bed before the other kids, not a minor feat amid the joy and chaos of being with all of her Cox cousins.

Lily's second bottom tooth followed soon after on July 25th.

Then there was a long dry spell. Both of her top teeth were ever so slightly loose for months. In late November or early December, they got a little more wiggly. I thought for sure they'd be out by Christmas. I was wrong.

As Lily's sixth birthday approached in February, I was sitting in my office one morning and Lily ran in to tell me that her tooth was really loose. She explained that she had tied a string to her tooth and the doorknob, swinging the door closed and making her tooth loose. I laughed right out loud. Apparently this is still a very viable technique. I asked her where she'd gotten the idea and she said, "I just thought of it myself."

Valentine's Day was the big day. Now, if you're squeamish about blood, don't watch this video. But you may regret missing this impressive display of bravery. Be sure to listen right at the beginning to hear the tooth "pop" out.

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Look at that smile! Lily was so proud!

School was especially fun for Lily that day. There is no greater status symbol among kindergarteners than having a lost tooth, a top tooth especially.

As Lily put her tooth under her pillow that night, she asked me, "Mama, what color do you think the Tooth Fairy is?" I shrugged and she said, "Oh, I know. White, because teeth are white."

Part 2, What does the Tooth Fairy do with all of those teeth?

When you lose a tooth in Mrs. Park's kindergarten class, you get to bring the Tooth Fairy bag home, full of fun books and a journal to write what you think the Tooth Fairy does with all of your teeth.

Dear tooth Fairy I thank you mak a statue and pit my teth in it.

Part 3, Nice Try...

Just like the bottom set of front teeth, the top set came out just a couple weeks apart. There was lots of wiggling and I affectionately referred to Lily as "Snaggle-tooth." On Saturday, she tried the string on the doorknob trick again, but the string kept coming off whenever she tried to slam the door. I asked her again where she got the idea and she told me it was on the Arthur movie Arthur's Tooth. Nice. Everything I know I learned from watching TV. I know her Dad is so proud.

Lily made an attempt to pull out the other top tooth on Sunday night. While she didn't have success, I thought her funny, sassy introduction was worth watching.

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Part 4, Totally Grody

By the next morning, March 3rd, that tooth was grossing my out so bad that I just wanted to hold Lily down and pull it out myself.

Again, this video is not for the squeamish.


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Part 5, Just call me Gramps!

After filming Lily nearly a dozen times trying to pull her tooth out, what did she do? Pulled it out while I was on the phone, of course. Little stinker!

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Now we have a beautiful, toothless, BIG girl. She's so brave, she pulled every single tooth out by herself. Hooray for Lily!

Now, everywhere we go, Lily shows her toothless grin to anyone who will look. All the adults want to know the same thing, "How much did the Tooth Fairy bring you?" $2.00. "Man, she only used to pay like a quarter when I was a kid!" Gotta love inflation!