How to get your kids to stop whining.

My boys don’t whine. They don’t. It’s the one damn thing I think I might have gotten right in this whole parenting world*. They fight. They punch each other (in fact, last night Carter started WAILING on Casey in the car. Brother punches, not angry punches. As he was doing it, Casey was laughing to the point where his voice was cracking and he could barely breathe. In between giggles and gasps he said, “I…deserve…this!”) they complain, but they don’t EVER do it in the whiny voice that makes me stabby.

I’ll tell you why I think they don’t: We have a zero tolerance policy to whining. It started out with my complete abhorrence to whining. I can’t stand the sound of it. It’s like mouth sounds- there’s nothing I can do. I hear it –  I get angry.  Kids use whining as leverage. Parents HATE it and will do anything to get them to stop. It’s human nature to employ methods that generally work. So if whining EVER works, your kids are going to keep using it.  Here’s what to do to shut down whining in your life in two simple steps:

1. Say to the whiner, “I’m sorry. I don’t understand ‘Whine.’ Please talk to me in your regular voice.”

This takes the leverage away from the bag-of-violent-cats sound that is a child’s whine. It lets your child know that you are still interested in what they are wanting, still open to conversation, but it gives clear terms as to how that conversation will be had. If the child continues to whine, move on to number 2.

2. Shut it down.

If they continue to whine for whatever reason, shut. it. down. My kids know that if they whine because they aren’t getting what they want they will IMMEDIATELY have that thing taken away. Whining because you can’t get on the computer? No computer then. Whining because I won’t make you Mac N’ Cheese again? You’ll be making yourself a sandwich for lunch today.  You might have to go to some crazy lengths at first to prove the point: Whining does not win with you. Not just this once. Not ever.

Kids are smart. They get what works with you at an early age and employ that as necessary. If the sound of their whine makes you give in, they’ll do it. If you don’t give in for a half an hour, they’ll learn to just whine longer. You can’t give in.

If this doesn’t work, don’t come whining to me. I don’t speak Whine.

b23c9212b00f11e291e622000a1f9d57_7*Abby will be the girl to make me eat my words. She’s cute. She’s cuddly. She’s spoiled rotten. Stay tuned for a redaction of this message.

DC trip · family

It’s been good.

{this is more for me…I don’t write a journal, it’s all here, you can just skip this post unless you really care about boredom}

Moving sucks. We all know that.  I really didn’t want to move here, but I really felt strongly that we should go. That something important was going to happen here.

I was right.

Things have been so good. Casey started the school year off in a way never seen before. I thought it was going to be awful. Combine a move across the country with a new home, a new school etc with an autistic child and you’re really asking for some trouble. But there hasn’t been. This is because of the staff at his school. Casey’s special needs teacher is amazing. Truly amazing. She’s so open and willing to try things with Casey, to push him even when he gets mad at her. His regular education teacher (that’s RIGHT! He’s going to a REGULAR classroom for most of the day!) is SO good with him and the other special needs kids in his classroom. He welcomes them. Casey’s kindergarten teacher (for the two weeks he was in there) acted like having him in there was such a burden. Casey’s teacher sees it completely opposite.  Both of his teachers know Casey is smart and want so badly to get it out. There have been several days that I’ve walked home from dropping him off with tears of gratitude running down my face. He still has his rough patches. Lance has been gone this week on a business trip in Rhode Island, so it threw Casey sort of off. But his “off” now is nothing like his “normal” was before. He’s doing SO good. 

We found out yesterday that Abby qualifies for a respite care waiver.  We don’t know yet how much we’ll get, but the lady down the street who has a daughter with Down syndrome (that’s right…down the street! And she’s FANTASTIC. She’s helped me so much with finding resources out here) gets over 30 hours A WEEK in respite care. I don’t need that much (she says she doesn’t use anywhere near that much either), but how awesome is that? I hope that there isn’t some crazy loophole that makes it so we don’t get it. The guy I spoke to on the phone really knew his stuff and said he was sure we would just based on her diagnosis. They’re also going to evaluate Casey to see if he qualifies for some of their services. This same waiver will also pay for a lot of Abby’s medical costs. For reals, yo. It also might pay for respite care for both me and Lance to get away. Dates. That’s been a HUGE part of our budget in the last couple of years (the percentage of parents with children with autism who get divorced is staggering (not Down syndrome, in fact, parents of kids with Ds tend to stay married more than the average population)) so it’s always been a priority for us. Plus, I really like Lance. Going out with him is fun. Mostly.

Abby’s getting braces for her ankles tomorrow. She’s really starting to get strong, is army crawling all over the place and is starting to pull herself up on things. Her ankles need more support and her feet pronate way out, so this should help a bunch.

Carter and Peyton are also doing really well. There aren’t many days that I don’t think to myself SEVERAL times, “What would I do without Carter?” He’s just good to the marrow of his bones. He’s the one that gets us out the door in the morning. I’m constantly making him run up and down the stairs to get shoes, socks, etc. He never complains.

About that, anyways. He came home every day and complained about his “word sort” homework. Then, when Peyton started bringing home word sort stuff, Peyton started saying the same things Carter did. Carter saw what his complaining had done and completely quit doing it.

First Day of School

Lance likes his job. He gets to hang out with some of the big guys in the weapons industry. Contracts, engineering and whatnot. He’d have to tell you about it.
I’m doing okay. I miss my stupid friends. A lot. Tonight when my eyebrow started to swell up from a bug bite (not cancer) I thought about what I would have to do if I had a serious emergency. I don’t have a husband here, a car (it’s back in the shop…for reals...), and guh. It would suck! The neighbors are awesome though, and I know I’d be taken care of.  I miss Heather stopping by at the most random times to go out to lunch or just to talk or to clean my house. Or coming home to find that Erin (and others) had broken into my house to play pranks on me. I miss having my babysitter right next door. I miss all the freaking love we got in our ward. But that’s all to be expected. Our ward here is really really awesome. They have a huge turnover because everyone is like us, just coming out for 6 months to a year. They had the ladies in Relief Society stand up who had moved in since June and, no joke, it was almost HALF of the women in there.  That being the case, everyone is super motivated to get to know everyone else. I’m going to make them play hockey. Oh yes. There will be hockey.

Turns out, I’m OLD. Most of the kids in the ward are just that. KIDS. I’m OLD. When did I get OLD?! I’m not so much old as that I have OLD kids. That’s what happens when you have three by 23.

Abby is a rockstar in the ward and everywhere else. We went to the Nickelodeon Day of Play in D.C. and when we went into the Special Olympics booth it was seriously like the paparatzi (sp? My firefox browser isn’t working and I can’t spell for crap) came out. There must have been 10 people with cameras out taking pictures of her and then handing her around to get pictures with her. It was really cute. Mostly. They kind of ignored Casey, and that made me super sad. He’s the one who REALLY needs people to love him. Abby just loves no matter what.

This was with the Power Ranger at the Day of Play. I almost had to murder three moms to get this crappy picture.  THAT is a picture of the crowd. Not much playing done in here. It was right before that new boy band came on. I can’t remember their name but their show sucks. It’s nowhere near as good as Icarly.

Surprisingly, I freaked out a lot more about the crowd than Casey did. He got seven tiny but free soccer balls and he was set for the day.

Anyways. It’s been good. I’m happy that we’re here. It’s already been a life changing experience, and we’ve only been here a couple of weeks.

family · music

My brother.

Have I told you a million times about my favorite Mumford and Son’s song? It’s called Timshell and these are my favorite lines (if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, you can listen to the song in the player):


In fact, I have these painted on a large canvas in my room. I would have taken a picture of it, but that would have required movement of other body parts besides my hands. And I’m fully against such a thing at 4 in the afternoon.

Last year Travis came out and surprised me for Abby’s birthday. It was the sweetest surprise. AND he got me. How it didn’t get back to me is amazing. I’m connected. But no one told. It was so awesome.

This year, he did it again. And this time, he brought his cute wife along with Joe and Angie Strand. Joe has been a good friend of the family for the past 16 years. He kind of was our comedic relief during the time my dad was sick and after he had died. He’s awesome funny. And so is his wife.  I told her on Facebook that the first time I met her I was going to kiss her on the mouth.  But I need to back up a little.

So we had spent the morning at the church getting things ready. Once we’d finished to the point where we were going home, I got in my car and noticed My Soul on the dashboard. Wow. That sentence needs further explanation. When I was like 15 I shoved a telletubbie figure into an astronaut suit and carried it around in my pocket. I called it My Soul and would try to sell it to people. Mostly so I could say, “I sold My Soul for a Dr. Pepper” and whatnot. But I usually got it back. Then my Damn Brother started stealing it. Then I’d steal it back. The war progressed for many years until a few years back he ended up with it again. Travis gets to go many exotic places, so I let him have it for a little while. My Soul has been to France, to Mozambique, to Vietnam, and all over the states. He (yeah, for some reason My Soul is a dude) tried to jump from the Empire State Building.

So back to the story. There was My Soul. My Soul who I had entrusted to my Damn Brother. But where was Peyton? Yeah. We lost Peyton. So I sent Travis a text asking him if he was there and if he had my child. I thought he’d just grabbed Peyton to be funny. Which was awesome because he didn’t have Peyton (Peyton was hiding in Lance’s car) but it sure scared him. I called him freaking out. He didn’t answer. So I freak out at Lance and swear that if he knew something and wasn’t telling me he’d pay. And then I thought that maybe he had just sent My Soul out for the party. I jump in the shower and as soon as I get out I peek out my window and there they were. And I was naked and soaking wet (yeah boy…hughgughuuu (that was a vomiting sound)). So I threw on the quickest thing I could grab and ran down stairs. Again that feeling of total EXUBERANCE came over me. He did it again! How did I not know?!

I’m super mad we didn’t get pictures with all of us together. But I’m SO SO happy that Misty got some with him and Abby. We’ll see them in a week, so we’ll get a million more then. Check out this picture:
This is my brother. He tries to beat me up and do all of those annoying older brother things. But he’s really something. All of my brothers and brothers in law are. Like the song says, “you are not alone in this. As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand…hold your hand”. He’s helped me to feel like I can do this. Like I’m not alone. The fact that he’d spend the time and money to come out here AGAIN was so so awesome. I love him for that. I love him for the way he treats my kids. Casey adores him. I love him for the nice things he says to me on the phone. For the times that I’ve called and broken down and he still told me I was strong and that he believed in me.

The day before they came out Erin H. and I were out and the song “Yellow Ledbetter” by Pearl Jam came on. I told her that when I was in high school I always thought that when that song came on the radio it meant something good was going to happen. I told her about how the year after my father passed away my best friend and his girlfriend lived on the same road. So he’d pick me up to take me home. He’d roll his windows down and put his sunroof back and would blast Yellow Ledbetter on his stereo as we drove down Moon Valley Drive (or whatever it’s called). There was something SO cathartic about that. Every time I hear that song it takes me back to there. To the way I felt. Like even though things were hard, they were still going to be okay. Because I had my brother there with me.

I didn’t kiss Angie on the mouth. The moment passed before I realized it. I’m so angry with myself it keeps me up at night.

Abby · confessions · Down syndrome · family

Beautiful Girl

I can’t say that I’d always wanted a girl. I’m not a girly person. I always thought that Lance just didn’t produce X chromosomes, and that we’d have only boys. The big reason I wanted to have a girl is to see what one of mine and Lance’s girls would look like (and also to use my sweet bracelet and tutu making skills, and to decorate her room, and to dress her, and to do her hair…okay, I kinda wanted a girl). So when we found out Abby was a girl I was SO excited to see what she’d look like. Would she be more Magnusson? I spent some time looking at pictures of Lance’s sister, Leslie, when she was a baby when we were visiting at Christmas. How beautiful she was (and is)! Would she look like Leslie? Leslie and Lance look a lot a like- and if you look at my boys, Magnusson genes do seem to be dominant. Would she look Price? Would she be dark like I was when I was born? Would she have my slanty eyes and mop of dark brown hair? Would she have hair? Would she look like any of her brothers?  I knew one thing for sure though, she’d be beautiful.

So when Abby was first born the very first thing I noticed was that she didn’t look like me. Or Lance. My first thought was, “she kind of has a smushy face.” (I feel like I’m admitting something big in saying that. In fact, I just barely told Lance that I had thought that. But I didn’t mean that I thought she was ugly, it was just the first thing that I noticed- that her features are all closer to the middle of her face. I just used the word “that” five times. It bothers me but I’m not sure how to fix it.). Then I noticed her eyes. They weren’t slanty like mine. They were almond shaped and had epincathal folds. I noticed her flat profile and her low set ears. And for a minute she didn’t have my features or Lance’s. She just had Down syndrome.

For a minute. For a minute I was vain. Really vain. I worried what the world would think of her. I worried that people wouldn’t see how beautiful she was because she had Down syndrome. For a minute I was sad because I didn’t get to see how Lance and I would really look put into a girl with regular chromosomes.

For a minute. And since I’ve just seen the most amazing little girl that steals my heart every single time I look at her.  

She’s more beautiful 
than I could have ever dreamed.

It’s like that extra chromosome made her beautiful in ways that a combination of mine and Lance’s genes alone could not express. And she still has a combination of our genes. Just a little bit more.  She has Lance’s cheeks and my chin. She has her brothers thick, long eyelashes.There might be some in this world who only see Abby for the Down syndrome. But they will be few and far between.

It’s a lot like my life (I’m waxing philosophical on you- sorry- but it’s getting me out of doing the laundry, so you can stick it). It’s more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed. I would have never sat down and planned my life out this way. It’s way better than anything I would have planned. I’ve said it before. If we pray and listen, God will make of our lives much more than we could have ever made of them on their own.  My life is fuller, richer (and stickier) because of the things that the world just sees as hard. And you don’t really have to look all that close to see, my life is really, really beautiful.

family · Person of the Week

Winner Winner!

So- Person of the Week goes to: Addie! 

Have I told you about Addie? BOY OH BOY! This girl is AWESOME. I mean look at her! Does she not remind you of some beautiful Disney character? I fully expect her to have birds do her hair for when she gets married- to my BROTHER, Jamey.  (That’s him there doing his best Billy Mays impression. )

So, why is she person of the week? For agreeing to spend eternity with my brother? Nope.  Because that doesn’t have much to do with me. And I’m REALLY working on being narcissistic. Her blog was the #1 referring site to my blog this week. So I’m making her a prize! Something delightful. So delightful it will hurt a little.

I’ll post pictures when I’m done.

I think I might do more of this. Maybe. I don’t really follow through. But if your site happens to refer a bunch of people to mine- there might be something in it for you. Or not.  Maybe just that warm feeling that you’re my favorite. Or maybe I’ll just return the favor. Want to learn more about this sweet thing that’s willingly (I’m pretty sure) marrying into the Price craziness? Here’s her blog:


Uncle Logan

 I wrote this long blubbery thing about how awesome my brother in law is, but it was too much. It made me gag a little. So I’ll be short with this one.
image of logan magnusson with nephewYou know Logan the basketball player. You can find out ALL about his basketball career, see some amazing crazy faced shots or whatever by just googling him.  (But because I want random googler’s to come here to find out more about him I’m going to throw in some fun: ESPN, #12, Logan Magnusson, BYU, Co-captain, Joe Millionare look alike, Final Four (I also do this when I talk to Lance at work just to see if anyone is wiretapping us. I say things like “Al Quada, Bin Laden, JIHAD! Bomb!BOMB! BOMB! Lance HATES it))                  But it doesn’t show you what a cool uncle he is.  Truth be told, when we do get to see Logan, I don’t see a whole lot of him. It’s usually because all I see is blurry lines as he runs by chasing after one of my kids. This is Logan holding baby Carter RIGHT after winning the State basketball tournament when he was 16(ish?). He wasn’t holding Carter for the photo op. He was holding him because he wanted to. And he did that night, for a long time.
Logan Magnusson and nephews

He’s always been SO good with my boys. From the minute he sees them he is off and running. One (or more) of them is usually on his back or shoulders (he’s 6’6″, so there’s room). He’s on the trampoline with them. He builds forts. The night before his wedding he spent 3 hours building a GIGANTIC fort for his nephews and then played with them in it.  It was the coolest thing to me.

He doesn’t do it so we can say what a great uncle he is. He just is a great uncle. He’s good just because it’s in his genetic code. That’s not to say that he’s not the product of fantastic parents. He is. I just know it has something to do with genetics because Carter is that same way, and Lori and Lonnie aren’t Carter’s parents.

 This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. This was this summer after Logan came out for Abby’s blessing. Did you know that Logan has TWO nieces with Down syndrome?  His wife’s sister’s little girl also has designer genes.

And his wife. Man. I don’t know if anyone thought that anyone would be good enough for Logan. But boy did he find someone who’s better. She’s amazing. They’re beautiful, too. Their kids are going to be freaking works of art!
I love this picture. You have to look close. Natalie is playing a random card game with Casey. Logan is in the back cuddling on the couch with Carter.  (Casey and Leslie Moon are also in it, and it makes me want to write an entire blog post about how every time I see Leslie I want to bear hug her and tackle her to the ground and kiss her right on the face. I love that girl. I’d also do that to her husband, but it would make him uncomfortable.)
Anyways, now you know why I love Logan so much. And it has very little to do with his basketball career, but I could NOT be more excited for him. He deserves this.
Lance deserves to go next week, so if any of you have connections in the airline industry and want to get him a flight to New Orleans next week…
autism · Casey · family · nerds · Peyton

Random tidbets of Magnusson awesomeness.

Usually, ( I act like) I’m against any sort of transgression. It’s wrong. Don’t sin. Unless it totally works out in my favor. Or my brother in law’s favor. Have I told you that my BIL is on BYU’s basketball team ?

You can snicker at that because you know that’s pretty much how I introduce myself, “hi, I’m Lexi- yes, Lexi MAGNUSSON, you know like the Magnusson on BYU’s basketball team? You don’t? No, not Fredette. MAGNUSSON. The best looking one. And I’m not just saying that because he looks like his brother and his brother is HOT. Anyways, I sleep with his brother!”                                               Well, he is (on the team, jerks…he’s my BIL!) . And just today he got to play for like 67 minutes. And he played AWESOME!   It’s so nice to have a claim to fame. I’ve been holding on to that incident with Nicholas Cage for way too long.  Logan was on ESPN tonight, too. Which is way cool because ESPN is always on. It’s March. 
Lets see. What else. Well, if we’re not friends on Facebook you missed that Peyton decided to wear a top hat to Marky’s baptism tonight. Yes. A top hat. 
Casey’s had a rough week. He’s kind of like me though. Stress brings out the cleverness. Yesterday he came home and got right in the bathtub. We can usually gauge what kind of day Casey has by how quickly he gets in the tub. Yesterday he was almost naked by the time he got in the house. So I knew that in five minutes, my phone would ring and I’d have to apologize for something- and usually something I later find HILARIOUS. Like earlier this week. Casey got mad that it wasn’t Valentine’s day and freaked out and kicked a car. Did some damage to the car (but why was he even in a place where he could kick a car, am I right? I should have asked that but when I talked to her again yesterday, she said not to worry about it and I was SO not going to push it).  So yesterday Casey had spent some time in the “quiet room”. And by “quiet” they mean “padded”. Did you know schools have those? I didn’t. Not until I had to sign seven forms saying that it may have to be used for when Casey head butts a teacher.  Yesterday he was mad that he Bryson* (name changed to protect identity and because I can’t remember) because Bryson likes school. I asked him about it and Casey said, “it’s because Bryson’s soooo laaaammmmmeeeee.” Anyways, Bad day. So Lance and I are “talking” (not a euphemism, but to say that “we” were talking is usually invalid. Lance doesn’t say much)  and we hear Casey get out of the tub. He goes to get on some clothes (if we would help him he wouldn’t have to go commando in some of Peyton’s clothes…but we’re encouraging him to become more independent- which is different way of saying “we’re lazy”) and Peyton asks Casey to play dudes with him. Casey says no and Peyton asks why. Casey says, “Probably because you’re ugly.”  Peyton tells him he’s not and Casey says, “Well then it’s because you smell bad”. And heads off. Thank you Spongebob, for teaching Casey 95% of his dialect.
Yesterday I found myself yelling over and over again at Peyton, “Do NOT screw the duck!” Peyton had the power screwdriver and my duck figurine. Thought I’d clarify that. 
Do you play Words With Freinds? (I’d call it WWF, but then you’d automatically think I’m whitetrash. I’d like you to get to know me before you come to that conclusion) If you do, find me. I’m Lexipmagnus and I will beat you. Mostly because that’s what I do when I feed Abby. Feeding Abby takes about a half an hour a bottle, so I have nothing but time.
I can’t type and feed her a bottle though or I would have already told you about how much I love Bazzill Basics Paper (The post is coming…it really is) or about how much crap is in the back of my Sequoia to go the Goodwill. I’ll have to take a picture. Also, a forest grew in my bedroom an my name isn’t even Max!
Carter · family

Carter’s Baptism

Lets start by how mad I am that I didn’t have the “Dad and son in their funky baptism onsies” picture. Grrr. Now I don’t have proof that there really was a baptism.

Grandma Gail with Abby. (Hence the “Gail” in Abigail…see? We’re always thinking)

The baptism was great. Carter’s uncle Luke spoke and so did his grandfather. The Magnusson’s from Oregon came, Lance’s parents trekked all the way out and Luke ended up being able to come after dropping a truck off in Oregon. It meant SO much to me that they were all there.

Lance did a great job doing the job. It was amazing to watch my first son get baptized. Where has the time gone? Carter is such a great little kid. He was truly meant to be the oldest in our family. He’s just like Lance- and that’s SO nice. He’s very calm, very loving and always ALWAYS willing to help. He’s a natural leader and is friends with everyone at school. There are many days he’s gotten a couple of his buddies to help clean up the cafeteria during his lunch recess to help the cafeteria lady when she’s short handed. He’s just good to the marrow of his bones. He WANTS to be good. He’s also very sensitive and when something does go wrong, he feels terrible about it. I don’t think I have too much to worry about with that one. Except for maybe his dashing good looks.

Thank you to everyone who came or called. It made Carter feel SO special on his day!

family · holidays · nerds

Obligatory Christmas Post

Twas the night before Christmas… We spent Christmas Eve with the Hoskins. We like them. This is Clint (the dude that I said had horns he had to file down but really doesn’t) reading to the kids.

This is the culmination of months of preparation, one all night shopping spree and several panic attacks.

And like everything in my life that I spend a long time on it got turned to this…

I love it. I really do. We had a GREAT Christmas.

Family Christmas photo/outting myself as a fatty. The second part of that is being remedied. Aren’t we cute? Peyton’s smile is broken.
This picture is perfection. It’s totally my boys. Carter is so freaking handsome. Peyton is pyschotic and Casey is my joy.


Miracles. I love it when my sister Shelby calls me because she CAN call me. She had cancer, she doesn’t any more. That’s not what I’m used to with stupid cancer. My dad, my grandmother. I hate cancer. I hated it when she got it. I sat in this same place, crying and praying. Not cancer. Not again. We’ve met our quota!

But Shelby beat cancer. Not only beat it, but trashed it. She fought hard. Her chemo was awful! She had to have very very aggressive chemo because her cancer was all that aggressive. It was huge. It’s true what they say about chemo, it kills you enough just to keep you alive.

So in the past three years Shelby has gotten most of her life back. She’s run half marathons. A lot of them. Which, by itself is amazing. Her hair has grown back. She’s almost been back to normal life. The last thing that cancer had over her was her ability to have more kids. She had to wait until two years after her treatment to even think about having more kids. When they started trying, no one thought it could or would happen. It had never been easy for them to get pregnant anyways, and now the doctors were telling her that the chemo had fried her eggs. But Shelby knew that their family was incomplete. I hurt that she hurt. I couldn’t begin to say I understood, because I didn’t. I just wanted her to be able to beat cancer in every single way.

Then yesterday Shelby called me. She’s pregnant.

Cancer-0- Shelby 1.


They called her on a Mission…

Take a good look at this picture. Then look at your mom. Now back at the picture. Now look at your mom. Sadly, she isn’t your mom (unless you’re one of my siblings, I guess). But your mom could almost be as cool as my mom if she went on a mission.

Yes. My mom is going into the MTC tomorrow. HOW FREAKING AWESOME IS THAT?! She will be serving in the Rochester, NY mission. I know this is something she wanted to do with my dad so badly, but I’m SO grateful that she went anyways. She’s going with a good friend that is almost as awesome as she is, and they’re going to tear it up and have so much fun.

I called her yesterday in an absolute panic. I thought for a minute I wouldn’t be able to call her while she was on her mission. It was a deal breaker for me. I HAVE to be able to call my mom. She’s always been my biggest cheerleader. She always gets SO excited over the good news and is so supportive when the news is sucky. She makes me feel like I’m awesome, even though she knows me better.

Any time anyone says I’m just like my mom, I take it as a high compliment. My mom is as good as it gets. She never takes credit for how we all turned out (keep in mind, my siblings turned out good)…but the truth of the matter is that she should. My brothers and I were still home when Dad died, and she raised us by herself. She was an excellent example to us. She never judged. She never gave up.

Especially on me.

I went through a rough couple of years. I treated her and everyone else around me badly. I made poor choices. The whole time my mom did everything that she could for me, and when I was ready, she helped me to turn my life around. She never EVER held what I had done against me. She never even brought it up. She truly forgave me and forgot about it.

She’s always made me want to be better. She loves everyone. And everyone loves her. Just ask anyone. If they know my mom, they love her.

You’re lucky, Rochester…you’re getting one of the finest people this world has to offer.

autism · confessions · family · nerds


You know, from the outside, I can see how people would think that our life is tough. Or that we’re good people because of the challenges we face. Sometimes it really is. But we are so blessed. So so eternally blessed. It is challenging to have a lot given to us on our proverbial ‘plates’. But what I think is especially awesome is when people actively search for ‘food’ from others ‘plates’ to fill their own. For people who carry a little of our weight- especially when they don’t have to. Those are the BEST people. So I’ll name a few I know (but not all, definitely not all…there’s not enough time for that)

For everyone who made Abby’s birth not just a wonderful blessing- but a party. For my ward who rallies around us and our children. The people in the hall who coo over Abby or give Casey a high five. The teachers who have taught Carter lessons that he works so hard to remember in his life. Any teacher who has ever been called to teach Peyton. Ever. Every leader I had growing up that magnified their calling and helped me on my way. For Bishop Carter who got me to the temple.

I’m grateful for the people in the grocery store who do not judge me when my six year old throws himself on the ground and kicks at you as you walk by, but instead, ask what you can do to help. For the old man who held Peyton for me at Walmart while I ran to chase down Casey.

For the Fagers who have made their home Casey’s Disneyland.

For Pam Caudill who ‘likes’ every stupid thing I say on Facebook, who makes me feel funny, and who loves Abby as much as I do.

For my good neighbors. We live in a great neighborhood where everyone is so patient and wonderful to us. For teaching their kids to serve- a month doesn’t go by when we don’t see Chess, our sixteen year old neighbor, sneaking over to mow our front lawn. His sister is over at our house at a drop of a hat to help out and has more than once refused payment. For Tiffany who has shown me how to be happy when things are at their hardest. To trust in God no matter what.

For the Hoskin’s who force us to be social, even when it’s much easier for us to just stay home. For being our friends even when they knew going into it that we weren’t the easiest family to get together with. Who razz us without prejudice when we bail on any planned activity.

For Heather James who makes me feel wise and useful. Who is always willing to pick me up, at any time, during the day or night, to feast on nachos and listen to me vent about things that suck. For how much she adores my kids and makes each one of them feel special every time she’s with them.

For anyone who pretended not to notice when I’d gone too long between the times I took care of my facial hair.

For Mary Felts who brings the kids treats once a week and who got genuinely mad when she didn’t know I was having surgery done.

For Mandee who I could not love more even if she had stayed in Port Orchard. She’s a true friend. We hadn’t seen each other for YEARS when I saw her down in Phoenix, and it was like nothing had changed. I love her like a sister.

For my family. I could go on and on and on about how much I love each and every one of them, but for right now I’ll just talk about a couple of them.

For my brother Travis who tells me I’m great even when he knows me too well. For his wife who is constantly called upon to be my therapist. Travis had the opportunity to go to graduation where he would have sat in the presence of the entire first presidency. Because he was faculty there was probably a chance he would have got to shake their hands. I don’t know. That was also the morning that Lance had his kidney stone, and in stead, Travis chose to stay at home and play with my kids. He’s been Casey’s #1 favorite person since then. Travis and Katie are truly people that take from other people’s plates. Proverbially (and sometimes literally). They quietly serve those around them. I’m sure they do a lot more than anyone of us will ever know.

For Missy who is so good about keeping in touch even though she knows I suck at it. Who still tries hard even though I’m not good at reciprocity in this area (and anyone who’s ever talked to me on the phone knows I’m not a good phone talker). I love her for that.

For Melanie. There aren’t enough good things I can say about her. She is who I want to be.

For other family members who keep up on how we are doing and who pray for us.

I love my life. I have such wonderful people in it. I could go on for hours with this list. Just because I didn’t name you this time, doesn’t mean I don’t love you to pieces and aren’t totally grateful for your service and love.

Heavenly Father did give us some extra trials (wrapped in the cutest bundles you have ever seen). But He also gave us the best friends and family that make everything so much easier.

drawings · family · I'm so funny?

Epic Vacay (part uno)

Do you know what happens when I forget to take my camera with me on vacation?

only. good. things.

It’s a surefire trick to having the best vacay ever. No way to prove it besides a sweet picture of my hands that my sister took on my phone that I can’t post. For reasons.

It also means that I scour the internet finding cool pictures to add and make a few drawings. Hold tight. It’s going to be EPIC (epic vacay. yes folks, I’m fourteen)

(i’m writing this now instead of waiting to get the pictures. why? because my baby shower was two months ago and i’ve yet to get the pictures from it so i’ve yet to blog about it and that shower was explosive and needs to be blogged about. but i haven’t. no pictures)

So here’s how it went down. My teeth HURT. Badly. I like sugar. I don’t floss. Well, I didn’t floss. I do now. I’ve had a massive drill induced change of heart. I had MANY cavities.Plus, I wanted to get my grill all blinged out.

My sister has been bugging me for FOREVER to see Abby. She loves her the most, I’m pretty sure. She finally called and said that if I didn’t come down there SOON she would be coming here SOON. Even with the threat of having to get all of my dentistry done, I’d still take that over having to clean my house. So off I went.

Maybe I need subheadings.
Back to the dentistry. My brother in law is a dentist. I’ve never had anyone I knew do my dentistry because I didn’t think there would be any way I could look them in the eye after such a thing. So much screaming. Like any warm blooded American, I hated even the thought of going to the dentist. So I hadn’t.

I could make you a huge long list of things I’d rather do. BUT I knew if I had paid for a flight to go down there, I couldn’t back out (I had called and canceled 3/4 of my dentist appointments up here). The last dude that did my fillings had a lazy eye. It was very unnerving.

Got in on Wednesday night and bright and early Thursday morning I sat down for a marathon day of dentistry. Surprisingly it was not bad. Not even a little.

it was a

So it turn out that my brother in law is really good at what he does. I’m not just saying that. I wouldn’t. Especially about a dentist. He’s superfantastic. It restored my faith in the whole profession. If you live anywhere near Surprise, Arizona, I highly recommend him. In fact, there’s a good chance I might fly out there every six months for my check ups. The other cool part about it? He lets you drive his Lexus around after.

Jeff is one of the most generous people I know. He knew that right now with all of our bills for Abby and Casey that another would be tough. He did all of my work for free. To top it off, he did the work he couldn’t do the first day on his day off- even paying his hygienist time and a half to come in and help. See what kind of guy he is? Don’t you want that dude to be your dentist?


This is my sister Melanie. I like her. A lot. I’d like to be more like her as well.

My aunt told my mom that her girls ‘exude light’ everywhere they go. She’s sort of right. Melanie does. I just like to stand really close to her so you think it’s coming out of me as well.

Melanie is the kind of person I wish I was more like. She’s an extrovert. She’s bubbly. She’s quick witted. She’s like an amazingly spiritual Liz Lemon.

You know how I just said that Jeff is one of the most generous people I know? (you should, it was like five sentences ago) well, Melanie is the other. When I got there she was waiting with gifts for Abby (the cutest clothes ever), she took me to get all girled out- next time you see me I’ll look less like a frump. I got fake nails and a sweet pedicure. I like being a girl sometimes.

Anyways, I love going to Melanie’s because being around her makes me want to be a better mom. I think I need to go to her house quarterly (or just move there) so I can reevaluate my mothering skills, steal some recipes and play with her five cute kids. Her house really is a place where the spirit resides. They don’t have the TV on all of the time. They play games and do puzzles with each other. Ramble ramble ramble. I really do have a point.

I like Melanie. A lot. I want to be more like her in every single way.

Life Defining Moment:

YOu know the kind of moment you know changes you to your DNA? The kind that solidifies all of the hard work and crap you’ve been through? I had one while we were there. I talk a big game. Especially on facebook. FINALLY I got a chance to prove myself. To make good on all of the talk. And I did.

I beat the hell out of Shawn Haught.

It went down like this: Shawn and his oobercute wife Summer (who has her place in CK-1 sealed just by putting up with her husband) came over to Melanie’s for games. I decided to have love and kindness in my heart towards him because he really can’t help the way he is. So when he came up to say hello, I gently put out my hand and began to say, “it’s so good to finally meet you, dear friend” and out of NOWHERE the goober went to punch me in the skull. From there, all I saw was white hot rage, I lost time and came to on the floor of Melanie’s family room grabbing at Haught as he was screaming like a girl and running away. Melanie later told me that I tackled him down onto the couch, we fell on the floor and I pinned him down and punched him over and over in his ribs. I have to believe Melanie, even though I’m more of a kidney puncher.

I’d feel super duper awesome about the whole event if Shawn wasn’t such a freaking GIRL.

confessions · family

Best Surprise Ever

This picture would have made Dad proud

So. The day before Abby’s blessing I was hurrying to get everything done for my family to arrive. I spent that morning out buying groceries, trying to find an outfit that I didn’t hate on me, etc. I get home and started working on the house. It was only Abby, Casey and I because the others had gone to Seattle to pick up Lance’s family. My brother Travis called and stayed on the phone a r e a l l y long time- for him. We usually end our conversations about ten minutes into it with something to the effect of, “I grow tired of this useless banter” or “I’m going to let YOU go” because that’s the nice way of saying you’re done with the conversation. He would not get off of the phone. I told him I was trying to get my house cleaned and he asks, “Do you need help?” I heard the doorbell ring- in my house- and through the phone. I got goosebumps all over. I threw my phone (and it’s a good thing that I had already put Abby down) and in ran to my door. In walks my older brother. I can’t even begin to tell you what joy came over me. He was here! I could not believe it. His wife had told me a couple of times that she was sending an AWESOME package that would probably get there on Saturday- she was right. It was the best ever.

Lets back up. My dad passed away when I was 13. When we found out that Dad wasn’t going to live much longer my brother gave me a big hug and told me he would be there for me. The year after my father passed Travis and I were really close. He dated a girl that lived just down the street from my best friend at the time, so he’d come pick me up when it was time to go home. He’d roll all the windows in his white Honda and put the sunroof back and blast “Yellow ledbetter” as we drove down Moon Valley Road (or whatever it’s called). To this day that song is my favorite. Every time I hear it it takes me back to that time.

Over the next couple of years Travis and I hung out with the same group for a time, then Travis left on his mission. I sucked at writing him, though I always cared the most what he thought. I really did. When he got home and thought my car was cool, I thought it was cool. He helped me find an apartment down in Ephraim, Utah at Snow College. When he approved of Lance, I knew I could marry him. (not travis. There would be many things wrong with that). I was only a little sad at my wedding that I didn’t get the first dad-daughter dance. But since I was thirteen I knew I had someone different, but just as great- my older brother. I loved how happy he was for me.

So when Travis walked through the door, it meant the world to me. I’ve always been a little sad that my father wasn’t there (in person) when we blessed our babies. This time, we were going to have so many of our best friends along with all of Lance’s family- but no Prices. Then Travis showed up. Having Travis there was as good as having my father there. He loved Abby (and who couldn’t, really?) and had a hard time letting anyone else have her. Having him ‘approve’ of where I lived, my dorky friends, etc. meant so MUCH to me- there just aren’t words. He always has been a little jerkish about us moving away from Utah and staying here, but now he saw why. He went on and on about how cool our house was, the forest behind it and was mad he didn’t bring his fishing poles for our stream in the back.

I’m SO MAD that I don’t have any pictures of Travis with Casey. Hopefully he has some. Casey loves Travis the most. More than his wife and children, I’m sure. Since we left Utah last April Casey talked about Travis being his ‘best friend’. And when he’d get mad, Casey would stomp out of the door and say, “I’m going to My Uncle’s’. Casey has a bunch of pictures of Blue Angels Jets that he carries around, and one time while I was on the computer on our family site, he saw a picture of Travis holding his daughter. He made me print that one out, too. He cut it out like he did the pictures of his jets, and carried it around with them. When Travis came in Casey was SO excited to see his BEST friend.

My Soul even came back to me for a time. It’s back in Utah now. It did get to go to Ohio this week. Long story. Another post. Some day.

I got to spend the whole day after Abby’s blessing with Travis. We dropped off his sweet Camero that he had rented, and then went to Seattle. We assalted that unsuspecting city with ninjas. If I had my dang cord to my dang camera, I’d post pictures. I’ll get to that. Some day. It was one of my most favorite days ever. We talked the whole day. We saw the fish throwers. We ninjad a security guard.

Anyways. This has been mushy. I didn’t mean for it to get mushy. I love how much Abby loves her older brothers. She’s lucky. She’s got three of them. I know what good can come into her life because of her brothers. I’m thankful for mine. I’m thankful that he came at such a cost to be with me on such a special day. I love him and his perfect wife, Katie, so so much. They’ve always been way better to us then we even deserve.

On the way home from taking Travis to the airport I was REALLY sad. Just as I pulled in to Port Orchard, the song Yellow Ledbetter came on the radio, and ended just as I pulled into my drive way.

Travis and some blankets? Abby’s in there somewhere. I love that blanket. His wife sent it to us.

Missing Casey- he hates pictures.