New Blog

I have a new blog! For no other reason than that my free storage space was full on this one.  The new url is and I have a couple new posts up. Make sure to change it on your bloglovin or feedly or whatever if you want updates!

Figure It Out

The thing about Tanner’s intense school schedule is that division of labor in our house pretty much doesn’t exist. I really believe in men taking on equal responsibility for housework, especially in a home where the woman works, but our reality is that long hours for Tanner mean long hours for me. Tanner studies and I do everything else– all the childcare, cleaning, cooking, bill paying, & yard work. I’m the one who takes the cars in for safety inspections, waits in line at the dmv, calls insurance companies, budgets our money, cleans our cars (ok, I wash our cars like twice a year, but still) and rakes up the ridiculous number of leaves that fall from our lovely front yard oak tree. I’m pretty independent, but there are things that you just need another person for! Those things that for some reason or another you just have no idea how to do or how to handle and your other half does. Sometimes it’s just to ask “am I doing this right?” or, “what do you think?” or “who do we call for this?” Well, I’m learning quickly that the new order of things is that I just need to figure it out. More and more often, I can’t call Tanner, or if I do, he can’t really do anything to help me and it just distracts and stresses him out. I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me, mostly I’m here to brag about all my new skills!

Like my gutter cleaning skills. You guys, I cleaned out our gutters myself.  Ok, it sounds really simple when I say it, but I felt really badass cleaning out our gutters. I had to get the heavy ladder out, figure out how to extend it, figure out how to remove the covers and get a screwdriver to remove the elbow of the downspout thing that was clogged with leaves. I was sweaty and filthy and standing on a ladder holding a tool and I felt pretty good about it.

Behold:  clean gutters


And last month when I had a flat tire, I was the one to get the tires replaced. I’d sound a lot more awesome if I could say I put on the spare myself, but I got halfway through trying to figure out how to do that when I realized I could call Geico and they’d do it for me for free.


I learned to mow the lawn. Is it amazing that I went 26 years without ever mowing a lawn? My dad did a lot of things right, but c’mon dad– parenting fail on your part.

One afternoon found me climbing the red bud tree in our backyard with a handsaw, sawing off dead branches.

I unclogged the bathroom sink drain.

I learned how to use the grill.

I overcame my severe technology challenges and hooked my new label printer up to our computer. Our computer wasn’t recognizing the software <insert technologically sounding jargon jibberish here> or something. To Tanner’s credit, he spent a couple hours on that one, and to my credit I figured it out after he gave up and let this one be written down in the Staples books as Dana’s victory of a lifetime.

And then there was the ladybug fiasco. Ooooh man this one really stressed me out. I went up to my office one day to work, and when I looked up, I realized there were hundreds of lady bugs crawling all around my window! Ok, maybe just dozens, but there were a ton. They were highly concentrated on and just around the window, but were branching out from there and getting all over the place. Tanner has jerry-rigged my window to make it so I could have a window AC unit. (My office is a little attic space above our garage and not actually part of the house.) The window opens out and not up and down like you need, so he got a clear plastic pane and screwed it to the frame all around, with the AC unit under it, like so.


There was a small gap on one edge from the wind blowing it in one day, and that’s where the lady bugs were flocking in.  Google quickly told me that on warm autumn days they like to find a sunny side of the house and will get in if they can and will overrun your house all winter! I couldn’t shut the actual window until I removed the plastic pane, but I couldn’t get the screws out and none of the screwdrivers I could find were working.  Meanwhile ladybugs were crawling across my hands and falling in my hair and totally grossing me out while Camryn was shrieking in delight telling me on repeat to ‘look how many ladybugs!!” Tanner wouldn’t answer his phone, so I found and taught myself how to use our electric drill, figured out what a drill bit is and how to change one, found the right one, got all the screws out, and finally shut the dang window. Then had camryn help me catch dozens of them and take them out to our garden.


My dad says he’s proud of how resourceful I’m becoming and says it reminds him of his mom. He said my grandpa went to work and brought home a paycheck, but wasn’t a handyman at all, and grandma was the one fixing everything–she even added a room onto their house once by herself! Go grandma. That sounds just like us except for the part where Tanner brings home a paycheck 😉  #medschool I love you Tanner! And I’m super super grateful that you saved us $100 by halfway fixing our dishwasher! And fixed the tub!

I hope those are the last of my “do it myself” stories, but something tells me I won’t be that lucky. There are still some things on Tanner’s “honey do” list that baffle me . . . like what is the difference between a modem and a cable box? What witchery and magic are behind framing and hanging pictures on the wall? How do I screw our bookcase to the wall so it doesn’t fall on our babies one day?  How did anyone know how to fix anything before YouTube?

Capitol Reef National Park & Camping with the Bramhalls

I know it took me like 6 blog posts to recap our summer trip to Utah, but we packed in a lot during those 3 weeks, and I couldn’t leave out our camping trips! It took an insane amount of planning and packing on our part, but I think it turned out to be worth it. I want my kids to have fond memories of hiking, camping, and National Parks like I did and they’re not going to get that in Missouri, so we’ve got to get it while we can!

I honestly can’t remember a ton of details from this trip. . . I do recall Drew (+parents) having one of the worst nights of his life, the weather being perfect, and my family repeatedly applauding the food (tin foil steak dinners, pork skewers, peach cobbler, dutch oven breakfast, no wonder it was so much work!)

My dad took some great photos & they are interspersed with my iphoto ones, sorry

Capitol Reef National Park is seriously underrated. I’d say it’s the least popular and lowest attended national park in Utah, but that’s only because it’s in the absolute middle of nowhere and not really on your way to anything, but it’s beautiful. The Fruita campground is this oasis in the middle of red rock dessert. You are literally camping in a fruit orchard with red rock cliffs right next to you and deer wandering around, it’s about as idyllic as it gets. We were there mid July and it was still perfect weather.

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The Grand Wash20821834712_c9031ab5d0_k IMG_2973 20208816944_cf1c9ad0c2_k 20643540370_5977d88cef_k 20643551130_85ed16f465_k Capitol Reef 2015 20838735471_eb6432d2f6_k 20210748603_76d9f59713_k 20831924215_4fe29ce721_k 20209505204_3665f646f7_k 20645482939_068e2927f7_k 20644245838_3e5ec679ee_kIMG_2980 IMG_3009

Tanner took Camryn to the nature center to become a Jr. Ranger. Cutest thing ever. She had to learn about the park, the geology & plants, the wildlife, not to litter, etc and they gave her a badge and stickers.

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We left Drew with a very pregnant Kelsey to hike Cohab Canyon which was literally 50 ft outside our campsiteIMG_3011 IMG_3014 20646445749_0c70636581_k  20806909136_94c8b6d9d1_k 20208213984_62b81975e4_k20208245944_9a244fa624_k

don’t know what Ryan’s deal is. . .20646457879_60ca85a8c6_k 20212249293_97d2242377_k 20823765682_e448fd5193_k IMG_3024

And then later in the day we hiked to Hickman’s Bridge even though we knew a storm was impendingIMG_3028 IMG_3031 IMG_3034 20833376415_3d37aeca53_k 20645352380_481c3c9165_k

And we totally got dumped on on the way back!  It was fantastic. You can’t tell in this picture how hard it was pouring, but all these little waterfalls started streaming off the rocks


and. . . Camryn got pretty grumpy and cold by the end.  Can’t blame her. IMG_3043


We had to pack up his pack n’ play so I took him out and laid him on the ground and he stayed zonked out 🙂IMG_3106

The next weekend we camped up near Ogden for just a night and my sister’s family the Rawson’s joined us this time

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All the kids were throwing rocks here, and my 5 year old nephew Ethan kept throwing big ones too close to my dad and splashing him. My dad told him over and over to stop and the kid wouldn’t listen. My dad finally said “Ethan, you do that one more time and I’m throwing you in the lake.” Well, THUNK, another huge rock splashed him and my dad grabs Ethan by one arm and one leg and totally dunks him in the water. Ethan was shocked silent, and we were all stunned hoping he was okay–all except Tanner who was laughing his head off.


Poor kid, next time listen to your grandpa!IMG_3070 IMG_3077 IMG_3080

Camryn was in cousin heaven and was joined at the hip to Ty the whole timeIMG_3082

Morning family selfie.  I wish Camryn had made it in, but. . .IMG_3113

she’s not much of a morning person sometimesIMG_3087IMG_3114

So glad my kids got to spend some quality time in the mountains with their Opa!IMG_3115


I’ve been thinking lately about and idea I’ve started to think of as momentum and the areas of my life in which I do and don’t have any.

I heard once that 95% of the battle of working out is putting your shoes on and closing the front door behind you. I think about that almost every time I work out because it is so so true for me, and actually applies to a lot of things that I do. Things that, like working out, are good for me, that I LOVE doing once I’m actually doing them, that I am always happy I did after I do them, that would make me happier, more fulfilled, etc. etc. but why on earth are those things just so hard to do sometimes?! I’ve been learning the life lesson that sometimes you just have to START what it is that you want to do. My new tactic is timer setting. I used this with doing family history, which was something I really wanted to be spending time doing and learning about, but I had no idea how and the whole thing just seemed daunting. I didn’t know how to get going, so I decided that once a week, every Sunday, I was going to spend 30 minutes on family history. I would set a timer for 30 minutes and do whatever I could, and when the 30 minutes was up, I could be done. Sometimes that only meant figuring out what my username and password on was. Sometimes it meant emailing a friend asking them a question about getting started. Or watching a couple video tutorials. It was slow going at first, but eventually I knew enough and had enough momentum that sometimes the timer would end and I’d keep going for hours just because I could and wanted to. Now I know where to go, what to do, what to read, how to use programs, and there are endless hours I could spend on family history without getting stuck.

I hear people say all the time that they want to be better at journaling. Or blogging. Or exercising regularly. And for things like this, daily habit items, a little bit of momentum goes a long way. When I used to bike a ton, hopping on my bike and going on a 30 or 60 minute bike ride was no big deal. Last week, I decided I wanted to go on a ride after thinking and thinking about it for weeks, finally drummed up the energy, but it took me almost an hour just to get out my bike, pump up the tires, find my helmet, water bottle and biking shorts. I gave up on finding my gloves and patch kit, then dinked around on googlemaps trying to figure out a good route for how far I wanted to go, yada yada yada, it was waaaay more effort than it used to be, but once I get into the groove of doing it and it’s habit again, it won’t be nearly so hard. Starting the project is the hardest part, and once you’ve started, all you have to do is just chip away at it every day. An object set in motion will stay in motion. . . or something like that.

I’ve noticed a phenomenon about my evenings. I put my kids to bed really early (for sanity purposes) and depending on what time I’m trying to get to bed, (read: how desperately exhausted I am) I have about 2-3 hours to do whatever I want. I’m sure every mother of young kids knows that those hours are precious. For me, I’m probably starving, dinner leftovers need to be put away and my house could use an hour (or seven) of solid cleaning time. I want to spend a good chuck of time bookbinding, but also I need to RELAX! rejuvenate, maybe read a magazine, zone out on social media for a minute, take a hot shower, watch a show and have ice cream with Tanner, take time for spiritual upliftment, and . . . two hours is not a very long time amiright? And the phenomenon I’ve noticed is that what I usually spend almost all of those two hours doing is whatever I started doing during the first 10 minutes of it. If I go straight up to my loft and start working, I will gain momentum and get a ton done. If I sit down with dinner and a magazine, I’ll want to finish the article I’m reading and spend longer than I intended. If I decided I’m going to spend a quick 15 minutes loading the dishwasher and switching the laundry, I usually won’t stop after that–I’ll wipe down the counters, pick up the toys, and keep going because I caught a second wind and it really won’t take that long to get things looking really clean. And if I pull up Facebook, I will still be on it an hour later, kicking myself for wasting my precious downtime.

What I’m NOT trying to do here is convince you to maximize your efficiency during these hours and get as much as possible done. What I am endorsing is using your time to actually do what it is you want to do and what will bring you the most benefit. Where do I feel depleted? Does my body, mind, or spirit need the most help right now? Do I want to create and accomplish something I’ve been wanting to do, or do I need to veg? If cruising pinterest or binge watching The Mindy Project is just what you need  that night, then by all means go for it! But if you accidentally did that instead of what really would have filled your cup, you’re probably going to go to bed wondering why you never have enough time to do what you want.

Right now I have some good momentum going with my etsy shop, with organization, with meal planning and cooking—but. . . exercise has stopped dead in its tracks, I rarely write, and my guitar has gathered much dust. That’s okay because, a time and a season, and you can’t be awesome at all the categories all the times, but sometimes I unintentionally gain momentum in areas that I really don’t need or want any. (I think that’s how the science of addiction reads right?) Any I’ve realized than most of the time, if I wish I had something better under control, or was dedicating more of myself to some dust-covered area of my life, it takes much less than I used to think to get the ball uprooted from it’s resting place, gaining a little bit of speed, and then forging ahead full force.

And after I wrote this (and thinking I’d come up with that clever timer trick all on my own), you know what, I found out that Elizabeth Gilbert already wrote it better than me, so dang it, here you go:

“Don’t wait for the world to clear out time and space for your dreams and your art. It doesn’t happen that way. The world rushes in, and always will. Wait for things to be perfect and you’ll die waiting. Push back a bit. You go get yourself a kitchen timer and clear out your own little space. You’ll be amazed what happens.

Every single day. 30 minutes. I’m serious.”

7 Quick Takes

  1. Well, the beginning of this school year really just reads out like a Series of Unfortunate Events–the flat tire, the poison ivy, the stomach flu Labor day weekend from hell, the $1,052 bill I got in the mail from the water company because they forgot to be sending us water bills for the past 15 months we’ve lived here. . . wtf KC Water Services? W. T. F. !?!?? two pricey car repairs, oh, and then the dishwasher breaking. Washing dishes by hand is like, the funnest ever.


But don’t worry readers, Tanner’s new tutoring position is paid and really bringing home the bacon


Almost an entire Andrew Jackson. This is what financial security looks like, folks.

Remarkably, despite all of that, I’m feeling like this year is going to be a whole lot harder for Tanner, but easier on me. It’s nice to not be new–I think I hate being new. I have friends now, I’m busier than I was last year, and I know how to get more than 3 places without the help of my gps. Things are on the up & up.

2. I need some flannel. Like, why don’t I own 10 flannel shirts? I guess probably because flannel wasn’t cool at H & M 3 years ago when Maddy was buying all the shirts that she just handed down to me. So, when did flannel come to H & M?  because I am likely to inherit some a couple years after whenever that was.

3. Meg Conley is my absolute favorite blogger right now. Her last piece blew me away and little strings of words from it have been running themselves around my brain and won’t leave me alone since I read it. Anyone else a fan?

4.  It took me until our 5 year anniversary to grow my post-wedding mistake of a hair chop back–but it’s back! I’m full circle back to my old do (this is even after a 2-3 inch trim!), and let’s be honest, I’m probably going to have this same haircut until the day I dieIMG_3789

5. That royals game we went to in August with lots of other med school families
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6. This is drew chowing down asian cabbage salad by the handful without discrimination towards raw cabbage, peppers, spinach, or red onions, while camryn is telling me “mom, in nursery today they gave us square cheese crackers and I don’t like the square kind, I only like the fish kid.”


7.  That moment you’re pulling out winter clothes and find 2 adorable summer baby outfits you didn’t realize you had and it’s almost enough to make you wish summer would stick around for another month or two.  Almost. IMG_3730

Bonus adorable children photos since I happen to have some adorable children on hand.

IMG_3395 IMG_3386 IMG_3446_2 IMG_3877 IMG_3852 IMG_3663 IMG_3654_2 IMG_3624 IMG_3605_2 IMG_3604 IMG_3601love that morning zombie gaze. . .

Drew has always been a really really happy chill guy, but has recently taken a turn for the grumpier. I hope it’s a phase, but he also starting sleeping 11 hours through the night without exception since mid August, so I’m thrilled about that!

These 7 quick takes brought to you by writers block.

The End.


Oh Hey Target, Good Job

One early summer afternoon, long before target’s announcement that they are phasing out gender based signage, I stood in their water toys aisle trying to select a flotation device for my two year old daughter. I was annoyed and confused. I wanted a “puddle jumper” and had two options– a pink and purple one with a hideous plastic dolphins face coming out of the front of it, or one with a blue and green turtles design that was much cuter in my opinion. One was clearly being marketed as the “girls” puddle jumper, and the other was for boys. As a consumer, I was getting the loud and clear message that I was to buy the pink and purple dolphins contraption for my daughter, but I couldn’t bring myself to. It was ugly. And what if my next kid was a boy? I’d get a lot of eyebrows putting a boy in the pink one, and maybe a few, but far fewer putting a girl in the green one. I walked out of there with the turtle alternative wondering what on earth pink dolphins and green turtles have to do with girls and boys anyway.

When I read the headline that target was phasing out gender based signage my jerk reaction was a fist pump. I read the article and target’s official statement on the matter which prompted still more fist pumping. (Tangent–the truth is that my initial glee came because I misread the headline and thought that this new policy was going to apply to all children’s clothing. And I am so tired of gender specific children’s clothing!! It should all be gender neutral until they hit Kindergarten. Because all that would mean for me is not being expected to purchase an entire new wardrobe for my baby boy instead of dressing him in his older sisters hand me downs. Gender specific clothing is a joke. But that’s a blog post for another day.) Then I started reading  some comments and descended slowly into a pit of despair, gloom, and apparent imminent destruction. Funny how comments sections can do that. I was completely floored and dismayed by the conservative backlash against this announcement. Many swore a boycott and railed that the world is headed towards the notion that gender doesn’t matter or even exist. Religious conservatives were freaking out about how boys and girls are different and gender differences matter.

But here’s the thing– gender differences DO matter, but they have nothing to do with the color of your child’s bedsheets or legos.  I believe that gender is essential to our identity and that men and women have distinctly different, inherently feminine and masculine God-given characteristics that are that equip them for fulfilling their roles in a family unit. I don’t want my kids or grandkids growing up in a world where the notion of those differences is outdated and politically incorrect. But I want to grab and shake the shoulders of every religious conservative out there freaking out that removing blue and pink sectioning and changing the gender stereotyped way that their gender stereotyped toys are displayed is going to end the world. Think about what gender differences actually truly mean to you–the parts really matter, the character traits that you want your daughters and sons to emulate. Do you feel that the current status quo of kids toys does anything for those values of yours? I just google imaged “girl toys” and was horrified. The vast majority of those products tell our girls that they should be completely obsessed with their self image. The kind of dolls being marketed these days have nothing to do with fostering nurturing traits–they are about perfecting bodies, make-up, hair, and obsessing over outfits. Beauty counters, blowdryers, jewelry kits, with a smattering of kitchens and t-sets. These are the toys being marketed to our girls. There was also a vacuum. And some grocery store and food kits. And every single blasted thing on there is pink. Do the same for boys and you get cars, action figures, sports equipment, building sets, tool kits, trains, nurf guns, gameboys, drumsets. Toys of all colors.

I don’t like that at all. So excuse me while I not only celebrate Targets announcement, but hope that my daughter makes it to at least the 3rd grade without developing an eating disorder and a crappy self esteem. I want her to walk into toy sections full of all kinds of toys that encourage her to imagine, move, create and explore, without being limited by gender stereotypes and marketing. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t think it matters that she’s a girl. It just means that I want her to know that girls can play with cars too. And drive them. Or build them, design them, fix them, or shoot them. Their bodies need just as much exercise as boys do, so it’s cool if they are into basketball hoops and skateboards. They have just as much intellectual ability to conduct science experiments or build model airplanes and just as much potential in this world to become an amazing scientist or engineer.

I think that the social conservatives are kicking themselves in the foot with this one. If they continue to hyperventilate about pink and blue sheets and promote arbitrary stereotypes that don’t actually have anything to do with the gender differences they believe in, the next generation isn’t going to buy it. If you keep telling girls that their Womanhood is divinely inspired, and then hand them pink sparkly beauty kits to play with, they are eventually going to reject the entire message of femininity altogether–as the package that society handed it to them in. If you want your kid to have a strong sense of gender identity, recognize this one as the victory that it is–at least they won’t be shaking their heads like I am wondering what on earth pink dolphins and green turtles have to do with any of it.

Cherry Hill

Poison Ivy update: Ahhh, poison ivy! Is there a support group for this stuff? A hotline?! I seriously wondered this as I wandered my house at 2:00 a.m. a few nights ago wishing I could clench my fists and produce wolverine claws to scratch it all away. Since last time I posted, it spread to cover both of my inner arms from wrist to armpit, a few bad patches on my legs & stomach, and things just got really ugly. Really ugly. I couldn’t sleep for the itching, couldn’t pick up Drew without, well, getting pus all over him, and the most recent development is that my right arm has swollen up like I’m the Michelin man. That arm and hand honestly looks how they would if I gained 150 pounds. Tanner’s weird med school friends gawked over a picture (because rashes are interesting?) and said it looked like I’d grown bark. I’ve had one of the more miserable weeks of my life and once this heals, I feel like there isn’t much 2nd year could throw at me that will top it. My new mantra will be “at least I don’t have poison ivy!”  The good news though, is that it’s finally turned for the better. I really needed that turn (and Chipotle + help from 2 amazing friends) to help me climb out of my pit of despair, so even though I’m still firmly planted in hot mess territory, there is hope! It’s finally dried up and is healing to my unbounded relief. The parable of the ten lepers will never be the same.

Now that you’re all up to date on my skin, let me tell you about Cherry Hill. It’s kind of a big deal. In our hometown there is this amazing family fun place called Cherry Hill. It started like 100 years ago as an RV campground (this is an unofficial history according to Dana Staples with possible inaccuracies) in a Cherry orchard with a small swimming pool for the guests. A lot of people will do big family reunions there and all stay in RVs. Then they added two big blue water slides, the Pirate’s cove pirate ship and kiddie pool area (that plays that musical pirate diddy all the live long day), and the cardiac canyon river run and it became a really great water park.

cherry hill

My siblings and I had season passes every year and I spent most summer days riding my bike there with friends or my brothers, or getting dropped off by mom and swimming all day long. I would often order big bowls of Farr brand mint chocolate chip ice cream from The Pie Pantry, an on site adorable little home converted into a pie, sandwhich, and soup shop. We’d sit under big umbrellas on its wooden wrap-around porch devouring our ice cream. I liked to play Mrs. PacMan or air hockey in the arcades and duck into the office to buy 25 cent boxes of LemonHeads and Laffy Taffy ropes that we’d eat as we sat on the cement wall at the bottom of a grassy hill, wrapped in beach towels waiting for our ride home. We’d run between the pool and the blue slides, trying not to burn our feet on the sidewalks, always stopping at the gutter that ran between them to cool our feet, then racing off, leaving footprint patterns behind us.

Four out of the six kids in my family worked there many summers, in the office, the Pie Pantry and snack bars, grounds crew. When my older sisters were teenagers, we’d get to go on employee family days and do the extras that didn’t come with our season pass like the mini golf and batting cages. Sometime during my high school years, they expanded to add a much larger pool, and a lazy river that my brother nearly singly handedly dug by hand, the way he tells it.

As much as I loved Cherry Hill, it played a bigger role in Tanner’s life. He had one best friend all growing up– Mitch Lloyd, whose family owned and ran Cherry Hill. Mitch lived next door to the water park, only a few streets away from Tanner, and they pretty much lived there as children. Tanner worked there something like seven summers on grounds crew and as a cashier, handing out entrance wristbands and arcade tokens. I only worked there one summer, 2006, on foods. I flipped burgers, cooked fries and chicken popcorn, distributed slush puppies and soft serve cones. On slow days or rainy days we’d see who could get the most kills with the fly swatters. Tanner and I weren’t really friends back then, but I have a couple of specific memories of talking to him through the windows of this very snack bar.


I also remember one day manning the giftshop right next to it, bored out of my skull, watching Tanner walk by several times within an hour and thinking he was really really cute.

These days, Tanner’s friend Mitch is on his way to taking over the family business.  He lives with his wife and baby in a trailer home between the mini golf and the pool, his parents still live next door, and there are like 5 Lloyd satellite families living behind, next to, and within the park–it’s a hilarious commune. He was kind enough to get us in for free and we promised vericose vein surgery in the future in return should his wife ever need it 😉

One of the best parts of being from the same place as your husband is that these kind of places mean something to both of us! We were really excited to take our kids there and let them experience a family fun day at the greatest fun spot you’ll ever know (says their slogan and commercial that I’ve had stuck in my head the whole time writing this

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We should probably be the poster family for their website or somethingIMG_1659

Late afternoon, a doomsday storm rolled in and out and totally cleared out the pool. We stayed and had the whole thing to ourselves.IMG_1661  IMG_1674

we’re 1000 times happier than we look, promiseIMG_3049

After we took the kids home and put them to bed, we came back for mini golf at a course that Tanner could do in his sleep. IMG_1680  IMG_1685 IMG_1686  IMG_1683

Thanks Cherry Hill for a fun day and years of memories!

Bear Lake + back to reality

For part of our trip home, we spent a week at Bear Lake with the Staples. We stayed in Paris, Idaho at Tanner’s sister’s husband’s parent’s cabin (got that? ) It was pretty much picture perfect summer getaway bliss. My sister and brother in law spent just about every other weekend here with their boat and I am jeeeeeealous. I’m still having major cabin envy over here (not to mention actual-participation-in-these-things-called-weekends envy, but that’s for another day). Just look at this adorable place.

IMG_2811 Though if I’m going to be totally honest, I was head over heads smitten with the one across the street. . .IMG_2849

How cute is that?!?! Once we dig ourselves out from under mountains of med school loans,(we just hit 6 figures! no turning back!) a vacation home is definitely something we’ve got our hearts set on.


This cracked me up–Camryn is apparently already too cool to smile for a photo with her dad!

We hiked,IMG_2829 IMG_2834



and ate fruit loops with cousins. These girls. Oh man. They fought like crazy the whole time but were joined at the hips. Camryn may not be able to grow hair past her shoulders but she’s about a head taller than them!IMG_3097IMG_3099 IMG_3100 IMG_3124   IMG_2852 IMG_2854

siblings reunitedIMG_3127

The lake was gorgeous and amazing and isn’t Idaho just so underrated?IMG_3128

the kiddos “hot tub”IMG_3130 IMG_3131 IMG_1520 IMG_1526 IMG_1528 wakeboardingIMG_1530 IMG_1535

a couple “staples family photoshoot” outtakesIMG_1537 IMG_1550 IMG_1578 IMG_2867

We hiked up to this beautiful Bloomington Lake, where Dana and Maren (go Maren!) + the men jumped off a rope swing into the freezing cold water because I haven’t grown up from my 12 year old self who can’t not jump off the cliff, down the mountain, into the river, etc. if all the boys are doing it. IMG_2862IMG_2871


Anne just got back from Tokyo and is throwing down peace signs like she’s our aisian foreign exchange student. But I mean, doesn’t she actually look like she could be?IMG_2887

Thank you, Staples for the wonderful vacation! The older we get, the more trips we plan ourselves, and the more children we schlep along with us, we realize how much time, energy, money, and planning that goes into these things, so thank you thank you thank you!

As I write this I am exercising all of my will power not to scratch the crap out of my arms which are covered in what I think is poison ivy but could potentially be leprosy. While I am practically drowning myself in calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream, Tanner is pulling his 4th 17 hour on campus day in a row. So I think it’s safe to say that we are having significantly less fun after our return from vacation.

On the bright side, I hit a curb this week, blew a tire, and had to replace all 4 which cost me enough to almost make me cry. Oh wait no, that was also crappy.

But for reals on the bright side, I got to sneak away for shakes last night with some great friends. If second year is going to be a whole lot harder than first year, at least I already have friends this time around! Also, I grilled pizza tonight for the first time and I feel like I’ve just opened a new chapter in our lives where I am on a quest/journey to perfect this art and we just eat a whole dang lot of grilled pizza. I definitely get like a D for presentation and photography, but it was delicious and thats all that matters.


That pitiful little huddle of cherry tomatoes represents the entirety of my crop so far. 5. And I lost half of one through the grill grate, so really 4 1/2. WTF Missouri, why aren’t I getting tomatoes? But the real question is, why don’t I have even one single zucchini?? I didn’t even know it was even possible to fail at growing zucchini. At least my basil is flourishing.


I have no good ending so. . . The End.

Summer I love you

Suuuuuuuummmmer.  Summer summer summer. I LOVE summer. Summer was amazing. Many other med school families told us to enjoy having an actually summer break because after 1st and 2nd years, “summer break” as we know it will cease to exist. As will Christmas break and all holidays in general for that matter, but anyways–we did. We enjoyed the hell out of it. We completely and utterly exhausted ourselves with fun.

We had 5 weeks total–a week here in Kansas City, 3 weeks in Utah (our first time back since moving last summer), and then another week back home in KC to recuperate, relax, not unpack 10 luggages, and gear back up for the new school year.

We camped, hiked, swam, boated, beached, napped, and dated. We literally went on twice as many dates during our stay in Utah as we had during the entire school year before it. Gotta take advantage of the abundance of free babysitters while we can! We’d put the kids to bed most nights, hand our parents the baby monitor, and then go to a movie. Because the Kaysville theater is the greatest and only $2! We really miss having a dollar theater around. And, you know, our parents, we miss them too 😉 We saw Woman in Gold, Age of Adaline, Inside Out, & one night my sister let us borrow her truck and we took it to the drive in to see Jurassic Park. I loved them all and loved spending so much time with Tanner, and just doing a normal thing like going to a movie without it being this whole scheduling circus of figuring out a night Tanner can actually go and arranging a babysitter, and arranging when I can go babysit for whoever is babysitting for me, (to avoid, heaven forbid, actually paying a babysitter) and having a movie night out be an ultra special occasion. In hindsight, that’s what July was for me–the immense relief and joy of having certain things be a matter of course instead of a rare luxury–working out and going to yoga classes without having to arrange ahead of time, going out with friends, conversations with Tanner without a time limit, sleeping in half the mornings, having a second parent around and the whole sub-list that comes with that! Oh, and being outside at night. I hadn’t really realized that I am almost never ever ever outside past like 6 p.m. because that’s when I feed my kids dinner and put them to bed and it was just so so glorious to be outside every night.

I’m holding on to pictures of a couple of the trips we took with our families to post later, but here’s everything else we did!

Gladstone Community Pool

It’s kind of a new thing that you can evaluate Tanner stress level by the length of his facial hair.  This is a couple days after finals when he hadn’t quite recovered yet.   IMG_2685 IMG_2690

We went to this place and watched this rad marble making demonstration, and I think Tanner was so tired he wanted to die but I thought it was sooooo cool, and made us stay for another. IMG_2727IMG_1504

Tanner took Camryn to Chuckie Cheese on a daddy daughter date and I’m pretty sure she had the best day of her lifeIMG_2709 IMG_2712  IMG_2716 IMG_2719

Barbeque with some other 1st year (now 2nd year!) med school families. You know you’re in med school when all the guys are over-grilling the meat and discussing the various diseases we’d all get if it’s not thouroughly cooked. IMG_2728

Raspberry picking with the Johnsons and HanchettsIMG_2737

4th of July fireworks at Davis HighIMG_2750

Pace’s! Cherry rainbows forever and ever IMG_1513

Date night to antelope island. Tanner just walked in and came up behind me and said “oh my gosh look how happy we were, that seems so far away! It’s over, it’s all over!” #medschool.  It seriously was one of my favorite dates we’ve ever been on. Why have I never been to antelope island?? This is 15 minutes from the house I’ve lived in my whole life and I really don’t think I’ve ever set foot on it.  It was gorgeous, we “hiked” a mile up to this spot and watched the best sunset ever. Antelope island has one of the largest remaining populations of bison left in North America, and even though we were on the other side and didn’t see a single one, I had buffalo nightmares the entire night long. Did you people know I am terrified of animals? I’m learning this as an adult. Like, what is scarier than a real live giant mean ugly buffalo for reals??IMG_1637 IMG_1642 IMG_1635  Camryn is super into UNO these days and begged anyone and everyone all day long to play it with her.  My parents took the brunt of it, but here is Maddy serving her time.   IMG_2754

We blessed Drew 🙂 It was most of our families first time meeting him. This picture makes me so happy, look at all these amazing men in my sons life! Especially his awesome dad. Ryan and Zach we missed you!IMG_2757 IMG_2788 IMG_2767IMG_2778

ok really though, the following 2 pictures: Bramhall hair (that’s my little sister Maddy)+ Villavicencio hair (I don’t have a picture of my sister in law, but these are her daughters Jazzlyne and Kassandra) and my brothers babies are going to have amazing hair!!

IMG_2772 IMG_3055

game night @ the RawsonsIMG_3061

El burrito with my parentsIMG_3091 IMG_3093

A big highlight of the trip for me was dinner with these lovely just really really really awesome bff’s of mine. Oh guys I miss you.IMG_2912

they’re funny and fun and make me happyIMG_2924

holla to Taeler and Kelsey who I also loved hanging out with and didn’t get pictures with which I’m annoyed at myself for! And I’m really sad I didn’t get to see more of you, especially my Provo friends, so next time!

Drive-inIMG_2933 IMG_2909 IMG_2906

My dad is really into biking and Tanner is really into France so they watch the Tour de France together. Also, Tanner got my mom totally hooked on HGTV.IMG_2897

Kaysville splash padIMG_2901 IMG_2900

Raiding the parentals garden.  All the raspberries I could eat!IMG_2805

Croquet with the Staples. Tanner and I killed it.  I mean, it’s croquet, so I don’t actually care. . . but we won.  For the record. IMG_3121

This beautiful lady on the left is Kelsey (my little brother’s wife) and she’s having a baby next month, so we threw her a shower. I’m really sad I won’t be there to meet the little guy when he’s still brand new and tiny! You only get so many opportunities in life to hold a new new baby.

The beautiful lady on the right works at H & M and has this awesome new habit of cleaning out her closet into my suitcase because she’s a sucker for her employee discount and has way too many clothes. It’s really working out for me.

The lady in the middle is my mom, she’s beautiful too!IMG_3321 IMG_3320_2

Camryn was super proud and insistent that she pull her own luggage all around the airport.  We had a 5:15 flight. oh the things to do to save $$.IMG_3140

This is the only picture we have from the entire last week of vacation because all we did was lay around and binge watch the Mindy Project.IMG_1725

Bye Summer, it’s been real.

Well hi

I’m just poking my head in to break my dry blogging spell over here! I’ll probably post about our lovely awesome soul rejuvenating month long summer break later (count on it, I’m like, 90% committed) but that’s a behemoth post the likes of which has been known to stop bloggers in their tracks for months, and I don’t believe in catch-ups. Tanner started school on Monday and it was really really sad to see him go after getting to spend pretty much every second with him for all of July. It was so great though and I feel like all the areas where I felt so depleted are all filled back up to the brim again. Life is good. Most of the break was go go go (we had things to do and people to see!) and now I’m mostly sticking around home which typically makes me crazy and lonely and bored, but is what I totally need right now. (And what my house needs too because oh man I did the absolute bare minimum of housework during our break and the place looks it!) After being gone so long (we were in Utah for 3 1/2 weeks) it’s always nice that old boring routine things are new again and my wanderlust has been satisfied. Days spent cleaning, reading stories, bathing children and making dinner are totally doing it for me for now, and it’s been really awesome to get back to bookbinding–I totally missed it ! I forced myself to take the entire month off even though I was tempted to work even more than normal since I had tanner around to watch the kids. I needed and he needed that not to happen though and I’m glad I took it off. 2nd year is apparently one big bad beast. That’s because they take step 1 boards (big scary tests) at the end of it which play a large role in determining where you get a residency and what kind of doctor you’ll get to be for the rest of your life, no biggie. Tanner was accepted to be an anatomy TA and tutor which we are really excited about but adds to his stress and hours. He’s pretty dead set these days on vascular surgery which is hard to get into and wants to do everything he can to make sure he’s able to get the residency he wants, so don’t feel bad if you don’t hear from him much this year! (Says his wife to herself)  

 Playing letters bingo this morning because this girl starts preschool next month! I read to her a ton but I’ve been pretty terrible about teaching her letters and sounds (probably because she usually yells at me to stop trying to make her learn -true story- THREE oh three you are. . . a challenge) but I bribed her with a game and ok candy, I bribed her with candy and that is always astoundingly effective 

This pretty much speaks volumes about drew’s life, poor guy. He’s such a good sport.

  And no matter what she does he thinks she’s the funniest person alive. No one can make him laugh like Camryn, even when she’s, like, spraying water in his eyes. 

Later you lovely people you