President’s Day Weekend (might just be up there on my list of favorite holidays)

I probably owe Courtney Shakespear a thank you note.  And a bouquet of flowers.  And chocolate and really whatever that girl wants because I feel so indebted to her for inviting us to spend Presidents Day weekend with her and most of the coolest people I know at her (parents) cabin in Kamas.  Oh yes, those ladies are the coolest people I know.  And I’m so glad we’re still friends after SIX–yikes– years out of the old high school.  These ladies are my BFFFE as we used to say back in the days (you did it too, don’t lie) and they all happened to marry pretty cool guys that my husband loves hanging out with too which made it one party of a weekend.  And all the food and snow machines didn’t hurt one little bit either.

Just a little fun fact: 3 out of 4 of us married guys we went to high school with, making Cole the only non-Davis dart–way to represent, Cole!

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We did lots of things.

A lot of them weren’t very safe and involved 4 wheelers and snowmobiles




I look happy in the picture, but really I SCREAMED my face off the entire time I rode on the back of this thing.  I don’t know if anything makes Tanner happier than driving way too fast through long stretches of wintery wasteland.  It’s kind of exactly his cup of tea.

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We played lots of games.  Masters of Commerce, it’s a good one that I’d never seen before this week.  Bramhalls–you heard it from me first.  Oh, and that’s only after the explanation of Settlers of Catan bored the entire party to tears and we put it away before even starting.  Courtney:  “I feel like I’m in history class!”



we cooked (lots and lots and lots of good food)


heather juiced


Steph danced (I know you are just loving my photography.   don’t worry, there’s more)


Courtney and cole doted over Easton


Jake and jake stood around looking bad-A


we tubed (which is really funny because to the people on the 4 wheeler pulling you, it looks like your’e going reeeally slow, but on the tube you feel like you’re going to die and may or may not be screaming really dramatically and looking like a fool)



we protected our babies from the elements. . . kind ofIMG_3176IMG_3175

and let me tell you something about the menfolk and their machines.  they are in complete heaven.  They love to rev those engines and drive too fast and there is just something in their bones that make them feel manly beyond reason when they are on those things.  And giddy like a little boy at the same time.  As far as I’ve observed, Tanner has a particular brand of maniacal laughter that is reserved specifically for when he’s driving a snowmobile or a jetski



I took some pretty good lookin family portraits. . .



and we did a lot of restin’ and relaxin’

(oh and one missed nap that ruined my life for 16 hours but we won’t talk about that)



oh and the part where tanner had a love affair with this chair


and how Heather makes cute faces every time I point my camera at her



and. . . some group photos even though it make the guys roll their eyes


I love you guys!


That’s the end.  It felt amazing to be away from home for a few days, have a change of scenery, and experience the parts of winter that are awesome and not miserable.  I love hanging out with these people.  Though I kind of feel like I barely got a chance to say hello and like I need to call each of them and catch up still.  Wierd?  It’s probably Camryn’s fault for needing so much dang attention all the time.

I hope your weekend was just as stellar.  Now lets get over this winter thing, yes?


getting filthy

We went to the park on Wednesday to swing because it was a beautiful, gorgeous, sunny spring day because it was 5 degrees above freezing and I made the big mistake of setting Camryn down on a small patch of mostly dry grass thinking it would be nice for her to actually sit outside for a change.  She’s been developing quite the personality of her own lately which includes freaking. out.  every time I pick her up when she does not want to be picked up.  And she did not want to be picked up.  She wanted to scoot around the damp, dirty, cold park, make piles of damp, dirty, cold woodchips (why has sand been universally replaced by woodchips??) and. . . scoot through a square field-of-rocks-and-prickly-bushes landscaping area.  All on her butt.  And she was getting pretty filthy, but I couldn’t stop her.  Partly because I didn’t want to get my hand bitten off, and partly because I didn’t have the heart.


I’m of the strong opinion that kids should spent most of their childhood hours playing outside getting dirty.  I lived right next to a ravine as a kid and there a lot more hours spent down there sledding, playing baseball, hopping the stream, building forts, climbing trees than there ever were spent inside doing adult supervised and organized crafts and activities.  That’s how I want Camryn to grow up.  And as long as she’s not eating the woodchips, or throwing the rocks at other children, it’s all good right?

I found (this picture) online the other day and I can’t explain why or how much I love it.  Remember when you could be entertained for an entire day making mudcakes on the back patio in your bare feet?  When I saw the picture, it struck me how many pictures are bouncing around the internet and on blogs of perfect dressed and clean good-looking model children.  Where are all of these kind?

On the practical side of things though, I think I need to designate a pair of dark pants as her “scooting outside filthy pants”  because there is little hope that the stain is ever coming out of these neon leggings.

Notebook Love: Don’t not write/my only and favorite soapbox/why the biggest reason you aren’t writing is stupid

Well hi, welcome to this Tuesday that’s kind of a Monday and really felt like a Monday.

Today I’m going to talk about what I think is the #1 stumbling block that people have when it comes to personal writing/notebooking/journaling/blogging, whatever you want to call it:  they think they have to catch up.  But hey, guys, you don’t.  And that’s a really really really stupid reason not to write.

If you’re always trying to play catch up, you’re either never going to write because you’ll keep delaying until you can catch up, but since you’ll never have time to “catch-up” to your satisfaction, you’ll get stuck in the eternal cycle of procrastination,  OR, you’ll end up with a really boring, emotionless, watered down version of a record of your life.

Allow me to elaborate.  This problem was first brought to my attention during the 2 months I spent in Guatemala.  I lived in a janky little (really, little)  house with lots (really, lots) of people in quarters close enough for everyone to be all up in everyone else’s business about everything, which included what they did with their free time evening hours.  And since we were participating in a high adventure, high emotion, once in a lifetime thing, you best believe most of us ladies (and those 2 guys) had ourselves some notebooks to document the whole thing.  And almost every day, from at least one of the 5 ladies sharing my bedroom, I’d hear the lament “I’m so behind!”,  accompanied by something along the lines of: “I really really want to write about the devastatingly heart-wrenching experience I had today at the orphanage that makes me cry every time I think about it, BUT I can’t write about that yet because I haven’t written yet about the ridiculous bus ride we took 3 days ago that made me laugh no-lie harder than I ever have ever in my entire life OR the backstory on why my project is kind of failing and how it’s making me feel like a failure.”

So.  When they crashed into this dilema, they’d often do one of two things:  Some would just not write at all out of a paralyzed and overwhelmed awareness of their inability to capture every noteworthy experience and emotion they’ve had and tack it to paper.   The problem with this one is obvious–something is better than nothing and here you end up with nothing!  Others would play catch up.  And the problem with that is one that I think the average notebooker is less likely to see as a problem.  In this example, playing catch up means putting aside the fresh-in-your-mind-and-heart intense emotions and thoughts you are having right then for that day, pushing them aside for the totally different emotions you were feeling before that, or yesterday, or last week, or last month.  You’ll end up with a heartless recapped version: “we went there, we did this, it was amazing, it was fun, I loved it”  Instead of the beautiful details.  What color the sky was, what struck you most about the scene, the direct quote that made you laugh so hard, what the place smelled like, what you ordered for lunch.  You miss capturing what things feel like in the moment, when you haven’t seen the outcome or gotten over your euphoria, or grief, or embarrassment, anger, stress, or contentedness–those feeling that are so all-encompassing when they happen that you feel as if you will always feel this way.  So happy, optimistic and alive that nothing will ever get you down–or so dejected and depressed that you can’t see any way out of it.

Ok, I’m getting a little carried away and that might be extreme, but if you want to write when you are feeling something strongly–that’s when you should write it.  If you go back and write something different, by the time you get to where you are, you’ll have dampened it and taken the umph out of it.

My advice to you is not to get hung up on the catching up.  Your notebook will be more interesting.  It will be more real, more you, and really evoke the memories it was meant to and mean something to you.  There is no such rule that you need to write in chronological order.  Allow yourself to doodle, dabble, and dribble out whatever wants to come out.  If something you skipped is really that important to you, you will make the time to go back and record it later.  Go ahead and rant about the woes of nursing that are making you crazy right now even though you haven’t gotten around to penning a novel about the beautiful experience that was giving birth.  There’s no reason not to write about how good it feels to forgive and make up with your boyfriend just because you haven’t told the whole backstory on how you got together, or what your fight was even about in the first place.  Even though it seems silly and trivial to blog or write about how shocked Downtown Abbey just rendered you (man, the internet really is going nutso over that one, I am very much out of the loop.  Haven’t watched a single minute of the show)  when you haven’t even recorded anything about your wedding, your dog dying, your trip to Thailand, or your epic-beyond-epic birthday party–  The fact is, most moments of our life are composed of the small things, so why put recording them on hold for the few and far between big things?

I give you permission.  Just skip it all and vent about Downtown Abbey already.

This is the stuff of life.

(My guatemala notebook)

guate notebook

(a little gem I found while l photographing my Guatemala notebook that you can read if you have the patience/desire to decipher it:)

guate notebook 2

7 quick takes

I’m linking up with this blogger Jen (who to be honest I don’t read so much as I read Grace) who does these 7 quick take linkups.

1– We’ll start off with my most important item of business–glory hallelujah–Camryn didn’t poop in the tub last night.  Which in case you want to be really grossed out and also feel really sorry for me, is the first time in 2 solid months.  so.  big fat bleach-and-rubber-gloves-free victory for me.

2–do people with children just get used to paying library fines for damaged books, or is that just me?  First there was the whole leaving a stroller full of picture books outside in the sprinklers incident, and then yesterday the little lady ripped the cover clean off of my current paperback read The Book Thief.

3– I made these

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My friend Mandy is teaching me embroidery.  She had this cute etsy shop where she sells her hoops and I’m learning to make some too.  Mostly I want to use it to embroider pieces that I’ll then turning into notebook covers but I’m doing a few hoops as well.

4–Camryn finally figured out that she doesn’t have to stay on her back and just fall asleep when I put her down for a nap.  Instead she can sit up, or even stand up, which of course is not conducive to sleeping and is turning out to be a very undesirable development.  very undesirable.

5–I have a headache.  I think because I keep staying up too late since, as mentioned in my last post, post bedtime is my only time to do anything no involving camryn and also because i want to see tanner after work.  But holy cow, I am feeling the sleep deprivation.  I can already hear my 8-months-ago and 8-years-in-the-future self laughing at me saying “you don’t know anything about sleep deprivation”  but still. . . even though it’s self inflicted at this point, I’m feeling it.

6–I am now an official reviewer for BYU’s Children’s Book and Play Review (thanks Lauren!).  It’s an online journal where they publish, obviously, children’s book reviews.  I suspect it’s not something that scores of peoples read, but I’m excited.  It will keep me in the practice of writing something semi-professional, will be great for resumes and/or applications when the time comes or need arises and will give me an excuse to shamelessly read Children’s literature, which I love.  If you have any recommendations, please throw them my way!  They can be anything from picture books to young adult.  Oh, and I’ve been told that I will occasionally receive free books, online access to advance copies of books (i.e. not yet available to the general public) and access to a super secret special room in the library that contains similar materials.  Which makes me geek out just a tiny little bit.

7.  So so so excited for this weekend!!  It took its sweet time getting here, but let me tell you around here we are READY for it.

love day

oh ya, and Happy Valentines Day!!!  I forgot to be in the holiday spirit since we will actually be celebrating tomorrow since my husband serves at a restaurant and today is (supposedly and hopefully) their busiest day of the year.  I think with a husband who is a server/aspiring ER physician, I’m going to have to get used to celebrating holidays on not the actual holiday.  Fine with me!  as long as he makes enough today for us to go splurge on some day-after clearance item flowers and goodies 🙂

may your day be filled with love and chocolate

a mom just rambling off about naptimes

7 attempts at a morning nap and the scorecard stands at

Camryn:  6 1/2 points

Dana: 1/2 points

I’m only giving myself half of one victory because she’s not quite asleep yet.  She put up a solid battle and few protest whines that had me about thinking it was time to bag the whole thing and try again  later.  BUT I think it’s happening.  Knock on wood.

I always used to think it sounded kind of, I don’t know, rude (mean, ungrateful for their little bundle of joy?)  for parents to rejoice so much in nap time.  They’d say things along the lines of they absolutely lived for the hour when their babies were napping/missing a nap is the worst thing that can happen, and I’d think “are they really so bad that you just can’t wait to be rid of them for a while?”  or “if you hate them being awake so much, why do you keep having more of them?”

But now I understand.  It’s not that we don’t love the little gremlins, it’s just that (depending on your kid, I guess) we can’t do anything else while their awake except give them our full and undivided attention.  Imagine a job where you’re at work from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. (if you’re lucky and don’t get several middle of the night calls) without a single break or scheduled lunch or dinner hour.  And the only time you can shower, dress, eat in peace, blog, read, exercise, talk to other human beings or whatever else it is that you do in this world besides work–is nap time.  I don’t think it’s overly dramatic to say that a toddler refusing to nap is the absolute worst thing ever.

I saw an advice column recently where someone wrote a letter asking why her mom-of-one friend never had any time for her and what do stay at home moms do all day anyway?   The answer is that (between feedings and diaper changes), we spend 2 hours running 20 minute errands and the next 2 hours performing 10 minute tasks, then anywhere from 2 to 200 minutes putting the child down for a nap, spend the nap in recovery mode (if you only have 1 child or are lucky enough that your children nap at the same time), and then we repeat.  You’d think that a child old enough to play and crawl around on the floor would just happily play and crawl around on the floor while you do things, but that’s not how it works.  I’ve discovered that 90% of the time, playing and crawling around only happens if I am doing it with her, or sitting on the floor watching her.  The exact moment that I stand up to doing anything else, or pull out a book or plate of food or whatever it may be, a honing device chemical releases in her brain that tells her to destroy whatever it is mom is doing.

So yes, us moms, as much as we love our babies, we really really love it when they are sleeping.

Notebook Love: A blog series

I LOVE NOTEBOOKS.  They’re awesome.  I love brand new ones; fresh, clean, and blank with smooth, crisp pages and tight spines.  I love old ones that are well-worn, well-loved, filled cover to cover with lead and ink and stuffed fulls of spare pages everywhere –those ones that look like they’ll disintegrate or explode if you breath on them.  Moleskin, leather bound, handmade, pocket-size, jotters, spiral bound, composition, notepads.  I love them empty and I love them full. I love them as an object and also as an art.  I love writing in them, sketching, doodling, dreaming, making collages, making lists.  They help me be happier, vent anger, express creativity, define myself.

Fuji Superia 800 Standard #234-2

I love notebooks and to share the love, I’ve decided to do a series highlighting my love of notebooks, and by extension, writing (and probably paper, handwriting, and record keeping).  I keep many notebooks and think everyone should do the same (or at least one), but I’ve noticed so many ways that people get hung up on the whole thing.  I’ve heard countless varieties of the goal “keep a journal” make its appearance on so many resolutions lists, and heard people express dismay at their own lack of commitment with it and I’ve wondered why.  It’s never been something I had to work on or resolve to do–it’s always just burst forth out of me.  Less like a chore and more like a need and a joy.

So, you may not be there yet, but I want to inspire you all to keep notebooks.  Not in a make-you-feel-guilty-if-you-don’t kind of way, but just a space to share tips, ideas, encouragement, inspiration and pretty pictures.  If you have an awesome notebook/notebook type project idea/an insanely awesome 200 year old notebook from your great great ancestor/thoughts on the subject, I’d love for you to share!  (email me

Look for my notebook love posts in weeks to come (tuesdays? yes, tuesdays I think)