like bunnies in a cage

People, the Bramhalls are MULTIPLYING (Bramhall is my maiden name if you didn’t know).  We take seriously our commitment to replenish the earth (50% kidding right there).  Remember this post where I announced 3 new members of my family?  Well, there’s 3 more!  I’ve been dying real hard to post about them, but I’m not positive on my sisters privacy desires and I don’t want to be like, “oh hey, how was giving birth earlier today? btw is it ok if I write about it on my blog?” or ditto on “I know you’ve been on 6 planes in the last 4 days and other stressful things, but can I post a picture of my new nephew?”  So I mostly just wait for things to go Facebook/blog official before I go ahead and steal their photos and call it fair game.  (sisters, if you have a problem with it, you know where to find me!) And in the case of my facebook-hater brother, looong overdue announcement here.  So.  Without further ado, in order of appearance:


alison 2

By a series of fortunate events, my sister Alison and husband Zach adopted another baby boy!  And their first is . . . 6 months old.  Yup, hands full.  And no big deal, he came a month early, in Hawaii, a week before they were moving apartments.  Probably not stressful or overwhelming at all.  Don’t they make a beautiful family?


2nd up:  Baby boy Rawson #5.  My sister has baby name commitment issues (which I tell you not to say that there’s anything wrong with that, but to give me an excuse when I do the same thing.  It runs in my family.  Did you know I was Danielle for the first 2 weeks of my life? That is a story for another day)  He may actually have a name by now, but the last I heard (day 7 of his life) they were leaning towards Jett.  Jett Rawson.  Can you say future professional athlete?


He made a surprise accidental-unassisted-homebirth entrance!  I’m pretty sure I’m the only woman in my family hippy enough to even consider medication-free childbirth, so this was definitely not Jessica’s ideal experience, but what a story!  The paramedics arrived 2 minutes after he was born.  I’ve said it before, but with my first labor being so short, chances are good I might have the same kind of experience someday!  Hopefully everything is safe and sound like it was this time.  I can’t wait to hear the story firsthand (and hold me some newborn baby!!)  but fate would have Camryn get a croup virus this week, and I have to stay away.  And Alison lives in Texas, so by the time I get my hands on these guys, I’m afraid their wrinkled chapped newborn skin, squished faces, and skinny little limbs will be all gone and chubbed out.   Sad sad sad.  Holding a truly brand new baby is so awesome.

Here is their whole beautiful family (that’s five, count ’em, five good-lookin’ sons):  jess1

Doesn’t this picture just make you wanna have ten babies???  (Tanner said nope to that question so maybe it’s just me.) . . . and have a gigantic kitchen table and mountains of laundry and a house just swarming with little kiddos and slimy hands and noise?

New member #3 is my brother Andrew and Giannina’s baby coming this February!  No picture yet because that little girlie is still in the womb.  But we are excited to meet her and get these male/female nephews/nieces numbers just a little more even.

Who’s next?  A husband for Maddy? (who knows, she’s been avoiding all my emails)  or Anne? (she’s on a mission, so hopefully not)  pregnant Lauren? Ashley? Emily? Kelsey?  me?

Bets anyone?!  just kidding (50%)

love that baby

Having a sick baby is no fun, but the adorable tiny raspy voice and a willingness to cuddle are definitely silver linings.  Camryn is not a cuddler and I haven’t rocked her to sleep in ages, but tonight I did.  Tonight she was all sorts of falling apart.  She cried floods of gigantic sick-baby tears and everything I offered her was answered with nothing short of utter devastation.  And so we cuddled in the chair, read an entire 6-book Curious George anthology, and I rocked my baby to sleep.  Make that my toddler.  I watched her sleep, such a rare occurrence, and I thought about a conversation I’d had with a friend at the park.

My friend had two–a toddler and a nearly newborn.  She expressed with honestly her struggles with the toddler–hitting and pushing other kids, yelling at other kids, shattering bottles of nail polish on Walmart floors–the works.  She gazed at her new baby adoringly and said “please can you never grow up to be 2!”  Obviously, she loves both of her children, but she said that right now, her newborn was just easier to love.

It made me remember the first days, weeks, and months of motherhood.  There were many many moments of complete adoration. Moments of staring at my baby with total amazement and awe that I had created this human being.  Of just swelling with pride and joy–her eyes are perfect, her nose is perfect, her hands are so tiny! She’s amazing!  She’s mine!  I have the incredible blessing and privilege of caring for this little girl every day.  I felt so lucky, so happy, so amazed.

I still feel that way about her, but there’s no doubt things are different.  Toddlerhood–it’s tough.  She pushes my buttons and patience to the max every day, and with her on the move I’m more inclined to be annoyed that I can’t get things done, less inclined to sit around loving her.  But I want to make sure and take the time to just watch her sleep or play or laugh.  I want to be amazed by how beautiful her smile is and all of the sweet things she does. To sit still and stare while my heart fills all the way up and spills over.

And there she is crying again. . . I think it’s going to be a long night.  Such is motherhood.

a dozen roses

I thought we’d be to the grocery store by now, but Camryn has been quietly playing on the floor by herself with nothing but a jar of pens and pencils for about 40 minutes now (dump all the pencils out, put them all back in, repeat) and when you’re the mother of a toddler who rarely to never entertains herself, you just don’t mess with things like that.  Nope you don’t.  You don’t get up from your chair, make any sudden movements, make eye contact, or even breath too loudly.

So I’m just going to take this moment of free time to enjoy the beautiful about-to-start-dying vase of roses on my kitchen table.  Tanner and I celebrated our third anniversary last week (one month late.  life happens.) by spending a night at none other than the Grand America in Salt Lake City (funded by momma & poppa Staples as last years Christmas present) Because I had a baby shower in Bountiful and Tanner had work, we split up and met up at the Grand America, Tanner taking his bike, the train, and then his bike again.  There I was waiting in front of the hotel, and that sweetheart of a man shows up on his bike with a vase of a dozen beautiful roses in hand!  He’s a keeper, this one is.

So, this hotel.  It’s weird how rich and how poor that place can make me feel all at once.  All the fancy luxury is so fancy and luxurious, but I feel like a fraud who doesn’t belong.  Pretty sure their bathrobes alone cost about as much as our monthly rent, and if it was up to our budget, we’d have enough to cover. . .maybe parking.  The poor-man’s self parking variety of course, not to be confused with the valet variety.  As I pulled in, just finishing up my peanut butter sandwich snack, I was acutely aware of our crooked missing-a-screw license plate and how full of dirty laundry the back of my car was. (to be done at my parents house) Can you say CLASSY?? And then I hit the lobby, and well, there are just well dressed people left and right.  And I’m wearing jeans that I’ve worn 4 times a week since 2010.  But a scene in the parking garage did make me feel better–a couple nicely dressed for a wedding got their toddler out of the car in nothing but a diaper and then tried to pull a fancy poofy dress over her head and she was having none of that at all.  Rich or poor–toddlers still throw tantrums!

Anyway, it was a great time.  We went shopping (new pants :)), we had sushi, we celebrated anniversary style. 3 years 🙂  Congratulations to us.



Even though I’m the cheapskate in this relationship (every relationship needs one right?  but only one) I will never ever think buying flowers is a bad idea.  I’ve heard from so many people that flowers are a waste of money and they’d rather have a gift that will last, but no amount of expense could make me say “skip the flowers–let’s spend it on something useful.”  I love with all of my heart a vase of fresh flowers on my kitchen table.

on Kansas City, stunning mountains, and being present

Ok so, we’re still waiting and wishing on (more) interviews but I am thrilled beyond measure to announce that Tanner has his first interview!  It was last Tuesday that he got the email, and let me tell you–thrilled beyond measure are we.  Wait did I already say that?  Can’t emphasize it enough.  I was an awesome moment for us.  Just a really great validating moment like oh hey!  we probably do have a future!  This really huge thing that we have been working towards for a really long time might actually happen for us! I am so freaking proud of my awesome husband.  What a stud that man is, really.

The interview is at KCUMB in Kansas City.  Kansas City, which is a city that is not actually in Kansas (yes, what?) but is in fact in Missouri. And which is absolutely not a place that I would ever have put on my top-5-places-I want-to-live list, and actually sounded like it would be on an opposite sort of list (kind of an oh-dear-please-can-we-not-move-here list)  BUT turns out Kansas City is actually really cool.  It’s a much bigger city than my uneducated self knew even existed that close to the middle of our country, it’s a good school, houses are cheap cheap cheap, there’s a temple there.  All good things.  And we were very happy to discover in our research that KCUMB has an extremely high acceptance rate of those who interview–70, 80, even 90% some years–most schools have way lower than that.  So we are breathing a lot easier even though we haven’t heard back from any other schools yet.

Lots of really good things happened this week.  Really really good things.  Sometimes I find myself frustrated all autumn long that autumn is so dang short.  Instead of enjoying the leaves and the stunning sight that is Mount Timpanogos, and COLORS (the colors!)  I catch myself depressed that it’s almost over already, annoyed that there are so few not-hot-but-not-freezing days, discontented that I’m not getting enough fall– that I haven’t visited a farm or knitted lots of things or jumped in piles of leaves or hiked daily or gone on a back-packing trip or taken stunning photos in the canyon, or. . . you know, those things.  I’ve got indoor guilt like crazy.  But I really do just need to let go of what I can’t do and love every second of what I do get.

Friday we drove the Alpine Loop as a family and I was fighting this hard.  Fighting to let myself enjoy it instead of wishing we had more time.  The sun was close to setting already, and at first that made me disappointed, but I think it made it better.  We’d go through a really shaded part where it was getting dark and everything was grey, and then we’d burst through to where the sun was shining and everything would seem like it was on fire.  We didn’t get awesome pictures.  We didn’t have time to stop for a well-planned picnic or a hike.  We were a week or 2 late on seeing the colors at their prime.  But we did have a lovely family drive through the canyon, and that’s good enough.


We also picked out pumpkins at the farmers market.


And went rock climbing with our new friends the Sullivans, which was SO FUN.  really.  really fun.  Worlds apart from climbing the indoor rock wall at the quarry.  Rock canyon is stunning (do I keep saying stunning?? It’s just the only word I keep thinking to describe these mountains and canyons!) and Bethany and James were kind enough teach us the ropes and deal with our oh-so-green at outdoor rock climbing selves.  I only wish I’d gotten into this sooner and had time left in Provo to really give this hobby a shot.

rock climbing 1

rock climbing 3

rock climbing2

#1 reason I document my life–because if I don’t I sit around feeling sorry for everything I’m missing out on, and if I do I feel like my life is so full.  Look-turns out we’ve done lots of fun beautiful fall things! I just forgot.


I’ve been going to a fantastic yoga class and this week she said one little thing that I really grabbed on to:

Take a moment to just be present.  Just be here.  Let go of whatever may have happened today and let yourself be happy that right now, you are right here.


We’re just sittin’, waitin’, wishin’. . .

for a medical school to want us!

We have finally reached the point in the medical school application process where we. . . wait.  We’ve submitted all of Tanner’s secondary applications, and by we, I definitely mean we, because there was a lot of essay writing going on and I helped a lot and I can honestly say that all those awful essays made me happy for the first time since graduating college that I’m not in school right now.  Each application required about 2 or 3 essays and we applied to about 16 schools, so ya, that’s a lot of essays.  (And there may or may not have been a 1500 word/1500 CHARACTER mixup that almost cost Tanner a limb)

And now they’ve been submitted and we are nervous as can be waiting, waiting, waiting for interview calls. It’s been about a week or 2 or 3 since we submitted most of them, so this week is about the time we’d expect some emails to be rolling in. Or we could just not get a single one until April.  Or none at all! Most school accept “on a rolling basis”, so just because you don’t get a call right away doesn’t mean you won’t get an interview and and an acceptance much later on.  It’s just plain nerve-wracking is what it is. I’m really really nervous. Even though I have complete confidence that Tanner is the best applicant out of anyone alive and everyone that rejects him are idiots,  idiots!  I’m still nervous.

Two weeks ago we got a letter in the mail from the Office of Admissions at Midwestern, which is in our top 5, maybe even our top choice.  It was right after we had submitted our secondary application to them, and when I saw the letter I was kind of freaking out, because what we’re wanting is an email or a call extending an interview invitation, and a very skinny piece of mail could only mean one thing right?  A rejection.  I didn’t want to open it without Tanner so I was calling and calling him, all the while thinking, if we got a rejection right off the bat from our top choice, do we have any chance at any interviews at all???  When I finally opened it, it was a lame “Thank you for submitting your secondary application.  We have begun to review it and will let you know our decision as soon as possible.” Which is not a no and is not a yes, and that envelope wasn’t worth one bit of the excitement it fostered, apparently.

And then we got our first rejection last week from Rocky Vista University in Denver, which was not fun at all.

People will say “you must be dying to know where you’re going to be living for the next 4 years!”  Which is true.  But I am pretty wide open to anywhere that we may go (except New Jersey.  please let it not be New Jersey) pretty stoked all around for our next adventure, mostly I just really really hope we’re going somewhere.  Not because I don’t want to be here–I’m loving Utah more and more all the time.  I just don’t want us to be stagnant and we’re all so ready to move on to the next part of our lives next year.

I’m really hoping that much sooner than later, this whole post is moot and we’re making hard decisions about which school to accept out of our many options.  But until then we’re just waiting and wishing!

7 quick takes

I’m linking up with Jen for 7 quick takes

1.  TANNER HAS THE ENTIRE WEEKEND OFF.  As in, when his chemistry lab ends at 3:00 today, he doesn’t have one single class or hour of work until 9:30 Monday morning!!  That probably hasn’t happened since the weekend we went on our honeymoon and probably won’t happen again until we celebrate, oh, our 10th anniversary?  So we better have us one heck of a good weekend is all I can say!

2.  We’re going rock climbing this afternoon 🙂  Like, real outdoor rock climbing with friends who have equipment and know what they’re doing.  We picked today because obviously, freezing and rainy is ideal outdoor rock climbing weather.  And the ironic part is that this is a raincheck from last Friday when it was also freezing and rainy.  So all of those glorious sunny fall days in between and after last Friday and this Friday can just go jump in a lake because this is the only day we can go, ok?

3.  Does anyone else’s husband have a shameless crush on Katie Perry?

4.  I went to yoga last night for the first time in way too long and it was awwwwweeesome.  So far in my life experience, there is nothing a little yoga can’t fix.  It was a free class (free yoga?  yes please.  Provoites, just ask and I’ll tell you where to find free yoga twice a week this month)  and at the end she did this awesome thing during shavasana where she had some strongly scented something on her hands, gave me a slight massage and and moved all my limbs and oh.  oh my.  practically put me into a coma.  I will be going back to that yoga class.

5.  After yoga, I picked up Camryn at Ryan and Kelsey’s place.  Two things to say about that.  1) Camryn had all of her fingernails and toenails painted for the first time in her life because Aunt Kelsey is way more fun than mom.  2)  Their apartment complex has BATS.  As I walked up to their 3rd floor apartment I was trying to figure out what the weird sound was and told them “uh, I think there are birds nesting in the roof over there.”  They informed me that no,  they weren’t birds, they were bats.  And after living in oh so many 100 year old apartments in Provo, I thought I’d seen everything in the book, but this was new.  They laughed as they told me about another tenant who had knocked on their door petitioning them to please send in a maintenance request about the bats because she’s already sent 7, they’d been ignored, and she was trying to gain strength in numbers.  She had a list of all the reasons why this was really important and why bats are dangerous, their toxic poop, etc.  And all I can say is that if I was living in that complex too, I would be that girl.

6.  I’m having a fall sale in my etsy shop! 20% off all notebooks this week.  You should probably go check it out because I’m pretty certain you need a notebook.

fall sale


7.  My toddler is on a tantrum rampage.  It’s the worst.  Instances for tantrum include but are not (even close to) limited to:

  • When it’s time to leave the park
  • When it’s time to leave the library
  • When I dress her
  • When I undress her
  • Everytime I open the fridge and wont let her inside
  • when I won’t let her drink the toothpaste
  • When I won’t let her knock on strangers doors or go into their backyards
  • When I change her diaper
  • When I put anything on her high chair try that isn’t one of her 8 foods that she’ll eat
  • When dad leaves for class/work
  • When any other baby or toddler touches any of her toys
  • When any other baby or toddler sits in her high chair
  • When mom shows any kind of love and affection towards any other baby or toddler (we’re looking forward to her first sibling, let me tell you!)
  • The grocery store
  • Church
  • when I cook

I’ll stop now.  but I could keep going.

Here are a couple cute pictures of her mostly to remind myself that sometimes she isn’t screaming.



This is her and her friend Lily helping me clean the floor


And her and her friend Mac chatting on the phone.


happy Friday!

Summer vacation 2013

Here is a slideshow of our August Southern California vacation in all of its photo-dump glory.  I usually love taking pictures and think I’m halfway decent at making sure I get good, balanced, aesthetically pleasing documentation of our trips, but for some reason that didn’t happen here at all.  Sorry if you spent 3 or 6 solid days with us and didn’t even make the photo dump once.   It doesn’t mean we didn’t love and appreciate your prescence! My toddler doesn’t ever let me do what I want might have had something to do with it.


First on our calendar of events was the wedding of my littler brother Ryan and his wife Kelsey in the beautiful Redlands CA temple


And this is our perfectly behaved daughter having a not-at-all-melodramatic meltdown on the grounds of said temple.


What we didn’t know is that this was the first in a series that resulted from a 2-day nap strike that was delightful for all parties involved, I assure you.  I was terrified that this is what I had to look forward to for the entire 10 days we were to be in California, but thankfully she wised up and started taking her naps.


I neglected to get a single picture of just the bride and groom.  oops.  IMG_4403


this is their beautiful garden reception at Kelsey’s parents house.  It’s laughable how little justice I managed to do it with my camera.  A shame really.  IMG_0322


Newport beach with my family


that’s my mom.  and she’s smiling!  not that she never smiles, because she does, except that for the entirety of my existence, anytime I’ve pointed a camera at her she’s given me a raised eyebrow “I hate it when you take my picture” look.  But sometime in recent months she must have realized her smile is much more attractive than that face and maybe she’d like her posterity to remember her this way instead.  good job mom!


This is how the Bramhalls do vacation:IMG_4418


We got to meet Owen!  Alison and Zach’s baby that they adopted in April.  he’s CUTE.


After staying with my family for a few days, we drove about 15 minutes to where Tanner’s family was staying for the next 6 days (which was hugely, awesomely convenient timing/location and I can’t believe it worked out that well)

With them we spent 2 days in Disneyland and 1 day at California Adventure

Who’s happier to be here, Camryn or her dad?

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ya know that iconic picture of the kid konked out their stroller after a long day at Disneyland?  this is Camryn at 9 in the morning after a grand total of 2 rides: Peter pan and the teacups.  I guess it was all just a little overwhelming.
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We realized after about oh, 1/3 of the first line that Camryn was at just the age to have a REALLY hard time waiting in line for 3 days.  Pretzels and goldfish only got us so far (and girlfriend ate a LOT of pretzels and goldfish on this trip)  so for days 2 and 3. . . we got a toddler leash.  Judge away, but that thing was a life-saver.  And really cute if you ask me.

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in line for Toy Story with grammy (Tanner’s mom)IMG_0348 IMG_0350

and the whole gang


Waiting for the World of Color show to start which was AWESOME.  Of all of the times I’ve been to these amusement parks, I can’t really ever remember going to many shows (just riding as many rollercoasters as many times as possible.  that’s how we do) , but this time around they were my favorite part.  There was a little “princess theatre” we took camryn to that does plays of different disney movies,  we went to Aladdin at a big theatre,  the fantasma (fantasmic?) show, the world of color, and they were all awesome.   And they helped break things up so you weren’t always in line or on a ride–which, you know, isn’t bad, but if you have more than one day there, it was a really fun change of paceIMG_0368 IMG_4472 IMG_4475 IMG_4477

i also don’t think i’ve ever been to toon town.  we definitely  skipped that on our college roadtrip disneyland excursionsIMG_4481 IMG_4486

A lot of the time, Tanner’s parents would take everyone’s tickets and go get fast passes for the good rides.  I think there were 17 of us, half of which were too short/young for the rides we had fast passes for,  and then some of tanner’s siblings don’t like some of the bigger rollercoasters or get sick, so sometimes we got to ride 2 or 3 times in a row with fast passes.  it was awesome!  thanks mark at jana!
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our nieces went to the “bibbidy bobbidy boutique” and got the beauty shop treatment from the fairy godmother hairdressers.  so cute.


we had some great pool daysIMG_4502 IMG_4504 IMG_4509

Somewhere in there I also got to go out to breakfast with Corrie, hang out at the beach with Lyndi, and spend an entire day on Huntington Beach which somehow didn’t get a single photo.

and since I love to end things on a negative note, then there was the drive home and that middle of the desert gridlock traffic catastrophe that made me question my willingness to ever drive that far again with children

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The end.

Can i go on vacation again please?