Saturday, December 31, 2011

SO long, farewell....Hello there!

So 2011 is over. 

Today is a time of self reflection to look back at the year and the goals I made and see how I did. First, I wanna say that I really loved 2011. The last few days a lot of people of facebook have been down on 2011. Now I know we all go through different challenges and I am not saying that 2011 was the best year of my life or that I look at life through rosey glasses, but come one people, seriously was it that bad? I had a fun year, granted I had my ups and downs this year, but at the end of the day I really can't complain. I am super excited to see what 2012 will bring for me and my family. Before we get to those goals lets look at 2011 Goals.

Send birthday cards via mail or email to family for their birthdays
I only did this for the first month of the year. Afterwards I either made phone calls, did the FB birthday wish, or did nothing. 

Be honest and ethical in my daily dealings
I am proud to say that I improved a lot on this and feel like I was blessed for my efforts, especially at work where this can be the most challenging. 

Go to the temple every other month
I went probably 2-3 times this year. This is something I would like to improve on for 2012

Read my scriptures 3 times a week
Meh. I had good weeks and bad weeks with this. 

Read the Ensign cover to cover
This was pretty easy to do and now that we have the LDS app on my phone we stopped buying the magazine. I love having the scriptures and other LDS tools at my finger tips. There are times during my day where I try to skim the apps instead of wasting my time on FB stalking people. 

Read a book each month
When I first started this goal I knew I would suck at it. And I did, sorta. I read the Hunger Games series, 1 book from my book club (Enders Game, but technically I only got half way then I finished with the Clip Notes, I am a cheater), then I read 2-4 pregnancy books. SO I did read a lot of books. In 2012 I am going to continue this but be more specific with it. 

I always give excuses and reasons for simple everyday actions. Nothing major. Just dumb stuff. As an example, one time I was going down the elevator and I had to tell my receptionist why I was going down. No big deal though and what does she care. SO for this goal I want to refrain from giving people reasons or excuses for my actions. If they need to know why then they will ask.
I rocked this!

Be more confident in everything I do.
When I did stuff I tried to commit to them trusted the choices I made. I did good here but will forever be improving on this. 

Listen more
This will forever be a goal as the biggest room in the work is room for improvement. 

Be the first to order off the menu at a restaurant. 
As long as it was the same restaurant I did awesome. :)

Cook dinner 5 times a week. 
We had some good weeks where I was motivated and in the cooking groove and off weeks. All in all not too shabby and our budget and getting out of debt is proof of this. 

Stay fit and healthy. ~ I never want to say diet or loose weight. Though it would be awesome to be at my prewedding weight. I just don't think it is going to happen unless I starve myself. I am gorgeous and content with what I look like. I would like to keep my healthy eating and exercising habits because they make me feel great!
I have never been more confident with how I look and feel and that confidence has helped my self esteem steer clear of rude comments people have made since I have become pregnant. There were days when I felt like a walrus, but I would work through it after my own personal pep talk and some love and support from Lars. 

Reconnect with old friends
I did get a chance to reconnect with a small handful of old high school/college friends and loved it. 

Draw or paint a picture each week.
I wasn't good about this at all like I wanted to be, but thanks to Brother Koenig, I will be drawing on the church program every Sunday. He prints a black and white picture of the temple on the program with the hopes that kids will color. I color and have gotten incredible creative. At the end of church I give him my program to keep. I hope he is putting them in a book or something and maybe someday I will publish that book. :)

Dance more and sing out loud
Continue to smile
These two are fun and I will always be doing now matter what.

So not a bad year as far as getting my goals done. I really could always do better. Now for 2012. I will be having a baby in a few weeks so most of my goals for 2012 will in one way or another probably be directly related to this new chapter I am en devouring on. I will also be turning 29 in a few weeks. I made a lot of goals to myself to accomplish before I turn 30. My clock is running out on those so this year is the homestretch to accomplish those goals or extend them. I am super excited to see what this year has in store for me. I know it will be very hard at times, but with faith and smiles I am sure I can do it. 

2012 Goals
Be an awesome Mom (Last year I said I either wanted to have a baby by the time I was 30 or get a dog, the baby beat out the dog :) We will still get a dog but not for a few years)

Continue to be an awesome Wife

Get back in post preggo shape after baby is born (eat healthy and exercise weekly)

Continue to have my own interests and identity after the baby is born (I am going to love being a Mom and will give it my all, but I still want to be me and get away from time to time and not let my child define me entirely to the point that I don't do anything for me or am sad. I think to remain sane and balanced I will need to continue to pursue stuff for me. Balance has been my biggest worry about becoming a Mom. In the past I have been the go to person for everything but I am learning to take it easy and put myself first in certain things so I can be sane and happy enough to take care of my little family better. After the baby is born I want to be able to balance the responsibilities I have in a way that keeps me happy enough to continue pursue those  responsibilities  /interests, ie work, homemaker, church callings, etc.)

With that last goal being said I would like to read 6 biographies this year. 

Continue to have date night with Lars, even if we are improvising now that we are parents. 

Take an art or sewing class

Finish writing the musical I started. I have the story idea down but I just need to get some songs together.

Participate in a local Theatre production

Finish the Book of Mormon again

Create a profile

Go to the temple 6 times

Be more active in politics. I love discussing politics as of late and have become more passionate about standing up for what I believe through politics. 

Go shooting at a gun range twice and maybe even buy a gun

Go camping 3 times with my family/friends

Sing and dance to my baby boy everyday and help him laugh and love life as much as I do

There ya go. Wish me luck. Make it a great year everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Everyday Regular Joe's

Lars brother had the funniest post on his FB status the other day. He said, "I go to the same Arctic CIrcle so often that the manager gave me a Christmas card." 

I don't know why but I thought that was so funny and cute. It made me think about the regular Joe's that I encounter daily that I may take for granted. How their small acts of kindness can really go a long way. I work in customer service and I love it when people are kind and say thank you or really go above and beyond. That is what I expect of myself at work so naturally I expect it of others when I go out shopping. Plus I think it is just a healthy attitude all around to put more value and stock in our relationships and interactions with people. Especially people we see daily. My Mom always said treat others how you want to be treated. I like making people smile and laugh cause I never know what kind of day they are having and I appreciate it when people unintentionally do the same for me. 

SO Thank You....

Garbage man who picks up our garbage cans every Tuesday at 7 am and Fridays at 1 pm. I enjoy waving to you from my kitchen table when I am there as you drive by. Yesterday, I wished you a Happy New Year by throwing my hands in the air and yelling Happy New Year. You stopped driving and returned the exact same motion back to me. It made me smile.

Papa Johns Pizza regular delivery guy. You deliver your pizza with so much enthusiasm. Seriously, when I answered the door he practically sang, "Hello, I am the pizza man."  Then announced in a radio host voice what was on our pizza to confirm it was correct. I responded with, "Hello, I am a hungry girl." We then proceeded to share funny pregnancy stories. Nice guy and I will tip him well. 

Arby's dude who rings us up EVERY TIME we go to Arby's. This guy is nice. Lars and I went to Arby's immediately after our first ultrasound, we also heard the heart beat for the first time. We were both so excited that when I walked into the restaurant I help up the picture and announced to the few strangers and workers present that we were pregnant and they were the first people to know. (We did call our parents first but the adrenalin was so high I didn't care who knew after that). Since then this guy chats with us a bit every time we go there, which lately has been a lot because I cannot get enough of their Beef n'Cheddars.

The long blonde hair lady who manages the self check out line at my local Ralphs. She is kind and helpful and always shows a person interest in her customers. 

These people and others are the everyday regular Joe's that I interact with. Their kindness and smiles brighten my sometimes gloomy days. I hope I can pay it forward by treating other I interact with nicely and maybe even give them a Christmas card. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Young Printer for Sale

We are selling our old printer. Or would like to...check out the info here and contact me if you wanna talk business here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

36 Weeks

Here I am at 34 weeks
Here at 36 weeks

Probably not much difference. Some days I feel huge other days normal. I still love being pregnant. It is a process getting used to the limits of movement I have now. My feet are swelling more often, especially my right foot. I think I lean on it a lot so I have been cautious about how I have been standing so I even the balance a bit. I am not as graceful anymore either. When things fall on the ground I either leave it, take a knee, or squat to pick it up. In an attempt to take off my socks one foot at a time while standing and I fell over, thankfully onto a sofa chair so it was a soft landing. Clipping my toe nails has also been an adventure. I think I will get a pedicure before the baby comes as touching my toes is well..hard. In the past when Lars and I went on walks I would always walk faster and he would have to ask me to slow down. Now I am the slower walker. :)
I don't think I am craving anything anymore. Just normal eating when I am hungry or less than that as I fill up quick and the days that eat a lot I have indigestion so I try to keep a low key on the amount of food consumed at once. I still have heartburn from time to time.

Baby Roan has found my ribs too :) I often wondered what that would feel like, it is rather uncomfortable with a lot of sharp pinching. When he goes there I try to just breath and massage the area and talk him out of playing in there. So far it is working. The last few weeks his kicks, punches, slithers, and movement have increased. I can tell where his butt is too. I love love love feeling him move and have tried to record it but once the camera comes on he stops and as soon as I turn it off he starts up again. GRRR! Soon I will get him on camera.

That's all I got for now. :)


We had a nice quiet Christmas this year, probably the last quiet one with just the two of us.
Lars got me a Kitchen Aid for Christmas and it has already been put to good use with lots of enjoyable baking of deliciousness. Such as...
our Christmas roll
and all the trimmings for breakfast.
Our dear friend from the DLPC, Christy, came by for breakfast and games
Pic from our "Ugly Christmas Party" we attended with some friends. It was a grand time!

Later in the day we talked to all our families. Today we relaxed and watched movies, played games, and downed some delicious food from Cafe Rio, well at least I did. :)

Hope you had a wonderful Holiday. What ya doing for New Years?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And the Winner is...

ME! Thanks to all of you for your votes and support. Thank you to the Muppets for being a big part of the blog this year and thanks to my man for being oh so fine. :)
Keep reading and following and I will keep producing whatever blogs come out of my head. :)

Read all about the awards here

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fortress of Pillows

Lars and I have accumulated a collection of pillows over the years as we are hard on our pillows and try and get new pillows every 6 months or when we can afford it. We have kept most of our old pillows for our guests to use when they visit. Right now we have enough for 8 guests. After my belly popped a bit I started sleeping with an extra pillow so I could use it to prop up my back in order to get used to only sleeping on my sides. As the weeks have past we have slowly added more and more pillows to the fortress. I have one for my back, one fore my knees, and one that I sometimes use for my other side to hug or hold onto or lean up against, and Lars recently started using one for over his head to block my snoring that has become more frequent. I am sure it has something to do with my ability, or lack there of, to breath through my nose at night as a pregnant woman.

I didn't realize how many pillows we actually use until I went back to bed this morning after seeing Lars off to work. I crawled back into bed and rearranged all the pillows to the middle of the bed and made myself a cozy fortress so no matter where I turned I was surrounded by pillows. I remember when we first got pregnant I looked into preggo pillows and body pillows, but I couldn't bring myself to paying so much money for either when I knew we had all these guest pillows to use. We have gotten a lot of use out of them and after the baby comes I will sleep somewhat normal again and we will again have plenty of pillows for guests again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

32 Weeks and a WIDE LOAD

I am 32 weeks now.

Meh. Not much to report. Business as usual I guess. I was real sick the last two weeks with a bad bad cold, but other than that life is grand.

I look at pictures of myself from when I first got a bump and then I thought I was so big, but now when I look at myself and compare my pop it is amazing to see the difference.
20 Weeks

32 Weeks
I never know how to pose my face. I really can look sleek and chill but I am a goof.

I know I am not a wide load and I am exaggerating when I say that. I do joke about being a chub from time to time. Some days I feel huge, but I know I am not that big and still have some healthy growing to do before the baby comes. But sometimes I think when people see me they move out of the way a bit. Yesterday, I was walking up the parking lot stairs and I swear that everyone that passed me going down moved over to the side and said excuse me as they passed. Maybe they were just being nice or maybe I was walking too close to the middle of the stairs or maybe I am a wide load and when I breath heavy and walk people can only move out of the way for fear that I will trample over them :) LOL Either way I get a good laugh at it and try to wear the outfits that make me feel the most womanly and awesome more than the fatty ones. But hey, I am not complaining. I look and feel amazing but some days I feel funny and that is apart of the process.

In other news over the Thanksgiving break my neighbor helped me sort through all my baby clothes I have so far and I have a good amount of newborn to 6 months clothes, but not a lot of 6-12 months clothes. It was fun getting everything organized and imagining a little baby in all those outfits. I also got registered at Babies R Us to get a free gift card. We are also registered at Target and Amazon. I get all sorts of deals and coupons from those places now. I love it and feel like I am stealing money from them sometimes. We are still getting situated and need some basic stuff, but it is coming along.

The dreams I am having are crazy at times. Nothing scary anymore, just weird. Every now and then I dream about a little girl, not sure why. One night I dreamed that I was trying really hard to breast feed our son but he wouldn't eat and yet he kept getting fat as the dream progressed. I accused the people helping us of bottle feeding him behind my back, which is out of their character because these people are super respectful. The dream continued and I wouldn't let our son out of my site, then in the middle of the night I went to check on him and a little leprechaun snuck into the babies room and was bottle feeding him. WHY??? Once I solved the mystery I woke up right away. Such a crazy weird dream.

What weird dreams did you have while preggo?

Muppet Movie Review

The Muppet Movie was a hit this opening weekend. It took a solid $42 million and was 2nd in the box office, Twilight Breaking Dawn took 1st. I know the movie will keep bringing in the glory as the word gets out. I saw the movie on Thanksgiving day. I have to tell ya...I absolutely loved LOVED this movie. I was a little nervous that I would be too excited and my expectations would be outrageously high. If they were they were certainly met. This movie was fun, hilarious, cute, and just awesome. I laughed hard and even cried here and there. What I liked most about it, besides everything, was that the movie made fun of itself a little, or poked fun at the typically story a Muppet movie has. Plus it was one of the best villain's for a Muppet movie. I could go into so much more detail and give you a crazy review about everything but I think you should go see it for yourself. It was serious good and worthwhile. I enjoyed the writing, music, and the action. In fact I might just go see it again. It is also very quotable. I am for sure buying it when it comes out on bluray/dvd. It stayed with me for days afterwards and every time I think about it or see that someone else on FB saw it I just smile.

One of the best movies of the season and worth all the hype. Good job Muppeteers, Jason Segel, and Disney. Welcome Back Muppets, we are so happy you are here!


I made it into the final round!! Thank you all who have voted so far. Please continue to vote and help make me a winner. Either way I feel like a winner thanks to your love and readership. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Today we cooked for two. We originally wanted to just get a bunch of turkey legs and cook them in our dutch oven, but we waited to long to buy them and they ran out. So we got the smallest turkey we could find and cooked it like a normal turkey. It turned out fine, not my best honestly, but still good. We had all our other favorite trimmings, mash potatoes and gravy, cornbread stuffing, Lars' famous candied yams and apples. We had a lot of fun cooking and eating. We also bought 3 pies. :) But we only dug into one of them later on in the evening. We also got to skype with all of our families and saw The Muppet Movie (review to come later). I got a ton of reading, blogging, and relaxing done while Lars played Starcraft multiple times with his brother and friend. All in all it was a fabulous Thanksgiving. Plus side is that we still have a long weekend. I love this time of year, lots of cooking, food, family, and friends, and singing Christmas songs. :)

Utah Trip 2011 (Cool Stuff We Did)

We go to Utah every year. But this last trip was one of the best. Most of the time we go visit we end up packing our days until we are blue so we can see as many people as possible, often times it ends up being frustrating and stressful. But this trip we got to see more people than usual and it was stress free. Everything just fell into place. We had a blast with everyone and ate lots of good Utah food (like fry sauce everyday, seriously, I found a way to eat it everyday). We loved it so much. Not sure if it was all the preggo happy hormones but it seriously was one of the best trips ever which made it hard to come back to Cali.

I wanted to post all about it when we returned, but work and then getting sick consumed me. Now it is catch up time (as you can tell from all these posts that I am knocking out in a row). Hope you enjoyed them so far. This is more or less the conclusion of awesomeness from the trip. For a review of the first part of our trip check out this and this.

First, Lars celebrated his 31st Birthday while in Utah. Now his birthday is during General Conference, which sometimes overshadows it a bit. So this year, his birthday was LARSFEST. Which was a combination of his birthday and Hanukkah. I gave him a gift each day for Larsfest, and on the back of each banner was a clue as to what the gift was. Most of the gifts were movies that he has been wanting. It was fun and cute and he was genuinely surprised during all of it, which was my goal because he is hard to surprise. Then on his birthday we went out with some dear friends and had a blast. Lars wanted a pie for his birthday so we had pumpkin pie with our families later on.
My friends Stephanie, me, and Kristina. We are each holding our babies.

The Barlow/Madsen family got together to celebrate Mom, Wendy, and Lars' birthday. We went to two buffets while in Utah, Golden Corral and Chuck-a-rama. I liked Golden Corrals steak, salad bar, and mac and cheese best while Chuck-a-rama had the best carved meat.
One is a beer belly and the other is a baby, which is which?

Tina is probably my favorite sister in law of all time. SO we had a photo shoot together to celebrate how awesome we are.

I had lunch with my dear friend Rachel.
We ate exotic food.
And Japanese food. She was the first person to introduce me to wasabe many years ago by telling me it was guacamole. I know better now. This restaurant we went to is called Koi Sushi, best in Utah County.
I went to the Temple with my in laws.

I loved seeing all the fall leaves and colors. We experiences all sorts of weather there, sun, rain, and snow, and even construction if you can count that.
As always I had to get together with my old HRO family and The Judge Cafe (one of THE best places in downtown to eat)
Judge brownie and sugar cookie
Best green enchiladas on the planet.
During General Conference my Mother and Mother in law helped me tie a quilt together that I had pieced together before our trip.
Here is the final product that I just finished last week.

So that was our awesome trip in a nut shell. Seriously an unforgettable trip.

Lars 10 Year Mission Reunion

Lars hosted and put together his 10 year mission reunion. It was really hard to do from out of state and quite honestly will be the last time we ever do anything like that again. However, it was so worth it. The group that gathered was small and intimate. They had a great time together reminiscing about the mission and just reuniting. Since then we have been able to get together with some of his mission buddies. We hope to keep in touch with them better and see them more often.

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Barlow Baby Shower Open House (Utah)

These next few posts I am going to be playing catch up and post some pics from our Utah trip that we took this last Sept-Oct.

My Mom and Lars' Mom were kind enough to throw us a Baby Shower open house. It was awesome. We got to see so many people, some we haven't seen in years. It was a wonderful evening full of friends, family, and food. We were very grateful for the thoughtful gifts that will help so much in providing for our little guy. Thank you all, especially our Mom's for all their hard work in putting it together.

Enjoy this slide show made from the event.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vote for Me Please!!!

Holy Moly!!

I was nominated a few times for various awards from the one and only Blog Award, hosted by Karen. It is only the semi-finals so I need all your votes to put me into the final round.

Please please please vote for me and I will love you forever even more.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!


Muppet Monday~Muppet Domination Nov 23

We are finalizing our Muppet Mondays. It has been so much fun posting memories, fun facts, and videos about the Muppets. The movie comes out tomorrow. Tonight and midnight in some places. They are calling it Muppet Midnight. I am thrilled to see this movie. If my preggo body could handle a midnight showing and work the following day I would soooo be there. But it won't make it, still getting over a cold and need my beauty sleep. So Lars and I will be seeing the movie either on Wednesday or on Thanksgiving. Thank you for reading and participating in these posts. We will have a final post next Monday to review the movie.

Please enjoy a final look at one of the best trailer cuts for this movie

What will be next for Monday's??? Who knows, but I am sure it will be awesome!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

3rd Trimester Yo's!

I am 30 weeks as of yesterday! EEK!! (Excited Squeal!) I cannot believe how time has just flown by. I mean some nights my eyes just pop open and I realize, I am going to be a Mom in 10 weeks or less. I am feeling really good and ready. We still have to set up the baby room and get somethings squared away there, but we are getting there. My plan is to work on finalizing that stuff over Thanksgiving break. I also have a baby shower coming up on January 7, 2012, a few weeks before my due date. We should be finalizing all our other needed things by then I hope.
I have been doing a lot of reading up on natural birth too. I really want to give birth naturally and have been reading all sorts of books, stories, and articles about it to see what has worked for other people to create a plan that will hopefully work for me. I am opened minded to other options if necessary, but I feel really good about my plan so far. I have always always always had a high tolerance for pain and really want to be in control of the process as much as I am able too.

I am really grateful to have so many tools for educating myself at my finger tips. I have talked to my Mom a lot about various things, even a few friends or coworkers that have gone through it already, I have taken some free classes that my insurance company/hospital has offered, plus I have a few books, and the Internet. I took an amazing child birthing class last night that was awesome and just put things into perspective and left me feeling very encouraged and amazing. I feel like a sponge some days. I just want to get as much info under my belt mostly to feel at ease and prepared, I guess knowledge is power or makes me feel more prepared. Some days I take a break though because it feels a little overwhelming. I took a break for a few weeks and read part of The Hunger Games series. :) I think all the natural instincts are kicking in and if I forget something then I do, only human right.

Aside from the occasional hip pain, leg cramps, and heartburn I am feeling amazing. (well right now I am fighting a nasty cold) I love being pregnant and love the process of feeling him grow. I have experienced swollen ankles and I think that my belly button will be popping near the end. My favorite part has been feeling him move. He has become incredibly active and strong. One night when I was reading I could see my belly move like a wave. It was amazing. Lars and I enjoy playing with him. We play "hide n' seek" or "tag your it". We poke him or a side of my belly and see if he pokes back or moves over to the other side of my belly. I end up laughing a lot of the times when we play and then we can't tell if it is him moving or me from the laughter. At times my belly looks deformed because he is curled up on one side and it is hard as a rock. Minutes later he moves and it changes shape again. He also gets the hiccups in the mornings and evenings. We should start teaching him morse code or something to communicate. Tap once if this is your head, twice if it is your bum. :) I love love love it!

At times it is really hard to describe or find words to express the love I feel. I end up crying tears of joy when I really stop and think about it. One day I was just listening to the radio and Beyonce's song Halo came on and I just started bawling at the words. I love this child and I love how into this Lars is. He is going to be an amazing Dad. Sometimes I feel silly with how emotional I am about this but it is just a great feeling. I feel like when the baby comes out and when I hold him on the outside I will just explode with even more love and not know what to do with myself.

Here is my 30 week belly shot.
People at work that were too afraid to ask if I was pregnant now have no shame in asking questions and even strangers or vendors that come in the office congratulate me or comment about it. So far I haven't been too terribly offended by any rude remarks or comments about my weight or hormones. I think I have been annoyed twice by something someone said, but I can't even recall what it was so I guess it wasn't that important. I do joke with some people about it and am called Chubbs LOL. But those are people I know really well so it is cool with me. I don't mind people touching my belly. Most people are polite about it and ask first which is nice. So far no creepos have come asking because I will tell them NO! LOL

Anyway so there is the 30 week update. I guess since I am nearing the homestretch I will be posting weekly pictures of the belly progress. :)

Muppet Christmas Carol - Thankful Heart

Yesterday Sucked! So you are getting Muppet Tuesday instead.

8 days until The Muppet Movie comes out.

Just to update you I have sent in my letter to try and get tickets to the Premiere. Unless they contact me between now and then I don't think I will be going. But that is okay. I will go to the movies next Wednesday night with my main man Lars to see the movie. He is my favorite and cannot wait. (Maybe by the time they read my letter they will think it is so cool that they will invite me to something else awesome)

Anyway, I know it isn't Christmas yet, but this is the season of Thanksgiving and I thought this song to be appropriate for one of my final Muppet Mondays. I am very grateful for my family, friends, and membership with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. May we all give thanks and also remember those less fortunate than us and follow Christ's example and give.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stephanie Age 0-10

As apart of my Blog Craze. I want to document my life story a bit here. My journals throughout my life will probably contain more of my deepest darkest secrets or at least more detail than what you may read here. But this is something I have wanted to do for a while so here it goes.

Long ago, but not too long ago, a man named Steven John Stark from Rupert, Idaho had a roommate, John Nelson. John took Steven to his home in Idaho Falls, ID for the holidays one winter. John had a sister named Lorrie Lou Nelson. They were both smitten with each other from the get go. So much that 6 weeks later they were engaged. (Side note: the night they got engaged Lorrie was supposed to be babysitting her two little sisters, but instead she and Steven went cruising in his car up to a hill where he proposed. LOL This story is very similar to my own engagement story which is saved for another blog:))

Steven and Lorrie were married July 12, 1968 in the Idaho Falls LDS temple. They lived in Idaho for about 1-2 more years, then moved to Provo, Utah where Steven was getting his Bachelors and Masters from Brigham Young University. Over the next 15 years they moved throughout Provo and then to West Valley City, UT. By this time they had 5 children, 4 boys and 1 girl, Carl, Monte, Neils, Lorretta, and Richard. One evening as they gathered around the dinner table the 3rd oldest boy, Neils, looked around and said out loud, "Ya know, I think have room for one more at this table." (Truest story ever) Later that year their youngest daughter and last child was born: Stephanie Joy Stark. I was born on Super Bowl Sunday at 7:11 pm. The family was thrilled to have their last child and that I was girl, hence the middle name "Joy".

Naturally, I do not remember anything about my super early childhood phase. I have heard stories from family that I was very blonde and that my mother would dress me up in puffy dresses for church and that my crib was next to the window and I would often climb up on the crib and run my hands down the closed blinds and make a lot of racket. My earliest memories began about my preschool age. That summer I was sent to a house in our small neighborhood for a few days out of the week. It was a short pre-preschool that was ran by a few Laurels from our ward, probably for a Young Women medallion project or something. I remember I liked Barbies and Velcro shoes because they were super easy to put on. I remember the day I lost my first tooth. It was just before my elementary preschool class, I had the afternoon session. I was eating a hamburger at home and I took a painful bite then pulled away to find my tooth pushed into the hamburger with spit and blood. I cheered and ran to my Mom to show her. Yes the tooth fairy came that night and most every other tooth after that was exchanged for a small amount of change. I also sucked my thumb longer than I needed to. My Mom had this yucky paste she would put on my thumb before bed. One evening she asked me which thumb to put it on. I looked and both of them and then back at her and then told her the opposite thumb I use, she was smarter than I gave her credit for and put the paste on both of my thumbs. No matter what Mom's know all. Seriously, some summers when we kids were home alone for a few hours out of the day and we did something bad or broke something we all swore on pain of death not to reveal what happened, but sure enough Mom and Dad would just know. Like they could feel it in the air or something. Not sure how they did it but they did.

I remember giving my older brother a near heart attack. I had this rad cabbage patch doll plastic tricycle. I would ride it up and down the sidewalk. One day I got to our house and just parked it in the drive way behind the car for a second to run inside and get a drink. I didn't think twice about it. While I was in the house my brother, not sure if it was Carl or Monte, came out jumped in the car and backed up into the tricycle and crushed it. They of course heard the crunch and panicked at what they had done, thinking they had hit and killed me they stopped the car and ran to look. Thankfully I was in the house. I was sad about the tricycle but okay once I realized it could have been a lot worse if timed out differently.

I had a cool childhood, I would run and play around the house and tag along with my Mom during all her errands and activities until I was put in school. She was involved in all my siblings activities, paper routes, PTA, our ward choir and other church callings. She also taught voice and music lessons to the locals so we constantly had visitors and were thrown out of the Living Room (piano room) during those hours and asked to play quietly somewhere else. I loved to play and had a huge imagination. I had lots of little toys and trinkets that I could spend hours with. Even if I didn't have a toy I would turn something into a toy for whatever bidding my imagination needed it to be. I also loved Lego's and creating things. I used to get frustrated when I had to interrupt my play time for chores or anything for that matter. One time, I had my entire play schedule planned out for the day, but then my parents asked me to babysit some kid so they could all go to an Amyway evening meeting. I was so annoyed with the request but my parents talked me into it and I hated the evening because it completely interfered with my plans to roller skate and then lock myself in my room with my toys.

We lived in a rad neighborhood. Our house was one of the first houses in the development. Our family grew with the development along with the rest of the other families that started out there. Today you wouldn't recognize it. When I lived there it was near a farm field and on Saturdays we would walk to the farm and pick various things and then head over to the plant to get some eggs. It was known then as the Fasio Egg Farm, now it is another development and a park. When I was there it was safe to run around freely without fear of any immediate danger. There were lots of other kids to play with and most evenings were spent running around the neighborhood on our bikes, skateboard, or roller skates, or baseball. We thought we owned the place and we would play games together. One of my favorite games we played was a made up game called, "To The Trees". This game is best played at night. Our house was right in the middle of the fork in the road so you can see all sides of the neighborhood and streets to the neighborhood from our front door. We would stand in the middle of the road in front of our house and as soon as we saw a car coming we would yell, "TO THE TREES, TO THE TREES" and run and hide into the bushes and trees in front of our house. We laughed and giggled as we hid and thought we were so clever. The game was inspired by Kevin Costners movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. There is apart in the movie where the Sheriff's armies surround Robin Hood's homemade village and one of the characters yells, "To the Trees!" and everyone runs to their station in the trees to prepare to defend their home. We thought it was awesome and the game was born from it.

There was a corner lot that never got sold and trees grew there. We would often shortcut through the small wooded area to get to the other road. We used to pretend it was a haunted forest sometimes. One day when I was walking alone through there on my way home from school, I was singing aloud as I always did, when I stopped suddenly under a tree because I heard a loud cracking noise that was interrupting my singing. Everything happened real fast but I very distinctively remember feeling someone push me out of the way. Seriously hands were on my back pushing me. I think I was out for a second and when I awoke next to the space I was standing in I saw a giant branch laying where I once stood, then I had a peaceful feeling come over me. That was the start of my testimony of angels and the Holy Ghost. I went home and told my Mom. I know without a doubt that an angel protected me from harm that day. (Almost like the angels from the Family Circus cartoon where they get tired out because kids are having fun). This was later confirmed by a passage in my patriarticle blessing that more or less stated God had given angels charge over me to protect me and at times I am aware of them and other times my life has been spared without me knowing. Crazy cool huh?

Being in a large family we had all the chores divided with our handy dandy chore chart. Dishes were one of the biggest responsibilities. We did not have a dishwasher until I was 12. During the weekdays my parents would team up an older child with a younger child to complete the dishes. Then on Sunday was Team C meaning Team Children, all of us together. My favorite part of doing the dishes was rinsing, I don't know why but it was. When I had to do the dishes by myself it would take me hours not because of the workload but because I would start playing imagination with the dishes and it would last for hours. I would lose myself in the fun and never stop until someone came into the kitchen only to find me 1/4 of the way done. (BTW Beauty and the Beast was my favorite movie then, especially the part with the singing dishes) My parent caught on to this and I think that is when they teamed us up to be more efficient and to teach me to stay on task.

I also learned how to cook early on from this chore chart. My Mom would assign each child a day to help her in the kitchen with dinner. I loved making Top Ramen, I thought that when you combined it with cooked carrots it turned it into Chinese food. My palette wasn't developed much then. I hated most veggies and fruits but loved bread and jam and grape juice. My family bottled their own jam and it was delicious. At almost every meal we had bread, butter, and jam. Every 5 minutes during the meal I would ask someone to pass me the bread until I became restricted and had to actually eat real food.

In our back yard we had lots of grass, a playground in a rock area, a shed, a small orchard with 6-8 fruit trees, a garden, strawberry and raspberry bushes. Every Saturday each of us had to weed an entire black garbage bag of weeds before we could go and play. The earlier you started the quicker your got done. I could never believe there was actually that many weeds each week, but my parents insisted. I cheated and filled my bag with dirt, but I would get caught. I got caught a lot. Another time I was tasked with vacuuming the Living Room, we had a two piece vacuum. I took just the one piece that actually goes over the carpet and didn't plug it into anything. I figured I would run it over the carpet and it would leave the marks so it would look like I vacuumed. My brother Monte caught me and asked what I was doing. I let him in on the secret and he just laughed. A few hours later my Mom asked me to vacuum for real. "Take pride in your work and do the job right the first time." This was a lesson that I constantly learned and is still burned in me today. I guess you can say that thanks to all those shenanigans I tried to play but never got away with I am the super awesome responsible adult I am today. Now I get annoyed when people try to cheat or lie with their work. Anyway, I don't really care for weeding today, but I do find a sense of accomplishment when I am able to plant something and keep it alive. I would love to have a little garden and orchard of my own and plan on doing so when we have the space. I prefer grass too. I love the smell of it and mowing it. I relished the day when my brothers all left on their missions because the task of mowing the lawn fell to me and I loved every minute of it. I would mow a lawn over weeding any day of the week.

My parents taught me to work, besides all these chores and school work we each had our own paper routes. These routes increased the older we got. I had a number of expierences during these routes, but I will save them for another time. They are so weird and I often use them for the ice breaker game 2 lies and 1 truth. (I will however clue you into some of them: thrown out of car, dead body, dead cat in car, Lifetime movie moment with battered woman, weird for a kid right?) When my brothers got real jobs us younger kids took over their larger route. This gave me some money to play with, but I mostly saved it because it wasn't much or I spent it on stuffed animals. One year my parents challenged us to save money for a plane ticket to FL. If we saved enough money by the summer they would pay for our tickets into Disney World. We all were able to go except for my brother Carl. It was the trip of a lifetime for a young girl and to this day we still talk about the trip and covet the Mickey Mouse picture album that my Mom made from that trip. Other family trips included driving up to Grandma and Grandpa Stark's home in Idaho, Bear Lake, Yellowstone, and lots of other fun camping adventures.

I went to Jacking Elementary. I guess it was a good school. I was active in all the things it had to offer like after school choir and theatre and sports. I had some good friends that I knew from early grades up to 6th grade. They were Marilee Riggs, Laura Hansen, and Emily McKenzie. At least those were the ones I remember the most and we did lots together. There were a few other girls from the ward but we hated each other until we got older I guess. I also had two or three short lived boyfriends in Elementary school. I don't remember their names, one was real short and the other was "the bad boy". I did have crushes on other guys, but I didn't think they liked me because I was weird. I like to think I was a good student. Getting my homework done so I could play came natural to me. I would, however, wait until the last minute to complete big projects and my Mom would stay up into the wee hours of the night helping me get them done. My parents were sure to keep our minds growing throughout the summer. My Mom would give us math, reading, and spelling quizzes and every Friday if we scored well enough she would reward us with part of a cute summer outfit. It is how we earned some of our clothes I guess. The boys would end up with matching shorts if they weren't careful to watch and see what the other one picked for their weekly accessory. LOL.

I learned a lot from my older siblings and have a lot of memories with each of them. Carl and I were the farthest apart so he moved out when I was 6 years old. But I remember he was really smart and into Star Trek. I remember watching Star Wars at home for the first time with the family, I think he helped introduce it. I fell asleep during it because it was too long for my mind to take, but I remember liking the Ewokes. Monte, or Monster as we called him (his basketball court name) spoiled me a lot. He would take me with him on dates with girls, not sure if it was to impress them or because Mom asked him to take me. I got to see the Nutcracker and other plays thanks to him. Monte also baptized me when I turned 8 and then went on his mission shortly after that. Neils will forever have a special place in my heart because he wished for me to be born. He took care of me a lot when I was sick and would feed me bread and grape juice. He is best known for making me laugh too. Whenever I was grumpy and didn't want to talk to anyone he would pull out his hands and shape them into a puppet that he named "Mr. Happy Face". I would only talk to Mr. Happy Face when I was down, he just got me. Neils always encouraged me to be my best and to hurry up with my chores so we can enjoy a fun family home evening together. I learned that I do have control over my choices and can always choose to be happy no matter my situation. My older brothers also had me clean and wash their cars for 50 cents, when they paid me they asked me what I was going to do first with the money. I learned from them how to be a tithe payer as they would help me count out what money that belonged to me and what money to give back to the Lord. Lorretta, (I would call her Netta until I learned to say the 'Lor" part) taught me how to ride a bike. I was so scared. I had only had a scooter and I didn't want to learn until I was forced too. My scooter broke and she gave me her bike but also helped me learn. We became better friends the older we got. Rich taught me how to tie my shoes, he gave me 2 Butterfinger candy bars, one for each foot, once I did it on my own. Richard was also my snow buddy. We loved to play it rough in the snow. We would do all the shoveling and we had a great system down. Then we would box, wrestle in the snow, and climb the snow mountains that were made from the plow at the church parking lot.

Us younger kids thought we had it good. We didn't get spanked with the wooden spatula as much as the older kids did. But we had our challenges too. We would team up against and sometimes with each other and often got separated. One time we found a bunch of cough drops and we used them as chips to play Poker or War. We never ate them, just made them into currency until we had Halloween candy for currency. We played a lot of board and card games together. Our favorites were, The Game of Life, Aggravation, War, Missionary Impossible, and the Prophet cards. We also fought over who the cat loved the most. If you could get the cat to come into your room then He loved you more. I like to think we had fun through my youthful years of 0-10. I wanted to be one of the guys and play with Richard and his cousins and friends, but I also wanted to be one of the girls and prance around with Lorretta mimicking everything she did.

So that is a summed up version of my early childhood. I would post pictures but they are still getting organized. My next memory post will contain everything from 10-18. Thanks for reading the memories.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


There are two characters I really like right now that always say HI-YA!

They are:

The Muppets Miss Piggy

and Futurama's Leela

Leela is voiced by the wonderful Golden Globe award winning Katey Sagal, who is also married to Kurt Sutter, the creator/writer/producer/director/actor of the FX hit series Sons of Anarchy. Katey also stars in this series and today I want to talk about how awesome this series is and why you should watch it.

Here is the story:

Sons of Anarchy is about a motorcycle gang in Northern California and all their legal and illegal activity to protect the small town of Charming, CA that they reside in. I honestly tried to write a short detailed summary about the premise with character details but it was hard to do without giving too much detail that sounded dumb. So here is the gist and then you can read here for more. Some of the gang members are family and get along except when they butt heads about how things should be ran. Overall, they try to protect their town from drugs and other enemies (other gangs, outlaws, pedophiles, unconstitutionalist etc.), but do so by taking the law into their own hands sometimes. The gang survives and makes money by their illegal gun smuggling and autobody shop. The gang avoids capture from their enemies, the ATF, and a local Sheriff who's life goal is to bring them down.

I love this show because:

1) The plot is really good. The writer really did his research here and though this gang and town are fictional, as far as I know. The stories are inspired by Kurt Sutter's research from an actually biker gang that he spent a lot of time with.

2) I love the characters. Sometimes they do bad things for the right reasons, other times they don't. The situations are awesome.

3) The writing is really good. Ya know how in most drama shows character A has a secret and needs help from character B, but they don't help because character A doesn't communicate with character B about it. Like a soap opera and it is seriously frustrating to watch because nothing progresses and though that may happen in real life but I don't think it happens as much as t.v. makes it out to. This doesn't happen on this show. The characters actually progress and if they hold secrets, it is only for a short amount of time and it is amazing writing how the characters handle the situation and themselves. Things actually get wrapped up in the show instead of secrets dragging on for seasons at a time.

4) I love the characters and the actors who play them are awesome:

Katey Segal plays Gemma Teller, the matriarch of the gang. She is seriously the glue and her character just get better and better. And Katey portraying her is amazing. I think she is super strong and seriously deserved the Golden Globe.

Ron Pearlman plays the gang President, Clay Morrow. Ok , Ron Pearlman is just awesome because he takes awesome roles and he is tall and he has awesome teeth.

Charlie Hunnam plays Jax teller, the VP to the gang and son to Gemma and step son to Clay. He is super cute and is just amazing.

There are ton more actors that rock and even guest stars that rock too, Henry Rollins being one of them.

The show is currently airing their 4th season. I have just finished watching Season 2 on Netflicks and let me tell you. It was intense and sat with me for a few weeks. FX just renewed the show for a 5th season and the writer plans to take the show to 7 seasons. If you are looking for a savvy, intense, awesome drama that will take you to another place then please check out the show.