Saturday, September 29, 2012

8 Months

All grown up

& lots of places to go...

Dane just woke up from a nap
Here they both look surprised
Weight: 19 lbs and 8 oz  48%
Length: 29.5 inches  93%
Awesomeness: The Millionth Percentile

8 Months Old and Roan has 8 teeth, one for each month. And YES I am still breast feeding. He pinches every now and then but I only let him hang out there when he is hungry, any longer and he bites.
He has a new laugh or squeal. Almost like he is talking back. When at the park we were playing on a plane that had two seats and two wheels, he kept playing with the wheel then turned to the other kid to squel for a while. He was talking to him. He loves talking to his friend Dane, as soon as they see each other they start gabbing away. One time they were both climbing on me and laughing, I felt like I was the butt of their joke somehow as they would look at me then back at each other and then laugh.
Poor guy was sick for a bit this month with a cold, fever, stuff nose. He hates having his face and nose wiped. But when it is leaking out of him we have to do it.
He also hates having anything on his head. We put hats on him for blankets for fun and he pulls them off and then eats them victoriously. 
He loves mirrors. I feel like I am turning him into a vane kid. Anytime there is a mirror he has to make out with it. He even has a plastic mirror toy and he just loves it. 
Roan loves to climb on people and uses people and short objects like coffee tables and chairs to pull to a standing position. When he gets to the top he laughs and cheers with satisfaction then falls down and does it all over again. Within a few days he went from butt scooting to a worm crawl to one legged crawl. Since reaching this milestone he has begun the process of getting into EVERYTHING. His toys are boring, he wants to touch everything else. I have began rotating between his toys and other objects from around the house. His favorite so far have been plastic hairbrush, cup, ribbon, empty tissue box, and plastic Tupperware. Because he is into everything he requires more constant watching. He loves to be with people. When I am in the kitchen he crawls his way in there to hang out.
He has had his first of many falls to come I am sure. He has bonked his head and came away with some minor bruising and has made his lip bleed once. He looks like he is in baby fight club. It is how they learn.
He can sit up from his tummy. He swings his legs around to the front and sits up. He is still working on ab crunches to she can sit up from his back.
(No we did not drive with him sitting in the front seat, we were only having fun with pictures)

Roan east like a champ and he is pick up stuff with his fingers. There have been a few mixtures of veggies that I have made that he hasn't liked. I am now making some food but still doing the store bought food out of convenience. He does however try to eat things he should not, like carpet. He has nearly choked twice on carpet as he will put anything in his mouth and yank on it with his teeth. He makes it known when he does not want to eat anymore or he doesn't like it. He will shake his head, close his mouth, or spit the food out, and even grab the spoon and push it away.
Roan Likes:
Eating carpet
His friend Dane
Rough housing with Dad
Roan dislikes:
Having his face wiped
Crazy food mommy makes

People are saying:
SO cute
He is so happy
Oh those eyes
Pretending to be super heroes 

As for me all is well....I am excited to have a few weeks in between jobs so I can play with my boy. I am in therapy and it is helping me deal with the PPD. I have good days and bad days still. We are counting our blessings on the very bad days. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

move details

So here are a few details that I didn't include in my last post. We are moving Oct 15. We plan to load the truck in the morning and then drive half way  then the rest of the way to utah on the 16th. We will unload most of our stuff into a storage unit. We will be staying with my parents in Cedar Hills (american fork area by the Mt Timpangos temple) until Lars finds work and we find a place. We are looking for any friends or family that would be willing to come help us drive our truck and one of car up from CA to Utah. Let us know if you are interested in helping with this. We could help pay for your plane ticket down here or back to CA. Lars is looking for IT support or lab research work. I will be working for Ricoh/ikon in the salt lake area doing the same thing I am doing now but a little different. I start October 22. My last day of work in CA is Oct 5th. Lars last day of work is Sept 28. We will be packing and having a final hoorah before we leave. We would love to see as many people before we leave so please reach out to us and we will be happy to make time. Likewise for when we get to Utah, we have a few days to play and get settled before I start work. :) Those are the details. If I missed something give me a call or feel free to ask. Stephanie Barlow Phone

Saturday, September 22, 2012

We Started Out on a Journey...

Have you ever started out on a journey with a goal in mind, but then along the way you find something better than your first goal. Though your original goal is still fun and honorable you decide to forgo that goal and jump on the latter goal because it is a better fit for you. But you are still grateful to the first goal as you never would have figured out how awesome goal #2 was without having tried for goal #1. Has that ever happened to you during your own journey in life? We found what we were looking for but not in the way we thought we would.

It has happened to me and I wanted to take some time and share it with you all. When I first married Lars he loved to write and wanted to be a writer. We both knew it would be a hard life as writers don't make anything most of the time. We didn't care, and still don't, as there are finer things in life. Along the way during Lars' schooling he decided to switch to film and become a director. This became our focus. We bought a big fancy smancy camera to practice with, Lars educated himself through books and networking, we even applied to film school at NYU. We didn't get in and then I took a job with my company in downtown Salt Lake City. This later on opened up an oppourtunity to move to Southern Califnoria. We thought, awesome, movies are made in Los Angeles and this could be our big break. Let's really put forth a good few years of our lives into this so we don't ever have to wonder "what if?" So we packed up and left everything we knew, our dear family and friends, everything in Utah.

Lars took time off and concentrated on writing a script. Down the road circumstances changed and he had to find work. Still we kept trying to network and sell the script that he wrote to get our foot, arm, elbow, finger, or anything in the door of Hollywood. We got excited by a few breaks, but then like always, nothing panned out. No worries, we lived our lives here and loved living. We planted some roots, made friends, excelled in our surroundings. Though we still missed our families and all the activities they did.

Slowly over time things inside each of us changed.  An epifany occured. We just love life and no matter where we live we end up doing the same fun things, which have been spending time with family and friends and watching movies and other fun stuff. We learned a ton about ourselves while being here in California. We learned to appreciate certain things we once took for granted. Then once Roan joined our life the perspective really changed. Kids have a tendency to give you a whole new outlook on life. They remind us of things that matter most and then hopefully those things are moved to the forefront of our minds.

Finally one day we both openly admitted these feelings to one another, we were both on the same page but afraid to tell the other at first. It is time to move on from this journey and onto the next. Lars' career goal has changed a bit. Along this journey he rediscovered that his true passion is in writing and sharing his stories and he doesn't need Hollywood to share them. As for me, I just wanted to be closer to family and be a kick-A Mom. Though I will truly miss many friends here. It felt good to share these feelings out loud. We prayed about them and sought guidance from the Lord and felt good about our new decision. At first we didn't tell anyone as we didn't want to get anyones hopes up. We knew that if it was meant to be the Lord would provide away. We talked about various places to live Iowa, Missouri, Idaho, and Seattle. But Utah just seemed logical as that is where most of our family is. It was decided that after Roan is born and a few months old we would start our search in Utah and see what happens. Well then things got hurried along as Lars' employment situation changed that they closed his facility.

Little indicators here and there started popping up. All of them pointing in that direction. But it still didn't feel like it was time. Myself and some close friends of mine were dealing with some new emotional roller coasters and we are each others support. I didn't want to bail on that because I felt like they needed me, but also I needed them. As time went on those roller coasters got better and I saw the Lord's tender mercies all around. This brought so much comfort to me. It was around this time that I knew it was time to move on and that my loved ones here would be okay and taken care of and that I would be okay too. I know that no matter where we are we will always be friends and can still support each other. I get it is not the same, but with technology these days all things are possible.

I am sure by now you know where I am getting at. Our family goal is for me to become a stay at home Mom and be close to family. We want Roan to be around his cousins and grandparents and we feel we need to be around family to better support them. Lars has been looking for work in Utah but because we are out of state we feel his chances haven't been as good. I have also been looking for jobs within and outside of my company. Things came up that we considered but after prayer decided not to pursue. Then I was given a good offer on a job (more details on this later) that I feel confident in until Lars is able to find the right kind of work. Then down the road we will reach this goal and I will be at home with Roan and by then we will have more new awesome goals to reach together.

Our journey in California is ending and we will be moving mid October to Utah. I will truly miss California. We have grown so much here, have had some amazing experiences, and have made some special bonds with friends. I am scared to face driving in the winter again. :) However, I have a lot of peace with this decision and look forward to this new chapter in our lives. We will be closer to our families and old friends. We will not forget our time here and hope to vacation here often to keep in touch with our loved ones here. Please don't forget us. I will never forget you.

I remember when I was flying home from California 4 years ago after having been interviewed and offered a job to move here. My emotions were high as we started our a journey to our dreams. Little did I know how this journey would change us for the better. On that plane ride I was listening to Defy Gravity from Wicked. It was the soundtrack of my life as I felt like we were defying gravity by embarking on the unknown. Now as we begin a new journey to Utah I am still listening to Wicked (it is a good musical and just speaks to me). But this time the song is For Good. Glenda and Elphaba are singing to each other about how their paths crossing has changed them for the better. Because I knew you....I have been changed for good. Thank you. I love you :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stephanie Age 10-18

In continuing on with my life story posts  here is the next phase of my life.

So this phase of my life really begins with a drastic change that took place within our Dad got laid off from the company he worked for. This was a big deal for us younger kids because we were scared we were going to have to move from all our comfortable surroundings. My Dad is a good provider and he works hard. While he was looking for a full time permanent job he took many part time jobs to make ends meet. As hard as he and my Mom worked we were still pretty poor but we had enough for our needs. My parents had a lot of food storage so we lived off of that for a year and at times we survived off of the kindness of others. I remember going  with my Mom to get what we called DI food store. Our church has a program to help those in need by supplying families in need of canned and fresh food. We call it the Bishop Store House. We got a list of what we needed from the Relief Society president and then went to the store and picked up our things as if we were shopping at a real grocery store. I remember we really liked the peaches, ice cream, and the cream of wheat from the DI food. When Christmas came around my Mom kept telling all the kids that Christmas was going to be small this year so don't expect much as we had enough for our needs and that was enough to be grateful for. When Christmas day came our entire living room was filled with presents. Many anonymous givers from our extended families, ward, and neighborhood donated presents so our family could have a super Christmas. I remember my Mom crying tears of joy and gratitude as it became an unforgettable Christmas.

Unemployment was accompanied by fear. Fear that we would one day have to move out of Utah. We were very comfortable living there. We were surrounded by many childhood friends and most of our family. Every Sunday we would jump in the car and meet our cousins at Grandma and Grandpa Nelson's for some ice cream pie and Scripture charades. Finally the day came. By this time my 3 older brothers were moved out of the house. Carl was living on his own going to college/working, Monte was married, and Neils was on his mission in Washington D.C. It was just the 3 younger Stark kids. We were gathered around the table eating dinner when my parents made the announcement that we were moving to Michigan. Silent whimpers soon broke out into loud heaping cries and within minutes everyone was bawling their eyes out. I cried even more when I told my 2 best friends, Laura and Emily, the next day at school. We were graduating from 6th grade elementary school together and were excited to start Jr High at the same school. However this was not meant to be. Though we were grateful that my Dad had a full time job we were all bummed out about moving. It was the middle of the school year so Dad went to Michigan and flew home ever other weekend to see the family until school was out and/or the house sold. We hired movers to come pack and truck everything out. I remember insisting that nobody touch or pack my toys as they were precious and could only be handled by my delicate hands. I packed them myself.

The move was scary and sad and we all felt lonely at first. We did have each other and once we saw that the church building looked just like Aunt Rosemary's in Idaho the place seemed okay. We moved in June and were put up in an apartment until we found a house. Lorretta and I shared a room and Richard had to sleep on the couch. He said that sleeping on that couch stunted his growth spurt because he barely fit on the couch. The 8-12 weeks we lived there he said he could have grown another 3 inches. We enjoyed the community pool and there was another new family that lived in the next building, The Beus'. They were Mormon also and this was a new move for them within my Dad's company. They had 3 boys and 1 girl that were around my age and younger. Our families were instant friends.

We looked at 100 houses, I swear it. When we narrowed our findings to the top 3 houses Great Grandma Nelson passed away. My parents and brother returned to Utah for the funeral while they left Lorretta and I with a family in the ward so we could go to girls camp. I was mad that I was left behind at first, but afterwards I was grateful as I had a blast at girls camp and made friends. I felt bad for the family that hosted us however because looking back on it I think we were terrible house guests. When my parents returned the top 3 houses we sold so the house hunt began again. We eventually re-looked at a house we previously saw and got it. I loved this house. I have so many memories at this house.

The best part of the house was the backyard. First, there was a ton of grass. I loved mowing the lawn. With most of my brothers moved out I got to share the responsibility of keeping the lawn clean. There is something about grass that just makes me happy. Second, there was a big hill in the backyard that continued to slop down into the neighbors yard. They also had kids so when winter came we joined forces for sledding and shared the hill for extra downhill fun. Third, behind our backyard was a chuck of hilly property. It was full of trails, trees, and wild animals like deer and racoons. I had so much fun discovering this place and had many imaginary games take place there. Our house was very easy to break into, well for me it was. We never had a thief break in but I would always get locked out or leave my key in the house more times than I am willing to admit so I broke into the house through the laundry room window. My room was the coolest of cool rooms. It was big and the side walls con-caved towards the ceiling. I utilized this feature by decorating the walls with posters of the Spice Girls, then eventually Mormon Ads, and glow in the dark stars. My bedroom also had a secret hidden door that led to an attic space.

It was a split level home with a finished basement. When my Mom was the seminary teacher we held class in my basement. For a year I was spoiled and didn't have to wake up as early to travel to the church. I literally would roll out of bed and then walk downstairs. We also had a nice tree in the front yard. This tree was TP'd many times by friends and foe. Most of the time it was done by my friends when I opted to go on a temple trip during the weekend instead of kicking it with them. I never feared because I had my revenge on all of them at one point or another. The only thing that was cursed was the mailbox. It was hit and knocked down by cars so many times. After the first few times we kids pitched in for Father's Day and gave Dad a new fancy plastic mailbox and stuck in the ground. It seemed solid and sturdy. It got knocked down, so our neighbor helped us cement it into the ground. Weeks later it was backed into. It was an endless battle.

Once we got a house we needed a cat. Per my previous history post we lost a lot of cats when each of my brothers moved out. During our drive home from school we saw a sign at a house that read "Free Kittens." As soon as we saw it my Mom turned the car into the house. It caught us all by surprise. Not sure if she planned it or if she was doing it on a whim. I think she knew we needed a cat to complete our home. We got the last kitten. The people kept it for a few more weeks to finish weening it from its mother and to train it. We named the cat Utah. He was my best friend growing up. He was a smart and funny cat and he enjoyed our house as much as we did, especially the yard. I remember one day I was crying and he came to my rescue and curled up beside me. He must have known I was sad and tried to comfort me. Another thing I loved about my room was that the bedroom window over looked the roof. Utah got himself stuck there so many times and I was able to rescue him by letting him jump in through my window.

In Michigan they didn't have Jr. High, they had a middle school. My first year in Michigan I was in 7th grade. We went to Forest Hills Northern Middle/High School. I was extremely shy....seriously I was. I didn't talk much during the next two years at school because I was shy and insecure.  I was the "new" girl. Everyone thought I was a cowgirl because I was from Utah and had an accent. I didn't have the fancy Gap or Abercrombie & Fitch clothes. I wore "hand me downs" that weren't very stylish. I really didn't have a sense of how to make the clothes I had stylish. Apparently this was more important than personality, which I had a lot of once I got past my shyness. Needless to say I was made fun of by some of the kids and I was insecure about myself for a while. I also had no clue about mainstream music. I only listened to soft rock and kids station. This bothered other kids and I let it get to me. I did make a few friends until one day I was sitting at their lunch table and they asked me to sit somewhere else because I was a Mormon. I cried a lot that first year but tried to hide it at home. Eventually it built up and my Mom helped me through it. I was unsuccessful with popularity because I had the wrong clothes, didn't listen to the right music, and was Mormon, my next attempt to make friends was with humor. I thought I was an actress so one day in math class I pretended to have a heart attack and dramatically grabbed my chest and rolled off the desk onto the floor. This made some people laugh. One of the girls that laughed was named Lauren P. We found out we lived blocks from each other and became friends. She encircled me into her group of friends. She thought it was cool that I was a Mormon cowgirl and encouraged me to play volleyball with her for the school team.

Freshman year was easier than Middle School. By the time I was a Sophmore I didn't care what people thought of me and was able to be myself all the time. I loved that year in High School. Junior year was also memorable but my Senior year was the best. I was confident and friends with most people. I was mean to some people during High School and for that I am sorry. I am happy to report that anyone I hated then I am now friends with today, but over all I was friendly to just about anyone and I had my own close group of friends. This group consisted of Lauren P, Amy D., Sarah F., and Katie K. There were some other people but I don't remember their names first hand. We had our lockers together during our Senior year. We played tricks and jokes on each other. I was known as the Beanie Weanie Quennie because I always had a can of pork n'beans.  Sometimes we put a radio in my locker and left it on with the door closed. We would sit down the hall and watch and laugh at the people as they walked by the lockers with a confused look on their faces. We had stupid drama from time to time but at the end of the day we were friends and we would hang together outside of school. Lauren and I would hit up 7-11 on the way home for some slurpees and funions. Sarah saved me from the cat lady. Amy and I would leave messages on each others phone. To this day I still call Amy's home phone and sing to their answering machine.

School dances were fun. I went to all the dances my Junior and Senior year. I also went to dances at some of my friends at other schools. We would goof off mostly. The first few dances were about being with boys then I eventually grew out of that and just wanted to be with my girl friends. After the dance we would have a slumper party. Friday nights we painted the town and if one of us wasn't hanging out because of work we would take the party to them. Mostly we hung out at Bob Evans, where Amy was a server. Or we rented a movie from the local movie store. I can't even tell you how many times I saw While You Were Sleeping.

Richard was a Junior when I was a Freshman. I liked having an older brother at school. Not that he needed too, but I feel he looked out for me. Because he was such a good student teachers that we shared liked me by association. Another plus was that he drove us to school. Before that I took the bus and after he graduated I either took the bus or got rides with my friends. We didn't have a teenage car to use in the family but we lucked out with our schedules on occasion. One day they declared a snow day early in the school day. Richard found me and we headed to the car and I got to push the car out of the snow while he drove. Once we got going I hopped in the car and off we went. Richard commended me for having the strength to push and was impressed that the car was actually moving when I pushed. We were pretty tight and I missed him when he left on his mission. But this opened the door for my sister and I to get closer. We were friends growing up when we wanted to be, but after Richard left we didn't have anyone but each other. Her room was across from mine and I could always hear her talking in her sleep. It was the start of  a beautiful friendship that remains strong today.

I played volleyball for a year and then softball for two years. Then my focus at school shifted from sports to theatre and art. I took all the art and theatre classes our school offered. I auditoned for all the plays and musicals and never got a part. I didn't let this stop me. I wanted to be apart of the show so I joined all the behind the stage crews. I was on the set design, paint, and make up crew. The make up crew manager was a cool guy and he answered all the questions I had about make up and showed me some new things that weren't included in the show. While the show was running we were in the back painting our faces with new learned techniques. Eventually he took me on as his assistant and let me manage some of the shows. Finally my Senior year I got a part in the musical. I had a blast and I knew everything about the back stage.  To this day I still do theatre make up, mostly on Halloween.

I had many jobs in my youth. Once we moved to Michigan I got a paper route again. After a few years of this I wanted a break as this job was interfering with my social life. I quit and lived off of wages from babysitting. I even worked for a nice old lady who became my friend. I would clean her house and she talked to me about life, Eugene Timpson was her name. Eventually that was not enough to do all the fun things I wanted to do so I got a real job and a clothing store called Fashion Bug. I worked there for 2 years in High School. I saved my money and spent most of it in Europe after graduation. I enjoyed working but did miss out on some football games and stuff because I was working. At least I had a discount on clothes.

I remember when I was 12 my Dad asked me if I wanted an email address. An Email, whatever am I going to use that for? I said sure why not. He set me up and gave me a cutesy name for an aol account. I think it was "smilespice" or something like that. Shortly after he gave me a juno email account. I didn't do much with either but then as school demanded more research I used the computer for just that. Then I discovered the social side of it. Through my account on AOL I chatted with people from England and across the USA. One night my brother and I pretended to be someone else and goofed off. Little did we know that the amazing invention of the internet had many dangers. We were young and innocent. As I met new friends we began to exchange emails and this new thing had more use to it. It is crazy to me how quickly technology has blown up. I use my phone to access everything now and I am sure in my son's day it will do more wild things.

My brother Neils returned home from his mission during our first few years. He served in Washington D.C. and we went to pick up him for our family vacation. It was a blast and we got to see many U.S. historical sites and Civil War sites. I was excited for him to be home. However, he did not stay for long, he said it felt like a transfer. He eventually returned to Utah and returned to school and a bachelors life. My brother Monte and his family came out to visit a few times and so did my Grandparents. I don't remember if any of our other family came. Because we were the only family living far away, with the exception of some cousins in Texas and California, we mostly traveled to Utah for family reunions every summer. I think we drove back and forth at least a dozen times. We had fun with it and even detoured to site see various places like Mt. Rushmore. To entertain ourselves in the car we played games, listened to the Tennis Shoes Among the Nephities books on tape, and played eye spy.

There was a lot going on in the world but I really could only see what was happening within my little world. Often the outside world would collide with mine. When the OJ Simpson case took place and the final verdict came out I remember watching it on t.v. at school. For the most part I just paid attention to what was in front of me until I got older and tried to become more involved in the world around me. I went through a women's rights phase. I made a big deal about this in my history class and wrote this amazing paper about freeing the oppressed women in Afghanistan. I even reached out to a support group for my research. The teacher was impressed but scared me off when he suggested he would nominate me for something and I would get interviewed by the school paper. I don't know why but I chickened out after that and was just a silent advocate in class. I also thought the Spice Girls were awesome and wanted to be apart of their group, I called myself Smile Spice. But I wanted to show them how to dress modest so we could be an example to other girls. LOL. My sister took me to the first showing for Spice World. We were 2 of 10 people in the theatre.

I had school friends but I also had really close church friends. Many of them I met at Girls Camp. Our stake was huge and covered many counties in West Michigan. When I was a beehive there were only a few other girls in my ward and we liked each other when we wanted to until we were Laurels, by then we were mature enough to get along and accept our differences. I met Elizabeth and girls camp. Another girl made me cry so I called her a butt face and Elizabeth backed me up by saying, "No wonder why I saw her wiping her face with black streaks coming down." It made me laugh and we became friends. She lived far away so we only go to see each other at church activities, but when we got together we were the crazy girls.

I met Karen L. at girls camp, she was a year younger than me but we just mashed. She invited me to her house all the time and it was only a 20 minute drive. My first time at her house I was looking at a picture and commented that it was a cool picture of her Mom. She and her Dad replied with a chuckle that it was her Dad with long hair in the 70's. LOL I was so embarrassed because I wanted to make a good impression being my first visit. They loved how innocently honest I was and we all got along. To this day I still keep in touch with her parents. She and I had many many sleep overs and birthday parties together. At those we would always turn on the video camera and play soap opera (Greg the Bunny), music video, and model runway. As we got older the activities changed from playing with clothes to going out with boys, school dances, driving around stalking boys, supporting each other in our school activities like sports or theatre, and attending most church activities.

Karin kept telling me about this other friend she had that she wanted me to meet. For years she told me about her and would invite her to activities but she was never able to make them. I often wondered if this girl was real. Finally one day I was able to put a name to a face, Kristina L. We clicked and the three of us became the 3 Musketeers if you will. We were always together doing everything we could together. Laughing and being silly mostly. We were inseparable until Kristina's family moved to Utah. It was such a sad day. Karen and I went to help load up their truck, as always we were having fun goofing around but then we had to part ways. We took pictures, hugged, cried, and kept telling each other until we meet again. We kept in touch through email, hey it is still handy, phone calls, and packages. It was not the end for the 3 of us and our paths did cross again. More on that later.

I was a boy crazy girl and dated guys on and off and had various crushes. None of them too serious until I got to my senior year. But like any young love relationship we thought we were the one for each other until we moved too fast and then later realized that we are not destine to be together. My favorite date was a to a dance with a boy from the ward. He was too short for me and I didn't like him in that way. I just thought he was nice and funny and it was the best date because we went as friends and were so genuine. A big turning point for me was when I asked my crush of 7 years out. He said NO, but I felt stronger for asking and felt like I could do anything after that. His loss.

I learned how to drive in Michigan. I begged my Dad to take me out practicing once because I wanted to have some experience under my belt before starting summer driving school. He did just that and I did fine. I barely passed the summer driving test because I got nervous. With practice I got better and then eventually took the state test. I wanted a car. My Senior year my Dad told me that he had a surprise for me in the garage. I ran out there thinking it was a car but instead it was some nice luggage. I was pleased but sorta disappointed. I told him I thought it was a car and he laughed.

My testimony grew a lot in Michigan, which was perfect for as I was young and very impressionable at that time. I tell people I was born in Utah but am from Michigan but that is where I found out who I was. I had many joys and growth but also many struggles and challenges. I gained a knowledge that I was a daughter of God and through that testimony alone I was able to find joy in the hard parts of the journey. I had many opportunities for my testimony to grow there. I attended early morning seminary, had many missionary experiences, lived in the East part of the country where much of the restoration took place. We visited the temple in Chicago which was an entire day trip. When the Detroit temple opened I sang in the choir for the opening ceremony. I toured the temple and had many outstanding experiences there. I gained a testimony of temples, the prophet, and how friends and families are forever. Each Youth Conference was somewhere cool, like Hill Cumorah, Sacred Grove, Nauvoo, Carthage Jail, Palmyra, Adam-ondi-Ahman, Independence, Far West, Missouri, and Kirtland. One year they wanted to do a Original Pioneer Trek, but didn't have the means like they do in Utah so instead our leaders were innovative took us out into the wilderness for 2 nights with nothing. They gave us stuff as we went and each thing game with a lesson. We were divided into families and we faced challenges and had to support each other. At the end they had food for us and a letter from our parents bearing their testimonies to us. It was Richard and I's last Youth Conference together. It was the best experience and something I hold close to my heart.   I went to EFY in Utah during 2 of the summers. The first was with my 2 best friends and the last time was by myself. Besides church trips with the Ward we spend many family vacations visiting church sites and other cool places close to MI, like Canada. When we got to the border control booth the lady asked my parents if we were their grandkids. We all still laugh about that.

Change is the most constant thing. Just when I thought I was getting comfortable in life. I was good in school, had a job, had a boyfriend, things got shaken up in our family. My Dad found a new job in Utah in the middle of my Senior year. I cried and cried when they told me and begged them to let me stay so I could graduate with my class. They granted my wish and my Mom and I moved into a ladies house while the rest of the family went on to Utah. I had a few months of school left and then we rejoined the family. Our cat Utah kept running away back to the old house. The crazy cat lady we lived with got mad at me once because I came home without him. We loved the cat but knew he wouldn't move with us so we found him a home within our ward and you know what. He stayed with them and didn't try to run away. They sent us pics occasionally but haven't in years. I hope he is happy where ever he is. Before we could move I had prom, graduation, and then a Choir Europe trip that my Mom chaperoned. It was an amazing 2 weeks. Afterwards my Mom and I took our time driving across the country to begin a new chapter of life....

That concludes this section of Stephanie. Next Section is Age 18 to Present (29)

A Bunny Tail

A long time ago (last night actually)
In a land far far away.....
Lives a bunny, Bruce Wayne, and his owner Karen
Karen was beloved by many and this was her first bunny so naturally her friends threw her a party to celebrate the newest addition to her family.
Not just any party...
 A Bunny Shower (like a baby shower, but for bunnies...duh) 
 We decorated and prepared food and gifts
 The children patiently waited...
 Not all children like surprises :(
But everyone else gathered with glee to honor the bunny and Karen happily 
Such a beautiful bunny
 And owner too.
 Bruce Wayne strutting his new outfit. 
And thus tells the tail of the Bunny Bruce Wayne and his owner Karen who are beloved by all.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Our friend Melissa is having a baby boy
A baby boy that will have a Lion King themed nursery
We had a lot of fun putting together a shower for her
I made lion cupcakes
The spread
The Mom
The cup :)
Read my mind
Maybe I can get to your brain through your nose
The awesome gift wreath
Lots of presents
The hostesses and the Mom

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lend Me Some Sugar (Update/Conclusion/Revamping of Sugarless September)

When we started out on this experiment we based it off a video we saw. In short this science guy suggested that eating too much fructose makes you hungry and therefore you eat more food. He suggested cutting out fructose because it turns on hunger cues and instead keep eating glucose because that should turn off hunger cues. So we thought we would cut out sugar and fructose. Which means no fruit or high fructose or sugar of any kind. I know those things are pretty much found in everything, processed and natural. We did our best to eliminate the big stuff and read ingredient labels on the rest. I am was surprised to find fructose and sugar in everything I use daily, like dressings and ketchup, crackers, and a variety of sauces. No experiment is perfect and I am sure we ate sugar and fructose we just tried to keep it at under 200 calories a day. We uped the fiber and had to plan our meals. We made a trip to the store and were able to find whole wheat cereal and other items without sugar. We got all the stuff to make our own dressing. We got lots of veggies to incorporate into our diet. I found a number of recipes to try and off we went.

Week 1-We started each morning with a substantial breakfast, eggs, meat, and toast. I had celery and carrots for snacks, lunch had a veggies and a protein, then a afternoon snack of natural peanut butter and toast. Dinner was more or less the same, protein, starch, and veggie. Evening snack used to be some fruit but now it was a piece of toast. By day 3 my milk started to taste like candy and sometimes tomatoes were too sweet to handle.

Physical symptoms-I felt like I was eating all the time yet still felt hungry. I didn't feel weighed down and my waste line seemed smaller, but it could have been in my head. I feel like I am eating too much salt in everything and bread. There is no sweet to counteract the savory food.

Mental symptoms-The first few days were hard. I like to snack a lot and often my choice of snack is not the healthiest. I had many temptations but prevailed. However, by the end of the week I was beginning to get really grouchy, especially towards my family. The constant eating made me feel worn out and tired and frustrating. I don't have time to eat regular meals let alone additional food after having just ate a square meal.

Needless to say by Saturday we had a family meeting and decided to throw in the towel. This science guy was wrong, in fact, the opposite of what he said should take place happened. We decided that it was an interesting experiment but we were done. We broke the fast that night by ordering a milk shake to share. However, I am going to continue on for the rest of the month with a modified version called Sweetless September. I am going to eat veggies, fruits, protein, less bread, and no sweets (with the exception of an event a week, like a church activity ice cream bar that I am planning, I will allow myself 1 scoop).

This is why I don't do stupid fad diets. I believe in moderation in all things. I am glad we did this though because I needed a mental and physical jump start or kick in the pants to get on the healthy bandwagon again. I sometimes let myself run wild or eat the wrong thing out of emotion, especially at work when there is lots of free food floating around. I am becoming better at having self control in my eating habits and that is what I was hoping to get out of this if anything. You may laugh and think we were crazy and kind of dumb to cut out fruit, but hey, it was an experiment and now we know it was a dumb one.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

ROAN 2012

ROAN 2012

Please help send Roan to college by voting
You can vote once a day, everyday, from now until Sept 24th. 

Vote for Roan and he will make all your dreams come true.

Thank you for your vote!

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fun Workout with Roan

 Hi. My name is Roan and I like to workout. 
 Phew! That was a fun workout. Be sure to stretch...
remember to meditate and find you ZEN!
Now you can workout with me, Roan, at home with my above workout video, the first installment in my Fun Workout with Roan Series. Available in October for the
low price of $39.99.
Call now to order and receive a I Love Roan Bib & Hat absolutely FREE!

WARNING: Fun Workout with Roan is not responsible for death or injury due to watching his adorable workout, staring at his to die for smile, or listening to his cute laugh and coos. 
Please consult your doctor before workout.