Friday, January 31, 2014


...all you need is an air mattress.

(She kicks one foot against the ground when she's laying on her belly. I always hear her doing it on her crib mattress when she's falling asleep. It kills me.)
And a brother or two.

 And sometimes you just need to make this face because your mom is STILL taking pictures.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Who Are You? A Topic for Each Week of the Year {Week 4: Birthdays}

Week 1: Name/Birth
Week 2: School

4. How did you celebrate birthdays as a child?

My initial response to this question was "we didn't really have any traditions for birthdays"--but then I really thought about it and realized that there were things I could always count on for my birthday that made the day special.

Dinner. We got to choose our birthday dinner, which was maybe my favorite part of the day. I love lasagna and can't remember a year when I didn't choose lasagna for my birthday dinner. My mom's lasagna is still one of my very favorite meals. The lasagna, of course, came with garlic french bread. Yum. Now that I am the provider of dinner in my home I realize how much work lasagna is and am even more grateful that my mom always made it for me with nary a complaint!

Cake! A cake is kind of a given on a birthday, but I had the same exact cake every year: confetti cake with confetti frosting. You know how some people don't like frosting? I'm not one of those people. I LOVE frosting. And confetti frosting is the best. I would seriously eat spoonfuls of it out of the jar. (And still will.) Along with my confetti cake, I'd have mint chocolate chip ice cream. Or in other words, the best ice cream ever.

Par-tay. We got to have a friend party every single year. I know, right? Lots of work, especially when your birthday is two weeks before Christmas. For one of my parties my mom took me and all my friends to the New York, New York casino. The plan was to ride the ridiculous roller coaster--but, alas, it was closed that day. We played in the arcade instead and still had a great time! One year, the only thing I wanted to do was go to McDonald's with my friends, eat dinner, and play in the playplace. I apparently was pretty low-key that year. One of the employees played with us and it was seriously the best day ever. The employee's manager got mad at him, and I remember my mom going to talk to the manager after and thanking her for the employee making my birthday so special (go, mom!). One year for my party (I think I was in Kindergarten maybe?), we were having lunch. My mom let me choose the menu. I don't know what else I planned, but the star (for me) were those little mini hot dogs! I was such a weird kid.

Birthday Bingo. My mom made these cute bingo cards with birthday pictures and I remember playing birthday bingo at almost every single birthday. We loved birthday bingo. Now I want to make my own birthday bingo!

Hang over, hang over, thy poor head. Have you played that game? You sing "hang over, hang over, thy poor head. What you gonna do with a bump on your head?" while holding the present over the birthday person's head. The birthday person has to guess "wear it!" or "read it!" or whatever. If they're wrong, you whack them on the head with their present. But in my family, you got bumped whether you were right or wrong--especially if Kayla happened to be in charge of hangover, because she always forgot which present she was holding.

Memorable gifts. I got a book for every birthday, I think. Not because my parents always gave books, but because I loved books. I always looked forward to seeing what my new book was and often would have finished reading it by the next day. My most memorable present, ever, though--and really the only specific present I remember beside books--was a quilt my mom made for me. I was shocked when I opened it because I hadn't seen her make it. Tying a quilt is quick, but it's not something you can hide--I was sure I would have seen her tying it. But my mom was super sneaky and set up the quilt frame while I was at basketball practice, then tied the quilt at turbo speed to finish it before I got home. The fabric was white with blues, reds, and yellows, and had bears on it. It said things like "beary tired" or "bearly asleep." I used this blanket for years. Then Ryan made me take a break from it, because I was wearing holes through it. My mom sweetly patched it and re-bound it, and I started using it again. This blanket is the softest, most comfortable blanket I ever had. I still use this blanket every night--but Ryan tells me I can't call it a blanket anymore because it's got so many holes. I'd rather use it and wear it to pieces than just put it in a box, though!

Family. We always celebrated birthdays as a family, which I think is the most important tradition we had. My parents and siblings made me feel loved and special--not just on my birthday, but every day. 

The worst spot on my poor blanket!
Ryan tried to find more of this fabric online but we couldn't!
The front has held up way better than the back!
The back.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Monthly Reed: 62

One day Reed decided that the boys should play scouts. He told me, "I am the scout master. Of course I am a master." Asher was the scout and I was the helping teacher. They pitched tents (bean bags), roasted marshmallows (balls taped to swords held over an orange backpack), and went exploring (into the storage area under the stairs). It was, in a word, amazing. 

Dance move!
Reed really likes to wear beanies around the house. I've noticed on multiple occasions an odd pucker in the beanie on his head. On further inspection, I find that he carries various items around in his hat. While it's on his head.

On the subject of carrying things around in odd places: one morning Reed was wearing foot jammies and said, "Hey mom, you want to see something?" He unzipped his jammies to reveal a library card holder stowed in the leg of his foot jammies. 

We were talking about Lila's cake and what kind we were going to make. Reed asked, "But what about our family goal to eat healthier?"
Giving me the stink eye.
I can't remember what Reed was commenting about, but he said, "It's all jacked up." I asked what he said and he got a funny little smile and said, "It's all messed up." I told him what I heard him say and he started giggling nervously and said, "Just don't tell Daddy!"

The other night Reed came up to me, held a paper up, and started "reading" it (the paper was covered in zigzag lines). He read in a robot voice, "Note to Mommy. Tonight. Look under. Your pillow. The thing you see you need to make for me to. And put under my. Pillow." Then back to Reed voice, "But the things that say Mommy need to say Reed." Under my pillow that night I found a card he'd drawn. I replicated (minus the mommys) and put it under his pillow.

M is for Mustache at preschool.
The other day Reed told me, "I have all the supplies I need to make your valentine!" He had computer paper, sticky notes, and one red and one pink crayon. He drew me a cute little card and used the sticky note to make a flap.

Reed is very thoughtful. In addition to the notes he made for me, he made a note for Ryan and "hid" it on Ryan's drums. Later, Ryan was in the office at the computer (the office also houses the drums) and Reed said, "ummmm Daddy? Maybe you should like turn around? And like look around the room?" Ryan "found" the picture. It was an R+D surrounded by a circle with an A next door in a little circle. Apparently, it was Reed and Daddy reading their chapter book. Asher kind of reads with them, but mostly just plays, so he was in a different circle.

Reed got Monopoly Crazy Cash for Christmas. It is SO much fun. We all love it and he asks to play it all the time!
I've finally started working on reading with Reed, who is so pumped to learn. We are reading BOB books together and I am super impressed by his "sight word" memory. He remembers so many words that we read! He is still getting the hang of sounding out. He knows the sounds the letters make and will say them all out loud. He's totally saying the word but doesn't really hear himself saying it. When I say the exact thing he is saying, it clicks and he knows the word. I'm excited to watch him figure it out.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sick Day

Poor baby Jae woke up sick one day. I went in the nurse her and she wasn't really interested (which is super odd for her), but she started eventually--and then she came off and threw up all over both of us! Both boys were a lot older than her the first time they threw up. She spent the morning throwing up three more times and having big problems with the other end, too. The saddest part? She'd be feeling well enough to get down from my lap, so we would start playing on the floor--I'd stay nearby just in case. Then she'd start throwing up and just dive bomb my lap so she could lay down. Poor baby. Thankfully, after he second nap she stopped throwing up, was just a little grumpy, and by the next day she was pretty much back to normal.

She never cuddles while awake, but we spent a lot of time cuddling that day.

By her third outfit, I sent Reed up to her room to grab something. I liked his pattern mixing :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lila's Party

My parents and Mandi came down to Vegas the weekend before Lila's birthday, so we celebrated Miss Lila Jae a few days early. The boys were insistent that Lila have a party with games (that she totally cared about), so we planned a "ladybug" party. We made pink cupcakes with pink frosting and mnm/junior mint polka dots and planned a few games: pin the spot on the ladybug, ladybug hunt (we hid ladybug pictures around the room), ladybug tag (where you have to crawl around to play tag!), and flying ladybug freeze tag. Lila was on my "team" and while she at least didn't have a bad time, the boys had a great time.

For dinner, we had a few Lila favorites: homemade mac and cheese, chicken, and (of course) bread. She went to town at dinner. Oh my goodness, she ate a ton! After dinner, we opened presents. At Christmas, Lila was totally in to opening presents. On her birthday--not so much. She seemed very timid and Ryan did most of the actual opening. We started a tradition this year that Ryan's dad does with his only daughter: on each birthday, Ryan will give Lila a charm that represents her year in some way. This year he gave her a dolly charm.

And finally it was cake time. We sang happy birthday. We put the cake on Lila's tray. She immediately tried to grab the candle. Ryan blew it out, grabbed the candle, and...nothing. Ryan tried to give her a bite but she wouldn't taste it. She found a cheerio on her tray and added it to the top of her cake. Then she pulled a junior mint off--and was not impressed. After that, she basically stared at the cake blankly and kind of touched it here and there but ate nary a bite! Crazy girl.

We sure love our Lila Jae and can't believe she is already one!
The door hanger Reed made for Lila.
Ladybug stuffed animal Ashie made.

Opening the charm.

Her cake....was the leaning tower of cake. I'm talented, what can I say?

She did taste her tray, at least.

Asher made a bigger mess than Lila did!
Hey mom take a picture! And I did.
The boys wanted to make presents for Lila. Reed's idea was a "sign thing to hang up in her room with her name on it." I suggested a door hanger and he was sold. I gave him the supplies, but he came up with the design himself. Asher thought Lila would like a "ladybug stuffed aminal." I grabbed some muslin and fabric markers, drew the shape, and let him color it. Then he sat on my lap and we sewed it, stuffed it, and sewed it shut! Sweet brothers!

Mama and the birthday doll, post-cake (not that you can tell)

Done with the cake--trying to get out of the chair!

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Monthly Lila: 12

Weight: 19 lbs., 6 oz. (45-50th percentile)
Height: 28.25 in. (20-25th percentile)
Head: 18.25 inches (80-85th percentile)

At Lila’s nine-month well-child, she had low iron. We started giving her an iron supplement every night and re-tested her iron at her twelve-month well-child. Her iron was lower. We go in this afternoon to get more extensive testing, then will make a plan with our doctor and go from there, depending on what is causing her iron issues.

One day we were playing and Lila gave me a ball to put in her ball popper. When I did, she gave me five.

Her one-armed request. And a sweet mohawk.
If Lila wants something, she stretches out one arm as far as she can with her fingers spread wide apart. She is reaching with so much force that it’s hilarious. She usually does this when she wants food or a toy someone else has, but she will occasionally do it when she wants someone to come give her five.

Apparently she'd like the photographer to pick her up.
Lila loves to give fives. When she wants one she hold her hand up in the air with her fingers spread wide. Any time I give one of the boys five or say to them, “Give me five” (which is kind of a lot), she holds her little hand up, too, because she doesn’t want to be left out.

We might have given Lila her very first sucker so the rest of us could play Monopoly.
Lila finally started clapping! It is so cute that it makes my heart hurt. I love clapping babies. The other day she was sitting with Ryan when she grabbed both his hands and started clapping his hands together. Now, if you hold both your hands in front of her, she will start clapping your hands together.

First gogurt--a big milestone in our house. She LOVED it and clutched the package for ten minutes after it was gone. Now if she sees the boys have one, she makes loud noises until she gets one, too.
Lila is getting much more confident in her cruising abilities. She will hold on with one hand and transfer to a new piece of furniture, she will hold on with one hand but really be mostly balancing on her own, and she will make her way everywhere. One of these days she might get brave and let go!

Poor LJ has super dry skin. I’ve tried a lot of different remedies, but haven’t found real success with anything. Our pediatrician suggested cerave, which I’m currently looking for, and hoping it is a miracle worker!

Always finding something to eat.
Sometimes, the world is Lila’s pillow. She gets in these funny moods where she will crawl a few paces, stop, lay her head down on the floor; crawl a few paces, stop, lay her head down on a toy; crawl a few paces, stop, lay her head down on a pillow. It’s really funny to watch. It is super cute when she chooses a person as her pillow.

If you ask Lila to “give love” she will lay her head down on whoever is nearest.

I love her eyes. And teeth.
This is random, but when I burp Lila after she eats she always does like 5-6 tiny burps rather than one big one. For whatever reason, I find that kind of funny!

When we go into Lila’s room for naptime, I grab her blanket out of her bed and put it up on my shoulder. She almost always lays her head on her blanket, which is adorable. Her main blanket is a cute fleece one with a snowman print that her cousin Hailey made for Lila for Christmas. She also likes pinky. Another fleece blanket can stand in in a pinch.

She is so loved by her brothers.
The only words Lila consistently says are “mama” and “buhbuh” (brother). One time I swear she said “nana” when I gave her a banana, but she hasn’t repeated it. And a few days ago, she put a hat over her face, then pulled it off and said “boo”—but again, no repeat performance. She did start shaking her head “no” on January 2. We were in the kitchen and I held out my arms to her and said, “Come here, baby.” She shook her head no and stayed rooted in place! Then she smiled. I asked her to come again and she cracked up and crawled over to me.

Lila is a little bit crazy and stands up in her high chair, which makes me a little crazy. And no matter how tight I buckle her into a grocery cart, she manages to wiggle to her knees, turn around, try to grab something in the cart, and take a nosedive into the cart (true story). Now she just rides in the back!

Lila loves opening and closing doors and putting small toys inside larger toys or buckets, then taking them back out over and over again.

If Ryan's guitar case is out, Lila immediately goes to it--it's the perfect size for climbing and playing on.
Lila finally learned how to crawl down the stairs! After refusing to even attempt, she made her first sojourn down on January 1. A few times she’s even started herself out “piggies first,” but she often tries to go down face first. We’re working on that.

The Monthly Asher: 39

One day Asher told me a joke: "Mom what is a cow with no eyes?" (pause) "A barn! Like a barn doesn't have eyes!" Then he said, "I got another one. What is a cow with no eyes?" (pause) "Some wood!"

On Christmas Eve, Asher came out of the room 5 minutes after we put him to bed and asked, "Mommy, is it tomorrow yet?" I told him it wasn't and he asked, "Oh, what day is it then?" I told him it was still today and he popped back into his room and yelled, "Bubba! It's STILL today!"
Again on Christmas Eve, Asher told me "I'm excited for Christmas, I'm just scared of Santa, though!"
Ryan built the boys a teeter totter. They both love it, but Asher loves it the most.

When my parents and Mandi were in town for Lila's birthday, the boys shared their top bunk and Mandi slept in their bottom bunk. The boys are supposed to stay in
 their room until 7 in the morning, even if they wake up earlier. That day, though, Ryan told Mandi to feel free to send them out if they woke up early so she could back to sleep. When Asher woke up, Mandi told him he could go out. He said, "I think I should wait until 7." Reed went out and talked to Ryan, then came back to tell Ashie he could come out. Ashie  said, "But Bubba, I just really need to wait until 7." Mandi tried again to tell him he could go out, but he said, "Mando, I just know I'm supposed to wait until 7." Apparently we've taught him well! 

We were getting ready for church and I couldn't find any of Asher's usual church socks. I grabbed a pair that we don't usually use for church, but that were tan and relatively plain. (And by plain I mean they had a camouflage-printed cuff. But the pants would cover that.) Asher saw the socks and said, "What if my friends see my socks and say, 'Those are not church socks!'"

Our sunbeam!
One day Asher told me, "Mom, I don't want to get married. Or baptized. I'm just like scared of anything [I think he meant "everything"]. I'm just like not scared of toys."   

Sometimes we'll tell stories about the boys when they were babies and their favorite things to hear are the funny words they used to say. (Like Reed saying "ganya" for garbage can and Asher saying "bee bot" For Asher's spot.) Anyway, here are a list of things Asher says a little funny, for future reference: Piddow (pillow), Bitabin (vitamin), Inja (ninja), Aminals (animals), and Reglier (regular). Sometimes he says things like "sawed" for saw, and "ghostes" for ghosts, but my favorite is when he says "sawed-ed" for saw. His weirdest word has always been a weird one. He used to pronounce it "beeil." Now he says "eeil" (think of electric eel with an "i" sound). What's the word? Oil.

Epic photo bomb. The present Lila is opening in the background is actually from Asher, too.
I often tell the boys our plan for parts of the day (as in: we are going to get dressed, then go to school, then have lunch). They love knowing the plan. One day Asher asked Ryan what the plan was. Ryan told Asher that he didn't know. Asher responded, "How can you not know the plan?"

One day Asher asked me for an "eraser pen"--aka a pencil. He thinks he can erase anything and gets super disappointed when he tries to erase marker or crayon and nothing happens.

Playing with Grandma.
At bedtime, Asher likes to be tucked in. I am also in charge of tucking his monkey in. He asks me, "Mom, can you get me settled (or situated, depending on the day)?" It's super cute. A few weeks ago, we were tucking monkey in with Asher's bee ball and Asher said he wished that monkey could have a pillow. After Asher's nap, I let him pick out fabric and we sewed a little monkey-sized pillow together. Monkey uses his pillow for every nap and bed time. 

One thing Asher says that I love is "bam." He uses it all the time; e.g., "he just bammed it up," "Dolly just bammed into me," "that thing was a bammer."

We were driving and Asher said, "Mom I saw a tree but like it was white. It was like a manger tree!"
In case you couldn't see the joy on his face before!

A conversation:
A: Mom are monsters real and dead?
M: No, they're pretend.
A: What about dinosaurs?
M: They're real and dead.
A: Are they all dead though?

Another gem: "Mom I like butterflies. I just don't like when they flutter. It bugs me somehow."

We were driving and Reed was handing Asher a water bottle. Lila's seat is between them, so she grabbed the water bottle. Asher couldn't get it. He said, "Mommy? Little help here?!"

His favorite jammies. When he wears them, he asks, "Mom do you just want to hug me? I am super soft like a blankie."
One Sunday I told Asher that in two weeks he would go to primary. He responded, "(huge excited gasp) WHAT?! That is not very long!"

Asher and Reed were cleaning up their room. I overheard Asher say, "Is it playing time right now? No. Then you shouldn't be playing."

At lunch I gave the boys a pile of grapes to share. Asher grabbed grapes off Reed's plate so I told Asher that the grapes were to share. Asher said, "I just want Bubba to eat his noodles."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Who Are You? A Topic for Each Week of the Year {Week 3: Hobbies}

Week 1: Name/Birth
Week 2: School

3. What were your hobbies as a child? Were you interested in sports?

This could be a long one.
Sorry the picutres are cut off--my scanner isn't big enough for this scrapbook! Top L to R: NJB basketball, NJB All-Stars, NJB Basketball, Summerlin League Softball; Middle L to R: Angels softball, NJB All-stars, Summerlin League Soccer, clogging; Bottom L to R: Vipers (club basketball), Summerlin League Soccer; Summerlin League Soccer Referee.

I had a lot of hobbies when I was a kid. I'll start with the two biggest non-sport hobbies.

Reading: If I had to choose my very favorite hobby as a child (and teenager and adult), I'd definitely choose reading. It's not even a contest. I was always reading. And I mean always. People read going to the bathroom. I didn't just read going to the bathroom--I read IN THE SHOWER. I'm not joking about that. I'd take my book in with me and keep reading for the first few minutes of being in the water. When I was ready to wash my hair and such, I'd toss my book out. After I accidentally dropped a book in the shower (the horror!) I stopped bringing books in with me. I also started showering a lot more quickly.My family would always joke that they'd have entire conversations with me while I was reading--I'd be responding and everything--and then a couple minutes after the conversation ended, I'd look up and say, "What?" I was sneaky at bedtime. I'd leave the closet light on (it didn't shine out under the door and wouldn't alert my parents that I was awake) and read when I was supposed to go to bed. When my mom realized what I was doing, she lectured me about ruining my eyes and got a book light for me. I remember a friend gave me a book light for my birthday that was shaped like a monkey--the light was his tail. It was my favorite gift that year.

When I was in elementary school, I racked up a ton of accelerated reader points--so many that I actually made the National Accelerated Reader Honor Roll. The first chapter book I read by myself was Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I believe I was in second grade; my teacher Mrs. Hallisey knew I was ready for chapter books, so gave me Ramona. I was hooked from that point on. I still remember parts of the book, particularly one memorable part where Ramon is trying to follow a trend by cracking a hard-boiled egg on her head in the lunchroom at school--but her egg isn't hard boiled. She has to go to the office to get cleaned up and overhears the secretary say the word "nuisance." Ramona was worried that she was the nuisance. I had no idea how to even pronounce "nuisance" but I loved the word. My elementary school librarian, Mrs. Doyle, was amazing. She kept me in chapter books. She only had one misfire: Black Beauty. I didn't like it, but I read it anyway because I can't not read a book (and it was worth a TON of accelerated reader points).

No matter what I do, this picture will NOT flip. Anyway, three years of Becker Middle School Bighorn Basketball. 
Piano: I would be lying if I called piano a hobby of mine when I was a child. But by the time I got to high school, I loved playing the piano. I attribute this to two variables: first, I had progressed to the point where I could play most things I wanted to without too much difficulty; second, we'd moved away from my lifelong piano teacher and I no longer took lessons. Absence (and not having to practice) makes the heart grow fonder.

I was PUMPED to start piano lessons. My teacher, Denise Gregory, was one of my mom's long time friends. Mandi, Kenny, and Lynnie all took lessons from Denise. Denise wouldn't start teaching you lessons until you were eight and by the time my eighth birthday finally rolled around, I was beyond ready to start. Denise is a fantastic piano teacher and, beyond just learning the notes on the keys, she taught theory, too. She was very tough, though, especially as I got older and more capable. We had a notebook where she wrote down which songs I was assigned for the week. I had to make a practice chart each week and practice each song a certain number of times during the week (usually 3 times each on five different days). I usually had around 4 or 5 songs I was working on at a time, so practice was certainly required. I wasn't always the best practice-er, and had to repeat songs for another week or sometimes even two more weeks on occasion--but I learned so much from Denise. I was at her house once a week for my half-hour lesson, then doing homework during Lynnie's half-hour lesson, so I spent a lot of time with her (in addition to seeing her when she and my mom would get together). She called us funny nicknames and, if we did good enough at our lesson, we always got to choose a treat out of her bucket. I can still hear her saying "whoops" every time I hit a wrong note as I played my songs for her at lessons!

We had recitals twice yearly. Once our recital was right near Halloween and we were allowed to dress up. I wore my Princess Jasmine costume. The boy I was sitting next to was wearing a Grim Reaper costume and I was totally freaked out (I was in first grade, I think). I was nervous the entire time. For the recitals, we went in order from the lowest level students to the most advanced students. Where you were in the program showed how good you were, essentially. I took lessons from Denise for six years; I started at the beginning of the recital and, by the time I stopped taking lessons, the only two people ahead of me were my sister and her friend. We had to memorize our recital pieces. We took our music to the recital and put it under our chair so Denise could rescue us if need be. I never forgot my recital pieces and can still play most of one piece from memory (though I don't remember its name).

When we moved to St. George when I was 14, I really did miss my piano lessons. And, unfortunately, we didn't continue lessons--the only teachers who taught at the level Denise had taken us up to were at the college. But playing the piano really did become a hobby and I'd often sit at the piano and just play.

On to a non-sport/kind of sport, depending on who you ask: clogging. When I was really young, I did ballet and tap with my little best friends (Lauren Bunker and Laurel Ence).I was never passionate about it, but had a good time. Eventually, my sister and I both got into clogging. Our teacher was Ann Kern and our dance company was the Vegas Valley Cloggers. Clogging may seem kind of weird, but it is actually a lot of fun! I had a weekly dance lesson. Lynnie's lesson was right after mine, so I'd hang out at the studio and do homework until her lesson was over. I honestly don't know how good or bad I was, but I was usually on the front row so that's got to be a sign that I was at least decent, right? Every year, we performed at the Logandale Fair, another fair or two, sometimes a parade (you try clogging and moving forward!) and have a yearly recital for parents and friends. One year we got to travel to California and perform at Disney Magic Music Days.

My mom was friends with Ann from church (we were in the same stake), and is a very talented seamstress, so she would often sew costumes for entire dance classes. Seriously. My best friend in my clogging class was Emily. She was a little younger than me (not much, though), and we would often partner up for dances that required pairs.

And now on to sports!

Softball: I'll start with softball, because it was never a big passion of mine and I was never very good at it! I started playing when I was in first grade (I think) and played until fourth grade. My first team was the Angels. Our uniforms were red (why do I remember that?). My second and third years I had a great coach--but I don't remember his name, of course. My last year, my coach was my friend Hilary's dad. He was also a great coach. Our team name was the American Girls, like the dolls. We were all pretty embarrassed by that!

Soccer: Soccer was my first love. I was good at soccer. I was strong, could kick the ball really far, and was not as slow as I looked, which worked to my advantage. I loved playing defense, even though everyone else loved offense. I also enjoyed midfield, but defense was my real favorite. I was put in at goalie once on one of my very first teams. We were the Little Mermaids (what is with these teams names?) and our uniforms were neon pink. My coach was actually the same coach I liked from softball. Anyway, I hated being goalie. I got scored on and felt terrible about it. Luckily, I got to stick to defense after that. I played soccer all through elementary and middle school. Then, in ninth grade, I tried out for the high school team and didn't make it. There wasn't a freshman team, so only a few very talented ninth graders made the team, but I was pretty crushed that I wasn't among them. I played city league that year, though, and had a really great coach--Craig Nebeker. My good friend Nicole was on the team with me (where we discovered we were "twins"--long story) and I had a fantastic time. I learned a lot that year and really improved my soccer skills. I legitimately think I would have made the soccer team my sophomore year--Coach Nebeker was kind of disappointed I didn't try out--but I decided to go for volleyball instead.

Top left: (Top L to R:) Emalee Littlepage, Lindsey North. (Bottom L to R: )Me, Karinne Bentley. My best volleyball friends that year!
Volleyball: I loved soccer--but I really loved volleyball. My middle school started a volleyball skills clinic when I was in sixth grade. My friends and I all went, as did my sister, and I had a great time. I was terrible, but I had a great time. In ninth grade, I planned to try out for the volleyball team. But we had just moved to St. George, I had already had the disappointment of not making the soccer team, and I talked myself out of trying out. I immediately regretted it. My dad talked to the coach for me and I was able to be the manager and practice with the freshman team. I learned a lot, but I felt kind of silly at times since I wasn't actually on the team and never got to play. Stacy, the freshman coach, was really good to me, though, and always involved me.

I got brave my sophomore year and actually tried out for the team--and I made it! I was a defensive specialist and got a lot of playing time. I loved my coach, Cheryl Bentley. And my teammates were so much fun. We would have "team night" and end up hanging out together for hours. We did all kinds of stuff together as a team. That team was probably the most united one I've ever played on. After the season ended, I wanted to continue playing volleyball--so I started playing club volleyball for the Redrock Club. The coaches were Richard Downer, Stacy (from my freshman team) and Coach Hentosh, who coached at Pine View High School. I think that club season was pivotal for me--I improved so much and really enjoyed the game. Richard Downer gave my sister and I a few training sessions, with my dad taking copious notes. That summer, I spent many, many hours at our church gym practicing volleyball with my dad. He'd toss my a ball and I'd pass it into a trash can, which was at the setter spot. As I got better, we moved from a quite large trash can to the small classroom cans.

My junior year came and I was ready for volleyball. I made the varsity team, again as a defensive specialist. Coach Parker, the head varsity coach, told me that at the end of my sophomore season she never would have expected that I would make varsity. (I took it as a compliment!) I dressed for JV and Varsity--and, unfortunately, I never played varsity. Because I didn't practice with the JV team, I never played JV, either. I spent a lot of time on the bench. Partway through the season, Coach Parker, moved me and the other defensive specialist, Hillary, down to the JV gym for practices.  My friend Valerie Crump (the JV DS) moved to the varsity gym. I was crushed. But I finally got JV playing time and started to improve again. Coach Ann Esplin, the JV Coach, was instrumental in my improvement. My junior year was not my best, but it was okay.

I played club again that year with Redrock and got to play libero. I loved being a libero because I got to be on the floor basically the entire game. We had a great season. My senior year rolled around and I made the varsity volleyball team again. This year I actually got to play--I was a regular part of the rotation. We won our region and got third place in the state tournament that year! It was so disappointing to not win the state champion title--but, honestly, we were a young and kind of short team who no one expected us to place in the top five, so we were pretty proud of third. I made really good friends with Valerie Crump, Kenna Cannon, and Heidi Wittwer, who all played with me. Val, Heidi, and I were on the Academic All-State Team that year. The awards were handed out minutes after we finished our last game, so we had to make a mad dash to change, then stand in the middle of the court, sweaty in our dresses. Our last game of the season was the game where we placed third. We were playing Pine View, who was from our own region. And the club team I had played on was composed of Pine View players, one Dixie player, and me--so I was friends with every girl on the opposing team. The victory was a sweet one.