Monday, December 29, 2014

Change of Plans

We weren't finding out what we were having. 

We've done it twice, and it's really lots of fun!

But when I went in for my ultrasound at 19 weeks, Scotty and I both thought we saw "something" (or a lack of something, if you know what I mean).

Over the next few weeks, it ate away at me. It turns out that "kind of" knowing is a lot harder (and very different) than "not knowing." 

I had an appointment on the 15th of December, so I called my doctor (without Scotty knowing), and asked if he would do a gender check. He obliged, and I had him put the results in an envelope so we could open it on Christmas. 

(Note that this required me to be patient for 10 days while I had the answer tucked in my purse. High five for diligence!)

Since Scotty didn't know about the envelope, I had to attend several Christmas parties and lie to everyone.

"Do you know what you're having?"

"No. We're not finding out."

My apologies to all of the people I deceived over those ten days!

As we suspected, we're having a...


I never thought I'd be a mother of girls, plural... let alone THREE!

I'm very excited, but I never imagined that Nicky wouldn't have a little brother. It always seemed like a given. I'm not entirely opposed to having another baby someday, but I have always felt like four is our number, and I would really like to be "done." I feel good about four. Five? I just don't know. But "change of plans" seems to be a big theme in life, so we'll see what comes. Maybe there will be a brother someday - life is unpredictable, and God can be pretty convincing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Resolutions in Review

When I made my resolutions for 2014, I decided to make my theme for the year "Sing a New Song" based on Psalm 40. This year I really wanted to change my tune and fix a few character flaws that had been holding me back. I can't really say that I was successful, but I'm definitely singing a new song - or at least an unexpected song. At the beginning of the year, I had no idea that I would go back to school or become pregnant.

Here are some of the things I hoped to accomplish this year:

Run a half marathon before June. DONE

I ran an organized half marathon in April. Then after I was injured in the Spartan Race in June, I couldn't run for about six weeks. One Saturday morning in August, I went on my first "real" run post-injury (i.e. more than a mile or two), and I hoped to run between 5-8 miles, but I ran 13.1. I just kept going and going. I had to text Scotty and say, "I'm still alive - I'm trying for a half marathon." He thought I was nuts - and I was, considering I hadn't ran in six weeks - but I did it.

Win something by luck (not skill). DONE

I was hoping to win something cool, but all I got was a camp chair in a raffle. Still counts, though. And I needed a camp chair. An iPod or $1,000 cash would have been nice, but whatever.

Reach the weight recommended by my doctor. DEBATABLE

Pregnancy interfered with this one, but I'm in a good place with my weight gain so far. Not too much, not too little, so there's still some doctor approval involved.

Read the Book of Mormon as a family. IN PROGRESS

At the beginning of the year I made a plan to read the Book of Mormon with my family in its entirely. I'm sure there are plenty of families with small children who accomplish this, but my plan was too much for our family. By the time March hit, I had to change what we were doing because it just wasn't working. We are still reading, but we didn't finish.

Read The Power of Everyday Missionaries and the Old testament. SO NOT DONE, IT AIN'T EVEN FUNNY

This didn't happen. Not even close! And I don't even have an excuse. I just didn't want to do it. I think I made it about 30 pages into each.

But The Power of Everyday Missionaries is really, really good. Somehow I just need to get through it! I can do it by the new year if I try. Will I try? Sheesh! I dunno.

In my new year post for 2014, I also made mention of a few other goals I was working on:
  • There were three friendships or relationships I had specific goals for
  • I tried to do 5,000 things to improve my home/family life
  • I had a bad habit I wanted to overcome
  • I tried get in a better place spiritually and emotionally
I'm going to go ahead and proclaim those goals "mostly unsuccessful." In fact, in a few of those areas, I think I'm even worse off than I was a year ago.

So, here I bid adieu to 2014, and though it wasn't a horrible year, I'm glad to be singing my way into a new year, even though it's not the song I had in mind.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Searching for Jesus

Like many families, we have a Little People nativity set. Each year after Christmas, I box it up and put it in the basement with the rest of our holiday decor, and each year, without fail, a piece or two get left behind. It wouldn't be so hard for me to take those left-behind pieces downstairs and put them away, but usually (because I am kind of lazy... shhh... our little secret), I end up putting them in the toy drawer with the rest of the Little People and reuniting them with the nativity the following Christmas. It has never been a problem for Mary, the donkey, or one of the wise men to vacation with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty for the summer. That is, until this year.

I have a confession: our Baby Jesus is missing.

I discovered his absence when I got the nativity out this year, and I was kind of surprised because, when Jesus goes missing from a nativity, you should notice, and it shouldn't take a year.

The nativity has now been "in play" for over a month, and Baby Jesus hasn't turned up. I've searched through the kids' toys several times to no avail. I've also gone through our Christmas boxes just in case he was misplaced when we cleaned up last year, but alas, there is no Baby Jesus.

I have to admit that I fear we might become a Christmas metaphor. We are the Family With No Jesus. I was surprised when the First presidency didn't talk about us in their Christmas devotional - I guess they hadn't yet received word of our ultimate failure.

I was thinking about it in church on Sunday - how we haven't found our Jesus. I looked around the congregation and thought, "Do any of them suspect that we've lost him? Can they see it in our countenances?"

Of course, I say these things in jest. The First Presidency and my Church congregation are not really going to shun us for losing our Baby Jesus. What matters most is that Christ is manifested within us - not whether we have a plastic figurine of Him in our Christmas decor (though you have to admit, our nativity is lacking a key element).

As I've been searching for a plastic figurine of Jesus, I've thought about how many other ways I can "find" Him.

I find Him in kindness - the kindness of others and the kindness I, myself, can provide.

I find Him in love - the unconditional type of love which is amplified by forgiveness.

I find Him in music - in hymns of praise and rejoicing, and in many other musics that reflect the nurturing and sharing of God-given talents.

I find Him in nature - in the very places that He created; in the beauty and majesty that testify of a maker and of a much greater plan.

I find Him in family - in the ways we serve and care for one another.

So many of my surroundings testify of Christ that it is never hard to truly find Him when I am searching for Him.


As for our Little People figurine, it will turn up. I don't know where or when, but he is somewhere, and we will be reunited and have a complete nativity again some day.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Being Excited for Christmas has Directly Influenced the Amount of Time I Spend Blogging {and ten other random facts}

Fact #1: We are suffering from a fruit fly infestation. Is it just me or does it seem like fruit flies should be obsolete in the middle of December? Don't they take a season off?

Little punks.

Fact #2: There are very few moments when my household doesn't echo with sounds of complete chaos. There is always somebody throwing something (it's currently a big blue ball in the family room. Scotty is supervising. Sometimes Scotty is the problem), and there is always at least one kid crying.

Fact #3: I think that's what made the transition from two kids to three kids so difficult for me. As soon as there were three of them, someone was always crying. Always. When there were only two, they would occasionally be quiet at the same time.

Fact #4: Now I'm used to the crying. Not that I love it or anything, but I can tune it out.

Fact #5: Another thing that is hard about going from two to three is that when you have two kids, you can pay attention to one and ignore the other, and it just kind of works out. But when there are three, you pay attention to one, and the other two fight. If you want to feed a kid or read a book to a kid, the others are left in a pair, and they will use that time to try and kill each other.

Fact #6: Heartburrrrrrrn!

Fact #7: I don't remember the last time I was *this* excited for Christmas. I'm always excited, but this year there are some surprises in store that make things a little more exciting than usual. I will report back promptly.

Fact #8: I officially finished my first semester at BYU-Idaho this week. I didn't accomplish much (only two classes), but it's nice to know that I have some education under my belt in a field I actually LOVE. I have so much more to say about this, but it will make for a very boring blog post. Look forward to that.

Fact #9: I've purchased two of the books I need for next semester, and I am having a hard time letting them sit on the shelf. I want to read them. NOW! (I love this feeling - I never experienced this at LDS Business College when I was taking things like Accounting, Business Law, and Nutrition).

Fact #10: Last night Scotty and I went to a junk store and we were able to replace three of our very scratched Christmas CDs for fifty cents each. They are CDs I thought we'd never see again!

Yes, we still have a few CDs, but our last CD player bit the dust last week so we now listen in the car or via the DVD player or computer. We live a very fancy high-tech life around here!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fears for the New Year

During the past few weeks, I've been prepping our household for the new year.

First I tackled the budget.

I have this very fancy system for budgeting. It's called a notebook.

It's actually kind of funny that I use a notebook because I studied accounting in junior college, AND I was a financial secretary for a school before I had kids, so I have every bit of experience necessary to use technology to do my budget, and yet... the notebook wins!

I have every month of 2015 written out with pay days, due dates for bills, and all the other good stuff that requires money during the year.

Next, I tackled the calendar.

As with my budget, I have a very fancy calendaring system. It's made of paper. It hangs on the fridge.

Everything is filled in that could possibly be filled in at this point, and January is quickly overflowing with life's activities.

I'm glad I have these two lifelines ready to go for next year, but at the same time, they terrify me! There's something unsettling about looking an entire year into the future. I am relying on sameness, and at any moment, something could change drastically. I don't know if Scotty will have the same job. I don't know if we'll all be healthy. I don't know if our income will stay the same.

Anything could happen to change our course of life. Anything.

I love the transition from one year to the next - it's such a great time to be optimistic and to experience change - but it's also very scary!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Britts of Christmas Past

This week I've been going through some boxes of old pictures. I've stumbled across some really awesome photos from the past - most of which can be used to humiliate family members via social media. I will have to keep them on hand for when the time is right.

One picture I found was this one of my little brothers and me in 1993:


The day after I found the picture, I happened to be with my brothers, so we reenacted it:


The baby is a little heavier now, and the new cat is less agreeable.

During my photo exploration, I found these pictures of me with Santa (there should be more out there in the world somewhere, but these are the only ones in my possession):

Christmas 1991

If there is one thing that stands out to me about this photo, it is my ears. They used to poke out so much, and I don't think they do anymore (it helps that I've gained a lot of weight in my face over the past ten years). I sometimes forget that I have (had?) pokey-outey ears!

And that reindeer shirt? It says "raindeer," and the deer are falling from the sky. Like rain. Get it? GET IT?!?!

Christmas 1993

Obviously I had a rockin' perm this year! And I remember having the hardest time picking out my outfit for this party. I pretty much lived in fear that I would leave my house and run into J.T.T. at some random place (like my grandma's house) and not look super hot, so I worked really hard to look good... just in case.

Christmas 1999-ish

Awwww..... nothing brings out the teenage angst like having to sit on Santa's lap.

Check me out with all my swagger... and my awesome hat! Just trying to get through so I can have my stocking full of peanuts and oranges.

Right on, Britt! Right on!

Christmas 2003

At some point, I guess Santa didn't want me to sit on his lap anymore, so here I am at age 19, on the floor. I kind of wish that's how Santa visits had gone all along.

The crazy part about this photo?!?!
I was married!

Yep! Married teenager talking to Santa right there!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hate is a Strong Word

Things my five-year-old hates:
  • Pizza
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Anything that requires having her ears touched
  • Pickles
  • Chicken (if you even say the word "chicken," she will start wailing dramatically and throw herself on the floor)
  • Most of the kids in her preschool class
  • Water
  • The dentist
  • "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"
  • Shoes
  • Waiting
  • Soup
  • Booberry and Frankenberry
  • Sacrament Meeting
  • Her dance costume
  • Pinkie Pie
  • Harry Potter
  • Shots
  • Not going first
  • Bananas
  • Holding still
  • French toast
  • Elf
  • All vegetables except raw carrots, but she will only eat one and then she "hates" the rest
  • Hair buns
  • Mylanta (she will make herself throw up)
  • Tinkerbell
  • Orville Richard Burrell (more commonly known as "Shaggy") (five-year-olds shouldn't really have an opinion on Shaggy, but mine does!)
  • Milk
  • Having her hair brushed
  • Sesame Street (last week's Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert was interesting)
  • Paying tithing

Things my five-year-old likes:
  • McDonald's
  • Balloons

Monday, December 15, 2014

Little Life Lessons from Diet Coke

A few months ago while on vacation, I snuck a Diet Coke.

Just for informational purposes, Diet Coke is not my drink of choice. Give me Dr. Pepper or Cherry Pepsi. Except that I quit drinking pop three years ago, and accidentally started again earlier this year (after the aforementioned vacation) so really, give me nothing because I need to quit!

But on that day, those Diet Cokes looked so adequately chilled that I couldn't resist.

As I was drinking the Diet Coke, Zoe was trying to pry it from my hands. She wanted that Diet Coke something fierce, and I wouldn't let her have it. After fighting her off over and over, I finally chugged it down and put some water in the can for her. 

She sat on a beach chair sipping happily from her Diet Coke can. It was everything she'd ever dreamed of!*

As I watched her downing that water, I momentarily assessed the situation as it would appear to others: a young mother sitting on the beach, allowing her toddler to chug a Diet Coke. I laughed to myself and thought, "Judge away, folks! I know the real story!"

Since that day I have frequently reflected back on the water in the Diet Coke can, realizing how easy it is for us to look at one another and form assumptions based on what we see even though there is an underlying truth we aren't aware of. 

I am guilty of it.

So very guilty.

And I have also been victim to it.

So in an effort to be a kinder, better person (an ongoing battle), I am trying to make less assumptions about what other people have in their Diet Coke cans. 

*I should mention that this is the only time that worked. Kids can only be fooled so many times. She'd never fall for that now.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Do Tell: The Christmas Disagreement

Scotty and I don't always see eye to eye on things. You would think a married couple would just know what the other is thinking from time to time; and therefore, a consensus should be easily reached, especially for the dumb, little things. But not so. It seems like we have to consult one another about everything.

Like, everything.

Because if we don't, we end up dividing into "his and hers."

It seems to happen mostly with the kids. For example, I let our kids walk from our house to the corner pretty much every day. Then on Scotty's day off, when the girls walk to the corner, he's all, "Where are our kids? Why are they that far away? I only let them walk to the brown fence!"

And I'm like, "Uhhh... well, I let them walk to the corner. EVERY DAY."

So then it's his rule vs. her rule. Do we let them walk to the the brown fence or to the corner? Must we sit down and have a two-hour family meeting over this dilemma?


One of the things Scotty and I disagree on is how to handle the opening of Christmas gifts.

One of us loves the idea of everyone tearing in to everything all at once - flying bows, paper cuts, and joyous screaming simultaneously.

The other wants the children to take turns opening gifts as to experience the love or hate of each present one at a time.

(Can you guess who's who?)

So today I'd like to ask how Christmas gifts are opened at your house. Do tell!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Service Fail

At Christmastime I usually do a service project with my kids - we've done the Angel Tree, Sub for Santa, collected items for various charities and shelters, Operation Christmas Box, and others...

  2009 11 20_0742

I recall one of the earlier years when we bought things to send to a little girl in Mexico who lived in an orphanage. Nicky was about 4 years old, and I had to explain to him that we were buying Christmas presents for a little girl who didn't have parents. He was so sad for her and so affected by this information - that there are children who don't have homes or parents - that I thought he would remember it for the rest of his life.



Year after year, my kids remember nothing. In fact, they don't remember a single service project we've done.

I don't know why this is - my kids remember everything. But I digress.

This year I wanted to try a different kind of service. Instead of doing an outward service project, I wanted my children to serve each other.

Back in the 80's, my mom used to go to Family Home Evening groups where all the women would take turns putting together FHE lessons to swap. My mom accumulated vast amounts of manila folders with FHE lessons. One of my favorite lessons was about Gracious George the Gingerbread Man. The lesson told the story of the Gingerbread Man with a twist. Instead of just running away, George would stop and do service along the way. After the lesson, we would take turns doing something nice for a family member and leave a little stuffed gingerbread man behind to indicate that it was now that person's turn to do something nice.

A few months ago, I tried this activity with my kids for FHE. The little gingerbread man (which I inherited) had gone missing, so we used a pound puppy instead. I read the story to my kids and then I introduced the dog and the service activity. Things went well for about a day, but then it was Daisy's turn, and she didn't really "get it." She would just hide the dog where no one could find it. After the second time she hid it, we never found it, and the activity died a mere two days after it started.

Nevertheless, I wanted to do this activity again throughout the month of December and have this as a holiday tradition. After all, my kids aren't always nice to each other, and they're not always nice at Christmas time in general. So I bought a stuffed gingerbread man and renamed him Generous George the Gingerbread Man (because it has better alliteration that Gracious George the Gingerbread Man), and last Monday, I reintroduced the lesson to my kids, did a walk-through with Daisy so she would understand she can't hide George, and then we began our service. Daisy started by doing service for Zoe. Then Daisy helped Zoe do service for Scotty. Zoe put Scotty's shoes away for him and left George with Scotty's shoes. Then Scotty didn't find George for six days because Scotty never puts his shoes away (and apparently didn't need the pair that Zoe cleaned up) and therefore, never saw that George was in his shoe basket (and after I clued him in, it still took him two days to finally make contact with George). This morning I woke up and noticed that Generous George is on top of the fridge.

So, I guess if Daisy isn't hiding George, it's Scotty's stashing habit that will do us in. I'm not sure if I should admit defeat now or give it one more shot and admit defeat next Monday.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Foot Post

"Left foot, right foot, feet, feet, feet!
How many, many feet you meet!"
-The Foot Book, Dr Seuss

(I dedicate this post to my friend, Katie, who hates feet so much that she has been known to wear two pairs of socks just to increase the barrier between her and her feet).

There is major foot drama in my family.

It begins with me.

And since it begins with me, I should have nothing but empathy for the foot drama of my children, and yet.. I find myself incredibly frustrated with their shoe-related issues.

I have always had a hard time finding shoes that fit. I have wide feet, high arches, and toes so long, you could easily mistake me for a primate. When I do find shoes that fit, it's rare for them to not still hurt in some way. If I want to wear anything other than flip-flops or athletic shoes, I have to buy them about two sizes too big. It's frustrating. My feet are always uncomfortable, and I'm worried this will have a long-term affect on my spine.


Since I chose to have biological children, I think I've passed on my foot problems to them. All of them.

It started with Nicky. I knew early on that he had wide feet. As a toddler, he always had issues with his shoes. Now, at age 8 (later this month), he does much better with his shoes. It helps that he has the vocabulary to tell me exactly what his problems are.

Then there's Zoe (age 2), who is also full of foot drama. I can't get her to wear shoes. Period. Part of that is probably the age, but I don't have a lot of hope that this will change... ever! I have a hard time sizing her feet as well and have to buy her anywhere between a toddler 5 and 7 depending on how wide the shoe is.

Daisy (age 5), though, is my biggest shoe challenge. As we're transitioning into winter, I've been trying to get her to wear shoes and socks instead of flip-flops or sandals, and Oi! She is killing me. She has some sensory issues. For example, she is fanatical about her ears! If you so much as graze her ear with your finger while combing her hair, she goes ballistic! (Can you imagine this child at the pediatrician's office when the doctor wants to look in her ears? It takes three of us to hold her down) ( And don't even get me started on how hard it is to comb her hair!)  This extends to her clothing, so I'm always having to return clothes that she won't wear because they "feel weird." She struggles with socks because of the seams, and she feels too constricted, so she is always "totally freaking out" (as Peg would say) when she has socks on. She hates real shoes - I don't know if the shoe problems are a combination of inheriting genetically crappy feet and having sensory issues, or if it's one or the other, but I don't know what to do about it. I can't find a pair of shoes to get her through the winter. She has a pair of cowgirl boots that she seems willing to wear, but somehow a piece of gum got stick inside one of them, and even though I got it out, she remembers that it was there, and she won't wear the boots because of it.


I try not to complain about winter too much (I'm more of a summer complainer) (plus, experiencing winter is what makes spring so beautiful), but of my ten minor winter complaints (i.e. the abundance of winter clothing building up by my back door, the threat of sickness around every corner, etc), shoe drama is high on the list! Summer, at least, gives me a break from these woes. I must add this to my mental file titled, "Reasons To Not Hate Summer."