Friday, May 30, 2008

Agency sucks sometimes!

We have a family member who has difficulty making decisions. Well, he makes them easily enough, they are just all wrong. Lately, he has begun a downward spiral that is dizzying to watch. Without hanging dirty laundry up for display...I have had to sit by this morning and watch him make some very foolish decisions.

There is nothing that I can do. I just wish sometimes that I could make decisions for him. Kind of like training wheels on a bike...just to teach him how to do it. I sat this morning and listened for an hour about his probation officer and the pending warrant for his arrest. I told him simply, "It will be easier if you turn yourself in." He decided not to.

I just feel so helpless. I want to do something, anything to help. But I can't. He is an adult. He has the agency to choose for himself.

It made me think, How many times does our Father in Heaven stand by and watch us ignore his words to make foolish choices in our lives. How much heartache and sadness is caused by those of us who think that we know better. I am certain, just like me, he cries tears of pain as we pig-headedly ignore his council. He does it because he loves us and because we were given the gift of agency, the freedom to choose.

It doesn't make it any easier. All of us want to make life easier for our children and family. We help them because we love them. As parents and family, it is so hard to let our children fail.
I can only empathize with his parents. It's hard for me, I can't imagine what they are going through.

Sometimes it's necessary to let someone who you love fail. Wow, that's hard to say. Especially when failing involves jail time and a permanent record.

Really, what else can you do? As long as they have agency, they can make the wrong choice. Choices have consequences.
It really is pretty cut and dry, but it's different when it's your family.

Our church teaches that the family is the nucleus of everything. Everything is centered on the family. I was raised in a family where you do whatever you can to help whoever you can. That's just what you do. It's part of being a family.

I have a hard time when what's best is to refuse help to a family member.
In my case, I had turn this family member away...He wanted to stay with us for awhile.

I know I do have the agency to choose, and I know that my decision was right.
It doesn't make me feel any better.

Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones

We went to see Indiana Jones tonight. I must say after all of the reviews I read...I wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly suprised! It was strange...but I was entertained! (Strangely entertained, but entertained none the less!) I don't know if my standards were too low...(This is the first movie that Layton and I have been able to see together in almost three years) But I really really liked it. I don't want to give anything away...but it was fun!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Good things

So I found out yesterday that this lady was getting rid of all of this scrapbook stuff. I did have to drive to freakin' Lindon...but I got boxes and boxes of sizzix die cuts and lots of other cool things! It was happy. I have a lot to do today, and I am a little behind from driving to Lindon....but hey...I got cool stuff!

Monday, May 26, 2008


It was SO nice to have the day off. We went and just ran around as a family, but it was so nice to be able to spend time with my family! I ran into my friend Elise which was crazy-weird. It was the first time I've seen her new baby in person...and he's already 5 months old!!! After that We all went to my parents house for aweseome bbq sandwiches. I mean we in my family! Every one else punked out, but it was still fun. NOW... Well, it's back to school tomorrow.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The worth of a sticker

We have struggled and struggled to get Logan to actually sit on a toilet, let alone use it. My mom suggested we give him stickers. Honestly I thought to myself, "Wow, I haven't thought of that!"
Now, he's not actually peeing on the toilet, but he is sitting on the toilet and at least humoring me. It was actually quite frustrating because I told him he can't pee in his underwear, so he went 12 hours without going potty. All I can say is...If you can hold it for 12 should be potty trained!!!
Each time as he said "I sit on potty now!" I thought to myself "Wow, all for a stupid sticker!" When he fills the chart, he gets a pizza party. He knows he's not allowed to touch the sticker book until he earns one, then he gets to pick one out. Over the day today, he has earned 6 stickers.
I was working until just a second ago, when I heard these little feet creeping down the steps and I knew that obviously Layton fell asleep before Logan. I looked up and said "What honey?" He ran to me and jumped into my arms and put a sticker at the end of my nose. I said "Did you get into mommy's sticker book?" He said "No momma, it's mine!" I looked down to see this little sticker that had been pulled off by those little fingers, it was bent and not quite sticky...but it was his prize, he earned it. I said "Honey, you earned that, it's for your pizza party." He said simply, "I'll get more tomorrow. I am so proud of you momma! It's for that, cause I'm proud." What a precious little man. I guess he gave me a taste of how special a sticker can make you feel.

It's ok to say no!

I must say I absolutely love my visiting teachers. They came and visited yesterday and talked essentially about balancing life. I was feeling fine yesterday. Today I am feeling totally overwhelmed. I had a disagreement with a family member...long story short, I woke up with a migrane this morning. I have a lot of things to do. I need to finish up a work assignment, go to the store, visit a friend who recently had surgery and do some homework. Plus, clean the house and make dinner.
Normally, I would have a really bad attitude about the tasks that I am going to do. But the message yesterday was in essence "It's ok to say no." How cool is that. Really it's pretty basic. I don't know why it's so hard to tell anyone no. I do have a problem with that. When someone calls and says "Do you have time to____?" Even if I don't have time, I would never dream of telling them how busy I am. How dumb is that?
I think that is something that's ingrained in women though. It's like this strange motherly service gene...don't know.
So just for anyone who has anything they want me to do today....I'm listening to my visiting teachers. Today...I'm going to say NO!
(Well,'s something you really need.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All things potty....

Ok, Logan turned 3 at the beginning of April. He has had absolutely no interest in potty training. My doctor has simply said "If he fights you on it, wait...don't force him." That's easy for him to say! He's not getting the pressure from all directions. I can't tell you how many times people say to me "Well, it's all you. You have to train yourself to take him." (Like I don't spend half of my day trying to get him to use the stupid potty!!!!) Also equally annoying "Well ____ is just about his age and he/she is totally potty trained." (Like I'm the worst mom ever because my kid doesn't quite get it) I have tried to gently get him to do it, but it has been met with equal resistance.
Today I made the goal that Logan is going to wear only "big boy pants" and we were going to get this done. He is still laying on the floor screaming "You're terri-bo(terrible). I want my DADDY!"
I am starting to think that this is never going to happen.
Does anybody have any tips or ideas?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


As part of my commitment to tell the people who are closest to me that I love them...This section is going to be dedicated to my baby brother David.

David is by far the funniest person I know. My favorite memory of him is...Well, I must explain...Christmas in our house is a cultural event. You must have experienced a Stephens Christmas to understand the magical strangeness of it all. We sing Christmas songs and it is always wonderful! David got the tambourines from his drum set...I remember looking up at this tall lanky guy flailing his arms around like some beatnik and thinking to myself "I love this guy!" He is HILARIOUS! (I have a picture somewhere...if I can find it, I will post it on here)

David, out of all of us, has had the most trials. But he has overcome all of his trials and anything he puts his mind to...he can do. He decided his Junior year of high school that he wanted to play hockey. He didn't ice skate, he had never played the sport...he just wanted to do it. He was on the school team his Junior and senior year. Honestly, he can do anything. He decided he wanted to play the drums. I must admit...I have had a few "drum headaches" but he is now VERY good.

He rides motorcycles and 4-wheelers..honestly, he is the one who makes us all a little more fun. When he's around, we laugh a little more.

I was at my parents house and I walked over to the coffee table and there was sitting this amazing pastel drawing of an airplane. I was amazed. I assumed that because it was airplane based (and my dad's first love after my mom is airplanes, lol) that it had been drawn by my dad. I asked my mom and she said "Oh, that was David, he was messing around."

David is one of those people who...when he has the drive and determination can accomplish whatever he wants. I have always admired that about him.

He acts all rough and tough, but he has one of the most tender hearts. He is so funny with my boys.

We may fight sometimes, but really I think that is because we are so similar.
I just love this boy. I worry about him, and hope for the best for him.

(Photos on this post were stolen from David's myspace page..sorry for the lack of quality...they were most likely taken by a camera phone)

I know that I don't tell you enough, but I am so proud of you and I love you! I know that you have struggled in your life, but I am so proud of all of your accomplishments. You are such an amazing person! I am so thankful to have you as my brother.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


So I passed my first section off (and passed my final)So I am a little more than 2/3 of the way done with this class. YAY!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My name

So this is supposed to tell about me and my personality...I think it's about 50/50 but eh...(let me know what you think!)

What Lauralee Means

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are a very lucky person. Things just always seem to go your way.

And because you're so lucky, you don't really have a lot of worries. You just hope for the best in life.

You're sometimes a little guilty of being greedy. Spread your luck around a little to people who need it.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

Holy Fire!

Update: Jennifer is awake and speaking. She is still very critical, but I am celebrating that small little milestone tonight.

Also, Layton has been working for Fersenius through SOS staffing for 6 months. He has been hired permanently for Fersenius (pending the background check) :) This means vacation and sick pay and health insurance (hooray!)

Two wonderful blessings in our life!

Also..just a side note Anyone who would be willing to help us sheetrock our basement would be very appreciated. We had a flood in Decemeber...since then we have been living in 600 square feet of living space. I don't know that I am going to be sane much longer. My uncle Drew has done a tremendous amount of work...but we need a bunch of guys with tools to help with the dry wall....Anyways...let me know if anyone could help in the next couple of weeks.


I know, I know! No more depressing posts! (I know that's what you're thinking) I just can't help it. Jennifer is not doing well. Every time I get a second where I'm not totally consumed with thought...I start to think, when I think....I remember all of our good times, when I think of the good times, I think about how much I love that girl. When I remember how much I love her, it is unbearable to think about losing her. Jennifer is in the Neuro ICU. She recieved her first dose of chemo to her brain via a new shunt. Shortly after the dose of chemo, she began to have seizures. As a result of the seizures, her brain began to swell. A few days was told to come and say good-bye. Now the doctors are saying she may pull through this one. I can't help but cry. I know she needs us all to be strong and have faith...and believe that she can make it, but it's so sad. The tears just flow. I've tried hard this whole week to keep moving, so I don't have to think about it, or deal with it. Now as I sit here (and cry), I can barely breath. Jennifer was always the fun one. My favorite thing about her was some of the funny things that she would say. (My all time favorite is "Holy Fire!" She used to say it all of the time)
Thank you for all of you who have fasted and prayed for Jennifer and her family. Please continue to pray for all of us.
I am stuck somewhere in the hope that maybe, just maybe....she'll beat this, but I know....she probably won't.
Holy fire! I'd give anything....for her to be able to beat this!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Lisa called me yesterday and said she and Brandon wanted to "borrow" Logan for the afternoon. They are taking him to the zoo! How nice is that! So Jonah is sleeping now and I am relaxing. I almost feel guilty. I keep imagining them hauling Logan all over the zoo...with the smell of animal feces in the air. (I said ALMOST feel guilty) But what an awesome sister! It's so nice because I may have an hour our so to study for my final on Monday.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Little Known Truths and Amazing Facts

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mowed over a large branch (about 3 1/2 inches in diameter) that was covered with tall grass...
Obviously the branch would get stuck in the blade...but what would happen after that?(I mean after you pry the huge thing out of the blade and restart the mower)
The lawnmower would start on fire, that's what would happen.

Just thought I'd share that amazing tidbit of information.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Day

So I have the best husband ever! Obviously today was Mothers day...but Layton totally surprised me and got me the Disney cricut program. WHOO HOO! I am so excited.

We did the church thing today, We went to our block of classes and then directly following that, we went to sacrament meeting in my parents ward. I must say in our ward...they always give out a lovely potted plant. In my parents ward last year...they gave out a pack of gum with the saying "You're 'EXTRA' special Mom"
This year, they gave out lifesavers...yes, lifesavers...not the flotation device (though that may have been a slightly better gift)but the candy lifesavers. I hereby nominate the Clinton 13th ward as the world's worst gift givers (tehe). I was just thinking it might be kind of fun to compile a list of the worst gift everyone has gotten and post it on here.

What was the worst gift that you ever recieved? Let me know!

Golden Spike

Ok, I already know it's going to be a two post night...forgive me for not posting this's been busy. Yesterday we went to the re-enactment of golden-spike. It was the 139th anniversary of the event. I must admit that I went solely because my Grandma and Grandpa guilted me into it. I made myself have fun...but Logan loved it. (It was very very boring) It would have been less boring if we had gotten the correct start time. They told us the event started at 11. When in reality, they started at 12:30. It was hard. The boys were fussy...I was a little annoyed (We arrived on time...everyone else arrived promptly at 12:30...So I was guilted in being there...but those who guilted me were not.) Funny. It was ok. The boys had a blast. I bought them these cute little engineer hats and these little wooden trains and we got to spend some good time with My uncle Layne and Aunt Cynthia and their kids. It was so fun to get to see them. (They live in St. George, and we haven't gotten to spend time with them. This visit was my first time meeting all of their kids. It was great) We went to Maddox for dinner following and I must say...the food kind of sucked. (Ok, it really sucked. I must say, if I have the choice, I won't eat there again.) Over all it was pretty fun. Exhausting, but pretty fun.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My mom

Well, it's nearly Mother's day. As part of my commitment to tell my family members that I love them...this section is all about my mom.
My mom is not like any mother I have ever known. I actually never really noticed all that she did until one of my friends came to stay with us while I was a senior in high school. After staying with us two days my friend asked me, "When does your mom sleep?" I asked her what she was talking about. She told me that she had gone to bed after midnight, and my mom was still up doing laundry (I didn't know that because I was sleeping) and we had to get up at around 5:30 to catch the bus, and mom was up getting things ready for us.
Thats how my mom is. She is the anonymous giver of service. I remember as a kid standing in line in the grocery store while my mom talked to a lady standing in line like she was a long lost friend. After we left I remember asking "Who was that?" and my mom said "I don't know."
She is just like that. She can talk to ANYBODY! I always admired that about her. More recently, my mom has become the caregiver of my elderly grandma. She still watches my kids for me, takes care of grandma, and she still has kids living at home. She is amazing. More than that. Through her love and service, she has helped to make all of us better people. My mom still works full time, but she does it from home so that she can care for my grandma. That says a lot about her right there. I think a huge problem in our society is that so many people are willing to just dump their elderly family members in a nursing home. It has really been a blessing to all of us kids to be able to spend more time with grandma, in what I'm sure are the latter years of her life. (she's 90)
I look up to my mom so much. In my eyes, she is really the perfect mother. I was a bratty, bratty teenager. When I was 12 I thought that it was really the thing to be rebellious. It is because of how my mom handled that whole situation that I am the person that I am today. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude, and I definately don't tell her enough, but I love you mom!

(author's note: Due to the lack of nice pictures of my mom...I have opted to post a picture of a flower rather than a bad picture)


So I was teasing Logan and I said "Dude, come here!" He looked at me very sternly and said "I'm not dude, I'm sweetie!" How cute is that? On a very exciting note, I just walked in to get Jonah out of bed and he said "Hi, Mamma" (his first combination of words!)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Something to Offer

I have a pretty good relationship with the people at the Buddhist temple in Layton. I have written quite a few stories involving this temple for our local newspaper. I have learned at least one thing from them. There is something about a Buddhist. Something genuinely kind. They are the most loving, kind most humble, Christ-like people that I have ever met. Honestly. I have never felt so accepted and loved by a total stranger in my life. I know what many of you are saying (at least those who share my religious background) "Well, you mean except Mormons, right?"
No, definately not. I mean including. I can't speak for all Buddhists, but I can speak about the ones that I have met at the Wat Dhammagunaram Buddhist temple. When I spoke to the director for the first time, I thought that it was just her. Then, as I began to cover more and more assignments, I realized that it is these people as a whole. What have I learned from this? There is something to learn from all religions. I may have my core beliefs and my testimony in what I believe, but it's important for me not to fear what other people believe in. I think that there is something that we can learn from all religions. I know the time I have spent with them has taught me to be a little kinder, a little more humble, a little better.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Just thinkin'

"I have to believe no matter how good or bad things are, I can change it."
That's what the sign on the old riverdale theaters said as I drove past today.

I've had a lot on my mind today. With my cousin Jennifer dealing with brain cancer, and my grandpa recovering from a stroke, I have been thinking a lot about the things that we don't say that we often should.

There are so many times I think about how I need to tell my family members that I love them...but sometimes it is awkward. How do you tell your brothers that you love them. Often our dialogue is as follows:

Lauralee: "Hey, What's up?"
Brother: "Eh."
(still brother)"What you doin'?"
Lauralee: Pushing brother
Brother: "Fag!"

There is this unspoken sibling code. Translated, it is as follows:
Lauralee: "I'm glad you're here, I haven't seen you in awhile."
Brother: "Yeah, it's nice to spend time together, we always have fun."
Lauralee: "I love you."
Brother: "I love you too."

The problem really is that because I am so comfortable with my family, I expect them to speak my hidden codes. So often I assume that my family knows how much I love them. Why is it so hard to say "I love you," to some of my family members.
I really don't have an answer for that.

I love my Dad, Mom, my Grandma G. and Grandma and Grandpa S. I love my brothers and sisters (Scott & Becky, Lisa & Brandon, and David)and all of my wonderful extended family. I commit now, to be a little better. I am going to post 1 section a week dedicated to those who I love most. I also promise to say it a little more.

I challenge everyone reading this to stop and tell those you care about most how much you love them. You never know when the words you speak to someone will be your last. I certainly hope the last words I say to my loved ones aren't "Fag" or the like.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

President Monson's talk to Women

My friend Misty sent this to me, and it was something that I really needed to hear. I thought I would post it because I thought of several of my family members as I read it.

Find joy now, President Monson urges
He encourages crowd at BYU to make each day special
By Amy K. Stewart
Deseret News
Published: Saturday, May 3, 2008 12:19 a.m. MDT

PROVO — Each day of life can be a special occasion for those who appreciate both the goodness of life and its challenges, President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told an audience of 17,016 women for the annual Brigham Young University Women's Conference on Friday.
"In my heart, I simply say to you, my dear sisters, what a lovely sight you are," he said. "It is a privilege to be with you."

President Monson was the culminating speaker after two days of classes at the annual Women's Conference, which is sponsored by BYU and the LDS Relief Society.

Friday afternoon, the women stood in respect to welcome President Monson as he entered the BYU Marriott Center.

The crowd spontaneously broke into song, "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet," as President Monson, along with his wife Frances, took the stand. Many women in the audience were overcome with emotion and snapped photos of the scene.

President Monson is the 16th president of the LDS Church, as of Feb. 4, 2008.

Congratulating the women for their giving and compassionate spirits, President Monson said, "You genuinely care about others. ... Your hearts are tender, sensitive to the needs of others. Thank you for the selfless service you give so willingly."

President Monson addressed women who are in many stages of life, including single women who are in school or working, mothers, single moms and grandmothers. Some women are caring for aging parents "who require the loving care only you can give," he said.
All these women have a bond, President Monson said. "Your individual tapestry is woven with thread common to you and to all women."

He encouraged the women not to let the important things of life pass them by, saying, "Instead, find joy in the journey now."

He told a story of a woman who had purchased a nice article of clothing but saved it for a special occasion. Nine years later she passed away, never having worn the item. President Monson advised not to procrastinate celebrating life's wonderful moments. "Every day in your life is a special occasion," he said.

"Tell a relative you love them. Write a letter to an old friend and make peace with old quarrels," he said.

President Monson noted that everyone has heartbreaks and sorrows. "Each one of us experiences dark days," he said. But without opposition, no one would learn and grow. Trials build patience, faith, fortitude and humility.

Life's challenges "build up our character, purify our hearts and expand our souls" he said.

With women doing so much service for others, President Monson told them to acknowledge their worth, especially during those times when they may be feeling inadequate or ineffective. "Pause occasionally and reflect on all that you do and have done," he said.

President Monson shared details about his favorite Sunday School teacher who influenced many children with her patience and good example. The mother of one of the children in the class died. Under the teacher's suggestion, the children decided to take the funds they had been saving for a Christmas party and donate it to the family in need.

After his talk, the women stood and waved good-bye as the church leader and his wife exited the Marriott Center.

Lynda Court, 63, Orem, said, "President Monson is the master storyteller."

Her daughter, Jennifer Clingo, 35, of Las Vegas, agreed, saying she thought President Monson's talk was wonderful. "He is so sweet and thoughtful," she said. "He always touches my heart," she said.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to get a child to quit saying a "naughty" word? Our next neighbors are "classy" and use the f-bomb all the time. The problem is that they scream all of the time. Logan has learned this word and now uses it A LOT! I have tried ignoring him, I have explained that we don't use words like this, I have done time out, nothing seems to work. Every time these idiots start screaming, Logan starts to say this word! (I just feel like the worst mother ever. I was 12 before I even knew that word!)


So after Lisa's graduation, I said to Layton, "I really needed that!" After all of the sad that has been swirling around me, it was so nice to be able to forget everything and laugh and have a good time. I continued to say, "Before this I thought, 'it has to get better, it couldn't get any worse than it has been.'"
I don't know why I say things like that. Anyways, things have gotten a whole lot worse. My grandpa Stephens is in the hospital at this very moment, they think that he has had a stroke.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lisa Graduates!

My little sister graduated from college today. I am so proud! It was so exciting. Lisa is the first grandchild on the Stephens side to get her degree. YAY LISA!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fighting back tears

Well, I am fighting back tears. It has been this way for a couple of days now.

I guess I should start from the beginning. I have been so lucky my whole life to have my cousin Jennifer as one of my best little friends. We grew up together, and even when things were hard and I didn't have many friends, I always had Jennifer. Growing up we had sleep overs and played my little pony and barbies together. As teenagers we hung out and went dancing. I was with Jennifer when she met her husband Ryan. She is just about a year younger than me, and our lives had always kind of mirrored each other. I got married, a year later, Jennifer got married. I got pregnant and had my little boy Logan, a year later, she got pregnant...During her pregnancy, Jennifer started to have these terrible migranes. Long story was a brain tumor..stage four nasty cancer! She had surgery, and had to have radiation while she was pregnant. Then after her sweet little Noah was born, she had to undergo over a year of chemo. She was cancer free long enough, I started to feel safe. I wasn't prepared for yesterday.

Noah just turned two. Jennifer had to go have a routine MRI and she now has a couple of more tumors growing in her brain. She is scheduled to have surgery again next week. She is still very positive in her prognosis and has a very good attitude in spite of the gloomy circumstances.

I have learned a lot from Jennifer. She taught me how to be myself and not care what others think of me. More recently, she has taught me to fight all of my struggles head-on with courage and honor. I love this girl, more than I can ever express with words. I can't help but cry, the tears just won't stop. I know she has a hard battle in front of her. Jennifer is a fighter, if any one can overcome this, it would be her; but the battle is going to be tough.

Our family is fasting and praying for her family this Sunday, please anyone who is willing please do the same.