what i'm doing...

The house is a little bit messier, the meals even more lame lately. Why? Because I'm getting ready to do my first fundraiser. I'm hoping it's a success. Our little town gets more than its fair share of heartbreak around here and it would be nice to help out once a year. This year we are supporting our friends The Frederick family, you can read about it here.

The blog is going to suffer a little bit, (and who said blogs are dying? i don't really care!) but in the meantime you can know that a bird flew into the house friday morning. A snake was let loose friday night and not caught until Monday morning. We thought Phoebe had pink eye, she doesn't. Rodney has a low fever and runny nose, I think it's his two year molars.

The other day I was doing Phoebe's hair and she asked, "Mom, can you brush it superly duperly soft?",  "ha, well, i'll try ok?".  "Ok, because Grandma brushes it superly, duperly soft!"

Once again, Grandma beats me at all things parenting.

If you've been dying to come see what Zumba is about and see me shake my hips, then I'll see you soon!

Bring your friends and
come party for a great cause!
*All proceeds go to The Josh Frederick Foundation 

When: May 11th 7pm
3011 N. Moapa Valley Blvd, Logandale, NV 89021

$15 per person  before day of…
$20 at the door

Check out my new website at annieleavitt.zumba.com


Happy doses

Being back in the real world has been more difficult than I thought it would be. I am starting to doubt my maternal and home keeping abilities and want to run away with Ty and travel the rest of our lives.


It has been a lovely day today though. I just need to get used to having small drops of happiness now instead of a flood like our trip.


parenthood and marriage: the trenches

I'm not going to elaborate on our anniversary trip, because although it was absolutely wonderful, It's something I'd like to keep between Ty and myself. But there are so many thoughts that I want to share, that I think, and hope, will help some other frazzled parents.

Leaving your kids at home and going off alone as a couple overnight for the first time is kind of like riding your first roller coaster. It looks and sounds really scary, and almost irresponsible. What if something happens? What if it breaks?  I think I'll just stay safe on the ground. But you eventually get on it, and ride it and oh! It is really scary and different, but then the ride is over and you look at each other and say, "let's go again!".

I can attest that if it hadn't been for Uncle Troy, we probably wouldn't leave the kids very much at all, maybe even ever.  But he bought us a room at a B&B before we had Abby, and we had to "go" because it was a gift. And oh, it was awesome, just one night away was perfect for us.  And since then we've gotten away before every baby, except rodney. but youre always pregnant! that doesnt count i think. But being alone for 3 days and not pregnant? Was really, the best thing for our marriage right now.

Ty and I hadn't been childless for 24hrs since 2008. I know there are some that have never left their kids at home, but for us, well, that was just way too darn long of a time.  Since bed rest with Phoebe in 2009, I have been home 24/7 pretty much with a napping baby. And 4 years is a really long time to be pregnant/nursing/home all day with napping babies. I didn't realize how tired and frazzled I had become until I left them.

How do I wrap this up nicely so you understand where I'm coming from? Parenting is HARD. I once heard it compared to the trenches in WWI, and I think it's pretty spot on. When you have your first child, together you both dig the trench, prepare for battle, stock up on ammunition and try your hardest to survive. "We can do this!" You both cry out. You are excited and nervous and you know that you are going to win.  And then something unexpected and challenging happens. Maybe because of your choices, but most of the time it's just something you have to go through. And when that hard thing happens,  you start battling it, but sometimes it can beat you down, and how.

Because, in parenthood I have realized that no matter how much you prepare, sometimes you just aren't prepared for what's coming next. And even when you are prepared, the battle keeps going for days and nights and days and months and years! And you get exhausted. I can see why many marriages don't make it these days, because I think it's even more difficult to be there for your spouse when things get hard.  Some trials are so difficult and unexpected you want to know "What about me?!" And you lose that perspective you had at your wedding day, to always take care of the other person first. Heaven forbid on one of those bad days, or weeks you read a blog post of some seemingly perfect marriage. I do NOT recommend doing that. It's pure death to my mental state.

Because Ty and I hadn't been alone enough, and on enough dates (because let's face it, communications is not his cup of tea), over the years we eventually ended up in different trenches. I am not a "present" person, buying things for myself or getting gifts from Ty doesn't make me feel loved. In fact, it just gives me buyer's remorse and guilt that can last for months. But spending time alone with him or my family and friends? Fills my cup.  I was always jealous of his time "alone" that he gets hunting, hiking and four-wheeling with his family and friends. He, on the other hand, has to work long hours outside all.day.long, in the wet, cold, dry, HOT climate here. He doesn't get nap times or trips to the park or play dates with girlfriends where the kids' trash the host house and the mom's talk andtalkandtalkandatalk.  He has a hard job, and he has a time consuming and difficult (at times) calling in church.  He comes home with bleeding and cracked hands from pulling 2 miles of wire for the day, and his legs and back are sore. He's so tired most days he doesn't sit down until after dinner because he will fall asleep. No joke, that man can fall asleep in 1/2 second. So shovel full by shovel full, the trenches were dug, and it was me against him, with the kids suffering on the side.

Who got more naps on the weekend? Who gets to get a "break". Who works more on the house? Who helps out the kids? Who went out with their friends? Who has been happier? Who has been sick? At least in my mind, I felt like I was doing all the work by myself. And he felt like he was doing all the heavy lifting and I was sitting around eating bon bons all day waiting for his paycheck. And let's face it, taking care of little kids is a lot of work. I am exhausted most days by 7pm, but I just didn't see it. I thought for sure I was doing something wrong. Why am I always tired? Why am I depressed? Why can't I be happy around the kids all the time?  And then....we left those beautiful little buggers.

Oh happy, heavenly, wonderful day. Ty literally could see my shoulders stop drooping. I was happy, and smiling and laughing and had energy!  Of course I missed them like crazy and tried really hard not to think about them too much or I'd get sad. But most of the time? It was just wonderful to be alone with my husband.  I realized two things on the trip:

 1. My mind works a million miles a minute now. I seriously would love if they could do studies on women in college and how much their mind works and then years later as a stay at home mom of 4 kids. Because to me, it is light years apart. Every day, all day is about 8900 different things that have to be taken care of for other people. (and my kids aren't even involved in a ton of stuff!)  Being alone I found myself absolutely bored silly. I wasn't holding anyone, changing anyone, listening to 3 different people at once, talking on the phone, checking email, choreographing songs, paying bills and facebook all at the same time.  We really just spent a lot of time just sitting and looking at beautiful views. We would find a quiet spot, sit down and just be.

2. It was a nice surprise to realize that I still do really like Ty, I know you're thinking that sounds terrible. But honestly, most days I can get really irritated about stupid little things that don't even matter. Alone, together, we had such a wonderful time talking and laughing and being ourselves. I could see all the little things that he does for me during the day.  And it was nice to find out that "ourselves" still enjoy each other's company. And I got a teensy bit excited for when the last rascal leaves for college and we will have more "alone" time then ever. I know, I probably just jinxed myself and we'll be the duggars with 83 kids. But seriously, it's nice to still love your husband and know that the feeling is mutual. I mean, he even let me eat the last onion ring. Twu wove.

Our trench is still dug, but today Ty is sitting in it right next to me. And we are ready for whatever parenthood is going to throw at us next. But let me tell you what, even just being with the kids a few hours once we got home I was so tired of them! I know, again, it sounds horrible. But even Ty could see how draining they are on my mind and body. He and I realized I need to take better care of myself and we need more alone time together so that we can stay in this together.  Because that's the only way, together.  I don't know how we'd win the battle alone, and it can easily become very isolating when things are tough.  I think angels must constantly reside in single parent homes, it is just too hard. And as horribly tiring and difficult parenting is? Best thing that has ever happened to us. Our children bring us more happiness and joy than we have ever experienced or will experience. But don't think that that doesn't come with a price!

driving home in the Ghost.


Sweet relief

We are off celebrating our 10th anniversary. It has been strange/restful/boring at times not taking care of little souls and bodies 24/7. It's been bittersweet watching the news at night and praying for our friends in Watertown. We're grateful everyone was safe. And we are grateful to have a rejuvenating weekend alone. My in-laws are saints.


Our Story: the lust years

I've been hesitant keeping up our "story" posts, because Ty said guys at work were asking him about it. Embarrassing much? One of the many perks of living in a small town. ha. But I started it, and by golly, I will finish it. Whether or not the content is quality or not doesn't matter at this point right? Right.

According to this book, every relationship has a "lust" phase that lasts approximately 2 years. This is a normal, biological reaction to love that gets you to get married and propagate a species. Experiencing this phase during high school is not something that I would recommend. Basically? It stunk.

I thought everything Ty did, said, thought, bought, laughed at, was absolutely the most fabulous thing I had ever seen or heard. That...is the lust phase. It doesn't last my little friends. I still love Ty, but I do not think everything he does and says is fantastic. And vice versa. He drives too slow to church, he won't tell me who he's talking to on the phone, he leaves his socks 2" from the laundry basket. The man is FLAWED I'm telling you! But do I still love him? Yes, yes and yes.

Looking back I see why I am resistant to tell people we were high school "sweethearts" etc. Because 99% of the time? It just doesn't work out. You change so much from age 16 to 23 and even after, that ending up with someone that you are still compatible with that young is very rare. Maybe I should just embrace the fact that it was meant to be for us. Yes, from the very beginning.

The next 2 years were spent having a lot of fun, and making books full of memories.  One of the reasons I think Ty and I lasted was our dating rules.  Friday night? Camping night for the boys. Ty and his crew would go out and get out all their manly bonding and burning tendencies for the week. My girlfriends and I would go out to eat, watch chick flicks and sing primary hymns driving home from Bunkerville. True story.  Saturday nights: Date night. We'd hook up with our friends and usually go out into the hills together or to a movie or dinner. Sundays were family days and weeknights were forboden.

One of my favorite dates was when Shawn and Chandra drove us all in to Mesquite to watch a movie. There were all R rated movies, one PG-13 we had all seen, and a G movie called Bug's Life. We thought, "oh, what the heck, we'll watch a kid movie". Little did we know we would laugh the entire time and leave with our eyes wet from crying of laughter. I loved that movie the first time I saw it, I still love it. Classic.

Prom? It is really nice when you have a boyfriend, no worrying about being asked/going with a weirdo.  Our Junior year I wore a sleeveless dress with lace inlay on the back that was gorgeous. The next year I decided to be "modest" and wear a dress with sleeves. Well, the sleeved dress also had a neckline, that between the months of January and April I sort, of well, filled out a little. Let's just say my cups overflowethed. And Ty tried to hide it, but he smiled a lot that night. Cheeky little devil.

Junior year I had a tonsillectomy and broken clavicle, so Track and Field was out to me. Thus began my love life with baseball. Chandra and I followed the team for almost every game. Sitting by Ty's dad I learned the stats and calls and workings of baseball. I liked baseball pants, baseball players and baseball games. I still do, and in that order thank you very much. Most of our "fun" trips have been to baseball games since marriage.

Sports kept us insanely busy (which is good) and hanging out with our friends also. We were rarely alone, which I think accounts for the fact that our oldest 8 and not 13. Just saying.  Also I highly plan to implement my mom's advice that was her mom's advice dating in high school:  "Make out in our driveway, things won't go too far when you know I'm only 10 feet away". It's totally true. Although our children have already been warned, "NO dating in high school...EVER."

And so, high school ended, we graduated. I knew I was going to BYU at the end of August. And Ty knew he'd be leaving on a mission for our church around this time. Next up? The mission years, or as my family would say, "2 years of a whiny Annie".
New Year's Eve 1999

the "modest" dress and the Manta 2000
Dumont 99?
Lake Mead 98

Junior Prom 1998

Senior Homecoming 1999

Hanging out in the Ghost before class 2000


ferris wheels and changing tables

It's the "fair!"  The county fair comes to our little slice of valley every year and I never cease to enjoy it.    Something about it is just so hometown and cozy and full of novel material. So hasta luego, I'm going to be MIA for a few days.

And yesterday I sold our changing table. I know. The changing table that we picked out a month before Lucy was born. We looked and looked and found a "sturdy" one and paid $$$ for it. We were so young and stupid back then. But today, we do not need it anymore, I don't have storage, and it was time to let it go. It wasn't so very painful as a friend bought it, but still. No changing table? Although Rodney's changing table is on a desk in the man cave, and it looks awesome that way. changing tables are kind of old fashioned now. It's much more chic to change turds on an antique dresser. Right? Right.

So, I sold my first baby item, which means for sure I"ll be  having another baby.
Because that is just how my life rolls.



After feeling behind for the past month, this weekend was exactly what I needed. Due to scheduling conflicts I haven't been home for all of conference for the last two times. I would say, "oh I can catch up", and I would, but it just isn't the same. In two days we watched 8 hours of talks from the Prophet and leaders of our church. And for two days our house was filled with peace and direction. (And a typhoon of crayons and toys and food wrappers keeping the kidlets entertained)

I've had a lot of worries and questions lately, if you hadn't noticed. And all of them were answered multiple times throughout the talks. This is when I feel so close to my Heavenly Father and see his hand in my life. And as always, I wish Elder Holland could speak every Sunday to me. Love that man.

In other news... Our stray kitten had babies. We visited with the Millers. I rearranged some furniture and gave away a bag of stuff to DI. I can't wait to purge more. And my first rose bloomed, which can only mean one thing...FAIR WEEK!


know your limits: Or how I became a screamer.

I am starting to realize my limits as a mother and it makes me sad. Yes, I realize we all have our limits, but I've found that mine are much (but I really mean extremely) smaller than what I would like.

Would I like to be prepared to go camping, have everything organized and ready and come home ready for a holiday on top of it all? Yes. Is this something I can do right now after two weeks of pink eye laundry and me getting horribly sick? No.  The just normal, every day demands of our house and kids right now feel like more than when Rodney was a baby, and boy was the first 18 months of his life hard. I have the pictures to prove it, but I have withheld them from the blog because I try and put my best foot forward. Maybe some day I'll cave and show you my real life.

Back to limits, they are small. And I keep trying to push them. And when I do push them, insisting that I can, in fact, be just like that other blogger mom or the one down the street, or my mom, or blah blah blah insert the blank... bad things happen. For example: screaming. I wasn't a screamer until the end of Rodneys' pregnancy. What's a screamer? A mom that screams. And trust me, it's not something a mom feels good about...ever.  I had never, nor even thought about, finding myself screaming.

 It was the end of the pregnancy, a hot Sunday morning, getting ready to head out the door to church (we were still consistently late back then) and Lucy sits down on the laundry room floor and starts to take off her tights. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" I screamed. "There is something itchy in these tights!" She complained.  "YOU CANNOT TAKE THOSE OFF! GET IN THE CAR RIGHT NOW!" I screamed even louder.  Dear readers, this was my lowest of low points of motherhood. I could, not, stop. The screams just kept coming and coming, and I didn't even know what I was saying. Literally, it was almost like an out of body experience. I sat there watching this horrible mom, screaming at her kid, the one kid, by the way, who cannot handle being screamed out (this is something i now know).

And this black crud of a muck washed all over my brain and I felt like dying right there and then. I am never doing that ever again.  I declared. HOw many times have I said that? I am never letting the fridge get this disgusting,get this behind in laundry, let the car get so filthy, be this late to church  etc etc etc.

Well, insert new baby, broken a/c on SUV and a nice whopping dose of post partum-depression and the screaming was a constant. I couldn't control it, the medication definitely helped ease it up, a TON, but it was still there in dire circumstances.

Now, with the help of prayer and simplifying my life, a little more organization and mt.everest amount of more cleanliness, the screaming has abated. But boy, catch me on a whopper of a day, and someone does something stupid, it just pops out. OH! I hate it.

So my limits get smaller and smaller. As of today I cannot handle:
...staying out later than 7pm at special events with the kids.
... traveling on holiday weekends.
...doing more than one small project a week.
... not getting quiet time every day to read/nap.
...not having the kids ready and in bed by 7
...getting behind on the cleaning
...not having my meal schedule done
...not dancing every other day at least
...not reading my scriptures every day
...not sincerely praying
...entertaining people more than once a month
...making intricate meals
...phoebe not napping two days in a row

What are your limits? Last week I looked out my bedroom window at the beautiful cottonwood leaves rustling and cried (and I NEVER cry) because I've always wanted 6 kids, and I said out loud. "I've reached my limit". Everyone keeps saying, "Oh, things will change in a few years!"  And I know they mean well, but I don't want things to change.  Heaven help me, a mormon mom that doesn't want more kids. As my mother would say, I'm going to Hell in a handbasket for sure.

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