Showing posts from October, 2011

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Mother of the Year Goes to.... Not Me

Every morning I go to the gym to exercise. I love it because I have a lot of friends there (it's my adult interaction for the day...hahah...but seriously...), endorphins are released, I feel powerful and strong....etc. Fast forward to about 10 minutes after I arrive home.

Kids are fighting over who grabbed the box of cereal first.

Tears are rolling down cheeks from, "Cameron looked at me in a mean way."

Fights are breaking out between who has to be the flippin' monkey in the middle...

You get the idea.

So pretty much all the good I do at 5:30 in the wee early morning hours gets completely undone. (Perhaps I should schedule my workouts to after the kids leave for school instead?)

Anyway, today was no different. The kids actually all got ready on their own really well without any fights. They had a good 20 minutes to kill before we had to leave for school. They decided to play a game (but not the blasted Monkey in the Middle game...No! No! I banned that game [and 'jinx&#…

Ice Cream & Boogers

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE a good bowl (or two or three) of ice cream. If you didn't know, maybe this story from my childhood will prove my undying love for it:

I was young--about five or so. Mom worked from home with her Whiz Kids Home Daycare. At any given time there were a good dozen or so (sometimes more) little rugrats running around the house (plus another five of us that called her "mom").

Mom was busy. And probably very overwhelmed (heck I can barely handle four of my own youngsters). In addition to the home daycare, she had a busy church calling serving as the President of over 100 children ages 3-11. She also took care of our family, chauffered us to games/practices, and maintained a 4,000 square foot home. Yep, she was pretty awesome (And still is).

It was during this time that Mom found someone had been wiping their boogers on the wall. As if she didn't already have enough on her plate, she now had to scrub the walls to make them booger-free. In her de…

Touch of the Master's Hand

To say we were never disciplined would be a complete lie. We got the spank. Sometimes it involved Dad's belt, a metal ruler, or just a good ol' touch of the Master's Hand. 

I got in a lot of trouble one time when I snuck on the roof. Apparently everyone had been looking for me for quite some time and couldn't find me. Mom was in tears. I remember seeing her go out in the backyard and check the playhouse. When they couldn't find me they were about ready to call the police. Yeah...I got in a lot of trouble for that.

Mom always seemed harder on us with spanking than my dad was. Maybe it was because Dad was always the one disciplining the older kids? Anyway, we loved it when Dad was in charge of spanking us. He'd lead us to the bathroom and secretly instruct us to cry on cue when he slapped the counter. And just like that we did. I was known as the "faucet"--since I was an expert at turning on and off my tears. 

One time we stuffed our bottoms with toilet pa…

Lake Powell

Like I said earlier, we love boating. One year we teamed up with another family from our ward (the Dean's) and rented a houseboat in Lake Powell. I'm not sure why exactly we went with them--it's not like we were particularly close with them. All of us kids seemed to align up with their kids' ages, though. We both had our own boats, so we hauled those down, too.

A LOT of exciting events took place on this particular trip: Dad almost died by getting sucked under the houseboat because Sis. Dean didn't turn the engine off when Dad was swimming to us from the boats we were towing behind.A mattress from the houseboat floated away while in our little cul-de-sac. Tenille rescued it later.CC (their youngest daughter) kept running into the sliding glass door.We rode our water weanie for the first time, and then it popped.We danced the night away to oldies music while jumping off the houseboat into the water and sliding down the waterslide. Anyone else would guess we were drunk…

Halloween Party

Mom and Dad used to host parties with our friends and neighbors from the ward. One time they had a Halloween party in our basement and were exchanging white elephant gifts. I remembered the ones that belonged to us because I had seen Mom wrapping them before the party.

When a neighbor opened up the hemorrhoid cream I exclaimed, "Hey! That's my mom's!"

Everyone there thought it was funny.

Except Mom. ;)

My Dad the Jokester

Dad has always been a comedian. He reminds me of Jay Leno, actually. He always has a twinkle in his eye when he's joking. He can't ever lie. I think this is one of the traits I inherited from him.

One particular occasion my family came back home from somewhere. We always closed the garage door when we left, but found that it was still open. We all got concerned, thinking perhaps a robber was in there. Dad pulled into the garage and told us all to wait there while he investigated the premises.

We patiently waited while Mom worried. We were relieved to see Dad open the door to come tell us everything was fine when all the sudden he threw up his hands, went stiff, and fell to the floor. Mom screamed. We thought he had been shot. When he stood up laughing with that funny twinkle in his eye Mom was ticked. We all thought it was funny, though.

Mailbox Bomb

Down the street from us were some crazy bad teenagers. Melissa was babysitting us one day when I asked where Mom and Dad were. She said they were at the jail. I thought she meant they were IN jail. When I probed her more, I learned that those bad kids down the street had been putting small bombs in people's mailboxes.

The phone rang, and Melissa went to get it. It was my parents. I thought it would be funny to say that I just saw those bad kids look in our mailbox. Melissa took it seriously, and so did my parents. Unfortunately, so did the cops.

The cops came to my house to question me. I was terrified. I broke down and started crying, admitting my guilt that I had made up the whole story. The cop told me to never lie. I felt so ashamed and humiliated. I knew I had disappointed my parents, and I never wanted to do that again. I tried from then on to be honest.


In elementary each year we had to come up with our own inventions--which usually meant the parents had to come up with something. (I guess that's what I get to look forward to, huh?) Anyway, I remember thinking my mom was so creative and innovative. She'd stay up late making something for us. She made a dustpan with a ruler at the edge to keep the dirt in. My favorite was the mug holder when you're skiing: She stuffed an old pink turtle-neck shirt and hung it on a hanger. Velcroed to the chest was a mug, so you could drink your hot cocoa while skiing. lol. It sounds silly, but I remember thinking it was the best idea out there.

Mom did a lot of stuff like that for us. In second grade I was the VIP (Very Important Person) and she came up with a poster board of me. She even made candy for the kids in the class to have called "Sweet Tatianas" (made from SweetTarts).

Don't I have an awesome mom?!


My mom signed Tenille and me up for modeling when she was a senior and I was a freshman. Our instructor was an old, skinny former-model named Colette. She looked like she was anorexic. She was so old and pale, too, and she loved eye-liner! Each week we drove out to her home where she worked with us in how to walk, how to pose for the camera, how to choose outfits, what different styles were, etc. Then we'd end with a photo-shoot. She was the one who made us start wearing eye-liner. I thought I looked like a hooker wearing it in the beginning. haha.

Doing modeling was a real confidence booster. (As if my ego really needed it, right? haha). But I learned a lot, and I know it wasn't cheap for my mom to pay for it. Mom sacrificed things for herself in order to provide more for us. I even remember her signing up for a second job cleaning old office buildings at night. I went with her, too. She made me promise not to tell Dad. But it only lasted one night before she realized she didn…

My Testimony

Mom and Dad were always serving in the church--whether it was in the Bishopric, Primary, Young Womens, or Relief Society. They were busy. I could always tell they had a testimony of the gospel. One Family home Evening we went around the dinner table and everyone just bore their testimonies. We were all bawling (we're a pretty sensitive family).

Another FHE we learned about Nephi and the gold plates. My mom got pieces of cardboard, wrapped them in foil, and had us write our own testimonies on them. To this day that was my favorite FHE lesson. You can bet I'll be doing that same one for my kids when they're older.

When I turned 12 I entered Young Womens. I was so excited. I went to Girls Camp that year and was pretty shy. At testimony meeting I really wanted to bear mine, but couldn't get up the nerve to do it. When a long pause came, I noticed my lips were moving and people were looking at me. Words were leaving my mouth, but it wasn't me doing it. After the initial s…

My First Child

Taylor Alyssa Southam joined our family on December 3, 2008 at 1:06 pm. I was nervous as heck for her to come (mostly because I’m a wimp and can’t endure pain well). I was induced, and she came quickly. Five hours after they started the petocin, she made her debut. It wasn’t bad at all—especially because of the epidural they gave me. When I could feel pressure, I said to the nurse, “I think I have to go to the bathroom.” She checked me and said, “Ummmm…nope…you don’t. That’s a head. I’ll get the doctor.” It was then I began freaking out and wondering how I was supposed to push a kid out. After about 10 minutes of pushing (maybe 4-5 pushes), she came. She was beautiful, and I was so overwhelmed with the spirituality of it all that I wept—and so did Matt.
As first time parents we loved it. We spent every minute with her, and bragging about her. She truly made our lives feel complete. I could get into specifics about her, but I’ve documented that in our Southam Family Journal History as …

Matt and Me, Our Courtship, and First Few Years of Marriage

I attended UtahStateUniversity (home of the Aggies!) in the fall of 2003. Tenille and Brad had been married for a few months and were also living in Logan (from BYU Hawaii). It was nice to have family still close by. Tenille was very pregnant with Kobe, but would still cook me Sunday dinner and let me do laundry at their house.
I began majoring in Interior Design, but I later switched it to Journalism & Communications (with an emphasis in Public Relations). Writing and public speaking were really more of my forte. I loved my major, and had some really neat professors. I got some great hands-on experience, and was even awarded the “Most Outstanding Junior in the Public Relations Department.” I wrote articles for the online newspaper, “The Hard News CafĂ©” and was featured at my favorite ice cream joint (Charlie’s) since I had written a review on their ice cream. (It’s still matted and framed in their parlor if you want to check it out!)
I loved college! I dated a few guys, I enjoyed …

Tenille Gets Hitched

Also while at Alta, I attended almost every school dance I could as soon as I turned 16. My first date was with Shawn Allman to prom my sophomore year. My life revolved around the dances. I figured if I didn’t get asked, I wasn’t popular or “cool” enough. Although high school was a lot of fun, it had its downsides, too. I hated all the cliques at school (even though I belonged to one, too). I dated a lot of losers (I really don’t know what I was thinking with some of them). And I was just a hothead. I’m glad that college humbled me a little.
It was also around this time when Tenille got married to Brad. She met him at BYU-Hawaii, and she didn’t even know they were dating until he proposed to her. (SERIOUSLY!). Their first kiss together was when he asked her to marry him. We all thought it was weird and too quick. Spence and I flew out to visit them. She took us kayaking, snorkeling, dolphin/whale watching, to the PolynesianCulturalCenter, to the Dole plantation, to Matzumoto’s Ice Crea…

9/11 Attacks

If there’s one major thing I remember that happened while I was in high school, it would be the September 11th attacks on the U.S. I was at school in my first period class (Interior Design) when our principal turned on the news in everyone’s class. We saw firsthand a plane crash into one of the TwinTradeTowers in New York. The whole class was speechless. WE couldn’t believe what we had just seen. None of us thought it was intentional. We figured the plane had accidentally crashed. That is…until the second plane hit the other tower. That’s when my stomach sank and I felt sick. News reports were on every channel saying that America was under attack. All I could think about was my own family. I had crazy thoughts running through my head that we were going to be captured, thrown in a prison camp (like the Holocaust of World War II), and be killed.

Later on we came to find out that some Islamic people had hi-jacked the plane and killed the pilots. There were some other planes that were supp…

High School Years

Lance got called on his mission to serve in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He was there during Hurricane Mitch, and saw a lot of people die. He was never the same person after his mission. We got a phone call from him while he was on his mission, and somehow we all misunderstood it. For some reason we were all freaking out saying, "Lance got kidnapped and taken to Georgia?" That's what happens when you cant' hear him on the phone so well, and everyone is huddled around trying to understand why the caller ID number showed up as a Georgia number.
Shortly after he returned, Melissa got married to Tony in the TimpanogosTemple. Mom was so nervous and stressed that she literally had to be taken to the hospital. She barely made it in time to see her daughter get married, but she was still pretty loopy afterwards.
I made AltaHigh School’s sophomore basketball team when I was a freshman in middle school. We had a good year, and won most of our games. (Which is really good because I ha…

Middle School Years

Mom was always a worry-wart. If Lance was late coming home from something and she saw a police car drive by, she’d start crying wondering if the cop was coming to bear her some bad news (although it turned out she had forgotten he called her to say he’d be late). She used to fret over the smallest things. Unfortunately she passed that trait on to me. I remember it was my birthday (around 10 or so), and Mom hadn’t come home for a while. I heard an ambulance in a distance and started crying wondering if she had been in a car accident. By the time she got home I was hysterical. It turned out she had gone shopping to get me some birthday presents.
Growing up we always had a dog. We started out with Puff (a little white dog we had back at our house in WestValley). Someone fed it antifreeze around Christmas time a few years later and she died. Then we got Peaches from an Animal Shelter. She had been abused and was scared of the garden hose. She also didn’t like Spence—she bit him as much as…

Oh, Butter Boy!

I wouldn’t be lying if I said I got a little cocky at a lot of things. I was one prideful kid. One time I tried standing on top of the toilet to check myself out in the bathroom mirror. I did it all the time, but this time the seat was up, so my foot went down inside the yucky, wet toilet bowl. My whole family made fun of me after that. They still do.
We all did some silly things that we still get teased about till this day. One night out family was sitting down eating dinner when a neighbor called asking if they could borrow some butter. I told my mom, and she made Lance deliver it. The only problem was, I didn’t get a name from the caller. So Lance had to go up and down the streets knocking on each neighbor’s door to see if they needed some butter. When he came back with the butter still in hand, he was fuming. (Lance always had a temper). We all got a good laugh at it. We called him “butter boy” from then on. Even to this day at Thanksgiving dinners, if someone needs the butter pas…

Night Skiing at Brighton Ski Resort

Dad tried very hard for our family to always do things together. He’d take us camping, fishing, take us on road trips, and even skiing. I’ve been able to ski since I was five because of him. He used to take us night-skiing at Brighton (because it’s cheaper at night than the day). But we preferred it at night anyway. It was so fun to ski down in the moonlight, with those bright lights above us. Then we’d all head over to the ski lodge, and Dad would bring in a cooler of sandwiches and hot cocoa for us to eat (as food at the lodge was really expensive). He always tried to make sure we were happy and having fun.
One time we went up Mom ended up hurting her leg really bad. She couldn't ski at all, and I remember that from that point on, she had problems with it.

Sunrise Elementary

I attended Sunrise Elementary. It was maybe one mile from our house, and Mom made us walk as she had to be home for the daycare kids to come. Every once in a while she was able to get away while leaving Melissa with the kids at home to come pick us up, but sometimes we had already hitched a ride with a friend. I remember seeing Mom fly down in the old red Safari van, and I felt so guilty for taking a ride from Tenille’s friend. I knew Mom would be upset, but I didn’t know she had been so worried that she couldn’t find us. I always tried to walk home after that just in case she went out of her way to come and get us.
I was always in the Accelerated and Advanced learning classes at Sunrise (as were my siblings). Mom and Dad used to say they didn’t know where we kids got our brains from because when they grew up they would get “average” grades of “B’s” and “C’s”. In second grade I had Mrs. Ostler, but for “rotation” time I had Mrs. Saunders for English/Reading. She would hand out a pictur…

Little League Sports

When I was in third grade I became friends with a girl who lived near me. Her name was Melanie Jardine. Her dad, Doug, coached little league basketball and softball. She asked me if I wanted to play, and I figured, “heck, I’ll give it a shot.” This is when we found out I was a natural at sports. The game came so easy to me, and I was the best one on the team. I usually had upwards of 30+ points per game. And oh how I LOVED being in the spotlight. I loved being athletic. I was glad to find out I had some type of talent (as dancing wasn’t my thing—Mom had me take tap from a lady in our ward when I was in kindergarten, and I was so shy and couldn’t remember any of the steps. It was awful, and I always felt so embarrassed. Mom also enrolled me in miniature cheerleading. I wasn’t the best at it, and wasn’t sad to quit after two years. I just didn’t fit in with all those girly-girls). So in the winter/spring, I kept busy playing Jr. Jazz basketball, and in the summers I played softball. I w…

Power of the Priesthood

I don’t remember how old I was when I got really sick. So sick that they thought I was going to die. Mom took me to a whole bunch of different doctors, and nobody could figure out what was wrong with me. I remember pulling into the garage with mom one night. She turned off the van, and just started crying. I looked at her and thought, “Gee, this must really be bad. Am I really going to die?” I got so sick that I could no longer walk. Spence and Tenille would pull me around the house in our little red Radio Flyer wagon. When Dad saw the wagon in the house he get pretty mad, though. So I either had to crawl or be carried. One night our home teacher and bishop (Bishop Bateman) came over and he and Dad gave me a blessing. Immediately after the blessing I stood up, and I could walk! And for the first time in a really long time, I was hungry. And I gulfed down plain white rice (normally I needed ketchup on it, but it tasted so good the way it was). It really was a miracle. To this day we st…

Dark Kids

Being Hispanic kids, we sure got dark. Sometimes we resented it, though. All of the other kids at school were white, and would sometimes tease us for being tan. Sometimes I’d cry to my mom wishing I were like the other kids. And she would tell me that all those kids would be jealous of me some day—that boys like tan girls. This was a nice consolation. My sisters would wear white tights to school to try to blend in, but everyone knew they were dark. I’ve never regretted my skin color since. My dad would always say we should be thankful for getting such pretty skin from my mom. He used to say she traveled a long way on a banana boat from Ecuador for us. And for the longest time I always though my mom and her family immigrated to the States literally floating on a big, yellow banana.
Our family was pretty poor in the beginning, but both Mom and Dad worked very hard for us, and we were blessed. Dad was even able to afford a nice boat. We used to go to UtahLake, Deer Creek, BearLake, and La…

Sandy--Our Home

When I was three-years-old, my family moved to Sandy (Thanksgiving day, 1988). This is the place we all grew up. My parents bought our home for $100,000 as it was a foreclosure. I remember thinking it was so huge (it is—it’s 4800 sq. feet). And our poor little family barely had any furnishings to put in it. We all slept on the floor in the “big room” (living room) the first night there. I used to think my family was so rich that we could afford that. And although we were actually very poor, my parents made sure we never knew that.
Our house in Sandy only had dirt for a yard. And I remember one hot summer day having to roll out the sod and cover that whole third acre we lived on. It was a tough job, but not too bad when you had seven people in your family, plus the help of good friends and neighbors. My parents instilled a hard work ethic in each of us at an early age.
I have a lot of good memories of this house. One time my parents went to ward temple night, and the rest of us stayed b…

A Little About Me in the Early Years

I got my name from a perfume bottle. Back when my mom was pregnant, she saw the name Tatiana on a perfume in a department store and decided she would name me that (even though the doctors insisted I was going to be a boy). Mom knew I was going to be a girl because she said her dad (Nery Sanchez, who had died before my first sibling was even born) visited her and told her. Needless to say that doctors were pretty surprised when I came out. I always felt cheated that I had the “ugliest” name. (Just glad it wasn’t Marcella, like they had thought about). Nobody could ever pronounce it right, and I always thought they were picking on me. All throughout my grade school years I always wished I had a “normal” name like “Ashley” or “Megan.” But now I am VERY grateful I don’t have one of those boring, all-too-common names.
My family lived in a small, split-level house in WestValley (a suburb of SaltLake). I don’t remember much about that place, except that I had Mickey Mouse wallpaper in my bedr…

Jazz Games

We used to LOVE the Jazz! They were a classic team when John Stockton, Karl Malone, and Jeff Hornacek (Aka "Horny")

Dad loved to take us to the ball games, too. We always sat in the nose-bleed section because those were the cheapest tickets. Mom never really liked to go, though, because she was afraid of heights, and our seats were literally the highest in the arena. I felt bad that Mom didn't come (I think it was partly because she didn't care too much for sports anyway), so I stayed behind with her (even though I really really really wanted to go to the game). We had a fun night just me and her. And because they thought I was so thoughtful, Mom and Dad decided to take me out. Just me. Nobody else. They said I had two choices: 1) Go to a Jazz game or 2) Go get ice cream. Although I really wanted to go to the Jazz game again, I chose number two, because I knew Mom would still be scared. But hey, ice cream is never a bad choice!

That Jazz team was our dream team. I reme…

Date Night

We used to own a small, brown Bronco. (Not the large one like OJ Simpson was chased in). My parents were headed out for a date one night, and all of us kids were to stay behind. Sneaky Tenille, however, snuck in the back and hid under a blanket until my parents were halfway to their destination. Apparently they thought it was cute and let her join in on the date while the rest of us enjoyed hot dogs at

I remember Mom and Dad going on dates a lot actually. (Something Matt and I need to be better at). I was always so curious whenever they were headed to the temple with the ward. Those old, turquoise suitcases were so interesting to me. I had to know what they kept inside those. And why did they need a suitcase if they weren't staying overnight? I was dying to see what was in them, but I never had the guts to open it.

We kids thought we were pretty cool. Sometimes when Mom and Dad came home we'd have our own little restaurant set up for them. The lights would be dimmed,…


Every phone conversation with a member of our immediately family ended like this, "1,2,3!"

You might think that's code for something, but it wasn't.

Dad called Mom every day from work around lunch time. They would say their, "I love you's," but afterwards neither one wanted to hang up first. (So cute, isn't it? At least that's how I remember the story...Unless they lied to me...haha) So they always counted, "1,2,3!" and then they could be sure to hang up at the same time.

As kids, we subconsciously picked up on it, too. We began to say, "1,2,3!" when getting off the phone. And even if it didn't have the same meaning for us as it did my parents, it kind of became a catch-phrase around the Banks Home.


I know this isn't a memory from my younger days, but it's an ongoing thing I never want to forget. The hubby's a teacher, and as most wise people know, teachers don't get paid well. To help offset our expenses, I started couponing. My sister, Melissa, introduced it to me a few years ago. I follow one particular blog religiously: Freebies2Deals. I've scored everything from cereal, fruit snacks, canned goods, cleaners, lotions, pastas, formula, toys, and clothing for CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. Just today I came back from another adrenaline rush from Wally-World, scoring four boxes of Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaners for free, along with a Woolite Spray (for carpet removal) for free. Actually, I got paid. What's better than getting paid to shop? Doing this has definitely helped alleviate costs for our family. and I feel good that I'm doing my part, too--even if I am a stay-at-home mom. ;)

Primary & General Conference

This past weekend was General Conference. While watching it I noticed that some primary children from a stake were singing in place of the Mo-Tab Choir. I had completely forgotten that I once did that, too!

I was 11, almost 12. (I remember how old I was because I felt too old and dumb to still be in primary when all my other friends were already in Young Women.) We practiced every Sunday evening at a stake building. They taught us how to sit properly, how to stand appropriately, what colors to wear (light pastels), how to sing and sound words out like you had a British accent, etc.

The day finally came (a Saturday afternoon session), and we were ready to go. I wasn't nervous. My friends and I all got placed on the very last row high up in the corner of the Tabernacle (this was before the Conference Center was built).

I remembered our leaders telling us to sit very still and reverently during the talks (when the lights were dim) because even though on television nobody can see you, th…