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Sunday, December 30, 2007

1. Family in town! My mom, step-dad Denny, Garrett, and Kari are all here and staying with us this week. They came down to visit and drop off Garrett and Kari at BYU- but they can't check into their apartments till the 2nd- and so I get some good family time in. They drove down from WA and I'm also very thankful they made it here safely since the roads weren't all that good.

2. After Christmas sales.

3. hand lotion.

Friday, December 28, 2007

1. Home sweet home. It was a great trip- but its always good to be back home in our own beds and routine.

2. Safe trip.

3. Christmas dinner- man was it good!

4. Games. Card games, video games, board games, interactive games... we played several. Mafia is always a favorite!

5. Christmas PJs. We have a tradition of each getting a pair of new pjs at the foot of our bed from Santa- that we change into and wear Christmas morning. We got some fun ones this year!

6. Gospel discussions. After church on Sunday Jake and I got in a gospel discussion with his siblings- it started out defining "being born again" and moved from there through a few other topics but seemed to center around truth, conversion, and how our faith differs from other Christian faiths.

Another night we again conversation followed a spiritual tone as Jake talked about his "conversion". It's amazing to me how the Lord works. I've heard before Jake's struggle with understanding and accepting the gospel as a youth- growing up in such a small town with very few members, and then seeing his parents go through a divorce that he never saw coming presented some hurtles- but hearing him again recount about his rollover car accident, miraculous survival, and the way in which it humbled him, forced him to put things on hold (he was in a body cast and foot cast for several months), giving him space an time to think, it gave him perspective, and allowed for others to encourage him to serve a mission, and that decision helped him really find his testimony... it was just cool to hear it all again- and to then hear how that decision helped his younger brother and sister. I'm so thankful for the Spirit, and how in moments like those it testifies to me allover again of the truthfulness of the gospel.

Jake's brother-in-law also shared a little about his conversion (he started investigating the church after he met Jake's sister Leah- they were married not long after he got baptized, and sealed a year later). It was also cool to see Jake's stepfather (who was just baptized in August after about 10 years investigating the church) pass the sacrament and to see him lead the family in prayers and such.

Monday, December 24, 2007

1. Christ's birth.

2. Wise Men.

3. Heavenly messengers.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

1. Vacations! Maybe I'm a slacker for not writing entries every day while on vacation- but hey- its vacation! Plus internet access here isn't super reliable...which brings me to my next one...

2. Buena Vista. That's where we are. A small town in the middle of the Colorado mountains. The tiny town with one stop light that my husband knows as home. On Friday we left the boys with Nana and took a drive. Jake took me to Mt. Princeton and St. Elmo which is a small ghost town at the end of an old mining road. then we drove around town and he showed me the three other homes he's lived in and some "historic" spots. It's crazy to drive through this little town with only one stop light and Subway being the only chain restaurant. There's tons of snow piled up everywhere with cars that obviously aren't hoping to move again till spring- and deer literally on people's front porches. Hearing Jake's stories of growing up here is crazy to me. Its a fun place to visit- and while Jake says it was really hard growing up here and tells me about all the trouble he got himself into as a teenager- ultimatly it molded him into who he is- and I love him.

3. Safe travels. We got here safe and sound with just a little bit of snow fall through Price Canyon and snow on the roads of the last hour.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Busy, busy!

Monday was Jake's office party, yesterday Josh's Birthday party, and today I'm getting packed and ready to drive to Colorado (we leave tomorrow morning)...Busy times- but fun times!!!

1. White elephant gifts. We did a gift exchange of these sorts at Jake's work party. It was so funny. A bed pan, "Dunder Mifflin" paper, and dog faced slippers were just some of the highlights!

2. My THREE year old!!! Oh- these boys are growing up too fast! I can't believe Josh is three, and Dekker will turn ONE next month. Josh had a VERY happy birthday at Chuck E Cheese's.

3. New BYU shirts! We gave Josh two new ones for his Birthday- and he's wearing one today- which means hopefully they've passed the Josh requirements for acceptable attire.

Monday, December 17, 2007

1. Grandmas!!! Yesterday I talked to my grandma Blanche, Josh's Nana (Jake's mom) and Josh's Grandma Chris (my mom). How grateful I am for such wonderful women who love my little family so much!

2. Family history. Our ward family history rep came over and talked to us about all the changes that have happened in family history work over the last couple of years. He worked with Jake's line showing us some cool website and how to know what we can do to help in the work. It was really cool and its true about "the hearts of the children turning to the father" - Jake got all excited and after he left Jake pulled out his grandma's (yet another grandma experience for yesterday!) recently finished personal history book and started reading it. He was laughing at some of the stories and talking about how crazy it is to "humanize" your grandparents.

3. Dekker's babbeling... its just cute!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

1. Chocolate advent calendars.

2. The Spanish Fork Festival of Lights. We went to my cousins for dinner last night and then after piled into their truck (boys and bigger kids bundled up in back) and drove through the festival of lights. It was really fun.

3. A clean house. Yesterday we had an open house. We left during the hours of the open house, and haven't heard from our relator how it went- which my guess means it didn't have a great turn out- but if nothing else it got us to get our house in showing order. We cleaned as much as we could from top to bottom and replaced a bunch of door knobs and light fixtures. The house looks pretty good- so even if it doesn't sell- we'll enjoy it more.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

1. Chapstick

2. Hand Lotion.

3. Home Depot.

4. Dry cleaners.

5. My brown leather boots!

6. Egg nog.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

An e-mail from my mom:
We had over 2,000 volunteers that came form Vancouver to Bremerton to help today. It was amazing what they were able to accomplish. There is still lots to do but it hopefully helped some victims past the overwhelmed stage and shed a ray of hope that life may be restored to normal some day. Plus the president declared it a disaster so they can now get FEMA help.

Many volunteers brought with them donations of food and clothing.There were some wonderful and sad stories that came back to us from the field.

Here is the list of items needed by the United Way needs for flood victims. Gift cards are good but you can also mail donations under "other" in a tithing envelope to our Bishop(since most all of the losses were in our ward (some in Chehalis) and he will buy gift cards here. Or, what we did for Katrina victims is donated under other to our Bishop and he wired the money or something to the Bishop of the ward we adopted and they purchased and distributed the gift cards. I'll put that address and then list the items needed.
Bishop John Henricksen
Adna Ward
198 Devereese Road
Chehalis, WA 98532

Items needed:
work gloves-large and XL
space heater
underwear for kids
warm socks
bleach
storage bins (plastic)
Rain gear
garbage bags shovels
rubber gloves
brooms, mops
garden hoses & nozzles
first aid kits

1. Charity. I'm thankful that there are good people trying to help during this disaster. I feel so far away- so it gives me some comfort to hear there are people there that care.

2. Offerings. Isn't it amazing to know that our offerings can be used to help in such ways. I talked to my mom for a bit on the phone yesterday (she's been so busy, but we finally had a moment to chat) and she shared her testimony of how great our church is in helping in situations like this.

3. FEMA. I guess after Katrina they've tried to improve their efforts. My mom also shared that since its been declared a national emergency people are now able to get assistance from FEMA as well. Apparently homeowner's insurance doesn't cover floods- and flood insurance is super expensive. FEMA will qualify victims for up to $28,000- which helps- but that won't rebuild a home that sat under 5 ft of water, or farms that lost livestock and produce. There is still much need.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

1. Christmas cards. I got most of mine in the mail yesterday finally- and we've been getting some in the mail lately. Its so fun to hear from so many friends and family through the mail (what seems more and more an outdated form of communication- but is so FUN to get)lately.

2. KSL.com this website has a great classifieds section where you can advertise pretty much anything for free! We helped our friend sell his dryer (we'd been storing it for him) yesterday, and I've found good deals there myself in the past.

3. Go getters... so I think we're actually doing it. We found a real estate agent that we were able to work out a couple of deals with who I just think might be able to make this whole house selling/buying thing happen. AGH! Is this really happening?!?!

Monday, December 10, 2007

1. Chocolate croissants! My dad has a connection with an famous pastry chef who makes these delectable treats. Thus, every year for Christmas we get a package of frozen chocolate croissants that we then thaw and bake for a spectacular holiday treat. They came to our door this week and I'm just trying to decide what special day we'll allow ourselves to eat them!

2. Deep thoughts from a 3 year old! Last night Josh was being so cute- he came and sat by me and was just carrying on the cutest little conversations with me! It wasn't so much what he was saying, just that he was sitting so quietly and chattering on with such a sweet smile on his face.

3. Sanitizing wipes. These are a life saver as far as I'm concerned.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

OOPS! Its been a few days. Thing have just been busy (but good) lately. That and Josh has found a love for his Blues Clues computer game and seems to monopolize the computer during times when I think to sit down and write.

1. Blessing of service. My cousin Natalie just had her third child 3 weeks ago. We visited her in the hospital- but with Thanksgiving and colds etc I haven't been able to see her since. Thursday I took the boys to her house. I told her I'd be there in the afternoon to take care of her older two kids and make her dinner so she could rest, focus on the baby, and do whatever else she needed to for the afternoon. It worked out great because Josh loves playing with "cousins" and so he loved it, and she had to take baby Nora for a hearing check and so was able to go and come back without hauling the other two around with her. We also had time to chat and hang out some- and heaven knows a little adult conversation during the day is nice for stay at home moms!

2. Christmas music! I've been pulling out CDs and downloading some new tracks into a new '07 Christmas Favs and I just love Christmas music. Josh's favorite is "Jingle Bells" since the lyrics are pretty easy for him to sing along to!

3. Snow- not rain. So the storm that flooded my parents home has reached us and has dumped tons of snow on us! There was mostly rain for one day, and then it turned to snow. My mom has been busy with disaster relief (she's the relief society president of their ward) but once again I'm also grateful they're doing relatively well.

4. "Aunt Trish". My friend Becca watched the boys for us yesterday. We dropped them at her house and then headed up to Brighton to take advantage of all this glorious powder and do some snowboarding! It was such a fun day- and we got cheap lift tickets as part of a fund raiser for the special olympics!

5. Dreams. I think I've mentioned my "dream home" on here in the past. Its funny how things work. Once I let go of the "I have to have it" idea things have begun to turn in our favor. We hit our savings reserve goal, interest rates are dropping below 5.5%, home prices are dropping, and the home has now sat on the market with no offers for several months. Even with prices dropping we probably have enough equity in our current home to make a substantial down payment, and it has a full kitchen in the basement and enough rooms on the upper floor that we can rent it out to a friend to help with the change in mortgage payment for the first while. Oh- and Jake has suddenly decided he really loves it too, and our second business is making great progress. Does this mean we're buying the house for sure? No. But we went and looked at it again Friday, and it sure seems like the stars are aligning! We'll see what happens.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thanks:

1. Our sewer/plumbing system. This may seem like a strange pick- but when you think about it- it really is amazing. There are many countries that don't have such a sophisticated systems.

2. Online shopping. I don't do a ton of this- but it sure can be nice and convenient at times. I especially like sending my digital files to be printed into photographs.

3. Christmas crafts. Last night for our laurel activity we made cute "Wise men still seek him" signs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thanks:

1. Relief Society. I don't know a lot of the sisters in my ward group- but last night I went to our enrichement "Christmas Share" night- and it was nice to see how many I do know, and to feel the spirit and learn more about some I don't know very well.

2. Christmas stories. There were many shared last night, and I pulled out all of our Christmas books and have been reading them with Josh and I just love all the wonderful stories that have been inspired by Christmas.

3. Modern medicine.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thanks:

1. FHE. Primary song sing time. A good lesson from Jake. Hungry Hungry Hippo rounds. And ice cream for our treat. It was a fun one.

2. A prepared family. There is major flooding where my mom and family live right now (Centralia, WA). Homes, cars and livestock have been washed away. Luckily my family lives at the top of a huge hill (my step-dad new they were moving to a "flood zone" and so they only looked at properties on higher grounds) and they have lots of wood and food storage to help them get through the next few days. This is a huge blessing, because even though they are much better off than people in the valley- they are expecting to be stuck at home till at least Wednesday.

3. Warm socks.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Thanks:

1. Snow! We woke up to lots of beautiful snow Saturday morning. If it's gonna be cold, it might as well snow!

2. Home teaching. Yesterday we received a home teaching visit- and it was a good lesson that I think we needed. My husband got a new home teaching assignment, and couldn't get ahold of his companion- so we made cookies and took them to this new couple who've moved into our ward. They're a fun couple and we have quite a bit in common (they're younger with no kids, but we still have similar interests/hobbies). It was nice to get to meet them.

3. Ward Christmas parties. Our was nothing special- but still fun. We sat next to two young women who were so cute and helpful with my boys. And we have LOTS of people musically talented who performed and brought in the Christmas Spirit.

4. Christmas Discovery. I've been reading Christmas books with Josh, and he loves pointing out the Christmas lights and trees as we drive around, and he's learning some Christmas tunes... its cute to see him catch the Spirit of it all.

5. Family time. Life can get so busy. Sometimes even when we're all home it seems like we're not really together- but this weekend we made time for some good family time- I love my growing family and how much fun we have together!

6. "Pretty Please!" its the first time Josh added "pretty" to his pleases. Must have picked it up in nursery. I thought it was cute.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanks:

1. Surprise dinner out. Last night I was looking through recipes and trying to find something to make for dinner without much luck. I haven't been shopping yet since before we left to go out of town (does anyone have a solution to shopping with two kids? I HATE it, and so avoid it like the plague- I wait till I have a moment when I can leave the kids with Jake as often as possible) and so I was missing one or two key ingredients to anything that sounded good. In my moment of frustration Jake called and said, "So, are we going out to eat tonight?!" "YES!" was my immediate response.

2. Good quotes. Here are a couple new favorites: "Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again." - Henry Ford "At the end of each day, you should play back the tapes of your performance. The results should either applaud you or prod you." - Jim Rohn.

3. Stuff that makes you think. I'm reading this excellent book right now- and though I'm waiting for some answers to questions still, and I'm not sure their theories are as simple as they make them out to be- the ideas are making me think critically and leading me to ask some good questions and spurring good discussions on parenting techniques with my husband. Just now I found they have a great website with lots of other resources as well- check it out if you're interested: http://www.loveandlogic.com/ecom/p-124-from-innocence-to-entitlement-book.aspx

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thanks:

1. Potential. I was sitting at young women and excellence listening to all the yw explain their displays, what they were working on/accomplished, what things they enjoy and are learning. All of these Young Women are so beautiful and have such potential for good. I remember adults telling me that when I was young- now as I look at them I see it more. We ALL have great potential. We need only to seek the Lord's aid in developing our talents and we will do great things.

2. Tamales! I ordered some pork tamales and served them with rice and beans last night for dinner. Its a South Texas tradition to have tamales during the Christmas season. They were really yummy and brought back so many memories!

3. Mitt Romney. LOL. I think he's my husband's secret man love. Last night we watched the republican (I only watched half due to young womens) debate and he did a good job. It's good to see that there are good people out there really trying to make a difference. There are some other good candidates as well- and we'll need them when it comes to batteling Hillary Clinton who is a phenomenon I really fail to understand.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanks:

1. Cell phones. Mine is out of comission for a few days. Over the vacation it died and refused to be charged, we always keep insurance on our phones, so I took it in and they're sending a replacement- an upgrade even (apparently mine is now old enough that they don't keep parts/replacements for it so I get the newer model). We have a landline- but it still makes me realize how much I'm grateful for my cell phone.

2. A "clean" car. I got the car emptied out from the trip yesterday. I still need to vacuum it, but it feels good to not have it packed full of stuff.

3. Cold weather meals. Honestly I think I enjoy cooking in the winter the best. Grilling in the summers is fun- but I really love all the soups, stews and the warmth of oven baking breads etc in the winter. Last night I pulled out a jar of canned tomatoes from (from our garden) and made tomato soup accompanied by open faced tuna melts. A simple meal; but it hit the spot. I normally hate tomato soup- but I love this recipe:

Cream of Tomato Soup with Pesto:

32 oz chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes w/ juice
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
1 cup half-and-half cream
2 Tbsp basil pesto
salt and pepper to taste

Boil chicken broth and let reduce by about 1/3. Pour in the rest of the ingredients, stir, turn to med-low and stir and let simmer 15 minuted. Blend in batches or use a immersion blender. Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanks:

1. Home. It was a great vacation, but its always nice to come home and sleep in my own bed and get back into a routine.

2. Christmas Tree! For FHE we went and picked out a tree. We then came home and decorated the tree. I still need to get out the rest of the Christmas decorations, but I'm loving the sight and smell of the tree already.

3. Christmas music and hot cocoa. Tradition says that we break out the Christmas music and hot cocoa while decorating the tree. I love this time of year!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thoughts:

These come first this time. We left to go to Sunriver, Oregon Tuesday night and got home just before midnight last night. My mom rented a large cabin for our first "family reunion". It was SO fun. It's been a long time since my whole family has been together- I love them so much! It was cool because we all arrived at the cabin at about the same time and everyone was so excited just running around giving hugs to each other. Jake brought a laptop- and we had the internet, but it was a little slow, and to be honest, I wanted to take a vacation from technology and just hang with the fam- thus no entries over the holiday.

Funny moment of the trip that I will probably never live down:
So we left Tuesday night and drove to Twin Falls, Idaho to stay the night there and drive the rest of the way Wednesday. It helped to break up the trip a little. Before we left I scoured the internet looking for a deal on a hotel/motel to crash for the night. I found some good deals- but really wanted queen beds (instead of doubles) since I knew we would be getting in late and not wanting to pull out and set up the portacrib- which meant Dekker would be sleeping in bed with me. I finally found a really good deal at "The Crest Motel"- it was about the same price as Motel 6 but had queen beds- so I figured it would be about the same standard- nothing fancy but a place to sleep. When we got there though it looked like something out of a horror movie! Aside from Guatemala, this was the worst place I've ever stayed. Jake was laughing so hard- when we walked into the room we saw they provided a fly swatter- and soon found out there was a reason for that. There were 3 flies that buzzed around the room the entire time (at least Josh had fun chasing after them). I'm notoriously known for being "frugal"- but this I'm sure will forever be the story told as an example of just how far I'll go to save a buck. The sink wasn't really even cocked into place and could almost be lifted out of the cheap counter it sat in. It looked as if they'd recently regrouted the shower- but didn't wipe the tile clean in the process. The place was so dirty feeling I wouldn't let Dekker crawl on the floor. Luckily we were there for just the night and long enough to get ready in the morning. The sad thing is I would have gladly paid more for a nicer place had I known it would be so bad- but it was too late and we were too tired by the time we got there. I thought I'd found a good place since it was offering queen beds! Oh well. Just have to laugh about it.

The cabin at Sunriver though was awesome. Very spacious. It had a sauna and jacuzzie, nice fireplace, pingpong table and big screen TV. It was just a few minutes from Mt. Bachelor, and they opened that weekend! They didn't have much of a base, so they only had two lifts running- but tickets were discounted and we had a blast!

Thanks:

So many things from this weekend....

1. Fab food! Buttermilk biscuits, egg nog, turkey, orange rolls, crepes, cookies, pies, and all the rest! My mom knows how to fill our bellies.

2. Fireplace. I love the warmth that a fire brings to a room.

3. Entertainers. Everyone took turns playing with and helping take care of my two boys. It was nice to have a break and see everyone else make fun memories with my kids.

4. Snowboarding. Neither being pregnant or recovering, means that this is my season- and what a fun way to kick it off with my family!

5. Holiday sales! Its a tradition to wake up early Friday morning and go to the Fred Meyer sock sale. We stocked up on socks and other finds and also hit Eddie Bauer Outlet and Target. I spent a lot of money, but hey- it was in Oregon so I got great deals at the sales, and didn't have to pay sales tax!

6. Movies. We watched some fun ones: Nacho Libre, Hitch, Rocketman, The Man who knew too Little, Flushed away. Funny and silly ones that were fun to have on in the background.

7. SSX Tricky. I think that's the name of it. This is about the only video game I play on the game cube that my family brought. It's a snowboarding one where you can do all these totally unrealistic tricks and race through some crazy terrain. It's lots of fun.

8. My family!!!!!!!! It was so fun to hang with them. I haden't seen my neice Kjerstin in way too long. To get to talk to Garrett and hear about his mission... to go snowboarding with my brother Brian and see him die laughing after scaring the living daylights out of Garrett, Kari, and Kjerstin on our way back from boarding (they were all asleep in the back and he slammed on his breaks and honked his horn- sending them flying out of their seats)... to get my mom's sweet hugs and just BE with everyone. I love them all so much!!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanks:

1. My dad. Okay, so I was reading my post about "effort" and realized it didn't sound like much of a thanks. I didn't mean it to come off so harsh. Sorry. Dad got here yesterday and had dinner and stayed with us last night. It's been nice to visit with him. And the boys both love Grandpa and the attention he's been giving the.

2. The Priesthood. I'm thankful that Jake honors his priesthood and is able to give us blessings (Josh is the one needing them as of late).

3. Priesthood leaders. Yesterday our bishop spoke in sacrament meeting. Then last night Jake went to a stake priesthood leadership meeting and came back explaining how inspiring out stake president is. I'm grateful for such good examples around us.

Thoughts:

Bri- thanks so much for the quote. I used it in my lesson and it fit in great! The lesson went really well.

Sandra- thanks for your shout out. Its been cool to read your blog and get to know you through it. Funny how so many years later the internet can help you become friends with someone so far away... I appreciate your thoughts.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanks:

1. Another cute Josh moment. Yesterday Jake was helping me bag up some of the leaves in our yard, and a couple of the older boys in the neighborhood were wanting to "help", which meant Josh was dying to be outside too. Jake told him he needed to go find his shoes- so Josh went inside and was gone for a while. Apparently he could only find his church shoes, because that's what he came out wearing, and as if knowing we might object, he came outside, and shook his head and said, "Sh, sh!" as if to say, "I know they're my church shoes, but please don't embarrass me in front of these boys, just let me come out." It's hard to write out- but it really was a cute moment.

2. WalMart. With nothing else to do last night, we decided to go to walmart to pick up a few needed items, and just browse. It sounds funny- but when all else fails- go to walmart. There are always fun things to find/see.

3. Warm showers. I'm one of those people who cannot start their day without a shower. They just help me get going and feel good! In Guatemala we had to keep the water pressure extremely low just to get luke warm water... its nice to have hot water and good shower pressure.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thanks:

1. Grapefruit. If you're not aware- it's in season right now, and SO YUMMY. I think I love this fruit so much because even though I sprinkle a little brown sugar on mine, I feel healthy when I eat it- but LOVE it. Also because it reminds me of my mission; the best grapefruit is grown in South Texas as far as I'm concerned- I never even had to sprinkle brown sugar on the ones I ate there! The smell is pretty spectacular too.

2. "Sweet dreams". Josh came down with a horrible cough and chest cold. It woke him up during the night and he came into our room and laid wheezing on the bedroom floor. I picked him up and took him back into his room and snuggled with him, his poor wheezing had me worried, so I stayed rubbing his back. Josh likes snuggle time, but can't sleep very well right next to someone else- I guess that's why after a bit he said, "Sweet dreams Mama".... his way of letting me know I could go! :)

3. Another cute Josh moment. This happened a while ago- but I forgot to record it. Josh is in the stage where he always wants to make sure he's heard. So much so, that he'll repeat the same thing over and over until you repeat back or somehow recognize what he's said. The other day Jake and I were in the kitchen and Josh came down saying, "Look Mom, blue shirt. Blue shirt Mama. See blue shirt..." Jake smirked at me and said, lets see how many times he'll say it if you don't respond! So we continued our conversation, and as Josh said "blue shirt" in the background Jake would take note "One... Two... Three... etc". He got all the way to 52! He probably would have kept going, except Josh finally just said, "Mama?!" and I broke down and said, "Yes?" and he then said "See? Blue shirt!" for the 52nd time! We were laughing pretty hard.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanks:

1. The public library. I took the boys there earlier this week. I didn't get to all the sections of the library I wanted (Josh started throwing a fit), but I got some books for the boys, and a few for me. Josh and I have both loved reading our books this week- and its for free!

2. Effort. I've been a bit miffed at my dad for a while because he gets so self-absorbed that he forgets about everyone else, and this time its kept him from meeting my son Dekker. I used to be fine having to be the one to always make the effort at maintaining communications- because he likes it when I do, he's just not good at doing it himself. But now with two little ones its hard for me to go see him, and I began to wonder if it REALLY even mattered to him. So I stopped making an effort. Well, he finally called this week. My grandma who's been living with my aunt in Pleasant Grove isn't doing well, and they've moved her to an assisted living center. So my dad decided it was time to pay Utah a visit. He'll only be here a couple days, and its mostly to see my grandma- but he admitted he feels like a "derelict grandpa" and want to stay with us and meet Mr. Dex. I'm proud of him making an effort, and I'll make an effort to understand where he's coming from (the family situation we have isn't an easy one with divorce, religion/lifestyle differences, second families, etc).

3. Naptime. When Josh's nap, and Dekker's second nap of the day align it is a happy moment. I swear this is the only time I can get anything done!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanks:

1. Kisses. Dekker has started giving kisses, and I think its the cutest thing ever!

2. YW lessons. I'll be teaching this Sunday and I'm so excited about the lesson. It's about attitude and mentions being thankful. These are two things that I've really been working on and gaining a testimony of recently. It never ceases to amaze me at how the Spirit works and how these lessons fall into place.

3. Prayers. Josh is finally starting to say prayers by himself (he used to have to only repeat whatever we'd say). It's so sweet to hear what is in his heart. This morning he prayed, "Father in Heaven, Thank you for this day... help stay dry all day... bless Dekker stand up... go BYU Cougers... in name of Jesus Christ, Amen!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thanks:

1. The Spirit.

2. The gospel.

3. My testimony.

Thoughts:

You'll have to excuse me if I get on a bit of a soap box for a minute. I've just been thinking more lately about our consumer driven and "beauty" crazed society. It can be easy to fall into. I think its good to take care of your appearance, and we certainly don't need to live and Amish lifestyle to stay in keeping with gospel principles... but sometimes the lines get blurred. Recently, an acquaintance decided to go in for breast enhancement surgery... Now, I don't know her intimately, and so I don't know all her thoughts or reasons behind this decision, but I do know that what got her thinking about it was another woman from her ward telling her that more than a few women in their ward had had similar surgeries. I have to be honest in my disappointment! I work with the young women in my ward, and I find that so many of the lessons are trying to emphasize that worldly approval are not as important as seeking eternal treasures. I try hard to let these young women know that their true beauty will shine from within. We teach that body piercings, tattoos, and immodesty are worldly trends that do not merit these girls' attention. How much will these girls pay heed to if they soon here of women in the ward seeking to alter their body image in what to me seems such a superficial way. Correct me if I'm wrong please! Now, I know the argument can be said, "What about make-up, braces, or hair color? Aren't those just as much worldly ways to change our appearance?" I don't know where exactly the line falls- I'm positive that I have paid more attention to worldly opinions than I should- but I think it is very different to improve for self-confidence purposes something that people see every time they look at you, than to change something that you should not draw attention to and holds sexual connotations. The whole thing has made me look more at my own self-perceptions, and what things I place great emphasis on.

Jake's employment has as of late proved very successful. As we look toward the future, we begin to see that we could afford things that we wouldn't have been able to in the past. We recently looked at a beautiful home that I fell in love with and began to dream about. As we looked more at our circumstances though, and all the responsibilities we have over that which we receive, trying to keep an honest perspective of the future and our goals; I began to see that the thought or dream was premature. It was still hard for me to let go of at first, because I know that the home could have been rationalized or afforded. I can say though, that what has made it easier is thinking about what making that jump right now in our lives would mean for our family. How many and what kind of children would live in that neighborhood. How would I keep my kids from feeling a sense of entitlement to those things that they would then see around them. Would I change my perspective on what our "needs" are? Would that move really change my level of happiness? If so, is that a good thing? What other opportunities might be afforded our family if we were to wait for such a "dream home"?

I want to make clear that I'm not saying that living in a "prominent" neighborhood and lifestyle is bad. I've known several very successful people who have stayed very humble servants to the Lord, and raised moral selfless children. What I'm saying is that because those kinds of people exist does not mean that we should all aspire to such things, and especially not expect to "have it all" all at once. If that kind of lifestyle does present itself- the challenge to keep perspective, include the Lord in all decisions, and instill children with the same perspective can be difficult. When we are blessed, do we feel "I deserve this" and quickly look for what's next on our wish list that we can get with that blessing? Or do we ask why the Lord has blessed us with it, how we can multiply it, and ask what HE would have us do with it? Are we constantly trying to keep up with our neighbors and the world? Do we know where our true joys and treasures are really coming from? Are we happy with ourselves and with what we have- or are we frustrated if we don't get what we want right away?

I've lived in very impoverished parts of the world (south texas, and Guatemala) and seen good people work very hard for very little- but continue to move forward with happy hearts and a positive attitude. I've also seen people in similar circumstances give up, complain that their needs are not met, and wait for a handout to fix their problem. I've seen very affluent people who seem to give and give, serve and serve. I've also seen very wealthy people who take and take, and become lazy. I don't pretend to understand why we are born where we are, or given what we are given (or withheld for that matter)- but I do know that what we do with what we receive and our attitudes towards what we have are important. I know that if some of the people I knew in Guatemala were to see my home and lifestyle they would probably be shocked... I know that I was shocked someone would think breast enhancement surgery was worth spending a large amount of money on....

Ugh. My thoughts are a little jumbled. Answers aren't easy. I just know that the world has more influence on us than I like. I am not perfect, but I try to be careful about how much influence the world has on me. I know this acquaintance would probably say the same thing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thanks:

1. Family time. Josh and Dekker love to climb on me. Most of the time they love to do it at the same time (one sees the other one, and the other decides they want attention too). Sometimes it can make me claustrophobic- but last night I decided to surrender. I laid on the floor and let them wrestle, climb, tickle and kiss me all they want. It was actually lots of fun. Jake joined in the fun after a bit and we all had a "dog pile" on him.

2. Mom time. Dekker can't fall sleep just anywhere anymore- which means he dosn't get any sleep while we're at church, even thought its during his morning nap time. So When we got home yesterday he was dead tired- and though I tried to keep him up while we all got lunch- I finally had to take him up and put him to bed. Of course that means that he woke up about 5 minutes after I had snuggled in for my nap after putting Josh down. Fortunate for me, Jake said he wasn't too tired, so I was able to convince him to take Dekker downstairs so that I could enjoy my Sunday nap. Thank you!!!

3. My three boys. I love me little family!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thanks:

1. Temple workers. We went and participated in initiatories Saturday- and I am always impressed at the many temple workers. I also talked to my grandma this week who works at the Seattle temple often, but this week worked every day!

2. Parking in the garage. We finally have enough room to park the Tahoe in the garage again. Hooray!

3. Becca (a.k.a "Trish). My good friend Becca came down from Salt Lake on Saturday. She periodically comes down to hang out with us. Josh and Dekker are so lucky to have her as their "Aunt Trish". She watched the boys while Jake and I went to the temple and just hung out with us. Family errands and movie night with kids (we watched Ratatouille- and even thought its a kids show- the kids didn't sit through it very well) could be not so fun for some- but she seems to honestly enjoy hanging out with us in all our craziness. She is such a sweet friend.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thanks:

1. Water. So one of the things I'm working on lately is food storage and emergency preparedness. The other day I finally bought a huge 55 gallon water barrel, and yesterday I set it on wood in the corner of our garage and filled it. It feels really good to know I have this essential part of food storage.

2. Phones. When you think about it, it's pretty incredible that we can talk to people miles and miles away with these little devices. Yesterday I got to talk to my RM brother for quite a while. It's nice to still talk even though I can't be there.

3. Smiles from my little ones. Nothing like a sweet smile from one of my two boys to lighten my heart!

MA Bdrm project

 

 

 

 

As promised, here's some pics of what I've been working on lately.
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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thanks:

1. Mountains. I'm sitting looking out my window Mt. Timpanogos right now. Till live amongst these beautiful mountains really is a blessing.

2. Camille Sharp. Camille is an old friend from high school. She lives in Texas now, so I don't get to see her really- but we did just go to our 10 yr reunion together and it was so fun. Yesterday I called to catch up and chit chat with her. One of the things I love most about Camille is her honesty. There are no facades to her. It's nice to know that some people are not afraid to be real.

3. My brother is home from his mission!!!!!! Yesterday my brother Garrett got home from his mission to Peru. I didn't get to be there in Seattle for his arrival- but I did get to talk to him briefly on the phone. I'll get to see him in just a couple weeks over Thanksgiving. He is such an amazing guy- and I can't wait to here his stories in person and hablar el espanol.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Thanks:

1. A budget. Even though it can be frustrating sometimes, I'm very grateful that from day one Jake and I decided to live below our means, and that in order to do that we began a habit of establishing and reviewing a budget on a regular bases. Sitting down together, seeing where our money has gone, setting goals for the future, and seeing where our spending habits need to improve has blessed our marriage in so many ways. We are not perfect, but we really do try to be wise stewards over that which we've been given.

2. Tithing and offerings. This goes along with number one, but I really am grateful that the gospel allows us a way to always remember the Lord is the one who has given us what we have, that we can turn around and give back to help HIS work along- and that with so much need and pain in the world, I can confidently contribute to the church's offerings funds and know that it will be wisely put to use.

3. Jake's ability to provide. I'm very thankful that Jake works so hard to provide for our family. I'm particularly grateful that he is able to enjoy (generally speaking) what he does- that his time away from the home really blesses him and our family.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Thanks:

1. My sewing machine. Now, I would not consider myself a seamstress in even the loosest of terms- even crafty for that matter, but my patriarchal blessing actually advises me to develop this talent. And so I try now and then. Luckily, I inherited a sewing machine from my grandma. I'm working on decorating our master bedroom right now (I realized that for all the effort I put into Josh's and the nursery our room had received almost no attention) and so picked up some beautiful silk drapes to match my new duvet at a discount store that I'm making alterations to. So far so good. I'll post some pics later.

2. An artistic eye. While I don't consider myself "crafty" I do have an eye for color and design (at least I tell myself that). While picking up a curtain rod at Target, I spoted some cool frames on sale, that are perfect for the MA Bdrm project. I bought three to put some wedding pics (we have tons of beautiful wedding pics) in and group above the bed. They look pretty fabulous, even if I do say so myself.

3. A handy husband. After our first house (an old duplex that we were ALWAYS making repairs/renovations to) Jake usually moans when I start listing my "honey dos" at him- but yesterday he didn't complain one bit when he got home and I showed him what I'd been working on and asked him to help me hang frames and a curtain rod. And I really am glad he knows how to do all the finish work and has accumulated tools over time that help us move our projects along.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Thanks:

1. Sunday afternoon naps. We try to all take a nap after church every Sunday. Yesterday because of the time change, Dekker and Josh both woke up earlier than usual, but then settled back down to sleep after crawling into bed with us. We were all there sleeping together- and while I'm glad we're not normally "co-sleepers" it was a sweet moment.

2. Nursery teachers. These guys do such a good job. Every time we go to pick Josh up they've got the whole class sitting quietly against the back wall with their arms folded. Josh always loves going to class, and showing me his picture and telling me what he learned about. How they do it- I don't know.

3. The Bush family. Even though my cousin Natalie is less than two weeks away from her scheduled cesarean, they invited us to join them for dinner yesterday. Natalie is a great cook. She made yummy chimichangas, and crepes with nutella for dessert. The food was awesome, but just hanging out with them and chatting is always so fun. Thanks guys!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thanks:

1. My sense of smell. While this isn't so great when changing diapers, I DO appreciate very much the smell of a crisp day, a favorite food, a campfire, all those things that create and bring back memories.

2. Two hands. I'm so grateful for these, that if given the choice, I think I'd even take another one.

3. Disposable diapers. YES!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Thanks:

1. The Book of Mormon. I'm working on a goal to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year... because of some slacking I've been reading a little more lately. I just love this book. In the mission I learned that there is a power in the book- just in opening it. Lately I've been reminded of that. Inspiration can come in the most unexpected ways as I make a point to read the Book of Mormon.

2. Impromptu service projects. We have a large tree in our front yard that has just recently dumped TONS of leaves in our yard (and a few in our neighbor's yard). Yesterday the neighborhood kids were out playing. We went out to join them. The kids soon pulled out rakes and were having fun "raking" and jumping in the leaves. The senior sister in our cul-de-sac (yes, we live in a neighborhood of all Mormons- it's Orem okay?!) came out with her rake and some bags and soon everyone was REALLY raking and cleaning up the leaves. The kids were loving it- and we were too. It felt good to receive such service. I guess this is a double thank you for kind neighbors.

3. A clean kitchen floor. It never stays that way for long. All the more reason to appreciate it when it is that way.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thanks:

1. Snuggles and hugs. My two sweet boys are snugglers and I LOVE it!

2. Good books. There are lots of them out there. I've just recently gotten back into reading. Something I've always enjoyed but didn't make enough time for for a while.

3. Sunshine.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thanks:

1. "Blood and Guts". A tradition from my mom I have to continue... cream cheese smothered in salad shrimp and cocktail sauce makes for a great cracker spread that's tasty anytime, but can have fun name on halloween as well.

2. Tricks. We made a scarecrow for our front porch. Jake attatched a string to one of the arms and managed to scare a couple of the older trick or treaters.

3. Treats. Us pirates, cowboys, and dragons love all those treats. Oh and cereal killers too (Jake was this at his office yesterday- a cereal box tied around his neck with knives poked through it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thanks:

1. The Barrands. These guys have been our hang out buddies lately. We are thankful for all of our friends, but it's true that its easier to hang out with those who your kids really enjoy being with. Sam and Josh are great friends and always get excited when we tell them we'll be getting together. They invited us to their home for FHE last night. Marcia made an incredible Brazillian dish for dinner. Bryce gave a nice kid-friendly lesson- and then we had a great time carving pumpkins. Thanks guys.

2. A washing machine. Oh my goodness! Laundry piles up so fast. Especially with a child in the spit-up phase, and another in potty training mode.... I am VERY thankful for my washer and dryer.

3. Firefighters. My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes in the fires of California. How sad to see so many even temporarily displaced from their homes. What courage the firefighters show as they try to fight as best they can!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Thanks:

1. A Sacrament meeting without a Cheezit disaster. Josh and Dekker were pretty well behaved this Sunday. Always a relief when that happens.

2. My laurels. I love those girls so much!

3. "Tio". Jesus Garcia is our good friend- someone who you know you can ask anything of and always depend on. He's actually the one who introduced Jake and I. We'd both met him in the mission, and he introduced the two of us a couple of years later. Anyway, he brought a girl over for dinner last night (not a "couple" yet, but we approved of her) and he is so sweet with our boys. Thus, he is known to them as "Tio" (uncle in Spanish). He also watched them Saturday morning while we went to the temple.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thanks:

1. Mt. Timpanogos Temple. This is where Jake and I were married. Yesterday we went and participated in sealings. I'm so thankful we have a temple so close.

2. A cleaner garage. We finally got the old counter tops and other such junk that had accumulated in our garage cleared out. A friend lent us their trailer and we took a load to the dump. It always feel good to get rid of some baggage.

3. Thanksgiving Point's Cornbelly's. We met up with our friends the Barrands there last night and has so much fun!!!

I could really elaborate on all of these more- but I'm too tired. Sorry.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thanks:

1. Date night. It's been a while since we've done a "real" date night- usually we'll go out to eat and just take the kids with us, or rent a movie to watch at home- but last night we had a sitter for a couple hours! We took a picnic up to Squaw Peak and enjoyed the sunset. It was nice to have some time just the two of us for a bit.

2. Indian Food! We ordered Chicken Tikka Masala, saag shorba and mulligtawny soups, and garlic naan bread take out for our picnic. We have to go to Bombay House at least once a month!

3. Ben & Jerry's. So then we picked up some Chubby Hubby and watched a movie. Not a frequent indulgence- but a good one!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thanks:

1. Honesty

2. Humility

3. Strength

Thoughts:

These are three characteristics that I saw in my husband last night. He's been feeling quite a bit of stress lately- trying to stay at the helm of two businesses and balancing his efforts between the two. Being the optimist though, he'd never let anyone know that he sometimes gets discouraged. Last night he opened up to me and honestly expressed some of his frustrations and discouragements. As we talked through things he showed great humility in accepting "blame" for some of the mistakes he's made, and by recognizing his need to allow the Lord to be a greater partner in his decisions. And of course strength for being willing to take risks and to continue to move forward, and to look at the possibility of making some tough decisions he'd rather not.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thanks:

1. Opportunity to serve. There's a family in our ward who has a son and daughter in law living in Angola. I guess he works for Exxon and is stationed there. Exxon pays for a container to be shipped from the US to Angola every year for each family. There's another family that is leaving soon, and so offered to donate their container for relief items. The wife in this family works at a medical and orphanage site and came up with a list of basic needed items. They asked our ward to gather what we could. So yesterday I went through my house gathering things to donate. They wanted used clothes, practical shoes and socks (they said its best used because the people get jumped if they have stuff that looks new). I also gathered up sheets and towels which they said the medical center does not provide. I'd recently gone through all of our closets, but when going through them again, knowing that these people need so much- I found plenty to give. It felt so good to know that these things would be going to people who so desperately need them.

2. The web. I'm very grateful for the internet and the way it helps me keep in touch with friends and family. Yesterday I was particularly grateful for the endless amount of information that can be found (and used for good- it can be used for bad as well sometimes). As a mom, I've given up going a day and keeping my clothes clean- they always end up with spit up, drool, food, or runny noses on them- but I was really sad when I found a pair of fairly new pants had pen marks on them. New pants, permanently ruined?! Please no! I quickly looked up ink stains and how to remove them. I rubbed them with alcohol, nail polish remover, and then rubbed some standard stain remover on them. Hooray! The stain is gone.

3. Yummy pizza dough recipe (also found on the internet; allrecipes.com). So I've made this before- but last night Jake was extra impressed for some reason- he thought I'd gone and bought a Papa Murphey's Pizza because "it looks too perfect, and the crust IS perfect!". He knows how to put a smile on my face. The recipe?
7/8 c. warm water
3/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. white sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
Throw all of it into a bread machine (I got mine at a thrift store for $5 and it works perfectly) and set on dough setting. When finished spread on pizza pan and top with favorite toppings. Bake approx 15 minutes at 400*F.
One of our favorites (and what I made last night) is a thin spreading of prepared Pesto sauce, chopped marinated artichoke hearts, and chopped sun dried tomatoes then topped with italian blend shredded cheese (all of which are found at Costco). Or if you've got fresh ingredients on hand, another favorite is with a marinara sauce, thin sliced fresh tomatoes, zuchini, and a little diced spinach or basil topped with cheese> Yummy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thanks:

1. Petco. So yesterday I was trying to think of something fun to do with the kids without costing a lot of money. Answer? The pet store. We cruised over to the local Petco and wandered around the store. We watched the dogs getting their hair cut, checked out the birds, the fish, the reptiles, as well as rabits, farats, mice, and guinea pigs. Josh loved it.

2. Our cars. I always say that cars are a necessary evil- but even though they'll never be an investment- I really can't complain too much. We've always had good luck with cars (even our "college" cars never gave us much grief). Our neighbor's transmission just went out on their only vehicle, so it's really made me appreciate the fact that I can hop in the car and run errands without much thought. So thankful that yesterday I made sure to give her a good wash after filling her up with gas. Love your cars and they will love you back?

3. Sunny days. These last couple days have been so beautiful. Warm sun with crisp air. You don't get much of a fall in Utah (it switches from hot to cold so fast) but those few days you do get are gorgeous!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Thanks:

1. Hungry, Hungry Hippos! It was so fun to play this with Josh. It was our FHE activity- and he loved it!

2. Temples. Our FHE lesson was on temples. Since it was the focus of this month's Ensign, and part of mine and Jake's new goals (since conference) I thought it appropriate. I pulled out our wedding pictures and told Josh that Mom and Dad were married in a temple so that our family can be together forever. We looked at pictures of other temples too and talked about why they are special. It was a simple lesson- but Josh listened, and I was touched.

3. My husband. Jake offered to make dinner last night! He made breakfast for dinner. Excellent french toast, hash browns and bacon. SO YUMMY! He even did most of the cleanup afterwards. Gotta be thankful for that!

Thoughts:

Things have been good lately. We can already see blessings for our renewed efforts at family scripture study, prayer, and family home evenings. We are trying to help Josh participate more in everything. It's really brought the Spirit into our home. Already it seems that Josh has thrown less fits and been more obedient. Jake and I also have more patience with him. During the days I'm trying to make sure I find ways to give more undevided attention to both him and Dekker. It really is amazing how small things (and efforts) can bring about great things (and blessings).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thanks:

1. Life's comedy. So Sunday I was in the middle of sacrament; Josh and Dekker both with runny noses that were needing to be wiped about every 3 minutes, Josh all excited to explore the Sunday diaper bag and pull out every bit of its contents, and Dekker being wiggly with discomfort on my lap. The sacrament was being passed when Dekker decided to start pulling at my shirt and eating my neck (his way of saying "please nurse me!"). I reached for the cheezits Josh had pulled from the bag and tossed aside and gave one to Dekker to try and pacify him. Unfortunatly Josh saw this and jumped on top of the two of trying to pull it from Dekker's hand. I grabbed the container, and not realizing the lid was not secure, shook it at him saying, "Look, there's plenty more..." just then the top slipped off and they spilled all over the floor. This could have been a good laughing moment- but I scowled instead. Jake somehow came to the rescue and got Josh to help him pick up the mess. I take the water and try to take my thoughts back to a reverent place, but I'll be honest, it wasn't coming easily... its at this moment that I glance down at Josh (still picking up the last of the Cheezits) and notice something stuck to his ear! Looking closer I realized it was a mushy cheezit remnant that must have fallen out of Dekkers mouth in the chaos and somehow landed and stuck to Josh's ear!!! I pointed it out to Jake and we both began to snicker. It lightened the mood just enough to help me get over my frustrations and return to more reverent thoughts.

2. Inspiration. Jake and I have both recently felt inspired to try and hold real family scripture study. Up to this point we've mostly worked on companionship study- since the boys seemed too little to really understand. After the general relief society session though, I realized that Josh really needs us to start including him, and making it more applicable to him. Then the other day Jake came back from bishopric meeting (he's the ward executive secretary) saying, "We need to make some changes..." So last night we pulled out the children's pictured New Testament Stories (the only Book of Mormon one I could find was in Spanish) and sat down to read and then pray together. I was worried, because Josh doesn't sit still for too long most of the time- but he was very attentive and reverent. It was a success, and I'm excited to improve in this habit.

3. A heated home.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thanks:

1. SNOW! That's right, the first real snowfall has come to Utah Valley. Josh was so excited. It's fun because last year I thought he'd be ready to play in the snow, but he really wasn't too interested. This year though he was running and falling in it, making and throwing snowballs, and just loving it. It took me back to my childhood memories of the first snows of the year. SO FUN!

2. Football games and friends. This year our house is the gathering place for BYU football games. Pretty much every game you can plan on a party at our house. Although it can be a lot of work- preparing food for and cleaning up after- it has been so much fun to gather friends and family at our home every weekend. Jake and I said from day one we want our home to be welcoming and open- its cool to see our friends really feel that and to know they enjoy hanging out with the Runyans.

3. Hot cocoa. Need I say more?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Thanks:

1. Our boat. I'm thinking that some of my thanks so far have seemed silly "worldly pleasures" or things like that- but Father does bless us with those things as well and I think its with those things that we need to be extra careful in recognizing because its those things that we can start to think we've "earned" or chosen for ourselves- but and Heavenly Father really is the one that gives us all that we have. The boat is one of those blessings. The boat has been such a fun thing for us this summer. Jake and I love doing outdoor stuff, but its harder with two little ones. The boat is something we can all do together- and with friends. We just pile everyone in the boat and head on out. This fall the weather turned cold so fast it surprised us. We'd filled up the boat with gas, and then it turned super cold. Any warm days seemed to fall on Sundays or days when we couldn't get out. Yesterday was a beautiful day (though chilly), so we invited the Bushes to go out with us for a cruise. We cruised down to the south end of Utah Lake and found a cool little island, and cove. We stopped and let the kids put their feet in the water, and just enjoyed the scenery. We still have 1/2 a tank of gas, but it will probably be the last time we take it out this year. It's been SO much fun.

2. Bri (Phillips) Hoopes. A few reasons why she's made it to the list today. Bri was an incredible mission companion. My light after the hardest point of my mission. She came to me as a gift- a greeny so excited and ready to work. And now so many years later she's helping me revisit those memories as she shares her letters to her sister who is now serving the Lord full time in Guam. Also because she's part of the inspiration behind this blog> Though I've been meaning to start it for a while, and Pres. Eyerings talk got me dedicated- knowing that she's checking it and keeping one as part of her "thanks" helps keep me going. And also because as we've shared our inner thoughts with each other over this past week- I've felt so much love for her and her spirit! She is a great example and friend. It's fun to feel that closeness again after several years. It makes me understand how things will be in the next life when we are reunited with souls that have been apart for lifetimes- spiritual connections are eternal.

3. Health. Jake got sick last week. Josh and Dekker both have runny noses now (which I get to wipe constantly)! Yet somehow, I've stayed healthy (and I'm usually the one who gets sick)! So I'm thankful that I can feel well as I help nurse them back to health- but also, even a cold can make you realize what a blessing it is to be able to breath clearly. None of us have major health issues to worry about. And that is a tremendous blessing!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thanks:

1. My mom! This morning my mom called me... doing the usual checking up on me, disguised by some question about cell phone plans. Jake teases me that my mom and I will call each other over the silliest of things- but I'm so thankful that she's that kind of friend and mom. The kind that just cares. Later she looked over my blogs and wrote me the sweetest email. She inspires me.

2. Pumpkins. For three years now sometime during the month of October we take a walk to a house around the corner that piles their yard with pumpkins and sells them. Maybe not as cool as going to an actual pumpkin patch- but definitely better than just picking one up at the grocery store. We told Josh he could pick one out- and he went straight for the white ones. Then we picked and orange one as well.

3. The Office. So my first Thursday post HAS to give a shout out to one of the two shows we're devoted to (the other being LOST). Tonights episode was a crack up as usual but had some pretty deep/emotional parts as well. The writing of these characters is incredible. You love them for the quirkiness... tonight just revealed all the more the inner workings of some great characters. If you've only watched the show a couple of times you're probably thinking I'm nuts. But trust me, it really does grow on you, and before you know it you're hooked.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Thanks:

1. Josh's first official drawing. Tonight Josh brought me this saying, "Look Mama, Elephant"... I looked and I could definitely see an elephant head. Up until now he's just colored and maybe attempted shapes (circle, triangle, etc) but this is the first time he's drawn a recognizable picture- and I just love it! I love the big ears and trunk with small eyes on each side of the trunk. I'm going to frame it!

2. Growing up. Okay- so today is a Josh day. But I'm also so thankful (and sad at the same time) that Josh is growing up. Age 2 has certainly been challenging- but lately Josh has been choosing to be more obedient. I've learned that if I make a simple request and wait a minute he usually says "Okay Mama". He even holds my hand now when crossing the street automatically, and tonight put things back on the shelves in a store after asking me for them. And he just stripped down and asked Jake to turn on the shower for him (he used to HATE showers).

3. Harvest. So this year was our first attempt at a real garden. We found out later that most the stuff we planted died because we weren't watering enough- but its been a good learning experience. With the weather is getting cold I figured it was time to take out the garden. A few days ago I picked the last of the tomatoes and tore out all the old plants. Today I blanched the tomatoes and have them cooking into a spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker which I'll freeze for later. Growing and reaping a harvest really is good for the body and soul. This year we ate fresh peaches, cherries, a few strawberries and raspberries, tomatoes, Lettuce, carrots and a couple of peppers. I learned about the importance of pest control, had to get creative with carrots when I realized I'd waited a bit long to pull them and had to pull them all at once and learned how to can peaches and tomatoes. I think that's pretty good progress.

Thoughts:

This last Sunday I taught all of the young women. I'm a laurel adviser, and normally just teach them, but the leaders each take 1-2 fast Sundays a year and teach the whole group. The lesson was on Wise Choices, and I really tried to put good thought and preparation into it. I even made a cute handout to go with it (I'm not usually too cutesie like that). It went well- the girls really participated and several girls and leaders complimented me after. I've always enjoyed teaching- from the mission, to my internship in Guatemala, to the senior MTC, and in various callings. I've been one of those weirdos who doesn't even mind giving talks in church or presentations in school. I hope I continue to have opportunities to use and develop this "talent".

Right now home and family life keeps me plenty busy- but I still think about going back to school and getting a MA degree so that I could one day teach at a University level. I don't really have any interest in undergraduate... but have always thought that university teaching would be awesome (where people are there more by choice). I don't even in what subject I would teach; I find Literature fascinating, but my schooling doesn't show it. Business is what my education is in and I really enjoy parts of that, but I don't know that I have or would have enough practical experience necessary for that...

Even if I don't get another degree though- I think a lot about further education- in a variety of ways. There are so many things I'd still like to learn. I love real estate- and would love to get my real estate license- which isn't that hard or expensive, but I'm not sure I could find a broker that would give me the flexibility I'd want- since I'd be more in it to help friends and family than to really go after it as a profession. I'd also love to take some horticulture classes- or cooking. Get back into the arts (I abandoned it after high school) maybe more in the form of interior decorating/design...

Randomly thinking back to the teaching thing>>> It is frustrating though that I enjoy speaking/teaching young adults and adults so much- but struggle with my own kids. You know how some adults just seem to be able to relate to and think like kids (Jesus Garcia is a perfect example)- that is SO hard for me. As a mom I struggle to have the patience and adaptability that requires teaching kids. I'm not good at coming up with activities or projects that Josh can participate with me in. Even when I try I end up getting impatient if he doesn't do it fast enough, or how I'd planned... UGH I need to work on that. Lately he'll say "play with me Mama" and hand me a toy car or something- after a few "vroom vrooms" or "crashes" I'm board and done- but I know its important for his imagination to really act out or get creative. The other day I thought "I'll sit down and do a Halloween craft with him" but couldn't think of anything. I even got online to look for some ideas- but when I didn't have all the necessary materials, or it looked like it would make too much of a mess I gave up and decided it wasn't worth it...again UGH. Guess I just keep trying. Its a good thing Dekker is getting bigger and soon will be able to play with Josh. I'm not much of a playmate.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thanks:

1. A new vacuum cleaner! Domestic bliss. Funny the things I get excited about now!

2. White chocolate Chip macadamia nut cookies. I bought these from one of my laurels (frozen cookie dough) for her volleyball fund raiser and they are oh so yummy.

3. Reliable transportation. Jake wasn't home until late tonight, and after dinner when he still wasn't home and the boys were getting restless I could plop us in the car and run a couple of errands.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A New Beginning

I've been meaning to start this for a while. I've tried keeping other journals, but since typing is so much faster than writing, and bloggers are so great at archiving and saving data, I've thought for a while now that I ought to attempt a blog based journal. After Elder Eyering's talk I finally sat down and did it. So here goes....

Thanks:

1. For a place to download my thoughts. It's funny that its taken me so long to do this- because I can sense already that this will help me (if no one else). There is definitely something therapeutic about writing out your thoughts. And certainly even more if at least some of those thoughts are dedicated to gratitude to our Father.

2. My husband. How can I not list him in my first entry. I know I can be a difficult person- but he loves me unconditionally. I am so lucky to have a husband who loves me so much, and who is so concerned with my happiness and wellbeing. In a world that pulls so much at marriage and family- his devotion to me is untouched. I want to be worthy to be his for eternity.

3. My two sons. Again- must be listed in the first post. These two little guys can drive me crazy. Yet I would not have it any other way. Loving them has taught me much of our Father's love for us. Trying to teach and raise them has taught me much of our Father's efforts to teach us. And their love toward me has taught me much of Christ's love. I just tried to describe it but it is too profound. Charity and the words that have sought to define that term are all I can begin to say.

Thoughts:

Today I am good. Not bad, but not great. Today Marcia and I took the boys up to Trolly Square and Ikea. It was us trying to break the monotony that creeps into motherhood. It felt good to have so much adult conversation, and to get out of the house. It interrupted naps and other daily routines, but I'm of the opinion that while routines are good, children also need to learn to be flexible sometimes. And the "to do list" needs to be set aside once in a while.

Josh and Same have the toddler boy energy that you forget about until its there in your face. We sat having lunch at Ikea. The boys ate a little and then started climbing on chairs and yelling "bye guys" to all the departing patrons. One man looked left with a scowl and roll of his eyes, while another woman smiled and expressed her understanding of the forfeit required (in the battle for quiet or calm) for young boys at this age. Such is life.

This first entry is hard. I want to explain and reference so many things. Backtrack and summarize my life to this point. How can I do that?!?! It will come out with time. This is just a start. I think you and I will both know me better as I do this more. So thats it for tonight.