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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What am I doing?!?!

I'm finishing up my application the the BYU Masters of Education this week. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time- wondering if I can really do this. Like I keep saying, I know it's not going to be easy (to balance the whole wife, mom, and student thing) but it'll never get easier....

So if you're interested in what I'm doing.... Here's the link to the program I'm applying to:




Here's my letter of intent:

Letter of Intent
I am applying for the CIDE program within the Education department because I feel it will best compliment and expand my existing educational background and life experience and will provide a direct path towards achieving very specific personal and familial goals.
When I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in 2003 the words, “Enter to learn, go forth to serve” rang loudly in my ears. At the time the priority of supporting my husband through the remainder of his studies at the BYU Marriot School of business seemed the best way to do that. Later, though, when Jake received his degree and became a partner in two successful Utah Valley based companies, I became concerned. Could I really “go forth to serve” if I stayed right here? I realize of course, wherever we live my sincere efforts to manage and raise a righteous family are a great service and contribution to my community and to society. Reflecting, however, on my own education and personal background, I feel very passionate about the educational possibilities that result from service and experience outside one’s own immediate comfort zone and familiar community. I have been blessed with those opportunities and wish to provide the same for my own family as well as for others. Consequently, my husband and I formulated a plan to work diligently now, and arrange our work and business obligations so that when our oldest reaches his teenage years we can live in Central America for 2-3 years to work, serve, teach and learn as a family.
Over the last few years we have defined better what we would like to do. We have a unique combination of experience that will help us help others. Central America is a good fit because both of us speak Spanish. As a student at BYU-Hawaii, as a missionary in South Texas, and as a volunteer for a Service Learning project in Guatemala, I became acutely aware of the many people in third world and developing countries, and more specifically people from Central America, that desire to improve their intellectual and economic situation, but simply do not have access to the many resources that we are blessed with. My goal is to involve ourselves with, or even start an educational program, that will teach skill sets that enable people to find, receive, and apply microloans in order to start successful small businesses. These goals are very much in line with those of Enterprise Mentors which was started by Warner Woodsworth of the Marriott School of Management. This is a lofty goal, but I am certain that because we are seeking to serve, the Lord will help us accomplish it. Participation in the CIDE program is a vital step on the path to making it a reality in my life and the lives of others.
On another level this masters degree excites me because not only will it help me towards my long term personal goal, but in the short term, it will multiply itself through affecting choices I make for my own children’s education as well as providing opportunities to serve in the local community.
The CIDE program will empower me to make wise decisions regarding my children’s education by teaching me how to compare and contrast different educational systems. I have always viewed education as important, but now as a parent focused on making choices regarding my children’s education, I am all the more interested in exactly what a “good education” is. I have seen that desire and excitement for learning come naturally to children, and I want my children to always enjoy learning. There is much debate today about public, charter, and private schools. Learning to compare different types of educational systems will help me find the programs best suited for my own children. I also feel that I have unique experience and preparation I can bring to the program in the process of receiving this degree.
My undergraduate work was not in Education, and I have not worked in public schools, consequently I am not necessarily tied to traditional mainstream policies and procedures. Through my Service Learning Experience, my work at the Senior MTC, and through Missionary and Church service I have had many diverse opportunities to teach. Those experiences made me fall in love with seeing how knowledge and light change people’s lives, helped me feel the exhilaration of finding just the right way to reach a new or unique student, and showed me that I also learn when I teach others. I also experienced challenges one encounters when teaching; monotony in some materials, time constraints, language and cultural barriers, and limited resources. As someone with this experience, yet is not tied to traditional theories or policies, I can offer a unique perspective and open mind within this program. The international comparative aspect of this program especially interests me, because it is apparent that here in our own communities there is educational development that needs to be addressed. We have wonderful, internationally competitive universities, but it is no secret that our elementary through high school programs do not measure up internationally as well as we would like. I want to understand why that is, and examine what can be done to improve it.
I hope that with this degree I can help not only my own family, but others in our community, be more informed and make better decisions regarding education. I want to find opportunities where I can bring positive change to education policy. This will certainly begin at a local level within a single local school, but with experience and success expand to a larger scope where I might influence community or even statewide policy.
My hope is that through this program I will not only acquire the understanding and skills to recognize problems and issues that require change, but most importantly, discover and devise innovative and realistic community based solutions.
Upon acceptance into this program I plan to begin studies as a full time student in summer of 2009, with an expected completion date of summer 2011. This schedule will afford the opportunity to complete the program in a timely manner while also providing adequate time to excel and derive the most benefit from the program and the entire experience.
As you review this letter of intent along with my application you will see that my preparation and motivation for the CIDE program are both unique and strong. While my quantitative scores on the GRE were low, they reflect a very short month of preparation and my first opportunity to take the test. It has been several years since I have been actively enrolled in math coursework or academically applied many of the quantitative tested abilities. It is of note however, that in my math related courses my grades were well above average. Over the course of my educational experience quantitative and standardized testing scores are not directly reflective of my grades and scholastic success. I do not seem to perform my best when tested in timed circumstances. I learned to compensate for that in my coursework through diligent study habits and a methodical and meticulous approach. Working hard and controlling my own pace allow me to thrive and excel in my studies. More so than standardized testing, my grades and resume most accurately reflect that.
Thank you for this opportunity to state my goals and intentions and I look forward to becoming an active participant and contributor to the CIDE program.

Monday, January 26, 2009

St. George and back

1. The trip to St. George. It was pretty fun. It was misting rain on and off most the time we were there- but at least it wasn't real cold. The kids LOVED swimming in the indoor pool. Josh did awesome swimming around on his own with his floaties, and while Dekker hated any sort of flotation divice- he LOVED jumping to Dad and swimming around if he was being held. We also drove out to Sand Hollow resort and Jake took the boys out exploring through the sage brush covered dessert. They even came back with "dinosaur" bones.

2. Back in my bed. I wish I was a better sleeper- but I'm just not. Not like I have insomnia- but I'm a light sleeper and so get woken up easily- I especially don't sleep well in other places- so it was good to be back in my own bed.

3. Duck Duck Goose. With everyone over for dinner Josh was begging to play duck, duck, goose. We all sat down to play and it was SO MUCH FUN! I think us "adults" didn't want to play at first, but as soon as we saw how PUMPED Josh got, and how cute he and Dekker were running around and playing we all got into it. We played for quite a while and it was really a lot of fun.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Quiet Moment

Ahhhh! Both kids down for a nap on a weekday? I must take a moment to give thanks for sure!

1. Gymnastics. Josh went for the second time today- and I think that's partly why he's taking a nap rigt now.

2. Talking 2 year old. It's like Dekker turned two and a light when on- he's adding more and more words to his vocabulary every day and say 2-4 word sentances on occasion! Now talking has its advantages and disadvantages for sure- but right now I'll appreciate the advantages. One of my favorites lately is "Otay!" (okay). And the other day I was telling him, "You're funny!" to which he rejoicingly repliec, "I FUNNY!". I also enjoy his "I did it!" and "I wuv so, so, so!" (His way of saying I love you SOOOOOOOOO much!"

3. Perspective. The other day I was having what was probably mostly a hormonal moment, but I was all sad because life just wasn't happening exactly the way I wanted it to at the moment... Then I was reading a friend's blog who's 4 year old has continuous colon problems that have yet to be fittingly diagnosed/treated, and I was reminded that some can't always have kids or as many as they want, and others are really stuggling to find work and provide for their families and I realized I was being very selfish in deed. My life isn't perfect- but man, you put it in perspectve and I realize I CANNOT complain.

4. Having Jake home. He wasn't gone very long- but I always appreciate him more when he's gone. Sometime I don't realize how nice it is to just look forward to having an adult to talk with and be hang out with- even if its only for a few hours at night (Bri, my heart goes out to ya!). It's nice too when he comes home from a short trip appreciating and missing me- He was telling me about a friend he saw while there who is was using Jake as a listening ear to unload a lot of marital stress/issues. When his friend made some kind of question like "Don't you ever fight with Jaime?" Jake tried to be sympathetic, but said he really had a couldn't think of an example of something that we've really faught over. He was telling me, "It really made me grateful to realize that even when we do disagree we don't really ever get to the point of yelling and saying hurtful things to each other."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday

Dekker's Birthday!!!!

My baby is 2 years old?!?!?!? I can not believe it. I'm so thankful for this sweet, cute boy! Dekker is generally a pretty laid back kid. He's open to new things and places, but doesn't get overly excited/anxious about them. He's cool to play by himself, but is kind and social with others as well. He can however be very stubborn about certain things- lately he's very picky about what he eats, drinks, and wears. He is also very protective of certain toys and likes to tell Josh "No!" but I think that's more a stage. He's my lovey/snuggly child- one of my favorite things about Dekker is the way he warps his arms around me to give me unsoclited hugs or kisses, or sometimes just climbs up to sit next to me or on my lap. He never does these things in a needy way- just in a "I want you to know I love you" sort of way. I jokingly call him my OCD child (though I probably shouldn't) because he loves to line things up and sort or organize things- and recently I've started to realize maybe the reason he's such a picky eater is because he doesn't like it when I mix foods in soups or casseroles. Dekker is a charmer- he knows how to make people smile and put a smile on their face. He loves to copy his older brother- but also seems pretty confident in himself. I'm so lucky to have him as part of our family!

We took Josh to his new gymnastics class this morning. It went really well. It's cool to see that he's progressed since last year. He's much better at listening to and following instructions, and he's physically more capable as well.

Then I took the boys to the food court at the mall for lunch and afterwards let them play at the newly remodeled play area for about an hour.

We came home and they both fell asleep in the car. Later we had ice cream cake and the Sunday gang over to share it with us and open presents.

Sunday

1. Dinner with the gang. Sunday was the first time in a long time that we had the WHOLE gang here; Becca, Garrett, Karina, Brea, and Tom.

2. A new easy Sunday recipe. Okay- so it sounds a little strang, and Jake thought I was nuts- but then everyone loved it. Just dump dry onion soup mix in a crock pot with a roast (either beef or pork) with 2 cups cranberry sauce and let it slow cook all day. The flavor is not too sweet or fruity and you can throw add a little butter and flower in with the juices and mix into a gravy. We served it with roasted potatoes, green beans an biscuits.

3. New church schedule. Last year we went from 1-4, now we're from 9-Noon. It's a little hard to get us all up, ready and to the church on time- but I'll take it over the 1-4 schedule anyday.

Saturday

1. Primary activity. A fun thing to break the day to day routine.

2. Both boys took naps and I had a little time to myself. Jake headed out back-country boarding with some friends. I was a little sad - but at least the boys were good for me and gave me some needed time to work on my Masters application and get some stuff done around the house.

3. Girls' night out! Since Jake got to take off with the boys he said that he would hang out with Josh and Dekker so I could have the night to do whatever I wanted. Becca and I went and grabed some dinner and then got pedicures!!! It's been a very long time since I've had one- and the winter dries out my feet so bad- so it was very nice.

Friday

Date night!!!

1. Brea came to babysit. Jake and I haven't had a real just me and him date night for a long time- and I was having a hard time finding a sitter- luckily Brea and Tom were willing to sacrifice a date night of their own to come hang out with our boys.

2. McGrath's Fishhouse. SOOO yummy. Enough said.

3. Benjamin Button. Despite the fact that this movie is just under 3 hours long we really liked it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

7 days into 2009 already?!

This year is already moving way too fast.

1. A visit with Bri. She and her little boy Caleb came to visit us yesterday! It was so nice to just be able to hang out and catch up. Caleb is super cute- those cheeks!!! And I just love Bri, I love her because she is so open and honest. I also love that though we don't get to see each other a ton there is still that automatic closeness that comes from having served as missionary companions.

2. A couple days of sunshine. Don't get me wrong- I actually think the big snowstorms are fun- but its nice to have a breather and let the driveways and walkways dry up a bit.

3. Allrecipes.com I've been using this site for a couple of years now. Love it to death because I can just plug in recipe names or ingredients and it'll pull up lots of ideas for me and has ratings and reviews I can review to help me decide. I've found many a great recipe here. It's definetly a handy little tool.

Monday, January 5, 2009

WAY too much

I haven't posted- for a long time- and these last couple weeks have been FULL of things to be thanksful for.... tsk, tsk, tsk.

Here is a very brief and weak attempt to catch up:

1. Our friends the Barrands! This was their first Christmas just them too- and so we convinced them to come and spend it with us. We had a great time. They also had us over to their house a couple nights over the holidays- once for a yummy Brazillian dinner and a movie, and another time for games and treats.

2. My family in town. My mom and stepdad drove down from Washington, bringing back Garrett, and Karina's car. Karina flew back from Florida on the 2nd- and my brother Brian has been in and out since the 1st (he's mostly been up in the mountains and with boarding buddies- but he can't miss out on a few family and nephew moments).

3. Hubby around. Its been nice to have Jake around so much too! We had a fun memory moment up at Sundance on the 1st, he cleaned out the garage and his tool bench, he took Josh to the BYU basketball game, and he's been around for games and hanging out time. I was sad to see him head back to work this morning.

4. Brief moments and a great thing. Favorite mission companion Bri is in town visiting her family. Knowing how much she loves Sundance I told her Jake and I were heading up on the 1st. She couldn't join us - but offered the use of her dads' corporate passes. It was nice to see her and her chubby cheeked baby for a moment (still working on another get together), and the passes were GREATLY appreciated- especially since conditions werent' super great, and Jake didn't have his own board and so we didn't end up sticking around for too long.

5. Cute kids. Josh and Dekker are so cute these days. Dekker gives the sweetest unsolicited hugs and kisses lately- I just love it! And Josh continues to surprise us with his intelligence in all the amazing stuff he does these days. He's also pretty dang funny- the other night Jake wasn't going to the "right" bonus features on Wall-e, as Josh was trying to communicate this he got so frustrated he said, "Agh! You're getting an my nervous!" Not a phrase I want him to use a lot, but still we couldn't help but laugh that he said nervous instead of verves.