Monday, December 27, 2010

Example of prayers

With the boys, when they were tiny we didn't do family prayers with them so much. Jake and I prayed together, but we didn't include them as much until they got older. Well, since we're doing family prayer with the boys all the time Naomi has witnessed them from the start. And its amazing what these little ones learn:

1. "Amen". This was pretty much Naomi's first word. Besides our names and "woof, woof" (if you can count that) and maybe. I remembered being shocked when she said it at the end of a family prayer after we'd all said it. Did she really just say that? She's done it several times since.

2. Folding arms and kneeling. Often times our morning prayers are said in the kitchen, and Naomi is in her high chair. A couple of times I've seen her hold her hands together when we begin to pray, but last night was the cutest- We were in our bedroom. Some times I'll pull her on to my lap to kneel, but she's so wiggly that most of the time I don't worry about it. Last night she was crawling around when we all knelt to pray. She crawled over and knelt down and held her hands in her lap (I couldn't help but peek) and she stayed that way just watching us for the whole prayer. It was super cute!

3. Boys' prayers. I'm so thankful my boys know to pray. Josh has a lot of faith in prayer, and I constantly catch him praying about little things at random moments. Dekker has just recently gotten more comfortable with prayers and using his own language, thanking and asking for personal things- and I love that. I love hearing them tell Heavenly Father what is really on their minds.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In the month of Thanks

I have not been too good about posting. However, I am trying to open my eyes to all around me. To be thankful for all those things I see daily, and so sometimes fail to "see".

1. Mormon Messages. I LOVE THESE! They brighten my day. Give new perspective, and drive simple truths home.

2. Boys who miss each other. Even though they fight sometimes when they're together, when they're apart they always miss each other. When Dekker was at preschool today Josh was playing really well by himself, but I smiled when he asked, "is it time for Dekker to come back from preschool yet?!" Dekker does the same thing every day that Josh is at Kindergarten. I try to point this out to them- that they miss each other and how lucky they are to have each other.

3. Our home. I need to say this. For a long time now Jake and I have gone back and forth about moving to a new home. I would love a bigger dining area and pantry off my kitchen, he would love an office/den and a third car garage (or at least an oversized garage that can actually fit two cars along with a workbench and stuff. But we LOVE our neighborhood and the safety it provides for our kids, and the outside play time. It's warm. It's comfortable, and we've done so many projects to make it "ours". Truth be told, when the time comes to say goodbye to this place, it will be REALLY hard. So I must repent of all my complaining in the past- because it is HOME and there are many things I do love about it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nov. 14 letter

1. My friend Becca- a.k.a Trish. She is the sweetest, kindest friend. She is an example to me in many ways she does not even realize.

2. My kids' funny and sweet moments. There a couple in the letter that follows.

3. My bed. Because it sounds so inviting and comfortable right now.


How are you sister? Sorry that I didn’t realize I should have been sending my letters to your email instead of through Dear Elder once you got to Guatemala. I should have thought that through. Do you have enough time to read all our emails? I will switch to snail mail if I need to- but I’m worried that the hassle of getting a stamp and something in the mailbox might hinder my success of getting something to you… Garrett and Racheal were here for dinner tonight and we were talking about how AWESOME and happy you sound in all of your letters. I pray you continue to do so well. Oh, and while we were talking about you, Josh wise piping in with, “Kari’s in Guatemala” and Dekker said, “Yeah, she’s taking a REALLY long time on her mission!”

Please be prepared for some shocks and challenges when you hit the field. I’m honestly not too worried for you though. Your enthusiasm and positive vibe will push you through anything. And besides, though the language and work load were a shock for me, I still loved my first area, companion and all of that. I had an MTC teacher who said over and over again that he wanted us to be able to “hit the ground running” when we got to the field. That imagery seemed to help me. I really just “jumped” into it and tried to be prepared for anything.

Nothing too exciting this week to report. Trish took the boys to a Yo Gabba Gabba concert on Tuesday. They don’t really watch that show, but I showed them some You Tube videos before, and they had a blast. There is one song that they do about eating all your food because “there’s a party in your tummy” and all the food wants to go. It’s actually gotten Dekker to eat more at dinnertime. So I’m pumped!

Jake went to Colorado this weekend for his yearly trip to reconnect with his old high school buddies. He gets back tomorrow. Becca stayed with me all weekend to keep me company. We stayed up late last night making these cute hair clips. She, Naomi and I each wore one to church today.

Today at church one of Dekker’s nursery leaders was released and she’ll be in the RS presidency. She loves Dekker since he’s the oldest in nursery and can actually talk and stuff. Well, when I went to pick him up the other nursery leader reminded Dekker to “Say ‘goodbye’ to Sister Shepherd!” He looked up at her and said, “Goodbye Sister Shepherd!” with his sweet big eyes and she got all chocked up saying goodbye back to him. That little kid has sutch a way of working his way in to people’s hearts. It was a sweet little moment.

Funny Josh moment: This weekend Josh was talking to Trish about finding her husband. Before he has told her to just find a boy in blue shirt. Well, I wasn’t there for the whole conversation, but he asked her if she’d found the guy in the blue shirt yet, and I think she was trying to explain that it isn’t that simple, and so he said, “Okay, you find the guys wearing a blue shirt, and driving a car, and then you say, ‘Who wants to marry me? Raise your hand!” It’s pretty classic because Josh loves to do the “Who wants _____? Raise your hand!” or “If you like ______, raise your hand!”

It’s snowing right now. There’s actually some visible snow/slush on the grass.

Naomi turns ONE on SATURDAY!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Missionary letter 11-7-2010


Hey there chica. So in random news- this week we’ve been working on loading all the home video from our little video tapes to our Mac. As we were going through them we found one that is yours. I didn’t watch the whole thing, but there was a little bit from the Haunted Mansion at the beginning, and then it looks like the rest of the tap is of some car trip or scavenger hunt with Lindsey and Hanna? I’ve got it set aside for you here, but if you want me to do something specific with it- let me know.

I’m glad to hear you had at least a couple fun surprises on Halloween. If it’s any consolation it rained all evening here- so Garrett and Racheal only took the boys to three houses before they decided to come home. We did watch Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and do a little bobbing for apples though. The boys really weren’t too disappointed, and I didn’t have to worry about them bringing loads of candy back to the house.

So a couple of interesting notes in response to your last letter. I actually stayed in la casa de huespedes for a week or two when I first got there. That’s where we stayed until we found an apartment. It was really cool to visit with other people who were staying there while visiting the temple from far away places. To hear their stories and the sacrifices they made. And I also remember the kite flying festival. That was one of the two weekends we spent up at Lake Atitlan, and there were several kites in the sky that weekend even though it wasn’t the main city where all that goes on. Oh- and I loved you comments on the buses. I always loved riding the buses too. In fact, I recently found my Guatemala video and had it transferred to DVD (can you tell we’re trying to update our documentation processes) and there’s a section where I randomly turned it on and recorded just because I loved the crazy music, sounds, and driving, and I think even a chicken that were all part of the experience. And you probably don’t remember but the Lonely Planet book I gave you for Guate had a red bus “tipica” on the front.

I’m glad to hear Spanish is coming along. You’re so lucky that you have this chance to be so submersed in it BEFORE going out to the field. We spoke as much Spanish as possible in the MTC, but it was still a HUGE shock when I got to the field and had to jump into the work and the language all at once. And now you know why RMs will sometimes revert into their mission language when talking. We make fun of them for it, but sometimes it really is because they get SO used to expressing certain things a certain way and they just don’t always translate.

Naomi took a break from trying to walk, but today has started practicing again. She also cut her 4th tooth on top- so her smile is looking more balanced and she now has a total of 6 teeth.

Yesterday I took the boys to the BYU football game (Jake was at class, and my neighbor gave me free tickets, so we just went to the last quarter). After we decided to go visit Garrett and Racheal for a bit. The last time we’d been to there place we commented how you were right there at the MTC. This time I didn’t say anything about it, but as we drove by the MTC Josh asked if you were still there. I told him no, that now you were in Guatemala. He said, “Oh yeah. I knew that.” Which he did, but it was cute to know he was thinking of you- right? We are praying for you in our prayers, and talk of you often. Oh and BTW, apparently I have really powerful prayers. The other night I was asking Jake about how things were with all three of his businesses had gone that day and he responded saying that they were all just kinda plugging along and that he was ready for something exciting to happen with one of them. Well, the next morning he asked me to say the family prayer, and in my prayers I said, “Please bless that Jake will have a good day, and that something exciting will happen with one of his businesses”. Well, that day in fact there was some excitement. I won’t go into all the details of it, but it’s something exciting but also pretty stressful at the same time, and could change a lot of things over the next year. While we were talking about this change of events Jake said, “You do realize this is all your fault, right?” “How so?” “Because you prayed that something exciting would happen! You have to be careful what you pray for. You always do this!” His “always” is in reference to a couple other times where I prayed for things that brought on challenges, ones that were good, but challenges nonetheless (i.e. his calling as YM President, and him going back to school). We kinda laugh about it, but it really IS true. Heavenly Father DOES listen to our prayers, and he does answer them. Not always in the way/time we expect, but he DOES answer them!

So, question- the computers that you have access to- can you connect your camera and load pictures? Are you aloud to send us any? We’d love to see some pictures!!! And can we send you any digital pictures? I’m gonna send you a couple. If they’re not allowed, let me know, and I’ll repent later!

Te amo mucho mucho hermana mia.



Monday, November 1, 2010

My kids are cute

and this will be sent to Sister Jackson- since I know she'll appreciate it.

1. Josh. When Jake came home today he asked Josh how his day was, and Josh responded, "Incredible". When Jake asked why Josh said, "Because Katherine and I FINALLY decided to fall in love!" Really? This was news to me. Katherine is one of the neighbor girls close to his age. So then I asked, "And what happens when you fall in love?" He proceeded to tell me that they almost have decided to get married. He said he wasn't sure because Katherine and Gracie (his BEST friend from preschool last year) are both pretty great, but since he doesn't really get to see Gracie anymore Katherine is a little bit "higher"- so "I think I'll marry her". He asked me which one I thought he should marry and I told him that was HIS choice, and he would have to follow his heart, but that I thought he was too young to get married. He quickly corrected me saying they won't get married till they grow up, saying, "Katherine will wait for me. She said." Jake and I were cracking up.

2. Dekker. Yesterday out of NO WHERE Dekker said, "Do you know the bubbles in my mouth have germs, but the bubbles in hot tubs don't?!"
And then today he came in from outside with a purple pansy and gave it to me. "This is for you Mom!" "Thank you!" I responded. "It's because I love you." and then he gave me a big kiss. Doesn't get much sweeter than that.

3. Naomi. Our little one loves to bob her head "yes" and shake her head "no" these days. Mostly it seems to be copying or in agreement to what we say, not as much an answer or opinion of her own- but more and more we're realizing she's got it figured out. Yesterday Jake and I were laughing because he was feeding her snacks in the kitchen. He pulled a bag of dried apricots from the cupboard and asked, "Do you want these?" to which she firmly shook her head "no". Thinking she didn't really know what she wanted he gave her a couple. She took one and put it in her mouth and then promptly spit it out, picked them all up one by one and threw them on the floor. "I guess she did know what she wanted".

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Missionary letters #2

Hermana Jackson,

I love you Kari. Please send me a note back. I like you. Are you having fun? Please tell me if you’re having fun or not. I miss you. I hope you have fun. Please say prayers to Jesus.

Love, Josh

I love you. I gonna have a Halloween party and wear my costume party there. I singed “follow the prophet” at church today.

Love, Dekker

Hey Karina,

I loved reading your last email. It’s so great to hear you so happy and loving the work. It was so fun to hear about the school bus that picked you up from the airport, and about driving through the city and the things you saw. It brought back so many great memories- even the little bit about the Spanish keyboards! Jake liked the yogurt drink story. And said not to worry about the bird watching thing making you sound like a nerd because, “we knew that already”! See he’s not any kinder when you’re a missionary.

Not too much to report here. Naomi and I have been sick. Her nose is running pretty much nonstop- which is pretty gross. I get slimed all the time, especially when I go to wipe it and she buries her head into my shoulder trying to get away from the tissue.

My dad came to town this weekend for a quick trip to see my grandpa. I was all excited to have him take a family picture fur us- but it was raining all weekend. So then we tried to take some inside, and of course as soon as one kid was ready to cooperate another one would start crying or whining or wiggling- so I we’ll see if he can get anything usable out of it.

Love you.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Missionary letters #1

1. Fall weather! Tonight I watched a storm roll in from the kitchen window while I cleaned up after dinner. I love the cooler sweater weather days. I love lightning and thunder and rain. I think its because it makes me appreciate a warm home, sweaters, blankets and all those comforting/snuggly things.

2. Costumes. As you'll read in my letter below- I bought the kids their costumes this year. They're so cute! They love them- okay, so maybe Naomi doesn't really care too much- but the boys are ecstatic. At first I was a little sad that they were so insistant on buying a character costume, rather than letting me help come up with and make one for them. But, I figure when they get older the later will be more fun (and we can use stage make up, wigs, and spray paint like my mom used to let us do), and like Jake pointed out we REALLY got our money's worth out of their Spiderman costumes from last year (they're still squeezing into those.

3. My sister Karina entered the MTC last week! Today I wrote her my first letter. I decided I'd copy my friend Bri's idea and go ahead and post them on this blog since they kinda give a summary of what we're up to:

Hola mi hermanita!

Sorry I didn't write until now. If it makes you feel any better, I don't know that I wrote Garrett at all while he was in the MTC. This is actually my first time using Dear Elder- pretty cool.

I got to read your email today and I was so excited to hear that things are off to a good start. Loving your companion, roommates and district make everything so much better. I loved mine too!

We are all praying for you here. If you ever feel discouraged, homesick, or just plain tired, just think of all the prayers that are going up in your behalf from friends and family, and then remember all the prayers going up in your behalf in all the temples around the world. You've got a lot of prayer power behind you. Don't be afraid to call upon it!

I bought the kids their Halloween costumes. Naomi is a bee, Josh is Optimus Prime, and Dekker actually decided to be Wolverine! Josh and Dekker wore their costumes all conference weekend and then some. Dekker really gets into playing his character when in costume. It's pretty cute.

Naomi actually took her first steps tonight. I'm telling you before Mom- so you can feel privileged. Not like she was really walking - but would go from a stand and lunge/move her feet a step or two before falling. Before she's just practiced standing/balancing on her own- never steps.

I went to my first parent/teacher conference tonight. Man I feel old. Mrs. Smith said Josh is a stud. No really, she said he's doing really well. She did mention he's so animated and enthusiastic that she has to some times remind him to quiet down and listen to instructions. Funny how everyone always tells me how "animated" he is. Reminds me of how I used to always get mad that when I was little everyone would tell me I was so "dramatic" it made me mad because I didn't know what that meant.

Monday we went to Fat Cats bowling for FHE, and so after stopped by Garrett and Racheal's to see their place. The kids were sad that they didn't have any toys! They did find your Peanuts Holiday Collection among their movies though- and found some African whistles to blow.... Can't take those kids anywhere without them getting into stuff!

Pues, te amo mucho hermanita. Se que tu vas a ser una misionera maravillosa!!!


Sunday, September 12, 2010


1. Regional/Stake Conference. Just got back from this. Got to hear from Elder Holland, Sister Beck, and President Packer. Very inspiring despite three little wiggly distractions.

2. Three little wiggly distractions. I love them. Even though they're wiggly. They remind me every day that this life is about so much more than me and my wants.

3. Remembering. Yesterday was a day of remembering 9/11. I don't think I feel it as deeply as many. Mostly because when it happened I was living far away in Guatemala City away from my fellow countrymen. It felt very surreal, watching it on the news, and hearing all of the condolences from the Guatemaltecos around me. It is amazing though all that that tragedy can remind us of, and how it can awaken us to the reality that the US can still be vulnerable, and how lucky we are to have the freedoms and protections that come at the cost of others' lives. Sometimes those others go knowingly into battle on our behalf, and other times they are stollen from us. Either way they are precious. Either way I am grateful to them.

4. School. Jake's eMBa program- which we only have one more semester to save and pay for!!! Josh's Kindergarten, which could probably be better, but he loves it because it means he's big and gives him daily interaction and learning opportunities. Dekker's preschool with Miss Tammy who is pretty much AMAZING. That Naomi is still too little for it, I'll be sad when I don't have one too little anymore. And for MY schooling- I'm done for now, and even if I never go back I got to go to BYU-Hawaii for goodness sakes- where I had so many experiences I'd never have been able to have anywhere else (I should dedicate a post to just that one day), and to finishing in Provo- where there are incredible professors and a beautiful campus that I was able to participate in at a fraction of the cost of their true value thanks to the tithing and donations of others.

5. The temple. It's been good to be able to get back. Naomi is not completely weened, but I can be away from her for long enough stints of time that I'm able to get there once again. And I love that whenever we talk of the temple Dekker's eyes get really big with excitement and he exclaims, "You get to go? And feel the Holy Spirit?!"

6. For late night movies, BBQs, Football games, Bombay House, Family reunions, kids' games, trips to the park, good talks, and small projects - which are what I spend my time doing with my husband when he is around- which isn't too often, but we make do.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Livin' in the USA

1. I am so thankful to live in this wonderful continent, country, and land. I KNOW it is a blessed place set aside for miraculous things. I KNOW that our Founding Fathers were inspired to set up this government with the freedoms that would allow this nation to rise to great heights. I'm so thankful to be born here. I'm thankful to live here. I'm thankful for all of those that have, are willing to, and will die to protect it.

2. Fireworks. Boom! POP! Sizzle... Blue, gold, red, green and all the rest. I love 'em.

3. Boating. Isn't it sad that our first time out on the boat this year was 4th of July weekend. With Jake's busy schedule, and a colder than usual spring and summer it's been hard. We were able to go both Saturday and Monday though- and it felt FABULOUS. Saturday it was just us, my sister Kari, and Trish. We had a great time though and both the boys got out on the tube. Monday we took my cousin and his family who are staying with us this week while visiting from Oregon. They have 5 boys 12 and under and non of them had been on a tube or wakeboard before. THEY LOVED IT. Especially their 10 year old Ammon who held on through more than we've put ANYONE through before. He also really wanted to try the wakeboard- so Jake put him between his legs on the board and they got up so he could at least get a taste for it. It was a blast.

4. New favorite song. I love Sara Bareilles' new song "King of Anything". It makes me happy.

5. Bybee fam. We had a reunion with a lot of the "Grandpa Bybee on down" crew Monday night. Love 'em. There was maybe half us there and it was still QUITE the bunch. I sat watching Grandpa watching all his posterity visiting, playing, and running around him. He was laughing at a toe-headed toddler playing in the water spicket. How incredible it must be- to know that they all came from his choice to take my grandma to the temple and be married all those years ago. And to see the quality of people his faith, example and hard work has contributed to... WOW.

6. Having the hubby home for a weekend. It was SO NICE to have Jake here for THREE WHOLE days as well as a Friday night. I don't ever really even get TWO. Especially since he was recently released as YM president and so didn't have all his Sunday morning meetings. And watching him laugh as he drives the boat dumping people from the tube- yeah its pretty dang hot! Oh how I love my man. Right now he's on his laptop trying to get back in to "homework mode" like a good little boy. Not many people can know how to work, play and love like he does.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My new favorite salad

Avocado & Strawberry Salad

2-3 cups favorite greens (I used half spinach, half romain)
10 strawberries sliced
1 avocado sliced
1/2 cup nuts (I used cashews, but I'm sure would be great with pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice

I made this last night and it was a huge hit. Definitely something to be thankful for.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The latest

1. My sister has been called to Guatemala, Guatemala City, South! Kari got her call and we are all so excited for her. My brother Garrett totally called it too. I'm excited because I lived there for a semester and loved it, and it will be fun to have another Spanish speaker in the family. She will be such and awesome missionary.

2. Swimming lessons. I found these incredible private swim lessons through word of mouth. There 10 minutes a day, four days a week for three weeks. This is our last week and I am SO IMPRESSED at how well my boys are doing! It makes me feel so much safer to see them fearlessly jumping into the water and coming up and getting on their bakes to float all by themselves. The whole idea behind the lessons is water safety, so they work on teaching them to do shorts burst of swimming alternated with rests and breathing while floating on their backs. They teach them all this by really watching their head position and through fun activities and positive reinforcement. And because they're only 10 minutes (but its all one-on-one and they are working the entire time) the kids leave the pool at the peak of the excitement/energy level. It's really pretty incredible.

3. T-ball. This is Josh's first summer doing Tball and it is so much fun.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Josh makes me laugh.

The kid is growing up way too fast these days. Two fun stories to document.

1. Frist Crush.

Josh has been on a bit of a Peter Pan kick lately. It started with Kari bringing over the latest live actor version for him to watch. I think he likes it because he feels like he's watching a "grown up" movie. Anyway, when we were at my mom's house he found a copy of HOOK and had to see it. After he watched it he kept saying, I just LOVE Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts if you don't remember). He was laughing and giggling about her and tellling me about when she gets big and breaks her house. Then later he was carrying around the movie cover and I heard him say, "I just can't stop looking at her?!!" It was then that I started to see what was happening. I asked, "You really like that Tinkerbell, don't you?" and he said, "Yes! I love her Smile, her dress, her wings- I just love EVERYTHING about her". Wow. His first crush.

Ha ha. At least he's got good taste.

2. We've had a couple different talks and FHE lessons about tithing in recent months. Nothing huge, but apparently at some point something stuck with Josh, because a few weeks back we were sitting in sacrament meeting and Josh was looking up at the ceiling, and then he said to me, "Mom, I see the money up there!" Confused I asked, "What?" and he said, "Remember how you told me?! You told me that the money we give to the Bishop is used to build the churches. Well I see some sparkling up there and I think its some of the money." HA HA!!! I then had explain that the money is used to BUY wood, lights, windows and all the things that go into making a church- not just used as materials in the building of them. "Oh."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


We went to the Orem Summerfest Carnival and Fireworks on Saturday. It was SO MUCH FUN!

1. Boys and rides. Our boys are at great ages for stuff like this. Its WAY more fun to watch them go on a bunch of rides than to go on any myself. Seriously. I think Jake and I were grinning from ear to ear watching our boys have so much fun. Jake took them on the strawberry ride and spun them all silly. I was worried it would be too much for them- but they both LOVED it. And Josh climbed way to the top of the huge potato sack slide and went down by himself. He was jumping up and down with excitement when he got to the bottom. We were so proud.

2. Smorgasbord, orgasboard.... (from Charlotte's Web). Jake and I kinda have a rule that whenever were at a fair/carnival sort of thing we have to get some carni food- and where possible- we have to try a new fried item since it seems like they're always coming up with crazy ones these days (my favorite so far? Fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich). So Jake got some nachos and a yummy frozen lemonade and then we got down to the nasty stuff and tried fried twinkies and Oreos. Both pretty good. Very not healthy, but good.

3. Fireworks. Orem City did NOT disappoint. We were all "oohing" and "ahhhing" a lot. I was happy my boys are both old enough not to be scared by the loud bangs and pops anymore- and Naomi only got scared during the finale (probably because she was so tired and worn out by then).

And a few highlights from the WA trip. I really can't give it justice- but here goes a little shout out:

1. The Beach. I don't care that the water is too cold to swim in. I still love looking out over wave after wave, remembering the power of the moons pull and how small I am compared to the giants that rule that space. Listening to them crash, smelling the sea air, feeling the sand between my toes, ahhhh!

2. Seattle. Such a cool city. I love big cities. I love the energy of them.

3. The Aquarium. The Seattle Aquarium is AWESOME. 'Nough said.

4. Great Grandma Blanche. Love her. Loved that the kids got to see her again and Naomi was able to meet her.

5. My big brother. I love that guy. Like Kari always says- he's just so naturally "cool". I honestly don't know many anyone that is as naturally and easily cool as him. And he is such a sweet uncle, he knows how to talk gross boy talk (poo, farts, smells, etc) and make my boys LAUGH- without taking it too far. And he makes such an effort to create meaningful moments with them.

6. Gramma Chris aka my Mama. I love my mom. I appreciate her even more at "home" for some reason. I guess because I'm able to relax more and feel like I can just be a daughter again. She is an amazing cook, incredibly thoughtful, serviceable, selfless, accommodating, and fun. No wonder Garrett and Kari's friends also all call her "Mom", "Mama", or some other derivative of the title. She loves to nurture others.

7. GREEN!!! It rained while I was there. It was cloudy while I was there. But you won't hear me complain. The sun came out for me while I was there too. And there were wildflowers and GREEN trees, ferns, underbrush, EVERYWHERE! The air is so much cleaner there. Literally. I love it. It will always be home.

8. Becca. Couldn't have made that long drive by myself. I'm glad she gave me the excuse to make the trip happen.

9. Missing my man. So maybe it wasn't a great thing while I was gone- but its always nice to realize how much you love and appreciate your spouse when you have to spend some time apart. I'm one lucky woman.

I'm sure there are a ton of things I'm missing..... but I'm done for now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A good weekend

1. The garden is planted. Friday I spent time during Naomi's morning nap digging up dandelions all over our yard. We still have many- but we got rid of a big chunk of them anyway. The boys helped by picking them up and carrying them to our compost pile. They had fun because I was giving them all the snails, worms, and centipedes I found along the way. When Naomi woke up and we had all eaten lunch we went to Cook's Nursery and Josh pulled the wagon while I pushed Naomi and Dekker in the stroller and they helped me pick out a variety of starts for our garden. We came home, I put Naomi down for her afternoon nap, and then we planted the garden! I'm so excited to see how it does this year. I'm trying sweet potatoes, broccoli, and swiss chard for for first time.

2. Sprinklers are up and running. My sweet hubby doesn't get many days at home. He had one Saturday and what did he spend it doing- getting the last of all our sprinkler issues fixed and working again. What a stud!

3. BBQ with friends. As a reward for our hard work- and to celebrate a usable backyard, we invited the Barrands and Jesus over for a BBQ. It was yummy! After we ate we played PIT- which I've played before, but forgot that I really enjoy it.

4. Sweet siblings. Saturday afternoon my sister called and asked if she could pick up the boys and take them to the BYU baseball game. OF COURSE sweet girl, of course! The boys had a blast with her and Uncle Garrett (who met them at the game a little later). She posted the cutest documentation of it on her blog as well.

5. Sunday. A very sweet learning moment for my companion and I. I don't feel I should share the details, but I'm so thankful for the promptings of the spirit, and for a husband who is willing to do the hard things.

6. Cute Josh quote. Sunday I was in the front room with the three kids. Josh was babbling on about something with Dekker, at some point Josh started repeating some question to Dekker over and over and Dekker was saying, "Huh?!?!". Josh turned to me and said smugly, "Dekker doesn't know what I'm talking about, does he Mom?" and I responded, "Well I don't know what you're talking about either Josh" and then he smiled and said, "Neither do I. AGH! Nobody knows what I'm talking about- even ME!" We all started cracking up. My kids will definitely talk JUST to talk sometimes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

About a month

Has it really been that long? Wow. Time is moving WAY too fast these days.

1. Time moves fast. Although often frustrating, when I realize Jake is only a year away from finishing his MBA- I'm happy.

2. A trip to Moab. We had soooo much fun!!!

3. Grandparents. Jakes mom and dad (and Stepmom and Stepdad) worked together to plan the cutest "cousin camp". They had a "where the wild things are" them and made cute costumes, crowns, wands, etc. Dot made a cute video with pictures of them and all they did and it is too cute.

4. Women's Conference. I didn't get to go this year (no nursing babies allowed)- but it brought my mom to town again. Hooray!

5. Mother's Day. It was sweet.

6. Green smoothies. Jake and I have joined the green smoothie for breakfast club. They're actually not too bad- and we've both noticed a huge energy increase- and I'm down another pound or two!

7. My crock pot. Been using this a lot more lately. Love it. Simple moist meals that I can throw in at my convenience and then not stress about the rest of the day. Yippee!

8. A night without wake-ups. Last night was my first non-interrupted night of sleep for a long while! Naomi's been doing better (she started waking up again at nights after sleeping with us during the Moab trip), and we finally came up with a "deal" to get Dekker to stop coming in at nights. If he stays in bed till morning 5 nights in a row (he gets a sticker each night he does it) he gets to go pick out a new disney CAR. We went through two nights of explaining he missed his chance for a sticker- but last night he did it!

9. the EVO. Sprint finally announced it'll be out June 4th. I can wait that long. I'm SO PUMPED for my new phone!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Kisses mean 'I love you'"

This is a line I've been saying since Josh was born and I discovered my uncontrollable urge to kiss his sweet baby body. I've repeated it ever since with all my kids. I figure its a good thing to drill into their heads now. That way when they're gorgeous teenagers it might remind them to not go around kissing whomever they please, and thus save a few broken hearts (since I'm sure my kids will all be heart-break material- I mean look at them!?). I was thinking about this this morning and decided I'd better post a blog about all the wonderful kisses (and kissers, for that matter) there are out there.

1. Quiet kisses. Naomi is a pretty wiggly little thing. I mean, you know how they say that you can tell a puppy will be difficult to train if when you put them on their back they squirm and wiggle instead of settling down? Well, if the same thing is true for infants- we're in trouble. The little thing HATES to be held on her back (unless nursing). She much prefers to be up on the shoulder or facing up and out at the world. She doesn't mind playing on her back on the floor- but she's always wiggling and arching her back even then. HOWEVER, one of my favorite things is that every once in a while we have "quiet kisses time". Mostly in the mornings when she snuggling in bed with me. We lay there face to face and she'll close her eyes and hold real still while I gently go in circles kissing her face; forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. It's about the only time she's still when awake. I love it! And if I pause she'll open her eyes and reach out to touch my face and open her mouth like she wants to pull me in and give me some "quiet kisses" of her own. True sweetness.

2. Healing kisses. These are my favorite Dekker kisses. I mean most kids want you to "kiss it better" when they get hurt. Dekker will keep coming back for more though until it really does feel better. And he needs them when he's emotionally hurt too. If I get upset and send him to time out, he inevitably will not come out of time out without asking for a kiss to make sure things are right between us again. He knows I can't give kisses when I'm upset. He does this with others too. He's the kissiest of my boys- maybe because he had such cute cheeks that I used to kiss ALL THE TIME when he was a baby.

3. Fill your canteen kisses. Some people tell prospective missionaries they should "fill their canteen" before they go out, since they won't be getting any kisses as missionaries. Well, as a five year old boy I'll say these are what my Josh kisses are. It's sad to say he's pretty much outgrown kisses on the lips already. I still give him as many kisses as I can though- because it won't be long before he starts thinking kisses from mom are "gross" or "embarrassing". But because "kisses mean 'I love you'" I want to make sure I get in as many now, while I can.

4. Biting, playful kisses. You know. The "you are so dang cute I just want to EAT you!" kisses. The ones that are more like playful bites than kisses, but kisses nonetheless. Yeah those are fun, until your kids try to give them back and end up biting you. Ouch.

5. Mom and Dad smootches. Often, when Jake comes home, we'll do the exaggerated pucker up kiss and wiggle your head and make a "mmmmmwwwaaa" noise kisses. Our kids think its funny now, but I think it'll actually be even more fun when they're older and it embarrasses them.

6. First kisses. Butterfly in the tummy- what's it gonna be like? kisses. Yes!

7. Romantic kisses. enough said.

8. Sweet old people kisses.

9. Lipstick kisses.

10. Goodbye kisses.

I'm sure I'm missing a few... Do YOU have a favorite kiss?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Odds and Ends

1. Josh's bedtime story. As narrated by Josh.

"Josh and Kari"

Once there was a large castle. Josh and Kari were worried because Princess Naomi was trapped inside. And Princess Naomi was a baby. Kari and Josh had a giant rocket ship. So they got inside an took off. There were lots of dragons, but the rocket ship had 100 guns. So Josh and Kari put out the guns and "pfew, pfwe, pshew!" shot the dragons. They headed in to the castle but there were more dragons, so they shot them too "pshew, pshew!" then they landed inside. They were going to save the princess, but there were cars and two guards. Josh and Kari found two guns and shot the cars and guards. "Pshew, sphew, pfwe"! Then they found that Princes Naomi was locked in a cage that needed a key. The key was in the hand of one of the guards, but he was DEAD- so they took the key, opened the cage and saved Princess Naomi.

2. A yummy new dish. I added about a teaspoon each of cinnamon and cumin, and I used cannelini beans instead of garbanzo since that's what I had on hand. Oh my goodness its delish!
Moraccan Tagine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (14 ounce) can vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 dash cayenne pepper
1.Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the chicken, onion, and garlic about 15 minutes, until browned.
2.Mix the squash, garbanzo beans, carrot, tomatoes with juice, broth, sugar, and lemon juice into the skillet. Season with salt, coriander, and cayenne pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue cooking 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

3. Yummy new soup recipe that I like to think is somewhat health.
Zuppa Toscana
2 potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 cup chopped onion
8 slices bacon
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups kale - washed, dried, and shredded
2 tablespoons chicken soup base
1 quart water
1/3 cup milk with 1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed in
1. Cook bacon in pan, then set aside and crumble when cooled. Drain pan of grease, leaving just enough to coat pan. Add onions and garlic to pan and sautee till soft or almost clear.
2.Add chicken soup base, water, and potatoes, to onions in a pot. simmer 15 minutes.
3.Add kale and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in bacon, milk with cornstarch just before serving. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

the inconvenient truth

Jake left Saturday night for a health insurance conference in D.C. It wasn't until he was packing that I realized: "I'll have to take all three kids to church BY MYSELF?!" Jake nodded, but said, "I won't blame you if you decide to 'call in sick'". Hmmm. Tempting thought. Then Sunday rolled around and I realized that there were a few good things about the opportunity that I'd overlooked.

1. The inconvenient TRUTH. Josh woke up early, and like many mornings one of his first questions was "What day is it?" "Sunday" I responded, and then realized I'd sealed my doom. Josh is learning the habits/routines of each day. He knows that on Sundays we go to church. If I chose to "call in sick" and not go to church I would have to explain that to my five year old, but if I chose to GO I would teach him the inconvenient truth. We go to church. We don't just go when its easy or convenient, because in all reality, most of the time it isn't. And even though sacrament meeting with three ones by myself was not easy, the blessings I received from going far outweighed the cost. Relief Society was AWESOME that day- how sad if I had not been there.

2. I'm not a single mom. This was ONE Sunday. I know there are many moms out there with three kids and more. Many of them even with little ones under a year that tie up your hands and make it harder to control the older ones. They have to do that every week.

3. Two hours of free babysitting. True, I had to make it through Sacrament Meeting by myself with all three- but after that I got free babysitting for the older two so I could have a little one-on-one with my tiny one! And that's something I don't get too often.

I'm glad I chose to go.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A bit absent, but fully thoughtful

I've had a lot of thoughts on my mind lately. Ones that are hard to put into words though- or seem way too simplified once in writing compared to the depth of feeling they carry inside me... I wish I could though because all the feelings have increased my level of thankfulness.

In a very simplified form, here are a few thoughts of gratitude I've had lately.

1. Tithing. I have such a testimony of this. With all the crazy unexpected expenses we decided to re-examine our tithing contributions. We realized that perhaps we hadn't fully recognized all our "increase", and so made an adjustment. IMMEDIATLY our "bad luck" was replaced with good luck. Example? I was frustrated because our Tahoe didn't pass the required emissions test because of a check engine light reading and I had to take it to a mechanic. I found a mechanic who was rated well online (I'm always leary) and he tested everything only to find no problem at all, he cleared the light and told me that after a full drive cycle I should pass the test. Said that it was probably either from not keeping the gas cap tight, or a vent valve getting stuck because of debri (which he cleaned). His charge? ZERO DOLLARS! Yeah- I'll be taking my cars to him for all future maintenance needs. It wasn't as if we weren't paying an honest tithe before, but when you are generous with the Lord he is generous with you.

2. Small trials. I REALLY do not want to sound like I'm complaining too much about our "bad luck" as of late. It's true we've been through some challenges- but I know others who are going through so much more. Our really has a been a light burden. On Sunday we had ward conference. The stake relief society president spoke in RS and talked about self-reliance. She spoke about the needs in our stake and how the top three are employment, health and relationship issues. I've personally learned of these needs of some of the sisters in our ward, but also have friends and family members I know of going through such trials; and let us not forget those suffering in Haiti. As she spoke of the council we've been given surrounding tithing, budgeting, savings, emergency preparedness as well as education, emotional and spiritual well-being and then spoke of the promsises of peace that can come when we are doing our best to follow that council- I was washed over with the Spirit of testimony. I KNOW that we have been blessed because we have done our best to follow such council. We can make it through our own trials, and help others make it through theirs if we follow the council of our inspired leaders.

3. Small changes. I've recently tried to make some small changes in my attitude and in some of my personal spiritual goals. Again, my testimonty has been strengthened. It's amazing how the Lord magnifies our efforts, and how he blesses us for even the small efforts we make.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


1. Spiderman Memory. Becca gave this game to Josh for his Birthday and it has gotten TONS of use. The boys learned how to play pretty quickly and are actually really good at it too. It's actually a pretty fun one for us adults to play with them, but they also do a decent job of playing it together by themselves.

2. Go Fish. Nana bought this for the boys over the weekend (she must have gotten worn out on Memory). So it is now another favorite. We played it last night for FHE and it was fun.

3. Battleship. Jake and I were playing this a few weeks back and Josh wanted to learn. While it is certainly too complicated for Dekker to play, I'm ashamed to say that I thought it would be too hard for Josh as well. It wasn't though. Jake taught Josh how to read the coordinants and they've since played a few different times. Josh has even won!

4. The Olympics. Very inspiring. I love watching these games bring the nations together!

Monday, February 8, 2010

When it all falls apart...

We've had a string of "bad luck" lately. I think I told the stories of when our boat sank at Bear Lake, and when the kids decided to wash Jake's Audi with sand. More recently our Refrigerator broke, the glass in our oven door broke, our basement flooded, and our furnace broke- plus a few other things.

Worst of all though was that Roxy got out, was hit by a car and died. Friday night we realized she'd pushed the back door of the garage open and gotten out through the open garage door. We immediately went out looking for her. I went out first, then my mom, Denny, Kari and Garrett all split up in different directions. When Jake got home from class he went out looking too. Saturday morning Jake and I went to the animal shelter to look for her. Jake had sent out texts to tons of people in our ward, and at around 11am we got a call from one saying he'd found her dead by the stake center, and that she must have been hit by a car on 1600 North (just behind our house). Jake and I picked up her body and then drove up the canyon and found a nice place to bury her body. We both bawled- but I knew it was much harder for Jake- since in all reality she was HIS dog. We came home and told Josh and Dekker. Dekker doesn't understand- but Josh cried for a good half hour or more.

So yes, we've had a rough go.

However, there is still much to be thankful for:

1. Missionary work. My sister Karina has decided to serve a mission! I love missionary work and so I'm so excited for her and all that lies ahead. A while back when she was starting to think about it she came to me and asked me some of my thoughts. I had to hold back from saying "GO GO GO!" because my mission was and continues to be such a blessing in my life, but at the same time I know, that it is a very personal question and answer that really only the Lord can answer. It was so neat to hear how her answers came though,and to see that quiet confidence settle in her smile as she talks about it.

2. Sibling love. Two cute stories. First, the other day I had left Naomi alseep on my bed, but forgot to lock my bedroom door while I went into the bathroom. I came out to find Dekker leaning right over the top of her. "Dekker, please leave her alone and let her sleep," I asked. "But MOM, Look, SO SO pretty!" How could I dare ask him to leave such a cute little bundle of a sister alone?!
Second, we were needing a pick me up Saturday night- so we invited our friends, the Barrands, to meet us at Pirate Island Pizza. We all had a good time, but when it was time to leave Josh and Sam hadn't had enough time together I guess because Josh was already asking when he could see Sam again. Marcia invited Josh to go home with them and stay the night and offered to bring him home in the morning on their way to their Poruguese branch. Josh has never had a sleep over all by himself before, but seemed VERY excited, so we said he could go. When we started walking to our car though, and Dekker realized Josh wasn't coming he starting SCREAMING for Josh. We got him calmed down in the car- but it must have pulled on Josh's little heart string because I got a call from Marcia not too long later saying that she was bringing Josh home because he was crying and saying that "Dekker will have bad dreams without me!". When Josh got home Dekker was still bouncing around in his room and so I sent Josh in to give him a hug. "Josh you're home!" Dekker exclaimed happily. They hugged and then both went peacefully to bed.

3. Having my Mom in town. It was so nice to have my mom around this last week. Especially since I was still dealing with a lot of the flood and furnace repairs. I was also able to get in for much needed dentist and hair appointments- go to the gym and run other miscellaneous errands. Also very nice to have her prepare almost all the dinners this week, as well as do lots of laundry and cleaning etc. I would have to guess that her love language is acts of service because it seems like that's all she does, is look for ways to serve those she loves!

Friday, January 15, 2010


1. Jaime's Coconut Shrimp Soup. I was craving a Thai inspired soup last night- so I got online and looked at a few recipes, then looked at what I had on hand, and came up with my own invention that turned out pretty tasty. Jake was raving over it.

1 Tbsp veg or olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 larg sweet potatoe peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp ginger

Add and let simmer till flavorful:
1 can coconut milk
3 cups chicken broth
3 Tbsp lime juice (I used combination of fresh lime juice and lemon consentrate)
1+ tsp sea salt

Last few minutes add:
Shrimp (I just threw in frozen shrimp)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

When shrimp is cooked/warmed pour over some cooked RICE and ENJOY!

2. Humanitarian Services. I made a donation today outside our regular montly amount and specified that it be given toward Haiti relief (due to the devastating earth quake) and was reminded that 100% of the donation would go toward assistance. Pretty cool that our church is so on top of it. Also- there is a couple in our ward who has parents that live in Haiti and they were contacted by Wednesday by the area Stake President that his parents were okay. HOW COOL IS IT THAT THE CHURCH ORGANIZATION WORKS LIKE IS SUPPOSED TO IN SITUATIONS LIKE THAT. They hadn't been able to get in touch with his parents directly yet- but the church leadership was doing its reporting to find out how people were and where the needs were.

3. A THREE year old. Dekker turned three on the 12th. We had a fun little party here and he was so excited! He loved all his gifts and was very appreciative for each one. I'm so thankful for my little Dex. He is such an essential part of our little Runyan gang.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yes, I'm still thankfull!

So I've been a slacker- but its not because I don't have things to be thankful for. I'm just busy getting used to this whole 3 kids thing, enjoying the holidays, being sick and trying to get back into a new routine for the new year. Among all the craziness though, there has still been PLENTY to be thankful for- so I apologize for not documenting them all.

Here are 3 for today:

1. So cute it hurts. Jake is a busy guy these days. This last week was particularly rough and we hardly saw him. When he was home Naomi was usually sleeping, or not very happy. Well, today they had some good daddy-daughter time. First in the morning, while I was getting ready. He snuggled with her and she fell asleep in his arms. Then, when I met up with him at church (he'd gone a early for a meeting beforehand) he immediatly grabbed her and let me wrestle the boys. I had her dressed up in a cute dress, tights, shoes and hairband. She was being really good for him, and eventually once again fell asleep in his arms. Twice, when I glanced over at him he actually looked up from admiring her, and mouthed to me "SO CUTE!" with an almost painful look on his face. I guess she's so cute it hurts.

2. Nap time. Even though we have church later now, Jake and I both wanted a nap after church (last night was Jake's rough coughing night- I had mine earlier this week). Josh and Dekker are both feeling the cold too- so I was trying to convince them it'd be good for them to take a nap too. I somehow actually convinced Josh, who went down to his room to lie down. I was trying to figure out what to do with Dekker so I coulld join Jake and Naomi her were already lying down and accidentally said, "Dekker, Josh is downstairs- why don't you go play with him?!" then realized my mistake, "Oops, never mind, Josh is sleeping- but you can go downstairs and play." He turned and headed downstairs. I know Dekker and figured he'd be back up in a couple mintutes, but took advantage of those minutes to lie down even if for just a little bit. A while later I realized the house was quiet and he hadn't returned. Curious I slipped out of bed and went to find him. I checked his room and the toy room before I found him where? Asleep on the floor in Josh's room. Josh alseep in his bed. The light was on. I laughed; I could totally imagine what'd happened. I'm sure Dekker went in there with the intention of waking Josh up. Josh is such a deep sleeper that he had no luck. He then started exploring and playing with some of Josh's things, and ended up falling alseep as he listened to the soothing sounds of Josh's deep breathing! Maybe you had to be there- but it was pretty funny and cute to me!

3. A bowl of cereal. As a mom of three it can be hard to even get a bowl of cereal sometimes. Thank goodness there quick, easy, and pretty fulfilling for those moments when I do find time to grab a bowl.

And a few from the last month or so....

1. a Wonderful Christmas. The boys are at such a fun Christmas age. It was really fun to see everything through their eyes this year.

2. My dad came to town. My dad came and spent Christmas with us. He's been through some real interesting things the last year or two. I think the challenges have made, and are making him a better person. It was great to have him around.

3. Naomi's blessing. Simple and beautiful.

4. Snow days and sledding. Josh loves the snow- Dekker tollerates it. Jake loves taking them sledding, making snowmen, and having snowball fights.

5. Service. So many great friends and family have helped me out during this transitional time- and I am so thankful.

6. Temple Square lights. Christmas eve we picked up my Grandpa Bybee and took him and my dad to dinner at Cheescake Factory and then to see the lights at Temple Square. We learned later that my grandpa, 95 years old, had never been to the lights at Temple Square before. Josh and Dekker liked the lights too. It was a really special night!