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Thursday, November 10, 2011

1. Two year warrantee. The ban paid for the warrantee when we bought this house. Well, we've had a leaky pipe and our upstair furnace is now on the fritz. The warrantee doesn't cover secondary damage (so we had to pay for the drywall repair that the leaky pipe caused), and there is a $100 deductible for each claim- but it's still saved us a little bit of money.

2. Pinterest. I feel kinda lame listing Pinterest here, but I really am thankful for it. It's been a great way to organize and store good ideas, recipes and things I find online- and fun to see what others are posting as well. I've already done a few craft and decorating ideas that I've found there, and have found and tried some great recipes too!

3. Lotion and my husbands big hands. I have sensitive skin, and a water softener for this house is still a few items down our want list right now- so I've been itchy and scratchy in this cold dry weather. Luckily its a great excuse to get nightly back rubs with lotion from Jake!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Thanks

1. Making friends. I'm really thankful that we have felt so welcome into our new neighborhood and ward. We've been invited to play Wallyball (Raquetball/volleyball combined) with a group of couples, to an adult Halloween party, over for dessert, and just people reaching out to get to know us in general. It's really been nice.

2. A handy husband. Since we've started working on the basement... He can't do everything, and things aren't always perfect, but having worked construction many a school breaks, and helped his dad build an entire mortuary/apartment- he's not afraid to take on a project. I think it's fun memories, good for our kids to see some sweat and work, and it saves us some money.

3. Sunday dinners with McLeans. McLeans have been life long family friends. I was roommates with Megan for the first semester I got home from my mission. Since they live here in Heber I've been able to reconnect with them. They even have us over for Sunday dinners 2 or more times a month! We sure love those guys!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oct 5, 2011

1. Conference weekend. Becca & Dave, Jesus and Bryn all came over for the 2nd session. I made a mexican bar for dinner after. Then the guys went to priesthood and us girls worked on a little craft (jewelry organizers). When they came back we had dessert and played games. Sunday was just us here at home- but I LOVED both sessions and felt like all the talks were answering my personal prayers/questions.

2. Project time. We're finishing the basement bathroom. We've been taking it pretty slow and steady, but I'm really pleased with how it's all coming together, and I'm hoping we'll be done this weekend. We weren't going to move the boys downstairs till we've got the cork flooring in through the great room and hall (that's our next project to start in a week or so), but they're actually really excited- so we might let them move down there as when the bathroom is done since they already have carpet and everything. Their window sills, floor boards, and closets need finishing- but kids don't care too much about those little details- so we can do those even with them sleeping down there. Jake worked out a deal with Cascade to lease their unused golf simulator for a year, with an option to by at 12 month. So he's all pumped. He picked it up yesterday, and while I'm worried it will keep him from getting our other priorities done, he says it will be motivation to get the other stuff done so he can set up his golf simulator and start putting it to use.

3. We've managed to stay within our means through this all. We love our home, and feel like we got a great deal on it- but buying it as a foreclosure has proved more expensive than we expected. List of things we've had to pay outside of our mortgage: Fridge, washer and dryer, wood burning stove, window treatments (still working on some), AC unit, basement furnace, Central Vac system, programmable garage door opener remotes, mail box... those things all add up pretty quick! Our want list is still long: water softener, boiler for the snow-melt system in driveway, landscaping, more hose-bibs, basement finished, new furnishings etc etc. Fortunately, tithing has blessed us again. The only thing we've had to finance are our fridge, washer and dryer- which we got on a 12 month same as cash. And we've been able to pay off our credit card in full (just barely one time) through this all. It really is a blessing of tithing I tell you. And so we are dedicated to stick with it. To do things little by little, and without going further into debt.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hi, remember me?

This blog has been neglected. I promise I'm still counting blessings- just not always writing them down.

1. A baby is on it's way! I'm expecting number four! After my miscarriage it was hard to trust my body and get excited again. But I'm now approaching week 17, I've heard the heartbeat twice, and even felt the little one move.

2. LIving in Heber. We found a great deal on a forclosure in Heber City. It's not a ton of land, but overlooks the valley, pastures, and even has an irrigation canal that runs through our back yard. We love it! Landscaping is going to be expensive and a beast- but luckily the basement is mostly done already. I was a bit worried about making the leap to a small town, but can honestly say that so far I love it. Heber is great, because it has lots to offer right here, Park City is just 15 minutes away and Orem and Salt Lake (Sugar House area) are just a hop skip and a jump away as well. Our neighborhood and ward have been very welcoming and kind. We really like it here.

3. Blessings for family. My brother Garrett found a job in Bellevue, so that he and his wife can be close to both their families for the birth of their first child (due Nov 1). My mom has had great strength through her breast cancer diagnosis and we are very happy she only had to go through radiation and not Chemo as well. She amazes me at her ability to see the positive side of every trial she faces. My sister Karina continues to love her time as a missionary in Guatemala and has had great experiences there. My brother Brian found a job that "pays the bills" and allows him the flexibility that he needs after a time of unemployment.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Being Mom

I love being a mom. It's hard work- and there are plenty of days I wish I had an "office" to escape to, but push come to shove, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

1. Funny Dekker story. There's a little boy in our neighborhood named Austin who has really big cheeks. The other day Dekker asked his dad, "Why do Austin's cheeks shake when he runs?" Dekker was there when Austin's dad was telling me this story and we were laughing about it. A couple minutes later Austin came running up with jiggling red cheeks and Dekker said, "See Mom! His cheeks to shake when he runs!" As if to prove he wasn't crazy.

2. Dekker is my cool hair kid. Lately Dekker loves to do his hair in "Sonic spikes". He's love to wear his hair spikey- and is always asking me "Did I mess up my hair?" or "Does it still look cool?" I think it's pretty cute.

3. Kindergarten Mother's Day program. Josh and I missed the actual Mother's Day program in his class because we were gone to Jake's graduation- but I got to go the day before for my own private showing during one of their rehearsals. It was CO CUTE! Josh is growing up so fast it makes me sad sometimes. He is such a good, sweet kid.

4. Mother's Day/Graduation surprise! Jake knew his mom and step-dad were coming in for his graduation ceremony- but neither his mom or Jake knew that his brother Rick and his family were driving down from Seattle (where Rick is in med-school) and his sister Leah was flying in from Denver, and his sister Brea and her husband would all be going to the ceremony and then hanging out here with us for the weekend. We surprised them both and it was such a wonderful weekend with great weather, late game nights and good times together.

5. Jake is DONE!!! As in completely. No more tests, the trip to China is over, the ceremony is complete! He has his MBA!!!!! And we have "Dad" back. Wahoo!!!!

6. Diagnosis. With new crops of bumps showing up all over 4 weeks after her initial breakout- I knew it wasn't chicken pox. Her pediatrician ended up sending me to a Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist who diagnosed her with Giovani-Closti, a rare but fortunately not serious infection that they assume was in reaction to her 15 month vaccines. Her "hyper-sensitivity" was possibly in part due to an ear infection that was not completely healed before receiving the vaccines. I'm just happy to know what it is (all the descriptions/pictures fit). Happy to know it is not serious, will resolve itsefl (eventually), should not scar, is not contagious and should not have any long-term effects. Unfortunatly she's also seeing and ENT about that ear infection, but even worse her entire right ear drum is a gapping whole- which is beyond anything the ENT normally sees. More than likely she will have to have surgery to have it replaced. And the ENT is trying to determine what the cause is, since this is beyond a normal ear-infection rupture.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Because small successes are big successes around here.

My mom recently started a new blog: http://foodfamilyfunbycj.blogspot.com
I think its a fabulous idea because not only can my mom make food look good (she's a food stylist by profession) but she knows how to make it taste good and fit each occasion perfectly. And she has a great memory for who has which favorites.

I love to cook most of the time. I think its fun to try new recipes and experiment in the kitchen. Some times its a curse I guess, because kids like things simple- and I'm not a huge fan of the bland. My husband even more so than me. We eat dinner together as a family pretty much every night- but since the kids aren't happy with much more than pizza, lasagna, or pasta (and those last two are Jake's least favorite foods) it can be a bit of a battle to get them to eat (although I must admit that Josh is great at trying anything- even if just a bite or two).

Well, last night I was craving lettuce wraps. I wasn't too optimistic that the kids would eat them. But there was a recipe for them in this recipe book my mom gave me that is supposedly proven for picky kids. The kids loved the smell, but when Josh saw me putting in cashews he didn't think it sounded too good anymore. So I told them that it was Chinese night and kept saying "NI HOW!" Josh asked if we could use choptsticks, and since we didn't have any I said "no", but explained how like in Mexican meals we often wrap things up in tortillas, for this meal we were gonna wrap up our meal in lettuce. I got a few moans, but said "Hey, it's Chinese night, and its FUN to try new things, NI HOW!!!" But I quickly blended up a green smoothie to go along with the meal (have I mentioned we love green smoothies? We have one every day at breakfast, and while Dekker doesn't usually love them in the mornings, he LOVES them with dinner. I know. Go figure.- So I often make one to go along with dinner as well) Low and behold though, the kids gobbled them up! Lettuce and all. And Jake and I loved them too! It was my greatest dinner success in quite some time. There was lots of "Ni HOW!" going around as well as "KUNG POW" (which was Jake's answer to "how do you say thank you in Chinese?" and everyone ate MULTIPLE lettuce wraps. So here's the recipe that I will be making OFTEN!

12 large iceberg lettuce, washed and patted dry (I used green leaf)
2 Tablespoons sesame oil (I used Peanut Oil)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 llb ground pork, chicken, turkey, or beef (I used turkey)
1 cup cashews
1 cup slated peanuts (I used chopped water chestnuts and added salt)
1 cup Craisins
1 package crunchy rice noodles or 1 pkg dry ramen noodles, crushed (I used ramen noodles, and could have doubled that)

Sauce:
5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
Juice of 2 limes (I used 1 Tbsp each of bottled lemon juice and lime juice)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water
1/2 cup orange juice, prepared from concentrate

Wash and dry lettuce leaves. Set aside. Heat sesame oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic (I added water chestnuts here too) and saute for just a few minutes. This will season the oil and pan. Add ground meat and cook thoroughly. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients. Pour over meat mixture and bring to boil over medium-high heat. the sauce will thicken slightly. Stir in the cashews, peanuts, and Craisins. Let mixture steam for about 4 minutes. Serve on a bed of crushed noodles. The let each person spoon into lettuce and wrap up to eat.

Yeah. It made my night to see everyone eating without complaining. And I really do think calling it "Chinese night" and saying lots of "NI HOWs" made a difference.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I have the best kids- seriously!

I do. I mean, there are times when they drive me nuts- but honestly I think I've got to be the luckiest mom out there. I used to worry that I'd messed them up. But I am amazed all the time at what great kids they are and how well they're turning out. Jake left this afternoon for Vegas with a group of guys for the basketball tournament- so tonight I went to the RS Birthday dinner and dropped my three kids at the kids group in the primary room. When I came to pick them up all the young women were telling me how great my kids are. How cute Naomi is, how well-mannered the boys were, and the boys didn't complain when I said it was time to go, but instead said, "thanks for bringing us here Mom, we had fun!" Yeah. They're pretty awesome.

Funny conversation in the car today:

Josh: "Mom, when I have kids- I'm going to do whatever they ask me."
Me: "When I was your age I said the same thing."
Josh: "But you're not doing it..."
Me: "That's because as I got older I learned that kids that get everything they want are spoiled, and spoiled kids are not fun to be around."
Quiet for a moment....
Josh: "I don't want my kids to be spoiled. So I'll just listen to them sometimes."
Dekker: "Josh, what are you going to name your kids?"
Josh: "I haven't decided yet. I have LOTS of time to think about that!"

And Naomi? Well, today she and spent some good one on one time playing while Josh was at school and Dekker was outside with neighbor kids. She was giving me unsolicited open mouthed kisses over and over. Gross and super cute at the same time. Then, she would run into my arms and I'd pretend to fall back holding her and hugging her and she would squeeze me, pat my back and say "AWE!!!!" as I rocked her back and forth. Lately she's been much more affectionate with me, which I'm LOVING since she usually reserves all that for her Daddy.

Besides my kids, I'm also thankful for:

1. My girls trip! It's been more of a headache to plan than I thought, and of course more expensive- but we finally got plane tickets and cruise tickets all booked. My friend Heather, my friend Becca, and I will be doing a 3 night Bahama cruise in May! I'm so excited!

2. Jake is almost done with school. (thus the girls trip- its my reward for being a single mom so much of the last 2 years). He graduates the first week of May.

3. President Monson. I've been reading his Biography and I've really gained a greater love and appreciation for him. It's inspiring to read about his life and in a way "get to know" him better. It's interesting how the Lord calls and uses different servants at different times- how their personalities, talents, and such are tailored for the service they will perform.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Healthy and Happy

1. A fabulous trip to Honduras. It's been almost a month since we got back. I had high hopes of writing a lot of insightful thoughts and funny moments from our trip. We got back and it took a week to get laundry done, get back into routines, and adjust to the cold. About that time I did at least to a photo synopses on my photo bloggityblog. Then I got slammed with a cold/flu thing. Actually we all did (except for Jake, who masterfully avoids many illnesses the rest of us get). I was sick for three weeks. Luckily the kids weren't hit quite so hard. Anyway, so here I am. finally back and now it seems too long ago to remember all my deep thoughts. Honduras was beautiful though. The food? Fabulous. The people? Humble and kind. Nevertheless it makes me appreciate many conveniences we have every day in the US and take for granted:

A- Clean water. We can brush our teeth and drink water from the tap, pretty much any tap int he US, and not worry about it. Even most Hondurans won't drink their own water.

B- Our trash system. There are garbage cans everywhere here, and our household garbage gets picked up at our curb every week. It's amazing!

C- Good plumbing and hot water. It's pretty amazing that even a homless person in the US could pretty easily find a free place to use the toilet and take a hot shower if he chose to. Those two things aren't free or easy to find in Honduras.

D- Our government. I complain about politics and politicians, yes. But man have we got it good. Its a great thanks in large part to our Founding Fathers who were truly inspired.

2. We're healthy! I mentioned in number one that we got sick. I got really sick. I haven't felt that awful in a while. I'm thankful that generally speaking my body is healthy. I don't complain of aches and pains or headaches or disease. I'm thankful for that.

3. We are a happy family! I love my kids. I love my husband. (Only three more months till he's done with school!!!) We are not perfect, but I am so thankful for my family. I wouldn't trade them for anything. ANYTHING! Not ever, no never.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Prayers work

I'm still trying to get back into the routine of things after our vacation to Honduras.

Today the boys had music class at 10 am, and it was the week that I go with them, so I had to take Naomi over to the neighbors to be watched. We were all ready to go at 9:45, but I couldn't find my car keys. I started searching everywhere. I couldn't even find the spare that is usually hanging on the key rack in the kitchen. I checked my coat pocket, my purse, the counters, EVERYWHERE. Finally I remembered my grandma Blanche's lesson that the Lord really does care about the little things. I knelt down and said a prayer out loud, "Heavenly Father, I need to take the boys to music class, but I can't find my keys. Please help me find them so that we can go." Right when I stood up my phone rang. It was my neighbor asking if I was still planning on bringing Naomi over. I explained that I wanted to, but was unable to find my keys... as I was talking to her I walked into my room casually looking still, but somewhat giving up. I picked up a Kleenex from my nightstand and saw the spare key sitting there!!! "Here's the spare" I exclaimed, "I'll be right over". I hung up and ran Naomi over and got the boys in the car, I was amazed at how QUIKLY the Lord answered my prayer. I said another prayer of thanks and headed out. We were only 10 minutes late to class.

It was a just a few years ago that my grandma was visiting and a similar "lost keys" moment occurred. I searched EVERYWHERE when I needed to take my grandma up to meet a friend in Salt Lake. She asked if I had said a prayer. I blew it off, thinking that prayers for that kind of thing were just ways to teach children how to use prayers for things that were important to them. Surely I was big enough now to solve this problem by myself, and save my prayers for the "bigger issues". As I continued to search unsuccessfully my grandma said, "Well, if you aren't going to say a prayer- I will." and my frail old grandmother knelt down to pray. I figured I better join her. I knelt down, still muttering in my mind that I was too old to be praying about such a silly thing. Immediately after she said "Amen" however, the thought came to my mind to check the pocket of a coat (I can't remember if it was mine or Jake's) hanging in the upstairs closet. I walked straight there, reached in and retrieved them. I will never forget that lesson. I always thought the "pray for things that you lose" lesson was to teach children that they could pray about things that were important and big to them. This time I learned that the Lord wants us to come to him with ALL our struggles and problems. Even the little ones, like finding misplaced keys.

P.S. After we got home from music class we were down in the toy room when Josh suddenly exclaimed, "Mom, I found your keyes!" Not sure how they ended up there, but was happy to know the location of both sets of keys again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Letter about Honduras

Hermana Jackson,

Hola mi hermanita. Guess what? I think you and I are kinda connected in a unique way right now. Since being in Honduras for a week, my Spanish came back to me quite a bit. But it was/is a struggle. At first I was frustrated because I could understand a lot, but had a hard time speaking. By the end of the week I was able to speak much better, but still got frustrated when I heard the mistakes I made as they were coming out of my mouth. Now I find myself thinking in Spanish still sometimes, and have a hard time converting to English. So I’m in that limbo world between Spanish and English- which I’m sure is how you feel some times too. Although from the sounds of thing your Spanish is coming along very quickly!

Honduras was a great trip. We have some funny stories of course. For example, on the way there we had a nasty layover in Dallas. To kill time we thought we’d take a taxi to a late show, but because the taxi driver took advantage of our not knowing the area we spent $40 getting there alone. After the movie was over we opted asking some college aged people to give us a ride back to the airport and offered to pay them $20. They did, and they were nice, but yeah- it was kinda like hitch-hiking. Then there was the time that Jake was telling a story and kept saying “pedo” (fart) instead of “sapo” (frog). HaHa. I could tell you so much, but I haven’t had a whole lot of time to process and document it all. Honduras was a good wake-up too. A reminder as to all I have to be thankful for. I’m thankful for drinkable water from the faucets, for good plumbing, for hot water, for good public schools, and so much more. I think Honduras has even more poverty than Guatemala from what I can remember. The people are kind though, and the country is beautiful. The food was fabulous. Lots of rice and black beans and corn tortillas. Somehow though, it all tastes amazing. Wonderful “liquados”, fabulous fish and steaks. Jake and I both gained him (him more than me though ☺). It was very hard to come back to cold frozen Utah. If it wasn’t for my three kiddos I might have just stayed.

From Jake: Hope you’re having a blast…did you know that a mission is a lot like the game of Hearts; there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly. The key is to minimize the hearts you get, always be on the watch out of that Queen (spades, not clubs), and every once in a while, shoot the moon and go big. I want to hear about you shooting the moon all the time, and always avoiding that Queen…something you’re not used to I know, but that’s what I’m praying for. Love ya! Jake


From Josh: I love you. I hope are having fun. I miss you. I had fun with GrammaChris while Mom and Dad were in Honduras. Have you seen a rainbow? Love, Josh

We love you!

Jaime