Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Milestone

Today - May 31st, 2010 - marks the ten year anniversary of Justin's baptism into the Church. It is an important date for him - and by default, me.

This is Justin's conversion story via me. I don't know all the details, but I'll do my best.

Justin's best friend growing up, Miles, was LDS and always impressed him. But Justin grew up in a very LDS town and hadn't really thought much about it. His great-grandmother had been baptized when she was 8, but did not remain an active member. Justin and Miles went off to college together. During Justin's second year, a friend in their academic program, a girl named Rikki, took the discussions and decided to be baptized. Justin attended that baptism and felt something that moved him - the Spirit.

He immediately asked the missionaries over to talk to him. He was familiar with the Church - he grew up around it, but this feeling of confirmation in his soul was entirely new and he knew he needed to act on it. At the end of the first discussion, the missionaries asked if Justin would consider being baptized. He didn't hesitate at all when he said, "Yes!"

So ten years ago today, Justin was baptized a member. We met four months later in September and were married the following June in the Idaho Falls Temple.

As someone who grew up in the Church, I never realized how much an advantage I have in knowledge. From primary lessons to Young Women's to seminary, I've had so much. Even after ten years, there are many things I am more familiar with than Justin. He's kind of been the rookie partner in religion in our marriage, but the gap is closing. :)

One great benefit of marrying a fresh convert is that I've been able to see so many wonderful experiences through new eyes. Like the first time we went to Temple Square. Or the first time we read about Abinadi dying in the Book of Mormon. It's been really wonderful. I am forever greatful to the exposure and learning I had as a youth. I am grateful for Justin's testimony and faith. I am grateful for our temple marriage. I am grateful to lofty principles that guide our lives and our marriage.

There really is too much to be grateful for.



Sunday, May 30, 2010

Journal Jar: Childhood Room

Describe your room as a child. Did you have your own room or have to share it with a sibling? Tell some experiences.

I had lots of rooms as a child. I remember being very young and sharing a room with my brother Jordan. We slept in bunk beds. I remember helping peel wallpaper off the walls in that room.

Then I shared a room with my sister Julie. We shared a double bed. Mom bought a really lovely pink floral bedspread with a ruffle around the bottom for our bed. I think maybe Julie had asked for a bedspread for her birthday. My mother painted a stencil border mid-way up the wall. Country blue kittens with mauve bows around their necks. It took her a lot of time.

We shared a room for several years and we had our ups and downs. There were times when there was a proverbial line down the middle of the bed and the middle of the room to keep each other away from our stuff. Apparently, I kicked a lot when I slept.

But we also had fun. We made up a silly code to help us sleep. Once we said, "Goodnight" we weren't allowed to talk to each other anymore so we could sleep and we couldn't speak until the next morning. Well, that didn't always work - there was plenty to say. So in order to break the code of silence, we'd have to say, "Good morning," as if it were morning. Then we could say what we needed, but then we'd need to close the conversation with two goodnights. We still joke about it and say, "Good morning, goodnight, goodnight."

After a while, Julie decided I was too messy and annoying of a roommate and she moved in with my sister Stephanie and I got to have my own room. I got a small room with spring green carpet and wallpaper with little girls on it. It was lonely at first, but I liked having my own space and being as messy as I wanted.

After my brother Jordan moved out of the house, we needed to re-do the room he'd been in. It was the same room I'd shared with Julie. Jordan  had taken some liberties and drawn and painted on the walls. My parents decided it would be a good family project to re-do the room and that it would be my room. We picked out a daybed and a nice mattress and a beautiful bedspread set. I remember picking these things out in a store in Salt Lake. We picked out nice things and I actually got to have a say in it all. I was 12. I felt so respected for the first time - my opinions mattered! And we got good quality stuff too. Sometimes it seemed like we always got the least expensive things that would do the job as needed, but this time it felt a little frivolous. I remember the bedspread set being expensive and at first my mom said no. Then she changed her mind (maybe the salesmen made a deal, I don't know). The mattress was really posh and the bed was beautiful - beautiful scrolling iron painted off-white. My mother and I picked out the wallpaper and paint together. I was so excited.

The room turned out beautifully. The walls were the palest pink paint. A wallpaper border with a burgundy background featuring pale pink peonies adorned the top of the wall, and the midpoint of the wall and from the second border on down was a white wallpaper with small delicate blue and pink flowers. Floor-length lace curtains adorned the window. The room was fit for a princess. That was my room until my parents sold that house when I was 21.

The window was right at the front of our home and my friends would tap on my window to get me to come out and play. The moon would shine through the window right on my bed and I loved it. I loved that room. So girly and elegant.

I know I have some pictures of this room somewhere. I need to find them and scan them in. Actually not a bad idea for all my old prints. :) I was so resistent to going to digital photos and now I wish everything were digital.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Justin's 30th Birthday

Pictures from Justin's 30th birthday.

I bought him 30 presents and hid them around the house as a type of scavenger hunt. I think he had fun with it. Lots of presents and lots of cake. We're still enjoying it.




Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Lied About My Age - And I Said I Was Older

My youth is gone.



I've felt it slipping away for sometime now. I was resistant. But then a couple things happened recently that made me realize that I am a full-blown adult and that I'm okay with it.

Not too long ago I was shopping at JCPenney's in the mall. I went to the juniors section, where I've shopped for the past 16 years or so. And as I browsed the racks, I hated everything I saw. "Don't they have any real clothes?" I muttered to myself. And then my gaze drifted to the misses and womens departments. And that's where the real clothes were. I left the juniors section without looking back.

I am officially old. Well, officially a woman. My jeans say so. :)

Second story. And it's a doozy.

I haven't lied about my age since I was probably 21 or so. As a teen, you always lie to appear older to older guys. I married young - at 19 - which was fairly common from the conservative town I am from, but in the more liberal college town I got a lot of crap for being so young. So I'd often lie about my age to avoid that.

For the last six or seven years, I've lived in the comfort of my own age. It won't last. It's only a six or seven year span. I spent most of my life trying to be older. And I know that in the future I'll try to be younger. When I lie about my age, I will paint myself as younger. Although I really am going to try to be honest. It really annoys me when women won't say their true age and everyone knows they are lying. I hope to appear younger than my years (if I take after my mother, that will be the case) and I think it's more impressive to be honest.

Anyway, off my soap box.

But I lied yeserday and said I was older than I am. Shocker!

Back up.

For years, I have struggled with bad skin. As a teen my older sister who struggled acne before me insisted my mother take me to the dermatologist, bless her heart. I went through several medications and went through a course of Accutane. That helped. A lot. But I would still have break outs. Not super severe. Not totally crippling to my self-esteem like before. But still. And this went on. And never stopped.

I got fed up the other day and determined that as an adult with a good insurance plan and some discretionary funds, I was going back to the dermatologist and I am going to put an end to this once and for all! I went yesterday. And I didn't want to appear vain because my skin isn't all that bad. I know this because I have lived through really bad skin. So I kind of felt shallow going in and complaining. But I told the doctor I knew it wasn't extreme or anything, but I was 30 and I was done with breakouts!

It just slipped out of my mouth. I had just said I was 30. Gee whiz. That doesn't happen for another year and a half. I guess I felt better about complaining to the doctor if he thought I was older.

He gave me some medications and we've established a long-term maintenance plan so I will hopefully not have to Photoshop every single picture of myself I post on the blog. :) Oh, and I got a complimentary chemical peel (a milder chemical, not the kind that leaves you red and puffy for a week - I went straight back to work). It made my skin so soft and this morning I felt like I had been photoshopped in real life. My skin looked so smooth and the tiny hairline lines around my eyes had vanished. I feel like such an adult getting chemical peels! A fancy pants lady. Like from Sex in the City or something. :)

So that's my story. I'm an old fart now.

When was the last time you lied about your age? Do you think there will be any more incidents when I'll fib and say I'm older ever again?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

13 Months Old

My little darling is now 13 months old. She's still a baby. She can't be a toddler until she actually toddles, right? And while she is gaining confidence in her balance and sometimes for the briefest second she'll stand all by herself, I think we're still a little ways away from walking. So she's still a baby.

So many fun things...

Several weeks ago, I was at the store in a narrow makeup aisle. The cart took up the whole space. Jocelyn was sitting in the cart. I was crouched on my haunches, picking out a lipstick color. I hear a little voice say, "oh-oh" and I saw a makeup pencil drop on the floor and roll under the cart. I look up and see that Joci has handfuls of makeup pencils since she could reach the shelves on both sides of the aisle. I had never heard her say "oh-oh" before. She says it all the time, especially when she drops things. So adorable.

We play this "game" where we sit on the floor and hold onto Joci's hands as she's standing up. Then we sing "Row, row, row your boat..." as we gently push and pull her and she rocks on her feet. The ladies at daycare do it to the kids and Jocelyn thinks it's hysterical. Last week I had just finished the song and I was still holding onto her hands and she started rocking herself back and forth and said "Row row row row" until I started the song and rocking over again. It is the cutest thing ever and at least three times a day I do this just so I can hear here sing "Row row row row."

She has totally mastered the sign "All Done" and has even started saying the word "done".

She is able to open drawers I think she's too short to get into. But she manages somehow. :)

Tonight we went to dinner with my SIL and her 4 week old baby girl, Paige. We showed Joci the sign for "baby" and she picked up on it right away and kept doing it.

Her dad taught her how to throw things. What a crazy mistake! She's throwing stuff all over now and thinks it's just great fun.

She sometimes says "dog."

She can point to my nose, teeth, ears, and eyes. We're working on lips and head.

She will pull up to the piano, pound on the keys and "sing" along.


Here are a bunch of pictures - most are recent, but some are a little bit older.


A favorite pastime

with Grandpa H.


A birthday present from Aunt Stephanie.


silliness


My sister Julie and her husband and kids gave us this orchid when Jocelyn was born. We kept it alive for an entire year and it bloomed again and it was glorious. Unfortunately it's shed its flowers now and will be dormant until next March.


At 9 months. She thought climbing into the toy box would be a really efficient way to play with toys.


But then she got really mad when the swing kept bopping her on the head and she was stuck.


She loves to get all up in my business as soon as the camera comes out. It can be hard to get a good picture of her. But you could argue that this is a good picture - look at those baby blues!


I went blonder two weeks ago. It brings out my green eyes!


Jocelyn got a nice little fever - up to 103.5. I stayed home with her for two days and had so much fun - seriously. That's not sarcasm. It really made me want to stay home with her every single day. *sigh*


She loves singing and dancing at her play table


She likes to help out. Here she is loading the dishwasher. First she loaded her sippy cup (it's blue right below the colander lid). Then she opened the cupboard and decided all the sandwich bags ought to be washed. And might as well wash the colander lid while at it.


She loves putting things away. I had just removed clothing she's outgrown from the top drawer and she had opened the bottom drawer and was shoving all the clothes back in her dresser.




She has a sweet tooth! I figure licorice isn't so bad since she doesn't really ingest it.


But it sure makes for a cute, messy face!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mother Nature's in Menopause


I mowed the lawn not even an hour before I took these pictures from my front door.


You can even see my sprinkler watering the lawn.


Seriously, summer, get here already.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beating a Dead Horse

You're certainly tired of hearing about Mother's Day rantings from an infertile woman. But I just saw this blog post and I *had* to share. Nia Vardolos is a new mom. She adopted her child through foster care about a year ago. She is actually the spokesperson for National Adoption Day. She's awesome.



Read her article. It will tug at your heart and make you laugh - just like she does in her movies.

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say on Mother's Day...


Monday, May 17, 2010

What's Your Favorite Adoption Movie?



I am always on the lookout for positive adoption* stories. They surround us more than I realize. I'm making a list of movies that have something to do with adoption. If you know about a movie I haven't mentioned, tell me. And also, I'm looking for positive portrayals of adoption - nothing like "Problem Child" which is just horrible about propogating bad, bad stereotypes.

All the Superman movies
Elf
Juno
Anne of Green Gables movies
The Ten Commandments
The Tigger Movie
Martian Child
Annie
Tarzan


Any others?

I've heard some adoptive review boards give thumbs down to Elf and The Ten Commandments, both of which show their main characters easily turning their backs on their adoptive families in search of their "real" families. That can be true. And levels of sensitivity vary. And I'm sure mine will vary too based on my child's level of understanding and temperament about it all. Anyway, that was my disclaimer. Let me know if you can think of any other movies.



*Foster care stories too.

I'm Spending All My Fun Points

Don't give me credit for discovering this universal truth. I heard it from somewhere else, but I don't remember where, so I can't give proper credit. But it is an important cosmic piece to life's happiness.

Fun points.

Each day has an allotted amount.

Spend them as you will.

But if you don't get "rollover" fun points. Once the day has past, if you haven't spent all your fun points, they're gone forever.

But if you're having such a great time you use them all up, don't worry. You can spend fun points from tomorrow.

And therein lies the problem.

If you spend tomorrow's fun points today, tomorrow ain't gonna be any fun. Case in point - the hangover. Or even just that headache and fatigue from staying up too late the night before (you know, if you live in a dry house like me and don't really have to worry about the alcoholic hangover).

I should be sleeping right now. But instead, I am up playing video games and watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother. And I'm spending tomorrow's fun points. When the alarm goes off, I won't be happy. I know tomorrow is going to be a rocky day. My baby girl has had a high fever (103+) all day today and  I think daycare's out of the question tomorrow. So I will have to miss work. And I have two ginormous projects due this week. And I'm kinda single-mothering it for the next few days. This week wasn't going to be a ton of fun anyway, and here I go, spending the few fun points it may have had up front.

Oh well. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Remember when I was I complaining about all the trouble I had to go through to get Jocelyn's hospital pictures?

Well, I finally did get them a while ago, and here they are a few. She was 3 days old.






Friday, May 14, 2010

And They Say Ignorance Is Bliss


I have been living in a delusion for the better part of today. 

It’s 2:30 p.m. I just got back from a trip to the ladies’ room where reality under fluorescent lights just won a major slap bet on me and took out her viscous retribution.

The well-thought-out outfit I was so proud of (a daring detour from my normal slacks and knit top) is not working the way I thought it was. The shoes are all wrong. The layers are not complimentary to each other. What I thought were sexy-Kate-Hudson-eque waves are just a matted mess of frizz. The expensive (well, at the grocery store) liquid black waterproof eyeliner I bought on impulse last night because my regular eyeliner fades by afternoon is still in place—yet it’s somehow invited my pale shimmery pink eye shadow down for a party, making my eyes look like they’ve been lined with glittery purple sweeps a transvestite would envy. It’s a mess. And then consider I’m under fluorescent lighting. It’s a mess times ten.


Thank goodness for cream to powder foundation and my secret lipstick stash. It’s the only thing saving me from myself at the moment.

Where is a rock I can hide under?

When is the clock going to strike 5:00?

When will I find the perfect eyeliner that will last at least the work day?


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Caught with My Pants Down on Easter

Better late than never.

We spent Easter in Tucson with my sister Julie and her cutie family. We flew out of Salt Lake with a connection in Phoenix. Joci did okay on the plane rides. She was decent on the first flight, but by the second, she was really missing her afternoon nap. She was very wiggly and squirmy and it took all our energy to keep her entertained and prevent her from pulling the hair of the people in front of us. She zonked so hard in the car when Aaron picked us up, she actually stayed asleep when we moved her from her carseat to her bed. That has never happened before! She usually wakes so easily!

We arrived Friday night. One of my contacts broke that night. How frustrating. I am B L I N D. And while I had a pair of glasses with me, they just aren't the same. My eyes are used to contacts and being in my glasses all day gives me a headache. Last summer when I updated my prescription, I went to Walmart. So I thought I could find a Walmart in Tucson and maybe, possibly they would have access to the records and get me something temporary.

Before I go much further, let me just say that luck and stupidity both play equal roles in my life.

Moving on.

As luck would have it, I had my prescription with me. Odd. But nice! We went to Walmart. They didn't have anything that would work for me. Did I mention my eyes are very bizarre with a double astigmatism and carotokonis so my prescription is pretty wonky?

Then we drove across town to see if maybe Costco would have something. It took me a good deal of waiting, but they had something! And they gave it to me for free - and he gave me one for my other eye in case that one gave out too. Wow! Costco is awesome! Too bad we don't have one here.

So onto the fun.

Jocelyn, 11 months, and Audrey, 13 months


We went to Pima Air and Space Museum. Justin was in heaven. The planes were very cool and the kids had a good time too.





This is the type of plane Tom Cruise flew in Top Gun. I think it's called a TomCat (which is interesting considering he's now half of TomKat, he he).


Joci loved being with her cousins.



We ate dinner at an amazing Peruvian restaurant. Oh, it was to die for. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Seriously one of the best meals I have ever had the privilege of eating.

Easter Sunday dawned bright and clear. The Easter Bunny had come and left eggs everywhere. Camden, my 3 year old nephew, was tickled wake up with an Easter egg in his bed. What a sneaky bunny! Actually, the bunny had left an egg with all the kids. The bunny had quite the system with eggs. The shiny metallic eggs were for babies Joci and Audrey and contained puffed cereal and yogurt melts. The matte eggs were full of jelly beans and chocolate for Camden. Camden was so good about realizing who the egg belonged to. If it was a shiny egg, he knew it was for the babies, and he put it in their baskets, always remembering whose turn it was to receive the next egg. Whenever he spotted an egg, Camden exclaimed, "Wait a minute! There's an egg!" So funny. You'll have to check out the video on Julie's blog.



Easter loot including a new dress




After Easter fun we packed a lunch and went to Saguaro National Park. I wanted to see some classic cacti and this was just the place. It was a warm, warm day. I think it was in the nineties. All the shaded picnic tables were taken so we got one right in the sun. The babies weren't too happy about the heat and glaring sun. Camden enjoyed crawling around under the picnic table and feeding Joci who was confined to her car seat. Once he stood up, he realized he had cactus needles in his legs just from crawling through the dirt. Yuck.

The plan was to pack up lunch, get back in the cool minivan and then drive through the park a bit more and enjoy the scenery. As we were finishing lunch, Justin decided it would be fun to climb a rock and jump over a mount of cacti growing out of a crack in it. Well, he made it. Mostly. He got stuck with some needles in his legs - one was about 3 inches long. Yuck! We wanted some pictures, and as I was holding Joci to pose in front of a saguaro, she grabbed a cacti as we were passing it - thus getting a handful of needles. Luckily, they picked out pretty easily and all was well.


Notice the rock we're leaning against and the patch of cacti on the right. Justin climbed onto the rock and jumped over that cacti. He mostly made it. :)


the stately saguaro


We were finally all packed up and ready to go. I had Joci in her car seat and was carrying it with two hands in front of me. I couldn't see where I was stepping, and I walked into a cactus. I knew I had a few needles in me, but it seemed okay. Back down at the car though, I realized I had more than a few. We pulled out all we saw through my jeans, but it still didn't feel right. So I pulled down my jeans (people were guarding me from the view of the other tourists. An area just below my left knee the size of a fifty-cent piece was densely populated with needles. Fine, tiny needles. We pulled out what we could, but most of them were breaking in my leg.

With my pants around my ankles, I hobbled into the van and we decided to just go home. Back at the house, I again had to hobble out of the van with my jeans around my ankles, with my family trying to shield my hiney from view of the neighbors in their yards. We got a pair of tweezers and went to work. My skin was puffy and it felt like I'd rolled in fiberglass. We even used a bit of duct tape to try and remove some of the broken needles. Some cortisone cream worked wonders and a few hours later, I was back on my feet - with my pants on. :)

On Monday, Julie took us to Tombstone. We took a trolley tour and saw the town. We found a nice little restaurant for lunch. We window shopped a bit, and we concluded our journey with a visit to the Boothill Cemetery. It was fun to see the site of so many wild west legends.


Camden, 3, being loaded onto the trolley



Audrey, 13 months


Jocelyn, 11 months, and Camden, 3 years


the famous Bird Cage Theatre. We love the SyFy show Ghost Hunters and they had a pretty cool episode here.



a relative?



We went for an ice cream run that night and Justin pressured me into giving Joci her first taste of ice cream. I had really wanted to wait until she was 1 year for any desserts or sugars, but she was only 2 weeks shy, so I gave in. Although I don't think Grandpa Zierke will ever forgive us as he had been waiting patiently to give her ice cream.



Camden played with Joci a lot. He liked to make her laugh and make sure she had her binky and sippy cup and such. Joci picked a couple of things up from her cousin Audrey as well - she finally mastered using a sippy cup and she started to crawl the next week.  Oh, and on our way to Saguaro Park, Julie and Aaron were listening to island music in the car, and Joci started "dancing" to the music in her car seat for the first time. She was jamming to "Island Girls" and looked so cute in her sun romper and pig tails. She dances all the time now.

Julie and Audrey





Our flights back were pretty hairy. Joci had NO naps at all and it was like wrestling a pig to keep her contained in such as small area. Luckily on the longer flight from Phoenix to Salt Lake we ended up with an entire row to ourselves. She shredded a SkyMall magazine and spilled my full glass of Coke on my lap, but we survived. Right as the plane's wheels touched the tarmac in SLC, Joci fell asleep. She slept in my arms as we deplaned. As we trekked to the baggage claim and grabbed our suitcases. As we walked outside and waited for the bus to take us to the parking lot. As we walked across the lot to our car. And she slept for most of the 4 hour drive, only waking up about 40 minutes before we got home.

It was a fun trip. I love spending time with family, especially Julie because we have so much fun together and I don't get to see her very often because she lives so far away.

Thanks for having us!




P.S. A day after we got home, I found a spare contact lens in the tampon pocket of my purse. I'd had it with e the entire time.

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