Thursday, May 27, 2010

100th Post “Raise a Reader”

Wow.  This is actually my hundredth post.  About a year ago I was skimming through my cousin’s blog (that I used to be terrible at following but times have changed) and I read her 100th post and thought… “I wonder if that's even possible for me”.  I guess this is what happens when you live about 700 miles from the town you grew up in.  You have much more of a need to connect and have your words out there in the stratosphere.  Especially since on average I only get to talk to 3 adults a week and the other two are on Sundays.

One thing that has really been my salvation—really my whole life—has been reading.  I love the smell of books (especially old books), I love holding books, I love reading books.  I love how I feel about myself when I read books…that I am a whole person.  I really don’t know exactly why I feel that way but I do.

When we moved here we had 7 bookcases stuffed full of books.  These lovely bookcases and their boxes of accompanying books are the exact reason we had to get the biggest moving truck available even though we were told the other truck should accommodate a 2-3 bedroom house.  Whoever was figuring out that statistic wasn’t a reader…at least to the extent that Jared and I are combined.

The first thing we ever bought for our unborn (now 4-year-old) son was a nice pile of cardboard books.  I didn’t think anything of it until one day about three months before the baby was born when Christian decided he needed to go through his books and give some to the baby.  I thought it was the sweetest gesture.  Now if her books end up back into his room by mistake he is very concerned that she have her own books.

Books were pretty much the only thing I was able to spend time on for a few months last summer as I spent many morning and sometimes days in bed.  I started reading chapter books for children with Christian during that time and it really increased our already strong bond.

When I first had Christian, I spent literally hours reading while holding him.  I also would read to him whenever he got anxious and this seemed to calm him down.  Now that I have Vivian she loves to look at my books and just stare as I read to myself.

As time has gone on, one of the biggest traditions we have is to read before naps and bedtime.  This originally developed so that Christian would calm down enough to actually take a nap and because I, myself, can not calm down enough to stop thinking and sleep without reading first.  Vivian has apparently caught on because before every nap, she fusses and refuses to sleep unless we look at a book together.


It has always amazed me when I have taken education classes and such that there are people who don’t like to read, or simply don’t take the time.  Honestly, reading for me is almost like running water.  I can survive without but it’s really not as much fun.  During my years in college, I still had to have a “fun book” even if it took a while to read.  One of the best things I did for myself was to listen to books on tape in the car as I commuted back and forth from school, work, or home.  It gave me something to refresh myself.

I am so grateful that my two children love to read.  But I think that’s more of a nurture thing than a nature thing.  They see me read and how happy it makes me and they want to experience that too.

IMG_4146  Don’t you love Vivian’s expression in this one…Christian’s is funny too but he’s showing how exhausted he is!

Saturday…Soccer & Ice Cream!

Saturday was Christian’s last day of Soccer until the Fall.  It was actually kind of bitter-sweet.  I’m excited to be able to do other things on our Saturday’s but I’m really sad that we won’t get to see our new friends who run the program and Christian also won’t have the the children to play with.  I am really hoping that wherever we end up in the next (three!!!) months that there will be fun kids with good parents for Christian to associate with. 

It has been really difficult for me here though we have a few friends, I really wish I had a bosom friend that was interested in the things I’m interested in and wants to get together once and a while…. and Christian really needs a child or two to romp around with.  *Sigh*  I’m not trying to  complain, I guess I just feel very “out there” in the stratosphere….

Anyway, enough with the tangent….

Christian is getting quite skilled with his little soccer and I’m pretty proud.  I mean check out these photos of my boy in action! 

IMG_4232IMG_4234      IMG_4254 IMG_4260  IMG_4241

I love the program he’s in.  There is no competition—just pure fun that sneaks in learning skills to play the sport along with some great reminders to get a drink of water which is really important when you live in a state as hot as ours is.

IMG_4268 Here’s a picture of my sweaty, totally thrilled little boy after receiving his medal for the season!  Yeah Christian!

After going to Soccer, we went to a Breyer’s Ice Cream House Party at our AZ friend’s house.  First we played a game called “Reminisce” which was pretty fun though difficult if you’re under 30 (besides the fact that although I know lots of useless trivia I can’t place random world events and/or celebrities so well). 

Here are the kids ready to play the game…they lost interest pretty fast and moved on to their own games.


This is Damean and Christian.  I absolutely loove this picture.  It is so full of personality and Christian looks tons like his daddy.IMG_4278

Here are the kids enjoying their ice cream sandwiches….

IMG_4287  They all look a little wacky huh? IMG_4290

Here’s Lydia looking distressed…she needs more ice cream?!IMG_4298 Here’s a great picture of Sherrada and Cody trying to eat and smile…doesn’t Cody’s smile remind you of Grinch’s smile?


Here’s Vivian and Jared working out….IMG_4280  …and here’s Vivi just happy as can be!  She’s so chill…I love it!    IMG_4301  

Christian and Toran had a wrestling match….it was pretty funny since Christian kept declaring he was the strongest guy in the whole world as Toran was besting him with ease.  Got to love Christian’s confidence.

It was a pretty fun Saturday.  Thanks Venetia for inviting us it was very fun.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mother’s Day & Two Children in the Backseat….

(Could our trip to Utah have really been almost 3 weeks ago??  Time goes so fast and I’ve had to re-cooperate and get back on track).

We left Utah on Mother’s Day.  It was my first Mother’s day as a Mom of Two.  I was awakened that morning around 4 and I felt like I needed to get up for some reason.  I wandered around and then noticed my dad poking around in the basement in my brother Bill’s old room.  He said they got a call from my brother Bill that his wife was in labor.  I was so glad that I could be the one to move Christian into the downstairs guest room because he might have been more concerned if it was someone else.  That way Sandy could be in the bed she was used too.  Then I went to the guestroom we were in and fed Vivian and curled up to sleep.

I was awakened around 7 from a text from my brother saying that I had a new niece!  Congratulations Megan, Bill and Sandy!  What a great mother’s day gift!  Now everyone in my side of the family that has kids has two children.

After a while I could hear Sandy running around upstairs.   I wondered up there and played with her for a while.  She is so cute.  At one point we went downstairs and played in the “little kitchen”.  Man, I can totally tell that she watches her parents cook just from the confident way she adds ingredients to her mixing bowl.  So darling.

I was so happy that the baby came that day, it gave Christian an opportunity to play with Sandy who we wouldn’t have seen this trip otherwise.


Sandy enjoyed playing with Vivian….I hope that’s a good sign that she will enjoy being a big sister. :)


Our drive home from Utah was okay.  I honestly was having a pretty emotional/hormonal day, but Christian and Vivian were really good (for the most part).  About halfway through our trip, Christian started making up all of these jokes that were really nutty and mostly about odd things marrying each other (I didn’t get them).  Jared tried his best to make them into real jokes.  My favorite joke sounded like something on the wrapper of a “Laffy Taffy” though it’s not PC.

Christian: Why did the garbage can want to marry the wrapper? 

Jared: Because it was trash!

LOL.  Ok. dumb.  I know. But I think it’s funny. 

After too many bad jokes we started playing car games.  Then we convinced Christian to take a nap so that we could listen to a book on tape/have a more grown-up conversation.  We counted and since last March we’ve taken the UT-AZ drive on six trips (that’s the same boring scenery 12 times people).  Yikes!  And it’s one of the most boring drives there is!!!  [Right up there with the majority of Wyoming :)]

Of all the things in the world, I hate packing, and car trips.  You’d think God was trying to teach me something.  The good news is that after all of this time, I am getting much more patience when it comes to car trips.  It’s mostly thanks to Jared and my sweet children who have made the car rides much more pleasant.

Here are my sweethearts happily waiting out the car ride…

….I am such a terrible mother, I totally forgot the sunscreen and Vivian got a bit of a burn (now she’s got a flakey scalp…the joys).              IMG_4179    IMG_4191Here’s Christian happily waiting out the trip.  I’m so grateful I have such nice kids.  I still go crazy with their antics sometimes but I’m so glad they’re mine!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Family Party for Jared’s 30th Birthday


Saturday, my parents were sweet and had a Birthday celebration for Jared.  I feel bad that I didn’t do more for this momentous occasion since he did turn 30 but it’s a little tricky to plan things when you’re traveling.  I did however go shopping for the event when I flew up for Dayna’s wedding.  So he had a surprising stack of gifts from me since he usually takes the car and I stay in all the time unless he’s with me.  (It’s just to hard for me to shop with the kids besides totally unsafe in our area to leave things in the car.  I know I’m paranoid… I really need a house with a garage attached and in a better area.)


Here’s Michael cuddling Vivian…I never knew he liked babies so much until I had Vivian but he’s so gushy around her it’s darling!


The kids playing on the floor… just like we used to do at my grandma’s house.


Bea and Enoch sitting at the piano examining new books.


My sister April with baby Kate.


My mom holding up the four generation photo we gave her for mother’ day.


Jared after blowing out his candles on his cake.  My sister April and Christian helping to take them out of the cake.


Kate eating grandpa Doug’s hair… maybe she thinks she’s low on protein?

It was great seeing our family members who made it.  My SIL Ginny was really sweet and brought us some baby clothes from her daughter so we pretty much have tripled Vivian’s clothing that’s girly.  Thanks again Ginny!  We had a great time seeing all our family.  Thanks for coming everyone!

Play-date….for Us!

One of the things we did when were in Salt Lake was to bring Christian to come and play with Emma.  Of course, this was just a bonus because I really just wanted to spend time visiting with Brooke.  When we first moved to the village I was having a very difficult time with not only the size of our apartment, the location and being away from my old ward, but also with some sad things that happened in our families.  I feel so blessed that Heavenly Father saw fit to let me become friends with Brooke.  Our friendship really has helped me in the last year—she has given me motivation and validation when no one else was even aware that I needed help.  She and I also just see things in a similar light—though we’ll never agree in our taste in ties—she makes me not feel like such a weirdo which is nice.

Here are Christian and Emma playing on her twirling thing together…sharing is nice. IMG_4080IMG_4083 IMG_4085

After they played inside for a while, we kicked our husbands out of the house with the older kids and put the babies down for naps and used that time to clean.

 IMG_4087Here are Emma and Christian all rosy and happy after their play outside.

After the guys came back with Emma and Christian they had us for lunch so that Brooke and I could actually have some time to talk.  It was lovely.  


Here’s baby Ammon getting bigger.  What a cute little guy!  Thanks Brooke and Alan for the fun morning!  We really enjoyed your company.

U of U Commencement

Last Friday were the commencement exercises for Jared’s class of 2010.  I was glad to leave the kids home with my parents and go and enjoy the speeches and everything though I did feel a little empty without wrestling someone in my arms.  Here is Jared in the crowd of graduates.


Our friend Alan was also graduating so I got to sit with my darling friend Brooke and her family.


Here’s Emma getting bored she was doing her hair, eating snacks and jumping up and down….she’s so cute.


Jared and Alan happy to be to a next phase, though Alan is now entering graduate school.


Emma, Alan and Brooke with baby Ammon hiding in the wrap.  They’re such a cute family!

Jared’s Graduation!

Last week the day we have been working, praying, wishing and planning for finally arrived!  Jared graduated!!!    



We did half the drive on Wednesday and then the other half the next morning.  Arriving around 12:30 pm in UT.  Just enough time to get the boys haircuts (Thanks so much mom!), iron Jared’s robe (which by the way was a never-ending task), get dressed, and drive to the University.

There was a reception with Jared’s professors.  Because his doctorate is a clinical degree there was not a hooding ceremony.  Jared is a little addicted to school and is now talking about perhaps someday getting his PH.D. later so that he can become a professor and get our kid’s cheaper tuition.  But right now we are done.

Here’s Jared with four of the six classmates in his program.IMG_3960Enoch, Jared, Megan, and Chelsea

IMG_3962My parents Doug and Jaydene (holding Vivian) and Jared’s parents Gerald and Linda.


Left: Justin was excited to hold Vivian as soon as we walked in the door.

Right:Christian and Enoch’s son Tyson played together like they were old friends.  It was so nice to have someone to play with Christian.


The reception was for all of the six students in his program but only 4 came.

After the reception we went outside for some pictures.  It turns out that the bookstore messed up on the colors for Jared’s college so he ended up with teal rather than olive.  Oh well, I like the teal.


After that we went to Jared’s Convocation where the college of health students and he had their names announced as they walked up to receive their degree covers (since their paper will be in the mail).  IMG_3986

Jared receiving his degree!


Dr. Daddy!


Jared’s Sister Deborah made a huge effort to come with her kids to watch Jared walk.  Christian was so excited to see his cousin Trystan there.

Once we got in the car to go out to dinner to celebrate I could have bawled I was so happy.  Jared has done so well in school while at the same time supporting a growing family and balancing so many things.  He has done an amazing job!  I am so proud of him.  Even though he had assignments, studying, church callings and all he has always taken time to be a great husband and father.  I am so excited that he can now have a little more free time and that we can have him to ourselves more.  I can’t express how happy I am or how proud I am that he has persevered.


Christian trying daddy’s cap on for size…he really wants to graduate now.  I guess it has made an impression.

We then went to the Red Iguana to celebrate with Jared and his classmate Megan and her family some other classmates.  IMG_4018

It was a fun evening.  The best part was when they brought out a cake for Jared’s birthday.  Yes.  Jared turned 30 the day he graduated. IMG_4011

Dr. Jared’s 30th Birthday!

It really seems weird to me that I’m married to a man in his 30’s.  I guess I’m growing up.  Honestly though, I still feel like a 16-year-old girl in a lot of ways though my life is completely different then what it was *gulp* almost 11 + years ago.


What a perfect day for a perfect (well, almost) man.  I love you Jared!