Saturday, January 24, 2009

I am the Queen of England

I was skimming over some of my older posts, and, not surprisingly, the majority of them are all about Jane. For variety's sake, I thought I'd let you all know more about the rest of our lives.


Chris is currently taking 12 credits worth of classes at USU. It's his smallest courseload ever, that I know of. They are all higher level classes (except maybe racquetball...I'm not sure that counts...but he enjoys it). So far, things have not been too difficult for him. Hopefully it will stay that way during the semester, even after all the major homework assignments and huge tests.

All of the paperwork is turned in to the Air Force. Now we just wait to find out if he's accepted or not. We're fairly confident that everything will be fine--they have a 100% acceptance rate for his program for the last two years or four years or something. So we wait, but we're planning on it. I can't remember for sure when we find out. It's either February or June...or anytime inbetween, I guess.

A few weeks ago, Chris was called as the first counselor in the Elder's Quorum presidency in our ward. We go to a married student ward. We were just moved from a building about a mile from our house to the stake center, which is on the other side of town (15 minutes away, 10 on a good day). Quite a few couples in our ward decided the move wasn't worth the drive, so they've switched to the family ward. As a result, a lot of the ward is being reorganized. It's kind of fun, though, in my opinion. It's like a fresh start, and we're a part of everything from the "beginning."

Sorry, I strayed from the point. Chris was called in the EQ presidency. ... ... I thought I had more to say about that, but apparently I don't.

Day Care...

This is Jane-related, but she has no idea the drama that is involved in finding a place for her to stay while we are at work/school all day. We found a day care that we have been comfortable with since school started in August, but we have to leave. We are, unfortunately, losing our spot to a pregnant mother. Her maternity leave will be over in March and we have to be gone by then.

After a few weeks and several phone calls and appointments, we have finally found someone to watch Jane. It's everything we want on paper. She's close to our house (just on the other side of the golf course), she has a good house and yard for kids, she has a good daily routine. One of the best things is that she will charge only a $50 deposit to hold the spot for the summer while I'm out of school. Most places will only give you a small discount on the monthly rate, or they won't hold it at all unless you're paying the full price. So $50? Sweet.

The slightly funny thing is that her name is Laura.


I am still very excited to own a Wii. (I would like to mention one more time that it is mine, not ours. An important distinction :) ) Unfortunately, I have not actually enjoyed playing it as much as I would have liked. I've never been really into video or computer games, so I'm not very good at it. Most of the games I try are either way too hard so I get frustrated and quit really fast, or else they are very short arcade-type games and I get bored quickly doing the same thing over and over.

In an effort to find games that I will actually want to play, we have been trying out a few that belong to other people (thanks, Valerie, Mark and Bill). The favorite at the moment is Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I started playing it first and was doing really well. The problem was that we don't have a memory card, so we couldn't save. As long as we never turned it off, we could keep playing. That also meant that we couldn't play any other games. Since he couldn't switch games, Chris started playing on my Zelda game. There was one day I was gone for a few hours and he got way far into the game, far enough that I now don't know anything that's going on in the story or how to use any of the stuff he's picked up. So while we did find a game that I enjoy, I'm still not playing. Sigh.

We did buy Lego Star Wars 1 and 2 and we borrowed a memory card from Mark (thanks again). I'll have to try those out soon.

My School...

For those of you who don't remember, I teach fifth grade. There are a couple cool things happening in my classroom right now. One, an almost-complete Smart Classroom has been installed in my room. That includes a projection system and an audio enhancement system. I have a projector hooked up to my computer so I can do powerpoint, use the internet, etc. during lessons and have it all projected so my students can see. I also have a microphone that goes around my neck so I don't have to talk very loud and the students can all still hear me. Cool.

The whole thing is really cool, although I haven't actually done much with it yet. It was only installed on Thursday night. My computer isn't completely hooked up to it yet, so I can't use that, and I am terribly allergic to the strap for the microphone, so I can't wear it without very quickly getting a huge rash across the back of my neck.

So...I guess it isn't really cool yet. But it all has potential.

The other cool thing (that actually is cool) in my classroom right now is a colony. We are studying Colonial America, with all the events leading up to the Revolutionary War. To make it more engaging for the kids, we have created a colony. I am the Queen of England and they are all colonists subject to my rule. We have English Pounds that they can earn, and they all have different colonial jobs to earn the pounds. They are way into it.

Being what it is, there is a lot coming that my students don't know about yet. They will have to pay taxes, and if you remember anything about the colonial times, it's going to be A LOT of taxes. In their minds, I know that the whole colony thing will become much less cool really fast. But in my mind, I know that they will understand it and remember it a lot more than if we just read the textbook and did worksheets.

Every once in a while I try to make school interesting.

In Closing...

Courtesy of Jess:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jane Update

Jane had her one-year check-up today with the pediatrician. For anyone who may care, I thought I'd give the stats. She is 28 1/2 inches tall and weighs 18 lbs. 3 oz. That puts her in the 27th percentile for height and the 8th for weight. I don't mind that too much considering that we still carry her around everywhere... She is in the 75th percentile for head circumference, though. So she's small and has a huge head. Maybe that means she'll be extra smart.

This last Monday we also revisited the dermatologist about Jane's hemangioma. In layman's terms, that's a birthmark. No, Jane doesn't have a perpetual black eye. I promise we don't abuse her and she isn't that much of a klutz. That big red mark under her right eye is a birthmark. It showed up when she was about a week old. Over time, it grew. Here are some pictures from back in the day:

It started out small-ish.

Then it got worse.

And worse...

When she was four months old, we were referred to a dermatologist. He put her on steroids to make it shrink (the tissue build up underneath the skin was pushing on her eyeball, presenting the risk of damaging her eye). She was on steroids for eight months. We were very excited in December when we were finally able to stop giving her medicine. The birthmark had improved dramatically.

Unfortunately, it started to come back after she's been off the steroids for a little more than a month. We went back to the dermatologist on Monday, like I said. He said that there is nothing to worry about unless it gets big enough that it looks like it could be pushing on her eye again. If it does come back, she'll go back on steroids. I'm really hoping that instead it'll just go away. Most of these types of birthmarks disappear by the time the kids are two. Cross your fingers.

I posted all that mostly to update the farther-away relatives that we don't talk to quite as often, but also partially just because I wanted to show off pictures of Jane when she was little. It's been a while since I looked at them. Thanks, Craig, for the cd.

To end, while I was writing all that, Chris took a few pictures of Jane that are rather amusing. She still isn't really walking, but she has discovered a quick way to get around. The kitchen, at least.

Who needs to learn how to walk when you have a high chair handy?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Did you know...

My favorite food is spaghetti.

I eat elementary cafeteria food for lunch at least four days of the week.

I have a scar on the second toe of my left foot where my best friend ran into me on MY bike when I was three.

I bite my fingernails.

I can't sleep if my ear is folded.

I collect anything ladybug.

I can only wear natural fabrics...cotton, linen, and silk. Nothing else.

I'm allergic to milk and it makes me miserable.

I live by lists. If I haven't written it down, it will probably never happen.

Jane and I have matching cowlicks in the middle of our foreheads, although hers goes in the opposite direction.

I cut Chris's hair to save money, but I am willing to pay $20+ to get my hair cut.

All of my movies are in alphabetical order and it drives me nuts if one is out of place.

I keep a Reese's peanut butter cup in my desk at school. I never eat it, but I leave it there knowing I could eat it if I really really wanted to.

We have five representations of the Salt Lake temple in our living room...two pictures, one statue, a cross-stitch, and a puzzle.

I rotate shampoo every two or three showers so my head won't itch.

I have seven boxes in my closet full of letters that have been written to me since high school.

My downstairs bathroom is decorated in lighthouses.

When I put away our laundry, I don't mind folding clothes, but I hate hanging things up. Too much effort.

Our family color is green.

I'm short.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Birthday!!!...yesterday

For the first and only time ever in her life, Jane turned one yesterday. Hooray! We're planning the big family party for Saturday, but we did have a small celebration with just the three of us.

We started the evening off with the birthday dinner: pytte i panne. It's a Norwegian dish Chris learned on his mission that basically amounts to a one-pan breakfast. Potatoes, ham, eggs, onion, garlic, cheese...whatever sounds good. Generally, we follow the "birthday person gets to choose the meal" tradition. Since Jane can't talk, she had to settle for what was already on the menu. She didn't seem to mind too much, though.

After dinner, opening of gifts commenced. We actually bought Jane a new coat for her birthday, but we gave it to her early. It was way way way too cold for her to be wearing her old coat that is too small and is more of a jacket than a coat anyway. So, she's been wearing that gift all week. Luckily, she's too little to have a clue.

It took her a while to realize that the presents were meant to be opened, so she spent a while just waving them around.

Once again, she would only tear off a small piece of wrapping paper at a time and hand it to me before tearing off any more. At one point, I had dropped a piece on the floor without noticing. Jane immediately stopped unwrapping and pointed at the fallen piece, saying "uh-oh uh-oh uh-oh" until I picked it up. Then she went right back to opening the present like nothing had happened.

We gave her a coloring book with Crayola Twistables crayons. They are crayons, but they are inside a plastic case that makes them basically the same as a marker, but it's a crayon. They are working really, really well. They don't break as easily as colored pencils and Jane isn't interested at all in eating them like she does normal crayons. She played with them for quite awhile, and she was actually coloring in the book.

I'll post a full compliment of party pictures after the big shebang on Saturday.

In other news, Jane is a full-blown stepper. She's not really walking yet, but she can take two or three steps before she falls over. Often, she'll take her three steps, sit down, then clap. I guess because we kept getting excited when she walked, she now thinks that any step is worthy of a clap. Hopefully soon we'll pass the three-step record. I hear applause in the future...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wii-ing in 2009

Our friends John and Valerie came over to celebrate New Year's Eve with us... While Chris and John played Lego Star Wars on the Wii, Valerie and I played Phase 10 dice while simultaneously keeping Jane from swallowing the other dice we had given her to distract her from our game. I only have a few pictures from New Year's anything, and most of those are Jane:

Following our newly-created holiday tradition, Jane and I are each wearing shirts from holidays other than New Year's. I am wearing my St. Patrick's Day (and my birthday :) ) shirt and Jane is wearing her Christmas outfit that we forgot to take to Aberdeen. By the way, she is very upset because she doesn't like the headband. That's part of the reason why I never try ponytails or anything in her hair. She very quickly rips out anything we put in her hair.

Here she is playing with the headband later. She very much enjoys pulling down around her neck and taking it off again.

After Jane went to bed, us four adults played Monkey Balls on the Wii. There are a lot of arcade-type games. We were so involved in the video game that we didn't even notice when midnight came and went. We did catch on only a few minutes after, but apparently the excitement of 2009 wasn't enough to tear us away from the Wii. I wonder what the new year will be filled with if this was our beginning...

Anyway, I have a ton of pictures from Aberdeen and Salt Lake from Christmas. Mostly Aberdeen. Enjoy. Or not, I guess it's really up to you. I'll put the captions before the picture so you know what's coming.

Hanging out in Salt Lake

Hanging out in Aberdeen

Christmas Morning

I thought that last one was particularly cool. I actually managed to catch the flash from another camera right when I took the picture. How often does that happen?

Here's a picture of a very studly Michael out in the snow while building the Snow Claus. Nice shot, huh?

And now to end, I want to show off my movie collection. I did receive about ten new dvds for Christmas, as well as the last four seasons of Stargate to complete our collection (did I already say that?). Knowing this was all coming, we bought (and wrapped and put under the tree) another set of shelves. When we brought everything home, we added the new dvds and rearranged some of the VHS tapes we had stored in the entertainment center. I think the end result looks pretty cool.