Friday, July 31, 2009

Mine! No! Stuck!

We're coming up on halfway through Britta's vacation from Missouri. Two little girls don't always get along so wonderfully which has made for some interesting yelling matches. All in all, though, we've kept things pretty low-key, without any major adventures yet. But the little adventures are fun, too... playing in the backyard...

...building with blocks...

...taking walks all together...

...or without the adults...hmm...

...and just being silly in general!

I guess we'll just have to keep waiting to see what else might happen in the next five days...


We have been able to start harvesting some of the vegetables from our garden--lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and onions.

It was really nice to have such fresh, clean food to eat. It looked really nice all diced up in the bowls.

It tasted really good with the tostadas we had for dinner. And when we ran out of lettuce in the middle, we just went outside and picked some more. That was pretty cool.

Yay for gardens!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

At 10:36 last night...


You may remember this post from back in February when I posted about the 3,000 piece puzzle that Chris and I began. Yes, it really did take us six months to finish. What can I say? It's a big puzzle and we didn't work on it every minute...

Here are some shots of the finished product. I left Chris and the couch in them so you can have some size perspective.

And here is a close up of North America so you can maybe appreciate how small the pieces are.

I was really excited when all the pieces were actually there. We had originally set it up in our kitchen, with the literally thousands of pieces spread all over the dining table, card table, counter, and cookie sheets. They fell on the floor all the time, were carried off by Jane, and one even ended up being carted around in Chris's backpack for a week. We eventually moved it up into our bedroom to both reclaim our kitchen and to hopefully protect the pieces from being lost. Jane still carried some around and quite a few ended up underneath the bed and dresser. But in the end, we had them all! All 3,000 pieces stayed to participate in their fate and join the final product.

Yay! It's done! The plan now is to glue it together and hang it above the bed in our bedroom, joining the 2,000 piece world map puzzle we did when I was pregnant with Jane. I feel a tradition coming on...

In case you're curious: We glue the puzzle by pouring basic Elmer's school glue over the top and spreading it with paper towels. We don't mount it on anything. To hang it, we use 3M Command Mounting Strips to hang it directly to the wall--one in each corner, and a couple along the top just to be safe. We have never had any problem with the puzzles coming unglued or falling off the wall. And now you know!

- o - o - o - o -

Britta and Emmaline have been visiting us since Tuesday. After picking them up from the airport, we went to visit Discovery Gateway Children's Museum in downtown Salt Lake.

These are just a few pictures, but there is A LOT to do at the museum for a variety of ages of kids. And that brings me to my special offer: I have quite a few free passes as well as 2 for 1 discount passes to Discovery Gateway that I am not going to use.

Do you want them?

They expire on August 31, so if you live in Logan (or are going to see me in the next month) and you will be in Salt Lake before the end of August, you are welcome to some of the passes! Just let me know. Otherwise, they will go to waste!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sacrament Talk

Chris and I spoke in Sacrament Meeting today about Marriage. He took the eternal, spiritual perspective, and I took more of the here and now side. I had to type it all out to get my thoughts organized and I realized that it came out more like a blog than a sacrament I thought I'd post it. I'm sure the talk was different, but this did follow the basic idea. This is mostly for my enjoyment later--don't read if you're not interested.

- - - - -

“Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration.”

Chris and I met in Alaska at a math and science summer program the summer before our senior year of high school. The first time I ever saw Chris, I noticed one thing more than anything else: I could see the outline of a graphing calculator through the pocket of his jeans. My thought: What a dork.

It’s a good thing life gives us second chances, or I wouldn’t ever have gotten to know him any better. As it happened, there were only three LDS students in the entire program, so he and I actually got to know each other fairly well during those six weeks because we were in that small group who would go to church together and who didn’t go on all of the Sunday outings that were offered. I found out that he was the senior class president at his high school with a 4.0 gpa, he had a steady job, he owned his own car, he was planning on going to college and serving a mission…he was all the right things to earn a spot as my first (and only, incidentally) boyfriend.

During the next year and a half of dating long distance, I learned a lot more about Chris that I really admired and came to love—he was devoted to the gospel and always wanted to learn more about the doctrines in the scriptures. He was kind, and had a good relationship with his family. He had a good work ethic and could get a lot done in short amounts of time, and was willing to keep working until the job was done. He wanted nothing less than a temple marriage and planned to have children.

Our dating relationship did come to an abrupt end (his doing), but we stayed in contact. We wrote letters back and forth while he served his mission in Norway, and we got to know each other all the better. He came home and ten days later we were engaged, ten weeks after that we were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake temple. I had married the perfect guy, so we would have the perfect marriage, right? And so begins happily ever after…

Yeah, right.

It didn’t take long for reality to sink in. Both of us realized fairly quickly that it really wasn’t going to be easy and that we would have to put in a good amount of effort if our marriage was going to be happy and productive. We’ve only been married for just shy of three years, so we’re still working out the bugs, but we’re getting better. My parents have been married for 32 years. President Hinckley had been married for 67 years when his wife passed away. 3 years is nothing. But, in the context of this married student ward, we’re old-timers. And while I can’t really claim to know much of anything, I want to share some of the things that we have learned in the relatively short—or long—time that we’ve been married.

Chris was really excited a few weeks ago about a quote shared during a talk—he liked it so much he even saved it into his iPod so he could refer to it again later. President Hinckley, when quoting a newspaper article, said, “Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration.”

Translation: You’re not going agree on everything, and that’s okay.

I had lived on my own for almost three years by the time that Chris and I were married. During that time, I had worked at least two jobs, sometimes three, while going to school full time. I had a good system for managing my money. I paid my bills, kept track of all my regular expenses, and put some away for a rainy day. I had heard that money was the cause of the vast majority of marital conflict. When we got married, I was fully prepared to take over all the family finances and manage them with great skill and accuracy without any assistance needed. Crisis averted. I solved the problem before it could even start.

Well, surprise to me, Chris actually wanted to know where all our money was going. He didn’t want me to just take care of everything and leave him in the dark. So, we started down the road of managing our finances together. In the beginning, that usually resulted in huge fights that would last anywhere from a few hours to a couple days. I didn’t want to do it his way and he didn’t want to do it my way.

Since then, we have gotten a little bit better. We have worked out a system where Chris gets all the information organized neatly on the computer. He does that part by himself because I don’t want to do it and it’s kind of boring to watch. Then I come in and we talk about where we stand, what we may need to change, and make any plans that need to be made for the future. If either one of us starts getting upset or annoyed, we just stop talking about it for a while and come back later—in an hour or in a week. I have accepted that he likes to have everything very meticulously organized to every detail and to have everything planned out for the next year, and he has accepted that I just want to know the basics and how much money I have to spend on groceries this week. Mutual toleration.

You have to decide what really matters and what you’re willing to sacrifice on. For example: laundry. When I hang my shirts in the closet, I want all of them facing the same direction so I can more easily decide what to wear each day. If Chris puts away the laundry, my clothes are not going to look the same as if I did it. But, I’ve learned this lesson: if I do it, it’s done my way. If he does it, it’s done and I don’t have to do it.

It’s also important that we don’t take it personally. Our daughter is 18 months old now, and we have another baby girl due in October. Small children mean lots of dirty diapers. When I ask Chris to change Jane’s diaper and he doesn’t do it, I have to remember that it’s not because he’s ignoring me or trying to make me mad. He just doesn’t want to change a nasty diaper either.

Life is about the story. Think back to your wedding day—do you remember all those tiny details that you so painstakingly arranged so everything would be perfect? Do you remember the arrangement of the flower petals on the cake, or the precise volume of the sound system during your first dance as a married couple? Probably not.

Here is what I remember from our wedding day: I forgot to brush my teeth that morning. Of all days to forget to brush your teeth. In the sealing room when we had the chance to exchange rings, I put Chris’s ring on the wrong hand. When we came out of the temple together after the sealing, my dress got caught on a nail and I almost tripped going down the stairs.

Those are the kinds of things that I remember. I can look back through the pictures to see the perfect table decorations and the cheese and crackers laid out just so. But forgetting to brush your teeth is a lot funnier.

We fall in love with our spouse because of the perfections. We stay in love because of the imperfections.

I fell in love with Chris because he is a good man who honors his priesthood and strives to raise a righteous family in the gospel. I’ve stayed in love with him because he owns a crowbar because he thinks it’s cool to own a crow bar. He likes to slide down long banisters in public places. And he likes to spin Jane around until she’s really dizzy, then laughs when she falls over.

I believe that God created men and women so differently because He knows that we need each other. We need the balance that our differences bring to have a truly successful marriage and to raise a righteous, happy family. I am grateful for my husband and for the opportunity that we have to spend eternity together. And I’m glad we’re not perfect so life will be more interesting.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Counting My Blessings

While we haven't experienced any major tragedies in our family of late, this was something of a trying week. As I was thinking back over everything that happened, though, I realized that things could have very easily taken a turn for the worse--and they didn't. Tonight I am counting our blessings.

- - - - -

My car died on Wednesday. I got in the car to leave, and it just wouldn't start. Turned the key: nothing. This happened even after getting it jumped twice and driving around town to make sure that the battery had time to recharge. Still wouldn't start once it had been turned off.

We considered several possible causes and cost to repair: battery $40-60, ignition relay $20-30, alternator $120-140, starter $100-150. Not to mention several hours of work.

Actual cause: bad battery terminal.
Cost to repair: $5 and ten minutes.

- - - - -

I have been really sick this week, with some major pain in my back that was progressively getting worse. When I finally went to the doctor on Thursday, he determined that it was probably a kidney infection and started me on a series of antibiotics. Later that afternoon, I was in enough pain that I couldn't hardly move. Chris came home from work and took me to the hospital to have an ultrasound to check for kidney stones. We also stopped at the pharmacy to pick up some more powerful painkillers.

Lots of blessings here:

Chris was able to come home from work to take care of me.

Jane went to day care for the day, and then my mom came last night and took care of Jane while I was sick.

The pain killers worked. I was able to sit up, talk, move...and sleep through the night. Ah, sleep.

I don't have any kidney stones.

There is most likely still an infection in my kidneys, but I've improved enough today that I won't need to be admitted to the hospital for an IV treatment.

- - - - -

I am very glad today that I have a husband who loves me, a mom who will help me, and a cute daughter who adores me. Life is good.

Chillin' on Pioneer Day

My mom works for the State of Utah, which a while back changed its office hours to be closed every Friday. During the summer, Mom is taking my brother Michael each Friday to a different temple in Utah until they have visited them all. I don't know for sure all that they have visited thus far, but I know they've been to Salt Lake, Jordan River, Bountiful, Manti, Provo, Ogden, St. George...I know there's more but I can't remember which. Anyway, today was their day to visit the Logan temple. Jane and I went with them.

The temple grounds are currently under construction (the temple is closed for the entire month of July). It appears that they are rebuilding all the fountains out front, so the sidewalks and parking lot were completely blocked off. The back entrance, though, was open, so we snuck in for a quick visit. The hill is a little steep, so Michael had to help Jane up.

Then Michael decided it was more fun to roll down the hill instead of walking,

but Jane didn't agree.

She found the slope rather intimidating on the return journey, so Grandma had to go help.

After our temple excursion, we went to Merlin Olsen park to play for a while. Britta! This is the park in the island. ;)

I like the equipment at this park because it's not as tall as a lot of playgrounds, so I don't worry as much about Jane running around on it.

Michael enjoyed the miniature climbing wall...

...or at least the hole on the bottom.

He also liked the tire swing...

...although he needed a break after all the spinning.

Grandma even joined in on all the fun with the swings.

Logan River goes straight through the middle of the park. It's fun because it's really shallow and slow-moving, so Jane can play in the water as much as she wants and I'm not worried about her being carried away or anything. I guess this park is the place to go if you want to avoid worrying.

Jane could walk all the way across and the water never got higher than her knees--and she's pretty short. That's shallow.

Jane didn't want to leave!

Aren't they cute?

It was a very pleasant day. Thanks, Mom, for coming to visit and entertaining us this morning! I think we need to go back to this park again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Good Reason

I discovered that I have good reason to not enjoy being pregnant right now.

I was awake most of last night with major pain in my lower back. When it was time to get up this morning, I just felt really sick. I couldn't eat or drink anything without throwing up, and my back still hurt really bad. Luckily, I already had a doctor's appointment scheduled for 9:00 this morning.

The idea of chasing Jane around while I felt so crappy, at the doctor's office no less, did not sound at all appealing. I took her to day care instead. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Laura Lee!!! It was really nice to not have to worry about her while I'm being sick.

After talking to the doctor, we figured out what is wrong. I had a UTI a few weeks ago, but the antibiotics didn't quite clear it all up. Over these last three weeks, it progressed into a kidney infection. They are running a few more tests to find out just how extensive the infection is, but at the moment I have much more powerful antibiotics to take in the meantime. If I'm not feeling any better by tomorrow afternoon, I will have to be admitted to the hospital to be put on IV antibiotics. The doctor also said that if I had waited any longer to come in, he would have sent me over the hospital immediately.

I'd rather not go to the hospital, but I'd also rather not be sick...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Please, allow me

I need to whine for a minute. Today, and all this week, I don't like being pregnant. A few of my grievances are...

I can't breathe. My lungs are squished, and there's nothing I can do about it. Laying down sometimes helps, but

I have major heartburn six out of the seven days of the week. It doesn't seem to make any difference what I eat or don't eat. It comes anyway. And over-the-counter antacids don't do much of anything, except for Tums, and

I hate Tums. It's like eating sidewalk chalk. How is that productive? It's probably the real reason why

I have psycho dreams all the time. Chris built us a house--entirely out of stone--without asking my opinion. The main feature was the bar, with all the custom shelves for each of his favorite brands of alcohol. The catch: we don't drink. Another night, I was being chased by demons. Of course, they were very polite demons who let you choose how you wanted to die. But even demons were better than the night that all the Kleenex in the world disintegrated. That was particularly troublesome because

I am completely, consistently, constantly congested. I blow my nose so many times during one day that it usually bleeds as a result. At least I don't get bloody from all the times when

I'm pummeled during the day both from the inside and the outside. My toddler is a wanna-be rock climber and my baby is destined to be a gymnast, dancer, or kickboxer. Maybe that's why

I can never sleep at night. It takes me FOREVER to fall asleep to begin with, then I wake up every time I have to roll over or adjust my pillow. It's like sleeping with a basketball filled with jello shoved up my shirt. But wait, that gelatin-filled item of sports equipment is the reason why

I am dreading another hospital visit. I can give birth, fine whatever. It hurts, yes, but then you have a baby and life is grand. But I hated staying at the hospital last time, and I really don't look forward to going back. That said, I don't think I want that mess in my house, either... Either way,

I don't like being pregnant today. I think I'll go lay down so I can breathe better...until the heartburn kicks in...then I'll eat some sidewalk chalk and call it a night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

nice try

Ok, some of you were close in your pop quiz guess. Thank you, family and Britta, for not giving it away.

This parking lot

has taken the place of the house in which I was born on St. Patrick's Day, 1985. Such a nice place to go back and visit my beginnings, eh?

Yes, I was born at home. Nowadays not many people can say they were actually born in Draper since there is no hospital within Draper city limits, although I'm sure that will change in the near future.

We haven't been able yet to track down a picture of the actual house--our hope lies in Aunt Lynette or the Draper Historical Society. The house was burned down not long after we left, I believe, as practice for the fire department. Torched on purpose. What a way to go.

I was less than a year old when we moved, if I remember correctly, so I don't have any personal memories of the house. I know a few stories: there were skunks living under the floor of the master bedroom which got into a fight one night, forcing my parents, two older sisters, and baby me to spend a few days staying with my grandparents down the road.

The railroad tracks

ran right past the front door. Mom says you got used to it after a while, but you couldn't talk on the phone or have any real conversation while it was going past.

After they tore down the house, a horse corral was built further back aways,

now also part of the parking lot. It was the running joke for a long time in my family that I was born in a horse corral.

And there you go. If you would like to visit this historic location in person, simply go to Draper City Park by following 1300 East south just past the roundabout in Draper. Can't miss it.

So which is better: being born in a horse corral or being born in a parking lot?

Monday, July 20, 2009

every bathroom should have its own plunger

We had quite the weekend, complete with a Discovery Gateway visit, temple trip, parade, and a complete lack of naps. Of course, as is my habit of late, I didn't take pictures of half the trip...those will have to wait until I can steal some from Mom and Laura Lee. Thanks, guys. :)

But, don't you worry, I have plenty of pictures of the parade! As Mom says, you have to go to at least one good ol' small town parade every summer. In case you've missed yours this year, you can enjoy it vicariously through my blog.

We arrived about an hour and a half early to stake out our seats for the Draper Days Parade. Jane stayed entertained playing with her second cousins once removed, Maddie and Abby. They drew on the road with sidewalk chalk...

...and ate pretzels and fruit snacks.

Side story: Here is a closer shot of that scratch next to Jane's eye.

She did that a couple days ago. She was trying to stand on the lid of a toy bucket and slipped, hitting her head on the corner of the cupboard door. Luckily, she was more bruised than cut, so it didn't really bleed much, and she did recover quickly. I'm just glad it wasn't an inch more to the right.

And now back to your regularly scheduled parade programming.

My aunt Nancy took pictures of everyone.

Michael, on the other hand, decided to take a nap.

When the parade finally started, Jane made it known that she didn't appreciate the loud sirens and other noises. She stuck pretty close to Grandma for most of the time,

although she did venture out later on once she discovered that there was free candy for the taking.

By the way, have you ever heard of throwing marshmallows at a parade? The people sitting to the left of us were throwing mini-marshmallows at the people on the floats. I understand throwing candy from the floats to the viewing audience, by why throw things at the people in the parade?

It's been a while since I watched an entire parade. Here are some highlights:

We start with the lucky police officers who get to set the pace,

followed closely behind by none other than the Draper City Police tank.

Why, do you ask, does Draper City need a tank? I have no idea. I thought it was pretty funny.

No parade is complete without a high school marching band.

There were actually a couple different ones, and I thought this second group had a better plan in terms of costumes.

There were a few rather impressive floats. This first one was promoting recycling...could you tell?

I believe this float had a storybook theme. It was created by the Draper Utah Mountain Point Stake. I was impressed that a church stake would go to so much effort--I wouldn't have expected that.

Of course, they did have some competition from one of the local Spanish Branches.

Only in Utah will you find a Book of Mormon-based parade float.

If you were feeling a little sluggish watching the parade, you could always take this hiker's place and let the goat help you up the mountain.

It was insanely hot during the entire parade, and our shade left us about ten minutes before the parade even got to our spot. I did NOT envy the people on this float:

They were actually riding a bunch of stationary bikes during the whole parade route. Holy cow. Talk about heat stroke.

But, all told, this was probably the major highlight of the parade: A tow truck hauling an old motorhome.

Ok, really? I had no idea why this was in the parade. There were no banners or flyers advertising anything, no smiling, waving people walking alongside...if it weren't for the parade number ticket in the window, I would have assumed that the tow truck took a wrong turn and accidentally ended up in a parade. Go figure.


And where was Chris during our grand parade adventure? He opted to stay home with my dad to work on a few projects...

Chris's weekend adventures:

~removed the water pump from Deborah's car

~drove to seven different auto parts and hardware stores throughout Salt Lake valley before finding the correct bolts at Ace Hardware, five minutes before they closed for the weekend

~installed a new water pump, with seven brand new, impossible to find metric bolts, in Deborah's car

~bought several new tools, including a Serpentine Belt Tool and a crow bar

~unclogged the drain in the green bathroom's sink

~organized all of my dad's tools into four different tool boxes that all neatly fit onto one shelf

~decluttered and reorganized the entire back patio, making the grill accessible and getting the broken washing machine out of the main walkway

~removed all the large rocks lining the patio so the recycling containers can be turned to face the house and have a spot out of the driveway


Pop Quiz:
What is the significance of this parking lot?

One hint: It is in Draper.

Family Excluded! You can't give it away if you already know! This pop quiz is only open to people who have a real guess, not an answer.