Monday, December 3, 2012


Life has caught me underfoot and has swept me off my feet. In an attempt to gain control of my life again, I am taking a break from the busy world of social media. I am going to unplug for a while and give myself some time to focus on my house, my child, my husband, and my health. Not to mention preparing for the wonderful festivities of Christmas!.

Its time to re-evaluate my priorities, get things in order, and de-clutter my life. I need respite from the overwhelming noise that all these seemingly important obligations (that are not actually Facebook updates) constantly bombard me and my life.

Look for me soon. And wish me luck.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9: The Roadrunner

We call our little blue car "The Roadrunner". Its blue, and its horn sounds a lot like the Warner Brother's cartoon. I put it to the test this morning as we embarked on our trek over the mountains to celebrate my Mother-in-law's birthday, and my Sis-in-law's opening weekend in the school play.

The storm blew in as we left. It was rainy, and I admit, a tad scary. But after we made it through the first canyon, we traveled ahead of the storm. It was slightly wet, but no more scary weather. But I am thankful for nice tires, a car that runs well, and God's protection. I am also grateful for the wonderful company I had for this trip. I am glad I had my sis-in-law to talk/giggle with. I just pray I can get back home...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8: The Seasons

Ok, so this might sound random, but I LOVE the changing seasons. Especially the autumn. I love to feel that things are changing. It helps to motivate me to make changes in my life, for the better. The beauty of the world around me is stunning with each season. I love the flowering blossoms of spring, the green grass of summer, the colored mountainside in the fall, and the sparkling snow falling in winter. What an incredible gift, to enjoy all kinds of beauty that is constantly changing! Today I am thankful for crunchy leaves, crisp autumn air, and the faint whisper that winter is coming!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7: Freedom

The miracle of the American Experiment is being tested and tried in the biggest election year, ever. What an amazing blessing to be able to have a say in how the government runs. I have the freedom to follow my dreams, change my mind, and think for myself. I can worship God in the way I choose, and   I have the right to believe the way I want. Freedom is an incredible gift. I am seriously so blessed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6: My Last Name + the People I Share it With.

Alright. So I feel that I may come off as a little brown-noser as I continue in my gratitude list. I felt it was a little too easy to say that I am grateful for my family. Family is the most important thing to me, as they help me to be the person I am and hope to be. There is so much to say about how grateful I am  to have the family I have. This includes my wonderful in-laws. 

I couldn't ask for a better family to marry into. They welcomed me with open arms, took me in as if I were a daughter of their own... as if I have been around the whole time.

I give a lot of credit to my mother-in-law who told my husband "not to give up on that Jessica girl" before we started dating. I was doing my best, but thanks to mother intuition my husband gave me another shot. So thanks, Mom. She always seems to have her head on straight, even when things are utter chaos around her. With 7 children, chaos happens more often than not... She is such a wonderful example to me. I have had only a short time to get to know her thus far, and I am so grateful for the times I have had to to get to know her on a one-on-one basis. She is an incredible woman and I hope that I can be more like her.

Papa LeBaron is so much fun to be around. He likes to have fun, make jokes, and keep everyone happy. He radiates love with all the tenderness of a big lovable teddy bear. He is so genuine, and kind though he will tease you if you aren't careful. I can't express how much his welcoming hug and "hello, pretty lady" mean to me when we come to visit. I am one of his daughters and he'll take me as I am. I am so grateful to him for that.

Man it is fun to have sisters! (I count the other married sis-in-laws with them.) I love to shop, talk, and craft with these fine young ladies. I the juicy details, the fashion advice, the homemade manicures. They welcomed me with open arms and let me in on the fun! I am grateful to feel that I belong, it means a lot to me.

The boys will be boys... and I wouldn't change that. They make the family gatherings fun, exciting, and entertaining... to say the least. Its is hard to describe how comforting it is having so many brothers around... They can take care of the bad guys. And I know they will.

I know, another wedding picture... don't judge me. Its hard to get this many people to stay still for a photo... 

PS. I have a really cute nephew too! I am grateful to have him to squeeze those little cheeks like good aunts do. (Its my duty. I think he would be disappointed if I didn't...)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 5: "Little" Brother

My brother and I have been pretty good friends all our lives... ok, so pretty much all our lives... there was that phase I went through that I wanted a cat instead, but it eventually passed...

What would I do without him? We have spent so much time in the car on our family trips, on our evening walks around the block with the dog... I missed him a lot this past summer when he was working away, even though we don't talk every day like we used to... I still missed him terribly.

I am so proud of him and the things he is doing! He is so talented at music, he is smart, funny, and genuine. He is a good guy, who is learning who he wants to be. I see great potential and promise in him. I hope he does too.

I wish I was more eloquent in describing just how important he is to me... So to him (if he reads this... or this could be a little awkward...) I am so grateful that you stuck around with me. I am grateful for the life-long friend I have by my side. Even though you are WAY taller than me... I love you, bro. Please, always remember that. :)

PS. I look totally ridiculous in this picture. But I like this one of my brother... :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 4: Pork Chops + Pea Gravy

One of the best meals there is. YUM! And we got to eat it tonight! I am grateful for the meal that I got to share with my family, and for the yummy-ness that was shared, but this post isn't exactly about pork chops... despite them being oh-so-delicious...

I have the best parents in the world. I know some people might beg to differ... but I seriously do not know how you can possibly do better than mine. They may tell me later that I am their daughter, so I have to say nice things... but it is true. They will have to see reason some day.

My mother is one of the strongest women I know. She is a worrier, and she tends to worry about other people and their needs. She wants this life to be the best it can be for everyone around her, and she tries not to make a fuss when attention is turned to her. (She may be mad at me later for this...) She took on a lot to take care of her own mother. I watched her as she tried to juggle work, taking care of Grandma, and taking care of Dad. She worried about her sisters too. My mom is a rock, she is dependable, loving, and likes to spoil her only grandson. *wink* She takes care of me and does her best to make sure I have my needs met. I don't know what I would do without her in my life. I love and adore her. I want to be like her.

My father is... nothing short of absolutely amazing. I couldn't ask for a better man to be so involved in my life. He has a heart of gold, a sense of humor, and a way of writing that makes everything right with the world. He raised my brother and I on the classics. Rocky Raccoon, Jeremiah was a Bullfrog, American Pie... our bedtime songs literally rocked. I have fond memories of road trips to and from Kanab listening to the "Caffeine" CD and answering the "who sings this song?" question. (Which by the way, is a trick question... he usually asked when it was actually Who singing...) My dad is a super hero. He knows what to say, when to say it, and how to take control of a situation to make it better. He is so strong, so kind, so happy. I know everything is going to be alright when he is around... even when it might not be...

It is difficult to put into words the love and admiration I have for my dear parents. I am grateful to have them as a major part of my life, even now, as my own family begins and grows. I would have it no other way! So to them I say: I am grateful that you are you, that you are my parents, and that I can have you around for many more adventures! I love you!

PS. I know its a picture of my wedding day... surprisingly I don't have many pictures with them both in it... that will have to be fixed...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 3: Little Man

It would not be right for anything but my Little Man to come next in my list of things I am grateful for. He is my whole world. He brings such joy in to the lives of those around him. He is such a good kid. He doesn't fuss much (when other people are around), he has such a happy disposition, and a cute little personality to go along with such a cute little guy!

Being a mother is better than I ever thought it could be. Even on the days when I call my mom apologizing for screaming at her all day... the love I have for my Little Man cannot be matched by anything. Nothing can deter me from caring about his every wish. I see it as a glimpse into the love that God has for me... and it humbles me to feel it only strengthen.

Pound it Mom! 

I am so grateful for my Little Man. May we have all sorts of adventures together!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 2: True Love

I married a perfect fit. We compliment each other in ways I never thought possible before I met him. How did I get along without him for so long? It has only been 3 years, and yet I find it difficult to remember life before him...

He is my Superman. He is kind, friendly, and patient. He loves me on the days that are less-than-the-best... He is a hard worker, a faithful priesthood holder, and he is always up for a good laugh. He is strong, gentile, and willing to help me in any way he can. 

He supports me in my duties as wife and mother, in my dreams and ambitions, and in my personal issues. He encourages me to improve myself and really believes that I am beautiful. A girl can get spoiled... 

He is a great father. I love to watch him play and interact with the Little Man. He is the fun one, we all know it. I love it. 

To the love of my life. I am so grateful you are with me! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 1: Testimony

November is the month of gratitude. I wanted to celebrate this year by recording something I am grateful for each day. Today I am grateful for my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It brings strength and comfort to me in all aspects of my life, and never fails me when times get tough.

I believe that God speaks to his living prophets today. We can learn from them and consider the words they say to be directly from God. I am grateful to have living prophets.

I believe that God speaks to me through revelation and his holy spirit in regards to  my own personal life. I am a child of God, and I am known personally by him. He loves me and cares enough about me that I can address things in my life and he will listen, and he will answer my questions. I am grateful for revelation and for prayers.

I believe in a life after death. Those we lose in this life have only stepped beyond the veil to continue on their eternal journey. We will be reunited with our loved ones again someday. The mourning we have here for our deceased friends and family is sad, only because we miss them. They are not lost, but waiting. We shall all live together again. This is possible through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am grateful for this knowledge.

I believe that family is forever. I am sealed to my husband for eternity. I can continue to progress throughout the rest of time... It is through the blessings received through temple ordinances that this perspective is possible. I am grateful for temples, for an eternal perspective, and for the knowledge and comfort this can (and has) brought to my life.

I am grateful for the values and standards that I have committed to. I am a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For this, I am grateful.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

To: A Dear Friend

Dear FHA (Fun has Arrived),
You have been like a second father to me. You had an answer for everything. Its not fair that you think you can leave us all behind to figure the rest out on our own... You are a wonderful man, you have a wonderful family, your influence has reached so many people. The world will be missing a huge part of it. But I love you and will miss you. I look forward to seeing you again. Thanks for all you did for me.


P.S. Please remember to come get Max...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Witches' Dinner Party!

I have been plotting this party since mid-August. Each detail proved a perfect piece to the masterpiece. Thanks to those lovely girls who attended this year. It was so much fun! I can hardly wait until next year!

Don't pay attention to the smudge on the frame...How did I miss that?
Theme: Black and Purple with Silver accents.

Appetizer: Ghostly Greens
Main Dish: Bat Wings and Monster Mashed Potatoes
Dessert: Sinful Delight
Drinks: Mulled Cranberry-Blackberry Cider Spritzers

We ate dinner in candle light. It added to the creepy ambiance and created a fun atmosphere. The pictures doesn't do it justice, but it also helped that you couldn't see the full horror of the bat wings... 

Homemade, Halloween-shaped croutons.

Bat wings. Garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes.
No-bake Nutella Cheesecakes. mmm...

Recipes for this devious dinner can be found here(Ghostly Croutons), here(Bat Wings), here(Potatoes), here(Cider Spritzers), and here (Cheesecakes)

We had some fun entries for our food contest. Congrats to the ladies who won. :) It was all delicious and so fun to see the creativity. 

I especially loved the Witch costumes worn this year. I couldn't be happier with the turn out. Our "Best Dressed Witch" was... electrifying. Her hat was wired with lights! Again, the picture doesn't do this lovely lady justice... but it had to be taken in the dark for full effect. 

Each lovely lady got to take home her very own vial of homemade lavender sugar scrub. And their contest prizes. The dead flower bouquet (in the first picture) also went to the Best Dressed Witch. 

The details for the next party are already underway. *wink, wink* 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Beware! Witches are coming!

With the month of October literally flying by, I can't help but feel a little left behind. So much is happening and I can hardly keep up! But I can hardly keep my excitement about my upcoming dinner party contained... and so I thought I would give a bit of a hint... and maybe a sneak peak. :)

What do spider webs, witch hats, and the color purple have in common? That's right they will all be present at my dinner table this weekend! The Witches' Tea Party has transformed this year into a more dinner-type party. I have had a lot of concocting the details... *insert cackle here* Witches only! I am grateful to those gal pals that have agreed to be my guinea pigs as this is the first dinner party I have ever thrown. And now, as promised, a little sneak peak.

Happy Haunting!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Trip to Tuacahn

A little vacation time was desperately need for my mom and I. And so we took it. You know it is a going to be an awesome trip when you see a zebra at your rest stop... not kidding, a zebra. And an ostrich and emu... who knew you could find those in the middle of Utah? Don't believe me? Proof.

I did not know how tall those birds are! Pretty fascinating!
If only that were the only wild life we saw on this adventure of ours...

Mom got us tickets to see the plays at Tuacahn this year. Disney's Aladdin and Hairspray. Aladdin was the first night we arrived. We settled in, did a little shopping, ate at the Brick Oven (an all time favorite) and made our way into the sunset toward the outdoor theater. If you have never been to a play at the Tuacahn, you are missing an awesome experience. Outdoors opens up a variety of things you just cannot do in an indoor theater. They always put on a fabulous show! These were no exception! We did decide that October is the time to go too... the crowd is... older less rowdy, the temperature warm but not too hot, and it was fun to get away from the busy life back home for a few days.

I loved the 3 narrators in Aladdin. They kept the comedy subtle (sometimes) and the music was pretty fun. I even got a picture with the leading cast.

A crowd in the parking lot drew our attention as the dad fiddled with something in the gutter... with a stick... My first thought was "lizard" until I saw the legs... I had to zoom in for this one... more wild life.

Just looking at that picture make me squirm. And he was angry too. He stood very still with that backside in the air... eww... I'm just glad the other people found it before it walked by mom and I. We would not have been so calm about it...

We spent the next day shopping, and relaxing. I want to send a very special thanks out to our friends that let us stay at their pleasant little house while we were there! It was a lot of fun to to have a "home" for a few days. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Hairspray was a blast! I may have liked it more than Aladdin (the jury is still out on that one...). The music is so fun, the cast was amazing, and the old commercials during intermission were amazing. I laughed so hard I was crying at one point, and I had the songs stuck in my head for the rest of the trip. No spiders after this play, though we walked into the parking lot with caution...

We didn't linger in St. George the next day. Mom wasn't going to keep me from my 3rd anniversary. Thank you, Mom for an awesome get-away. I can't wait until next year!

P.S. For those of you worried about my son, let your minds be at ease. He spent the week with his other grandparents... and I am pretty sure they spoiled him rotten. I don't think he even missed me... I am happy to have him back though. Thank you to Mom and Dad LeBaron for graciously taking him. It was a lot more stress-free knowing he was with you!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

3 Years

We celebrated 3 years together yesterday. 3 years is hardly any time at all, yet I forget what life was like before I met the man of my dreams. I wouldn't trade places with anyone.

Reasons I love my Superman:
He makes me laugh, and tries hard to do so when he can see I am having a difficult day.
He calls me every day to see how my day is going.
He supports me in my crazy parties, my dreams of the future, and in my role as wife and mother.
He will do the dishes, without being asked and does so without complaining.
He works so hard and takes pride in his accomplishments. I am so proud of the things he is doing.
He plays with the little guy. I can the joy in both their faces.
He is strong, kind, faithful, and friendly. We cannot go anywhere without him knowing someone.
He loves me for me. My faults, my imperfections, my tears... I know he loves me. And there's nothing better than knowing that.

Here's to the rest of forever with the most perfect man a girl could ever hope for. I love you babe!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

When September Ends

October is all but here and I have been so excited! This year there has been nothing to keep me sane except for the prospect of throwing another awesome Halloween party this year. I added to it all last year with the new tradition (hopefully) of a Witches' tea party. This year is going to be fun! I can't wait to show you all what I have been up to... Happy Haunting!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Little Star Babies

Does the moon love her little star babies?

It is difficult to describe one's thoughts and feelings on days like today. It has been a difficult couple of months to watch as my decently healthy-albeit-almost-90-year-old grandmother seemed to fade after a stroke left her without the full function of her mortal body... It has been the craziest of roller coaster rides as she improved with a lot of promise before slipping away again. There were times near the end that we could catch glimpses of that spectacular lady there. A wry little smile, a twinkle in those eyes, the abhorrence of the blue fingernail polish a nurse so kindly painted on her fingernails...

This morning she answered the final call home. Peaceful was the way it was described to me. And she was a lady who wouldn't have it any other way. I don't recall her voice ever getting very loud... there was always a sweet smile on that beautiful face.

Why is it so difficult to put into words how much you can love and adore someone so special? She was kind to everyone, patient, selfless, humble, with a sense of humor that kept you on your toes. She loved everyone and you always knew that she would remember your special days, that she was proud of your accomplishments, and the love from her would always be unconditional. She is one of the best examples of a Christ-like person I have ever met.

I always loved to go to Grandma's house. Her freezer was always stalked with ice cream sandwiches, dove bars, or Popsicles and there were always crackers in the cookie jar. She would let me play with her special figurines and her little cast iron stove. Grandma made me meatloaf, and taught me that lemon juice is the best way to eat broccoli. I loved her pearl necklaces and the fun toys she kept for the grand-kids in the bottom drawer of the dresser. She would sing to me as I fell asleep. I remember those lullabies and feel warm and safe when I hear them again. "Does the moon mama love her start babies..." She read to me from her old story books and had a record player that you could read along with and turn the pages with each "ding."

I was so excited to share my life with her because I knew she genuinely cared. When I was asked to the Jr. Prom, I asked my date if it would be okay to go see her before the dance. I was so proud to share that moment with my grandma and I feel that she appreciated it a little bit too. I know she has attended hundreds of programs and talks, missionary farewells & homecomings, baptisms, birthday parties, weddings, and the like. Her grandchildren were special to her (and her great-grandchildren too!) and we all know it.

She was an incredible example of selfless service to me. I didn't fully appreciate just how much she did for my grandpa before he passed almost fourteen years ago... but in recent years I have learned just how much she cared for and loved my grandpa. What a special lady. I cannot help but smile to think of her long awaited reunion with the man of her dreams. It brings a lot of comfort to know all is right with her now. I do wish I took the time to spend more time with her, but cherish the time I did get. Not one of my memories of her is unpleasant. This post really doesn't do her justice...

How grateful I am for the testimony I have of the truths of eternal families. Families are sealed together for eternity and through the Savior, Jesus Christ we can re-unite with our loved ones who have passed through the veil before us. I know I will see my beautiful grandmother again. This brings me great peace in the midst of lonely tears. I look forward to that day.

I love you Grandma. Thank you for all you have taught me, and continue to teach me through your incredible legacy. I miss you. Say hello to Grandpa for me. Until we meet again.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Halloween: Monster Bash 2011

This is the time of year that I spend my free time concocting another Halloween party. This is my favorite party to throw every year. Last year was a very successful party and I was pleased with the turn out. Due to the blog change, I have lost the opportunity to post the details. So, as I was looking back at past parties, I thought I would post a few of my favorite parts from last year... think of it as a little inspiration for the upcoming holiday... a teaser before the details unfold for this year's bash!

The "Monster Mash-tini" Bar:

We had a "Monster Mash-tinis" complete with the "spare parts" bar. Guests were served martini glasses filled with mashed potatoes. Everyone was then able to add whatever toppings they wanted and enjoy their "mash-tini". (hence, the spare parts...)

The spread also included a few... "Dreadful Edibles" including "Purina Wolf Chow" (Chex muddy buddies with candy corn and peanuts), Fruit "ninja bites" (fruit pizzas), a jello heart, and my mom's panna cotta brain.

Jell-o heart

Ninja bites

sorry for the terrible pictures...
The Bug Juice:
 This drink was my favorite of the night. Did you know that if you put a raisin (or in our case, raspberry crasins) into a carbonated beverage it will rise to the top and sink to the bottom? It was way fun to watch! I used the Berry 7-up that was purple and plopped them in. The picture doesn't do it justice... 

Activity: Haunted House contest:
We decided to hold a graham cracker haunted house contest! Entry into the contest was a bag of a candy you could use to decorate with. We provided the graham crackers and the royal icing. 

Activity: Pumpkin Bowling
We also had our traditional pumpkin bowling lane set up in the carport. Small, round pumkins work best when using water bottles as the pins. I make sure to have a few extra... the first usually get pretty smashed. We have also used a fake pumpkin I buy at Michael's. (though, that too ended up in pieces...)
Tip: glow sticks in the water bottles made them easier to see.

Costume Contest:
Everyone placed a vote for their favorite house, as well as their favorites for Creepiest, Cutest, and Most Creative costumes. Awards were presented and the party ended with a movie (Ghostbusters) for those who wanted to stay for the after-party (the clean up...). 

we won the office "best family theme" prize at Bryce's work. just FYI.
one more, just because it makes me smile... :)