Wednesday, June 27, 2012

To Move or Not to Move?

We were informed a few weeks ago that our landlord is thinking of selling the duplex we live in. It seemed that they had someone already thinking about purchasing, and it was possible that we would need to move. When we got back from Grandma's 90th party on Sunday evening we were sitting in our living room relaxing. We heard a metal-on-metal pounding and I joked, "that's them putting up the 'For Sale' sign." The laugh is on me. There's a sign in our yard. What does that mean for us? We still don't know. But today we have four real estate agents who want to come show our place to potential buyers. They are hoping to have an offer by the end of the week. So, hopefully by July we will know whether we will move or be able to stay... here's to faith that God knows what he's doing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

90 Years for Grandma S.

This is a special year for my family. Both of my Grandmothers are turning 90 years old this year. My Grandma S. actually turned 90 on my birthday (special, right?!) this year. She is an incredible woman. The extended family got together for a reunion-type party at the old family ranch to celebrate this monumental milestone for her. It was fun to see the cousins that I have not seen in at least 5 years. My husband was also able to meet most of them for the first time. Thanks to my aunt and uncle who hosted and organized the event!

I also got to see my brother (who is away for the summer working) again. I miss seeing him as regularly as I am used to. He seems to be doing well and having a great experience waiting at a "resort" near Zion's National Park.

There's something about Kanab that seems to make the stress of life and reality disappear for the weekend visit. The small town pace is slower and nice to experience every once in a while. My brother also treated my husband and I to Disney Pixar's Brave. (yes, opening weekend for $5 per ticket) We enjoyed the movie, but almost as exciting was the wall of family pictures in the theater's lobby.

The local theater is built where my great-grandma's house used to be. In fact, they used the bricks from the old house on the outside of the theater, and the window frames from the house are throughout the theater. The one wall has pictures of my great-grandma and great-grandpa and their children (yes, my 90-year-old grandma as a little girl). We also found a book with their personal histories in it. So naturally, we asked the managers (and hope to get a hold of the owner) to possibly get a copy of the text to compare with the ones that we have already.

Awe, the giant bear at Denny's Wigwam

New teeth = fun to eat corn on the cob

The well water was COLD, but these boys didn't seem to mind...

Our first "happy meal"
It was an exhausting weekend.

Happy Birthday to you, Grandma!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Post-baby Pointers

I was asked a few weeks ago to talk about how my relationship has changed with my husband since having a baby. Little Man is one of the oldest children in the ward (yes, married students). I gave my little spiel at a Relief Society activity brunch. It was difficult for me to know what to say... its hard to pin-point exactly what has changed, how it has changed, and make it coherent enough that someone else can understand. I worked it over in my head and it came out a little differently on paper. But I thought it turned out rather well, considering...

I do not claim to know much about this whole motherhood thing. And I certainly do not claim that we have it all together (because we don't). But I decided that I wanted to be real, and honest in how I have felt, and what has happened in our experience. It isn't the same for everyone. In fact, it is actually different for everyone in their specific and wonderfully special circumstances. I thought that I would share my pointers with anyone who cares to read it.

1.       Have patience through the tough days. It may look bleak, but it doesn’t actually last as long as we think it will.
2.       Communicate, communicate, communicate. It is the key to keeping you and your spouse happy and on the same page. When you both know what is going on, it is easier to work together.
3.       Each experience is different. Embrace the joys, endure the challenges, and enjoy each and every day, because (cliche or not) they fly by and you will wonder how your baby grew so fast and where they all went.
4.       Be deliberate in your romance. Put dating back on the top of your priorities. Even if you don’t have a baby, if your relationship isn’t the first on your priorities, change it.
5.       It is important to get dressed every day. It seems like a silly thing, but it is so much easier to not care, throw on some sweats and go about the day. But I always feel much better about myself if I have put a little time and care into how I look that day. I am more confident, productive, and happy because I look and feel good.
6.       “Mommy guilt” is a very real thing. Remember that it is alright to take care of yourself. After you make sure your baby will be safe, it is alright to take the time to take a shower and get ready, even if he (or she) is crying. Take a break from your husband and child and go do something that you love. Your relationship with your spouse will be better for it, I promise.
7.       Finally, remember that you are not alone in this life. Heavenly Father loves you as his precious daughter. You are beautiful to him and to your husband. You are surrounded by a wonderful network of women who want to be there to support, encourage, and uplift you. Hold to that rod and put your faith in Christ and you will not fail.

And I really believe it. 

"Little Man" Baby Shower

I am a brand new aunt! I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. Almost as soon as I heard the announcement that my SIL was pregnant I asked her if I could throw her a baby shower. So yes, I've been stewing about it for almost 8 months... Thanks to the blog-o-sphere and Pinterest, I gathered some great ideas and made a few of my own for this particular "Little Man." I had so much fun creating this party and I am excited to share it!

Theme: "Little Man"
Colors: Red, Aqua, White, Black
Motifs: Neck ties, bow ties, and (you guessed it) Mustaches

The Invite:
We ended up emailing a digital copy of the invite to our guests because Noah decided to come 7 weeks early... The party plans were changed and rushed a bit and we ran out of time to snail-mail the batch. (yes, I changed the information for the purpose of posting it here.) I think it turned out pretty cute.

The Food:
We had my favorite Corn and Potato Chowder served with the adorably fun Cornbread "pops" and honey butter. There was a spinach and bow-tie salad (made by a SIL), a fruit tray (provided by my MIL), and another SIL made the deserts. She made red velvet cake pops with blue sprinkles and eclair cake. After she swirled the chocolate on we decided it looked like a lot of mustaches...
The Food Table

Corn Bread "Pops"
A most delicious Eclair Cake

Little Man's Bow-tie Salad

"Wet Your Whiskers"- the straws were my favorite detail!

The Details:
I had the help of my other SILs (there's a lot of us...) in the decorating before the shindig. The youngest stuck mustaches on every surface she could find. I think it turned out great. I wish I had a better picture of the banner as it was my most prized detail. But its till hanging there to welcome little Noah home when he comes.

The guestbook was another favorite. I looked up some "BroTips" on the Internet and found a few favorites. (there was a lot of junk so I had to choose my few good ones...) I typed them up and asked guests to write a note/message to either the parents or to Noah. Advice was encouraged.

I also set up little signs with mustache insignia on them. It took people a couple times before they found the humor in the quotes. It made them that much more funny.

Instead of games we did a diaper raffle. Guests were asked to bring 5 diapers for every ticket they wanted. This helps with the new mom's diaper supply and gets rid of the awkward "I'm not sure I want to play this game" moments...

Mustaches. Everywhere!

The "Welcome" banner. 

The Guestbook: BroTips for the Little Man

My other SIL made this adorable motorcycle out of diapers! How creative and cute! 

I made these to sit around the room.  It took people a little while to catch on at first...

The Favors:
These were my crowning glory! I was busy the day before making and creating the chocolate for these little jars. As soon as I knew I was throwing a baby shower I started saving up the baby food jars (just the fruit ones that weren't stained...) that we went through. These are the 6 oz "2nd" foods from Gerber (in case you are interested). I created a little label for them with custom Nutrition Facts, ingredients, etc. We painted the outside of the lids to cover up branding and stuck a "thank you for celebrating with us" on the top. Inside was homemade hot fudge sauce that is to die for. My one SIL found out that I was making this for the favors and she claimed any extras we had at the end. It is that good.

Included with the hot fudge, I wanted to give them something to enjoy now. So I found a mustache mold online and made chocolate mustache pops to take with them as well. I admit, I snitched enough to fill at least one mustache as I made them, the chocolate was goooood. :)

Little Man little delectables. 

All-in-all it turned out awesome! I am pleased with my hard work and I think everyone had a good time!
As I said, there's lots of us "Sis-in-laws..."

My "Little Man"

Party Date: March 24, 2012


I have been incredibly blessed to belong to a family with such an incredible father. He has taught me so much over the years it is hard to put to words just how much I love and adore him. Nevertheless, I shall do my best.

Daddy taught me important things like how to play baseball, that lying is wrong, that I should always respect and love my mother as much as he does, and to respect the classics like Pink Floyd, the Beatles, etc. He helped me to understand that I am an individual who is capable of doing difficult things, he encouraged me to shoot for the stars, and supported me in my hobbies and interests as I grew and developed. He taught me how to laugh at life and not take anything too seriously. He patiently helped me through my math books, corrected English assignments, and expected academic excellence.

Dad has a sense of humor and I love that about him. My very first date was to Prom. I'll never forget the sight of him sitting on the couch, with a rifle perched by his foot, falling asleep while he waited for my date to arrive. He told me I looked beautiful. That always meant a lot to me.

He has always been there to answer my questions, to comfort me, and to provide the power of the priesthood when I have needed it. I am grateful to have had a father that lived his beliefs and showed us by example how to live a life righteously.

Thanks Dad, for all the night-time songs, for all the dances, for all the laughs. Thanks for the road trips, the campfires, and the walks to the creek and back. Thanks for your love, your kindness, your wisdom, and your testimony. I love you will all my heart! You are the best Daddy in the world!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Faith is...

Ever had one of those days where you thought you had life pretty figured out and then wham! guess again! yeah, I've been having one of those days... one of those weeks actually. But everything is gonna' be alright. I have spent some time pondering on a little thing called faith.

What is faith? Faith is a hope, for better and happier situations. It is as real as my pen on the paper yet it seems to dodge my ability to put it into words. We "hope for things that are not seen, that are true." But faith is more than just merely hoping. It must be exercised. Just as the body improves as we challenge and push it, so too does our faith increase as challenges and obstacles are put in our way. We may not see the end, but be can hope, dream, and strive to arrive at someplace better than where we are.

Friday, June 8, 2012

This is Me.

This is a journal of my life and all the things that matter most to me. Its a place where I write- about the recipes I've tried, the books I've read, the people I love, and the things I believe.

I believe in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe in eternal families and in loving your neighbor. I believe in celebrations- the big and the small. I believe in adventure, romance, laughter, traditions, and imagination. I wish to enjoy the little things that make up this journey called life.

My name is Jessica. My friends call me Jess. My dad calls me Jay. I am a writer, a dreamer, a lover. I am a mother, a wife, a homemaker. I love to learn, to travel, to cook, and to laugh. I enjoy entertaining and creating. I love a good story, and this is mine.