Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last two days!

I've made it! 30 days of blogging! I did great until this trip to Arizona which threw me off a couple of days. But oh well. I passed in my mind. Here are the last two:

"My Testimony"

I wanted to spend a lot more time and put some thought into it... but in all reality, my testimony is simple. I don't need to spend a lot of time to make it elaborate or detailed.

I know this: That God lives. That He loves us. That He sent His son Jesus Christ to this earth to die for our sins so that we can live with Him again, with our families.

I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, sent to fulfill a mission to restore Christ's church on this earth again. I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from the ancient records of the church so that we can have a "guide book" on how to live our lives in these last days.  I know that we have a living prophet today,
Thomas S. Monson, who leads and guides us.

I also have a testimony for the unconditional love that God and Christ have for us.  For me.  For you.  For everyone.  He wants us to be better people.  He wants us to be happy.  He wants us to love others. To serve others.  To treat others the way we want to be treated. We are all children of God and he loves us all equally. 

There are so many great Christian churches out there with many different beliefs, and many very similar to what we believe in our church; there are also many religious people who live noble lives but who do not affiliate with a particular religion. However, I believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's church, which contains the FULLNESS of the gospel.

Read more here.
"Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days" 

Here are some of our basic goals for 2011:
  • Costa Rica / South America trip
  • Read the Book of Mormon cover to cover
  • Go to the temple once a month (We'll have babysitters! Yay!)
  • Babysitters means go on more dates!! 
  • Invest in some new camera equipment
  • Lose 10 lbs (this goes for both of us)
Pictures and post to come about trip to Arizona soon! We fly back home tomorrow! Wish us luck cause we'll need it. Claire has come down with her first major cold and it is NOT fun. Poor thing. Couldn't sleep because she couldn't breath all night. Tonight we're trying Vapor rub, Little Noses, and a vaporizer!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Two days

So I missed yesterday because we were basically just flying all day and then when we got to Arizona, we just visited with family and then crashed. Claire rocked the first connection, and then on the second one she got fussy and wouldn't sleep and wanted to scream a little and fuss... but luckily we had the only open seat on the plane between us so we could lay her out and let her sleep. I don't know what we would have done without that seat.  Anyway:
"A person I love"

Do I need to be creative? Or I can I just be boring and obvious. I love these two of course. And these people and of course them.

But in all honesty, I must give thanks for Benjamin. He is the best man I know and I am grateful for him every day of my life. I'm grateful for his hard work, his dedication, his testimony, his attitude, his perspective and optimism. For putting Claire and me first and having his priorities straight. 
(what happens when he works from home)

For loving our families and wanting to be close to them so Claire can know her grandparents and aunts and uncles. Which leads me into.....
"A secret you want to get out"

OKay, I think it's about time to tell the world. 

{NOT pregnant}


Jump, shout, scream, dance hooray! Ben has found another awesome job and we will be permanently relocating back to our home state mid-February.

We could not be more excited.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


"A child I love"

Hmmm... hard one? I think not.
Updates on our festivities later, we're off to play some games! And off to Arizona tomorrow to see the Garrisons! Hope I'll be able to get around to finishing this challenge off strong--haven't missed one day!

Hope you all had a magical Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas!

"A place I love"
Right here in our home with my little family.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Tis the Season

"5 things you love about Christmas"

#5:The sound of Christmas. The Christmas jingles / songs / carols. 
I love Christmas songs. Favorites are on my playlist on the bottom right side of this blog. Christmas songs truly warm the heart.

#4: Food. Treats. Candy. 
Throw 'losing baby weight' out the door until January 1st! Seriously. 

#3: The Spirit of Giving.
 I love the hustle-bustle of the year. The sense of service and love. I really wish it would last all year, but I guess it does make this time of year extra special.

#2: Family
We're really missing our family this Christmas, but excited to have our own here with Claire. We'll be spending today with our good friends, the Thomas family, and then tomorrow with the Johansen's (my mom's brother's family). Then next week we're off to Arizona to see the Garrisons! We're excited for a lot of them to finally meet Claire.

#1: Time to think of Christ and His birth.
 Watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

5 months

{Click the picture to enlarge}

Our little monkey is 5 months old today.

{amazing zebra blanket/rug for Claire from Grandma Lisa}

Height: 25 inches (50th percentile)
Weight: 14 lbs 5 oz (45th percentile)
Head: 42.5cm (65th percentile)

New this month:

She still fits in most of her 3 month stuff. In fact, some of her 3 month clothes she JUST started fitting into. That's why when I think about her turning 5 months it's crazy because I feel like she's still 3 months old!

She gave me one week of 11pm-5ams. The last few nights we're back to not sleeping well (every 2-3 hours)... but I'm hoping it's just a small short-lived phase and we'll go back to twice a night.

She loves jumping in her jumperoo and she still loves to yell (as seen in this video).

CRAWLING ALREADY! No joke. If there is something in her sights that she wants, she will get to it. She pushes off with her feet and grabs the carpet with her hands and pulls/scoots to it all the way across the room! It will be NO time before she's literally crawling. I already have to have her in my sights all the time. With her rolling and scooting, she's unwrapped a couple of presents and sucked the corner of our books under the coffee table dry.

She loves her cousin (2nd cousin) Reese, even though she's a bit of a bully.

She can give herself her binky now. If I throw it in her carseat, a few minutes into our ride she always manages to spin it around enough to finally get it in her mouth the right way. It's awesome!

She loves her vegetables. She'll down her beans, peas, and carrots now. Still doesn't love rice cereal but will eat it (with a lot of coaxing, bordering forcing) mixed with vegetables.

She loves FaceTime with her Aunts and Uncles. Even if they just make funny faces to her:
She loves figuring out all the new sounds she can make with her mouth and lips. Loves holding her feet. She's happy 90% of the time. She is just such a chill baby. Rarely gets fussy, ornery, or cranky. People always comment on how happy she his and that makes us so proud.

She wants to sit up and I can't wait for her to do it. She's really close and can do it in spurts.

She loves the TV and if it's on and she can hear it, she'll do anything to see it.

She's our everything.

I had problems

"Share a previous Christmas memory"

My dear mother would share this same story if asked about a Christmas memory with me. Remember how I would wet my pants everyday after school in Elementary? Well, every Christmas Eve I would get sick. Sick = throwing up + diarrhea. I would just get soooo excited for Santa to come. I would be up all night (and so would my mother) throwing up and...the other stuff. And for some reason, I had a hard time making it to the bathroom. Please don't ask me why. The title of this post says it all. So my mom wouldn't be up comforting me and helping me fall back asleep.... she'd be up CLEANING up the "stuff." I love you mom.

Merry Christmas. And here's to me being able to control myself now. Thank goodness, for my marriage's sake.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 22

"A photo of my family"
This was at Claire's blessing back in September.
I love my family and will surely miss them this Christmas.

Random: Someone forwarded me this list and thought some of them were funny, so I bolded the ones that I especially liked or thought were true for me. 


I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

There is great need for a sarcasm font.

How the are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

Was learning cursive really necessary?

Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

Bad decisions make good stories.

You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

"Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.

I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? **** it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from; this shouldn't be a problem....

While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.

Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say"

I think everyone has a movie that they love so much; it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.

Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.

Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.

I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh dear.

"A travel story"

First of all, anyone bored of these yet? Anyone still reading these? Maybe I should stop and go back to only posting when something exciting happens in our lives.

Today's post is interesting because... let's face it, we've got a LOT of travel stories. And sadly, the first and only that come to mind are incredibly awful stories (hilarious to us now of course), but awful at the time. They all include: impossible to control things, running things, smells (not good ones), sounds (not good ones either), sick beyond imagination, pestilence, famine, corrupt cops, unbelievable bad luck, and "funniest home video" material.

Really. I'm trying hard to think of a magical time while traveling that didn't include the things mentioned above. (Only because we spent most our travels backpacking on a shoestring. And I AM exaggerating to be funny).

OK. Foreign places that we've been to that do NOT have the above involved:

South Africa

Alright, I'll do one good travel story and one bad one.

Good one:
Best trip we've ever taken (and I can't imagine topping) was our 11-day African safari to the Serengeti in Kenya and Tanzania. Best. Trip. Ever. It was definitely magical. It should be on ALL of your bucket lists. There is this crater at the top of this mountain (caved in volcano), and now it's this lush game reserve with thousands of wild animals (you can see pictures here). You come over the mountain and drop down into the valley and it's like Land Before Time, at the end when they get to the "valley." We saw so many cool things there. Lions (right after a kill), hundreds of elephants & zebras, cheetahs, hyenas, and even flamingos!
It was just amazing.  Just go look at the pictures. They speak for themselves.

Bad one:
India. Period.  Am I done? Ha.

To preface: India a very rough place to backpack in. Not really any middle-ground places to stay, eat, and tour. It's either luxury (over $200 a night) or misery (under $2.00 a night). 

 I'll keep it short. Those who traveled with us know all the full stories. We found a place for $2 dollars per person to stay the night. It was filthy. The mattresses, (well, they weren't even mattresses) were damp, moldy, and smelly. One small torn up sheet. Over 100 degrees. No fan, no A/C. Nothing. Can't leave the windows open because of mosquitoes.

Needless to say, Ben and I didn't sleep a wink. We had the worst mosquitoes and bed bugs I could even imagine. I'd put the sheet over myself and would DIE of heat, but any part of me that was open to the air was IMMEDIATELY attacked by mosquitoes. We finally turned the lights on at like 3am and went on a killing frenzy. The walls, our hands, and our sheets were covered in our own splattered blood from killing the mosquitoes. We killed at least 50. I've never seen so many. Our bodies, especially mine, were covered. I had 381 bites (and this is an under-estimate). Yep, we counted.  Ben got a lot of bites too, but his thick hair is quite a defense mechanism.

Good times:)

(You can see our Southeast Asia posts here)

Monday, December 20, 2010


"Your favorite Christmas tradition" 

Making gingerbread houses with my family. Here's us in 2007:



We made the Taj Mahal:

We missed out on 2009 because we were in Africa and this year we're staying here for Christmas. So we'll have to start our own tradition of making them!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


"Put your iPod on shuffle and write 10 songs that pop up"

N'Sync: Dirty Pop
Danity Kane: Damaged
Snap: Rhythm is a Dancer
Fountains of Wayne: Stacy's Mom
Richard Marx: Now and Forever
Hellogoodbye: Oh it's Love
Alicia Keys: If I Ain't Got You
3 Doors Down: Let me Go
N'Sync: I drive Myself Crazy
Billy Joel: Piano Man

And I probably would have skipped most except for Alicia Keys and Billy Joel.

Also,  here are some new things we've been crocheting:

My favorite!!!
Mommy-Daughter matching owls!!


Check them out HERE.

Friday, December 17, 2010


"A habit you wish you didn't have"

This is a tricky one because everything I do is perfect so I really can't think of anything. OK let me stop.  The truth is, where do I start?

Popping things. My knuckles, my toes, ankles and back. 

{Learn why I'm writing all this randomness HERE}

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ho Ho Ho

Here's us at the Ward Christmas party last weekend:

I love my girl.


"Favorite Youtube video"

Oh there's so many. Right now I'm really diggin' these:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bucket List

"Next 3 on your Bucket list"

Here's a bit of my Bucket list:

Go bungee jumping
Ride in a hot air balloon
Start your own business doing something you love
Complete a triathlon
Try hang gliding
Experience a sunset
Experience a sunrise
Own a pet
Take up dancing
Go backpacking across at least 10 locations
Swim with dolphins
Create your dream home
Get scuba certified
Fly first class
Hit bullseye on a dartboard
Have dinner with someone you had only dreamed of meeting
See a blue whale
Ride a roller coaster
Go on a cruise
Fall in love
Be in love
See the Mona Lisa in Paris
See Machu Picchu
Travel the world
Visit Australia and New Zealand
and Greece
Walk the Great Wall of China
See the pyramids of Egypt
Live in a foreign country for at least 6 months
Go on an African wildlife safari
Learn to play guitar
Celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary
Hold a grandchild
Hold a great-grandchild

What I want to do next: Visit Machu Picchu, learn to play guitar, and create my dream home.

Here's something to brighten your day. Claire isn't a laugher, no matter how hard we try we only get a giggle out now and then. But yesterday while we were watching Elf, she full on laughed for at least 10 minutes, it was so stinking cute!