Thursday, May 29, 2008

It'll grow back...right?

I will let Joni say it first..... (push play)

So here's how it went - Tom and I were both just chilling in the living room and it was time for Joni to go down for a nap.

Tom: "Hey Joni! It's time for your nap. Where are you?"

Joni in the bathroom: "I'm cutting my hair!" *snip, snip*

I jumped out of my chair, went running into the bathroom, and saw this on the counter:

I had Joni walk out into the living room to show Tom, and little chunks of hair start falling as she walks. She was freaked out by the ball of hair that we gathered, so Tom is holding it in the picture:

As you can see, the damage isn't too bad. She kind of has some wispy bangs now, and there is a little chunk taken out of the left side.

Anyway...then about five minutes later, we go to pick up Jackson and this is what we find:

Somehow the back of his head found a stray chunk of banana on his blanket.

Oh, what a day ;)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

For dinner on Memorial Day we went to Kristin and Frank's house for a BBQ. Jackson was in a lovey-dovey mood. His newest thing is to give "loves". He had lots of them for grandma.

Joni and Abby thoroughly enjoying the s'mores we had for dessert.

(I will post more information on the Jerusalem thing very soon. Everyone seems to have the same questions about the logistics of it all, so I'll be sure to post the answers here.)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Family Reunion at Heber Valley Camp

A bunch of us from my mom's side of the family got together this weekend and went "camping" at the Heber Valley Campground that the LDS church owns. I use the term camping lightly because we had nice little cabins to stay in. Tom kept saying, "Now THIS is my idea of camping." We mostly sat around and talked, ate, and talked some more. But it did include a trip down to the lake to do some canoeing and paddle-boating.

Here's Jojo at the lake. It looks quite chilly, but it wasn't bad. We all had a lot of fun!

Camy and the two Peters on a canoe.

Mom and I didn't dare try a canoe since we had little Joni (we thought for sure we'd tip ourselves over and ruin Joni for life or something). Besides, we had a hard enough time figuring out the paddle-boats. We went in a lot of circles (and laughed a lot) before we got comfortable with it. Jojo was pretty ornery (she 0nly slept about half her normal time the night before) until we let her steer the boat. Then she was all smiles.

Jackson with his cousin Adam. These two have been buddies since day one, and they had fun playing together at the cabin.

And here is a cute little clip of Joni playing with some of her cousins, and second cousins, at the cabin. They kept climbing up on an empty top bunk and playing with a bunch of little princesses that Joni brought. They had a ball and it was so cute. They did this for many hours:

There were too many pictures to put them all on here, so the rest are in my Picasa web album for May, if you want to take a look.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jerusalem here we come!!!

Wooohoooo!!!!! We just found out about an hour ago that Tom has officially been accepted into the Master's program at Rothberg (Hebrew U) in Jerusalem! We are sooooo excited! (A little scared, too. Let's be honest here). But mostly excited! We have been feeling for a while like this is what we're supposed to do...we were just hoping Heavenly Father agreed! :-) I guess He does!

The program is two years long, and starts at the end of October. He'll be heading over there at the end of June for some summer stuff, but we're not sure at this point how long he'll be gone. All those plans are still up in the air right now, but now we at least know where we'll be living this fall!!! Everybody start saving up your pennies so you can come visit us in Jerusalem!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rewards definitely come in "moments"

"Moments" is the key word for me right now. Jackson is teething, and about as ornery as he's ever been. At best it helps me appreciate how good-natured he usually is, at worst it makes me want to huddle in the corner with my fingers in my ears singing, "la-la-la-la-la!" loud enough to drown out the fussing/crying.

Today, right after Joni threw a tantrum that should have qualified for some kind of record, I picked up a screaming Jackson, who had been fussing/crying most of the day...only to find out he had a MAJOR blow-out. I tried to keep my calm, grabbed the changing pad, and laid him down. As I grabbed the bottom of his pants and pulled them off in one swift motion....SPLAT! Runny, chunky poop splattered across my pants and shirt (picture flicking a very wet, sloppy paintbrush, and you'll get an idea of what this was like).

I took two deep breaths, mustered up any amount of dignity I had left, and wiped away the biggest blobs of poop first - all while Jackson laid there screaming his little head off. I got him cleaned up, changed my clothes, washed my hands, and put him down for a nap. (Did I forget to mention the part where Tom called home right in the middle of this and I whipped out my ugly-amy-voice, and finally hung up in frustration and overwhelming stress? Yeah, not my best day).

But then there are the moments that are so precious, they make it all worth while. A couple of months ago Tom walked in on Joni scrunching her eyes shut really tightly. He waited a minute and finally asked, "Joni, what are you doing?" Startled, she opened her eyes and answered, "I'm trying to think about Jesus." Awwwe!

Then yesterday, amid Jackson's fussiness, Joni said, "He's just sad because he misses Jesus." I said, "How do you know that?" She answered, "I know, because I miss him, too."

Moments like that just make my heart melt into a big puddle...."moments" being the key word. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Random stuff for the week...

Sorry I have been slow in posting this week. We got a new camera this last Tuesday (thanks Omi and Abba!), and have had fun trying it out. But I kept feeling too lazy to download the software that came with it. It's been a pretty good week... Tom got accepted to the summer program at the Rothberg International School-Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Our plan right now is for him to head over there by himself at the end of June, while me and the kids go stay with my parents. He'll be gone for 5-6 weeks, unless he gets some special consideration to stay longer and take some additional language courses.

For those of you who might wonder, he's going there to take their summer Biblical Hebrew program. Hebrew was one of his minors at BYU, but he would like to really solidify his knowledge and experience with it. Plus going overseas will look good on his applications when he goes to apply for Ph.D. programs in a couple of years. We're still waiting to hear whether he has been accepted to Rothberg's Master's program that starts this fall. If he gets into that, the kids and I will be joining him in Jerusalem for 2 years!

So for right now, we're just trying to figure out how we should start packing for such uncertain plans. No matter where we end up, we very much feel the Lord's hand in our lives, and we know He's opening doors for our little family...... somewhere.

Other than that bit of news, it's been a pretty ordinary week. Here are some pictures and a video that I took with the new camera:

My cute Jackson. But don't be fooled by those big blue eyes... he has a couple of razor sharp teeth coming in on the bottom, and they're dangerous... and if you're a nursing mother, you know what I mean.

Joni LOVES to hold Jackson. Sometimes he loves it too. From the looks of it, this was one of the times he enjoyed it.

Joni being silly with her friend Anna from upstairs.

And here's a video of the two kids playing together. Joni can make Jackson laugh harder than anyone, and I couldn't resist the chance to capture it on video:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My first two tags!

I've been tagged by both Sarah and Megan, so I figured I had better get going on them.

#1: A Questionnaire

Two Names You Go By: Mamma and Babe

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now: Oh geez... I'm wearing my pajama pants and a t-shirt... but for the record, I've been trying not to stay in pj's when I'm home all day... you just caught me on a sick-kid day

Two Of Your Favorite Things To Do: Surf the net and declutter my house

Two Things You Want To Do Very Badly At This Moment: Take a nap and uhh...... take a nap. "I'm on no sleep Kramer! No sleep!"

Two Favorite Pets: I don't have any right now, and I don't know that I've ever had one that I thoroughly enjoyed. If I had to answer, I'd say my pet birds that I had when I was little - their names were Nicky and Dicky. I loved when they got out of their cage and flew like mad all over the house.

Two People Who Will Fill This Out: Oh, I don't know...

Two Things You Did Last Night: Stayed up all night cleaning up baby puke, and cleaned out my fridge. Good times.

Two Things You Ate Today: String cheese and peanut-butter toast.

Two Last People You Talked To: Joni and Tom.

Two Longest Car Rides:
When I was a kid, my parents took all 7 of us kids out to Missouri, and then Chicago... yeah, that was long. Other than that, I've driven to Washington about a million times, and pretty much every other western state.

Two Favorite Holidays: 4th of July and Easter

Two Favorite Vacations: I've always loved Yellowstone/Jackson Hole. Nauvoo.

Two Favorite Drinks: Diet Pepsi and water.

Ok, now I tag Tara and Julie!!! Get to it, girls!


What is your story? How did you meet your spouse? Dating stories? Proposal? All the good stuff!

Alrighty, here it goes. Tom and I met while serving missions in Independence, MO. I know, I know.... we're one of THOSE :) But before you judge further, hear me out.

First I have to give a little background before we met. At the very beginning of my mission, my companion and I got permission to go to a neighboring city on p-day to go shopping. On our way back, we were the first people on the scene of a horrible accident where a semi truck tipped over (from the wind) onto a small car with a woman (Carol) and her daughter inside. We helped get them out of the car, stayed with Carol for FOREVER while waiting for an ambulance to come, and went to the hospital to wait with her until her husband could come. She was hurt very badly so we just tried to wait and pray with her during that first hour or two of trauma.

Tom was serving in the area where Carol lived and ended up teaching her the discussions. Tom and I had never met before, but Carol kept saying good things about me, and Tom had decided I must be pretty cool. Supposedly Tom and I met a few months later on transfer day and talked about what happened with Carol. I don't remember this meeting at all.... but I guess I, uh, left an impression on him ;)

Many months later, near the very end of our missions, we served in the same district and Tom was my district leader. I thought he was a big, anal jerk. He was basically a perfect missionary and expected perfection out of everyone else. He also didn't like that I was a friendly person because it made him nervous, so in order to keep a good, perfect, anal-retentive distance, he was mean to me. Hence the reason I found him to be a jerk.

We were only in the same area for six weeks. Two transfers later, we both went home the same day on the same plane. Our mission pres told him in his exit interview that he should keep in touch with me, so he did. He started calling me a short time after we got home. A couple months later he moved to Utah to go to BYU, and we officially started dating. Six months later we were engaged.

We would probably have some really cool engagement story, but I kind of ruined that whole thing. The night he got back from Christmas break, he had the ring and couldn't wait to give it to me. He had plans to take me to Salt Lake, but I kept insisting that we stay at my parents for the evening because my nephew had planned something really cute (Cafe Ethan) and I didn't want to miss it. Tom was totally bugged and I wasn't sure why. Several hours later he took me downstairs into my bedroom and just asked me right there.

We were married about five weeks later. My sister, Kristin, was married the day after us, and we had a double reception. It was awesome.

I have plenty of good dating stories, but I'll spare all of you and save them for another day. Here are some pictures.....

This is while we were dating. I think we're at my sister's house.

Here is one of our engagement pictures. Is it just me or does Tom look like he's 15?

Our wedding day. Anyone who was there that day will tell you, it was sooooo cold!

And now I'm going to tag Geana, in order to further the peer pressure to start a blog. WAHAHAHAHA!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day to me!

Yesterday was the BEST Mother's Day, thanks to Tom. He kept the house clean all day, did any and all cooking, changed all the diapers, cleaned all the dishes, and basically attended to each and every need that I and the kids had. But I have to be honest, probably the best part of the whole day was watching him trying to fill the part of "mother", and feeling all the exhaustion, frustration, and constant-work that goes along with it... not because I like to see him work until exhaustion, but it sure felt good to see him understand just how much work it takes to be home with the kids all day and keep a clean house. If you would have been in my house yesterday, here are some of the things you would have heard him say:

"Man, I have vacuumed like a million times today, and the floor is STILL messy."

"Oh, I guess I forgot that part of the lasagna directions."

"Honey! I can't get the suran wrap to work! Can you come and do it?"

"How do you turn on the oven?.... No, now it says 57! I need it to say one hour!.... I did that - it won't work!.... No, I pushed this, and then that.... Which rack do I put it on? What does it mean by middle rack?"

"I put the oil in the pan. What do I do next?"

After Joni said, yet again, that she was thirsty: "How many times is that today Joni?!? Like 100? Here, you can drink out of my water bottle.... No! Don't backwash! And no! Don't stick your tongue in it! Eww!"

"None of it even went in the diaper! It all went straight out the back!"

And my personal favorite: "I can't even take a freakin' leak around here!!!"

Like I said, Happy Mother's Day to me! :-)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Letter to My Mom....

Dear Mom,

This post, today, is just for you. But I don't mind if others read it, because everyone should know just how wonderful you are. Mom, there are not words to describe how I feel about you. I wouldn't go so far as to say you are perfect, but I will say you are the perfect mom for me. I can't think of a single thing I would change about you. Do you remember the day you were diagnosed with leukemia? Of course you do... one of my most treasured memories of you happened on that day, and I don't know if I've ever taken the time to tell you. I remember as you, dad, and I drove home from the hospital, completely shocked at the news, you were very, very calm. There were many things that the three of us said that night, but the most significant thing I can remember is you saying you would be at peace if this disease took your life. What an amazing statement! As a young person fresh off my mission, I was astounded at your peacefulness and your perspective. I remember thinking that night (and many times since) what that statement meant... it meant you somehow knew you were right with the Lord, and at peace with how you lived your life.

My greatest desire is to live in just such a way. I can't think of a greater gift a mother could give her daughter. Thank you for always being the example I have so greatly needed.

I love you Mom! Happy Mother's Day!!!


Mom on her birthday

Mine and Kristin's wedding day.


With a few of my other moms - mom, Aunt Barbara, Aunt Bee, and Aunt Jani

Dad and Mom in Yellowstone

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
-- Washington Irving (1783-1859)

A few other words:

I can't finish this post without recognizing several other very important moms in my life. I love and miss both of my grandmas dearly, and think of them often. They are the two women who so greatly influenced who my parents are today, and made unforgettable impressions on me as I was growing up.

I also love and appreciate my sweet mother-in-law, Cyndy. She has welcomed me into the Sowards family whole-heartedly and treats me with love and respect... not to mention my kids love their "Omi"!

And I could never leave out Tom's two grandmas - Grandma Sowards in Colorado, and "Mommer" in New Mexico. Since my own grandmas have long since gone to the other side, these two beautiful women are now my only grandmas and I love them so much! I wish we lived closer to them so my kids could be influenced more by their example.

Happy Mother's Day everybody!!!

Kids say the darndest things!

I did have these stories on the previous post, but it didn't feel very organized to me that way, and it was bugging me. So I decided to make it separate.

I have to share a couple hilarious things Joni said after the Mayan the other day. She really had me and Tom laughing. Right after we left the restaurant, we decided to do a little shopping. When inside a nearby clothing store, Joni and Tom were sitting on some chairs together near the dressing rooms, waiting for me to pick some stuff out to try on. Nearby there were some pretty pink, lacy bras on the racks. Joni asked Tom, "Should we get mom one of those?" Tom said, "I don't know, why don't you go ask her." Brilliant, Tom... just brilliant.

So Joni goes running across the store to where I was and yelled loud enough for pretty much everyone there to hear, "Mommy! Do you want to buy one of those things to hold your 'oo-boos'?!?" (her word for boobs, by the way). I kind of froze, answered "no" and told her to go back to daddy.

Then about five minutes later she insists that she has to go potty. So while Jackson and I keep shopping, Tom takes her to the nearest bathroom, hurrying quickly because Joni insists that she is going to pee her pants. Apparently this is the conversation they had once they got in there:

Joni: "Dad, why is this bathroom different? Why is it black?"
Tom: "Well, that's just the way it is."
Joni: "I can't go potty in here. It's black. Black smells like poop!"
Tom: "Are you kidding me? I just brought you all the way here and you can't go potty because the bathroom is black?"
Joni didn't exactly answer the question... she just grinned from ear to ear.

She never did go potty, and for the record, the restroom wasn't stinky or anything... just black in color. I tried to talk to her once she got back to where I was, but she continued to insist that "black smells poopy" and she was NOT going to go potty in a black restroom.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Mayan

Today we went to the Mayan to eat dinner as an early celebration for Mother's Day. For those of you who don't know, the Mayan is a one-of-a-kind restaurant that has fire-throwing "Mayan" divers that actually dive off fake cliffs, inside the restaurant, into water. Joni loves it there and we were wanting to do something fun and different tonight, so we drove up to Sandy for the evening.

Here is Joni getting a taste of her first Sprite, at least that we can remember. We didn't capture her delight on camera, but she was pretty pleased, to say the least.

We were lucky enough to be seated right up front where the show is, but it put us in the "wet zone." This sign was right in between mine and Joni's heads. I was half expecting something like what you experience at Sea World's dolphin show where you leave dripping from every hair, but it wasn't bad at all. When they turned the waterfalls on really hard we got a little damp from the mist, but that was about it.

I tried really hard to get good pictures of the divers' show, but it was so high and so dark, they didn't turn out. But here's a picture of one of the guys walking past our table.

Both kids couldn't have been happier. Joni got "cheesy noodles" and Jackson sucked on Tom's french-fries. Jackson showed us his I'm-thoroughly-excited sign by kicking and shaking through most of our time there.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Joni the beautician

In an effort to get rid of the last little bit of Jackson's cradle cap, I put olive oil in his hair last night. Then this morning while talking to my mom on the phone, I looked over at the kids and Joni was brushing Jackson's hair with a play hand broom. He really seemed to be enjoying it, so I let it be.

It actually turned out pretty darn cute in the end, if I do say so! I've never seen such a cute mohawk!

Also, just as a little side-note, I wanted to document something cute (and I'll be honest, a little annoying at times) thing that Joni ALWAYS says lately. EVERY SINGLE TIME I get off the phone with someone, Joni and I have the exact same conversation, and it goes something like this,

Joni: "Who was that?"
Me: "Grandma" (for example)
Joni: "What she says?"
Me: "Oh, she wanted to know if we're coming to visit this weekend."
Then Joni says in an extremely annoyed voice, "But mom! What is ALL she says?!?"... meaning she knows we talked a lot longer than the time it takes for grandma to say that one thing... she wants to know it ALL!

I just have to laugh because I do the exact same thing with Tom. Whenever he gets done with a long phone conversation with someone, I always ask what that person said. When he tries to give me a quick, one sentence answer, I have to probe further to get all the juicy details! :-) Like mother, like daughter, I guess.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Simply Gooorgeous!

Joni has been a dress-up girl for as long as she could walk. She loves it, and today is no exception. A few minutes ago she quietly went into her room, didn't make a sound, and came out looking like this a few minutes later, with a big grin on her face.
This outfit includes many layers - a Snow White dress, an old Cinderella skirt (inside-out), fairy wings, a froofy matted pink wig, a princess wand, sparkley pink purse, and don't forget her purple feather shoes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Those were the days!

Everyone please forgive me while I take a trip down memory lane. I'm not feeling well today and taking full advantage of Tom's strict instructions to "take it easy". So I busted out my old photo albums and couldn't help but chuckle at the old pictures of me and my friends from back home. With the possibility of moving overseas becoming more real, it makes me wish I would have made more effort to take trips back home to see my beloved girlfriends, many of which I have known since I was a little girl. My friends were always such an enormous part of my life... whether we were making weekend trips to Salt Lake or just partying all night at a friend's house, we were always planning out what we were going to do next and how we were going to make it as fun as possible. There may be better pictures I could share, but these were the ones that really made me smile/laugh as I flipped through the album pages.

A few of my closest amigas: Me, Geana, Amy, Lori, and Amy (there were three of us Amys that did pretty much everything together - yup, a little confusing). If my memory serves me correctly (which it may not), both this one and the one below are at a going-away party that a good friend held for me and "Moyes" before we went away to Dixie. SO fun!

A few of mi amigos: Lyle, Gary, Tim, Ryan, Carson, and Steve.

This picture brings back a lot of fun memories. It is a bunch of us at Erin's house the day of (or after?) high school graduation. We stayed up all night long celebrating.... I have some choppy memories of a weird card game where everyone was making weird noises... or was it singing weird songs??? I can't quite remember. I do know we were all extremely sleep deprived and that everything was a little funnier than usual. I'm near the bottom left-hand corner with my mouth wide open.... not sure why... again, I'm sure it has something to do with sleep deprivation.

Avocados and ice cream anybody?

No, not together! They are Jackson's two latest foods, and he loved both of them! (For the record, Tom was the one who was naughty and gave him the last little stub of his ice cream cone - I would never do such a thing *wink*)

Here is Jackson just starting out with his avocado. It was pretty slippery so it kept popping out of his hands, but he didn't give up.

He kept waving his hands up and down, smacking the tray in between bites. He worked and worked at it until it was completely obliterated.

I got a side-shot, trying to get a good picture of his tongue but it didn't work. I never knew he had such a long tongue until he was trying to lick ice cream!

I had to include this picture because he was so excited about the ice cream that his feet were straight up in the air, and both his arms and legs were shaking (that's how we know he's truly excited).

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cousins Make My Kids Happy

My kids have been very lucky to have cousins their own age. Jackson has two cousins on my side of the family, and two cousins on Tom's side of the family. The picture above is Daniel (Kristin's), Jackson, and Lilly (Andrea's). The picture was taken this last weekend at the BBQ for Tom (all 3 of them are a little annoyed at the bright sun, which is why they're not looking too happy).

This is Jackson, Eva (Tara's), and Shaun David (Megan's), shortly after Shaun David's baby blessing this last Saturday.

This is Eva, Jackson, and Shaun David again, at the end of their stay this week. I really think Jackson is missing his cousins, which is what gave me the idea to do this post. He has been fussy ever since they left town. I thought several times as Jackson and Eva played together (quite well, actually) that they seemed to know each other. I think their sweet little spirits recognized each other and felt right at home. I hope they all turn out to be great friends, just as I am great friends with their parents. (I'm really missing them right now, by the way... wipe away tear, *sniff, sniff*)

And here is a picture that was taken at Easter of Joni and two of the cousins that are her age - Ava and Abby. Unfortunately we're missing one, Kendall, who was also born the same year but lives in Oregon. This picture demonstrates perfectly how much they love each other. They love to play together, and even call each other from time to time just to chat when they haven't seen each other in a while.