Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thirsty anyone?

Since I have no husband within about a billion miles, I decided to have date night with my two cuties, Jackson and Joni. We went to Macey's for some groceries (Joni's all-time favorite store) and then to Cafe Rio for some food to go. We came home and had a picnic on the floor in the basement. We were having a great time, until, well....Jackson crawled over to my spicy salad dressing, and....


He then GUZZLED an entire glass of water. In about five seconds.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

As my mom would say..."that's interesting"

One thing you all have to know about my mom, is her use of the word "interesting". She uses this word like someone would use the word crazy, unattractive, or maybe unusual - depending on the situation. Like if I were to wear a pink sweater with an orange mini skirt, and asked her what she thought of it, she would pause for a moment, and say, "Well, it's interesting." That's code for, "That looks ridiculous!" Or if Tom were to suddenly drop all he has done in school, and randomly decide to become a butterfly keeper, she would say, "Well, that's an interesting choice."

You get the idea.

Well, as you can probably tell from the following picture, Joni looked "interesting" today. She called herself a "vairy" (not fairy - I asked her if that was what she meant. Umm, apparently not).

Here's is a back view of her sitting at the counter to eat.

And this is Jackson being his own "interesting" today. This is how he looked when I got home from a lunch date with a friend. My mom had fed him a wide variety of foods - many of which ended up all over him, including in his hair. The wet hair in the front is some splashes of chicken noodle soup. Remember his "so big!" routine? Well, just starting today, he now reaches up high, and then smacks the top of his head. It turns out that it's not very pretty when you pair that with meal time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

More Heritage Park

Tom nicely reminded me today that I haven't posted any pictures of the kids for a while. So here are some pictures from our second trip to Heritage Park. Sorry. I know it's kind of boring to post two sets of pictures from the same place, but it's for Tom's sake. So deal. (I say that with kindness, of course).

I'll also include a couple of Ava's ballerina birthday party.

Joni riding a pony.

Is this the cutest thing or what? Jackson was exhausted and cranky. Malia (my niece) just held him and sang until he fell asleep. Miracle!

The kidlets (okay, and Kristin got in there somehow) all gathered on the grass at lunch time.

Daniel, Jackson, and Lily.

Ava opening her presents, with anxious little ballerinas watching on.

I'm mad at myself for not getting a picture of Joni once she was all ready for the party. But here's a picture that includes her so you can get the gist. She's the one kneeling on the far right.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just missing Tom

The title pretty much says it. I'm just missing Tom, and feeling a little sorry for myself. I guess it's the ONE downside to having the most fabulous husband on the face of the planet - it's hard to deal when he, say, takes off to Jerusalem for two months without you.

For journaling sake, I'd like to summarize what days are like for both of us. First off, Tom. He starts his day first thing, with class starting at 8:30. With no car, he obviously walks to school so he gets a good head start. He was told on orientation day, that (and I quote), "We are NEVER late here in Israel." Ummm...okay. That's a pretty huge statement for someone who was called "Elder Slow-ards" as a missionary. Can you say chronically late? Yup, that was Tom.

He then sits through 4 to 5 hours of class, with his longest break being 30 minutes. And here's the kicker in my opinion - all those hours of class are in the same room! Whose idea was that?

He then has plenty of homework to complete before the day is done. He has a dinner of hummus and pita, protein shake, or a veggie concoction he fries up and slathers with hummus. Sometime after dinner he talks with me and the kids on Skype. He then loves to end his day with a trip to the University's gym.

Then there's me. The first things that comes to my mind are poopy diapers, a messy high-chair, and keeping a 3 year old entertained. I'm lucky to have the help of my parents. My mom is a great friend to Joni, and very often folds my laundry. My morning-person-dad gets up with Joni first thing and gets her going for the day. Thanks mom and dad :)

Once Jackson wakes me up, I usually go upstairs and get the kids dressed and fed, then the same for myself (on a good day, anyway). I try to get the leftovers of yesterday's mess cleaned up, and then love to get some kind of project done, which usually also includes cleaning, sorting, or de-junking some of our boxes. Around lunchtime I talk to Tom on Skype, then get the kids down for their naps.

This is getting boring, fast, so I'll sum up the rest of the day. I usually try to spend some one-on-one time with Joni, cook dinner, and watch some Olympics. I'm usually very spent by the end of the day, and very relieved when the kids go down for bed.

I hate going to bed by myself, and have had a hard time falling asleep lately. But I AM happy with what we're doing as a family - starting an adventure, and following the Lord. I look forward to Jerusaelm at the beginning of October, and until then I'll just enjoy being home with my family.

Okay, and maybe miss Tom in the process.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Jackson's haircut

I gave Jackson a haircut the other day. Even though it's technically his third haircut, it was a little weird to get used to. It makes it a lot easier, though, to spike his hair. Joni kept saying, "He looks like daddy!" or "he looks like Tom!"

This is just a cute video of Joni from yesterday.

Treehouse Children's Museum

We had so much fun today at the Treehouse Children's Museum. It is Ava's birthday (Joni's cousin), so we went there to celebrate. It's this super cool place for kids of all ages, that is supposed to help children "step into a story." Very cute.

Lily and Jackson playing at the toddler counter. Jackson was having a great time until he lost his balance, fell back, and pulled a section of the little table on top of him. :(

Joni being a little mommy.

Jackson inside a soft train made for kids to put together, piece by piece.

Joni and Ava (who has a band-aid on her head because she hurt herself just before leaving home. Sad!) The kids stayed and played on this fire truck for the longest time.

Joni in a fire-fighter's uniform. For a minute or two I thought I had lost her. I was panicking and searching everywhere. Turned out she was right in front of me, and that I didn't recognize her with her get-up on!

We went to a park afterwards and had a little birthday picnic. Jackson tried Cheetos for the first time. As you can see, he loved them. He kept crawling around trying to grab other peoples'.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two little princesses

Tony and Andrea,

The girls wanted to show you the pictures of their curlers and curly hair, so I told them I would "put it on the computer" for you. Here ya go!

The "before"


The finished product. I think Seth had something to do with taking the curlers out while I was showering, so the curls did turn out a little skiwampis (if there's an actual spelling for that word, I obviously don't know what it is) - but cute anyway. Two little princesses.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I never thought of it that way

Today Joni and I were talking about how her cousin, Ava, will be coming today to sleep over.

"Where are we going to go with Ava?" she asked.

"Nowhere," I answered.

"Ummm, are we going no-where, or yes-where?" obviously hoping for the yes-where answer.

I just had to chuckle. I've never thought of it that way.


Just as a side note, I was wondering if some of you could help pray for Joni. I think she's having a hard time with Tom being gone. She's constantly keeping tabs on where Grandma and Grandpa are, where Jackson is, and where I am. The other day when she and I went somewhere and left Jackson home with Grandma, she asked, "Will Jackson still be home when we get back? Or will he be gone?"

Poor Jojo has had too many people come in and out of her life. Having Tom suddenly taking off for two months obviously has the potential to make it much worse.

I've really realized the depth of it today. Grandma and Grandpa are gone for the entire day, from early this morning, until later tonight. She hasn't been more than 2 feet away from me at any given time. Just a few minutes ago she was eating cereal at the kitchen counter, and I told her I was just going to run downstairs as fast as I can, and then I will be right back up. She lasted about five seconds. She jumped down from the bar-stool and ran downstairs as fast as she could. Even as I type this, she is standing right next to me, with her arm pushed up against mine.

In general I think she's handling it better than a lot of kids would. But I know how powerful prayer can be, and I would love for the people who love my daughter the most, to pray on her behalf.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's all relative

Sometimes I hate this phrase. It's another way of saying, "What's crappy for one person/circumstance, is great for another." Is that better somehow? I don't know, maybe I'm just too tired to be talking. I'm gonna anyway.

I was driving home today and I saw a gas price that was $3.99/gal. My heart swelled up with joy! How could it be? Below four dollars? Wait, I remember when the gas price lingered around $1.00/gal (and I like to think I'm not all that old). So then my joy turned to annoyance. Like just about every one else I know, I'm annoyed at how much it costs just to drive to the grocery store. "It's all relative," I think to myself.

So then I started many other things fall under the "it's all relative" category?



dang it! Everything!

Like when you have a day out with only ONE of your children and it feels like a breeze. But when you only HAD one child, taking that child out for the day was so much work!

It's all relative.

Or when I am thrilled to have a good 30 minutes on Skype with Tom. Oh, the joys of talking to my best friend. But when we both live under the same roof, it makes me nothing but cranky if I only get to talk to him for 30 minutes in a day.

It's all relative.

Or here is one that always amazes me. 90 degree weather. In August, it's a nice relief from the 100 degree weather you have been trying desperately to get used to. But your first 90 degree day in the spring, you're roasting, "where did spring go?", and "I need to get inside to the air conditioner!"

It's all relative.

Dieting. When you're eating whatever the heck you want, you may catch a glimpse of your child eating something....say, Cheez-its. Not all that appealing. You could take it or leave it, it doesn't really matter. But if you're dieting, it's a whole other matter. You would cut your right arm off, jump in a tub of spiders, even drive in Utah construction....if it meant you could eat a big handful of Cheez-its and not count the calories. Because as my mom always says, "EVERYTHING tastes better when you're dieting.

It's all relative.

And last but not least, cleaning. While in Provo, I felt like I had gotten on top of picking up after my little family. I had my little routines that I did every day, and cleaning up after four people wasn't too bad. But now I'm in a home that is more than twice the size. Twice as many toys, dishes, and vacuuming. Suddenly, me and my two kids feels like 10, and it's A LOT of cleaning.

As I said, it's all relative.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Some Sunday pictures and Tom update

Tom has had a good weekend in Jerusalem. He went to church and said that everyone in the branch was really nice. There is one other LDS guy in his same program at Hebrew U, so the two of them went to church together. He also got lost a couple of days ago while walking around because there are a lot of walls. So he finally found a rope of some kind hanging over the wall that was apparently in his way, and he climbed right up and over!

Also this weekend he went to Gethsemane, and went with one of his roommates to walk around the Old City. It seems like his jet lag is finally wearing off - he doesn't seem quite so delirious when I see him in Skype. That's all I can think of for now.

Here are some random pictures from today. Tom is really missing the kids, and says it helps to see pictures.

Joni's Sleeping "Booty" hair for church. She was thrilled with how cute it turned out - okay, okay, I loved it, too.

I wanted to get a picture of Jackson's new teeth coming in on top, and I actually succeeded!

Playing peek-a-boo with Jackson. He's like me - he gets the hiccups when he laughs too hard after eating. Poor guy.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Park City

This weekend we went to Park City for a fun little overnight stay in some condos. Tony was running the first of three big races he'll be doing there in Park City, so it gave us an excuse to go play. We went swimming, ate good food, and stayed up late watching the Olympic opening ceremonies.

Joni gaining some confidence in the water. It helped that it was a two feet deep kiddy-pool. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Mom and Dad watching the grandkids at the pool. I hope Tom and I look that cute when we're grandparents.

Jackson giving me cute looks in my lap.

This one cracks me up. I got up for two seconds and Joni ran over and took my seat. She was all kicked back, enjoying herself, like it was an every day thing for her.

Thanks Mom and Dad for a fun outing!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pics for Tom

You will all have to be patient over the next couple of months. While Tom is off on his own, I'm going to try to post a lot of pictures and videos for him. So if you get super sick of way too many pictures of the same two rug-rats, come back in a couple of months when things get a little more exciting.

Jackson eating cake for the first time (I think - you never know, though) at a picnic. As you can tell, he was pretty excited about it. I don't know if you can tell, but he's covered in crumbs.

Joni running through the sprinkler. It's amazing the fun things you can do when you actually have a yard!

I just thought the colors on this picture were pretty - and of course Jackson is adorable :-)

Tom left a bag of surprises for Joni, so the day after he left, I had a treasure hunt waiting for her when she woke up. Here are her clues. She was just plain giddy with delight.

Here is a groggy Joni thanking daddy for her "treasure."

"Marine" Crawl

My dad says Jackson should join the Marines. (And yes, I know it's usually called army crawl. But in this house, you don't say those words)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tom is safe and sound

I've just gotta say, thank goodness for Skype! I'd be going crazy right now if I didn't have that thing. (It's an internet program thingy where you can use webcams and talk, live, and see each other while you do it.)

Tom finally got to Jerusalem, safe and sound. Two out of the three legs of his flight were pretty awful - very cramped, and sitting next to "big" people. In 4 days, he slept about 4 hours. When he got to Tel Aviv, he was delirious. He tried several different times, in different places, and in different planes, to get some sleep, but he just couldn't. I felt so bad for him. Oh wait, maybe I should be feeling bad for myself. I have to do the same thing soon, but WITH 2 KIDS!


(taking deep

Anyway, I just got off Skype with him, and it looks like he has a nice little dorm room. He has his own room, and his view is amazing. Hebrew U is up on the highest mountain in Jerusalem, so it's awesome to see the city down below. His roomates seem to be nice. There are 4 Americans, and 2 Israelis.

I guess yesterday (his yesterday) was their time to go to a big shopping center and stock up on all sorts of stuff. Most people were buying sheets, pillows, dishes, food, etc., etc. You know, the basics. But not Tom.

He bought a ten pound bag of protein powder.

He said the lady at the store acted shocked anyone would actually buy it. But of course Tom would way rather spend money on that (it was mighty pricey) than basic comforts. See, he's so quirky. That's why I like him :-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

We love you Tom!!!

We had to say goodbye to Tom this morning, and well, it sucked. I never knew two months could feel like such a long time. It really makes me wonder how military people do it.

Several things went wrong at the airport. I have since heard from Tom that it was just as bad during his layover in Chicago. I hope this next leg of the flight is a little more comfortable, and goes a little better.

Two nights ago my parents wanted to take Tom out for a nice little farewell dinner to any restaurant he wanted. He chose McGrath's. My dad cheerfully submitted even though he hates fish more than anything (he enjoyed his steak). Here are some pictures I took of Tom with each of the kids just before we left. I wanted to get some good pictures to print out and put by each of their beds. That way they can always see him before they go to bed.

Omi got Jackson a shirt to match his daddy. They looked so cute.

Jojo had a rough time saying goodbye this morning. She decided she was ready to go to Jerusalem "right now!" It was sad.

Me and Tom at the restaurant.

Me and the kids will miss you so much. We will be thinking of you all the time. It's comforting to know that we are doing exactly what we are supposed to and that the Lord is looking out for us.

We'll see you in Israel in two months. In the meantime, we'll see you on Skype :-)

We love you!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Big final trip before Tom leaves

Tom leaves for Jerusalem in two days *sniff, sniff* so we took a final trip down to Colorado and New Mexico to visit his two sets of grandparents. We were also very blessed to see most of the rest of his family because they came, too. It was very fun to see everyone, and very sad when it was time to say goodbye. It would have been a lot easier if Tara and Megan hadn't decided to have kids. Geez. I hate the thought of them being big toddlers when we get back. I pretty much thought someone was ripping my heart right out of my chest when I had to say goodbye to everybody. I think I cried all the way down Mommer and Popper's dirt road (and in our car, that's a long time).

Me and Jojo in Manassa (we went to New Mexico first to Mommer and Popper's, then up three hours to Colorado to Grandma and Grandpa's, then back down to New Mexico again).

Daddy taking Jojo for a ride on Grandpa's 4-wheeler. She loved it.

4 generations: Shaun, Kelly, Tom, and Jackson.

Jackson playing with the apples from great-Grandma's tree

This was on our way there. We stopped at Chama Grill for dinner, where we just happened to run into great-uncle Jack, and then played around with the kids in the parking lot to get their wiggles out.

Which reminds me - the ride there...hmm. It was interesting, to say the least. MapQuest says it should take 11 hours. Yeah, right. We left on a Wednesday morning at 6:45 am. I think we got to Mommer's at 3:00 in the afternoon...the NEXT DAY! (Popper says we win the award for taking the longest to get from Provo to Mora). We had about a million stops for the kids, a few for me and Tom, and some unexpected catastrophes. Okay, maybe not catastrophes, but we almost hit a couple deer (one of which caused me to leave about 20 feet of skid-marks), and Joni got a bloody nose when it was dark and screamed the entire time, refusing to put a tissue up to her nose. So you can pretty much guess what that whole thing looked like in the light of day.

Fast forward a week, and we're on our way home, and in almost the exact same spot as where we almost hit a deer (I still think it was an elk, Tom), and this time we almost hit....


Yup, you read right, my friends. I was driving along between Taos and Chama, everyone else was sleeping, and a bear came barreling up over the ridge on the side of the road, ran in front of the car, right through a barbed wired fence, and straight up a hill. Here's a picture to prove it...

It took us a minute to dig out the camera, so it's not the greatest picture. But I'm pretty sure the image is ingrained in our minds (when I slammed on the brakes, everyone woke up, so we all got to see. Joni kept saying, "That bear is my friend! He is my friend!").

These next few pictures are at Mommer and Popper's. Here is "Abba and Omi" with all four grandkids - Joni, Jackson, Eva, and Shaun David.

Here is Jackson saying goodbye to Omi. I swear he could tell what was going on. He gave her about ten hugs.

Little Jackson with his great-grandparents, Mommer and Popper.

Me, Jojo, Megan, Tara, Kelli, and Emma. I could just cry looking at this one. Tom's sisters are my buddies. I'll leave it at that - I just hope they know I love them just as much as my own sisters.

I was sure grateful to both sets of Tom's grandparents for letting us crash their houses. All of my own grandparents have been gone for a long time, so as soon as Tom and I got married, I decided I would adopt his grandparents as my own - and they've been nice enough to let me. :)

It was a great visit and we will miss everyone a lot!

P.S. Since we're living like nomads right now, I thought I would update those who don't know our status right now - just before going on this trip last week, we moved all of our stuff out of our Provo apartment, and into my mom and dad's shed and basement. Tom leaves for Israel on Sunday, while me and the kids will be staying with my parents for two months. On October 3rd, the kids and I will be joining Tom in Jerusalem.