Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Breaking Dawn



Well, I read it and enjoyed it. I don't have more to add to what others have said. I thought it ended the series well. It was rather...passionate. I'm not sure how I would feel about my 13 year old reading this (in the future of course). But, nice way the end the series.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Blog Beauty

We're back to basic black because Marcus didn't like the last one. I'm determined to find a new background that he'll like that adds more pizazz. So, we may be going through quite a few changes in the next few weeks. Comments on the backgrounds you like may help my case.:)

Fitting In in Spokane

Spokane has been an i n t e r e s t i n g transition, but over the past few weeks that we've been here, I've seen little miracles take place in our lives. Most of them regard Samantha and her doctors and therapists. We have been set up with some of the best in the city, and I owe all of that to prayer. It seemed that every step I took was blindly taken. However, the past two weeks things have fallen perfectly into place, and those blind steps were actually leading me directly along the right path. Friday was an amazing day for me to see that everything, everything had fallen into place for Samantha.

Last week I received a new calling in church as the 1st counselor in the Relief Society. This was a huge shock because we had only been to church twice. The Sunday morning before I was sustained, I was overwhelmed with worry, thinking of how ackward I'd feel when they called my name, I stood up, and the RS President made hand gestures signaling I wasn't who she thought I was -- it was really someone else she had wanted as her counselor. Luckily that didn't happen. I've been in presidencies before. I was excited about the calling, but I was also very...mmmm...I don't know...feeling like I shouldn't be there perhaps. During our first presidency meeting, I learned about our new president. Two years ago her daughter, Rachel, died at the age of 21. She had a blood clot that traveled from her leg to her lungs. She died in the ambulence on the way to the hospital. This happened 6 weeks after Rachel gave birth to her second child. The story is much longer and more detailed, of course, than I'm sharing. But while she was sharing this experience with us, I knew partly why I was called to be in the Shiloh Hills Relief Society Presidency. It was so I could learn from Laura. I don't expect Samantha to die anytime soon. I didn't feel anything that would make me believe I needed to prepare myself for any imminent disaster. But, I did feel that I needed to learn from Laura, from her experiences, how she copes, how she handles her pain, and how she relies on the Lord. Though our personalities are very different, I think there is much that I need to learn from her because of the experience she has had with her daughter. Even though I'm not expecting Samantha to die any time soon, I am expecting to feel more pain from time to time. I'm expecting there to be more ups and downs, and I need to continue to learn how to deal with that better. I feel that the Lord has arranged this so that I can have close contact with Laura and learn from her.

I look forward to the calling, but I look more forward to creating close friends and learning from their examples.

Thank You

Thank you so much to all those who called or wrote their state senators about the Protect Our Children Bill. Oprah, on her Friday show, announced that the bill had passed! I believe it is worth every dollar to keep our children safe from these horrible predators. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

gonna eat me a lot of peaches...

video

Krazy Kiddos


Callie is getting everywhere these days. She gets herself stuck all the time. Under the table is a common place where we can find her crying because she can't get out.



She is also beginning to make this face when she is excited. I'm not quite sure where she picked it up, but it's pretty hillarious. She has been known to look at someone, open her mouth really loud, and produce a growl at them. But, it's playful. Ya know, kind of like the puppy next door? She hasn't been growling as much lately, but she does open up as wide as she can when she's excited. What a cutie! (Though, these pictures in no way reflect that.)




And little Sammy is up to her own tricks now a days. She likes standing up in her stroller as if she' s watching the seas ahead. "Land hooooo!" Needless to say, we have to strap her in most of the time now. Look how long her hair is getting!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Insight Requested

Because of my new calling/responsibility at church, I will be given some time this Sunday to speak to the women in our congregation. I'll only have 10 minutes, but I can choose to talk about anything I want. I've thought a lot about it and I feel like I know what I would like to address in that very short time. Happiness. I kind of have my thoughts, but I would like your input.

1. Do you consider yourself happy?
2. If you aren't happy, do you have any idea how you could become happy, or happier?
3. What is holding you back from doing what is needed to be happier?
4. What is it that makes you happiest? And not just happy, but really really deep down happy?
5. When you're feeling down, how do you change your mood? What pulls you out of that gloomy feeling so you can feel peaceful and happy again?

You don't have to answer all of these questions, or you can. If you don't want to leave it as a comment, that's ok. You can email me instead. Thanks!

marcusandjenny@gmail.com

My New Chair

After holding on to this chair for more than one year, I finally started and finished it before leaving Provo. The week before leaving, things were hectic, but it had to be done. So, at 6am on several mornings, I went to work on it. Special thanks to Wayne at the BYU Upholstery Shop who walked me through step by step and sewed my material together. There's no way I could have finished it without him. I chose a much too hard first project, but wasn't aware of that until he taught me! And, thanks to Dad for helping me while they were in town...and to Marcus for supporting me in my crazy projects and while I do them, watching the girls.


This is what the baby looked like after I picked her up off the street. It was love at first sight! I loved the old style and if it wasn't ripped and faded, this would have been a real beauty queen. But, work had to be done.


Ok, I can't seem to rotate some of these pictures...but this is her in the shop. I worked on campus in the BYU Upholstery Shop. This is with all the fabric stripped off, showing the stuffing. It took a while to take off all the fabric, and my finger tips were quite sore.



from the back: After taking off the back stuffing to see the skeleton of the chair. We found out this was a custom made chair...expensive for the day. Wayne estimated it was from the '40s or '50s. Cool! This chair kept getting better and better!


Wayne -- the Upholstery Guru


Dad helping me out -- stapling the back material on before we put the fabric on.




The finished product sitting in Samantha's room.



Close up. In order to get the project done in a timely fashion, we simplified a lot of it. But, by doing so, we also made it modern. I wanted it to be a classic simple look, and I'm really happy with the results! Yippee! Total cost of project: $18. The fabric I got from the clearance section for $3/yrd. The other cost was just loss of sleep. The first morning I worked on it was about 1/2 hour after running my 1/2 marathon. I was pretty tired, but it was worth it. I love this chair. It is so comfortable. I sit in it while I read to Samantha. One day it will probably either be in our room as a reading chair, or in a more formal living room. We'll see. But wahoo! I love my projects.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Protect Our Children

The other day I saw a very disturbing Oprah. Did any of you see it? It was about the HUGE problem we have with children being victims of sexual abuse...and the internet. The problem is, law enforcement can track the perpetrators down, but they don't have the money to hire the manpower to get them. There was a man on the show who created software that is used to track down online child pornography predators. All day, every day, he uses the this software to find the footage and these children to rescue. However, the hardest thing for him, he said, is to know that there are hundreds of kids that he knows are being sexually abused, because he has found them online -- and knows where the abusers physically are, and each day he can only save one of those children. This was only one part of the show. It really was so disturbing what happens and what is shown online for anyone to view. These poor children and babies. I just cried.

But there is something we can do. You can go to Oprah.com or follow the following instructions in order to help pass the Protect Our Children Act -- Bill 1738. We have a limited time. Congress will reconvene on September 26, I believe. That is when this bill will be discussed and voted on. Things are only getting worse and more disgusting. This is about the safety of our children and future children. To me, that is worth every penny.

As you know, I've asked many of you to write letters and make phone calls before when it was regarding Samantha and other children who would benefit from certain things that were under control of the Utah State Senate. I'm now asking you again, if you feel like this would be worth our time and money, to please make a phone call or write a letter to your state senator. This will affect your children. I just called and left a message for both of my senators. It took less than 30 seconds to make both phone calls. (Be forewarned. You aren't leaving a message on a machine, you actually talk to someone. That catches me off guard every time I call a senator.)

The PROTECT Our Children Act will:
  • Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.
  • Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.
  • Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.
Act Now!
Your U.S. senators will be voting on the bill soon, so it is crucial you contact them immediately.
Go to www.senate.gov to find contact information for the senators in your state. Search for your senator by name or state by clicking on the arrow from either drop down menu. Contact information is provided here. To send an e-mail, click on "Web Form" below his or her name, and e-mail your letter to make a difference!

Call Your Senators
If you choose to contact your senators by phone, be sure to tell them, "Vote yes on Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act."

Write to Your Senators
If you choose to write a letter, fax, telegram or e-mail, you may use the following sample letter—and modify it how you see fit.

Dear Senator:

I know that you believe, like I do, that we must do everything possible to protect children from sexual predators. That is why I am asking for your help.

Last year alone, U.S. law enforcement identified over 300,000 criminals who were trafficking in movies and pictures of young children being raped and tortured. Experts say that one in every three of these criminals has local child victims. Child pornography trafficking over the Internet has given us a trail of evidence that leads straight to their doorsteps, but the vast majority of these children will never be rescued because investigators are overwhelmed, outnumbered and underfunded.

As your constituent, I urge you to do everything in your power to pass the PROTECT Our Children Act (S. 1738, Biden-Hatch). This bipartisan legislation passed the House 415-2, but it is now the victim of partisan politics.

Now that we know where these children are and how to protect them, please let's do something about it and take action during this session.

(Your name here)

* All this information was taken off oprah.com, some of it word for word.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tagged

I'm pretty sure I was tagged...Jessica, if Jenny G. isn't me, sorry. The last time I was tagged, I didn't do it. Not that I didn't want to, I just was busy and never got around to it. I've carried around bloggers tagging guilt ever since. So, as to avoid that, here we go.

Six random things about myself:

1) My mood is greatly affected by the cleanliness of my apartment, in particular my kitchen. I can't go to bed with a messy front room or kitchen. This drives Marcus crazy sometimes, but I'd rather do it before I go to bed than wake up to a mess. It drives me insane!


2) I have a shameful addiction to night time drama shows -- namely Grey's Anatomy. I'm embarrassed by it. If Marcus mentions it to people while I'm there, I laugh and roll my eyes as if he's making it up, anxiously trying to change the topic. I know it's basically an evening soap opera. I know it's a waste of time. I know it's immoral and corrupting my mind. But I'm so hooked and eagerly anticipate the season premiere. It's my drug. Perhaps by admitting it, I can begin to cut the habit.



3) I love people. I am a believer that most all people are inherently good. I get a lot of my energy from being around others. This is great because I seem to meet people everywhere I go and get into fun conversations. However, sometimes this is a curse! Yesterday, on my way out to the gym, I was stuck in the parking lot with another man who also loves meeting people...we were there for over 45 minutes. I don't know if he stopped talking to even breath. Needless to say, I didn't go to the gym that night.

4) I am a born again Cougar fan. I've always enjoyed the football games. The last couple years we were in Provo were the only years I didn't get a season's pass, and I've been there since 1998. Those last years, I would have gotten tickets, but it was too complicated with Samantha -- or so I thought. If I was a bigger fan, I'm sure I would have figured it out. This summer, after going to the Women's Football Clinic, something inside me changed. The energy I felt for the Cougs my freshman year in 1998 returned, and even more so. I now know our players and recognize them, read sports blogs, learn a little about our opposing teams, talk football talk with Marcus, and even ask him questions. Our marriage has been greatly strengthened because of my renewal of commitment to BYU football.

5) I love to cook. When I lived with Marci, Reagan, and Becky, we used to bake almost every Sunday. That was Marse's influence. And I loved it. Not only because I had something sweet (and incredibly I wasn't gaining weight then), but it was fun for me to experiment. I love cooking new recipes for dinner -- I had a hit last night by the way. (It looked like something off of Rachael Ray, or that you'd buy at Red Robin. Yes, THAT good. And it tasted that good too. I'm not being shy about this one. It's great and easy!) Anyway. I love to cook and get a lot of satisfaction out of making a good meal and serving it to my family. But it's not enough for me to have it taste good. A yummy, balanced meal is the ticket.

6) I want a lot of kids. A lot is relative and I'm not going to divulge some number here on this blog post. But I do know I, we both, want more. Sometimes I get stressed out with the 2. Samantha and Callie are wonderful, but they are consuming. Aren't all kids? With that said, I don't feel like we are even near to done. When I think about our future family, I sometimes get scared and nervous because I don't know how we will go about doing it all...if we will have other kids with issues, etc. And I feel a little incompetent as a mother. But, since I do feel so strongly that we have a few more kiddos to come, I'm hoping the Lord will help me out in the mothering so I can not only handle it, but be good at it.

That's me. Tell us about you....whoever would like to share.

Friday, September 12, 2008

As You See Fit

Thanks to Courtney Mangum's creativity (she came up with the name), we now have As You See Fit, a blog for all of us to help each other become better at getting and/or staying healthy. Please, those who are interested, openly comment on the blog. I'm really hoping that it will be a forum to share a lot of great tips as we glean wisdom from each other. I will be issuing challenges. Try them out. See if they work for you. If not, at least you've tried it out.

I will be updating it every Monday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who's With Me?

Friends, I have a proposal for you all. I've been consumed, since last night, thinking about what I can do to help myself and my fellow trying-to-get-healthier family and friends. Yesterday I stumbled across a blog of an old friend of mine. It was set aside specifically for those who wanted to join her in slimming down in a healthy way, and staying healthy. Unfortunately, the blog wasn't kept up. It started, it was a family goal, and when the date came, I think the blog went. I was really disappointed because I really wanted to join in on the challenges. That's when I decided to do it myself. But, I need to know if there is anyone else out there interested in joining me on a mission to healthy life. Because not only do I want to lose some weight, but I want to be healthy. Sincerely, I want to live a healthier life, avoiding a lot of disease and illness that we have control of -- I want to have more energy -- and come on, I want to look good, great in fact. And, I don't want to do it alone.

Here's what I want:

* A support group. We all join together, push each other, encourage each other, and share our goals, challenges, and successes. I decided I need at least 5 others who want to do it with me.
* Commit to change. When a challenge is issued, you commit to it.
* As this will be a committed support group, we all vow to comment so it's not just me on this thing. Mostly I'm interested in comments that reflect your week in regards to health. Have you lost weight? Have you gained weight? Are you at a stand still? Do you have a good tip? A good recipe that you discovered? This is good because we all hear each other's successes and challenges, but it also gives each of us some kind of accountability as we need to report. I doesn't have to be as personal as your weight, but you get the idea. (This was taken from Lesley's blog. I just think it's a really good idea.)

These are some of the thoughts I had last night...as well as some challenges for us to try through the weeks to come. But I need to know, who's with me? Who wants to change their lives for the better and do it with friends? As far as I can tell, most of us are doing this alone right now anyway. Why not join forces and do it together?

Comment if you are interested.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Seattle


On a pier at the Puget Sound

A park along the sound. It was gorgeous! A little cool, but gorgeous.


What's wrong with this picture? Why does the little girl get the big chair and the big boy get the little chair? Hmmm


Sunday morning before church we went in to Seattle. It was really pretty. We did get a picture with us at the Space Needle, but it's a vertical shot and I can't get it to rotate. So, oh well. But, I love this picture -- Callie and Samantha looking and smiling at each other. So cute.



When Marcus was younger, his dad went to graduate school at University of Washington. During that year, they rented out this house. It was a trick finding this baby. We only had a street name, and it was the wrong one. I was determined to find this house. We had spent so much time looking for it, there was no way we were leaving without finding it. And find it we did. It was fun for Marcus to have a flood of memories come back. The man who bought the house in 1990 still lives there. We were able to talk to him for about 20 minutes as he confirmed that this was definitely the house.

I'm not quite sure what I think about Spokane yet. Everyone has told us such wonderful things and this coming weekend we plan on going around to some places to get to know the area more. I want to know why everyone said great things about Spokane. Because, not that it's a bad place, I just haven't quite figured out yet why it's such a good place. I'm excited to get to know our new area. But, after this weekend, Marcus and I concluded that we could definitely, most definitely do Seattle! It's a very pretty and clean area. Perhaps he'll find a job there next year. Who knows? But we sure wouldn't mind.

Thanks Emmi and Dan for the tremendous hospitality. It was so fun being with you guys. It's good to have great friends that we can see from time to time. Have fun on your trip to the Virgin Islands! Sheesh. Are you sure you don't want us to come? Ask your parents just to make sure.

BYU v. Washington


Our not-so-happy cheerleader.

This weekend was fabulous. We went to Seattle, spent time with some friends (Emmi and Dan Fillmore) and attended the BYU v. Washington game. With all the hype that is around about this game, here is my opinion: it was a fair call. It stinks, but it's a rule. And the guy, if you watch it, threw the ball up quite high. I don't think he was just tossing it out of the way to hug his fellow teammates. He was understandably excited, threw the ball in the air, and celebrated. It's a bummer for them, but such is the nature of the game. There are rules. And, we did block the kick. Very nice!

(We got a babysitter for Callie. She doesn't like loud noises, and we figured it wouldn't be a very good experience for her, or any of us.)




Friday, September 5, 2008

Apartment in Spokane

So, while Callie is sleeping and Sammy is having a snack, I thought...I might as well post pictures of the apartment. I'll get to the bedrooms later. So, here we go:

Our packed up ABF trailer.

Welcome to Apartment 101
Underneath the 101 is both our peep hole and our door bell. Kind of funky.



Immediately, when you walk in the front door, you are presented with 2 options. You can go left or right.


If you choose left, it takes you to our linen closet, which is extremely well organized...



the bathroom...



and Samantha's room. Callie and our room is next to Sammy's.


If, upon entering the front door, you turn right...you walk through our hallway where there is a large hallways closet...



our family room (guess I should have turned off the light and Family Feud)...


(another angle of family room, with desk in back corner)



Standing from the family room, we have our "dining room" and the kitchen. To the right of the eating area is our glass sliding door which takes us out to the patio, which is a 2 foot slab of cement.



And, of course, the heart of the home...the kitchen.




So, that's it. Our new place. Visitors welcome! We're headed to Seattle in the next hour, so don't come this weekend.


Getting Away from Politics, and Back to Our Daily Lives

I feel like I need to get back to the real reason I started this blog to begin with...Samantha, and now Callie. I'll get some pictures up of the apartment once our bedrooms get picked up. Promise.


When my parents were in UT, they took up to This Is The Place Park in SLC. It was neat. And, what was really fun and surprising was to run into an old and great friend, Alex, from Hungary. She was there with Agi, visiting from Hungary, and it was so good to see her and be able to rendes-ly say goodbye. (Those aren't what my eyes normally look like in my suglasses. If you zoom in, you'll see that those are the legs of my parents and Marcus. It makes me look freakishly strange.)

Callie intently listening to Grammy Green talk to her on the phone. Whenever we hand her the phone, she stops what she's doing and just stares and she listens. It's pretty funny.


Marcus in his new office. Since then he's gotten some books up and such.



Before we moved here, everyone told us about the Radio Flyer wagon that we had to see. It definitely is huge.


And Samantha giggled everytime we went down the handle/slide.



This past weekend, they had what is called Pig Out at the Park. Down along the river, tons of restuarants set up shop and people just come and eat. I met a woman who drove 3 hours with her family to come to it. It's a pretty big deal. 29 years of piggin' out in the park. We went down there to check it out. We didn't buy anything, but it was fun to see everything and to see a bit of our new city.


The other day, Samantha and Callie were playing while I was preoccupied unpacking a few of our last boxes. All of a sudden it got really quiet, and I got really nervous thinking Samantha was having a seizure. I got up and ran over to see that Samantha was eating something off of the floor. Somehow, she had managed to shake the table enough that her little cup of cut up fruit had fallen over and landed on the floor. She was just enjoying a small snack. Callie was watching her big sister and trying to participate but couldn't seem to keep a grip on the slippery peach chunk. Partly in relief, but also at the sheer cuteness of the sight, I started laughing. Samantha looked up, and with a peach bulging in her left cheek, she smiled and started giggling with me. What a mess! (If you look closely, you can see a peach by Callie.)


How she got the cup of fruit to the floor I'll never know.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Post Follow-Up

Dear Anonymous and other commenters:

Thank you for reading my last post and for commenting. Your comments are well received and appreciated. I would like to say a word regarding the previously mentioned post in order to clarify and comment on your own comments.

I do not believe that Barack Obama was initially seeking out the Hollywood attention. As any candidate, he is seeking media attention. That is to be expected. How else will he get his name out across the country? Heidi Ashworth made a comment and I agree with what you said: "I think the people are at fault. Sorry America, but our priorities are all screwed up. It's really sad." I concur. We feed into it all. We are the oil that feeds the fire. It is disturbing. But, what is more disturbing to me is that I feel like he so readily going along with it. He is the object of this celebrity talk and there is a reason for it. If the tables were turned and McCain were in Obama's position, I would be equally annoyed.

Once again, I believe Obama is a good man. Sincerely, I believe he wants what is best. My idea is different from his on how to achieve "best" but I think he has great intentions. He is a fabulous speaker and is inspiring. There is a reason, yes anonymous, that people flock to him. I'm not denying that at all. My fear is that a lot of the Obama supporters don't know what they are voting for because the facts are overlooked by the excitement of it all.

Look, friends, there is always something that bothers me about campaigns. Usually it's the mud slinging. I am so happy that this time around there seems to be less of that. I was impressed with Obama, when referring to Palin's daughter, making a statement discouraging others to use that as a point against the McCain/Palin campaign. I'm grateful for a campaign season where I feel like there are 2 good, decent men running for President. However, the celebrity issue stands for me. I have no doubt that in the coming time we will get to know these two candidates better, and hopefully, we will all make an educated vote.

Thank you.
Jenny

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