Thursday, February 24, 2011

When the Boys Sleep

Both Alan and Killer are in bed and what am I doing? Nothing, absolutely nothing. I should be in bed, or working on my color quiet book, but I'm sitting here watching TV and blogging.

One of the reasons that I'm not working on my color quiet book is because I'm working on  shapes for the front cover (I'll show you when I'm all done with it and it'll make more sense). I need to cut them out of felt, but since I don't have a nice stencil I'm making my own. This entails finding pictures of shapes on the internet and tracing them on paper, cutting the shapes out, tracing onto the felt and cutting out the felt shape. Whew! Long process huh? Well the worst part is I want the shapes about the same size and boy is it hard to find same size shapes on the internet. Some of you are probably saying "use the application paint, Julie!" I would but it doesn't do hexagon, stars, hearts or octagons.

So here I am sitting on the couch, wasting my life away by watching crappy TV, sigh . . . .

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sewing Away

So the other day (Saturday I think it was) I decided that I needed a hobby. Often I'm bored (I know, bored with a kid? It happens, believe me) and I decided that since I like to sew, I'll just get back into it. As you know (because of my last blog post) I don't have a lot of toys for little Killer and so I decided to look on Etsy for some toys that I could make.

Two teething rings
So far I've made a teething ring and I've started a cloth quiet book about colors. Killer is in love with his new teething ring, and it's super nice for me because now he doesn't have to chew on my fingers! Other things on my list include: stackable rings, a quiet book based on the Articles of Faith, and three peas in a pod. I also need to work on some cloth diaper covers that I've had cut out for awhile. Killer is growing too big for his small diaper covers and so I need to finish the medium ones I have started and get going on the large ones.

The one major problem with having sewing as my hobby is that I don't have a sewing space and so the kitchen table and our living room become my sewing room. It's kind of a pain to have the sewing machine on the table while we have dinner and to have diaper covers covering the couch, but Alan is so patient and is just happy that I've found something to do that I really enjoy. Thanks Alan!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Little Baby Killer

With my track record you thought that after such a long hiatus I wouldn't be back, but here I am! I just haven't written most of this week because I don't have anything to say. I still don't have anything to say but I wanted to write and assure you all that I'm still here. 

So this little cutie right here is Killer. He's my adorable five month old. His personality is starting to show now and it's so fun to see it! As the picture above testifies, he's such a happy baby, usually giggling or smiling at whoever is holding him. The only time that he's really cranky is when he's tired or when he's gassy (yep, it happens, babies get gas). Also, he's begun to drool even more than he has been the last two months and chawing down on everything that he can get his hands on. I think that the teething process is quickly picking up speed! I absolutely love being a mom and so far things are going well, but I have a small conundrum. What do I do to entertain him and to teach him at this stage? He does roll, and finally enjoys being on his stomach, but he can't quite sit up by himself yet. He's getting lots better with his hands; for example he loves to grab his pacifier out of his mouth and then try to put it back in by himself. So with those achievements what kinds of games and toys should I give him that will keep developing his motor skills? I often find myself just talking with him while he's in his chair or on the floor while I'm doing homework or dishes. What more can I do to interact with him and help him develop? I want to make sure that he's meeting all of his milestones at the right time and that I'm also improving his brain.  I'm hoping that some of you readers can help me out, since many of you have kids older than mine. Thanks in advance for all your advice! 

And because he's so dang cute, here are some more pictures of the little Killer! 

Super smiley.

Just hanging out on the couch
He's recently found that his thumb tastes good

He was sitting but as soon as I took the picture he fell over, poor kid!

First taste of rice cereal.

BIG blue eyes just like his Grandpa (my dad).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shopping on the Internet Again

Remember when I told you that I have an addiction to window shopping on the internet? Well I've been at it again this morning!

I was reading one of my favorite blogs "Helping Little Hands" this morning. Her post was all about her friend who just opened an online store called Lily and Oak. HLH was talking about the wax melts that she was sampling and how much she already adored them. At the very end she mentioned in passing the pendants that Lily and Oak sold. I went and checked them out; and I'm hooked!! I want every single one of them! Here's just a few that I fell head over heels for. Enjoy!

Pink and Blue Flowers

Red and Blue Flowers

Lavender Blossoms

Lavender on Cream

Gold Flowers

Lessons from the Doctrine and Covenants

It's another religious post, but this one has been sitting in my draft pile for awhile and I just feel prompted to post it.

I'm taking a Doctrine and Covenants class this semester, and recently in my readings I came across this scripture:
Doctrine and Covenants 95:11Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom Ialove I also chasten that their sins may be bforgiven, for with thecchastisement I prepare a way for their ddeliverance in all things out of etemptation, and I have loved you—
It intrigued me. I had always viewed chastisement as a very negative thing, but here was God saying that he chastens those whom he loves! It made no sense to me! Wouldn't God chastise those whom he was displeased with? I then had an epiphany.

Growing up, I had felt that I could never confess anything to anyone, because I didn't want anyone to think less of me, or to think that I wasn't a good person. I wanted to avoid chastisement because I felt that it was a purely negative thing, that only those who were bad were chastised. I didn't want to be a bad person, and so I probably hid too many of my sins from people in hopes that they would think that since I had never been in trouble I must be a good person.

God loves me. So why would He say that He chastens those whom He loves? Well, we are all sinners. No one is perfect, no one is better than anyone else because we are all equal--we are all sinners. There is only one way to put off the natural man, and stop being an enemy to God, and that is by repentance that comes only through the atonement of Christ (Mosiah 3:19). God chastens those whom He loves so that we will repent and come unto Christ. God wants us back to live with him and to become like him, and the only way that can happen is if we are perfect, but none of us can attain that on our own. Chastisement is a negative thing, in that we should be doing what we are being chastised for; BUT it is also a wonderful thing because through it God points out the mistakes that we are making and provides a way for us to overcome those mistakes and to repent and be forgiven.

I know that God loves us and that He has provided the atonement so that we may become like Him. I know it was through Jesus Christ that this atonement was possible. I know this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"For God so Loved the World . . ." John 3:16

First off, happy Valentine's day everyone! I hope that you're spending time with those you love today, even if you have no significant other.

Yesterday was Fast and Testimony meeting for sacrament meeting. We had stake conference the week before and it got moved back to this week. Alan was off at drill and Karl was being rather fussy yesterday in church (nothing unexpected from a sick little boy), so I wasn't able to bear my testimony. This is a little unconventional, but I would like to share with you all my testimony of our Savior.

Bishop Finlinson challenged us to read The Living Christ every day in December. I took that challenge and I did well. I didn't read it every day, there were I think two days where it just slipped my mind, but I did it every other day. I didn't necessarily learn something new about the Savior every single day, but my testimony of Jesus Christ and his divine mission was strengthened enormously. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that he bled in the garden of Gethsemane and died on the cross so that I might be forgiven of my sins and be able to live with God again. I know that Jesus Christ was resurrected, and that he does indeed live and that through his resurrection comes life eternal. I know that. Jesus Christ is our exemplar; through his actions he laid out the path that we must follow. It was through the love of God for us, his children, that all of this came about. I know that Heavenly Father is indeed our Father and that he cares for us. I know that He has a plan for us, and that we have a purpose in this life, and in the life to come. I know that this is true in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Nights (usually)

So this happened to be a Tuesday night, but Wednesdays are usually hockey nights. Alan has been playing on a men's league hockey team for the past, uhh . . . let's say four years, because he's not here to give me the exact number. Alan plays goalie for a team called the Chiefs. The Chiefs were started about four years ago and the same guys have been on the team since the beginning. A few have been added here and there and a few have been subtracted over the past couple of years, but overall the team hasn't changed. These guys have become like brothers; they hang out off the ice, and on the ice they can read each other like open books. The wives of the Chiefs have also become great friends. We sit together at all of the games, and often have a hard time focusing on what's happening on the ice because we are chatting. I have become great friends with the wives and I want to thank them for welcoming me so warmly into their midst.

Sadly the Chiefs are about to be disbanded. A couple of them have already graduated, but stayed around the Provo ares. About half of the rest of them are graduating this year; most like us are moving very soon after. Those who have already graduated have either moved this year or are moving very soon. We're all growing up and moving on with our lives. It's exciting, but sad to be ending this part of our lives.

Last night was the last regular game of the season; playoffs are about to start. It was the perfect game to end this season. We won 5-3, with the last goal being on an empty net. Our opponents, Roadkill, were spectacular and were up 3-0 until the end of the second period. It was an amazing game because the teams were so evenly matched. Roadkill was faster than the Chiefs by a long shot, but we had better passing and better plays. In the end, the Chiefs pulled ahead and we won, 5-3. It was a perfect ending to four years of Wednesday night hockey.


I write this post as a tribute to our friends on the Chiefs. Thanks for all the wonderful times over the past four years. I appreciate your friendship. I really hope that we can keep in touch, and stay close as our jobs take us far apart. This is a tribute to Wednesday nights at the Peaks Ice Arena. Goodbye Chiefs!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Realities of Motherhood Part 2: Bodies

Welcome back to my series of Realities of Motherhood! Today's topic is baby's body.

Killer on the Bilibed. It's a bed of UV lights (no, it  doesn't tan 
him or give him radiation) that is used to get rid of jaundice

So we all know that babies are just little people. They have all the parts of an adult, just in a smaller package. Common knowledge of course. Well what's not common knowledge, or what wasn't common knowledge for me, is that babies' bodies do not work as well as adult bodies. First up is jaundice. I did not realize that jaundice was so common in newborns until my own son had it. Jaundice is caused by the liver not properly cleaning the bilirubin out of the body. Bilirubin is the breakdown of heme which is found in hemoglobin which makes up red blood cells. Bilirubin is secreted in urine and bile. If there is too much in the blood it is poisonous and the person will likely turn yellow: jaundice is born! Newborns often get it because the liver isn't working properly, it hasn't developed as completely as it should, as completely as an adults (though adults can and do get jaundice).

Another way in which babies' bodies aren't as properly functional as an adults is in the presence of spit-up. I know I already talked about this, but it is relevant to this post as well. Newborns/infants spit up because the little flap that closes the opening between the esophagus and the stomach isn't strong enough to stay closed, hence a little bit gets spit up every now and again (or all the time if the baby is my little Killer).

So the advice for the day is: do not expect your baby's body to function as nicely as yours does. Sometimes it's problematic (as in jaundice) and sometimes it's just a little inconvenient (spit-up). Baby's are confusing, because you can never be sure exactly what's wrong with them, because they can't talk and their bodies don't always function as perfectly as they should. Good luck with your own adventures in parenthood!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Simple Things

It's bedtime. I have a migraine and I'm just plain tired; but I wanted to share just a small little something tonight since I didn't blog yesterday.

We had Stake Conference this weekend and our visiting General Authority was Elder Richard Hinckley, President Gordon B. Hinckley's son. Last night at the Saturday evening session he said something almost in passing, but that stuck with me.

Finances are one of the toughest issues in marriages, most everyone will agree on that. The Church is very big on budgeting, living within one's means, and staying out of debt.  Elder Hinckley briefly mentioned finances last night and he said this (I'm paraphrasing): live with a budget now, and learn how to do it while you don't have any money; it will stick with you when you do get a little money. What wise words! I was struck by them. He didn't say anything overly profound, and it's definitely not something that I haven't heard before. But something in it struck me. It has sparked me to do better with my own budgeting. Alan and I have been talking a lot about finances and such, in lieu of him getting this new Guard position. This comment, and the conversation we had with our friends a week ago has inspired us both.

I am so grateful for the Lord's servants that are given words to speak that will inspire us. I know that God watches out for us and that he loves us enough to help us through this crazy world.

One more wise saying from Stake Conference before I sign off. President Freestone said (I'm once again paraphrasing): now that you are married, the search is over. You have found your partner and must move forward with your loving relationship. Do not look at other people and think of what it would be like to be with them. You are with the one you love and are married to. Keep it that way.

Wise words from a man of God. I am grateful for Stake Conference this weekend and for the Spirit that I felt there. I know that God is our Father and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know that each of us is loved by God and Christ, and that because of that love, we are able to repent and draw closer to them. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wishing for Warmth

So I have a problem; a major problem. Like many people out there I get email ads from numerous companies, like Target, IKEA, etc. Those aren't the problem. The problem is places like DownEast Basics, Modbe, and most especially Shabby Apple. After I get these emails I go to their sites and drool over all of there beautiful clothes and dresses. I AM ADDICTED TO ONLINE WINDOW SHOPPING! Yeah, it's pretty bad. I'll be on sites like those forever just gazing at the clothes and thinking about what I would look like in them. Haha! Oh well, for our budget it's definitely better that I'm just looking and not buying.

The above mention sites are not my sponsors as I have no sponsors, but I must share this jewel that I found today. Shabby Apple just launched a new dress line called South Pacific and I have fallen head over heels for it. I've wanted a cute little summer/sun dress for the past five years; I have just never found one that I adore, until today. It's the Shabby Apple Garden Isle dress. I love the multiplicity of bright colors; the full skirt; the knee-length; and the high collar. This dress just screams summer to me and makes me wish that the warmth was here now. I would love to be able to walk around in this dress with some simple white sandals, a big floppy white hat, and a beautiful beaded bracelet.

But their whole South Pacific line is stunning, so go check it out. All their dresses are so beautiful that I might change my mind on which one is my favorite by tomorrow! (Actually I already have changed my mind about 5 times, hehe!)

The sad part about all of this window shopping is that I can't afford any of Shabby Apple's lovely dresses. I don't feel that any of them are over priced, but as a poor college student this is not in our budget. Sigh! But thinking about it, even if I had the money to buy one I'd have a hard time spending so much on one little item. Maybe someday--a very, very far off day--I'll let myself splurge just a little on such a gorgeous dress.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sooner rather than Later

Well I'm back before I thought I'd be. It's late and I'm tired, but I've got a little spare time to do some blogging.

Alan and I went out to dinner tonight to celebrate his new slot in the National Guard. He is going to be driving tanks (which is what he always wanted). He got this position through the graciousness of his Lt. Colonel and some people that he knows. April is going to be bringing some pretty big changes for us. We had planned on staying where we are for now because Alan got a slot with the Utah National Guard, but now that's not the plan. We're hoping that in May he'll be sent off for his 18 week training that will take place in Oklahoma. From everything Alan has read on Army internet forums, they highly encourage families to go with their serviceman to the training and so Killer and I will hopefully be joining him. Eighteen weeks is a reeeaaallllly long time. . . .  After that little move, Alan hopes to go to Ranger school and a couple of other Army schools. So he'll be gone for another couple of months to Georgia most likely, and I'll be, well, I'll be wherever I can find a place. After all this training is over, we will settle into our new city. I know, I'm a blogger and only so many things can be secure on the internet, but I'm not going to post exactly where we will be. If you're curious shoot me an email or leave a comment and I'll email you.

So we're excited for the opportunities that have been opened up for us and our little family. It will be an adventure, but we are both excited and ready to tackle the world head on!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Overwhelmed, but happy.

This is such a late post because I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed today. Here's my to do list for the next three days: I have a test to take by Friday; a week's worth of laundry to do; I'm playing to organ at Stake Conference on Saturday; Alan and I are going to the temple tomorrow night; I need to find a babysitter for tomorrow night; I need to take Killer to get his immunizations; I need to go grocery shopping; and I have a test coming up on Monday that I need to study for. Needless to say, I'm swamped!

Phew! Well I don't mean to complain, especially with the good news that we received yesterday. My husband got what he wanted in the National Guard and we'll be going on an adventure as soon as he graduates in April! Hurray! So now he's terribly happy and excited and that boosts the mood in our house tremendously. Life is looking to be very exciting in the next year.

But because I am so danged busy, I might not get back to writing until Sunday. Don't go giving up on me, because I promise I'll be back!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Piano to Organ to Organist!

It all started 15 years ago when a wonderful piano teacher spotted something in me and let me start lessons when I was 6 instead of her customary cut-off age of 7. I took piano lessons for 9 years, progressively getting lazier and lazier. I made excuses not to practice, I don't like the song, I'm good enough I don't have to, etc. Finally, when I was 15 I took the plunge and quit piano lessons, and decided that I would take up the organ. My mom found me a teacher; a woman who taught at BYU-I and did private lessons on the side. I loved it! I really enjoyed the challenge that organ presented me. I still didn't practice as much as I should have, and I didn't put as much effort into it as I should have, but I loved it.

The Mormon tabernacle organ.                                                                                The manuals on the Mormon Tabernacle organ.
Someday I will play this beautiful instrument.

Now pan to my first semester at BYU. Through my mom's promptings, I signed up for private organ lessons. After learning that I was expected to practice an hour a day for five days of the week, I chickened out and dropped the class, rationalizing that I just didn't have the time with my busy schedule.

Winter Semester 2010, the first winter semester as a married student. Once again through my mother's promptings I signed up for private organ lessons. My teacher was a grad student named Joseph. He pushed me harder than I had ever been pushed before. To meet his expectations, I had to practice those five hours a week and instead of resenting it like I thought I would, I adored it. Joseph inspired me to do my best and because I wanted to show him that I was a good organist, I worked my tail off. I had never played such difficult pieces before, piano or organ, but I enjoyed learning the new skills needed to pull them off. It was during this time that a member of our bishopric, who also happens to be a good friend of my husband's, heard me mention to Alan that I was off to play the organ. He inquired as to how long I had played and I told him and I rushed off not thinking anything about it.

Two months later I was called as the ward organist. I absolutely love my calling! Since I had started organ I had wanted to be called as the ward organist (I know, wanting callings is bad) and I was in heaven. But I started slacking off again. I didn't/don't practice throughout the week as much as I should and that has made for some embarrassing Sundays where I completely fall apart on a piece. But I still enjoy it and I'm trying to do better and magnifying my calling.

Well about one month after I was called as ward organist, our ward's high councilor was talking about stake callings and releasings and at the mention of Joseph's name I start paying attention. Since I had missed what he was called to do, I turned to my husband. "Stake music chair," he whispered in response to my question. And within two weeks, Joseph had called me to see if I would play in stake conference. What an honor! I said yes and started practicing like a good, diligent little girl should.

Once again stake conference has come around and Joseph has asked me to play. I am so grateful  for this opportunity. I love playing the organ; I love the happiness it brings to my soul and to the souls of others. I was just practicing for it, and can I just say that it will be a lovely meeting and that I am so very excited  for what our stake presidency is going to teach us.
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