Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This was just too cute that I had to tag myself...

Thanks to Tia for this fun tag.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) Patches Denali
2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream and favorite cookie) Mint Chocolate Monster
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name) Jbri
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)Blue Elephant
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Jensen Columbia
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) Brije
7. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink put “The”) The Yellow Italian Cream
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)- Milo Wiley
9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne, favorite candy) Eternity M&M
10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) M Fran

Oh my little Kadan...

sometimes I just have to wonder what to do with him. These last few weeks have been a challenge. He has been pushing the limits on EVERYTHING. I have even thought about sending him away to boot camp -- grandma boot camp that is (she always says, give her a week and the kids will be in tip top shape). Yesterday was just like the others -- refusing to get dressed on time, telling me that he didn't have homework but actually did, not listening to adults (even the Bishop during Relief Society meeting), picking on Addy, etc. etc. etc. I was getting fed up. All these time outs and grounding are getting me (and him) down.

So, last night during my prayers I was given inspiration -- Just LOVE Him. Love him enough to talk to him about all his boyish stuff. Spend some alone time with him. Compliment him and tell him how much you love him and how proud you are of him. Give him attention -- he is acting out because he wants to be notice. And, finally, love him enough to discipline and stick with it.

Well, this morning I woke Kadan up a little earlier than normal. I cuddled with him, tickled his neck and ears (he loves that) and told him how smart and sweet he was and that proud I was of him. We piggy-backed down the stairs and then off he was to find Hunter. A few minutes later, while I was making breakfast, Kadan came in the kitchen and started setting the table. He helped me with breakfast and called the kids to the table to eat. He was warm, he was friendly, and he was happy. He is such a good boy.

I thank that Lord everyday for inspiration on how to be a better mom and to love my kids.

I just LOVE this messy face, beautiful blue-eyed, energetic, toothless little guy!

A little bit of Holloween fun...

is what I was up to yesterday. This year the children are not allowed to wear costumes to school so I decided to do something fun with the girls' outfits instead. Lucky for me, I able to have a little shopping spree in Scottsdale to get the fabric that I needed. And after a little battle with the sewing machines, I am pleased with the final product and cannot wait until Friday for the girls to wear them.

Addy was designer of her skirt -- lots of pattern and lots of color! Just the way she likes it.Bo's was a pillowcase dress. I can just say EASY! Love the purple ribbons -- perfect for this purple loving monkey.

Me verses Machine : The saga of sewing Halloween attire.

  • Picking up the fabric -- fun, fast and on sale -- Victor = ME

  • Coming up with cute designs -- Victor = Me

  • Cutting out the pattern -- Victor = Me (I never use patterns. The shear frustration of unfolding, laying out, cutting, pinning, then the accidental riping of the pattern is enough to make me not even want to sew. Instead, I save this frustrating step and go directly to cutting. The last time I used a pattern was when I was making a teddy bear for Bo's 1st Christmas. 1/2 way through it I couldn't handle it anymore and made the rest up myself).

  • Using the serger by myself for the first time -- Victor = the MACHINE. Even though I love the serger, if you make a little mistake it becomes a huge mistake thanks to the instantaneous cutting.

  • Using my old Viking sewing machine -- Victor = the Machine. I guess that after 7 years of use I should get it serviced for the 1st time. The feed dogs stopped working (absolute bummer).

  • The completed project -- Victor = Me (by a hair). I just love to sew everything straight, but throw a curve in their for me and I lose my cool. Also, the house is a complete disaster because once I start, everything else gets put aside until the project is done.

This was fun -- I cannot wait to get started (or shall I say complete a year-old project) the 9 foot teepees for the kids' Thanksgiving party.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

4th Folder -- 4th Picture....

this is such a fun tag.

Here are the rules: Go into your picture files and post the 4th picture from the 4th folder onto your blog. Then tag 4 friends.
This is Bo at Hunter's bowling b-day party last year. We had a marvelous time.
Who to tag? -- let's see (probably most, if not all, of the MI gals have been tagged so let me be more creative): Amy Moore (let's see if you have figured this blog thing out), Tia, Courtney, and Lisa L.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Big Top fun...

at our first circus (despite the little meltdown in the middle of the event). The kids were memorized by the acrobatics and the animal tricks. With Oooh's and Aaaah's and cheering and smiling from ear to ear -- they just couldn't get enough. With load of "Mommy, look at that" and "Whoa, that is soooo cool," I just knew they were in their element.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I found a great midgrade...

furniture line that I really like -- most importantly, all pieces are handcrafted in the good old USA. We were thinking about freighting large containers from India but the more I thought about it the more I knew that the most important thing is to buy from our Country to help out all the those struggling due to the economy. The company is called British Traditions and they are based out of Missouri. I love how their furniture is a cross between European country and Americana. I have some of my favorite pieces pictured below. I would love to get your opinions -- is it too country? Do you think it will sell? All of the furniture comes painted however you want from staining to more rustic. If you want to check out their website it is Love the kitchen island.
Like the carved detail.
Wanna get this bed for my girls in lime green or pink.

Am getting this one in a robin egg blue for my kitchen nook.
Cool entertainment center.
Love the glass detail on this one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh, the beauty of fall...

How I just love fall. Being from South Carolina and Arizona (the hot valley), I never really experienced fall until I moved to MI. I remember our first fall in MI when there was crispness in the night air and the leaves were turning colors. One day I was chatting with Tia and she said that fall was her favorite season. At first I wondered why she would choose fall since in AZ it is when the grass starts to die and is pretty ugly, but after having my first real fall I too think it is my favorite season.

Yesterday was Kadan's field trip to the Pumpkin patch in Snowflake. After about 30 minutes of running through the corn maze and 15 minutes trying to decide which pumpkin he wanted the excitement was over. In only 45 minutes, the kids and teachers did all that they could do at this little pumpkin farm so they boarded the buses for playtime at the park. As the buses took off down the dirt road I couldn't help but reminisce about our MI trips to the apple orchards and pumpkin patches. They were full of yummy donuts, play centers, wagon rides, corn mazes, slides and more. It's times like this that makes me miss MI and the good times there more each day. Here are a couple of pictures I snapped of Kadan and Bo (Bo was a little tag along and hung with the big 2nd graders just fine).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wonderful inspiration from the Lord can happen...

when you pray enough about it.

I am finding that to be true in every aspect of my life. Sometimes when I hit a roadblock or some disastrous dead end, a door will open and my mind will be clear with what I am supposed to do. Sometimes it is over big things and sometimes over little things. Today was an example of overcoming a little road block.

I have been so blessed to be a teacher of the 13-14 year old kids at church. They are so smart -- smarter than I ever was when I was their age. Because they are so smart, I want to make sure that I prepare the lesson so that I can add to their testimonies and help them get though the challenges of growing up in these trying times.

When I went online to print the lesson for this week I was NOT wanting to give it. "Oh, no. I don't know these kids very well (I have only been their teacher for a month now) and I am supposed to be giving them a lesson on chastity." I wanted to give some good examples or some object lesson to express the dire need for them to keep their bodies and minds free from immorality since being immoral is commonplace in the world today. But despite reading the scriptures, studying the lesson and going to other church sources like conference talks and the church magazines -- I was coming up with nothing spectacular.

Feeling totally unprepared for class, I entered the doors and greeted the 9 teenagers. We started talking about life, how the weekend was, reviewed the 13th article of faith, talked about the definitions of chastity and virtue, made a list of immoral acts, and then passed out fruit snacks (you gotta give them something to get their brain waves started) and I kept feeling stuck. Only 10 minutes into the lesson time and I was almost done with what I prepared. Then a child mentioned something about how they loved fruit and BINGO! the light came on and I knew how to approach the subject. Thanks to the inspiration from above, we had the BEST lesson. Let me share with you how it whet (BTW -- my writing will never do it justification -- teaching by the spirit gives so much more impact).

I asked them what their favorite fruits and veggies were -- Apples, mangoes, bananas where shouted out then one student mentioned carrots, then another, then another, then another until they all were talking about how yummy carrots are and all the wonderful ways to prepare them. Being an educator and currently teaching a Human Nutrition class my mind started working. We talked about how pure and delicious carrots were when you pick them out of your own garden and get them raw with all their natural enzymes, vitamins, and all out yumminess. Then we talked about all the other forms -- boiled (sweet and delicious), baked, and the class favorite, made into carrot cake. I explained to them that every type of processing of the food through boiling, microwaving, shredding, baking, etc. destroys some of the enzymes and nutrients making them less healthy for you to eat. They are still good for you -- still yummy but once you manipulate them, they cannot go back to the totally raw nutrient rich state when you pick them out of your garden.

We then talked about how some enzymes are used in the cells to be gate keepers. They allow only those nutrients that are unchanged or that match the enzyme shape to come inside. Processing foods can modify the natural enzymes in such a way that they are not allowed in.

The subject then turned to our bodies. As a child we are pure -- just plucked from a Heavenly garden where we are nurtured until we are ready to face the world. Yet daily we are faced with the challenges of where to go, what to do, how to be. Are we going to give in a drink just once? Are we going to give our purity to another person and not wait until marriage? Are we going to look at television and Internet programs that will change the way we view intimacy? Are we going to stay pure -- in our purest form -- that we may be able to enter the gate of the Temple of God?

If we succumb to temptation and make poor choices, these choices can change us so that we are not in our pure and natural state -- just like the enzymes are changed in the carrots. Sometimes it will even change us so much that we will not be able to enter through the gate of the Temple -- we are not worthy to come in an partake of the beauty and purity of the Temple ordinances.

Many times people will justify in doing things just like what is found in 2Nephi 28:8

8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

I told them to not let this fool them and I testified to these children that the Savior has prepared a way for us to repent of the wrongs we have done but once you make that change there is no going back to the pure form of abstaining from wrong doing. You will feel the regret, the remorse and the shame for years to come even after you have partaken of the miraculous change of repentance.

We went back to the discussion of enzymes to provide an analogy on how our body (over time) can adapt to these changes and even modify the nutrients so that they can enter the cell. They aren't the exact same as the original, but with the modifications they are just as able to enter the cell and help in the work. This too is true for the repentant soul. They too can go through a miraculous change and become worthy and able to enter into the temple to help in the work. This is the beauty of the atonement.

I urged them to stay strong and stick together. To help each other make the right choices. I also urged them that if they have made wrong choices to talk to take the steps necessary to become pure again.

I hope that this abbreviated discussion of our Sunday school lesson captured the spirit of what we were trying to learn today. I am so thankful for personal inspiration and for the opportunity to share my testimony with the noble youth in my ward.

Gotta add a 7th quirk...

So, I as in church today and realized a 7th quirk that is so major that I must confess (you know that confession/realization is the first step to recovery).

We were having an amazing relief society lesson on meditation and exaltation but I was totally distracted. The teacher would write some brilliant comments on the board and when she ran out of space would erase. But, she would not erase the board completely, she would leave a few writing squiggles here, a word there. I was going CRAZY! I felt like walking up to the board and erasing the left overs for her -- Whew, it would have felt much better. But I did not want embarrass myself and have other think "what in the world is that psycho freak doing up there erasing the board." I thought to myself, should I volunteer to write for her? If I move my body to the side just a bit, will the area be obscured from view? If I send her some subliminal messages and lean towards the areas needing eraser attention, would she catch my drift? aaaaAAAH! I was going crazy. Then she would just toy with my obsession -- moving in large sweeping circles she would come closer...closer...even closer...almost got it...then no -- she would put the eraser down and start writing again. Ultimate devastation!!

As I sat back and noticed my complete craziness I just started to giggle -- "get over it Jen -- you psycho freak."

Friday, October 17, 2008

6 quirks about me...

thanks to Melissa for the tag.

1. I love mowing the lawn in long straight rows. If the row gets a little squiggly then I have to mow that row again. After I am done, I love to view the masterpiece as I drive down the street, slowing down to lengthen the viewing enjoyment. Makes you think obsessive compulsive disorder doesn't it -- just wait until you get to number 3. Then you will know that I am crazy.

2. I love to take naps, sometimes preferring naps over doing something fun like going to the park or a play group. I am just a little sleepy head.

3. I just HAVE to have the closets organized in this manner -- solid short sleeve, solid long sleeve, patterned long and short, dresses. Then they have to be color coded -- heaven forbid if the yellow is in the blue's place. An unorganized closet drives me CRAZY! With that said, #3 leads to #4.

4. Since it takes a ridiculously long time to put all the family's clothes away, I leave them in baskets for days (even weeks) until I muster up enough energy to put them all away or until the kids have no more clothes to wear.

5. I HATE saying no -- I just wish I had enough time to do all the things that I wish I could do to help my friends. I also have a hard time saying no to my kids but I am trying to be more realistic with their wants and needs and say "No" more often.

6. I write thank you notes or cards and NEVER send them. Even when it comes to Christmas cards, I usually start them early November. About a 1/3 of them are sent out on time, 1/3 is sent late and the other 1/3 is still in my craft room.

1.Link to the person who tagged you
2.Mention the rules on your blog
3.Tell 6 unspectacular quirks about you
4.Tag 6 following bloggers by linking to them
5.Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger's blogs letting them know they've been tagged.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tonight I had the best talk...

with Tia. I sometimes wonder how I was blessed to have a friend like her. She has an uncanny way to knowing when I need her to be there to give me counsel or to cry on her shoulders. Indeed -- there are ANGELS walking amongst us and one of their names is Tia Anderson Mayes. Love you gal!

Here is another walk down memory lane -- Hunter's baptism Feb 2007.

Addendum -- after I wrote this post, I went to Tia's blog and her quote of the week just adds to my sentiments about her.

"... I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind and in doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face, nor will he so long as time shall last or the earth shall stand or there shall be one man or woman or child upon the face thereof to be saved." Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Just found this quote and LOVED it...

"You were generals in the War in Heaven and one day when you are in the spirit world, you will be enthralled by those you are associated with. You will ask someone in which time period they lived and you might hear,"I was with Moses when he parted the Red Sea," or "I helped built the pyramids'" or "I fought with Captain Moroni." And as you are standing there in amazement, someone will turn to you and ask you which of the prophets' time did you live in? And when you say "Gordon B. Hinckley" a hush will fall over every hall and corridor in Heaven, and all in attendance will bow at your presence. You were held back six thousand years because you were the most talented, most obedient, most courageous, and most righteous." - Elder Boyd K Packer

My little KING, almost 5 years ago. Hunter is a sweet then as he is now. I hope that he will continue to be talented, obedient, courageous and righteous throughout his life. I love you little man!!!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Everywhere around the world...

We're comin' to AMERICA. Everywhere the flags unfurled, We're coming to America.... We're comin' to America (sing with me now), we're comin' to America, we're comin' to America, we're comin' to America -- TODAY."

You just gotta LOVE Neil Diamond. I remember as a child doing some jazzercise in the front room of a little white brick home with my 3 sisters and my little brother to his Jazz Singer album (yep, that's right -- album. Not even a cassette tape, hadda have it on record). We would run in place as fast as we could and then do a bazillion jumping jacks in our leotards and leg warms. Those were the glory days.
Last night my mom, dad, 3 sisters and my awesome sister-in-law rocked out to Neil at his concert. We had a BLAST singing and dancing and laughing and listening to the awesome music from this amazing artist. I must say, we were a little outnumbers by white haired individuals but we even got them up and grooving for "Sweet Caroline" and "America." Going and coming we sung our hearts out to his Greatest hits, thanks to my mom (I must download the songs on my ipod when I get home) last night was one of those best night of my life moments. We are true fans.

Friday, October 10, 2008

So, I totally LOST my cool...

with Addy yesterday and am feeling so bad about it. We went to the circus (will have to post more about that later) and were having such a great time. Of course, prices were high for everything -- $16 for admittance per person, $3 for cotton candy, etc., etc. so I was already a little frustrated and anxious.

Then during intermission they were having elephant rides, pony rides, jumbo slides, pictures with a bear, and more. I was my idea to see how much the rides were but when I went to the ticket stand I was overwhelmed -- the enjoyment would cost a whopping $8 per person. Not wanting to disappoint the kids but also worried about all the cash I was dishing out for this circus adventure, I became totally perplexed. "Please mom, please. I really want to ride the elephant," were the pleadings from my kids. Well, of course this tore at my heart strings and visions of my youth when I wanted, so desperately, to ride the elephant but knew not to even ask since there was no way we could afford to ride.

So, after about 5 minutes of contemplation I gave in. Then the guilt took over $32 for my kids to ride of less than 2 minutes on an elephant. Was I totally CRAZY!?!?! So, agitated with myself for giving in I put on a happy face and watched my kids have the ride of their life. They were laughing and smiling and cheering. I just knew that they would be set -- not wanting anything else. Well, this definitely was not the case. Immediately after getting off the elephant all I heard was "I want to ride the ponies...I want to slide down the slide...I want a light up sword...I want nachos...I want to take pictures with the bear...I want a balloon." "No, no, no, no, no...." the never ending "No" was my answer to them all. "Sorry kids, I just spent a tons of money on the elephant and we have no more money left for anything else." Immediately Addy started crying. With big crocodile tears she kept repeating, "I want a pony ride. I want a pony ride." She just wouldn't stop. No matter my explanations and discussion of being thankful for what she was able to do so far, she didn't care.

So, my plan of action -- take the kids to the car and tell them that we were going to leave unless they became grateful for everything they had. The way to the car was teary and full of moodiness. My anger was BOILING up inside me. "Have I raised my kids to be completely selfish and bratty?" "Why do they think they need everything?" "What can I do to make this situation better?"

Reflecting back on the situation I picked the wrong way of "teaching." Well, actually I didn't teach at all. I was ornery, frustrated, impatient, demanding and just plain rude to my kids, especially to Addy. I totally lost my cool. It is times like this that I feel too terrible -- why can't I come up with smarter ways to teach? Why can't I just be calm and patient all the time? Why didn't I just stop, breathe and pray for direction?

Last night I made a resolve to do just that -- I will take the time to ensure that I made the right "teaching" decisions with my kids. Instead of losing my cool, I will be try to be calm and WISE! I am also learning that I need to teach my children the value of money and have them help pay for the adventures. Wish me luck -- I sure need it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Mom, I neeeeeed chocolate...

for breakfast" said Bo this morning. She is definitely a girl after my own heart. Chocolate is the yummiest treat that can solve almost any crisis and if you add a little peanut to it (AKA either traditional or the dark chocolate M&M's) you remember your troubles no more.

Here's Bo licking her lips in anticipation -- too bad that we were all out! I too am going through withdrawls!!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Just HAD to steal this...

from Tia's blog. It is such an amazing quote from Marianne Williamson.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?I ask you, who are you NOT to be?You are a child of God.Your playing small does not serve the world.There is nothing enlightening about shrinking,So that other people won’t feel unsure around you.We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.It is not just in some of us, it is in every one.As we let our light shine,We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

I sure hope that all my children are able to recognize their potential and that with lots of hard work and help from above -- NOTHING is impossible.

These two guys love and support each other in everything. Always there to give a hug or share their opinions (sometimes too much), they make each other better. That's what being brothers is all about!!!

My little crazy girls...

are bestest friends. Addy is like a little mother to Bo -- teaching her to read, drawing her bath, getting her dressed and playing all types of imagination games. Bo keeps Addy laughing and getting into innocent mischief.

If you know me well (or maybe even not so well since it is totally obvious), you know that I love to dress my kids alike. It probably stems from the extreme wanting to have twins since I knew what twins were. Having a mom that is a twin and a grandpa (my dad's dad) that is a twin with triplet brothers -- I just knew that I was going to get lucky enough to have two little munchkins at once. Well, my wish was never granted so I keep on buying duplicate or matching clothing just for fun.

Now, without my encouraging, my girls want to match every day. Today was no exception. They looked so cute together in their matching black and white that I had to snap a few pictures before Addy left from school. They definitely are NOT perfect pictures but they capture my little gals' personalities so well. Addy looks so mothering and Bo looks like a little rascal. My little best buddies!!

(Bummer that I blew out this picture since I totally love it -- I must see if I can figure out photoshop to fix it just a bit.)