Thursday, December 17, 2009

A little present for you

Hopefully this will bring a big smile to your face!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some new Christmas decor

Just thought I'd share a few pics of some of the Christmas decor I added to my repertoire this year.

I hosted our "formerly known as Enrichment" dinner on Tuesday night for over 50 ladies. Dinner -- we had tables and chairs everywhere! So after cleaning straight for 10 days, I had a few hours before the actual event and I rewarded myself by making these two new decor items. I really like how they both turned out.

Now, I need to start thinking about our Christmas Cards, the picture for it, neighbor gifts, teacher gifts, etc. I actually love all this part of Christmas, and I try involve the kids in it, so it is a fun thing and doesn't add stress too much! Bring on the Christmas music.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We were driving in the car and the song by One Republic "apologize" was on. I was singing along to it, as were Josh and Teya. When we got out of the car, Teya was still singing. Her version was something a little different:

"It's too late for Papa Johns"....


Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween 2009

So, Teya is spoiled. She couldn't decide on a costume this year. And, since I didn't plan out anything in particular, she ended up being four -- yes 4 -- different costumes this year for four different parties/events we had.

Eden was a Zombie Princess and Josh was Frankenstein.

One of our events was a tap recital for Teya. It was to the song "Ghostbusters". It was the cutest thing. Later that night we had a school party "Monster Mash" and Eden was front and center the whole night dancing. I had to put the two dances (Teya's recital and Eden's dancing) together on a video to show the difference 5 years can make. Eden is 5 years older than Teya.

Also on the video is Eden when she sang the solo for "surfin' USA" for her school musical. Just to show that she isn't always so crazy and scary looking!


Monday, October 26, 2009

36, Splits, Hair cuts & 21 miles

Hey all! I did it! I made the silly goal to do the splits by my 36th birthday (today). I was actually able to do them for a few months ago, and then I stopped stretching so much and lost the ability, so I've had to stretch like crazy this last week and I had to run a few miles this morning before my legs were warmed up enough to do the splits. But, here is proof! I can do the splits. Now, I'll probably never do them again. So, goal #1 accomplished. Physical goal #2 for 2009 is to run 200 miles. This morning, I ran miles # 177 and #178, so just 21 miles to go, and I still have over 2 months! Yeah! I probably would not have run a single mile this year if I hadn't made this goal. Since joining my gym 2 1/2 years ago, I pretty much just go there and work out via their classes, which I love. So, while 200 miles to run in a year is a paltry sum, I guarantee it is 200 more miles than I would have run had I not made the goal. Just goes to show that goals make things achievable. (something to do with mindset...)

So, to celebrate my special day, Teya decided to give herself a hair cut. I have to say, three kids, and this is my FIRST experience with the self-inflicted haircut of any of them. I only realized it when I went to throw something in the garbage and I saw chunks of beautiful blond hair in there. She had tried to clean up her mess -- she even got out the broom and swept it up. I found more hair in the broom. Fortunately she just cut some random pieces random lengths throughout her hair, and not one big chunk. She'll have to wear hair clips daily for a few months until those little bits that were cut grow back, but we'll survive.

What was I doing while she did this? I treated myself to reading "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown. I had plenty of other things to do, but hey, it was my birthday....

Thanks to my friends for a delicious brunch of Blintzes today, and thanks to Joe's BBQ which feeds you for free on your birthday, I haven't had to cook all day. Now that's a present I'd take any day!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Driving in India

My friend's husband just returned from a trip to India and seeing his pictures brought back memories of a 10 day trip to India that I took with my parents in 1997. I came home to Hong Kong and wrote all about it in excruciating detail. I've extracted just a portion of it to share -- all about the driving in India. One day we hired a car and driver to take us the 3 1/2 hours from Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. This is what I wrote about. I hope you enjoy it! (This is my way of being lazy about coming up with current material to blog about. I'm sure you are sick of my primary training notes...)

“In India, there is no discipline in driving” our driver explained to us. He went on to tell us how he had been driving for 20 years, knew every road in all of India, and how he was a very good driver. This he bragged as he perfectly straddled the lines in the road.

Traffic lights in India are for decoration only, and lines in the road do about as much good as a garbage can in New York City. The shoulder is used as much, if not more than the roads. If, by chance, you come to a red light, and do not wish to stop, don’t. If other cars in front of you have stopped, and you wished to go through, simply go onto the left shoulder of the road (all of India drives on the left side of the road), make a left turn, flip a quick U-turn, make another left, and you are successfully through the red light, leaving the waiting cars to quake in your wake. The pedestrians are warned about this problem with signs of “Do not take green for granted!”

Mom had a few observations about the driving there. She said that she felt like we were playing a four hour game of ‘chicken’. We rarely lost. Because, you see, we were in a Mercedes Benz. It was as if the caste system applied to driving. The better or faster car you had, the more rights you had to make others move into the gutters so you could pass. The caste system, while technically outlawed, still plays a central role in India. It is basically the idea that you are what you are born into. If your father was a working man on the farms, so are you. While learning to drive in Argentina, Mom had come to the conclusion that the driving code there was “if there is space, take it”. In India, that code is slightly altered to, “If there isn’t space, make it”.

Lest you think I am exaggerating, I asked Dad, the epitome of a world traveler for me, if there was anywhere he could think of where driving was worse. He said that Bangkok and Indonesia come close, but India, tops them all.

Case in point: our driver was telling us that one of the lines of buses, the “red” line, was notoriously known for the high number of casualties it caused. The phrase “Red line, dead line” was known throughout Delhi. So, they painted all the buses blue. However, little did they realize that blue paint doesn’t stop death. The number of casualties continue unhindered. I didn’t know how seriously to take the driver until the radio on the way home that night announced the death of a 17 year old boy, crushed by a blue line bus just that evening.

All of the taxis, trucks and buses have huge painted letters on the backs of their vehicles reading “KEEP DISTANCE” and “BLOW HORN”. No one pays attention to the first warning. Instead, they double their focus on the latter. A car without a horn is much more dangerous than a car without lights driving at night. If I ever find myself jobless and in desperate need of money in the future, I think I’ll invest in a horn company in India. I don’t know the shelf-life of car horns, but I am positive it is cut in fourths in India. Our driver would lay on the horn for fifteen seconds at a time to get the attention of a bus or truck that was impeding his path. More than once (more like ten times), we would be in the middle of passing a large truck, when the truck would decide to join us in our lane. The driver would honk like a mad man and continue trying to pass the truck. I would watch in horror as the space twixt me and the truck narrowed to inches, and hoped the driver realized that a horn, while it makes a lot of noise, wouldn’t save my life from being crushed by an intruding truck. Our driver would hug the middle gap (or the opposite side of the road, depending on where we were), and push the gas to the floor, all the while honking insanely. Invariably, the bus or truck pulled back at the last second, sparing my live.

I kept on waiting to hit the highway, or at least a freeway on the way down to Agra. I was disappointed. The road, at best, was two lanes with a divider in the middle. Most of the time, it was just two lanes, with no divider, making it perfect for playing chicken, pretending like we were downhill slaloming, squeezing in between oncoming traffic and traffic going your same way. It would amaze me how our driver could fit into spaces the width of compact car parking spaces, only doing 70 mph.

In India, cars are not the only objects on the road. In fact, they are by far the minority. Let me just list some of the things that shared the road with us. First of all, there were hundreds of auto rickshaws, or “duk-duk’s”. For those of you who have been to Asia, you know what they are. They are three wheeled motorized vehicles without windows, and with a tiny seat in the back. Two people fit in “comfortably”. Three is the ‘legal’ limit in Delhi. Once we left the boundaries, we were astonished to see up to ten people crowed in, on, and hanging out the sides and back of one of those duk-duks. They run on a two stroke motor, similar to old fashioned lawn mowers that mix gas and oil and control the acceleration by the handle. These, numbering 85,000 in Delhi alone, are the number one cause of pollution. The emit streams of disgusting black exhaust. There are also cycle rickshaws. These are also three-wheeled, but, as the name would suggest, they are powered by the driver’s legs, rather than a motor. Obviously they are better for the air. The back two wheels house a tiny seat if it is a passenger rickshaw, or carry humongous loads of hay, logs, or other goods if it is a cargo rickshaw. There are hundreds of these on the roads as well. Then, there are the stray cows. Since cows are sacred there, they wander without restraint. Bulls, oxen, calves roam busy streets as if they were country pastures. They lie wherever they can find shade, even if that is in the road next to a parked truck. They are some of the country’s most efficient garbage disposals as well. There are also tractors driving down the main roads. Horse-drawn carts, ox-drawn carts, camel-drawn carts also fill the narrow streets. We saw several camel trains pulling carts of cloth-covered animal seed in bundles one and a half the camel’s height and five or six times its width. Elephants, normally ridden by about four or five young men, would also parade down the streets, right next to the bikes, cars and trucks. Donkeys and dogs pranced about slowly as if the streets were their domain. In addition, there were hundreds of ordinary bicycles, loaded with people, and dozens of buses, vans, taxis, and all sorts of cars. The newest edition of Indian-made cars are literally 1997 made models of the 1950 Nash Ambassadors. There were handcarts and pushcarts using the exact same lanes as our Mercedes Benz. Motorcycles and scooters careened through tiny spaces in between all the other piles of traffic. On these vehicles, there would be up to six and seven people. Entire families would ride from place to place on a motorcycle. One time, we saw the father driving, the mother riding side-saddle in her beautiful saree (all women ride side saddle on the back of motorcycles, scooters and bikes), two kids shoved in between the mother and the father, and one more little youngster sitting in front of the father, holding on to a big doll. Wild goats, pigs, mongoose, and chickens also invade the roads completely oblivious of the traffic. We saw one car the size of a jeep with at least 20 people in there (we counted). In addition to all of these things, there are all of the pedestrians. India has a sixth of the world’s population in a country a third the size of the United States. The per capita population is much higher than even China. These people have to cross the streets too. So, now, you know why driving down these roads at an average speed of 50 to 60 mph, I simply couldn’t take my eyes of the scenes surrounding me. The drive to Agra alone was worth the trip.

Everyone in India has the same color of dark black hair and the same shade of dark and shiny brown eyes. But that is where the similarities end. Here, the modern world meets the middle ages to produce a unique blend of culture. I saw an advertisement for estate planning, a relatively new financial sensation, spray painted on a rock off of a dirt road. There are camels and cell-phones, turbans and tye-dyes, sarees and Sonys, monkeys and Mercedes Benzs, Sikhs and Seventh-day adventists, intricate idols and the internet, arranged and autonomous marriages, Moslems and Mormons, billionaires and beggars, pacifists and pollutants, Sheratons and shanty-towns, fragrance and filth, helicopters and handcarts, and bombs and brotherhood. Yet, with all these stark contrasts, the hope of India resides in a small poster hanging randomly throughout the County. It has a picture of the flag, with these simple words, “We are all Indians. Let none divide us”.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

So on Sunday night our Primary Presidency did a training for all the teachers, scout leaders, achievement day, nursery, etc. I think it went well. For the benefit of my friends and family that are currently in Primary, I thought I'd post a few of the ideas I shared. I just copied and pasted my notes, so its pretty rough, but you get the general idea.


We’ve all heard the phrase “Magnify your calling” and the first thing we think of is “I’ve got to be doing more, more, more”. But, think of a magnifying glass and a plant. If you use the magnifying glass to magnify that plant, you are not making the plant larger, you are actually focusing on a very small part of the plant, the root, a portion of the stem, a petal, a leaf, etc., and honing in on the details of that smaller portion. So, when you hear ‘magnify your calling’, I want you not to think of “doing more”, but in a sense ‘doing less, but doing it better -- more focused’.

And, what should we focus on? That is what I want to talk about tonight. I’m focusing on training and from all the manuals, handbooks, talks and articles I read on Primary training, there were always TWO things in common.

1) Love those you teach “Every member of the Church is important to us. Indeed, every personmember or notis important to us, but surely among the most significant of all our responsibilities is the responsibility to protect and nurture the children of the Church. . . . We care so much about you and about the children you are teaching. Prepare well to bless these little ones. Give it your best effort. Your influence will, quite literally, affect these children for eternity. Enjoy the assignment that you have, and discharge it faithfully. . . . However much we love and admire children, I am certain we underestimate who and what a child is and what in the hands of God he or she may become. May God bless you always in your sacred opportunity to help save the children of this Church” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Message to Primary Leaders, Mar. 2006).

2) Use the scriptures:

(For this part, I talked about how we can and should use the scriptures in all aspects of teaching in Primary. I promised to use them every sharing time somehow. As I was preparing for the training, I was trying to think of a good way to break it down for all levels of primary. Using the scriptures in a Sunbeams class and using them in a Val 11 class mean different things. So, I came up with this 'chart' for lack of a better word of how if each level of primary focuses on using the scriptures appropriately, that the end result will be self-reliance in the gospel for the children as they enter the YM/YW program.)

I used "Daniel and the Lions Den" as my example

Nursery / Sunbeams: Learn stories (use pictures) -- At this point, realistically all you can do is tell them the stories and get them excited about it. They can just learn about Daniel and how the Lions didn't eat him.

CTR 5/6: Learn that they are real (show them the scriptures) -- Here the teachers can tell the stories while explaining that this really happened, that Daniel really lived and open the scriptures to show where theses stories come from and that they aren't from a book of fairy tales, etc.

CTR 7/8: Learn how to find the story, read it for themselves (using the table of contents): By the time the kids reach this level, they are learning to read and excited about it. Use this excitement to teach them how to find the stories, for example that the story of Daniel is in the Old Testament, using the index or tabs to find and read it.

Val 9/10: Learn the principle behind the story (courage) As the kids are growing, they will be able to understand that there is more to a story than just a story. The Scriptures teach us life lessons. In this example, the lesson was courage to stand up for your beliefs.

Val 11/12: Learn to apply that principle in their own lives: As the kids prepare to leave Primary, they can learn how to apply the scripture stories to their own lives. At this point, they probably will be in a situation similar to Daniel, where they might be teased for their beliefs. They can choose courage and know that they are following the lesson the learned from Daniel.

Thus, by the time they 'graduate', they will have learned how to use scriptures to get own answers (self-reliance in learning the gospel). I think this is the best possible gift we could ever give the primary children of the church. Imagine a ward full of beehives and deacons who know the scriptures, know how to use them, and know how to learn and get answers to their own questions from the scriptures!

If we all just focus on magnifying our own little section in our class, we can accomplish wonderful things together.

Well, that sums up my training. Obviously this is just my own opinion, so take it as you may. Hopefully it will be helpful to you somehow, whether you have primary aged children, are working in primary, or know someone who is!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Josh's prayers

Josh is saying the most interesting prayers lately. The other night at dinner he said, "Help us all to never, ever die, expect when we get really old -- just too old to live."

He had a lesson on prayers in Primary and came home with a list of things he can be thankful for and list of things he can ask for. Here it is in its entirety:

I thank thee:
friends, family, church, animals, food, clothes, water, body, eyes, mouth, nose

I ask thee:
knowing the ways, a bigger brain, a better president, more clothes

quite insightful if you ask me. He must be listening to talk radio along with his dad! :)

He also asked me if I earned any money. When I explained that I didn't get paid for what I did exactly he said, "So, do you feel okay about stealing money from dad?"

I think Dave needs to sit down and have a talk with him.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Letter to Stanford

Recently I've been transferring over old files from my dilapidated PC to my fancy new Mac. I've been going through them to clean them out, delete ones I don't need, etc. I stumbled across this letter that I actually sent to Stanford back in 1998.

Gall anyone?

Stanford Graduate School of Business

518 Memorial Way

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305-5015

Dear Admissions Committee,

I recently received my notification that I will not be able to attend the Masters of Business Administration Program at Stanford University. I want to thank you for taking the time to review my application. It was a learning and growing experience to apply to such a reputable school. You most likely receive many letters from rejected applicants inquiring further explanations as to why they were not accepted into the program. This is not one of those letters.

In fact, the reason I am writing will hopefully bring a smile to your face that will provoke some follow-up action. I spent several months and about $200 dollars studying for the GMAT. I also spent two months writing, re-writing, editing, and re-writing my Stanford application essays. I mailed off a large-size application envelope with a check for $140 enclosed. In return, I received a thin envelope costing all of $.32 to mail. I am asking for a little bit more in return for the effort I expended in applying. I am asking for a T-shirt from Stanford University, please. Any kind will do. I just want to be able to have something other than a single sheet of paper to show for the time and effort allotted to the Ivy League King of the West. I wear a size medium.

Thank you so very much.


Jennie M. Groberg

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Teya's first day of pre-school

Isn't she adorable? She just started pre-school this week and she loves it. It is only twice a week for 2 1/2 hours, but it is perfect for now. She woke me up on Thursday and asked if it was time to go to pre-school yet. It was 6 a.m., so I told her "No, not until after lunch" (She goes in the afternoons). She quickly replied with, "Can we eat lunch now?" Me thinks she likes it! The first day she was gone I took a nap since I hadn't slept well the night before (That darn no-sleeping thing is returning.... aaaargh! I was on such a good run!). The second time she went to preschool I went to the gym and swam a mile and ran errands. I am amazed at how many errands I can run when I'm not buckling kids in and out of car seats and walking at their pace, etc. WOW!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shots Fired!

Did the title catch your interest? Well, it really happened. About 1:33 a.m. this morning I heard 5 LOUD gun shots. It sounded like they were in our back yard. They were SO loud I immediately woke up and so did Dave. I can still hear them in my head -- BAM, BAM, BAM, BAM, BAM.

I attempted to fall back asleep after Dave and I discussed what it could be. (I was convinced they were gun shots, he wasn't as sure). That day (Labor Day) I had worked for hours cleaning our downstairs windows -- in and out, screens and all -- so they were very clean. I remember at one point thinking, "Maybe a bird flew into my clean windows" ! (you are supposed to laugh). But, then I dismissed it, because 1) It was 1:30 a.m. and dark and 2) Like 5 birds would do that one after another.

Then, JUST as I was about to fall asleep again, our doorbell rang. I woke back up and said to Dave, "Was that the doorbell?" It was 2:00 a.m. Dave told me to get up and come down with him. We went down and sure enough, there was a police officer at our door. He apologized for disturbing us in the middle of the night. He said, "There was a gentleman who discharged a weapon repeatedly a little while ago. I'm checking to make sure that everyone in your house is okay. Is anyone shot or wounded? Was your house hit?"

We told him we'd heard the shots, but we were all okay. We went out back to check out if the house had been hit, but couldn't see any bullet holes. I checked on the kids -- they were sleeping soundly except for our light sleeper Eden who was wondering what was going on. The officer told him to contact the police if we found any bullet holes or damage to our house.

I went out again today to look, but can't find any. I'm not even sure what I'm looking for! It took me at least two hours to fall back asleep after this encounter. We really live in a very safe neighborhood. Our house does back up to a 'brownbelt' (utility area) so they figured that someone was back there firing a weapon. We don't have any other information for now. Crazy night!

To end on a lighter note, this is what Josh said the other day out of the blue:

"Dad, if you are still alive when I go on my mission, can I drive to the airport so you can see how good of a driver I am?"

Monday, August 24, 2009

At Last

I had so much to blog about... so you are getting the SHORT version in pictures. We had a FABULOUS trip to Utah and Idaho in July/August. It was just so good to get out of the heat. Here are the highlights:

We stopped by Bryce Canyon on our way up. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed spending time together. The kids loved Bryce.

Up in Utah, we had fun 'washing' Grandpa's car (i.e., playing with the hose). Viki and her family and Uncle Tom and Aunt Sue and her kids all came up and we went to LAGOON. It was really fun. I don't think I've been there since I was a teenager. I had fun going on Colossus, Wild Mouse, The Roller Coaster, Tidal Wave, etc.. ahh! the memories. I also went on most of the new ones, but ONCE only. My stomach is no longer made for roller coasters. We also went to "Lagoon-a- beach" and had a good time. It was a LONG, but fun-filled day.

Up in Idaho, we had a great time! We had an impromptu garage sale that the kids loved. With the money they made, we went our for ice cream! I also went with my brother Tom and some of his friends on a white-water rafting trip down the Snake river -- up in Wyoming. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO cold! We didn't get on the river until about 7 p.m. It was a couple of hours and we hit some pretty big rapids (the biggest was a ' class 4'). We got soaked! It was lots of fun -- but I was so cold!

We also went to the Zoo. It was lots of fun -- not too big and the animals were out to entertain. They did this 'enrichment' activity with the bears and the lions that we got to see. The bears were trying to get at their food that was inside this PVC pipe. The lion was given a paper mache zebra filled with zebra manure. It was funny to see the lion tear that thing apart. I got it all on video and made a little movie for you. The monkeys were so entertaining and so LOUD.
Later that day we went to Rigby Lake and went swimming and played in the sand. Most everyone took turns getting buried in the sand. Here is Eden and Sadie after they got out!
The next day I got to go eat dinner with one of my oldest and dearest friends - Angie Whetten Farnes. Angie and I were friends in high school and then roommates at BYU after our missions. We had so much fun catching up! Here is me, Angie, and Viki.
Back in Bountiful, we celebrated Joshua's 7th birthday. He requested a volcano cake. So, I complied. Since we had over 30 family members coming, we also decided to celebrate all the rest of the August birthdays, including Eden's. She wanted a butterfly cake. I recently learned this cool technique for decorating cakes -- so I tried it out on my kids! It turned out well. Here are some pics.

My sister Sue gave Eden and Josh some real 'veggie tales' for their birthday -- straight from her garden! They are huge! We enjoyed eating part of them for dinner a few nights later, and then enjoyed zucchini bread with the rest of it!

Then, just a few days later the kids started school -- Josh is in 2nd grade and Eden is in 4th grade. So far so good! They are doing really well!

Well, here is the video of the zoo as promised. Eden chose the music! Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Becoming Christlike

Sorry, this blog isn't going to be any deep, spiritual message, but hopefully it will lighten your day!

On my new Mac, which I love, there is this cool feature on iPhoto that has facial recognition software. So, you let the computer know which face is Eden's, for example, and then it goes through all your photos and chooses out what it thinks looks like Eden. Then, you can search and bring up all picture of Eden. Sometimes it is right (more than not), and sometimes it is not.

Yesterday, Eden and I were going through a few photos and I turned on the facial recognition software. We were going through and correcting some of the computer's wrong assumptions (it gets Teya and Eden mixed up). For example, it has a little box by each face in the picture and asks "Is this Eden?" and you hit a check (yes) or an X (no). So, one picture was of me, my mom and my sisters on the day I went through the temple for the first time. We are standing in my dad's office. On the wall behind us is a framed picture of Christ -- the one where he is wearing a red robe.

The computer has recognized my face and labeled it as Jennie. Then, next to the picture of Christ it says, "Is this Dave?"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

so sweet

I'm so behind on blogging about all our birthdays, our vacation to Idaho/Utah, school starting, etc., but I just had to take a picture and share what I found by my bed last night.

The kids were just on one last night -- right about the time I was cooking dinner -- so I sent them to their rooms -- not as a punishment -- just to get them out of the kitchen and to quiet them down.

When I went to bed last night, I saw this little note that Eden wrote.
It says, "For you Mom. I'm sorry about what happened tonight. Love, Eden". She had given me a necklace that she made out of beads and dental floss. (Her very own creation).

Isn't that just sweet!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Josh & Eden in the swim finals

Here is a fun short video of Eden and Josh in their various swim meets and the finals for their swim team this summer. They both did AWESOME! They got up every morning (MON - FRI) and swam at 7:45 a.m. Then, they had meets each Saturday. They swam in the preliminaries and Eden qualified for the Butterfly (out of more than 60 girls her age). Josh qualified for all 3 strokes he tried out for (Backstroke, Freestyle, and Butterfly). They only take the top 16, so it was great for them to get to swim in the finals. They did awesome! We are so proud of them. The song in the background is from the movie "Henry V" -- and I LOVE this small section of it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A picture is worth 1000 words

Eden is in a dance/music class for 2 weeks and today was 'crazy hair day'.  She won one of the prizes:

Teya -- who turned 4 on Monday (more on that later) got a crown and earrings from her big sister. Last night as I went in to check on her before I went to bed, this is what I saw:

Monday, July 6, 2009

$400 or $10

This has been my latest project. 

I saw this on the Pott. barn website for $400 (it was much larger), so I decided to make my own! $10 and a few hours later... here you go!

It was actually quite fun to make. Now I want to make more! I redid the downstairs bathroom -- so this is the central decorating theme -- I'm going for a sea scape look. The wall is a hazy blue and the towels are sage green. Now I need to redo the mirrors and lighting.  One thing at a time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Going Public

Ha! Do you like my title? No, this post has nothing to do with the status of my blog. But, I decided it was time to 'go public' with a few of my fitness goals for the year. I know myself, and know that I work much better under pressure. So, I figure that if I announce my goals, than I will be more apt to actually accomplish them!

I have two hopefully achievable goals:

1) Run 200 miles
2) Be able to do the splits (front and back, not sideways) by my birthday!

Like I said -- achievable -- I'm reaching for the sun (the stars are too far away). I just came back from a good 5 mile jog/walk, and my total is now at 90. I'm just a few days away from 1/2 way through the year, so I'm just a little behind. However, I took the months of March and April off due to lack of sleep, so I think I'll make it.

My friend Liz ran 800 miles last year. She inspired me to set a goal this year. So, after realizing that I go to the gym and do cardio classes (dancing, weight training, etc) 3 times a week, I knew I wouldn't be able to come anywhere close to 800. So, 200 is my goal. Little steps.

As far as the splits -- I've NEVER been able to do them. So, why now? I've been going to a dance class each week and we do these great stretches when we are done. I started noticing a month or so ago that I was getting pretty flexible. So... I turned it into a silly little goal for me.

I promise to post a picture around my birthday (end of October) of me doing the splits -- just to prove that I have achieved it (assuming I have by then).

Well, thanks for indulging me and my desire to 'go public' with my silly goals!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

A few weeks ago, Eden wanted to make a movie for Dad, so we went outside and the kids spelled out the word "LOVE" with their bodies. I filmed the whole thing and put it to some music -- added some special effects and... here you go!

We love you Dave -- you are a wonderful father!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Teya's broken wrist and the VIDEO

Hey all! 

So, I've had my mac just over a week now -- and I've spent SOOOOOO much time playing with iPhoto and iMovie. Lovin' it so far -- despite some frustrations that come with learning anything new.  Here is our fun video of our trip to Hawaii: enjoy!

In other news.... A week ago Teya fractured her left wrist while playing on a slide at the day care at my gym. They came and got me saying she had hit the wall and had a bump on her head and she was acting really sleepy. Sure enough, she was so lethargic and wouldn't react to me or anything. We got our stuff, and I was trying to prepare myself for a long day with 3 kids at the ER. Instead, I drove to the doctor's office and asked if there was any way he could just see her and let me know if I HAD to go the ER. He didn't have a patient, and we got right in. He said she had a mild concussion at most, but sent us for x-rays to make sure. While checking her reflexes, she was holding her wrist and wouldn't let him near it, so he added that to the x-ray list. 

They called me back a few hours later confirming no skull fracture, but a wrist fracture. Here she is sporting her new accessory:  
 It is so cool, my friend informed me that Josh and her son were even trying to break their wrists the other day!  please no!

As if this post isn't long enough already, here are some gems from the kids:

At dinner, I was asking everyone (my in-laws included) what they had learned that day. I had taught the kids some math and typing skills, so I was hoping Eden would comment on that. Instead she said, "I learned that if you watch TV for too long, your neck gets sore"

We were in the produce section and there was a display of those small white onions. After walking past them, Josh said to me, "Man! Those golf balls sure smell like onions!"

Teya came down wearing a very colorful outfit. Flowered shirt, striped short, purple socks. I tried to convince her to at least change her socks, which REALLY clashed. She protested, saying, "No, my socks match my underpants!"  (Sure enough, her purple Dora socks matched her Dora underpants). So, do you coordinate your outfits to match your underwear????

Happy day to all!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hawaii etc.

Let the updates begin....

I've been postponing my blog report about Hawaii until I could buy my Mac, edit all the fun videos we took, put them to a great Hawaiian song, and upload the video. But, it still might be awhile before we take the plunge, so why make you suffer! :)

Here are some pics from Hawaii. We had such a great, relaxing trip. We flew over (1st class) direct from Phoenix to Maui. We stayed in one place the whole time, ate Mahi Mahi every day inone form or another, and went snorkeling every day except Sunday! It was our kind of vacation!

Another day we took a boat out to snorkel different sides of the island. We signed up to do the 'snuba' diving, which is a mixture between snorkeling and scuba diving. You are attached to a 25 foot hose that hooks into an oxygen tank that is floating around up on top (see pic). So, you are free to hang out 25 feet below water for 45 minutes or so and explore! It really was unique. Dave LOVED it and ended up doing two dives (I just did one).

We biked down Haleakala one day -- on our own this time -- with no group -- so we got to go at our own speed, stop when we wanted to, etc. It was great! The weather was perfectly cloudy -- not too hot or too cold or too sunny!
Another day we met up with Marilyn (my sister) and Matt -- who were there for their 25th anniversary. We went zip lining with them! It was lots of fun -- it went from really short and easy zips to a really LONG one over a canyon! Just wait for the video that will be coming soon!

Here is our sweet Teya in her dress that we got her in Hawaii. We got little plumeria flowers for her hair also! So fun!

Over Memorial Day weekend, we went with our dear friends The Barrett's up to their family cabin near Show Low. The weather was wonderful and cool. The kids did some zip lining -- even Teya -- on their home-rigged lines on the property.

One morning, they caught a baby bunny (named Bugsy) and had him for a pet for a few hours. We had a great time, saw several hail storms, deer, elk, blue birds, and even snow!

Monday, May 18, 2009

bedtime stories

Last week when I was away for Pack Night, Dave put the kids to bed and told them part I of this 'awesome' story! They have been BEGGING for him to finish the story every night since. Because Dave flew out to Florida last week (just to be picked up at the airport by his dad) and drove back to Arizona together -- along with my in-law's two big dogs -- and church meetings, etc, Dave is finally finishing the 'story' tonight.

I was wondering what story was so incredible that me kids were just on pins and needles waiting for it to finish. I just walked past him telling them the rest of the story... here is what I heard,

"So, Josh told the professor, "Before I came back to the 1950's, you told me I needed 1.21 gigahertz of power to get back." "1.21 Gigahertz! That only comes from plutonium -- and you can't get that in the 1950's, unless you know when lightening will strike!"

I was laughing so hard -- nice imagination there, Dave! I guess I know what movie we will be adding to our netflix queue! :)

That reminds me of this guy I knew in college who was really handy with cars. He was quite popular with the girls in his ward when they needed car help. If he thought he was being 'used' or if he thought he could get away with it, he would send the girls to the auto parts store with a list of things they needed to buy and would put on the list, "One flex capacitor"! Ha!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Josh's first lost tooth & Mother's Day

Josh had a loose tooth for several weeks before he decided to take matters into his own hands -- literally. I'll let him tell you in his own words.

In other news, I had a great Mother's day -- starting out with Teya sneaking into bed with me at 3 a.m. and throwing up! (on the carpet, not in bed, FORTUNATELY), giving her a bath, etc.... but it got better from then on out -- breakfast in bed, chocolate bars at church, a guest (John the Baptist) for sharing time (meaning I didn't have to be up there), a nap after church, making lemon bars, fruit dip, and strawberry tarts with my kids after my nap, dinner at John & Bev's house with my parents and family, and it ended with a wonderful book group at my house!

My parents came over and we 'discussed' The Fire of Faith that my dad wrote about their mission President experiences in Tonga. We had a great turnout and I think everyone enjoyed the evening. I know I did! I do enjoy listening to my dad's stories -- even though I'd heard most of them, there are always a few new ones to hear. So, thanks Mom and Dad for coming!

Here are a few funny Mother's day cards that I thought I'd share:

Front: Mom -- It's your day! So, forget the laundry, forget the cleaning, forget the cooking...
Inside: In other words... pretend you are Dad!

Front: Happy Mother's Day! 24 hours of appreciation, consideration, gifts, relaxation...
Inside: Surrounded by 364 days of reality!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there -- it is the silent, daily, simple things that matter -- so your work IS important!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Teya takes on the tunes

Here is our Sunbeam, fresh from a spaghetti dinner singing her favorite Primary song:

So sweet, despite the messy face! I love this girl!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Books, books, books!

I know I should be posting about our Hawaii trip, but I'm still in denial that it is over so, I'm going to post about some books I've read lately.

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) -- this one was so good! I couldn't put it down -- though I HAD to because I was in Hawaii.... but after I tired myself out snorkeling with giant sea turtles, I'd sit in the beach chair and read while Dave was still out snorkeling. (OK, this is NOT about Hawaii -- that was just a teaser...) So, this book is teen fiction, but 'teen' in the sense that the Twilight books are for 'teens'. It is about a dystopia (negative utopia) where 24 teenagers are 'chosen' to compete in the annual Hunger Games -- and fight to the death. It is all televised LIVE -- just like American Idol, the 'nation' gets all into the games, the contestants become household names, etc. WARNING -- it ends with a cliffhanger and it is the first of a trilogy. Book 2 doesn't come out till September. I'm already counting down the days. FASCINATING read -- highly recommend it. (And I'm not sadistic). It is one of those books that I wish I hadn't read yet purely for the anticipation of still having a great book to read sitting on my desk -- (if that makes any sense at all)

The Boy in Striped Pajamas (John Boyne) -- I'm SURE I'm in the minority here, but I did not like this book. It was emotionally manipulative -- and I hate that. It had a great premise --- a 9 year old boy who moves to a country home with his family, his father is the new 'commandant' of Auschwitz. The boy is so naive, and it tells the whole story from him point of view. But, the ending was awful and made me feel so down and used. (I feel the same way about certain EFY experiences that are 'spiritually manipulative -- for a comparison). So, I can't recommend this one, but like I said earlier, I'm sure I'm in the minority here -- they even made a movie out of it -- and our book group is reading it. I'll have to keep quiet... (if you can't say anything nice.....)

These is my words (Nancy Turner) -- Another great one! The first of a trilogy (all published) based on true events of a girl/woman in frontier Arizona. It was such a fascinating read, all in journal format. The ending to the first one is a let down, but I've heard from reliable sources that book two and three are just as good. I just have to get over my disappointment from the ending of the first one to pick up the other ones. But, I'd definitely recommend this one. It will be like no other book you read! It is adventurous, amazing, funny, and sad all together.

The Fire of Faith (John H. Groberg) -- I've read this before, but we are reading it for our book group and I think I enjoyed it more the second time around. Of course, I'm reading it now as an adult, a mom, etc. so I was able to apply many of the lessons more. I'm looking forward to our discussion -- the author is even coming! :)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Bashares) -- This is right down the middle of the road. It is fun to read, good summer book, but not changing my life or anything. It's about what you'd expect if you've seen the movies. But, it's well-written and quite witty in parts -- and I can always appreciate a good turn of words.

The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck) -- I'd give this 3 1/2 stars out of 5. -- Maybe 4. I enjoyed learning so much as I read. It went faster than I thought it would -- it is a long book. It is about a chinese farmer who just can't seem to learn the important life lessons for long enough to matter. It is the whole pride cycle of the Book of Mormon set in 1920s China. It's a classic and rightly so.

Well, there you have it: more of my opinion on random books that you ever wanted to know.

I'd love to hear about what books are on your "I wish I hadn't read them yet so I could read them again books"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Okay, I went to put something in Josh's room a few days ago, and this sign was taped to his door:
It reads: Josh's room. no parents allowed! Only kids! But no babys. no girls! 6 and older. If your (you're) a parent and want to come in you have to come in and clean the room.

I laughed so hard! We have started a daily chore chart and that day they had to clean their rooms. Nice try Josh. (Although, his logic was that earlier that week Teya and her friends had made a big mess in his room).

So, other Josh funnies: We were driving to soccer and it was pouring rain outside. Teya said she was thirsty. Josh said, "Can't you just drink the rain?" (imagine quenching your thirst like that).

As posted earlier, Josh finds happiness in going to bed with no underwear on. So, a few nights after that FHE, I went in to check on the kids before I went to bed. When I walked into Josh's room, by the dim glow of the night light, I saw a certain 'crack' that was not supposed to be visible. Yep, he had taken off his underwear! So, Dave and I bought him some boxers. He is very excited about them. According to his Primary teacher, he expressed said excitement to the whole class on Sunday, explaining, "They are so great, it feels like I'm not wearing any underwear!". Apparently he has convinced the other boys in his class to make the switch from briefs to boxers -- the whole conversation causing one girl to exclaim, "Excuse me! There are girls in the room!" His teacher was laughing too hard to control the situation.

I tell you, life is never dull with Josh. In addition to being honest and funny, he is so sweet. Dave recently bought him his own Book of Mormon. After reading his school-assigned reading each night, he reads from the BofM as well. Just tonight, long after we thought he was asleep, he came down and said, "Mom, I just wanted you to know that I just read your favorite part of The Book of Mormon -- the "I will go and do" scripture." He is so full of love and the most tender-hearted kid you could ever meet.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Okay, this will be the last time I mention my non-ability to sleep. Cause I'm getting really sick of it -- so I can imagine you are. So, if you don't want to read all about it, just scroll down to the bottom, and make a comment like "I'm so sorry and I hope you feel better" and I will be none the wiser!

But, since this is my 'journal', I feel the need to record this era in my life, so if you do care to read about it, here it goes: I can't sleep. I have 'restless leg syndrome' or RLS. I know it sounds like a joke syndrome. I've had it since my early 20's, though, and there is NOTHING funny about not being able to sleep. I think I have a pretty bad case of it.

I went to my family doctor and he wanted to give me this medicine that they give people with Parkinson's to help with the shaking. I was on this years ago and the side effects were bad, so I stopped. So, I didn't want to repeat that. He did some blood work and found out I have pretty bad anemia. So, I started taking iron.

Next doctor. I went to this natural medicine clinic up in Scottsdale. My brother had gone there a while back and they did this fancy test with your blood to test for everything that is wrong with you and really 'try to get at the root of the problem' instead of just throwing pills at you. Trouble was, they don't take insurance. But, I was pretty desperate, so I paid the $350 doctor visit fee. It wasn't until my appointment was almost through that I realized they weren't going to take and test my blood. I asked about it, as that was the reason I went in the first place, and he said, "Oh, we don't do that anymore. We are in a legal battle with the FDA and those tests are now only for certain cancer patients". I sure wish I had known that before I drove all the way out there and paid all that money to hear him tell me he had no idea how to treat RLS and that maybe minerals were the answer. At one point he said, "Have you ever been bitten by a tic? Maybe you have lyme's disease." He asked me the various symptoms, of which I had none, and then said, "Well, even though you aren't symptomatic, I'd suggest you get this test for lyme's disease just to rule it out". (the test cost $400). Ummmm... no. But, I did start taking more minerals.

The next day I went to see an "RLS" specialist that Dave had found via the always perfect and informative internet. After one particularly tough night a few weeks ago (on this actual night, I took a shower in my sleep! I've heard of sleep-walking, sleep-eating, but sleep-showering???? That has got to be a first!), anyway, Dave looked up RLS and cross-referenced the specialists with our insurance and got me an appointment in down town Phoenix. So, he went with me, and after waiting 1 hour and 15 minutes for the doctor (no exaggeration), she came in and asked what we were there for. I explained I had "RLS" and she didn't know what it was! Dave explained how we had found her practice on the internet and that she was listed as a specialist. She laughed and said she had never heard of that website and had no idea why she would be considered a specialist, since she was an internist that dealt mainly with kidney disorders! At least she was nice and tried to help how she could, although she just wanted to prescribe the exact same medicine my original family doctor wanted me on. (the one I reacted to badly).

So, I've decided that the sheer volume of my abhorrence of doctor appointments is going to be enough to heal me! I actually have slept the last three nights -- which is a record! So, maybe it is working! (that, or the iron and minerals were truly the answer!).

Alright, so done with the sleeping saga. I promise no more blogging about it! So, here is a fun Teya quote to end with.

We were driving in the car and Josh said, "Today I learned about fractions in school". So I said,

"How many halves in a whole?"
Josh: "Two"
Jennie: "How many quarters in a whole?"
Josh: "Four"
Teya: "How many squirrels in a hole?"

(she just wanted to be part of the fun! Isn't that a smart comment? what brilliant kids!:))

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Success in the kitchen!

It is SO rare that I cook something that is both delicious and healthy, that I actually had to blog about it! Yesterday for dinner I used our wonderful Alaskan ULU knife/board
to make some good chicken stir fry. I got this as a present from my parents a while back and it is wonderful. I highly recommend it to anyone who cooks anything! So, the next time it is your birthday and someone asks you what you want, say, "An Alaskan ULU knife". You'll thank me, I promise. I cut up some broccoli, zucchini, and asparagus that I had in the fridge from our Bountiful Baskets produce co-op that we get every other week. I also cut up some chicken. Then, I cooked them all together with olive oil, some garlic pepper (thanks Susan), a sprig of Rosemary from my front yard that I crushed up, and the juice of lemon from our back yard (aren't I resourceful!). It really was tasty and healthy too!

Well, I'll leave with a few more funny things Josh the Honest has said lately. We were eating dinner and he said, "Do you know what I wish was never invented?" "What?" I asked. "Soup," he replied, so matter-of-factly. We weren't even having soup.

At FHE, we were discussing happiness and things that make us happy long-term versus short-term, so I asked the kids "What are some things that make you happy?" Eden says: "Friends, Family". Teya: "Candy". Josh: "Going to bed without any underwear on".

Oh to live in that head for a day -- what an adventure! He just brought home a stellar report card, though -- all 'exceeds expectations' in ALL areas. I guess we'll keep him!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

catching up

It is catch up time on the blog. I know you all so anxiously await my each and every post, so sorry to have kept you waiting!

Here are some fun photos of the kids at a recent soccer day. Our Saturdays are simply filled with soccer, but they love it!

I swear, Teya refuses to smile for the camera -- that is the only pose this stage of her life is going to show. Isn't her new haircut cute, though? I love it. Eden got a cute new cut too. If only she cared about doing her hair in the morning....

Here are just a few ramblings about our life these days.

Dave and I went on a diet together. It's been a week and I've already cheated about 5 times. oops. Dave only lasted 3 days. We were both so grumpy because we were hungry that I'm glad he 'stopped', for our kids' sake. Of course, he did lose two pounds and I lost nothing. Oh, the cruelty. (I guess I did cheat, but still, I work out every day too. that should count for something!)

Speaking of working out, I started yet another class at the gym called "Dance Jam". We learn a choreographed routine to the latest hip songs on the radio. It is a workout! so tiring, but FUN. We are jumping and sliding and popping all around doing these routines to "Hot & Cold" or Beyonce or even Britney. It is tons of fun and a few weeks ago, I got the routine of the day down enough that when he asked for someone to lead the class, I volunteered! I don't have a dancing bone in my body and I'm such a white chick, but I got up on the 'stage' and led everyone in the routine! Can you believe it!

Josh continues to entertain us with his blatant honesty and observations. As were driving home from Stake Conference a few weeks ago (granted, it was hard to hear in the very back where we were sitting), he said, "Well, that was the most boring thing ever!"

The other night after his bath he said, "Sometimes when I get water up my bum, I fart bubbles." Speaking of that certain sound, he has discovered how to make it with his armpit and now walks around shirtless all day so he can have easy access to his pits to make that silly sound. boys will be boys. I guess.

He also told me the other day, "Mom, if you ever get the chance to hold a centipede, DON'T. They are poisonous." Thanks.

Well, my sleep patterns are SO erratic (3 hours one night, 2 hours the next, 13 hours the next -- playing catch up). Yesterday I was juicing oranges (just trying to get rid of them!) and I was so tired that I said out loud, "I'm standing asleep falling up". It made perfect sense to me.

I'm trying a new medicine tonight. Hope it works. Alright, enough rambling.

I'll end with a VERY exciting occurrence in our house: Teya went #2 in the potty! It was during scripture study tonight and so I told her we'd just read loud so she could hear. In between 'grunting', she'd shout out, "Louder -- I can't hear you!". It was so cute and we were so happy for her! Hope it holds out!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

now THAT was embarrassing

Okay. It has been a week since this happened, so I can blog about it without cringing.

So, for anyone who knows me, you know I struggle to sleep each night. This is nothing new, but lately I've been in a bad funk and have gone to bed at about 3 a.m. on average.

Anyways, last week one night I went to bed at 5 a.m. and was up at 7:30 a.m. to get the kids off to school. I then got a few things done and by about 10:00 a.m. I was ready to go back to bed. Teya was not feeling well, so she hadn't slept well either. So, we put on her favorite movie and I went upstairs, still in my pj's and went back to bed. Teya kept calling me for this and that (she wanted cinnamon toast. I got back up and obliged; her movie was skipping, I went down and fixed it). Finally, I was actually asleep. I heard Teya calling me yet again, but I chose to ignore it. I could hear that her movie was playing, and just stayed in bed. She kept saying, "Mom, come down here". But, I was asleep. Then, all of a sudden I hear this REALLY loud noise against my bedroom window coming from outside. Over and over again. I first thought the woodpeckers had gotten reinforcements, but then I realized it was against the glass. I opened the blinds to see this pool repair guy standing there with a big ball from our yard throwing it against my window.

I quickly grabbed a sweatshirt and went downstairs. ( I had called for a repair three days earlier and he said he would be there the next day, so I was expecting him a few days earlier). Now, this guy is now a firefighter for the city of Mesa and just does some pool work on the side. When I went down, Teya said, "Mom, I said to come down -- there is someone here". (hadn't caught that part, Teya!). So, I went outside and he said, "I was getting worried! I'd been listening to your daughter calling to you for 10 minutes and I was afraid you were sick or hurt and I was about to come in there and see if you were okay".

I smiled and explained that Teya was sick so we'd been up a lot of the night. He was very kind and having kids of his own said he understood. Inside I was SO embarrassed. After he left (after fixing our pool wonderfully) I began to realize how bad it could have been. Can't you just see the local news headlines, "Firefighter breaks down door to rescue abandoned three-year old, just to find mom sleeping upstairs at 11 in the morning".

Sunday, March 1, 2009

bribe gone bad

We are really trying to get Teya potty-trained. Last night we could tell she needed to go #2, so I rushed her into the bathroom and sat her down, and stayed with her, reading her a story, and holding her hand. She won't stay in there by herself. I even bribed her with ice-cream if she went.

Well, 20 minutes later, no luck. So, we got her diaper back on and went to finish dinner. She ate her dinner so well that I gave her a little bit of ice cream along with the rest of us.

About 10 minutes later when she was supposed to be brushing her teeth, she ran to the top of the stairs and cried out, "Mommy, I'm poopy! And I already ate all my ice cream!" and ran back to her room.

What a little stinker -- in more ways than one!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

in need of a giggle?

Nothing terribly exciting has happened in the Blaser home lately -- and I'd like to keep it that way. The only downside is -- what do I blog about? So, here are some very random things that I hope bring a smile to your face.

Yesterday we were in the library (that is always so quiet) looking for some books, and Teya all of sudden starts singing really loud "Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah I'm going to start a fight!" (that song 'So What' by P!nk). It was embarrassing, but funny.

A few months ago I attempted to go off my sleep medicine. This resulted in weeks of very bizarre dreams. After you read some of them, you'll understand why I went back on the medicine (that and I couldn't sleep).

Dream #1: I was in the finals of a spelling bee with my friend Sarah Crawford (from my ward). The last word was some oft-used word in the Book of Mormon and I was really glad I had read my scriptures as it paid off and I won the spelling bee! (Translation: Sarah's daughter had just won the school spelling bee. I never made it past the classroom level in my school growing up so I must have some sort of complex that I was trying to make up for by patting myself on the back about scripture reading).

Dream #2: The woodpeckers won. Their insistent pecking at our eaves got them inside our roof and they pecked right through the sheet rock. I was sleeping peacefully when a flock of woodpeckers came in through our bathroom wall and went on the attack. (Translation: I hate woodpeckers and you can read all about it here: woodpeckers )

Dream #3: Simon Cowell kept having contestants get sick or be 'no shows' for the Top Ten of the American Idol show. So, he'd call me to fill in at the last minute. Every time he did, I'd protest that I had stage fright and couldn't sing, but he always said I'd be great. So, I was in several episodes of American Idol. I guess I got voted in to stay for a while, but every week I wanted to be eliminated. (Translation: Not really sure. I love American Idol. I can't sing and I do have stage fright.)

Dream #4: My friend Liz Hall (in my ward -- who is a GREAT cook and practically perfect in every way) asked me to join her and some friends in opening up a local bistro. However, we decided to call it a 'bistro' (rhyme the i with the i in kiss) instead of 'beestro' because we didn't want to sound too pretentious. And, I was only allowed to make my peppermint dessert (see all about it in my duct tape dessert entry). I kept asking if I could help out with the other menu items and she kept saying "No, Jennie, you just stick to that dessert. It's going to be our signature item -- it will bring the customers in. We couldn't do this without you". (Translation: I can't cook worth beans, and I'm always on Liz's blog for her recipes. I also would never use the word pretentious to describe myself. And, although the peppermint dessert was somewhat of a mistake, it was really good and everyone who had it raved about it and wanted more. It was nice to have had something successful come out of my kitchen)

Okay -- see what I mean about weird dreams? Here are some other funny things from Teya.

I was helping her say her prayers at night. I say a line, she repeats it, etc. I said, "Help me to sleep well" and she said, "Help me to stay up a little bit longer".

We were reading scriptures and Teya wanted to 'read' a verse. Dave would say a phrase and she'd repeat it.
Dave: "And it came to pass"
Teya: "And it came to pass"
Dave: "That Jesus said"
Teya: "That Jesus said"
(just then, something dropped off the couch and hit Dave and under his breath he said 'crap')
Teya: "Crap".

That might be sacrilegious -- sorry. I hope I didn't offend anyone! It was pretty funny -- and we really try hard not to use that kind of language around here. (Oh no, am I sounding pretentious??)

Well, the sink is overflowing with dishes and laundry needs to be done -- but I hope you had a giggle or two. Some days -- that is all I need to keep on going!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Miss America Pageant

There she goes! Miss America! (are you singing it in your head)

I was grocery shopping yesterday when out of the blue I remembered this hilarious experience I had when I was in high school. So, I thought I'd blog about it.

Some background is necessary for this entry, so you don't think I was a TOTAL nerd, although that title is not the least bit insulting to me. I was a nerd (and a total jock).

Anyway, remember 1984 when Charlene Wells won the Miss America pageant? This was back when people still watched the pageant. It was the year after the previous winner had some moral issues, so getting a Mormon to win was a statement of sorts. I remember watching that with my friends and cheering and jumping up and down when she won. I was 11 years old.

About two years later, I met Miss Wells at a luncheon for the wives and daughters of General Authorities. Her dad was a member of the seventy, as was mine. We were kindred spirits. She sang and played this piano that was made out of glass. After the program, I also played that piano for a few of the stragglers. I was already walking in her footsteps. Just a few more years until I was Miss America.

Well, in 1987, our family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We started attending Lincoln High School, a private school that was for expatriates and a few wealthy Argentines. Well, guess who also attended that very high school about a decade earlier? Charlene Wells! Her family had lived in the same place, went to the same ward, and the same school. I remember going to Geometry and seeing her framed picture on the wall with a personalized message to Mr. Czarnik (my math teacher). It was like I was destined to be like her -- :) (I do hope you are reading this with a bit of sarcasm in your voice -- I never REALLY thought I'd be Miss America). But, you got to admit -- we had a lot in common.

Anywho, fast forward to 1988. We were taking our family vacation with Elder L. Tom Perry and his wife. It was several weeks -- coinciding with stake conferences and mission conferences and all sorts of meeting that made up our typical family vacation. We were staying in a mission home in the southern part of Chile. It was a day FULL of meetings (I think they were interviewing for a new Stake President). All the adults were gone and my sister Viki and I were stuck at this mission home with nothing to do and nowhere to go. So, we decided to entertain ourselves by putting on our own Miss America Pageant.

So, using our limited wardrobe (we were on vacation), we proceeded to divide up all 50 states between the two of us. We created a 'runway' and would walk down in our outfits singing "My Country ‘Tis of Thee” over and over and over again to represent each state. We’d sing it in a southern accent if we were on Georgia or Alabama. We’d sing it in an eastern accent if we were from New York or Jersey. You get the idea. I doubt we really sang it 50 times, but we probably got close. We ‘judged’ each other each time, on talent (the song) & outfit. Like I said, we were bored, and still fascinated with the whole Miss America thing.

Well, at some point during our ‘pageant’, we were called down to dinner. We went down and noticed that Elder Perry was in the kitchen. As we started to talk over the dinner table, he asked us, “What exactly were you two doing? I kept hearing you sing the same song over and over!” I was SO embarrassed. Come to find out, Elder Perry wasn’t feeling well and had come home hours earlier to try and rest. We didn’t know this, and we were making all sorts of noise singing the SAME song over and over. Poor guy, he didn’t sleep at all! (Here is a side note – while this is a humorous happening, it also speaks loads about Elder Perry’s character – he could have EASILY asked us to quiet down or asked someone to make us stop so he could rest, but he let us go on and on and on just down the hall from where he was trying to rest. Remember that next general conference – he is a wonderful, caring man!)

My parents were quite embarrassed for us, as was to be expected. We apologized profusely and were quiet as could be the rest of the night. He was so kind to us. I remember the very next day we set up a volleyball net in the mission home’s back yard and we played volleyball with him. He is quite tall, and athletic, so he always won, but we had a great time. We also played a little one-on-one basketball. Basketball was my life back then, and from then on, every time my dad spoke to Elder Perry, he would ask about me and my basketball ‘career’. In fact, when we left Argentina a few years later and moved to Bountiful, Elder Perry wrote me a personal letter wishing me well on our move and saying that he had warned Bountiful that I was coming and that their B-ball team would never be the same. (It was. I was too late to make the team).

So, that is part I of the story. The second part isn’t quite so long, but still funny! Several years later, I was a senior at Bountiful High School. My Spanish teacher nominated me to be the Sterling Scholar for Foreign Languages. (Probably because I actually did speak Spanish and already taken and passed both the AP Spanish and AP Spanish Literature tests). In Utah, the Sterling Scholar program is where a student from each high school is nominated by faculty in about 12 categories (Foreign Language, Science, Math, History, etc). Each of us had to create a portfolio with our academic, social, and other accomplishments and send them in. We were judged against all the other students in our same category. About 10 were chosen to go onto the State level, and then one is declared a winner and given a scholarship.

So, all of a sudden, I had about 2 weeks to create this huge portfolio. One of the sections was 5 letters of recommendation from people in the community. My mom suggested I ask Elder Perry to write one of the letters. So, I did. Pretty soon, the deadline to turn in our portfolios was up and I hadn’t heard back from Elder Perry – just from his secretary who said he would love to write a letter. So, we knew one was coming from him, so I stuck in the letter (without re-reading it) that he had written a few months earlier when we moved back to Utah, thinking I would simply replace it with the real one when it came.

Well, I forgot to replace it. I made it to the State level and that required this intensive interview process with one of the judges. I was so nervous. It was about an hour-long interview and things were going quite well. Then, the judge said, “I’m not a member of the Mormon faith, but one of my colleagues is, and he said that this Elder Perry who wrote one of your recommendation letters is a big deal in your church.” I replied that he was, and that he was a friend of the family. Then, he said, “So, I read this letter he wrote, and I want to know – when were you in the Miss America Pageant?” The blank look on my face let him know I really had no idea what he was talking about.

He showed me the letter from my portfolio and at the bottom of Elder Perry’s letter was written, “P.S. Please, NO MORE Miss America Pageants!” He then proceeds to ask me, “When were you in the Miss America Pageant and why have we not heard all about it in your portfolio. That is a big achievement!”

I think I was ready to fall off my chair. This was supposed to be such a formal interview and I was… stunned into silence and trying hard to not LAUGH. I finally admitted that my sister and I had made up our own pageant years ago and it was kind of a personal joke between Elder Perry and I. I don’t think the answer appeased him, but oh well. I didn’t win State – the girl who won spoke 7 languages. I’m sure that factor was the winning ticket. That, and the fact that she hadn’t participated in any Miss America Pageants!

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