Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who is Ethan's Papa?

OK, so I am done with long posts! The last two have been exceptionally long and I know it is hard to read ones that are so long! So for now, I want to post this little incident, the topic of which, comes up almost every day:

Elia: Who is Ethan's Papa?
Jen: Your Papa is Ethan's Papa.
Elia: No he's not.
Jen: Yes, you and Ethan have the same Papa.
Elia: I don't want to share Papa.
Jen: Well, who is Ethan's Papa?
Elia (while on a walk): That tree is Ethan's Papa.
Jen: Trees make baby trees, not baby people. People have to make baby people. Papa is Ethan's Papa.
Elia: No he's not.
Jen: admits defeat in arguing with a three-year-old by not continuing the conversation

I'm beginning to learn that grown-ups do not win logical arguments with small children. From what I've heard, I think it is rare for a grown-up to win an argument with a teenager too. Time will tell!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Farewell to our prophet

Last night, the prophet of our church passed away at age 97. President Gordon B. Hinckley was such an amazing man and leader for the church. He is especially remembered for his humor and zeal for life.


After I heard the news and as I was thinking about it, I thought about Elia who, when she is shown a picture of him and when we ask her who it is, she says, "President Hinckley!" When we ask her who he is, she says, "He's the prophet!".
She only knows these things because we've told her, but as I reflect today on my own beliefs, I can say that I know he is a prophet of God. I have felt it as I've heard him speak and direct the church. I have felt power when I've been in a stadium filled with people who stand in silence as he enters the room.
I am so grateful that the Lord sees fit to give direction to us today through his prophet. It doesn't make sense that he would leave men without guidance, especially in a time that is as difficult and turbulent as this one and though we will miss him, it is comforting to know that the church will continue to be directed by the Lord as the leadership and revelation from God passes on to our next prophet.
Here is a link to the news story from the church website (lds.org): http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/beloved-church-president-gordon-b-hinckley-dies-at-97
And here is an article from the Deseret News: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695247765,00.html


I have really felt inspired by his words and everytime I hear him or read what he has said, I want to be better. One of my favorite teachings of his are the "be's": Be Grateful, Be Smart, Be Clean, Be True, Be Humble, Be Prayerful. What an amazing man. I know that I have been inspired to be a better person because of him and I hope I can be as bold a witness of Christ as he has been.

After reading this on my friend Mauri Winder's blog, I am adding this to my post:

Testimony of President Gordon B. Hinckley
"I hope that all of you will remember that on this Sabbath day you heard me bear my witness that this is God's holy work. The vision given the Prophet Joseph in the grove of Palmyra was not an imaginary thing. It was real. It occurred in the broad light of day. Both the Father and the Son spoke to the boy. He saw Them standing in the air above him. He heard Their voices. He gave heed to Their instruction."It was the resurrected Lord who was introduced by His Father, the great God of the universe. For the first time in recorded history, both the Father and the Son appeared together to part the curtains and open this, the last and final dispensation, the dispensation of the fullness of times."The Book of Mormon is all that it purports to be—a work recorded by prophets who lived anciently and whose words have come forth "to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations" (Book of Mormon title page)."The priesthood has been restored under the hands of John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John. All the keys and authority pertaining to eternal life are exercised in this Church."Joseph Smith was and is a prophet, the great Prophet of this dispensation. This Church, which carries the name of the Redeemer, is true."I leave you my testimony, my witness, and my love for each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
President Gordon B. HinckleyApril 1, 2006, Sunday morning session of the 176th Annual World General Conference

Eventful

Well, to say the last two weeks has been eventful would probably be an understatement. I returned to Arizona on the 8th, along with my friend Lauren and her little 15-month-old boy Daxton. I had a whole slew of ideas for her visit, and we did quite a few things, but because of working around the napping schedules of three children, we rested at home a lot too.

On Saturday night we went with the Giauques to Glendale's glitter and glow event which is the end event of their holiday lights. They have entertainment and hot air balloons all along the downtown Glendale streets.
A week ago, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day we all went to the zoo. Elia loved holding the giraffe tibia...And the orangutans were Lauren's favorite. Dax didn't tell us what he enjoyed the most, but we'll assume he had fun until he tells us otherwise.
We had a great time there, but on the way home a truck slammed on its breaks and in order to avoid hitting him, I swerved off the road and hit the Thunderbird exit sign instead. I've decided that I want to go to a defensive driving class. After the accidents in Utah (a deer ran out and a semi hit us head-on (neither of which I could avoid)), I just don't feel as confident anymore. I just sort of panic in some situations and I know that isn't good. I don't feel unsafe really, but I do feel I could sharpen up my skills. We were all very lucky (though our car will need about $6,000 of work done).
In fact, Dax slept through the accident and my kids, tired from the zoo trip fell asleep as we were figuring everything out with the car. So the rest of Lauren's visit was spent figuring out the stuff about my car (which ended up being way more frustrating than the accident itself. So, we took it to a shop recommended by the tow truck driver. He told me the shop could pay my deductible (which, from our standpoint sounded really great). What I later found out is he would get the money for the deductible by not fixing minor things like a scratch here or a dent there. I was really unhappy because he didn't tell me that upfront. I thought he would pay my deductible as sort of a way to get me to fix my car at his shop (like windshield places do). SO, when I found that out, I wanted to take my car to a different shop because I didn't trust him anymore to do all the repairs. He wasn't happy and charged me a $75 storage fee x 3 days (though it was there for just a little over 48 hours) + a $250 administration fee! I guess about 5 shops in Phoenix charge that and it is supposed to be for talking to you and setting up your file! So, he only did the take down of my car with the insurance adjuster and he pocketed $475! My insurance I then found out won't cover the storage or admin fee, though I talked them into covering the storage fee. I then had to pay to have it towed to the new shop (where, I will have to pay my $750 deductible). The moral of the story is: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

So now, we are going without a car so that we can try and save the money we are entitled to for the rental car. We get $50 a day for 20 days and whatever of the $1,000 we don't spend (assuming our car is in the shop for that long, which it should be) we get a check for, which will hopefully offset the insurance deductible. Talk about a headache! It was doubly frustrating because Eric was still in China and I didn't talk to him from the time the accident happened on Monday until Wed. morning. Really, I am most upset about that guy at the first shop who I feel took advantage of me because he's upset I didn't want him to fix my car.
I feel bad for poor Lauren who ended up staying with the kids at home during their naps while I ran around trying to figure things out. Fortunately, she likes to read and got a lot of that in. I honestly don't know what I would have done without her here.

For a little laugh after all that serious stuff, this is the link I sent Eric when I wrote him an e-mail describing the accident: http://www.funtoosh.com/dj.php?details=a11~362 I told him to look at the link first, then I put at the very bottom, the details about the accident.

So, besides the lack of a car, things are pretty much back to normal. Eric started classes today in his last trimester! He is looking into some job prospects and has an interview on Feb. 4th with a pharmaceutical company here in Phoenix. It isn't his top job choice, but will be great practice and who knows what will happen. He is scheduled for four 1-hour interviews on Monday!

One more note, for any of you who eventually work for an insurance company, if you are talking to someone who has just had a wreck don't say, "Have a great day!" When they told me that I thought to myself, "It's a little late for that." A more appropriate greeting might be, "I hope your day goes better!"

Friday, January 18, 2008

Greetings from the U.S.A.

Well, we did make it back safely to not-quite-so-cold AZ. My friend Lauren and her 15 month old son Daxton came with us to escape the freezing temperatures and get a break. So far, we've done OK cramming two mini families in our two bedroom apartment, though naps aren't as fruitful as they could be if we had more space. On Thursday we went out to our friends' house in Sun City and picked some fresh oranges and grapefruit. It is now the citrus season and they are delicious! Then on Thursday night Erika, one of my friends, came over to play games.
Today we went to Ikea. Lauren is now in love with the store and wanted to take the whole store home with her. Unfortunately, she only brought one suitcase. We did hit the jackpot. We were going through the "As-Is" section when a lady announced that you could take a bag and have whatever you fit in it for $5! Most of the stuff had nothing wrong with it. We figured they were display items or something. We both got quite a few things like blankets, sheets, and other fabric to use to make things. I also bought a twin comforter that is supposed to go inside a duvet cover for Elia's next birthday (Yes, I know it is 9 months away). Well, one of the covers I found was a twin size. It is pale gray. I'm going to dress it up with ribbons going across it. Does anyone have any other ideas? I also got several matching pillow cases! We were very happy with our find. Tomorrow we're going to relax at home in the morning, then hit the Glendale hot-air balloon festival. Monday, we're going to hit the zoo. I'm just trying to stay busy until Eric gets home on Thursday. It's nice to have someone to share the time with. Stay tuned for more of our fun updates!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Greetings from China

OK, so this is really Jen and I'm not in China :( (He'll owe me a trip in the future), but Eric sent me all his pictures from China, so I thought I would post a few. I'm so proud of him. He's taken almost 200 in the week he's been there! Way to go, Honey! He is having a great time visiting places like the Forbidden City...

...and The Great Wall (which, by the way is over 4,000 miles long!). In some parts the wall was so steep they had to crawl up on their hands and feet! (see below)


Here is a video of my all-talented and creative husband walking down some of the Wall's stairs. I am assuming it wasn't the steepest part (pictured above). :)

video


He is also having fun bargaining for souvenirs and seeing the sites around Beijing.


He says he thinks we would love living there, if he could find a job. I'd be game too! Maybe somewhere in our future. He says he understands more Mandarin than he thought he would and that he's just had a great time. He's going next to Shanghi and then to Hong Kong.

For those of you who would like to make this a history lesson, here are some links about the Forbidden City and the Great Wall: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbidden_City http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_wall_of_china

So, nothing seems as exciting when compared to China, especially since I've been handling sick kids (Elia now is on her third day of antibiotics after a very painful and serious ear infection and Ethan is still doing his breathing treatments twice a day). A quick story about that, Ethan just began antibiotics when we arrived here and his were pink. Elia, who needed a larger dose was supposed to get orange, but the pharmacists converted the prescription so she would just take a larger amount of the pink. She is very excited that she gets to take "two sips" of the pink. In fact it was funny at the doctor's office, she was in so much pain, but when he told her she was going to get some medicine, she whimpered, "Do you have any that tastes good?" We all burst out laughing which caused her to burst into tears. She is pretty much back to her usual self.

In my news, I printed 100 scrapbook pages on Saturday. I am excited to have them done. Especially since now I can't (or don't have any reason to) go back and edit them anymore. They are like the un-ending project that you could continually improve upon.

The kids and I head back to Glendale on Wednesday after a great visit with Nana and Grandpa. They really have been a huge help with the kids especially as I've spent 2 hours each night for four of the nights last week at the computer lab, not to mention all the other times I've done things without the kids plus the great cooking by Grandpa which has relieved me of all cooking duties. I'm going to be spoiled when I go back! Elia will sure miss her cousins, especially Emily, (who, (yes, I knew it had to happen) has replaced me as her "best friend"). We will also miss the snow, but are excited to get to the nice weather again. We hope everyone is doing as well as we are!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A visit to the temple

A little less than a week ago, we went, with Eric's mom, to Idaho to spend some time with Eric's brother and his family who live in Montana. We stayed with Eric's sister-in-law's mother and had a great time playing games and visiting. She has horses and cats. Elia loved this kitten and we had a hard time getting her to put it down: A highlight of our trip to Idaho was being able to go to the open house of the Rexburg temple. Elia was excited about being able to go into the temple.
Eric is now on the plane to China. When we first told Elia about China she asked, "Is their ice cream there?" We told her that there was. Now, she says at random times, "My Papa is going to China to get some ice cream." Let's hope he eats more than that there! :)
About that, our no-sweets diet that is, Eric and I are doing great. We haven't succumbed to sweets yet, though, speaking for myself, I have been tempted. Eric and I were talking about it and discussing what sugary thing we would eat knowing we had to pay $10 if we ate it. I talked about a piece of that lemon cake from the Cheesecake Factory, but by the time you ate the cake (which costs about $5) you would have lost $15 ($5 to buy the cake and the $10 fine for eating it). Eric said he could eat a whole fruit braid (which is his sister's specialty) and I thought I could eat quite a bit of dutch-oven peach cobbler. See, we got together with his cousin and aunt and uncle last week for a dutch oven dinner and they had peach cobbler. It looked SOOOOOOO good, but we didn't have any. I actually think that it is already easier to not eat sugar, though the $10 fine is sure a huge deterrent for me and I'm not sure I would be as faithful if I didn't have anything riding on the line.
So, this week I am going to work on finishing up my scrapbook pages when the kids go to bed. I'd like to print most, if not all I have done, this week. We'll see how it goes. I am also going to try to get my brain and life organized. Yeah, I am not sure how to do that, but I am going to get a little better.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Friends of the Elk

Yesterday we got together with about 30 of our friends and family and took a trip to Hardware Ranch. It is a winter feeding ground for elk. You can take a sleigh ride through the elk herd and see them up close. It was a lot of fun especially since we filled a whole sleigh with just our group.

Elia really loved playing with her cousins (Caden, Oakley and Emily) and sliding down the snow-covered hill before the ride (here with her cousin Caden):

She was really captivated by the animals. We were less than five feet from them during the trip.

Ethan never really told us he liked it, but at least he didn't freeze, though it was pretty cold out!
At the end, Elia got to pet the horses that pulled the sleigh. She has always loved horses especially since our time in Vernal.
Our ride home was made pleasant by a beautiful pink fog. A perfect ending to a great trip...
...but it was just the beginning of our fun for the day. After our sleigh ride we gathered for New Year's Eve games and treats. We ate lots of treats (which was a good thing because Eric and I have decided to eat no sugar until he graduates at the beginning of May. We even convinced two of his cousins to join us! Yeah!), and stayed up until 3:30. Even better than that, with the exception of a couple of baby feedings for Ethan, Eric and I slept until noon today! Since when can we do that!!!