Monday, January 31, 2011

How I Felt About School

For the most part, I loved school. I had many great teachers through the years, and I think they taught me well. No matter what grade I was in, there were new and exciting things to learn. It wasn't until high school that I discovered my favorite subjects: Spanish and Culinary Arts. I didn't develop a love for teaching until college, when I was inspired to be an Elementary Education major. My experiences in school helped me become a better person and discover my talents. Even though I've graduated from college, I've been given precious time to further develop those talents and skills in my home.

One day, I hope to return to school full time and earn a master's degree. I don't know when that day will be or what I will specialize in, but that is my goal. I love learning! I'm so grateful that I get to learn something every day  from my little boy. I look forward to being a student (and a teacher) for the rest of my life...and pretty much forever. :)

Who Would Have Thought?

It's funny how things work out sometimes.

It's been bugging me for a while that I took piano lessons for a year and stopped after the teacher moved. That's when I was 13 or 14. I loved playing, even though I wasn't the best. It was soothing to let my fingers fly (albeit slowly) over the keys, hearing the wonderful music come from my fingertips.

Last week, there was a wonderful devotional ("Well Done, Thou Good and Faithful Servant") given about talents. Can we say guilt trip? Yep. At least I know I'm not alone, right?

To make a long story short, I'm going to take piano lessons from my mother-in-law. The funny thing is, she asked me, not the other way around. She must have been inspired.

Random thing from this week: Joseph is teething! I had no idea until I looked in his mouth this morning and saw swollen gums. He's such a good-natured little boy. He's been as happy as ever. I love that kid. I really don't deserve any credit for him being so awesome. I will only take credit for his pudgy feet. He's getting enough to eat for sure! :)


I want to share a cool quote that I found in the Ensign.

"The fact that every member is given the gift of the Holy Ghost is evidence that the Lord wants to reveal things to you and through you." Joseph Fielding McConkie

What a powerful statement! The world we live in is all about evidence. If you can't prove something, then it must not be true. Belief by faith is discounted as being archaic or silly ("foolish traditions of the fathers"). It still amazes me how much evidence these scholars are missing. There is evidence everywhere that we were created by God, that He cares about us, and that He loves us dearly.

That fact that we don't know all the answers (yet) is not evidence of His not caring. A lady in church gave a great example yesterday (paraphrased).

"I have a daughter who is taking Calculus. She is much better at math than I am. I could ask her the answer to a difficult math problem, and she'd be able to tell me. However, no amount of explaining would make the answer make sense to me. I would just have to learn the math in the first place."

Revelation and answers sometimes have to come line upon line, precept upon precept, simply because we aren't ready for them or wouldn't understand. As we go throughout life, we receive answers when we need them. I don't know everything about my future, but I know enough! I have faith that I'll receive the revelation I need when I need it most, because that's how it's always been in the past. The Lord never ever leaves us in the dark.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lonely, I'm So Lonely

Okay, that's not exactly true. What I mean to say is that James has been gone a lot this week, especially the past two days. I didn't see him for 12 hours yesterday, and today's going to be the same. I've been hanging out downstairs and making sure that the Josephs get to play together. They sure adore each other, so that's pretty nice.
Is it mean that I think this face is so cute?

I did a few new things in the kitchen this week. We had gone to BRC's, the cute little custard place. They also happen to sell pretzel dogs. James suggested that I try making some at home so he could take them for lunch at school. Turns out that they're really easy and super cheap, much better than paying 3 bucks for one dog. They are also quite delicious and definitely won't last long! I also made some bagels. I think there's nothing better than a bagel fresh out of the oven. It's weird how similar the process is for making bagels and pretzels. My last experiment was with homemade cream of mushroom soup. It's not much cheaper because of the cost of mushrooms, but it's definitely MUCH healthier. I didn't love the taste by itself, but it worked great in the recipe I used it in.

I finished my first knitting project this week! It turned out not 100% square, but it will make an excellent swaddle blanket for my cousin Juliet's baby. It will also be nice and warm. I tried it out on Joseph, and he fits inside nice and snug. (My baby is growing up though. I don't swaddle him all the time anymore, and I think he's weaned himself from the paci. It makes me miss that little newborn!)

Even though the days are long sometimes, I'm glad that I have so much time for working on things. The more time I spend creating things, the more I love it. I really believe that we all have an innate desire to create things. There's a really good Mormon Message about that here. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Most Exciting Place I've Ever Been

The most exciting place I've ever been is to Quebec. Many people who've been to Canada say that it's a lot like the U.S. In Quebec, that's not exactly so.

First off, everyone speaks French. Not everybody speaks English very well, if they speak it at all. (I think most do, but why would they need to unless they go out of the province?)

The countryside is absolutely gorgeous with green, rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Even the city we visited, Montreal, seemed very clean and bright.

My ancestors from my dad's dad's side are from Quebec. We went to a small town that they were from, Wotton. Nobody's ever heard of it, I'm sure. But after everyone telling me that I spell my last name, Phenix, incorrectly, it's refreshing to go to a place where that's the only spelling.

This was a few years ago, so I don't remember too much. They have Wendy's. Instead of an apostrophe in "Wendy's", it's a maple leaf. The fries come in a cylindrical container that fits very well in the cup holder in a car.

I'd like to go visit again one day. After all, I do have a passport that I've never used. :)

Once Upon a Time...

Can there be a cuter baby? I think not!
...there was a little boy named Joseph. He was happy and lively and cute. One day, he got a bad cold and stopped sleeping for a week. His mom wondered if she would ever be sane again. Holding a coughing baby in the middle of the night was no fun for either of them, and she still had a sick husband who would start coughing once the baby was asleep.

One magical day, everyone got better. The mommy got sleep again, the baby got sleep again, and the husband got sleep again. They all lived happily ever after.

But that's not the end!

We had a really good weekend despite weird sleep schedules. We went to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It's been a few years since I read it, but I think they stuck to the book fairly well. I love those movies. They are so much better than the super old ones made by BBC where people are dressed up in costumes. Note to self, though: never eat a large popcorn and drink a large soda by myself. The result is feeling gross for the rest of the day.

We went to Kira Good's homecoming on Sunday, and that was great. It's weird to think that at her farewell we weren't quite married yet. (We got married 2 days after she went to the MTC.) She seems very happy to be home, well-adjusted, etc., and speaks awesome Spanish! We had some amazing food at her house afterward, and I ate way too much. Why I do that to myself, I'll never know.

It's a bright, sunny day even though it's about 10 degrees out right now. Funny, Myles doesn't seem to think that it's very cold in Rexburg. Well, I've been here for 4 years and I beg to differ. :)

Joseph is such a goofy kid. He's been incredibly happy during the day, even though he hasn't felt well. I'm so glad that he's better. He can finally sit up without toppling over (at least for a while!) He definitely knows that I'm "Mama" and will call for me when he wakes up. It's cute, but I could see myself getting annoyed by that after a few years...

He's still working on scooting. He can do it ineffectively by rolling, twisting, and reaching around backward to grab a toy. It's hilarious to watch. He still gets really excited by his reflection, too. I can't blame him. I'd be delighted by my reflection if I were that cute!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ready for the Weekend!

Yes, Joseph ended up getting sick. Instead of sleeping, he coughs. Instead of sleeping, I take care of him and try not to get too annoyed when he wakes up for the 5th time, 30 minutes after I just put him down.

Life goes on. I will miss him being this small, but I won't miss this week in particular. I won't miss having him wipe his nose on my shirt or scream when I suction out his nose.

On the bright side, James came up with a great plan for exercising. We walk every day and mark it off on a paper racetrack. We will eventually go to lots of places around the world! Of course, we will get some sort of treat at each destination. 4 days in a row so far! And it's been cold. Go us!

Our first stop is Salt Lake City. James says we should have some Jello. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Perfect Winter Day

The perfect winter day must include certain elements for me. Most winter days don't fit this description. If they did, I'd make sure to live here permanently!

1. Waking up when the sun is up. Dark winter mornings are no fun at all!

2. Eating a nice, hot breakfast that includes hot chocolate.

3. No wind, but fresh snow that glitters in the sunlight.

4. Playing outside in the snow until it gets too cold (but not to the point of being miserable and wet.)

5. Drinking more hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.

6. Relaxing by a crackling fire and telling stories with family members.

7. Snuggling in a warm blanket after the said fire burns out.

8. Going to sleep in a nice, warm bed (but not too warm!) I actually like for it to be about 67-68 degrees inside, even in the winter.

Looking outside right now really makes me wish that spring were a little closer! :)

The Journal Jar!

As part of the Relief Society meeting last week, I received journal jar questions. Although I don't have them in a jar, I plan on answering one each time I blog. This should be fun! Some of them are pretty random. I will probably just go in order.

Describe your cooking skills as a bride. Give one of your husband's favorite recipes.

Cooking is one thing I've had lots of experience with, even before I was married. I took 2 years of culinary arts in high school, so I got to use a professional kitchen and actually study about different types of food. I think I've been a foodie ever since I was born. Mom says I was a greedy little eater from day one. I think I might still be...

Anyway, I've only burned a few things on accident because I was pregnant and forgetful. I got an excellent idea from James's aunt, Jenny, on making each day of the week a theme. These are ours: Monday: Italian, Tuesday: Asian, Wednesday: Soup, Thursday: Mexican, Friday: Casserole, Saturday: American, and Sunday: random or leftovers. It's so much fun. If I mix things up, I sometimes forget what day of the week it is! I've found favorite recipes for lots of things, so we have 6 weeks worth of meals that we rotate. We never get tired of any of our dinners. I just LOVE to cook.

James is always saying that certain things are his favorite, but I think his actual favorite is chicken and dumplings. We have two versions that we like.

I hope to continue finding new recipes. Variety is what makes life interesting. :)

Things I'm Grateful for on This Non-holiday Weekend

This 3-day "vacation" really hasn't been much of one. About half of the people in this household have been sick with the flu or a cough, James included. I think I'll focus on the good things and not my lack of sleep.

Joseph is getting bigger! I love to see him grow, but it also makes me sad that he's not that helpless, tiny baby anymore. Sometimes he even whines now or gets ornery.

I get to see James for more than 3 hours today! His normal schedule keeps him at school/work for almost the whole day.

I got to sleep in! (sort of) Joseph's sleep schedule has been thrown off big time. No bueno.

James and I went on an awesome date on Saturday to the temple and TwizlBerry. Yum! We got so many toppings on ours that it was pretty much candy with yogurt holding it together. :)

Joseph and I did NOT get sick! I'm grateful that I got Joseph both flu shots. As for me, I must have a good immune system or luck on my side.

The snow is melting! I don't love the slush, but at least we won't be buried alive when it snows again.

I'm keeping most of my New Year's resolutions so far! The one that hasn't happened yet is working out, because I've been just plain exhausted and the weather always stinks until May. However, the others are going well. Yay!

Hmm. I think it's time for breakfast. I am also grateful for that. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

James Had a Birthday, Shout Hurray!

That's right, James is now 23 and and old man, at least until March 25th when I also turn 23. We had a great day. We had some free bowling games, so we went to Fat Cats and did a game. Like always, I was terrible. I think my final score was 45. James scored in the 70's. Oh well. We also had a coupon for a free Coldstone ice cream, so we went and got that. Despite Coldstone being expensive, I think it's quite tasty. We had the chocolate cake batter ice cream with Snickers mixed in.

my little angel boy
Then it was on to dinner: chicken and dumplings made by James's mom. He asks for those every year. They were delicious, of course, as was the cake. I made it! Chocolate pound cake is to die for. :) James got some awesome presents, like a Starving Student Card and some gift certificates we can use for dates! I made him some slippers and got another version of Munchkin called Star Munchkin. We played a game of it as I was falling asleep.

It's been a very tiring week, mostly because Joseph is going through a growth spurt. He's been waking up twice a night and eating more in the day as well. The drain on me isn't something I'm great at keeping up with. I think I just need more sleep during his growth spurts. Good news though: he's grown 2-3 inches in the last 6 weeks! Babies his age move around so much, who knows how many calories he takes from me each day?

I went to my first RS meeting in this ward. It was really inspirational, about doing journals and family history. No matter the activity, I always find something I can work on. I haven't really done any research recently, but we have been a little better at keeping up on taking photos. I made a photo book (since I got an email for a free one) of all the pictures since we've been  married. 1 1/2 years fit onto 30 pages, so I could do a little better. :) I'm not too sure what research I can do on my family, but it would be really cool to make a photo book out of all those old photos. Hmm...I have a plan.

I know I'm in a family ward because of the RS meeting last night. In the student ward, it's unlikely that we'd have an activity so early on the in the semester. If we did, it would be a "getting to know you" type thing. The ladies in the ward are super nice so far. I even got invited to lunch this week. I'm the only new person. I'm not one of 30 new faces. It makes me feel a little awkward, as if I'm the center of attention or something. I'm not alone though, because there is another young couple living with parents. I don't know if they have their own apartment, but their whole family is coming over to dinner on Sunday. I'm glad that James and I aren't alone!

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Cabinets!

My only regret is that I have nothing cool and decorative to put in the center cabinet since it has a cool light over it and no door. Oh well. They are nice and deep, so no searching around in 8 cabinets for anything. :)

And Thus We See...

A religion teacher mentioned that this phrase is one of the most important found in the Book of Mormon. In summary, here are the lessons that follow. There are less than 20 in the whole Book of Mormon.

1. By small means the Lord brings about great things.
2. The commandments of God must be fulfilled.
3. There was no way that Adam and Eve could live forever. By the fall of Adam, all mankind became a lost and fallen people.
4. When the Lamanites were brought to the truth, they were firm.
5. They buried their weapons of war for peace.
6. We are called to labor in the vineyard.
7. The power of the devil comes by cunning.
8. The end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord
9. A time granted unto men to repent
10. How quickly the children of men forget the Lord
11. How merciful and just are the dealings of the Lord
12. The gate of heaven is open to all.
13. Except the Lord doth chasten them...they will not remember Him.
14. Their wickedness led to their destruction.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Being Favored

The Book of Mormon has some interesting language that I've often found lacking in the Bible. (Different eras, different writers, and somewhat different cultures as well as the translation make all the difference in the product we end up reading.)

One such phrase is "highly favored." A friend shared a scripture about Mary, the mother of Jesus, in connection with this phrase. As I was reading this week, I came across it again the book of Alma, referring to the people of Ammon. So who is highly favored? I did a search on the exact phrase, and this is what I discovered. The only people specifically mentioned are...

Mary, the mother of Jesus
Nephi (the first, my Book of Mormon hero)
in conjunction with "people of the Lord": King Benjamin's people, the people of Ammon (as already mentioned), and all who live in the promised land
the brother of Jared

That's a very short list of people. The scriptures mention several qualities that these people had:

all things made known unto them
free from wars and contentions
great knowledge of the goodness of God
goodly parents
preserved by the hand of the Lord

In contrast, the phrase "well favored" appears in the Bible. Joseph, the son of Israel, is the only singular person referred to as "well favored" (well, so is Rachel, but it just means she's good-looking). Groups include Daniel and his friends and the 7 healthy kine that would represent 7 years of plenty for Egypt. "Well favored" means something a little different than "highly favored", but they overlap a little in definition:

fat (healthy)
no blemish
cunning in knowledge and wisdom

We find favor with the Lord when we obey His commandments. In return, He continues to bless us with all of these things. Sounds pretty good to me! Who wouldn't want to be up there with some of the greatest people in the scriptures?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Going Back to the Source

26And we atalk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we bprophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our cchildren may know to what source they may look for adremission of their sins.

I never realized how important the word "source" is in this scripture. Parents are the most important source of learning for their children, especially when it comes to the Gospel. I currently live in an apartment in my husband's parents' house, and it's interesting to see the goings-on in "the barn." Though he and I are very much alike, our parents are very different from each other in many ways. I won't go into that, because those differences do not make either set of parents superior to each other. Let me just say this...

There are some awesome advantages to a living situation like this! Here I was, wondering what I was going to do this Wednesday night with James at work until 10. I was invited downstairs to hang out and have ice cream. Yum! Joseph is such a lucky little boy, because he gets to see his grandparents all the time, as well as his aunts and uncles. He is such a wonderful little guy to have around, and everyone adores him. Of course, sometimes I feel a little inferior when I see the way that my mother-in-law deals with her toddler. I have a very short temper when it comes to wailing children (when I don't know how to fix the problem.) I have to remind myself that I'm still new at this and will be for a long time. Her 3-year-old is her 6th child, so that's a completely different story.

I have an even greater testimony of how important it is to stay home with my baby. I've been helping out on the apartment just a little, doing some work on the drywall, painting, etc. It makes me feel so guilty when Joseph starts crying because he's being ignored. I tend to get caught up in what I'm doing. Once this week is over, we will have painted walls! Then, my contribution is done. I will keep the place clean, but no more work that even remotely resembles construction. It's not my job, I don't like it, and my attention cannot be divided for that long. Plus, I hate leaving a project in the middle of completion. :)

Whew! It sure has been a busy week. Speaking of family, Dad and Myles came to stay for a few days. They camped out in Sam's room, since there is absolutely none in our apartment. We had a great New Year's Day with the Lees: dinner of black-eyed peas and cornbread with banana pudding for dessert. Sunday, we just relaxed. Monday, Dad and Myles worked on the drywall and we went out to dinner.

On Tuesday, we dropped Dad off and I got Myles settled in to his apartment. It was sad to see them both go, though of course I'll see Myles again soon. :) He's coming for dinner every Sunday. Joseph was an angel during all those errands, so I even stopped by Kohl's to redeem my gift card. I got some nice boots that I can wear to Church, and they just happened to be on sale for 25 bucks instead of 60. I love sales.

I have cabinets now, and they are huge. I love them. There are lots of small things that you never miss until they're gone. Some of them we've had to do ourselves, but boy, it sure makes me grateful once it's installed/built/whatever. Examples: towel racks, toilet paper roll holder, CABINETS! Yes, I do love my cabinets. I think I've rambled enough for today.