Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Little Boy!


1 month

2 months
3 months

4 months
5 months

6 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months

1 year!
Thanks to Andrea for the cool idea with the pics!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Adventure is Out There!

What defines an adventure?

I used to think that adventure had to be far away: on a beautiful beach, in a place where no one speaks my language, a place that I have to eat weird food, or where they drive on the wrong side of the road. My whole life, I have dreamed about visiting a foreign country besides Canada, since I've already been there!

I felt that the money I'd saved up during college should be used for something else than a study abroad trip. I had paid my way through school but had enough leftover to do something like that if I'd wanted. I just didn't feel that it was the right thing to do with my money.

Since that time, James and I have enjoyed almost 2 years of marriage and tomorrow, it will be a year ago that we had our sweet little boy. Believe it or not, I'd rather be debt free than spending an awesome vacation in Italy. Raising a family is the real adventure that I've always dreamed about. Now, I get to live my dream every day! I think it's a pretty awesome dream, too. Memories of vacations fade, but my little family will last forever.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Making History

I wonder how history books are written.

What will they put in history books 50 years from now? Sept. 11th is already in there, I know, but who decides what events are worth putting into a history book? And how do they decide how to sum up the world's most important events?

It makes me really glad to have scriptures. The events matter, but the interpretation and application are even more important to us. We don't know the whole history of the Jews or the Nephites, but we do know what lessons we should learn from them. Do history books really make that point? I don't know if I've ever read a history book that was life changing for me. The Book of Mormon was (and is). It influences my life every day. I guess that just proves that God and man are not equals when it comes to writing. But we've known that for a long time.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

So It Begins...

Our food storage!

Yes, I gave in to the nagging thought in my head that I should really stop rationalizing and just go buy stuff. Since we lack a second freezer, we will not be getting a 3 month supply of meat, cheese, or frozen veggies. Other than that, everything can fit in the cupboard, as long as I use my space wisely! I took a trip to Walmart for non-food items today and was pleased at how inexpensive it turned out to be. Everything fit in the bathroom cabinet too, except for the toilet paper, which fits conveniently behind the bed.

My next shopping trip is going to be crazy. I'll be getting probably twice as much stuff as usual. I'm not even going to get everything for food storage at once, because I know that it won't fit in my shopping cart. Hopefully, though, after my next two trips, I will have everything! Then, I just plan on buying my normal amount of stuff and rotating it through. It shouldn't be too hard, even though I don't own a fancy can rack thingy.

So, here we go. Of course, we might be broke by next year, but we have always been taken care of in the past. We had no idea how we'd pay for Joseph, but we were able to without a problem. I know that it will be the same for getting a 3 month supply of food. The Lord always provides a way.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Definition of Tedious...

...would be shopping. I don't mean grocery shopping, because I actually love doing that. I mean clothes shopping. For fun, and because I felt like it, here's my list of complaints about shopping for clothes and why buying food is so much more fun.

1. They're not all found in one place. You have to go to 3 (or more) stores to find what you're looking for sometimes.

2. Unlike groceries, there are no possibilities to dream up. I can make a million things out of pasta, but I can only wear a shirt as a shirt.

3. Deciding when you actually need them is very subjective. I know I need more food when I run out, but I don't know anyone who waits to "run out" of clothes...LOL.

4. You have to try them on. It's a great moment to come to something that fits, but everything before that is annoying to sort through.

5. Things are in season by months AND years. At least with food I can get anything I want all year round. But finding something besides pastels in the spring? Forget it, unless it's on clearance (which is actually quite a good thing.)

6. New clothes just aren't exciting after a month. Buying food is still exciting, because I'm probably cooking up something different, even if I buy the same ingredient(s) every time.

7. Pictures of anorexic models wearing the same shirt I'm about to buy. At the grocery store, I don't have to worry about seeing models seductively eating fresh pineapple, taunting me for not including that in my budget. Wait, that's probably because models don't believe in food. :)

Despite all that, I had a pretty good (late) birthday shopping trip and got 2 new shirts. Yay!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Food Storage: My Plan for Anyone Who Cares!

The topic of food storage drives me crazy, but I have a plan. I say "plan" because we don't have a lot of food storage yet. Every class I go to has just made me confused, so I checked out the Church's website for clarification. It's actually not that hard, and the guidelines are very general. When one starts food storage, it's based on assumptions of some sort. I'm assuming that we're going to need food storage for a financial crisis, that I will still have some way to cook normally, and that it's not going to be the absolute worst-case scenario disaster (no electricity, water, etc.) I realize that this can happen, but for the most part, I want to have things in storage that I'll want to eat, that are healthy, and that are not some of those rip-off items that they sell just to make money by instilling fear into people. So here's what I've done to plan. (Yes, I tend to plan everything before I actually do it.)

1. I have a grocery list of everything I ever buy.
2. I have a recipe box of all the meals we eat and a rotating menu, so our meals are fairly predictable.
3. I cook from scratch whenever possible.
4. For our short-term supply (3 months), I used that grocery list to figure out how much we use of each item for 3 months and made a spreadsheet. It took a little while, but it wasn't too hard. I know I didn't miss anything.
5. For the long-term supply (1 year), I looked up the amounts for grains and beans on the Church's website. I glanced over our dinner menu to see approximately how much of each grain we eat (wheat, rice, pasta, corn, etc.) and divided up the numbers accordingly. For the beans, I picked our favorite 3 and divided up those amounts. I listed everything in pounds, because I don't know how I will end up buying these things (cans? buckets? bags?)
6. I went back to the short-term list and updated all the baking items to 1 year's worth, since I will need things like oil and salt to make bread. Basically, my goal is to have a year's worth of everything that I can possibly store in my cupboard, which is most of the list. (Only 3 month's worth of things that have to be frozen or kept in a cool cellar, like some of the fruits, veggies, meats, and dairy products.)The long-term supply stuff will be out of sight, out of mind, but the short-term stuff will get rotated and be more easily accessible. I have no idea how much space it will take up this point, but we will definitely need more freezer space!
7. As a side note, I never plan on storing things that fall in these categories, because of the extra money and/or space required:
a. Things I don't eat right now (like powdered eggs). I will have real eggs somehow, even if I have to have my own chickens, which is what I'd really like to do.
b. Candy or junk food. If we have a financial crisis, we are not going to be sitting around getting fat. We will get healthier!
c. Store-bought mixes. With all that powdered milk in food storage, it's very easy to make your own pancake, brownie, or cake mix.
d. Canned versions of anything that I could cook myself. I do plan on having canned veggies, because it would be tough to have enough freezer space (and I like some veggies better canned), but I don't use canned soup or chili. Again, it's cheaper and pretty easy to make that stuff from scratch.

Hopefully, that makes sense to somebody. Like I said, we don't have a lot of food storage yet, but I'm happy to say that I do have a bucket of wheat that I've been grinding into flour. I've also been making pancake mix from powdered milk, which is quite tasty.

The only problem foods I've come up with that I can't figure out how we'd store for at least 3 months, even with a freezer, cellar, and lots of other storage space:

fresh tomatoes and lettuce (But we could have a garden!)


I love Sundays. They are just so relaxing. Yesterday was a little bit of an exception, because I played the piano for the first time ever in Primary, so I was nervous all morning! It wasn't perfect, but no one noticed except for me. :)

Sunday mornings start pretty early, because Joseph is usually up by 6:30. I've gotten used to it, so sleeping till 7 feels a little lazy. I give Joseph his bottle and let him play a little while I read and make my plans/goals for the week. James sleeps in, because he doesn't get to any other day of the week. I wake him up for breakfast around 8, and we have a nice, relaxing morning. Yesterday, we finished reading a hilarious book called All is Swell: Trust in Thelma's Way. I can't possibly read too much, I've decided. :)

We teach the 7/8 year-olds at church, and that can be a little hectic. I don't usually do the piano for Primary, but the lady who normally does is out with her new baby and won't be back for a few weeks, so I just play for Junior Primary and then go teach my lesson. Even though our class is 5 rowdy boys, they sure are cute. They love Joseph, too, and they almost fight over who gets to hold him. It's so funny.

Myles comes over for dinner after church, and we hang out with the family. After Myles goes home, we hang out a little bit more. With all that hanging out, I'm really not sure why Sundays give me headaches, but they still do. Hmm.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


It's been a really sweet weekend. James and I went to the farmer's market yesterday and then swimming. It felt SO refreshing after all this hot weather! I'm such a wimp. In Florida, 80 degrees was spring weather, and it was actually humid there. Needless to say, I'm really glad to have a fan in the window!

We went to the temple today, and that was great. (Ice cream cones afterward were especially delicious.)

saying "cheese"
Joseph cut another tooth, so that makes 8. He's been a little fussy, but not bad. He's still sleeping with no trouble, but waking up pretty early, and I have no idea why. 5:45 just doesn't give him (or me) enough sleep. I'll figure it out though. He's doing really well with his bottle and cow's milk (Shh! Don't tell anyone!) His birthday is coming up in a little over 2 weeks. Where did the past year go? Is my little boy seriously almost 1? I can't believe it!

I've been faithful about exercising 5X a week, and guess what? In the last two months, I've lost 5 lbs. and almost 10 inches (though a few of those were just because of weaning Joseph.) Still, that makes me happy. I only really want to lose 5 more. I'm about 5 lbs. below my pre-preg weight with Joseph. My hope is that I can lost 5 more before I'm pregnant again...which I hope will be really soon! This body is not the same as before pregnancy, but I still like it. As long as I don't have to buy new clothes, I'm content. I still hate wearing a bathing suit, but I always have, and that will never change. I will admit, chubby thighs are really cute on Joseph. He must have gotten them from me! :)

A good weekend must always include good food. I made some egg rolls for lunch, and they were heavenly. Instead of freezing some as I'd planned, we have now eaten 11 of the 14 not-so-small egg rolls. But they're stuffed with veggies and chicken, so who cares? :) They are so addicting!

I organized Joseph's clothes, so I know exactly what I need to get him. Turns out that it's not much. His whole life, I've spent maybe 20 bucks on clothes. We've been so blessed to get his uncles's old clothes, so all I really need to buy him is a few summer outfits. Once winter is here again, he is set until he's 3.

He's awake! Time to go now.

*One more note: My cooking blog is getting bigger! Follow the link on the side if you're interested. James is such a great supporter. He reminds me to takes pictures of what I'm eating.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What Brings Me Peace

Being a homemaker is a very peaceful job to have, even though it can be hectic. With 9 kids running around, I know that my mom still has a sense of peace. It's not so much "peace and quiet" but more of a "peace with the world."

Making a home is a science, an art, and a commandment. Whether there's just one child or nine, a home is a home because of loving parents, both earthly and heavenly. I enjoy the peace that comes from nurturing this home. I know that the days ahead will but much more crazy and confusing. There will be many more bills to pay, meals to cook, and gross diapers, but I will always have peace in knowing that I've contributed to this home  and family. I will contribute to society the most important fundamental: good children who will one day build and lead the next generation.

I love being here at home. I love being Joseph's favorite person in the world. I love cooking my meals from scratch and living in this tiny apartment. I don't love folding laundry, but I bet I will even tolerate that one day. Life is really good as a homemaker. I don't know why more women don't do it!

Another things I'm really grateful for is my health. I am amazed by how quickly the human body can repair itself, despite its limited, mortal state. Being sick is usually short and temporary. I don't care so much when I'm sick, but it's terrible to have a sick baby. I think the hard part is trying to take care of someone who can't tell you how he feels. But then things turn around, he starts sleeping again, and the illness is a thing of the past. I guess that's how most of life's trials are: short, seemingly horrible at the time, but not so much of a big deal later on. I'm glad to be here on this earth right now. It's a pretty nice place to be. :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!
I love Mother's Day. It's a great day for me: I get flowers and chocolate! (Real dark chocolate, too. It's 90 percent cocoa, so it has barely any sugar in it. ) Last year, I was 37 weeks pregnant, so it was a little annoying to be almost there, but not quite.

I never understood how much my mother did for me--or how much love she had for me--until I became a mother. I'm sure that I still don't know. My son is just under a year old, but my mother has had 23+ years to love me.

A mother's love starts long before the birth of her children. It starts in the very thought of those children that will one day come to her. I love my future children very dearly, though I don't know how many of them there will be, or if they're boys or girls, or what their names will be. They already exist and are waiting to come to me. They won't just randomly be created by some accident of nature. They are children of Heavenly Father, and it is up to me to provide the opportunity for them to come to this earth, just as my mother did willingly for me.

For your viewing pleasure:
me, as a baby with my parents. :)
I don't think I look like Joseph at all!
Motherhood is underappreciated. Women today fear becoming slaves to wiping noses or changing diapers. I'm here to say that it's not so. Motherhood is a sacrifice of sleep and sanity at times, but the rewards far outweigh the annoyances. (To deny that there are annoyances would just be naive.)

I love my little boy so much. He's growing up faster than I'd like. But I also have to admit that he gets cuter every day of his life, and I can't wait until all that babbling starts to make some sense.

So here's to all the moms and future moms in the world: we've got the best job. Ever.

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's Friday!

Joseph is sick yet again. (Why?!) This is about the 5th time this year, so he basically gets sick once a month. I know it's typical, but it's super annoying because I can't really prevent it. I'll be glad when he's old enough to actually fight off all those little germs that he eats off the floor. :)

I'm really nervous about Sunday, because I'm playing piano for the first time ever in Primary. If I had my way, that wouldn't be for another couple months...or years. I just don't perform as well in front of other people, but oh well. I'll survive, and hopefully the regular pianist will be back pretty soon. I already teach my Primary class by myself half of the time since James has to take Joseph out. (Church is during his naptime.) I'm pretty sure that's the cause of my headaches every Sunday.

The farmer's market is back! Even though nothing's really growing yet, I'm excited to go and check out all the other stuff they have there. It was our Friday tradition last year. We hardly ever bought anything, but it was always fun. I can't wait to go!

Monday, May 2, 2011

"R" Mountain

Here are some self-explanatory pictures of our hike to "R" Mountain this weekend! It used to be a volcano, but now it's like a hill with a bowl in the middle. Pretty cool. (The "R" once stood for Ricks College, so now we just say it means Rexburg.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Now We Have a World Where People are Confused...

This weekend, there have been a few things on my mind that just bug me. First, I stumbled across a news article that featured a popular personal trainer who said she'd never have children because she didn't want to ruin her body. Really?! Sure, I've only had one child so far, but I definitely don't consider my body "ruined", on the contrary, I started taking better care of myself because I needed to in order to support another life. Still, even if my body HAD been "ruined", that would not change anything! I'd still have Joseph in a heartbeat! The comments below the article were simply hateful, whether they were in favor or against what she'd said. (Actually, people in general who leave comments are pretty darn rude.) Funny, I was just reading in For the Strength of Youth, which says, "Clean and intelligent language is evidence of a bright and wholesome mind." The world is definitely full of unwholesome minds, then!

The other thing was from Stake Conference yesterday, at the adult session. I guess there is a former bishop who was excommunicated that's going around trying to recruit followers for this anti-Mormon group in Rexburg. I'll admit, I don't think that there's anything more unsettling that apostate members. It's one thing to never have been a member and say untrue things about the Church, but it's another story when a person who had the truth is deceived by the devil and literally tosses aside the fruit of the tree of life. I don't know how that could possibly happen to a person. I'm never going to find out. It's just kind of scary.

Stake Conference was actually quite good. We (the choir) sang some prelude, an intermediate song, and the closing song. It went well, I think. Despite there only being 20 or so of us, our voices carried all the way to the back.

There were a few big themes from the conference that touched me.

1. There is great power in keeping our temple covenants. I've been trying to go to the temple more often, and I don't even realize the impact until I miss a week. I then notice that I'm more likely to be grouchy, less patient with Joseph, and less kind to James. Going to the temple helps me puts things into perspective, because I forget so easily! I can also feel the protection that these covenants give, and I'm grateful that I can go and get my questions answered. The temple really is the House of Lord, and I'm really glad that we have one so close.

2. We taste the fruit of the tree of life in life's pure, sweet moments. The speaker gave several examples, all of which had to do with family. Nothing is more important to me than family. I know that I will have my family forever, and I am okay with that idea. :)

3. The world isn't perfect, but we can be spiritually prepared to face life's storms. Not everyone will prepare for the worst, but we can stick around and help them, as long as we've prepared ourselves.

I hate the fact that the world is a really confusing place. If I didn't have the truth, I certainly don't know if I'd be able to find it. Nobody seems to agree on anything these days, not about politics, religion, education, or even nutrition (which I've learned a lot about recently.) I'm so grateful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. No matter what the issue, I have the Holy Ghost to help me amid all the confusion and the scriptures and words of living prophets to remind me of what I'm supposed to be doing. I will not get caught up in all the confusion of the world. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only good news these days. I'm ever grateful to have it. It's still true!