Christmas Vacation

Well, the time has arrived for me to fly to Utah to celebrate Christmas! Although I have a few ideas for some posts (they are going to be thrilling, I assure you), I keep thinking to myself that I need to reserve them for after the New Year. I've always been a girl who loves, loves, loves Christmas and when I was younger would seriously go through a couple of days of depression once the magical holiday was over. In essence, I have trained myself to plan a few fun things to do during the darkest and most boring months of the year. Silly enough, these plans include some posts I've been wanting to write along with other exciting tasks like organizing my cupboards. But since I don't have anything of real interest to say, I'll leave you with some pictures of Phil and I's first date since Ryder was born.
Things to note in the photos: 1) My hair--bottom, right-hand photo--a slight wind-blown look with the curls makes me look a little fabulous 2) Phil holding my purse.

A little about myself....

My great college friend, Lisa, tagged me with the following: Name 4 or more... Places I've lived: 1. Tremonton, UT 2. Provo, UT 3. Seattle, WA 4. I can only name three because...well, I've only lived in three places... Places I've been on vacation... 1. London 2. France 3. Spain 4. Jackson Hole, WY Foods I like... 1. Fettucini Alfredo (pretty much any pasta with a nice white sauce...mmm) 2. Potatoes! Mashed, baked, fried, you name it! 3. Cereal 4. Ice Cream, brownies, cookies, etc (Can you see why it's so hard for me to eat healthy!?) Hobbies I have... 1. Decorating 2. Cross-stitching and I hope sewing to become one soon 3. Singing/playing the guitar 4. Reading and writing Things I would do if I were a billionaire... 1. Build my custom dream home 10 minutes from where Phil will be working (Lisa, this one was so good, I just had to copy it!) 2. Use it to visit family whenever I wanted. 3. To take Phil's dream vacation to Central America and my dream vacation to Europe and then head on over to Australia and New Zealand (well, not all in one trip ;) 4. Decorate and redecorate my house whenever I wanted T.V. shows I like... 1. The Amazing Race 2. Chuck 3. Survivor 4. Samantha Who? Places I'd like to be... 1. In Tremonton for Christmas! (Only 10 more days!) 2. Sleeping (It's been a long day, why am I not in bed?) 3. Christmas shopping with no crowds (Love shopping, hate the crowds) 4. Pretty much doing anything with my boys. Things most people don't know about me... 1. I have a creative journal where I keep lists, fabric/color swatches, magazine cut-outs, notes or ideas 2. I love the smell of my baby's breath (I now know why they named a flower that) 3. My wedding ring fit up until I was 8 month pregnant and almost 4 months after giving birth, it still doesn't fit. And believe you me, I was a lot bigger 8 months pregnant than I am's like my knuckle grew or something. I've resigned myself to getting it resized ~sigh~ 4. I still have one clock in my house that I haven't moved an hour back. Why you ask? Because it's huge and quite hard to get on an off. Now I'll tag... 1. Autumn 2. Shauna 3. Katie

7 BAD Habits

So awhile ago I posted 7 of my better habits and said I would follow-up with my bad habits and then finally, the wishful habits. Well, who wants to talk about their bad habits? But here they are, some of my moderately bad (you don't get to know the REALLY bad) quirks that I continually manage to repeat (or not repeat). 1. Thank You Cards I take way to long to get out my thank you cards. In fact, I'm just barely getting out thank you cards for a shower thrown for me almost three months ago (which is why I probably thought of this one because it's hanging over my head). I don't know why either, because I get done and feel very grateful for such great friends. 2. Day Dreaming I have a powerful brain. Keep in mind I didn't use the word smart or intelligent, but rather "powerful". I cannot tell you how many hours I have wasted sitting there thinking. I can zone out and come up with the funnest thoughts! (I can come up with negative ones too, but I work very hard to push those out, because they're NOT fun) Usually they consist of decorating or an upcoming event or even dwelling on fun memories. Phil has left me in our bedroom staring at a blank wall only to come back fifteen minutes later to find me still staring. I tell him I am thinking. This is bad because if I don't want to listen to something, lets say in Sunday School, I can just go to my "zone". 3. Finishing Books I am currently "in the middle" of three books. The one I'm reading now I fully intend to finish (Austenland). One I think I might finish (The Historian) and one I know I'm not going to finish (I can't remember the title). I love to read, but if the book bores me or makes me sad I some how end up not finishing it. This sometimes frustrates me, you know, leaves me with a very 'unfinished' feeling, but it is what it is. 4. Warming Up My Car I hope Phil or my dad doesn't read this, because I should be WAY better at letting my car warm up. But when I get in my car, it's to go somewhere and usually I need to be there at a certain time and usually it's cold (hence the need to let it warm up) which brings me to being in a cold hurry and not taking the time to let my car warm up properly. Phil, I will work on this! 5. Staying in Contact Returning emails, making phone calls, posting on Facebook...not so good at. If you get one of the previously mentioned from me, I must really love you. Blogging, however, I'm pretty stinkin' good at! ;) 6. Flossing and Dental Care in General, or rather lack thereof. I rarely floss and I hate going to the dentist. I would tell you the last time I went to the dentist, but those first seven words are embarassing enough, thank you. 7. Feathers I pull out the poky feathers in our down pillows and toss them on the floor. Oh wait, no, that's Phil who does that. I'm the one that has to clean them up off the floor every day. (Sorry, as I was thinking about my final bad habit , I saw yet another feather on the carpet)


I received tragic news Monday that my cousin, Dane, passed away in Iraq. This event is truly heartbreaking. Dane is my only cousin my same age and had a family life very similar to my own (married a few short year with a baby boy). Through this tragedy and reflection on his life, the first word that comes to mind to describe Dane is brave. My heart and sympathies go out to his wife, Megan and son, Kyle, and my Uncle Rick, Aunt Marva, Eric and Kimberly. I love you.

For family and friends who didn't get a chance to read his obituary and article in the Idaho Stateman:

Dane Richard Mortensen Dane died, in Iraq last Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007 while escorting a convoy supporting coalition efforts in the war. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Nov. 30, 2007 at the LDS Meridian North Stake Center, located at 5555 North Locust Grove Rd. in Meridian, Idaho. Dane entered this world on March 31, 1984, weighing 10 lbs 7 oz in Boise. His physical size was perhaps necessary to hold his spirit, love of life, and mischief. He attended Joplin Elementary, Eagle Middle School, and graduated from Centennial High school in 2002. Through out this time he was active in baseball, football, soccer, wrestling, and tennis. Dane loved hunting, shooting, and all outdoor activities, and people loved doing these things with Dane. Dane was a natural leader who generated enthusiasm, and fun for those involved in any activity he participated in. During middle school and high school Dane developed a deep pride of America, and a desire to serve his country in the military. His patriotism was deep, sincere, and unwavering. While a senior he joined the United States Marine Corps, going to boot camp just after high school graduation. After boot camp and training he was stationed at the Bangor Naval base near Silverdale Wash. While, there he met the love of his life, Megan St. Jean. Megan brought about a positive and profound change in Dane; he was completely happy and satisfied. They were married on Sept. 3, 2004. Subsequently, in 2005 he was sent to Iraq, where he served a combat tour. Dane was stationed in Ramadi, when it was a stronghold of insurgents and he saw combat almost daily. Dane was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2005, with the rank of corporal. Dane spoke highly of his military experience and particularly of the Marines, and the deep and steadfast friendships he had made there. Megan and Dane were blessed with a son, Kyle on March 23, 2007. Dane deeply loved both Megan and Kyle and overjoyed to have a son. At the time of his death Dane had returned to the Middle East to work for a security company. He worked in Qatar and Iraq. Dane is survived by his wonderful wife Megan, and beautiful son Kyle, His parents, Rick and Marva, brother, Erik, and sister Kimberli Stevens, a brother in law Dave Stevens, a nephew Damon Stevens and niece Meylnn Stevens, his Grandmother Evelyn Storer, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. All will miss him, but remember him always.

Published in the Idaho Statesman on 11/28/2007.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What is Thanksgiving without expressing our blessings?

HUGE Blessings I am grateful for this Thanksgiving:

RYDER!!!, My wonderful Phillip, My family (I miss you and have a wonderful Thankgiving!), My testimony of the Gospel, Phil's great job and his hard work & The opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom.

smaller Blessings:
My thick, knit socks & my fireplace--they make my chilly thanksgiving morning Oh so cozy.
Ryder's binky--it has helped me out a number of times.
The Internet--I've gone two days without it and I really felt like I suffered.
Mashed potatoes, gravy, pie & rolls--my favorite things to eat at Thanksgiving
A good haircut--I got a haircut the other day and I like it!
Holiday flavored Yankee candles--hmmmm....
The Macy's Day Parade--because it's on my television right now and it makes me feel very thankgivingish

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday!

Sad Froggy

Just this last week I took Ryder and flew to Utah for a few days to spend some time with my family and introduce the little guy to where I grew up. I just love my home. Anyhow, after a very busy day of traveling back to a very rainy Seattle, Ryder and I finally rolled in around seven. Not wanting to have to deal with unpacking in the morning, I forced my very tired self to unpack right then. Well, during this process I noticed something on the floor....

It is at this point, I need to explain something: You know how when it rains, worms appear out of nowhere? After it rains, there are all of a sudden tons of worms on the pavement! Well, here in the wet Northwest, not only do worms appear, but so do frogs, slugs and mini-lizards.

....I walked closer to it and as I did so, it jumped. I had a mini-frog hopping around in my living room! It hopped right into a corner where my slightly scared of mini-frogs self let it stay while I thought, I'll come back and get it later since I have about five things in my hand, one of which was a baby. Unfortunately, in my tired state I went to bed and forgot about the frog. It wasn't until the next morning it dawned on me that I had a froggy somewhere in my living room. I went to it's corner--not there-- I looked around and he was nowhere to be found. The more unfortunate thing is I know he didn't get out and I know he can't survive without water, so yes, my friends...I have a dead little frog somewhere in my living room.

7 GOOD Habits

I, as well, have decided to take this idea (from sister's friend Alyssa) and post 7 of my good habits, 7 bad habits and 7 habits I hope to have one day. Starting with the good...I'm not going to lie, I had a hard time coming up with 7 good habits...that probably isn't a very good thing. Okay, here we go (in no particular order): 1) Cleaning I wouldn't call myself a cleaning fanatic or anything, but ever since I got married my standards of cleaning skyrocketed. Maybe it was because I could finally control my environment without three roommates...I dunno. However, I also found cleaning keeps me very happy. I can be in the worst mood and I know if I go scrub my bathroom, that frown will be turned upside-down. As for the habitual part of it, I clean my house everyday; pick-up clutter, empty garbage, kitchen and bedrooms. I also have Saturday-morning chores every week (on Fridays if we're busy on Saturday). This includes deeper cleaning, scrubbing the bathroom, mopping floors, vacuuming, dusting and any other needed chores. The opposite also applies--if my house is dirty--I get VERY grumpy. 2) Eating an Apple a Day This is something I have picked up recently. If there is an apple in the house, I will eat one, usually as part of my lunch or for a snack,when I really want left-over Halloween candy (usually I just end up eating both). However, it helps me get my needed fruit servings and the fiber doesn't hurt anything either. 3) Bedtime Routine I also have a very detailed bedtime routine, that if not followed leads to severe consequences. It goes as follows: Remove contacts, wash my face with my Neutrogena soap bar, brush my teeth, put in my retainer, blow my nose, put on my glasses (which can be rather difficult if they weren't previously located before taking out my contacts) and prayers. 4) Smelly Good House Anyone who knows me well knows I have a thing with smells. Poor Phil, not only can he not smell (well, he can, but I have like this super-capacity smelling shnoz that usually leaves his smelling abilities by the wayside) but there has been more than one occasion I have called him at work because I couldn't pinpoint a weird/new smell. Basically it comes down to I LOVE good smells and completely disgust bad ones. What I find good and bad...well that sometimes surprises people...but having a smelly good house can be more difficult than it sounds. Every day it is my mission to make sure my house smells normal and clean and hopefully on most days, absolutely scrumptious. I put high-quality candles on our "Needs" list and can hunt down a bad smell like a dog. 5) Exercise I don't know how long you have to be doing something for it to actually become a habit (I heard once it was like 21 times or maybe 11...I dunno) but I have gone running--scratch that-- jogging, every other day for almost three weeks. The first week was a little scattered, but I found a couple of gals in my ward who also just had babies and they're training for 200 mile run (between 12 people) next August and they're gracious enough to let me tag along. It's nice because they aren't totally in shape yet, but still ahead of me by quite a ways, so it's a great way to push myself. If you only knew how much I hate running and how bad of shape I'm in, you too would also consider this quite a feat for me, even if it's only been three weeks. 6) Scriptures I have this goal by like age 50 to be this awesome scriptorian. I say age 50, because if I start now and work hard, I'll be lucky to make that goal. I really try hard to be in my scriptures at least once every day. Sometimes that does mean staring at the same scripture for 10 minutes while my brain processes every thought not relating to what I just read, but I do try hard to spend quality time with my scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, on a daily basis. On a side note, I'm taking a Preach My Gospel class where we are color-coating certain scriptures in application to PMG...really fun. 7) Finances I somewhere along the lines assigned myself with managing our finances. Anyhow, now that I'm able to stay at home I check and record our financial transactions daily along with adhering to a dedicated bill-paying schedule. Great habit? Yes. Whether I like it or not...all depends on the amount left when I'm done.


I'm itchin' for a change with my do. Whether or not that's a good tell me. After some serious thought and lack of funds for consistent upkeep, I don't think I'm ready to go short, but since I would like to one day, let me know what you think.

I got this idea from another blog and as you can see, they are styled after certain celebrities. If you are interested in doing this yourself the info is by each photo.

This is pretty close to what I have just doesn't look that good.
This is one of my favorites, but stylist is key and I have a cowlick.
I like this one, but I don't know what I'd do without my layers

I think I kinda look like a man in this one....
I like it but with a little more length with less dramatic angles

I may be shallow for putting this much thought into my hair, but it's rather fun, I think.

Daylight Savings!

I always love winter Daylight Savings because you get you sleep in an extra hour. However, that only works out if you ACTUALLY remember that it's daylight savings. Because if you don't remember, you end up sitting in front of your computer at 6:30 a.m. thinking "did I look at the clock wrong?" being really, really confused for a second and then figure since you're already up, you might as well blog about the whole thing. Good thing the clock on our computer changed automatically or else we would've been sitting in church VERY confused. I wonder if people do that. Instead of going back to bed, maybe I should use this extra hour to show up to church at 7:50 and see...

Happy Halloween!

We wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!

Photos of the Week: New Duds Fashion Show

So I tried a 3 month outfit on the little guy a few days ago thinking, "oh this will be too big" and although it was still a little big, it wasn't a little long (his little ankles were showing). This threw me into a dress-up frenzy because I wanted to make sure he didn't grow out of any other cute clothes. I was excited to find he fit into some very cute 4-6 month stuff. Here is the fashion show...

Cute & Casual: Here we have model Ryder in a casual layered onsie with his first pair of jeans and some camo shoes
Designer: Shirt-Komal & Shuib
Shoes-Cousin Bethany

Yay for Baby Beanies!: Here we have model Ryder in the same thing except with a striped layered onsie and a matching beanie! Of course, mom had to be thrown into the line-up after realizing they matched quite well!
Designer: Shirt & Beanie-Komal & Shuib
Shoes-Cousin Bethany

Happy & Handsome: Here is the little man in cool striped, button-up the front shirt and cargo khakis with light blue sneaker socks.
Designer: Shirt & Pants-Aunt Carly
Sneaker Socks: Granma Shorten

Gasp! No Duds at All!: After that, some serious R & R was needed, so here is our little guy chillin' in a warm tub...all in the life of the Ryder man
Designer: The man himself
Oh, and the washcloth: Phil

Thanks to everyone who made this fashion show possible...we couldn't have done it without you! Stay tuned for more duds later...

My Weather Forcast...

Mon Rain 60°F | 48°F
Tue Rain 53°F | 46°F
Wed Showers 51°F | 43°F
Thu Rain 54°F | 47°F

On a Funnier Note...

I'm just blogging like crazy today. I figure if I just sit here long enough rocking Ryder with my foot, he will fall asleep and take a respectable nap, plus a great way to procrastinate the rest of the things I should do shower.

Anyhow, so Phil and I attended the baby shower of one of his co-worker's wife a few weeks ago. Well, we just happened to be sitting by the guest of honor and therefore in almost every single picture. If only I had known. Here are some possible thoughts that could've been going through my head...

"Now, where can I get one of those?"

No words needed

(Perhaps after a night of partying with Ryder)


(Hello! Let's work on our posture, Jasmine.)

"Mmmm hmm... big fashion no, no"

(Actually this is what we got them)

*Despite what my unphotogenic self might communicate we had a great time at Komal's shower and wish her and Shuib congrats on their new baby boy!!

Phil and me...

I thought this was a nice looking photo of my man and me. I love you, baby, and I think you are quite wonderful.

October General Conference

I love fall! And one reason I love it so much is because of General Conference. I just love getting cozy in front of the TV and letting the Spirit fill my home as I'm motivated to become a better person. (I only wish that motivation stayed with me a little longer!)

>Loved, loved, loved Sis. Bech's talk--I would like to hang that one on my bathroom mirror.
>Everything about Elder Wirthlin's talk--We talked about this in my Preach My Gospel class this morning and thought it was interesting how his talk was on charity considering the circumstances.
>I just love Elder Eyring
>Loved Elder Oaks' talk as well--however, I believe I was tending to Ryder some of the time, so I'll have to go back and reread this one among many others.

Photo of the Week: "Pure Joy"

I know I slacked off a week with a new photo of Ryder (his blessing and cute visitors left me no time), but you have to admit, this one is totally worth the wait.

Ryder's Blessing Day

Here is a little photo of our little family on the morning of Ryder's blessing-our official, first family photo- (well besides in the hospital). The timing was quite fitting because this was the first morning he was just all smiles...which was so fun for us. His little smile melts my heart. The day was wonderful. We hit a little snag when the mike went out during his blessing, but thanks to a couple of nice people in our ward sitting close enough and Phil's good memory, we got most of it down on paper...whew! It was a beautiful blessing and Phil did a wonderful job. I was so grateful to everyone who came to support us that day, especially my parents who flew down for the weekend right before my mom's surgery.

On a fun note, my sister and her darling niece, Gracie, came to spend all of last week with us. We had such a fun time and I stupidly didn't take any photos, which is quite a loss because Autumn and I were the only ones who got to see Gracie holding Ryder (I really need to improve with the whole picture thing...I will work on it).

On a sad note, while my sister and I were pow-wowing up here in Seattle, my mom had to get her thyroid out and in the process discovered she had cancer. Thankfully, thankfully, this is something that can be totally taken care of and now she is on the mend and I'm so grateful we can get the recovery process going.

Mom, you are one of the bravest and strongest people I know. I love you!


I just wanted to quickly mention a congrats to my talented sister. For those of you who don't know, Autumn finished writing her first LDS young-adult book titled: "The Dating Misadventures of Claudia Spangler" about 10 months ago. After some editing, she submitted her letter and first chapter to Covenant. As the process goes, if they like your first chapter, they'll ask for the rest of the book. Well, what was supposed to be a 6-month wait, turned into an 8-month wait and yesterday found out that they want to see the rest of her book! Wahooo!! This is very exciting because apparently this is never supposed to happen with your first book, so just to get this far is quite an accomplishment. As one of the few who were lucky enough to read her manuscript before submission, I REALLY want it to get published and I REALLY think it should not only because she is my sister and I love her, but it is excellent, entertaining and funny... and I'm dying to find out what happens in the sequel.


I'm posting, yeah!!! As you can see, I haven't written anything in quite some time. I almost feel as though motherhood sucked out all of my creative juices so my only hope to keep viewers interested was my "photo of the week". Meager attempt--yes--but photos are probably far more interesting than anything I have to say anyway. Nevertheless, say, I will! Now that life is getting more situated by the day, I am hoping to post a bit more often. (I really wanted to say 'Now that life is getting more situated by the day, I'm going to blog with a vengeance!' but let's be realistic, I think blogging with a vengeance is something to work up to) With that said, I thought I would start with a little update... To start with our biggest news to date--Ryder--he is doing very well and getting cuter and cuter by the second. Although his mom wishes he would grow out a little more, he is definitely growing looong. He is a string bean who is 50% in his weight and 90% for his height. I do eagerly anticipate his next doctor's appointment to see if we're on par with everything. But besides that motherly worry stuff, he is an angel. I'm not quite sure what I did to deserve such a good baby, but besides a fussy period in the evenings he is very good to us. After each feeding, he is quite content just to sit in his carrier and watch me go about business, until he kindly lets me know he wants to play, where he helps me get things done in the baby bjorn or we bounce and dance and of course, my dramatic efforts to get him to smile. Then, with a couple of naps throughout the day, he'll fall asleep around 11 p.m. for unnecessary amounts of time. After sleeping a couple of nights for 5 or 6 hours (making it 7 or 8 hours since his last feeding) I had to start setting my alarm and waking him up. I know, I know...many moms have told me to just let him sleep, but he falls back asleep for another 3 or 4 hours very easily and until I know he is on par with his weight, I'll continue with a middle-of-the-night feeding. Everyone says once you get used to everything, babies change, so I don't know how long this phase will last... but I'm enjoying it while I can. So all in all, he is a sweetheart. His current interests include making really cute noises, showing off his neck and leg muscles and teasing his mom and dad with every-once-in-a while smiles. Besides our cute boy, Phil and I are rather boring. Phil is still enjoying his job at PWC and his calling, which allows him to get out and play sports twice a week. He is also a wonderful dad and Ryder and I get very excited every day when he comes home from work. I am still figuring out the ropes of motherhood, which I'm sure I'll always be doing. I always feel like I'm so busy, but when I look back on my day, I'm lucky if I got done half of the things on my to do list. ~sigh~ I am always trying to figure out ways to multi-task and use my time to its maximum potential. So that is the rather lengthly update on our little family. We really need to get some good family photos with all three of us...I'll work on that. Love!

Photo of the Week: "Mr. Debonair"

...all he needs is a scarf, a pipe and a really cool library.

My First Week as a Mother

(Phil and Ryder having a serious conversation)

First of all, he is finally here! Phil and I finally gave birth to our 8 lb 10 oz, 21.5 inch-long beautiful baby boy. Besides going ten days past due, the delivery went rather well, which made mom very happy. We feel so blessed to have this little man in our home.

I am also proud to say, I have joined the unknown world of motherhood and have successfully gotten through my first week as a mom. What a feat! I say "unknown" because after having had a baby I finally realize there is no way to describe becoming a new mom until you've experienced it yourself. I also say "a feat" because besides never experiencing such joy, I have never experienced such stress. Every time we get through one of those crucial milestones such as: nursing, circumcision, jaundice scare, nursing, appropriate weight gain, realizing they actually do breath and stay alive when you put them down to sleep, first bath, getting some sleep, healing, and did I say nursing? (nursing has SO many milestones in itself, it needed to be mentioned at least 3 times) I slowly begin to feel like this whole parenting thing is working! It's a tricky game, this whole motherhood thing, because although its a positive thing to pass such milestones something like missing a feeding or letting his head droop can throw me into a fit of tears and world of guilt.


It's funny because I wrote the first half of this post almost a week ago (delayed by a computer malfunction), so technically it should be titled "My first Two Weeks as a Mother" but even one week later being a mom seems much less daunting now I've had a even a few more days of practice (and healing)- or maybe just a good night's sleep. There is also a good possibility I'm speaking too soon because tomorrow is my first day without help. Thankfully, I've been lucky enough so have such good help up until now, I feel up to the challenge and I'm anxious to try and get a routine down.

Our dear, sweet leader--You will be missed

While driving to work this morning, I heard of the most unfortunate news--our beloved President Faust past away last night. I was overwhelmed with emotion and felt a tiny piece of my heart break for our leader's death and the loss of one of the best men the world has ever known.

After reading articles about his passing, I was impressed to learn about his many, many accomplishments and awards that reflected many of his great deeds throughout this life. I never knew half of these things. However, after looking at pictures of his sweet face I also knew what he considered his biggest accomplishments that were often left out of the news articles. Those I imagine to be first and foremost, his family and the service he rendered on behalf of the Gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I never knew or even shook the hand of our dear President Faust, but I'll always feel a connection with him because of the many things I was able to learn from him. A couple that immediately stand out is a story he told of when he was moved to tears for the sorrow he felt when as a very young boy when his grandma had asked him to do a small favor and he chose not to. I think of how many times did I disobey my parents (or grandparents) when I was 9 or 10 and have completely forgotten about it, let alone remembering it 70 years with a such a Christlike attitude? Another of his teachings that will stay with me is his most recent General Conference address about forgiveness. Sharing amazing examples of Christlike forgiveness and what blessings forgiveness can bring. And of course, his testimony of Jesus Christ himself. These are the teachings I feel blessed to take with me because of this great man and his faithful and dutiful relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
A heart full of gratitude goes out to this man who I hope I will be able to meet one day.

Happy Due Date!

(Photo: I personally titled "Waiting")
Sorry for failing to post for awhile...I know it sounds silly, but I thought maybe I would go into labor or something like that and lets face it, women about to go into labor have a lot more important things to do than watching reruns of Saved by the Bell and Forbes Top 100 most influential celebrities. But now that we're here and I'll most likely see my due date come and go, I thought it was high time to post. Although my current state has seemed to strip my brain of anything clever to worries there are a lot of other people who are just full of interesting things to say.

My Favorite Top 7 Nine-Month-Pregnant Comments:

7. "You poor thing. You shouldn't be here," chuckles coworker, Teresa. (why is she chuckling)

6. "You're still here?" questions coworkers, Diana, Joel, Deena, Janie, Melina, & Francis

5. "Don't worry, we won't let you go more than two weeks past due." laughs my doctor who says in a way where she actually thinks she is being comforting.

4. "I knew you had to be getting close because I looked at you and thought, she looks SO MUCH bigger than the last time I saw probably don't want to here that, huh," says the nurse who first beams and then gets quiet after she realizes what she just said.

3. "Jazzy, how can we get this going for you?" chats cute, concerned, friend Brittney

2. "Jasmine, did you forget what you were supposed to do today?" says coworker Phil in with a very concerned look on his face like I had just forgotten to give birth (this one made me laugh-- one of my favorites)

1. "It's good to see you today." says coworker John, whose tact makes me grateful his cube is the one next to mine.

Compliment or Insult?

So my co-worker today told me that if I don't come back to work after I have my baby, that I should pursue a career as a "sixties go-go dancer"...

(awkward silence)

Insult: What is it, pray tell, about my current appearance that resembles a sixties go-go dancer, so much so one would think to tell me to go pursue a career as one?

Compliment: That in my current almost 9 month pregnant state, someone out there thinks I could actually look good dancing in a pair of go-go boots and metallic mini-skirt??

Happy Pioneer Day!

I must admit I am feeling a little sorry for myself on a day where the rest of my family doesn't have to work so they can get together to have BBQ in honor of a magnificent Utah holiday--Pioneer Day. A day that honors those strong and brave people who ventured to Zion to make it what it is today. Not only playing a huge part in the development of our state, but in The Gospel as well. Plus, what better time than the end of July to find some reason to celebrate. So unable to ignore my Utah roots (which I am very proud of) here is my small tribute:


Going Bananas!!!

So I've been thinking a lot about bananas lately. I think this is because my opinion of them has changed. I'll be honest, I never LOVED bananas. My relationship with them was very similar to my relationship with tomatoes. I want to like them, but I just couldn't. To this day I will try tomatoes every once in awhile to see if my mind has been changed, but nope it hasn't. However, I've had a fruit break-though, my mind has changed about bananas! But not in the way you would on.

With my past relationship with bananas, I would buy them as a side fruit to have with lunch or as a snack because a) they're cheap, b) easy to peel and easy to manage, so great for on the go, and c) they are cheap. But the thing that bugged me the very most about bananas, besides their bland taste, was how fast they would go bad!!! I HATE it when food goes bad...such a waste! I tried buying them green, I tried buying less at a time...but no matter what I would do, I would wake one morning to see my last couple of bananas brown and spoiled (leaving me with a continuous supply for banana bread). With this relationship being very close to mashed, I made a little discovery...

I was at my baby shower, that wonderfully, supplied a chocolate fountain. As I was enjoying my refreshments, I realized I kept going for the bananas to dip in the chocolate. Nothing else seemed to quench my sweet tooth like the chocolate covered bananas. With this revelation, it led to a couple more revelations, one being a chocolate banana smoothie (1 banana, two scoops of chocolate ice cream, 1 tsp of vanilla and 6 cubes and you have a little glass of heaven). I also revived a few old classics, that sometimes get forgotten about: bananas on cereal, bananas with pretty much any flavor of ice cream, bananas on waffles/pancakes/french toast (ok, this might not be a classic). Bascially, I have come to find bananas the perfect counterbalance to most things sweet and chocolatey, plus making you feel a little healthier for having thrown in a piece of fruit. With this discovery, I am buying bananas like mad! Always needing them for one thing or another. Now my relationship with bananas is very similar to my relationship with milk and bread.

I think there is a lesson to be learned in all of this. If you have a bad relationship, it may not be that the realtionship is bad, you are just not utilizing it the way you should...I dunno. I'm just happy I have found joy in a cheap and healthy food item.

Real Beauty

I found this inspiring. With my meager experience within the pageant world, I do like to keep a tab on what's going on with Miss Utah and the Miss America Organization in general. Although my personal experiences offered many lessons and experiences I hold very valuable, I still found myself disappointed with certain aspects of the pageant world. Don't get me wrong, each girl had devoted hours upon hours of service to a chosen platform backed by extensive amounts of time studying in their chosen field, current events and talents.
However, it seemed all of those aspects were strongly laced to materialistic desires, which often resulted in the lowering of values right and left. I would watch girls start out their first year in a one piece swim suit and a sleeveless evening gown only to trade them in for a string bikini and strapless dress the next. I saw girls who would cater their interview answers to meet the views of very liberal judges. And of course-- as positively put as possible--the spirit of competition! (which had an amazing ability to make nice girls, not so nice). I don't know if I can say I blame them. It's a hard world not to get caught up in when you are so focused...on yourself. With that said, there were some class acts (one of which is the out going queen, Katie Millar, who made me bawl after making Top 10 at Miss America and chose to strut her stuff in a one piece) I still feel privileged to have met during my pageant experiences. Unfortunately, it's rare to see one of those girls rise to the top. These last couple of years however, I think they've hit it on the nose. Congrats to Miss Utah 2007! (It's a great story, read on...)
By Stephen SpeckmanDeseret Morning News
Jill Stevens can look like a tough and gritty soldier one day and a beauty queen the next.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News
Jill Stevens is crowned Miss Utah by last year's winner, Katie Millar, at the Capitol Theatre last week. As a sergeant in the Utah National Guard, she's a combat medic who spent a year in Afghanistan patching up injured troops back in 2004 and 2005. This past Friday, the 24-year-old self-described "electric" person, nicknamed "Smiles," was crowned Miss Utah. "It's still settling in," Stevens said on the phone Monday. Last year Stevens competed as Miss Southern Utah University in the Miss Utah Scholarship Pageant, finishing as second runner-up. In May she graduated from SUU with a degree in nursing. Last February the Kaysville resident was crowned Miss Davis County before being named Miss Utah last week. Stevens said she plans to use the $10,000 scholarship prize for her master's degree toward a career as a nurse practitioner in the emergency medicine field. The new title was yet another surprise coming from the middle child of five siblings who have grown up in a musical family, with a mother who is a member of the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir. When Stevens joined the Guard just before graduating from Davis High School in 2001, her family was surprised then. Stevens said joining the military was reflective of who she was — full of energy, someone with a sense of adventure. Her family eventually understood. "I love challenges," she said. "I love trying new things." One challenge last week was having to don a swimsuit for the pageant when her normal uniform is camouflage fatigues. "Everyone knows that in a pageant that's part of it," she said, with one caveat: "I think there's better ways to showcase fitness." A nine-time marathon finisher, Stevens said she'd rather compete in a triathlon as part of the fitness portion of the pageant. The swimsuit competition reminded her how she's more muscular than skinny as a result of lugging around rucksacks that weigh as much as 70 pounds while training with the Guard. Oh, and being attractive in the Army has meant Stevens gets attention from some of the male soldiers. She used the words "hit on." "It teaches you to stand your ground," Stevens said. "You have to be blunt with soldiers." With her chutzpah and others looking out for her, Stevens said she has had "no troubles." Her plan now is to use the Miss Utah title to spread the word about emergency preparedness, which was her platform for the competition. She'll be visiting high schools throughout Utah to make sure they know how to respond during a disaster. It's unknown at this point whether Stevens will be deployed again or how her Guard duties will mix with her responsibilities and appearances around the state as Miss Utah. She has about 18 months left on an eight-year contract with the Guard. Utah Guard spokesman Maj. Hank McIntire said having a Miss America 2008 contestant among the ranks here is a positive thing. "It draws attention to the Guard in a unique way," McIntire said. "You don't typically see a beauty queen in combat boots." Stevens' title, he said, adds a new dimension to the kinds of things a Guard member can accomplish. He said the new Miss Utah will serve as a role model for young women who might not otherwise consider joining the Guard. "She has a legitimate shot at winning Miss America," McIntire said. "Just because of the kind of person she is."By Stephen SpeckmanDeseret Morning News

New Look!

For quite awhile I've wanted to figure out how to make my personalized banner for my blog. Thinking I'd have to do complex HTML coding business, I shied away from the task. Turns out it was actually quite easy! Pushed the little browse button and that was about it. I hope you enjoy the new look. Hopefully, the gray isn't too dark...


So this last week while Phil was at a training for work, I decided to occupy my solitary time by finishing up Ryder's nursery. I'll admit I had quite a bit of fun with this. So-for my mom and others who might not ever see it, here are a few photos of this week's doings...

Changing Station-Here is his changing table and storage areas. My favorite is my first message board I made so I can easily show him all the people who love him (who he may not get to see as often as he likes :0)

Guest Rest- After much debate, we decided to leave the daybed in the room...making it yes, more crowded, but adding the a couple more sleeping places for guests (or late-nights). Plus, I got to order the bedding that matched Ryder's bedding (hee hee)

"R" for Ryder! - And of course, the little man's domain.


So it’s usually rather difficult for me these days to get embarrassed, but I’ll admit, today I had a blushing moment.

I went in for my monthly doctor appointment—very familiar with the drill now: take blood pressure, check weight and give urine sample. (First, I have to preface this by telling you I use the bathroom rather frequently these days. Besides having a strategically placed baby, I drink water like it’s going out of style. I can usually count on taking a trip to the restroom about once every hour. Because of this habitual act, I can do it without even thinking and I don’t like to boast, but I’m rather speedy.) So back to the urine sample… I go into the bathroom grab my cup and write my name on it with a little smiley face and head in the stall to take care of another thing I think I’ve become rather good at. Well, as I go to reach for the toilet paper, I realize I’m still staring at an empty cup in my hand. As a key element to a urine sample is remembering to give one, I had for one minute slipped into my ‘go to the bathroom mode’ and completely forgot about the original reason I was using the restroom with an empty plastic cup.

Of course, I quickly think to myself, “Now, what do I do?” Facing the realization there was nothing else to give; I tossed the cup and went on a search to find the nurse and tell him what I had done. Thinking, it wasn’t that big of a deal, it wasn’t until I uttered the actual words, “I forgot to pee in my cup” backed by an incoherent explanation of my “go to the bathroom mode” that I began to feel slightly embarrassed. Expecting to hear, “Oh that happens all the time” the nurse chuckled while telling me I could just give one on the way out.

Happy Birthday Mom!

I just want to send a Happy Birthday note out to my beautiful mom! I love you so much and hope you have an amazing day. Can't wait to see you soon!

Nesting Maddness!

With baby only seven weeks away, I find myself scrambling to get things ready for his little arrival. Although, sometimes overwhelming, I take great joy in this. I've ordered the rest of our furniture and baby bedding, I plan over and over how I'll decorate his room and I go thru my mind how I want everything from the tupperwares holding his toys to the positioning of his changing supplies on the changing table. After dozens of lists, I feel like we're making progress in this aspect, so now I've moved on to what I call the "Final Prep Stage" where the last two weeks before I'm due there are a certain number of things I want done and under control--house, spic and span; things ready for my mom; a little bag packed with things for the hospital; pediatrician, found; insurance, paperwork and all those tedious adult matters, done.

I would definetely call myself and organized person, but I was reading my trusty pregnancy books and found a term for my overwhelming burst of organization zealousness:

"Nesting: You may find yourself with an overwhelming urge to nest," (and continues to describe me to a T).

Ohhhhh, and gee, here I thought I was just really on top of things. No, no...yes, I might be nesting, but I am an "on top of things" person still.

Well, then I get to work and feel strong desire to clean (like seriously clean) out my cube. I get done and while admiring my immaculate work space ask my co-worker, John, to admire my work as well and he just stares at me and says, "You're nesting. See I don't really notice such things, but it makes you happy so that's good."

So much for an admirer of my "on top of things" abilities.

Summer Time TV

Thanks to the season my TV viewing has decreased exponentially. I think the break is good, because my personal TV schedule was getting a little embarrassing. Now, instead of having something that needed viewing every weekday night, I only have things that need viewing Wednesday and Thursday...which brings me to my Summer 2007 TV Picks: So U Think U Can Dance: Why I love this show so much, I'll never know, but in my book it beats American Idol easily and pretty much any other show at this time. They are so good! If you are a fellow fan, let me know so I know who to share my thoughts with. P.S. If you watched last night, Benji? What in the tarnation was that? Traveler: This is a newbie I was slightly intrigued by the previews and decided to watch because I was bored. So far I have not been let down. It's like a conspiracy theory movie that doesn't end. So if you're looking for a good show to watch this summer, this would be my recommendation. Well, happy summer viewing along with other summer activities that are hopefully more active that watching TV :o)

Reunion in Boise

Here are some snap shots of our family reunion in Boise...

The girl crew: Bethany (& Samson), Harmony, Aunt Lancy (& Ruby), Mom, Me and Autumn

Autumn and I taking pictures of ourselves during Jackson and Eric's graduation.

Girls' Night Out! Woo woo!

Top: Us eating dinner at Macaroni Grill (As for the pregnancy status, I'm 30 weeks in these pics) Below: Finishing off our girls' night out at my Aunt Lancy's house.