27 February 2007

Ahh, Apartment Living

So the other day in the afternoon we got this note on our door:
If you can't read it it says, "You guys are way to loud all the time can you PLEASE stop walking so hard and talking so loud or we'll have to go to the manager about it Thank You!"

No we don't have proof, but we are pretty sure that this was written by the 12 year old girl who lives below us who we have dubbed the "banshee." If we are correct this note is coming from the girl who screams at all hours of the day for half and hour or more. Her and her mother and brothers have these yelling matches I'm only assuming to see who can scream the loudest. The girl wins though. Her favorite thing to say, no scream is, "MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!"

To be fair Rachel isn't the quietest kid, but I do my best. It's really funny because the day we got this letter, Rachel had taken an early nap from 11-1:30. Then we went to the park for an hour or so. After that we ran some errands returning home around 4. I had to stop at the leasing office for something and this girl was playing at the park for a while. Around 4:30 we got back up to our apartment and the note appeared somewhere between then and 5:45 when Spencer got home and found it on the door. So she's upset about an hour of time when I was playing with Rachel compared to all the many hours we have listened to her scream and slam doors. Doesn't sound completely even if you ask me.

Now we have gone to the manager a few times only because the screaming fits occur at horrible hours in the morning or night. Our first experience with her screaming happened a few months ago. With what we have endured over the last few months I really wish I had sent that first letter. I've even had to call the police because I didn't know if she was getting beat up by her brothers one day and I wasn't about to find out myself! At first I was just angry about her disrupting my sleep or waking Rachel up, but now I seriously think this girl needs professional help. She has some serious mental issues to be screaming and having the fits she does. I just hope that she can get the help she needs or she is going to have a rough life.

Oh how I yearn for the day when we live in a house where there's at least 10 feet between neighbors on all sides. Ahhh, apartment life...

24 February 2007

Book Tag

Millie always has such fun games to play, so I'm taking the most recent one. Here are the rules:

1. Find the nearest book to you.
2. Name the book and author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
5. Copy out the next 3 sentences and post to your blog.
6. Tag three other people.


I must confess, many books are the same distance so at first I picked Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick, but that was boring. So I picked up Emma by Jane Ausen right next to it.

Mr Frank Churchill did not ocme. When the time proposed drew near, Mrs Weston's fears were justified in the arrival of a letter of excuse. For the present, he could not be spared, to his 'very great morification and regret; but still he looked forward with the hope of coming to Randalls at no distant period.'
If you want to play, consider yourself tagged!

22 February 2007

A New Era

A new era has begun in the "J" household. We as a family are entering into a new dimension. The dimension of cable TV.

For the 4 1/2 years Spencer and I have been married we have never had TV. When we were first married we couldn't afford it so we went without. As time went by and each time we moved we reconsidered hooking it up. Every time we decided against it again but now for a different reason than not being able to afford it. We went from not getting it because we didn't want to pay for it to not getting it because it's a time waster.

Spencer and I both have one similar personality trait: we get addicted easily. We knew that if we had TV to watch whenever we wanted we would watch it whenever we wanted. We did not want to get in that trap. With Spencer in school and a new baby we didn't want to be sitting in front of the TV all day. As it is I am completely addicted to the computer already.

Shortly after breakfast or if I'm resisting well that day--after my shower--the computer comes on. I check my email, the daily news, my comics and of course my favorite blogs. This wouldn't be so bad if I only did it first thing in the morning and shut the computer off. No, the same routine (except or the comics since they only change once a day) happens multiple times a day. I check my email obsessively. I will look at it, then close it to do something else, but then before I walk away from the computer I open the dang thing again! Like some earth shattering email is going to come in matter of 2 minutes--never mind that I don't even get earth shattering emails ever. I hardly ever get any emails for that matter.

So by this point I know you're asking "Why are they feeding the fire then?" One show, two words ladies (and gentlemen): AMERICAN IDOL.

Spencer and I LOVE this show. We started watching it when I found out I was pregnant with Rachel. We would go to my parents house every Tuesday night. I even told my parents I was pregnant during and episode of American Idol. The next year we took Rachel to my parent's house each week with us. That was such a great year with Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood.

Then last year we couldn't go to my parents. We almost considered getting cable for the show but at the last minute one of my friends said they taped it each week anyway and we could borrow the tape if we wanted. Hooray! Saved! I am so glad we were able to see that season with Chris Daughtry (who's album I bought by the way) and Mandisa. After last year we knew we couldn't miss this season.

We moved so it wouldn't be feasible to have our friends tape it for us again (although it's funny, because they came over to watch it with us last night). Plus it's too hard on Rachel to drag her to my mom's each week, put her to bed in her port-a-crib--that she can now climb out of--wake her up and take her home just for an hour of TV.

So we entertained the idea of hooking the cable up for American Idol. I wanted it more than Spencer and so I did a little research. Online they don't even give you the option of ordering just "Limited Cable" so I had to call them. With the intention of just getting information and pricing I ended up setting an appointment for Tuesday for the guy to come set it up. It's only $13 something each month for 22 channels so I figured it was worth it.

So far we have only watched Tuesday and Wednesday's American Idol shows so the self-control is holding up just fine. Let's hope we can keep it up so that we don't get sucked in to the TV watching obsession.

19 February 2007

I made this!

So yesterday I was paging throught the Kraft magazine trying-trying is the operative word here-to organize my recipe book. I came across this picture of a cake that was a pool. I showed it to Spencer and he was super excited and asked me to make that for today when his parents came over for dinner. I told him I was planning on making cheesecake, and that is when he revealed to me he doesn't really like cheesecake.

So I made the pool cake and I have to say it came out pretty cool! And the thing was, it wasn't that difficult. Who knew? All my life for my birthdays we just had boring sheet cakes with frosting and candles cuz my mom would not make the time. I never got cutsie decorated cakes and I've always thought they were too hard. But, I have this friend who is super artsy and does fancy cakes for her kids every year. Well she got me motivated to try a theme cake for Rachel next year and now I'm totally pumped! I realize I can do this! What out birthdays cuz the fun cake decorating mom is coming through!

18 February 2007

17 February 2007

All about me from A to Z

ACCENT: So Cal. Is that an accent?

BIBLE BOOK THAT I LIKE: Matthew

CHORE I DON'T CARE FOR: Cleaning floors

DOG OR CAT: I used to be a dog person, but I just don't dig the smell or how dirty they are anymore

ESSENTIAL ELECTRONICS: Computer, TV, DVD player, cell phone

FAVORITE COLOGNE: Beautiful by Estee Lauder. I think it's kind of old ladyish, but it's one of a few that I'm not allergic to.

GOLD OR SILVER: Silver

HANDBAG I CARRY MOST OFTEN: the black Reebok sports bag turned diaper bag. What can I say, it's handy!

INSOMNIA: Nope. I'm asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow

JOB TITLE: Homemaker

KIDS: 1 girl, 2 years old

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS: 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment

MOST ADMIRABLE TRAIT: I'm good for last minute babysitting...hmm, maybe I should get more of a life

NAUGHTIEST CHILDHOOD BEHAVIOR: Lying...I would lie about everything.

OVERNIGHT HOSPITAL STAYS: Once for a concussion watch when I was 11 and once for my baby

PHOBIAS: jumping spiders, talking in big groups of people

QUOTE: Oh, there are way too many to pick.

RELIGION: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

SIBLINGS: One older sister and one younger brother

TIME I WAKE UP: 7ish

UNUSUAL TALENT OR SKILL: I can pop my shoulder out of it's socket and back in again.

VEGETABLE I REFUSE TO EAT: cooked spinach

WORST HABIT: popping my toe knuckles

X-RAYS: Only at the dentist

YUMMY STUFF I COOK: chili dog casserole, black bean soup, tomato and artichoke heart pizza

ZOO ANIMAL I LIKE MOST: freakeshly long necked turtles

I'm tagging all my 3 readers!

14 February 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day and got some snuggling in with your husbands/wives. We had a great day! We got free tickets to Disney's California Adventure so we headed out there today. First off let me say that it was the most perfect day to be there! The weather was gorgeous and even better there was hardly anyone there! We pretty much walked on every ride. I think the longest we had to wait was around 15 minutes...hardly a wait if you ask me.

We started out our Adventure with me riding Soarin' Over California while Spencer stayed with Rachel. I got on pretty fast with the single rider pass. It's sweet because you just wait at the beginning of the line and then they fill you in where there is space. What a ride! It feels like you are gliding over all the beautiful areas of California like Yosemite, snow capped mountains, the ocean, and so many more. Spencer rode on it next while Rachel and I played around on the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. She kept wanting to go on the rope bridges again and again.
After Spencer rode on the Soarin' California we met up again and cruised around the side of the park that looked like a fair. Spencer went on a free-fall ride while Rachel and I sat that one our and ate our lunches. You can't pay me to ride on free-fall rides. I do not want to pay money to barf up what is in my lunch. I like roller coasters but not those kind.

After that we headed over to A Bug's Land where there were all kinds of rides designed for little people. We started with Heimlich's Chew Chew Train which Rachel wasn't so sure about. In the end she said she had fun, but during the ride she looked pretty nervous. Here's a bad picture but you get the point...

After the caterpillar train ride we headed to the bumper cars. By this time Rachel was getting the idea of having fun on rides and she loved the cars. She kept saying she wanted to drive but once the cars got going, I think it scared her a little so she let me take the wheel.

After the bumper cars we headed over to the lady bug ride. This one was the fastest ride we had been on yet, but Rachel seemed to enjoy herself the most. This is her waiting to get on. She could hardly contain her excitement to know we were going to go on another ride!

Then we went on the final ride in the Bug's Land--some flying ride kinda like Dumbo. Rachel liked this one the best. She had to sit on my lap, but was laughing and watching all the other cars go up and down.

When that ride was over we took Rachel to the spray ground thinking she'd have a great time, but all she wanted to do was hold on to Daddy as tight as she could! She would not let go for a second!

Spencer and Rachel were gracious enough to let me go on another ride by myself so I took my chances on Rockin' California Screamin'. (What's with the apostrophes??) Anyway so that was a really fun ride to go on. I felt like such a baby though because I was screaming while the old people in front of me were laughing! It starts out really fast and fun, but towards the end slows down and I got a little bored for a bit, but I pretty much walked on the ride so I can't complain! Spencer and Rachel had fun playing on the fenced off grass areas while I rode the ride.

After we met up we decided to finish our day over at the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Here we saw the Muppet Vision 3D movie. This was Rachel's first time with the 3D experience so it cracked Spencer and I up when some things got "thrown" into the audience and she jumped! She ended up on my lap after that but kept her glasses on the whole time. It was a little loud for me so that kind of ruined the fun of it, but it was a neat little show. I wanted to keep the glasses for a memento, but they made us give them back...bummer. We also rode the Monsters, Inc ride which is very similar to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland. It was fun though.

The other cool thing they have at the Backlot was Turtle Talk with Crush. Now this is one thing worth seeing! You go into an auditorium and in front of you is a huge screen made to look like an aquarium. After some guy does the into we all yell so Crush will come swimming dow toward us. Here's where it gets good. Crush interacts with the crowd. He asks us questions and then answers questions from the audience. The first thing he did was talk to this little guy up front dressed in a Buzz Lightyear costume. He was talking to him and then he pulls out a Buzz Lightyear doll and shows it to the kid. It was hilarious. Then he swam around and talked and chatted with us. I don't know how they did that, but it was really neat to watch. Spencer thinks that there is a guy behind the screen with an animation suit on that would make Crush swim around and talk too. I don't know, but I was fascinated. I could only imagine what those little kids were thinking!

Lastly Rachel and I hung out while Spencer rode--queue scary music and deep voice--The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! Another ride you couldn't pay me to go on. Even Spencer said that I wouldn't have liked it. Rachel and I were just hanging and wandering around when we came upon Mr. Incredible! Rachel loves The Incredibles so this was so exciting for her. Luckily we were able to get our picture taken right before he walked away. As you can see, Rachel was a little confused about seeing Mr. Incredible in real life.

After seeing Mr. Incredible for real we figured we had seen everything we needed to see to make our trip worthwhile. Rachel was pretty tired after a long day (it was 4pm) but was so happy the whole time. When we got back on the road she was snacking on some carrots and I heard her choke a little. When I looked back I could see her eyes rolling in the back of her head like she was fighting sleep as much as she could. It was like the blanket of sleep was wrapping her up. I quickly gave her some water to wash down the carrot remains and gave her her blankets. A couple seconds later the eye rolling commenced and I hear her say, "I go sleep." and she was out. Ahhh, nothing better than a totally wasted baby sleeping in the car.

Well that concludes our ride through Disney's California Adventure today. Please stay seated until the ride has come to a full stop and your seat belts have disconnected. We hope you had a very happy stay here at Disney's California Adventure!

11 February 2007

Thoughts on V-Day

So we all know that Valentine's Day is coming up. Actually I had forgotten about it until a few days ago when someone asked if Spencer and I were doing anything special for V-day. My first reaction was we don't do much for Valentine's Day, why should we this year? (For the record though, we are going to California Adventure as a family. My sister had 2-fer tickets and couldn't use the second trip so she gave them to us. Yay!)

Then I got to thinking. When Spencer and I were dating and first married I scoffed at these types of holidays. I told Spencer I thought they were worthless days and their only purpose was to give wives the opportunity to make their husbands feel guilty and lame about forgetting them. I was a total V-Day hater.

Then something happened. Spencer and I would agree that we wouldn't get anything for each other on this day. Then when it would come around I would have something little for him and he woud have nothing. Then I would proceed to cry and whine and ask stupid questions like, "Don't I deserve something? Aren't I a good wife?" In essence I set him up to fail. Looking back I can see how seriously immature I was. I became the person I always hated.

Last year was a really hard year for me emotionally and mentally. A lot of things were going on in my life to contribute to my frail state. I really blew it last V-Day because of this. I laid the biggest sob story-guilt trip I could on Spencer because he had nothing for me. Around August of last year I realized that I needed to figure out what was wrong with me and if possible get some help. I have since done that and feel SO much better.

My relationship with Spencer is tons better. In fact I have become a more active part in our relationship rather than the selfish, why-doesn't-anyone-do-anything-for-me person. Ironically this very attitude switch is what has made me feel different about Valentine's Day.

My main gripe before about the holiday was that it was an opportunity for Spencer to do something nice for me (and me for him) but to me, he wasn't taking it. His excuse was that why should we do something special on this one day when I can do special things on other days too. Well I didn't see that happening so I felt like he could use V-day as an opportunity to make up for what he wasn't doing. It was all about me. Even though I rarely did things on regular days either I blamed Spencer. Looking back I can see that my lack of active participation--and not Spencer's--in our marriage made me feel unloved. For a while I was listening to Dr. Laura. One thing that she had to say really has made a lasting impression on me. She said that when wives are good to their husbands, when we say nice things about them, and fulfill their basic needs they want to do things for us in return.

I have found this principle to be so true in the last few months. I have realized that the more I have given love the more I feel loved. The more I have opened up and taken an active role in making sure my husband feels loved, the more love I have received. It's funny too because today we were chatting about V-day and Spencer mentioned that he was thinking of getting me something. I immediately piped up and said I didn't think we were getting each other anything and he said he wanted to this year. I guess the effort I have put in our marriage in the last few months or so has really made a difference.

05 February 2007

Scripture University #2

Here are some more thoughts as I partake in the Scripture University Challenge of reading all 4 Standard Works in 2007.

I just finished the 4 Gospels in the New Testament and am almost done with 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. In the past while reading the scriptures, I have always just focused on one book--be it the New Testament or the Doctrine and Covenants or what have you. I have never read two books of the scriptures at the same time.

Since I started reading in January I've noticed something really special about reading the scriptures this way. I have come to have a stronger testimony that the Book of Mormon really is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Many times have I thought this while reading so far and could have had way more examples to share but--stupid me--I didn't bother to make note of them until today.

I was reading Acts 4:12 where it says:
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
and 2 Nephi 25:20 that states
Yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.
Here is noted pretty much the same scripture but hundreds of years and thousands of miles apart. The verse in Acts is shortly after Christ was resurrected and Peter and John are teaching the gospel to the people of Jerusalem. The verse in 2 Nephi is after the Nephites have arrived in the promised land 600 years before Christ's coming. Nephi is testifying of the Savior saying almost the exact thing as Peter and John do 600 years later. Both of these inspired men knew what our purpose on earth is. They knew that no matter when you live, the gospel is the same and Christ is the only sure way back to our Heavenly Father and salvation.

To me this shows that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are truly designed to work together. The Bible as the stick of Judah together with the Book of Mormon being the stick of Ephraim shall be one. They are one in purpose which is to testify of Jesus Christ.

Out of the mouth of babes

We always pray when we leave the house and this morning as we were getting ready to leave for church, Rachel was surprisingly ready to pray. She folded her arms and bowed her head and closed her eyes. Spencer started praying and Rachel repeated the words so he helped her. He told her to say thank you for blankets, Mama and Dada, and food, but when he got to this point, Rachel looked up and Spencer. She had a concerned look on her face and said, "Grandpa." It was like she was trying to tell Spencer he forgot to pray for Grandpa. So he said "Thank you for Grandpa," and she repeated it, then she said, "Grandma." Then Spencer said, "Thank you for Grandma," and she repeated it with satisfaction. We finished up the prayer and finished getting ready to leave.

We have been trying to teach Rachel to pray for a while and sometimes she listens but most of the time she just runs around the room and will maybe say "Amen" at the end. It just shocked me to know that she is listening. She is aware of what is going on and that she knows what a prayer is and who we are suppsoed to pray for.