Thursday, October 9, 2014

Life Changes

We have been in Idaho Falls for almost a month and a half, and life is good. We feel very blessed, and know that moving here was definitely the right decision for our family.

Moving was mostly uneventful. I thought I'd lost the key to the lock for Jeff's barbeque grill, but I found it just before we closed up the truck and we were able to squeeze it in. The truck was packed to the brim, as was our van, Jeff's car, and his mom's car. Jeff's parents drove up with us to help us get both of our vehicles up there, as Jeff needed to drive the truck. We were very grateful for their help. We had a few friends, and Jeff's family help us load up the truck down there, and we were able to get it all done quickly and were on the road earlier than we planned. It was a good drive up. Mom and Dad had arranged for help for us to unload our truck here at the house and at the storage unit so we could store everything there's not room for here at the house. Of course, there are things that we stuck in storage that, in hindsight, probably shouldn't have been, but we've tried finding them and they are nowhere in sight, and likely at the bottom/ back of a huge pile of boxes (we've got a 10' x 15' unit filled). Oh well :)

We have settled into life here. Jackson loves having a dog to torture play with every day. He loves feeding Bear and throwing balls to him (or at least in the general direction where he is). Often, he will walk around the house calling for "Beah" as he looks for the dog to play with.

The week we moved, I went to training to be a substitute teacher, and then later that day, I was called and offered a position as a part-time music teacher because they were short a few. Jeff and I saw this as a blessing, as he was still looking for work and this would allow us to have some money coming in to cover our insurance, car payment, storage unit, and diapers for the little man. I am loving being back in a classroom again, and 2 days a week is perfect because it still lets me be a Mommy, which is what I have always wanted to do.

I have also been called to teach the sunbeams. I'm enjoying that. Well...I should say I think I'm enjoying that. I've only taught like twice, and one of those times was before I was actually called because they needed a sub to fill in so they called and asked me. I was there for two weeks, then we were in Utah, then Kesha's homecoming so we left after Sacrament Meeting, then it was General Conference. I'll be there this week though, and apparently have a new child in the class. They are an active bunch, but we have fun.

Jeff had several interviews in the first few weeks we were here. Two weeks after we moved in, Jeff got a call offering him a job at Melaleuca as a French-speaking call center representative. He is thrilled to be able to use his French again. He started a week later, and has been there for 3 weeks now. He is coming home from work so happy every day. He came home from his first day of work with the news that our insurance would be effective October 1. We had been under the impression that it wouldn't take effect until he'd been there for 3 months. Jeff came home today and said that he's completed his first phase of training. He's got another couple phases to go through, but they're going to move him out of the training location into the main call center for a week or so to let him really practice what he's learned so far.

We have had blessing after blessing come our way since making the decision to move. It was terrifying, moving without a job or knowing what would come our way. But we felt in our hearts that it was right, and we have had that manifest to us as the blessings have been pouring in.

Jackson is growing up so fast! He started walking the week before we moved, and now he is running all over the place! He can say so many words now too. There's the typical "mama" and "dada." And he can say "Bear." And what toddler can't say "no." He also says "yes" and "what's that?" and "up." We've been trying to get him to say "Mmm, dingy that's good" because that's what Grandpa Jack used to always say and we have to have him follow in the footsteps of his namesake, and the other day when I got home from work, Mom told me that he said "Mmm dood," and I've heard him say it a couple times. I don't remember what we were talking about, but last night at dinner we were saying "Duh" to LaKesha, and he followed suit with a great big "Duuh!" It was SO funny! We all about died laughing. Today after lunch, I reached over to tickle his feet while he was sitting in his high chair, and he said "Tickle!" He's a smart little guy!

He's finally starting to put on some weight too. We had him in the doctor after we moved up here because he was running a fever and not eating and we wanted to make sure he didn't have a nasty virus going around and he didn't even weigh 17 lbs (it was a clothed weight, but just barely 17 lbs) and at his 15 month check last week he was 18.5. Woo-hoo! Finally! He's just a skinny little bean-pole :)

Life is good. We are happy. We're going to continue living with my parents for the time being so we can save money and hopefully be able to get into a house within the next year or so. It's a full house, but we have fun, and we've got our own little oasis in our room with our TV set up so we can watch movies whenever we want to. It's a pretty good set up. We're pitching in a bit to help with groceries, which is more than fair!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

We have a Walker!

I wasn't going to post again until after we'd moved, but this is big news!

For weeks, Jackson has been able to stand unassisted. He's loved walking with help for months. We've seen him take a few steps, but they were usually when no one was looking (or so he thought!)

On Tuesday, I was sitting on the floor packing boxes (because where else can I be found these days), and Jackson was playing when he stood up in the middle of the room without holding onto anything. That was a first. Of course, I let him know that I was proud of him and continued on working.

Then on Wednesday, I was busy working on...something. I have no idea what. I looked up at Jackson and he was WALKING across the living room. He stopped halfway to catch his balance on a toy, then continued on his way for what he wanted. I was thrilled...(and terrified, because of everything I have to do) and started cheering for him. He got so excited and was bouncing up and down and fell down. He got back up and walked over to me. Yep. It's official. He can walk.

And he can climb. Thursday morning I was packing up a box while he was playing the piano, which is nothing out of the ordinary. He loves to play Mommy's piano. But this time when I looked over and he was STANDING on TOP of the piano bench. Usually, when he does monkey things like that I grab my phone to take a picture, but this time I was so terrified he was going to fall and crack open his head on one of the many toys he had strewn around the room I just jumped up and grabbed him, being very careful not to yell out and scare him, causing him to fall.

Good heavens, my life just got even more complicated.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Crazy Life

The past few weeks have been absolutely nuts. I don't have much time to write because I have a MILLION things I need to do, but I want to document this crazy time.

Jeff has been looking for a job for months. He has applied both in Idaho Falls and here in the Salt Lake Valley, so we can stay close to one of our families. He has applied for so many more jobs here in Salt Lake, but in comparison, the ration of interviews to applications has been SO much greater in Idaho Falls. We've just been hanging out, constantly filling out job applications and hoping for a job to come along soon. We still haven't had any luck, but we're hopeful.

Two weeks ago, we woke up to discover that Jeff's bike had been stolen overnight, then the next day we discovered that a neighbor had been stealing packages/ mail out of our mailbox. It was at that moment that we decided we need to move. After weighing our options and praying about it, we feel that we need to move to Idaho. We don't know where Jeff is going to find a job, but we have faith that it will work out. For the time being, we will be living in my parents' basement.

So, we have 2 weeks left here in Salt Lake. Our apartment is a crazy mess right now, with boxes and packing supplies and toys everywhere. We are working to get everything organized and ready to do. Most of our things will be in storage, so I'm sorting through things, deciding what we'll need (for an indefinite amount of time) and what will be fine sitting in a storage unit.

We really do have mixed feeling about leaving, because we have so many wonderful friends in our ward here who we will miss terribly. Jeff's family all live around here, and it has been fun getting together with them regularly and for Jackson to spend time with his cousins at all of the family get-togethers (he's got a cousin just 4 months older than he is and they like to steal toys from play with each other.) It will be sad to leave them, and we'll have to come visit lots (good thing it's only 3 hours...though even that can be too long for Jackson at times).

But at the same time, my sister (who doesn't know we're moving up there, let alone moving in) gets home from her mission in 6 weeks, and she's never met Jackson, other than over Skype. It will be fun for her to be able to play with him and get to know him. We're looking forward to living in a place where we can take Jackson outside to play (the grass is too full of weeds here to do that, without going down to the park.)

All in all, we are looking forward to this new adventure, following what we feel is best in faith. We know that everything will work out exactly as it is supposed to and that we will be taken care of.

Now...back to packing :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our Baby is One!

Our crazy little Jackson Boy turned one yesterday. We can hardly believe how fast the year has gone! Jackson has progressed from being perfectly content to cuddle all day long to constantly moving! I swear that boy never stops! It wears me out just watching him!

He loves crawling. One of his favorite things to do is try and run away from us during church. Yesterday he almost escaped clear out the door of the Relief Society room before I could catch him! He laughs as he runs away from us when he knows we want him to come closer. He loves pushing anything around the room (paper, books, water bottles, you name it!) as if it's a car. He also loves walking, so long as he is holding onto our fingers or the furniture.

He absolutely loves playing with his toys. He had some favorites, but I think his birthday presents are gonna take the cake. Mommy and Daddy gave him clothes and books (BORING!!!) and a Little People school bus. He sat and played with that and pushed it around and pulled out the little people and bonked their heads and pushed buttons for a good 10 minutes today. And Grandpa made him a set of wooden blocks (just like I used to play with that my Grandpa had made my mom, that Jackson now plays with when we visit Grandma and Grandpa). When he saw those, he knew just what to do and immediately started trying to pull the blocks out to build with them. And Grandpa made him a wooden-block xylophone. He loves banging on that thing. Grandma and Grandpa also gave him one of those push-popper things, just to drive me crazy! Needless to say, I'm going to have a very noisy house now with all of these noise-maker toys. But I'm also going to have a happy little boy, so it is all worth it.

He loves to long as it isn't baby food. He'll eat anything of our food he can get his hands one. He LOVED his cake, and it was so fun to watch him dig in as soon as it was set down in front of him last night. He enjoys anything sweet...probably not the best thing to have him eating...but I have been told he needs to put on some weight...

The little stinker would not take a nap yesterday. Okay, that's not entirely true. He slept for an hour before I had to wake him up for church, and for 40 minutes on the way to my grandma's for his party. But that is NOT enough sleep for a little boy, and then he didn't fall asleep until after 10:00 as we were playing games. There was too much going on...and he was probably wired from his cake! (home-made fun-fetti cake with home-made buttercream frosting. Yeah...I'm sure it was a sugar high) He woke up several times last night too, which was a real bummer for me, because I didn't get to bed til 2, and he woke up just was I was getting there, then again at 4, and at 5 when I gave up and brought him to bed for the last couple hours I could sleep, because his one year checkup was this morning.

Anyway, his checkup went well. He's still too skinny... as in the zero, yes, zero, percentile. I'm not too worried. He's gained almost 2 pounds in the past 3 months and my brother skinny. He's in the 74th percentile for height. Tall and skinny. That's how we roll. He got to try real milk yesterday for the first time, mostly because I was out of formula and I wanted to try to get him to sleep. He LOVES that stuff! I need to go buy him whole milk to fatten him up :). He got his shots today too and screamed, until I put his shoes on. He knows that he only gets his shoes on when we go outside, so that cheered him up. (We went to the zoo after the doctor today).

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Slaving Away

Managing the apartments certainly has it's perks. I get to stay home with Jackson and just be a Mommy every day. Our rent is super cheap. Plus, we live in the BEST ward and have so many friends. But lately I've been seeing the downside of managing.

We've recently had 3 apartments vacated. They are disgusting. I honestly don't know how people can stand to live in such filth.

For example: One of the apartments had huge holes punched in the drywall. There was black mold all over the bathroom. There were black, black hand prints all over the walls. One of the apartments had burnt food crusted all over the oven--took me 2 hours to get it clean. I had to physically pick things up off the entire floor before I could vacuum. There was food left in the fridge. One of the apartments had meat that had leaked in the fridge and there was a thick layer of blood in the bottom. There was crayon, sharpie, cat hair, old gum, and boogers all over the walls. There were cobwebs everywhere. And it was infested with roaches.

As managers, we are the lucky ones who get to clean these apartments. Yes, we get paid extra for doing so. (Basically, our rent this month will be free). I have spent days on end for 3 weeks now cleaning these apartments. We are almost done. I really think we'll be done today. I hope we'll be done today. We have another project outside that we need to do--laying down new weed block fabric and covering it with bark--that we want to get done this weekend.

Can I just say that I am ready for a break? To have time to clean my own messes? To just be a mommy and play with my boy instead of trapping him in the playpen while we work, or locking him in the apartment with the monitor with us while he sleeps? Soon. Then I get to do it all over again at the first of next month when we have another tenant move out. Oh goody. :)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Eleven Months

Jackson is growing so fast! Less than a month until he will be a year old. I can hardly believe how fast it's gone. He is a little ball of energy. Sometimes it wears me out just to watch him. He wakes up in the morning and is ready to play first thing. Some days he only takes one nap (but he is much more pleasant with two.)

He still loves walking with help. He has been able to balance himself on his feet by himself a couple times, once for over 10 seconds! It won't be long until he is walking. It is so cute when he wears his shoes and we help him walk. He picks his feet up super high and then stomps them back down. He has such a big grin as he walks along.

Jackson doesn't like the grass, typical of any little one. He loves watching us blow bubbles and trying to pop them. Any time we are outside he is happy. He loves going out on walks and being anywhere other than the house. We get out and about as much as we can. We've been to the zoo a lot too, thanks to Mom and Dad Pond's absolutely amazing gift of a season pass to the zoo.

Our little Mister loves finger foods. Some of his favorites are goldfish crackers, Ritz crackers, marshmallows, oyster crackers, Lucky Charms (marshmallows first), and graham crackers. He also enjoys Cheerios and other Gerber snacks (except the toddler cookies...he won't touch those with a 10-foot pole). Whenever we have cake and ice cream or cookies, he just HAS to have a bite. Or two. Or three. He also loves French Fries (and we were told by his pediatrician to give some to him to fatten the skinny little dude up!) He also loves to eat yogurt, pasta, and really whatever else we'll give him that's not in the form of baby food.

He's just barely grown into size 3 diapers, and 9-12 month clothes. He could eat all day long, but he is ALWAYS on the move. He was blessed with a high metabolism.

He loves to splash in the bath. Or the sink. When we take him to wash his hands he has to take time to splash in the sink. He's figured out how to flush the toilet and unroll the toilet paper from the roll. He is so mischevious and gets into everything.

He loves to make faces. He has a certain face that he pulls if he does something that he knows he isn't supposed to do, like "Oh...Mommy just busted me." He's also got a really cheesy grin, and he likes to scrunch his face up into a sour look. It is so funny to watch.

We love our little dude!

Monday, May 5, 2014

We Did It!

The day that we've been waiting for has come and gone. The past several months has been crazy, and a little stressful as Jeff has been going to school full time, and working around 15 hours a week. It is a blessing that I have been able to stay home with Jackson. We were very grateful that we had been able to put half of my teaching salary into savings, because that is ultimately what saved us through our very limited finances over the past 8 months since we stopped getting those paychecks.

Jeff has graduated with his Bachelor's Degree in Communications from the University of Utah! Graduation stuff was Thursday and Friday. We were getting ready on Thursday to go to Commencement and Jeff walked into the bathroom in his cap and gown while I was putting on my makeup and I almost started bawling right there. I am so proud of him.

Thursday evening, Jeff's mom and I were there for Commencement, then his parents took us to dinner afterwards. On Friday, both of our parents and Jeff's sister and her family were all there with us for his Convocation. We went out for a late lunch/ early dinner afterwards. We also celebrated with his whole family last night at his parents' house.

Our plans now include enjoying more time as a family, getting out and doing things outside, and looking for a new job for Jeff that will allow him to put to use what he has learned in school.

We feel so blessed, and know that everything will work out for the best. We just have to keep the faith :)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chasing Baby Jack

10 months have passed since our sweet Baby Jack joined our family. So much has happened this month. He is crazy active and into absolutely EVERYTHING.

This month he has discovered how to do so many new things. He is so proud of himself when he accomplishes something new. It is evident in the way he looks at you and squeals.

Jackson got the okay when it comes to eating pretty much anything, except the typical things babies have to enjoy. His first meal was spaghetti. We stripped him down to his diaper and he went to town. He was still working at getting food from his tray to his mouth and half of it ended up in his high chair, but it was so fun watching him get it all over his face. He is so adorable when he eats. He is not picky, and eats almost anything we put in front of him.

He finally figured out how to crawl, and once he figured it out he was off! He started crawling one day and decided that it is so much more effective to get around on all fours instead of scooting everywhere, and stopped his army crawl almost immediately. If we don't want him to completely run away, we put one of our dining room chairs blocking the exit to the living room, and have a gate as a constant attachment in our hallway. He still finds everything he isn't supposed to have, and more, now that he can get around to places where he wasn't able before.

He also figured out how to pull himself up to standing. He loves to reach up and pound on my piano bench, and it didn't take him much longer to figure out that he can reach the keys on my piano and he loves to play me songs. He pulls himself up in his crib and greets me with a big smile in the mornings and after his naps (or a sad face with great big alligator tears, depending on the day). If he wants up he crawls over and pulls himself up by our legs.

Jackson recently figured out that he likes to walk, with help of course. He holds onto our fingers and goes goes goes. He is seriously like the Energizer Bunny! I think he likes the new vantage point he has being up a little higher.

The past couple of days he has figured out how to clap his hands. He loves the attention it brings. He also figured out how to growl. Yesterday Uncle Lance was holding him by just his legs, with his feet in the air, and bum down. He got a really frustrated look on his face, and let out a big frustrated growl. It was so funny :)

The Easter Bunny made a visit to Jackson last weekend. He brought him bubbles, a new suit, another shirt, a couple of books, and a big red ball. He loves chasing it around the room :). The Easter Bunny also visited Grandma and Grandpa Pond, and he got an outfit, bubbles, num-nums, and $4. Grandma and Grandpa Good also got him a book and a Mickey Mouse umbrella stroller so I don't have to lug out the big one every time I want to take a simple walk around the neighborhood. I can keep this one in the house and have it handy.

This month Jackson also got really sick for the first time. The first time, he was running a fever, and threw up once. Then a week later, he again ran a fever (this time it got high enough to scare me) and threw up a couple of times. The poor little boy felt so awful. He just wanted to cuddle--something he never wants to do anymore. He and I stayed home on Easter Sunday because he was so sick. We'd had him at the doctor Saturday night because of his fever. It was just a stomach bug that has been going around. He is still a little congested, but doing better. His appetite still needs some work though. He nurses all right, but doesn't want much in the way of food yet, where before he got sick he was so much more interested in real food than milk.

Jackson is the light of our life. He brings so much happiness. All of the late nights are totally worth it. He keeps me busy chasing after him, making sure he doesn't put anything in his mouth that he can choke on that I didn't see. He likes to explore his surroundings, and seems to learn new things each day.

As for Jeff and I, we are doing well. We are happy, and feel so blessed.

While I miss teaching, I love being able to stay at home with Jackson. I was able to sub for 2 days a couple weeks ago, and I loved being back in the classroom and seeing all of my students from last year. And seeing the way that he clung to me when I picked him up after the second day, I know that it is definitely better for him that I stay home. It makes me so happy to be able to see him discover new things and be here to help him and teach him and comfort him, and get the few cuddles that he is willing to give. It makes me happy to be able to take care of the house (or try to, because chasing an active baby doesn't lend well to getting things done). I love being here when Jeff gets home each day, and having meals prepared for us to eat. Jackson and I enjoy going on walks when the weather is nice. I plan on spending lots of time at the park and zoo this summer.

Jeff only has ONE more final left until he gets his Bachelor's degree in Communications from the U! We are so excited! Graduation is this coming weekend. He is in the process of interviewing for jobs now, so he can hopefully get something in his field. I am so proud of him. He has worked so hard for the past year, with school and work and an internship. He has been willing to sacrifice so I can stay home with our little boy.  He also celebrated a birthday this past month and turned the big 3-0. He's getting to be an old man ;) I am so grateful to be his wife and that he always makes me feel so special.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

9 Months

It is hard to believe but our sweet little boy will be 9 months old on Saturday. The time has just flown! My days are filled with loves from my fun little boy.

He now scoots all over. Every once in a while, he will crawl a few steps...paces... know what I mean ;), but he always decides it is just faster and easier to army crawl/ scoot where he wants to go. And boy is he FAST! Especially when he sees something he's not supposed to get into (namely chargers, ribbon, backpack straps, you name it, he'll get it.) Yesterday he discovered that the grate over our vent makes a fun noise when he strums it. And the day before he discovered that the drawer under our stove makes a fun noise when he bangs it. He likes to slap the floor too. He REALLY likes it when I sit him on my lap at the piano and just let him bang on the keys and play a "song." This morning I set up the gate at the end of the hall to keep him out of trouble while I showered, and peeked out at him to find him kneeling by it, hanging on, and bouncing up and down. He also enjoys to do a "Downward Facing Dog" yoga position. He gets up on his hands and feet and just hangs out. When he wakes up from his naps, and occasionally in the morning, he'll start talking to and playing with his stuffed animals in his crib. I crawl in there and play peek-a-boo, popping up over the side of the crib. He's now figured out that if he pushes the bumper down he can see me and bonk my nose. He loves that! This kid keeps me on my toes all day long!

Some of Jackson's favorite games are Pat-A-Cake, This Little Piggy, Eensie Weensie Spider, I'm a Little Teapot, Popcorn Popping, Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, and, of course his Peek-A-Boo. If he is grumpy, we can almost always cheer him up with one of these games. He likes to grab onto my hair if it's not pulled back, so it's usually in a pony tail. He also likes to play with my nose while I nurse him (which I don't really appreciate, because he digs his nails into my nostrils and it really hurts), and to play with my teeth. Maybe he'll be a dentist?

Jackson has 4 teeth now...almost anyway. That 4th one is taking it's sweet time coming all the way in, and is greatly disturbing our sleep at night, because Jackson wakes up hurting, and I'm a softie and go in and cuddle him. Sometimes I just bring him back to bed with me, but I really need to stop doing that, because then neither of us...or I guess I should say none of the 3 of us sleep well when I do that. We go back to the doctor for his 9 month check up on Monday. I hope he's gained some weight...the little skinny guy was in the 5th percentile for weight at his 6 month check, down from like 17th 2 months before that. He eats really good, solids 3 times a day and nursing 3 or 4 times a day, and usually a bottle every day too. He's just constantly moving. We shall see. We just barely moved him to size 3 diapers...not because he'd outgrown size 2 though. We moved him up because I can get a bigger box of Luvs for about $10 cheaper than a box of Huggies, so as soon as he hit 16 pounds (or almost, since I don't know exactly what he weighs) we made the switch. All of his 6-9 month clothes fit him just fine length-wise, but are huge around him. As he scoots around the house, his pants usually come off and he just scoots around pant-less. I call him my pant-less wonder :) Some days I wonder why I even bother. Not to mention, he hates getting dressed, and sometimes the pants just don't make it back on after a diaper change before he runs away.

We've already been to the zoo twice this year. Mom and Dad Pond gave us a zoo membership for Christmas. Jackson loves to be outside, I love to get my exercise. We're going to spend lots of time at the zoo. I think Jackson will start enjoying it more as the summer goes on too and starts to realize the animals are fun to look at. Already he was more interested the second time we went than the first. That will be a fun activity all summer long.

I could go on, but Jackson and I are going to Mom and Dad's this weekend, and I have a gazillion things to do (I'm not stalling...updating the blog was on my to-do list!). Mom and I have tickets to Time Out For Women, and Jackson is going to play with Grandpa for 2 whole days and get into all sorts of trouble. We're going to take the shuttle up (which could be interesting...5 hours on a bus with a very active baby) because the next week is Lance's Spring Break, so they'll bring us back down and play for a few days here. I'll write about that, and his 9 month check when we get home. I'll also post pictures when I get home, because I need to figure out how to download them from my google account, and attach my phone to the computer to download those pictures to my computer too (long story short, my old phone went for a swim in the toilet--thank goodness all my pictures got backed up into my Google account--and now I've got an iPhone that I'm trying to figure out how to use still)

Monday, February 10, 2014

It Is True!

We had stake conference this weekend. The main focus was missionary work, and they put a focus on sharing the Gospel through social media and other online mediums. When I was on my mission, I was positive that I would come home and share my testimony and beliefs with everyone I know...but I didn't. Stake Conference today gave me a new resolution to go out and share my testimony. I have many Facebook friends who aren't members of the Church, and may not fully know what I believe. My blog is open to the public, and there could be someone who randomly clicks on my blog and wonders what I believe. Today I finished (apparently I started it when I got home from my mission, but never finished it) my profile. And I created a Twitter account (@KiraPond if you're interested) so I can share my testimony there. ...not like I need any more social media to keep up with, but I do want to share my testimony.

Without a doubt, I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I feel the love of my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ each day. I know that they know me, that they care about me, that they help me. I have had many trials in my life, and have felt help getting through those times.

I know that my family is eternal. Jeff and I were sealed for time and all eternity by the holy priesthood authority restored on the earth in these days. That was one of the best days of my life, one of the happiest. To be in the temple, surrounded by our family and a few close friends being not just married, but sealed together FOREVER means more to me than anything else. I know that because of that sealing, I will always have my true love by my side, and that each of our children will also be with us forever. Because of that same sealing power, we are both with our parents and siblings forever as well.

Family is so important to me. Jeff and I make sure to have time to spend as a family each week. We have Family Home Evening, even though Jackson is young and doesn't know what is going on. We know it is important for him to hear us sing the simple Primary songs and gather as a family. I have many fond memories of my family being gathered together (don't get me wrong...I also have memories of the many times I begrudgingly left what I was doing to gather with the family for our FHE.) I want Jackson to grow up knowing how important that family time is, and to come to enjoy the time we have to spend together discussing Gospel topics.

I take time most every day to take a quiet moment during Jackson's nap to sit down and read the Book of Mormon and the Ensign, to get the words of ancient and modern prophets and bring that extra strength into my life. I'm not perfect, and it doesn't happen every day, but when it does I do feel a difference. The Book of Mormon is true. It was translated by a Prophet in these Latter Days. The Latter-day Prophets are inspired in the words they speak in General Conference and the words they write in the Ensign each month. It is a blessing to read them and apply them to my life and receive that added strength from them.

I have a strong testimony of prayer. I know that Heavenly Father hears them. And I know that He answers them. I can kneel down and pour out my heart to my Father and those prayers will be heard and answered. I have felt help and comfort and some of the most difficult times in my life. I have felt His guidance when I didn't know what to do. And I have felt peace knowing that decisions I made about my life was right. Prayer is an important part of my day, first thing I do when I wake up and last thing I do before I go to sleep. I am teaching my sweet baby the importance of prayer, ensuring that we pray before our meals and saying a prayer for him before we put him to bed at night.

Within the Church, there are many great opportunities. I have had the blessing to serve in several different capacities. Each calling is equally important in it's own way. Currently I am the organist. I play the prelude in Sacrament meeting each Sunday to bring the Spirit to the meeting, as well as playing for the congregation to sing the hymns during the meeting. I am also a visiting teacher, visiting a few sisters in the ward to take them a spiritual message each month and cultivate friendships. In my last ward I was a Ward Missionary. Before that I was the Ward Choir Director. I have also been Relief Society President, Gospel Doctrine Teacher, and several other callings. I am grateful for each calling and the chance it gives me to learn and grow and stretch myself. I am also grateful for each of the other leaders in the ward who help to lift and strengthen each ward member every week.

The Gospel is true. I can't imagine where I would be without it. I don't want to imagine where I would be without it. It brings me so much strength in everything I do. It brings me hope. It brings me peace. I know where I came from, why I'm here, and where I'm going. I love the Gospel, and I love the happiness it brings to my daily life and my family.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

7 Sweet Months

It's hard to believe...I've been a Mommy for 7 months. Jackson is such a good baby...and FINALLY starting to sleep through the night. Like he slept 10 hours last night. I've been trying to get him to sleep through the night, and taking longer to go in and get him at night. I won't get out of bed unless he is screaming. And he's recently discovered that if he wakes up during the night and pops his thumb in his mouth he can fall back to sleep on his own. I have been sleeping so good lately! Which, consequently, means that I am so much more productive during the day because I actually have energy. I'd forgotten what it felt like to sleep in bed all night long, instead of spending at least part of the night sleeping in my rocking chair.

He has started to really love sucking his thumb. Half the time, I'm trying to feed him and he'll stop eating and stick his thumb in his mouth. Crazy kid :) He can get to any toy he long as it is within an arm's reach radius. He can scoot around in circles all day, but forget about going forward or backward. The kid is just too lazy to try to figure that out yet. (Granted, he doesn't have that big of a play area, so most of his toys are always in his reach anyway).

He loves sitting in his high chair and playing with his toys while I cook dinner or wash dishes (most of the time, anyway). There are a few toys that I keep with his high chair, so he only gets those when he's sitting there waiting, and he starts reaching for them before he is even buckled in. He also loves eating. He isn't a huge fan of green peas, but anything else he just scarfs down! We've started him on meats as well. He's now eating solids 3 times a day, and love gobbling up whatever we feed him. Last night after he ate his dinner, he got fussy sitting while Jeff and I ate, so I pulled him out and held him on my lap. He kept reaching for my dinner, so I gave him a few tiny bites of my potato, and let him drink water out of Mommy's cup. He thought that was pretty awesome.

We took Jackson's swing apart on Sunday. He hasn't used in in several weeks, and it was just taking up space. It is so nice having that extra space behind our door. We can move around when we come inside now! He has almost outgrown his infant car seat as well. We went shopping on Saturday so I could look at different seats. Now I just need to research which seat I want to buy for him, then we'll go get it and get his other seat out of our house too. Granted, it is convenient to be able to put him in his seat in the house, but it will be better for him too, because he loves being in the car.

Jeff was able to get an internship at KSL News Radio! He applied several months ago, so when he got a call asking him to go in for an interview we were very surprised. But he is loving it, and getting a bit of experience that will hopefully work to his benefit as he is beginning to look for a job. He has just 3 more months until graduation, and we're hoping he can quickly find a job working in Communications shortly thereafter.

I'm still hanging out at home, having fun with my sweet boy. I've been participating in KSL Studio 5's 10 Pound Challenge. It has gotten me up and exercising each morning. I don't know that I will be down the whole 10 pounds by the time it ends next week, but so far I am down 6 1/2 pounds and I am feeling so great. And regardless of whether or not I do achieve the goal of 10 pounds in a month, I am going strong at a new habit of daily exercise and eating better. If I can have all of my baby weight off by my birthday (a total of about 20 pounds) I will be feeling great, and I've got another 5 months for that. Easy peasy! It is also good for Jackson to see Mommy exercising every day so he can grow up seeing how important it is to stay fit. I can't wait for it to get nice outside so we can go outside and exercise every day. I think I'll try to get a jogging stroller this spring so we can go out for a jog with Jeff in the evenings too.

Life is good. We are happy.

Jackson playing with the caterpillar Grandpa made him for Christmas