Saturday, December 12


Two big things happened yesterday, pregnancy-wise.

First, as I was in the process of slowly waking up for work, I rolled onto my belly to find a more comfortable position for the last bit of sleep. And couldn't stay there for more than a minute or two. My uterus has officially popped out enough to make stomach sleeping impossible!

Second, and some MIGHT consider this a slightly bigger deal..... I was holding a fussy baby at work last night, watching Race to Witch Mountain (seriously, hardest job ever), and felt funny rumblings in my tummy. It took me a second or two to realize it was the baby, freaking out. Brit says the baby just doesn't like competition. I've felt flutters before that may or may not have been a baby, but I have to say that this is the first time I've really definitely felt him flipping around, finding a more comfortable position. And every time I was holding that baby (which I did for about 4-5 hours total), he kept flipping out. I loved it. There's a baby in there!!

Wednesday, December 9


I managed to get through my entire first trimester without gaining any weight... even losing a tiny bit... and then in the past week-ish, I've gained about 5 lbs.

I know, I know, I shouldn't be obsessing over this, but it's like a train wreck- I just can't look away. It's both horrifying and comforting all at once. I've spent the last several years closely monitoring my weight (to varying degrees of success), and I know pretty well what the junk I eat should do to my body. And it does not include packing on a pound a day. So there's a part of my brain that's going "Holy crap where is this coming from?!?!", and a slightly smaller part that is comforted by the knowledge that I really do have an alien rapidly growing inside me. Because in this in-limbo phase between morning sickness and showing or feeling kicks, sometimes I really wonder.

Still, though, I'm gonna start exercising and watching what I eat, lest I come out of this pregnancy 250 lbs. Which is where this is headed.

Tuesday, December 1

One down!

Today, at 13 weeks and 2 days, I Officially end my first trimester! (The two days are for that extra un-accounted-for week 40... I'm splitting it up into thirds to make the trimesters fair, lol.)

I've been over morning sickness for a while, for the most part. I had about a month of constant nausea, nothing sounding good to eat, and throwing up a few times. Now, I feel sick if I eat too fast, or if I eat certain things, but it usually happens after the fact, so most of the time I feel completely normal.

So normal, in fact, that I am just frustrated with this pregnancy right now. I don't even feel pregnant! I'm still not showing, except in chubbiness that I mentioned before. I just barely started gaining weight, but I can't honestly tell you if that's from growing a person or eating too much on thanksgiving. I can still sleep on my stomach, which I view as the ultimate indicator of my uterus not getting any bigger. I can still fit into my stretchy-waisted jeans, unless I'm having a bad bloating day. I have felt the baby move a few times, but it's VERY VERY rare that I can feel it AND be sure it's not gas or muscle twitches. I'm incredibly tired all the time, but sometimes it's hard to tell if that's from growing a baby or working nights, because it takes me a long time to catch up. If I take the nap my body demands, then I'm usually awake at 4 AM the next morning unable to go back to sleep. If I force myself to stay up all day, I'm falling asleep on the couch by 8 pm. So sometimes I feel like I'm more tired than normal, and other times it just feels like my sleep schedule is off, but still totaling a basically normal amount.

Put all together, I sometimes wonder if the baby's even still in there. There's just nothing to really make me feel pregnant anymore. I'll be relieved to go to my appointment next week and hear the heartbeat again, and a thousand times more relieved to start feeling him really kicking and moving regularly. Sometimes I poke my uterus to try and make him wiggle. It never works.

Monday, November 30

The Obligatory Holiday Post

Even though it was pretty much forever ago, I still need to make my obligatory Thanksgiving post. I was working Thursday, of course, so I spent the day sleeping and we didn't do anything to celebrate. On Saturday, however, my brother came down from Idaho and we had a small celebration together. I cooked my first ever Thanksgiving dinner.... and messed up a lot. It's hard not to focus on everything that was wrong (the turkey was dry, the gravy was flavorless, the potatoes were weird), but Brit and Andrew said they enjoyed it, and I certainly stuffed myself enough. I also discovered why people eat thanksgiving dinner so early.... we ate at a normal dinner time, about 5 PM, but by the time the apple pie was done cooling we were all asleep.

My fun disaster story of the evening: I had bought those frozen rolls that are supposed to thaw and rise, and then forgotten about them until 45 minutes before the turkey was done. So I hurried and grabbed them out of the freezer, dumped them all in a cake pan, and set them on top of the warm oven for a quick-rise. Unfortunately, I didn't realize one end of the pan was right in front of the oven vent.... and by the time I looked at them again, about 2 or 3 rolls were risen over the top of the pan, and the rest were still partly frozen. We let them rise the rest of the way anyway, and cooked them all into one giant roll-cake. In the end, they turned out pretty good... the ones in the middle are still doughy, but we have a lot of rolls for leftover turkey sandwiches. And that might just be my favorite part of thanksgiving, anyway.

This is our whole spread... we put the food on the table and ate buffet-style downstairs watching the BYU game. Which cut off 2 minutes before the end. Boo.

Me and Brit

Me and Andrew

My overly-filled plate of delicousness (I had run out and bought crescent rolls to replace my frozen roll disaster)
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Sunday, November 29


I had a great conversation with my favorite little girl yesterday. I was texting Wendy about something random, and she asked if I wanted to talk to Isabelle. Well, of course!

So we talked for a few minutes, she sang me a song (holy cow she's so cute), and then I said "Isabelle, do you know I love you very much?" She goes: ".....[long pause].... Can I talk to Brit now?" It was so funny. And SO HAPPY. The last few times she visited, she seemed afraid of him. So this is progress in the extreme. And I love it. And I'm pretty sure it gave Brit the warm fuzzies, too, even though he had a hard time believing that Wendy didn't prompt it (she didn't.)

Tuesday, November 24

Spending Money

We've been making a lot of big purchases lately. They always seem to clump together. Here's what we've been spending our money on:

It started with this:
A lovely find on KSL... a changing table/dresser with detachable hutch. I knew I wanted a changing table, and they are SO EXPENSIVE, I also knew I wanted it to be able to grow with the child and be a dresser someday. This is perfect. Lots of vertical storage, lots of drawer space, it looks good, and I got it for about half the price of any changing table I could find retail. Win!

Today, we got one of these:

And filled it with this:

To supplement this...

We've been looking at freezers for a while. As a family, our diet consists mainly of frozen pizzas, frozen tortellini, frozen chicken breasts.... You get the idea. We are not a fresh foods type of people, and our existing side-by-side was woefully inadequate. I would often be shopping and think "Oh no, can't get get that, it won't fit in the freezer." Now we can buy meats in bulk AND have a neverending supply of potstickers! Hooray!

And last, but certainly not least, about a week ago, we got ourselves another one of these:

Crazy? YES! But it was the right thing. For a while, our days kinda looked like this:

But with some good solid discipline, it's a little more like this:

So here's the thing. We've always talked about getting another dog. We never thought we'd stop with just Chess. Granted, we didn't think it would be so soon, but when we sat down and really thought about it, we knew it had to be now. Getting another dog is hard work, and total chaos for a while. You have to really devote yourself to training both of them, and setting down the rules. This would have been infinitely harder when I was hugely pregnant and couldn't move, and infinitely harder than that with kids around. So I tentatively agreed to let Brit start looking, thinking we'd begin the search in earnest after Christmas. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), he asked a trainer friend if she knew any rotties looking for a home, and that's how we met Sadie.

Sadie is a perfect cross between a rottweiler and a german shepherd. I agreed to meet her JUST to see if she was an ABSOLUTE PERFECT match for Chess.... and lo and behold, she is. They spent an hour running around a friends yard, wrestling and playing, and Chess is not usually a player. Sadie really brings out the dog in her, and they adore each other already. Sadie is definitely more Dog than Chess, a little crazier, a little more curious, and not as completely focused on her humans. But she's already mostly trained (she was rescued by a professional trainer), she's a beautiful smart girl, and she's the perfect sister for Chess. So, even though it's a little sooner than I expected, we are now a 2 dog family. And it's working out pretty well. I love both my puppies to itty bitty bits.

Sunday, November 22


Today, I went through about 3 different outfits trying to get ready for church, looking for ONE that doesn't make me look fat. It was mostly a failed attempt. I'm at a very awkward stage of the pregnancy now... My uterus is technically not making an appearance yet, but it's big enough to push all the fat up and out and make me look.... well, fat. I haven't gained any weight yet (actually lost a pound or two) (and that's probably good considering I was overweight to begin with)... but my favorite jeans won't fit anymore without rigging up the button hole rubberband. I just don't even bother with them anymore.

In conclusion, I need a lot more shirts with empire waists and flowy bottoms, because I feel gross fat, not cute pregnant fat. I don't remember it being this awkward last time.

Sunday, November 15

Changing Perspective

I've been reading Twilight again (I'm out of books, and night shifts are long, ok?). I used to love this book unconditionally, and have read it several times already. After seeing a lot of the negative reviews, though, I have a hard time not letting that taint my view. And this time around, it's a somewhat cynical read.

There's one thing I've realized this time. As far as I know, people have loved these books because they are the "universal perfect romance." I've always had a bit of a hard time with that concept, and now I've pinpointed why: It's not the perfect romance, but it IS the perfect fantasy. Everybody has experienced that entirely-out-of-your-league crush. The one boy in high school that makes you swoon just by looking at you, and makes you totally tongue-tied and sound like an idiot. This describes Bella's feelings for Edward perfectly..... except in this fantasy world, the out-of-her-league crush actually RETURNS her feelings. And what woman (or man, for that matter) hasn't wanted to feel loved and adored- or even noticed- by that one crush? Stephenie Meyer does a good job of descriptive writing, and pulling the reader into the emotions of the book. So readers get to live vicariously through Bella, experiencing the thrill of feeling special and noticed by someone who otherwise wouldn't be giving them the time of day.

Well, those are my thoughts on the matter, anyway.

Thursday, November 12

Umm... Awkward!

I've never been shy about sharing my adoption story. I love talking about it. But then, it hasn't come up too much in random conversations, and I try not to get into it unnecessarily. It's a hard story to condense into a few sentences and still have people understand, and it gets awkward when you launch into this big long story about having a baby and placing her for adoption.

I got a taste yesterday of the issues this pregnancy can cause me. I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning, and the dentist and everyone who found out I was pregnant (so, everyone who touched my mouth or asked me questions) asked the standard "Oh, so is this your first?" What do you say at that point, really? I guess it depends on the reason they're asking. No, this is not my first pregnancy. Yes, this is my first time being a mom. Usually I just explain no, it's not my first, I had a girl 3 years ago, and most people leave it at that. Great. The dentist went on to ask questions about my first, and comment on how busy I'll be. "Umm... yeah... busy...." Luckily he dropped it, but it made me think. What do I do when people ask those questions in the future? What would you do? Just say it's my first and leave it, explain the whole situation, or let people believe I have a three year old? This is going to be an interesting 7 months.

Wednesday, November 11

Really, Comcast? REALLY??

You might recall my recent habit to rant about my cable provider. My first post about their inherent suckiness, somebody from Comcast actually replied in my comments and (among other things) suggested I program the 30 second skip feature into my remote.

My second rant post about Comcast, somebody (I believe the same person) emailed me and, again, among other things, suggested I program the 30 second skip feature into my remote.

So today, I tried to watch my recorded episode of So You Think You Can Dance. Two minutes in, the recording freezes. I tried everything to get it past that spot... didn't work. So I finally went back and programmed the 30 second skip to try and just jump past that bit. Well guess what, Comcast? IT DOESN'T WORK. I followed the programming instructions 3 times, and my husband (who is, btw, a comp sci major, not technically illiterate by any means) tried it twice. The 30 second skip doesn't work, and not just on my busted recording. Thanks for the advice.

Epic fail.

New Directions

I always thought I would be one of those prudent people who wait at least 3 months to start blurting the news that she's pregnant. Well you know what? Screw that.

I've been waiting a long time for this. I've wanted a baby practically since I was 2 years old. I enjoyed being pregnant last time, even with all the heartache involved. This time, I'm doing it right. It's the right time, the right place, I have my husband by my side, and I get to look beyond just being pregnant to being able to be a Mommy. And I'm excited, dangit! I love being pregnant.

Unfortunately, there's nobody around to really be excited with me (oh joy, another pregnant lady in the Ward of Permanent Gestation). So I have to be my own party right now. And it's all going to get vented right here on the blogosphere. So yes, this will be turning into a blog with a ridiculous focus on being pregnant, and later probably being a mom. I'm sorry if this drives people away, but it's not like I had much to talk about before, anyway.

So, yes, I am pregnant, 10 weeks along. We had our first doctor's appointment this monday, and they adjusted my due date to June 7 (3 days earlier... I'll take it!). We got to see a quick ultrasound, and the little bean was very wiggly, which I enjoyed quite a lot. It's starting to look like a baby (in fuzzy black and white, anyway... it still looks like a mutant IRL.) The "morning" sickness is subsiding a bit... I have good days and bad days, and worse days when I don't eat right when my body demands sustenance. I've only thrown up 3 times, but sometimes I wish I didn't have such an iron stomach... I think a good barf would make me feel better. :) My jeans are starting to get a little snug, and I like to pretend I'm starting to show, but I'm not. I do have a nice little bloat belly going, though. I've decided the first trimester is the epitome of lame and frustrating. The only things making you feel pregnant are all the bad symptoms, you're not showing or feeling a baby move at all, and if you're waiting to tell people, you can't even talk about it. And it's too early to really start planning or shopping or registering. Not that that's gonna stop me from looking through the baby section or planning a nursery in my head. I just can't wait for things to start HAPPENING.

Monday, November 9


Me at church yesterday: "Hm. She looks fun. I could be her friend."
Brit: "So go be her friend. Go hug her! Right now!"

Obviously, nothing came of that conversation. But it did get me thinking. How do people make friends? I am extraordinarily bad at it. I connect with so few people, and I have a hard time making "casual friends." Either I'm all in and you get to see every little bit of my quirky personality and inappropriate comments, or we pretty much never talk. As a result, I don't have many friends. I think my Utah count is up to 5, none of whom I see with any sort of regularity. I hate that. I wish I had the personality to just connect with people, to call people up and hang out, or invite couples over for dinner and games. I think come across as standoffish, and I don't mean to. I just really don't know how to connect.

This is not meant to be a self-pity post, by the way. I am just honestly baffled at the process one goes through to start talking to someone, connect on a personal level, and begin to call that person "friend." I don't even know how I've done it in the past, it just seems to magically develop. So if anyone is ever wanting someone to hang out, please call me up, and I'll try to not be too awkward.

Friday, October 30

The Man

I got pulled over last weekend, Sunday morning driving home from work. Now, I've been pulled over before. I've gotten tickets, and deserved them. I've gotten out of tickets, and just been lucky. This, however, made me SO MAD, I can't get over it. So obviously, the solution is to rant about it on my blog. Doesn't that solve all problems? It makes me feel better, anyway.

So Sunday morning I was driving home on 215, and there was literally NOBODY OUT THERE. I was all alone on a quiet pre-dawn highway. Very pretty. But I was watching the road and not my speedometer, so coming down off a hill, I glanced down and realized I was going close to 90. Oops. It's hard to gauge how fast you're going when there's no other cars to judge by, y'know? So I immediately start braking back to 75-80 to set my cruise control (that's the average speed along that road). And of course, right as I start braking, I see a car way up in the distance ahead of me. And I get closer, and of course, it has to be a cop car. So I try backing down to 65...... too late. He pulls me over anyway. Didn't care about my story, or the fact that I was trying to slow down and set my cruise control to be safe.

But as he handed me the ticket, he carefully explained that he clocked me at 89, but since he's SUCH a nice guy, he only wrote me up for 5 over.


Thursday, October 22

Sick, but not really

I hate that in-between sick feeling. Like when you're just getting sick, and you don't really want to do anything, but you feel lazy just lying around doing nothing cos you know you're not really THAT sick. That's how I feel right now. I prefer to be all-out miserable in bed watching TV with a sippy cup (what? it's very convenient for drinking horizontally....), rather than just kinda blah but still technically well enough to do the dishes and clean out the office. Stupid dishes.

On a completely unrelated note, watch this video. It will make your day. I promise.

Wednesday, October 21


I found a lovely little tool through one of my blog-stalkees that I wanted to share. I use google reader for my blog fulfillment needs, but it has one downfall: It's all neatly displayed in a different window, which makes it rare that I make the effort to click over and comment, and equally rare that I get to see everyone's cute personalized blogs (unless you force me into it like Kristina and Boob Nazi, that is).

The new tool I've discovered is the Google "next" button. I guess the awesome people at Google understand this conundrum, because they've made a bookmarkable link that takes you from one updated blog in your reader list to another, straight to the actual blog entry. For those tech savvy people, simply click "settings" in your reader, go to the "goodies" tab, and follow the instructions. For people who need a little more help, a detailed tutorial with pictures can be found here. Enjoy! And expect to see more comments from me in the future!

Monday, October 19

The Sickness

My digestive system has been rebelling against me of late. It's like, "I'm fine.... I'm fine..... I'm fine.... I'M GOING TO VOMIT IF I DON'T GET SOMETHING TO EAT RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!" It's so ridiculous! I am not pleased. Seriously, Stomach, get it together. This is unacceptable.

Tuesday, October 13

More reasons I hate Comcast.

For some reason, when I'm trying to slowly fast forward through the Biggest Loser recap in the middle of the show, my lovely Comcast DVR decides what I really wanted to do after a few seconds was skip ahead to live TV recording in the MIDDLE OF THE WEIGH IN. Thanks for the spoiler alert. Freaking comcast. I hate you.

Sunday, October 11


Today was our second week in Nursery. Did I not mention that? Yeah, we got called to the nursery, in a ward with a membership of appx. 500 and a primary of appx. 200. That's right. Our kids make up half of the ward. Church is so ridiculously loud.

Anyway, I worked last night and went straight to church. It was my first time doing that and going to nursery. I slept STRAIGHT through sacrament meeting... I really don't remember a single person giving their testimony. But I woke right up when I had to deal with 15 screaming kids. I was shockingly patient for how tired I was.

My favorite part of the whole day, though, was watching Brit with a sad lonely 2 year old on each knee trying to keep them happy with a little toy panda. It made me all sorts of smiley. He's gonna be such a great dad someday.

Tuesday, September 29


After another difficult morning on the scale, I joined up with Weight Watchers again. It was something of an impulse, but I'm really excited about it now. The last couple of times I tried to diet, I was working and going to school, and too stressed out to stick with it. I think this is good timing for me. I have time now to research, plan meals, and shop right. And I'm excited about the shopping, too. Now that we go to Smith's, it's a lot easier for me to shop for fresh, healthy ingredients. I love that store so much. My previous experience has been mostly limited to Wal-Mart, and Smith's couldn't be more different. You can tell the employees actually care about their work, and the deli, produce, and butcher areas all look incredibly fresh and inviting.

Anyway, I just made a delicious egg salad with lettuce and tomato for lunch, and opted out of my (first) diet coke of the day in favor of a nice big water. It feels good to be healthy.

Saturday, September 19

Home Improvement

Brit started a little painting project a couple of days ago to decorate a wall in our basement next to the computers (yes, multiple). He worked really hard on the outline and the beginning parts, and then I kinda took over with detail work and tiny shadows. Unintentionally, I took over the project to the point where Brit texted me last night saying, "I kinda want to finish it, but I don't want to screw it up for you." I finally convinced him to finish working on his own project, and I feel bad that I took it over so completely, but he did and it turned out great.

And this morning at 1 AM on International Talk Like A Pirate Day, Brit finished the mural on our wall:

Does it make me very lame if I like it A LOT? The inherent pirateness and symbolism combine into one burning package of awesome.

The panorama shot of our (still very messy) basement where the mural resides:

And some shots of the work in progress:
I'm really glad this turned out to be a family project. And I'm immensely pleased with the final product. And will be even more pleased when my basement is put back together. But for now... yay!

Thursday, September 17

Yo-Yo Puppy

Here's how you deal with an over-energetic puppy:

One person is upstairs in the kitchen or living room. The other is on the other side of the house, and down in the basement. Take turns calling the dog to you, having her run all the way across the house and up and down the stairs, over and over again. Nobody has to move, and the crazy puppy burns off quite a bit of energy. Proceed to blog while exercising your dog in your pajamas.

Comcast vs DirectTV

Generally speaking, I'm one to go for the "good deal." Money matters, and I sacrifice what I really want to get the best value. When it comes to TV, however, I'm quickly changing my tune. We had DirectTV at our old apartment, but cancelled when we moved because we are paying for basic Comcast in our HOA. And obviously, I don't want to double-pay for TV I barely watch. I'm starting to think it's worth the money, though. Certainly once we're not so tight, I'll go back to DirectTV even if we're throwing money away to Comcast. Let me tell you just some of the multiple reasons the satellite is so much better:
  • Customer Service. My relationship with Comcast started badly right from the beginning, when I called to figure out how to turn on Closed Captioning, and the idiot Customer Service lady never bothered to ask me about my TV model, but gave me a 10 minute run-around of idiocy before I finally asked her "Ok, is there no way to turn it on through the cable box? No? Just through the TV? Ok I already tried that, it doesn't work, thanks for nothing."
  • The digital channel guide, as with most guides, shows every channel possible- not just the ones you get. And doesn't even try to indicate which ones you get. So if you try to scroll through the guide, looking for good shows, you're more than likely to find something great, try to go watch it, and see "You don't recieve this channel." Over and over and over again. DirectTV has a wonderful guide menu option, where the default channel guide is your list of favorites. It took a while to whittle the list down to channels I like and channels I get, but after that, TV watching was smooth as anything. Comcast has a difficult-to-use favorites guide, and you have to select the favorites menu every time you go to the channel guide, and then it starts over at channel 1. VERY irritating.
  • With DTV, when you fast forward through the commercials then hit play, it jumps back a few seconds to compensate for reflex delay. With C, you inevitably have to back up after getting to the end of the commercials, and several seconds into the show. Small, but irritating.
  • The DVR on C is almost unusable. Coming to the start of all the new seasons, I've wanted to throw my cable box out the window almost every time I try to set the DVR. When I try to set a series recording, there is no option to choose the channel. I had to go back and manually tell the DVR on at least 3 shows to record from the primary network, as opposed to some channel nobody's ever heard of that only plays reruns. We nearly missed a few season premiers that way.
  • It also likes to record reruns of new episodes. This is not a huge problem, but it got irritating after the 4th time I cancelled the recording of "Shawn has the Yips" and it decided to undo my cancel.
  • The instant memory on the DVR only goes back something like 30 minutes. That seems like not a big deal... and I guess it's not... but I'm used to DTV which had something like 2 hours of memory you could rewind to if you stayed on the same channel. It was nice, if I turned on the TV in the middle of a movie I wanted to watch, or wanted to go back and watch some shows that were just on. It was also nice because it would stay paused for a very long time.
There are several more reasons I hate comcast, but I'll stop there. I don't know who has the better deal or more channels, but when Brit starts working and we're rolling in the dough, I'll definitely be splurging to go back to DirectTV's easy and comfortable user interface. It just causes so much less irritation in my life.

Wednesday, September 16


One of the things I was most excited about in owning my own home was painting. I love colors. Unfortunately, the entire concept of painting and decorating has caused me a huge amount of unforeseen stress. We have the main accent wall done, and the kitchen, and I love them both. But now I need to come up with a color for basically all the rest of the main floor, and I'm terrified I'm going to screw it up. I have NO sense of style whatsoever. And any color I choose is going to be present in HUGE amounts with our vaulted ceilings. I don't want it to be ugly, or weird, or too dark, or clash with the other colors. I don't know how to find a balance of fun color without overdoing it and looking like an exploded rainbow. It's like when I was a teenager, and I needed a second opinion before I could even dress myself, but so much worse, because this is my HOUSE. I might like it, but what if people are coming over and going "Wow. This is an ugly house."? I'm terrified!

So basically what I'm trying to say is, does anyone want to come over and paint and decorate for me?

Friday, August 28


We finally fulfilled one of my dreams of dog ownership: Thursday afternoon we hiked Battle Creek Falls. It's a simple hike, just a mile, up to the top of the waterfall. The first half was a grueling uphill battle, not fun for me. We met the stream halfway up the hill, and Chess had fun walking through the water (she won't swim yet) and getting a drink. Chess had a BALL. There was nobody else out, so we let her run around off leash, and she was one happy puppy.

The end of the hike was definitely worth it. The waterfall (and the stream for that matter) were beautiful, and we found an offshoot path to the bottom of the waterfall that was all secluded and hidden. We spent some time there, took some pictures, and headed back on a nice downhill stroll.

I hope to continue this new hiking hobby.

We finally fulfilled one of my dreams of dog ownership: Thursday afternoon we hiked Battle Creek Falls. It's a simple hike, just a mile, up to the top of the waterfall. The first half was a grueling uphill battle, not fun for me. We met the stream halfway up the hill, and Chess had fun walking through the water (she won't swim yet) and getting a drink. Chess had a BALL. There was nobody else out, so we let her run around off leash, and she was one happy puppy.

The end of the hike was definitely worth it. The waterfall (and the stream for that matter) were beautiful, and we found an offshoot path to the bottom of the waterfall that was all secluded and hidden. We spent some time there, took some pictures, and headed back on a nice downhill stroll.

I hope to continue this new hiking hobby.

Monday, August 17

Good Things

I'm pretty sure that one of the better experiences you can have in this life is to be walking hand in hand with your husband, with your dog walking nicely to heel right in between you. A few minutes in, I put the end of the leash in my pocket, I didn't even need to hold it anymore.

What a beautiful day.

Monday, August 10


My dog is so weird. She shows absolutely no interest in toys. I've tried getting her excited... nothing. I've tried physically sticking it in her mouth... nothing.

I've been able to "train" her to fetch, by throwing a toy, running to it with her, and getting her to pick it up. Eventually, she got the picture, and would run after the toy when I told her "Go get it!!" and bring it back. I'm pretty sure it was just a job to her, though, because after 2-3 throws, she always stops and looks at me like "Seriously?! I just brought that back for you. Maybe if you'd stop throwing it, I wouldn't have to go get it!!"

BTW, we've been calling her Chess, and it really fits her. So I think that's what we're sticking with.

Friday, August 7

Our new addition...

We have an announcement to make. We're adding a new member to our family.... last tuesday.

How overdone is that joke?

Monday night, after an unsuccessful visit to the Sandy shelter, Brit let me go down to the one we've been frequenting in Lindon by myself to see if there was anything worthwhile, with the caution that I'd better not be bringing someone home. That turned out to be harder than I thought when I met this girl.

I wasn't sure about her at first when she got really overexcited at the prospect of getting out of her kennel. I was afraid she'd be too high-energy, but I kept coming back to her pretty face. So I tried it anyway. And she had a complete and startling transformation. From jumping up at the door to get out, she turned into a perfectly calm leash walker and a sweet, mellow, affectionate girl. I fell head over heels in love. I hogged her for an hour until the shelter was closed to adoptions, just so nobody else would steal her, and dragged Brit back there the moment his class ended on Tuesday. He grudgingly fell in love with her, too. He says he wanted a more manly dog, but she won him over in the end (even though she kept stepping on his shoe!). So we took her home! The shelter guesses she's between 1 and 3 years old, and a mix of chocolate lab and aussie.

Let me tell you how completely wonderful this dog is:
  • She is a perfectly calm walking companion. I go running with her in the mornings, and I have to keep checking to make sure she's still there, since it doesn't feel like there's anything on the end of my leash.
  • She's amazingly smart. She picks up commands and intentions very quickly. She knows sit, is quickly learning Down, and she picks up quickly when she's not allowed in a room, even with her separation anxiety telling her to follow us EVERYWHERE.
  • She is very cuddly and affectionate, and loves people. Even out meeting kids, she doesn't get overexcited and jump on or lick them, she just sits quietly while they pet her and love on her (and then tries to follow them home).
  • She has a very low energy level in the house, and an appropriately fun energy level when we're out. When we're sitting quietly, she's sitting or sleeping near us, never whining or looking for something to do. When we're running, she's keeping up happily, and obviously loving every minute. (When I took her out to potty this morning, she got super excited when she thought we were gonna go running again and tried to immediately go to the car. I think she was confused when I didn't let her in.)
This is her favorite thing to do in the house, really. As long as she's in the same room as us, she is content.
  • She's perfectly calm around our cat. Not that Whiskey has made many appearances since Tuesday... but she will slink around the edges of the room, and come up to investigate the new addition. Usually the dog ignores her, but one time there was a bit of a chasing incident (they are, after all, cats and dogs) so we're just keeping the dog on the leash in the house for the time being.
There's just a few things I'm worried about right now, mostly regarding her getting settled. She's still not eating much, if anything. She had a whole 2 cups of food after I left for work last night, which was an amazing accomplishment for her. She's not interested in any treats but chicken and Natural Balance dog rolls, rarely drinks, and won't play with any of her toys. I'm attributing it to nerves from being in a new situation, and hoping it goes away.

We're pretty sure she has separation anxiety as well. She follows us everywhere around the house (and outside, for that matter), and doesn't want to go out into our fenced backyard without us. We have to force her out if she does, and then she just sits by the door. Her first night home she was perfectly quiet in her crate alone in the basement, but the second night we brought her crate into our room when she started whining and I started stressing, and last night Brit kept her in there in case she needed to go out after actually eating something for the first time. In fact, we've really never had to leave her alone. Brit's home while I'm at work, and while he's at school, I take the dog running with my friend in Orem. It's nice that we can spend so much time with her, but we really need to start putting her by herself for a few minutes at a time so she gets used to it!

She still doesn't have a name (obviously, as I've been calling her The Dog this whole time). Our current top contenders are Chess, or River. Bodi was recently eliminated because I seem to be the only one who likes it, but I think it fits her best. Bella also fits her well, but I worry that people will get the wrong idea. Any suggestions? I'm going to put up a poll in the sidebar. Vote on my dog's name!

I love my puppy!!!

Wednesday, August 5


This is what happens when two important members of the family are missing on the most anticipated vacation of the year:
  • The sun makes only a few appearances, preferring to hide behind clouds
  • Pre-rain wind storms crop up so badly the anchors have to be redone
  • The generator goes out on the houseboat
  • The batteries lose so much life that the TOILETS stop flushing before the backup generator arrives
  • The seawater pump on Branch Office (my father-in-law's boat) starts leaking, rendering the main boat essentially unuseable
  • The friend coming down halfway through the week accidentally brings the wrong replacement part
  • The local boat shop that said they would overnight the new pump in for us somehow fails to get it before we have to leave
  • Something goes wrong with the OTHER boat (my brother-in-law's) and he has to pull it out and grease..... something or other.... I'm not really a boat person, ok?
Lake Powell missed you, Ryan and Heather!!

This is the end of the post as far as they are concerned.

Actually, the week was pretty amazing. It's hard not to be. It was exceptionally weird, especially the weather, and it made me smile a few times and really think "Aw, Lake Powell is sad cos Ryan and Heather aren't here!"

My parents were there for the first half of the week, and it was cool and cloudy until they left. The day they left, the sun came out and stayed out. Which turned out to be very convenient, since my mom doesn't handle the heat very well, and that's what she was most nervous about. (I actually wore PANTS one day! That's craziness!)

Branch Office wasn't ACTUALLY unuseable. We were afraid it would be, but then we started using it anyway, and even though we couldn't take any big day trips, we went out plenty of times as a family (minus 3) to hike Split Rock, wakeboard, tube, and sit in the boat and read like lazybums while the babies slept. Honestly, boat rides are the BEST nap-inducer in the world.

Toward the end of the week, our canyon became the Grand Central Station of passing boats. It was nuts. SO MANY people came buzzing through, including a Super Cool speedboat full of bikini girls and guys with stylish hair jumping off cliffs and shooting videos for VooRay. Meanwhile, the entire family sat in adirondack chairs on the beach under an Easy-Up shade watching the kiddos play in the water, with bowls of chips and salsa and binoculars to better watch and mock the people across the lake. It was a bonding experience. Look for videos of our awesomeness to appear on any day now.

I went tubing twice... Gary really knows how to manipulate the boat for maximum pain. I caught air several times. I went wakeboarding a few times, and managed to get outside the wake behind Branch Office on my last run the morning we left. (Trust me, that's an accomplishment. I suck at wakeboarding, and Branch Office has a scary big wake (actually I just suck at wakeboarding)).

I had so much fun. And honestly, my favorite part is hanging out with family. I have the most awesome in-laws. I can't wait for next year!

Sunday, July 19

Post Script

I'm watching the adoption episode of "16 and Pregnant." And I just have to say, if I ever hear anyone in real life say that a person chose adoption because they couldn't "man up" or "take responsibility," I will probably punch them in the face.

That is all.

Saturday, July 18

An Unasked-for Ode to Open Adoption

I've been thinking about adoption a lot lately. It seems to come up all around me. And for the LONGEST time (since my birthday, I think) I've been putting off the impression that I should share some of my feelings on adoption and how much open adoption has been a blessing to me.

Part of what I've been wanting to say is not so good, and has nothing to do with wholesome impressions to share fuzzy feelings. And that is the really bad feelings I get when faced with others in similar situations. To be perfectly honest, I get terribly judgey of young pregnant girls who decide to parent their babies. It is RARELY a good situation for anyone involved, and I can rarely look at it as anything but a selfish decision. I know how it feels to be pregnant. I know how you can't help but think of the cute cuddly baby who will love you and be loved and be the most precious thing in your life. I know how hard it is to think of giving that up forever! So I can't think of any good excuse to subject and innocent child to your unresolved baggage, and barely out of high school (or not even out of high school) education, career, and financial stability. It just makes me so mad when I see these young people barely making it by themselves, even living in their parents' houses still, talking about how cute and fun it's going to be to have a little baby and dress him in his cute little clothes and play house with an ACTUAL PERSON'S LIFE.

Yes, I get over emotional about it. And I'm sure I will offend people with my vent. And I'm sorry. Kind of. But not really. Call it one of my pet-peeves. People are allowed to be irrational about pet peeves, right?

Anyway. On the more fuzzy-feeling side...

While we were vacationing at Tahoe, there was a rumor that my grandma-in-law was going to ask family to share a spiritual experience in a sort of family testimony meeting. That never happened. But it did get me thinking about the most spiritual experience of my life, which was (surprise!) placing Isabelle for adoption (you didn't see that coming, did you?).

I have never felt my Heavenly Father's direct touch in my life so much as when he was guiding me to her family. I've said it over and over, and I will say it again: I clearly know that he was guiding my steps- and her family's- quite directly so that she ended up in the right place. There were so many small and large coincidences involved in her adoption; so many times when, if the timing were just slightly off, she would have ended up somewhere else entirely. So many clear spiritual promptings that led us to each other, at just the right time, so that this particular child would be with that particular family. What an amazing testimony of the importance of families. When I met them, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. Something that had been conspicuously absent through the whole ordeal of pregnancy and coming to terms with the idea of "giving up" my baby. She clearly belonged with them, and it was clearly the right thing for everyone, and it made an almost impossible prospect feel right and good. Still painful; I don't think that can be avoided, for anyone in that situation, but much easier to heal from.

We have an open adoption, obviously, and people have questioned whether that is really the best thing. I absolutely think it is, for us. I know it can be hard, especially for adoptive parents! I can't imagine not having some feeling of "No, this is MY baby!" Or feeling just a tiny bit resentful at having to "share." But for my part, having an open adoption has helped me let go like nothing else could. Seeing her happy and well, and reinforcing that feeling that she is where she belongs, keeps me from holding on to the idea that she is "my baby," or second-guessing my decision. I feel like if I had cut off contact just after seeing her and holding her when she WAS still my baby and little and sweet and innocent... or even just after she was born, if I had decided to never see her or hold her, I wouldn't be able to erase the memories of being pregnant and feeling her grow and move inside me. If I had decided to cut off contact at that point, how could I possibly move past it? It's not something you can ever forget, so instead I would be left cut off at the emotional state of being a new mom, and then... nothing. Now, I've had the chance to grow with her, to slowly let her go, to come to see her as Wendy and Tyler's cute little girl whom I love with the unconditional love of a parent. Open adoption is an amazing, healing thing.

As an interesting side-note, I've done several adoption forums with other birth moms. At one in particular, the coordinator expressed frustration to me about getting a variety of birth moms for the panel- she says that those with closed adoptions rarely, if ever, agree to rehash it. She had one who did agree, but backed out at the last minute, saying "That's not a part of my life I want to remember." How sad to be left with nothing but the pain of the experience. I love my adoption, I love Isabelle, and I love her family. And I love talking about it, and remembering what a wonderful, amazing, spritual experience the whole thing was. I can't call it a mistake. It was a few poor choices that led to an amazing opportunity for growth, and the chance to see Heavenly Father work miracles to bring eternal families together.

Friday, July 10

Oh yeah, that old thing...

So it was our anniversary, like, forever ago. Two years. It was sweet and sappy and all that good stuff. We had all these big plans, but then we ended up just going to Tucano's with my birthday coupon and keeping it super low-key, all in all. I'll have to make that up to him later.

Brit brought me flowers after school, and they were exceedingly lovely. And, that's about it.

Oh yeah, and then this happened...

Yes, those are keys in my hand. To our new house. That is ours.

Saturday, July 4

Happy Independence Day!

Not that holidays mean anything to me, lately...

Thursday, July 2


Dear Google,
Why is it that every day you are coming out with new and innovative improvements to your whole program, and yet Blogger still blows for uploading pictures?

Please prioritize.

Concerned Google Lover


I was going to continue my posting marathon with 3 or 4 posts on adventures at Lake Tahoe, but I decided to spare you and just make it a one-post summary with picture collages. Which meant I had to wait until the week was over to get all the pictures.

We left for the airport on Thursday morning literally right after my shift... actually, before it was even over. I had a nurse come in to relieve me at 6:30 so I could get to the airport on time. And then, OF COURSE, I got an admit at 5:50, so I was still charting at 6:40. HA. But that's another story.

So, we get to Reno, Gary and Cynthia are there to pick us up. We had In N Out for my first time ever on the way back to Tahoe, and it was delicious. My first day consisted mostly of sleep. The next morning, we (meaning me, a brother- and sister-in-law, their baby, and another sister-in-law and her baby) went for a hike. Sister-in-law's husband was sick with swine flu, as was Brit (not really, but that's what I like to call their nameless sickness). The hike was a lot of fun. It was very hard at the beginning, as we were pretty much climbing a mountain and I'm not in the greatest shape. But then we started on the return loop, and it was a gentle downhill slope on a wide path where we could walk side by side, and it was all talking and having fun until we got to the bottom. Yay! The only sad thing was it made me realize how much I wish I had a dog we could bring with us.

The rest of the day again consisted of mostly napping for me. That night, we went to Sunnyside, a cute restaurant right on the water with fabulous food. Saturday morning, we went out on the boat to explore the coastline a little and see Emerald Bay, which was gorgeous. On the way back, we stopped at Sunnyside to gas up the boat and grab some appetizers to munch. I spent the rest of the day napping, feeling like I had some sort of heat sickness.

By Sunday, I was back to a normal sleeping schedule. Sunday could be called the Day of the Billion Family Pictures. We took family pictures in church clothes before church, at the beach, and on the dock. It was nice to have so many good pictures of everyone, but some people (*cough*jordan*cough*brit) were getting irritated by the end. Spoilsports. After church, we stopped by this cute craft fair, and me and Brit got an ADORABLE spinny wind chime type thing as an anniversary/housewarming gift. We had lunch at a DELICIOUS pizza place, went home for naps, and went to the beach a few hours later, where (like I said) we took a billion more impromtu family shots. The beach was fun, not because we played in the water (Lake Tahoe is FRIGGIN COLD) but because we all sat around talking and watching the kids play. I love my in-laws so much. Sitting around talking with them make up some of my favorite memories.

That night, a lot more of the extended family got in, and we had a big family dinner with lots of screaming kids. Monday morning, we made DELICIOUS pancakes (and by "we", I mean me and my cute nephew), went to the pool, packed up, and left for the airport in the early afternoon.

It was a lot of fun. I'm sad we had to leave early, but Brit had to get back to class, and I have to work tonight. It's been a long time since the whole family was at Tahoe together- since before we were married. I hope we can do it again, though! Next year, anyone?

Tuesday, June 30

I hate that.

Don't you just hate it when the hair you thought was super cute when you saw in the mirror for the 10 seconds it took you to do ends up being super weird looking when you see it in the big family pictures later?

Yeah. Me too.

Saturday, June 27

Fun Visit

We enjoyed a fun visit from Wendy, Tyler, Isaac, and Isabelle a few days after I got my hair done. (Last Friday? I'm having trouble keeping track of my days...) We went out to breakfast and played at a park and it was tons of fun. Isabelle was afraid of Brit. And me, too, but less so. I think she's just afraid of boys. Brit says "Good." She certainly is a gorgeous little girl.

This last one is mostly a picture of the really cool necklace that Wendy bought me for my birthday. I like it a lot.

ETA: Posting marathon TBC after I come back from a boating trip to Emerald Bay. It's time to go get ready.

Posting Marathon: BEGIN!

I am naughty. I have about a billion posts to catch up on. They SHOULD all be short and sweet. I hope.

First, my hair. It is awesome. This is the reason I kept looking in the mirror and contemplating how awesome I am, tbh. I had been planning on getting my hair done, but just the roots filled in and the highlights refreshed, but at work 2 days before my appointment I started talking to one of the PCT's (whose hair I am completely jealous of) and she told me I should do something different. I like different. She also gave me the number of her awesome and affordable hair stylist. So, I just made the appointment, and went for it. And it ROCKS.

Sadly, pictures don't even do it justice. Things you can't see through pictures: The underneath half is black, and the top has bright red highlights sprinkled throughout. And the blond bit is only on that one side.

This happened a while ago, but I didn't want to blog it until I saw my family this weekend. I was all excited about surprising them with my awesome hair.... and then I worked a 12 hour night shift and flew to Reno immediately after, so by the time I saw people, my hair was a stringy gross mess. How disappointing. But I think by now they've gotten the full impact of the awesome.

Wednesday, June 24

Dear Local Library,

Why do you fail so hard? Why must you be out of every book I want to read, every time I look, with at least 30 people in line ahead of me? And most especially, why, when I try to weasel my way into said ridiculous line of people who want to ruin my life through taking my books, do you insist that when I say "Reserve 'Wings,'" I actually mean, "Reserve this other book that I ALREADY HAD RESERVED"???

I hate you quite a lot.

With utmost loathing,
Jennifer Christensen

Friday, June 19

I feel like so much crap

Let's see. How many things can go wrong with my body all at once...

My back is tense
My ankles are sore
My shins ache
I got a sunburn
I have a headache
I have a terrible canker sore on the inside of my lip
i have the hiccups.

I want to die.
I definitely do NOT want to be going into work after about 40 minutes of napping.

Wednesday, June 17

a tidbit

Sometimes, I can't help but to stop and look in the mirror and contemplate how awesome I am.

That's all. Move along.

Thursday, June 11

Aches & Pains

So, the store where I bought my shoes has a 10-day "satisfaction guarantee." Not that I could get my money back, but if these shoes weren't The Ones, I could exchange them for store credit or try something else.

Do you think that still applies if my shoes have giant blood stains in the heels?

Still, I don't think I'll need to exchange them. I like them quite a lot. Even if I do have giant blisters on the backs of my ankles. I found a "running buddy," and we've been going every morning (all two of them) and running/walking around the neighborhood for just about 30 minutes. And, FYI, running outside is FREAKING HARD. SO much harder than the treadmill. It makes me wonder if it's worth it. But if I can get used to it, I think it will be more fun. And it's REALLY nice running with somebody as opposed to by myself, because when I'm not gasping for air, it's nice to be able to have a conversation.

Oh, and by the way, nice expensive running shoes do NOT make it any easier to breathe when I'm "running." Which is really more like jogging, or shuffling, even more so than when I'm on a treadmill. I'm not sure why even these extremely slow speeds are so much harder outside.

Also, I was at the gym doing lunges for the first time in a LONG time on Tuesday, and my legs STILL hurt. All day yesterday I was groaning and falling off the couch when I tried to get up. And limping everywhere. Not fun. But on the bright side, my muscles are so sore and tense, it makes my butt feel tight and sexy.

Because I'm sure everyone wanted to know that.

Tuesday, June 9


Well, I went to a good running store and got my gait analyzed. It was pretty fun. He slow-mo'd me running on a treadmill (highly embarrassing) and showed me how I roll in my ankle ever so slightly. That's where I hoped it would end... but oh no... the stupidly wise mind-reading shoe salesman had to read my naughty cheapskate thoughts. Know what he said? I don't even know how the topic came up, but he came right out and said "Yeah, some people just go to Kohl's[scoff] and still pay $70-80, and get cheapo shoes that are just cardboard after a few months." I may have blushed. But I was subconsciously bullied into buying real shoes.

Here they are, not running, but still looking cute and happy on my feet:
These had better improve my running $70 worth, or I will be giving people some very dirty looks... (Julianne&Emilia)

And since I've deluged you with boring talk about shoes and (not)running, here are some pictures of my adorable kitten:

Watching TV on my lap

Being very brave peeking out the door of the apartment

Kitty in a box!

Kitty in a lap!