Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Blog Confession

I still feel like I am just faking it as a wife and mother the majority of the time.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mind Reader

Mind Reader.
I have to add that to the list of my Aiee's good qualities. She really is amazing.

Yesterday when I left for work, I asked Jason if he would call the front desk and arrange to have our linens changed. Since where we live is also a hotel, you can pay for maid service through the hotel. We've never done it since our aiee cleans for us, but our white duvet cover and sheets and pillowcases were all starting to look a little bit dingy. So, we thought we'd pay just to have all of our linens changed. When I got home from work and my bed was made with nice, clean, fresh linens, I just figured Jason did it, so I thanked him. He said, "Oh, I didn't do it, Aiee just did it this afternoon, it's like she can read our minds." We really are so blessed to have such a great person working with us.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Clean Hands and a Pure Heart

I taught the Relief Society lesson yesterday. I am the 4th Sunday teacher so I always have to teach from the conference talks. I love it because there are so many good things in the talks, but it's also hard because it's not in "lesson" format. I always struggle to come up with a good sequence and ask good questions to get a discussion going. But, afterwards, I always come away having learned a lot. In fact, every single one of the talks that I've had to teach about have come at times when I really needed to hear the message contained in them.

I just wanted to jot down a few of the quotes that I really enjoyed from yesterday's lesson. It was taken from Elder Bednar's talk called "Clean Hands and a Pure Heart".

The first quote just jumped out at me and really spoke to me. It says, "The purpose of our mortal journey is not merely to see the sights on earth or to expend our allotment of time on self-centered pursuits; rather, we are to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4), to become sanctified by yielding our hearts unto God (see Helaman 3:35), and to obtain "the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16)."
I guess the real reason I noticed it so much is because the last little while my life focus has been "to see the sights on earth". Since we have been in China, I have been planning vacations, wanting to fit in as many places as possible. At Christmas, I remember telling Jason that our Christmas felt really selfish this year. Being far away from family, we didn't really think about anyone but ourselves. I am not saying that seeing the sights of the world or focusing on ourselves is always bad, it just shouldn't be our main focus. So, it was good for me to reflect and think about how I can "walk in newness of life", yield my heart to God, and obtain "the mind of Christ".

Here are two more quotes that I really enjoyed:
"Repenting of our sins and seeking forgiveness are spiritually necessary, and we must always do so. But remission of sin is not the only or even the ultimate purpose of the gospel. To have our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit such that 'we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually' (Mosiah 5:12), as did King Benjamin's people, is the covenant responsibility we have accepted."

"All our worthy desires and good works, as necesary as they are, can never produce clean hands and a pure heart. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength. The infinite Atonement is for both the sinner and for the saint in each of us."

I enjoyed the whole talk. It was really a good reminder to me of the power of the atonement. That it's not just there to get rid of sin, but also the desire to sin. It doesn't just cleanse, it also sanctifies and changes our hearts. And it's up to us to allow the Spirit to work that change in us. It is not good enough to merely avoid evil, we need to fill our lives with good. We can continually improve as the Spirit works a miracle in our hearts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I love jetlag!

Okay, I love it when Jason has jetlag. It's the only time in our married life that we have close to the same sleeping schedule. He is such a night person and I am such a morning person. Last night he went to bed at about 8:00 which I didn't really like since I wanted to hang out with him more, but then this morning when I woke up at the early hour of 5:30, he actually wanted to get up with me. What a nice treat. It was so much fun having a few hours before the kids got up and then having someone help me make breakfast and get the kids ready. I had such a fun morning. We even got to play a few rounds of Dr. Mario before I had to go to work. I hope his jetlag lasts a long time, like forever.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Royalty

I had to wear a crown all evening yesterday.
Haley called me queen and I had to call her princess.
Girls are so much fun!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Sweet, Tender-Hearted Boy

While we were hanging around the house all day today, I turned on some music. The song, "You and Me" by Lifehouse came on and Britton said, "Dad really likes this song." I agreed and said that I liked it too. A few minutes later, Britton said, "This song just makes me think of Dad. I really miss him." Then a few minutes later, I looked over and there were tears running down his face. It was the cutest crying I have ever seen. He has the most tender heart. I tried talking to him and asked him if he wanted me to turn off the music or if he wanted to call Jason and talk to him. He didn't want either. It was like he just wanted to be alone with his thoughts, missing his dad.
We will all be so happy in a few days when Jason gets home.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Our Latest Adventure

So, the family next door all got lice early in the week. They got it from some other girls in the building who got it from another girl in the building. Anyway, seeing as we were hanging out with all of these people at our neighbor's house on Sunday night (before anyone knew they had it), I figured my kids would probably get it. And since my kids have been sleeping with me since Jason has been gone, I figured I would probably get. So, I have been checking my kids all week long.

Yesterday morning after Haley's bath, I was combing her hair and I saw a bug. So, I immediately checked Britton. Then I called Jason to complain to him about how unfair it is that I have to do this while he is away.

I didn't find anything on Britton, but I decided to just give him a buzz cut to be sure. He needed a haircut anyway. And then I put all of our pillows, blankets, clothes, etc. out on the balcony. I kept trying to call one of our neighbors who has the shampoo for it, but they were gone all day yesterday. So, I had no idea what to do.

I went to the pharmacy and tried to explain what I needed. None of them spoke English so I just pointed to my kid's heads and tried to make a crawling bug with my hand. The lady seemed to think she understood me and she gave me a tube of cream that I purchased. When I got home, I asked the people at the front desk what the cream is for. They read the labels and told me it was a skin cream for rashes. So, then I asked them where I could get some shampoo for lice and they told me to go to the hospital.

So, I took the kids to the hospital. I went to a dermatologist and luckily she spoke English. But, unluckily, she treated us like we had the plague or something. I told her I thought we all had lice and she was horrified. She didn't even check us. She just asked why I thought that. I told her about our neighbors and she asked what nationality they are (can you believe that?). I told her U.S. and she said, "Americans with head lice?" all amazed. Then she preceded to tell me that only poor, dirty people get lice which of course I know better than to believe her. She said that no one in the city gets it, just people living out in the villages. Anyway, she told me I needed to cut Britton's hair all the way off (remember, I just gave him a buzz) and that I also needed to do it to Haley. And if I have it too I would also need to cut my hair off. Then she prescribed 2 tubes of something to wash ourselves with and then wrote down the name of some cream that we can't even get here, we'll have to go outside of Clifford to a pharmacy to get it. Anyway, it was quite the experience at the doctor. Luckily, I am informed enough (and I can look things up on the internet) that I know I don't have to cut all our hair off to treat it.

Melanie came over and checked my head (now that's a true friend!) and she didn't find anything at all. I checked both my kids again in the evening and I can't find any bugs or nits (the eggs). So, now I'm wondering if I totally imagined the first bug I saw just out of paranoia. I don't think so because I was pretty sure I saw at least one on Britton during the haircut too. But, maybe I caught it soon enough that there weren't a bunch of eggs yet or something. Anyway, I'm still treating us all with the stuff I got from the doctor and sterilizing all of our bedding and keeping us quarantined from everyone until I am 100% certain it's gone. Better to be safe than sorry on this one.

So, all day long today, I have been doing laundry. But, it's not as easy as it sounds. Our washer and dryer are very small so they can't hold much. Also, there is no hot setting on our washer so I have to soak everything in boiling water first to make sure to kill any bugs and eggs that might be there. So, I put a batch of clothes in the tub, boil water on the stove, then pour it in the tub and let them soak for a good 1/2 hour. Then I wash them and dry them. This is such a long process and I still have stacks outside on the balcony waiting to be washed. Has anyone every tried soaking a king-size down comforter in boiling water in your tub and then waiting for it to cool enough so that you can wring it out so that you can actually lift it and carry it into your washer? Yep, good times.

I know that it's no fun getting rid of lice anywhere, but I can't help but wish I was in America to deal with this. I could really use my HUGE washer and dryer with hot settings right now. And a Walmart right down the street where I can buy some lice shampoo and talk to someone in English about the best things to do. Even though it will probably be good and gone by the time Jason gets back, I'm still having him bring several treatments back with him. Just in case.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So much fun!

Today we went up to the lake at Clifford to play on the playground, but the kids quickly spotted these fun things on the lake. So, I went with Britton in one. It's like a floating hamster wheel. I've never seen anything like it in my life. It was such a blast. When we first got in, Britton was scared and didn't really want me to move. But, he got a bit more comfortable with it. Melanie took a short video clip that shows us really well, walking up the sides, making it roll around. But, I can't post videos here unfortunately. So, hopefully you can use your imaginations. I want to go back sometime and go in one with Jason to really get it moving. I think you could do cartwheels and flips and stuff, but Britton was too uneasy to try anything too crazy. Just running was fun enough anyway.





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Monday Funday

On Monday we went with Melanie and Shane to Grandview Mall to play on all the rides. The whole top floor is an arcade/amusement park. It was really crowded and really loud, but we all had a good time. Haley LOVES carousels. It's always her favorite thing. Britton and I went on the log flume, but there are no pictures of that. He LOVES log flumes. This one is pretty cool because it goes outside up on the top of the building. And there are lots of big dinosaurs around as you are floating in your log. They make you wear plastic boots and raincoats, but we still got wet.
After the mall, we went to Papa John's for dinner. That is always a treat.




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Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Farm

We went to the farm again yesterday afternoon. It was so much fun just to get out of the house and play a bit. It's been a bit too cold to be outside the last couple of weeks. So, the slightly warmer weather is really a treat. I guess everyone else had the same idea though because the farm was packed. It's big enough though that it was still really fun. The kids love feeding the goats. They get mad at the big goats when they try stealing the food from the little ones. It's funny to see them screaming at the big goats and pulling their food away until the little ones are there.



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Haley's Favorite Ride at the Farm

Haley's too afraid to ride the real horses, but she sure loves this ride. It's actual quite a wild ride, it bounces the horses up and down. If you look closely in the pictures, you can see that there is a pillow attached right in front of each child in case they bump. Hilarious.





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Paddle Boats




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The Bow and Arrow

When we first arrived at the farm, Britton saw a little boy with a bow and arrow and from that moment on, he didn't want to do anything except find a bow and arrow. Everytime we got to something fun I would ask him if he wanted to do it and he would say, "No, I just want a bow and arrow." Finally, I couldn't take it any longer, so I bought a bow and arrow, but I told him that we couldn't open it until we got home. About every five minutes he would ask me if he could just please open it right then. I kept telling him no and I was regretting even buying it. He finally got the best of me after I took this picture:
He said, "I would look so cool up here with my bow and arrow for a picture--just like Robin Hood." I HAD to give in and open his toy. I couldn't not let him look "so cool" for a picture. And just look at how cool he looks:
It actually proved to be a good thing to open the toy. The boys had so much fun taking turns and running around playing. They were all trying to hit Shane with arrows and capture him. Then Jonas bought one too and they continued to play for a good hour or more at the Thai restaurant while we ate.
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Just One Friend

Sometimes just one friend can make all the difference in someone's life.

Before Haley met Sarah, she talked about Utah and going home a lot. After just one time of playing with a friend, now, she says she wants to stay in China "forever and ever". Not that we will really do that, but I'm glad that she is happy and content for the time that we are here.



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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Another Flashback

About a week or so before we moved to China, Tya and her family came to Utah so we got to see them before we left. We went to the dinosaur museum one day with Tya, Desiree, and Rachel and all the kids. So much fun.
Britton, Maya, and Haley
Andy, Britton, Andrew, Maya
The kids trying not to get eaten by the shark.
The moms--Tya, Desiree, Me, Rachel
I miss you guys!
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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Some Poetry


Here are some of my attempts at some poetry about my word for this year.

Savor life
Suck all the flavor out of the present
Your relationships, your feelings, your thoughts, your ideas
Will never be precisely as they are
In this moment
So, enjoy
Relish
Appreciate
Savor this life.


Seeing things differently
Appreciating each moment
Valuing my life and my relationships
Offering my mind up to the present
Relishing my life


The second one is kind of an elementary school kind of a poem, but it was still fun for me to express myself this way.
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Monday, February 04, 2008

My Cute Kids


I love my kids. That's all.


(Sorry for the blurry picture)
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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Randomness

*Yesterday Haley came into the room and said, "I want to dance with someone. And I want to hold a boy's hands." Since Britton was the only boy in the room, he got to be the lucky one. He was actually quite a good sport about it, dancing around with her while I attempted to sing the song from "Beauty and the Beast". They had a blast and Britton actually danced a lot longer than I would have ever guessed, spinning Haley around and even executing a few lifts.

*Haley has added some new phrases to her vocabulary--"That grosses me out!" and "Are you kidding me?" Both of them are so cute when she says them and it always brings a smile to my face.

*This morning Britton and Haley were playing with Haley's new princess make-up set. It's all just pretend make-up and jewelry, but then they decided to get into my make-up and Britton put it all over Haley. He used the mascara so her face was pretty much all black. He was so excited to announce how beautiful she was. It's hard to even care about it when they are having so much fun together. I really love to see them enjoying each other so much.

*I mopped the floor this morning for the first time since we've lived in China. It made me appreciate my Aiee even more. It's so nice that she does it everyday. What am I going to do when I get home?

*I thought this was hilarious, so I wanted to record it. The other night our power went out and I didn't know where the breakers were, so I called down to the front desk and they sent someone up. A man came and flipped the breakers on for us. A few minutes after he left, Haley wanted the power to go back off so the man could come back up. Then she said, "I want him to be my dad now." Britton started laughing and said, " But, he's Chinese" (apparently he's okay with having another dad as long as he's not Chinese???) Anyway, I told her that she still had a dad and that he would always be her dad. Then she looked at me and smiled and said, "Oh, thank you, mommy." It was really cute. She has been talking a lot about Jason since he's been gone. She knows he's just visiting Utah and he'll be coming back soon, but I guess it's still hard for her to be without her dad.

*Jon and Mijoung and Chloie are coming to visit on Feb. 29! They just bought their tickets. I am so excited. The kids are too. When we went out grocery shopping this morning, they started singing, "Jon and Mijoung are coming to China!" over and over again all the way to the bus stop.

*Haley has a friend coming over to play this afternoon. She has been so excited all day. She really doesn't have any friends here and we're finally making some for her. She had met Sarah on the playground here a few times, but a week ago they did a modeling job together, so we were able to swap phone numbers and actually arrange to play.
*Britton is tired of playing Xbox and computer games. I didn't think I would ever see the day. He BEGS his friends to just play with him instead of playing video games. It's kind of funny. Luckily, they always oblige and play with him instead of just leaving to play video games at home. I hope this phase lasts a really long time--like forever.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

How I've Been Spending My Days

I found this cute pillow while we were out grocery shopping. I love it and it goes really well with my pictures in our livingroom.
Cleaning and organizing and decluttering and reaarranging my kid's bedrooms (while they play with friends).
Finishing the Rubik's Cube--I had to post a picture because Jason didn't believe me.
Torturing my kids by making them go to the 24 hour store while it was raining just so I could get out of the house at least once today.

Oh yeah, I've also been reading a lot. I finished "Uglies" by Scott Westerfeld yesterday and I'm almost finished with the second one, "Pretties". I'm really enjoying them--very interesting, thought-provoking ideas in a fun story.
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Flashback

I took a TON of pictures right before we left Utah to come to China, but I didn't ever get a chance to write about and post them. So, I will periodically do a bit of a flashback just to document some of the fun memories from last summer. (Plus I have a bit of time on my hands since Jason is away, I finished a rubik's cube yesterday if that gives you any indication of how much extra time I have:)

So, these pictures are of the kittens that were born at Patricia and Aaron's house. It was an exciting time and since Jason was working at their house when it happened, we got to be a part of the excitement. It was so much fun getting to spend so much time with their family last summer.





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Knitting


I don't think I ever posted a picture of the scarves that I made my kids. I can't remember. If I already did, sorry, I guess I'll have two pictures on my blog of it. Haley wouldn't cooperate for the picture--quel surprise! But, she has a matching scarf as well. I really like how they turned out. I made them a few weeks before Christmas. I don't know how often they will actually wear them, but they still really like them.
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