Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas in Heaven

Well, we're back. No I didn't rush home and hook up the camera to immediately download all the pictures we took, so no there will be no pictures today. But I am sitting here, curiously un-sleepy with a drugged-up husband sleeping obliviously next to me. Poor guy got sick on the way home. I think we "funned" him out. I have told him repeatedly that Christmas in Mexico is extremely fun and the food is unlike anything he has ever experienced. He didn't believe me until now. I'll let him give the rundown of the pinata and the feast and the fireworks and the dancing later, but I have decided something. I do believe that in my opinion, the food in Sonora, Mexico is the best food of all the food in different places in the world I have ever tasted. Not just Mexico, but the state of Sonora. They are the inventors of carne asada, carne machaca, cajeta, coyotas and hot dogs that are TO DIE FOR! I dogs. Who would have thought? Heaven in a bun. No...the bun itself is part of the heaven on a styrofoam plate is more appropriate.

Backing up my opinion is Tyler. In the past few months he has become extemely picky. Rarely eats baby food, has to have what we're eating, but still usually decides he doesn't like that either. This past week he ate EVERYTHING that I offered him, and everything that I didn't THINK to offer him as well. Tamales, cheese soup, tortillas, turkey, pig leg, fried shrimp, peppers, eggs (which he refuses to eat here), beans, cheese rice (which he ALSO refuses to eat here), menudo broth (I didn't think he'd be able to really chew up the cow stomach itself), etc, etc. The kid is Mexican. From the moment we left Mexico he resumed his refusal to eat until we got home and I gave him some soup that had beans in it. That he ate. I think I'm going to have to change the way I cook.

Anyway, we had an awesome time and we're all a few pounds heavier! Stay tuned for pics!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Today I finished my book! Well, I finished it for the purposes of the contest. If I had a little more time there are so many more details that I would add and a whole other plot twist that I would expand more on. But it turns out, I'm really close to the UPPER limit of the number of pages my manuscript can have. Who knew?! If anything I thought I was going to be short. I was going to wait to send it in until after we got home from Mexico because there are descriptions of places that I wanted to write about while I was there, while they were fresh in my mind. But it makes me nervous. It has to be postmarked by the 31st and we're getting home like the 27th. I decided I just need to send it so that I won't be worried about it over Christmas. So I put some finishing touches on it...and I just can't believe it!

Thanks so much for all of the encouragement. That made all the difference! Whether I win or not, I feel so happy just to have finished something like this! I was going to post a chapter on here, but I kind of feel nervous about doing that. So I'll tell you this. It's definitely a work of fiction, but I incorporated things from some family and friends who have given me permission to use their stories. It's for young adult readers (12-18 basically) so of course there is some romance in it, but more than anything, it's about learning to understand other people and why they do the things they do, and finding ourselves by finding out about others. I hope you can all read it some day!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Jazz Game

Jazzalicious! That's right. Just before Thanksgiving, we had a chance (thanks, Schneiders!) to go to the Utah Jazz vs Memphis Grizzlies game down at the ESA. Some friends were headed to Idaho for the weekend, and they let us use their 13th row tickets to take Tyler to his first ever Jazz game. It also happened to be Deron Williams' first game of the season, so it was a special treat. Many have asked about my Facebook entry from last week when I said I was dying Tyler's hair blue. The Jazz game is the reason why I did that. 
Heck, if you're going to take a one-year-old to his first game, you have to let the kid know how important this event actually is. What better way than to give him a blue hair style and a spankin' new DWil jersey? 
We had a good time. Ty cheered for all sorts of dunks, behind-the-back passes, alley-oops, ankle-breakers, and Brewer vs. OJ "Pansy" Mayo trash-talking. All of which of course you didn't see in SportCenter's Top 10 because ESPN hates the Jazz. That's a different story for a different day, though. Back to Tyler... He caught his first glimpse of the Jazz Bear as it came walking up the stairs next to us. I've never quite been able to figure this out. Some kids just love the Bear and other mascots. Other kids cry and hide when the fluffy cosutmed men come anywhere near them. Tyler was somewhere in between. He didn't jump for joy, but he didn't cry either. It'll probably take a few more visits to warm up to a bear in a Jazz jersey.

He almost made it through the entire game, but fell just short on the attention span. 

We left with a few minutes to spare in the fourth, but we took a few photos of Ty with the statues of Stockton and Malone to round out the evening. Youth need to learn from the past to understand the present and prepare for the future. 
Tyler was good karma for the ailing Jazz as they bowled over the Grizzlies. Anytime the Jazz need a win, just let us know (and supply the tickets). We're always happy to take him in the name of helping the team. ;-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Stand Firm

So a few weeks ago I pulled off the post I had written about Obama and socialism because, hey, he won, there's nothing I can do about it, and because people had started to get a little heated on the comments. I don't like contention. But since then I have had several people ask me if I pulled off that post because I have been persuaded otherwise. I need to set the record straight! NO I have not joined the ranks of Club Obama. I do have to admit that the one thing I thought was cool is that he IS our first African American president. That's really cool! Other than that I was EXTREMELY disappointed. I simply don't agree that his plans are going to solve our problems.

First, yes I agree that we have a healthcare problem. But NO I do not agree that governmentalizing it is going to improve it. All you have to do is travel south a few hundred miles to the country that everyone seems to want to escape from to see that socialized medicine does NOT work. Ask any mother who has taken a sick baby to the doctor and has to wait for five hours to be treated while her baby screams. Ask the doctors who don't get paid well at all and so may not have a reason to be competitive, meaning the quality of YOUR care goes down. Those are only a couple of the many problems.

Second, no I don't believe there is anything wrong with helping people. In fact, I'm all for it. There are millions of dollars donated to needy people in this country every year. The problem comes when people are FORCED to give. Hmm...where have a heard that before? Someone wanting to force us to do something? ... Let's say I'm wanting to give to a charity but I don't have any specific one that I'm attached to. I would want to look for one where the largest percentage of my money is going to go to actually help the people in need. Tell me, where would the government fall on that list? First? Second? HECK NO. It would probably fall pretty dang close to the BOTTOM of the list. So, here's the problem. People who normally give lots of money on there own are going to be paying a lot more taxes now. As a result, their giving is going to decrease and all that money they WOULD have given anyway is going to go to pay for bureaucracy and government programs that may or may not work. AND THEN people who really need it might get a coin or two. We're supposed to do good of our own free will! Not because the government demands it.

Also, there's the whole deal about his associations with sketchy people. And I don't just believe anything that I hear. I have actually read up as much as I can when it comes to those issues and I have to say that it's really hard to know what to believe. Especially because he is a politician, and even more, one who ran for President of the United States of America. Tell me he doesn't have HUGE motivation to lie about ANYTHING that is going to tarnish his reputation. Going to the source, aka, does nothing for me. Religion and politics are not the same thing. It is a fact that there are many politicians who have lied to get to the top. Conclusion: I don't know what to believe when it comes to all that, but my stance on many of the issues he supports is enough to seal the deal.

The fact is, it's not all about the president anyway. Here in this country we have a system of checks and balances and for as much as he promises the world if you vote for him, there are still congress and the house of representatives that have a say, and a pretty big one, as well. And who knows, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he'll turn out to be the best dang president this country has ever seen. But I'm not holding my breath.

ANYWAY, I just needed to clear that up. If you really feel the need to comment...ok, go right ahead. But the guy has already been elected, my vote has been cast and so has yours.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ty is ONE!!

I can't believe Ty is already one year old! Time literally FLEW by! I remember a year ago being so impatient and just wanting him to come already! I remember FINALLY (yes, he wasn't quite a week late, but it felt like he was SOOOO overdue!!) being induced and how much I loved the anesthesiologist after about an hour. I think I might have come close to loving him more than Ryan right then, but ONLY for a couple of minutes! :) Then Ty was here! The doctor set him on my stomach after he was born and I remember thinking, "holy crap, there was REALLY a baby in there!" I know that sounds so silly, but actually seeing him after 9 months of just feeling him was so SURREAL! It was probably the most amazing thing I have ever experienced! Not the actual birth. I didn't think there was anything incredible or amazing about that, to be completely honest, although Ryan sure did. I still don't know HOW he didn't pass out, but I'm sure glad he didn't! I'm one of those people who DOES NOT need or want a mirror during birth. NO THANK YOU! I mean seriously. There's REALLY no better way to get the kid out?? :) But when he was here and just the thought that he had grown inside of me and that he was MINE (OURS!) was so amazing! Besides my wonderful husband, Tyler is the greatest gift I have been given in this life.

We had a little family get together for his birthday, and had a great time! He loves Baby Einstein and so I made him a cake of the Baby Einstein Caterpillar. I think it turned out pretty cute, but only because my friend Nagila was there to fix all the mess-ups!! Like when the cake that was supposed to be the head fell apart because I forgot to grease the pan! Oops! :) We put it back together and it was all ok.

Ty and Grandma Linda
Can you tell they're brothers?

Singing happy birthday! Mom had to blow out the candle for him since he wasn't too sure what he should do!

Ty wasn't sure what to think when we put a whole cake in front of him. "Is this some kind of a trick?"

He got more confident pretty quickly

Then he started trying to put it in his pants. Maybe he was full and wanted to save it for later?

A little down the pants, a little in the nose...

Now a little chocolate

After a few minutes he got bored and decided he was done and stood up, smearing cake and frosting all over his high chair.

We put him right into a bath, pants and all!

With Grandpa and Grandma Dennis

He wasn't interested in ripping the wrapping paper, which was so surprising! He usually loves ripping paper! Not today! He just wanted the toys. Thanks for all the cool presents family!

He's as upset as his mom about how hard it is to get a toy out of the packaging!! Seriously, you toy-packaging specialists weren't thinking about birthdays and how upset a kid can get if you don't get that toy out FAST!

Ty and his new friend Nagila. She calls him her little brother because I was her "mom" on the mission.

Apparently it was all just a little too crazy for Mark! We wore him out! :)

I love being able to be home to see Ty learn and grow each day. It's so amazing! My baby doesn't really seem much like a baby anymore. Here are some of the things he's been doing lately:

-He talks a lot! Obviously it's mostly babbling, and at times it really just seems like he's trying to tell us a story or something. He gets so animated! But the other day Ryan was here for lunch and he was getting ready to go back to work. I said, "Ty come tell Daddy bye bye." Ty started waving his hand and said , "Baba Dada." It was so stinking cute. Then the next day he actually said "bye." Ryan and I were both surprised.

-A couple of days ago we were at the church waiting for Ryan and so I took Ty into the Relief Society room and started playing the piano. Ty crawled over to a chair that was in the middle of the room, stood up next to it and started waving his arm around. I laughed so hard when I realized what he was doing! He crawled over to the piano, but when I started playing again, he crawled right back to the same chair, stood up and waved his arm around again. It was so cute.

-Tyler loves music and he loves to dance! Anytime he hears upbeat music he'll start bouncing and shaking his body and bobbing his head to the music. He gets a certain expression on his face, and he'll look at us and wait for us to start dancing too.

-He's still identifying colors pretty well. After my last post about that, he wouldn't do it and I thought that maybe we had been mistaken. Well, he obviously wanted to show off the other night. We were at Grandma Pat's house and she wanted to see this trick of his. We were playing with his blocks and I held up two and asked him to take the yellow one. He did. Then two different ones and asked him to take the green one. He did. Then added another color and asked him to pick the yellow one again. He did. Then Grandma decided to really shake things up. She put all of the blocks in the bucket and told him to pick out the blue one and give it to her. There was only one blue block. He looked in the bucket, picked it out and placed it in her hand. She was so amazed, and I was too!

-He just got his first two molars. THAT process hasn't been very fun, but we were glad when we saw that they had finally come through.

-He can identify his hair and his toes. When we ask where his hair is he'll put his hands on his head and start pulling his hair. When we ask where his "piggies" are he'll grab his toes. He loves "this little piggie" and he'll try to do it on us when our toes are showing. One day he was just grabbing my toes one at a time and babbling, and it hurt because he was digging his fingernails in. But then I realized what he was doing! He likes to do it to daddy cause he has bigger toes.

-He doesn't walk much yet. The most he's taken are four steps in a row, but then he drops back to his knees. Pretty soon!

It's so fun to watch him grow and learn new things! Happy one year, little boy!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween 2008

Ty missed Halloween last year by just a few days and so we were excited to be able to dress him up this year. We found him a cute skunk costume, but it turned out to be too small and when we tried to take it back there weren't any that were bigger. So we kept it. It can be used in the future! Ty ended up being a spider. It was so cute! We went to Grandma Linda's house for a while. She was dressed as a witch and Addie was a penguin. I have pictures of them on my phone and can't figure out how to get them those are to come.

Then we went over to Jorge and Monica's to go trick-or-treating with Aaron and Cameron. They were so cute dressed up as a knight and a dragon (Jorge and Monica were the King and Queen. Or king and princess).

We went trick-or-treating for about an hour until Ty randomly fell asleep! He wasn't even acting tired, and then all of a sudden his head was drooping and he was gone. I guess that was his way of saying he had enough. I'm excited for next year when he'll be able to walk himself and then maybe my arms won't be ready to fall off by the end of the night. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Turn (and Yours, too!)

Unique. We all are, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is our differences that give us the chance to grow and understand each other. That growth is what helps us to make the world a better place. 
I feel fortunate to live in a country with a democratic form of government. It may not be perfect, but it does have a number of checks and balances to make things even out over time.
We have term limits on the president's office. I sure wish Utah's legislature and the U.S. Congress would do the same thing for other state and national officials. I wish we would let Supreme Court judges judge instead of legislate. I wish people would stop pretending the president is the only one who has any say in laws, the economy, war, the environment or health care. Look. your stop in the ballot box is more than just a vote for president. My ballot lets me vote for Utah's U.S. Representative for District 2. I'll be voting for Jim Matheson to keep return to D.C. for me. I like his stance on immigration, the economy and the environment. I get to vote for the governor's office. I'll be voting for Governor Huntsman to return to office again. I like that he kick's the state legislature's rears when necessary. I get to vote for Attorney General in Utah. I'm voting for Jean Welch Hill after having met both her and Mark Shurtleff (who I send best wishes for a speedy recovery). Shurtleff has polarized people on a lot of issues, but lately he has found himself on my bad side for his school voucher stance, pay-day loans and immigration. I can vote for state auditor and treasurer, but my conscience tells me I don't know anything about any of the candidates. That means I'm not likely to vote for those two positions. I was running for Utah's House of Representatives for District 53, and I was beat at the state convention by Kathy Lofft. No hard feelings, though. Mel Brown just has to go. If you want my opinion on him, you'll have to read my letter to the editor in the Park Record from this weekend. I also get to vote for 10 state judges, five state constitutional amendments, and a member of the Wasatch County Council.
Why am I writing all of this? It's easy. While the presidential selection from Utah's voters is not really in doubt, there are many other races that are. If you think there are problems with the economy, the responsibility doesn't fall squarely on the president. Decisions made by cities, counties and states all have an effect on what happens in your pocket book, your schools, your jobs, your recreational opportunities, and just about everything else you do. 
Obama may have great ideas for a kind of universal health care, but it will take cooperation with the representatives and senators you elect from your state. If you're from a state like Utah that may not have it's majority represented in the White House, you can still send a representative who may be more closely aligned with your beliefs. Personally, I think Matheson, Bennion Spencer and Morgan Bowen would all represent Utah better than their opponents, and I don't think enough people have done the research to know anything about them in order to give them a good chance. At the same time, Chris Buttars and Greg Curtis continue to be elected even though they infuriate me every time either opens their fat mouth. Pay attention, people! Each of these people is acting as an extension of YOU when they take their seat as an elected official. 
Don't think that this is over after the ballots are counted, either. If you have a concern, voice it. If you want something done differently, let your elected official know. Whether you elected them or not, they are still your representative, and I believe they will at least consider your idea if you present it. I have sent letters to members of the U.S. House and Senate, and I have gotten responses back each time. Sometimes they have given adequate explanations, and other times they have shown their own incompetence. At least this way you will have a personal reason for reelecting someone or voting them out the next time around. And it's not like you will have to bust out the quill and ink well to communicate with Washington. Many elected officials spend time answering emails on their Crackberry or iPhone. Depending on the issue, you may get a canned response, but you will get a response. 
Unique. Each election is, and there's nothing wrong with that. It is their differences that give us the chance to grow and understand each other. That growth is what helps us to make the world (or maybe just your HOA) a better place. 
Whatever you do, vote. And remember that if you don't vote, I don't want to hear a peep out of you for the next four years. It will still be your right, I just won't care to hear you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tyler Update

Well, the first year is almost over. Tyler will be turning 1 next week. I can't believe it! Time goes by so quickly! It's so fun to see how much Ty has progressed just in the last month or so. He shows that he understands what we're saying a lot more now. Like, we'll be playing on the floor in the kitchen and I'll say "the ball is under the couch. Go get it." And he'll crawl over to the couch and look under it. It's so cool! Although, when we tell him NOT to do things he completely ignores us! Go figure.

Since Ry and I both speak Spanish we have really wanted to teach Tyler, but it's been kind of hard just because we don't think about it when we're all at home. Well, for the last month I have tried to designate meal times as Spanish-speaking time during the day. It's incredible because there are already certain words that Ty understands. When I say "Quieres mas?" (do you want more?) he gets really excited and opens his mouth. Unless he's not hungry anymore and then he whines when I say it. He knows what "pan," "agua" and "queso" are (bread, water and cheese). If I have all three on his tray I would say, "Quieres mas pan?" and he'll grab more bread. Or "quieres mas queso?" and he'll grab the cheese. I'm really excited about it!

The other thing that we discovered this week is that he can already identify colors. We have this wonderful set of 100 plastic cookie cutters that Ty loves to play with. They are all different colors depending on what shapes they are. For example, the blue ones are Fourth of July, the green ones are Christmas, the orange ones are Halloween, etc. Well, for the past few months I've worked with Ty a couple of days a week with the cookie cutters. I'll put the different colors in piles and then say the names of each color and then I'll find other toys that are different colors and put them in the piles they belong in. Then I'll pick up a cookie cutter and the other item that is the same color and say the color. Anyway, it's funny because when we do that it seems like he pays pretty close attention, but I thought that it was probably definitely too early for him to really understand. A couple days ago we were playing with a green and a yellow ball. I held them both up and told Ty to take the yellow one. He looked at both, then zeroed in on the yellow one and took it. I thought it was probably just a coincidence so I switched hands and asked for the yellow one again. Again, he took the yellow one. Then I switched hands and asked for the green one. He took the green one. Then we added a third ball, an orange one. I asked him to take the orange one. He picked it out! I was totally amazed! The next day Ryan had the orange, yellow, and RED balls. He asked Tyler to go get the red one. Ty went after the red one. It was so exciting just because it made me realize that nothing you teach your kids, no matter how much you think they may not be listening or understanding, is in vain.

Another thing that I have been reminded this week is NOT to criticize or judge other people about ANYTHING! There is a certain phenomenon that takes place in my life. Anything I criticize or make fun of other people for ends up happening to me. Almost without fail!! I started to really notice it on my mission, and then when I thought back to my life in high school I realized that it's been happening for a while! Even little things like playfully making fun of someone else whose umbrella has broken in the middle of a huge rainstorm. Yes...mine then broke. Or laughing at my companion who fell on her face (and was also laughing, by the way!). I fell on my face shortly thereafter. To more serious things like criticizing (not publicly, but more to myself or to my companion) a Relief Society president in a small branch (HELLO! Seriously?!). And other big things like the way I used to criticize people who married people they had met on their missions. Oh this was a big one! I had no mercy for people who did this. I was certain that in order for something like that to happen, something inappropriate HAD to have happened. Those of you who know me know that I was SERIOUSLY humbled on that issue as well. It hurt to have people criticizing ME. Just so we're clear, I am SOO happy to have married Ryan! ZERO feelings of regret. I think this was another one of those things that happened to teach me a lesson.

Well, here's the next lesson. I have a confession. Up until this last week I have been critical of people who take their kids out of church meetings and stay out in the hall with them. Now don't misunderstand. I KNOW that it is necessary to take a crying child out in the hall so they don't disturb the meeting. I've had to do that on many occasions. But after Ty has calmed down I have never had a problem taking him right back into the meeting. I think that while that was working for us I wondered why others didn't do that as well. I felt (notice the past tense here) that they were teaching their kids that it's ok to just be out in the hall during church if they let them stay out there, even after calming down. Soooo....then this last weekend we had stake conference. Ryan didn't get to sit with us (as usual) because he had to translate. I had the necessary arsenal of baby items that I thought would keep him occupied: cheerios, books, toys, a bottle, etc. We lasted about half an hour before he pulled a fit and I had to take him out. He calmed down a little and when I tried to take him back in he cried again. So I took him in the hall and he STILL wasn't ok. I finally had to take him into the Relief Society room and just let him run around (where he promptly sat in the corner and pooped, meaning we sat in a horribly stinky room for the remaining hour or so because, yes despite all the other wonderful things I had packed, I hadn't packed a diaper!).

Since blessed stake conference is TWO days and not just one, there was a repeat the following morning, only this time in the big high school auditorium. I sat on the edge of the second row from the back, again minus Ryan, this time bringing MORE things that I thought might keep Ty occupied, e.g. teddy bear cookies, juice, and old cell phones for him to play with. We didn't even make it through ten minutes before I had to go stand with him in the back. After a few minutes I sat back down with him and attempted to make his bottle. While he's squirming and kicking in my lap I'm trying to pour water from a water bottle into his bottle, when my phone (which I obviously forgot to silence) starts ringing! I miraculously freed one hand and was able to find it and turn it off. When that was done I couldn't find the bottle lid and searched frantically for it as people around me are, I'm sure, looking on in sympathy (or maybe DISDAIN!). I finally find it, finish making the bottle (which is normally pre-made but that morning I didn't have time to make before-hand, ironically) and give it to Tyler, finally settling in to listen to the speaker. But Ty decideds after two minutes that he doesn't want it and chucks it onto the floor where it nearly rolls into the next row! Whoever designed sloping floors, by the way, was NOT thinking of mothers with children. I save it and give it back to him, he tries to throw it again and this goes on until he finishes most of the bottle. Then he screams and wants to get down. So I stand him on the floor and he promptly slides down (cause these wonderful sloping floors are also SLICK!)and HE himself almost rolls into the next row down. After which he screams and we have to leave again. Ryan saved me. He took Ty and stood up with him in the back and I got to listen to a couple talks that someone else was translating. After those couple, Ryan left Tyler with me again, and he proceeded to throw another fit. After that, I gave up. I took him in the foyer and let him crawl around.

Moral of the story: I am not, nor will I ever be a perfect mother. AND I have no place to criticize others for ANY reason. I've been almost AFRAID to for the last couple years because it ALWAYS comes back to me. You never know why other people do the things they do. Just be nice or you might learn EXACTLY what they're going through! As Mr. Monk would say "It's a blessing and a curse!" :)

P.S. The book is going well! It'll definitely be done on time! Thanks so much for all of the encouragement. It's exactly what I needed!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Year in Review

Yes, it's been a little bit of a busy year for the Jensens, you know, since we're famous and all...

Tyler's face was drawn by a chalk artist on the pavement at some mall:

Victoria Beckham was there and saw it, and now she wants to adopt him.

Ryan helped better conditions at a factory (shown in the background) and so they put a big poster of him on the gate and he has since been worshiped daily by female factory workers.

And I was featured on the cover of Vogue magazine for "best eyebrows of the year." Apparently they just LOVED the "all natural, unrefined" look.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Passport to CUTENESS!!

We'll be going to Mexico for Christmas this year and I nearly forgot that now even babies have to have passports to go there. So I decided that to save a couple dollars I would take the passport photo myself. This is the first one I took. I love it! "Please nice Mr. Customs man. Please let me back into the country!"

Then I put a different shirt on him and sang Five Little Monkeys and this is what we got:

I think we're in business!