Monday, June 29, 2009

Jenny grabs Mama's striped tote.

Jenny: Okay, bye-bye Honey.

Mama: Where are you going?

Jenny: Granny's house.

Jenny begins to walk away, pauses, and turns back.

Jenny: Kisses first, please.

Jenny kisses Mama on her knee, then walks away.

Jenny: Okay, have fun now!

Jenny exits

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Birthday for James

Today at church I was asked many times, by many people, in varying degrees of politeness when this baby is going to be born and how well I am enduring my condition.

Here is a sampling of some of the comments made to me today.

"Maren, you're still pregnant!" (Honestly, how am I supposed to respond to that? Should I say "Who told you?" or "Really? I hadn't noticed." or "Well spotted, sir.")

"Maren, you're huge!"

"Maren, what are you still doing here?"

"When are you going to have that baby?" (This one was said with a rather accusatory tone, as though I am not doing my motherly duty and need to be called to repentance.)

"How are you hanging in there?" (Said with a sympathetic look and head-tilt, as though asking when my unendurable torture will be lifted from me.)

"You don't even look pregnant from behind." (Thanks for looking, Mr. Cheeky.)

"You look amazing."

"You are the cutest pregnant lady."

"Why haven't they induced you yet?"

"You look ready to pop!" (Honestly, can't people come up with something more original? How about "you look ready to combust" or "explode" or "burst" or "blow"?)

"Oh just go get cut open. It's so much easier."

So my official due date is this Wednesday, July 1. I could write a dissertation about how due dates are arbitrary and inaccurate, but I'll spare you.

Taking into consideration that I was induced with Jenny when I was more than a week overdue, I don't think James will make his debut this week. It's of course possible, but I just don't feel it happening yet.

Brent votes for 4th of July (because he's very patriotic) or the 7th (because 7-7 would be a cool birthday, and it's his dad's birthday). I don't really have a preference. I kind of don't want it to be on the 4th, because I wouldn't want my birthday to compete with a holiday, so why would I want my son's birthday to have to compete? Seriously, he's going to be the most handsome, talented, intelligent, amazing boy ever born, so I don't want something as insignificant as our freedom and independence to overshadow his birth.

I figure he'll get here when he's ready. At least, that's how I feel today. Ask me again in a few days. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Jensen Sisters

A while back I posted about how much I love my sisters and the wonderful qualities they all have. Well, I feel compelled to do the same thing about all my sisters-in-law on the Jensen side. They are amazing women and I feel blessed to have them in my life.

Wendy . . .
is incredibly talented. She's a women with skills, let me tell you. I'm always impressed with whatever her latest project is. She sews. She quilts. She cooks. She is very musical. She is an amazing teacher. She not only home-schooled her brilliant son for several years, but she is an incredible music teacher as well. She teaches private piano lessons. She is revolutionizing the children's music in her church. She is a great mom and so good with children (her own and others). And she can kick my trash in pretty much any game. (That is, if she can convince me to play in the first place.)

Ganine . . .
is so beautiful. She mothers 5 amazing boys, all of them full of energy and rambunctiousness. She managed to take care of these children while simultaneously going through a divorce, graduating from school, and getting her RN license. Brains and talent galore. Not only did she graduate and get her license, but I believe she has record-high GPA and test scores. (Of course, that is to be expected since she is a Jensen, after all.) Ganine is a great conversationalist. She has interesting things to say and is fun to be around.

Melissa . . .
is a kindred spirit. She is tender-hearted and kind. She is one of those people who always turns the conversation around and asks about you, rather than talking about herself the whole time. She is an amazing mother. She always impresses me with the love and patience she shows her four beautiful children. Melissa will do anything she can for you and serves continuously. She keeps a beautiful home and is your all-around domestic goddess. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Becky . . .
is gorgeous. I have to admit that I don't know Becky as well as the others since she and Andrew live far away and don't attend every Jensen gathering (another Walmart opening celebration, anyone?) But the few times I have met her I was very impressed. All the children LOVE her and flock to her. I think they're attracted not only by her beauty, but by her kindness and sense of fun. I had the motherly pleasure of watching my two year old daughter return to Becky over and over for help as she was playing with a watering can recently. Becky will be a great mom when that time comes for her. Something about Becky gives me the impression that we would be great friends, if only we knew each other better. I am sad that she'll likely never live closer so I'll have that opportunity. I feel like a little kid, shyly approaching and asking "Will you be my friend?" and wanting the cool girl to like me too.

Juli . . .
is a total crack-up. Not only is she very beautiful, but she's swanky and sassy too. She is fun to be around and is full of energy. She's always ready for a good time and is up for anything. She has a great sense of adventure. She also works like a dog. She just got her RN license (woohoo!) and is close to finishing her degree. She is the most playful auntie and loves her nieces and nephews. They respond in kind with great affection. She works hard and she plays hard. That's Juli to a T.

I am so grateful to have these sisters!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Just My Opinion . . .

I am grateful for thoughtful people who bring meals to a family that just had a baby. Making dinner is definitely not something a woman who just gave birth should have to worry about.

I think it would also be most lovely if people would do the same for a woman about to give birth. My poor husband. He works hard. He works long hours. You'd think the least I could do would be to cook him dinner.

Alas, he has to fend for himself yet again tonight. I feel guilty. But not guilty enough to actually summon the energy required to pull a meal together.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Choosing Laughter Over Tears

The last couple days have been challenging. I've mostly laid about feeling sorry for myself. I try not to complain too much (other than to my husband and my mother) but I just have to say that I haven't been very happy lately. My body aches, I can't get much sleep, I have very little motivation, I feel depressed, blah blah blah.

Add to that the care of a toddler. Jenny is a very good, often obedient, adorable, curious little girl. She's no different from any other toddler. She likes to explore, find things, open things, see how they work, etc.

Also totally normal is my usual reaction of *sigh* and feeling a little irritated at having to clean up another mess after having just cleaned up the last one, especially when I can't bend over easily and it's quite the challenge to get up off the floor once I'm finished scrubbing it.

So in my emotionally fragile and bodily awkward state I have had to make the conscious decision to not get upset when I find a new mess that isn't your typical toys-all-over-the-floor mess. Yesterday and today Jenny tested that resolve, and I am happy to report that my initial gut reaction was laughter rather than tears.

Yesterday's mess wasn't too bad. Jenny found a bottle of lotion (orange coloured and mango scented. What girl wouldn't be interested?) and squeezed out about half its contents and smeared it all over herself, her clothes, and the carpet.

I caught her, busted up laughing, and ran for the camera. She was very pleased with herself as you can see from the little smirk on her face.

Then this morning Jenny was watching Winnie the Pooh in the basement and I was upstairs checking my email. After a few minutes I heard her voice at the bottom of the stairs calling "Washa hands, Honey!" (She has started ending most of her sentences in "honey", and now I realize that I call her that all the time.)

I thought she was coming up the stairs, and so didn't investigate immediately. Then she stopped calling and went back to Pooh. I figured I needed to go check and then I found this.

That, my friends, is glitter glue. Don't ask me how she got it, since I store it on a very high shelf. She had got it on our tv stand and brent's tool box, ground a generous amount into the carpet, smeared some on the couch, and on the stairs. Not to mention what you can see in the picture: on her clothes, her face (including in the crease of her eyelids), her hair, and her hands.

"Washa hands, honey" indeed.

Well, again I busted up laughing and ran for the camera. She very helpfully showed me where the lid was and happily stripped off her clothes and got in the tub. This makes the fourth bath in two days.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Park Play

I took my camera to the park yesterday and snapped a few pictures of my husband and daughter to try and figure out some of its features. On a bunch of the pictures I get a weird halo/aura/bright spot. Not sure what's that about. Is the camera defective or am I?

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Park Play
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Friday, June 19, 2009

Photos, Finally!

I'm happy to have received my new camera in the mail yesterday. Now I can resume taking photos of my beautiful daughter and my soon-to-arrive son.

I'm still trying to figure out its functions, so I've been taking a bunch of pictures around the house. Here's what's going on in the Jensen household today:

Annie brought a bunch of old beanie babies over. They were destined either for a kid who could appreciate them or the trash. Jenny was thrilled. We had a fun time lining them all up and identifying all the different animals.

Here is Brent's most recent superfluous purchase (52" flatscreen, simulated surround sound system that has yet to be mounted, and a blueray player). He asked me this morning if he's going to get a Father's Day present. I told him no, but that I'd be happy to tie a big bow around his flatscreen if it made him feel better.

And here I am at 38 weeks pregnant. I just found out that Little James has turned posterior. So I'll be doing inversions and belly-lifting for the next while to see if we can get him to turn back around.

In other pregnancy news, I am GBS- and Rh+. For those of you who don't know what that is, don't worry about it. For those of you who do, yea for me! These are just two other things I don't have to worry about so that I can focus the birth and not worry about possible complications.
At my prenatal appointment this week my midwife asked about my last birthing experience. (Induction: pitocin failed, artificial rupture of membranes, 2 hours of "holy crap, this is intensely awful and hellish", 45 minutes of pushing, beautiful girl sans cone-head arrived.) My midwife said that since last time was so fast (esp. as an induction, which usually slows labors down) she wants me to call her as soon as I've had two contractions that "get my attention" so I can get to her in time. I plan on calling as soon as things get going, because this mama does not want to have a baby in a vehicle.
I wasn't able to go into labor naturally last time, so I'm not sure what to expect. But that's part of the adventure, n'est pas?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Conversation

Me: Tomorrow is Sunday, and guess what we're going to do tomorrow?
Jenny: Umm . . . .
Me: We're going to visit Grandma!
Jenny: Yeah!
[Jenny thinks for a moment]
Jenny: and Grandpa!
Me: Yes. And Grandpa.
Jenny: Annnnnd . . . JELLO!

New Camera

So my camera has been dead for quite a while now, which is one of the reasons I haven't posted any pictures in a long time. (That, and the fact that I'm too lazy to upload pictures when typing my thoughts is so much quicker.)

Anyway, with a new baby that could be born anytime in the next 5 weeks, we figured it was time to invest in a new one.

I'd love to have a nice SLR and learn how to use it, but alas I just got a point-and-shoot. Maybe learning how to use a proper camera will be on my next 101 list.

In other electronic purchasing news, I think Brent may be buying a flatscreen television right now.

What with television going digital, we are prepared to lose our reception. We are not even remotely interested in signing up for DirectTV or any other service. In fact I wouldn't mind losing television completely. However, Brent has wanted a flatscreen for a while and this is the excuse to do it now. Besides, Jenny would miss PBS Kids. I don't think there's really anything on television that I will miss much.

Anyhoo, we priced out flatscreens today at a few places. Brent then dropped me off at home while he went to get his haircut. I have a sneaking suspicion that he will return with shorter hair and a really big box. Perhaps several. Because once you get the flatscreen you have to get the surround sound system to go with it, right?

I told Brent that I feel about surround sound the same way he feels about bedroom furniture. Well, I got the furniture, so I guess I should be prepared for surround sound in my future.

Oh, and don't forget the blueray player. Of course, we don't own any blueray discs. But we might someday in the future, and since they'll play our dvds, we've just got to get one.

Little James doesn't need that money to be contributed to a 529 this year, right? I mean, he probably won't be as smart or motivated as Jenny anyway, so we won't need to save for his college education. I'm sure he'll appreciate a flatscreen much more than a degree. And if he does want to go to college, maybe Jenny will turn all emo on us and get pregnant at 16 and drop out of school. Then we can just roll her 529 funds over to James and we're still covered.

Yeah. Flatscreen is a much better investment. At least you know you can count on it being there for you. At least for about 5 years until some new technology comes out, anyway.

All Wet!

Jenny was sitting in her high chair eating ritz crackers with soynut butter and a big glass of soy milk.

I was sitting in the office working on the computer.

Suddenly I heard a gleeful voice shout out "Alllll Wet!"

I went to see what happened, and she had managed to get the lid off her sippy cup and had poured the milk all over her shirt, her lap, her tray, and the floor. We're talking one of the biggest messes she's ever made, and that's quite a lot for a two year old.

I tried to give her a stern look and she gave me a remorseful one. After about 1.3 seconds of this remorseful expression her face slowly slid into the most impish grin I've ever seen her wear. It was as though she was saying "I know I did something wrong and I'm supposed to feel bad about that, but IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT!"

I busted up laughing, which made her laugh, and we both just giggled for a few minutes. As I cleaned it up she said in a voice that was a pretty good imitation of my disciplinarian tone "No NO Jenny."

The giggles resumed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


My friend Lissa asked what kefir is for, so I thought I'd make a post about it, rather than just respond to her.

My husband actually taught me about kefir. He drinks a protein shake every morning with kefir and homemade yogurt. Culturing your milk is much healthier than regular milk, not only for the probiotic benefits, but for the protein content as well. Brent is always trying to get me to eat better, and this is a really easy way to improve your diet. I'm not great at it yet, which is why it's a goal on my 101 list. But I digress. . . .

Kefir is a live-cultured food, much like yogurt or homemade sauerkraut (store-bought sauerkraut has been pasteurized and thus has killed all the living enzymes). I believe you can make non-milk kefir products, but I've only ever done it with milk. The difference between kefir and yogurt is that kefir remains thin and has WAY more strains of culture, resulting in not only a much higher protein content, but a tangier taste (think plain yogurt flavour, but much stronger and a little yeasty) and considerably more healthy intestinal flora.

Brent and I make our own kefir and yogurt rather than buying commercially prepared substitutes. We do it because 1. it's way cheaper and 2. that way you don't get all the extra sugar and whey and preservatives and gunk.

The flavour does take a little getting used to, but I really like it now. When I first started drinking it I could only manage to get it down (like I said, it's REALLY tangy) by putting it in a smoothie with lots of fruit. Now I can just drink it straight if I'm in too much of a hurry to make a smoothie.

So if you have any digestive troubles, I highly recommend drinking kefir, or at the very least taking an encapsulated probiotic supplement. It really helps the IBS that accompanies Fibromyalgia for so many people.

If you're interested in making your own kefir, first you obtain some kefir grains. I think Brent bought our grains freeze-dried over eBay or something. In a glass jar we put the grains and fill the jar with milk. We let it sit over night (or longer in cold weather) until it's a little bubbly and frothy on top. Be careful not to let it go too long, or you will end up with a curds and whey substance which is not very pleasant. Then we strain it, put the grains in a separate container, and put both in the fridge.

Making kefir, like making yogurt, is an ongoing process. You need continually to make it and consume it to keep the grains and strains of bacteria live and healthy. One batch will last about a week in the fridge.

I've had several people tease me or roll their eyes at me for doing this type of thing. I mean, honestly, who makes their own sauerkraut? It is definitely not the mainstream anymore, but when you've been plagued with health problems for years and western medicine and pharmaceuticals are of no help to you, you begin to look elsewhere. And what you'll find is that natural, healthy living is better for your body, better for your budget, and better for the environment. Yeah, it takes a bit more work and I am FAR from where I ought to be in the green and healthy living department, but I'm working on it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

#79 and Other Stuff

I just finished my first goal on my huge list of 101 things.

#79 Finish Jenny's baby book.

Considering she's over two years old and it only covers the first three months of her life, this should have been done a long time ago. But now it is. Yea!

It's at the printers (I like to do memory books rather than scrapbooks as I am not very crafty) and should be mailed to me later this week. Jenny will love it, I'm sure.

Plus, I am actively working on #1-6, 8-9, 17, 30, 53, and 83. Phew. That sounds like a lot, but it's just bits here and there.

It's nice to know that 1-6 will all be over and done with (whether I accomplished them or not) within just a few short weeks, as there's sort of a deadline. James' birth is not something I can schedule or put off. He comes when he comes, and I am so excited to welcome him into my arms!
Brent is out of town again this week. He was also gone last week and the first two weeks of May. He comes home on Friday, not to leave again for a few months. I miss my sweetheart when he is not here. Hopefully I don't take him for granted when he is here. Not only is he good to me and so fun with Jenny, but he's also just dang sexy! And he makes a mean pasta sauce. Mmm. Pasta. Maybe that will be dinner tonight.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My 101 in 1001 List

1. Practice fingerdrop/eyes open hypnosis technique 3-5x daily, 6 days a week, until James is born
2. Listen to affirmations 6 days a week until James is born
3. Do one script every day until James is born
4. Prenatal exercises 6x a week until James is born
5. Take supplements (esp. RRL & EPO) daily until James is born
6. Give birth to a healthy boy!

7. Eat my greens 5 days a week for 12 consecutive weeks
8. Drink my kefir 5 days a week for 12 consecutive weeks
9. Drink 2-3 liters water every day for 12 consecutive weeks
10. Cardio 3x a week for 12 consecutive weeks
11. Strength training 2x a week for 12 consecutive weeks
12. Lose baby weight by time James is 9 months old
13. Get to ideal weight by James 18 months old
14. Take a yoga class 2x a week for 1 month
15. Take a pilates class 2x a week for 1 month
16. Take zumba class 2x a week for 1 month

17. 100% visiting teaching for 12 consecutive months
18. Read my scriptures for 30 minutes every day, for 30 days
19. Pray twice daily every day for 30 days
20. Prepare Sunday lesson plans a month in advance, a month at a time, for 6 months
21. Hold FHE every week for 12 consecutive weeks
22. Bear my testimony in Sacrament meeting 3 times
23. Attend the temple once a month for 12 consecutive months
24. Read the scriptures with Brent every night for one month
25. Pray with Brent every night for one month

26. Breastfeed James for 18+ months
27. This one's private ;)
28. Also private
29. Have each sibling+spouse+kids over for dinner
30. Potty train Jenny
31. Help Jenny pick up her room before bed every day for 30 days
32. Go on a date with Brent at least once a month for 12 months
33. Establish daily schedule for kids (play/meal/outdoor/cleaning/quiet time, etc.) and follow it every weekday for a month

34. Plan meals two weeks in advance for 3 months
35. Complete my morning routine first thing in the morning every day for one month
36. Go to bed with a clean kitchen every night for 30 days
37. Organize baby clothes, label, and store
38. Develop toy organization/rotation system
39. Do one load of laundry every weekday for 4 consecutive weeks.
40. Cook dinner from scratch 3x a week for 12 consecutive weeks
41. Keep office desk clear every day for 30 days
42. Keep Quicken up to date for 3 months
43. Establish budget with Brent
44. Organize recipes
45. Create “reference books” for remodel/decorating ideas, parenting, fhe, primary, home organization, etc.
46. Organize music
47. Declutter every zone in my house
48. Implement zone cleaning into my routine every weekday for 10 consecutive weeks.
49. Finish front garden plan and perennial plantings
50. Keep front garden weed free for one whole season!

51. Get a new laptop
52. Get up when I wake up every day for 30 days
53. Write in journal or blog once a week for 12 consecutive weeks
54. Get family herbalist certification
55. Take weekly harp lessons for one year
56. Anti-procrastination day once a week for 12 consecutive weeks
57. Floss every day for a month
58. Private
59. Private
60. Read 50 books in one year
61. Read the complete series “The Greatest Books of the 20th Century”
62. Another private one
63. Yet another private one

Food Storage/Emergency Planning
64. Develop 3 month food storage menu
65. Make 1 year food storage inventory/shopping list
66. Organize food storage closet
67. Complete 1 year food storage
68. Complete emergency gear storage
69. 72 hour kits for adults, kids, and pets
70. Living will/power of attorney/other necessary legal documents

71. Sew additional Christmas stockings
72. Sew apron for me and Jenny
73. Design and send out James baby announcements
74. Sew tent/canopy for Jenny’s room
75. Design and send out Christmas cards each year

Personal History
76. Label all digital pictures and organize by date/event and archive them
77. Finish mission scrapbooks (journaling, page protectors)
78. Organize personal and family memorabilia
79. Finish Jenny’s baby book
80. Finish Jenny’s 1-3 book
81. Finish James’ baby book & start his 1-3 book
82. Finish engagement/honeymoon book
83. Upload home video footage and make dvds.
84. 365 photo journal (take 1 picture a day for a year)
85. Buy a new camera

86. Paint doors & hallway
87. Paint & set up basement bedroom for Jenny
88. Finish wall décor in living room
89. Remodel kitchen
90. Remodel upstairs bathrooms
91. Remodel dining room
92. New flooring in living room
93. Install blinds in office and living room
94. Media & toy storage solution in basement

Just for Fun
95. Rasmussen Ladies’ tea party
96. Go on Alpine slide
97. Take ballroom dance lessons with Brent
98. Take a floral arranging class
99. Take Brent on a romantic overnight trip sans kids
100. Family vacation to Disneyland and/or San Diego
101. Take family to Timpanogos Caves

As I look over my list I'm rather overwhelmed, so it's a good thing I have 1001 days to complete it all. I also just noticed that most of my goals are more habits I want to develop, rather than things I want to do. Anyhow, I suppose I'll have to plug away pretty consistently in order to get it all done, otherwise time will sneak up on me and I'll be three years older and still not have my food storage done.

I'm excited, though. I love lists, and here is my ultimate to-do list. Well, I shouldn't say ultimate. There are lots of things not on here that I'd like to do someday, but that's what future years hold for me.

The point is that I'm hoping to reign in my procrastination tendencies. We all have them. I'm hoping that as I consistently work toward my goals not only will I live more providently, but I'll have more feelings of satisfaction, fulfillment, and contentment. As long as I'm making progress I'll feel good about that.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

101 in 1001

So I just recently learned about this project to complete 101 goals in 1001 days. I must admit that the idea of this really appeals to me as a list maker. I love to make lists. It gives me a great feeling of accomplishment to cross things off. I make lists for menus for the week, things I want to buy, home improvements I want to do, things I want to learn, things I want to teach, habits I want to form; you get the idea.

Here's some more about the project, taken directly from the website

The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days? Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

Some common goal setting tips:
1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.
2. Stay Focused. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.
3. Welcome Failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.
4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.
5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.

I'm going to use my blog as a sort of accountability forum for myself. I'm still working on my list of 101 things, but I'll post it soon. Then I'll post updates about my progress and let you all know how I'm doing. (I'm sure you're all vitally interested in my personal growth and goal-reaching process.)

If you're interested in joining me, I'd love to see what's on your list and help encourage you to get there.