Sunday, April 04, 2010

Hey-- What's up?

Blog-- Hmmm...

Not sure what to write...

Not that my life and the life of my family is boring-- it is the exact opposite. We are busy and life is crazy and exciting. Unfortunately for the last few months it has been hard to take the time to articulate that in a blog post. It has been almost 7 months since the last post. Sorry for all two of you that actually read our blog.

It is hard to believe that April 2010 is here. When I entered into BYU's MPA program two years ago 2010 seemed a long way off. I knew the time would move quickly. I was right about that I just did not anticipate how fast the time would actually go.

I am at now facing the end of the MPA program and graduation is just weeks away. The problem is I still have much to do before graduation. Unfortunately, I have a serious case of "I don't care anymore" syndrome. Okay, I do care, but I am having a hard time convincing my self that I do. Does that make sense?

I have a week and a half of classes left, a few major papers due this next week, final assignments and finals creeping up quickly. I care, but not enough. I need motivation. I need inspiration. I need to get to work. I had planned to get to work and get some use out of the weekend, but alas Fellowship of the Rings was on TBS tonight. I could not forgo that treat! So I indulged and procrastinated the inevitable for a few more hours. It is crazy. I AM crazy.

I am sure I will wish for those few hours later this week. I know when my back is up against the deadline I am sure to be pushing in the next 72 to 96 hours I will regret the time wasted. But for now it somehow feels like a good trade off. Oh well.

I guess that even this post is a cry for help. I'm not sure what help I am hoping for, or why exactly I need help, I just have a feeling that I do. Hmmm. It's kind of funny that I can ignore this once flourishing (ok a little exaggerated) blog for 7 months and now, tonight, have the sudden urge to update.

Yes it must be a cry for help. Help me get motivated-- Help me log out and get to work-- Help me feel the urgency of my situation.


IT IS urgent that I get to work... ... ... but for now I am just feeling tired. Maybe I'll go to bed and sleep on the urgency.

Sounds like a plan. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today was Nancy's Birthday! The main event of our family celebration was up Provo canyon!

We took up our little BBQ and cooked up some fun. My cousin Julie and her husband Allan and family joined us in the little celebration.

Julie made the cake-- and as it turns out the same kind of cake the Nancy's mom used to make for birthdays-- Strawberry sheet cake! It brings back memories. Thanks Julie!

We went to a park above Vivian Park at the end of South Fork canyon.

We really had a lot of fun playing with the kids and eating. We also managed to take a few pictures.

This is Julie and Allen and their family!

Of course this is our little family-- in the trees!

If you do not know already, Nancy is pretty amazing! For those of you that may not know her personally I will elaborate a little in the form of a couple of things that I find amazing about my wife Nancy:

Music-- Nancy is musically talented, she is a gifted pianist and an excellent accompanist. She is also an accomplished flautist. She Loves music, and equally important is passing that love on to our children. Currently Sarah plays the piano, and hopes to start the flute in the near future. Ben played the piano, but now is happily playing the Baritone! I am so thankful that our house is full of Music.

Friendship-- Nancy is a friend! Not just a friend-- she is a good friend. She quite naturally is a listener and loves to talk and listen to people. She is at ease in a group and loves a one-on-one conversation. She truly enjoys people and loves getting to know them. Most importantly-- She is MY best friend.

Advice-- Nancy gives good advice. You might think this is a simple thing-- but there is a lot to it. Nancy values truth, honesty, wisdom, love, kindness, and gratitude, among other things, and I believe her advice as well as her life reflect these virtues. Nancy really thinks about things, she also ponders and prays about them, and is naturally spiritual. I value and appreciate the advise and council I receive from Nancy!

Numbers-- This may sound a little funny-- But Nancy is amazing with numbers! She is our family accountant and she does a fantastic job! But even more amazing is her memory-- she is a walking phone book. She remembers phone numbers and can recall them almost instantly. Besides being amazing it is really quite convenient!

Long-suffering-- This is a biggie! I have to admit that the last few years have at times been difficult. Especially making the decision to leave employment and return to school at the age and stage of our family. We both knew that the MPA program at BYU was the right thing to do. Even so it was still has not been easy. We picked up and left our home, friends, and associations of 12 plus years and moved to Provo. Nancy has been the greatest support to me and has done it willingly and with faith, knowing that in the end it would all work out. We still have faith that it will work out-- Nancy, thank you for your long-suffering and faith in me!

Love-- This one may be my favorite. Nancy loves me-- even with all my faults. I think that is pretty amazing. I want her to know that I love her! I am so thankful for her and all that she means to me. I love the fact that we are married and have a little family. She is the foundation of our family and is committed to each one of us, and I believe that her underlying motivation truly is love. Nancy, I love you-- you have my heart, and all my love!

Happy, Happy Birthday Honey! Hope you had a wonderful day!



Sunday, August 16, 2009

A New Configuration and last gasp of Summer vacation

What?!? A New Configuration? Yes-- a new seating configuration. I am of course speaking about long distance car traveling again. We just returned from a trip to NorCal. We had a fun trip, but we did not get to see everyone or do all that we wanted. (If you-- dear reader-- live in the East Bay Area and by reading found out we were in the area and did not visit you-- I am terribly sorry, we just ran out of daylight to do it all. Not to worry-- we will be back to visit again...)

I digress-- a new configuration-- I am speaking of surviving the 750 mile from Provo to Walnut Creek twice in one week. The last blog entry described what we learned from our last trip-- we did learn and this time split up the kids into 4 corners. It worked, Grace in the back with Ben, and Sarah and Emma in the second row. No major fights-- a few skirmishes but nothing serious enough to warrant acting on the threat of "DO YOU WANT ME TO PULL THIS CAR OVER RIGHT NOW!"

We split the trip with an overnight stay in the metropolis of Winnemucca, NV. (By the way-- If you are ever there, the Holiday Inn Express has a killer complementary breakfast, for those who have been to Winnemucca, it is right across from the Mc Donalds play land and the flying J truck stop.)

The stop makes the trip much more manageable, however, I do have to admit an overnight stay does make me feel a bit weak as a former drive straight through kind of guy. I remind myself that I am not a college student anymore-- well I guess that is not quite true. I am a graduate student, I guess I am not as young as I used to be. Dang.

The one tragedy of our trip is we took the camera, but alas we hardly took a picture. What has happened to us? This last trip is comparable to a 4th or 5th child later in life looking at family pictures and noticing the 10 pictures of their first year of life compared to 1,924 pictures taken in the first six months of their oldest siblings life. (All I can say to that real situation is don't worry baby of the family-- you may not have as many pictures of your childhood-- but you will get to go to Disneyland about 100 more times than the oldest kid in the family. I should know-- I am number 4 of 5!)

Anyway-- My message to our little trip to California-- "It is not that we did not love you-- it is just that we haven't been blogging or scrapping as much as we used to and-- well we were just too busy to take out our little camera and record memories...." Just like trying to explain to your 4th or 5th child about their pictures-- it makes perfect sense-- but still sounds kind of crappy when you say it out loud.

Regardless of the dearth of photos, we did have a fun trip. While visiting Phoenix last month we saw Wicked-- we enjoyed it so much we decided to see it again in San Francisco. I took my iPhone and Nancy did snap this photo of me in front of the theater. It was a great show and we had excellent seats. I think we may have been spit on a couple of times-- yes it was that close and yes it was worth it.

We visited with some good friends and they informed us they were getting rid of their "love sack" (a foam filled bean bag for those wondering what a love sack is--) our only problem was transporting it home. The roof was the solution. It worked out fine, but keeping the protective sheets tucked in as we sped through Nevada was a challenge. There may have even been moments when Nancy did not think it was worth the hassle of bringing it home... but it's now in our basement. All the kids have lounged in it as have I, and even Nancy has confessed to curling up and reading a book in the comfortable cocoon of our new love sack. Thank you Eric and Sally and family for sharing the Love!

This was the last gasp of Summer for our family. The kids start school this next week. I begin a week later along with Emma who will also be a BYU student-- at the BYU kindergarten on campus. We are all looking forward to a new school year, but still can not believe that summer passed so quickly. I hope your summer as been as eventful and fun as ours.

Friday, July 17, 2009

In The Car for Hours!

Lessons Learned:

Don't give Dramamine to Grace-- It may keep her from tossing her cookies-- But it keeps her up (only a half hour of sleep out of 10 hrs of driving!) And also keeps her up a quarter of the night bouncing off walls! AAACK! My bad parent award comment is: "If medicine does not knock your kids out for at least a couple hours-- what good is it?" :)

Fights in the car can be entertaining. Example: Emma and Sarah sitting together. Emma thinks it would be fun to start copying everything Sarah Says! Sound familiar? After quite a few copied phrases-- with Sarah's frustration level increasing along with Emma's elation-- the following was heard:

Emma: Emma stop copying me!
Emma: Mom-- Make me stop!

We really had a laugh-- not sure if this one is a "had to be there" moment-- but I did have tears running down my face. I never knew I could laugh that hard and keep the car under control. :)

Next lesson

Ben was sequestered in the equivalent of the tail gunner seat. All seats but his lonely single back seat were laid down and packed around him, including the cooler and food box. He was put in charge of the food, and passing it up to the others including pilot and co-pilot was his sworn duty. Unfortunately, the pilots generally had to yell food orders several times to get the message across and then wait for him to search everywhere for the item all the time convinced it was not there... At the end of the day he did a good job, but lesson learned-- put the food box with in reach of the co-pilot-- everyone will be happier.

Another lesson learned-- Now I know why all the snow birds travel North for the Summer-- It is HOT in Arizona!

Sorry I have no current photos of any events written about-- my photographer is on strike and this stock shot taken in May will have to do. Hey Nice hair Scott!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Provo River Trail

Scott has returned and so has the Fancy Nancy.  Some claim that I'm not allowed to blog while the hubster is away.  Really?  Was I that depressing?  I like to call it introspective.  In the meantime, as things have been settling back into a routine, a lot has been happening around here.  I won't go into all the boring details but I will highlight a super fun thing we did last Saturday--we rode our bikes up Provo Canyon.  I felt so organic and earthy.

With Emma on Scott's bike,

me with Grace in tow on the beach cruiser,

and Ben & Sarah each powering it up by themselves (oops no photo proof),

we made it almost 5 miles (the number gets bigger every time I talk about it) from the mouth of the canyon to Vivian Park.

Excepting the pit toilets, Vivian Park was a perfect resting point before returning back down the mountain.  

Ben with a gorgeous backdrop.  

Grace doing what she does best, finding trouble.  

We stopped at Bridal Veil Falls on the way back to play in some super frigid water.  Scott's new job as an intern for the city of Sandy's Public Utilities department has brought him a new found understanding of where this beautiful run off goes.  He wasn't pleased when he saw dogs playing it.   Our incredibly clean humans are okay to play in it.

If you come to visit us, likely you will be offered the chance to join us on this awesome excursion.  Just be ready.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cracking the Case

A subject has been ruminating in my head for a couple of days now. Since Mother's Day in fact. I had thought I would just keep my turmoil and thoughts to myself until today, I happened upon somebody's Facebook status admitting that she has mixed emotions about Mother's Day. A big shout out to Hilary for liberating me and all those jumbled up thoughts in my head! That's exactly it. I have mixed emotions about Mother's Day.

I'm a good old sport and think it's a cute and well-intentioned holiday and definitely a time to appreciate the mothers in our lives. I don't want to downplay that at all. Moms are a big deal. And let's face it, they are severely underappreciated.

My mixed emotions include the expectations surrounding the day. At the risk of sounding like a martyr, my Mother's Day was all about being a mother and doing all the work that goes along with it. I didn't get a break. I didn't get to call my mom or spend the day with her.

Here's what I did get:
  1. A sweet little breakfast made by Sarah. Minutes later, the group demanded I return the favor by giving them breakfast.
  2. The chance to touch each child at the same time during Sacrament Meeting. With two on my lap, including almost 11-year old Ben on the left knee, Grace on the right knee, Emma hooking elbows while scratching my elbow on the left side and Sarah with her head leaning on my right shoulder.
  3. The Christ-like service of the family in front of us at church who split up their group to help occupy my little peeps who were not feeling inspired to behave on Mother's Day.
  4. The chance to sing a beautiful arrangement of Love One Another with the ward choir. It was so touching, especially during the practice that I was afraid everyone was going to notice that I was near bawling. That would have been embarassing. I just couldn't look at the sweet little lady in the front row with Alzheimer's because it just brought back way too many memories.
  5. Heard a great lesson in Relief Society about persecution whilst Grace was happily in nursery.
  6. An instant message conversation with Scott. His texted wishes were heartfelt.
  7. A great nap. It was heaven and gave me all the energy to get through the rest of the day.
  8. A Sunday stroll with everyone risking being looked down upon by the occasional person for doing such scandalous things on the Sabbath. GASP! I even let the kids ride their bikes.
  9. An opportunity to apologize when I got totally frustrated with one of the kids.
  10. Got a headstart on that blasted 4th grade county report.
The thing is, I didn't expect anything different. It was all good. Do mothers really feel that much better on Mother's Day? Is that all we need? I'm not going to buy that bill of goods. Mother's Day for many can be a day of sadness. It can be about loss, unfulfilled desires, feeling inadequate, disappointment... My good thoughts and wishes go to those who don't talk about that side of it.

Now for some feel good stuff....

Here's Sarah, my personal chef with her gourmet meal. She can cook eggs like nobody's business. Even does only egg whites for her big bro. I asked her, "how did you know how to separate them?" She answered, "I just watched you." The cleverest child. Watching her mother on any cooking task is risky.

The newest Mama horse we know. Cousin Amy's half arabian / half shire horse had a baby a couple of weeks ago. Grace was not afraid of feeding this big girl.

Happy Mother's Day to Peggy, the horse. With all that grass my kids were feeding her, she should be back to her pre-pregnancy weight in no time.

And of course, the bouncing baby boy whose name is coincidentally, Ben.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Don't Fence Me In

As is obvious, I haven't written a blog entry in forever. I can't totally explain why except for maybe my paralysis from censorship. It's a plague on Facebook, too. I have to be so careful what I write that it stunts my creativity. My sarcastic side can get me into a bit of trouble. I am even on a blog commenting diet because I felt like I was getting into trouble all the time. Only people who really know me, get me. Since Jams & Jellies has always really been Scott's baby, I may just hand over the reigns to him forever. Who knows, maybe I'll start another blog of my very own and truly not care what anyone thinks. It would be for the not-so-faint of heart because let's face it, I feel things pretty deeply and sometimes that's just not so pretty. We'll see.

Oh wait, getting too philosophical, this is the feel good blog still. Okay. Here are some random happenings from the last bit. (I'm on Scott's Macbook--isn't he nice to share with me while he is parading around Ghana? Let me see if I can figure out how to upload a photo...)

Sarah had a birthday. Here she is with the cutest birthday cake I've ever seen made by her Aunt Susie and cousin Anna, cake bakers/decorators extraordinaire! This is beginning to be a Utah tradition I can stand by! (This fab duo made Grace's 1st birthday cake. Here's to hoping they are available for our two birthdays coming up the end of May.)

And Sarah was baptized.

I must pause and share a quick story about Sarah. Last week, she gave a talk in primary and the subject happened to be baptism (how timely). I, as usual, wrote the talk but she didn't have a chance to go through it before her time to give it. She 'sightread' it as we say in the music world. I thought it would be nice if she quoted a verse of a baptism-themed primary song. So, on Sarah's paper it said, "In closing, I would like to quote a verse from the song, 'I Want to be Baptized.'" She looked up at me, had a strange look on her face and then SANG the verse! She didn't know what the word "quote" meant. The brave little soul broke out into an acapella rendition of the song to be obedient to what I wrote. It was just about the sweetest thing I've ever seen. I felt a little bad about the communication breakdown but it all worked out fine.

Grace has been up to her usual antics.

Let's give credit where credit is due. She had a cohort in crime.

And it's been Pinewood Derby time around here.

I was a solo parent on this one and as a bit of background, I don't do well with this event when both parents are around. I was a little stressed but it had a happy ending.

I've been playing with a new camera lens. Just a little indulgence in trying to survive while Scott's away.

And a little action shot: Grace saying her new word "go?". She says this whenever I ask her where something is. It makes me chuckle every time she does it.

That's it in a nutshell. The only big project looming before Scott's return is my 4th grade county report. Wait, did I say "MY"? Oh excuse me...that would be BEN'S county report. Of course, he will be doing every last word of it. Now, if I could just find my coloring crayons...

Monday, April 27, 2009

News from Africa

Hello all-- sorry no pictures yet-- they may not come for a few weeks. I am posting from Accra, Ghana. I will be here for three weeks working on a couple of projects with a group from the BYU MPA program. I will write more later-- I have just arrived and need to sleep.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to become more domestic....

...have this view from the kitchen sink. It doesn't matter if it's covered in snow, green or brown. The mountains in their majesty talk to me and whisper sweet nothings to me everyday.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


As a Californian, I was inundated with the "whole foods" craze. Now that I'm connecting with my pioneer roots here in Utah, I find myself doing some real life whole food cooking. The results aren't always what I thought they'd be but I feel good for trying. In addition, I've been attempting to recreate some of our favorite things at home from scratch to be more provident shall we say. Let's just call this process "scratching".

Here are some of my scratching projects...

  • I never buy any premade cookie at the store. Using only whole chocolate chips, and a whole lot of sugar and flour, I make plenty of cookies from scratch.

  • In lieu of premade chocolate milk, we had been using carnation instant breakfast chocolate packets mixed with milk. To bring it down even more, we started buying cans of hot chocolate mix. Then, I found a recipe to make our own hot chocolate mix using cocoa, creamer, powdered milk and powdered sugar so I sent Scott to retrieve me a can of our never used powdered milk from our food storage supply and whipped us up a batch. The jury is still out on whether this is passing muster with the kids. I gave some to Emma this morning who exclaimed, "this tastes we-od".

  • The Creamery on 9th Street makes the yummiest hamburgers. Scott was the cleverest one day and watched how they make them. I got him on the job of making some at home. Using an ice cream scooper, put a scoop of raw and unspiced hamburger on the stove. Cook it for a minute, squash it down with a spatula and salt and pepper. After it's fully cooked, serve on a homemade roll. I used a Rhodes roll from my freezer that I had let raise for the prescribed time and baked. It was perfect!

  • Scott and I have never bought premade maple syrup. We only use mapleine with lots of whole sugar. I don't use Bisquick either. I have the best recipe for waffles and pancakes.

  • Our microwave still is outside because of the popcorn incident which stunk it up big time so everything gets heated on the stove or in the oven these days. It's very wholesome not having any of those micro-waves breaking down plastic or giving us cancer. This may change when it gets warmer outside. I use a lot of whole dishwashing soap to clean all of the extra dishes this requires.

  • Speaking of popcorn, we only pop popcorn on the stove now using whole popcorn kernels and whole melted butter on top.

  • Scott uses only organic grapes homegrown on the vines from our yard (and a whole bunch of sugar) to make jelly. No pesticides people.

  • Sundays are Cinnamon Roll Sundays around here. I usually buy frozen Rhodes cinnamon rolls from Costco but I decided to give it a try myself. This weekend was my third try at the matter. I'm glad to report that the third time is indeed a charm. Thanks to my cousin with a really good (& easy) recipe along with some excellent tips, it finally worked!

  • People, hold onto your hats here but I will confess that I have made my own laundry detergent. I'm obsessed with the Duggar family (the ones with 18 children and now a daughter-in-law...yes I keep track and secretly wish I could live with them or have that many children) and in their book recently released (which I highly recommend), they shared their recipe for homemade laundry detergent. We are still studying whether or not this is an acceptable 'scratching' event for us. The cost savings is so huge I'm very hopeful but I want to be sure that the Jacobs family doesn't smell before I can fully recommend the experience to others. I made the mistake of confessing this to a couple of my California friends--the first laughed so hard she couldn't speak and the second said she needed to get me out of here if I'm going to start doing stuff like that.

  • When we have a true hankering for ice cream, we have homemade it using whole cream, whole milk and pouring melted chocolate chips at the end to make chocolate crackle. It's very wholesome.

Just in case my Weight Watcher friend reads this, please note that just because I make it doesn't mean I always eat it. I do feel it's a major bummer that when eliminating processed foods, I may be healthier but I'm not necessarily skinnier. I still have to eat in moderation. What a jip!

Recently, Scott needed a new picture in order to renew his passport. Remember the days you had to go get your picture taken at like Kinko's or someplace? Not anymore! I took this picture of Scott from scratch.

I'm always up for new "scratching" ideas of anyone wants to share them with me!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Katie Scissorhands

One of the upsides of being the youngest of such a widespread of ages in my family is that I have the coolest nieces that are closer to my age than my siblings that birthed them. Nothing was cooler than being 10 years old when I became an aunt. These cute girls were the little sisters I always hoped and dreamed for. Now, many years later, it is even more fun to have nieces (and nephews too but there aren't so many of those in the Curtis family) who are awesome, interesting, and smart adults and are truly my friends and teach me so much. How lucky am I?

Katie is the oldest child of my big bro Rich. As my oldest brother, Rich is 16 years older than I and oh how I love this guy. He does stuff like sing Happy Birthday to me in Vern-like style on my voicemail. He and I probably look the most alike with our matching chins although not so much anymore because he is getting skinny. I talk to him regularly. He didn't get the least bit rattled when he called recently and caught me in a mini-breakdown and I couldn't help but bawl on the phone when I heard his voice. He has a wife and four girls, he knows what to do with a few tears. Okay, but this isn't about Rich, this is about Katie. Here is a more current picture of her with Papa. Papa was never happier than eating a greasy treat at a fair of some kind. Mixing in a grandchild to the adventure would only make it more pleasurable to him. He adored his grandchildren.

Oh, right, right...this is about Katie. Here are a few fun things about her:

  • Katie can scrapbook like nobody's business. She runs circles around me and is my sounding board for all scrapping projects. She is so creative, organized and so caught up that she does albums for other people. I'm glad she will still speak to me even though I've gone mostly digital. She is a truist and must touch the paper still.
  • One time I e-mailed a recipe to Katie per her request and by accident I made a typo on the oven temperature. It took her HOURS to bake the cheesecake bars. Oooh, I felt bad!
  • She is the adopted mother to my parent's dog, Toby. He is crazy and she deserves an award for taking him on. This is the same dog who under my watch nearly drowned in my parent's pool. She dresses him up for the holidays and everything.
  • Not only do Katie and I talk about and analyze books we read, we are really good at talking about blogs and blogwriting as we all know it's just another kind of reading material.
  • Katie is a school teacher along with five of my other nieces. I would pay a million dollars if any of our kids could have one of them for a teacher. Teaching just runs in their veins.
  • Katie has a great sense of humor. She has put up with many of our family dinners which can resemble attending a circus. I remember laughing so hard once with her that we could hardly catch our breath. I wish I knew what was so funny that time.
  • Nobody can pinch a penny like Katie can. I've never seen such restraint. She can seriously go into a store and if it's not exactly what she is looking for at the price she will pay, forget about it!
  • Katie is so smart plus she is nice enough to not use very many big words that I can't understand. That would make me feel bad. She is so considerate that way.
  • I love that Katie (along with my other nieces as well) is very talented musically. I love that Granny has left a little bit of her talent and love for music with each of them.
This is not an all-inclusive list but suffice it to say that I think Katie is pretty darn cool. This has been so much fun for me, maybe I'll make this an ongoing series...I could write volumes on my appreciation and love for all of my nieces (and nephews too, of course.).

Friday, February 06, 2009

Go, Dog. Go!

Many of you (particularly with kids) have heard of the children's book titled Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastman and may have even read it. It is a quick read--

Regardless BYU's theater department presented an adaptation of the book on stage. I took the three older kids and had a fun time. The program consisted of simple sets and six actors. They played Red Dog, Blue Dog, Green Dog, Yellow Dog, Hattie/Spotted Dog, and MC Dog. There was a lot of running, singing, dancing and howling in harmony. The dogs were working, driving, running, eating, sleeping, and of course singing. We had lots of fun-- the kids and dad loved it and had a good time out on the town (if the HFAC is out on the town.) For the non-BYU-Alum the HFAC is the Harris Fine Arts Center. I am continually amazed how many events are available and affordable on campus. We have decided to try to take more advantage of the enriching activities on campus in the short time we are here at BYU. After the show we waited around and got to meet the "Dogs" on stage. The kids thought it was fun to meet the actors-- however having spent their growing up years in the Theater (Thanks to Pam and DCMT (Danville Children's Musical Theater)) and Nancy's involvement with the theater, being on stage was a familiar feeling for them. If you may be wondering about the "dogs" in the picture, they just came from a "Dog Party" so they are all wearing party hats with their ears pointing up, or hanging down. Thanks BYU theater department for a fun night out.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

School Volunteer

I've logged a number of hours volunteering in the school classroom. It's not my absolute favorite thing to do but my sense of duty (thank you Gilbert & Sullivan) helps me to feel rewarded in this endeavor.

I kind of had a "hall pass" for the last 18 months since Grace was born. It's a well-known fact that if you have a newborn, you are absolved of classroom volunteering responsibilities. Does 18 months classify as a newborn still? I guess not. Time to get busy on that but in the meantime, I got caught in a teacher's snare. Before the holidays, Ben's teacher called and said, "were your the parent that was asking about volunteering opportunities in the classroom?" "Ummmm, well...[what in the heck do I say to that? If I say, 'nope, not me' I sound like a jerk. This is a trap, people.] I would be happy to volunteer if you need. What are you looking for exactly?" I took the bait.

(By the way, I have been volunteering at the school for the second grade team. I just am not in the classroom but I exchange books for the kids. My brother said that in California, they call that the library but this is something different I assure you.)

So, simply ignoring the assignment did not work. Indeed the parent I am to share with called me up in January and confirmed we are sharing every other week. Today I went for the first time. I begged and pleaded with Scott to come home and stay with the little girls as they are not invited to help.

It was reading centers. Ack! Please start removing my fingernails one by one to alleviate the torture. The kids are split up into groups, they either go with the teacher or a BYU volunteer (could you not find another one???) whilst I wander the room awaiting a hand to go up or more importantly, I police the children so that they will actually do their work independently.

Wander, wander.. Look like you are doing something. Oh good, a hand goes up. In whispered tones, "Hi. What can I help you with?" "What did Albert Einstein do?" "Well, he was super smart. Umm, he didn't invent the lightbulb. I know that was Edison." Luckily a kid pipes up, "he cured the common cold." Did he really? Well, what do you know. Not but a few minutes later, "How do you spell Donatello? Like the artist? [dumbhead]" Luckily I can spell. Why can't these kids ask me the main characters of Jane Austen's classics? Or how about talk about each of the Bronte sister novels? It's my current fettish. How about Elizabeth Gaskell? Let's talk about her. Any music question? Whatever.

So, then I go about my wandering and notice a child not doing anything. "May I see your treasure journal?" "No." "Ummmm....please may I see your treasure journal." "No, you wouldn't understand it." Probably not, kid. This wasn't the first kid that refused to let me see their written work. After a discussion with the teacher afterwards, I realized this was their number one tactic for getting out of doing anything. Perfect. The highlight was of course seeing handsome Ben who has no qualms about showing his enthusiasm for me being there. That's why I do it.

I can't wait until two weeks!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Many would say that today is a historic moment. I have had a religious experience in regards to that but not necessarily for the same reason many others in the world would say. With the ending of President Bush's 2-term presidency and the swearing in of the 44th president, Barack Obama, I was moved by the ceremony and traditions our country has to officially render the change. The hype of the world is that Obama is a black man and a democrat. The country seems very happy about both of those things.

My religious experience was related to witnessing the actual process our country goes through to change a president. I couldn’t help but feel as I watched the “end-to-end” coverage on TV how magnificent our country is. I am proud to be an American. It wasn’t completely unlike what happens in the church in terms of callings, oaths and covenants. There are procedures, traditions, oaths, that take place to signify the “blessing” or rather "sustaining" of the new president. It’s not like someone waves a wand but rather the sacred oath takes place with an arm to the square and the other hand on the bible. I'll admit it was pretty neat that Obama chose to place his hand upon the bible of Abraham Lincoln.

Even though Obama was not my choice in candidates, I felt an overwhelming presence that this is an important of the democratic society. The people voted and chose this democrat. I must be a good loser because it’s a part of freedom. We are blessed in this country and God had a hand in its beginning and I believe He absolutely still does. That cannot be forgotten. Even in this wicked day and age, I still felt that spirit that resides in America today while watching the ceremony.

Watching President and Laura Bush be escorted to the U.S. Air Force Helicopter that would take them to Andrews Air Force Base and then off to Texas where they will reside, my heart was warmed. I found it equally cool that accompanying them on this ride was the other former President George Bush and Barbara Bush. People can make all the jokes they want. For me, I will always respect this family for the service combined they have given to our country. And they are Republicans. Enough said.

Of course, I have to do a little name-dropping because I am a Jacobs and that's just what Jacobs do. Senator Bob Bennett along with his wife appeared in all the pomp and circumstance and I've met and spoken with them in person, thank you very much.

The country is in hard times and it appears to be headed into continued hard times. The time is ripe to have a lot of faith and stick close to commandments. I'll be a good sport and support our newly sworn in president and hope he is everything everyone seems to think and believe he is.

As for Ben, I think he wants to be a Scotsman.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Good Deed

A week ago Sunday, I was in Relief Society enjoying a moment hands-free without Gracie (it was Scott's turn to wrestle with her as we await the blessed nursery day that won't come soon enough). A sign-up sheet went around that turned out to be for the stake adult women's basketball league. After realizing what it was, I quickly passed it to the newly-married-with- one-child-already-back-t0-her-pre-pregnancy-weight-cute-girl beside me. She turned to me and said, "wouldn't you like to sign-up for basketball?" Ummm, [chuckle, chuckle] yeah right, I don't think so." [raise eyebrows, roll eyes].

I quickly realize this gal is in charge of the adult women's sport for our ward as evident by the follow-up conversation. She says, "really, I think you'd have a good time. It would be a lot of fun. I think you should sign up." Deer in the headlights. I mean really, girl, look at me. My feet are hardly touching the ground and I'm quite certain my right booty cheek is lopping over onto your chair. You can't be serious. "Well...uh....hmmm....I'm just not that athletic. I'm not....really... in the best of shape right now." LOOK AT ME!! I really wanted to explain to her that despite my appearance I do exercise nearly everyday but I'm just not the basketball type and frankly I've been eating too much, because you see I'm really stressed and I eat when I am stressed and food is love and, and, and....No time to have a heart-to-heart excuse session with this nice girl who is trying to magnify her calling. She says back to me "well, the more people we have, the less everyone has to do and I think you'd be surprised how fun it is. You could totally do it." I reply, "when are the games, I would love to come and support. I'm a really good cheerleader." She gives me the details and I tell her I'll think about it.

As I thought about this nice girl during the rest of the Relief Society lesson, I realized what a good deed she did for me. She actually made me feel very good. She didn't take the stereotype and assume. After the amen was said, I turned to her and thanked her for being so kind to me. I got her name and told her she actually just about convinced me to give it a try. I promised, way more sincerely, that I would seriously consider it and get back to her.

I'm not exactly sure of the moral of the story but I do know this totally unknown person to me made me feel good. That is a good deed.
I don't have a picture of me playing basketball or anything bloggy like that but I do have some photos from a recent sledding engagement.

It's all fun and games until someone wipes out...