Monday, February 23, 2009

Just For Fun!!!

Okay, I know I did one of these last week but no one responded so I'm trying it again. Comon' guys, don't let me down...

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!

2. What I create will be just for you.

3. It'll be done this year (hopefully sooner than later.)

4. You will have no clue what it is going to be.

5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange. :)

The catch? Oh the catch is that you must re-post this on your blog. The first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me you did will win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Xel-Ha & Tulum

I am so torn as to how I should approach posting this trip. We have so many pictures so I am tempted to do a few slide shows. However, I feel like so many of the photos need more than a one-liner explanation. So here is what I've decided. I'm going to break the trip into days or events. That way it won't be so long when I post the pictures individually. I hope that if you take the time to read these posts you won't be all bored like watching one of those old-time slide shows. I remember my Dad doing those alot...At least I was in them every now and then. That made it a little more interesting, but all too often I didn't know the people in them. Boring...Anyway, here we go...
Our first tour was a trip to Xel-Ha and Tulum. You've seen and maybe been in those big tour buses. They are pretty nice with reclining seats, air conditioning, even a bathroom if your desperate. We were picked up right at our hotel and drove for about 2 hours. Xel-Ha was great. It is mostly a natural water park. It surrounds a bay right next to the Caribbean Sea. First we went snorkeling in the bay. I'm not much of a fresh water fan. I have a hard time getting more than my feet in it. Just the thought of all the animal waste grosses me out. I know it's lame but I really get kind of creeped out. That being said, I was a little more than hesitant. But, I did it. It was so cool. We got in first thing so the water hadn't been mucked up by people kicking up dirt and sand from the bottom. It was so clear and beautiful. The bay had lots of shallow rocks and small islands. The fish were just swimming around like you weren't even there. They were so bright and colorful. There were schools swimming around and one big blue guy holed up in a cave that was pretty intimidating. We did that for about and hour. It was so cool, I'm so glad we did it.
Next we went and got something to eat. The park had 5 restaurants. The ticket price included all-you-can-eat. We filled up at the Mexican spot and then headed to the beach. The beach was covered with rocks, not sand, and big chunks of coral. There were tons of tide pools. They were really neat to explore. There was a ton to do like swimming with he dolphins, scuba diving, bike riding, cave swimming, rope swings into the water, but we were a bit short on time considering we were also going to some ruins. After combing the beach we headed back to the main area and got some ice cream and drinks to cool off with.
Next we headed to Tulum. Tulum is the only Mayan ruin located right on the coast. It is so amazing. It sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean and is surrounded by a huge wall on all the other 3 sides. The original way in is very narrow and tapered at the top so only one person could go through the wall at a time. Here is Gary going through the entrance.As we entered the courtyard it was almost surreal. As you enter you see the courtyard in front of you with the buildings in the distance. Our tour guide was great. He grew up just five miles away and had a real love and excitement for the area. He gave us a 30 minute history lesson, pointed out the most interesting points and then turned us loose to explore the area. It was incredible. I wanted to touch the buildings to make sure they weren't Styrofoam. They weren't. This is a wide view of the main building. The temple is the one with the 3 doors on top. They believe that there was never any human sacrifice at this location. It was mainly used as a calendar. They think that only a few families (maybe 10 or so, about 100 people) lived within the walls. Just the government leaders, priests, and their families. But over 5000 people that belonged to the same "tribe" lived in the surrounding area. They also think that very few people were allowed inside the walls. Not like a village square or something. People did their selling and trading outside of the wall.
The building just to the left of the temple is the solstice building. It is where they watched the stars and kept track of the seasons. There's more description of that building following.
Do you see the little tiny hole inside the building at the top of the door? It is on the back wall. This building faces exactly east and every 4 years (leap year) the moon would shine through this hole on the summer and winter solstice. The next picture is a back view of the building.
The beautiful overlook just behind the temple. Facing South.

Walking back down from the temple toward the courtyard.

This is a view of the beach from the other side of the temple. Facing North. The building in the distance is a watch tower.
These guys were all over the place. This one was posing for her photo shoot.
This tour was so amazing. I can't wait until I get some time to research it and find out what BOM scholars and archaeologists believe this location was. It was really neat to just imagine the lives and people that lived here. We could almost visualize the people walking around. As we sat and listened to the guide describe the things this place was used for and what was studied here I couldn't help but get emotional thinking about the history that played out here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

On Our Way to Cancun

We are on our way. A bit of guilt requires me to give some background...Gary and I have been married over 13 years. The first 5 were childless. We were able to do a little traveling but just as far as we could drive. (California, Arizona, etc.) Since being pregnant with Spencer we haven't gone anywhere for more than one night (maybe two once). So we felt justified in taking a trip, just the two of us. That being said, we started planning about 6 months ago. We discussed different locations and began researching the cost of each one. We eventually narrowed it down to Cancun Mexico. I have never been out of the country so I was super excited. And going somewhere tropical in the middle of winter was a must. Gary spent umpteen hours planning, researching, scheduling, and booking everything. It was time well spent. The entire trip went so smooth. I really can't think of anything I would change.

Gary's parents came to watch the kids. We are so blessed to have them. They love our kids so much and we all absolutely LOVE having Papa and Mangya come visit. We left home Sunday, January 25th. The original plan was that we would leave after church, however, the weather didn't want to cooperate. There was a storm rolling in so we left about 10:00 a.m. We got to Lehi unscathed and got to bed early. We were up and going by 3:30 in the morning. The plane flew out of Salt Lake at 6:00. We had a layover in Minneapolis and left behind the -8 degree temps to arrive in sunny Cancun at about 80 degrees. It is no fun to spend an entire day traveling but it was so worth it! By the time we got settled into the hotel it was time for dinner. If you ever go to a resort with an "All-inclusive" option, do it. The food and drinks were endless, 24 hours a day. We filled our tummies with yummy stuff and headed back to our room to get some rest for the fun week ahead.

Our first real day here we didn't have anything specific planned to we decided to get our shopping out of the way. We went to Market 28 which is a huge flea market. It was fun and frustrating. It is not a flea market like in the US where people are selling their old stuff or hand crafts. There was a variety of stuff but everyone pretty much had all the same stuff. Jewelry, chatchkies, shirts, wood carvings, etc. You can barter over the prices but we were a little timid so we didn't get as good of prices as we could have. We did get two dresses and bracelets for Desirae, I got a necklace and some "real" vanilla, Gary got a Brasil soccer jersey, Each of the boys got a shirt and a carving. We even went to Walmart. It wasn't much different from the ones here. We rode the bus everywhere. It was really easy and only cost 7 pesos. The exchange rate was almost 14 pesos to a dollar so that was about 40 cents per ride. We had fun but I was really ready to be done by the time we were finished. On to day three...

New Tunes

We changed the music on our blog. Gary made the request and did all the choosing himself. Both of us love the 80's music. We hope you enjoy the change.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Benjamin's First Lost Tooth

A couple days before we left for our trip Benjamin had a very loose tooth. He wanted me to try pulling it out, to no avail. I couldn't get a good enough grip on the tiny, little, slippery thing. I ended up just making his mouth hurt and bleed. He went to bed sucking on ice. He didn't ask me to try again. He just complained about his tonge hurting because he couldn't keep himself from playing with it. Two days after we left it finally came out. Luckily, the Tooth Fairy doesn't need Mom and Dad home to know when a tooth falls out. Benji was very pleased with his gold dollar. Thanks Tooth Fairy for taking care of our Benjiboo while we were gone!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cute Stuff

Finally, this is my last post so that I can be caught up and get to our Cancun trip. I know you were all so curious as to why the sudden rush to get it done and why the lapse in the first place. That is it. I was so busy getting ready to go and now I am so excited to blog it. But, back to business. Here are just some cute and fun tidbits that happened throughout January.

Benjamin got this fun Mosaic Lego set for Christmas. It is just the right ability level for him and he loves making the 3-D pictures. And he can do it all by himself, which I love.
Since we are on the subject of Benjamin, I'll brag on him a little more. He is such a good big brother. Desirae got this couch/bed for Christmas. She loves it. She wants to go to bed in it every nap and every night. It has made putting her down so easy. No more rocking and endless singing (not that it was a bad thing, sometimes I still force her to let me rock her) But now all I do is put her in her Tinkerbell bed and ask, "What happens if yo get out of your Tinkerbell bed?" She says, "Get in my crib." It's that easy. Kisses and light out and it's done. On the occasion that she does get up she doesn't cry about having to get in her crib. One morning she brought the thing down stairs. She and Benji and Andrew played with it all morning. It has a detachable sleeping bag which makes it even more fun. I even made a pillow to fit just right. We love this thing!!!
Moving right along...A typical day with Desirae. I know it is partly my fault. I have a Shelf with baskets in the great room. five of the baskets have books in them but one I have for diapers and wipes. I usually keep a tube of diaper rash creme in there too. It hasn't been much of a problem until lately. I guess she wanted to shave???
Andrew is such a Cutie Pie. Filthy shirt and all. The shirt is also typical Andrew. I don't know how he does it but he cannot keep a clean shirt. He is such a good sport. He is constantly being told "NO!" by the older boys and being picked on by Desi. However, he stays happy. He surely has his share of whining and crying but he just shakes it off and pops right back up. He really keeps me happy.
They thought they were being so sneaky. Desi and Andrew have the idea that if they are under the table I can't see them. I'm sure it's because I pretend not to. If I let them know I see them I have the motherly obligation to stop or reprimand the behavior or deed they are trying to hide. Sometimes it is just easier not to. Well today they had already dumped an entire box of Cocoa Puffs out and stomped all over them so this time I had to stop whatever they were up to.
Mommy's little helpers. I am all for having my kids help in the kitchen but is so much easier when they don't. The kids love it though and I feel so guilty ever telling them to go away. I know the day will come too soon that they won't want to be near me so I really try to keep my wanting to be alone thoughts to myself. As you can see I have quite the variety and mess going on. I spent a couple days preparing all of the meals for the week of our trip. I didn't want Gary's Mom to have to worry about preparing anything.
A night or two before we left Benji was having a hard time staying in his bed. We made the usual threats and he finally stayed down stairs, or so we thought. After we were done doing whatever it was I went down to check on them and tuck them in. Luckily I turned on the light before I headed down. I guess he just couldn't bear not knowing what we were doing. I never knew folding laundry and washing dishes was so intriguing.
I saw Leah's post on static http://allthingsjensen.blogspot.com/2009/01/static-cling.html and thought it was so funny. It is so terribly dry here and two of my kids have been cursed with my super fine fly-away hair. Static is a daily battle. The pics of Andrew don't do it justice but his hair is so crazy. We had the hardest time figuring out what to do with it and have finally decided it is better longer. Even better for the static episodes ;P

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Andrew!!!

Andrew turned 4 on the 9th of January. We asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday and he said he wanted to go to Chuck-E-Cheese. So away we went to Salt Lake for the weekend. luckily we have a great place to stay. Gary's parents are always so gracious and make us all feel so welcome. The kids just love them and I really think they enjoy our visits. We try not to dump the kids on them much but even when we do they always do it with a smile. We hadn't seen them since the family Christmas party at the first of December so they had Christmas presents for the kids. Desirae was thrilled with her jewelry box that has a dancing girl and all the jewelry and hair clips to go with it. Andrew and Benjamin both got some awesome night vision goggles and spy gear. It kept them busy for quite a while. Spencer got Star Wars Lego's, which he absolutely loves. And Gary and I got the new Gordon B. Hinkley movie and gift certificate to Deseret Book. The movie was so good. I love this prophet and I really enjoyed getting a little insight into his life. We got to Chuck-E-Cheese as soon as they opened on Friday. The kids love being first because all of the machines have a few tickets hanging out of them from when they were turned on and tested for the day. It was fun as usual. We then took the kids back and I got to go out with my Mom. It was quite a treat. My sister Tamara had a baby at the end of December so my Mom was out to visit her. I went and kidnapped her for the day. We went to lunch and went shopping then we went back to Gene and Maxine's house to have Andrew's birthday party. He opened gifts and we all ate cake and ice cream. What a great day. I think Gary even took the kids swimming while I was out. On Saturday we let the kids climb on the HUGE snow banks. They were as tall as the houses. They all had a blast. Spencer and Benjamin were very daring and even made a slide down the back of one of them. Andrew tried to climb but his little legs just wouldn't let him get too high. And Desirae was tickled to just sink in knee deep. When we got home we gave Andrew a "Big Wheel". Gary was more excited than Andrew. It is just the same as the one he had when he was little. Andrew is not terribly coordinated so I think it will take him a few more tries to get the hang of it but I'm sure he will be loving it this summer. So watch where you're driving, it is so low I think I'll get a flag for it. All-in-all a great weekend.
I know it is so clichet but man, they grow so fast. Andrew was my smallest baby. He had jaundice so bad for almost 2 months and he has always been so skinny. When he was just a year old we went on a trip to Bear Lake with Gary's family. He was then dubbed "Jack-Jack" by Uncle Jim. The Incredibles had recently come out and he really did look like him. The blond hair and the big eyes, so funny. I look at him and can hardly believe he was that same baby. He is so tall, and gangly and I guess that's where the clumsy come in. Gary describes him as a wet noodle trying to stand up. He is so fun and animated. He always has some toy in his hand. Usually a Star Wars guy or army man. He is always ready with hugs and kisses and wanting to be held. But at the same time, he plays so well by himself or with his brothers and sister. He truly brings so much joy and life to our family. We are so blessed to have his little life touch ours so deeply. We love you Andrew. I know this is going to be your best year yet. You are my favorite 4-year-old in the world.

Happy New Year!!!


So this crazy year has finally come to an end. I can't say I'm too sad to see it go. Don't get me wrong, It has been a great year. We have all grown and learned so much. I am just looking forward to all we have waiting for us. I have a hard time living in the "now". I really have to force myself to enjoy the moment. I have a tendency to be consumed by what I need to do or get done and I like checking things off my list, even if it is just a mental list most of the time. I get a little (okay, maybe alot) impatient when I have to just sit and not "accomplish" something. I don't really like watching movies for that reason. I feel like I'm wasting time. I don't feel so anxious if I'm not home. Like going to a movie in a theater or taking the kids to the park. But playing in the backyard, I feel like the laundry or dishes are calling me. So anyway, enough babbling. I have high hopes for this year. New years is a time for making resolutions and setting goals and I am no different. I know I'll only get out what I put in. I really want to put in alot of effort and get what I feel like is my life spinning out of control back on track. I have some organization goals and I am pretty disappointed I missed enrichment. I need to pick Kandice's brain for her tips. As always, there's weight loss/general health. It all just takes time, something I am terribly short of now-a-days. I know it's all about priorities and right now my priorities are on schooling. I'm just going to have to learn to live on less sleep. Alright enough of this...to the fun stuff. New Years Eve was fun. Originally we were going to go to Dana's but Logan got sick so that was out. We did have a great time at home. We got Desi and Andrew to be around 9:00 and then broke out the snacks and junk food. We played Legos, a carnival game, Skipbo, and put a puzzle together. Then we watched the ball drop. It was fun. I really love spending down time with Gary and our kids. They are all so fun and happy. I know it will be a great new year.

Holiday Fun

We had quite a bit of time to kill between the holidays so here are a few of the things we did. Luckily, for all of us, Gary had the week after Christmas off. We went sledding one day, It was alot of fun. We even ran into a number of families from our neighborhood, the Tuckers and the Durhams. This was Andrew and Desirae's first official sledding experience and they loved it.

We also went bowling. Everybody had a better idea of what to do this time. It was early afternoon so the place was mostly empty. It was nice to let the kids roam a bit.

videoWe also went ice skating. The Dana family invited us. I'm really glad they did or else we never would have gone. Poor Andrew, one step onto the ice and "BOOM" he fell back and banged his head. That was it for him. He spent the night sitting on the bleachers sucking down hot cocoa. I went around a couple times holding Desi's hands then she was done too. Spencer and Benjamin did great. They each went around once or twice holding onto the wall then they got brave and let go. Benjamin caught on really quick and he was a bit more daring. We all really enjoyed it.
Finally, we spent alot of time just playing together and having fun. Benjamin loves to dance and he has got some great rhythm and moves. Gary took these pictures one afternoon while I was gone.
It was a great week gearing up to the new year finale.