Chad, Jessica, Jet and Aijiahlyn

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Does this make me look fat?

After 5 years of secrecy, Chad admitted something terrible to me.

Chad: Your pink robe is the ugliest thing you could possibly wear.

Jessica: What? Since when do you think that?

Chad: I’ve always thought that, I just never said anything.

Jessica: What?!!! I wear that thing ALL the time, how could you not tell me?

I was shocked. Why didn’t he ever say anything? I always put the pink robe on after I get out of bed.

He normally has no problem telling me his opinion, and we are always 100% honest with each other…well 95%. For example, I want him to tell me if he doesn’t like my shirt, or that I have a bugger in my nose. It doesn’t hurt my feelings; I want to know. (Exceptions are allowed during pregnancy….please lie your bum off and tell me how great I look)

‘Course, last month was a bit over the line. While we were playing Scattergories with the family he tells me I have a big zit on my face. “Wow, you have a big one comin’ there,” he says pointing at my cheek. Jess: “Oh yeah, like I didn’t notice. Thanks for pointing it out to everyone.” So then everyone has to be nice and pretend they never saw it. But who misses a volcano? Yeah, NOoooooooo one.

I later told him that if I perchance to have a landmark on my face, that I am already well aware of it, and he doesn’t have to inform me of its omnipresence. I KNOW IT’S THERE. I KNOW that YOU know it’s there. Let’s just pretend that zits are cool, okay?

Anyway, back to the robe.

Chad then elaborates on how awful the robe is, explaining that it looks like matted pink dog hair, and that I shouldn’t even give it to Goodwill because no one else should ever have to own the thing.

Sniffle. But……my robe!

So, I’ve taken to wearing PJ bottoms and a sweatshirt in the morning, and I try to only wear the robe when he’s not home. It’s so warm and soft. I know it's not the most flattering thing, but it's not as if I need to wear something glam to go with my raccoon-mascara morning face.

Wait a second. I just remembered that Chad has always wanted me to sew him footie pajamas with a bum flap. If he can wear that, I can wear the robe. I just need to figure out a pattern for the darn thing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A farewell to the leaves

A few weeks ago, Jet and I went on an adventure to try to capture a rainbow of leaves. The leaves this year are more incredible to me than ever before. They're magnificent. I wanted to photograph ALL the colors of I could find, from cherry red, to burnt red, to rust, to amber, to hazelnut brown etc. So, I strapped Jet in the jogging stroller, and took my average ol' camera, and every time I saw an intense color, I stopped jogging and shot a few photos before Jet got squirmy, and then I jogged to the next one. I was quite impressed with myself at my ability to combine arts, mom-son bonding, exercise, and nature appreciation. I felt so invigorated when I was done because I was able to use my physical energy and creative energy. Uh-oh, I'm starting to sound like a new-age weirdypants. But, it was such a fun activity to do together. I think I'll do it again, but with another mission, maybe....textures, fungi, rust. We'll see.


I love how the leaves look like rose petals. (If I had a better camera, I would have made the big leaf clearer)

Getting rusty.

Barely hanging on

Surprisingly, one of my favorites is this pic of the brown leaves. I never realized what a warm, rich shade of brown newly dead leaves are. Newly dead? Ha, oxymoron.

Now, almost all the leaves are gone, and most of the colors around are flat gray and muted brown. Gee....winter is ugly without any snow. But, I'm sure there is plenty of beauty I haven't noticed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Garage Life

Yes, I use that paw-print pillow. Yes, I know it's ugly. But I love it because I love reading in bed. It's so much better than propping up stacks of pillows. See those books on the table waiting for me? Bliss.

I just wanted to document our time in the garage, and show Hailey what her salon looks like these days. And, a big shout-out to the Durfees. Thank you so much for letting us live here!

Garage is a misnomer. We really live in a room within a garage. The room has heat, nice walls that have been painted a lovely shade of red, and carpet.

When we moved in, I told myself I wasn’t going to really decorate because I didn’t want the Durfees to think that we were getting all cozy and making ourselves at home, planning on outstaying our welcome for far too long. But, design got the better of me, and I couldn’t help myself. I had inspiration, and it’s just part of what I do as a person. I can’t not do it. Even if I only owned a mattress and dresser, and had no money, I would make a collage out of recycled newspaper and put it on the wall. I have to make things for the space I’m living in.

So, I made some bird wall decals from butcher paper that Chad’s lovely mother brought home for me from her work. Lindsay has a projector, so I borrowed that too. I traced the birds, cut ‘em out, and taped ‘em up. FREE. Hurrah.

The window in the garage isn’t double-paned, so I made curtains out of fleece blankets to help hold in heat. Hailey, I know these are your blankets. When I’m done, I just have to unstitch one line, and they are back to their old selves. (I used velcro for tiebacks. Tehe. I didn't want to sew anything)

Then I hung Hailey’s lamp. LOL. Hailey, I couldn’t help it. It’s the coolest, and it was just sitting there. I replaced the bulb for you : ) Using lamps changes the ambience in a room SO MUCH. It’s so much more relaxing than one big blaring light.

See that white thing in the bottom left corner? Jet's changing station!

In the real garage area, we have our dressers, pantry, and fridge. Jet loves to play with cans. He also loves to feed the dogs by hand. It’s kinda gross, I know, but he LOVES it. What’s the worst is that he loves to play in their water bowl. I have found him sitting in their water bowl with all his clothes on, or stomping in it with his shoes. He loves to put their food in the water too. He loves to dump their water out. Darn water bowl. I try to put their bowls out of reach when he’s out here, but sometimes I forget and I pay for it later.

After living here, and living in our last place (the single-wide) I have learned that we don’t need much to be comfortable. In fact, I like the simple/cheap life. During most of last year in LaPine, we found a big, new house to rent. But, it was too big. We barely spent time in the living room. We used the guest room a few times to host family. I hated our heating bill, and vacuuming. It was a beautiful house, but we didn’t need it. After that place, we moved to a single-wide trailer with lots of character. LOVED IT. I actually would love to have a murphy bed! Those are the kind that you push up into the wall. I’ve seen murphy beds that the “wall” (the part under the bed when the bed is down, and the wall when the bed is “put away”) has a table you can pull down. Ingenious! It’s a murphy table.

I have liked the smaller and older places we’ve lived in much better. I only want the amount of space I need otherwise it just feels empty. Then you feel like you need to buy more furniture to fill the place. Then you move to a smaller place, and you have all this superfluous crud. I can understand wanting to have a lot of room for the kids to play, but a 1 year old doesn’t need much. Plus, I like being able to spend our money on other things.

I think our society places way too much importance on houses. It doesn’t have to be this gorgeous, immaculate place to be a dream home. I think as long as its clean, kept-up, and designed how you like, then it can feel great and be a dream home for your family.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spidey hangouts

The other morning, the fog was thick, and the frost was just starting to melt. I took the dogs on a morning walk along our usual forested path. Every single spiderweb had been frosted, their outlines popping against the background. Simultaneously, I felt amazed and eeksy. There were spiderwebs everywhere, scattered around every few feet. I couldn’t believe it. I had been there so many times, and had only noticed a few before. Now they surrounded me. Luckily, most of the webs seemed abandoned; probably because they smelled my sweet blood and were chasing after me. I eat way too many sweets.

Well, that day, I didn’t have my camera. So, I’ve been taking it with me in the mornings, trying to recapture all that wonder. But, there hasn’t been such a day since. These pics were the closest I could get, and I’m already behind since Halloween is over.

I could have cropped Dakota out of this photo, but I like to know that she was there. If it weren't for the dogs, I wouldn't have even been out there in the first place.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Patch, Chad's job

Chad got a job! Hurrah! It wasn't what we were expecting, but it could end up being a really great opportunity. We'll see. Only time will tell.

But, onto more fun things. We went to the pumpkin patch at Herrick Farms. FAB!! Free hayrides until 6:00pm. We ended up only buying a small pumpkin for $1. I felt kind of bad, as if we were cheating them, but um....we'll buy more in a few years...promise!

LOVE this picture. I'm trying to improve my photography. Lizzy explained that the best time to take photos are dawn and dusk, so we went at dusk, and I love the golden lighting. All warm and fuzzy and MMMmmmmmness. Thanks Lizzy!

So the hayride. The wagon is pulled by a really loud tractor. Jet had a panic attack. Is it bad that we thought it was a bit funny? He was just so freaked out.

Isn't that the cutest pic?
Fire and ice

Do you like our red ball motif?

Jet loves to pick up things that are way too heavy for him, especially balls (like my dad's 5 lb. exercise ball). He didn't manage to get this one off the ground though : )

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I love my callings!

I am so grateful to be able to serve in the gospel. I have been so blessed. The past several callings I've had, I have learned so much from. A few years ago I gave a talk about service, and I learned that when we give service, the person doing the serving is blessed more than the person receiving the service. After my past few years of service, I know that is true.

Two years ago, I was called to be the Primary Chorister. I was excited but nervous, because I had never felt comfortable in front of a group of children. I felt fine teaching adults, but teaching children was very new to me. I remember it took me so long to prepare, and when I first started out, sometimes I would be so nervous that my voice would shake...totally embarrassing, but the Junior Primary couldn't tell the difference : ) I remember I would be so anxious about having everything in order and ready to go. I would literally write out everything I was going to say, sing, and do. When I came home from church, I would be exhausted, because I was concentrating so hard. After a month, I wasn't nervous anymore. After a few months, preparation became a lot faster. After a few more months, I could wing things so well, it was really fun, and I could communicate with the children better. I better understood how to captivate them. I was released when we moved to LaPine, and by then, I was so comfortable in front of the children, and more confident in myself as a teacher. Such a blessing for myself, and my family.

In LaPine I was called to the YW's. This calling really changed my life. The YW president was truly one of the most amazing women I have ever met, and I feel privileged to have been her friend. I miss her terribly. I have never seen someone serve others so much. She was ALWAYS lending a helping hand, even though her husband had to work out of town, 4 out of the 7 days a week, and she had 4 children. She was full of love, and was so selfless. We were able to show the young women how much we loved them. We all bonded together. I felt like I was in YW again, but better. Everyone supported each other. We laughed all the time. It was wonderful to live the gospel together. They reawakened my youthful self. I learned how important it is to love those that we serve. If we do this, those people will respond. They will recognize that someone cares for them, and their hearts are likely to be softened toward us, and more importantly, the gospel.

I recently was called as a Primary teacher for the 5-year-olds. This is actually the same calling I had after Chad and I got married, and let me tell you, I was terrible! I didn't know how to keep the kids from misbehaving, I didn't know what types of things kept their attention besides coloring (which doesn't keep their attention that long anyway), and I didn't know really anything about teaching children. Now, after having my calling as Primary Chorister, I am SOOOO much better. The children and I had so much fun today, and they learned a lot. I was SO happy. I have learned how to keep them on task, I have learned what types of activities keep them engaged, and I have learned how to show my love for them. I am so grateful for these blessings, because I have so much more confidence in my abilities to teach Jet, and my other future children. Before, I was scared out of my mind, and lacked confidence in my abilities. I also feel confident in being able to teach in general, like teaching piano lessons, which I will likely do sometime in my life, and instead of being scared about it, I know that I can be a really great teacher.

The truth is, even if I didn't receive any blessings, I would still serve happily. I just wanted to share my gratitude for my opportunities to grow.

Friday, October 8, 2010


It’s official. I went dumpster diving. I found food from a dumpster, and I ate it.

It was late at night; Chad and I were a bit loopy at the time, after having run through sprinklers at a nearby middle school. We were driving home, and I begged him to stop by the back of a certain bakery so I could simply peek in their dumpster. I tiptoed out of the car, opened the lid, and it was empty. Bummer. I went to the next dumpster, and there it was, gleaming like gold. Bagels. Bags of bagels in their original wrapping, right on top. I grabbed them, laughing giddily, and ran back to the car with a devious smile on my face. Ah ha ha, FREE FOOD, that someone was just going to throw away, and I rescued it! I felt such a sense of victory. Since I was on a roll, we then drove past a place with tons of mint growing, (I had scouted it out a few days prior) and with my new expertise, I jumped out of the car, snagged a few lengthy sprigs, and that was that. We came home, and reveled in our loot. Well, at least I did. Chad thought I was uh…psycho…but he doesn’t care, as long as I’m happy. And, I was beaming. I checked the bags, and some were expired, and some weren’t. I chucked the expired ones ofcourse. The next day, I made bagel chips. A few weeks later, I found more, and have since had many bagel sandwiches and bagel mcmuffins.

I’m a 25-year-old bad lady, people!

Let me explain myself. It’s not as bad as you think.

A few months ago I read a book called, The Art of Eating In. LOVED IT! It’s a memoir about a woman in New York who doesn’t eat out for 2 years. No fast food, no restaurants, no pre-maid meals from the grocery store. This is apparently EXTREME NY living. She ends up learning all kinds of things, how to make no-knead bread in a dutch oven, how to forage for wild greens, how to run an underground supper club, how to cook great food in a flash, and how to dumpster dive.

To learn how to dive in the dumpster (not that it’s hard, but there are tips), she went along with a freegan group. The term, freegan, comes from a combination of the word, “free,” because they take food and items from the dumpster, and “vegan.” Not all freegans are vegans, but in general, that is the case. Why do they do dumpster dive? A few reasons. They are anti-consumerism. It’s green. They are using things that have already been made and discarded, instead of buying new. They’re saving things from going in landfills.

Here is why it’s not so gross. Think of all those big grocers out there. They guarantee freshness. In fact, I was just in Safeway the other day and they had tons of big signs in the produce section saying if you buy any produce that isn’t as fresh as you like, you can return it. With their high prices, it’s practically like buying insurance for your food. Well, what happens to an apple with a bruise? It goes in the dumpster. It’s not a bad or moldy apple, but it’s not perfect. What about those sealed salad mixes that have a few wilted leaves? Dumpster. What about 2-day-old bagels? Dumpster. They aren’t moldy, they just don’t have fresh legs. You could say they’re in their late 30’s, but they’re certainly not ready to bite the dust. It’s kind of sad actually. Think of all that food that could go to needy people. The author could understand why freegans do what they do, but she only went dumpster diving once.

So, I’ve been checking around town trying to find grocers that don’t have locked dumpsters. Can you picture me driving around the back of grocery stores, checking out their garbage situation? Unfortunately, all the best candidates like Albertsons and Market of Choice have garbage compactors. Which makes sense. So, you have to find the small establishments. I’ve only found one place that doesn’t lock their dumpster. And, I’ve only gone twice. I really just wanted to try it out, but I may go again. But, maybe I shouldn’t since it’s illegal. Tehe.

But don’t worry, if you ever come to my house (aka, my in-law’s garage) I won’t feed you food from a dumpster. PROMISE.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

i ate play-doh

Every summer, I have to go to the Oregon Coast; it’s a right of passage for summer, like eating grilled corn on the cob, and begging for floss afterwards.

Along with the coast tradition, I have recently added an appendage that states, “If we go to Florence (Oregon Coast, not Italy..herumph, I wish), I MUST get ice cream at BJ’s.” This is perfectly official, since it’s in writing now. Really, any excuse to get ice cream, right? A trip to the doctor equates to: a dr. visit with ice cream afterwards. Dentist? Milkshake afterward. Choir concert or other performance? Soft serve, to soothe those exhausted vocal chords, ofcourse.

So, we’re driving along the main drag in Florence, and I’m anxiously looking toward the east side of the road, looking for the beloved BJ’s sign.

Play dough ice cream?

Completely intrigued. I wasn’t even one of those kids that ate play-doh, but I knew that trying a sample was a must. I was imagining it would be this curious mix between salty and sweet, with a thick, doughy texture, maybe in a bright blue or red. What do you think it would be like?

Verdict: Although I commend their creativity and ingenious advertising, I was bummed-out. In summation, their version of play dough ice cream is: vanilla ice cream with pieces of sugar cookie dough throughout. They dyed the cookie dough bright colors, rolled it out about a ¼ inch thick, and cut it into pieces, and then added it to vanilla ice cream. Okay, I guess sugar cookie dough is kind of like play dough…but…if my play-doh tasted like sugar cookies, I would have just eaten the darn stuff, and not honed my inner-Michelangelo.

But, they did have some other interesting flavors like

Ginger (with chunks of candied ginger)

Lemon Chiffon


This summer, Chad and I made homemade ice cream a few times.

We made, vanilla, fresh mint, (foraged from a neighbor’s yard) strawberry, and toasted coconut.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Breaking the Silence

I don’t even know where to start.

At the end of June, our litle family moved into Chad’s parents’ garage. It’s not your typical garage, it’s really nice! It’s Hailey’s salon, and while she is on her mission, the Durfee’s graciously opened it up to us…and even our dogs.

You see, Chad’s job at LaPine High School got cut to part-time, and we couldn’t afford to stay there. Chad has been looking for employment ever since, and hasn’t had any luck. He almost got hired at a really good teaching job in Texas, but they told him they would hire him next year if there was an opening, and if he were still interested. There just isn’t anything out there. He has a great background too, so it’s really frustrating. 3 years banking experience, (tons of awards from it) fluent in Spanish, Bachelor’s in History and Spanish, Masters in Education, and 2 years teaching experience, and great references.

This has actually been out first “real” summer together. We have always both been working and/or going to school. So, it’s been really nice to have some time together. We have definitely grown closer as a family, and closer to our Heavenly Father. With this extra time, we’ve been able to establish firmer habits of scripture study, prayer, and FHE. Our priorities are better. We’re more united in our goals for our family. Our faith has been strengthened.

I know everything will work together for our good, as the scriptures say, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder how it’s all going to pan out. I have faith that He’ll bless us with employment, but, I know whatever happens is His will. Maybe it’s His will to make us wait a LONG TIME. But, I have to keep reminding myself that Heavenly Father knows what is best for us. We are doing all we can to find employment, and to be righteous.

Even without having an income, we are REALLY blessed. All our needs are met thanks to our family and our savings. We have been blessed spiritually too. But, it’s tough being in a holding pattern. We want to move forward with our life, but, it’s not in our hands.

So many things I used to think about, seem silly now. Not silly exactly, but, just less important. I have such a desire to become a better person, to serve others, and to learn the doctrines of the gospel through and through. For example, it doesn’t really matter what my bedroom looks like, as long as it’s clean. Who cares what I’m wearing, as long as I’m modest and presentable. Crafty projects are fun, but I’d rather find someone I can help. And movies? Are they getting worse, or were they always so lame? Ofcourse, there are some really good ones, but they are few and far between. I’d rather have my 2 hours, than watch a mediocre movie.

So, that’s where we’re at right now. Some days are great, and some days aren’t as great, but we are learning, and trying our best.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jet's 1st Birthday

Jet didn't need any help diving into the cake.

He practically ate the whole thing.
He's learning to clap.

We got him a BIG WHALE pool for his birthday.
Wearing Grandma's reading glasses.

My mom made him a Jet cake. Isn't it awesome?

I love this little boy SO much!

He's so happy and easy goin'. He likes to be out and about. He loves playing with balls, big or small. He likes being outside. He LOVES to babble and talk. He LOVES the stairs. I could go on and on. I can't believe I have such a perfect little boy. He's the best. There are so many small moments, every single day, that are so precious and dear. I love you, Jet!