Tuesday, March 31, 2009


My friend Jenny wrote a beautiful post on her blog about perspective and being grateful, and it inspired me to write some things that I am grateful for. I was going to do an Amazing Race update today, but I'll hold off until tomorrow because I think this is better!!!

-I am grateful for my perfect match in Ben- he loves me completely, and I am grateful every day that he is my husband
-I am grateful that Ben is a wonderful father- I have said this many times, but I am glad he doesn't just say he wants to be a good dad, he actually IS a good dad
-I am grateful for Audra- I never knew I was capable of such love until she was born
-I am grateful for the baby we have coming- that so far she is healthy and strong and things are progressing normally
-I am grateful that we don't have a hard time getting pregnant- I know that sounds funny, but I know a lot of people who really struggle with infertility and I am grateful that we don't have that problem
-I am grateful for this country- I love America! July 4th is my favorite holiday- honest! With all of our problems, this is still the greatest place in the world to live
-I am grateful for our home that keeps us safe and protected from the cold and the heat
-I am grateful for Ben's job, and that he is able to provide for our family
-I am grateful for grocery stores and that we don't have to hunt for our food- yuck!
-I am forever grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the knowledge that I have that I KNOW that I am a child of God and that my life has purpose and meaning
-I am grateful for wonderful and amazing friends who uplift and inspire me to be better on a regular basis
-I am grateful for girls' nights!
-I am grateful for hand-me-downs!!! THANK YOU to all of you who have given us hand-me-downs- I LOVE them!!!!
-I am grateful for this Easter season, when we can remember the resurrection of our Savior and that through Him, all things are possible
-I am grateful to know that families are forever- that this life is not the end!
-I am grateful for my parents and siblings- we were poor, but dang we were happy growing up! I love them all so much!!!
-I am grateful for Ben's family- they have accepted me into their lives without any qualms and I love them for that
-I am grateful for nature and for the beauty of the earth
-I am thankful for health and decent health insurance

These are just a few of the million things I am grateful for- I think I could go on forever! Thanks, Jenny, for reminding me that there are so many things to be grateful for- and that most often, it is the little things that are most important!!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

We All Fall Down

We have had a rough couple of days in our neck of the woods, and I fear there are 1-2 more in our future. I woke up Saturday not feeling very well, then woke up Sunday feeling much worse-sore throat, head congestion, overly tired. I thought I was going to pass out all during church, and finally we left early. Then, Ben took Audra to his parents house without me so I could just rest, and Audra fell down pretty hard and cut her lip. She has done this twice before in the past month, but this time it left her with a fat lip. I'm not sure if you can tell in these pictures, but it is pretty sad. But, it's all just part of growing up and she doesn't seem to mind at all.

Then, I am miserable today which means Audra pretty much has free reign to do whatever she wants. I am envious that when Ben is sick he really just gets to lay in bed and get better! I have to admit, when he is home he is absolutely wonderful in doing everything so I can rest and I am incredibly grateful that he is so good to me, but he can't very well take off of work to take care of me, so when he is at work it is a little harder. But, Audra is apparently sick as well because she not only took a morning and afternoon nap, she also cuddled with Mama! She NEVER cuddles unless she is sick- that's actually one thing I like about her being sick, is that I can actually hold her. Audra has never liked to snuggle- ever. Part of me hopes this next baby is a big snuggler, but then the independent personality Audra has also has many perks. We'll just see what this next baby brings!

Anyway, hopefully we will all be better soon! Another positive thing about being sick- Ben's bringing home dinner tonight! YIPPEE!!!

I Wanna Be a Rock Star!

Ben got Rock Star 2 for his Birthday, and both he and Audra were very excited! (I was excited, too- it's really a fun game, much more fun then I thought it would be!)Audra LOVED helping Dad set up the game.

Then, she really loved scaring Mom half to death by continually climbing on the unstable stool so she could play the drums- too cute!!!

Ben said, "We need to get that baby out so we have a fourth player!" I told him it was better that we let the baby incubate a little longer. He reluctantly agreed!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Delightful Damager

I am trying not to use the term "terrible twos" to describe my not-quite-2-year-old who has certainly entered this stage. I don't want to think of this whole next year as entering a "terrible" time period, so what are some other names I could use to describe my ornery, cute, stubborn, defiant, laughing, smiling, frustrating, wonderful, daughter at this stage of her life?

Rampant Runner
Stubborn Sunshine
Curious George (meaning: into everything she should not be into)
Hurtful Helper (she likes to help- but pouring water all over my cookbook doesn't really qualify as helping, does it?)

Or, probably the best description as Ben likes to remind me: Your mother's daughter. I suppose my mom thinks it's wonderful that I am not getting pay back for my own little stubbornness and "my way or the high way" attitude.

Sometimes this attitude is not SOOOO bad:

She is in this stage where she doesn't want to wear pants and she wants to pick out her outfit everyday. After trying to get her to wear pants all day, but her continually taking them off and running around pantsless, I finally was able to get her to wear this lovely outfit. Oh, well. Matching clothes is not a battle I am willing to fight right now.

Sometimes, this time of life is much worse then hideous outfits:

This lovely tantrum is a result of her not being able to tell me what she wants to snack on. After finishing her raisins happily, she all of a sudden burst into screams. I spent the next five minutes asking, "do you want ___________?" and her immediately responding, "yeah" and then as I go to give them to her, her yelling, "NOOOOO!!!!" Finally, she settled on some yogurt.

So, now we are dealing with our Toddler Troubles. I heard about an article that said that if your toddler is defiant and strong-willed, that is good because they get their little attitudes out now and end up being wonderful teenagers. I don't know if this article is true or not, but I am running with it and saying it is!! At this rate, she will be the BEST teenager the world has ever seen!!!!

On another note, we did get pounded with snow yesterday. Ben was able to come home from work early- which was wonderful because Audra was going crazy cooped up inside the house! He made it home OK (thankfully), but couldn't pull into our driveway because the snow was too deep. Then, this morning he spent 45 minutes digging himself out of the snow and went to work with wet pants.

Matt and Jenny's flight was cancelled, but they are keeping high spirits and have rescheduled everything for next month, so hopefully everything will work out then. I am sure it will!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Prayers, Please!

It seems like our list of people to pray for in our family prayers each night gets longer and longer. But, I believe in miracles and in the power of prayer, so I wanted to ask you all for some prayers. Not for us, but for Cici. Many of you have been following the story of Cici, the daughter of my good friends Matt and Jenny. You can read more about their story at http://colofisch.blogspot.com/ but I am sure you remember that they are the ones with a 3- year-old son and twin daughters and one of the daughters had the choking accident and ended up with severe brain damage.

This weekend they are going to do some experimental treatments that have shown great promise in children with similar brain damage. I can't explain it because honestly I don't understand it, but they have to fly to meet a Californian doctor for a few days for the treatment and then they will hopefully see improvements in 3-6 months. It is actually incredibly exciting, and it is amazing to me the awesome things doctors can do now. But, I would ask that you pray that their flight will not be cancelled due to snow (we are expecting a HUGE snowstorm tomorrow) and that this treatment will prove beneficial and Cici will see some improvements.

Matt and Jenny- I am so excited that you have this opportunity and I pray it will help Cici!!! Best of luck- we love you guys!!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Networking Night

I thought I would just do a quick post about something that could be beneficial to some of you out there. Our church is doing a job networking night- open to EVERYONE regardless of faith- tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 7 PM. It is specifically geared to those who are unemployed or underemployed.

They are flying in a special keynote speaker to discuss ways to market yourself to potential employers. Then they will have networking opportunities. I am not sure how it will all work out, but if you or somebody you know is looking for a better career opportunity, it sounds like this could be a great event.

It will be held at the Foothills Canyon Church located at:
9800 B Foothills Canyon Blvd

Apparently you should bring a pen/pencil and a 3 x 5 inch index card as well as have prepared a 30-second introduction of why you are a great employee and why somebody should hire you. Refreshments will be served. If you decide to go, good luck!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Toddler Crisis #1

On the scale of toddles crises, I understand this rates about 2 out of 10. But, while it was happening I am certain it was around a 12.

Today started out quite normal, and quite peaceful. All of my plans got cancelled for one reason or another today, which meant I would actually have time to clean my house and run some errands. It was going to be a great day.
But then, out of nowhere, Audra ran into me and Ben's bedroom and LOCKED THE DOOR! She locked herself into our bedroom! Now, while this may have been a small problem, I should say that the reason she ran away from me was because she didn't want me to put her diaper on her- so she was alone, in our bedroom, without a diaper. And, to compound this, I have absolutely NO idea how to unlock the door.

I went and got a small screwdriver, said a prayer, and cried. I learned a lesson. This is what you should absolutely, under no circumstances do:

If you ever find yourself in this situation, DO NOT remove the door handle like I did- it makes things much more difficult. Thankfully, my phone was not in the bedroom as I originally feared, and I called Ben in absolute tears (I should note, however, that Audra was having the time of her life- she thought this was all quite hilarious). He tried to talk me through what I needed to do, but I was clueless. Obviously, I did not get the mechanical skills gene from my father. Ben called his mom, and she tried to help- again, I was hopeless. I called my dad, and he tried to help (and he also laughed at me and commented on the "joys" of having children). Finally, Ben decided to come home and help me and Audra out.

Being the hero Ben is, it took him about 30 seconds to get the door open. Thank goodness for husbands! Audra thought it was WONDERFUL that daddy was home, and cried for 15 minutes after he left because she wanted him to stay. But, I was able to stop crying because not only was my daughter ok- she also didn't go to the bathroom all over the bedroom!

Ben, the conquering hero!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Time Out For Women

While Audra is doing who knows what in the laundry room (I am a little scared to look, to be honest), I thought I would try to conceptualize some of the thoughts/inspirations I have of the conference this last weekend.

There were 6 speakers and 2 musical presenters, and all were amazing. I will not go into what all of them said, but I would like to share some things which they talked about which inspired me.

Many of them talked about trials they had endured. One woman, Emily Freeman, spoke of her little boy being diagnosed with diabetes. She said when they came home from the hospital, having learned all of the procedures they would now have to do, she pricked his finger to check his blood count, and he reached up and pinched her cheeks as hard as he could- and she let him, because she felt like she deserved it for hurting him with the needle- and he said, "I hate you! I hate this!" and ran off to his room. She then fell on the floor and cried for hours.

She went on to say that after about 5 years she and her son took part in a research study. One of the questions they asked was, "If you could go back and be rid of your son's diagnosis, but also lose all of the knowledge you have gained, would you do it?" She said she had to think about that for a long time- her first impulse was of course to say yes. But, she said, after thinking about it she finally said "no." She said, "all of those nights I spent in prayer, all of those discussions about the Lord I have had with my son, the knowledge I have gained that I am not in this alone- I wouldn't change that for anything, even if it meant making my son better." I thought that was quite poignant- I am pretty sure I would have wanted the diagnosis changed!

Then another woman, Kris Bulgur (who in my opinion was the highlight of the weekend) talked about how she had been diagnosed with eye cancer when she was 7 months old and had to have her eye removed. Then, after she married and had 2 kids, the cancer came back into her other eye. She talks about this horrible period of her life, and how she kept saying, "I had cancer- that part of my life is over- this isn't supposed to be happening to me." She said the doctor gave her two options: "We can remove your eye and you will die. Or, we can go behind your eye to remove the cancer, you will lose your eyesight (leaving her totally blind), and you will probably die." She said she went to Temple Square in Salt Lake and walked up to the statue of the Christus and just fell at His feet and wept. She said all she wanted was to be able to see her Savior's hands, and she couldn't. She talked about the faith and courage she needed to be able to get through all of this- about how she prayed and prayed that she would get better, and the Lord answered her by simply saying, "I am with you"- not saying she would be made whole, but that He was by her side. She said, "of course God's going to give us things we cannot handle- if not, what's the need for Christ?" She also said, "There are obstacles you can not pray away- it does not mean we don't have faith, but that we need to turn to Christ," and that "we may have to go through a sad story, but we don't have to live our lives through that sad story." It was very powerful- especially as everybody in the room was bawling! Her testimony of Christ was just...unbelievable- and I am glad I got to hear it.

Ardeth Kapp talked about changing our sphere of the world- whatever our world is. She said, "the Lord wants us to make an impact on our area of influence- we must be willing to accept that challenge." I really liked that. So often I feel like I want to do something that really makes a difference in the world- I don't know, cure cancer or something (though I would probably need to know at least something about medicine to be able to do that!). But, I CAN help and change my sphere of influence right here in Highlands Ranch, CO. I liked that.

I learned, once again, that whatever trials I think I have- there are people who are really suffering and struggling- cancer, lay-offs, sick children. I know that I am incredibly blessed- BUT, I also know that because of that I have an opportunity and responsibility to reach out to those around me and help lift others up. I want to do that. I have tried, but of course I never feel like I do enough. I wish I was wealthy and could pay for treatments for friends who are ill, or whose children are ill. I wish I could always know the perfect thing to say, and have the perfect solution for those who are enduring trials. But, I don't. However, I can do my best to try and be of service to others, to help with fundraisers, to bring dinners, to help baby-sit- whatever others may need. And, I can be grateful for everything that I have- for health, for the opportunity to stay home with my children (not saying this is the right move for everyone- it just happens to be for us right now), for the knowledge I have that Jesus is the Christ- that He is my Savior and Redeemer, and that He loves me more then I can possibly comprehend. Trials will certainly come (as I may soon find in the laundry room), but I can look to my Savior for guidance and support, and for that I am grateful.

There are many other things I can discuss. And, for those of you who attended, forgive me for not having exact quotes- this is what I gleaned from what was presented, and I would love it if you added your own comments about what you learned as well. It was just a truly uplifting weekend- a spiritual renewal of sorts- and I am grateful I went. I am hoping we can make this a yearly tradition- a yearly recharge of our emotional batteries. Thanks, mom, for calling me and asking me to tag along! It was absolutely wonderful!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Best Weekend!

I just got back from an AWESOME weekend with my mom and sisters! I left Ben and Audra in Denver and flew to Seattle to attend Time Out For Women (a women's conference put on by our church). It was absolutely wonderful!!!! I had the best time! I totally feel spiritually uplifted and ready to tackle the world (ok, maybe I won't go quite that far- the world is tough to conquer!). I will probably formalize some of my thoughts from all of the wonderful presenters and music we heard at the conference, but for right now I want to show a few pictures of the fun we had.

My mom got us this unbelievable room at the Hotel 1000- a 5 star hotel right next to the waterfront. I worked at a 5 star hotel before, and I can honestly say: it is MUCH nicer to stay as a guest then to clean it as a housekeeper!

Sorry, the pics are taken from my cell phone, so I apologize that they are not that great. Here is the bathroom sink- all granite countertops, and the water came out in a rectangular shape because that was the shape of the faucet head:

The bathtub. There are couple things about the tub which were pretty cool. Notice the glass wall behind the tub- there was a screen that would come down at the push of a button should one want privacy. Then, the craziest thing, the water came out of the ceiling! This must be something the rich enjoy- something exotic and exciting (my sister says it's very Moroccan). We found this to not be the ideal way to get water into a tub for two reasons: 1. Water splashed everywhere, and 2. If you were to lie in the tub as it filled up, the water would land on your tummy. Hmmm...not my idea of relaxing!

Hi-tech gadgets- of course! The TV would show pictures/paintings, and you could change the pictures depending on your art tastes.

VERY comfy beds!

Shower- all granite, very sleek looking. To close the bathroom, there was a gorgeous wooden sliding door- WOW!
Wet bar- again, all granite!
Here are some pics of Mom and Liss in Seattle. This is what I miss most about Seattle, besides my family of course. The water- I love it, and I miss the ocean. Chatfield Reservoir just doesn't cut it, even though Ben likes to think it somehow compares to the ocean.

Here is the stage at the actual conference. We sat up on the balcony and had perfect seats- it was so neat! I'll talk more about the spiritual aspects of the weekend when I have a little more time- so much happened, and it was all so inspiring! It will take awhile for me to get my thoughts together.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Not Just Me That's Paranoid!

We got this e-mail today from our bishop (spiritual leader at church). It comes from a member of our stake (large regional area containing several wards, or congregations):

I wanted to share with you some alarming happenings in our ward boundaries. Please send this information out to all RS Presidents (leaders of the women's groups' of our church) so they can share this information with their sisters.
Last week a sister in our ward had her home broken into while she was home. The man rang the door bell and knocked, she didn't answer because she had just woke up, the man then proceeded to her back door, threw a large rock breaking the glass and proceeded to enter her home. She saw him from her upstairs landing and yelled- scaring him away. The next day a sister in our ward answered her door to a man posing as an ADT home security Representative, he had no ID or clothing showing he was from ADT, he just carried a clip board. When she answered he just said he was checking with customers to make sure they were happy with their systems and if they were working properly. We have had other sisters report similiar happenings. Today in the Weatherstone neighborhood two men again posing as ADT Security represenative and salesmen, knocked on a sisters door. They again had no ID, they were wearing baggy jeans and carring clip boards, she simply told them she wasn't interested and called the sheriffs department. ADT has confirmend they DO NOT send out people going door to door either to sell or to check on customers. So if someone says they are from ADT immediately send them away and call the non emergency phone # for Douglas County 303-660-7500. It seems that a group of men (one sister said they looked like young boys) are casing neighborhoods trying to find targets for breakins. Sisters please be alert and cautious, if you suspect something is not right call the sheriff's department. I don't want to instill fear, but I just want to warn all the sisters in our Stake so they can be vigilant.

Christina again:
The Spring Gulch Ward is very close to where we live, so needless to say, this e-mail is quite disturbing. But, it is even more disturbing because we had somebody from Affordable Home Solutions come and give us a quote on an ADT system after they knocked on our door, and we have somebody coming out tomorrow to install the system. While everything seemed legit, I called ADT anyway to make sure. Thankfully, they are legit, and now I am very grateful that we decided to make the investment to get the system installed! How scary! There has been a 400% increase in burglaries since the economy tanked in our area, so it is always good to watch out!!! I thought I would post this to warn others (not that you should get a security system, but to be careful when somebody comes to your door!!!). I mentioned this same kind of crime happening in the Jefferson County area, now it looks like it is becoming more widespread, so I thought those of you living in this area would like to have this info.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Audra's Latest Antics

Here is Audra's most recent fascination:

The key word: WATER! As soon as we turn a sink on for any reason, she races as fast as she can, gets a stool or chair to pull over, and puts her hand under the water. This is normally more of just a small annoyance (getting jammed in the leg with a stool), but if there are dishes in the sink (I know you all noticed the dirty dinner dishes in the sink), she will play for hours in the dirty water soaking the pans or whatever, and then get mad when you try to do the dishes. I had to take this picture, though, so that when she is older and is complaining about doing the dishes all the time, I can prove to her that at one point she BEGGED to do them!

Friday, March 6, 2009

And The Winner Is...

The great questions of the universe have been answered today:

How many weddings will Ben have to pay for?
Will Ben have someone to help him carry large furniture?
Will Christina have to buy a whole new baby wardrobe?
I know you have all been dying to know the answers to these vexing questions. And the answers are:

Ben will not have help moving large furniture, but will get to pay for two weddings. And, much to her delight, Christina will not have to buy a whole new baby wardrobe!

Yes, we are having another girl! Now the battle of the name has begun...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Matched Opposites

Yesterday I was listening to a radio show (105.9 FM) and they had some guy from England who wrote a book called, "How To Get Someone to Fall in Love With You in 90 Minutes." He had done a lot of research and found several conclusions which he was discussing.

Of course, in regards to love, there have been a million studies about attraction, how to stay together forever, etc. I am definitely not trying to say that he is the be all, end all on love- and certainly there will be a million exceptions to every rule on love ever imagined. One thing he said, though, really stuck with me because it described Ben and me quite well, and I was curious to hear if others thought their relationships fell in the same category.

He said in his research he found that couples who were "matched opposites" had the most long lasting and deep relationships (again, understand there will be a million exceptions- let's not categorize this as the only way to have a successful relationship- that would be rediculous). What is a "matched opposite?" That is when you are matched in your values and beliefs, but you are opposites when it comes to personalities and interests. He said the values hold you together through thick and thin, but the opposite natures drive the passion and excitement of the relationship. He said if you were "match/match" then you were great friends, but not lovers (sorry, I didn't want to use that word on a public blog, but couldn't think of a better word then lover).

I definitely believe there are exceptions, but I thought that described Ben and me pretty well. When Ben and I first met, I am sure people were like, "how did they get together?" A leader from our church even asked if Ben ever talked on our dates because he is so shy (to be honest, I couldn't get him to stop talking- we always had great conversations right from the start). But, it works out perfectly- when we go to parties, I get to do all the talking- which I enjoy- and Ben gets to sit back and wish he wasn't there- which he enjoys (kind-of). But even though we are opposite, our core values are the same and we have the same long-term goals. So, I liked his description, at least for Ben and me. What about you? Are you matched opposites? Matched matched? Opposites opposite? Or, do you just think this guy is crazy and needs to get off the radio?

My perfect Matched Opposite!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Precious Moments

I know you are looking at these pictures and thinking, "wow. That's cool- Christina pulled out some old pictures from last summer to post." But, then you look a little closer and realize Audra is too big to be pictures from last summer. So, then you think, "oh, Christina is superimposing Audra in some pictures of the Caribbean. Why did she choose such an ugly picture of the Caribbean to superimpose her- brown grass, no ocean? That's sure odd." Well, the answer is that I didn't do that either- this is Audra. Today. In Denver. March 2nd. The coldest and snowiest and wettest month of the year in Colorado. Hanging out in 74 degree weather! Yes, folks, you heard that correctly- we broke the record set in 1901 today for hottest weather on March 2nd in Denver, CO.

I took Audra out with her friend Chloe who I baby-sit twice a week to a park. The video is them running around chasing each other. They did this for quite some time (I know my videoes are often not the most exciting, but my mom lives far away and I want to share her granddaughter with her). Anyway, sitting back and watching the two of them run, laugh, play, and have the grandest time ever, I realized how happy I am to be in this particular phase of my life. Audra is such a joy- with her feisteness, her kisses, her orneryness, her infectious laugh, her beauty and the frustration that she brings with her. I feel so blessed to be her mother, and I wanted to capture today- take a snapshot of her at this most perfect time, most precious of moments. I know she will one day be a teenager and not want to be around her mom, and I dread that day. I know there will be trials that will come into our lives, I know that having a newborn on top of a wild toddler will be a challenge. But, today I didn't care about any of those things. I didn't care about the economy or worry about Ben's job. I just enjoyed Audra- the light that she brings into our lives. Someday, these moments will be gone. So I wil take today- and forget about the Caribbean.