Monday, December 19, 2011

Thankful for our Calling

For the past year and a half, Michael and I have been teaching the 16-17 year old Sunday School class. Best Ever. We have loved every minute of it! Seriously! I remember the very first Sunday we taught them, they were all so quiet and not sure of us. Now, we have such a great time with them every week and we just thoroughly enjoy them! Teaching these kids has eased my fears of raising teenagers in this world. They are smart! They know so much about the scriptures. They are funny. They are nice to each other. They put up with our crazy, scrambled, learn-as-we-go teaching methods, and they are truly amazing people. We truly miss them when we have to miss a class or when one of them has to miss a class.

Michael and I have been SO grateful to study the Bible while teaching this class. 2010 was the Old Testament, and 2011 has been the New Testament. It has been so wonderful to study the life of Christ and to hear these kids thoughts. You'd be amazed at how thoughtful and honest they are. Like I told them yesterday, I am 100% positive that we have learned SO much more from them, than they could have ever learned from us.

Here's our current group:

We've lost some to graduation and growing up and such, but these kids, and the ones who weren't there for picture day, have been such a JOY in Michael and I's lives. We feel so proud to watch them graduate and go on missions and go to college and we love hearing about their band concerts, football games, plays, boyfriends, etc. They just do so much good. And make the people around them feel so good. Our favorite part is how different they are. It's like one of every personality in our class and we LOVE IT! And they work and blend so well together.

Lakeridge 3rd Ward 16 & 17 year olds, you rock! Seriously. Thanks for making church even better :) I've always had a tender heart, but man I think this pregnancy is making me more sentimental than ever! haha!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas is Coming, The Goose is Getting Fat

Michael and I had a Christmas photo shoot! lol! It was pretty funny, but I'm happy to have some Christmasy pictures. So I thought I'd share one :) We are doing just wonderfully over here. Michael is taking his last final as I type and we're gearing up for Christmas. YESS!! I cannot wait! December has been great to us. No snow. NO SNOW! Oh my gosh it's a dream come true every morning when I wake up and realize there is yet again, no snow. We're working and shopping and enjoying feeling our baby girl move LIKE CRAZY!

And of course, the best part of this month is all the parties and social gatherings!! So far we've had a relief society Christmas dinner which was awesome, then we had a party with Michael's accounting group last night which was great fun, and last weekend we had our 2nd annual white elephant with our favorites. It was at the DeVard's this year (Lauren & Josh) and we had SUCH a great time!
Last year, Michael gave this framed picture of himself to Lauren for the White Elephant. She brought it back this year and Loni got it. It was hilarious! We decided that whoever gets it has to display it all year and then disguise it at the next year's party. It will look beautiful in Loni & Corbin's soon-to-be love nest. We had such a great time! Delicious food, games, and presents. I love these people so very much. They are all so special to Michael and I. We were just talking the other day about how lucky we are to have spent these years dating, engaged, and married with friends that we adore. Sadly, Tiffany & Collin weren't able to make it due to sick kids. We missed you guys! But here's the group:
Here's my lovely ladies now. Take note of how dang good Stephanie looks! She's really putting on the pressure for me with her 2 months post baby skinnyness!
And here's my lovely ladies in 2006 when we met. I love picture flashbacks obviously. They all knew Steph at this point, but she wasn't in Rexburg for this picture unfortunately!
I sincerely hope you're all enjoying your holiday season! We're feeling as blessed as ever.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I hate when a fun week ends. But fun it was!

What a Happy Thanksgiving INDEED! Michael and I were lucky enough to go down toVegas for the 3rd Thanksgiving this year. We are so thankful to them for always welcoming us. And BONUS-- Mom & Dad met us there this year! It was so fun! It was so wonderful to spend a week with family and eat and laugh and just enjoy. I have tons of pictures to share, but first I want to share what I am thankful for and what I loved about our fun week!

I'm Thankful For:
  • My husband. He is so kind. I've honestly never met such a kind, giving person.
  • Our baby girl. I'm so thankful that she moves all day, everyday to keep me company.
  • My family. They bring be SO much happiness!
  • My friends. Since a was a child I've been blessed with the best friends. You all know who you are and I love you to pieces.
  • The Rogers opening their home to us for the week and entertaining us.
  • The Graham's for opening their home to us and feeding us delicious food.
  • My apartment, my car, my job, Michael's schooling & job.
  • We are tremendously blessed and I could go on forever.
Our Week:
  • I must say, my favorite thing was probably Carly's LOVE for Michael. Every couple of minutes I would hear "Where Michael?". They were the best of buddies and it was so adorable!
  • I am SOOOO thankful that my sister is pregnant at the same time as me. It feels so good to have someone with my similar personality who understands me so well! We did baby crafts and bought baby clothes and felt our babies move and did a lot of talking about babies and it was awesome!
  • My parents rock. My mom even black fridayed with us at midnight! They spoiled us pregnant girls! And there is really never a dull moment with them. We just have so much fun together!
  • Emily & Steve took us to the cactus gardens all lit up with Christmas lights and I just LOVE that festiveness!
  • It was WARM! SO WARM! We were out on black friday and I was not cold. What a blessing before the terrible Utah winter hits.
  • Easton was upset because he wanted to play The Incredibles, but he doesn't have their action figures. SO, we used our imaginations and made our own action figures out of cardboard. It was so fun and so cute! We played with them all day and I'm afraid that now Em & Steve are stuck making lots of guys out of cardboard. I love that boy so much and seeing him at Kindergarden brought tears to my eyes.
  • Carly is the most beautiful 2 year old ON. THE. PLANET. I can't count how many times I said it. I love her so much. Her voice and her thoughts and her ideas are so precious.
  • I could go on forever. I'm sad it's over and we had so much fun!! Thanks, Rogers!!


Monday, November 21, 2011

The Culpepper Girls

Shellie spoils us! Michael and I have been seriously DYING to meet our new niece Macie Rae Culpepper, baby girl of Michael's sister Shellie and her husband Judd. But they live all the way in Texas and we have been so sad to think that it could be a year before we got to meet her! BUT, her wonderful mommy took pity on us and came to visit us here in Utah! We LOVE when Shellie comes to visit and she is so nice to do so every year. This time was extra fun because she brought this precious beauty.
I was so nervous that she would be nervous about us new people and only want to be with her mom. WRONG! This little girl takes after her mamma, she is friendly! She snuggled me for 4 days straight. Sorry Shellie, that I stole your child all weekend :) She is just so beautiful. She is itty bitty! She is 3.5 months and almost 11 lbs. The size I was when I came OUT! hahaha! So it's really adorable to see such a tiny baby smiling and laughing and responding so well.
This is her awesomest trick. She refuses to lay flat. It's like she cannot relax. If you lay her down. She will be in exercise position, with her head, neck, and legs up. It's HILARIOUS! Even if you try to push her down to relax, she resists! So cute!
We also had lots of fun with this little princess's mommy. Shellie and I went to see Breaking Dawn, we went to a Christmas tree lighting and festival up in SLC, we ate delicious food, played games, and stayed up late chatting. It was so wonderful to have her. We truly feel so blessed to have her in our lives.
Thank you Shellie and Macie for coming to visit us! We miss you guys so much already. What a fun weekend!

Before the festivities began, I took a pregnant picture. This was last Thursday, and I feel like I've doubled in size since then... ok maybe not doubled. But I truly think I get bigger every day. So in this picture I'm 24.5 weeks. Baby girl is trying to BUST ON OUT I'm pretty sure because her movements are huge and non stop. We LOVE watching my tummy move! I realize that she has to grow, but now that she finally is, this whole weight gain thing is interesting and causing mixed emotions.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Halloween Celebration

Happy Halloween! I love Halloween! It brings a smile to my face every time I see someone in costume. It's awesome to see people's choices! My neighbor, Virginia, and I decided that we wanted to do Halloween with style this year and throw a 4plex party. It was so fun planning it all and making it all happen. It started with people entering downstairs in Virginia's apartment. There they walked through an AWESOME haunted house that she dreamed up and set up down there. Then, they came up into my apartment for the partay! We had spooky feely boxes, costume contest, guess the pumpkin weight, and lots of delicious food!

I took a bunch of pictures to try to capture the event. So there are a lot here. None of them are great. My camera just doesn't flatter anything really...hint hint Michael Santa :) But I promise, it looked cool and we had a lot of fun!
Steph & Court gave me this great idea for a costume! I had so much fun making it and loved the way it turned out. Michael kept walking around saying to people "what did you have for lunch"? Hoping that they would ask him in return so that he count point to his stomach haha!
Spider Web taco dip! I also made hot dog mummies. They were cute but I didn't get a picture. I got pretty much every single idea from my ladies over at Our Best Bites.
I don't know why this picture is crooked, but they are nutter butter ghosts :)
Witches Wands!
Our little lanterns led the way into the party. Michael used his crafty skills helping me make these. This is a good time to give Michael the credit he deserves. He was SO helpful and wonderful this week. Helping me with everything!
Glow in the dark drinks! I loved them.
These are the Woods. Friends of our neighbors, and now friends of ours. If you came without a costume, we quickly dressed you up :) that is how Todd became a sexy baker and Karen became a hippy. That cute little peter pan won the costume contest.
There's our fellow party throwers! Those little nerdies looked so cute!
I don't know this couple, but I LOVED they're costume! Paper dolls! They got my vote.
It was hard to guess, but once we figured out they were Canadians, it was hilarious :)
My favorite people came :) We had about 26 people come. That's lots of peeps in my apartment. It was very fun to socialize with everyone!
And my baby girl was kicking and wiggling the whole time! Love her. It was a really fun night and thank you so much everyone for coming! Have a fun and safe Halloween!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Latest and Greatest Addition to the 4-Plex

First of all, I need to blog about this perfect angel. Evelyn Hope Lance.
Courtenay took these beautiful pictures of her the other day! It was soo fun to watch her be the best model for Aunt Courtenay. Evelyn is so beautiful and perfect in every way. Seriously. I mean SERIOUSLY. I cannot get enough of her. I'm just kind of sitting here at my computer, waiting for words to come, but there are none. I mean- just look at that face. That says it all. I am SO SO SO grateful that she lives just down the stairs. Every time I go outside for any reason, to get in my car, throw something in the dumpster, etc, I just feel the NEEEEEEEED to go see her. I feel that need right now actually, but I'm waiting patiently for Steph & Jarom to finish eating dinner. :) The point is. I miss her when I'm up here! Real bad! I've barely even heard her make a peep. She is just perfect.

Speaking of Steph and is so fun to watch them be parents. They are clearly naturals. Everything seems to come so easily to them. And it is SO obvious to see how much they love that baby girl. The whole thing is surreal. Seeing my best friend have her first baby! I feel like Evelyn is just visiting, but at the same time, I feel like she's always been here! I guess it's because we're the same age, and I know that I'm next. So everything is so real and hits home. It's crazy. And wonderful.

I swear my baby kicks up a STORM when I am holding Evelyn. I like to think she is saying hi :)

We had a really fun Halloween Party last night, where Evelyn was the star of the show! I'll post about that soon!

Friday, October 21, 2011

What a Happy Day!

There aren't words. I have tears rolling down my face as I write this. She is perfect! Yes, SHE!

It's a GIRL!

We went and got pink yogurt to celebrate :) I have been referring to my baby as girl since the beginning. I've always felt it. But I wasn't sure if that was just me wishing. Michael has wanted a girl since we were married. This just feels like a true gift that we don't deserve. She was perfect. The Ultra Sound Tech kept pointing out how she wouldn't stop moving! And I knew it, she is kicking me all day, and I love it! She had her hand open and was waving at us. She was a wiggle worm, I'm afraid she'll be like her mother--kinda crazy :)

She checked her heart and brain and spine and everything was perfection. I could have sat there all day. I started crying the second she said girl. And we've both been teary every since! lol. I can't stop looking at the pictures.
Here I am at 20.5 weeks. I look in the mirror, and I say... ummm- am I too big for 20 weeks? Then I look at these pictures and I say... ummm- am I too small for 20 weeks? This weight gain thing is doing crazy things to my brain! But I feel great and that's all that matters.

We are just so grateful today. Grateful for our baby girl. Her health, and mine.

Monday, October 3, 2011

This must be recorded... and shared.

The night that we got back to Utah it was painfully hot. We rolled into town around 11:30 and stayed up chatting with Steph & Jarom until about 2 AM I think, hoping that it would cool down so we could sleep. Our apartment had been sitting there for 3 months, un-lived in, in the 100 degree weather just festering with heat. ANNND keep in mind for this story, we had JUST arrived home from Hawaii about 2 days earlier. So, once we decided to try and sleep, we threw the covers off of the bed and sprawled out trying to feel a breeze from outside. I drifted to sleep surprisingly quickly and felt ok, until....

I was awoken by Michael climbing over me and getting out of the bed on my side.

Michael (while shaking me): Jenni, Jenni, I'm sorry. It's my fault. We have to go. NOW!

Jenni (feeling very frightened): Babe?! What?! What's the matter?!

Michael: They told me this would happen, and I did it anyway. We have to go.

Jenni: Michael, they told you what? Who told you?!

Michael: They told me that we were sleeping on a hot lava bed and I forgot! We have to go! That's why it's so hot!

Jenni (now realizing Michael is NOT awake): Michael. Who told you that?

Michael (in a VERY harsh tone): THE LOCALS, JENNI!!

Jenni: ohhhh! teehehehehehe! What locals?

Michael(climbing back into bed and getting more and more frustrated): The people who LIVE HERE!

Jenni: Michael, we live here.

Michael: No, we're kind of temporary.

Jenni (realizing Michael thinks we're in Hawaii): mmmmm, what did you guys talk about?

Michael: JENNI! I know you think I'm sleeping but I AM SERIOUS!

Jenni (giggling): Ok, Michael....

Michael: UGHHHHH... rolls over and goes back to sleep.

HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the greatest EVER! That hot weather was well worth that experience. The next morning, Michael got up early to go get some milk for breakfast.

Michael: Hey babe, I'm gonna go get some breakfast.
Jenni: Okay wait. Before you go, can you tell me more about the hot lava beds?

hahaha it all came back to him and he remember how very serious the situation seemed at the time! It was such quality.

If you're interested in more HILARIOUS sleep talking stories, I highly recommend THIS BLOG.
I saw him on the Today Show about a year ago and just remembered it last night. So, the Lances and Woodmansees looked it up and LAUGHED OUR TUSHIES off for a good hour. It's totally legit. Check it out. Warning: his wife says that in real life he's a very conservative, well mannered man, but in his sleep talking, he has a foul mouth sometimes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Our Next Adventure

I figure that since we went to Oregon for an internship (well, that's why Michael went), that I should let you all know the outcome! Not only did we have a LOT of fun in Oregon this summer. But we came away with 2 really awesome things


Yep :) We'll talk first about the one we all want to talk about. BABY! Michael and I are expecting our first baby on March 8th, 2012. I will be 14 weeks on Tuesday. We are truly THRILLED. We feel so blessed. Really. There aren't words for how truly blessed we feel. We feel like we can't be thankful enough. I had my first prenatal appointment in Oregon and it was wonderful. We had our second prenatal appointment just yesterday here in Utah and all went well. We heard our precious babe's heartbeat and that always makes it feel so very real. Doctor says everything looks good. I am feeling great. I really have nothing to complain about. I've been VERY tired. And I eat all day long. Other than that, I'm very lucky. We are reading and learning and so excited for this experience!

Job. Michael had a great experience at Moss Adams. He enjoyed it there and they enjoyed him. I'm so proud of him and so very, very grateful. They invited him back next summer 2012 for another internship, and then offered him a job for after he graduates with his masters degree in 2013. After a lot of prayer, thought, and research we both feel very good about this decision. We've signed the papers and will be moving to Eugene in 2013 :). We are so excited!

I kind of feel weird sharing all of this, but I just wanted to update you all. Thank you for all of your support, advice, and kind words. We appreciate SO much the support of our loved ones. Like I said, we are so grateful and feel so blessed and we know just where these blessings are coming from.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Our Week in Paradise...Hawaii!

It was truly as magical as everyone says it is. I feel like it was more magical than I can really express to you. The minute we got on the plane, I was SO excited and we both already felt like we were in paradise. The weather was absolute perfection. It would rain for about 20 min. a day. And then it would be about 85-90 with a breeze. PERFECT for beach! I was most excited to see the water and it DID.NOT.DISAPPOINT. Swimming in the ocean never got old. I just kept looking out at the water and thinking... I'm swimming in the ocean!!!! And I'm not cold!!! And I can see straight to the bottom! I can see fish at my feet!! It was amazing! And these are no Oregon rainbow trout. I'm talking bright purple and yellow and pink FISH!

I could go on forever. To warn you, I posted a LOT of pictures. I just figured I'd go through it day by day kind of for my own record and for anyone who wants to see what bliss looks like :)

Spending that week with Michael after a year of him working his tail off, was absolutely wonderful. We're always here, there and everywhere... just like everyone is. It felt so good to do WHATEVER WE WANT. Nobody to please, no obligations. Just absolute heaven. Oh, and Hawaii makes you love your spouse even more. It really does. It has magic powers. He was totally romantic and was full of surprises the whole week. I felt so so so lucky. Even more lucky than I do on a daily basis.

Day 1: Dole Plantation, Laie Temple, and we wasted NO TIME getting our bums in the water! Pineapple ice cream is what they serve in Heaven, I'm pretty sure.

Day 2: I spent the morning sitting on this GORGEOUS beach (turtle bay), watching Michael like a kid in a candy shop looking for fish in the water. Then we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. AWESOME!
Day 3: Pearl Harbor, and Waikiki. I'm so glad we checked out Pearl Harbor. It was really cool to see the Arizona and think about what happened there. Not to mention it was beautiful. The wind as you can tell, was strong! We rode this aweseommmme water tricycle thing INTO THE OCEAN!
Day 4: This day was one of my favorites. It was lounge on the beach day. We checked out a couple of different beaches, hit up Motsumotos, and Michael surprised me with a massage at a local place. It was fabulous!
Day 5: Kayaking in Kailua! Emily told me this was a must-do and she was 100% correct! It was my favorite activity! We took a kayak... into the ocean! Way far out! We went to other little islands and it was freaky. I was constantly afraid of falling over and getting eaten by a shark, but it was exhilarating and so fun!
Day 6: Last day on Oahu. We hiked up to Waimea falls. It felt like a fairy dream land. Look at that waterfall. We swam in it and it was so fun! Then we went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. I LOVE SNORKELING!!! Those fish are crazy!!! They don't even care that you're watching them! They were BEAUTIFUL!
Day 7: Off to Maui! We explored this BEAUTIFUL island with the incredible accurate map provided to us by Cameron & Virginia. I ate the best meal of MY LIFE here at Kimo's with the most beautiful view.
Day 8: Play on the beach in Maui day! We enjoyed this beach SOOO MUCH. I mean look at it. It was like a swimming pool. It was amazing. We only left it to eat. And Michael found a sweet starfish!!
Day 9: Bye Bye Hawaii. It was heartbreaking to leave. Our resort in Maui was beautiful. We don't know where else in the world we want to vacation. Hawaii topped all of our expectations!
We feel sooooooooo lucky to have had the chance to go. Who knows when we'll get such a fancy vacation again. It feels like a dream now. And it was the greatest dream ever. There is nobody I would have rather gone to Hawaii with. Thanks for surviving that post!