Sunday, December 28, 2008

"What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas"... Or So We Hope.

I recently returned home from not-so sunny Las Vegas. My amazingly sweet and generous dad treated me to a fun get-away to Las Vegas to watch the BYU Cougars take on the Wildcats of Arizona in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. The day we flew out of Sea-Tac Airport, schools were cancelled, roads were icy, snow was dumping from the sky and dozens of flights were delayed/cancelled. We felt excited to escape the storm and flee to the desert (although I must admit, the mother hen in me felt a tad bit guilty leaving the kiddos behind, even though I knew they were in good hands). Little did we know that Las Vegas had just experienced a record breaking snow storm of its own. The day prior to our flight, Las Vegas schools had been closed due to snow. It was the first school cancellation for Las Vegas in the last 30 years!! So basically, we fled the cold in one state to arrive to the chaos of bad weather in another state. Oh the weather outside was frightful! Actually, by the time we arrived, the snow was mostly gone, but the temperatures were still frigid to me.

Lay the shock and surprise of freezing weather aside, and the rest of the trip was so much fun. This was the first airplane ride I've taken in several years without children. It was heavenly! (I won't list all of the reasons. You fellow mom's can imagine my list.) I felt footloose and fancy free, to say the very least.

Dad and I had fun roaming aimlessly all over the Vegas Strip. We are both people watchers and found great pleasure wandering around the different hotels and observing. Of course, we partook of the varying cuisine. Where else can you say you had dinner in "Paris" (Paris Hotel),

lunch in "Italy" (Caesar's Palace)

and dinner in "England" (Excalibur Hotel)?

Our waistlines definitely took a buffet beating.

Jason and Amanda and their adorable kids also traveled to meet up with us for the weekend. It was so fun to see them. Little Jordin (our newest niece, is a doll. We miss them and wish we could see them more often.

As for the reason for the trip--the BYU vs. Arizona game.

Let's just say, the game gave me a whole new appreciation for the saying, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." The Cougars, a definite favorite to win the game, clearly didn't have their game faces on. I sure hope that level of play stays in Vegas. I don't want to remember the devastation or the loss. Regardless, the game was still fun despite the loss, and I feel so grateful for the incredible treat it was to travel with my dear old dad. Thanks Dad! I love you.

P.S. Thanks to all of the wonderful people who made this trip possible for me! To Jodi and Laurie, thanks for helping watch my kids while Josh was at work. To Mom and Cami, I love you and appreciate your help with Landon. Josh, you're the best husband a girl could ever hope for. Thanks for letting me go on this trip and holding down the fort! Love you.

An "Unfrogettable" First Birthday!

A couple weeks ago, we celebrated the 1st birthday of our little miracle--better known to the world as Landon Knight Carver. His first year of life has been wonderful. He has brought our family so much joy and filled our home with endless laughter.

Why do I refer to him as "our little miracle", you might be wondering? He was and is our miracle in so many ways. Here are just a couple:

As a woman who has struggled with infertility her entire married life, you can imagine my suprise upon discovering in the Spring of 2007 that I was pregnant without having had months (or years) of temperature charting and blood tests, medical appointments or Chlomid treatments. We were elated to find out that for once, all on its own, my body was able to provide the proper environment to not only create a life, but also provide a temporary home for our soon-to-be third child.

We were in the middle of a move to our new home. I knew a fair amount of fatigue was normal and to be expected as we were busy cleaning and packing and transporting our "stuff" to and fro. But, when Josh caught me taking 20 minute "power naps" in the car while he single-handedly loaded dressers and mattresses into the moving van, we started having our suspicions. Sure enough, I was pregnant. This was the first miracle.

Things in my pregnancy seemed to progress normally. At around 16 weeks, I remember going in for some routine blood tests, one of which was a check for Down Syndrome. I honestly didn't give the test a 2nd thought...until I received a phone call from a nurse two days later letting me know my results were positive for Downs. You can imagine the days that followed were full of many emotions and questions. I was relieved to receive a follow-up call from my OBGYN who explained to me that the results of my lab tests, combined with my age and other factors put me in the high risk category for Down Syndrome, but that it didn't mean that my baby would definitely be born with Downs. He explained to me about further testing I could opt to have done, that could verify our baby's condition, but with those tests came certain risks, including miscarriage. I'll never forget what my doctor then said to me: "Jennifer, if the results of an amniocentesis won't change what you choose to do about your pregnancy, I'd advise against it. Even a small chance of miscarriage is not worth it." (My doctor was LDS by-the-way, and had a good feeling that I would not be choosing to terminate the pregnancy, regardless of the outcome.) Of course I assured my OB that we would not be terminating the pregnancy under any circumstances and that we would love this little baby with or without the syndrome. I asked the doctor if there were any other, less risky tests that could be done to give us some sort of idea about our baby's development. He said that a more intense ultrasound could be done that would check for markers that would be indicative of Downs.

We scheduled the more thorough ultrasound, organized a family fast & Josh gave me a priesthood blessing. We felt a great peace.

On the day of the ultrasound, the ultrasound tech assured us that from everything she could observe, the baby appeared to be healthy and "normal". We felt so relieved and grateful that Landon appeared healthy and free from disabilities. Our little miracle was born on December 13, 2007.

We love him so much and look forward to celebrating many more birthdays to come.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sending Big Birthday Wishes...

First, before I get to the meat of this post, I have to apologize to a few sister-in-laws whose birthdays I didn't recognize on my blog (you know who you are...). I'm sorry. It's not that your special days were any less important...I probably just wasn't stuck at home with several inches of snow on the ground and nothing to do. J/K. I love you too and hope your birthdays were extra special! I'll make a tribute to you next birthday. I promise! that I've apologized, we can get this show on the road.

Lauren is one of those people that adds so much excitement to everything. She's a planner/organizer extraordinaire. She loves the nitty-gritty details and has a magic touch to everything she does. Her cooking is amazing. She has a designer's eye for decor. She can create and imagine in ways that I cannot even begin to fathom. I love her spunk, spontaneity, humor and craziness. It brings so much fun to our big Carver crew. She's also sentimental and sensitive, which I love. She's one of the first to want to stick to traditions, to say she's sorry if she thinks she might have hurt your feelings, and definitely the first to try to add the element of fun to any situation. Lauren LOVES surprising others and being surprised! We hope you get lots of fun surprises on your birthday!
We love you Lauren. We hope your day is extra special!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You Better Not Pout, You Better Not Cry...

Getting the kids' picture with Santa began 7 years ago with Jacob's first Christmas. This year, we almost chose to forego the tradition because of such a crazy December schedule. But, what good is a tradition if it can just be tossed aside when life gets busy? So after throwing coordinating outfits on the kiddos, we made the annual trek to the South Hill Mall to once again visit Old Saint Nick.

FYI: Tradition in our family also dictates that the first "official" Santa picture of each of our kids has to include some crying. Landon did not disappoint. For some reason he just doesn't quite get the point of the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and the fact that he shouldn't pout or cry.

Finally, after about 20 tear-filled shots, we got some Christmas card worthy shots:

You may have noticed a "4th child" in the last two pictures. That's our awesome nephew Nick. (No relation to Old St. Nick) We had the privilege of watching him for a few days and he got to come along to meet Santa.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Santa's Elves

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Sunday, December 7, 2008


In a few short weeks we will close the doors on another year. Time really does fly when you're having fun. I'd feel totally ungrateful if I didn't record a list of my blessings. Here is my sweetened-condensed version.

1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, restored in the latter-days. I don't even want to imagine my life without my knowledge and understanding of A.) Who I am as a daughter of God B.) What my purpose is on this earth C.) What happens after we die. This knowledge gives so much meaning to my life. Understanding that there is a Plan of Happiness for my life brings me so much hope, comfort and peace.

2. The Atonement of Jesus Christ. On a daily basis, I fall short of being the woman I have the potential to become. I am so grateful for a Savior who knows and understands me, who can see the desires of my heart & has provided me with a way to improve myself and to repent when I have not been all that I should be. I love Him & daily strive to remember Him always and more closely pattern my life after His perfect life.

3. My husband. During my dating years, I was often reminded of the words of Elder Bruce R. McConkie who said, “The most important single thing that any Latter-day Saint ever does in this world is to marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority." It was nearly 11 years ago,that Josh made the 5 hour drive from Orem, UT to Driggs, ID where my family was gathered for Christmas, to ask my dad for my hand in marriage. I know more today, than I did then that Josh is who I want to spend forever with. He was the right person then, and continues to be the right person today. And, I know tomorrow, there will be nobody else that I can imagine more perfectly completing me. I remember close friends and family razzing Josh during the time of our engagement that he was "marrying up". After 10 1/2 years of marriage, I can tell you that it was definitely me that got the better end of the bargain. Josh is an amazing husband and father. He inspires me to be better, helps calm my soul when troubled or afraid, encourages me to follow my dreams, and is more selfless than anyone I know. I could not ask for a better eternal companion. I am grateful that our marriage in the Salt Lake Temple is for time and all eternity, and that we have the privilege of working every day of our lives to guarantee ourselves the blessing of this eternal marriage.

4. My 3 beautiful children. Motherhood is difficult. But, as the saying goes, "I never said it would be easy. I only said it would be worth it." I'm here to testify that it is worth it. I am on the roller coaster ride of a life-time and every terrifying dip and sharp turn suffered is more than made up for by the joy found in the climb and the magnificent view discovered at the peak. To Jacob, Kaylee and are the light of my life. There is no greater thrill than that of being your mother.

5. Amazing friends. I've heard it said, that a man is only as good as the company he keeps. I have been blessed in my life with the most incredible of friends. You know who you are. Some of you I see on a daily basis. Others of you, I see once in a blue moon. All of you, I feel connected to, no matter how much time and space separates us. It is my privilege to call you friends. You fill my life with joy, spontaneity, excitement, fun, and laughter. You make me feel good about my efforts as a woman, a mother, a friend, no matter how far I fall short in all those areas. And, if I haven't told you enough, I love you all for what you bring to my life. Thank you.

As promised, this is my "sweetened-condensed" list. My heart is bursting with thanksgiving for all that the Lord has blessed me with. I feel like Ammon in the Book of Mormon, "Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel". (Alma 26:16)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

High School Tag

So, I've been tagged again. This time, I'm supposed to reflect on the "glory days" (a.k.a. "high school").

1. Did you date someone from your school?
That's somewhat of an interesting question. I went on dates with guys from high school, but only dated one of them exclusively for a short period of time. I was way too shy.

2. What kind of car did you drive?
Oh, funny you should ask. My first car was a handmedown. I had the privilege of driving my parents' Oldsmobile that was literally falling apart. I remember my brother insisted that I drop him off at the jr. high school a block before reaching the school because my turn signal was broken and I had to stick my hand out the window to signal I was turning. Later on, I think just prior to my senior year, my parents took pity on me and bought me a used Nissan Sentra. It was a huge improvement.

3. Did you pass your drivers test on your first try?
I passed the written test the first time, but didn't pass the driving test on my first try.

4. Were you a party animal?
No, I wasn't into the party scene, but I definitely liked to have fun and be at social events--mostly high school sponsored events.

5. Were you considered a flirt?
Ha,ha. I wish. I was so shy and lacked confidence I could barely muster up the nerve to talk to someone I liked, let alone flirt with them. In fact, at our Senior breakfast, I was voted "Most Innocent". (A nickname for "shy" and "most clueless".)

6. Were you in band, orchestra or choir?
No, being in those would've meant I actually had musical talent.

7. Were you a nerd?
I plead the 5th. (How should I answer that, lol...either answer makes me sound pitiful.)

8. Were you on any varsity teams?
Yes, I played Varsity Volleyball my Jr. and Sr. years of high school--middle hitter/blocker.

9. Can you still sing the fight song?
Yes. As I said, I went to a lot of school sponsored events, and it helped knowing the cheer squad really well.





10. Who were your favorite teachers?
My favorite teachers were: Mr. Casey ( Honors English), Mr. Comer ( Honors American Government), & Mr. Linebarger ( AP Physics).

11. Where did you sit for lunch?
It varied. Sometimes in the cafeteria. Other times on the bench in Sr. Hall. Often, I'd eat with friends in the Yearbook/Newspaper room.

12. What is your schools full name?
Kentwood Senior High School

13. What is your schools mascot and colors?
Conqueror. Green, silver and black.

14. Did you go to homecoming and with who?
I went to homecoming my Jr. year with Theron Waisath--my first boyfriend. I didn't go my senior year.

15. If you could go back and do it again would you?
Definitely! I especially loved my senior year. I would go back as a more confident, out-going version of my former self.

16. What did you remember most about graduation?
Two things. First, my best friend Heidi and I unknowingly showed up for graduation in the exact same dress. Secondly, at our grad night party, there was a hypnotist and Heidi was randomly hypnotized in the audience and did the silliest things and had no recollection of it.

17. Where did you go for senior skip day?
We had a sleep over/party at Karen Chisholm's house and went to Shari's for breakfast the next morning.

18. Were you in any clubs?
Yeah, I think German club.

19. Have you gained some weight since then?
Hmm...what do you think? It's been 15 years since graduation and 3 kids.

20. Who was you prom date?
Brian Farnsworth, a guy from my ward that I was good friends with and had had a "secret" crush on forever. (Well, I don't know how "secret" the crush really was, lol...poor guy.)

21. Are you planning on going to your 10 year reunion?
Umm, yeah, I did go to it, and will hopefully be able to attend our 20th.

22. Did you have a job in high school?
I never worked during the school year. During the summers I worked as a receptionist at my dad's dental office. The summer following my senior year, I worked at Kent 6 Movie Theater as a ticket taker and concessionaire.

I tag: Amanda, Lauren and Mindee. Tell us about your glory days. EDIT: I also tag Rebecca. I had originally wanted to tag her too, but had tagged her on my purse post, I was trying to spare her. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day Late...Dollar Short.

Ok, I'm more like several days late posting, and hundreds of dollars poorer (thanks to Black Friday) I'll try to sum up last week's holiday festivities in a nutshell or two.

Last Tuesday was Kaylee's Thanksgiving Feast at school. The kids had fun making Pilgrim and Indian costumes and joining in special games and simulations related to the First Thanksgiving. Each little pilgrim and indian was responsible for bringing an item to share for the feast. The meal tasted delicious!

This was a great trial run for the real meal deal on Thursday, where we joined with extended family on my mom's side. Thank you to my cousin Art & his lovely wife Valine for hosting such a wonderful dinner. Your home is beautiful, and your hospitality was so appreciated.

This is a picture of my plate. I'm salivating just reliving the memory. (Note: This was trip 1 through the line....I didn't take a picture of trip 2 or dessert....I do have some pride. Stop judging. What do you think New Year's Resolutions are for?)

After eating a hardy meal and hanging with the cousins, we headed home, threw the kids in bed (ok, we didn't really throw them, it was more of a "toss" and/or "drop" and did the next best thing to eating...we looked at the Grandaddy newspaper of them all...The Thanksgiving edition. We pored over ads and sales, jotted down store opening times, special doorbuster deals & carefully mapped out our plan of attack to maximize our efforts on BLACK FRIDAY. We didn't climb into bed until well after midnight. My alarm went off at 3:30 a.m. We were out of the house before 4 a.m. (Note, my mom's clock said 3:58 a.m., but it's about 15 minutes you can see how crazy we really were...Notice Josh's enthused look on his face. He looks forward to this day all year.) I must say, despite the fact that you feel worse than death after the day of mad shopping is over, and wish you could hibernate for the rest of Winter, you really do save a ton of money and score some great deals. Thank goodness Josh cleaned out his trunk prior to the shopping extravaganza. There was not one square inch of space left in his car when we were through that day. He nearly had to bungee cord me to the bumper. No joke.

Saturday, we met up with the fam at the movies. Josh summoned his inner child once again (not so hard for him to do, lol) and took the kids to see Bolt,

while the rest of the adults saw Twilight again. I have to say, as much as I loved it the first time, it was even better the second time. Can't have too much of a good thing.

The rest of the weekend was spent finishing up the Christmas decorations. The kids helped me decorate the tree on Sunday, following church. But first, they insisted on getting a few pictures in front of the undecorated tree. The kids were obsessed with getting turns to be the family photographer. (Every other day, Jacob's planned profession is to be a photographer. It stems from his now long gone obsession with Peter Parker in Spiderman, who happened to be a photographer by day, superhero by night. His chosen profession on the odd days? Dentist...just like his Papa and uncles.) Anyway, enjoy the pictures...with the exception of one or two, the kids took these themselves. Pretty good for two crazy kids aged 6 & 3.