Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Reminiscing

Yeah! I am done with school-for this semester at least. Yes, there was a bit of cramming at the end; but I am finished and ready for the Christmas break.

My Christmas break to do list:
1) Deep clean our apartment
2) Read a book just for fun (Does anyone have any suggestions?)
3) Go Christmas shopping (I'm not even close to being done. Actually, I haven't really started.)
4) Look for a house
5) Start writing papers for my Nursing Seminars class that I am taking next semester (I think this is probably a little optimistic.)

A little while ago I was emailing a friend about how fun it is to reminisce about the past with family. We shared experiences that we have had while camping in different national parks. Brian and I promised her that we would post a few pictures of us at Yellowstone National Park about 3 years ago.

The beautiful Grand Tetons

Matthew and Brian with a buffalo in the background

Some people we don't know, but they are getting pretty close to those elk.

Yes, this picture is a little blurry; but the lines are hail. We got caught in a hail storm in the middle of one of our hikes. This picture is of Brandon, Amy and Mat trying to find shelter during the storm. After the hail stopped, it continued to rain which turned the trail into a stream. We were all soaked by the time we got to the car. BUT it was so much fun and so memorable!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas Fun!

I got an email from my brother-in-law (Tyson) showing some of us as elfs (http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1219515507). So I couldn't resist trying it out with my brothers and I http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1236395958

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanksgiving Fun!

Sorry that this post is about a week late, but as they say, "Better late than never" AND I had too much fun over Thanksgiving not to share some of the excitement.
There are 2 reasons why I love Thanksgiving
#1 Spending time with family and
#2 The wonderful and extremely yummy food
(I had to work until 2:30 pm this year so it was about 7:00 by the time we got to Brian's parent's house. Thankfully Thanksgiving leftovers are just about as good as the actual meal.)

Friday all of Brian's family (one nephew and his wife are the only ones missing) got together for pictures. It was a little chaotic with that many people in such a small area, but everyone cooperated and the pictures turned out really well (sorry but none of those pictures are posted). I took advantage of everyone being together and took some pictures of some of Brian's nephews and nieces.

Tyler and Mckenzi (siblings) , Stephani, Ashli, Canon and Tani (siblings)Brothers: Fraser, Jason and Spencer
Cousins: Tori and Stephani
Cousins: Brennan and Spencer
Brian's parents with all of their grandchildren

Friday we also visited my brother, Troy and his family. I was hoping to get a picture of all 4 siblings together as promised in a previous post, but it didn't work out. We had a lot of fun hanging out with my nieces and nephews. We took Troy and the 3 oldest out to dinner to hopefully give Jamian and little Eliza a little bit of a rest. On the way we unexpectedly ran into Santa Claus.
Ethan, Chloe and Bennet with Santa Claus

We also had a lot of fun reading books together. There are a lot of really cute children's books.
Two of my favorites that we read are "Where's My Teddy?" by Jez Alborough and "Cinder the Bubble-Blowing Dragon" by Jessica Anderson.
Ethan, Bennett, Brian, Chloe and Me
(Bennet broke his arm falling off a chair while eating at Costco.
Hopefully he isn't going to take after his rather klutzy aunt-ME.)

We also got a few minutes to hold cute little Eliza. Brian holding Eliza

I really enjoyed spending time with both of our families this year. I am so thankful for family. I have felt their support and love too many times to count. Thank you, each and every one of you.
And for those of you reading this blog who might be thinking that you are not in my "family" classification, I have also been helped and uplifted by many friends and acquaintances over the years. Thanks to each of you as well.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fun lab

Here is a video of something I made in my Opto-Electronics lab. It's a light emitting diode (LED) like the one by your computer monitor's power button (yours is probably green - mine is red). Really all we did in the lab was just added aluminum patches to a semiconductor wafer (GaAs) that was made specifically for LEDs. In the movie you see us increasing the voltage on the probe causing the LED to emit light.

video
The next task is to make a semiconductor laser, but that has not been successful at our school yet.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A New Niece

I am thrilled to announce that I have a new niece. She is absolutely beautiful, just like my other nieces and nephews (Ok, so my nephews are "handsome"). I love being an aunt and am excited that I will be able to meet Eliza the end of this week.

Chloe holding her new sister Eliza.
(I'm hoping to post a picture of all 4 siblings next week.)

She is the first of 3 new nieces and nephews that will join our family within the next 6 months. New babies are so much fun and bring so much joy! I look forward to each new addition to our families.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Family Time and Basketball

This past weekend we spent with my family. All of my brothers and sisters and their families were there except for 2: Troy, whose wife is expecting their 4th child any day now (I am so excited to meet little Eliza!) and Amy who is in Texas. I'll just say that Emilee had the biggest cheering section during her basketball game. I had a great time watching her play basketball and found myself wishing that I could don a uniform and play with them. (I'm sure I would just warm the bench, though, because it has been way too long!) I like to say that I am the one who started the girl's basketball legacy in my family. After all, I was the first girl to decide to give it a try. I definitely was not the best player but I loved it! Since then, all of my sisters have played basketball as well and I enjoy watching them!

GO EMILEE!!
Emilee (#32) during a team huddle between quarters.

GREAT JOB, EM!!
Emilee and a few members of her enthusiastic cheering section:
Aaron, Katie and Myself

AND

We celebrated Katie and Tyson's birthdays.
Tyson, Katie, Aaron (sorry we can't see your head) and my Grandma

It's always fun getting together with family, but when we are all together it's a BLAST! (We missed you Troy and Amy but look forward to Christmas when you and your families will be here as well.)
The more the merrier!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I look forward to...

As Brian mentioned in an earlier post, I went with him to one of his on-site job interviews in California. We flew into LAX and then drove 3 hours.
A view from the car as we drove to the interview.
The white lines on and at the base of the mountains at the top of the picture are all windmills.
We were a little worried about running into problems with all the fires, but all we saw was a lot of smoke and a few areas of burned brush. It was a lot of fun spending time with Brian and the interview seemed to go well because he received another job offer.
Brian and I at the LA Temple
On our way back to LAX, we went through a session at the Las Angeles Temple. I enjoy going through the different temples. It is so amazing to me that although the architecture may differ, within each one is found the same beautiful, peaceful feelings.
Brian has received a few job offers. Each has it's pros and cons, which is why we st
ill haven't decided which one we are going to accept. So, no we don't know yet where we are going to live after Brian graduates but we can tell you it will either be in Arizona, California or Utah.

Some of the things that I am looking forward to after Brian graduates:

1) Buying a home! I've enjoyed o
ur apartment but it will be fun to put some color on the walls and to decorate however I like. It will also be nice to fit everything in our home rather than storing a lot of our belongings with family. (Thanks Holly and Mom!)
2) With a home comes a backyard and hopefully a porch! I love spending time, relaxing
outside. Our apartment's parking lot just isn't the same.
3) With a backyard comes a dog! Both Brian and I agree that the dog will have to live outside. What we don't agree on is the breed of the dog.
I grew up with Australian Shepherds and enjoy their personalities.

Brian would prefer a black lab.

What do you think?


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Job Hunt

Wahoo!! I got a job offer! That is a big relief for me. This was from my first on site interview; I've managed to set up 3 on site interviews within a week and a half. Hopefully they all want to make me offers so that I will have a choice of jobs and so that they will bump the starting salary up. Tomorrow I go to my 3rd on site interview and this time Jenny is going to go with me!

We're flying into LAX and noticed that our directions to the site puts us traveling through the fires on our 2 main routes. I'm so glad that Jenny will be with me to help me navigate through LA with possible freeway closures.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Birthdays and Heroes

I love BIRTHDAYS because it is a time to honor and shower with love the people who are so dear to my heart. It is a time of laughter, of getting together with family and eating cake and ice cream.
The honorary birthday boys this week: Brian and his dad.
His parents came up this week and we went out to dinner with them, Holly's family and his niece Ashley. It was a lot of fun spending time together and celebrating.
Holly (Brian's sister) and her family, Lizzy, Lauren, Greg and Jackson
Brian's Mom and niece Ashley
As I was looking for an appropriate birthday card for Brian, I found the perfect one. Perhaps it wasn't really a birthday card, but it said how I feel about him. The front of the card had a superman-like figure on it with the word "You...". The inside of the card was plain except for 3 words: "are my hero." I've been thinking a lot about heroes since then. I don't think the definition of a true hero is someone who is "faster than a speeding bullet", or who has spider-like characteristics, or who can lift a semi-truck with his little finger. I believe that true heroes are ordinary people who inspire others to be more than they believe they can be.
One of my heroes!
Brian is one of those ordinary people who has the extraordinary ability to love others. He genuinely cares for everyone and is sincerely interested in their individual lives and life history. He is constantly placing everyone else's needs above his own and is always on the lookout for ways that he can help others. I am one of the main recipients of his love and concern which inspires me to try to be a more loving and caring person. I am truly blessed to be married to Brian. He is the love of my life!Brian, Myself and my Dad
Another hero in my life is my Dad. He had an extraordinary work ethic. While growing up, he was always working on one project or another. It was rare to find him just sitting around. He was usually working in one of his gardens (His flower garden was one of the most beautiful in the town we lived in and his vegetable garden was always very productive. Makes me wonder how I got a semi-black thumb.), building something with wood in the basement (Two of my most prized possessions are the head board and entertainment center that he made me.), or adding on to our house. Even when he was extremely ill with cancer, he worked as long as his body would allow. He enjoyed doing a lot of these projects with his children and he instilled in each of us the ability, if not the love of work. This isn't to say that he didn't enjoy playing. He enjoyed riding motorbikes or horses with us as well as camping and hiking, but he also enjoyed good old fashioned work. Although he died two years ago, his love and example live forever in my heart.
Bertha Rosa Furhrer
My Great-Grandmother Bertha Rosa Fuhrer had extraordinary faith. In the 1890's she, her sister Mary and her father were introduced to and accepted the gospel in Switzerland. Soon afterward, both Mary and her father died. The rest of her family were bitterly opposed to the LDS Church and told her that she would either have to stop her association with the church or leave her childhood home, for they would have nothing to do with a "Mormon". Her continued faith supported her in many trials and hardships in Switzerland and then in Utah. Whenever I am discouraged, or think that my trials are too difficult, I try to think of this wonderful ancestor; and I am buoyed up by her example of faith and determination.
I have many heroes in my life, people who are wonderful examples and inspire me continually to be the best that I can. I would like to share just one more. Actually this time my hero is not just one person, but a group of very special people. As some of you know, Brian and I are hoping for the miracle of adopting a child soon. Each birthparent is a hero in my eyes. I am inspired by their extraordinary strength and courage. I am awed by the love that I feel for each of them, although individually I do not know them. I know that for some of you that might not make any sense, but I believe that this love in inspired by the pure and selfless decision of each of these amazing parents. My heart aches for each of them and I wish that I could do something to ease the monstrous weight upon their shoulders. I have realized, though, that the only thing I can do is to plead for help from the one who helps us all, our Heavenly Father.
Who are your heroes?

Monday, October 8, 2007

A ticket!

I got a traffic ticket on Saturday. This breaks my 10 year no ticket record. I was ticketed for sliding through a stop sign. The last time I was pulled over (about 5 years ago) I got off with just a warning for sliding through a stop sign. - I guess now I can identify a pattern that I can change.

It has been a source of pride for Jenny and I that we have not been pulled over and we have not been in any traffic accidents since we've been married (over 4 years). I think I'm going to do traffic school just so that I can at least have bragging rights that I have a clean record since my no tickets bragging rights are gone now.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ice Cream

Brian is:

Plain vanilla - that's a very disappointing result. The main thing that I evaluate ice cream on is what it has added to it - caramel cups, fudge strips, or chocolate covered things. Growing up I couldn't understand how Kent's (my brother-in-law) favorite ice cream was vanilla. After Jenny and I had been married for about a year she brought home vanilla for some root beer floats and I was kind of disappointed - ever since then we haven't bought vanilla.

Jenny is:

I also was a little disappointed at first because I love lots of yummy "stuff" in my ice cream as well, especially caramel. But then I read the description of just plain vanilla, and what do you know, I guess that really is just plain me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Miracle

Last Saturday I had the opportunity of going to the General Relief Society Meeting held at the Conference Center. Because of work, it had been a long time since I had been able to listen to the broadcast. While singing the opening hymn I looked around the conference center and was struck with a feeling of awe. Despite the rain and cold weather, I could not see one empty seat. It was an awesome experience to sit beside Katie and Jamian (my sisters), to listen to those inspired words and to feel that wonderful feeling of sisterhood.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from President Monson's talk:
"Sisters, do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle. Pray earnestly."

I love that last part about us becoming the miracle.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Spelling - A Costly Mistake

My mom has always told me that I need to improve my spelling and it has always been my worst subject in school. I have improved significantly by trying to correct the misspelled words myself instead of using the spell checker. Jenny also helps me a lot too. This week it may have cost me significantly though.
I made some last minute changes to my resume before going to a job fair (click here to view an edited version of my resume). Since I was going to print it out on resume paper, Jenny didn't have an opportunity to look it over - BIG mistake. I really just changed two lines to about my mission one of which said, "Planed and conducted training meetings." Since "planed" is a real word the spell checker didn't catch my error - hopefully most of the 28 companies I gave my resume to didn't catch it either, but I'm sure some of them did.
When I got home that night it only took Jenny a few seconds to find my error. She showed it to me and made the change. The next morning I had 3 interviews set up so I printed off 3 resumes to replace the ones the interviewers had. As I sat down and placed my resume on the table at my first interview my eyes went right to that line and I saw an uncoverable error saying that I "Pslanned and conducted..." Frustration and anger started to build towards that one line as if that line had been changing on its own and was determined to defy me. Those are not good feeling to have at the first of a job interview. I knew I could try to ignore the mistake and hope it never came up or I could highlight it myself. I chose the second options and then asked if I could bring him a replacement after the interview.
I know this will all turn out ok in the long run. For now I was able to replace all of the resumes of companies I interviewed with. Also, I'm pretty sure I now know the difference between "planed" and "planned." See Mom - I'm still improving!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Endless Search

One of the debates that Brian and I have had throughout our marriage is how best to stay healthy and fit. We have tried many things over the last 4 years: running, racquetball, running, hiking, running, lifting weights, running and running. I can't count the number of times we've decided to try running as our fitness routine. I have to admit that I'm the problem for a few reasons.
#1 I have a hard time getting out of bed at 6:00 am on my days off to run.
#2 I don't think just running is very exciting. I prefer running up and down a court dribbling a basketball, or running up and down the field playing football.

SO in our never ending search to stay fit we have decided to try riding bicycles. Brian has a bike that he uses occasionally to get to school and we borrowed my little sister Emilee's bike for me to ride. It's a good thing Brian is an engineer because I think it's been a few years since Emilee has ridden her bike. It was in pretty good condition, but needed some minor repairs.
Brian putting his bike-fixer-upper skills to good use.

Although I was pretty excited, I was also quite worried about that first ride. The reason for my concern? It had been more than 5 years since I had ridden a bike! Of course when I voiced my concern Brian said, "It's just like riding a bike." I wasn't sure if that old adage applied to certified klutzes. But I am proof that it does. I made it back from that bike ride and several others without a scratch.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Babysitting

video
Here is a video Jenny made when she was babysitting for my sister. I guess it shows that sometimes kids are pretty easy to entertain. I just have to shake my head at some of the ideas that Jenny comes up with.

Jenny's Family Reunion

The end of August we headed to Idaho to party with my family. Everyone was able to make it except Amy and Matt and their little Zachary (I guess he's not all that little anymore since he's over 20 pounds and only 4 months old.) I'm looking forward to Christmas when we will all be able to get together and meet Zachary.

Can anyone guess our first activity? Perhaps a hint will help (see below pictures).

Brandon, Katie and Emilee processing and then cooking the apple sauce in the garage.

A gold star to anyone who guessed that we bottled apple sauce. Possibly not the most enjoyable activity; but like they say "many hands make light work." It has been quite awhile since we've worked together on a project which actually made it a lot of fun.

The next day we went up the canyon (some on motorbikes and some in the suburban) where we played games, hung out and enjoyed the beauty of nature.
Chloe giving Uncle B some exercise. She kept saying, "higher Uncle B, higher".
So Ethan decided that he would help Uncle B.
Bennet trying to play chubby bunny with Tootsie Rolls.
We went on a hike to see "hidden" waterfall. Thus named because it was so covered by brush and trees it was impossible to see. Can you see it in the above picture? Neither could we.
Family picture overlooking the valley.
Troy and Mom (Brandon in the background)
Tyson left Katie behind in a cloud of dust. You can see the evidence if you look carefully at her face.
And of course we had to ride horses.

Ethan and I riding Roy.

Troy and BennetBrian riding RoyEmilee and Chloe
It was a lot of fun and I look forward to a continuation in December.

Monday, September 10, 2007

School Begins One Last Time For Brian

I can't believe how fast this summer has gone. I'm not sure if I'm ready for the rigors of school, homework, papers, tests, etc. I have really enjoyed spending the evenings together with Brian after work, without the worry of homework. Ready or not, though, it has begun.

Exciting news: Brian started his last semester last week. He will graduate with his Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering in December. I think he is excited (I definitely am), though a little nervous about finding a full time job that will support our family. He does have one tentative job offer from the company he did an internship with over the summer. That adds stability and reassurance to that unknown part of our future. He is also planning on looking into other companies and job opportunities as well. I am excited to see what the future holds for us and hoping that I will soon have a reason (full time mommy) to drop down to working only part time.

Not as exciting news: I start school again this week as well. I wish that I could say that I will be done in December with Brian, but alas, that wouldn't be true. I am only one semester behind him, though, and plan on graduating in April. Yippee! (Maybe that is celebrating a little too soon, but I am getting closer to graduation celebration.)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Do we have green thumbs?

Yeah, I have a green thumb! (I think.) This summer we planted our first garden. One of Brian's friends is renting an apartment with a garden spot behind it and offered to let us plant some vegetables there. He and his wife water the garden and we keep it weed free (pretty easy to do because it is so small). We planted zucchini, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, kalarabi (we really don't know what this is or what to do with it) and corn. The garden is surrounded by tall trees on 3 sides and so we were worried that nothing would grow because of lack of direct sunlight. (As I look at these pictures, I realize that the garden looks rather sparse but at least there are green plants growing! As some of you are aware, I have a hard time keeping house plants alive. I think I just need to find a plant that tolerates times of drought (when I forget to water it) and flood (when I remember to water it). Does anyone know of such a plant?)

We were pretty sure the zucchini would grow because everyone knows it is so hardy, but were surprised when everything else did pretty well except the zucchini. We planted 8 plants in the upper right corner and sadly none of them survived. We also planted potatoes in the lower right corner, but our friends forgot where we planted them and planted more zucchini and squash over the potatoes. So we did end up having a few zucchini plants survive. When we dug up a potato plant to see how they were fairing, though, there were only 2 tiny little potatoes.

Our tomato plants did very well and we have enjoyed eating some very yummy cherry tomatoes. The bigger tomatoes are still green, but hopefully will ripen soon. The pepper plant has also produced some pretty big green peppers. The corn is really short and thin, but amazingly enough has a few ears of corn. The ears are only about 4 inches off the ground so we’ll see in a few weeks if they are edible.

Here is the kalabari plant that we don’t know what to do with. It grew really well, but does anyone know how you prepare and eat it?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What do our friends and family think of us adopting?

Well let's see what they reply.

Monday, August 13, 2007

set up

We just changed our blog address so that our blog will be the same as our email address (brianandjennifer1 at gmail dot com) and our LDS Family Services online adoption profile name at itsaboutlove.org (brianandjennifer1). This will simplify our life a bit.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Family Reunion

This weekend we had a family reunion up at the ranch with the descendants of my parents. The tough part for me was being there without Jenny (she had to work). It was really difficult for me with out her there. It was great, however, to see everyone and have time to talk with them.

Things I think we should do again next year are:
  • Take a family picture again (thank you everyone for your participation so I could have an updated photo to post on our online profile)
  • Greg's Gourmet Breakfast
  • Some outing/hike (like the hike to the bear cave)
  • Jared's Star tour (I know there are a lot of constellations/stars that I can't find now)
I thought that people saw more stars after a bright flash :)

Things I think we should change next year:
  • Have everyone assigned to something except for Mom (and Dad)- Mom was overly stressed about organizing every thing and having it all work out. I noticed that everyone was helping out, but that didn't seem to change Mom's stress level.
Here are some more pictures from the reunion:
You've got to watch your step when you do morning aerobics in the cow pasture :)
Dad playing catch with his grandsonsWho's driving this thing?