Wednesday, May 27, 2009

B-E-A-C-H, not the S-H-O-R-E

I am from North Wildwood, NJ and I call the Atlantic Ocean "the beach." The tourists typically say, when they are going to the beach, that they are going "down to the shore." So, for future references, you can tell the locals and the "shoobies" apart! The word "shoobie" has its roots in southern New Jersey. "Shoobies" gets their name from the Philadelphians who would go "down to the shore" by train for the day, with their belongings in a shoebox. Just some NJ knowledge for you!

We spent Memorial Day weekend up in North Wildwood with my family. Lockheed sent Chris to do some training in Cherry Hill, NJ on Thursday and in Valley Forge, PA on Friday, so we went to North Wildwood early and it was worth it! I took Liz to Margaret Mace (my old grade school, where Joe and Julia attend) and to Wildwood Catholic (my old high school, where Kate attends) and my teachers loved her. They couldn't get enough of her! We also stopped by the Rec where I used to work, as well as City Hall so Pop-pop could show off his granddaughter! We had a wonderful time exploring and rediscovering my old stomping grounds.
On Saturday we went to 15th Avenue in North Wildwood for some beach action. Liz liked the water in the gully, because gullies are typically warmer than the ocean itself. The ocean water was pretty cold, but Liz didn't cry. She couldn't take her eyes off the sand! Aunt Alex bought Liz her first bathing suit (isn't it AWESOME) and we also bought a big umbrella to use when we're there.

Eventually, it was time for Lizzie to take a nap, but all in all, it was a good experience for her. A side note: I can honestly say that this is the first time any member of my family has actually owned an umbrella to take to the beach! Ah--that reminds me--that's another way to tell if you are dealing with a local or a shoobie. Locals typically bring two things to the beach: themselves and a towel. A shoobie brings his whole house: chairs, umbrellas, buckets, shovels, toys, coolers full of food and drinks, books, tents, etc. I guess we might start looking like tourists because we carry a lot more things with us now that Lizzie is a member of the family! :)

On Sunday we listened to a great talk from President Corbitt who spoke about being prepared both temporally and spiritually. Our lessons that day also coincided with that message. So we began our food storage! It's nice to have this big kitchen and its cupboard space PLUS a pantry so we are using it. I think the messages really hit home because we are our own family now. We simply can't expect to mooch off of our parents in a crisis. I feel good that we are getting on our way to becoming prepared!
In further news, my freshman sister plays on the varsity softball team at Wildwood Catholic and they won their first playoff game, 1-0, vs. Mater Dei! They will play their second game on Friday.

Lizzie is nearly six months old! Where does the time go, really? I look at pictures from the day of her birth and I can hardly believe it. She has her own personality and it is wonderful.
Some of her new favorite things to do include:
Laughing, laughing, laughing. Many things are funny to her. She loves laughing with Daddy and my siblings.
Falling forward and pushing herself out onto her tummy.
Eating her toes. All of a sudden she began doing this!

SUCKING HER THUMB. This too came suddenly. Every time I catch her doing it, I take it out and say "NO" three times. She just laughs at me!
Eating everything, actually. If it's within reach and she can pick it up, its first destination is her mouth!
This video explains another favorite pastime. Of course she loves to do this when it is very quiet (during a prayer or anytime in church) and it always makes us laugh! (Remember to pause the playlist so you can hear it.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

It has arrived!

My diploma is here from BYU in Provo, UT. You can see it here:

I feel official now :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Elder William F. Jett

I've been up since four this morning--Liz woke up screaming; she's teething, poor lady! As I've already told you about Julia a month ago, I'm going to tell you about my brother Bill.
Bill and I are only sixteen months apart in age. When he was born, I was very jealous of him because I was no longer the sole focus of my parents. I even tried killing him a few times! Once, I grabbed a pencil and shoved it at his eye--he still has a scar above his right eye. Another time, my mom was on the phone with a friend from Ecuador when she noticed it got very quiet all of a sudden. She went to Bill's room to investigate and found me in the crib, pouring baby powder all over Bill! He was coughing his lungs out and he looked like a little old man! I stole his bottle whenever I could to drink it for myself. It's a miracle he made it out alive and healthy!
Speaking of living, Bill often found ways to injure himself without my help. My friend Kelly and I were playing house on our second story back porch when Bill approached us and dutifully informed us that he was Superman and he was going to fly. We just looked at him and whoosh! Off he jumped to the ground below. I ran down the stairs of the house crying, "Bill just killed himself!" My parents flew out the front door and found Bill on the ground, rolled up in a ball. He stood up, shook himself out, and said, "I'm okay." He's gotten stitches three times, two times of which were on the roof of his mouth. When he was seven, Bill rode my mom's tall adult bike, fell off, and gave himself a "hole" in his head--a rock pierced through his forehead.
Despite all the accidents and adventures he had in his youth, Bill has turned out to be a very mellow kind of guy. Nothing fazes him--nothing. Bill doesn't get rushed, worried, or anxious; it's simply not in his nature to be those things. In grade school, I would be ready for school about thirty minutes before we actually had to leave while Bill was still sleeping. I would be so furious with him! He would step into the shower when we were supposed to be driving to school and I would be more than upset. Later, in high school, I would fret about the last paragraph of my nearly-finished paper three weeks before its due date while Bill began his research papers the morning they were due. He always had everything turned in on time and he always got decent grades! I don't think he ever brought a textbook home from school during his four years at Wildwood Catholic.
He made it out to BYU with a scholarship and plenty of

Liz is up--I'll be back--
Now it's Thursday. We've had a rough day and a half. Lizzie had a high fever and was completely miserable. We took her to a nighttime pediatrics place who couldn't find anything wrong with her. Yesterday morning we took her to what will now be our pediatrician. Apparently there is something going around that will spike fevers, nothing else. Poor lady. It breaks my heart to see her in pain because she is such a happy girl and is always smiling. Today she seems better, so we're praying she'll be better as soon as possible.

Continuing with my brother, he was accepted to BYU and went out for a summer term to get more schooling in before his mission. He completed the term as well as a fall semester (2007) and a winter semester (2008). Bill had his mission papers ready and planned to work as long as he could in the summer before he left for the MTC. I remember getting the phone call while we were still in Texas--he had received his mission call. Chris and I were hanging off the edge of the couch and then he read where he would be serving: The Colombia Barranquilla Mission. My heart was so full of joy! My brother would be serving in South America, just as my parents had over twenty years ago.

We moved back to Utah just before he was to report to the MTC, and when he did report, it was both wonderful and sad. Wonderful because we knew what he was doing was right and he would be blessed for it; sad because this would be the last time we would see him or hear his voice for a very long time. I shouldn't have worried too much though--we happened to "see" each other at the Provo Temple every other week before he finally left for Barranquilla :)

When I think of Bill, I have the inclination to smile and to shake my head because Bill is Bill. I've been thinking about Bill these past few days because we were able to speak to him on Sunday (Mother's Day). His colombian-drenched Spanish now rolls off his tongue with the ease I hope to capture sometime in my life. His weeks are filled with baptisms; his Sundays are filled with investigators attending church; his days are filled spiritual inspirations and teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Five years ago this July I attended SOAR at BYU. SOAR stands for Summer of Academic Refinement and is open to Multicultural high school students who are interested in attending BYU. Bill attended SOAR before his senior year at Wildwood Catholic, buying his plane ticket a few days before and packing the morning of his flight--customary Bill. Before going to SOAR, I always knew he would go to BYU and go on a mission, but he had never been outwardly vocal about those things. When he came back from his week at SOAR, this changed. Much of what he talked about contained references to his pending BYU application and his future mission.

Growing up in our toddler/kid/early adolescent years, Bill and I often fought. Once he joined me at Wildwood Catholic (he a freshman, me a junior), we became good friends and I am very glad for that friendship. Bill continues to show me that life is fun and that it should be enjoyed. Exasperating as he can be at times, Bill has the unique ability to make you feel comfortable, cherished, and crazed all at the same time. I miss him very much as he serves in Colombia, but I would not have it any other way.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Good grief

We've been in Maryland for over a week now and I haven't told you about it! In my defense, we've been working nonstop to get this condo up and running and liveable--aka without boxes and packing paper around our feet. I'm happy about how much progress we've made in the past few days (our stuff arrived on Friday May 1st).
For starters, I LOVE MARYLAND! I mean, I have always been intrigued by Maryland because the first half of its name is my name! Chris did a wonderful job picking out this condo. It's in a beautiful area, it's close to Shopper's--our new grocery store, it's close to our chapel/stake center, it's close to the temple, it's close to great walking trails and parks...I could go on! We live on the first floor, which was nice for the movers who didn't have to lug anything upstairs. I've taken some pictures of the place, but I will take more when everything is officially in its place. All we have left to organize is one corner of Lizzie's room, the office corner with our laptop, desk, printer, and other such things.

We went to the Willis's on Sunday for dinner and we had a FANTASTIC time. Jess made a great dinner and dessert. She and I talked with the girls while Andrew and Chris watched the boys. We LOVE them and we are excited to do more with them!

BIG NEWS! We will be in New Jersey this weekend! This will be my first time home in over a year. Chris will join my dad and brother in the Cherry Hill Stake Father-Son Campout and we ladies will do something that involves shopping, I'm sure. What's even better is that Sunday is Mother's Day, which means Elder Jett will call the house! He's already emailed us what time we should be by the phone, awaiting his call after church ahaha. I'm so excited to hear him...and a bit anxious to hear his Spanish. His last email was entirely in Spanish and it was a heck of a lot better than anything I could ever write, even though I minored in the subject at BYU!

Oh yes--how could I forget? I graduated! Thursday April 23rd was BYU Commencement; President Uchtdorf and Elder Nelson spoke. I sat there the whole time reminding myself that they were talking to me--because I was graduating! Friday April 24th was the Humanities Convocation; the Humanities College had about 600 graduates if I remember correctly. I had to be at the Marriott Center at 7am and the ceremony began at 8am, but we were only there for an hour and a half! Very impressive.

It's surreal to think that I've graduated from college. I've been through sixteen years of school. Unbelievable! I feel weird because I didn't register for classes next semester or meet with my MSS counselor about my scholarship. I'll finished! It's a great feeling! I'm so happy my family was able to be there. It wouldn't have been the same without them.

Here are some pictures to show you what's been happening around our house:
Laughs with Daddy. Liz is laughing a lot nowadays!

Sitting in her brand new space-saver high chair--very cool!

Talking with Dad. She has discovered her voice and she loves to use it!

Check out those earrings! Yes we pierced her ears the day before we left Utah. She cried for MAYBE thirty seconds; afterwards, she was all smiles!

In her bathing chair that Aunt Alex gave her! It's nice to finally use it now that we have a full tub here in MD!