Sunday, September 30, 2012

General Relief Society Meeting!

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a great Sunday. I hope one person in particular is having a good day today: my little sister Sydney! It is her 12th birthday. She is such a great sister and a great aunt to Ellie. 

Yay Sydney!

I'm actually excited to report to you today about my scripture reading this week. I had a lot of opportunity to listen to the scriptures online this week as I was doing a big project, and holy cow. I am so grateful I was able to listen to them so much. I feel so rejuvenated, and so excited to keep reading them. That's the thing about reading the scriptures for me - the more I read, the more I want to read. And being able to really plunge into them like I was able to do this week was really what I needed.

Sunday - 5 minutes
Monday - 30 minutes
Tuesday - 6 hours
Wednesday - 4 hours
Thursday - 3 hours
Friday -  4 hours
Saturday - 30 minutes

Here's an update I wrote in the middle of the week: "I am so happy right now. Deep, in my soul, contented. I've been listening to a ton of the scriptures the last couple days, since I've been listening to them as I work on a project, and it's been amazing. The more I was listening yesterday, the more and more I wanted to listen. I really wanted to know what happened in that next chapter. I'm becoming so involved with the people, and their stories, and everything that's happening. And it's been making a change in me, too. For a long time I've felt kind of like I've been trying to get back to the 'real' Jocelyn. I've been close to the real me, but not entirely there. The biggest thing is that I've been more pessimistic than optimistic. I've been letting the world get me down. But I was just sitting here, thinking about something different, and I suddenly realized how confident I'm feeling right now. And then I realized, I feel like the real me. I'm back. I'm myself again. The scriptures make the difference.

You guys, I'm feeling...It's hard to describe to you what I'm feeling right now. Happy. And grateful.  And just that I know Heavenly Father loves me."

Seriously. For me, personally, the scriptures make a huge difference in my daily life. I feel so happy when I read them.

I'm also excited because of the General Relief Society Broadcast that was this weekend. In our church, we have big semi-annual conferences for the whole church. The full conference is next weekend, and last night was a big meeting for our women's organization, Relief Society. You can check out the Relief Society meeting online anytime, here:

 Watch the General Relief Society Meeting

I'll report back after I've watched it tonight, and let you know what I think. :) Also, in case you'd like to know where to find our General Conference this coming weekend:

Come listen to living prophets

Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Things Ellie has learned lately

1. How to take the lid off her puffs container.


2. Dumping out her puffs is really fun.


3. Puffs all over the floor are good to eat.


4. Puffs all over the floor are fun to kick and make puff angels with.


5. How to put the lid back on the puffs container (when she feels like it).


Smart baby. :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Sunday!

Hi everyone! As it's Sunday, I want to share a Sunday message with you (today, in the form of a really beautiful video) and do an update on my scripture study.

First of all, here's the video I want to share with you. It's called "Opportunities to Do Good," and each of the times I've watched it, it's brought me almost to tears. It really is beautiful, and shows how our actions can express our love and the love of our Heavenly Father to those we're helping.


Go ahead and watch it! It'll only take a minute.

Okay, now for my scripture reporting. As you may remember from this post last week, I'm going to report to you for the next four weeks how I do at reading my scriptures every day, to help motivate me (and help me remember) to do it. 

The goal I'm trying to reach: Study my scriptures every day for thirty minutes. 

How I did this week: Ummm...Well, I can definitely do better. 

Here's the day break-down of the week:
Sunday: 30 minutes
Monday: 20 minutes
Tuesday: 15 minutes
Wednesday: 5 minutes
Thursday: 15 minutes
Friday: 5 minutes
Saturday: 10 minutes

This has already helped me, though. I did remember to read them every day. I now just need to work at reading them longer and really devoting some time to them.

Anyway, I hope you're having a lovely Sunday!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Visit with (Really, Really Great) Grandma & Grandpa

Hi everybody! I hope you're having an awesome day so far. :)

So, for the time that we're living down here in California, I plan to take full advantage of the fact that we are so close to family and friends. Yesterday, being so close to them meant that Jason, Ellie, and I were able to go spend an afternoon with my grandma and grandpa!

I love my grandma and grandpa. They are so wonderful. Growing up, we would regularly have Sunday dinners at their house with all my aunts, uncles, and cousins. (My grandma makes the best roast beef, mashed potatoes, fruit punch, and fruit jello in the world, by the way.) Because of them, I was able to develop really good relationships with everyone on my dad's side of the family. I'm really grateful to be able to be back down here for this year and be able to get to go to these Sunday dinners again. We already got to go a dessert night with everybody this last Sunday (and we've only been down here like three weeks!).

In addition to being kind and loving and everything grandparents (and great-grandparents) should be, my grandma and grandpa are also some of the most fun people to play games with. I have played Uno, Beyond Balderdash, and Sequence with them at our family get-togethers more times than I can count.

Today we visited and they played with Ellie, and we played Sequence with yummy snack bowls full of nuts, candy, and grapes at our fingertips. (Girls tied boys 2-2, by the way.)


My grandma and grandpa rock!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Dad's Birthday

Yesterday was my dad's 55th birthday! He's old. Just kidding, dad. You'll be old next year. (Still kidding. You're in the prime of your life.)

We went to dinner with him at King's Fish House (mmm). We had lots of yummy appetizers and my dad and I both had this spicy salmon that was caught by Eskimos. Seriously, that's what the menu said. Eskimos.

Jason and Ellie before dinner, being as cute as always
Happy!
Ellie, driving my dad's new car.

My dad's awesome and I love him so much. Dad, you're the best! :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Indoor Picnic

Jason's family is awesome. Have I ever mentioned that? They are. He has two brothers and one sister, and they're all married, and we're all really good friends. It's awesome.

We're also very lucky enough to have three of the sets of siblings and their spouses - Jason and me, Michael and Shelley, and Tyler and Sarah - and James and Diana (their parents) live very close to each other. James and Diana's house (where Jason and I are now living) acts as kind of a meeting point, and we get to hang out with various members of the family all the time.

Well, last week Tyler brought up the point that we hang out at the house all the time, but we rarely go anywhere else as a group. He thought it'd be a good idea, and we agreed, if we made an effort to all go out together more. We thought of a couple different things to do, and we decided that the first one we'd try out would be to go have a barbeque at Yorba Regional Park that coming Saturday (which was Saturday the 15th).

We were all excited to go the park together and get out, and then...a heat wave hit. On Friday, the day before we were supposed to go to the park, the temperature was 108 degrees.

So, we changed our plans. For this first time, we'd meet at the house, and have an indoor picnic, where we could all enjoy the benefits of modern technology (i.e. air conditioning). And then for future events, we'll go outside.

So here's our indoor picnic!

Emily!

Cousins - man, these two are so cute together.

Ellie really loves these blinds.

And these ink cartridges.

Okay, the story behind the mustard - as we were eating our hot dogs and hamburgers at the table, I asked if there was any mustard. Jason said no, because he had just cleaned out the fridge and thrown away the mustard, which had expired in 2009. But Diana was like, "No problem!  I have mustard in the hall closet." She retrieved it, and then handed it to James, her husband. He looked at the bottle, and then passed it to Jason because he thought he must be seeing the expiration date wrong. But he wasn't. Jason confirmed that this mustard had expired as well - in 2003. I guess our next project will be cleaning out the hall closet! :) 

The family!

We had to get one with Sarah in it (she was taking the picture in the one before). :)

It was fun. We also played this super telephone/picture game after we ate. We want to do something like this at least once a month. And hopefully we'll be able to go outside the house in the future! :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Keeping Me Accountable

So, a long time ago I told you about how I wanted to share a special Sunday message each week on Sunday. And I was pretty good about it for while, posting different church videos that I especially liked or talks that I thought were good. But I was just thinking about it this week, and I realized that I haven't done it in a long time. I want to start doing it again, because, well, I like doing it. Thinking of things to share with you helps me think about things that make me happy, and hopefully when I share them with you they help make you happy, too.

So let me tell you about what I was thinking about today. I was reading an article in this month's Ensign (our church's magazine. Yes, our church has a magazine. Isn't that sweet?). It was Repentance that Brings Conversion, by Elder James B. Martino of the Seventy, and at the end he listed "five practices that can change our lives." He said:

"For both new and old members of the Church, here are five practices that can change our lives. These are commandments of God and will help us remain faithful, even in the face of trials and temptations. If we follow them, these practices will allow the Holy Spirit to continue to strive with us and strengthen us as our testimonies grow:
  1. Hold personal and family scripture study.
  2. Hold personal and family prayer.
  3. Hold family home evening.
  4. Pay an honest tithe.
  5. Serve others by fulfilling Church callings.
If we establish the traditions of a righteous people, we will overcome our weaknesses, progress in our faith, and not fall away."

I really like these five things. They're simple and straightforward and true. Each time I've read them over today, I've been filled with a desire to make sure I'm doing these five things in my life.

And here's where I think you can help me. I need to get better at consistently studying my scriptures everyday, and I think it would be helpful if I had someone to be accountable to. So, you are going to be the ones keeping me accountable! For the next four weeks, I am going to report to you on Sunday whether I studied my scriptures for thirty minutes every day that week. I think it will really help motivate me to make sure I study them. Just like exercise buddies. Except scripture buddies.


So, thank you in advance. I think this is really going to help me. And I'll let you know how I did this week next Sunday.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ellie playing with the blinds

Ellie at Nine Months

Ellie is nine months old today! She is so big. She is so old. She has just developed so much in the last couple months.


Crawling: She's been a pro forever now. She's really happy in our new house, because there's carpet everywhere. Our apartment in St. George was mostly tile, and this carpet is a lot softer on her knees. :)

Standing: The day that we moved here, Ellie started standing on her own. She does so every day now, for short periods at a time. She's getting so good at balance and distributing her weight. She's amazing!

Walking: Not yet, but things are looking promising with her standing. It probably won't be too much longer now.

Teeth: Still none. :)

Eating: She's getting better at eating baby food, though she never eats it in very big quantities.

Talking: She babbles all day long. She says "Mama" every day, usually when she's hungry and wants me. She doesn't say "Dada" very often, but she definitely knows what it means. On the day we moved, she was kind of stressed out with all the activity, and she just kept saying "Mamama" and "Dadada" all day long. She still loves singing; if you sing to her, she'll "sing" with you.

Random: She likes to put stuff in our mouths and have us pretend to eat it. She also has been starting to give us "kisses," i.e. opening her mouth and putting it on ours.



We loooooove our baby!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jason Thomas, MLS (ASCP)

Jason, my amazing husband, is now a Medical Laboratory Scientist as certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. He passed his national registry test two weeks ago, right before we moved.


I am so proud of him. He is seriously so amazing. He is such a great husband and a great dad.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Big Secret: Revealed!

Ta-da!

What you are viewing before you, at this very moment, is half of the big surprise I've been working on!

As you can see, I've totally redesigned the blog. And isn't it so much better? I feel like I can finally breathe again. I've been itching to do this for ages. Every time I would come to my blog, I would cringe a little; it just looked so outdated, and kind of claustrophobic. So, taking inspiration from different blogs that I especially like, and getting really good advice from the series of articles here, I've redone it all!

As you can see, I now have stand-alone pages at the top of the blog. These are mostly to help those who are new to the blog to get to know Jason and me a little bit better, as well as to give easier ways to contact me. I also put pictures of our families up, so if I ever reference a family member you can go see who they are. :)

The sidebar is also really different, too. I have links to where you can find me on Pinterest, Goodreads, and Mormon.org, as well as a new Facebook page for this blog.

This was a big project, but I enjoyed it. I not only learned about blog design in general (like white space, using a limited number of fonts and colors, etc.), I got down into the nitty gritty and learned about HTML and CSS, too. Using those two things really helped me get the blog exactly how I wanted it.

The redesign isn't entirely complete; the header will be changing in the next couple weeks. As you might have noticed, it's missing its title, "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows." I'll likely be changing the picture, and when I do, I'll add the title back. So look for that in the near future.

Okay, okay, now that we've covered all that, it's time to introduce you to my next surprise...



I've been working on this since even before the blog design. This is the big secret that I was talking about here that I said I was really, really excited about. And I am really excited about it.

What this is is a blog dedicated entirely to quiet books. As you may remember, I made a quiet book last year and posted about it here on this blog. Since then, I have gotten literally tens of thousands - actually closer to 120,000 - views specifically on the quiet book pages.

I had the idea a couple weeks ago of starting a blog that would focus solely on quiet books. When I was researching quiet books and trying to put it all together, I had a lot of questions that I couldn't really find an answer to. This blog will hopefully provide those answers to those looking to make a quiet book. I'm hoping to regularly feature different quiet books made by different people, along with answers to interview questions about how they made the book.

Even if you aren't planning on making a quiet book, please go check it out! I would love to hear what you think. You can get there by clicking on the picture above or by following this address: quietbookblog.blogspot.com.

So yeah! Those are the big surprises that I've been working on. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Moved!

Well, we made it! We're here in California. It's been a (very) busy week for us, but a good one.

Goodbye St. George!

Last Friday was a whirlwind.  We finished packing up our apartment with the help up my mom and step-dad (thank you!), loaded everything onto the moving truck that my dad (thank you!) lent us and Jason's parents (thank you!) drove up to St. George, cleaned the apartment, and handed over our keys.

Even though they had just driven to St. George that morning and then helped us load the truck, Jason's parents decided to drive back to California that same day. Jason and I decided to stay at my aunt and uncle's house in St. George (thank you!) and drive down the next morning, on Saturday.

Later that night we got a call from Jason's parents that made us very glad we had decided to wait. They, and all the people around them, had gotten caught in a crazy desert storm. They had been driving in gusts of wind and rain when all of the sudden the visibility dropped to almost zero. They couldn't see the big rig on the left, they couldn't see the car on their right, and they couldn't see the van that had been in front of them. They braced themselves, expecting to hit or be hit by another car, and they said quick prayers that they'd be okay. And, miraculously, they weren't hit. After a moment they drove out of the zero-visibility area, and turned to see the other cars behind them. There weren't any. Not a single car followed them out of that area. They're pretty sure there was some kind of massive pile-up, but they weren't in it. We are so glad they're okay and we're so glad we weren't caught in that weather!

Saturday was much less eventful; Jason and I drove safely down to California, and we unloaded the truck that afternoon at Jason's parent's house. (Also, by "we" I mean Jason, his brother, and his dad. I was mostly watching Ellie, along with Jason's mom and our sister-in-law. We did get a couple boxes off the truck, but I have to give most of the credit to the men.)

On Sunday we went to church, and it was so nice to have extra help with Ellie. I'm so glad we'll have Jason's parents to help us entertain her during church this year! She is extremely wiggly. My mom always says that I was a "feisty" baby, and from wrestling with Ellie Jason and I know exactly what she means. On top of that, when  James (Jason's dad) was playing with Ellie during church this Sunday, he mentioned that Jason was exactly like this as a baby too. So, feisty Jocelyn baby + wiggly Jason baby = We're doomed. Ah, well. I'm sure our parents see it as our just rewards.

We've spent the last couple days unpacking and moving in. All is going well. My secret project that I'm working on that I find really exciting that you probably won't find nearly as cool as I do is going well, too. In case you were wondering.

Anyway, that's pretty much all for now! I have to get back to organizing. I do want to mention, though, that Alyse and Tanner (my sister and her husband) visited us the last weekend we had in St. George. We really enjoyed them staying with us. I'm glad they got to see Ellie before we moved.

We went hiking with them. Aw, isn't St. George pretty?

Happy!

I hope your week is going well!