Wednesday, May 31, 2006

We're alive and new tricks

We just wanted to post that we are alive. Gabe and I are at my parent's house visiting for the week. We haven't been here since December, so it has been good for him to get to see his grandparents and spend some time with them. He has been learning new tricks while we've been here. Some of them:
  • Waving like crazy - he's been waving before, but yesterday he waved non-stop. Especially at people at Target.
  • Saying dog - well it doesn't necessarily sound like dog to the unsuspecting person, but it's very distinct to us after hearing it about a hundred times.
  • Saying Julia - my sister's name is Julia. This is another one that Gabe yells out over and over again, but it sounds nothing like "Julia". He actually yells, "ACH!" But it's always geared towards her.
  • Noticing pictures of Jesus - We walked into my parent's house and he saw a picture of the Savior in their entry way. He immediately said, "Jesus". Then over the last several days he says it every time we show him pictures of Jesus around the house. I have showed him lots of paintings of Jesus and said His name, and apparently he has paid attention.
  • Pulling himself up - He hasn't mastered this yet, but tonight he tried so hard to pull himself up on the couch. It will be a while - but still a stepping stone.
  • Climbing stairs - My parent's have a step going down into their family room, and then back up into the kitchen around the corner. Gabe is very interested in climbing up and down and does it very gracefully. I think it's all because he's enticed by the bowl of dog food in the kitchen....
We're off for a walk, but I did want to check in and say hi. More later - hopefully with pictures to follow.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Getting Healthy

Getting healthy - this is a struggle that I have been battling with for the last couple of years (and I should have been battling it long before that so I didn’t let it get as bad as it did). Anyway, I have been doing Weight Watchers for the last 7 months and I am so grateful for the influence it has had on my life. I had also participated in the program (online) before getting pregnant with Gabe (I joke that Weight Watchers got me pregnant) and I am grateful for what I learned then too. My self image has really improved, as well as having less headaches, more energy, and fitting into smaller clothes! I also look in the mirror and feel like I’m helping my body to be healthier, and that will help me be a better mom and wife – a better ME!

I have found through this journey (or battle – however you look at it) that one of the biggest supports for me has been people encouraging me along the way. And more than the encouragement from random people –the encouragement from people I care about, and who may be going through the same things. Sometimes all I’ve needed is a special friend reminding me that I didn’t need to eat the whole plate of cookies….And sometimes I just needed a listening ear to listen to what was bothering me. And I’m learning more and more with exercise that having a workout buddy (even just to pick you up and get you to the gym) makes all the difference.

I’ve been thinking of ways to not only get support from people I think are awesome – but how I could maybe be a support to others as well. I really think that it’s one big circle and we can all help each other. From an encouraging word here and there, reminders to exercise, or even just sharing what works or doesn’t work as far as meals or snacks, or exercise go.

So I’ve decided to put together a little “getting healthy” internet group. You don’t have to be on Weight Watchers to be a part of our group – and you don’t even have to be struggling with “weight”, but if you just need some encouragement in trying to be healthy in your day-to-day life and want a group of supportive family/friends to cheer you on – join us!

If you are interested, please email me and I will send you the instructions on how to join our group. We’ll have discussions, food ideas, somewhere to vent when you’re feeling frustrated – and we can really turn the group into whatever you all want to turn it into. And also since I know we’re all busy, we can structure it so that you can be as active, or as inactive as you want to be. I know that I appreciate the love and support from others more than you’ll ever know, and I hope that we can help to support and lift each other through these busy times in our lives.

Let me know if you’re interested. (

Love, Joanna

Monday, May 22, 2006

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday to you all! I hope that you're having a great beginning to the week. I'm looking forward to this week because we get to go to Farmington to see my family this weekend! We haven't been down there since Pau and Nicole's wedding reception in December so we're looking forward to Gabe getting to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa Rhien (as well as other family members). Hopefully he'll get over this cold he's been fighting before we get there....I want him in happy spirits when we visit.

I had Cory snap a picture of Gabe and I after church yesterday. I hope that Gabe never gets sick of us wanting to take picture with him. I just can't help it - I love having reminders that he's in our life and remind myself how dang lucky we are.

And here's a scrapbook page I did this afternoon. Couldn't get much more simple, but over the last couple years I'm realizing that I'm just pretty simple when it comes to scrapbooking, and I should stop "apologizing" for it. So here ya have it - one page :).

And one last thought. I went to the gym this morning for the first time in a long time. A friend of mine from our ward goes every morning and she's offered to come pick me up every morning so we can go together. I'm hoping that is what I need - someone to get my butt in gear. But I'd also like to hear if any of you have any suggestions as far as exercise, and how to enjoy it more. I dread it when I'm on my way there, dread it most of the time I'm exercising - but LOVE how I feel afterwards - so I just need some help getting there and trying to enjoy it while I'm in the process. Any tips or advice are more than welcome!

Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, May 19, 2006


When you're really busy do you ever find yourself sitting down and doing something that you totally shouldn't do - just to avoid all of the things you SHOULD be doing on you to-do list? The last couple of days have been like that. Here is an example of a digital layout I did when I should have been scrubbing my bathroom, or working on Blind Guy stuff - or about a million other things that need to be done. But working on this for a little bit during Gabe's nap the last couple of days helped me recharge a bit. So I guess that's ok....

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Great Grandma

Since it's Mother's Day I decided I was going to let myself scrap instead of worrying about other stuff I should be doing. The colors look funny - but in real life the papers really do match, and are a fun color pallette of lime green, tangerine orange and sky blue - with white accents. I love the paper! (It's by Scenic Route Paper)

And the journaling says,

I can’t begin to tell you how lucky you are to have Grandma Marilyn as one of your Great Grandma’s! She is one amazing person. She will always believe in you no matter what kind of crazy idea you approach her with. Her love is unconditional, and she will always pray for you when you are having a hard time. She is amazing. I hope you grow up to know her well and to be touched by her love.

When we were at Great Grandma’s house the day this picture was taken it was a pretty special day for us. It was your 8 month birthday, but more importantly you learned how to wave while we were visiting! I had been practicing with you for weeks – but you hadn’t caught on, but when Grandma waved at you – you waved right back. I was so happy that you shared that fun milestone with her! (April 7th, 2006)

Happy Mother's Day!

I feel like the biggest slacker of the year. I didn't even get a card or gift sent out to my own mom, or Cory's mom for Mother's Day. I had the best intentions - but it didn't happen. So at least we know who won't be winning the daughter/daughter-in-law of the year award.....

Anyway - I did want to say Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing women in my life. Whether or not you are a mother right now know you have had some kind of a positive role in my life - and for that you desereve to celebrate this day. I think the word "MOM" represents so much more than just the mom who gave you birth. Mothers come in all shapes and sizes - to me Mother is a word that represents comfort, love, friendship, and guidance.

So if you have been a friend, lent an ear to listen, a shoulder for support, or shown love - you are indeed a mother. Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

***One more thing - I have to brag about my sweet husband. As usual he spoiled me for Mother's Day. But the sweetest thing he gave me wasn't a present, but a series of notes he wrote me and left around the house. I always tell him that he doesn't have to buy me extravagant gifts (although I love the bracelet he gave me) because all I want is a note from him. So he put a post-it note in the bathroom while I was showering that said "Happy Mother's Day - I told you I'd give you a note". Then all over the house he put post-it notes with little sayings on them about reasons he loves me. (My favorite one had to be the one that said, "I love you because you're hot") I LOVED it! In fact, I left the note up because they make me smile every time I walk past them. Anyway - just wanted to say way-to-go Cory - I loved it! (And I love you because you're hot too).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Scrapbook for auction

Tomorrow night our ward at church is putting on an auction to help raise money for some of the summer activities that the Young Women and Young Men are participating in. Since Cory works with the Young Men, and I with the Young Women we are helping out some with it. One of the items I was asked to donate (to be auctioned off) was some kind of scrapbook project. I ended up putting together a 6X6 album that I'm really happy with. In fact, when I finished it up I told Cory he might have to bid on it because I was going to be sad to see it go. Anyway - here are the layouts that are in the album.

They are scanned a little crooked - but you get the general idea. Now let's just hope that it sells for enough to have made it worth it.....

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Today Gabe reached a couple of milestones (aside from making the most messes he's made in one day....).

I've been trying to teach him sign language the last several weeks. I started with the sign for milk and have done it over and over. Most of the time he just looks at me like I'm nuts. I figured that he wasn't quite ready, but I kept trying from time to time. But this morning as I was getting him ready to eat he started doing the sign for milk - and he knew exactly what he was doing. I was so excited!

He also has started nodding yes. The first couple of times I couldn't tell if he was jamming to music, or nodding - he kind of nods with his whole upper body (really cute!). But tonight I said yes several different times and he nodded as I did it. I asked him if he wanted more (another sign I'm trying to teach him) and he nodded. I said, "Yes?" and he nodded again with the biggest smile like, "She gets it!". SO COOL!

Then to top it off tonight I was getting him ready for bed. He'd taken his bath and I was getting his jammies on. He started doing the sign for milk. I looked at him and asked him if he was ready for milk and he nodded!!! I'm communicating with my little guy - it's pretty awesome feeling.

So even when I'm exhausted from chasing him around - I am still so grateful for these little milestones that will keep me smiling.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

9 months old!!!

Believe it or not Gabe is celebrating another birthday. He is 9 months old today! It's unbelievable to me that he's been alive for 3/4 of a year - it's just crazy. However, he has started wiggling more and more and more - and I think that I'm starting to realize why moms are tired! Church the last 2 weeks have been a headache - he just can't stop moving. It's going to get worse before it gets better though (or so I'm told) - so I can't complain yet.

So today since Gabe's 9 months old I thought I'd just jot down 9 things he's doing now.
  1. He loves to say anything with the sound "da". He says (a version of) Daddy, "Ta-Da!", dog, or anything else that Cory and I imagine that he's saying (it's all probably just noise, but we like to think he's brilliant).
  2. When you make kissey sounds he likes to smack his lips together. He won't give the actual kisses, but he's great at the sound.
  3. CHEERIOS - this boy can pack away the Cheerios. It's a great snack for him to munch on when I'm getting dinner, or sometimes while we eat our dinner and I'm waiting to feed him. He also loves most foods. He puckers with sour fruits - but he will pretty much eat anything we feed him. And he always wants whatever we're eating.
  4. Naps....ha! I wish that this kid had a routine as far as naps go. He's not so regular as to when he takes naps. Some days he'll take a 3+ hour nap, and other days I'm lucky for 45 minutes, or a cat nap in the car - wish I could count on it from time to time! {Speaking of going in the car - Gabe loves to sleep in the car. If we go anywhere for longer than 10 minutes - he's OUT. And he will count that as his nap for the day, even if it lasts 3 minutes.}
  5. Still loving books, baths and being out and about - these look like favorites from here out. We can add to that going on walks, going to the library, and singing songs at the top of his lungs.
  6. Gabe can make a mess faster than any 9 month old I've met. (and I'm sure this is just the beginning too). Whether it's tearing up a magazine or catalog I've given him to "read", or taking toys out of one of his toy boxes and throwing them around - it takes a matter of seconds.
  7. FAST! He's not crawling yet - he is pulling himself around though. And he rolls fast enough that between the pulling himself around on his tummy, and rolling - he can get pretty much anywhere he wants to be. He also likes to sit down and turn around on his little bottom.
  8. Social butterfly - Gabe loves to wave. The first thing he does when I take him out of his crib and open the blinds so his room is light is to wave outside. When the dogs come in from being out - he waves. If he sees someone smiling at him at the store - he waves. He loves to wave at any and every-thing. (That is until we tell him to wave at someone and then he refuses - making mom and dad look like idiots).
  9. Music - Gabe loves to listen to music with a good beat. Whether it's an advertisement on the radio, or a Disney song we listen to in the car - he will dance. He nodds his head up and down and kind of rocks - he is so cute!

Last of all - I can't believe how much I love our little Gabe. I knew I'd love having a little boy - but I had NO idea how much. They say that having a baby changes everything - but that is an understatement. It flips your world upside down merely by how much your capacity to love expands. I know all of you who read our blog are sick of hearing it - but each and every day I am astounded at how much MORE I love this little guy. It's pretty amazing. So here's looking forward to the next 9 months - or the next 9 years for that matter!

John Deere

We should teach them young eh? Gabe got pretty excited when Cory was out riding on the neighbor's riding lawn mower this afternoon (ours hasn't been working well). And Cory was all-together too eager to put Gabe on the mower with him. They had a great time riding around. Gabe kept on waving like he was on a parade float or something - it was great! I'm sure it will be a matter of months till Cory's put Gabe to work outside mowing lawns - I'm lucky that he's so eager to teach Gabe to work. Now let's hope Gabe's equally as eager to learn!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

the sippy cup

Gabe loves drinking water out of the straw on my big water bottle, so when we were out at Walmart today I found a sippy cup with a straw and thought it would be perfect. He LOVES it! He can suck out of it better than I thought he would. Now I won't have to share mine with him.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Graduation weekend

We just got back from attending Jed and Laura's graduation in Rexburg this weekend. I have more pictures to post, and I'll do that later - but wanted to be sure to get some up for those of you who have asked for them.

The graduation was very nice - Jed spoke and did a wonderful job. We loved seeing everyone - the only regret was that the trip was too short, and that we don't get to do it often enough.

Like I said, I'll post more pictures later.