Create Your Happily Ever After

August 6, 2015

My Favorite Story (It’s about us!) Part 2

So…you’ve heard about how we met and our first date(s). It’s a pretty great story, right!? The next year or so was a gigantic bag of trail mix. Sweet, salty, and full of confusing and kinda gross raisins.

After our second first date, we sent texts back and forth and Jeff said some pretty cute things that made me swoon and say “awe!” (I’ve written a few down in some journals, I’ll have to update after we move and unpack) and I agreed to go out with him again. This time, I let him come pick me up. We got Jamba Juice (we both had the same favorite smoothie! Berry Lime Sublime!) and then headed to Guitar Center to mess around. We went in to the instrument room and started playing on the drums and guitars. He must’ve been real “impressed” with my skills, because he left almost immediately to use the bathroom. He was gone for a good 10 minutes. He came back and we went to look at the sheet music. Again, he left me to use the restroom; this time for a little longer. Eventually he came back and bought some guitar strings and we left. He apologized and asked if he could take me home. I was a little disappointed. I thought maybe he wasn’t interested and was just being polite by asking me out again. Maybe my mediocre musical abilities are not good enough for the mighty Jeff. But no, he explained to me that he was experiencing “bowel problems” and he wasn’t sure why. It hit him out of nowhere and he wasn’t sure he’d make it long before he needed to hit the pot again. I was laughing sooooo hard! He took me home and drove off pretty quickly. We are really good at this dating thing! Haha! First date he didn’t show up, second first date we didn’t sit together, and then this. We were off to a crappy start. πŸ˜‰ [pun intended]

Despite his embarrassment, he did call again. We went on another date and I decided it was time to make a choice. I sat down with the boy I had been dating over the Summer and told him I didn’t think our relationship should continue. In all fairness, I had been feeling uncertain about where I wanted things to go with the other boy BEFORE I met Jeff. Anyway, I was interested in Jeff and I didn’t want to be leading two boys along. He understood and we were actually able to remain friends! So Jeff and I dated some more and I thought things were awesome. One day in September, I met him at the institute after his class. He was playing ping pong with some of our mutual friends (all girls) and when I walked in and greeted them and Jeff, the girls gave me such dirty looks and wouldn’t talk to me. I was confused, but blew it off. I later learned that Jeff had kind of been dating one of them. He really liked her and had taken her out a few times. He loved her personality, and shortly before we met he held her hand, which is all kinds of exciting for a girl! He said when he held her hand, he got a bad feeling and knew he couldn’t date her. The only problem was that he forgot to tell her. So when she saw us together, I am sure she thought I had “stolen” him away. I felt terrible and I chewed him out real good for not telling her he wasn’t interested. Yikes! He apologized and I decided he was still an ok guy and we kept on dating.

He met my family for reals not long after. The first time my sister Kat met him, he was snorting a spaghetti noodle through his nostrils. She watched him move the noodle in one nostril and out the other and was a little appalled. When he was gone, she said “You stopped dating Kolby for him? He’s so weird and Kolby was so nice. I really liked Kolby.” At this point, Jeff was not sister approved, but I didn’t care. (She did eventually grow to love him, don’t worry!)

We went out every week, sometimes more. We hiked, star gazed on the roof of the pool shed at his house, went to General Conference (after which we walked around my neighborhood “puddle jumping” and came home soaked. One of my favorite memories!), explored Temple Square, watched outdoor movies, went to institute activities and Halloween parties, made leaf piles, and had other crazy adventures. We spent a lot of nights just sitting in the car talking until 2 or 3 AM. Good thing my parents trusted me! :) I was falling for him.

Double date with our mutual friend Barry, who ensured we met at church.

Double date with our mutual friend Barry, who ensured we met at church that day in August. :-)

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I thought he was SOOO handsome! :)

I thought he was SOOO handsome! :) And he thinks I am SOOOO ridiculous. He’s pointing and laughing at me. Rude. Haha!

We were having a blast together! And then one night in October, he took me on a hike to the water tower in East Layton. We climbed on top (somehow we made it up the ladder with blankets and pillows??) and star gazed. He showed me where he, Blake, and a girl he dated carved their names. Smooth, Jeff. Why’d you have to point that out!?! So we were chilling on the water tower wrapped up in blankets and he suddenly got really quiet. After a while he turned to me and said something about how he liked dating and going out with lots of girls because he had only been home from his mission for 15 months (again…real smooth). I wasn’t sure where he was going with this, but I was nervous. Is he about to tell me we’re getting “too serious?” That sucks! Then he said “But I find myself liking you more and more and I don’t really have a desire to date anyone else.” YES!!!! I win. We win! Obviously, I felt the same way. :) We walked home and I was giddy!

A few weeks later, the Saturday before my birthday, so Nov. 15 or 16th, maybe? we were out on another date. I have no idea what we did, but I do remember how the night ended. We were sitting on the couch in my parent’s living room chatting and enjoying each other. Again, he got real quiet. He looked at me for a while and then said “Bobbie-Jo, I’ve been thinking about you and us.” Again!?! Stay calm. “You make me really happy. … And I don’t know what it’s like to be in love, but I imagine this is it.” :) Just let that sit. Aaaahhh. πŸ˜€ I don’t even remember how I responded, but it must’ve been ok because he leaned in and gave me the sweetest, gentlest, and smallest little kiss…our first. It was a tender and beautiful moment.

Birthday dinner with the family Nov. 18, 2008. I'm 23!

Birthday dinner with my family Nov. 18, 2008. I’m 23!

Things went on all happy and stuff. We went to dinner for his Grandma’s birthday, we spent Thanksgiving with both families, and I was preparing to graduate from college. Life couldn’t have been better!

Then things started to get a little weird…

 

****We are getting ready to go camping (8/6/15). I planned to write more today, but I really need to shower. Sorry! Except not. I love cliff hangers!****

Posted in: Our Story
August 5, 2015

Let’s Have Kids!

We were married on June 5, 2010. It was a perfect day! We were finally married!

I was on birth control and hated it. In August, my dear, sweet, wonderful friend Jenn told me about an alternative. We took her classes, learned to chart my cycles and observe the body’s natural signs of fertility. We learned how to prevent pregnancy without birth control or other barrier methods. It was awesome! No artificial hormones! Woohoo! :)

Those who’ve known me a while, know how crazy I am about babies. I have loved them since I was a little girl and my dream job would be to sit in the nursery at the hospital and snuggle those newborns all day and all night! So, it wasn’t hard for me to tell Jeff in October I wanted to have kids! He said he wasn’t ready and accused me of being baby hungry, baby crazy, and just crazy. Me!?!? Crazy!?! I mean, really. πŸ˜‰ He was right though. After some personal prayers and study, I agreed. It wasn’t time. We decided we’d wait until we’d been married a year. So we enjoyed the next few months of newlywed bliss. In March of 2011, I brought it up again because “it might take a few months to get pregnant.” I didn’t suspect it would be hard, considering my mom was super fertile (ask her if I was planned!). I am always super regular in my cycles. My cervical mucous (yes it’s a thing. A very necessary thing) wasn’t as good as it should be, but it was good enough we thought.As far as I knew, my charts looked fine! Doctors all reported I was healthy and all was well inside.Β He agreed that we could stop preventing pregnancy by skipping certain days and we went on our merry way, hoping we’d be pregnant by the end of Summer.

In June we celebrated our 1 year anniversary and subsequently started to really time “things” well. I started experiencing unusual mid cycle pain and spotting and the nature of my monthly cramps were changing. Nothing to worry about, we were sure it was fine! Just to be sure though, we started using Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPK). I always had at least one positive. Fast forward 18 ish months…

October 2012 I started to worry. But, after several visits to the temple and many, many prayers I was convinced Heavenly Father knew what He was doing with us. We didn’t need help. We just needed patience and more faith in our God. He would surely bless us as we continued to live good lives. He knew the desires of our hearts and the things we longed for. I wrote this

this

Β (click to read) post on our blog. It was going to be OK. After I posted that, my aunt reached out and suggested we go to a doctor. She said it was ok for us to get help and still rely on our faith in God. Doctors know a lot of stuff. I spent a few months thinking about it and in the meantime, had a few different friends suggest we head to the Reproductive Care Center in Sandy. I was hesitant, nervous, scared, and I don’t do phone calls. So I started small and made an appointment with an OB/GYN. Of course, he said everything was fine. But he scheduled me for an HSG because that’s all he could think of doing for us.

So in February, we went in for the procedure. An HSG is an uncomfortable x-ray, during which they fill your uterus with gas to blow it up like a balloon, inject iodine through a catheter, and watch it flow through your uterus and tubes through x-ray. They do this to check for abnormalities and to make sure the tubes are clear. The dye shot through the right tube beautifully. Hooray! But…the tech said my uterus was “tipped” and that the left tube was blocked, or at least the dye moved through very slowly. Great. What does that even mean?! Of course we didn’t ever hear from the OB/GYN about those results and he seemed rushed and uninterested anyway, so I just moved on.

I finally got up the courage and made an appointment at the Reproductive Care Center. We went in and met with the doctor for a consultation in March/April (2 years infertile). We filled out a bunch of paperwork online to give our background. He sat there and explained the process of conception. The hormones, the development of follicles, the timeline, and all the stuff I already knew. Frustrating, but he was just doing his job I suppose. I explained that we’d been charting and had done our research. We knew what we were doing and what was (or should be) happening. I told him about my symptoms (the pain, the spotting, the change in my cramps, the consistency of my mucous etc.). His responses weren’t helpful. “You’ve only been trying for two years.” “You’re still so young!” “You probably have endometriosis, but it’s not a big deal. It doesn’t cause infertility. It’s not worth the expensive surgery.” Um…ok?!?! So he laid out a plan. “First, we’ll do 3 IUI (inseminations) without drugs, then we’ll do 3 with Clomid. Then we can do 3 with Clomid and Femara. Then we’ll do IVF. Sound good? Don’t worry, we’ll get you pregnant.” Needless to say, Jeff was unhappy. He felt like it was a wasted trip and a waste of money (our insurance didn’t help). I, positive me, said it was fine and we’d give them a chance. Incidentally, we got a positive ovulation test that same day (Friday) and we went in on Saturday for our first insemination. They tested Jeff’s sperm that day as well and he got an A+. We put the report on the fridge for a few months. He was so proud. :) Anyway, the IUI obviously didn’t work. We called the doctor back and insisted on doing some testing. Something wasn’t right, we felt it. We wanted to fix the issues, not just cover them up and ignore them. We weren’t cool with the “checklist” approach and the attitude of “we’ll just get you pregnant.” We wanted answers. So we did some blood tests and an ultrasound to count how many follicles I had. The first round of tests came back normal. Excellent even (according to the nurse), considering I hadn’t taken any drugs! So far, so good!

And then there was another round of tests in May….

Posted in: Infertility Sucks
August 5, 2015

My Favorite Story (It’s about us!) Part 1

So I’ve been feeling a strong desire to write down the history of us (No pictures this time, sorry!). The finer details may be a little shady (it has been 7 ish years) and my journals (which aren’t that detailed anyhow) are in storage. So in honor of our failed first date this month, here is us! It’s a long story, but I love it (well…most of it)!

The Beginning

In November of 2007 my good friend Aaron married another good friend Keri. They moved into a basement apartment on Forest Ridge Dr. in Layton, UT. The owner of that home was on a mission in Chicago and her 21 year old son was holding down the fort. Aaron met him and almost immediately started trying to get us set up on a blind date. I was not terribly interested in blind dates at that point in my life and neither was he. He was still an awkward returned missionary and I was a 22 year old mega flirt. :)

Aaron kept on about how fun he was and how perfectly he matched my personality. I told my friend Marci about this “Jeff Hicken” I kept hearing about. He was in her singles ward at Weber State and she had good things to say. Another friend Barry found out (also in his ward) and as it turns out, they were best friends in elementary school. And then Jeff started hearing my name more and more, from Aaron, Marci, Barry, and other mutual friends, and he happened to mention my name to a girl he worked with at Tanner Clinic. That girl, Anne, went to high school with me. We were in show choir together and of course, she had good things to say about me. πŸ˜‰ He was being bombarded by my name.

My reaction during this time was casual. Everyone I knew, knew Jeff and told me he was wonderful and hilarious and a great guy. Meh…I’ve heard it before.

Jeff’s reaction was this: “How come everyone I know also knows this girl?” And this: “She has a weird name. I don’t really want to date her. I’ve dated too many girls with weird names recently.”

The First First Date (August 2008)

Summer went by and I was dating someone else. I liked him, my family liked him, and it was going really well! We weren’t serious and we hadn’t had “the talk” to define our relationship. So in August when Aaron planned a double date and conveniently arranged for Jeff and I to both be there, it wasn’t a big deal. We had been hearing each other’s names for a while, so I was mildly curious but I didn’t expect it to amount to anything.

Sometime around midnight the day of the date, Aaron and Keri (remember, they lived in the basement apartment) woke up to the smoke alarm. Jeff was cooking chicken and burned it or something. They ran upstairs and as they chatted and laughed it came out that Jeff was going to Bear Lake with his singles ward. Aaron was like “Uh…you have a date tomorrow with Bobbie-Jo.” Oops. Jeff forgot about it. Nice one, huh? So he went to Bear Lake, and Aaron had a friend come down from Logan (maybe?) to be my date.

We had a BBQ in Jeff’s backyard. We swam in Jeff’s pool. We watched the teen boys in Jeff’s neighborhood film their own remake of the famous pool scene from “The Sandlot” in Jeff’s pool (don’t worry…we popped popcorn). I was fun and flirty and had a great time! I even gave the boy permission to call me (he didn’t). It was a wonderful night! The only thing missing on my first, first date with Jeff…was Jeff.

At Last, We Meet

So after our failed first date I was done with hearing about Jeff and Aaron was done pushing it. It was a fun night, but it was a little annoying that he ditched. Sounds like a winner, I thought. We tried. We failed. Whatever.

Since Marci had become one of my best friends (we met in 2005 and it was love at first sight for us), she invited me to hear her sing in church on the Sunday before the semester started. I wanted to, but I was so worried about running into the famous Jeff Hicken. I told her I would go, but she was not allowed to introduce us. I secretly wanted a glimpse of him, but that was it. I met her at the institute building on campus. We sat down to enjoy the meeting and she said she hadn’t seen him, so I was feeling pretty good. Until…Barry (remember Barry, my good friend and Jeff’s childhood best friend?!) saw me. He grabbed Jeff and they came and sat right behind us. I didn’t turn around, but I heard. As they sat, Marci noticed a new girl sitting alone, so we got up and moved a few rows up to sit by her. It might’ve seemed kinda rude, but whatever. I was relieved to have avoided Jeff and Barry. The meeting started, Marci sang beautifully, and we got up to leave after the prayer. Barry, sneaky, persistent, Barry immediately called my name “Bobbie-Jo! Come here, I want you to meet someone!” Marci stepped away, Barry stepped away, and Jeff and I stood there looking at each other. After hearing each other’s names for almost a year, this was finally it! The first words out of my mouth were “Welp…this is awkward.” His: “Yep.” This was followed by an entertaining 2 hour conversation in the parking lot, an exchange of phone numbers, and a date set up for the CES Fireside in September. I drove home thinking “well, he has a really fun personality and I think we’d have a great time together, but meh. He’s cute, but not dreamy.” I found out later he looked at me and thought “Hey, she is a really cute girl! I want to get to know her.” I wouldn’t say love at first sight, but he was interested, and I was polite.

The Second First Date

So he called me and we agreed to meet at the institute building for the fireside. He offered to pick me up, but I told him it was inconvenient for him to drive to West Point and meeting was just fine. I arrived, sent him a text to find out where he was sitting, and never heard back. I sat down and enjoyed the fireside by myself. Apparently, he didn’t hear his phone. We’re off to a great start, right!?! On the first first date, he ditched. On our second first date, we didn’t even sit together. So how did we end up together? This is how.

After the fireside, he saw my text and we met at the back of the gym for cookies. We immediately started goofing off and being silly. (I saw the boy I was dating nearby watching, and I felt a twinge of guilt. He knew I was on this date with Jeff and said it was fine, but still…sad) We drove to Jeff’s house on Forest Ridge Drive and we spent the rest of the evening listening to music on Youtube, making the most ridiculous faces (the kind where you stretch our your extra chin skin), discovering that neither of us wears matching socks and that we both had/have vintage ninja turtle bedding, watching Church History DVD’s, and then ended the night sharing our favorite scriptures and experiences with each other. And that was it. I remember writing in my journal “he’s like me, but a boy!” It was easy. It was comfortable and non-judgmental. We opened up so quickly and so easily. He was (and is) the most genuine and real person I have ever met. No need to impress or put on a show to make me like him. He was a “take me as I am” kind of guy and it was refreshing and comforting. I was hooked. He was hooked. And as much as I wish I could say we fell in love, got married, end of story, I can’t. This is not the end. Not even close.

Stay tuned (if you’re interested!)…

Posted in: Our Story
January 3, 2015

A Piece of My Life…and the blue book

I have been wanting to write something about what my experiences have been over the past several years. I haven’t had the time or energy to do it just yet, but today I saw something that I need to share because I needed to see it. So, I’ll give a short version of my life since sometime around 2006.

Fear. It started with fear. I was afraid to do something that would have changed my life and hopefully, someone else’s. I wanted to go on a mission. I had always wanted to go. My bishop approached me and told me I was ready. But fear stopped me and I didn’t go. Since then, I have struggled with fear, anxiety and depression. It was very slight at first and I didn’t recognize it for what it was. Certain events, those involving BIG changes (graduating college, relationships, marriage, teaching, infertility) contributed. In the past year or so I have realized what’s been happening to me. I try not to let it define me. It comes in waves. Some days I am me…happy, positive, sunny, and free. Some days I am trapped. I am lost. I am confused. Some days I am at peace. Some days I am in turmoil. I have managed it and feel like I am coming through to the other side of this and I have more good days now. But there is still one thing that lingers.

I have never in my life doubted my faith. I have been diligent in study and prayer and service to God. I knew who I was. I knew God. I knew Jesus Christ. I knew they were real and they loved me. But depression and anxiety do funny things to the brain. For the first time in my life, I doubt. I struggle to believe, and to feel anything. This is harder for me than dealing with infertility. How can I, Bobbie-Jo, who’s always found it easy to believe, who’s always been happy and positive and found joy in the gospel and knowledge of Jesus Christ, struggle like this? I never thought depression or anxiety would take hold of me. But it happened and I assure you, I’m fighting my way out. This is what I want to share: there is one thing that has helped me hold on to my testimony. One thing that keeps me feeling, when my brain suppresses emotion. One thing I cling to. The Book of Mormon. When I pray and don’t know if anyone is hearing me, I can read the book and know it. When I feel empty and lost, I can read it and find my way, even if it’s just for a few days at a time. I am not my best in study and prayer, and some days I REALLY don’t feel the desire or motivation to do it. But this video reached me today and reminded me of something I know. The Book of Mormon is a testament of Jesus Christ and His love for all of us, regardless of who we are, where we are, or how we feel. He loves us and the book can prove it to you.

Posted in: Happy Days
January 21, 2014

Tender Mercies

Oct. 2013

I’m just going to say it…infertility sucks. BUT we have been very blessed through this whole process and most days we don’t feel anything but peace and happiness. Occasionally, we get frustrated, but not because of our infertility, because of our desire to have children, and because of the finances required to get there.

During General Conference a few weeks ago, I wrote down specific questions and prayed for specific answers. Specifically, I prayed about our family. What do we do now? More tests? Treatments? Adoption? Wait it out? Nothing feels right yet. So here we go. Ask. Seek. Knock. Open. Listen. TRUTH. The most direct (indirect) answer to this very important question about our family, came in a talk not about family or marriage or children, but about tithing. Read the whole thing here: The Windows of Heaven

“Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals. And when we plead for relief from physical, mental, and spiritual difficulties, He may increase our resolve and resilience.”

I wasn’t told what to do about starting our family or which direction to go. But it was pointed out to me that the greatest blessing we have received through this is peace. That is our answer. Heavenly Father has blessed us both with incredible peace in what could have been an incredibly difficult journey. We are doing just fine and that is a tender mercy.

Speaking of tithing and everyone’s favorite…finances, here’s another win. We have been very blessed with Jeff’s work. He has such a strong skill set and he is in the right industry, so I know we are luckier than most in this area and we can’t/don’t complain! Even still, Heavenly Father takes care of us and gives us blessings we don’t expect or feel like we deserve.

When it came time to renew insurance with Overstock, we stuck with the high deductible plan because for our purposes (maternity, we thought) it was about the same as a the regular plan, except that monthly premiums were less. So it sounded like a good deal! Then after months and months of no pregnancy, we started infertility testing and we starting paying for it, all of it, out of pocket. It adds up pretty quick and we were worried about paying for treatments (if we decided to go that route) or adoption. And then, Jeff got a new job, which means new insurance, which means for us…more coverage. :) Tender mercy.

Earlier this week, we received another one of those bills. It was pricy. We went through upcoming expenses (including tithing) and decided that if we are careful with extra spending, we’d be fine, so the bill got paid. It should have stressed me out (I am a financial hoarder…I dislike watching money disappear), but it didn’t. “We’ve been so blessed” I thought. “So lucky that Jeff has such a great job and we will never have to worry about finances.” We pay our tithing faithfully and we have always been taken care of. That feeling: Tender mercy.

Literally, the day after I paid that hefty bill, I got a phone call from the medical lab. Apparently there was a glitch in the system and my bill was going to be 85% LESS than what we thought. Huge refund check will be in the mail. WHA!!?!?!?! I don’t know why we deserve it, when so many people can’t pay their bills and we can. But still…tender mercy.

In the smallest and simplest ways, I have felt Heavenly Father’s awareness of us. It’s not overwhelming. It’s not a spiritual experience that is “Ensign worthy.” It’s gentle, it’s subtle, it’s simple, and it’s beautiful.

Heavenly Father loves us. He takes care of us. He blesses us in undeserving and unexpected ways. Tender Mercies.

January 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Miracles (God likes to laugh!)

I know I’m a few months late in reporting, but this is a story that deserves to be told. Enjoy! If you’ve ever wondered if God has a sense of humor, here’s your answer.

A few weeks before the holiday, I thought “Hey! Wouldn’t it be fun to host Thanksgiving? We’ve never done that before!” Food assignments were made and a time was set. I bought a turkey and potatoes and we were feeling so good! Everything was working out so well.

On Monday, I got the turkey out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. Check.

On Tuesday we found out Jeff’s brother, Jared, was going to stay with us. Great! We have two empty bedrooms. Check.

On Wednesday, we found out Jeff’s brother Mark and his family were staying with us too. Great! They can take our room so they have a place for their two kids and a comfier bed. We’ll sleep in the guest room and Jared can take the air mattress in the other room. Check.

So far so good! :) My family was coming for a nice quiet dinner. We had Jeff’s family staying with us (Lisa and Sam and kids, Jared, and Mark and Kelley and kids), so even though we wouldn’t join them for dinner at Dave and Kathy’s, we’d still spend plenty of time together! Plus there is always pie at Grandpa Hicken’s. I was excited for all this family time! Check, check!

On Wednesday night I started to feel anxious! I’ve never made a turkey before. What if it’s gross? What if it’s dry? What if the seasonings are bad? Awe, crap, what if it’s still frozen?? So right before bed, I checked the turkey…still partially frozen. Yikes! We did some research and found a way to get it thawed and cooked, just in case. Phew! Breathe easy and go to bed. It’s going to be fine! Smile.

Thursday morning was restless. I was wide awake at 5 am for no reason. My alarm wasn’t set to go off for another hour or so, but I couldn’t seem to stay asleep.

5:20 AM–We get a text from Kathy (the host for the Hicken’s Thanksgiving dinner). She’s sick. With a new baby in the family, another one close to arrival, and other kids just getting over being sick, it didn’t feel like a great idea to have Thanksgiving there anymore. SURPRISE! Looks like they’ll all come to our house!

7:20 AM–Lisa came up and we made a plan. Sam put another (frozen) turkey in their roaster. We told everyone to bring their assigned foods, nothing more, nothing less. If the Hickens brought what they planned on for the Hickens and the Kemps brought what they planned on for us, we’d be fine. No worries, right!?!?! We’ll make it work. It’s only…uh…40 PEOPLE.

7:30 AM–I prayed for a Thanksgiving miracle–specifically warm enough weather that we could send kids outside. Dear Heavenly Father, Our numbers jumped from 15 with my family, to 40 with Jeff’s family. FORTY PEOPLE IN MY HOUSE…BAHAHAH! My kitchen/dining area is NOT that big. We just put in new carpet, so I didn’t want people eating over it. We were going to be CRAMPED as it is, so if the kids could just go outside, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks! :)

7:40 AM–The turkey is going to be fine! Still a tiny bit frozen, but no big deal. I pulled out the neck, but I couldn’t find the giblets inside, so I thought “Maybe this one doesn’t have any?!? Meh!” I prepped it and stuck it in the oven for a nice slow roast. Check.

8:00 AM–I started cleaning, moving furniture, and setting up as many tables and chairs as I had, and asked my mom to bring hers and table cloths. Don’t worry about dishes. We’ve got paper and plastic! Check.

10:30 AM–I’ve got a nagging feeling to check the turkey. I’m sure I’ve missed something. I pulled it out, couldn’t find anything and put it back. The nagging wouldn’t leave so I did some research on giblets. Turns out, sometimes they stick them in the ‘other’ end. As a first timer, I hadn’t thought to look there. Oops. I also learned that if the giblets are wrapped in plastic and you cook them…you’re done for. Plastic leaches dangerous chemicals into the bird and we’d have to throw it out. If they’re wrapped in paper, you’re safe. PANIC. “What if I have to throw this turkey away? We are going to try and feed 40 people with this one turkey, because we don’t know if Sam and Lisa’s will be done in time (there’s was fresh from the freezer at 7:00 am!)! Awe, blast…I’ve ruined Thanksgiving,” I thought. “We may be buying pizza.”

10:45 AM–I pulled the turkey back out and found the giblets in the wrong end (…I know now!), wrapped in paper. SAFE! Thanksgiving Miracle #1.

12:30–Jeff and I begin to peel the potatoes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told that boy to throw the peels in the garbage, not the sink. But he’s a man “It’ll be fine. It’s not that many.” Well today, we were cooking for many. Still, he peels them (a lot of them) in the sink. I was chopping while he peeled, so I didn’t get a chance to stop him. He ran the disposal to clear out the sink. The disposal jammed, but he kept trying to make it run, filling the sink with gallons of filthy, starchy water. To remedy the clog, Jeff decided to try the toilet plunger…

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1:00 PM–My family starts to arrive. Seeing our dilemma, my brother in law Ben jumps right in to help. They decide to disconnect the disposal…and before you know it, the kitchen is filling up with filthy, brown, starchy water. I let out a laughing scream and ran for the towels while they tried to catch the water with a bucket. Meanwhile, the potatoes are boiling over on the stove (more water mess) and the gravy’s not getting made. The rest of Jeff’s family is showing up and wanting to use the stove to cook green beans and such. Chaos. Utter chaos. But somehow, instead of doing what I usually do (stressing to the point of being bossy and ornery and not very nice), I laughed. I just laughed. I found it completely hilarious. Not stressful, but amusing. Somehow, with only a few hours of sleep, I managed to stay positive, smiling, laughing, and Heavenly Father knew I would need that. Thanksgiving Miracle #2.

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This is the stack of towels we used to clean up the water. This is pretty much EVERY bath towel I own, washed three times to get rid of all the starch! :) So funny!

This is the stack of towels we used to clean up the water. This is pretty much EVERY bath towel I own, washed three times to get rid of all the starch! :) So funny!

2:00 PM (ish, I started losing track of time)–We pulled the turkey out of the oven. My mom and Grandma carved it up and discovered it wasn’t quite done. Close, but not quite. My mom worked on that while Grandma started gravy. “Where are the giblets?” Um…in the garbage?? Am I supposed to save them? Oops. Dinner fail. BUT don’t worry, mom and Grandma Bell are geniuses and made some delicious gravy and fixed up my turkey. It was tender and flavorful and no one died. :) Thanksgiving Miracle #3.

We started setting the table to eat. I was all for paper and plastic…I did NOT want to do dishes for 40 people, plus the pots and pans from prepping dinner. My dad was NOT loving this. He wanted fancy. So we got out the fancy silver and china they had brought. Some people used it and others went with plastic. Dinner was chaotic, we didn’t stuff oursevles because there were just too many of us to sit comfortably and the kids were more interested in playing together than eating. So we had PLENTY of food, too much actually! My mom is incredible and had the dishes cleaned up in no time. Thanksgiving Miracle #4. And the kids spent a lot of time eating and running around outside! It was sunny, in the high 30’s, and they didn’t have a care in the world! Thanksgiving Miracle #5.

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I wasn’t stressed, but my dad was…too many people. Loud. Crazy. Cramped. Socializing. All his favorite things. :) We got cleaned up and were just starting to sit and relax with some pie.

“Bobbie-Jo…where’s the drill? The hammer?” Why!?!? Turns out one of the little boys had locked himself in the bathroom downstairs. A bathroom lock that requires a key. A key that we don’t have because the previous owners didn’t leave one. Awesome. We can’t get to the hinges. We can’t unscrew the doorknob. So they did the responsible thing and broke the doorknob off with a hammer. Child rescued. No harm done (except the doorknob which we will replace with a NON keyed lock). The 3 year old actually enjoyed his time alone in the bathroom. “It was fun!” he said. Thanksgiving Miracle #6.

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Things started winding down and people started leaving to go for pie at Grandpa Hicken’s or the in-laws. My family was so helpful and so patient and understanding in all of this. Jeff’s family was just as awesome! They went home with smiles on their faces, even though I know it’s not the day they were expecting and we didn’t get a lot of time to just sit and enjoy each other. There was too much going on and too many people to entertain. I love our family for this. They just went with the flow and kept things positive! :)

The house is quiet, the furniture is put back together, the day is over. We can just head out to Grandpa’s for pie. We made it. Thanks for the miracles today Heavenly Father. You’re one funny guy! :)

That’s what I thought. But He wasn’t done yet. We went in to the garage and pushed the button to open the door and…nada. The motor was running, but the door wasn’t moving. So, my brother and Jeff pried it off the ground and held it up while I backed the car out. Thankfully, my brother and parents hadn’t quite pulled away when the garage door decided to break. Thanksgiving Miracle #7. It was a “perfect” ending to a “perfect” day!

Moral of the story–Miracles come AFTER the trials. Heavenly Father has a great sense of humor. If you pray for a miracle, He’ll give you one. But He might create some mishaps to help you recognize and appreciate them. :)

I’d say our first Thanksgiving went well, wouldn’t you?

PS…Look who decided to show up for dinner!! :)

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Posted in: Happy Days
December 10, 2013

“I Didn’t Marry My Soul Mate”

I Didn’t Marry My Soul MateΒ 

Read the article! :)

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I like this. :) It rings true in my ears. I didn’t believe in soul mates necessarily (although I was certain I’d found “the one”), and I didn’t go on a mission, but there was a boy, and he went on a mission, and I was hopeful when he returned. And then…nothing.

The first words Jeff and I spoke to each other were “Well…this is awkward.” My thoughts were: “Meh, he’s cute I guess.” :) Our first date was to a CES Fireside, followed by sharing favorite scriptures and experiences, watching Church History videos and music videos, and laughing hysterically while we battled to see who could make the most ridiculous facial expressions. Instant comfort in his presence, which isn’t easy for me. I am a bit socially awkward with new people. But it was easy. Jeff made it easy.

So, yeah, Jeff isn’t my soul mate, but I chose him then and I choose him now and forever! :) We are becoming soul mates one day, one adventure, at a time.

Speaking of adventures…wait til you hear about Thanksgiving. Yikes! :) Pictures and stories coming soon! Haha!

 

Posted in: Happy Days
October 13, 2013

Just Pictures! :)

I know…sometimes it’s hard to just sit and read stuff. It’s hard to just sit and write stuff. I like visual things. So here are a few of the highlights from the past few months! :)

We made it down to the Manti Pageant this year! It was wonderfully cheesy and spiritual. Just the way I like it. :)

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He really did enjoy it. :)

He really did enjoy it. :)

Hailey and Brandon participated in Music Camp this Summer! Hailey has been doing it for a while, but this was Brandon’s first time! They both did amazing and I am impressed with their talent!

One show to rule them all...

One show to rule them all…

Cutest Little "Dork" I've ever seen! :)

Cutest Little “Dorc” I’ve ever seen! :)

Hailey is singing her heart out (on the left, brown and white dress) as Eowyn, one of the good girls! She was quite the flirt!

Hailey is singing her heart out (on the left, brown and white dress) as Eowyn, one of the good girls! She was quite the flirt!

Jeff had a birthday! 27 never looked so good!

It doesn't take much to make him happy. Costa Vida and me!

It doesn’t take much to make him happy. Costa Vida and me!

Prius wins again (seriously…that spaceship of a car is magical when it comes to transporting goods)! Our water heater started leaking late one night and after talking to the manufacturer and a few others, we learned that Riverton water has a tendency to destroy things. It was going to cost quite a bit to have someone come replace it because it happened to be Pioneer Day. So we decided to tackle the project ourselves with a little help from Marci and Dan. :)

And yes...the hatchback closed. WITH room to spare. :)

And yes…the hatchback closed. WITH room to spare. :)

Jeff got a new job! He now works for Alianza. To celebrate, his recruiter treated us to a super fancy dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I don’t typically like steak, so when I tell you it’s good…it’s good.

They heard we were celebrating a new job. So they decorated our table with “money.” :) This place is classy.

He has a sweet spirit, even if he can't smile. :)

There's that smile! :) Love him!

There’s that smile! :) Love him!

There are no words. :)

We finally got the railing installed on our basement entry. It was a long time coming (sorry Jon and Melissa!), but other things kept us from doing it sooner (like flaky contractors, figuring out the deal with having kids, making sure we had enough money in savings, and other house projects). Anyway, it’s done, it’s safe, and it looks really good! Thanks to my brother in law Johnny for the great stucco work!

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Jeff is testing it’s strength. Don’t worry, no child will fall into the pit!

We fixed our sprinklers. It was a nightmare. I hope I never have to tunnel under concrete ever again.

At least he's still smiling! After 7 days of this, I sure wasn't. However...I did quite the happy dance when we finally reached the other side! I think I scared our new neighbors. :)

At least he’s still smiling! After 7 days of this, I sure wasn’t. However…I did quite the happy dance when we finally reached the other side! I think I scared our new neighbors. :)

We sat outside and Jeff played some tunes.

It looks like he was really rocking out. But...it was just the flash. He was actually playing a beautiful, calm, melody. :)

It looks like he was really rocking out. But…it was just the camera flash. He was actually playing a beautiful, calm, melody. :)

Lucky me! :)

Lucky me! :)

We went to a soccer game!

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"What do I do with this thing?!" Haha!

“What do I do with this thing?!” Haha!

"Maybe this isn't so bad!" (At least that's why I want Jeff to be thinking...)

“Maybe this isn’t so bad!” (At least that’s what I want Jeff to be thinking…)

Awe! :) Carter liked looking at Jeff and listening to his voice!

Awe! :) Carter liked looking at Jeff and listening to his voice!

And our garden! We got more cucumbers than we could handle, delicious raspberries, and we have loved making salsa with all our tomatoes and peppers. I even got all “domestic” and canned a few bottles. I know it’s a little weird for me.

I hate big chunks in my salsa, so we used the blender. Go Ninja, go Ninja, go Ninja, GO! :) It also makes chopping those veggies for salsa a breeze! It took us about 10 minutes to whip up this large, delicious, batch! SAY WHAT!!

I hate big chunks in my salsa, so we used the blender. Go Ninja, go Ninja, go Ninja, GO! :) It also makes chopping those veggies for salsa a breeze! It took us about 10 minutes to whip up this large, delicious, batch! SAY WHAT!!

Beautiful. Delectable.

Beautiful. Delectable.

We found this little creeper in our tomatoes. He lives across the street now. :)

We found this little creeper in our tomatoes. He lives across the street now. :)

And what’s Summer without a good hike or two?

He's really happy. We love nature!

He’s really happy. We love nature!

20130902_165935And there you go! :) We’ve been busy, but we are so happy and it just keeps getting better! Now all we need is a child. Can we have yours?! Just kidding…kinda. πŸ˜‰

Posted in: Happy Days
October 13, 2013

Change

Change is an interesting thing. It’s not easy to accept, but most often proves to be for our benefit. It’s wonderful to get comfortable and to settle into a routine and lifestyle. I like to be “comfortable” and secure and safe. I love little changes like rearranging the furniture, getting a hair cut, or teaching a new topic in math. I don’t like to step outside my comfort zone. I dislike when my “flow” is disrupted in big, dramatic ways. It messes with my emotions and flares up the anxiety. However, I am learning quickly that allowing ourselves to get “too comfortable” often results in stagnancy and lack of upward progression. I am learning to recognize that I can expect something to change, large or small, when I start to feel too comfortable; and that is a good thing.

Jeff was contacted in August by a recruiter he’s worked with for a few years. He regularly gets contacted by recruiters and various companies who are interested in his skill set. This one started out just like that…a regular contact. This particular recruiter had recently been calling Jeff as more of a connection to other nerds…ahem…programmers because Jeff was in a great leadership position at Overstock. He loved his team, he loved his work, he was happy with his salary…he was comfortable. He had been telling recruiters for months he wasn’t interested in change. So when Evan (the usual recruiter) called about this job and asked Jeff if he knew anyone who fits, it wasn’t really that exciting or unusual. But the more Jeff heard, the more he liked. This happened on a Thursday. We went to the temple that weekend hoping for some guidance and in he went for an interview on the following Tuesday. Jeff sent me a text while I was teaching Summer school wanting me to call him asap. Unusual for him, so my anxiety immediately flared up. YIKES! After I sent the littles on their way, I called him and he told me what had happened. The company was so impressed with him, they asked what he would need to make the job offer a no brainer. He threw out some numbers and they said “done.” He had a new job. In less than a week and with no effort on our part, things changed. I admit, my response to this was a little less than supportive. It freaked me out and it took a few days to get my heart to stop pounding. This new company is very small, no one has heard of them, so it felt risky to accept. Overstock was comfortable, it is huge and doing very well. We had job security and I hated losing that. Aaaahhh!!! But Jeff felt very good about the change, so we moved forward. Overstock threw a mighty protest and tried very hard to get him to stay, but Jeff had made a commitment and he felt good about it, so despite the promises and comfort offered to us, he left. (They did tell him that Overstock is home and he will always have a job there, which eased my anxiety quite a bit. Phew!)

Things are going very well at his new job. He has more flexibility in his schedule, benefits are fabulous, and his opportunities for growth in his skill set and knowledge are tremendous. It is a very good thing for him, and though he misses Overstock (mostly his team), he feels like he made the right move. He is now working for Alianza, a small VOIP company in Lindon and he loves it. :) See…change is good.

As for me, I am still figuring myself out. I struggle with who I am, I struggle with self worth, and I struggle to feel like I belong. The past few years have been particularly difficult for me, and I have had my fair share of doubt. But one thing I know for certain is that the Lord knew what He was doing when he called me into the Young Women presidency. I am not influencing them, they are influencing me. They have been the pathway to the change I need. I feel it. I know Heavenly Father is aware of me and of my personal struggles. He has provided me an opportunity for growth and for improvement.

As our lives move forward, I can feel myself changing. I sense subtle changes in Jeff and in our relationship (don’t worry…it’s all good!). New callings, new jobs, new experiences. You see, one of the many reasons God sent us to Earth was for our personal growth and development. He is teaching us to become like Him. He knows who we were, who we are, and who we can become. As we are, change is required. In order to become, change is required. It’s definitely not easy, especially when we like who we are and we are comfortable. But again, being comfortable can result in halted progression if we aren’t careful. Thankfully, our Heavenly Father is constantly providing opportunities for us (sometimes unsolicited and in the form of trials) to grow and to change just a little more until we have become who He needs us to be. Thankfully, He has given us an example to follow in His Son, Jesus Christ. All we need is the courage, the faith, the diligence, the humility, to move forward, even when it’s scary. Change is good. :)

 

 

 

Posted in: Happy Days
June 29, 2013

So far this year…

Hello world! Just a quick update on our lives and the happenings of 2013!

In December, the primary president told me they were moving me to nursery. I was excited because I love being with the littles. Then she told me that the nursery is cursed. Everyone they put in the nursery ends up pregnant. My excitement level tripled and of course told her I was fully expecting to be “cursed” in such a manner. :)Β  Unfortunately, we haven’t been cursed yet (so please…pray for us to be cursed, haha!) We did however, start the process of infertility testing in January because after nearly two years of no babies…we decided we should get help. And that pretty much sums up January through probably the rest of the year or so! YAY! :) Don’t worry…we are not too sensitive about it and we will answer questions and fill in details, just not publicly. πŸ˜‰ And if you tell me you’re pregnant I am still VERY excited for you, but don’t be shocked or offended when I freely admit that I am probably 80% excited and 20% jealous. :) So…after learning that our chances are lessened due to ONE crucial hormone that’s much higher than it should be, we did what any responsible person would do. We blew our money on a relaxing vacation to a beautiful tropical location. If you would like to see the pictures and read about our trip to Jamaica, click on the Adventure Time tab and scroll down to 2013. Read the short ish blurb and click on the Jamaica header to see the pictures in Picasa. Don’t forget to read the captions! We did some fun things!

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I completed another school year! My first one in 1st Grade and as a part time teacher. I LOVE working part time. It has been great for me! I am excited for the next year when I can do it better! :) I also completed my ESL endorsement (18 credit hours of night classes, online discussions, too many textbooks read, and so much homework!) and it feels good to be able to have my weekends and Tues/Thurs evenings back. I’ll be starting Summer school in about a week teaching pre-K students at my school. They are extremely low and we’d like to prepare them for Kindergarten a little bit. It’s making me nervous, but I am also very excited because I know how big of a difference it can make for the kids, their parents, and their kindergarten teachers. :) I love what I do, even though it’s stressful. We are literally creating a future for many of these kids. It’s exciting to think about them growing up and doing big things!

Jeff is still working at Overstock and is the FED Architect. He basically helps build the website, teaches his team, and integrates new technologies. I am very proud of him! His hard work is paying for him and for our family! He is also working on several side projects with his brothers, our brother in law, and just for fun. You know you’re in the right profession when your job is your hobby. Jeff goes to work and programs. He comes home from work and programs. AND HE LOVES IT! I’m grateful he’s found his place and his passion!

Together, we are enjoying serving family and friends, playing games (I even play video games occasionally and Magic…the things you do for love), and working around the house. Our garden is growing finally! We have struggled getting our cucumbers and watermelons to establish themselves, but I think they’re finally coming! YAY!

We both got new callings last week! It’s funny, because I have been feeling change coming for a few months…I hoped the feeling of change related to babies, but this works too! :) So…I was in the nursery and Jeff was teaching the 14-15 year olds in Sunday School. When we got called in, I was nervous because Bro. Niedert told Jeff he was going to have to support me a lot and sacrifice his time with me. Sounded scary, but it’s not! I am in the Young Women’s presidency! YEAH! :) I am so excited! After Girl’s Camp last year, the bishopric felt impressed to put me with the youth somehow, but primary wouldn’t let me go until now, so this calling has been in the works for at least a year. :) I am really looking forward to personal growth and learning with this new opportunity. I know I will be changing and the calling will influence my life…I just have to pray that I can do something positive for the girls too.

Jeff is now teaching the 4-5 year olds in Primary! He was not happy to be released from working with the youth. He LOVES teaching teenagers and he’s good at it. He’s very willing to serve wherever Heavenly Father asks him to be, but he is nervous to teach the little ones. I could not be happier about this change. We have traded places (primary to youth, youth to primary) and there will be much to learn for both of us! I feel REALLY good about Jeff’s new teaching opportunity and although it may be challenging for him, I think he will learn to love it and he will be amazing.

Welp…that sums up the year so far! Keep checking back, because I will hopefully start adding Picasa links to the travel page and keep our story going. :)

Posted in: Happy Days