Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cara Box

Cara Box

This month I participated in something called the "Cara Box Exchange" over at Wifessionals (and she just moved to Colorado, so fun!) It is just a fun way to meet someone new, send gifts and receive them also! And I am a sucker for getting packages in the mail so I thought it would be fun to do.  Each person is paired with another person who is participating in the Cara Box Exchange. I was paired with, Kara over at the Joys of May.

I loved getting to know a little about Kara especially because she is not in the exact same stage of life as me.  Sometimes it is refreshing not to be overwhelmed with kid stuff all the time, don't get me wrong, I love my kids and hearing about others, but it was just nice to get to know someone experiencing the joys of marriage and engagement, something that seems so long ago for me.
Kara is so sweet and the package she sent me reflected that.  The theme was "kid themed" and I thought each item was thoughtful and personal.

Here is what I received.
Well, actually the girls opened it, they were so excited!

They just ripped it all open, sorry Kara, it took me a second to realize what was even in there

I got a really cute bracelet in one of my favorite colors DSC_0888

Some fun crayons that they girls that the girls put to use right away DSC_0891

A cute hat

Love these little notes for kids DSC_0887

Dance Party Socks

and the very needed bandaids (especially at our house, these go like hot cakes)

Also not photoed were a good book, and a cell phone stand

 They call came wrapped and tagged so cute!!!
 DSC_0880 DSC_0898 

Kara did such a great job picking fun things for me (and my girls) to enjoy. I loved being able to share this with my girls, they love getting things in the mail, it just makes their day, so when I see them so happy, I am just filled with Joy. Thank you Kara for the sweet gifts and thank you Kaitlyn @ Wifessionals for such a fun idea!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

December Anxiety

Oh we have been very busy and yucky sick!! Welcome Winter.  All evenings and down times I have been forcing myself to do a better job of resting, like laying in the bed resting, it has been good, but more quite on the web, which is good too.

I get really bad anxiety as December nears.  I actually love this time of year, but I have re-occuring thoughts and dreams of the Phone Call that changed everything.  Losing anyone, ever, is sooo soo hard, but I will say that around Christmas time it is realistically harder, it just is.  Christmas brings memories of love, happiness, reminders of the gifts we have from the Lord and from one another, but for me Christmas will forever be a reminder of instantly losing my sister, of the worst night of my life.

I can remember being on a flight where so many were happy traveling to see loved ones, and I was simply a mess, broken.

I can remember the Christmas that didn't happen, but the memorial service that did.

I can remember the week in California, after my sister died, I can remember it vividly.

 I remember Carrisa's neighbors, crazy light themed, train city (in a trailer park) and wishing shewas there so we could laugh together.

I remember Norah falling asleep while eating dinner, I am sure from pure exhaustion.

I remember watching "the Holiday" one of me & my sisters favorite movies, on the couch, in tears with my family.

And then there is the thought, could Norah possibly remember?
The other day she told me this "I miss mommy Carrisa because she died at Christmas time"
does she remember?

No matter what has happen, no matter how sad or bad, it doesn't take away from one of the greatest moments on earth.  God sending his son  to earth as a tiny baby, and because of that, I will get to see my sister again.

And now I have moments like this...

forever treasured

and forever the possibility of a lingering memory for this little girl

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Houston Farewell

Tonight is our last night in Houston, TX (tears...... going back to busy reality is never easy).  We have had so much fun hanging out with family.  I love the memories the girls will make during this time!  Knowing their cousins is so special and something we don't have on my side of the family.


Girls rule in this cousin house

Monday, November 19, 2012

Random Thanksgiving thoughts

1. We leave tomorrow for Houston, TX.  Yep, why not another 18 hour car drive with 3 little girls after just returning from California 3 weeks ago?


2. I am kind of a freak a few days before and the day before leaving on a trip.  I get in a "pack" mode and no one is allowed to interrupt.  My husband has just learned to let me do my thing.

3.  I am a terrible packer when it comes to packing my own clothes.  I just can't never know there might be a blizzard in Houston while we are there, and if I don't back something warm there certainly will BE!

4. I am really not a huge fan of most thanksgiving foods.... except for some delicious Bread!

5.  Speaking of Food, I have been loving snacking on walnuts lately, but they cost about $100 a pound, so I better quit that habit quick

6.  Thanksgiving day, 2010, was technically the last day I saw my sister Carrisa alive, via skype.  Will always treasure that moment

7. Norah's not feeling so well, of course the night before we leave on a trip

8.  I already got all of my Christmas cards from Costco (last week actually)  Designed them myself, can't wait to send them. Trying to stay ahead

9.  I hate licking the glue on the backs of envelopes ever since my job in H.S at Dr. W's, when his wife told me how gross the glue was (yes, thank you Wanda) , so that is why you may see tape on the back of an envelope I sent you, if you don't see tape Brett licked it, ha!

10.  I am really looking forward to the 24 days of advent with the girls this year.

11.  We leave in 5 hours, perhaps I should go to bed! 
Maya=silly face, Mom=hair in face, Dad=mustache, Sarah=crying, Norah=Normalface (seriously the one time_)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pay it Forward Winners!


 I loved hearing your stories!  They were so encouraging and inspiring!  There are 4 of you that won a $5 gift card!  Check it out.  If your name is listed below please email me at with your name and address so I can mail you the gift card!

 "Your story about when you were a waitress made me cry! That is just awesome! What a great idea! Love it."

 "When we first got the girls, money was pretty tight. We weren't expecting two children out of the blue and definitely was not prepared with diapers for both of them and formula for P. I had cloth diapered Aiden but I only had 12 diapers as he was a toddler when we switched to cloth and I didn't need a whole lot. It wasn't enough to diaper both girls who were still in diapers. I wrote a blog post asking friends where I could find the cheapest possible diapers that were of good quality. My blog friend Amanda (whom I have never even met but love her dearly!) read the post and secretly arranged for some of her and my blog readers to get together and send me a care package. It arrived one day and I had absolutely no idea what it was. I opened it up and there were over 16 diapers, a ton of wipes, and a $20 gift card to a diaper boutique. They also included such a beautiful letter praising Joe and I for taking in the girls and telling me how much it meant to them to do this for us. I couldn't read it without crying and now even typing this, the tears are flowing again. I know first hand what it's like to receive an unexpected gift and it's such a great feeling! I love your waitress story and it made me smile!"

 "When Lance was born I had one of those spinal headaches. My head was pounding and I had never had so much pain in my life. The C-section didn't even compare on the pain scale. A nurse had heard about my headaches on the hospital floor. She was OFF of her shift for the night and did not even work in that wing of the hospital. She offered to give me a neck massage and upper shoulder massage to relieve my pain.
I was so shocked that a stranger would give her free time to me. This nurse went beyond her job requirements that night and even though that was over 28 years ago, I'm pretty sure that was the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for me in my hour of need."

"Long time reader - First time poster here! I love this idea. Been wanting to do something like this but never get my act together. Also struggling myself making ends meet - I know how the help from people can go so far and turn things around for them. Huge fan of your blog! Thanks as always for the inspiration!"

I can't wait to hear how you used the gift cards!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Embrace the Camera Nov 15. 2012

There is nothing like an Embrace the Camera Thursday (well maybe there is).  Thank you Anderson Family Crew, for your inspiration.

Anyway, on Saturday, when it was about 4 degrees here, we ran outside, I set the Camera on a timer and grabbed a family photo.


There is nothing like treasuring the moments when my girls are small.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pay it forward

Wedding: Friend Time 

When I was newly married to Brett and we were both in school, working part-time as servers, and money was tight.  Our bills were at the mercy of our tipping costumers.  We  did work very hard, but  pay was never consistent.  There was one week in particular that we were not going to have enough money to cover rent.  I needed a miracle, I needed to make $200 in one night servering at Red Robin to cover rent..... yeah, if you have ever worked at Red Robin, that doesn't happen. So I just said a quick little prayer in my head about the money we needed to pay rent and went off to work.

It was a busy night, but nothing out of the ordinary for a Friday night.  I got to see one of my favorite families, I still call them the "macaroni & cheese family" because I always gave their very hungry son, seconds on macaroni.   I had not served them in a while, so it was a bright spot in my night.  I remember their bill was around $32, so around $6 for a tip was what I was anticipating.

 Until I saw that they gave me $108 for a tip!!!!!!!!!!!!  What in the world!  I mean, I know I worked hard as a server, but that just seemed above and beyond!  Then the kind gentleman told me," $8 is a tip for your service and $100 is a gift from our family we have been wanting to give you for your wedding" :O)

My manager had to manually put the tip in because the computer wouldn't even allow for it.  I will never forget him hollering down the Expo line to everyone, "JENNI GOODLIN, JUST GOT A $108 TIP!!"  and my boss wasn't the nicest, nor the most encouraging person so him doing that was complete out of the ordinary.

Needless to say, I made Over $200 that night and had enough money to pay for rent. 
I knew that the Lord had answered my prayer and that this nice gentleman has listened when the spirit inside him nudged him to be generous.

I will never EVER forget that.  The way that family blessed Brett and I.

Do you ever have that nudging?  That sense that giving a little may brighten or help someones day? That doing one little kind thing, could impact a persons life in ways you never expected.  That maybe you should.......


I  truly believe there are sooo many people out there with BIG hearts,  and I want to encourage people, so since the holidays are coming along I have been milling over an idea......

I am going to pick 4 people who read my blog, 4 people to give a $5 gift card to (2 Target cards, a Starbucks & an Old Navy card (yes, all places I go frequently)), BUT, there is a big BUT, you cannot spend the gift card on yourself! I know it is not a lot, but sometime the little things make a big difference.
1)You must carry the gift card around and give it to someone you don't know.  You give it when you have that nudging, or that inclining that someone else just might need it, or because someone has done something kind or out of there way for you.  If you don't want to give a gift card directly you can use the money on the gift card to buy something for someone else.

2) You must then let me know (via email, phone call, blog post) how you gave it away by Dec 24th.

3) To get one of these extravagant $5gift cards  you need to leave a comment on my blog about when someone has done something nice for you, or when you have done something nice for someone else, or something nice you would like to do

4) and hey, if you aren't 1 of the 4 people picked for a gift card you can still do it.  Go get a gift card yourself and give it to someone you feel is deserving and then tell me about it.
5) You can grab the pay it forward button and encourage others to do the same


I wish I could remember their names, the macaroni and cheese family

Sometimes all the world needs is a little hope, and to know that people are still good

You have until Thursday November 8th 11:59 pm (mountain time) to leave a comment (that is only like 4 days away).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Let's be real here

I think it easy, easy to read other people blogs and feel a little discouraged or not good enough.  I mean, everyone has it perfectly together, right?  Perfect wife, friend, mom, photographer, crafter, cook, never does anything wrong, ha, yep, not real.

 I have failed at each any everyone one of these categories.  I have been mean to my kids, given my husband the silent treatment, gossiped about a friend, oh and I am not a good crafter, I just take other peoples ideas, and cooking....... well, my family has the same rotation of about 5 different meals all.the.time....   If I wrote about all of these things for  every blog post it would wear on me and be discouraging, yes it is good to be real, and honest and talk about the not fun stuff, but to continual dwell on my faults and imperfections is not healthy either.  I am human and need grace and forgiveness just like everyone else.

So for those of you who ever read this blog  and have thought to yourself, "man, Jenni has it all together."  I don't.  I have God's grace though, and am continually working on becoming more of who He wants me to be.  On my blog I just choose to focus on things that I like, time with my family, my hobbies, ways I have been encouraged and sometimes, what life "with loss" has been like for me, because maybe it will relate to someone out there.  Joy, Hope, Grace, Optimism, Kindness, Good attitude, those are words I want in my vocabulary and around my home and life.

"But the things that come out of my mouth come from the heart...... " Matthew 15:18

 So tomorrow, I have something special coming. Something we all can participate in a encourage others. (Stay tunned!)

for now a few fun fall photos of my girlies

oh sarah, hahaha

ahh, "i don't really want my hands touching that"

hmmm what is this

love this one of Norah
another great use for a crate


ummm not happening
trying to escape
the best I could do
Hey wait!  That's not Sarah!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sarah {13 months}

I was never planning on writing more "monthly" updates on Sarah, but I couldn't pass up this one, because she has just turned into her whole little self.


It is amazing how when a baby turns {one}  they are suddenly & completely not little babies anymore.

Sarah you are very independent and play so well by herself.  You pretend all the time, you play with petshops in their little house, you play in your kitchen and pretends to stir things.  DSC_0392

You are definitively an organizer, or re-organizer.  You could re-organize crayons ALL day, not even kidding, this can keep you busy for hours.  One day I could hear you happily playing in the living room at the kids table.  I went to go put the crayons away, but there were no crayons to be found..... I had no idea where you put them, and then I saw you doing this

DSC_0334 DSC_0336

So our crayons are frequently in the flower vase, I just leave them there, it is way less messy and if the girls need any I just grab a handful out, and then Sarah eventually puts them all back in the vase.  Her little brain amazes me.

You know a few words
-mimi  (milk)
-teetoo (thank you)
-bye bye (along with a wave)

You also know a few baby signs
-all done

You still only have 2 teeth in, but there are 4 on the top coming in all at ONCE!  Thankfully you don't seem to be very fussy over this and you eat anything anyway!

I forgot that you can be a bit more needy in the evening hours  now that you are one and this is often what my evenings look like, but I love it!

You are definetely walking, you started to just a few weeks after you 1st birthday and you are now officially walking more than crawling, it is still so funny to me to see you pop around the corner upright.

You love Books!

And you are a little comedian, often chiming in with your adult laugh at the dinner table when you have no idea what we are laughing about DSC_0411

You are  just getting so BIG looking & that hair, makes you look so much older 13months2

But you Still have those cheeks



You have also met "Sarah # 3" the Sarah I have know the longest, since I was about 5 years old. It was so special and fun that you got to meet her. I love that she knew your grandpa, uncle & aunt and can share those memories with you bigsarah

I love the few minutes we get together alone, while your sisters are at school. Our time is always filled with so much joy 13months4

I love you litte bug