Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas from Us!

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with fun, family, good food, and thoughts of the Savior who truly is the Reason for the Season. Merry Christmas!

Below is our Christmas letter in case you didn't get it via email.

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from sunny Southern California! We are having a little bit of a different Christmas experience this year than we've ever had before because when it's 75 degrees in December it's hard to believe that Christmas is really coming. And yet it's almost here, and we're so glad for that! We'll be spending the holidays in Utah with our families and so we'll get a White Christmas after all, but we're okay with the warmer weather we have until then!

Sophie learned to count to ten this last year, therefore we'd like to share what we've been up to in 2008 with numbers.

0--The number of finals Joseph has to take this year. Why? Because he already graduated! Joseph received his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in Finance from Brigham Young University in April. We're so proud of his hard work and that he accepted a wonderful job offer with Bank of America that has us getting regular paychecks again! Joseph likes his job so far and looks forward to completing the year and a half program at the end of '09 that will allow him to be a full-fledged Underwriter for BofA.

1--The number of moves we made this year. As I said before, we moved to Los Angeles at the beginning of May. We actually live in a smaller town northeast of the big city called Glendora, and we're loving life here. It's hard to beat this kind of weather, plus all the fun things to do around this area, and we're very grateful to be here.

2--The number of children we have now. We welcomed another daughter to our family with the birth of Avery Jane on the Fourth of July. She has grown up so fast already, adores her older sister Sophie, and is the smiliest, cutest baby around. We are so glad she joined our family and are so in love with our 2 girls!

3--The number of buses, shuttles, and trains Joseph has to take to get from our door to work. He works in a high rise right in the heart of the busy financial district in downtown LA and it takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to get there. But we're grateful that there are enough forms of public transportation that he doesn't have to fight LA traffic in a car twice a day! He's home by 6:00 pm which is very doable.

4--The number of times Sophie would drag us out to the pool and hot tub each week to go swimming. She is such a fish! That number has declined now that the pool water is much too cold to take a dip in, but we got to go all the time in the summer. The place we live in has a community pool and since most of our neighbors are elderly (read: we feel like we live in a retirement community!) we're usually the only people there when we go, so we like to think that it's our own private pool. :)

5--The age that Sophie acts like she is. Sophie actually only turned 2 in October but she learned how to speak well at such a young age that she seems older than that. It's so nice to be able to have full conversations with her and to have a little student to teach again. She has a great memory and can sing you any song or tell you any story that she's heard twice, she can tell you the capitals of several states, and she often recounts something that happened months ago that the rest of us have completely forgotten about. She still has bright red hair and such a fun personality and makes us laugh all the time.

6--The number of times we've used our annual passes to Disneyland. The latest trip was without kids for Joseph's and my birthdays. We felt old turning 30 so we thought we'd offset that feeling by being kids again for a day and going to the Happiest Place on Earth together. It was a lot of fun and we're glad we only live a half hour away from it so we can go often! We'd love to go with anyone who wants to come down and come with us! You're welcome to stay at the Jensen Hotel when you come, too!

7--The number of times Joseph has served in an Elder's Quorum Presidency since he became an elder. He was called to serve as the Elder's Quorum President again shortly after we moved into our ward here. He figures there must be something he hasn't learned yet in this calling, so he's determined to get it right this time so he can move on to his dream calling of being a Sunday School or Elder's Quorum Instructor.

8--The number of cakes I've made this year. I took two cake classes so that I could learn how to make cakes for the kid's birthdays and such, and I've been having fun experimenting ever since. I recently taught myself how to use fondant and had a good time playing around with that, so it's become a fun new hobby for me to do that I hope to continue to use a lot.

9--The number of times I stop each day and think how lucky I am to be a mom of two beautiful girls. I love getting to stay home with Sophie and Avery and go on adventures with them every single day. We have a park just down the street from us and whether we're there or at home, we have a lot of fun together. This is truly the best job I've ever had and I feel so blessed.

10--The number of Young Women I get to work with. I was called to be the Personal Progress Leader in the Young Women program of our ward and I love it! The girls in our ward are awesome and I enjoy helping them work toward receiving their YW Medallion. We have a wonderful ward here and feel blessed to be where we are.

We have enjoyed getting to teach the Christmas Story to Sophie for the first time really this year and to see the feelings these "tidings of great joy" have brought to her little life, and subsequently again to ours, through the multiple tellings of it. How blessed we are with the knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ's birth, life, Atonement, and Resurrection that makes all things possible. We're grateful for the reminders of Him everywhere this Christmas season. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and joy for the New Year!


Joseph, Becky, Sophie, and Avery Jensen

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I have to apologize for the marathon posting.  I really hate having to do it this way and inundate your Google Readers with a bazillion posts from me, but I got a new computer last week (my early Christmas gift--hallelujah!  It's so fast compared to my old one!) and didn't have any pictures on it for a while.  Plus, we've been busy trying to get ready for Christmas.  It seems like we have a million things to do before we fly out to Utah next week.  I'm sure none of you can relate. ;) Anyway, your Christmas cards will be coming shortly, but I'm only emailing them again this year.  So if you don't think I have your email address or you don't get a letter from me before Christmas, I probably don't have a correct address for you, so please give it to me!  I may just put our Christmas letter and picture on here, too, who knows.  We'll have to see how much I get done while these girls nap for me!  Anyway, if I don't have a chance to post again before then, Merry Christmas to you all!  Hope it's a fabulous and safe one!

San Diego Temple

On Saturday we took a beautiful drive down the coast to San Diego for my former mission companion/roommate Christine Vandiver's wedding.
Sophie loves looking at pictures of temples and is really into them right now, so she was so excited to be at the San Diego Temple and ran around outside most of the time I was inside.  It was cold, though, for the first time since we've moved here!  It even rained a little there.
Sophie is constantly reminding us that we were married in the temple and that someday she'll be married in the temple, too.  That's right, baby!  Don't you forget it, either! :)
Chris was such a beautiful bride and they did a great job pulling off a wedding from a few thousand miles away (she works for the State Dept. in DC but really wanted to get married in the San Diego Temple because his family lives not too far away from it in Arizona.  Who wouldn't?  This temple is gorgeous!)
The wedding luncheon after was in a yummy Mexican restaurant.  It was fun to catch up with her since it's been ages since we've seen one another and had a chance to chat.  Congrats, Chris and Jonathan!


Sophie is so much fun!  She's done well for the most part adjusting to having a baby sister around.  She hits the baby every once in a while when she really wants attention, but most of the time is sweet and showers Avery with hugs and kisses and lots of lovin'.  But it's just not easy being a 2-year old, as she helps me see daily!
She loves to do things, no matter what it is, with her mommy and daddy.  Joseph and Sophie helped make this fruit smoothie together on Sunday.  They put the rest of the black berries in it (that we can still get for 99 cents right now--thank you, California!) and it really dominated the drink and made it very purple.  Sophie had the cutest purple mustache and was in heaven drinking her smoothie.  (You like how any bow that makes it into her hair always gets pulled out so quickly, leaving this mop?  I'm cutting it this weekend!)
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly little girls start manifesting their maternal instincts.  Sophie is way into mothering things right now.  She carries this little stuffed kitty and a stuffed pig around with her everywhere.  They sit up to the table with us for breakfast.  She pushes them in her little doll stroller, making sure to always buckle them in tight first.  Then she finds a pillow and blanket (aka Avery's burp rags) for each of them and puts them to bed, and then goes around shushing everyone so we don't wake them up.  Sometimes she even lays down for a nap with them that lasts all of 30 seconds.  This is why my new nickname for Sophie is "Mamacita".

A True (half) Lamb!

You might remember a picture of Joseph doing this with Sophie about a year and a half ago.  It's a tradition in the Lamb Family to see if the baby is a "True Lamb" by holding them on your hand like this.  Avery passed with flying colors (whew!)
Of course, my Dad would do it much earlier than 5 months, and though Avery's got strong little legs and could probably have handled it much earlier than this, I'm glad Joseph didn't try before now.
She was cool as a cucumber the entire time he did it, not even flinching when she'd start to fall.  Joseph's "catlike reflexes" caught her safely every time.  (1000 virtual points to whoever knows where that quote comes from.)

First Solids!

Avery had her first solid food last week!  We started her on rice cereal just after she hit the 5 month mark which seems to be the magic age for my kids to start.  (And I wonder if it's a coincidence then that this is the age they both started sleeping through the night?  Hmmm.  It's been so nice and I love it!)
This is Avery's very first bite.  She wasn't too sure what to think about it.
It didn't take long at all to decide that she loved it!  Anything to feed the belly is gonna be a hit!
Sophie INSISTED on helping me feed her, and she's had to help every time since, too.  I managed to give Avery her very first few bites so that she didn't gag right away and have a horrible first impression, and luckily the gagging later on with her big sister's help didn't deter her from still wanting more.  Sophie's such a huge helper, though, and it's very sweet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just an Ordinary Cupboard?

Just an ordinary looking bookshelf and an ordinary cupboard below you say? Look closer.Still nothing extraordinary? Open the right door.Now the left.Now both together.What? A girl in a cupboard?Two girls in a cupboard? Yes, they are. Sophie thought it would be fun to try climbing in, and she looked so cute that we stuck her sister in below her.
They had fun playing in there together.
What's in your cupboard? :)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Forever Young

With "I don't wanna grow up, I'm a Disney Kid" ringing through our ears, we headed off to Disneyland to celebrate being forever 30! We left our girls with a great friend here and went to the big park for the first time sans kids. It was terrific! We ran from ride to ride, collecting fast passes and doing all the big roller coasters we never get to do with kids.

We went on the Screamer at California Adventure twice (pictured above) which is my new favorite ride as well as Soaring Over California, which is my old favorite. At the Magic Kingdom park we had the best ride ever on Space Mountain because we got to be in the front! If you can rig it to ride in front, it's the best! (The only downer for me was that the entire time I kept thinking "If something malfunctions and we die, what's going to happen to our girls? Yeah, lame I know, but roller coasters just aren't the same after becoming a mom!) We also did "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Indiana Jones" and a bunch of shows and had a wonderful time!

This makes you seriously think this street goes on forever, until you realize that it's fake!

This is my "Go Wildcats!" pose because the "High School Musical 3" parade had just passed by, and I couldn't help myself!

I love the park all decked out in Christmas deco. They really always do everything so over the top but it makes the experience what it is and I wouldn't change that for anything.

Last night we had our ward Christmas party which was for adults only. We had fun getting to know other ward members better without having to be chasing kids the entire time.

We snuck Avery in but they let her stay since she had a Christmas dress on.

This is the cake I made for our birthdays. I've never worked with fondant before or even seen it done, so I was completely shooting in the dark, but it turned out alright. I learned a lot that I will do differently in the future that will help it not look so bumpy and rough, and the 30 on top in gum paste I would do totally differently, but all in all I think it turned out pretty well.

This bow was actually the inspiration for my cake. I made the bow a few weeks ago at an Enrichment and thought green polka dots on white would be fun to do for a cake and wouldn't be too terribly difficult, so that's what I did. We did blow out candles on the cake, but then I took off the 30 and put the bow on instead and we took it to the ward party for our dessert so that we wouldn't have to eat the entire thing by ourselves! It was nice to get a little help with it!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Big #30 for Joseph!

Joseph is officially old today ;), so to help commemorate his big day, here is a list of 30 random things about Joseph that you may or may not know:
1. He has red in his sideburns and gets a red beard (if he's ever allowed by his wife to grow one :D), and that's where the red genes come from on his side.
2. Despite loving his red-headed girls and their hair, he hates the color red. His favorite color combination is blue and black. He has so much blue in his wardrobe it's scary.

3. He has two small patches of gray hair on his head. The first came right about the time Sophie was born (coincidence?) and the other a year or so later. Avery has a matching white patch on her head already!

4. He is the chocolate lover in our marriage. Joseph is a total chocoholic (as long as it's not dark!)
5. He was born without a left elbow, so at the age of 2 he had surgery where they put in a plastic ball to be the elbow and wrapped it with some of his bicep muscle (or something like that), so his upper arm is smaller on the left side. Never knew it was possible to not have an elbow, didya?

6. His left arm, therefore, is shorter than his right arm, and he can't straighten it out or twist that hand because it requires an elbow to do that.

7. He has never let any of that slow him down and has always been incredibly active all his life, especially in his first love, basketball.
8. I've had several guys who play basketball regularly with Joseph tell me that he's one of the smartest players out there.

9. He is the 3rd of 10 kids, 6 boys and 4 girls. All the boys look alike and people mix them up regularly (especially Joseph and Taylor).

10. He has a bajillion cousins on that side of the family, too, and grew up in the same ward and neighborhood with most of them so they're all really close.

11. He reads more books than anyone I know. He reads from all genres, too, including girly ones that I force on him like Little Women and all 4 Twilight books.

12. His favorite books are The Lord of the Rings series and Ender's Game. True boy.

13. He served a mission to Brazil, but even though he spoke Portuguese there, he also knows Spanish pretty well.

14. Almost his entire family can speak Spanish thanks to missions, including his parents (dad served Spanish speaking in LA and mom grew up in Colonia Dublan in Mexico).
15. He has a really good tenor voice and sang in choirs in school and in lots of quartets with cousins and roommates over the years, especially to young ladies at BYU.
16. He is a math whiz and his friends used to tease him in grade school that he ate calculators for breakfast because he and his friend Ari could beat everyone on all the math timed tests, including their teachers.

17. He's a very independent guy.

18. Half the callings he's held in the Church are in the Elder's Quorum presidency, twice as president (including right now).

19. His dream calling is Sunday School or Elder's Quorum Instructor, and he's never gotten it.

20. He's driven a '92 Dodge truck since college and has moved a lot of people with it (see #18 above)!

21. He cannot take a nap that lasts longer than 15 minutes or it makes him unable to sleep at night. He has a very small window in which he can fall asleep, and if he misses that window, he lays there thinking and frustrated for hours instead.

22. He used to have real problems with insomnia, pacing the floors for half the night. He says that marrying me solved that for the most part. :)

23. He has a great smile and people comment about it a lot. He was a very smiley baby and has passed that trait on to Avery. She smiles at anyone and everyone, too!

24. He has a Masters in Business Administration from BYU which he received this past April. His emphasis was finance and he was offered a job a little over a year ago with Bank of America which is what brought us to LA in May. He likes his program there a lot so far.

25. He's a huge sports fan and has read every stat available for every football, basketball, and baseball game ever since he was a kid.

26. His favorite college team for football and basketball is of course BYU, and his favorite pro football team has been the Eagles ever since he was a young kid.

27. He's super easy going and laid back about most things in life. Only two things get him really riled up: sports and traffic.

28. He can remember all the lyrics to a song after hearing it just a couple times. Even fast rap songs he knows all the words to.

29. He loves games (we're fortunately both big gamers) and used to make up hundreds of games with his siblings as a kid. He's very good at them and frequently wins whatever we're playing, especially the thinking games.

30. Joseph is the best husband and father any girls could ever ask for. Sophie, Avery, and I are so very lucky!

We love you, Joseph! Thanks for all you do for us! Happy Birthday!

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Big #30 for Becky!

Holy Cow, I'm 30 today. In celebration of turning 30, here are 30 random things about me:
1. I used to be so blonde that everyone called me Goldilocks as a child. My hair stayed blonde until I dyed it red in high school, and then it grew back in dirty blonde and has gotten progressively darker since. (boo hoo)

2. My favorite movies have always been "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Avonlea", thus one of the reasons I always wanted red hair.

3. So I was so excited when I got a red-head for a daughter (and possibly two red-heads!)

4. I dabbled in just about every kind of sport or activity as a child and teenager. Some I stuck with for a while like tap dancing (and now clogging), diving, swimming, water skiing (though it's been a while), tennis, volleyball, and singing. Others didn't last so long such as soccer, track (I used to be a dang fast sprinter!), gymnastics (did it competitively until I was 12, then got too tall), playing the clarinet, basketball, even baton twirling! Call me the Jack (or Jill)-of-All-Trades-Master-of-None girl.

5. I have a birth mark on my tummy and Sophie seems to have one just about the same as mine!

6. I served a mission to Poland and didn't even really know where it was when I got my call. It was one of the best things I've ever done. I pretend like I can still speak Polish (I sadly don't get to use it a whole lot these days.)

7. I majored in Elementary Education (the true EE) at BYU and taught 5th grade for 4 years and loved (most of) it.

8. Though I am so glad I got to teach school for a few years, all I ever really wanted to be since I was a little girl was a mom. Call it cliche, but it's true! And now that I am one, I am so glad I get to be one because I LOVE it! It's truly the best job ever! (Helps having such cute, fun kids!)

9. I've always wanted to have 6 kids like was in my family. Who knows now how many we'll actually have, but we do want a big family. (Unless they're all girls, and then Joseph says we're stopping at 4.)

10. I always wanted to find my Gilbert (see #2 above) and finally did in Joseph. And he's so good to me!

11. I always had a hunch I'd marry someone younger than me, and I did (by 26 hours! hee hee!)

12. Joseph and I were born in the same city (Salt Lake) a day apart, graduated from high school the same year and both attended BYU right after in '97, but didn't meet until we were both back in Salt Lake again at the age of 26!

13. We're both night owls and therefore not morning people. Not so fun when you're parents! (But we're making ourselves follow the "early to bed, early to rise" rule these days, or at least "earlier".)

14. I have to fall asleep on my stomach, and I'm out once my head hits the mattress. But I eventually turn over to my back later.

15. This makes being pregnant really hard on my sleeping well at night.

16. I have easy pregnancies (other than being tired a lot) and easy labor and deliveries, but really stinky recoveries. I hope one of these times I can get the recovery right!

17. I love taking naps during the day when I get a chance. I can nap anytime, anyplace, and it doesn't affect being able to sleep at night!

18. I have very vivid dreams almost nightly that I can always remember in the morning and well into the day. I know I should really start a dream journal, but it's just too much work.

19. I learned how to cut Joseph's hair when we got married so that he wouldn't have to go get it done every few weeks. I've gotten pretty good at it but would be better if I could practice more than once a month. Just don't look too close at him after a haircut! I'm definitely no professional!

20. I am a true romantic. I'm a sucker for romantic movies, songs, stories, and gestures. If it's sappy, I'd probably like it (well, within reason).

21. I love to talk and my love language is words of affirmation (as well as quality time). So if I ever talk your ear off, it's just cuz I love ya! :) (I'm much better now than I used to be, though!)

22. I used to love talking on the phone, but it's definitely not my favorite anymore.

23. I feel like I can express myself better through writing than speaking (which is ironic considering #21 above). In a lot of ways I enjoy getting my thoughts out through my fingers more than through my mouth.

24. I love fruity candy (i.e. Skittles, Swedish Fish,...) more than chocolate, but I still really enjoy chocolate as well.

25. (I love using parenthesis.)

26. I love United States history and loved teaching it as part of the 5th grade curriculum. I can still say the Gettysburg Address and all the US Presidents from memory, only because I made my students memorize them, too.

27. My elbows bend in at a very awkward-looking angle if I simply straighten my arms, and it's rather scary looking.

28. I've been all over North America and Europe but never to Africa, Asia, Australia, South America, or Antarctica, and I'd really like to hit them each someday (well, except maybe for the last one).

29. I'm the 2nd child of 6 with 4 brothers and one sister (and so far one sister-in-law on that side). I love them all! I also married into a wonderful family and truly love being around all of them which I count as a huge blessing.

30. I am a very blessed girl.

We're off to spend our 30th birthdays pretending we're still 15 at Disneyland! Without kids! Yahoo!

Yes, I realize that Avery's hand is down my shirt in this picture. Not sure how we managed to do that, but this is what I'd call caught with your hand in the cookie jar! :)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

First Bath Together

Avery has finally graduated to the big tub! We tried to make this picture as decent as possible, but everyone has to have bath pictures when they're kids, right! This is hopefully the start of many fun baths together as sisters. Who doesn't love a nice bath, especially in a big tub like mommy and daddy's?
(And especially when you get to spend the majority of it sticking letters onto the wall! Sophie has learned how to identify an S, D, M, B, P, L, G, A, H, I, and O really well thanks to these letters. She tells me every time she sees one when we're at the store or just out and about. They all correspond with someone's name and it's really cute to hear her say "That's a G for Geoff!" and so on.)