Monday, July 19, 2010


Here are (finally!) some highlights of our trip to Nauvoo over Memorial Day weekend.

Joseph's entire family (minus one) met up in historic and beautiful Nauvoo, IL for the weekend for a great family reunion.

The first thing we did when we got there was go to the temple. Half of the adults did a session one night while half did a session another morning. That temple is so gorgeous. We drove right by it coming into town and it brought tears to my eyes the minute I saw it.

The last time I was in Nauvoo was when I was a teenager, and the only thing that was on this plot of ground was a grate over the old well in the ground. I can remember hearing a frog croaking down in it. So to see this amazing building there now instead was an emotional moment for me.

The girls couldn't get enough of looking at it. Sophie kept pointing up to the Angel Moroni on top and telling everyone what she saw up there.

You know what? Families can be together forever! I'm so grateful for temples that make that possible!

Just down from the temple you find this statue of Joseph and Hyrum on their horses looking back at their beautiful city before they headed off to Carthage Jail. This is the last time they got to see it. I loved this statue, and apparently so did Sophie.

Off to Carthage we drove next to visit the site of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. It is a well-done tour, and while this building represents a place of great sorrow for members of our church, the missionaries take the time on the tour to remind us of the testimony that these men died for, and the hope that brings diminishes the sorrow. I know they died for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I love them for their lives and testimonies of Him. Lee is showing us here the bullet hole that took the life of Hyrum Smith.

My Grandpa Lamb and Grandma Maybeth have the unique opportunity of serving in the Nauvoo Temple as ordinance workers this summer until November. They have been having a wonderful time and seem to love it there. It was so fun to meet up with them a few different times and see some sites of the city. Here we are standing outside of Carthage Jail in front of the window where Joseph was shot and fell to his death below.

We left the girls with the family one peaceful evening and walked in the warm twilight down the Trail of Hope that the Pioneers walked to leave their beloved city and cross the great Mississippi to head west to Utah. It was interesting reading the placards they have placed there with accounts of different people's experiences in leaving their homes and friends. It must have been so hard.

We spent some time with Maria, Taylor, and Shelly skipping rocks on and staring out at the wide Mississippi River where the ferry boat took hundreds of wagons across to Iowa to begin their trek.

Probably the highlight of the trip for the girls was the oxcart ride we took one morning. They thought it was so cool to be under a real covered wagon,

pulled by real oxen named Duke and Don. They got to touch them and watch them get hitched up and follow directions to move, and they were happy going round and round in that wagon and learning about how the Pioneers traveled west.

The other fun thing for them was spending some time at Pioneer Pastimes. The kids were able to try out many of the games and activities that Pioneer children might have played with. Avery and Clarissa played with these blocks for quite a while.

Sophie got dressed up to look like a real, authentic Pioneer girl. She didn't keep it on long, but she sure was cute!

And handsome Aaron is modeling the clothes of a Pioneer boy.

Joseph and I played with this game for a little while. You have to toss a ring back and forth to each other with these two sticks. Let's just say it's much harder than playing catch with a ball and glove!

You can rope these sheep but Siesa and Sophie preferred to simply ride them.

Another highlight was watching the missionary couples demonstrate how Pioneers would have baked bread, dipped candles, made their own cloth and rugs, and many other things. We got to help them demonstrate how to make your own rope. Avery helped daddy turn this big wheel at the end that tightened the three smaller ropes into a great big one.

Sophie and Sadie carefully kept the rope tight and straight while it was being twisted.

And then Sophie got to bring this rope she helped make home with her! She has loved playing with it.

While we were in Nauvoo we got to stay at the Hyrum Smith home on the outskirts of the city. It was the perfect location for all 31 of us to squeeze into and we loved getting to all stay together. We'd put the kids down in their various separate rooms in one part of the house, and then shut the door and get to stay up late chatting with the adults in the add-on to the house.

The last day we were there was spent touring the various homes and businesses of the Saints. This is at the blacksmith shop that ironically was run by an ancestor of our family. We all got to take a prairie diamond ring which Sophie loved and it was a really neat tour to see how blacksmiths did their jobs.
Joseph and I went with Bob, Craig, Taylor, and Shelly on the Community of Christ tour of the locations they own, including the Nauvoo House, the Old Smith Homestead, the Red Brick Store, and the Nauvoo Mansion. When I was here as a teenager with my Austin family for a reunion, we stayed in the Nauvoo House which was very cool. I still have vivid memories of sleeping with all my cousins in the attic and being scared to death during a loud thunderstorm one night. I know I didn't understand everything about the history of this city very well then, so I'm glad that I got a chance to come back as an adult and hear all the stories again. Here we're standing in front of the Red Brick Store that Joseph owned and where in the top floor some very important things happened for the Church.

And here is the Nauvoo Mansion where Joseph and Emma lived with their family. It was a well done tour and my appreciation for the early Saints and all they did and went through was rekindled by visiting all the buildings of Nauvoo and hearing their stories told again.

It was a very fun reunion trip with the Jensen clan, and we only wish it could've been longer! Thanks again for a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I know that my blog has taken last place on my priorities list when I see that I'm averaging only a couple posts a month lately. I could blame that on being pregnant, and that's probably a large factor, but I think it would've taken a hit regardless of my pregnancy because we have just been BUSY. Here are a few of the things that we and I have been up to the past 3 months or so. Some of them still need to be blogged about, but some are just general stuff I'm up to in life that won't ever make the blog otherwise.
  • Family Reunion with Joseph's family in Nauvoo
  • Trip to Utah for my brother Jonny's wedding
  • Family pictures
  • Finishing up my year as president of our local MOMS Club chapter, including recruiting a new board for the new year, tying up all the loose ends, doing end of year parties and stuff, and finishing the dreaded end of year reports that are finally DONE. Can I say I'm so glad that position is over with? It was a good experience, but I'm ready to move on.
  • Girls Camp fundraiser and preparations for Girls Camp (in 2 weeks).
  • Lots of other Young Women activities.
I honestly did not expect for my summer to be so hectic, but it has been crazy. Fortunately the hard stuff is over, and there were a lot of fun things to make it enjoyable as well. Now we have some more fun things to look forward to, like the cruise down the Mexican Riviera that Joseph and I are going to take in August for our 5 year anniversary. Just us. No kids (thanks, Mom!) Neither of us have ever been on a cruise before. We can't wait!

The weather here has been so nice and temperate, until this week that is. But if it happened every year that I didn't have to turn on my A/C until July 13th, I wouldn't complain! We're boiling now, though! We've been spoiled and feel very blessed to live where we do. Life is good. Hope you're all well, also!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

It Looks Like...

We had a sneak peek at the little guy about 4 weeks ago, so we've already kind of known, but the official ultrasound yesterday showed that there's no mistaking it: We're having a boy! I really had myself convinced it was a girl and truly would've been happy with another one, because we love our girls and 3 little ones right in a row would've been so fun! But I have to admit I was very happy when they said it was a boy. It'll be fun to try "the other side" of things out, and we're excited to finally get to use the name we've had picked out since we were engaged. The only big debate about this one is what the middle name will be, but we know we will be calling him Will (short for William) no matter what the middle name ends up being (or how strange it ends up being--ahem--Joseph! :D) The due date is still the middle of November and this has been the easiest, best pregnancy for me, so hooray for boys! We can't wait to meet you lil' Will!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Avery's Second Birthday!

Avery turned 2 on July 4th. We started celebrating the day before, though, because you can never celebrate a birthday too much.

I made Avery a doll cake because she likes dolls but other than watermelon (see above) she doesn't really love anything else obsessively like Sophie did at this age. I think she liked her cake since she could hardly keep her fingers out of it.

I had fun experimenting with this since I've never done one before. I used a cake mold that I already had and just put the doll pick in the top, and luckily the proportions worked out alright for not getting the real doll mold. I thought it was cute that the doll head even looks like Avery with her crazy curly hair.

For her party we went to Chuck E. Cheese's. I have many many fond memories of birthday parties here from when I was young, so I hoped the girls would enjoy it, too. Their cousins Austin and Gabe came up which made it even better. Thanks for joining us!

My favorite game was always Skee Ball when I was a kid, so I was excited to see these kids try it out. Unfortunately those balls are so heavy to throw that they either ended up running up the ramp and just tossing them in the holes, or chucking them overhead which often resulted in nearly missing other people's heads.

I was a little disappointed in the variety of games they have there now. Most were geared toward older kids or adults. But the kids still had fun.

Avery loved all the ride-on toys, but I'm in trouble now because you know all those toys outside grocery stores I've always let the kids sit on but never put the quarter in? Yeah, my cover is blown. They now know that those toys actually move, so they won't be satisfied with just sitting on the horsies anymore I think. Dang.

Avery blew out the candles on her cake so quickly that I didn't even get a shot till it was over! I remember Sophie taking several tries before she could get hers out at this age, but Avery apparently knows how to get it done!

We waited to open presents until her actual birthday. I don't know who was more excited about getting them open, Avery or Sophie. Probably Sophie.

Avery was just as happy putting pen caps on her fingers as she was playing with anything else she got.

Joseph thought I was crazy to get her makeup and her own laptop, but both were purchased with the hope that she'll now leave my makeup and laptop alone! She's obsessed with both, and Avery plus makeup or electronics always equals disaster.

That evening we went to the park so Avery could swing her heart out.

They love their underdogs and Joseph was so kind to oblige them in giving them over and over again.

Happy girl
She could live in a swing and be content.
They love to swing on their tummies, too.

I love this shot of Sophie. It's actually a genuine smile without hair in her face for once!

Even Joseph got in on the upside down action.

Just hanging out.

We sure love you, Avery Jane! We hope you had a wonderful birthday and know how grateful we are that you joined our family 2 years ago. Your love for life radiates from you and you bring so much joy to our lives, too. Happy Birthday, 2-year old!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

No Longer a Baby

Avery has a birthday coming up this weekend, so to properly say goodbye to the baby that she no longer is, here is an update with pictures of our almost 2-year old.

We moved Avery into Sophie's room a few weeks ago. Instead of moving the crib, we put Sophie into a twin bed and Avery has officially taken over the toddler bed. The first night I saw her sleeping in this I wanted to cry, because she did not look like a baby anymore! (It's a good thing there's a baby on the way to take on that title, or I'd really be a basket case right now! I don't know how people do it when they're on their last one!) As you can see, she loves to sleep with her arms above her head.

Avery loves to color. Sophie's never had much patience for it, but Avery could sit happily coloring for a loooong time if we let her. She's also definitely right-handed.

(I love when she gets really serious and gets on her tummy to do it.) Avery is a happy girl who always has a smile lighting up her face. Love it!

Avery loves to dance. And her favorite dancing partner sadly resides in Utah, not California. She loves to dance with Grampa Lamb, but she is very picky about what music they can dance to. If she doesn't like it, she'll tell you.

Avery is a ham. She loves to make other people laugh and always has a hearty chuckle herself when anyone else is giggling. She is our happy-go-lucky girl.

Avery continues to resemble her daddy the most, and she sure loves him. But she's also quite the mama's girl, so it's a toss up, which is just how we like it.

Avery has been talking well for quite a few months now. People are always surprised at how verbal she is and how easily understandable she is as well. It makes it soooo nice to know exactly what she wants or needs at all times, because she will definitely make it known! We sure love you, Avery Girl, and we're excited to celebrate your birthday with you in a few days!