31 January 2010

Caleb's 12th Birthday!

Caleb celebrated his 12th birthday this Friday.  He got some fun gifts (an Indiana Jones lego set, a set of seven Bakugans that transform into one big Bakugan, a magic trick set, an Indiana Jones DVD game, and a brand new suit and tie),  and we ate out at Bullwinkle's pizza.  He asked for brownies instead of cake this year so I made him some divine brownies with peanut butter chips and peanut butter frosting. 

The coolest thing that Caleb got for his birthday was the Aaronic Priesthood.  He was ordained to the office of a deacon today shortly after 1pm by his father, Darwin Jensen; our bishop James Kearns, and the Young Men's President, Reuben Willis.  Bishop Kearns interviewed Caleb last Sunday and found him worthy to hold the Priesthood, and we are so proud of Caleb for being a worthy young man.  Today he was given his Primary graduation certificate and repeated the 8th Article of Faith in front of the whole congregation.

Caleb, we love you very much and are so happy you are part of our family.  We are so excited that you are taking the first steps to becoming a missionary and a worthy husband and father.  Thank you for being a great student, a caring older brother, and an awesome son!

**This next part is for those who are not familiar with the Priesthood of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  This is from the church's website.  I am only copying the part up to deacon, but if you would like to read the whole thing, here is the link.**

Doctrine and Duties

Doctrine and Duties
  • Doctrine
  • The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. The two divisions of the priesthood are the Melchizedek and the Aaronic (D&C 107:1). Young men 12 to 18 years of age, and older men who are new converts, are ordained to offices in the Aaronic Priesthood. God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of the human family. It is the priesthood authority by which John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus Christ, teaching faith, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins (Matthew 3:1-17; Mark 1:1-11). Aaronic Priesthood authority includes the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel, which is the gospel of repentance, baptism, and the remission of sins, and the administering of outward ordinances (D&C 84:26-27; 13:1; 107:14, 20).
  • Priesthood keys
  • The exercise of priesthood authority is governed by those who hold its keys (see D&C 65:2; 124:123). These keys are the right to preside over and direct the Church within a jurisdiction. The Lord Jesus Christ holds all the keys of the priesthood. He has given His Apostles the keys that are necessary for governing His Church. Only the senior Apostle, the President of the Church, may use (or authorize another person to use) these keys for governing the entire Church (see D&C 43:1-4; 81:2; 132:7). The President of the Church authorizes presidents of temples, missions, stakes, and districts; bishops and branch presidents; and quorum presidents to hold the priesthood keys they need to preside. A person who serves in one of these positions holds the keys only until he is released. Counselors do not receive keys, but they do receive delegated authority by calling and assignment. No priesthood keys exist on earth except with the officers of the Church.
  • Offices and Duties of the Aaronic Priesthood
  • Priesthood offices are divisions of authority with different rights and responsibilities of service. Offices in the Aaronic Priesthood are deacon, teacher, priest, and bishop. The bishop oversees ordinations to these offices.
    • Deacon
    • Worthy brethren may be ordained deacons when they are at least 12 years old. A deacon follows counsel, sets a good example, and may (1) pass the sacrament, (2) collect fast offerings, (3) care for the poor and needy, (4) be a standing minister appointed to "watch over the church" (D&C 84:111), (5) assist the bishopric, (6) serve as a messenger, (7) participate in quorum instruction, (8) serve in quorum leadership positions, (9) fellowship quorum members and other young men, (10) be baptized and confirmed for the dead, (11) speak in meetings, (12) share the gospel, (13) bear testimony, and (14) care for the meetinghouse and grounds.

27 January 2010

Lightsabers and shutter speeds

While I was blog surfing one day, I came across this really great blog called Filth Wizardry. This woman is like the Martha Stewart for coming up with fun things to do with kids! I found her blog back in December and I really don't remember how I stumbled upon it, but I'm so glad I did! This idea isn't the first I've pillaged from her site. Back in December, I used her idea to make candy cane shaped cookies for Christmas with my children.

This week I made a visit to her blog and found this awesome idea...making lightsabers out of flashlights and balloons! On top of making a fun thing for the kids to play with, she also suggested turning out the lights and taking pictures of them playing with a long shutter speed...tons of fun for me too!! The post also talked about how she painted one of the walls in her house with glow in the dark paint, and then let her kids "draw" on the walls with an LED light! (and of course taking pictures in the dark again...I love this!) We went to Home Depot and they were selling a teeny 7 oz. can of the glow in the dark paint for $8.96!! I decided I didn't want to spend $72 to buy less than a 1/2 gallon of paint to do one wall, so we left and tried Fred Meyer. They had 8 oz. cans on sale for $3.49! We bought 4 cans of paint and decided that we would buy a large sheet of wood and paint that instead of a whole wall. We haven't bought the wood yet, but we plan to in the next week or so and have another party in the dark!

My kids played with these "lightsabers" for over an hour...and got them out the next day and the next day too! The first two pictures were with the lights on and with a flash so you could see them. The rest of the pictures are with either an 8 second, 6 second, or 3 second delay on the shutter speed. I am taking another photography class this semester, so maybe I can use one of these for one of my assignments!

26 January 2010

Darwin working...?

*notice he is doing a "shaka"? maui will never leave us. =)

23 January 2010

Battle of the Books

B. participated in Battle of the Books this year. The competition was held in her school library on Friday. There were four teams of three kids from three middle schools in our district. (The two main middle schools and the Montessori school). Below is a brief explanation of what Battle of the Books is from this website.

The Battle of the Books is a statewide Alaskan reading motivation and comprehension program sponsored by the Alaska Association of School Librarians. The goals of the program are to encourage and recognize students who enjoy reading, broaden reading interests, increase reading comprehension, and promote academic excellence.
Lists of books are chosen and questions are written for all grade levels. Students read the books, discuss them, quiz each other on the contents, and then compete in teams of not more than three students to correctly answer questions based on the books in a "quiz show" format. Questions begin with the words "In which book..." so that the answer will always be a title and author. Teams may participate at the local, district and state levels of competition - with the exception of K-2 students whose competition goes only through the district level.
New lists of recommended titles for each level are compiled each year by a committee of librarians and teachers based on the "Criteria for the Selection of Titles" in Appendix A. An attempt is made to vary the titles chosen according to genre and difficulty so that readers may encounter a broad range of books. At the annual AkLA conference, the official booklist for state competition for the following year is set so that planning to obtain the titles can begin.
The statewide program involves a cooperative effort by many local groups. It is popular with students and has provided new opportunities for academic competition. Battle of the Books has also proven effective in its specified purpose - to stimulate an interest in reading.

This year the book list for 7th & 8th graders was:
Big Empty by JB Stephens
Boy Who Owned a School by Gary Paulson
ER Vets by Donna Jackson
Flint by Louis L'Amour
Giver by Lois Lowry
Magyk by Angie Sage
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
Red Kayak by Cummings
Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn
Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce
Outsiders by SE Hinton
Vampire Kisses #1 by Ellen Schreiber

The kids have one "thinker", one "speaker" and one "scribe/writer" on each team. They answer 16 very precise random questions. The librarian (who is from Boston and apologized for not being able to pronounce her "r's"....so funny!) would read a question, then a timer would start. The teams had 30 seconds from the time the librarian would finish reading the question the first time (She always read the question twice, but the timer would start after the first reading) to have the scribe write down the title and author of the book that answered the question. If they wrote down the title but not the author, they got 5 points. Title and author were worth 8 points. Author only was worth zip! When the thirty seconds were up, the speaker could then read off what they wrote down. (there was an adult checking to make sure that what the speaker said and what was written down matched). After eight questions they had a sort of halftime and they read the scores so the kids would know where they were in the competition. B.'s team was leading at the half.

This is a question from the competition. I pushed pause during the wait time because I was recording with my phone (which I have never done) and didn't know how much I could do, so you won't hear the second reading of the question and you won't wait the whole 30 seconds for the answers. If you can't hear the video, the question was "In which book does a character put catfish in the toilet?" All of the teams get this one correct. (Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat)

At the end of the competition the two teams from B.'s school were tied for 1st place with 93 points. They have tie breaker questions in case that happens, and the two teams had to have 5 tie breaker questions before B.'s team won! They will get to participate in a statewide competition via telephone conference sometime in February.

The winning team! We're #1!

Also, B. and her team mates got their pictures in the newspaper on Friday. The link is here.

21 January 2010

We really haven't had any good snow this year.

Another picture from my phone.

This year, we haven't been sledding once! We have had a few good snowy days, but they are always immediately followed by several days of rain which leaves us with sheets of ice everywhere. =P We haven't even had very many really cold days. This sign was posted a few weeks ago in the school parking lot.

Raven, Pumpkin, Owl, Bear.

We went up to the glacier visitor's center on Jan 2nd. My camera ran out of battery half way through our trek back from visiting the waterfall. I had my phone with me, and took these pictures of the kids up at the visitor's center. I just pulled all the pictures off my phone, so I will make a few posts with pictures from my phone.

17 January 2010


So...are you all tired of hearing about our gerbils?? haha! They are like the new TV in our home. All the kids gather around their cage and just watch them. The babies are now 15 days old and have decided that they don't have to stay in their nest anymore. Toto (the mommy) doesn't know what to do. For the past two days they have been escaping out of the nest and Toto will chase them down and drag them back...the only problem is that when there are seven of them escaping at the same time it is kind of a loosing battle. The little buggers don't even have their eyes open yet, and they just come rocketing out of their nest at full speed and run willy-nilly all over the place. We were all laughing so hard this evening at them! The kids have coined the term "Toto chaos"...for when Toto was trying to round up her babies and they weren't having any of it.

In other news, Brooklin has been sick since Friday with the pukes. She woke me up at 2am Friday night and within two hours had heaved about 15 times. She ended up sleeping on the bathroom floor, and Saturday morning she tried to stand up to walk to her bed and blacked out (hitting her head on a wall when she fell)! She stayed down all of Saturday and today she stayed home from church. She hasn't thrown up anything today, so I hope the worst is past...and I really hope that no one else gets it! She was just bawling there on the bathroom floor at 4am and in between heaving, asked me to go and wake up Darwin so he could give her a priesthood blessing. She was able to get some rest after that. I am so grateful for having a priesthood holder in our home!

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so no one has school. Right now I'm not sure we have anything planned other than sleeping in...hehe. Everyone goes back to school on Tuesday. I don't have a Tuesday class, but I start my next semester on Wednesday. I am taking an Accounting class, an Economics class, and the next digital photography class...9 credits. I haven't taken any business type classes yet, so I don't know anything about how they will go. We'll see!

Everyone else is doing good. We keep praying for snow but so far whenever we get any snow, it rains on it for the next week and it is all gone. We haven't been able to go sledding once this year!

14 January 2010

Gerbil babies

The little gerbil babies are getting cuter. There are five black ones and two tan ones...and we haven't picked them up to try and figure out if they are boys or girls yet. They have fur now, but their eyes are still closed. I read that it takes about 17 days for their eyes to open, so they should be opening around Tuesday. They are starting to get out of the nest, but the mama puts them right back in. They are constantly chirping too...it sounds like we have a bunch of birds in our house! Isaiah decided to rename his gerbil because Buttercup wasn't a very manly name, so he has decided to call him Ron Weasley!

7 days old

10 days old

10 January 2010

Was that Jesus?!!

This year we have early church. Last year, we started church at 1 pm, and this year it starts at 9 am. (We have to swap times with the other congregation so it is all fair and whatnot...) Anyway, the last two weeks of church have had fewer than normal numbers, because people have a harder time getting up in the morning I guess. Anyhow, because we have less people we didn't have enough Priests (typically 16 to 18 yr old boys) to bless the sacrament, so Darwin and another man in our ward were asked to help bless the sacrament. After sacrament meeting, this guy came up to us and said to Darwin, "I have to tell you this. After you got done blessing the sacrament, my daughter (who I think is 4 yrs. old, but I can't remember) leaned over to me and said, 'Dad! Was that Jesus?!" How cute is that. Then another woman in the ward (she is the Primary chorister) came up to me and told me, "Wow! Your husband has such a soothing voice. I could have listened to him all day. It was very comforting."

He sounded just like Darwin to me...but I have always loved his voice. =)

04 January 2010

Hidden treasures found while working on my filing goal.

I was going through a box of random file folders from the shed...insert groan...and found these envelopes from a Family Home Evening we did in 2005. There was a picture and a fill-in-the-blank letter in each one (except Darwin's...he must not have filled his out). The letter was titled "A Letter to Myself", and it was so fun to find them and read what we had written! I am going to type them up on here so eventually they will make it into a bound book. =) The letters are all dated January 31, 2005.

Dear Melissa,
Today's date is 31Jan05. I am 30 years old. I measure 5'3" tall. I really like to read books with my family. When I spend time with my friends, we often make stamped cards. Some of my friends are Wendy, Olga, Melanie. Here are some of my favorites:
  • Song or musician:
  • Television show: Survivor, CSI
  • Game: geocaching, Sims, Skip-Bo
  • Book: the 5 people you meet in heaven
  • Food: Chocolate - the good kind
  • Primary Activity: Singing
  • Place to visit: family
  • Hobby: reading, sewing, playing Sims
One goal I hope to achieve by the end of this year is to read my scriptures regularly. I know Heavenly Father answers prayers because when I pray I get answers. I well try to remember to say my prayers every morning and night. See you next year! Love, Melissa
(I didn't answer all of the questions...)

Dear Brooklin,
Today's date is 1-31-05. I am 8 years old. I measure 4 feet 7 inches tall. I really like to play with my family! When I spend time with my friends, we often play the gutar. Some of my friends are Ryann and Aly. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Song or musician: cuntry
  • Television show: The Parenttrap
  • Game: Harry Potter
  • Book: Narnia
  • Food: Baked Potato
  • Primary Activity: articles of faith
  • Place to visit: Sis. Kearns house (Brooklin had just started going to girl's activity days at Tanis Kearns's house)
  • Hobby: jumprope and read
What I most remember about 2004 is school because I was in 2nd grade but learned 3rd.

I was pleased with myself when I learned divtion because it was a challenge to accomplish. One thing I hope to learn to do better in 2005 is my cursive letters. If I could make a wish for 2005, it would be London wouldn't make a big mess in my room.

One goal I hope to achieve by the end of this year is to read for an hour nonstop.

The Primary's My Gospel Standards are important in my life. I plan to improve on the following standards this year: To seek good friends and trat others kindly.

If I'm ever discouraged, the scriptures can help me feel the Spirit. My favorite scripture story is James chapter 1 verse 5, If you ever lak of wisdom, let him ask of god. I know Heavenly Father answers prayers because I have felt the holly gost throu prayr befor. I well try to remember to say my prayers every morning and night.

Well, see you next year!

Love, Brooklin

P.S. I forgot to say that I really like crab and shrimp with melted buter.
Dear Caleb,
Today's date is 1-31-05. I am 7 years old. I measure 3'11" tall. I really like to be with my family! When I spend time with my friends, we often play games. Some of my friends are Charlie, TJ. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Song or musician: Are you Sleeping
  • Television show: Transformers
  • Game: Hide and Go Seek
  • Book: Things that Go
  • Food: Mac & Cheese
  • Primary Activity: play games
  • Place to visit: Idaho Falls
  • Hobby: writing practice
One thing I hope to learn to do better in 2005 is how to write cursive.

Well, see you next year!

Love, Caleb
Dear London,
Today's date is 1-31-05. I am 4 years old. I measure 3' 6 1/2 " tall. I really like to play with my family! When I spend time with my friends, we often play. Some of my friends are Kindee, Winter, Ferris, Jakob, Britney. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Song or musician: 1o little indians
  • Television show: Ponies & Dora
  • Game: London's Clues (which I think is like Blue's Clues).
  • Book: Sesame Street School Book
  • Food: Mac & Cheese
  • Primary Activity: eat
  • Place to visit: Our Backyard (this was an indoor playground in Juneau...it isn't open anymore)
  • Hobby: think what to do
What I most remember about 2004 is played eye toy because it was fun.

I was pleased with myself when I make my bed because it was a challenge to accomplish. One thing I hope to learn to do better in 2005 is eat my food faster. If I could make a wish for 2005, it would be I wish I could have the whole pony set.

One goal I hope to achieve by the end of this year is to go to kindergarten.

If I'm ever discouraged, the scriptures can help me feel the Spirit. My favorite scripture story is Joseph Smith. I know Heavenly Father answers prayers because he loves me. I well try to remember to say my prayers every morning and night.

Well, see you next year!

Love, London
Dear Isaiah,
Today's date is 31Jan2005. I am 2 1/2 years old. I measure 35 1/2 " tall. I really like to family evening with my family! When I spend time with my friends, we often play with toys in the nursery. Some of my friends are Sam, Caleb Kearns Lance and Hunter. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Song or musician: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
  • Television show: Dora the Explorer
  • Game: Eye Toy Bubbles

Well, see you next year!

Love, Isaiah

Surprise (x 7)!!


our black gerbil (Toto) had SEVEN babies on Saturday morning!!! It's that story where you think you have two girls, and you really don't because the teenager at the pet store just really doesn't know...and now you have a little gerbil factory going on in your house. =/

02 January 2010

Hiking on Mendenhall Lake

This afternoon we went hiking on the frozen Mendenhall Lake. We went with our friends the Rosenbruchs and the Daltons. We all hiked out across the lake last year, but this year there wasn't any snow covering the ice so you could see down through the ice this year. It was very unnerving (for me only...lol) so on the hike back, I chose to not walk down the middle of the lake and stuck to the edges. We went out to the waterfall and let the kids play and took lots of photos. We all had a great time. It is the last time we get to go out with the Daltons...they are moving to Utah this month. Wendy and the kids are leaving on the 7th, and JP is following them near the end of the month. I am really sad that they are leaving. They have been some of the most wonderful people we have met, and they throw the best parties I've ever been to. Good luck to you in Utah, and you will truly be missed!

The Daltons
JP, Wendy, Ryann, Bailey, Cody, and Mason

Hiking on the lake

Partially frozen waterfall

The ice had cracked and refrozen in some places. There were also several places where you could see bubbles trapped under the surface.

Thanks Wendy for taking pictures of us!!

He is smiling AND he doesn't have his eyebrow cocked up! I won this one!!! =)

Bailey took this one for us. Thanks Bay!

Brooklin, Bailey, and Jayden



Isaiah looks like he is trying to warm his hands by an ice cube fire! hahaha! He was actually playing the drums on the ice and wanted me to take a picture of him.

01 January 2010


I don't make "New Year's Resolutions"...but I do try to be constantly looking for things to improve myself. I would like to make "New Month's Resolutions" this year. For the month of January, I would like to:
  1. Reorganize and de-clutter my filing cabinets. I have at least four places I keep "important" papers in file folders and they are all full, so I need to make room NOT by buying more file boxes, but by cleaning out the stuff I have. I have a paper hording problem...I just found old bill stubs from 10 years ago! How do you all file stuff? Do I really need to keep the stubs from bills I pay (like the water and cable bills) after they are paid? I know I need to keep some things for taxes, but I don't know when to quit! Do you have a filing system that works?
  2. Read the lessons for Sunday School and Relief Society BEFORE Sunday. I have wanted to do this every year, but have failed miserably. I made a goal in December (that I didn't write down, because I knew that if I did, I wouldn't do it) to read an article from the General Conference issue of the Ensign magazine everyday for one week, and you know what... I DID IT! It was an amazing feeling, and I learned a lot. =) So there are five Sundays in January, and we are studying the Old Testament in Sunday School and the Gospel Principals manual in Relief Society. I want to read the assigned chapters for those classes before class each week, and I can't do it on Sunday afternoon anymore, because church starts at 9am now!
  3. Finish a quilt for my bed. Darwin bought me some black and white jelly rolls (40 two and a half inch strips of 20 different fabrics rolled up and tied with a ribbon...they look like a cinnamon roll) for Christmas, and I have started a quilt that will fit on our bed. I am already a third of the way done with the squares and I have decided to pay someone to quilt it for me. I have never desired to make a giant quilt because the thought of trying to hand or machine quilt it stops those thoughts in their tracks. I always felt like paying someone to do something I technically could do was a waste of money, but I have decided to just do it. I really don't have time at this point in my life to learn how to machine quilt (and when I say that, I mean those fancy free hand quilt patterns) and I definitely don't have time to quilt it by hand! I do have time to piece together squares and a backing fabric...and even to hand stitch the binding down when it is done being quilted, so I asked my friend who she sends her quilts to and there is a lady here in Juneau who will do them for a penny per square inch. This quilt I am piecing is going to be about 86" x 92", so it will cost me about $80 to have it quilted, but I am ok with that right now. =)
Those are my goals for January. I start school on the 19th, so I am hoping to get the filing and the quilt top done before then. We had a great Christmas and I may post some pictures of that later...maybe....hehe.