Still Alive, Still Pregnant, Still Sick Sometimes, Still Just Grand

It’s not that there haven’t been plenty of things going on to blog about (other than being sick thanks to baby boy). It’s more that when I get a short break at work now, where I used to write up something on the ol’ blog, now I go eat something or lie down for a few minutes. You know, priorities change. Currently the priorities seem to be revolving around having food on me at all times. Who knows when I’ll need to eat NOW. Pregnancy is super fun!

Let me throw up a few pictures that I grabbed off of my cell phone of some of the happenings these days in the world of the Elkinseseses.

Littlest brother, James, was married to his lovely wife, Jasmine in the Salt Lake Temple. This is one of my favorite pictures because look at him and his two grandmas! How fabulous are those two ladies?

And here’s my handsome husband hanging out with the Tabernacle glare, followed by my buddy, Tess, who wanted to sit around and hug me while we were waiting for pictures–just one of the many loving nieces and nephews in my fam.

And last, how about some animal pictures for your viewing delight? Sure, why not. Pogi’s been lounging around the house, not doing much but posing in between games of fetch. And then, we have my new coworker. This deer stopped by work the other day just around 5:00 pm so only a few of us were there to say hello. He wasn’t particularly scared of me, but the trick is, there’s a window in between us.

Thanksgiving Confession: I Ate Sugar

You knew, didn’t you? You knew that I couldn’t quit sugar during the holidays. But you didn’t say anything. You just waited… knowing.

I ate sugar on Thanksgiving. So kill me. And do you know that it tasted delicious? Deeeeee.lish.us.

It is NOT physically possible to turn down Grumma’s pumpkin pie.

And Maren made pear pie. That’s just fun to say. Try it. Pear pie. Great. Now, EAT IT. Yum!

This year, we celebrated at my parents’ home, even though Mom was dealing with some major jaw/tooth pain and swelling. We had no idea until we showed up at the house, though.

Nathan and I walked in, bearing food, the house smelled like a feast, we waltzed into the kitchen and surprise, Mom’s face is swollen.

And yet, the turkey’s nearly done, the table’s set, and the buffet of goodness is spread in bowls along the kitchen counters. This is where you look around, holding your measly one appetizer and one bowl of mashed potatoes and say, “oh, we could have helped if we’d known.” Thankfully Grumma helped them.

Here are a few pics of the tasty event:

Prosciutto-wrapped crudités as an appetizer. And it’s my fault the olive oil isn’t nicely drizzled, but looks like it leaked out of random stalks of broccoli.

Mern and Dustin eating very small amounts (don’t you think?) at their first of two Thanksgiving dinners.

Check out the purple plates—more appropriately they should be called platters. The larger the more food you can pile on. And so many pretty colors, Margie King would be proud!

Yay family! Me, Nathan, Grumma (hiding), Mom (hiding her swollen jaw), James, Grandma, Dustin and Mern. Dad took the pic and look, his plate’s already been licked clean, he was THAT hungry.

I Survived Labor Day Weekend

I was sure we were going to die.


My last ditch effort to live was going to be to grab my car keys and press the panic button.

But I didn’t dare to move.

So I lied there, warm in my sleeping bag, listening to Nathan breathing evenly as he slept and tried not to jump at every little sound outside of the tent.

SOMETHING was definitely out there.

And, of course, in the middle of the night, things always look scarier, sound louder, and have far worse consequences than they would in daylight.

Whatever that THING was, I was sure it was big and mean so I determined it would be one of the following wild animals:

  1. Cougar
  2. Bear
  3. Coyote

It couldn’t possibly be something smaller like a raccoon or owl. And for sure, I was more scared of it than it was of me.

Every now and then, I heard shuffling of sleeping bags from the other tent, and then somebody said something.

“WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?!” James yelled from the other tent.

Okay. Fine. If I wasn’t scared before. Now I’m sure. James must have peeked out and saw whatever SOMETHING is out there. And he didn’t like the looks of it.

Officially terrified.

And waiting for a shotgun to go off and save us.

But there’s no zipper sound telling me that anybody in the other tent (where two of them do have shotguns nearby) are getting out to save my life.

Back to my only option: if I move enough to get my arm out of my sleeping bag, reach up and grab my car keys, will that mean the BEAST just outside of our tent will pounce? Or will I have enough time to hit the panic button? The car’s not far away. It should be pretty loud.

Eventually, I fell asleep. And then would wake up at the slightest noise outside and get scared all over again.

When morning came and we crawled out of our tents, alive, we didn’t see a single animal track in our campsite. There wasn’t even the tiniest tear in our garbage bag hanging on the tree. Nothing.

Apparently, cougars/ bears/coyotes are really good at hiding their tracks.

Also, James was just talking (or yelling) in his sleep. He didn’t see ANYTHING.

Despite a no good very bad horrible night’s sleep, the rest of our little camping trip was a blast. Nathan and I drove for two hours to meet up with Maren, Dustin, James, Dustin’s brother and Dustin’s sister-in-law for an overnight camping trip.

Friday night: tin foil dinners and breadsticks wrapped around skewers.

Saturday morning: dutch oven breakfast of bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, eggs and cheese.

Saturday afternoon: shotgun shooting.

I am definitely NOT Annie Oakley, but I managed to shoot a few targets and tried out several different guns. Awesome. Totally worth nearly dying the night before to learn how to shoot.

The Sciolist’s Best Two Years

James comes home from his mission tonight. Correction: James comes HOME from his mission TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!

It’s finally been two years and his time is up in the Dominican Republic.

Little brother is returning to a bigger family: two new brothers-in-law and several new babies. Dad suggested that we just send the brothers-in-law to pick him up at the airport.

We’ll give Nathan and Dustin a sign: “Welcome home, little brother” and they’ll just stand on that world map on the floor of the airport just outside of security, watching for him. He’ll come bounding out in a worn-out suit, missionary badge pinned on with a huge smile. He’s always smiling.

In thinking about all that has happened over the two years that he has been gone, I thought I’d scan over my blog and see what I actually wrote about. So here you go: my two-year summary of what happened on the Sciolist.

  1. June 30, 2009: Maren googled “can you flush a toilet handle.” They never found their missing toilet handle and had to purchase a replacement.
  2. July 6, 2009: Watched a peregrine falcon flying along the Snake River. It was my first rafting trip down the Snake and definitely wasn’t my last that year or the next.
  3. July 20, 2009: I peed on my shirt. Just all part of the fun in Moab. One of the highlights of this trip was driving down there with Kasey, eating a bunch of Starbursts and learning about her friend that married a bank robber.
  4. July 27, 2009: I survived the worst sprained ankle OF MY LIFE.
  5. August 11, 2009: My coworker told me to “hurry up and get married already.” It took me just over 16 months to accomplish the task, but I had no idea at the time that I would or that I would be so happy with the outcome.
  6. August 14, 2009: A developer at work practically runs away from our office instead of getting fired.
  7. September 3, 2009: When I used to post old journal entries on Thursdays, I shared my tales of 4th grade softball. Apparently, I had lots of fights with friends back then.
  8. December 1, 2009: A list of what some of my family is thankful for. Campbells are thankful people, you know.
  9. December 16th 2009: I earned my Master’s degree, woot woot!
  10. January 19th, 2010: Our beloved Siamese cat, Koshka died. The family held a funeral lunch at Chuck-A-Rama. No joke.
  11. February 9th, 2010: I made a random list about me and admitted to the internet (and therefore the world), that I love hot dogs with cheese in the middle. Mmmmmmm.
  12. March 26th, 2010: There was a cougar sighting at work. It wasn’t me.
  13. April 13th, 2010: I went to ENGLAND!!!
  14. May 7th, 2010: I passed the five years of employment at one company milestone.
  15. June 11, 2010: I wished for a smartphone simply so that I could watch the World Cup at work.
  16. June 28th, 2010: I come to the realization that I play too much soccer.
  17. July 7th, 2010: Celebrated Independence Day in San Diego, Las Vegas and Utah. In less than a week, I would meet Nathan for the first time.
  18. August 9th, 2010: Maren and Dustin got engaged! And I spent that night at a Star Trek wedding—awesome.
  19. August 20th, 2010: Took a color personality test at work and found out, I’m all yellow and white.
  20. September 14th, 2010: Nathan and Dustin teach us about biting your loved ones. (And Nathan makes his first blog appearance, by name.)
  21. September 27th, 2010: I got mono… again. Boo.
  22. October 8th, 2010: Coworkers and I started weighing ourselves at work. Initially, we wrote our weights on a whiteboard. Now, we just track them in our own spreadsheets.
  23. October 25th, 2010: I officially announce to the internet (and the world) that I’m engaged!
  24. January 7, 2011: First post as Mrs. Elkins J
  25. January 26th, 2011: Pogi hides in the wedding gifts. This pic reminds me of how fabulous our friends were helping us stock our kitchen and be all prepared for the married life.
  26. February 7th, 2011: Ah yes, the Lonesome Dove marathon Nathan and I enjoyed/slept through.
  27. March 1, 2011: Celebrated Nathan’s birthday with chocolate cake and red velvet cake. Yum.
  28. March 7, 2011: Nathan got the flu, which would turn into his first bout of pneumonia. No fun for him.
  29. March 28th, 2011: Nathan and I spoke in church. Since then, almost every time our Bishop shakes our hands, he asks us if we’re ready to speak again.
  30. April 4, 2011: We set off our smoke alarm by turning the oven to Self Clean.
  31. April 15th, 2011: We moved to a “new” building at work where we deal with being too cold in the winter, too hot in the summer, the floors squeak, and we have power outages when we plug things in.
  32. May 9th, 2011: Nathan made me an AMAZING dinner for Mother’s Day.
  33. June 15th, 2011: Nathan is recovering from his 2nd pneumonia infection.
  34. And today, I had a dentist appointment and plenty of emailing to do for work, but it’s all manageable because of the excitement of anticipating James’s return from two-years of church service tonight. Yay little brother!

My Baby Brother’s Profusion of Religious Beliefs

This is a long quote, but I had to post it. I was so impressed with my younger brother, James’s convictions and ability to put it down in written word. He is currently serving as an LDS missionary in the Dominican Republic and wrote this as his commitment to himself and to the Lord for the remaining year of his mission. The very last part is my favorite, but I think it’s worth the time to read the whole ‘quote’ in its entirety.

“I commit to live after the example of Christ that I may receive the Spirit and completely fulfill my purpose.

I will fight with a perfect brightness of hope, an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to me. This hope will fasten an anchor for my soul. With this brightness of hope I will strive to help and feed those who have moved away from the hope of the gospel. My hope is that through the Atonement of Christ and the power of the resurrection I will be raised unto eternal life because of my faith in the promise. With the hope for that which I see not I must have patience to wait

I have the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. I will patiently accept God´s will and God´s timing with a calm disposition. Problems will not be fixed instantaneously, but as I exercise patience, Christ will make everything alright. I will be patient in long-suffering and afflictions to show forth a good example, and thus the Lord will make me an instrument in His hands unto the salvation of myself and others. For happy are counted them which endure. As I wait patiently I still must work diligently.

I will diligently work in what the Lord would have me do and avoid the distractions of the world which simply waste His and my time. I will put forth a steady, consistent, earnest, and energetic effort to show my love for the Lord and the work that He has done for me. Inasmuch as I bring to pass much righteousness, and if I might redouble my efforts, I shall in nowise lose my reward. I will be counted worthy because I will not be slothful, rather I will labor diligently in the office appointed unto me. As I exercise my agency to diligently work with faith, the Lord, in His mercy, might grant me to be laden with many sheaves, but even be it so I must abide in humility.

All honor, whatsoever I may receive, will be submitted to the Lord. I understand that I constantly need the divine help of the Lord to accomplish what I have been called to do. I will humbly follow and trust the counsel I receive from Him through my leaders. I will become and remain stripped of pride, for it is the opposite of humility, and the prideful are not ready to meet God. For whosoever is lifted up in his pride shall be knocked down, while he who is found in the depths of humility shall be lifted up and exalted. I will retain in remembrance the greatness of the Lord and my own nothingness. But as I put my nothingness in the Lord´s strength I am able to do all things. As I am humble I must let my will be swallowed by the Father´s, therefore becoming obedient. Following the example of Christ who, “being found in the fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death.”

I will be willingly obedient to what the Lord commands, even when I do not understand why, for obedience is the first law of Heaven. I will hearken unto the word and obey so that I better understand His doctrine, and am built upon His rock, so that I prosper and become free. My disciplined use of agency in obedience will make me clean and armor me from the enemy just like the heavenly armor given to the strippling warriors who did, “obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness.” They did not doubt, nor did they complain. As I obediently keep the commandments I will receive truth and light unto what I must obtain and share, knowledge.

I will continually seek the enlightenment of the Holy Ghost through study and prayer so that He increases my inner peace that comes with spiritual knowledge. I will continually search the scriptures that my understanding may be sound and my teachings clear, with an accent of power and authority. I will serve the Lord in righteousness that I may receive the promise of wisdom that is great and understanding that reaches heaven. I will continually ask, seek, and knock to receive line upon line and precept upon precept, for one progresses only as fast as he gains knowledge unto his advantage in this world and the world to come. Receiving knowledge is not all. I must then apply it by acting in faith in correct principles and in the Savior.

I believe that Christ is the Son of God, my Savior and Redeemer. I believe that my sins can be forgiven through His Atonement. I trust Him and am certain that He loves me. Though I may not see these things, they are true. I will show my conviction through my actions. Thus the Lord will be able to work by power, through me, according to my faith. Thanks to Christ´s living example and testimony of love and perfection I can put forth unreserved confidence in His promises of redemption. I will fight to forsake doubt and fear, that my faith not be deterred, but will flourish. Through this faith I can feel and see that my abhorrence towards sin is greater, my desires are more pure, and my heart is changing. As my heart is changed through faith and repentance I must protect my mind from Satan and let God enrich it with virtue.

Due to my virtue and discipline, what I choose to think and do will be righteousness, whether I am alone or not. I will continue to keep my thought pure with my hymn of choice: “I´m trying to be like Jesus, I´m following in His ways. I´m trying to love as He did, in all that I do and say. At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice, but I try to listen as the still small voice whispers.” As my thoughts are submersed in virtue, my confidence before God and His Holiness will wax strong, the doctrine and priesthood will distill upon my soul and the Holy Ghost will be my constant companion, that I may follow His divine guidance, “Love one another and Jesus loves you, try to show kindness in all that you do. Be gentle and loving in deed and in though, for these are the things Jesus taught.“ Which carries me unto the purest attribute that we all must possess: charity and love, the great commandment.

I will do all I can to cultivate this attribute for I am worthless without it. I am a son of a Loving Heavenly Father. I have the capacity to earn this love as I study it, work for it, pray for it, and then live it with all the energy of my heart. Thus my love for the people will increase and I will have a sincere concern for their eternal welfare and happiness. I will give of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually, and in so doing the Lord will only fill me with more to give. I will sacrifice myself as I have covenanted to do, so that I earn compassion and know how to help and succor the people. I will live and learn that which my mother taught me, “You love that which you serve.” I must love them as He loveth me.

I will strive to live these attributes and walk in the path and example that Christ left for me to follow so that I will be filled with the Holy Ghost, whose protection, comfort, and guidance I need and desire.

He will instruct me through revelation as I ask, seek, and knock. I will be valiant and follow His will as I listen earnestly with spiritual ears to hear and be guided by His voice of perfect mildness. By following the Holy Ghost I will be fulfilling the will of the Father and acting as Christ´s hands here on earth. I will thus earn the trust of the Lord and He will have the assuring confidence that I will do what He needs done and I will diligently nourish and edify whatsoever stewardship that He might entrust to my care.

In the lessons I will testify of the presence of the Spirit, for it is Him who guides us to all truth, who teaches us all things that we should do, and who testifies of and glorifies the Father and the Son.

By living and teaching by the Spirit I will be able to fulfill my purpose as the Lord would have me do it, as He showed us how to do it with His very own life. I will invite others to come unto Christ through true faith in Him, His restored gospel, and His Saving Atonement.

My calling from the living prophet of God gives me authority to do this and my righteous living through the keeping of my covenants will give me power.

I will not bury my talents, I will not be a fruitless servant, I will thrust in my sickle with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, laying up in store a treasure which does not perish, bringing salvation to my soul and those who I find with an open heart.

I will do all of this to show my deep gratitude for one Great Act of pure love, the Infinite Atonement of my Redeemer Jesus Christ. Through my faith and His profound mercy and grace I can become even as He is. Christ is my Strength, He is my Song, He is my Hero, He also has become my Salvation. He gave you and me His all, the least we can do is give Him ours in return. And that is what I will do, for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey.”

~Elder Campbell

Episode 55: Birthdays and Work

I’ve heard a rumor around these halls at work that the time clock wishes you happy birthday. What a nice time clock.

I have NO IDEA if it’s true, though.

I don’t work on my birthday.

The very first year I celebrated my birthday while employed here, October 14th fell on a Friday. Several things happened that day: I took the day off, Daniel Craig was announced as the sixth official James Bond actor and I slept in. Later that day, I met up with Janet to make a trip down to Las Vegas because who doesn’t want to spend their birthday weekend on their feet all day moving from one store to the next, purchasing makeup you hardly use from Sephora and clothes you still wear from Urban Outfitters? Good birthday.

The next year, my birthday was on a Saturday. For some reason, though, I don’t really remember what happened that year. I probably didn’t sleep in because I had a soccer game. But again, I did not work. Oh and also, Chelsea FC’s goalkeepers both suffered serious injuries that day against Reading FC—Cech fractured his skull and Cudicini had a concussion. Defender John Terry had to finish the game as keeper.

Moving on now to 2007: My birthday fell on a Sunday. I slept in! Church didn’t start until 1:00pm. I believe at the time, I probably sat in really uncomfortable pews so I was utilizing a blow-up “back pillO.” Yep. Getting older is superb.

Bring on 2008. I planned a last minute trip with James and Maren to visit Peter and Genny! So I woke up (probably late enough to consider it sleeping in) in Portland, Oregon after spending time in Seattle and hitting up Cannon Beach the previous days. Pete had to work so the rest of us made our way to Multnomah Falls where we raced a train took a lot of pictures and hiked all the way to the top. Mighty cool birthday.

And now we’ve arrived at this year. My birthday fell on a Wednesday. Right in the middle of the week. Kind of awkward. So I just took the one day off. I woke up at 7:30 am, read a text on my phone and then remembered, I could sleep in. So I dropped my head back down on that pillow and went right back to sleeping. Once I finally did get up, I ate breakfast, did laundry, returned texts and went to the gym. Then it was back home to make soup, burn my tongue eating it, finish laundry, clean up and go over to Tracy’s to see the demolition of their kitchen and have my four-year old niece perform several happy birthday dances for me.

Jane’s happy birthday dances were incredible.

Eventually, Jane and Abe came with me to play at my house for a bit, drew all over dozens of post-it notes and stuck them on my fridge.

Dinner was at my parents’ with my siblings. Besides the great gifts, they all went around the circle and told me nice things about myself. We may tease my dad for being cheesy in his “old age,” but I sure do appreciate this new cheesy tradition we do.

After all the eating, gift opening, complimenting Larrie, and sweeping up peanut shells that were all over the kitchen floor, I went over to Kasey’s for delicious cake and celebrations with my friends.

See how great my birthday was? No working! (I briefly checked email around 3:00pm and sent one response because I was worried about anything going wrong on a project when I’m gone for ONE day.) It felt like a holiday. Larrie Day.

Birthdays at work don’t feel like holidays.

A Smorgasbord of Quotes

So while I was participating in the blog tasks to improve my blog last month, I was queuing up quotes for my quotes of the week. So this week, let’s post TEN of those, how ‘bout? Great because they’re pretty fabulous and DYING for me to post them.

“These just touch the tastebuds of the palate of my mouth.” ~McJosh

“You didn’t take a photo of the words that you heard in the air.” ~Maren to Thane about how he didn’t have a photographic memory about a date mentioned in the priesthood session of LDS General Conference.

“Why would you get a poo-brown-color Maserati? That’s disgusting.” ~Maren

“You can’t feel the spirit reading the scriptures on an iPhone.” ~James

“My cubicle was like a bubble of happy smells.” ~Audrey

“Turns out everyone has an extra stomach just for dessert.” ~Megs

“That was my tired voice talking.” ~Beth

“When you poach, nobody wins.” ~Rachel

“Oh my crap and crap it’s so good.” ~Marissa

And to finish it off, a great quote that Monica emailed my way and I agree with WHOLE-HEARTEDLY:

“Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.” ~W. H. Auden

Day 29: Zermatt Resort Review

I’ve been MIA for a bit there. Were you worried? You probably haven’t even been by to check, either, so let’s not worry about it. I’m back now and I’m going to pick and choose which “Build a Better Blog” task to complete for today from those that I missed. Choices are:

The first and third sound boring so the winner is, a Review! How exciting.

I received a package in the mail the other day. It was sent to my parents’ house so my Mom gave it to me when we met at Smith’s Marketplace to purchase plants on Friday. It was in a nice silver bag with a large bow on it and a note, which said something to the tune of: “Here’s our new shampoo, conditioner and products. Let us know what you think!”

Have you ever checked out of a Hotel and taken home a few “free” souvenirs like the shower cap or the tiny bottle of shampoo? If you stay at the Zermatt Resort in Midway, they will MAIL you said souvenirs. All you have to do is send them a little note about how much you didn’t like the shampoo/conditioner bottles because you bruised your fingers squeezing so hard to get anything out.

Shortly after sending this email, you will receive a response from an executive sales administrator:

Thank you for your feedback, and wonderful comments on our associates and resort 🙂 We’re all very proud of Zermatt Resort – and are thrilled that enjoyed your stay.
Regarding the shampoo and conditioner – yes – we are keenly aware of the complication with those products, and agree that they are difficult to use. We apologize for this inconvenience, and again – appreciate the feedback. We will finally be ordering wonderful new products the first of May, as our current supply is finally dwindling!!
Thanks again, and I’ll be sure to pass on your good words to all. We look forward to seeing you again at Zermatt Resort in the future.

Despite the painful use of punctuation, you must agree with me that it was a great response. And then to receive the little package in the mail with the NEW products, which certainly are not difficult to use and smell so nice.

As far as the resort, I stayed up there a few weekends ago with James and Maren. This included staying in one of the posh penthouse suites where the bidet was clean, the tub was giant and the robes were neatly folded on the bed just waiting for us. I’ve never walked into a room before to find my own robe. However, there were only two so we made a phone call to request a third and someone ran it right up.

It was only a short, weekend vacation, but brief as it was, I almost felt like I was on a cruise, with the several buffets we went to, the late night hot tubbing and the gift shop filled with international chocolates.

It was a rainy weekend so we didn’t get a chance to see much of Midway except for one of the hot pots at the Homestead Resort across the street. So instead, we ate. A lot. We skipped the pasta buffet, but we didn’t miss out on the seafood or pancake buffets. If there was a contest between those two buffets over which was the best, the seafood buffet would easily take home first prize. The chef who made the fish tacos not only made tasty tacos, but also had a good laugh with us. James and I practiced some Spanish with him and then he ran to the kitchen to chop up a spicy pepper just for us. It wasn’t as hot as the peppers Thane brought home from Korea, but James and I watered our eyes a bit eating some. Also, the desserts were delectable and we filled up several plates with each option: little cheesecakes, tiny mousses and bites of tarts.

To sum it all up, if you’re looking for a little European getaway tucked away in the mountains of Midway, UT where the shampoo and conditioner are in easy to use containers, Zermatt is your place to be. Tell them I sent you. (They have no clue who I am except for Marcus at the front desk.)