Thursday, December 13, 2012

This is Me: Teenage Years

Growing up, teenage years:

*What activities did you participate in?  (Sports, dancing, music, arts, etc.)  Explain what you did with each activity. 
I tried dancing, my sisters and my mom were all dancers, but I just didn't have the grace that they did ;) so it didn't ever last long.
I was always in choirs, from BYU Children's Choir to always being in choir in school.
I took piano lessons (8 years and I obviously didn't practice as much as I should have or I'd be a lot better!)
I loved art and often drew on my own when I wasn't in an art class in school. I loved writing poetry as well.
*EDIT* My brother Brian reminded me how much I actually liked sports as a teenager. I was never amazing at them, and didn't play on teams (due to my completely non-competitive nature ha), but I did love to play basketball, tennis, even attempted some street hockey, but basketball was my favorite. It makes me happy to see Thor playing Junior Jazz for his 4th or 5th year in a row now :)

*How did you learn how to drive?  What kind of car did you have?
My parents took me driving, I'm sure that was scary. I drove either our Blue Buick, which had the horn of a full speed train, or our tan Station Wagon. The latter was the favorite of my friends, mostly because (my dad won't like this part lol) it took bumps and dips so awesomely. My friends would take turns sitting in the back and fly every time we hit one! And it fit 3 friends in the front at once, good memories with that car!

*Who were your friends? 
In high school I had a lot of different friends. Many the same as in the last post, as well as Codilyn Kendell and Katie Manning. People called us the Three Muskateers, because we were ALWAYS together (but oh so much drama of course! hahaha)

*Did you have a girl/boy friend?  Talk about him/her (if your spouse is okay with it!).
I was SO shy in high school, I never had boyfriends until afterwards, when I learned to break out of my shell a little more.

*What did you like/dislike about school?
I'll be honest, I hated most everything about high school. I think part of that was because of my shyness, but I really didn't like school in general. My favorite classes depended on the year, but I did like English, and of course choir and art, and really loved my language classes (German and Spanish).

*What was your first paid job? 
I worked at Wirthlin Worldwide, doing phone surveys. I was pretty good at it, and didn't hate it :)

*What were your chores at home?
About the same as the last post, at this point I was usually the only kid at home so I did whatever I could around the house, between work and school. When I wasn't working I do remember getting an allowance for helping around the house, which I was very grateful for!

Monday, December 10, 2012

This is Me: Early Years

Growing up, early years: 

*Where did you grow up?  Describe it.
Provo, first across the street from what used to be Maeser Elementary. We lovingly call it "the ghetto". We all remember hearing a few shootings going on, or the time a guy escaped from jail and holed up in an apartment building not far from us, and the police came door-to-door telling people to stay in their homes. Lots of amazing people around us though, some of those I am still friends with today.
When I was 10 we moved to Grandview Hill, where I have a lot more memories than at the other house.

*What was your earliest memory?
I only have a few memories when I was young. I remember our dogs Cinnamon and Nutmeg, Cinnamon was a big Chow, I remember she once chased me through the house and into the bathtub.

*What games did you play as a child?
There were a few games our family loved to play. Probe and Bazaar are the most memorable. I remember loving to jump rope too.

*Where did you go to school?
I went to Maeser Elementary until the end of 4th grade, and then we moved and I went to Grandview Elementary.

*Who were your friends?
When I was younger, Julia Patch, Lisa Attkinson, Jenny Evens, and Brittany Tueller were some of my good friend.
Once I moved I made new friends pretty quickly with Jessica Child, Angela Harward, Sarah Hansen, Jenne Andersen, Cammie Davis (the best part of this is we all still get together and have dinner and reminisce about those silly times.

*Who were your favorite teachers and why?
Mr Rowley was definitely my favorite teacher. The year he taught us in 6th grade was his first year teaching. He now teaches at the elementary that my kids go to, and is just as awesome! He has always kept up with that 6th grade class, remembered all of our birthdays, come to everything important, I mean how awesome is that. He came to my wedding! All around awesome guy.

*What were your chores?
With such a big family, as far as I remember, we just rotated who did what, but all the regular house keeping chores. I even mowed the lawn fairly often when we were in the house on Grandview (since then I was often the only kid at home). We had a sweet electric mower that I had to plug in and make sure not to run over haha!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

This is Me Challenge

I've decided to do the "This is Me Challenge".
The first section is:

 Your birth and family:  
*What is your full name and how did you get that name?  Do you have any nicknames?
Jeanette Marlene (Smith) Sorensen. My family calls me either Nettie or Birdette (I think that came from my brothers, but I have no idea how, feel free to chime in if you have some insight into this!). In high school some of my friends called me Eddie, Jeanette was just toooo girly at the time, but now it fits me a little better :)

*What are your parent's full names and birth dates and places?
My Dad is Kim LeRoy Smith, 12/22/39 and he was born in Idaho I believe (correct me if I'm wrong on any of these!)
My Mom is Barbara Charlene (Funk) Smith, she went by Charlene, her mother was Barbara. She was born in Rosemead, CA. I think, on 6/3/39.

*What is the date of your birth?  Where were you born?
My birthday is 6/26/79. I was born in Provo at UVRMC. I was 10 lbs 6 oz (huuuuge!) and 21 in. at 5somethingAM.

*What are your sibling's full names and birth dates? 
My mom had 8 kids, with TWO sets of twins!
Oh gosh, this one is tricky, I'm getting old and forgetting the days! Let's see how I do... please don't hate me if I get any wrong!!! :)

Julie Ranae Pulsipher 7/31
Sheryl Lynn Mildenhall Mills 7/31
Brian Jay Smith 2/19
Gary LeRoy Smith 8/26
Denise Diane Pearce 11/18
Lori Jeanine Harris 3/17
Mark Damon Smith 3/17

*How was your relationship with your siblings and parents?.
I was the youngest of 8, with my nearest siblings being 4 years older than me, so I was a little bit spoiled and probably a brat (I'm sure if you ask my siblings, they'd say a LOT spoiled, and a huge brat lol). Most of my older siblings were out of the house by the time I remember much, but I remember when they came to visit I would cry at nights when they had left (I know, so sad huh). I always missed them so much!

*What are some lessons you learned from you parents?
I think the most important lessons both of my parents taught me, by great example, were to honor the priesthood, and to pray. Anytime I needed comfort or was sick, my dad would always be willing to give me a blessing, even in the middle of the night (which was often), even for small things and my mom would always tell me to say a prayer when I needed help, etc. I've always remembered that and am extremely grateful for it.

*How did you help in your home?
I think the earliest thing I remember as a little kid was helping with laundry. By the time I was a teenager I was mostly the only child at home, so I helped with a lot of the chores. I remember times I tried to cut corners to get done faster, but my mom would always catch me! I think that's why I'm so ocd about cleaning now as a grown up

Monday, November 12, 2012

Food Storage

Since I think everyone's had enough updates about my surgery I won't make a post about it (if you haven't - it all went well, legs hurt a little where they went in, heart is still doing silly tachycardic things, but that should hopefully subside after a few months, as the scar forms).

So, as I'm still in forced recuperation mode (meaning I feel okay, but am being forced to just sit around and take it easy until Friday), I decided to work on our food storage! - yikes

We have a good sized shelf full of food, but not enough, if we're being honest here. We're lucky enough to have a giant unfinished basement so we don't lack the space, just the somewhat important food.
I'm all about having a ton of the basics since I like to make things by hand anyway, so we have a lot of that, and then a bunch of awesome stuff from Shelf Reliance (love them). I don't have an inventory of exactly what we have though, so I decided to start there.

Enter some wonderfully prepared lady whom I found on Pinterest, of course.

She has already created these great inventory lists:
You simply write down each item you have on hand, then go through with a highlighter and color in the boxes for how many you have of each item (you can also highlight with a second color more boxes indicating how many more you'd like to have on hand) and with a sheet protector over it, you check it off as you use it. Then simply erase the check when you've repurchased it. So easy huh?!

So I'm breaking mine down into categories (Baking goods, Dairy, Fruit/Veggies, Meats, Misc.) and putting them each in a sheet protector on a clipboard (with a wet erase marker attached) to hang from my shelves.
I think it's even easy enough for my kids, who are often the ones bringing up the items to be used, so all they have to do is simply check it off before they bring it up!

Do you have any awesome food storage ideas or tried and true ways of organizing it all?
Now I'm off (totally bundled up - coat, gloves, scarf - it's freezing down there!) to start checking off what we've got, wish me luck!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Freezer Meal Monday!

In case you haven't heard me raving about freezer meals, here you go! ;)

The backstory:
My sister Denise lives in another state so we often call each other and chat while we clean the house, do laundry, etc. Our conversations start like this, "Want to clean?" or, "I'm folding laundry, wanna chat?" haha.
We decided we needed to start "cooking together" as well, so we started planning a whole day to just chat and make freezer meals! We both pick a day that will work with our schedules (We usually try for Monday, mostly because I'm selfish and it's the only day I don't have Zumba in the mornings), plan a big list of meals (usually we have pretty similar menus so we can talk about what we're doing or what worked best, etc.), go shopping beforehand (we've had to reschedule a few times because one of us forgot to go shopping or something!), and plan it all out.
We've come up with our own pinterest board that we can both post to, this was Denise's brilliant idea, where we pin all our freezer meal "want to try" recipes, or recipes that have worked for us in the past. We've done it enough times now that we have our favs that we cook each time, and we'll throw in some new ones to try and see how our families like it. Sometimes we find recipes specially made for the freezer, and sometimes we just use our regular recipes and freeze it and they work out great (using a regular recipe depends on what it is, some things don't freeze as well as others). We try to make meals that use similar ingredients for at least a few, so we can buy in bulk and just split it up. We'll often double at least a couple of the meals so we have more than just what's on the list. Ziplock bags and aluminum pans are great for storage.

These have been SO helpful for our family! I am currently the ward compassionate service leader, so when I'm not able to get a volunteer for a meal, I can just grab a meal from my freezer and get it ready for them, without any worry of figuring out what to make someone! They've also been a life saver for random surgeries or ER visits, because the instructions are all on the container/bag, so Thor can just throw it in the oven or on the stove and dinner is taken care of. They're MUCH more economical and definitely healthier than buying a frozen dinner from the store.
You should try it ;) If you only have a few on hand, that's better than none. And I promise you, some day you will be truly grateful you had one in there! 
If you have any suggestions of things to try or that you love, let me know, we're always looking for more ideas!

Here is our pinterest board if anyone needs ideas: 
And here is MY menu for this round of meals:
(If you want the recipes, let me know, it's a lot to list here!)
Chicken Tikka Masala
Cafe Rio Chicken (The pork is also amazing, but I've made it a lot lately)
Crock Pot Orange Chicken (this is a new one to my freezer meal list, we'll see how it works out!)
Breakfast Pockets (also new, but I think Denise has tried it?)
Chilean Empanadas
Taco meat - hamburger and shredded chicken (This usually gets eaten throughout the week for lunches)

Let me know if you do freezer meals, have any ideas, or try it out, I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Halloween was great this year!

Started the day off with Zumba, where of course we all dressed up and had a great time!

The kids had a school parade and then Nate's work had a big trick-or-treating party. Nate dressed up as a "little person" and won a prize! The kids probably got all the candy they needed this Halloween just at his work! But no, on to the REAL trick-or-treating!

Ninja Nate!
Pirate vs Ninja 
Thor as a ninja
Erik as a knight (wearing Nate's handcrafted chainmaille)
Annika and Nettie as pirate girls

Party time! We had lots of delicious food (most of it was already gone at this point, oops!)
Active Zombie Virus, Truth Serum and Spider Venom. Yuck!

We had a few rounds of Halloween Scattergories and some other silly games and had a great time!!

The good witch and the wicked witch
Follow the yellow brick road!

Erica Morgan and Emily

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Surgery Scheduled (Posted on PKD blog)

I went to see the Cardiologist (Dr. Chun Hwang) today. He wanted to squeeze me in for surgery on November 8th at 430am, so that's great!
I'll be having a catheter ablation, to fix my PSVT. Yes, I'm being totally lazy and making you click on links to read about what they are if you want to know ;) Basically, they'll put a wire catheter through my leg up to my heart and burn the part that is causing the arrhythmias. Poor Nate had to sit through all the possible bad outcomes, most of which are totally rare, but the doctor was great at explaining everything in great detail and very informative.
They said plan on staying overnight, but it could be outpatient if everything goes well after the 6 hours of bedrest (to help the incision heal and not bleed out).
As weird as it may sound, I'm pretty excited to get this done. It'll be so nice not to have to worry about it happening anymore!!

Tuesday's 10: 10 reasons I love Halloween!

Let me start off by saying: I LOVE HALLOWEEN. It's always been one of my favorite holidays. Here are 10 reasons why!

10. Seeing all the cute little kids in their costumes and how excited THEY are about my favorite holiday!

9. All the fun treats you can make (you must know I love baking).

8. Seeing weird people all month and not knowing if they're wearing a costume or they're actually dressed that way ;)

7. Scary movies!

6. Haunted Houses. Although I haven't been to one in years... ahem, hint hint.

5. Dressing up in fun/silly/scary costumes.

4. Wearing crazy makeup you wouldn't dare in real life.

3. Doing other people's crazy makeup they wouldn't dare do on themselves (this might need to be moved to #1).

2. It's a great excuse for a party!

1. And number 1 was donated from my kids... CANDY!!! (Erik specified I must put it in all caps and 3 exclamations).

We're having our annual (we only call it that because people come over to hang out and it turns into a big party each year, so now it's official) Halloween party tomorrow night and I'm getting super excited finishing up some of the fun things we have to do! Nate decided on the theme this year: "Pirates vs Ninjas", so we'll have a contest to see who wins, plus best costume, and lots of fun and games. Now all I have to do is decorate and decide if I want to make my Dad's amazing sugar cookies or make some cute ghost cupcakes, hmmm.

What do you love or hate about Halloween?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Life is busy (no, I'm not wearing it as a badge of honor!)

Life is so busy, but I think I have more time now to get back to our blog!

I know everyone is so busy in their own life. I feel like some days I am crazy busy, and some days I'm really lucky and I get to just relax and fold laundry while I watch a movie in the silence of my home, while the kids are at school. I have a pretty blessed life, really.

The kids keep me busy with their different activities, although this semester we have decided to slow down and cut back on extracurriculars.
Thor is loving being in the school Concert Choir, and we've given him the challenge to audition for a solo/duet for his Christmas Concert, he has a great little voice. He will be starting his basketball season in December. He gets better every year. It's neat to see the improvement from the side-lines. I'm sure he doesn't realize it like we do, but for us on the outside it's like a time-lapse video; when he was just little he would just run back and forth between the baskets, the next year he would get the ball but immediately pass it to someone else, next he would actively try to get it and make baskets. This year should be exciting!
Erik is still funny little Erik. Last week he had a well-checkup and the doctor noticed his hip wasn't as flexible as the other. They sent us to x-ray and at first they thought it was severe hip dysplasia, told us he'd need surgery and sent us to Primary Childrens to have it re-examined. Upon arrival there they were extremely worried that it was Perthes disease, but after hearing he'd had surgery on the same hip when he was a baby (when he had the blood infection, it settled in his hip joint and they had to do surgery to drain it), she decided it was caused by that and it had become necrotic over the years, as well as being somewhat misshapen and the growth plate had already closed. She said typically they close around age 13, so his legs shouldn't be too off, but if they are he'll have to have surgery to adjust his other leg. Other than that, it's a wait and see game for now. He'll eventually have arthritis and definitely need a hip replacement, she said best case would be when he's 50, by then I'm sure it'll be like magic. ;)
Annika is your typical first grader, I would guess. She's too smart for her own good, she's too independent for her own good (or mine!), but after the boys, it's much easier to just let her be and watch what becomes of it. We're still working on teaching her not to be so bossy, she's definitely an A personality. She's still got her daddy wrapped around her finger, which is adorable and I hope lasts forever and ever. She's very into dance, and is very good at it. She's got an amazing, natural grace when she dances, which she definitely didn't get from me!

My health keeps me busy. I really don't feel like I have as many problems as I do, since I can't "see" any of them, sometimes it's hard to do everything I need to to keep things working right, but hopefully someday I'll see the benefit of it all. I've had so many people tell me I'm amazing for having such a positive attitude and dealing with all these issues, but honestly, it's all you CAN do, and I'm sure anyone else would do the same. I'm not amazing, it's just life and I've been dealt some crazy organs and I get to just accept them for who they are! haha. I like to say I must have been last in line when they dished out bodies ;) But I'm definitely grateful for a working one, as much as it does, they truly are amazing, aren't they?
I try to workout at least 5 days a week. I do Zumba almost every Mon-Fri, I'm pretty much addicted to it, but I think it's a good addiction. I've made some of the most wonderful friends I've ever known. I get an amazing workout that happens to be fun at the same time. It's my "me time" when I just get to have fun and focus on myself for an hour or so. I really want to go to the instructor training, it's just a matter of time/money, I'm hoping soon!!

APC work keeps me pretty busy. I have scheduling to do, which is pretty much a 24/6 kind of thing (I won't answer my phone on Sunday), so I'm kind of "on-call". I have accounting to do, payroll, training, hiring/firing (which luckily we're good with for now, I have amazing girls!), all the usual tasks of running your average business. Nate has been great to help me with the accounting and teach me new things all the time, since we use Quickbooks and he's a pro. It has really been a blessing to have this company, in so many ways. I have learned so much in so all different areas, I feel like I should be able to test into an MBA degree, since I've already done most of it in life-experience at this point! I wish. ;)
Business is going extremely well, and it's a relief to know we have it to fall back on should anything ever happen with Nate or his job, but it's also just a great thing for me to do and have something to feel accomplished about.

Being married keeps me busy. In a really good way. I have the most wonderful husband, he stands by my side and holds my hand. When I'm having health issues, he bares it so well, even though I know it kills him to watch me go through this stuff sometimes (watching the worry on his face that night at the ER was more painful than all the heart issues I was having, and that heart-stopping drug was not fun!). He is constantly motivating me in all different areas. I definitely wouldn't be who I am without him. After 13 and a half years with him, I'm totally in love and wouldn't trade this life for the world!