Tuesday, April 26, 2011

If you have a minute...

Hey everyone, if you have a minute, please check out my most recent post on the Run for Innocence site.  Just click here.  If you have sometime, leave your opinion too.  We really appreciate it.

- James

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Count your many blessings

When I was younger my dad was always counseling me to "Enjoy being a kid." He always said it was the easiest time in life. As a teenager I thought that was a bunch of balogne. As time has gone on I have come to realize that was some pretty good advice. When you're a kid you never even think about how the food gets on the table. The past 4+ years of marriage for James and I have been filled with stresses I never imagined I'd have to face. Each time we conquer one, another seems to arise. I mean, who would have thought the year we both graduated and decided to start a family would be the hardest economic year in a loooong time? Or that we would be on our 4th car just 3 years into our marriage? It's been a rough go for us, however I think we both have truly gained wisdom beyond our years. I'm tempted to write a book after only 5 years of adulthood:)

James and I were pondering on our childhoods the other day; we shared little things that we enjoyed growing up. James and I both recall how our parents never made us kids worry when things were tight. I found it interesting how the things in life we have enjoyed the most cost little or no money at all.  For instance, one of James' favorite memories when he was younger was sitting his feet dangling in their apartment hot tub at the end of the day (kids were not allowed in) and just talking with his dad while he was in the hot tub. One of my favorite memories was, as a family, racing in teams around a lake on narrow wooden planks at the end of a family backpacking trip - all for a giant ice cream cone at "Rotten Ralfs". Those were the kind of "vacations" we took.  I am grateful for our wonderful parents who gave us nothing but happy memories growing up.

I really enjoyed watching Koby find his Easter eggs this morning. He was so excited each time he found an egg. I just started thinking how much happier we would all be if we took the time to enjoy the little things in life. Maybe someday in the future life will get easier, but for now think of how much happier we'd all be if we took the time to actually "Count (our) many blessings".

Although times have been tough, James and I have never regretted our decision to start a little family of our own. Other than Love, Family, and the Lord what else do you really need?
I am really grateful for my Savior this Easter.

"Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by." 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Five weeks away!

Went to the doctors today... Only 32 days left of pregnancy! Woohoo. I don't know what we were thinking having a baby RIGHT before summer. I am a fan of the late winter babies.

When the nurse had the heartbeat monitor on my belly, Koby looked up and said, "That's the baby in mommy's tummy." I think it is clicking a little more with him. He always makes comments like, "Daddy plays soccer and Koby plays soccer, but Mommy doesn't play soccer anymore...there's a baby in mommy's tummy."

Anyways here is a picture update(don't mind my fat face, arms, and butt). I should have about 3 weeks to get as small as I can before Emily and Shane tie the knot - lucky me! I am proud to say that my mom and I did go off sugar/treats and I do still exercise as best I can. I think Koby even realizes how pathetic my attempt at exercise is. He will look at the TV and then at me and say, "jump higher mommy" or "touch your toes mommy" or "go faster mommy". I also only last about 20 minutes, but it makes me feel good.

James said he would be pregnant with the next one for me. I think that's only fair.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Best Friends

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Waking up at 6am

I woke up this morning to study for the GMAT and get ready for work.  I went into the baby's room which is right next to Koby's to study for a bit around 6am and I saw Koby's light on.  Crazy kid has been waking up so early.  I was slightly annoyed.  I heard a little bit of noise coming from his room.  Trying not to let him know I was right outside, I tip-toed to his door and quietly put my ear against it.  I could hear him singing, "Lead me, guide me, walk beside me..."  It was pretty cute.  Needless to say I was no longer annoyed.  Since he wasn't crying or calling for us, I just let him stay in his room and I went to study in the baby's room.  It was nice studying with Koby singing primary songs in the background...

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Reason

This is going to be a long entry, but I hope you can take the time to read it.

Last year my friend and I were signed up to for the St. George marathon. During the time that we were waiting to hear if we got in, we started discussing raising money and running for a charity. I was really excited about it. I wasn’t sure about the cause I wanted to support, so I started looking for different organizations that I would possibly run for. There were several that came up like, the Red Cross, The Breast Cancer Foundation, and Feeding America, that I was interested in. Although they were all great charities and organizations, I just didn’t feel personally connected to them, and I felt that I would need that in order have the drive to go out of my way and fund raise. I eventually came across a nonprofit call The Innocence Mission. They are a nonprofit dedicated to raising public awareness of childhood sexual abuse. I went through their site and eventually contacted the founder of the organization. After talking with her I knew that this was the charity I wanted to run for. Unfortunately I was not selected to run the St. George marathon and my plans fell through.

My whole life I have felt a connection with abused children. Even though I wouldn’t be running the marathon for The Innocence Mission, I wanted to find a way to help those kids. I started doing more research about organizations like The Innocence Mission that helped sexually abused children. I found several, but most of them focused on raising public awareness and not necessarily on helping abuse victims get treatment. After all the research I did, I realized that was the kind of organization I really wanted to help, was one that not only tried to raise public awareness, but also directly helped victimized children. Although the organizations and charities I found had noble causes, I was unable to find one that directly helped the children obtain treatment or counseling.

In order to learn more, I started contacting counseling centers and clinics in the Utah area to find out if there was a need for an organization whose goal was not only to raise public awareness, but to financially help childhood sexual abuse victims get the counseling and treatment they truly require. I heard back from a director from a nearby center that informed me that they see 20 to 30 children who were victims of sexual abuse per month. I was shocked. I really couldn’t believe the number of kids. 20 to 30 just at this one clinic! There are over 10 clinics in Utah and Salt lake county. That’s 200 to 300 kids per month! She went on to say that many would have to pay for the counseling out-of-pocket because most insurance companies wouldn’t cover the costs and because of the government budget cuts, those on Medicaid would no longer be covered for the service. She said that the need was great. I knew I needed to do something. I continued to research the topic and the requirements to start a nonprofit to meet the need that the director spoke of.

Did you know that by the time a child reaches the age of 16, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will have experienced some kind of sexual abuse? The crazy thing is that those numbers are only based on reported cases. Dr. Susan Forward, one of the nation’s leading therapists, said that "Ninety percent of sexual abuse victims never tell." Did you know that if abuse goes untreated, it can potentially lead to depression, low self-esteem, guilt, blaming oneself, difficulty trusting other, relationship problem, and fear of intimacy later in life for the victim? The more I researched and read, the more gut-wrenching what I learned became. I read a few victims’ personal experiences and it made my insides ache. I cannot describe the feeling I would get when I would read these experiences. The thing that affected me the most was the thought that ninety percent of the victims never told anyone. Ninety percent kept the pain to themselves. Ninety percent might still think it’s their fault. Ninety percent might still be in pain.

Can you imagine if you were one of these young boys or girls that were sexually abused? Can you imagine the pain and fear? Can you imagine blaming yourself for something that wasn’t your fault? Can you imagine being too afraid to tell anyone who was close to you because you were afraid of what they would think? Can you imagine the loneliness you would feel? No child deserves that! No one deserves to have their childhood robbed from them! Children should be running around, playing sports, barbies, worrying about whether so-and-so from class likes them, they should not have to deal with the pain and guilt from being abused!

I have seen the pain and anguish that childhood sexual abuse can cause. I have seen the effect that it can have on someone’s adulthood. The problem is real and I knew that something needed to be done about it. We as a society can’t just swept it under the rug and pretend like it’s not happening, because it is. We cannot be so hush-hush about it because it is such an ugly and painful topic. I didn’t know how much of a difference I could make, but I felt like I needed to do something; and if I could make a difference in one child’s life, it would be worth it.

All of this lead to my desire to form a non-profit charity with the objective of raising public awareness about this terrible epidemic and helping victims of childhood sexual abuse receive the support and help they need. Over the past several months, and with the help of a few close friends and family members, I have been able to take the necessary steps to establish such an organization. I am happy to announce that we have formed the non-profit Run for Innocence. Like I said before, I am not sure what will come from this organization, but I hope it will be a lot of good. We hope we can help as many victims of childhood sexual abuse as we can. We hope we can raise awareness and teach prevention strategies to parents and children. I hope we can make a difference. With everyone’s help, I know we can.

Please take a minute to visit our website at www.runforinnocence.org. If you are interested, you can donate right there, any amount will help our cause. If you have any questions or are interested in helping in other ways, please let me know.

Join us in our fight to end childhood sexual abuse in our society and to create a better world for our children!

Thanks for reading,

Monday, April 4, 2011

Inhumane? I think not...

Three. That is the number of mice I have encountered in the last two years of living here. Sick. This one however is MY first official kill however. Number 1 was scared when Uncle Norman came to my rescue and was eventually killed by a mouse trap later that day. Number 2 was drowned and froze in a Tupperware by James when we were about to place Koby in the bathtub(sick)! Number 3 was killed by an emotional eight month pregnant woman who has been without a husband for 3 days.

It just about put me in labor, but this morning I successfully killed a mouse. I grabbed the Orange juice, walked into the kitchen, reached for the fridge handle, and froze. Out of the corner of my eye something caught my attention. When you are OCD (like me) about everything being in its proper place it isn't hard to spot something furry with a tail that is definitely out of place. Under the cupboard, almost underneath the oven, was a furry ball with a tail. Luckily for me it wasn't moving(like mouse #1 was when I met him last year). I froze for a good 60 seconds wondering if I should grab a bowl or a broom or run to Norman's house again for some manly aid. I figured I better do something now while it was just sitting there. I reached in the cupboard, grabbed a Tupperware, and pounced. I caught half of the mouse. It squeaked - sick. Then with another swift move, I got it under the Tupperware.

Now I was trapped in the middle of the kitchen with a mouse. I managed to remove the child lock on the cupboard under the sink. Koby comes riding in on his skateboard, sees the cupboard open and gets excited. He grabs some shower cleaner and I manage to convince him to hand it to me. I squirted a puddle on the floor and slid the mouse over it, hoping to poison it a little. Then I asked Koby to hand me the garbage bags. I realized I had no way of getting the mouse into the bag without involving me seeing it again. That wasn't a good option. I ripped up the cardboard garbage bag box and slid it under the mouse. Lucky for me again there was Duct Tape under the sink. After using almost the entire roll I decided the mouse could not get out. A little poison and suffocation did the trick. I hope if the little guy had any friends around they were watching and left town because I don't think this pregnant woman can handle another one of these adventures.

I was left a bit shaky and frozen in Koby's toy room for the next 30 minutes, but a call from my mom finally loosened me up.

I hope this experience at least dilated me a little:)