Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Book Review: Where We Belong

I actually finished reading Where We Belong by Emily Giffin about 3 weeks ago.  I've really just been too lazy to write my review.

I honestly can't remember a ton about the book at this point.  It is not one of my favorites.  It may be that I felt no connection to her characters.  As I read through it seemed that she never went too deep, yes we learned their secrets, but the secrets were lacking.  The people were lacking.  It makes me so sad to say it, because this is the first Emily Giffin book that I just didn't enjoy.

Now that I've talked so badly about it I guess I should give a run down.  Marian is a hot shot TV producer.  Her life is going right, awesome job, awesome boyfriend, lots of money.  But Marian has a secret.  When she was 18 she got pregnant and gave up the baby for adoption.  This story is about how the baby, Kirby, when she turns 18, finds Marian and the develop a relationship and the difficulties that come with finding out where you come from.

I guess I couldn't connect because I could never give up my children.  And being pregnant right now probably didn't help my opinion at all.  I found Marian to be selfish and weak and I felt that Kirby was lacking too.  I just can't find the words because I was so disappointed.  I really wanted to like it, I really did. I tried so hard to but I just couldn't.

I am looking forward to Emily Giffin's next book, because I really think she is a wonderful story teller.  And I hope to have nothing but good thoughts about that one.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Today is my birthday.  Actually, today I am 30 years old.  I can't believe that I am finally saying good-bye to my twenties.  It seemed to take forever to get to this point but it also flew by.  It's crazy how fast life really goes.  I thought I would be in my twenties forever, but here I am now 30.

I am excited.  I think I am now officially a grown up.  I know, I know, I've been an "adult" for 12 years now, but I finally feel like one.  It's funny how I could be married and have kids and still at times feel like a kid myself.  But now I am ready to be the adult I've been practicing to be for years.  I love where I am in my life.  I feel completely blessed to say that I am happy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankfulness Part Three

So here is my third installment of my Thankfulness Posts.  You can see the first one here and the second one here.  And so now we continue...

Jessica's Thankfulness List Part 3

21.  I am thankful for Thanksgiving.  It's one of my favorite times of the year!  Each year my little family gets to have a double Thanksgiving.  I get to spend time with my side and Michael's side of the family.  Both are filled with lots of family, food, laughter and fun.  I love getting to see the people that I don't get a chance to visit with during the year.  Yay! for Thanksgiving!

22.  I am thankful for my moms... now don't get crazy.  I mean my mom and my MIL.  I feel very blessed to be very close to both of them.  I'm also so glad that I don't have the stereotypical crazy mother-in-law issues.  I don't know what I would do without these two awesome ladies!

23.  I am thankful for my iPhone   Yup, I love it.  I don't know what I would without it.  It's my camera, calendar, music and audiobook holder, game holder, pregnancy tracking,  alarm clock, email retriever, deal finder, list keeper, directions giver and best kid distracting, thing ever.  I do so much and use it constantly throughout each and everyday.  It gives me awesomeness in the palm of my hand.

24.  I am thankful for hot water.  Nice baths, warm showers, washing dishes I love that having hot water in my house is at a turn of a faucet.  And right now with the soreness that comes with pregnancy I love how the water helps my body feel better.

25.  I am thankful for my car.  I love my car.  We are a one car household and so I am so grateful that our car is very functional.  It runs great and we try very hard to take good care of it so it will last us a very long time.  Over the past two years that we've had it, it has taken us on quite a few long drives and has never given any issues.  I love that it has hands free options for my phone to hook up and the Bluetooth is amazing! We've spent many hours listening to audiobooks on long trips without the added need to use wires or hook-ups to make it happen.  

26.  I am thankful for my nieces and nephews.  I currently have 7 nieces and nephews.  I love how big my family is and how much time I get to spend with each one of them.  I see them all on at least a weekly basis and love that they are so close to Sidda and MJ.  I think that family make the best of friends.

27.  I am thankful for board games and card games.  I love games.  I love that my husband and kids and extended family all love games too.  It's so nice to sit down and play cards and chit-chat.  It's relaxing and joyful.  In fact right now Sidda and MJ are playing Mario Monopoly.  I doubt they are playing by the rules but they are having a great time!

28.  I am thankful that Christmas is right around the corner.  I love the Christmas songs and that celebrations and the extra time with family.  I love seeing my house decorated and thinking of the things I will make for people and the ways I will show others that I love them.  It's a time that I get to be extra creative and make things special for others.

29.  I am thankful that my 30th birthday is less than two weeks away.  I think I am ready to say good-bye to my 20s.  I feel like even though I've been married for years and have kids of my own that reaching 30 will be the beginning of adulthood.  I've recently stopped feeling like I was still a teenager and finally feel like a grown-up.  I am happy to welcome in my grown-up years.

30.  I am thankful for this blog.  Maybe it's more for the ability to blog.  It's a creative outlet for me.  I spent so much time being creative in my youth and after school ended I put it all on the back burner.  It's nice to be able to share my thoughts, my projects, cooking and whatever I feel like with the people who would be willing to read it.    

And there you have it.  My November Thankfulness list.  I'm sure that there is more that I am thankful for but for now I'll just leave it where it is.  Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thankfulness Part 2

So, in this post I will continue my list of things I am thankful for during this season.  You can the previous post here.

Jessica's Thankful List
Part 2

11.  I am thankful to be an American.  I am proud of my country that lets us have the freedom to be ourselves and make our own choices.  I may not agree with most people on most subjects but I am ok that they are allowed their opinions.  I feel very lucky to have been born here.

12.  I am thankful for my church.  I have attended there almost half of my life now.  I have grown close to people through attendance there and have met people that I would've never known had I not set foot in the building.

13.  Along with the church I am thankful for the pastors and their wives that make the church function.  They are great spiritual leaders and wonderful men and women of God.  I am so grateful that Michael and I have been able to be apart of this group of people.

14.  I am thankful for books.  I love to read.  I guess you can add that I am thankful for my ability to read.  I love getting lost in stories that people have created.  I've visited so many places through books.

15.  I am thankful for lazy days.  Between homeschooling, be a mom, wife, pregnant, cleaning the house, and taking care of errands there isn't a whole lot of time left to relax.  I feel like sometimes I run hundreds of miles without a break in between so when I finally get a day that has no plans it's almost hard to rest but when I am able to I feel so refreshed that getting back to the crazy part of life isn't too bad.

16.  I am thankful for my doctor.  With Anya on her way having a doctor that I feel comfortable with and trust is great to have.

17.  I am thankful for Psych.  It's a ridiculously funny TV show that when I feel like I want to pull my hair out gives me something to focus on, makes me laugh and then I feel better and can go on with my day.

18.  I am also thankful for Friends. No matter how many times I watch it through it still makes me laugh.  Over the last 15 years it has been my favorite show and it's just great.

19.  I am thankful for laundry.  I know, I know, I hate laundry.  I hate doing laundry and everything that has to do with doing laundry but if I have laundry to do that means that my family has clothes to wear and towels to use.  So even though I hate it, it's something good to have.

20.  I am thankful for shoes.  I love shoes.  They a beautiful.  I could never afford the shoes that I would truly love to have but I will admire them from afar.  Hmmm.... Shoes....

Part three coming soon...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thankfulness (Part 1)

It's November and that's the month to be thankful.  At least it's the month that people set a part some time to tell others what they are thankful for.  And being the lazy type of person I am,  instead of trying to keep up with it everyday on facebook, I figured that I would make my very own list (in 3 parts) of the things that I am thankful for.
So here it is:

Jessica's Thankful List
1.  First and foremost I am thankful for God.  Jesus is my savior.  He has saved me from myself a million times over and has blessed me overwhelmingly.  I know that it is nothing that I do, but all him for the rest of the things that I am thankful for.  And whenever I am feeling down and frustrated I try to remember the things he has done in my life and His Word that he has given me for encouragement and instruction.

2.  I am thankful for my husband Michael.  What I would do without him I don't know.  We've been together for 12 years and married for 7.  I wouldn't change a single thing.  Every single step we've made together and made us closer.  I love him more today than I did when we got married.  He does something every single day that make me love him more.  No one can make me laugh like he does or comfort me like he does.  Michael is everything that I could ask for in a man.

How can you not love that face?

3.  I am thankful for Sidda.  What a wonderful, loving girl I have in Sidda.  She is beautiful and smart and loves to be silly.  I can't remember life before her.  She was the first time I fell in love before even seeing.

She really was an amazingly pretty baby.

4.  I am thankful for MJ.  Oh, my little Michael John.  He is my challenge.  He is that child who gets into trouble then make you laugh.  He makes me smile each and every day.  He changed my life, going from one child to two.  He is always so excited about everything.

Always wants to wear Mrs. Veronica's hat!

5.  I am thankful for Anya.  She is still growing inside me, but I am thankful for every second that she is here. The heartburn and headaches and soreness are worth it.  She is important to our family and we are so excited that in February we'll get to meet her face to face.

6.  I am thankful that I am able to stay home instead working outside of it.  Because of this I am able to be with Sidda and MJ everyday.  Sidda is schooled at home and MJ gets to learn a lot by being apart of her lessons each day.  I get to see what they can really do and who they really are.  I get to be apart of their everyday and they absolutely amaze me.

7.  I am thankful for all my family.  I am so lucky to have both my parents, Michael's parents, Michael's grandparents, my brother and his family, Michael's sister and her family all living within in driving distance.  Most with in a five minute drive.  I love that I get to spend time with each and everyone of these people every single week.  Growing up we never spent much time with extended family and I'm not that close to any of those relatives.  I am so happy that my kids get the opportunity to be with the people I love all the time and form real relationships with them.

8.  I am thankful for Sabrina.  Sabrina is Michael's sister.  She is awesome.  She is my best friend.  I never thought that we would become close, but over time our friendship has developed and we enjoy the time we get to spend together.  I would be so sad if she wasn't a part of my life.

9.  I am thankful for our pets.  We have 3 cats: Midnight (7), Tucker (7), Sniper (5) and two dogs Anna (3) and Molly (3).  Sometimes they drive me crazy, but usually they offer the most entertainment for my day.  It's crazy to me to the different personalities they all have.  Even the dogs because they're twins.  Each one is so unique.

10.  I am thankful for facebook.  I know it sounds crazy, but I am so grateful to have facebook because it has helped to reach out to all those extended family that I didn't really get to know when I was younger.  I'm getting to know them now as an adult, and have even gotten to spend actual time with some of them.  I love it!

So there is my first ten and I will be back soon for part 2 of my thankfulness list.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Movie Review: Here Comes the Boom

 Oh, wow.  We went to the movies last night.  We took the kids to the drive-in to see Hotel Transylvania and the following movie was Here Comes the Boom.  I don't know what it is about him, but Kevin James is hilarious!  I love his movies.  I honestly can't think of one that I didn't like.  I even loved Paul Blart Mall Cop.  I know it's crazy.

But back to Here Comes the Boom.  Kevin James plays Scott who is a high school biology teacher who has given up.  He feels like he is handcuffed by the school system and no longer makes an effort for the school or the kids.  He just really doesn't care.  Until the school is ready to shut down the music department. He wants to help his fellow teacher keep his job, but has to raise $48,000 to do so.  So he starts taking side jobs and working at night.  Making a little here and a little there.  Then he hears that UFC pays the $10,000 to the losing fighter.  So he starts training in MMA.  I mean who wouldn't lose a fight for ten grand?

I recommend it.  Both Sidda and MJ fell asleep and missed the movie, but I would've been perfectly ok with them seeing it.  It has a good story and a lot of laughs.  The language is mild and even the fighting isn't graphic.  I was happy that we stayed to watch it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I've struggled with my weight really all my adult life.  It is hard and frustrating!  There are times that I would wish I actually had a real eating issue, so I could make myself not eat and lose weight.  (Yes, I am perfectly aware of how unhealthy that is.  I've never starved myself.  Ever!)  I couldn't do it.  I have super food issues!  As is, I love to eat and it tastes good.  And because of these things I usually find myself putting food in my mouth, over and over again.

I would say that I am more of a bored eater than a comfort eater.  When I feel like I have nothing to do (which is crazy because I am constantly doing something) I tend to reach for food.  I don't reach for food for me filling food.  I want all that easy, convenient, delicious junk food.  You offer me food, if it doesn't contain mushroom or pickles there a good chance I'm going to eat it.  I just love food.

But that is not where the craziness really comes in.  What blows my mind is that today I am 21 weeks pregnant and ever since I found out I have lost 11 pounds.  I know what you're thinking....  She's had morning sickness, she can't keep any food down, that's why she's lost the weight... but you would be wrong. I have done absolutely nothing.  I have not been sick, have not thrown up a single time in this pregnancy.  I have made no effort to lose this weight, yet the 11lbs. are gone.  Crazy, right?  I have been dieting on and off for the last 10 years and have lost some and gained some but during this pregnancy I have lost weight without meaning to.  And if you really think about it, my little Anya (that's right, it's a girl!) weighs about one pound now, so that equals out to 12 lbs lost.  Full on craziness!

You can go ahead and be jealous.  I would be jealous of me too.  I am hoping to be able to continue to lose weight and make an effort at healthiness once she is born.  But for now I will enjoy the pregnancy weight loss.  It's the best diet ever!   Oh, and my doctor is not worried at all.  I've got plenty of extra poundage for Anya to feed off of, so it's all good.

And now for your enjoyment... A baby bump picture!  It's about a week old now, but I think I look about the same.

And also a picture of Michael and me.  Because I love Michael and think he's kind of awesome!

Monday, October 8, 2012


So, my boy is a girl.  Yup that's right, a girl.  This little one growing inside me I have been convinced is a boy, but nope, we are expecting girl #2 to enter our family!  I was completely surprised and excited!  Michael is so happy because he been saying since the beginning that he hoped we were having a girl.  Sidda is happy too!  There's just poor little MJ who is bummed about having another sister.  He wanted a boy to do boy things with.  I'm sure that she will want to play super heroes with him, though.

So let me introduce you to Anya Nicole, who will be joining our family some time around the end of February!

Yay!  She's a Girl!


Another profile.  Anya's hand is front of her face.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

So I have been making my own dishwasher detergent for about six months now.  And I love it!  It works better than any store bought cleaner I've ever used.  It gets my dishes clean, does not leave water spots and I believe that its cheaper than using store bought detergent (but I haven't done the math).

So I got my inspiration from a pin I found on Pinterest.  You can look at the original here.  My recipe varies slightly and I make a smaller portion at a time because I didn't want to buy a new container to put it in to.

So here are my ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Borax
  • 2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • 3 packets lemonade drink mix (for citric acid)
  • 1 bottle of LemiShine

I've heard from other blogs that a problem that many people have had is after everything is mixed together it tends to harden and then is difficult to use.  With my first batch I had the same problem.  The way I solved it was by mixing the borax and washing soda together in my food processor.  Ever since I started doing that I haven't has an issue with hardening.

So, go ahead and add borax and washing soda to food processor.  It takes less than a minute for it all to combine.

Pour it into the container you are using.  I use the last container that I had for store bought dishwasher detergent.  It came with a lid and seals.  It works perfect for me.

Add lemonade drink mix. 

Add LemiShine.

Mix together.  I know it's weird that I use a fork to do this.  It's what I use, use whatever you want, just mix it together.

And that's it, you're done.  To scoop I use an old tablespoon sized measuring spoon.  It's one tablespoon per load.  Sometimes I will put a little mix into the prewash as well.  It makes enough for around 64 loads.  Which if you do a load a day it will last over two months.  Sounds like a good deal to me!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bad Day Blessings

Yesterday I had a terrible headache.  It was probably closer to a migraine than a headache but I had an appointment to check up on our new little one so I forced myself to get up, pick up Michael from work and make the drive from Henderson to Summerlin to make it there on time.

So we got there and sat down in the waiting room where we waited for 30 minutes before being called back for the appointment.  And then we sat in the exam room for another hour and a half.  All with this terrible head pounding that was just making me want to go to bed.  Eventually a nurse came in and informed us that my doctor was called out to go deliver a baby at the hospital (which luckily is in the same parking lot as his office).  She said that the baby was almost out and he would be right back.  So we waited.  We couldn't leave and reschedule because well, I didn't want to have to make another drive across town if I didn't have to.  And so we waited.... And finally he came in.  Yay!  Finally!  Let's get this show on the road!
He told us that since we were only 12 weeks along he was going to wheel in the little ultrasound because sometimes he has a hard time catching the heartbeat with the doppler.  So in comes the machine, he puts the gel on my belly and sets the wand on me, and the picture of my baby comes on the screen.  It's clear and you can see the head, the arms and the legs and this baby is dancing.  It wiggled and kicked and moved.  Moved so much that we still had a hard time getting to hear the heartbeat, but you could see it beating away inside that little dancing body.

That moment that I got to see my new little one completely blessed my day.  Even through the migraine and two hours of waiting I got to see that tiny baby move inside of me, dancing all around before I can even begin to think about being able to feel it too.  It was a great ending to a frustrating beginning, and I will now always be able to picture that moment and it will bring a smile to my face.  I am so thankful that God gave me that moment.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First Picture

Well, here it is!  The first picture of our latest addition.  Looking at a due date of February 28, 2013!

So right there in the middle is our little bean.  Sidda and MJ are so excited!  MJ wants the baby to be here now.  It's going to be a long eight months for him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?

That's right.... I've already finished my first baby/pregnancy centered book.  Do Chocolate Lovers have Sweeter Babies? by Jena Pincott.

This is one of those books that you pick up and can't put down.  It's full of information about the process from conception to birth and the months after.  It is not written in typical pregnancy book format, but instead it is laced with the authors thoughts, questions, troubles and triumphs.  I love the way that Pincott presented the information, though some of it went right over my head. (I'm not to sciencey)  But I did my best to follow along.

Some interesting parts:

The author insists that her husband will breastfeed there daughter.  It cracks me up!  Her husband says it's never going to happen.  It's because there have been cases in the world where men have had to pick up the slack because they mother is no longer around, the food is scarce and the baby is hungry.  The men would actually start lactating.  Medically it is possible, they have all the equipment necessary, just in smaller portions that what women usually have.  What they lack is the hormones that are needed to make it happen.  But their bodies are capable of producing these hormones in extreme situations. (I do not think this is something that Michael would ever consider and it kind of grosses me out.)

Will the foods that we eat the most of during pregnancy be a favorite food of the baby?  The studies show that it could really go either way, some will love and other hate.

White people tend to have longer pregnancies than other races as a whole.  According to the studies it seems that white children take their time to show their faces somewhere between 39-41 weeks.  Where children of other races may only need 37-38 weeks.  And if the baby is of mixed race it depends on the race of the father for gestation time.

And for the chocolate:  People who eat chocolate on a regular basis tend to have kids who have a better disposition.  They are calmer.  It could be because those who ate the chocolate tended to have less stress than those who didn't, and constant stress is not good on the baby.

I do recommend this book for others.  There is so much information and written in an easy to follow manner.

Spilling the Beans

Well, whether we already told you, noticed it from my current reading list on Goodreads, saw it from the facebook posting from my mother or sister, but most likely you've heard it from Sidda (who has the biggest mouth, the most excitement, and the inability to keep things to herself) that, yes, the Abell's are expecting!  We're starting to prepare our lives for baby #3.

We are beyond excited.  I am currently around 7 weeks.  MJ wants the baby now.  Everyday he says, "When are we having the baby?"  He's excited and dreaming of twins.  He would like us to have a boy and a girl.  He is one silly kid.  That is not something that we think will be happening.  I hope that he won't be too disappointed.

Sidda says that the baby could be a boy or a girl and she will love it.  She is overjoyed to be a big sister a second time around.

Michael wants a girl.  I think it's because MJ is a little crazy and Sidda was calm as a baby.  But I know that he would also love to have another boy.

I really don't have a preference.  Some days I dream of a boy and others a girl.  I don't have any inclination one way or the other at this point.  I don't remember spending a lot of time guessing the gender in my previous pregnancies.  Maybe I did.  I'm not too sure.

But there you have it.  I hope I have cured your curiosity.  Now you can join us in our joy!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Book Review: The Serpent's Shadow

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan is the final installment of the Kane Chronicles.  We follow Carter and Sadie Kane, brother and sister as they battle Apophis the serpent who is trying to swallow the sun and their drama that comes with their teen love lives.

I was glad to finally be finished with this series.  I didn't care for it as much as I did the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.  It may be that I don't really know a whole lot about the Egyptian Gods and their personalities and the stories behind them.  It made it hard at times to know who was who and what they did and where there place was in the world of the Egypt.  I think if I was more interested in the background the story would have been more enjoyable.

The beginning of the book started off slow, as they seem to do in this series, but as it came to a close it picked up and became more interesting.  I love Riordan's style of writing.  We listen to his books on audio with Sidda and MJ who love it also.  He is very creative and has away to make old myths come alive.  I would probably give this series another go around eventually since I've started to learn the basics about the Egyptian gods.

Vacation and MJ's Birthday

Man, that boy of mine... I can't believe it but I he is four years old now.  And what better way to celebrate than to have a big ol' family vacation!?

Ok so the vacation wasn't that big, but for us it was.  We haven't had a vacation since we went to Florida two years ago.  This year we made the short drive to Southern California.  We spent the first day visiting with some family that we don't get to see a lot of.  It was wonderful just relaxing and talking and letting the kids have a good time.

Sidda is making her way on the four wheeler

Sidda showing off her skills.  She had such a great time on it!

MJ gets to take the lead.  He liked to try and run down the adults.

Michael giving the kids some help turning around.

The fire pit.  We roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores!  Yum!

The next morning.  MJ and Aunt Wanda having fun with trains!

Thanks, Aunt Wanda and Uncle Ken for having us!

After we left our relatives we headed to the beach.  The weather was beautiful unless you went in the water, which was freezing.  We spent our time digging in the sand, making sand castles and searching for shells.  Every once in a while we would venture into the waves, only to remember how cold the water was and run right back out.

Taking a break to eat lunch!

Michael has a mouthful.

There were seagulls that tried to steal out food.  Then tried to get the family next to us also.

We love the beach!

The next day was MJ's 4th birthday.  I know, I know, my baby is not allowed to be that old, but he is.  We spent the day at the San Diego Zoo.  It was beautiful and fun.  And because it was MJ's birthday a keeper there took us through one of the kitchens and showed us what some of the animals eat and then brought out an armadillo for us to pet and watch.  It was pretty awesome!  Sidda loved the bunnies in the petting zoo, MJ liked the zebras, Michael liked the rhinos and my favorite was the giraffes.

Just got to the zoo and ready to start the day!

Petting the goat that was on the rock

MJ wasn't sure he wanted to touch it

Spider Sidda going going to get Fly MJ


Here's the armadillo.  It was awesome watching it move around.

The giraffes were amazing


These kids are weirdos

Sidda is the queen of the eagle

MJ was scared but smiles anyway

Sidda loves the camera!

We went home the next day.  This vacation was so relaxing.  We didn't rush anywhere and just had a great time.  I would love to go back and do it all over again!

On the drive back to town I turned and looked at the kids and this is what I saw...

Why, yes, those are Avenger stickers on the palms and foreheads.  My kids are strange, but they are also the best.  There is never a dull moment with these two around.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Full Day for Sidda and MJ

Oh, goodness, Sidda finished kindergarten last week and what a year it's been!  I can't believe how fast these last few days flew by!  I have a video of Sidda's graduation for you.  Also, Sidda and MJ had their awards ceremony for Mpact Girls and Royal Rangers that same night, so I have pictures and videos of that too.

Sidda getting ready for graduation!
MJ and Sidda excited!  MJ loves his big sister!

Sidda's name first on the list.

Sidda's graduation walk over the bridge.  She was the first one to go.

Sidda receiving her Honor Daisy award from Mpact Girls

Sidda and all the Daisies and Ms. D her sponsor.

Sidda so excited for all her badges!  Yes that is Michael on stage dressed as a cowboy.

MJ received his badges for Rainbows

All them rainbows!  These kids are all 3-5 years old

MJ and his badges

Sidda and MJ with their rewards!  Oh and their cousin decided to pop in too!