Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Review

This post serves two purposes: First, to make up for the lack of posts in the last few months (sorry), and second, to bring the past year into perspective as we welcome another new year.

We've been blessed to spend SO much time with family this year...This is sure to be a year to remember. Not only did we make it to EVERY family reunion this summer, we also enjoyed camping and hiking as a couple at Hell's Half Acre and Table Rock (Veni. Vidi. Vici.)...we spent a weekend as beach bums with Jenny's family in Panama City, Florida (Jenny had to fly in for a business conference, and Ben got to come along!)...danced the night away at Jessica Hilton's wedding with Ben's dad, Grandma and Jason...watched the Macy's parade and decorated the Christmas tree with our nephews at Thanksgiving...bid farewell with family to Ben's mom and dad as they left for their 18-month mission in Montreal...enjoyed "real" Italian, books, Scrabble and the mountains with Jenny's grandparents at Christmas...and spent hours reading and playing Wii in our pajamas with Jenny's family over the holidays...Wow, what a year!

PLUS, Ben LICKED his first semester of pharmacy school with all A's and B's. Not to mention, we won a Halloween Costume Contest dressed as "Dr. Franken-Steinmetz and his Creation" AND a Pumpkin-Carving Contest with our "pumpkin family." And we'll never forget the excitement of kidnapping our friends, Chris and Rachel's reindeer and holding him for ransom, putting Christmas lights up on a "real" house, or exploring Atlanta this winter.

We love you all and hope you enjoy this slideshow of this year's most exciting moments:


P.S. Oh, and just so you know, we're taking care of Ben's parents' house while they're on a mission. We sent Christmas cards with our new temporary address, but if you need it, feel free to call or Facebook us. Here's the front of our Christmas card, in digital form:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ode to the Higginbothams

Jenny's cousin Alan and his wife Crystal used to live only a minutes away from us, but moved to Georgia a couple of months ago. We've really missed them, and so this is an ode to their memory (a poetic team effort by Ben and Jenny). We're sorry if it doesn't make sense to anyone but Alan and Crystal.

Alan and Crystal,
Oh, how we've missed all
Those Family Dinners
And Sequence 2-out-of-3 winners
But, most of all, Baby Hailey.

We've missed hanging out,
And watching MacGyver break out
Of a Russian insane asylum
With a toothpick and some chewing gum
But, most of all, Baby Hailey.

Our hearts will go on
like the Celine Dion song,
And your friendship will always be
Some of the best bar-b-q company
But, most of all, Baby Hailey.

We regret that we never took pictures,
Of our many adventures
But we'll always treasure the memories
Because we love the Higgy's
And, most of all, Baby Hailey.

We love you Alan, Crystal and Baby Hailey!

Love,
Ben & Jenny


Monday, July 20, 2009

Of Families and Family Reunions

4 family reunions + 3 states + 2 cross-continental flights = 1 once-in-a-lifetime vacation

Well, I've never been very good at math, but I'd say that adds up about right. And did I mention that all four family reunions were within a three-week time-span?

Our family-reunion spree started out with a bang at an overnight campout in Southeastern Idaho for the Gneiting Family (Ben's Mom), complete with s'mores and a weiner roast. We even got family reunion t-shirts (very family-reunionish)! We wished we could have worn them for longer than two hours; we had to leave in the middle of the potluck lunch and frog-eye salad to catch our flight (in our non-showered, camp-firy-smelling condition) to Atlanta.

The very next day, my parents hosted a more in-doorsy reunion at my home in Georgia for my mom's side of the family (the Borg Family). I can't quite describe it in words. Lots of sound effects come to mind. Lots of kids, lots of food and lots of riotous laughter. Funny stories are a must for every Borg family get-together.

Our travels continued to northern Georgia, where we spent a few days at my grandparent's farm. A big part of the family (the Jenkins Family) came from Indiana and Alabama to join us for the Fourth of July. Jenkins family reunions are a little different from Borg family reunions. Most Jenkins are reading or fishing alone (and sometimes in pairs), rather than talking or eating in one big group. But as long as you're within a half-mile radius, you're considered a part of the reunion. Except for Sunday's sermon; that's when everyone gets to see who's at the reunion.

The last reunion was the Steinmetz family reunion in Utah, which was made up mainly of different varieties of jello and potato salads, wooden picnic tables at the state park, and picture-taking. I took my little nephews on lots of walks, threw lots of big rocks into the river (life doesn't get any better than that for little boys) and took them on canoe rides on the lake, too. Grandma brought an enormous bag of candy, which was quite possibly the second-best part.

We feel pretty lucky. We wonder if we'll ever be able to make it to all four family reunions again (in the same year). We'll probably have to rotate or something. Anyway, I wish we had taken more pictures.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fishing, too!

We went fishing at Henry's Lake in Island Park for Memorial Day. This is one of the smaller minnows we reeled in that day.














Camping in a Blanket Fort



We love camping! I'm sure after reading "Hell's Half Acre" you must think we're pretty hardcore campers, but we decided this time to camp where we knew we wouldn't get lost. So we went camping in Ben's parents' basement.

Ben's parents' basement is HUGE; the den itself is large enough to fit a trampoline and a 6 man tent (not that we've tried). It was the perfect place to build a blanket fort, and we built quite an expansive blanket fort with four rooms, two hallways and a front "porch." We camped in it for two days, and even had s'mores (we "roasted" them in the microwave in the kitchen upstairs) and made a "campfire" (in the gas fireplace in the basement).

If you're the type who can't live without climate control or showers, we highly recommend this method of camping. It's 100% dirt and bug free.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hell's Half Acre

If you'd call wandering in darkness and confusion hell, then Hell's Half Acre is appropriately named. Get ready for a story.

We went camping a few weeks ago at Hell's Half Acre. After setting up camp we decided to take a hike. Because there was only another hour or so of sunlight, we decided that we didn't have enough time to follow the marked trail; so, we would just make a quick loop and circle back to our camp before the sun set.

By the way, Hell's Half Acre is over 125 square miles of lava rock and sagebrush.

After twenty minutes of marveling at interesting lava formations, taking pictures and climbing in and out of large crevices, we decided the remaining half hour of sunlight would best be put to use by hiking the short 60 yards or so back to our camp.

Suddenly all of the interesting lava formations looked exactly the same.

"Hey, look, there's that cave we saw before we climbed on that big rock."

"No, that's not the big rock we climbed on, that's the big rock we climbed on."

"Then that's not the same cave we saw."

"Wait, maybe it's that big rock."


Before long, the sun had set and we still hadn't found our camp. We wandered for over an hour in the darkness. Luckily, it was a warm night and we had a flashlight! It might have been exciting to spend the night in the desert under the stars, but the thought of the hot dogs and s'mores waiting for us back at our camp was more thrilling than our adventure at that present moment.

We decided to pray, and we were relieved to find a road-like path that led us to where we could see the lights going by on the highway about a half a mile away. We knew that there was a dirt road off the highway that led to our camp, so we headed for the headlights.

The path eventually ended, but we could still see the headlights of the cars passing every so often. We finally reached it, and walked along the highway for about a mile before we came to the dirt road that led to our campsite, another mile off the highway. Only 4 or 5 cars passed us the entire time, but those drivers must have been wondering if we had taken our leisurely night-time stroll a little too far.

But the stars and moon were bright, and we made it back to our campsite by curfew with battery-power to spare. What a hike!

(The next morning we took the marked hike that we had avoided the night before and found it a great deal more enjoyable. Here are pictures!)

"I killed this tree with my bare hands!"

"This is a big lava flow!"

The Great Divide

"I see you!"

P.S. The adventures didn't end when we found our way back to our camp. Boy, were we starved! But not a single match in the 250-count box would light. The cigarette lighter in our car didn't make a spark, either. And, by the way, NEVER try to start a campfire with jumper cables. Just don't.

So we drove 20 miles to town, bought a lighter at the Maverick convenience store, drove back, and had hot dogs and smores for dinner around midnight.

The next morning, a large bird attacked our tent and we found beer cans in our campfire. We don't drink beer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Firm a Foundation

On Sunday, we sang "How Firm a Foundation" as members of the choir at the CES Fireside with Elder David A. Bednar, which was broadcasted from the BYU - Idaho campus to college-age members of the Church around the world. Can you find Ben in this screen capture?



http://lds.org/move/index.html?type=ces&event=1&lang=english

Follow the link above to see us singing in the choir! We sang at the beginning of the program, so it's not too far into the broadcast. You might also have to download a quick and easy installation to run the video.

I really enjoyed Elder Bednar's words! At the Fireside, Elder Bednar counseled young adults to beware of the false realities of online media. Truth, he taught, is things as they really are. Truth is eternal. Often, the "reality" that we experience online is far from truth, or things as they really are. Therefore, we should avoid spending too much time chatting, gaming, and living out our lives "virtually," which would seperate us not only from the company of those we love, but from the influence of the Lord's Spirit, who is the voice of truth. (He also taught that we should use technology for the benefit of others, to share truth and promote the influence of the Spirit, which testifies of Christ.)

Since Ben and I originally met on Facebook, I told Ben after the Fireside that I thought Elder Bednar had to be right; Ben is much better in real life than on Facebook. It's truth eternal!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Takin' a Spring Break

We LOVE Rachel and her kids (and Glen, too). They stayed at Mom and Dad's for Spring Break, and we basically partied for 10 days straight. Well, maybe not, but we did go mini-golfing, explored a cool rock formation at the park, jumped on the trampoline, had two barbeques, went to the "Titanic" exhibit at the Museum of Idaho (with Alan, Crystal and baby Haley Higginbotham, too...Jared LOVES baby Haley), "fondued" several varieties of fruit and finger foods, and played "Joseph Smith Jeopardy" (Rachel and Jenny dominated in Final Jeopardy).

We also learned a cool song about cleaning your room (Boo-wa-wa-wa-wa), and I gained the supernatural ability to transform into whatever character or animal my two-year-old nephew, Jaron, had in mind. Thus, I was "Sharpteeth Jenny" (the T-Rex from the Land Before Time), "Pirate Jenny," "Doggie Jenny," "Tiger Jenny," " Lion Jenny," and "Snake Jenny." When we weren't pretending, I was just "My Jenny" to Jaron. :)

Here are some pictures of our escapades; Rachel is the talented photographer:




Friday, April 24, 2009

The Aquarium

I visited the Aquarium in Draper, Utah with my sister-in-law Lisa, her two-year-old Ammon, my sister and brother-in-law Rachel and Glen, and their two kids Jaron and Noah. Even though Ammon was saying, "Scary! Scary!" it was actually fascinating! First of all, the Aquarium was an old grocery store with an extreme-marine-makeover; the murals and floor art and exhibits were perfectly crafted to give you the feeling that you were visiting the Little Mermaid's home at the bottom of the sea...dark and wet and strange...almost like another world. And, the variety among their exhibits was surprising. We saw everything from anacondas to electric eels (you could even touch the exhibit to feel the "shock" of the eel) to poisonous tree frogs to octupi and stingrays and sharks. I even got to pet a stingray!



"Scary! Scary!"



Jaws!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Way to go, Idaho!

So, the moment we've all been waiting for....literally....for months, I felt like a broken record, telling everyone, "If we get into ISU..." "If we get into ISU..." and, lo and behold, we did!!! We got the letter yesterday and celebrated with Martinelli's sparkling cider.

This acceptance letter means that in the next couple of weeks we'll be choosing between a doctorate in pharmacy at ISU or a PhD in chemistry at either BYU or University of Utah. Stay tuned...!

- Jenny and Ben

If our blog is boring, I'm sorry...

For the past nine months of our marriage, I have neglected our blog under the notion that since we're just newlyweds and we don't have any kids who do cute stuff, our blog wouldn't be interesting enough for anyone to want to check it out. My sister-in-law put me straight when she told me frankly, "There's a whole life to live before you have kids."

This statement had two major effects: I resolved to do better to make the most of my newlywed time in life, and I made this blog. I've discovered that making a blog is actually pretty entertaining; in fact, it's alot more fun than Facebook! It's become a sort of hobby over the past couple of weeks, and I've even made a personal blog for sharing my family history discoveries with my Mom and family.

And so, in advance, I apologize for neglecting my Facebook even more than before (...it's just not that much fun, and I've never really been that into it...I use it strictly for convenience...) and I apologize if our blog is boring and you absolutely have no interest in wedding pictures or lovenests or other newlywed experiences. Visit later when we have cute kids who do cute stuff.

- Jenny

Our Lovenest

Everyone seemed anxious (especially my mom) to see how our little lovenest turned out, which I actually think is quite lovely (though small), especially with all of the nice gifts we received for our wedding. Take a "virtual tour" on Facebook at (you don't need a Facebook profile):

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2101121&id=193300811&l=cca48354bd

- Jenny

Adventures as Newlyweds in Yellowstone

We spent our honeymoon in Island Park, a beautiful, green paradise in the mountains and hills of Southeastern Idaho. Island Park is only a few minutes' drive from Yellowstone, where we spent a whole day enjoying the wildlife and outdoor wonders, including colorful hotpools and geisers, bottomless abysses, roaring waterfalls and smelly buffalo.

Our Facebook album shows a few of these wonders (you can access this link even if you don't have a Facebook profile):

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2101116&id=193300811&l=46902758df

The Wedding Photos!

We hope that all of you enjoyed our wedding blog! Our blog has been relocated and renamed to reflect our new life together. And speaking of, check out the wedding photos at this link:

http://share.shutterfly.com/view/flashShareSlideshow.jsp?sid=0AbMXLhu1asWTm4