Monday, December 21

The Christmas Spirit

I thought that all of you could use a little christmas reminder. May it help to take some of the commercialism out of the Holiday.

The Christmas Spirit

My Little Princess

Jolee is so much fun. I love to hear her squeel with joy and coo and laugh. Tonight I layed on the floor next to her and she looked over with this huge grin. The next thing I know she is attempting to crawl on top of me!! I helped her up and she had a ball on top of Dad. She soon discovered that she could get on to the couch from me and found the remote and started pushing buttons. I took that one away and she found the TV remote, then a Christmas card, then another Christmas card. It was soooo much fun.

The scores are in...

Well folks the scores are in and the un-official tallies have been distributed. The verdict.... I PASSED!!!! As some of you are aware I took two of the three certification tests need to teach using my full degree. This occured on the 21 of November. After a grueling 8 hours of testing and 200 multiple choice with 4 essays and a months wait, I passed the professional knowledge test and the subject knowledge for Special Education. I will be taking the elementary education test within the next couple of months. That is not important. The important thing is that when I graduate I will be able to start teaching immediately, well at least as soon as I get a job! YEA for me!!

Sunday, December 20

A girl and her doggy

When did our dog becoming Jolee's dog? One of Jolee's favorite things to do is stare at Chonkiri. Anytime he barks, she is instantly looking for him and trying to see what he is doing. If I am holding her when he is around, she will reach and crane her neck until she can see him. She will even try to push us out of the way. She loves going outside and watching him play. Chonkiri's favorite thing to do is try to lick Jolee (which is so on the NOT okay list). He gets so excited whenever she is around. I am definately up for some serious trouble when Jolee is old enough to play with him. I can already see them working together to get into anything that they are not supposed to.

Pulling Up

Another first. Jolee has now pulled herself up to standing three or four times by reaching up and grabbing onto the couch. She does this more when I am sitting on the couch. I am so amazed at how quickly my little girl is growing up.

My talking little girl!

About a week or so ago Jolee said her first word... Mama! I am so proud of her. She was babbling with Randy and keep saying "mmm" "mmmm" and then Randy said "momma" and so Jolee clenched her little fists made a very serious face and said "mmm" "mmaa" "mama." Since then she now says mama all the time, but mostly when she gets angry and wants me to pick her up right this second. I love it :) It is definately because of me that "mama" was her first word. I replaced all of the words to the songs I sing to her with "mom." For example, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Start" is "Mom-mom, Mom-mom, Mommy Mom." We are now changing the songs over to "dad" so that Randy can enjoy her calling for him too. His favorite thing about her saying "mom" is that I am more than willing to take her when she is cranky because she is "calling me."

Thursday, December 17

Merry Christmas

Since our christmas cards are starting to arrive at thier destinations I will go ahead and post our news letter. I hope each and every one of you have a very merry christmas and a wonderful new year filled with happy memories.

Dear family and friends,

It is hard to believe that another two years has flown by. Where has the time gone? So much has happened that we hope we remember to share it all.

Two years ago Randy found a job that had room for advancement and better pay. He quit Table Talk after about three years and started working for ShopNatural Food Coop. He was the shipping and receiving coordinator and warehouse assistant manager. This position only lasted a brief 6 months when the company went bankrupt and they had to close their doors after 30 plus years of serving Tucson. But, it all worked out. He was planning on quitting at the beginning of the coming year to attend school and was able to keep working until December. In January, he started school full time for the first time since 2000, yikes. While he was attending Pima Community College in the Interpreter Training Program for Sign Language, he learned of a new program that was going to be starting in the fall of 2008. Northern Arizona University was expanding their distance learning site here in Tucson to include a dual major certification program. The program certifies teachers in elementary education from kindergarten through eighth grades and special education from kindergarten through twelfth grade. He applied and passed the interview process to begin. Being the first cohort, everything didn’t always go smoothly, but it all worked out in the end. The good news is that NAU’s main campus is revamping their dual certification program to make it run more like the one here in Tucson from the suggestions of Randy’s class. Randy will be doing his student teaching beginning in January and will graduate on May 7th 2009. Randy is looking forward to starting his teaching career.

Sarah graduated December 2007 and continued to work at the Veterans’ Hospital here in Tucson, but now as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She is working on gaining more and more experience and on becoming a valuable member of the ICU team. She has been working full time while Randy has been going to school and she loves it. She recently switched from working a day schedule to working nights. Surprise, surprise, she thoroughly enjoys living like a bat! Sarah looks forward to changing to part-time when Randy graduates.

The most important and wonderful occurrence in the past two years was the birth of our beautiful daughter, Jolee Sarah Swann, this May. Using self hypnosis and a water birth, Sarah was able to give birth to a healthy 9lb 5oz little girl naturally without the use of any medications (one of Sarah’s super goals)! Sarah describes this as the most wonderful and life-altering event to ever bless our family. Jolee is named after three of her grandmothers; JoAnn (Sarah’s mom), LeAnn (Randy’s mom), and Sarah (Sarah’s grandmother, who she is also named after). Jolee is growing so quickly that Mom and Dad are continually amazed. She babbles constantly and loves to have conversations with her parents (although we are unsure what she is saying). She scoots where ever she desires, rolls (especially during diaper changes), sits on her own, rocks on her hands and knees, and has even tried to pull herself up to standing using the couch. One of her favorite activities is bouncing in her jumper (she has amazingly strong legs for a 6 month old). She has a heart winning smile and giggles and laughs constantly. She recently learned how to imitate coughing causing her GramE (Grandma Ellsworth) to laugh hysterically; she will close her eyes, stick out her tongue, give a tiny cough, and then quickly look to make sure she has made you laugh, so cute. She truly is the light of our family and we love her dearly.

Randy and Sarah continue to be very active at church. Randy is now serving in the young men’s working with the 12-13 year olds. Sarah is now planning and coordinating meetings for Relief Society (the women’s group) and coordinating service for families during crisis, celebration, sickness, etc. Thus, we both stay very busy. Both Sarah and Randy continue to sing in the choir and their knees are shaking as they prepare for a duet for Christmas. These two years have been exceedingly blessed and brimming with happiness. We love each of you and wish you a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to 2010!

Randy, Sarah, and Jolee Swann

Wednesday, November 25

Off to the Park

We had a great time on Veteran's Day at the park with the Romneys and the Andersons. Jolee slept on during the walk there, but she woke up and had fun playing and tasting a carrot and watching the other kids play. Thanks for inviting us!

A trip to Mesa

We drove up to Mesa for a quick get away, the plan was to visit my mom who was planning on coming down to Mesa, but unfortunately plans were canceled for her and she needed someone to stay in the hotel that she had already paid for, do-do-do Swann family to the rescue. We stayed at the Mesa-Phoenix Marriott, which was rather nice.  
Jolee really enjoyed getting to roll all over the king sized soft and comfy bed.
But what she loved the most was chewing up the breakfast menu that they leave in the room, until I realized that she was actually chewing pieces off and took it away and fished little pieces of paper out of her mouth.

While we were in Mesa, we took the opportunity to go to the temple. I absolutely love the peace and joy that permeates my heart when I am in God's house. While we were at the temple, my wonderful Aunt Valerie took on the job of Jolee watcher. Thank-you so much Aunt Val! When we went to pick her up, my cousin Matt dropped by. I love getting to see family!

We also dropped by my Grandma Ellsworth's home, which is always a treat. I ended up getting a really cute movie of Jolee and her Great Grandma playing. The day before we came down to Mesa was Grandma's 82nd birthday! We took her out to dinner and had so much fun talking and laughing. We love you Grandma!

All in all it was a great trip, the only trouble came when we were driving home. We hit stop and go traffic outside of Casa Grande and our car over heated. We had to be towed to a mechanic in Casa Grande. It turns out that the fan motor had died and thus in stop and go traffic, the engine over heated. Because it was a cool day, the mechanic said that we could drive the car home as long as we didn't hit stop and go traffic and that the wind from driving would keep the engine cool. We got home and Randy was able to go to the dealer and get the part we needed (a dealer only part). We were so blessed that the problem was relatively small and easy to fix.  It was definately worth it and we had a great tine and can't wait to get to go up again.

Wednesday, October 7

A Month of Pictures

Wow, half a month has gone by since I have updated, where does the time go? Jolee had her 4 month check up on Monday. She is 25.5 inches long and 15lbs. I am amazed at how quickly she grows. It seems only yesterday that she was born. She has been teething and she got 3 shots during her check up so she has been really cranky. She is finally starting to feel better today (hurray). I have not slept much because I have been so busy with helping her feel better. She is definitely worth it. Well here are the pictures and updates...

Jolee loves to play here, she will bat at the toys at her hands and kick the ball at her feet. It is so fun to watch!
I gave her this toy phone/rattle and she instantly turned it sideways and started chewing. She actually had it in her mouth with her hands down, but once I got the camera out, she reached up to try to grab it out of her mouth so I wouldn't get evidence of her cuteness. She was clearly too slow.
Jolee in her jumper. She looks like she is doing some kickboxing in this picture.
Jolee had her first picnic at the park.
She still hasn't decided what all the fuss was about.
After the picnic we went for a walk around the park. Here she is by the lake, this lake is from a natural warm spring, I think it is the only one in Tucson. Our own little oasis in the desert.
Randy loved this park of the walk because the mesquite trees grew over the path and made a tunnel. It kinda made us forget that we were in the middle of the city.
Randy had a good time too. What a great view of the mountains.
By the end of the walk, Jolee was fast asleep, too much excitement for one time.
She woke up in a great mood as we were leaving. (Another pic of me wearing my new glasses).
Mommy helped Jolee play hide and seek with Daddy. He had a hard time finding her until she started cooing.
I love this smile of hers. She looks so cute, but so mischievous.
Working on chewing her fingers.
Too cute.
More jumper pictures. Randy had accidentally put the jumper chain up to high and so he stacked the books up so Jolee could jump. I laughed and laughed when I came out of the bedroom to see this.
Jolee liked watching me laugh. I guess I was pretty entertaining to her too.
Mid bounce
Snoozing after too much time playing.
We finally finished a package for my brother, Russell, in Russia. Here is Jolee inspecting it for shipping.
"I think this corner is secure, just let me check real quick."
"It tastes like it is sealed properly."
Bright blue beautiful eyes! Mommy and Daddy are smitten with just one look.
Jolee also loves to play with her hands. Hey, they are toys that go anywhere.
More time in the jumper. Jolee spends a few hours every day jumping. It is definitely one of her favorite things to do.
Pretty in blue too!
I love this grin!
This is what Jolee wore to go with Daddy to priesthood session of General Conference (see for information about General Conference). She is a heart stealer!
"Mirror mirror in my hand, who is the fairest baby in the land." "You better say Jolee or I am going to lick you."
"Well, I will lick you anyways just because I can!"