Cardy surprised me tonight with an early Christmas present. I couldn't be happier...she's the most adorable thing I've ever seen!

Now we just have to pick a name! Any suggestions??? She's a spunky little thing but sweet as can be.


Holiday Parties

I absolutely love the holiday season and I especially love holiday parties. Every other year, Cardy's sisters plan a Godina family Christmas party. It's a huge get together for Cardy's massive extended family. Both sides of the family are invited and friends are always included. If you know Cardy's family or have had the chance to attend a Godina family function you know that they are a riot. This family loves each other and they will jump at the chance to celebrate any event together.

We also recently celebrated Beermas with our friends. Beermas is a holiday party hosted by Marcus in which everyone comes dressed in their most fantastic...or ugliest...Christmas garb and drinks beer to celebrate the holidays. Last year Cardy and I struggled to find actual sweaters with any sort of Christmas motif but we did our best with our last minute planning. This year I was little more prepared and I knew where to shop. Lucky for us, we were able to find matching sweaters (well, they were actually sweatshirts) and I thought we looked adorable. I was actually quite impressed with several of the Christmas sweaters at the party - people really out did themselves this year.

Last week my Bunco group met at Ann's house for some Christmas bunco. I love getting together with friends before the holidays


Stick a fork in me.

So far this holiday season has started out quite marvelously. A few weeks before Thanksgiving we celebrated "Fakesgiving" dinner with several of our friends. Fakesgiving, as it's named, is the precursor to Thanksgiving and is always amongst good friends. We've been lucky enough to attend this event the last 2 years. Marcus organized the evening and we all signed up for our best dish to share.  This year John & Katie were our gracious hosts. Katie did a fabulous job seating 20+ people in her house, beautiful table settings and all. I was impressed to see how many amazing dishes were prepared by everyone. We had everything from a charcoal grilled, bacon wrapped turkey (thanks Mike & Cameron) to homemade macaroni & cheese to a pumpkin trifle. Everybody truly brought it!

Our actual Thanksgiving dinner took place at my mom & dad's (sorry, no pictures). We had fun celebrating in the new house, it makes me excited for Christmas! My mom is a great cook and I always love when she offers Thanksgiving at her house. We had a great dinner (of course) and I brought a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. After dinner, I napped (thankfully!) and then we went home and watched the Broncos...yay for a win (also thankful)!


I will not have a breakdown. I won't, I won't, I won't.

No, I'm not going to go all Britney Spears on everyone. No breakdowns for me, I don't have time. As many of you know, I'm working three jobs right now and am finding myself busier than I've ever been. Why three jobs, you ask? Actually this is the most FAQ I've been getting lately and honestly my best response is, "i don't know?" People think I'm crazy. My friend Alex says I'm the only person in America right now with the dilema of having too many jobs. Very true. While the unemployment rate continues to climb, I'm juggling three work schedules and keeping my hours in check. My other friend, Ashley, says she's just waiting for me to have a breakdown. I know she doesn't mean this rudely but more out of concern for my well being. My mom feels the same way. She keeps asking if I'm okay and what she can do to help me out. I'm fortunate to have so many friends who care about me.

For those of you who don't understand why I work three jobs or just think I'm plain old crazy - I'm going to break it down for you.

Job #1: Rheumatology Research Coordinator. This is job #1 because it's my first priority. It's the big cheese, my career, my "real" job. This is my full time job at the University of Utah and it's where the majority of my income comes from. I love this job and find it so rewarding.

Job #2: Pottery Barn. I call this job #2 because I've worked for PB part time for the last 6 years. It's a great little job & it's my "fun" job. The reason I can actually work 3 jobs is because of my very lenient PB schedule. I typically work only 1-2 days a week (and sometimes not at all). My shifts are short and I have a fun time while I'm there. Plus, let's not forget my incredible discount which at the end of the day, makes it TOTALLY worth it!

Job #3: Givenchy. My newest job. I started fragrence modeling this summer when a friend of mine hooked me up with this sweet little job. I'm a vendor for the line and we are contracted with Dillards and Macys to have our product in their department stores. My job is make sure the store has the products and the tools they need to sell the fragrence. I also spend several hours in the store luring customers to buy my product over others. Yes, I'm the girl spritzing the cards and handing them to you as you walk by. You may be annoyed with me but you may also find a new perfume for your collection. This is a very easy job for the money and who couldn't use extra income these days?

Honestly, I think I'm doing okay. Pottery Barn would like me to increase my hours for the holidays and my boss from Givenchy pulled a fast one on me and scheduled me 40 hours a week during December (which I politely refused). Luckily I know how to take care of myself. I know when enough is enough. I'm having to rely more on Cardy than ever. I don't think he loves his "honey do" lists I leave him but he's pretty good about completing them. Lately he's even been doing a few extras around the house which I appreciate (now if I could only get him to cook).  I find if I do small things for myself and recognize when I need a break - whether it's a one hour nap, a pedicure with a friend, or dinner with Cardy - I think I'll get through this holiday season unscathed.


Home Improvement

We love the newness of our townhouse but even being brand new comes the home improvements that make a house a home.
This week we added cabinets in our laundry room, hung directly over our washer and dryer. We have high ceilings so cabinets were a perfect option to take up some of the crazy wall space. It also helped alleviate a huge storage problem we seem to have in that room. Our laundry room also doubles as a pantry and as fun as it is to have your Bounce sheets and Clorox next to the flour & sugar...well, you get the idea. I'm so excited about the new cabinets and Cardy did a fantastic job building and hanging (thank you Ikea for the millions of tiny parts), I'm pretty sure we can hang from these babies.

Getting close!

Finished product



This months Bunco party was extra special. With the date so close to Halloween - why not dress up? Marissa & Heather hosted our Halloween Bunco Party in a really cool barn. When I first heard we would be playing in a barn, I was thinking we would be sitting on hay bales, rolling dice next to cows and sheep. Not so. This barn was more like special venue with a slight barn motif - it was such a neat building. I would have taken more pictures of it but it was huge (and it was pitch black outside).
Everyones costumes were great - pregnant rocker chick, Mrs. Peacock, vampires, witches and a whoopee cushion, just to name a few. Ashley and I had been planning our costume for quite some time. After Halloween last year, I came up with the idea of going as dice (bunco...dice game...get it?). So I could not wait for Halloween this year to make our costumes. Ashley and I were black dice with pink dots and although our dice did not show a bunco when we stood together, we still looked pretty cool.
Marissa & Heather, fabulous job!


The Big Move

I am filled with so many emotions as I write this post. This past month has been a whirlwind of excitement, anticipation, hoping & wishing, and true happiness.

Excitement: for my mom, who after many years of searching finally found exactly what she was looking for

Anticipation: the time and stress it took for everything to finally come together

Hoping & Wishing: fingers crossed that everything fell into place

True Happiness: for my parents who deserve this!

Just recently, my parents sold their home of 34 years and purchased a new house. 34 Years! I can hardly believe it. It was the first home they bought right after they were married, it's the home they've raised both my brother and me in until we were grown and gone. It's the cutest house on the street and the new owners are the luckiest people to have such a well lived in, well loved, and well cared for home.

I have so many amazing memories of our Bryan Avenue house. When I think back to when I was young, I think to myself..."I must have had the best childhood ever." My neighborhood was full of kids mine and my brothers age and we played & played until my mom would whistle from the front porch letting us know it was time to come home. We had clubs and forts and nicknames for everyone. We were the Bryan Avenue Bulldogs (or at least that's what we called ourselves). I had amazing neighbors, many of whom are still close friends to this day. My next door neighbors raised me like a grandchild and I am forever indebted to them. Even my cute friend, Katherine, who I grew up with, sent me a list of fun memories she had of the two of us in my house (thanks kath).

This week was a little sad for me as everything has been moved out and the house is sitting empty waiting for it's new owners. I walked around from room to room yesterday wanting to look in all the closets and all of the drawers- not to forget one nook or cranny. I'm a little surprised at how emotional I've been this week thinking about the Bryan Avenue house. I guess it never dawned on me I might not ever walk through the front door again.

Although I'm sad to see my childhood house sold, I'm really happy for my parents who bought an amazing house. Their new house is in Holladay and it's beautiful. It's on a really neat street right next to Wheeler Farm. They are excited about the move and their new house and I am just as excited for them. They deserve it!



Who'd a thought???

Here's what 5-0 looks like in our house.

(The socks are throwbacks to celebrate the AFLs 50th anniversary. Believe it or not, those are the original Denver colors from 1960.)

Mile High Magic

Last weekend, Cardy and I took a little road trip to Denver to see the Broncos play the Cowboys. Our friends Devon & Caroline drove with us and my friend, Jessica, flew in from California for the game. Cardy and I were the only Broncos fans of the group but it's not very often these two teams play each other so we couldn't pass up an opportunity to all route for our favorite teams under one roof...(okay, there's no roof on the stadium, but you catch my drift).
Our weekend started out with an 8 hour drive to Denver. I do not like road trips, I repeat: I do not like road trips. However, I must admit, this drive is slightly better than the one to Reno. The most noteworthy event of the drive was getting pounded with bales of hay in Rock Springs when some D-bag farmer took a right hand turn too quickly. Only in Rock Springs.

Once in Denver, we stayed in a fun area called Cherry Creek. Lots of shopping, good restaurants, & Shot Gun Willies...what more could we ask for?

On game day, we all rode the train to the stadium and made it with plenty of time to gawk at all the tailgaters and other crazy fans. I was amazed at how many Cowboys fans were attending the game. On the way in, Jess and Caroline had their faces painted to show their true team spirit. Cardy and I were already decked in full Broncos paraphernalia, Bronco head and all. Cute Jessica made us a Broncos logo fleece blanket and had carried it on the plane from Cali. She's a great friend (even though she is a Cowboy's fan). The weather was perfect for football, the planets must have been aligned and I think that God must be a Broncos fan this year because in the end (and it came down to the very end) WE WON! Totally unexpected for our team this year. 4-0. I was hoping and praying the entire way down that we could somehow pull it off because I know how disappointed Cardy would've been had we lost while we were in attendance. It would've made for a miserable ride home.
Oh wait...we did have a miserable ride home. No, it wasn't listening to Devon sobbing from the back seat but rather the fog/freezing rain/snow/black ice we hit just 1 hour out side of Denver. Our nice, sweet little 8 hour jaunt quickly turned into a 13 and a half hour ride home. Cardy was such a trooper, driving 95% of the way, all through the night. Next year...we fly. Despite the long drive to and from, we had an amazing time, the Broncos win was just the cherry on top.


We're leaving for Denver tomorrow. The Broncos are playing the Cowboys and we must see it in all its glory. Mile High...here we come!


Dear Fall, I'm so happy to see you. I know you just got here but I really want you to stay a while.

Dear Spiders, You are not welcome in my house.

Dear Healthy Choice Fudge Bars, You are the yummiest (& healthiest treat) I've had in a long time.

Dear Car, Wash yourself.

Dear Gym, I'll see you in a while. I'm going to play outside more- before it's too late!

Dear TJ Maxx, See you tomorrow for our weekly visit.

Dear Fantasy Football team, Please stop sucking...pretty please.

Dear Cutest husband, I love you. You can be a messy little thing but I still love ya.


To: My love...these two years have gone by too fast

Two years. That's how long Cardy and I have been married. Tuesday was our wedding anniversary and I'm so amazed at how fast these last couple of years have already gone by. The last two years have been incredible, life has thrown a couple curve balls, but together we're happy. Cardy keeps me laughing daily and no matter how our day goes I know he is here to hold me at night. I can't imagine my life without him and although we've been together as a couple for many, many years, I truly cherish the bonds and memories we've created as a married couple.

On Tuesday I can home to flowers and champagne. We had found some leftover champagne from our wedding and decided to hang on to it for our anniversary. The traditional two year gift is cotton. Yes, cotton...weird, I know. Although I would be thrilled with new bedding, towels and clothes (googled suggestions), I knew Cardy wouldn't. Amazingly enough we both came up with creative ways to use the bag of cotton balls from the bathroom drawer. Before I left for work (I'm up waaayyy before Cardy) I made a cotton ball trail from the bed, all the way down the stairs, and into the kitchen where I left him a little love note and a gift. When I came home from work and saw my flowers, Cardy had made a heart on the table out of cotton balls. Later that night we went downtown and completed our celebration at Donovan's Steak House where we scored Kyle Korver's personal table!
It was a fabulous day. I love having the day to celebrate us and our love for each other. That cute Cardy....he's a keeper!


It's Game Time

Our fantasy football draft 2009 just happened. 9 guys & me. I actually feel pretty honored and proud they all consider me knowledgeable and legit enough to play in the big leagues (or maybe it's because I feed them really good food on Draft Day?). I'm excited about my team this year, I think I'm competitive. I'm playing Cardy for week 1 - we're calling it Godina Bowl 2K9.


My plan is to paint this accent wall this weekend or next. I've been wanting to do it for some time now but just haven't gotten around to it. I've been debating back & forth on colors, mulling over fandecks, paint samples and home decor magazines relentlessly.
Lucky for me- my dad owns a paint manufacturing business so getting the paint is not big deal, it's deciding on a freakin' color. We're having a difference of opinion in my house because I'm in love with green and my vote is the chartreuse. Cardy thinks we already have too much green in our house and votes for an orange shade(think autumn, pumpkiny, carrot cakey in a desert sort of orange shade). He wants something that "pops" and I say what pops more than bright green???? (The gold mine is still a little too orange for me, I've found a few others that are a little darker and a little more muted.)
What do you think?


Mile High, Here We Come

They're here! They arrived in the mail this week & I'm sooo excited!
6 tickets the Denver Broncos Game #4 at Mile High Stadium.


Devon & Caroline, Rob & Jessica, and Cardy & I are all going. I can't wait!!! I love football but more importantly...I love the Broncos.


"Would you like to try our newest men's fragrance?"

Yep. I'm that girl.

This is job # 3 of 3. Crazy you say? I'm starting to think so.

I've always been the type of person who likes to stay busy. Back in college I went to school full time, worked part time at the hospital, and had lots of little side jobs - not to mention, I volunteered once a week too. I'm no stranger to the "full plate."

I've kept my full time job in research (job #1) because I love it and it's what I've made my career out of (did I just say career???) and of course I could never give up my job at Pottery Barn (job #2), it's just too much fun and my discount is so unbelievably addicting! So along comes fragrance (job #3). My friend, Jasna, from the University is a sales rep for a couple different fragrance lines and I've helped her out in the past during department store events (in which I was paid in tester size bottles of perfume). Last month, Jasna approached me and asked if I would like to become a rep for the Givenchy line. My response was "ummm, thanks but no thanks" but then she enticed me with few but very flexible hours and surprisingly great pay. My mind was telling me "don't do it" & "how are you going to juggle all this" as my mouth was telling her "sounds like fun!"

This is my third week and so far so good. It has been a juggling act and Cardy is none to happy with me. Ultimately he would like me to work only one job but if I must fill every slot of the day working, he'd prefer it only be with two. I'm glad to have a husband who enjoys having me around as much as possible.

Currently I'm at the fragrance counter at the Macy's in Valley Fair Mall so if you're ever in the area (because I know so many of you can't wait to hit up the amazing shopping at VFM ::wink, wink::), stop by and see if I'm hanging out.

My first day.


Busy, busy, busy

Hi All.
I hate that I haven't posted anything lately. This has been a busy summer and time seems to get away from me, especially at night which is when I typically blog. Here's what we've been up to lately - I'll explain more in detail in a few posts to come:
- New job. No, I didn't switch careers, I just added another job to the other two I currently have. Crazy? Probably.

-Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys - Tickets are on their way. Mile High, here we come!

- NY FunkExchange, Feel Good Patrol and Erin Barra concert @ Urban Lounge

- Attending the Twilight Concert Series, Farmer's Market, Art's Festivals and other summer time activities

-Farmtown. (dorky, I know) It's a total time suck but I'm addicted. Cardy is out of him mind in disbelief that I can be spending so much time playing "a video game." I like to call it a Facebook application.

-Cooking, cooking, and more cooking. New diets and lifestyle changes = new & healthy recipes.



Here are a few of my favorite summer time things...







3rd Trip in June - Chi Town

June was an eventful month for me. 3 trips, 1 dental surgery, & the busiest month at work I've had in long time.

My last trip of the month was a VA conference in Chicago for one of the studies I coordinate. Lucky me! I HEART Chicago! The only problem is I've only visited while attending meetings for work. This gives little time to do all the exploring and activities this amazing city has to offer. For the short amount of time I've had there, I really try to maximize my free time.
This year my hotel was right downtown (no more 45 minute blue train rides for me). I was close to Michigan Ave (the ever so Magnificent Mile!!!!), Navy Pier, Grant Park, etc, etc. I swear downtown Chicago is close to everything!

I love shopping and Michigan Ave is where it's at! Blocks and blocks of my favorite shops and best of all, stores we don't have in Utah, namely my beloved, Crate & Barrel. I also made sure to hit up H&M, Lucy (best workout wear!), Fileene's Basement, The Limited, Room & Board, and Trader Joes just to name a few.
I was so happy when my friend Ralph, a native of Chicago, suggested I check out the Taste of Chicago, an annual festival in Grant Park. I had no idea the extent of this event. Over 50 food vendors from local Chicago eateries and live music from bands I've payed to listen to in Salt Lake.

Friday night, Gary (the doctor I work with), and I walked down to check out the festival. We were blown away. I think every Chicago resident was in attendance. It was packed. We bought food/beverage tickets and made our way through the crowds. Gary thought it would be a good idea to check out every booth before making our food choice. Big Mistake! Too many choices! I finally decided on Chicago style pizza, hush puppies, and a samosa, oh yeah, and a lemon ice for dessert (you can purchase small, taster size portions at every booth, hence my variety of choices). Gary ended up with a prime rib quesadilla, samosa, Irish eggroll (corned beef & cabbage in a wonton) and half my hush puppies. That night the Gap Band was playing. I was a little bummed because Counting Crows were playing the following night (for FREE!) and they are one of my favorite bands. Other nights included Barenaked Ladies, The Wallflowers, Ne-Yo, Guster, and Buddy Guy. Pretty amazing line up for free concerts. Needless to say, I left full & happy.

Oh yeah, the conference was nice too - blah, blah, blah (I'm sure you don't want to hear about joint counts, data safety monitoring boards and biostatistics of Veterans with RA).

(this is the only photo I have of me in Chicago )

I'm On A Boat

Lake Powell 2009
Lake Powell Trip #43
That's my rough guesstimate. I've been going to Lake Powell every summer since I was a toddler, and some years we make it down to the lake a few times. This trip is always by far my most anticipated trip of the year. Not only do I love boating on Lake Powell, but I love the entire Lake Powell crew. Our Lake Powell crew is a core group of 16 - four families (& 4 boats). Swans. Cooks. Bitners. Georges. We've been making this trip together as far back as I can remember.
This group has since expanded to a whopping 30-40 depending on the year.

We've also evolved from camping out on beaches and sleeping under the stars to pulling off the lake and staying in Page, Arizona in air conditioned rooms with showers. None the less, I've grown to love this style of boating too. Each year, we make sure to bombard our favorite restaurants and annoy the hell out of other patrons and staff with our enormous group. We never miss an evening at:
-the Dam Bar
-The Cove
-Ken's Steak House
-Antelope Point Restaurant & Marina (a new favorite)

Unfortunately for me, my husband is not much of a boater. He's not a swimmer and is not especially fond of the heat. He prefers to sit this one out Too bad, he doesn't know what he's missing! On the other hand - this is lucky for Ashley! She loves Lake Powell and has been part of our group for the last 4 or 5 years.

This year was different than past years in that the weather was a little cooler and some days cloudy and overcast. The water seemed to be freezing compared to normal. Most years I get my most summer sun on the lake, but this year I enjoyed the cooler air and my hoodie at night.

Dustin played in his 2nd annual guest performance at Ken's. The last couple years he's gotten up on stage and played with the house band. He follows along with anything and everything they throw at him. It's absolutely amazing to watch. (Next year I'll be sure to record it).

This year, Ashley played too! Tambourine that is.

*the black & white pics & the panoramas were taken by my brother with his new camera. i think they turned out awesome!

Trip to Reno

The beginning of June we took a trip to Reno to visit Cardy's brother & his family. Our nephew, Fernando (formerly known as Little Nando) graduated from high school so we decided to take a quick road trip to join in the festivities (if you know the Godina's - you know there's always a reason to throw a party!).
Let's just say, the drive to Reno is one I don't think I'll be taking many times in my life. It is a long...ass...ride. Of course, in pure Godina fashion, we left Salt Lake around 4:00...4 hours behind schedule (I'm passing the blame elsewhere - in these cases, I'm still a true Swan at heart). For those of you who don't know, Reno is about an 8-9 hour drive from Salt Lake. I'm not much of a road trip kinda girl, I much prefer travel by air but what I do love most about being confined in a small space for that long is the one on one time I get with Cardy. It's not often I don't have to compete with the TV, internet or games. For 8 solid hours we listened to music, talked about current events, discussed our future, and laughed...a lot. I fed him road treats as we sailed down the longest, straightest highway I've ever seen.

Needless to say, we made it to Reno in one piece (next time you see me, or my car, ask me about the mini tornado), tired, but excited to see the family (of course, they were all asleep when we finally arrived). Cardy's sisters had driven out the day before and Cardy's mom, our nieces and Josephine (Bea's best friend) had taken the train (apparently quite an experience). We missed the actual graduation which happened a few days before we got there but Fernando and Michelle threw an amazing graduation party for Nando. Cardy's family cooked all day, preparing amazing homemade chile verde, rice and beans - I love my Mexican in-laws!
We had such a great time and although we were able to stay only a few days, I would never miss an opportunity to spend time with family.


Voice Talent...Confirmed.

We found it! My game. Invasion Earth.
A few years back Cardy was working for Sensory Sweep and they made a game for an arcade system. I was hanging around "the Sweep" one night while Cardy was working late and it just so happened they needed some voice work for the video game and they were looking for a female. Being the industry it is & the size of Sensory Sweep at the time - there weren't many females around so I offered up my talents ::wink, wink::

It was a lot of fun. I went into the sound office and they gave me a few lines to say. I was the computer voice for the ship whose job is to save the Earth from enemy ships and asteroids. My lines included:
"Enemy ship approaching"
"Warning (pause), warning (pause), warning"

I used my most professional sounding voice - careful to enunciate. It worked out and with a little computer magic, my voice was incorporated. This little job has gotten me into the E3 convention a few years in a row. My badge reads: Jennifer Swan, Voice Talent, Sensory Sweep.

We've seen the game in the video arcade in one of the local movie theaters but to our surprise, it can also be found in the arcade in the Peppermill Casino in Reno, Nevada. Of course we had to play!