Wednesday, April 30, 2008

GO WESTERN!--and Central Washington!

Here's another story to share with you. Zan never forwards stories, so you know this one's got to be pretty amazing. And it is. I'm sitting here crying after reading it. Click on the title to read it. Very touching.

Along the same lines of sportsmanship, our family owns a Wii. I am very anti video games and game systems, but after playing with one at the home of our friends, we decided this wasn't just any sit and stare blankly at a screen kind of system. If the truth be told, we didn't buy the Wii, it was given to us for Christmas by Zan's parents, but knowing how opinionated I am on many fronts, my mother by marriage, asked Zan first if it would be okay.

So, new opinions have formed. I think the Wii, if used in moderation (like most things in life), teaches some really great and important lessons--things like sharing and interaction with others. It is a social game system. We bought two extra Wii-motes, so four people can play games at the same time. It has also become a great reward for the kids when all chores and homework are done.

My favorite aspect of the Wii is the sportsmanship it teaches. When the kids are playing team sports, you can't be down on the field telling them how to react and interact with the other kids on theirs and the opposing team, but when they're competing against their siblings or friends (or even you) on the Wii, you can coach them to cheer and root for each other. I've had kids come to my house who laughed at any wrong move the other kids playing have made. At the end of the game, when that child won, it was sad to see the expression on his face when no one cheered or was glad that he'd won. I asked him to try the next time to cheer for everyone and feel sad for them when they made a mistake and see the difference at the end of the game. He quickly learned that the more you cheer for others, the more they'll cheer for you. Another lesson learned from the Wii.

I think our society is way too much into the winner-loser mentality. Maybe I'm naive to think that every situation can be win-win, but I'd sure love it to be. We would sure be more united as a people if it could be. I think in the situation in the article, both teams won because they showed character. I could see paying professional atheletes all that we pay them if they really were role models as sportsmen and women. Yeah for Central Washington and their ability to see beyond the game and into the person. I guesss we can learn from them that the more we cheer for the other team, the more we win!

Twinkies and Root Beer

A friend of mine shared this with me today. I don't like forwarding things to people, so I'm posting it here for you to view if you'd like. It's very cute! It makes me think of all the people in my life that I've come home feeling this way about. Just click on the title.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Preschool - Day 1 of 4

I taught preschool today for Aedan and his five good buddies and will this week and next on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 to noon.
They're a sweet little group of boys and they really seem to enjoy one another's company. I found them all sitting in a circle playing together during "free play time" today. When it came time to clean up, I went to the toy closet to help them get stuff put away, and they were each so funny, saying, "Please put this somewhere where I can find it when we play later." They each seemed to have their own character they were playing. I could only find so many special places to put things, but they weren't around when I put other's things away, so they all thought their place was special.
This first week, we're learning about flowers. Next week is bugs--I know, lucky me. With flowers, today we learned about Hawaii because May 1st is what's called Lei Day in Hawaii, or so the curriculum said. I showed them Hawaii on a map and we talked about ukelele's and the hula. We then made hula puppets. They're also learning about the number 8, pink, black, and ovals.
For snack we had popcorn. Notice how Teagen thinks he's one of the guys. They kept saying "boom boom" to him, which in Teagenese means, "high five."
Aedan's buddy Eli stayed after school for quite awhile. Aedan just loves him. They are good buddies. It's nice to have groups of such nice kids for my kids to hang out with.

Spring Soccer

My budding photographer got busy this evening as she and I waited for Gannon to finish soccer practice. He's never played spring soccer before, always basketball in the winter and spring, but I think soccer is becoming his favorite.

He's a good little athelete, which I'm sure he gets from his dad. Tonight at practice, he played goalie for a little while and then forward. He usually plays forward or midfield.

He once mentioned, when he saw that we had photos of one of Dierden's games that he wished we'd take some of him. Well, we more than made up for it tonight. This is just a small portion of the photos taken in the half hour we were there waiting.

The photographer


Anyone who knows us, knows that we rarely if ever call our children by their given names. The only child who's made it under the radar so far is Aedan. In his eighteen months of life, Teagen has been known as "Mr. T," "Ti Ti," "Ta Ta," "Tuggins," "Tugules," "Tiggies," "Tigable," and just plain "T." Who knows what we'll finally land on.

Tonight I heard him say his equivalent of "Love you" to Aedan. The strangest thing he says is "Please," which doesn't sound like that at all. It's this weird from the back of the throat sound, but we all know what he's saying. "Koko" is thank you, which he rarely needs to be prompted on any more.

Quinlan took these photos of Teagen this morning. I think he felt like such a big boy. He put on Quinlan's backpack this morning and walked around the house. That thing is SO heavy! He also had snack with the preschool boys (Aedan's buddies). He sat and watched them and acted like he understood everything they were saying. He's growing up too fast.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My Sweet Boys

This is how we started the morning out. I woke to #5 coughing at 5am. After scriptures at 7:00, he just laid there. Took his temperature, and it was 100.5. Figures. It's my week to teach preschool. Last time I taught was when we had every illness known to man. Each person in the family but me had their own thing and didn't share from fever to ear infection to pink eye. It was the strangest thing. I put #5 in a bathtub, and he came out all chipper and stayed that way until 4:30pm.

At 4:30, he complained that his head was hurting "again." I went down to the family room a half hour later, and there he was asleep on the floor. No fever, but he was definitely not himself.

I really don't think any of the other preschool moms would believe me if I told them. They'd just think I was trying to get out of teaching, which is so not the case. We have a great little group of boys, and we only teach every twelve weeks or something like that. This photo was taken probably 15 minutes before #5 complained about his head. As you can see, he was just being his usual self.

#6 took an amazing nap today. I put him down at 10:30am. I went up to check on him at 2:00 thinking maybe he was just up playing quietly in his crib, but he was still out. He finally woke at 2:30. I got so much done while he napped! My bedroom closet looks great.

One thing about #6 lately is that he's always hungry. He must be going through a growth spurt. I walked into the kitchen and found him with the box of Frosted Mini Wheats on the floor and the contents in his hand. He had opened the cupboard, pulled the box out and helped himself. We're talking independence here again. I figured he was being resourceful.

#4 has been a big worry of mine lately. Seems I always choose one to worry about more than the others. Frequently, it's #4 that I choose.

We are pretty open about the fact that #4 has ADHD. He was diagnosed in Kindergarten, but we had a good hunch about him before that. I don't think he's as bad a case as some I've experienced, but he has a very difficult time focusing and is very easily distracted. He's a sweet boy and very bright, but I honestly think that had he not been diagnosed when he was, he would never have learned how to read.

A couple things I have noticed about #4 is that he thrives best with clean, organized surroundings and if he has a checklist. Today, we set to work getting his room clean--again. It is an on-going pursuit. He can get it clean but can't seem to keep it clean. Tonight he has his clothes laid out for the morning on his very nicely newly vacuumed floor. I have little doubt that he will bound out of bed and be dressed before he even comes to scriptures. Mornings are so blissful when life is organized for him.

This is a photo of one of the many things #4 considered a treasure and wanted to keep as we cleaned his room. We compromised by taking a photo of it "for the blog."

#2's such a cute kid. I was once warned not to expect my other boys to turn out to be like #2 because he has such a tender heart, but I think all of our boys are somewhat like that.

Here's an action shot of #6 in the backyard. Today he would sing, "Wee o wee o wee o," over and over again.

Two of our boys, if asked to do something they don't agree will will react with "WHAT?" The Warden and I decided that if they say that they must not be understanding the English language, so to help them in this venture, we decided that if they use that word, they need to sit down and find five new English words, write their definitions and write them in a sentence. #4 was the first to try this out today. One of the words he found was "shrewd." Will this stop him from questioning us? Time will tell, but for now all I can say is that his future wording will be a little more shrewd.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stake Conference

Before I get too into the day, I thought I'd jot down some of the impressions I had during stake conference today. I admit I was a bit distracted by Teagen, so my impressions are limited. I hope to have time later to chat with Zan (my Teagen tag team partner) and fill in each of our blanks from the meeting.

We had two kids on the stand. That was especially neat. They were so pretty up there. I was going to take photos of all of the kids in their new clothes today, so I could post them here, but I couldn't find the camera when the time came.

Dierden sang in the Primary choir. It was beautiful. They sang, "If the Savior Stood Beside Me." I was glad she felt well enough this morning. She had no problems during the night and felt back to her old self when she woke up. So glad there was no need for anyone to stay home. It seems that Brevin just had a bad headache last night, but he did remain on our bathroom floor for the entire night and climbed into bed with Zan and me at about 6:30 this morning. I was so glad for a warm tile floor in the bathroom when I got up and offered that sleeping place for him in the future if he would just warm the floor every morning. He didn't take me up on that. I can't imagine why.

After the first song, stake business was done, President Bell spoke briefly and two of the Primary children were asked to share what they were thankful for. Dierden told me last night that she wished she would get called on. I asked her what she would say she was thankful for, and she said her family and the priesthood. She's called on it a few times this past week to help her get through some tough things. I'm glad my children know they can go to their dad when they have problems. What a blessing that is. The choir sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth" and then came to sit with their families.

Quinlan spoke after a few more comments from President Bell. She opened by sharing a story from President Hinckley's book, "Way to Be." She then spoke about the top four things she's grateful for--the gospel, her family, friends, and education. She said that we need to say "thank you" more often and that we show our gratitude when we serve others. She shared the experience of feeding families in the hospital last Christmas and how she felt that that's what Jesus Christ would have wanted her to do with the day we celebrate His birth. She's a good kid. I feel blessed to be her mom. One of the things she mentioned when she spoke about her gratitude in having the gospel in her life was that it helps her keep her "unwavering" standards, and seeing what some of her friends choose to do, it makes her glad to have direction in her life. I, as her mom, was pleased with what she said and glad to know she's on the right track.

President Dalton's son, Tony, spoke next. He leaves for a mission to the Dominican Republic on May 7th. I believe Brad Ackerson will be serving in the same mission soon. He shared a lot of fun things about his family and talked about serving righteously--that we should lead with righteous dominion. He talked a little bit about his brother Danny, which I thought was very funny, that when his parents would leave, Danny would play "slave" with Tony and order him around. Isn't that just like a big brother.

It was near the beginning of Tony's talk that I went out in the hallway with Teagen.

Sepa Lipscombe spoke next. She is a Tongan woman. She spoke a lot about the hardships she's had in her life and how her faith and reliance on the Lord helped through them.

We sang a congregational hymn, so I took Teagen back into the chapel. After that, Zan took him back out. I got to enjoy the next talk by Jennifer Hough and part of Jonny Gardiner's before I was out with Teagen again. Jennifer was very animated. I enjoyed listening to her. She said pride cannot exist where gratitude is. This reminds me of something that was said last night by Sister Templeton. She said that faith and obedience are coexistant. One cannot exist without the other and that to make one grow, the other must grow also. Just a little tangent there. I loved the idea that if I am completely grateful, then I will always be humble. I don't know if this is true, but I like the idea. Sister Hough also said that President Dalton once said his church was a church of gratitude. At least I think that's what was said. I just know I need to be more grateful and not always wanting more.

Jonny Gardiner is just an amazing person, so is his brother Scott. He talked about how he was raised in a family of eight kids, a mom, and a disabled dad, and how because of that, he learned at a young age how to work and how to do many things that have become great blessings in his life. He spoke of how this has built in him a love for and a desire to work and work hard. I would love to instill this into my children.

I missed most of President Dalton's final talk. One thing I did hear as I was standing in the hallway swaying with Teagen was that if you want to encourage others to change, say thank you. It was from a talk from Marvin J. Ashton. Gratitude works miracles.

During the time that it's taken to complete this post, I found the camera. Seems that the child that was assigned the cleaning of the living room decided to stuff everything under the couches instead of put them away. I have wondered, when my other children have gone through this stage, if it doesn't take the same amount or more time to stuff. Well, this defeintely takes longer because not only did they take the time to stuff it, now they get to put all the things away anyway. Sigh. I will get the kids back into their church clothes either later today and repost, or I'll get the picture next Sunday.

As I listened to Jonny's talk, it just seemed to be the next step in a series of lessons I'm learning right now. The whole idea of God making us more capable beings to fulfill the work He sent us here to do has been recurring in my life. Recently, here are two things that have also added to this lesson:

I just got to thinking about how we are so frequently placed in situations that form us in so many ways. This has also been a theme in the Book of Mormon as I've been reading. The idea that Nephi held so many roles in his life. Roles that he was led to fill. Here are two things that I have come across recently that support these ideas:

I just got done reading in the seminary manual for the Book of Mormon that besides being one of the writers of the Book of Mormon, "Nephi was also a scholar, a great hunter, a blacksmith, a shipbuilder, a navigator, a goldsmith, a record keeper, a refugee, a temple builder, a king, a warrior, a prophet, and a seer. " (LDS Book of Mormon Seminary Manual, p. 13).

My mind frequently reflects on the song "Firm in the Faith from the seminary video soundtrack when I think of what the Lord makes us capable of doing and becoming through our willingness to serve Him and be molded by Him. I really love this song!

I love stake conference and how encouraged it makes me feel. We have a wonderful stake presidency!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Things on my Mind (A very long post with a cliffhanger ending)

Wow! So many things of little consequence to anyone but me happened today, but they were so big to me, I just have to write them.

This morning, my assigned soccer player was Brevin. It came time to go,and I started searching for my key. I couldn't find it anywhere and probably won't find it until I do laundry on Monday. I called Quinlan and Brevin up to my room, and we cleaned out under my bed--no luck. I asked Brevin to clean out a red bag that had been in my closet forever. I knew there was a spare key that I had probably left in a purse when I'd changed purses at some point.

As he dumped out the bag, there were the set of keys I had misplaced last June when I had my broken leg and everyone but me was driving the car. I was shocked! I didn't think that bag had been in there untouched that long. I was just thrilled to see those keys. It has both cars keys on it and both cars keyless entry remotes--that work! Ah! The joy and true luxury of keyless entry especially with the Honda that has the doors that remotely open too. I am truly a spoiled woman. I will never be the same again.

Brevin played well.

The other thing I ran across while searching for the keys was an insane amount of cash--insane for me is $14. I never have actual money. I was so excited about this cash that Brevin and I went to Burger King after the game and I got him a cheeseburger kids meal and me an order of onion rings with onion ring sauce (yummy, yummy) and a vanilla shake--I'm strictly a health food kind of girl. :o)

We went to the grocery store to get some supplies to get us through the weekend and then headed home.

When I left to take Brevin to soccer, I left Quinlan and Teagen at home. Teagen took his nap, and Quinlan had to work on a talk for stake conference tomorrow. She had finished it by the time we got home.

We put the groceries away, and I left to take the kids to get some new church clothes. I figured with Quinlan speaking tomorrow it would be nice to make it a special occasion for her to have something new to wear. Zan had meetings at 3, so I took all six kids with me.

I now remember why I've only been to the mall a handful of times since I've become a mother, and when I do go, I've never been as insane to take all SIX of them. We went to J.C. Penney thinking it would have something for everyone, and it did. I don't think I want to go into the whole ordeal here, but here are some highlights--there are no modest dresses for 14-year-old girls; they are all either too low-cut or too short or no straps. The first dress Dierden tried on was the perfect dress for her--yippeee! How often does that happen? Took the boys and got so overwhelmed that I had to take one boy at a time. Gannon found four ties that he liked (one being pink--it's my favorite color, so I didn't fight it). They all ended up in the bag, but we finally decided that the boys could share them. Aedan pulled the tags off of most of the clothes he tried on even those we didn't end up buying until I went into the boys changing room and stopped that from happening. At the point when I entered the dressing room, everyone was antsy and ready to be done shopping, especially Teagen. He had started to cry. I can honestly say I haven't been that overwhelmed in a very long time. I took a deep breath and quickly decided that I knew just what to do--I think this was inspired. I immediately started to delegate--not a behavior that comes naturally to me. Suddenly peace was restored. Ahhhhh.

We got downstairs with our stuff. Teagen was fit to be tied at this point (where does the term "fit to be tied" come from anyway?). He was crying full force,and I think everyone in the store wanted him gone, so I sent the older kids to the car with him while I checked out with the youngers.

I think everyone was very happy with what they got and will look so nice tomorrow for conference.

Okay, so now for tonight. Last Sunday evening, we decided that our home having two babysitters in it, with Saturday being the adult session of stake conference, was a waste, so Gannon called Ammon and Lisa Christiansen and offered to babysit Daniel (a little boy Gannon just adores). We took him over there this evening and took Ammon and Lisa to conference with us.

As usual, the talks were wonderful! President Bell spoke first on strengthening ourselves and others in our roles in our families. One comment he made that stuck with me was that the society we live in today doesn't support the role that our Heavenly Father intended for us and that we need to fulfill that role by how the Spirit dictates and not how the world does.

Patriarch Yorgason spoke next. He talked about how the priesthood blesses our daily lives.

After the Patriarch was Sister Templeton from the Aloha 2nd Ward. She spoke on how to strengthen our children. It was an excellent talk, I felt. She touched a lot on choosing the better part and being there for our kids when they need us; to keep in mind what we are really supposed to be here for--not running our kids a hundred different places everyday but to teach them and help them grow.

President Dalton spoke last. He is just wonderful! He talked about communication. He said we need to rebuild our communication lines and remove the static. He said that with our kids the listening we do is the teaching moment. They learn to trust us when we truly listen--not to fix things but when we listen to understand. He also said that if we do these things we will never regret it.

As the closing hymn was just starting, my cell phone started to vibrate. I walked out of the chapel to answer it. It was Dierden in tears. She said, "Mom, this is Dierden. I won't be able to sing tomorrow." She's been invited, along with about 30 other kids in the stake, to sing in a Primary choir for stake conference. "I just threw up." I told her that she should go to bed and that she would be fine that we'd take care of her when we got home.

When we walked in, she was laying bundled up on the couch. She was as white as a ghost, but there was no sign of fever. I'm just wondering if she ate something that didn't agree with her. We'll see how she does through the night tonight. I also found Brevin sleeping on our bathroom floor. Quinlan said he went up to bed complaining of a headache. There was no sign that he had thrown up, but I haven't had a chance to speak with him yet, so we'll see just what his story is in the morning.

So, will I get to hear Quinlan speak tomorrow? Tune in next time to find out just what happens.
Dun dun dun. I know...the suspense is terrible.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hot Cakes

Took the two youngest boys to visit my dad and his wife today in Washougal. It had been a very long time since we'd been there. So long in fact that when we pulled up, Aedan asked, "Who's house is this?"

Tradition has been that my dad makes "hot cakes" for us. He has done this as long as I've had kids, so we were thrilled to have him do that for us today.

The purpose of this trip was to retrieve some photos that dad wants scanned in the computer and saved on disks. Since I did my mom's side this past Christmas, the hope is to do the Hamm/Dye side this year. We'll see how this goes. I have also started scanning in my mom's recipes--grease stains and all. I have tried to type them up many times but have run into difficulties with the project, so this seems to be the best way to do it. So much faster to scan them than to retype them. I also figure having the actual pages somehow brings her closer as well.

After the trip, I have realized why we don't take this trip all that often. Their house is not equipped for little kids. I always felt that when we went to my mom and dad's house, it was perfectly suited to little children. There was a box of toys and books and kids videos for the grandkids to enjoy while there, but with his new(er) wife's youngest grandchild being just older than Quinlan, there are no amenities for little ones now. So, I spend a good part of my time there chasing the youngest and keeping stuff from getting broken--from the glass table to the statues and vases that are everywhere. It really doesn't lend itself to any good conversation time, which I really miss having with my dad.

I feel that everyone needs a person in their life that is truly honest; that will tell them if they have a booger hanging from their nose, or something stuck in their teeth. My dad was this person for me until he remarried. I think I miss this more than anything else. Since he remarried, he has become more of an acquaintance that keeps things on a very surface-y level. Very sad. Today he tried to have a sit-down conversation, but needless to say, I was playing interference with Teagen. Ah well. That conversation may never happen. My dad is 80-years-old now. I don't know how much longer he'll be around, but I think I will regret that we never got the chance to really sit down and talk in these last years.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

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The Price to be Paid

The day started off with a BANG. First thing, one of the kids wanted some hot cider (a big fave in our home) as said child (too short to reach the microwave, which is above the stove) climbed off the counter with the cup of freshly made cider, saying, "I love hot cider," the cup slipped and down it crashed--cider everywhere, cup in about ten pieces. That child sat on the edge of the counter and cried over the cup that grandma had given him two Valentine's Day's ago--a very treasured possession.
About twenty minutes later, same child had been asked to clear the breakfast dishes from the table. Instead of putting them in the sink, they ended up on the counter. Teagen came walking up, pulled the edge of the bowl, with milk still in it. I wasn't quick enough, and all I could do was watch the milk cascade down the three drawers and onto the floor, where it mingled with any stickiness that might have been left from the just cleaned up cider.

I am not a huge home decorator, never been one, wasn't raised by one, but that doesn't mean I dont' want to be one. Someday I'd really like to have a cute home and have stuff stashed for that very purpose. Today it was reemphasized to me why I'm not one, though. About twenty minutes after the cider and milk incidents, I went upstairs to finish getting my hair and make up done. The older kids had emerged by this time and the elementary kids were off, so I felt I was safe. I'm putting my mascara on, and I hear a crash. Honestly, I didn't even flinch.

A few years ago, I went to a candle party and purchased a very cute set of three ghosts. They have emerged every Halloween since as a little reminder to me that someday, I will have a future full of cuteness, and I will do more stuff like them. Need I say more about the crash this morning? Sigh!

The one thing I loved about this incident is that not only did I not flinch, but I didn't move either when Quinlan hollered up, "Mom, Teagen broke one of the ghosts!" Next thing I heard from her was, "Gannon, can you get me the dustpan?" I loved that my kids didn't need me to clean up the mess.

The reason the first child was on the counter this morning was the same reason Quinlan felt she could clean up after her baby brother. My mother by marriage (the term I prefer for Joi) once told me early on to "never do for a child what that child can do for himself." I have tried very hard during the past fourteen years to implement those words. I know there are consequences to this--like broken cups and cider everywhere, but I hope to learn to be unflinching as my children learn to be self-sufficient.

Someday maybe I'll learn to value stuff more, but as for now, it's just stuff, so I'll just enjoy the cute homes of my friends and sit and bask in it all and breathe in the cuteness and think, "Someday....Someday...."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bring on Summer!

Some of our summer plans have been set. Amazing to think that school will be out in less than two months. Usually, almost instinctually, I start laying out all the nitty gritty what to do with the kids when they're out of school plans in May. I can't wait!

Okay, so another quirky little fact about me is that I love to do all the free stuff that is offered during the summer. I think it comes from being my mother's daughter. My mom knew how to use a coupon like no one else I ever met (except for maybe Teresa Medina). She loved a bargain. I don't know where that originated from except for maybe the fact that my dad was self-employed and my mom did it to make money stretch farther during times when my dad's business was slow.

I also love to run around. I hate being home. I always want to be doing something. I feel like if my kids are sitting around the house they must be bored, and I want summer to be a time for making fun memories. One thing my children will remember about me when they move out, one of the things they'll probably say, "I'm never going to do that like my mom did," is that if they're sitting around, I give them work to do. It's almost a compulsion on my part. My upbringing wasn't this way, so I don't know where it comes from, but I know they hate it.

So, today, I made reservations for our hotel room for the Hamm family reunion. This is our third year to have it. Our (the Hess) family missed it the first year as we went to Zan's uncle's funeral in Idaho, but last year was a blast! We go to Seaside. This year, my sister's daughters and their families will be there also, which will be really fun. It's been a long time since we've seen any of them.

We stay at the Inn at Seaside. We stay there for COSA each June also, when Zan goes for their yearly conference. We have for the past three years. So, staying there for five times, and reserving one of the few two-bedroom suites, the woman who makes the reservations has come to be somewhat familiar. Today when I spoke with her, she asked my name, I told her, she said, "Oh, Julie, how are you?" Just like an old friend. We chatted for awhile.

When we were on the phone, I double checked our reservation for COSA. We couldn't remember if we'd made one. We had. Zan's been trying to talk his way out of going this year. He says he has too much going on with work and with taking a week off to keep the kids, so I can go to Girls' Camp, he says he can't possibly miss that much work. So, we'll see what happens. I just know it's something that we look forward to each year. Very fun family time.

So, so far, school gets out, the next week is COSA, the next week is Girls' Camp, and the next week Quinlan's off to EFY. Fourth of July will be in Monmouth--another tradition we love (if you have any desire for a fun old-fashioned 4th of July parade, let us know, we'll take you along). Can't wait to get going on all of this!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Scripture Struggle

Scripture reading has never been a tough thing for me. It has it's own rewards, but I've had a tough time recently creating quality time to read the Book of Mormon. I know that really delving in and studying helps me stay focused and happy, so I've been missing that concentrated time.

I'm really loving this blogging thing. It has helped me with another weak area--journal keeping, so I felt that if I were to combine these two things, it just might help me strengthen both areas. I also thought that if there was someone else out there who was struggling like me, they could join in and we could strengthen each other.

Although this personal blog is private and by invitation only (to protect my kids), I started today which is open to anybody. There are days when what I read really gets me thinking and others when I'm not so insightful. My hope is that on those less inspiring days, someone else is there to help me learn more, so I hope you'll stop in and make a comment or two.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What Brings Me Joy

During our presidency meeting on Sunday, Trinka brought up an idea that was shared at the stake women's conference on Saturday. The entire theme was based around 2 Nephi 2:25--that we might have joy. She challenged us to consider what brings us joy, so I thought I'd come up with a short list tonight (because it's late) of what brings joy into my life. These are in no particular order.

  • Being with Zan (he always makes me laugh).

  • Being with my kids.

  • Watching my children help each other.

  • Margie - whom I visit teach.

  • Being warm (snuggled up in the blankets).
  • Conquering my fears/taking risks.

  • Self-discipline.

  • Studying the scriptures and feeling like I really get what I'm reading.

  • Helping others.

  • Chocolate (pathetic, huh?)

  • Driving - windows down, music cranked.

  • Holding Teagen.

  • Watching my kids learn new things.

  • Hanging out with friends.

  • Flowers.

  • A clean house.

  • Being creative - thinking of new ways to do things

  • That feeling after a long day, when you lay down and you just completely relax.

  • Traveling/exploring new places no matter where.

  • Fun music.

I look at this list now, and it seems quite pathetic to me. another one I could add is having all my laundry caught up. Wow! What have I become? But, it's the simple things in life that bring true joy, isn't it? I often think I'm spoiled. Maybe I'm not as bad I first assumed.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring Break

Spring vacation was awhile back now (March 24-28), but I just ran across these photos on Zan's computer and realized it was an experience I don't want to forget.

Our original plans were to take the kids to Disneyland, but we just weren't feeling right about it. Zan said he knew how much I wanted to get up to Spokane to do some family history stuff, so we thought we'd go to the amusement park up in northern Idaho (right across the border from Spokane), but it doesn't open until May. I told him that I just wanted to get away with the family and have some quality togetherness time. We started doing a search online for cabins in Washington, and we came across the Three Bears Lodge. There are three houses they have for rentals near the Mount Rainier National Forest. Nowhere near Spokane, but it filled the requirement of family time together.

The only one they had available during the dates when we could go was the Dancing Bears Lodge (please click on the link; it's a great place!). We left Sunday afternoon and arrived two and a half hours later. We were so thrilled with our accommodations. The house was huge and so nicely kept. It was more than perfect for our crew.

We spent that evening just hanging out as a family.
On Monday, we went up to Mount Rainier National Park. We arrived there in about ten minutes and went from nice dry ground to snow. We explored and played around and threw snowballs, the usual snow kind of stuff. We went into a little visitor's center they have there. When we first entered, there was a glass case with a stuffed mountain lion in it. Teagen wouldn't go in at first. Once we coaxed him in, he said, "Woof. Woof," to it as if he were greeting our dog. I guess he then felt that since it didn't answer him, it was okay.
We walked around looking at the photos of people who first explored Mt. Rainier (I love that kind of stuff). It was funny to see the first woman who climbed it back in the early 1900's and the dress she climbed the mountain in. I'm always awestruck by old photos and like to imagine what was going on before and after the photo was taken.

Monday afternoon we went up again to try to plan the rest of the week--inner tubing, snowshoeing, etc. The mountain was gorgeous! The snow was a blast. When we got back to the house, we had a barbecue.
On Tuesday, we took a family vote. The kids just wanted to have a day to relax at the house. Zan and I were out voted. We really wanted to go snowshoeing that day.

In hindsight, we wish were had exercised our veto power, but we only reserve that for really special occasions--this, now that we think about it, was one of those.
It had snowed a little bit each day, but the serious snow started on Wednesday. It was beautiful!!!

By Wednesday, Teagen was worn out. I put him down for a morning nap, and Zan took the kids up the mountain to snowshoe. Our cell phones didn't work there, and we only had one car, so as he left with the five kids, I got a little panicky. I realized that if anything were to happen to any one of them, I wouldn't know about it until it was too late. It seemed like they were gone forever! Teagen slept all morning and part way into the afternoon. It was very quiet, and were it not for worrying about the rest of the fam, I would have loved every second of it.

We woke Thursday to seven inches of snow. We were sad to, but this was the day we were scheduled to leave. As we returned home, we talked about Disneyland. We were glad for a retreat; a quiet time away. We really needed it. Don't know if we could have handled the craziness this year. This is one trip we will do again, but next year, we've promised Disneyland.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

April 13 - 19 ~ The Week in Review

This week started off with my 40th birthday. That seems to be coming easier and easier to say. It was Sunday, so the festivities took place in the days before. Teagen was having trouble with his asthma (as was Aedan, but Teagen seems to struggle more with it probably because he's so little), so Zan took him home after Sacrament meeting. It was supposed to be Teagen's first official day in nursery, but needless to say, he missed it. The rest of us walked home after church. It's so nice to be able to do that. It was also nice that the weather agreed with us. This week has been a strange one for weather (strangest I've ever seen), but I'll deal with more of that later.

On Monday, Family Home Evening was a great success with everyone participating, and a wonderful lesson by Quinlan (see Monday's post for more info). It was nice to have the kids home all day with the teacher workday. We got the house all cleaned up and the kids watched "Ratatouille." It was good to have Sandra and Hope here for the evening.

Teagen's language has developed further this week. He suddenly looks big. No longer a baby. Before now, he has taken either his shirt or pants off, but this week, he took both off. In these photos, he has taken Brevin's shin guard and Gannon's soccer ball and carried them upstairs to share with "MiMi."

Aedan has found Quinlan's first soccer cleats and a pair of shin guards that no one is currently using, and wears them to whomever's soccer practice he ends up at on Tuesday evening. He can't go to practice until he's all geared up.

This was just such a cute photo of Quinlan and Teagen that I had to put it here. This was Tuesday morning.

The many faces of Brevin. Tuesday night as I did my blog entry, I realized how few pictures I had been taking of Brevin, so I asked him to sit for a quick pic that morning after getting ready for school. I should have known, after seeing the first photo that he really wasn't feeling good. He was complaining of his throat and his stomach, but other than that, he didn't seem to have any major symptoms, so I sent him (after consulting with our in-home principal). I really love when my kids are home, so I know Zan will be more unbiased than I am in judging their complaints. He did end up calling (after enjoying both of his recesses for the day, he reported) and came home and rested. I really don't think he was that sick.

This was Wednesday evening. Quinlan was sitting next to Julie Buss on the stage, but who knew that Julie had camera-phobia? She also has very fast reflexes. Rachel Morris had been sitting chatting with them too, but her phobia and reflexes were even faster.

Yo Momma (ooops! No, yo daughta. Ooops! No, my daughta) wears combat boots. Looking at this photo, I guess it doesn't look so bad, but it was hilarious on Thursday morning when Dierden came into my room asking me if her outfit looked okay. She got these boots for Christmas (both of my girls have begged for boots at this age). The skort she's wearing is one Grandma Joi made years ago for Quinlan. It was too big for Quinlan back then, so Shelby Brennan wore it first, it was then handed back down to Q and then to Dierden. Joi did some really beautiful stitchery on the front, which Dierden adores. I have learned that with Dierden, even if it looks well, let's say interesting, she doesn't care about your opinion and does what she thinks is good. You go, Dierden.

On Friday, Dierden's class had a "state fair" and invited parents to come join in on the fun. This is Dierden and her "float." She did her float and report on New York. The inside of the shoebox was the Radio City Music Hall complete with Rockettes. At the time this photo was taken, it had survived a trip home after the fair in D.J.'s backpack.

We went to dinner on Friday evening at Red Robin. It was payday, and we go out to dinner on payday each month. While we were sitting there waiting for a table large enough to seat our crew, Quinlan and Gannon entertained me by showing me just what "Emo" is. Yes, these are my lovely emo children.
Teagen isn't the best right now at sitting still. Who am I kidding? None of my kids have been good at sitting still. They're MY kids that's why.
He sat through Dierden's game today (Saturday)--Dierden scored two of her team's three goals!!! Looks like the old Dierden is returning to the field. She has rediscovered her long legs and what they're best at. It was soooo cold, and I believe Teagen stood it as long as he could, but he cried through a good part of it. He was also very due for a nap. I sat in the car with him during Brevin's game (Brev scored a goal too), hoping he'd nap, but that didn't happen.
By the time we were on our way home, he'd had it and was very antsy. To keep him happy, I shared a bag of Sun Chips (my fave) with him. When they were gone, he kept insisting that there were more, so I gave him the bag. He then started asking for something else. I had no idea what, so I gave him the hat I had with me. He was thrilled to have it but then realized he didn't know what to do with it. I told him to put it on his head. Without hesitating, here's what he did. He's very good at following directions.

So, back to the weather, as I mentioned earlier. Today we have experienced it all--cold, clouds, sun, rain, snow, sleet, and hail. Is there any other kind of weather to be had? Well the day's not over yet. I'm just amazed that it's mid April.

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