Sunday, May 30, 2010

The List

This past Friday was the last day of school for Josh and Emma. Included in Emma's grade envelope was a little list of things that each member of the class wrote about their classmates. I thought it was very cute and thought that I would share what Emma's note said about her.

-You're always nice and make me feel good
-You are hard working and very good at soccer
-You are so smart
-You are very thoughtful and helpful
-You are good at soccer
-You are sporty, smart, nice, kind, beautiful and crazy
-You are cool, nice, and you love soccer and you are very good at it too
-You are good at soccer and talking
-You are a great soccer player and you are good at anything you try
-You put your heart into everything you do
-I like that you try to finish things
-You are always trying to help people
-You are very confident
-You are exciting and good at sports and always have fun and you are crazy
-You are good at soccer
-You are full of energy and very fun
-You are very dramatic, I bet you will be a great actress
-You love to be and are comfortable being the center of attention
-You are good at soccer and are very nice to me
-You have long shiny and healthy hair. You are so beautiful and care for others

Thank you Mrs. Weakley for compiling these little list. I especially loved the ones that said she is good at talking and would be a great actress - ha... How true! I love that Mrs Weakley thought it was important that each of these children find something positive about their classmates. What a great way to teach them to always look for the positive.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cavestock 2010

Tomorrow is the last day of school for Josh and Emma. Can you believe that? It seems like every year it goes by quicker and quicker. Last Friday night Josh's high school had what it calls "Cavestock". Basically this is an evening where any of the kids can bring their bands and jam out. There are food vendors, dancing and lots of fun for everyone. Josh went with a group of friends and had a great time. In the picture above he is with his cousin, Taylir, Ashlynn and Bailey from our ward. Hard to believe that after tomorrow Josh will officially be a Senior....WOW!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Emma's Rockin' Robin

video

Today was Barratt Elementary's end of the year celebration where all the classes dance for their families. Emma has been very excited to be dancing to Rockin' Robin this year and has been showing me her moves for weeks. About the only thing she was not too excited about was the bobby socks. (they were part of her assigned clothing) She HATED them - ha! Last night she even took Greg and I over to her school to show us EXACTLY where she would be standing for her dance, so that we could be sure to save a seat. Later last night I was talking to Marja on the phone and she mentioned to me that many people had already staked out their spots. I quickly grabbed a blanket and drove over to the school and placed it in the front row before all the good seats were taken. I have to admit I was glad I did it. Especially when I arrived this morning and saw the multitudes of people. How nice it was to just walk up to the front row and sit on my reserved seat.

Emma did a fantastic job and as she was dancing it dawned on me that I have been attending these events for 17 years. Next year will be the last...wow...hard to believe. Seems like yesterday I was at Wasatch Elementary watching Christopher in his very first dance festival grooving to the famous "Jello Dance" with his kindergarten class. Crazy...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Please Send Sunshine

At the risk of sounding repetitive....I AM SICK OF SNOW! I woke up this morning and looked out my bedroom window only to see a blanket of snow covering my lawn. What in the world? It is May 24th....MAY 24TH!!! Are you kidding me? Thank goodness that I refrained from planting the rest of my garden last week. For some reason I have been thinking that I should not plant until the last week of May. That is a lot later than I usually plant, but maybe this crazy weather is the reason for my reservations. My cool crops were planted a few weeks ago and thankfully, they will survive. My poor little flowers on my porch will be okay too....just a little droopy for a day. My spirit on the other hand is weary. Heavenly Father please send sunshine, lots and lots of sunshine.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Surprise!

While I was in Boise, Tara decided that Emma needed to redo her bedroom and surprise me upon my return. The day after they started, Tara got sick and was unable to finish the project. So...when I returned I was certainly surprised! All of Emma's belongings aside from her bed where stacked in the hall just outside her room. They had also painted just one wall (with only the first coat) so there wasn't really any turning back. SURPRISE! Not really a project that I wanted to tackle after returning from a trip, but all in all, it has been good. Emma and I finished the painting and when Aunt Dayna heard about it, she decided to be part of it and bought Emma a complete new set of bedding. I have been spending the past couple of weeks putting everything back together. We are getting there slowly.

I decided that I wanted to do a group of picture frames above her bed with her name in them. Luckily my friend, Kelsey had one of those nifty Cricket machines and helped me cut the letters out. That little group of pictures cost me less than $3.00 to do. Not too shabby. I love a good deal! Thanks Kelsey!

I still have more projects in my mind that are slowly coming together. Hopefully I can have this room put completely back together to my satisfaction before too long. In the meantime, however, Emma is pleased with the results so far. So am I!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tending To The Garden

I have resumed my volunteer work again at the Mount Timpanogos Temple. I love this calling! Today it was announced that we would be pulling the flower beds next week. How sad. It is a hard thing to pull these beautiful flowers from the ground knowing that they still have a little life yet to give. If you stop and think about it, the entire cycle of replanting the beds is quite symbolic....just as every thing else is in and around the temple.

I found a quote today that I love and sums up quite well what I think about as I tend to these gardens.

"God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on the trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars" - Martin Luther

Don't you just love that? How can you ever doubt the existence of God when you carefully look at a flower? Who else could have made something so delicate, beautiful and perfect but the Master himself?

I took Emma with me up to the temple tonight to snap some photos before these flowers were taken out. I wanted to have something to look at on a cold, winter day that would lift my spirits. I think these photos will do the trick!



This picture does not do these cute little violets justice. I love how happy they look. They remind me of the faces of the many children I see each week in Primary...eagerly sitting in anticipation to see the sun (Son). Aren't they just brilliant?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Josh's Jello

This is what I woke up to this morning. If case you can't tell what it really is...it is jello with a stapler inside. Josh made this last night to give to one of his favorite teachers as an end of the year present...pretty funny.

I heard Josh and James up in the kitchen last night but really did not think too much about it. I just figured they were doing their usual snacking. I was wrong. Josh "borrowed" his Art History teachers stapler yesterday and brought it home to place in the middle of a rather large bowl of jello. I wonder how many packages he used? HMMM...

When I got up this morning, Josh was already in the kitchen tending to his masterpiece. I think I stood there for a few moments with my mouth open. I didn't really know how to react...be upset that he took his teacher's stapler and then had the nerve to gell it in jello, or laugh because it was pretty darn funny. I chose to laugh. Hopefully his teacher did too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Clear Creek

Last week Emma went to Clear Creek with her fifth grade class. This is something that her school does every year. The boys go on one day and the girls go the next. It is a place where they spend the night and have a lot of fun doing educational team building activities. Emma had been looking forward to this trip for a long time and was pretty much driving me crazy with excitement. She talked me into letting her take my camera for the trip and these pictures are the result of a eleven year old photographer. I think she actually did pretty good!
(above) All the girls in her class along with Mrs Weakley in front of their "cabin". Two moms are there as well.

Her best friend, Casey Ann. LOVE that girl.
Emma with Ashley...another close friend. LOVE her too! These two are asked all the time if they are twins. Do you see a resemblance? (below) Emma being Emma :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Where Am I?

Okay all of you Jenni junkies...I have another one!

Jenni has arrived in California and is having a great time. She is working by herself in the office while Cordell and the other employees are out selling. So far in the past 12 days (since she left) I have received two rather funny (scary) phone calls from her. They went something like this:

Call #1:

Jenni: Hi Mom! I finally have our address that you requested. Here it is...(she continues to give me the street address)

Me: That is in Chico...right?

Jenni: No! We are in Redding.

Me: What??? I thought you said that you were going to Chico California, not Redding.

Jenni: I thought so too, but I was wrong!

Okay...how many people accept a job in a different state and have no idea what city they will actually end up living in...GIVE ME STRENGTH...

Call #2

Jenni: Hi Mom! I just received a room full of boxes at the office from FedEx. I can't believe how many there are...they pretty much fill up the entire room.

Me: That is crazy. What else are you up to?

Jenni: I have to run to the post office to send out some letters for the company. Hey...do I have to have a return address on the letters I send out?

Me: Yes

Jenni: What if I don't know what the address is?

Me: Jenni...(shaking my head and smiling) didn't you just receive a large shipment from FedEx? They had to be able to find you. I bet you can find your office address on one of the boxes or on the paperwork that you signed.

Jenni: Oh yeah! Good idea! Yep...here it is.

THAT GIRL!!! I can't believe I let her leave the state...what was I thinking? I have had more than one person comment to me that she needs her own reality TV show. Maybe that is not such a bad idea...I would definitely watch. That girl is funny.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day and as I thought about it, I realized that I have never really posted anything significant about my mom on my blog. Until now.

My mom is the best. How thankful I am that I was sent to be her daughter. She was born in Longview, Washington and grew up in a small community near Cathlament, Washington. She is the second of four daughters and had the privilege of growing up on a dairy farm. She taught me from a young age who I am and how I fit into this great, big, scary world. How much I appreciate her testimony of the gospel! What an amazing example she has been to me.

When I was in elementary school, my mom was the lady who worked in the school office. I remember going over to the school with her occasionally on weekends to finish up some work. I recall one time in particular. We were getting ready to leave the office when she remembered that she needed some paper clips at home. She reached into a drawer and pulled out a couple of them. She then placed a small amount of change in the petty cash to cover the cost of the paper clips that she took. Such a small gesture, but what a powerful lesson I observed that day. She could have easily just taken the paper clips and no one would have ever known. But that was not my mom. She is a woman of deep integrity and the idea of just taking them would never have crossed her mind. Talk about "small and simple things". I will never forget that experience. Powerful stuff.

She is also a woman who looks to the Lord for direction. In a world where everyone is confused and so many people don't know who they are, she does. How grateful I am for a mother who is steadfast in the gospel. She has been my North Star more times than I care to count. Whenever I am upset and don't know what to do, what a blessing it is to know that I can just call her and be pointed onto the correct path.

Another experience I recall was when I was about 8 years old. Dayna had a little stuffed animal named "Pinky". Dayna and I determined that Pinky was pregnant...not sure how that came about :) When we announced to our mom that we wanted to have a baby shower for our stuffed animal, she did not even bat an eye. She even helped us make invitations and deliver them as well as helping us make a cake to serve. Now, how many moms would have just shook their heads and not even thought about seeing this through? Not my mom. She made sure we had a great baby shower. Pretty cool.

Now, I could go on and on about things that my mom has done for me, but I guess the most important thing to realize is that I love her very much. How grateful I am for a mother who continues to be a great example to me and my children. How lucky each of them are to know her and partake of her testimony. I love you mom! Happy Mother's Day :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tara's Birthday!

Today is Tara's birthday. In honor of Tara I thought that I would list a my top 10 favorite things about her...here goes...

10. Her outgoing personality. Tara will talk to anyone, anywhere. She loves people.
9. Her smile :) ...need I say more?
8. Her ability to persevere even through difficult times. She has a great attitude about life!
7. Her talent for designing. Tara has a knack for decorating and knows what looks great in a room.
6. Her outer beauty. As a mom I know I am bias...but she is beautiful.
5. Her INNER beauty. She is a true daughter of God...even more beautiful than the outer beauty.
4. Her continued pursuit for knowledge. She loves to learn!
3. She knows who she is...really knows.
2. She loves the Lord.
1. She has a very strong testimony.

I hope that you have a great birthday Tara! We love you very much!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Alaskan Summer 1985

I spent the summer of 1985 working in a little village called South Nak Nek, Alaska. This was a fishing camp where we processed and froze herring and salmon for a Japanese company. As a college student this was a great way to make a large amount of cash quickly. My brother, Kirk, had worked there the previous few summers and was able to get both me and my twin sister a job as well as his two roommates from BYU. The company we worked for paid for everything...round trip airfare, room and board...everything. We actually did not receive a dime of pay until they handed us a check just before boarding our plane home. There really was no where to spend it and when the fish were in, no time to spend it.

I remember reading the letter that was sent to both Dayna and myself giving us a brief overview of the camp. I distinctly recall the letter stating that there was a recreation hall that offered (and I quote) "numerous tables and chairs". Okay...red flag. How many places have to advertise that they have a large amount of tables and chairs as a selling point? I remember at the time thinking that was kind of funny...not alarming. Oh to be that naive once again.

We began our journey in Portland, Oregon where we flew to Seattle, Washington. From there we flew into Anchorage, Alaska. Then on to another flight in a smaller plane to King Salmon, Alaska. Upon arrival there, we boarded an even smaller plane...a bush plane to be exact that held approximately 8 people. That plane took us to our final destination, the South Nak Nek International Airport...pictured above. For real...the sign in the small shack says "South Nak Nek International Airport". Another red flag :) When I got off the small plane, this building was the only thing man made that you could see anywhere.

The picture above is taken as you enter the camp. This was what we called "home" for the next 3 plus months. As you can see, we were very isolated. So isolated in fact that we had very little contact with the outside world. This was long before cell phones were even thought about. There was one phone booth in the camp that would only call out. There was always a line to use the phone and there was also a time limit on your phone calls. When you actually were able to use the phone, you could not talk over the person you were having a conversation with on the other side or it would ramble your words.

We also did not have any access to a radio. We were so far out in the middle of no where, that there was no way to pick up a station. We did have boom boxes and to this day whenever I hear Huey Lewis and the News, Tina Turner, or Bruce Springstien, I can't help but go back to that summer. The camp did have one small television in the rec center. This received one station that was usually snowy. I remembering that on numerous occasions Dayna and I would be given the coveted job of cleaning the rec room. (The foreman loved both of us because of Kirk and tried to make sure that we got the "good" jobs) While up there, Kirk and his room mates, Larry and Brian, asked us to try to watch the NBA Finals to see who was winning.

Another thing that I remember is not being able to drink milk for three months. Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE milk...I can easily drink 1/2 gallon daily by myself. This just about killed me. Because we were so isolated, nothing fresh could be brought into the camp. Which meant no milk...or juice. We had lots and lots of Hi-C, but no real juice. On the way home in the Anchorage airport I remember buying a small pint of milk. I would have paid $100.00 for a drink at that point. I did not end up paying quite that much, but it was still a steep amount.

In the evenings before the fish arrived, the five of us (Kirk, Larry, Brian, Dayna and myself) would spent countless hours playing pinochle in the rec center. We had a reputation of being the "Mormons" and everyone knew that we would not go drinking (or anything else), so after a while, they pretty much left us alone. The foreman also knew that because we did not drink, we would be to work on time the next morning, without a hang-over. There were numerous times she would get everyone out of there at the designated closing time and hand over the keys to us so that we could stay as long as we wanted. She really trusted us.
When the fish would be in, we worked crazy, long hours with no days off. The longest stretch that I recall was 30 days in a row, working 18-20 hour days...no day off. I remember at one point someone came in and told us all "Happy 4th of July"...none of us had any idea that it was a holiday...the days just blurred together. Dayna and I once again got the "good job" of working with the glazed fish after they had been frozen. In the picture above, Dayna is holding a box that we would slide the frozen block of fish into.
This photo is of Peter working in the freezers. Brrrr!
This is the famous "Slime Line". When the fish first arrived, everyone worked on the slime line, gutting the fish. I can still feel that sensation of my knife scraping the bloodline out of the salmon. Gross. I was pretty good at this and even perfected it to the point where I could remove the bloodline with one swift swipe of my knife. We worked here about a week before being moved to the glazing area. Dayna recently reminded me that one day I got up to go to work and my hands were completely swollen from the repetitive motions of the slime line. I tried to tie my shoes and started to cry because it hurt so bad. She had to come over and tied my shoes for me because I could not do it myself. When Dayna and I were looking at these pictures I instantly recalled that awful smell of fish mingled with blood...Maybe that is why I don't like salmon.

More slime line photos (above)
This is the dock at low tide. I spent a lot of time on the docks when the fish were not in. I would go down there after dinner at night by myself and do a lot of thinking. Probably not the safest thing to do. Grizzly bears were everywhere and we were not supposed to be alone. What was I thinking? We even had an alarm system in place of a grizzly was spotted wandering through camp. There was a big horn that would sound to alert us. This could be heard throughout the entire camp. I actually only heard it go off once during the summer, but I instantly knew what it meant. Not a great feeling.

One evening while we were waiting for the scows to bring in the fish, Kirk was able to get access to the company vehicle. He took Dayna and myself to the local dump to watch the grizzly bears find food. Keep in mind that the sun only went down for about two hours each day, so when we took our outing to the dump, it was daylight. We even had a big grizzly bear come right up to our pickup truck and look in our window...Wow! Wish I had taken a picture of that!
The beginning of gill net season. This is a picture of the boats waiting for the signal to drop their nets. Notice the helicopter flying around patrolling the area. If any boat dropped their net before the signal, they would have a photo taken and be sent a ticket. Peter told me later that some of the fisherman were very territory oriented and if anyone got too close, guns would come out - EKKK! Talk about the wild west!

Going to Alaska that summer was definitely an adventure. I really had no desire to ever return, but I am happy to say that I did it and I survived. I have often thought of the long hours and hard work that was required. I think it really prepared me for anything that I was to encounter in the future...it "toughened" me up. Dayna and Kirk returned many more summers and continued to make large amounts of money. When Dayna and I were looking at all these pictures this past weekend, she made the statement that "kids today have no idea what hard work really is". One season in Alaska and they certainly would.