Friday, August 27, 2010

Meet Money...Cha-Ching

Emma is playing in a new soccer league this year. The name of her team is "Money"...kind of funny if you ask me, but they love it. She has the same coach and some of the same teammates. They decided to go into a higher league and challenge themselves a bit more. Last night she had a scrimmage against a team that is older and two leagues up from them. What a blow-out. I was a bit worried that she would have her spirit broken but that is not the case at all. She told me after the game that if she could play shoulder to shoulder to that team, no one scared her anymore. What a great attitude! The official season kicks off early Saturday morning. Should be interesting...
(Before the game getting a talk from Aryl, her coach)

A Senior & A Sixth Grader

I can't believe another school year has started again. Wow...they seem to be going by faster and faster each year. This year Josh is a senior and very proud of that little fact. He is excited to have a great school year and head off to college soon. Emma is starting sixth grade. This is the last year I will have a child in elementary school. Crazy.

Last Friday we took both of them out to lunch to celebrate going back to school and to mark the official end of their summer. They don't look too sad about it, do they?

Josh hates having his picture taken early in the morning, so I promised I would leave him alone. (Precisely the reason I took a picture of him at the lunch). I knew that Emma would gladly pose for the camera, so her she is...moments before heading out the door ready to conquer sixth grade.

Grandpa's In Town!!!

Every two years my dad has a family reunion with his siblings. This year it is being held in Burlington, Iowa and my dad really wanted to go. So...Mark made arrangements for my dad to fly to Utah with him on one of the legs of his commutes. There was no way dad could have ever made this trip by himself and I am so grateful that Mark was able to help him out. When my dad flies to Iowa he is flying with his brothers and their spouses and he will have plenty of help. He returns on the same flight as Mark next Monday. It all just fell into place.

Some of my children have not seen my dad in a number of years because of his health. We were all excited to have him come for a visit. Since his arrival we have had some fun get-togethers were we do a lot of visiting and couple it with consumption of large amounts of food. Isn't that what family gatherings are all about? Talk and food. I don't think it gets much better than that.

Here are a few photos from a couple of our gatherings. Above is a picture taken at my home just before dinner one night. Jenni and Cordell were working and came later so they are not in this picture.
Christopher, Samantha, Taylir, Cordell and Emma playing a vigorous game of "HORSE".
Sam looks concerned :)
Cordell showing us all his great basketball form.
Jenni and Cordell braiding Emma's hair while we were visiting.
Four generation picture with Tavyn, Keegan, dad, Mark, Brandt and Will.

Moab Scout Pictures

Josh's priest quorum went to Moab, Utah this year for their annual campout. He had a ball. Greg was able to go one night with the group and then had to come back for work. He was happy to come back home and sleep in his own bed...even after one night. Greg is not really the camping type, but wanted to spend some time with Josh.

When I was looking over the pictures they took I realized that they did not take one picture together. Are you kidding me? Men :D

I am lovin' the hat hair! Work it Josh!!!

Steele Days Pictures...Finally I am a little bit late posting these pictures. Summer has been crazy and now that school started I finally have some time to sit and post some pictures from the past few months. I realize that I could just forget the whole picture thing, but when next year rolls around and I go to print my blog book again I really want these included. So...please bare with me.

The picture above is from Steele Day Celebration that our cute little city has each year. Debra, Jenni, Emma and Casey went with me and we had a lot of fun that evening.
Casey and Emma wasting time waiting for the movie to start. Those two girls are very silly.
Emma and Casey riding some rides before the show. I love how Casey's hair is flying through the air.
More waiting for the movie. Notice the big screen in the background. We were sitting pretty darn close (not my decision).
Some of the fireworks from the big show. What a great night.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Some Simple Things I Enjoy

Here is a small list of some simple things that I enjoy. At least for the time being. My list is periodically subject to change ;)

1. Keith Urban's song, "I'm In". I LOVE this song. Especially when I find it on the radio in my car while driving with Emma. We turn it up REALLY loud and sing even louder. Fun stuff.

2. Angel Food smoothies found at Smoothie King. I wish I had food fairy to make one magically appear each morning for my breakfast.

3. Finding things to draw. I have actually been carrying my camera in my purse lately in case I find something to stop and photograph for future use. Old fences, building with interesting angles, name it...I am looking for it. I plan to drop Emma off at school Wednesday morning and drive out to Mount Pleasant to take some photos. I want to go fairly early in the morning while the shadows are still good. Wish me luck!

4. "The Blindside" movie. This is now one of my all time favorite movies. I love the story. I especially love that it is a TRUE story. What a great reminder about the worth of a soul.

5. Cool summer nights in Utah. I love opening up my windows and feeling that great breeze come down the canyon each evening. I will miss this in a few months. Summer in Utah is the best.

6. Family. My dad is flying to Utah tomorrow for a short visit. I am excited! He has not been here in over two years. I am a bit worried about how my children will react when they see how much he has deteriorated. He has gone down hill so much. Mark is flying both ways with him and that is a very good thing. I don't think it would even be possible for my dad to come alone.

My kids are also quite enjoyable :) I love that each of my children call me almost everyday to check least the ones that don't live here anymore.

7. Books. Murder mystery books. Yeah...I know. Not too deep, but I still love them. I have been reading a series by Sue Grafton that I am really beginning to enjoy. They started off kind of slow, but now seem to be getting better. My favorite all time is still Harlan Coben. However, after reading a few I came across some bad language and had to put them down. But the ones that I did finish are some of my favorites. That man can write.

8. Halibut. Any kind, anywhere. I love halibut.

9. Flowers. Once again...any kind, anywhere. I will definitely miss seeing these in a few short months.

Nothing too deep...just some simple things that I love. I wonder what will be on my list next time?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Some Things I Learned In Boise

This past week I have been in Boise. Dayna called me a few weeks ago and asked that I come and "babysit" her dog and my mom while she went out of town. She was heading to Portland, Oregon with her son, Pete, to check out Portland State and Peter was out of town on business. My mom then decided that it would be nice to invite her sister, my Aunt Karen, to come along too. She lives in Sandy, Utah and had a stroke a few years back. She has had some physical challenges since that time and needs a lot of help with everyday things. She does not get out much unless someone is there to help her. So...I agreed to be that person, not really sure what was ahead of me.

We had a great time and I arrived home last night. On the plane ride home I reflected on the many things that transpired during the past few days. I then began to realize the many spiritual lessons had been taught to me and what a great experience it really had been. Here are a few things I learned during my stay:

1. Prayer is powerful. One morning while getting ready, I burnt my had really bad (really bad) on my curling iron. I know...not too smart. I grabbed the cylinder with my right hand and almost immediately it began to blister. I had large blisters forming on each finger and all the way up my palm to my thumb. I was in a lot of pain. I knew that I would need this hand to do the many things required by both my mom and Aunt Karen. I decided to say a prayer to my Heavenly Father to please heal my hand so that I could do the things necessary for the care of both of them. I carried ice with me most of the day. By evening, miraculously, there was not one trace of a blister...nothing was there. It was amazing. The blisters that had began to form had suddenly disappeared. I have not doubt in my mind that a miracle had transpired on my behalf. Another tender mercy in my life from my Heavenly Father.

2. Patience. Whenever I would run errands for my mom I would offer to take Aunt Karen with me. She would jump at the chance. One time my mom wanted me to go to Deseret Book, Wal-Mart and then to a bird seed supply store. This would normally take a little over an hour to complete. However, this day it took almost three hours. My Aunt Karen loved just wandering around the stores and taking everything in and you know what? I was okay with that. What was the hurry anyway? Sometimes I think we are so busy running around and checking off our lists that we forget that people are more important than things (or lists). I kept thinking of the saying that "Life is not a race" true.

3. We are more than our bodies. As I would watch my sweet Aunt walk with a slight limp and her left hand clutched closely to her side I would think of the aunt I remember from my youth. She was so vibrant and full of energy. I cannot ever recall a time that Aunt Karen would just sit and relax...she was always on the go. Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, organizing scripture study with her 8 children etc. She was a ball of energy. To think that all of that changed in literally an instant. She walks slower, talks slower, is not able to do even simple tasks such as tying her shoes or opening the packaging from a granola bar.

One evening I was showing her some clips on Mormon Messages. There was one about a lady named Stephanie Nielson who was in a plane crash a couple of years ago and in an instant went from a physical beauty to a woman with numerous scars across her face and body. My aunt began to suddenly cry. I realized she felt some kind of connection. I realized that she was probably thinkin how much her life had changed since her stroke. While we listened and watched the clip, Stephanie Nielson said something that struck me. She said "We are more than our bodies."

As I pondered that I began to think how hard we fought in the preexistance for the opportunity to come to earth to gain a body. We knew that they may not function properly and that these bodies may even be the very burden of our existence, but we still fought. I then began to think about how we were all spirits first and how we still have that same spirit within each of our bodies. In essence, Heavenly Father created us from the inside out. Knowing that made me love my aunt even more. It is true that her body has changed, but she is more than her body...much more.

4. Gratitude. As I would help my aunt with simple tasks, I began to notice that she ALWAYS thanked me. Whether it was tying her shoes, combing her hair, preparing her food, opening her cheese-n-crackers, opening and closing her car door, opening her water bottle...whatever...she ALWAYS showed gratitude. What a great example. How many times in a day do I thank people for the simple things they do for me?

5. The happiness that comes from helping others. I can honestly say that while yes, this week was hard in some ways, the overall feeling of joy out weighs any of the hardship. What a pleasure to sit and talk and laugh with my aunt and mom. They are beautiful in every way. I think that when you serve someone you can't help but learn to love them just a little bit more and begin to see them with spiritual eyes. How grateful I am for the opportunity I have had this past week to love my aunt and mom just a little bit more.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Party Time!!!

Last night my niece, Taylir and some of her friends threw a surprise birthday party for Josh. That got him good and it was great! When Taylir first asked me to have this party at our house she told me that they would probably watch a movie and maybe have some games. I was thinking no big deal.

About 6ish last night Taylir and some of her friends showed up. I knew this was not going to be just a quiet little party when I saw a truck backing into my driveway. Upon closer examination I realized that the back of the truck was full of stuff. Then everything started coming in the house...a giant snow cone maker, coolers full of ice and syrup for the snow cone machine, cotton candy maker, a giant pony (to play ride that pony), skewers, a fire pit (you roast starburst over), bowls of dips, chips and assorted candies, balloons, streamers, horns and party hats a music system...It never seemed to end. These gals obviously had taken hours planning this little shin dig. It was great!

The best part was when Josh finally arrived home. He had been at a Mission Prep Activity with the stake out at Camp Williams and had no idea what was brewing back at home. Some of his friends kept Taylir updated as to their arrival by text messaging. I video taped the actually entrance in the front door where they surprised him, but for some strange reason, I can't seem to upload it. I will have to have Greg take a looky when he gets home. Here are some pictures from the evening:

(Above) Taylir - in the orange, and some of the gals that helped out

The sign that Taylir made.
Mr. Pony even got a hat!
Some of the kids waiting for Josh's arrival
Cotton candy Colton :) He manned the machine and did a great job!
Baily and Ashlynn figuring out the snow cone maker
Jamie with all her hats :)
Emma enjoying some cotton candy
Darrell, Jason and Brad enjoying some of the food...typical boys at the food table!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

He Walked And Walked And Walked...

Last week Josh had the opportunity to go on trek with the other youth in our ward and some of the leaders. He was actually excited to go and had a great time. When Christopher, Jenni and Tara went years ago, they were not too excited, but all of them told me that it was one of the best experiences they have ever had. Josh had a more optimistic attitude.

I met him as he got off the bus and he was all smiles. I was thinking he would come home and drop from exhaustion, but that was not the case at all. He was energized and even wanted to know if he could take my car out for the evening. Ha! He later told me that on the six hour bus ride home that they played "Ride That Pony" on the bus up and down the isles. I am glad he had a wonderful experience and hope that he always remembers it.

(This picture was taken just as he arrived home. I had forgotten to take any before he left and then I forgot the camera when I went to pick him up off the buses at the stake center...oh well.)