Monday, July 11, 2016

Happy Birthday to ME


For my birthday, I usually ask to go camping. I really enjoy camping and hiking and things like that. We haven't been to many places around our house to camp, mainly because we didn't know a lot of places. We actually didn't go last year because I was too sick, but the year before that we went to the natural hot springs where our ward had the father/son camp out. Anyway, someone told us about Willard Bay (thank you Sharalee!). I'd never heard of it. Apparently it is the only freshwater bit of the Great Salt Lake. I didn't even know there was a freshwater bit. So we reserved a spot and got our things together. Then we were on our way to Willard Bay.


Actually getting to Willard Bay was a challenge thanks to darn google maps. It took on this back country road and up to a closed cattle gate. I kid you not. We headed down this dirt road. Pastor kept saying, "this can't be right," from the moment we turned off the freeway. We stuck to it because google maps has never lead us astray before. Some time later we found ourselves staring at a green cattle gate. We turned around and asked some locals for directions. Taking their advice, we followed the signs on the freeway (DUH!) and found Willard Bay. We drove another 20-30 minutes to find the entrance. There was this really nice young lady who kindly told us we were at the wrong entrance. For real? Do we need to go back to the cattle gate? She told us to turn around, get back on the freeway, and take the next exit. We did that and followed the signs and finally found ourselves in the right place. By this time we were starving. I didn't cook lunch because...reasons, and we were all feeling it by then. It was almost 5 if I remember right.


We were so hungry that we all kind of just dove into my cake. It was once a beautiful red, white and blue rose cake, but somehow it got smooshed to one side so I just spread the frosting back over the top of it. I have to admit that I was pretty bummed about it. The kids kept telling me it was ok and that the cake still tastes the same. "Don't worry, mama, it's still yummy," is what Adi said. And they were right, it was pretty darn good. Thank you Kent's!



After we warmed up and ate dinner, we did a little bit of everything we could think of. We went to find the bay, which got us lost a few more times, but it was a fun lost because we were just following nice cool trails. When we found the bay, we just waded a bit and threw rocks. It was getting late and too cold to really swim. So we went back to our campsite. It was #16, by the way and we will be requesting it every time we go back. Pastor set up the tent while the kids went down the beach to throw more rocks. They found shells as well.


Okay, so here is where things get ugly. By ugly I mean itchy. During the night, Dexter refused to sleep. I don't think he likes change very much. I asked him after we were home a few days if we should back camping. He said, "No," very firmly. We got ready for bed and changed into our sleeping clothes. We read a chapter out of Narnia and tried to watch scriptures on our phone. As everyone settled in, Dex wandered aimlessly around the tent. Every so often he would stop and jump on someone's sleeping bag, causing that someone to yell in protest and/or pain. I tried laying with him and counting stars. (We had the tent top cover off because I wanted it off and it was my birthday dang it, haha). We counted airplanes going by. I sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star a billion times. Nothing worked. So I took him outside to sit in the camping chairs and watch the stars. When I went out, I forgot to re-spray myself with bug repellent. If you look at the picture above of Duane and Avan silhouetted against the lake, you can see how many dragonflies are flying around. That should tell you how many darn mosquitos there were. I have 8 bites just on my right foot. I haven't counted the others. The good news is that Dex did eventually fall asleep, but only after Pastor came out and held him. Duane stayed up with us too, not because he couldn't sleep really, just because he could get away with it while Dex was being naughty. Both Avan and Adi were out by then.


Waking up the next morning was nice. I think we slept in past 8. It might have even been 9. We warmed up breakfast and I took the kids back down the beach. They dug up shells and threw rocks. Pastor was putting the tent away during this time. Then it was time for the real fun! We tidied up the camp and made sure to puck up all our litter, then we piled into the car and drove over to the bay. We blew up the floaty devices we'd brought. Dexter really didn't want to try his, but we forced him and he ended up loving it! Stickers even got to swim in the lake, but he really didn't like it one bit. We had so, so much fun that we're already making plans to go back, although we have since heard of a place called Pineview that supposedly has a better beach.


When we thought the kids had soaked up enough sun, we pulled them out. They were reluctant to leave, but they were also extremely tired. We changed in the car or the bathroom and left Willard's Bay. Three of the four kids were out before we even made it to the freeway. Duane eventually fell asleep, but it was after we drove all the way out to Logan for heaven knows why. We're crazy.


I have arrived at two conclusions after this camping trip:

1-camping really makes you see your kids. I mean REALLY see them. You see past the repetitive nature of everyday life. You see them exploring our world. You see how happy and joyous they are. For me, it really reminds me of how much they need my love and patience.

2-Being 30 is awesome. I have been looking forward to turning 30 for a while. I remember 29 was a difficult age to turn for me for whatever weird reason. 28 and 29 were the hardest years of my entire life though, so that may have something to do with it. The main reason I love being 30 is because this is the year I have finally learned to love myself and that really is awesome!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th!!!

Our 4th was pretty laid back. Pastor had to work so we ended up just going to the parade. I thought about being brave and taking the kids to see the fireworks on my own, but i really don't like going out after dark with the kids when Pastor isn't there. We still had lots of fun! We went to the scout breakfast at Kent's and had pancakes. Then we marched over to find a place to sit and enjoyed the parade. This was the first year in a few years that Duane actually enjoyed himself. He usually sits on the curb and demands to be taken home. This time it was Adi who wanted to go home. haha All in all, they all had a good time though, especially when they got to pick up candy! There were even ice cream sandwiches handed out. Duane secured some pretty rad glasses for Avan. Dexter "caught" a mini stress ball football. The best part for me was when the soldiers marched by with our wonderful flag.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Amazing!!!!

Today something AMAZING happened. Pastor and I made extremely timid plans to go to the air show on Hill Air Force Base. I say timid, but I really, really wanted to go! I didn't even care which show. It turned out that we could only watch one, but it was the Breitling Jet Team. Let me tell you something, that was a jaw dropping show. Not only that, there were times when the announcer made it so Jacques Bothelin could talk to us (us meaning the watching crowd) over the giant speakers. Before their final maneuver, he said how glad he was to fly in the US. He mentioned how his country is a free country because of the aid of the United States. That made my heart pulse with pride and joy. I even cried. Again. And there were no danged tissues anywhere! haha I will now shamelessly insert a large quantity of photos...


Ok, so it was only five. I snapped so many that it really is shameful. ;)

Do you know what the most amazing thing was though? Can you guess? Can you guess? The most amazing thing to me was the fact that I was there. We waited in line at the gate about an hour. Probably more. Then we waited in line at the metal detector door things (what's their real name?) about an hour. Probably a little less. During this time, we walked, boarded a bus, walked, stood, walked, and I even carried Dex and Adi at different points. All of this is amazing because my pain has seriously subsided. There was a time in my life when going to the air show wouldn't have been possible. It wouldn't even have been an option. Today I did all those things. I think I pushed myself a little too much because my back was stiff by the end of it. Even so, I am so blessed and I am thankful to Heavenly Father for guiding me through so many years of pain. :)

Also, can I make a confession? I think I would like to ride in a jet plane one day. That used to be an idea I was glad to think would never become a reality. Now I really want to try! The kids all enjoyed the air show as well. They were a little confused about why we stood around waiting in line so long, but I think it all added up in the end. Adi said several times she wants to be fighter pilot when she grows up. That makes me feel proud and a tiny bit scared. Mostly proud though. I know she would be an awesome fighter pilot.


I have to mention how much the kids loved riding the buses to and from our parking area. We parked in the red zone and took the red shuttle to the show and back. I think that was almost as exciting as seeing the jets. haha Adi kept saying, "my very first time on a bus!" Which was true, actually. :)

After the show, Pastor picked up some pizza and we had a picnic at the park. That was pretty cool too because the sprinklers were going and the kids saw an impromptu splash pad.


All in all, today was wonderful, amazing and fun. I'm so glad our plans worked out!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Father's Day

The other day, Pastor called Avan to him. He gathered him in his arms and gave him a kiss. Avan got all bashful and looked away. Pastor said, "do you know I love you?" Avan, being Avan, said, "no!" Then he giggled and giggled like it was the funniest joke in the world. Pastor asked him again, "do you know I love you?" Avan got embarrassed and said, "Yes." This is a near daily occurrence at our house. Pastor makes it a point to hold the kids and give them kisses. I hope one day they know how lucky they are to have him.

The kids worked hard on making things for daddy for Father's day. We made a shirt with hand prints, which is tradition. They also painted some plastic stained glass window trinkets and drew him pictures. I think my favorite thing was the stress balls we made. We stuck playdough in balloons and tied a knot. They drew silly faces and other things on them. They really work well as stress balls, although they do explode if stretched too far.


Happy Father's day daddy! We love you!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Bubbles

Sometimes it's really difficult to do normal things. I have a list a mile long (in my head) of things I want to do with the kids. When I'm myself, it all works out fine. When depression and/or anxiety takes over, everything is hard. I've gotten to the point that I know I'm not myself. The way I feel is thanks to depression and/or anxiety and not who I want to be. So I end up biting my tongue a lot because I know I wouldn't say those things if I were myself. I stifle my emotions a lot because I know those feelings will go away. I go through the motions (not always successfully) of being the mom I know I would be if I weren't having an episode. So sometimes I pretend to be me, which sounds really weird, buy it's true. For instance, when we got out these bubbles and made these little bubble blowers (I saw them on pinterest), I wasn't feeling myself. The all too familiar raw feeling in my chest was there. The frustration was there. I took these photos while trying to focus on the love I feel for my sweet kids. They are awesome. They deal with me and my issues so well. Their prayers literally are what get me through some days.

With all that being said, I think the kids enjoyed these. I was focused on trying to be my real self and don't remember a lot. They always love bubbles, so of course these were a must try!


I'm so glad for my camera. These moments are beautiful. So much good was happening around me. I might have missed it all if not for a simple click of a button.


Also, this little guy was by the door when we went inside...

...it's a tiny mantis! I have never seen one so small.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

First Badge

Duane got his first badge from scouts! He got his bobcat for reading the manual with me. Man, there are some heavy topics in there. I'm glad they're addressed, but man...

Anyway, we all went to the meeting where he did a cute little impromptu skit and got a belt loop thingy for that too.

Here are brother Hobson and Pastor flipping him upside down so I can pin his bobcat pin to his shirt. It's supposed to remind him to do a good turn. He said he didn't like being upside down. I told him to tuck his shirt in next time. haha ;)


So far he really loves scouts. I'm so proud of how willing he is to learn and participate. He's really growing!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Paddling Pool

Oh what do you do in the summertime?? For our first day of official no school, we got out the paddling pool. The kids love it!


I'm already planning some activities we can do in there. We even pulled out the little baby one this week for Dex, although all the kids use it. The like jumping from one to the other saying, "I'm a penguin, now I'm an otter!" I was watching and giggling quite a lot of the time. They say the funniest things.

Tissues

There was a point in my life that I considered myself pretty tough. I never cried at movies. I mean, NEVER ever. I would feel moved, but never shed a tear. I used to work pretty darn hard. I lived on a small farm with my dad. I remember doing things like hauling bales of hay to our truck, cutting paths for our fence, pounding fence poles and other such labors. I used to be quite strong and capable. I had a high threshold for pain. I used to consume 3 atomic fireballs at once without taking them out. Back then, I never saw the need to carry around tissues. Have you seen people do this? They have these cute packets of tiny squares of tissues that fold out for emergency emotions? These are the kind of people that are prepared and I admire that. Especially now that I'm not nearly as tough as I used to be.


Pastor and I went to the Salt Lake Temple on Saturday. We went for a very special reason: my brother was getting sealed to his wife and son. I cannot tell you how excited I've been as I counted down the days. Every time I go to the temple, I have these dreaded nightmares that I can't find my recommend. Every. Single. Time. Without fail. The nightmares happened this time too. I was so worried that I would do something that would mess up my chance to go the sealing. When we were finally there in the beautiful sealing room that was identical to the one Pastor and I were sealed in, I sat there feeling very overwhelmed with emotions. I was silently thanking Heavenly Father for what was going on. I was also filled with such pride for my brother's little family. I leaned over and told Pastor, "I know when they walk in I'm gonna cry." I glanced around, hoping to catch sight of a tissue box. There wasn't one. Sure enough, when Paul walked in holding hands with his beaming wife, the tears started. My eyes got hot, but I was able to hold everything in. This was not the case when they knelt on the alter. This more especially was not so when Connor walked in decked completely in white. He looked like a mischievous little angel baby, which truly is the best kind. I felt a small tinge of jealously, even there in the temple, for the ladies who whipped out their little packets of blessed, makeup saving tissues.

I am so proud of Paul, Ashley and Connor. My brother has always been someone I look up to. His kindness and loving ways have often put me to shame.


Even as I type this I feel overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion but there isn't a tissue in sight. Perhaps one day I will learn to be better prepared. ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Kitty Whisperer


I assure you this kitty isn't dead. It has been transported to a state of utter bliss. So much so that it resembles a dead cat a little. Duane has devoted a lot of time to his little kitty. He's been patient and waited for it to come to him. Now it curls up in his lap and he strokes it until it falls asleep. He's the kitty whisperer.


The two black kittens look so much alike that he gets confused sometimes and works his magic on the wrong kitty.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Graduation


These boys completed their year in school. I am so proud of both of them. They both worked so hard to reach this point and both are super excited to be 1st and 3rd graders next year. As usual, the Kindergarten grade had a mini graduation ceremony. Personally, I adore the ceremony. :D Duane even skipped class to attend.


Here are some photos of Avan singing his songs. I was so happy to see him up there all grown up. I was literally fighting back tears the entire time. It was a real struggle.


This is Mrs. Anderson. She is an amazing teacher! She was very patient and instructive. Most of all, she was loving as she did her job. I think that's important, especially with the younger kids. Another person we didn't catch a photo of that Avan adores is Mrs. Freeman. She is very positive and wonderful at encouraging the kids.


Way to go Avan!! Duane had to go to his class right after the presentation, otherwise you know he'd be in there smushing Avan just as much as the others. ;)


We did a little cloud watching after while laying on the front lawn of the school. Pastor had to make an emergency phone call, so we had time to kill.


I can't believe my oldest is a third grader. I am now in no man's land. This is beyond the point of time that I thought would take FOREVER to come. I can't see ahead anymore. He's becoming his own person and that is so difficult for me. He's worked and grown so much this year. I see a young man in him.

Good job boys. You are both wonderful and amazing. You and your siblings fill me with joy. :D

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Let Me Tell You A Story

There once was a 4 year old boy. He was three turning four when this story takes place. For his birthday, he wanted nothing more than a pet of his very own. His mommy said, "maybe when you're older." So, being the intelligent little boy he was, he asked his daddy instead. His daddy said no and this made the little boy upset. He was very sad and maybe even cried a little. Or a lot. This made the daddy feel very sad. To make things better, he took the boy in his arms and said, "When you turn 8, I will get you a pet. I promise."

Now, maybe this daddy meant the promise. MAYBE. However, I wonder if the daddy thought the little boy would forget about the pet in time. The boy's 5th birthday came. Around the time of his birthday he reminded his daddy about the promise. He was convinced he wanted a parrot. A big pretty parrot that he would teach to talk. The daddy expressed surprise to his wife later that a child could remember something like that after a year. The boy's 6th birthday came and again the boy reminded his parents about their promise. Somehow the daddy's promise had become the wife's as well. The boy still wanted a parrot and that made the mommy nervous. She knew parrots could get depressed and lonely in captivity, so she started planting ideas about possibly getting a rat or other rodent. The boy's 7th birthday came and he reminded his parents of their promise. Each year the daddy was increasingly surprised about the boy's impeccable memory. The boy now wanted a guinea pig, like his good friend Jessica had at her house. He pointed out pet stores wherever the family went and they visited some on occasion.

A little before the boy's 8th birthday, he reminded his parents yet again about their promise. He said he wanted a rat at first, but then his mind changed without any influence. He suddenly wanted a kitten. The daddy assured the boy he would have his kitten. His birthday came and arrangements were made to find a kitty after the boy was baptized, for the sake of funds if nothing else. The boy was patient and bided his time. His baptism came and his grandpa brought him a wild kitty from off his farm. The wild kitty ran away, but the boy wasn't terribly upset because his grandpa had said it might. He said there were new kittens on the farm that were too young to leave their mother. He promised he would bring one as soon as they were old enough.

The boy was patient, mostly. He waited. Then, one day, his grandpa showed up on a warm Saturday afternoon. He brought with him an old, broken up maroon pet carrier. The boy and his siblings were ecstatic beyond belief. They jumped up and down at the window and shouted, "the kitten is here! The kitten is here!" His grandpa brought the carrier inside and the wire door was opened. Lo and behold, there wasn't one kitten, but three! What a surprise, especially for the mommy who was stressing out enough at the thought of ONE cat in the house. The kittens were handed out and smothered...I mean hugged.
The boy was so happy that his daddy had kept his promise, even after all those years...
The kittens were given names like, Nature Cat, Stripey, and Mew. And they lived happily ever after. Hopefully.
For the sake of cuteness, here is a photo of a cheeser to end this post...

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

We went far away today to visit the AF Cemetery. Both of my grandpas are buried there. I miss them a lot and wish the kids could have gotten to know them. Both my grandpas were born in July and I always thought that was cool, since my birthday is in July as well.
We found grandpa Duane's grave first. My Duane especially enjoys finding grandpa's name on the wall. Duane talked about how grandpas are our guardian angels now.
All of this is a little confusing to the kids. Adi wondered why they never held her or Dexter. I told her he's waiting in heaven to hold her. I think that scared her because she associates heaven with death. All I could think of to say was that everyone goes back to heaven and both grandpa's are there waiting to hug her and all of us. We found grandpa Nerdin's headstone after. The kids loved the photo of his red truck there and it gave me a chance to tell them about something grandpa Nerdin loved when he was alive.
After, we headed up to Ogden where the ashes of my sweet Adam where spread in the Washington Heights Memorial Cemetery. There is a place especially made for the ashes of babies like Adam. We thought about him and the twins while we were there. Someone had spread sea shells over the plaque there. There was also a conch shell nearby.
When we made it home, we were tired and some of us were a little cranky. We had hot dogs and chicken nuggets. (Some of us don't like hot dogs). Then we spent some time outside. Then we had s'mores. They weren't real s'mores. I made them in the oven. The kids didn't seem to mind. ;)
Anyway, there were a lot of serious conversations today, but there were fun and silly moments as well. Dexter liked going around to see the pinwheels and the balloons. Adi spotted an Olaf balloon. Duane and Avan took it upon themselves to upright and upturned flower pots they saw. My kids are growing and I love the way they think. :D