Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Son and the Priesthood

My son is 13.  It is a wonderful age.  He is still young enough to be considered a boy but I am getting a glimpse of the man he will be. While he is still very much an active and rambunctious kid, he is also very kind and considerate of others.  He is able to see where there are needs and to fill those needs without being asked.  When John has to be away from home, he takes seriously his role as '"Man of the House."  I often catch him checking the doors and windows before he goes to bed.

Recently there was an activity for the women at church.  It was a full Saturday of crafts and gift making to prepare for Christmas. I was planning to bring the girls with me and John was out of town so I gave Cole a choice to stay home by himself for a few hours or he could come with us. He thought about it for a moment and then asked if some of the moms would have their small children there.  I assured him there would be some and he said, "I'll go and help entertain the kids so their moms can participate."  We all went and while we worked on crafts, Cole played with babies and toddlers.  He saw that some of the crafts required sanding and knowing that would be difficult for me to do because of my hands, he took care of that job for me.  As the activity began to wind down he began to clean up; taking tables down and putting chairs away.   Then he got the giant industrial vacuum out and vacuumed the gymnasium for us.

Usually at these kinds of events there is at least one adult man there who holds the priesthood.  This is for safety reasons and to administer to the women in an emergency.  On this particular day there was no adult man there.  Cole was the only priesthood holder present.  Some would say he is only a deacon but I could feel him in the room.  He wasn't by my side the whole time, but I could look up at any moment and see him from across the gym.  He emanated the spirit and I was comforted by his presence.  Others who were there have mentioned that they felt the same thing too.  He may be young, but he is strong.

Today in church we had a lesson about the sacrament.  The teacher did not have a picture of the last supper so we were asked to close our eyes and imagine the scene as she described it to us.  My imagination was different from DaVinci as I saw the room full of people and I had to look over and between shoulders in order to see. I watched as the Lord blessed the bread, broke it and passed it to one of the apostles next to him.  He then passed it to the next and so on down the table.  I wondered if it would make it through the room to me as I felt small and unnoticed there.  Then I saw these priesthood leaders hand the bread to my son who was standing at the end of the table with other young men his age.  Those boys then spread out to give the sacrament to everyone who was there, including me.

I often watch Cole passing the sacrament on Sunday.  I have a great view from my perch at the organ.  I feel pride while I watch him fulfilling his priesthood responsibilities.  I love that he is preforming this service as a representative of the Lord to provide for me the opportunity to partake of the sacrament. Sometimes he catches me watching and he gives me a big smile.  I don't know what all the Lord has planned for him but I pray he will be up for the challenge and I pray for guidance in teaching him the things he needs to know in order to do his job well.  

A Bit From Spring

 "Kids Down the Street"  lawn mowing service invested in another mower. 
 This one was set up to fit Hailey just right.

 Brrrr.  Spring took forever to arrive!

 Our favorite summer/spring activity is to sit outside on the porch to watch the thunderstorms.  It's always best when it happens in the middle of the night like this one. We get the kids out of bed, bundle up and get comfortable. It was the best show we've seen in a long time.  (Left- Grammy and Hailey; Right-Brook and Cole)

Rude Drivers

This is what happens when you get too close to a big rig, or he gets too close to you.  It depends on who you believe.  He hooked me with the lug nuts.  It was scary but no one was hurt and my car still works. It's just not that attractive.  In front of the tire, (on the left in the pic), is where he hit me with his lug nuts and then behind the tire, right, is where I hooked him trying to get away.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bowling with the Fam

Bowling with the family

Summer started out great with some of John's family in town. Mom, two sisters and a niece came up for graduation and stayed a couple of days. Bowling was a fun way to pass the time together.

This is my wonderful mother-in-law trying not to be smug at the win.  She always wins.  Always. 

John's sister with our kids.

Another of the sisters, Sierra, and my niece.

Brook demonstrating the score. "X" Strike!

Sierra pointing behind her.  "Did you see that?"



Cute Jacque

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mental Blogging

I am a mental blogger.
Over and over again I find myself thinking of ideas and issues and composing what I would say, how I would say it if I was to write a blog post about it.  It happens all the time.  I was just emptying the dishwasher and writing (in my head) about the slant of the sunlight and how I love this time of year.  It was beautifully written and insightful, (still in my head).  I took pictures all summer long and every time I took one of those pictures I would compose a perfect description of the activity and the feelings I was having at the moment I looked through the lens.  Feelings of my family time together, gratitude for my blessings, awe of the natural world, even irritation over some bad event or annoyance have been expressed in my heart and in my mind, but not here.
 I know that some of you get on this blog just to see pictures of my kids.  I don't blame you.  They are pretty neat kids. I also know I should have been blogging summer pictures during the summer. But I was having so much fun experiencing summer that I didn't do it so now it has become a huge project and I get bored with it easily. Another thing is that I feel very uncomfortable sometimes about what others might think of what I have written. I am afraid of being judged poorly and thought of as stupid.  That is lame and juvenile, I know.

So here is what's up.
1. I need to post pictures and tell of activities and the goings on of my family so that those family members who live far away can see them. It has been expressed to me that efforts in doing this are appreciated. This is important for my little family too as this has been a good place for me to keep our family history.
2. I need an outlet.  I need someplace to write what I am thinking. I need to "discuss" ideas and issues and ramble about non-important things that clutter my mind. (I cornered my mom yesterday when I know all she wanted to do was take a nap after working all day.  The selfish one that is me still continued to talk and share ideas anyway.  Then after the kids went to bed I cornered my husband and made him listen to me too! It was just one of those days.)

So here is what I want to do.
1. I will continue to upload pictures of my family here.  I will work harder at getting them posted in a more timely fashion.  (notice I didn't say immediately.)
2. I will also use this space as an outlet for my creative and thoughtful side.  I will warn you if it is a blog of thought just in case you have experienced enough of my brain already and are saving your sanity by avoiding my insanity.

By the way, the sun was truly beautiful this morning as the dawn broke over the trees in my backyard and poured into my kitchen window.  The house was quiet except for the random clinks and clatter of doing the dishes.  It is not my favorite job by any means but today I could feel joy, love from my Heavenly Father, and gratitude for all he has given me. The loneliness and grief I have been feeling about my children leaving home was lifted for a few minutes and I felt good, I felt right, and I felt peace.  I hope you feel some of this today too.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Recently I was asked how I felt about not having any more babies after Hailey. That sounds like a strange question but it was part of a conversation with a friend and something that for her has been heavy on her mind and heart.  I wanted to comfort her, help her know her feelings were not unusual and find a way to tell her of things I have been learning.  Really, I wanted to throw my arms around her but there were others around so I didn't.  I wish I had been able to express my feelings better than I did.  I answered with "I have mixed feelings," and then proceeded to ramble on making no sense I am sure.  I would like a do over.  This is what I would tell her.

After Robyn was born the doctors told me I would likely not have anymore children. I had mixed feelings. I was thrilled to have a babe in arms and heartbroken for the ones I thought I wouldn't hold. I was excited to share my life with that sweet little bundle and disappointed that my kitchen table would be small. I was proud to be raising a brilliant child and angry at the stupid people who made insensitive and ignorant comments.  I was then amazed at the growth and eruption of personality from my daughter and sad that the time was passing so fast.

But then, medicine is not always an exact science.

There are now five children with three to four years between most of them.  It just worked out that way.  There is one that we didn't have to wait for and one who was a surprise.  I did not expect the second, how could I have possibly expected number five?  Looking back, I should have known she was coming.  She fills up a spot in our family we truly would have missed without her.  They all have been that way.  I can't imagine my life without them.  I know they are gifts.  I am happy to make room for them at the table.

I think no matter how many children a mother has, if it is one or many, she is filled with mixed feelings.  Joy, worry, pride, frustration, elation, and fatigue.  That is the nature of motherhood.  I never would have guessed that I could get so frustrated with some one whom I loved so much.  Some say I gave up too much of myself to stay home and raise my kids.  I say, "You weren't at home with us.  You don't know what you are talking about."  Sometimes I dream of the career I could have had, or the travel and glamour but those feeling are gone in a moment when I think of the life I have.  Nothing is worth more to me than my time with my family. It hasn't been easy and I don't see that it really will get much easier.  I do know that it is completely worth it.  Have I given OF myself? Yes.  Have I given UP myself? No Way!  I have learned about myself, grown, developed and thrived as a mother.

 So now as my children are getting older and leaving I am again filled with a mixture of emotion. There is a wonderful sense of freedom when the children can get in the car by themselves, but there are no more 2nd grade Mother's Day Tea Parties.  I can go to the grocery store by myself, but  I have long days alone while the kids are at school.  My laundry basket is not as full with children gone from home, but there are fewer voices laughing with each other.  There is less bickering but fewer hugs.  I have more freedom to explore hobbies, education and other interests though I miss going to the park with the mothers who still have small children.

As my house is emptying I have often wished I had more children to keep it full, but my older kids would still be leaving and it would still hurt just as much.  It is fun and satisfying to see them grow and accomplish so much and I am filled with gratitude for the privilege of being their mother.  I am a better person having known them.

My kitchen table has a few empty seats on most days but I have had a glimpse of the future when this table is  filled to overflowing as my children bring home spouses and children of their own.  Being a grandmother will bring other mixtures of feeling I am sure, but I wouldn't miss it for the world!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Water Damage

So clear back in January Brook woke me up in the wee hours of the morning to inform me "There is something going on with the ceiling downstairs."  Seriously, that is how she said it.  I didn't get a picture of the ceiling hanging down, frankly in my sleep stupor and anxiety to get the mess cleaned up I didn't even think about it.
We don't know how long the ice-maker was leaking but I am just grateful it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  (A few years ago a friend had a water problem while they were out of town.  That was a houseowners nightmare, this was nothing in comparison.)

We pulled up the floor under the stove and fridge.  (I used this opportunity to clean along side the appliances and the cabinets beside them.  It always amazes me how yucky those places can get.)

 Took down the wet ceiling.
( I wish I had a pretty office area.  I try but my whole family uses this area and it doesn't stay looking nice for long.  I just remind myself that I would rather have my family around than have a perfectly kept house.)

and let it dry out using fans for a week or so.  We were really very lucky that the damage was contained to a small area.  We didn't have to take out the cabinet to dry it out or demolish the pantry wall.  Having it open underneath in the family room did the trick.

Everything upstairs was put back in order long ago, but there is still a gaping hole in the ceiling of the family room.  It's been 6 months, I don't even notice it anymore.  I realize that is not a good thing.  The time to fix it is well overdue! And now that it is hot I am REALLY missing the icemaker- maybe I'll scoot on down to the Sonic and pick me up a bag of ice!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Graduation Day!

Congratulations Brook!

This is the dress she made for the occasion. It was made from a skirt - an idea she found on Pinterest.  It turned out super cute!


The next two pictures are from the slide show at the beginning of the evening.  The first one is from the first day of Kindergarten and the second is her senior yearbook photo.

Proof it really happened!

Returning to her seat with her best friend Alex M.  I love you girls and can't wait to see what you do next!

Track and Field

Go Cole!

Lewis and Clark, (clap), Clark and Lewis

Every year in our school district the 4th graders put on the show "Lewis and Clark".  All my children have preformed in it so I have the script pretty well memorized.  I was excited to see Hailey play President Jefferson but sad to have this part of my mothering life end.

She looked cute in her brother's suit, tights, slip-ons and her hair tied back with a black ribbon.  The boys to the right are also presidential and are good friends of hers.  (Both CJ and Conner are some of my piano students too.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Organist

I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It is a church that is run entirely by volunteers.  There are no paid ministers to run the everyday workings of our congregation.  This means members are asked to participate and help out. Over the years I have helped in many different ways.  My volunteer time for the church is a way of life and a large part of life that I enjoy.  I am happy to serve wherever I can.  Sometimes a job is something I am familiar and comfortable with, and other times it is a struggle to learn my role and duties and to perform them well. It's never perfect but always an adventure.
Recently my "calling" (job assignment) changed.  I was asked to play the organ for Sacrament Meeting. Some would think this is no big deal but here is the catch.  I don't know how to play the organ!  What are all those buttons for?   I have two left feet, am I supposed to use those feet on giant pedals to make music?  I am good at playing the piano but the organ has different techniques.  (Think skiing and snow boarding.  They both have the same principle, to get you down a snow covered mountain, but they use very different techniques to get there.)
I have experienced challenges before in a new calling and I have a testimony that when I put effort into it and do my best then the Lord helps me accomplish what needs to be done.  Prayer, lots of prayer is usually the key.  I knew the same would be true for playing the organ.  I got a key to the church and started going to the chapel to play most everyday.  There has been a lot of experimentation with the sound and it is becoming fun. It has been 6 months now and I am getting better.  I wouldn't say that I was good, just better.   Some of what I fear as the organist is that my mistakes will be a distraction from the spirit and if I am going to be completely honest, I fear making a mistake in front of all those people.  I have had to swallow my pride, grow up a little and just deal with it.  Interestingly enough I have found that when I make a mistake the congregation just keeps singing and most of them don't even notice.  I am a lot harder on myself than anyone there would ever dream of being.
A couple of weeks ago a family in the ward was looking to get rid of an organ they had in their home and offered to give it to me.  Wow!  This has made practice time a lot easier and I am grateful for the gift.

Isn't it pretty?

It is a top of the line organ from the late 1960's- early 1970's so the technology is really charming.

Thank you Cindy and Ken.  It has made my practice time scheduling much easier.  
Hopefully one day I will become an accomplished organist.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Odds and Ends

Brook had to make a bridge from toothpicks as part of her Physics class.  She won the competition for the bridge that could hold the most weight.  Congratulations.

Hailey got to spend some time with Dad on the "Snow Machine." 
(That is a snow mobile for those of you not familiar with Idaho vernacular.)

We rented a machine to de-thatch the lawn. 
 It works pretty slick except for all the raking that is needed after!

Tetris.  The game I turn to when I cant sleep.
216 lines level 21

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sierra's Eye

Sierra was born an artist.  While her older sisters are content to find a quiet spot to sit and read a book, Sierra will be writing the stage production of the story, designing, building and painting sets and making costumes. She will not only star in the show but direct it as well.
I learned a long time ago to throw as much away as possible as soon as possible.  If she ever saw me empty a box, use up the last of the peanut butter... (I just realized this list could go on and on and on and on.  You get my drift.)  If there was something that would be garbage to everyone else in the world, she would want it.  "I can make something out of it," was what I heard everyday.
Don't get me wrong.  I love that she is creative, artistic, and full of energy but if I kept everything she ever made out of left over stuff we could be featured on that crazy hoarders T.V. show.  This is no exaggeration.

Lately she has put her creativity into photography.  I love the things she sees through the lens and would like to share just a few of them with you.