Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dan's More Dramatic First Day of School

Dan and Jake are both awesome -- but Dan is definitely more dramatic.  Add to that the fact that Dan fell off the high bar at the elementary school playground an hour before school got out and broke his arm, and you have a day that is a bit more dramatic than Jake's.  Dan didn't really get the cast until today (See last picture).  Naturally he broke hi left arm (more his wrist), and Dan is left handed. Happy 5th grade to Dan.  I hope we are getting the drama all out of the way so we don't need to have more.

Jake's First Day of School

This is Jake on the first day of 9th grade.  He came home cheerful, and I very much enjoyed talking to him when he got home.  He had a break, did his homework while I did mine (signing all the papers), and then went to play at a friend's house.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I Stand All Amazed

Artwork by Luigi Santucci
This past fast Sunday we sang the Hymn I Stand All Amazed to help us prepare to take the Sacrament.  This has been one of my favorite hymns since my youth, and I have it memorized, including the alto part, and so it is one of those few hymns that I can sing with my eyes closed.  So, as I sang, I closed my eyes and thought of Jesus.  I tried to picture Him in my mind because this often helps me to understand things better, or to make them more real.  I pictured Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

As I viewed Jesus in the garden, the lesson I learned many years ago from Elder Maxwell came to mind.  He taught that Jesus loves us so much as individuals, that even if only one of us needed the atonement then Jesus would have done it. That means Jesus loves me so much that He would have suffered and died, just to save me.  Next I thought of all of the pain Jesus endured, and I remembered the pain I have had in my life, and how much I wanted to get away from it.  I know that Jesus did not like the pain He felt, which was much worse than any pain I have had. I imagined Him desperately wanting to run away, and then calling my face to mind, and deciding to stay.  How can I even comprehend a love as great as that?

What does Jesus ask of me?  To come to Him, to remember Him.  Why?  It is not because He has a big ego.  It is not so I will compare myself to Him and find myself lacking.  I believe it is because He never wants me to be alone, especially when things are hard.  He knows me.  He knows the good parts, and all of the dark hidden parts I don't want anyone to see.  He knew those things when He was in the Garden (as incomprehensible as that is) and He stayed.  Everything He asks of me is to help me.

I left that meeting hoping that I really would always remember Jesus and that wonderful love He has for me.

"Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me enough to die for me!  Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me."
words by Charles H. Gabriel

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Good Hiding Among the Bad

Today is, yet again, Thankful Thursday!  Maybe it is for this reason that I have been feeling very thankful this morning for the blessings, and the tender mercies, that are there to be found hiding with the bad things, and the nasty surprises.

The nasty surprise of our week was that something, somewhere, died in our house -- and we can't find it.  The smell seems worst in the bottom of the office closet and I was a little nervous about what I might find as I emptied it -- but I only found more stinkiness, and not anything super creepy.  So Derek, who hasn't been feeling well this week, came home and did probably the last thing he wanted to:  he went looking in the walls, and climbing in the attic.
Lots of holes, more stink, but nothing creepy.
It must be 120 degrees up there in the attic and I thought I should have climbed up there myself, but I am afraid of up high.  After a couple of attempts, I did manage to check the roof for places mice could enter because Derek found that mice have been having a party in the attic without our permission.

So what have we done about it?  Opened the windows in the two smelly rooms, closed the vents and the doors, and mostly stayed out.  We have looked in downstairs closets, and floor joists, and sniffed around everywhere we could get to.  We have worried about it some, and maybe even lost a little sleep over it.  Today we will plug up the holes we can find, and start setting traps.  If your cat is hungry, he can hunt over here, but I'm allergic to cats so he has to go home after that.

So what, you ask, is the good hiding among all of that?  Well, I watched Derek come home, still not feeling well yesterday, and have us all pretty much try to talk to him at once, while he patiently paid attention.  This morning I thought of that, his wall digging, and attic climbing, and all of the other ways that he takes care of us whether he feels well or not.  He doesn't love his work, but he goes most weekdays during the year so that we have the things we need and a lot that we just want.  I can't count the number of times I've been tired and weepy and he's helped me even though he got probably half as much sleep as I did.  Derek has been the good among the bad this week.

There are other examples too of good among the bad.  Dan being sick so much helped me get to know his very caring teacher, and has made me more appreciative of his compassionate piano teacher, who is my friend.  Countless people have asked about him, prayed for him, and tried to help me deal with the challenges that come with allergies and concussions.

Then there are my children.  All of my sons and daughters try to take care of their mother when they can.  Jake has been particularly good at jumping in to do jobs that he notices need to be done, and has not complained when I ask him to help -- again.  My kids help me a lot by loving each other and trying to help each other through rough patches.  That is a happy thing for a Mom.

So, there are holes in the wall, and a stink in the house, and Dan is hard to feed, and we don't always feel as good as we'd like, and headaches are a plague, but there are good people all around who love, and help, and smile, and laugh, and pray, and maybe even cry a little for us too.  There are people who recognize that we are trying, and don't judge us harshly if we fail.  There are so many things to be thankful for too, but today, I am especially thankful for the people.

Summer Trips

Not long after Connor's birthday Kayli and Connor hopped on a plane.  The ride to the airport had been a little tense as I drove toward a really black storm cloud that let loose with lightning and piles of rain coming down in amazing quantities. When I dropped them off, it was down to a sprinkle, and I proceeded to take the wrong exit and so I went the long way home, right through downtown Salt Lake City. Fortunately, I quite enjoyed my detour.  It was at least better than catching up with the black storm cloud and heavy rain again -- which happened eventually.

I didn't hear anything from Kayli or Connor after that and assumed they were safely in Denver waiting for their next flight.  Nope.  They had texted Derek, and were safely sitting on the airplane in Cheyenne, WY waiting for a storm to leave Denver.  They sat for about 4 hours, flew to Denver, and then made a mad dash through that airport so they could catch their next flight, which had been delayed. Thankfully, they had a really good time with their cousins in Iowa, and so it was all worth it.

Day trip to Nauvoo, IL
Taylor (I think), Bailey, Avery, Kayli, and Connor

Same cousins, Nauvoo Temple
 Since Kayli and Connor were off having an adventure, I took Jake and Dan to Idaho to be with cousins.  I didn't get any pictures of them with cousins, but Tina got a picture of us.  We were drawing at Jamba Juice while drinking smoothies. My smoothie tasted better than hers, which I know because she said hers tasted like carrots.  I'm still surprised my fabulous drawing didn't win their contest :-).  I giggled and giggled over my drawing and had a really good time visiting Tina while my boys enjoyed playing with cousins.
Sherie and Tina

Meanwhile, back in Nauvoo, Kayli and Connor were still adventuring in the hot muggy weather.
This is Kayli, Connor, Avery, Tyson, Cody (very front), Zack, Bailey, Taylor, and Aunt Tanya.
Joseph and Hyrum are there in statue form.

Iowa with cousins
Kayli and Connor got home that week on Friday, and the boys and I made it on Saturday.

A week or two later we got to have an enjoyable time visiting with Tina and Chris and their boys again, only in Payson this time.  We were trying to recapture those good old days when we lived close enough to see one another more regularly.  It was so fun to have them here, and we are looking forward to seeing them again in a couple of weeks, when we head there on our annual vacation. It is so nice to have good relatives to visit and have fun with!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dan's Concussion Therapy

Recovering from a concussion is boring.  I don't know what Dan would be doing to pass the time without Chewy (Dan's oldest sister's dog).  He came to visit this week with Trisa and Travis.  Dan has spent time throwing a ball for him, petting him, and squirting him with water (so that he can stay cool). Chewy is a very snuggly dog, and Dan has spent some time snuggling with Chewy too.  

Chewy sitting on Dan's lap.

We don't have any pets, and have been informed several times that people with asthma shouldn't get any (not that we were going to), but when you have a concussion, a nice, friendly dog can be just the thing you need!

Connor's Awesome Eighteenth Birthday

Way back on June 9th Connor had a birthday, which we did celebrate.  We even got him presents!  When I was shopping for him I called him and asked "What is the one thing you will be the most disappointed if you don't receive?"  Any Guesses?  Well he got it, and you can see it in the (unfortunately poor quality) pictures below.
Connor's presents wrapped in Toy Story Christmas wrapping paper.  We almost exclusively use only the finest left over Christmas paper for birthdays -- unless we use comics.

Derek, Kayli, Trisa, and Dan with what looks to be laser vision.

Here it is.  The one thing Connor wanted more than anything else -- and it's not the Batman hat.  It's the Panda Pillow Pet.  Connor is somewhat obsessed with Pandas.  He does like the Batman hat Kayli got him, but he informed me that he had been asking for that pillow pet for 18 months and hadn't gotten it yet.  Poor Connor.

The loved Pillow Pet, and the Harry Potter puzzle that Jake thoughtfully gave him, and Derek is thoughtfully holding on his shoulder.  If there is one thing he likes as much as Panda's (or maybe even more) it's Harry Potter!  He does love people more than things.

Connor and his loot.

Connor and his fellow Batman Hat wearers.  Have I mentioned that most everyone in my family claims to be Batman?  It's really kind of hard for my lovely girls to be Batman, but they still like to wear Batman hats and help people when they can.  Trisa is on the left, and Kayli is on the right.
The whole family was actually present for this occasion.  Tia came from Provo and Travis was here with Trisa.  Connor's 18 birthday only happens once! Connor is a good son, and a good person.  My favorite is when he is laughing with his siblings.  They can be very fun and entertaining at times!   Connor chose lasagna for his dinner (that seems to be the most popular birthday dinner here) and brownies and homemade peach ice cream for dessert.  

Being 18 and out of high school can be a bit stressful, but I am confident that Connor will do well.  Happy 18 to Connor!