Jul 31, 2011

Shaun Cassidy Memories

As Tony and I were doing errands today we heard Da Doo Ron Ron on the radio.  I was instantly transported to my younger days when I had a major crush on Shaun Cassidy (think Justin Bieber today-except Shaun Cassidy was actually cute).  It all started though, because my older sister told me that I should ask for Shaun Cassidy's Born Late album for my birthday.  Now interesting side note here...this sister and I did not get along very well at all!  But obviously I still cared what she thought because I asked for the record, even though I didn't really know who he was then.  However, I ended up loving the album and became a Shaun Cassidy fan.  I may or may not have known every word to every song on that album. I may or may not have sung them at the top of my lungs while hugging the album cover and dancing.  I may or may not have thought he was extremely attractive (don't tell my kids though because he had long hair, and I kind of make a big fuss about long hair).  So hearing that song made me have a little moment of reminiscing.  Ahhh to be young and ridiculous again!  To watch CHIPs just so you could see Erik Estrada's smile, or Dukes of Hazzard to see Tom Wopat in those jeans.... (I may or may not have kissed the television once when he was on screen).  I guess maybe the Justin Bieber craze isn't soooo hard to understand, and it certainly is fun to remember those days.
I wish I would have saved all these old records!

Jul 29, 2011

Fair is where you see the pigs!

So, a very common phrase heard around our house is "That's not fair, Mom!!"  Some of my children seem to remember everything I have ever done or said, and use that in their arguments explaining why my treatment of them is unfair.  They may not actually even say the phrase, but the meaning is there when they tell me they shouldn't have to clean up a mess because they didn't make it.  Or when I tell them on their dish day, that they need to unload the dishwasher again even though they did it once that day already.  My oldest daughter was quite put out when her younger sister got a cell phone when she was still in 9th grade, because she didn't get one until the summer after 9th grade. (I am happy to say that she has grown out of this problem now, and was the one encouraging us to get a phone for her brother while he was still in 8th grade.)  The other night I was telling one of my kids to go to bed. They weren't so much concerned about the time they went to bed it seemed, they were mostly concerned that they got to stay up later than their younger sibling.  Sometimes my kids will tell me about things I did or said years ago, and remind me of just how unfair I was.  Most of the time I don't even know what they are talking about, but obviously I have issues with fairness.    As a parent I really try to not favor one child over the other, and split up responsibilities fairly, but it is just not possible to be perfect at it.  I am pretty sure I spoil my youngest, just like my parents spoiled me, but I think I turned out mostly OK. Hopefully he will too.  I used to always tell my kids the that life wasn't fair, but a friend of mine told us what she tells her kids and I have decided to adopt it...Fair is where you see the pigs! (My children don't think it is nearly as clever as I do!)

Jul 28, 2011

Hopeless Romantic

What can I say, I am a hopeless romantic.  I so enjoy a good love story, especially a good old fashioned one where you don't have to worry about sexual content.  I started Pride and Prejudice in college expecting to hate it, after all it was considered a classic.  Very soon though, I couldn't put it down.  I had it finished long before the due date for my class.  How happy I was to discover the BBC movie version.  I have watched it many times, and I must say Colin Firth makes an excellent Mr. Darcy.  There are just certain parts that make me smile over and over again.  Well, last week I finished reading Emma, and then I rented the BBC version of Emma.  I finished watching it yesterday, and I am still smiling.  Next on my list to watch is North and South (NOT the John Jake's miniseries).  I hear it is fantastic.  I can't wait!

Jul 26, 2011

Last Girl's Camp Post

Up at the lovely Camp Aerie, our young women continued to shout Kyle, Kyle, Kyle...  We asked what the meaning of this was, and they said it was from Kid History.  My own kids quote Kid History all the time, but I haven't taken the time to watch them. Here is the one with the Kyle reference.  I must admit, they are pretty funny.

Jul 25, 2011

Snipe Hunting and Other Pranks

I have never liked pranks or "practical" jokes.  Most of the time they are just not funny to me, and someone always ends up getting hurt it seems.  I played a practical joke once on my roommate, and although it worked beautifully I never really felt good about it.  It just seemed really selfish to enjoy myself at someone else's expense.  I know one time in Brazil,  I stopped a girl from putting toothpaste in someone's sleeping bag.  I was considered a party pooper, but what was she supposed to sleep in for the rest of the time?  Now many years later, I dislike them as much as ever, and I was concerned heading up to girl's camp.

The big thing to do with the first year campers, is take them on a snipe hunt.  Not too much harm done, I suppose, but the other leaders and I were still dragging our feet on it.  It was the last night of camp, and we had two first years come back from the bathroom convinced that they had seen a snipe on the way back to camp.  They were so serious, that I could not completely suppress my laughter.  The older girl's insisted at this point that they had to take them on the hunt, and we finally relented.  So they all got decked out in toothpaste (toothpaste on your face aids in snipe hunting), and went on the hunt.  I mentioned to one of the older girl's to watch out for any girls who might be taking this too seriously, because the last thing I wanted was for anyone to get hurt.  For the most part they all came back laughing, and thinking it was great fun. They even decided that toothpaste makes your skin extra soft.  I still don't love pranks, or snipe hunting, but I realized that it is part of the growing up process.  I had a first year camper up there, and although my first instinct was to protect her at all costs, I realized that she is tougher than I think. After all this snipe hunting the older girls included all the first years in their late night talks and story telling, making them all feel like they belonged.  I will never be an advocate of pranks, but maybe it isn't the worst thing that could happen.

Jul 23, 2011

Girl's Camp Adventures

I was called to be the camp director for the young women in our ward a couple months before our ward boundary change.  I mentioned to the Bishop after the change that I didn't need to keep the calling, but my dear husband said he had no intention of making a change. Oh well!  So for the past few months I have been planning and getting things ready for girls camp.  I should have taken a picture of my family room as I started to gather up stuff the last couple of weeks.  Our house was being overtaken by crafts, goodies, tents, etc.  So on Tuesday the big day arrived.  We left for Camp Aerie at about 8am and spent 4 days there.  I don't really like camping, but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  The young women leaders in our ward are great, and I haven't laughed that hard in awhile. The girls in our ward are amazing, and I was so impressed with them.  It was a lot of fun getting to know them better, hearing their testimonies and listening to their insightful comments as we read the scriptures together.  It was a great week.  Yes, I came home exhausted, but it was worth it.

Why do painting projects always end up with painting clothes too?  I really hope they were old pants...

Our skit-Goldilocks Makes Righteous Choices

Goldilock's temptations

Goldilocks seeing Hot Teenage Boy Bear

Happily Ever After

Our cute camp decorations-Tiffany is amazing

Sitting around the campfire. 

The beautiful view from our hike

Our amazing YW president.  If you see her, ask her to break it down, or do the Haka. :)

Jul 15, 2011

Harry Potter Mania

It seems like it was only yesterday that my 8 year old daughter wanted to read this book about a wizard.  It was becoming quite the rage, but there was all kinds of uproar about it-it was evil, it was fantastic, you shouldn't let your kids read them because they were satanic, it was amazing.  I decided to read the book, before I let my young and impressionable 8 year old venture into it.  So, I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone being very skeptical about it's contents, and figuring it would be a kid's book that I would just have to muddle through.  I didn't have to read very many pages before I was hooked.  Now I am an avid reader, and I love all genres, but this book was so entertaining.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and felt that all the uproar was nonsense.  I think the first two were already out at this point and I read them both, and so did my daughter.  After that when each one would come out, I always said I had to read them first to make sure they were ok. :)  Really though, I just wanted to read them first!  I realize that not everyone likes the book, but I for one am grateful for them. They may not go down in history as great literature, but they have taken some of my non reader children, and made them readers.  My oldest three have read them multiple times, our copies are literally falling apart, and my youngest two have read the first four so far.  My oldest could probably be considered obsessed...she has read them more times than I can count, no exaggeration.  She is Ginny Weasley and is looking for her Harry Potter, (maybe it's her red hair).  We keep reminding her that Harry Potter isn't real, but...

The movies have been fun, too.  Which is why I am writing this post.  The last movie is now out, no more Harry Potter to look forward to.  I have enjoyed the movies, thought they were cast amazingly well, although it has forever ruined Alan Rickman as the love interest in Sense and Sensiblity-who would be interested in Snape? It has been fun to see some great characters brought to life, even if they probably aren't the greatest movies ever.  I for one have thoroughly enjoyed the ride through JK Rowling's vivid imagination into Harry Potter world, and have always found "magic" in the written word.
All ready to go to the midnight showing with their cousins.

Jul 12, 2011

Amusement Park Hair

Two of my children work at the local amusement park this summer, and once a month they get coupons to get their friends or family in for a discounted price.  We decided we should take advantage of this deal yesterday afternoon.  Now I am the kind of person that after riding one maybe two rides, my hair looks similar to how it looks when I get up in the morning.  You know it looks bad when my kids start trying to fix it for me. It is just my lot in life I guess.  However, I am always curious when I see people walking around the amusement park looking perfect.  Do they not ride the rides?  Are they not a water magnet like I am?  I mean I see people get off Splash Mountain in Disneyland dry all the time, but no matter where I sit, I get drenched.  Whatever be the case, you will not see me walking around the amusement park looking perfect. 
Riding California Screamin'.  It's a nice look isn't it?  And it looks so much worse when the ride is over.

Jul 11, 2011

Finally Used the China

When I lived in Brazil, my parents got me a full set of china and some nice silverware.  True I was only 17, but it was a deal that couldn't be passed up, and it's not like china goes bad or anything.  So for some 25 years it has sat packed up, or sitting in my cupboards getting dusty.  My children have often asked, "Why do you even have china if you are never going to use it.?"  Valid question.  So yesterday we used the china, got out the crystal and the whole bit.  The kids seemed a little nervous to use it, but it was actually kind of fun.  We also had a little lesson on proper manners.  Who would have thought that you were supposed to put your napkin in your lap, keep your elbows off the table, and avoid scooping up your food with your fingers.  It went pretty well until my 18 year old ate the rest of the jello off the plate with the serving spoon. If my children ever eat at your house, please know that I did at least try to teach them manners...
(We don't even have a nice tablecloth, guess I'll have to get one.)

Jul 10, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth!

No, this is not a post about Disneyland, although I love Disneyland, this is a post about my favorite place to be-Island Park, ID.  My grandparents finished this cabin right around the time that I was born, and all my life that is the main place we have gone for vacations.

I have so many memories associated with the cabin.  It is not big or fancy. It fact it is quite small and simple, but maybe that is why I like it so much.  It provides the necessities, while allowing you to drink in all the beauties around you. It is a place where I have always felt peace, and especially close to my Heavenly Father.  I love that now it is my children's favorite place to be as well. 

I love the breathtaking scenery.  I love to sit at the lake especially early in the morning.  I love taking walks around the island loop.  I love the smell! Especially right after a rain storm. 
Love the moon reflecting in the lake.
I love eating at the cabin!  There is always an abundance of fantastic food.  Breakfasts are always especially good, and my Dad has to cook.  You can tell him to sit down, but he just won't.  Don't you love his apron?

I love watching the wildlife.  Moose are common friends up there.  This mother and her babies decided to cool off in the sprinkler right behind the cabin. 
Squirrels and chipmunks are everywhere.  I can sit and watch them eat peanuts off a stump right outside the window forever.  I love to wake up to the sound of the squirrels chattering and birds chirping.  Once I even got a squirrel to eat a peanut right out of my hand. 

Sometimes we rent or borrow four wheelers, boats or  jet skis.
My Dad going for a spin on the jet ski.  

One of the best memories ever, was when my brother-in-law, Daken, took my Mom for a ride on the jet ski. He promised her that she would not get wet, so she reluctantly agreed.  Well, guess what?  He dumped them both in the lake.  He says it wasn't on purpose, but....
Ashley and cousin- David
A brilliant idea to try to pull the canoe behind the jet ski!

Ok, maybe not so brilliant!
Brilliant or not, Tony couldn't stop laughing. 
Most of the time we just swim in the somewhat mossy, and extremely cold lake.

The kids have loved the lake from the time they were little.
Tony is usually the first to dive in, or try something new.  One evening he and Daken convinced Daken's two oldest boys to jump in fully clothed.  Of course Tony was one of the first to go in, but all 4 of them did it.
There is nothing like jumping in the first time in the frigid lake.  It literally takes your breath away.  Yet we all do it again and again.  Even though you might be left with a nice mossy green residue on your skin.

Jared takes after his father, when it comes to trying new things.

Another thing I love, is how close it is to Yellowstone National Park.  Absolutely spectacular place, if you haven't been there, you should go!
I'd have to say that the absolute best part is spending time with family.  You wouldn't believe how many people we can squeeze into this tiny cabin.  In this picture Tony, Alan, and Scott had a fruity pebbles eating contest.  Not sure if Tony is laughing or crying, but Alan eventually won.

The new porch addition, just another place to spend more time together and make room for more people to eat.

This is from our most recent trip. 
Perhaps the true personalities of the cousins are more apparent here.

Jul 9, 2011

America The Beautiful!

Ok, so the 4th of July has come and gone, but it's never a bad time to be grateful for this great country.  I had the opportunity to live out of the country for 3 years when I was a teenager.  What an eye opening experience that was for me!  I had no idea that everyone couldn't go to school if they wanted to.  That some days you just couldn't buy milk, that calling the police didn't mean they would be right there, that water wouldn't be safe to drink, and that you couldn't get married anywhere you wanted to.  (to name just a few things)  I absolutely loved my time in Brazil and it is a great country, but when we returned to the United States I wanted to kiss the ground when we got off the plane in Florida.  And yes if you were in Walt Disney World on the 4th of July in 1986, I was that crazy teenager crying when the National Anthem was played.  Here in this land of opportunity we can do anything we are willing to work hard enough to do.  Our great country has problems, and they seem to be growing at an alarming rate, but it is still the greatest place to be!
New York 2007
Pearl Harbor 2008
Washington DC for our 20th Anniversary in 2010

I just might have gotten teary eyed here.

The White House

Gettysburg-OK I got teary eyed here too!
I am so grateful for those who fought in the Civil War to preserve our nation.

Arlington National Cemetery-Just plain cried here.
I am grateful to all those who have fought to preserve our freedom and the freedom of others.

I am proud to be an American!

Jul 8, 2011

Stake Priesthood Meeting

We all have lists of things we want to accomplish in our lives, but speaking in Stake Priesthood meeting was never on my list.  So, when I was asked to speak on marriage, specifically what I felt the priesthood holders were doing well and what they could improve on, I was stressed!  Every marriage is so different, and everyone has different issues they are facing, how could I possibly address them all. I decided to focus on what the prophets have taught, and my own experiences, trying in all ways to follow the promptings of the spirit. I learned much from the experience, and am just glad that it is over with!

I am by no means a marriage expert, but I thought I would share some of the things I learned in my study, and things I have learned from my own experience.  Pres. Hinckley said, "You will know no greater happiness than that found in your home.  You will have no more serious obligation than that which you face in your home.  The truest mark of your success in life will be the quality of your marriage."  Love that!  It really made me think about my priorities and making sure that I was putting the proper emphasis on my marriage.  Does your spouse know that they are your first priority?  Would you rather be with them, than anything or anyone else?  Will you go to the musical, just because she wants to? Will you go to the football game just because he wants to? (Tony and I get along well here, because we both want to go to the football game!)

Engagement Photo
One of the main things I thought I should stress was the importance of being positive.  If you look for the bad in others you will definitely find it, but if you look for the good you will find that too!  The great thing about looking for the good, is that you are happier too. Pres. Hinckley said, "I am satisfied that if we would look for the virtues in one another and not the vices, there would be much more of happiness in the homes of our people.  There would be far less of divorce, much less of infidelity, much less of anger, and quarreling.  There would be more of forgiveness, more of love, more of peace, more of happiness.  This is as the Lord would have it."  Honestly this is something that I have struggled with.  When Tony and I were first married he was a very zealous returned missionary.  He suggested that we have companionship inventories to help strengthen our relationship.  He explained that it was a time to go over what we were doing well, and what we needed to improve on.  Well, my mind latched onto the improve on part, and I had a list of things that I wanted him to do better!  So as we sat down to do our little inventory, I told him my list.  He was very humble, and agreed to work on the things I had mentioned.  Then it was his turn.  I was expecting the worst, and he said to me, "There isn't a thing I would change."  Man I felt terrible!  Now I know there were things I was doing that drove him crazy, but he chose not to focus on them.  I decided from that time on that I would try to be more positive and look for the good.

The world teaches us that we need to look out for ourselves, that it is all about having time for ourselves, and finding personal fulfillment.  The world's "All About Me!" mentality doesn't work in a successful marriage.  There is no room for selfishness. Tony and I had an argument once about who's life was harder.  He was going to school and working full time, and I was staying home full time with two small children.  It was a ridiculous argument, based completely on our inability to see anyone's needs but our own. If we switch our focus to what can I do to make my spouse happy, instead of what is my spouse doing for me, we will both be happier.  Pres. Howard W. Hunter said, "Being happily and successfully married is generally not so much a matter of marrying the right person as it is being the right person.  The conscious effort to do one's part fully is the greatest element contributing to success."

Mom and  Dad 1954
50th Wedding Anniversary Cruise 2004

I believe that the greatest element contributing to the success of marriage is a commitment to live the gospel and keep the covenants that were made in the temple.  I have watched my own amazing parents (who have been married for 57 years in October)  make a marriage work, even though really they are quite different.  I have watched them learn to enjoy each others interests, and work through many challenges together.  What is this glue that has kept them together?  I firmly believe it is their commitment to keep their covenants, and their absolute unity in living the gospel. I love this quote from Elder David A. Bednar, "The Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point in a covenant marriage relationship.  Please notice how the Savior is positioned at the apex of this triangle, with a woman at the base of one corner and a man at the base of the other corner.  Now consider what happens in the relationship between the man and the woman as they individually and steadily come unto Christ and strive to be perfected in him.  Because of and through the Redeemer, the man and the woman come closer together.  The Savior is always the perfect example!  If we can all learn to love as He loved, I am certain our marriages would all be better.  

Mormon Message By Elder Holland  It's great! Watch it.