Aug 31, 2011

Some days are just like that....

Do you ever have days when you just feel grouchy/sad?  Just about anything can make you cry or make you angry.  You feel like your patience is non existent and things that normally don't even phase you make you inexplicably frustrated.  I am not one to be easily offended because I try to choose not to be offended, but yesterday I found myself choosing to be offended.  Even by things that I should be grateful for, not offended by.  I feel like I am a pretty happy and easy going person, for the most part, but the last day or so have been hard ones for me.  It is probably just a combination of lots of things, but I don't like feeling this way.  I know the biggest problem is that I miss my girls.  Who said sending your kids away to college is a good thing?  It will get easier, I know, I know.  It just takes a little time. I believe this is one of those times when my Dad might just tell me to buck up.  Yes, life is not always easy, but we choose our attitudes.  Sometimes we have to choose a better attitude multiple time in one day (sometimes even in one hour), but it can be done.  Pity party over!  Time to get busy, and maybe eat  a little chocolate.

Aug 28, 2011

College Girls

So this past week was a crazy, hectic one.  Between shopping trips, packing, loading and unloading the Suburban, and helping two girls move into their new apartments, there was not a moment to spare.  In fact I went to the store more times last week than I usually go in a month ( I am not kidding either-unfortunately).  The house has been a complete disaster as we have had piles of college stuff all over the place.  So on Wednesday we got the car all loaded up to take Lexie to BYU.  Tony came home from work at 2pm and we set off to Provo.  Of course last week was the hottest one all summer-the temp on Wednesday was 99 degrees as we were walking up to her third floor apartment.  We unloaded the car and helped her unpack and organize things.  We made a trip to the bookstore to pick up her books, and to get our Rise Up football shirts. (First game is Saturday!!!) We grabbed a quick bite to eat at KFC, and then took her grocery shopping.  When we took her back to her apartment, we said our goodbyes...that was hard.  When they leave for the first time it just feels funny.  You know you'll miss them, but you worry that you have taught them all you should have.  Add to the worry that she didn't have a job yet, it was just hard.  I cried.  It's the right thing and I wouldn't want it any other way, but it's still hard.  I am happy to report though that she found a job, starts Monday,  at the cafeteria in the MTC.  The hours are not the most ideal, but that's all part of the college experience right?  Hopefully my 5'10" blonde won't be too much of a distraction for the missionaries.
Lexie's bedroom-the quilt she made as a Personal Progress project. The pillow sham and small pillow I made last week when I didn't have anything else to do. :)

So we came back home Wednesday evening, and then Thursday morning started the process all over again with Ashley.  Luckily we have done the drill with Ashley before, so it was maybe a little easier.  So on Friday, we loaded up the car again. There is always some doubt if I will be able to get it all in, but for some strange reason I kind of enjoy the challenge-it's like a puzzle.  We were as full as we could get, but I got it all in.  She drove up ahead of Tony and I, since she gets to take the car this year. (We don't have any drivers at home now) Tony and I were in the canyon and the Suburban lost power.  That was scary for a minute!  What were we going to do with the car full of all her stuff?  It was already 5 pm.  So we were both praying.  Tony shut the car off, turned it back on, and it worked just fine.  We got to her apartment, and even Logan was in the high 90's.  Her apartment just has a swamp cooler, so it was not very cool, but thankfully her roommates and friends helped us unload the car so it went really fast.  We helped her unpack the stuff that was in our suitcases and containers, but left most of the mess for her to do later.  Then we got some pizza, and took her grocery shopping at a huge Wal-Mart.  (funny they had tons of BYU shirts at the Wal-Mart in Logan)  We took her back to her apartment and came home, arriving home around midnight (thanks to our two time pullover by the friendly cop-see last post).  It was not as hard to leave Ashley.  I miss her of course, but it really is easier the third time you drop them off.  Probably because you have already learned how to survive without them home, even if you don't like it.
Ashley's room-she has her own bedroom this year.  She is so excited!
Love seat in Ashley's apartment-the couch is fine, but this lovely piece looks like it may be an original to the apartment complex.  It's a beauty isn't it?

Aug 27, 2011

Are You Serious?

So tonight we were driving back from Logan late.  We had just finished helping Ashley move into her apartment.  Tony was getting really tired, but we were maybe 10 minutes or so from home when flashing lights came up behind us.  Tony wasn't speeding, so we were wondering what was going on.  The cop came up to the car, and Tony started pulling out his license.  He said he didn't need it, he was just concerned because we had been drifting into the next lane.  Tony said he was really tired, but we were almost home.  He told us to be careful, and we were on our way.  Seemed a little silly, but no big deal.  Then we had just pulled off the freeway at our exit, and again there were flashing lights behind us.  So we pulled over again (Tony was not happy!).  It was the same cop!  He looked at Tony made some stupid comment about the lights around our license plate weren't bright enough and left.  Please!  I appreciate police officers, I really do, but I am thinking this guy was just bored or something.  Oh well, I suppose we will laugh about this-when we aren't so tired!

Aug 25, 2011

Happy 80th Birthday Dad!

My most amazing Dad turned 80 years old today.  We went to the cabin to celebrate a couple of weeks ago, and we also took him out to dinner last Saturday-but I just wanted to post some of the things I love about my Dad.  He is the best!  I love him so much and I am so glad he is still around to celebrate 80 years (even if he said he was skipping this birthday).  It would take forever to write everything I love about him, so here are just some highlights.
1. Always knew just what to say...when I was a young girl, I would make myself sick worrying that something was going to happen to us when we traveled.  I worried so much that I couldn't enjoy the trip because I felt so awful.  Instead of blowing me off, Dad sat down with me and said he understood.  He then taught me a lesson that has brought me unmeasurable peace throughout my life.  He explained to me that our lives were in God's hands, and that he had a plan for us.  That didn't mean that nothing bad would ever happen, it just meant that Heavenly Father would watch over and protect me until I had finished my work on the earth.  Basically he taught me my first lesson on faith.  It stuck, and I still rely on that assurance sometimes on a daily basis.

2. He knew when to be tough.  Buck up or stop your crying or I'll give something to really cry about.  Sounds heartless, but he knew when we were being babies and needed to toughen up.  By doing this it enabled me to do hard things and roll with the punches that life throws at you.  I am grateful for a parent that made me strong, not one that made me a victim.

3. Spiritual Giant.  My Dad is a spiritual giant.  He loves the gospel.  He was a seminary teacher forever, and he knows the scriptures. I loved having family scripture study together, because he always taught us from the scriptures. (Just to be honest, as a kid I didn't always love scripture study.)  If I ever had a question about anything gospel related, I just asked him.  He always knew the answer complete with scripture reference.  I had my own topical guide.

4. Great example.  Dad didn't just give lip service to following the prophet.  He actually did it.  We always had FHE, scripture study, and family prayer.  We had food storage.  When counsel came from the leaders, we did it, no matter what sacrifice it meant.  He also is a great example of fulfilling his church callings.  He always had time consuming ones when I was growing up, which he fulfilled honorably, but he never neglected me.  He didn't just teach us to always accept callings, he showed us by example.

5.  Made time for me.  As I said he was gone a lot with meetings, but he always had time to play a game of horse, or to help me learn to hit a softball.  He had interviews with us.  He would always come and sing to me so I could go to sleep.  Daddy's Little Girl was my favorite, but I also loved Rolling down to Rio, Bluebird of Happiness, Katie, and a Brazilian song that I loved the sound of even if I didn't understand it until living in Brazil.  He played games with me and watched movies with me.

6. Would make me a milkshake or get me some ice cream any time.  All I had to do was tap him on the elbow, and off he would go to make me a milkshake.  No words were needed.

7. Sports fan. My love for BYU football and basketball came from him.  I loved watching the games as a family, and I remember sometimes sitting around the kitchen table listening to a game on the radio.  It is one of my favorite memories.

8. Master disciplinarian.  Dad had a way of helping you want to do the right thing.  I never felt coerced, just loved and trusted.  That love and trust usually translated into good behavior on my part.

Trying on the Harry Potter glasses
There are so many more things that I could post...but this will do for now.  Here's wishing a happy birthday to the best Dad ever!

Aug 21, 2011

Back to School Blues

I know a lot of people are excited to send their kids back to school, but I am not.  I am feeling quite melancholy about it actually.  I have no idea where the summer went, and I am not ready to start back into the whole routine of school and homework.  Maybe part of my sadness comes in sending not one, but two kids to college this year.  I have loved every minute of having all five of my children at home this summer.  So I thought I would make a pro and con list about going back to school to see if it would cheer me up.
PROS
  • I get more accomplished when the kids are in school
  • We do a much better job at having family prayer, scripture study and FHE during school
  • The kids get to learn
  •  Not so much TV time to monitor
  • Football season comes with the start of school
CONS
  • Homework, homework, homework
  • Two kids in Junior High
  • Expensive-school fees, sports fees, madrigal fees, school clothes, shoes, getting 2nd child supplied for college, college housing, tuition, books, and all the other expenses of college
  • Only three kids at home
  • No drivers at home
  • Carpools
  • Getting non-morning kids out the door for school
  • Routine of school doesn't allow for sleeping in or staying up late (one night this summer we all went to get smoothies at 10pm, never happens during the school year)
  • Missing my oldest two desperately
  • What if one or both of my oldest two daughters date someone seriously...not sure I am ready for that
  • Less time to enjoy being with my kids
Ok this did not help at all.  It will all be good though, and I am grateful for the opportunities that my kids have to learn and grow that school and college provide. (I just have to keep telling myself that!)

Aug 20, 2011

Last Vacation of Summer

Tony and I returned Monday evening from our last summer fling before school starts.  We went up to the cabin in Island Park with my parents and all four of my siblings and their husbands to celebrate my Dad's 80th birthday.  His birthday is actually next week, but we couldn't take off without the kids once school started so we had to celebrate before.  We were beginning to wonder if the trip was going to happen when my Mom fell and broke her hand late Sunday evening, my sister coming from Iowa was supposed to leave on Monday, but they had car problems and weren't able to leave until afternoon on Tuesday.  Even with a few bumps getting started we all managed to get to the cabin on Tuesday evening or Wednesday (Aug 10).  We had a such a great time!  The weather was perfect, mid 70's during the day and 40's at night, with sunny blue skies.  We played games, ate way too much, played badminton, enjoyed the lake, floated down the river in Box Canyon, went to Yellowstone, ate way too much (did I already mention that), and celebrated my Dad's birthday with my uncle and aunt that live on Island Park year round.  We also watched a few movies, most of which were my Dad's choice.  We watched Operation Petticoat (love Cary Grant), Dial M for Murder, Rear Window (never seen that one before, love Jimmy Stewart too), and Amish Grace (fantastic movie, but bring your Kleenexes!).  One of my favorite things about the vacation was seeing Tony enjoy himself.  He has been a little stressed the last 5 or so months, and it was so nice to see him relaxed and laughing.  Laughing so hard he was crying.  Vacations are good!  My Dad is an amazing guy...can't believe he will be 80 next week.  I hope he had as good of a time as I did.
Charming picture I know, but this is all of us but my Mom getting ready to float the river. Dad looks pretty good for an 80 year old-don't you think?

Aug 19, 2011

National Parks Tribute

Old Faithful at Yellowstone-2011
Did you know that there are nearly 400 National Park units, now that includes battlefields, monuments, buildings and other historical sights.  There are 53 national parks like Yellowstone, and Zion's.  Yellowstone was the first National Park, and I started going there about as soon as I could walk I think.  I have been there many times, and find it an extraordinarily remarkable place.  Absolutely fascinating.  In the more recent years we have visited a few more of these parks, but sadly my total is only at 6 of the 53.  I have found each one stunning or magnificent or breathtaking.  I would like to visit all 53 at some point (along with going to Europe, Israel, and any other place full of history and cool things to see-I would travel constantly if I could just figure out how to pay for it.)  Looking over the list of the nearly 400 different places I realized I have been to 30 or more of them as well.  I find nature amazing.  I love reading about how rock formations happen, and I marvel at their beauty. You know the little brochures that they give you with all the information about the national park and it's geology-yeah I read those cover to cover.  I feel a closeness to my Heavenly Father when I am out appreciating the beauties of nature.  I also love history and many of the National Monuments, etc are historically based.  I don't agree with all that our government does, but I am grateful that there is a system in place to protect and preserve these historical and natural treasures!
The yellow rocks of these canyons are why Yellowstone got it's name. 

Most recent trip to Yellowstone-August 2011 in front of the Grotto Geyser

Grotto Geyser after it started to erupt-2011
The only bear I have ever seen in Yellowstone
Bryce Canyon

Our third National Park trip to Bryce Canyon was one of my all time favorite family vacations!
Grand Canyon-yes it was cold in April in Arizona!

View from Ooh Aah Point in the Grand Canyon-perfectly named
Delicate Arch-Arches National Park
The extended family made the trip to Arches-we camped and the whole bit. I am not a camper, but I loved Arches!
Redwoods National Park last summer-no picture can do these trees justice!

More Redwoods
(missing are photos from Zion's National Park.  Those pictures were taken before digital cameras, and I was too lazy to scan them in.)

Aug 16, 2011

I did it!

So have you ever set a goal for yourself, and failed to achieve it?  (If you can answer no to this question, please don't tell me.  I like living in my little bubble thinking that no one is perfect.)  I set a goal to read Jesus the Christ several years ago.  I got through about 600 pages of it, but then life got crazy and I never got back to it.  It has always bothered me.  I mean I was only 200 pages away from my goal, why not just pick it up and read those pages.  For some reason though, I just never did it.  Well, this year I decided I was going to finish it!  When I pulled it out to finish up those 200 pages, I really felt like I should start over.  So I did.  I started in January and finished it on Sunday August 14th, all 793 pages read this year.  This is not a light read, or a fast read.  It is deep, sometimes I had to read the same paragraph a couple of times before really grasping the meaning. I would highly recommend it though.  I often find myself pondering the things I have learned while reading that book.  It is such a great feeling to set a goal and accomplish it!  I might try to do it again...maybe The Mortal Messiah books will be next on my list.

Aug 7, 2011

17 Miracles

Tony and I went to see this movie on Friday night.  I loved it, although I was teary eyed within minutes of it starting.  I have done a lot of reading about the Marin and Willie Handcart Companies, so the stories are familiar to me.  I am always stunned by their strength and especially their faith.  I always wonder if I would sacrifice as much for the the gospel.  The movie portrays several of the miracles that happened on this groups particularly difficult trek west.  Some might ask why were these people asked to suffer so much, why weren't they blessed for coming to Zion liked they were asked to do?  We can always complain and wonder why we are asked to suffer and experience trials, or we can be faithful like those early pioneers who kept going amidst death and and horrible conditions.  Truly the Lord was with them, just as He is always with us particularly when we are struggling the most. 

I am grateful for the example of the pioneers in my own family.  Thomas E. Ricks, who is mentioned in the movie as a rescuer, is one of my great grandfathers.  There were many others though, all of whom have left a legacy of faith that constantly inspires me.  I think of my great grandmother who supported her three young children, one who was my Grandpa, while her husband was called to serve a mission.  If she could do that faithfully certainly I can faithfully support my husband while he serves in his calling without complaint.  I think of my in laws who are pioneers in their own right, being the first members of the church in their families.  Who have dealt with persecution from their families and have had to blaze their own trail.  I am grateful that they taught their son to live the gospel.  Life is never easy, it will always be full of challenges, but we can press forward with faith just like the early pioneers who knew that there was no sacrifice to great for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Aug 5, 2011

Rise and Shout!

These came in the mail yesterday, and I must say that I can hardly contain my excitement. I love fall and football, it is probably my favorite time of the year.  I love all the excitement through fall camp, and the build up to the first game.  I love heading into the stadium, the electricity buzzing through the stands, the roar of the crowd.  I am a true blue BYU fan!  Even last year when we struggled mightily, I loved watching them pull together and turn things around.  So many new things happening this year and we are starting out with our hardest games, but the excitement is still building rapidly in our house-soon to reach a fever pitch.

Our children have all become big fans as well (so surprising considering their parents).  I think Alexis is more excited for football than college, but I remember an 18 year old freshman who was just like her 20+ years ago.  I was trying to remember when I first became a fan, but it was hard to pinpoint exactly.  I know it was before the 1980 Holiday Bowl when I was so nervous in the end that I couldn't sit still, and no things haven't changed much. I remember Steve Young handing off the ball to Eddie Stinett, and then Stinett passing it back to him for the win.  I remember being in Brazil for the undefeated season, and watching every tape that was sent of the games from home.  I was at BYU during Ty Detmer's years, oh what fun it was to be at the BYU vs. Miami game, one of the best ever.  The Pigskin classic against Texas A&M, and the Cotton Bowl.  So many memories...loved Lavell Edwards and his serious face, I can entertain myself for quite some time thinking of favorite plays and games throughout the years. Like Beck to Harline in 2006 with 3 seconds left on the clock or Hall to Collie on 4th and 18.  BYU's win over Oklahoma in Cowboy stadium, watching Andrew George run right towards me in overtime.   So many great games and great players. It was a happy day when we decided we could get season football tickets again, the only bad thing is that everyone wants to go now, so I only get to go to one or two of the games, but I love that the kids get to have the time with their Dad doing what we all love best. 

I don't know what independence will do to the program, but I love Bronco and I am anxious to see what all the coaching shakeup will bring to the team. Only 29 days! Go Cougars!!

Aug 4, 2011

Why is it ok to run around in your underwear?

I was out walking this morning (supposed to be running, but just couldn't make myself do it), and a tall, thin and toned woman passed me in her underwear.  Now I know they call them sports bras, etc, but I still wondered why we have decided that it is ok to run in them in public.  I realize if you are all tan and toned you may want to show off your body, but it still makes me uncomfortable.  I for one am not all tanned and toned so the last thing in the world I would do is run in them.  No one wants to see my rolls and goosh, but there are other things that keep me from running in them.  I know I am terribly old fashioned and usually not politically correct, but I preferred the days when you were terribly embarrassed if your bra strap poked out of your shirt, to today when that is all you wear.  I guess the thing that makes me the most uncomfortable about it though is that my 14 year old son in running around out there all the time, and I really wish that he didn't have to see women running in their underwear.