Monday, January 30, 2012

In Case of Emergency

Since being called as the Primary President several months ago, Sundays can be anything but relaxing. The first couple months I would come home from church and just hide in my room for a while until I could put the chaos of Primary behind me and face being the mom again. It was crazy. It never seemed to run smoothly and I was always wiped out by the end.
People kept telling me it would get better and I would find a routine of sorts. I have to admit, I didn't believe them. Then, all of the sudden it seemed, it happened. I came home and wasn't totally wiped out. I was still smiling after Primary and it wasn't the "smile so you don't cry" type of smile. The day went really well. The next week went really well too. I thought I must be getting the hang of it. That's when I should have known the Lord would have some more lessons for me to learn.

Yesterday the teachers all went to the combined meeting the last hour so my counselor and I divided the younger kids into two classes and each taught one while the other counselor and secretary took over sharing time. The stake was oh so kind and came to do our music. I wrestled the entire first hour with a little 3 year-old who needs some one on one support most weeks and then went on to teach about a dozen five and six year olds. Wow! Can I just say our teachers are amazing? I have even more respect and awe for them than I did before. It isn't an easy task keeping a dozen kids engaged in a lesson that gets over all too quickly. Thank goodness for memorizing Articles of Faith and crayons. By the time it was over, I was once again wiped out and smiling but not the, "It went so smoothly and it was an amazing day" kind of smile.

We came home and I hid myself in my room with a half a can of Coke and a frozen Twix I had been saving for an emergency. It was definitely an emergency. I sat on my bed savoring the Twix and playing scrabble online when I reached over for the second half of my treasure only to find it already gone. Dang it! I ate the whole thing and didn't even realize it was gone. I am thinking I should start putting a king size Twix in the freezer in case of a emergency. Some days may require a four pack.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Summer in January

 We took advantage of the beautiful spring like weather for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and took off for Devil's Kitchen. Three of the boys and I played here last summer during our Adventure Week but Gary and Logan hadn't been here yet. We loved it!

The boys hiked around the rocks. I say hiked, Gary says climbed. Either way, we were outside enjoying the 50 degree weather and getting a bit of exercise. They found caves and holes and all sorts of things to do. They didn't want to leave for quite a while. In fact, they still weren't too happy about leaving even when we told them we would be going shooting next.  That is the sign of a good family activity. Everyone is happy and no one wants to move on to the next activity. I am truly blessed that we have boys that enjoy being outside and don't have to be "plugged in" every minute!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tom Turns Twelve!

Thomas turned twelve the end of December. How can my baby boy be so big? I don't think I was really prepared for the milestone twelve is in a young man's life. I was ready for five and getting ready for Kindergarten. I was ready for eight and being baptized. I think I am ready for the magical age of 16 and dating and driving. Even 19 and a mission is something I see on the horizon as being a big deal. For some reason, 12 didn't enter in as one of those big birthdays.

It is a big birthday though. We don't usually celebrate Tom's birthday in December. We do a half birthday in June. He was born so close to Christmas that I wanted his birthday to be about him and not about what energy and financial resources we have left over after Christmas. This year was going to be a bit different.

We had been talking about taking Tom to the temple on his twelfth birthday for quite some time. I didn't think of all that would have to go into making that happen. I thought we would just get an interview set up and get him a recommend and then go to the temple. Easy peasy. Thank goodness I have very patient and loving priesthood holders around me to guide me through the process.

In order to go to the temple, Tom had to have the priesthood. In order to get the priesthood, he needed an interview with the Bishop and then be presented to the ward. After all that was done, he could be ordained on his birthday. Our Bishopric is amazing. They did his interview early and presented him on Christmas Sunday. Then, they came over bright and early on Tom's birthday to be present for his ordination.

Gary ordained him to the office of a Deacon. Wow. What an amazing thing to have my husband confer that awesome power on my son. He gave him a great blessing and the spirit was so strong. Afterward, Gary said he knew his Dad was there with us. I don't doubt it. His first grandson was entering a new and important phase of his life.

Shortly after we headed to the Mount Timpanogos Temple to do baptisms. There were a ton of kids waiting. The line was so long that, even though we had our own names, we could only do five a piece. We waited almost an hour at the font before it was our turn and I got to see Gary lead Tom into the font and be baptized for those who have gone on before. AMAZING!

Tom loved every minute of it. He has asked several times since when we can go back. He wants to do baptisms in all the temples he can he said. We are going up again in a couple of weeks and taking Tom's cousin, Connor, with us.

I hope the experience will be one that helps to strengthen Tom in the trying times ahead. The teenage years are never easy and it seems as if they are getting even more difficult. He is such an amazing young man that has so much compassion, a great sense of humor, and a work ethic that I don't see very often these days. I am so proud to call him my son!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Adventure Week Day Three

Any idea what we did for Adventure Week day three?
There is a petting zoo at a gas station in Scipio. We've been to the gas station several times because there is also a Dairy Queen there that has an amazing BLT. It's not every day you can get your car gassed up, eat a quick snack and play with an eclectic mix of animals.
I was a bit worried that this would be the most boring day ever for Tommy Boy but he really enjoyed it I think. I told him on the way that this adventure may be geared more toward Ethan and Dylan since he was heading out with the scouts tonight on an overnighter. At first I thought he was just being a good sport but he really didn't want to leave when it was time. The kid never ceases to amaze me.

Dylan on the other hand was not as thrilled as I had anticipated. I had a hard time getting a picture of him even close to any animals much less touching them. It may have been that they were about the same size and could look him in the eye. After about 20 minutes, he turned to me and said, "Mom, this place is freaking me out." He was ready to go and after announcing it in such a cute four-year-old way, I couldn't refuse.
Ethan loved, loved, loved it. If only he was a bit taller so he could reach over the fences to pet the ostriches and horses though. He followed Tom around and pet all the animals and had a huge beaming smile the whole time.
The donkey was loving Tom. He loved him so much in fact that he wanted to take a bite right out of him. Didn't phase Tom one bit. I think he's going to love growing up in the country setting. I'm just hoping the neighbor's donkeys, mules, and horses are enough for him. I just don't see any of them in our future backyard plans.
He named the goat on his lap Buddy. It would follow him around and if he sat down, it would climb right on. I didn't know goats could be lap dogs!
I was always taught that you don't put your hand in a dark tunnel in some rocks but here they are, all elbow deep. The rocks, and netting shade canopy, were home to lots of bunnies. If anyone found one in a hole, they all had to run over and try to pet them. Poor bunnies. Even Dylan got in on the act for a while.

I think I've learned my lesson about guessing who will enjoy what activity. Here I thought Dyl would love it and he was scared to even get close to most of the animals. I thought Tom would be a bit bored and he enjoyed every minute. Ethan was the only one that responded like I thought.

This has turned into a fun tradition for us and I'm excited for the next few days of adventures before school starts. I'm really excited for Logan to come home on Sunday and start joining us for some of them too! I miss that little man!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Adventure Week Day Two

After yesterday's excursion, I thought I'd better plan a bit better for today's adventure. I knew where we were going to go. I knew how to get there. I bought lunch supplies yesterday. I even remembered the camp chair for me to sit in and do some work while the boys were playing.
We headed out right before lunch with a cooler, blanket, and my trusty camp chair and headed south. When we got to the park in Kanosh, we pulled over and the boys asked, "We are going to the park?" They didn't sound terribly excited which had me a bit worried. It's a risk you take when you plan a week of surprise adventures. We piled out of the car anyway.

A new playground is always an adventure. This one had the old school metal slide that was tall enough that Dylan climbed up it and then back down the ladder because it was too tall for him.

It had the new big toy with slides and ladders and bridges to climb on and explore and chase each other through.

There were three horses that the boys were riding the range on. Here they are trying not to get bucked off during their eight second ride.

It had the swing set and the spider web to round out the toy selection. There were huge trees sharing their shade with our picnic blanket, my chair, and most of the toys. It was awesome.

That is until it wasn't. At first I was just a bit annoyed by the flies. I even moved us to another spot hoping that the fly problem was just a localized issue.  Nope. They were down right awful!

 The boys played and fought and played and fought and played and fought. Finally, between the flies and the fighting, I had had enough and called it a day. It was still a pretty good adventure day. We went somewhere we had never been before and did something we don't do every day. They had a great time playing on all the toys when they weren't fighting and I had a great time outside with my kids. They even took some photos of each other up in one of the trees.

Tomorrow's adventure is still a mystery. I can't seem to decide on the perfect place or activity. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

Adventure Week Day 1

Here it is already; the week before school. Where did summer go? We started our Adventure Week yesterday with a true adventure. Logan is staying with Grandma Bishop this week and Gary is in Salt Lake at training so it was just Tom, Ethan, Dylan and me for our first day. I thought it would be fun to wander over to Delta and go bowling. We hopped in the car and made the obligatory Maverik run. Maverik has become one of my top reasons I love living here. Can you say fountain Coke? Oh how I've missed you.
Since I remembered we needed to start Adventure Week a bit late and we needed to get home in time for Tom's football practice, I decided to do the gas station lunch - hot dogs, chips, Slurpees for the kids. They were in heaven. We were a side show trying to get it all to the register after loading up our dogs, picking our chips, and balancing the Slurpee but we made it.

Once in the car and headed through Fillmore, I realized I had never actually driven to Delta. We took a Sunday drive a month ago but Gary took some back roads and I knew I would never be able to find it that way. I called my trusty husband who gave me some great directions. Just get on the freeway and get off in Holden and.......I trail off because the rest isn't really relevant anymore.

Driving through Fillmore to get to the freeway, I spot a sign. Flowell and Delta this way. Well, that may not be Holden but it surely will get me to Delta. The sign says so. Boy will Gary be proud of me that I found it all on my own. I turn off the main road and, smiling pleased with myself, head toward the tiny town of Flowell.

I'm sure there was a sign saying "TURN HERE FOR DELTA AIRONN!" but I missed it. I must have been distracted looking at the farm land or the homes or the big church or the animals or who knows what. I realized things weren't right when the road came to a T-intersection and there was no directions to Delta at all. North or south? That was the only question.

Since Holden was north, Delta must also be north so north I turned. Again, I was quite proud of myself. Finding it all on my own like this. The GPS was broken. I couldn't call Gary again and tell him I didn't listen to him or know where I was going. Turning around would just take more of our precious time and it was ticking away. I headed north.

That is until the road came to yet another T. This time, like last, there was no indication that Delta was even in the same county. No directions to the bowling alley. The only thing that lay before me was a BLM sign pointing to Devil's Kitchen and Clear Lake. The lake was only about 15 miles away and the road was paved and nice and, who knows, Devil's Kitchen may be okay too. The adventure just changed. Now the boys and I were on a real adventure where nobody in the car knew where we were going or what would happen.

About half a mile up the road, the pavement ended. We carried on for quite some time until we saw a sign for Devil's Kitchen two miles up an off shoot to the road we were on. Off we went. I wasn't sure we'd ever be able to find our way back to the main road with all the forks in the road we were on but we kept going. Finally we found what I think must be Devil's Kitchen. A fenced off area  that had an opening for hikers bur no cars and huge black boulders. Tom had been itching to climb on some and E and Dyl were game so we parked the car and began hiking and climbing. It was a blast!

It may not be the easiest to see but the boys are at the top of the rocks. Tom was so great to make sure Dylan was safe the whole time. I couldn't have done it without my young man!

Right after we took this shot, we found all this rock art next to them. It was cool to see what was all over the rocks. I'm excited to learn the history behind it.

Dylan was bit nervous being on top of these huge rocks but he just kept going. His little legs couldn't make some of the bigger steps but Tom was right there ready to grab him as I lowered him down and, since he adores and trusts his big brother completely, Dylan was ready to jump to Tom whenever he needed to.

Ethan was quite the trooper. He is addicted to flip flops this summer and I forgot to check his footwear before we left so he did all the hiking and climbing in his favorite pair. His easy going spirit really helped him scale those boulders. I'm still not sure how he kept his flip flops on!

I really started to realize how much Tom is turning into a young man. He has his first scout camp out this week and I have been nervous about him going without Gary but watching him climb and help his brothers and me out on this adventure showed me just how ready he is. I am so proud of the man he is becoming and I hope he always keeps that compassionate spirit about him. He loved climbing around and would have stayed all day but didn't complain at all when it was time to go.

From there we headed home after a quick phone call to Gary's office to find out where we were and if we should continue on the road or turn around. We made sure to stop in at both the BLM and Forest Service for maps of the area. Next time we want to enjoy our adventure AND know where we are. What a great start to our Adventure Week though!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Almost Settled

The last month and a half have been more than a little bit crazy. We finally closed on our house, spent a few nights on an air mattress until our stuff could be delivered, and have been living in a city of boxes ever since. Most of the boxes have been unpacked and our list of things we need to make things organized is continuing to grow. We are loving, loving, loving all the room we have. Sure, the basement doesn't have any furniture really unless you count the gun safe and treadmill and the rest of the boxes, but the boys can spread out and be in more than two rooms.

The town is great. Everyone is so incredibly friendly and welcoming. I don't know if it's like that for anyone or just because we've spent countless hours weeding, mowing, watering, and cleaning. It's finally starting to look like we live here.

The boys have already made great friends and seem to be genuinely happy we are here. Tom's already participated in a two-day football camp that helped him get a bit more out of his shell and meet other sixth graders before he starts school. He gets to play tackle football this year and practices start next week. It was a bit crazy for me to take him to sign ups and leave with pads and helmet and practice uniform. How can he be old enough for this?

The first week at church we were walking home and Dylan asked when we got to go back. He didn't think 3 hours was quite long enough. All three boys have really loved their Primary classes and Tom and Logan have great scout leaders and they each meet with about four or five boys which seems about perfect.

If I could only have someone come and hang all the pictures in the house so they look good or better yet bring new artwork with them, I think it would be about perfect here in Meadow!