Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chimed In

Shortly after arriving in Kamas, I was invited to participate in a chimes group. I really love it. It is fun to get together and make some beautiful music. This week seems to have been dedicated to all things chime. Sunday we performed for the assisted living home. Yesterday we practiced with the Honors Choir. Tomorrow morning we practice with the Honors Choir again. Tomorrow night we will be performing with the Honors Choir and 2 songs alone. Thursday we will perform for the Community Christmas Program. I don't know what I am going to do next week when I won't have chimes to fill my time.

It feels like everyone needs something this week and I am just chimin' (Seth even wrote a song about Chimin' you should ask him to sing it for you next time you see him.)

Young Women's

Sunday I was called to be the Young Women's Secretary. I have mixed feelings about it. I really loved teaching the Sunbeams with Seth. I was out in the hall with one of the kids and this little girl kept popping her head out saying, "You are the best kind of teacher for me!" then she would run back in.

I will miss the kids telling Seth that he doesn't have any hair on his head and Seth acting so surprised, like, "It was there yesterday!" It has been so much fun teaching with Seth. He is such a funny guy - always ready for a good time.

I am sure I am going to love the young ladies in our ward. I am excited to get to know them.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Time Out for Women

This past weekend I was invited by some friends from my West Valley neighborhood to go to Time Out for Women at the Salt Palace. I spent the night at my friend Kim's house while Seth got off work a little early so someone was here when the kids got home from school.

Let me start by saying how grateful I am to Seth for making it possible for me to go. He is so supportive of nearly everything I do. I appreciate his thoughtfulness and his support.

It was so fun to see my friends again and get to spend some time with them. That is what I was really looking forward to. What I didn't expect was how uplifting this weekend would be. I needed this weekend even more than I thought I did. My heart is so full today, I hope I can convey how I am feeling.

Hillary Weeks opened Friday evening. She was so funny and had great things to say. I really loved when she talked about the clicker. She had heard somewhere that people had, on average, 300 negative thoughts a day. She bought herself a clicker and every time she had a thought that was negative or not uplifting, she would click her clicker. At the end of the week, she said that she got up and was feeling really down. That was unusual for her and as she was trying to figure out why, she thought about her experiment with the clicker. She decided to try her experiment another way. She was going to count her positive thoughts. Her mood was dramatically changed. Really, as we think about the positive things happening in our lives, it is hard to be depressed. I am thinking I will be getting clickers for my family and the next time it is my turn to give the lesson for family night, I will be handing out the clickers. I can't think of anyone who couldn't use a little positive thinking.

Brad Wilcox also spoke on Friday. He talked about when he lost his testimony while on his mission and how concerned he was. He talked about the steps he went through to get it back. He testified that Heavenly Father loves us and is aware of us. I left hopeful and uplifted. It was so fun the way that he used humor all the while teaching us.

On Saturday morning, Stephanie Nielson spoke. She spoke about her plane accident and her choice to survive. She was so sincere and humble. I loved every moment of her talk. I felt pain with her and could see her struggle as she had to relearn to do simple tasks. She was such an inspiration.

Emily Watts also spoke on Saturday. She gave the 5 steps to happiness. They are:
1. Have a thick skin - don't allow your children or others to offend you.
2. Expect hard things of children and yourself - when you accomplish something that you didn't think you could do, you appreciate it more and it will boost your confidence.
3. Have a few well chosen traditions. Just have a few, don't let it be a burden but have something that means home for your family. In her husbands family, it was crab dip. It can be as simple as that.
4. Learn to think of yourself as a person. This was nothing new to me. I know I am a person but she means to really take care of a person. I loved her analogy. Imagine your best friend had spent the night. When she is ready for breakfast, you aren't going to tell her, "For breakfast, you can have the crusts of the peanut butter sandwiches that the kids won't eat. If you wait until they head out for school, you can finish the last of the milk they left but don't drink from the red cup, he back washes." You are going give her a whole peanut butter sandwich and even a clean cup of milk. I think that often as mothers, we put ourselves last. I remember my mom crying when she had to buy herself a new pair of shoes because money was tight and she had never spent that much money on herself. I loved when Emily said, "Your children deserves to have a person for a mother and your husband deserves to have a person for a wife and you deserve to be a person." I really loved what she had to say.
5. Catch your children and others doing something good. This goes without saying that people thrive on compliments. They will live up to what you think of them, so make sure you are thinking good things about them.

Wendy Ulrich came on and she followed up with seven more steps to happiness. They are:
1. Stop worrying about your weaknesses and celebrate your strengths.
2. Don't try to get motivated to exercise. Do first. Just do it. Action precedes habit.
3. Stop trying to find friends. Develop friend making skills. This was especially applicable to me. I have friends here in Kamas, but I don't have a Melissa. And I don't have a Natalie or a Kim or a Stephanie. I need to be the friend that I want and good friends will follow. I need to step out of my comfort zone and get to know people. They are comfortable with who they know and will need a little motivation from me too.
4. Don't try to feel happy. Try to feel grateful.
5. Celebrate failure. Failure often means we are taking the necessary risks to grow, stretch and serve.
6. Don't get help with your problems. Instead help someone else. Science found it the single more reliable way to better our mood.
7. Don't endure to the end. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.

I pretty much loved everything she had to say.

Our final speaker was Laurel Christensen. I was so inspired by Laurel. I wish I had taken notes on what she had to say, but I was too enthralled by how easily she spoke to this group of 5000 women. I am happy to say that I have found her blog.

I went away from this weekend feeling uplifted and blessed beyond measure. I feel like I have more control of my happiness and who I become. I am so glad that I was invited to go with these friends. It is so nice to be thought of.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Halloween Part 2

So I found the picture of me on Halloween. Since I rarely dress up for Halloween, I thought I would document it.

Snow

This is what we woke up to this morning. Seth used the biggest snow blower I have ever seen. There wasn't really a lot - about 3 or 4 inches.

You can't see it very well in the picture, but it even has a headlight. It snowed most of the morning but it didn't accumulate. All of the snow that was on our deck was melted.

This snow reminds me of our West Valley neighbor, Harry Judd. Every time it would snow, Harry would be out shoveling the neighbors sidewalks. We were often included. He made sure to take care of all the widows on our street.

I think the first real snow of winter is magical. Probably I will get tired of the snow, living in Kamas, but I am okay with it right now - other than the snow storm I drove through yesterday.

I am glad to live in Kamas so that I don't have to worry about Seth getting to and from work all winter.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Glasses

Last year Gordon's kindergarten class was doing the "floppy chicken" and his glasses fell off. His friend stepped on them. They really haven't been the same since. I took them in several times to see if I could get them fixed, but they were always rather crooked. Seth tried super gluing them together and I decided that it was time for Gordon to get new glasses.

His favorite color is green and he really wanted green glasses. We found a pair that we could agree on. They are a normal color in front.

While they are this fantastic green color where it matters; inside. This is what Gordon gets to see when he looks at his glasses. He couldn't be happier.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Motherhood.

Sometimes being a mom is really hard.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween

For Halloween this year, we had an astronaut:

A Venus Fly Trap (Gordon really wanted to be a flower so that he could have face paint on his eyelids. My friend Melissa suggested that I talk him into a Venus Fly Trap. He loved the idea.):


A witch (Mia really wanted to be a werewolf but on Saturday, before the ward trunk-or-treat she decided to be a witch. I was happy to not have to make her a costume):


The Grim Reaper:


Our spooky kids:Seth dressed up as a bald guy. We tried to find an actual bald cap but we were unsuccessful.


I don't know what happened with the picture Seth took of me. I dressed up as a mom getting ready to shower - bathrobe, cold cream on my face and a shower cap. I hardly ever dress up and it was fun to go out with the family.

The weather was perfect. The next day it snowed. I was so happy that we had warm weather while we were out for Tricks-or-Treats.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dinner Party

Seth is definitely the fun one around our house. Last year I had invited our friends, the Gardners over for dinner on Halloween and then we would go trick-or-treat together. When I told Seth that we were having the Gardners for dinner, he got to work. Seth came up with some gruesome ideas and named our food so that it appeared we were actually eating the Garnders for dinner. Gross things like carrots were fingers and bread sticks were bones.

Turns out that the kids LOVED it. They have been talking about having the Gardners for dinner since May. When Kyllie and James moved in with the Gardner family, they were told about the Halloween silliness of last year and they kept mentioning to me how funny it would be if they were included in the Gardners for dinner.

We invited them over on Saturday. Seth came up with silly names like, "Bones. James' Bones" for bread sticks and "Spencer's Spit" for Sprite or Raleyes for grapes. It was fun to listen to them say, "Which one is me? Where's mine?" I am not sure if Seth is gruesome enough to plan something for next year.

My favorite part of the whole day was when Seth was telling the kids that we were going to have the Gardners for dinner. Gordon started to cry and said, "Mom. You said we were going to have pizza tonight."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One of Those Days

This morning Jared left his backpack at school. I told Seth, "I guess this is what happens when I send Jared out the door with my back toward him." I went to take it to the school.

Gordon needs a milk bottle for a school project. We have our milk delivered by Winder Dairy. Today is recycle day. I was driving toward the school and noticed that there were milk jugs a plenty. I pulled over on the side of the road so I could quickly grab one and be on my way to the school. I remember thinking, I need to unlock the doors so that I can get back in my car. I got out, went to grab the milk bottle and it had been crushed. I was disappointed but at least it only took a few minutes. When I went to get back in the car, the doors had been locked. Then I was crushed.

I went to the neighbors house to see if I could call Seth to bring me the spare key and the phone was busy. It turns out that at exactly the same time I was calling Seth, Jared was also calling to see what was taking so long.

I was going to run home and get his keys but the nice neighbor said she would drive me. I got Seth's keys and ignored the questioning look he gave me. Jared was relieved to see me and didn't even ask what took me so long.

On the way home from the school, I spied another milk carton - that hadn't been crushed. I successfully got it, without locking myself out of the car, and hurried home in time to fix Mia's hair.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Francoms are Coming!

One of my favorite families from West Valley is coming to visit us tomorrow. Everyone in my family loves everyone in their family.

It is hard to find the words to express how much my friend Melissa means to me. She always seems to know what I need before I do. For example, a little more than a year ago I had my toe operated on - it was no big deal. I was prescribed some Oxycontin for the pain. When I took the prescribed dosage, I had a horrible reaction. I was so sick. I couldn't even get out of bed. Melissa picked my kids up from school and brought them to my house. When she saw the state that I was in, she didn't even think about it. She took my kids to her house and kept them there until after Seth got home. Not only did she have my kids, but she made dinner for our family. She simply saw a need a took care of it.

I have always known that I can talk to Melissa about anything. It will stop with her. She might be as private a person as I am. =) The other day Gordon got in trouble at school and I was frustrated and regretting our move. I needed someone to talk to. Melissa called me and said, "I just called to talk." With tears in my eyes, I told her that I needed someone to talk to. She gave me a new perspective and when I finished talking to her, I felt renewed and ready to take care of the problem.

She has laughed with me through my joys and cried with me through my pains. I don't know that I could have asked for a better friend.

But! Not only is there Melissa in this family but there is Lillian who has always been a friend to Mia. Even when they were fighting over making crafts or playing spy, they have been friends. Even when both of them wanted to be the boss, they were friends. Mia told me the other day, "It was easy leaving Academy Park and going to Fox Hills because I had Lillian with me."

After Lillian comes Alex. Gordon and Alex are the same age. Sometimes Alex and Jared get along better than Alex and Gordon. My favorite story about Alex happened last year. I had brought Alex and Gordon home from Kindergarten and Gordon asked if Alex could eat lunch at our house. After his mom and I both said yes, I was driving to our house and with a twinkle in his eye, Alex asked me if we usually go out to eat for lunch.

The other day Gordon gave me a big hug and said, "Thank you for letting Alex Francom come to our house!" The boys are already planning the fun they are going to have with Alex.

Now we can talk about my friend Noah. This kid is hilarious! He has so much to say and is so animated. I used to get to tend him. He was the light of my day. He and Ellis always were so excited to see each other and then they would fight pretty much the whole time. I miss that. I can't wait to hear him ask me where our trampoline is and then hear him say, "Oh." when I tell him. Hopefully he hasn't forgotten who I am. Maybe he will even give me a hug.

Melissa's husband, Scott, was put in as the bishop of our ward. With various struggles I have gone through, I remember thinking, "I am so happy that I have a bishop who really cares about our family and someone that I feel comfortable confiding in." (I am sure our current bishop is great too.) He was the bishop when Mia was baptized and he is such a good man. He has encouraged and held my children to a high standard. My kids were so excited to pay tithing because they thought Bishop Francom got to keep it.

Mia and I were talking last night and she said, "Maybe there will be a huge storm after the Francom's get here on Friday and they will have to spend the night!" We talked about how much fun it would be and then she said, "I really don't hope that happens because I think they would like to sleep in their own beds.

I am looking forward to seeing my friends tomorrow.

Days Like These

Sometimes I think the reason Mia wants a sister is so that I will have another head of hair to fix. Mia puts up with me fixing her hair. She would really like to just wash and go. I, however, love to fix her hair. Sometimes we struggle at compromising.

One thing that Mia does love is having her hair brushed at the end of a day. We were watching a movie last night and she brought me the hairbrush. She said, "Brush my hair?" My heart sang and I brushed her hair for nearly an hour. Pure heaven.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Winter

How did we go from this beautiful weather,

to this snowy, cold weather over night?

Looks like winter is here, whether I am ready or not.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Family

Mia and Gordon don't always get along. In fact, I would say that they get along the least of any of our children. I am not sure what it is. It isn't that they really fight a lot. They just don't play together often or choose to sit by each other. They will play with one another on occasion, they just don't generally choose to. Mia would typically rather play with Ellis and Gordon would typically rather play with Jared.

We took our family photos yesterday and I was delighted to capture this moment. They chose to sit by each other and they even requested that I take this picture.



Sunday, October 2, 2011

Disneyland!

We have here a pretty picture intensive post about our trip to Disneyland. It was an adventure as soon as we got to the air port. The kids talked the whole time on this shuttle and thought it was cool to see so many cars parked in the same location.

Notice Jared brought his Lego Magazine? It is really just a Lego Catalog. He has been so worried since we moved to Kamas (near Park City, Connie W.) that the Lego Magazine wouldn't come to us any more. I need to update our address so he can maybe get one for Christmas.

Gordon told me that this is the way he always smiles. He has been experimenting with his "normal" smile lately to discover which one he likes best. It was fun to see the sunset in the window after I took this photo. When the plane took off, Gordon said, "Now I know what a bird feels like! I like it!"

Can you tell that we don't get broadcast television at our house. I suspect the kids would have been happy if we had planned to just watch TV for a whole day. They did get a few hours worth because Disneyland didn't open until 10:00 and we got up at 6:00.

Jared was so fascinated by how tall the palm trees were. And that they were everywhere.

So excited to finally be at Disneyland.

Studying the maps to figure out where to go. When we first found out that White Knight was sending us to Disneyland, I ordered a "Plan Your Trip" DVD. It arrived the day after we got home.

Jared, Mia and Gordon were chosen as Jedi's for this Star War show we watched. I don't think Jared could have been more excited when Darth Vader came on stage. Ellis seemed to be content to watch from the side and not have to use the force to fight any bad guys.
Mia was ready to chop him in half. She didn't want to stop when her turn to fight Darth Maul ended.
When the show was over Gordon said to me, "Do you know what I want to be when I grow up? A Jedi!" Yesterday I went on a walk with him and he said, "People can't really be Jedi's when they grow up."

Who let Ellis drive? He can't see over the steering wheel.


Ellis and I played in Tarzan's house while the others rode a "fast train" that Ellis was too short to ride.

I told him to pretend that he was really scared of getting attacked.

This is pretty much how Gordon spent his time. He hates loud noises. During the fireworks, he was curled up in a ball with his hands over his ears rolling around so he could watch the fireworks on both sides of the park.

When the others went on Splash Mountain (again, Ellis was too short to ride it), I took Ellis on the Winnie the Pooh ride. The only line we stood in to meet Characters was to meet Winnie the Pooh. I know they are just people in costumes, but they acted so excited to meet Ellis. He was thrilled to hug them.

Mia was chosen to dance with the Phineas and Ferb dance party. She was so excited about it.

After a while, anyone who wanted to dance could come out. Jared didn't want to go for the longest time, but when he decided that maybe he wasn't too cool to do it, he really got into it.

The longest line we all stood in together was the Toy Story line. It was such a fun ride. I thought it was so creative. Seth said, "We stood in line that long and all it was was a video game?!" It was my favorite ride.

While Seth took the big kids on some big kid rides, I went to a Bugs World with Gordon and Ellis. They loved playing in the leaky hose.

They got so wet that they had to use a towel to dry the seat after they got off this ride.

After riding all the rides in a Bugs World, we went and watched a 4-D movie where the kids got official bug eyes.

This was after the fireworks. We never really stood in line for a long time but I think we would have if we hadn't gone back to the hotel after the fireworks. There were so many people!



On Saturday we went to the beach. It was so cloudy and cold. Apparently this makes ideal circumstances for surfing. I was so surprised at how many surfers there were on the water. They just kept coming.



Once Ellis discovered that you can write in the sand, he wouldn't stop. He would run in the water and then run out say, "this is actually really fun!" write his name and run back to the water.



Gordon found this shell and I showed him that it looked like a heart. When I wrote I heart Gordon, he said, "Yeah. Because I am your boyfriend."


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oh, My Heart

Mia has really been struggling. She is having a hard time making friends. It is hard when you move into a small community where everyone has known (or is related to) everyone else since they were babies. The girls in both her church class and school class are happy to simply play with the kids they have known.
I had thought that everything was going well. Jared was the one I was worried about making friends. I had fasted that all of the kids would make friends, but I really focused on Jared. He is thriving. Mia, on the other hand is not.
A few weeks ago, we were having our Family Night treat and I asked the kids to give me an update: what did they like about school and what are they struggling with. The boys were all doing wonderfully. They all really like school and their struggles are simple things, like; I wish I had a longer recess or I don't like to do homework. Mia told us at the table that she hated school and she wished she never had to go to recess. The only thing she liked about South Summit Elementary was her teacher. She didn't have any friends and no one wanted to be her friend. I was pretty surprised.
I had an appointment with her teacher, (it turns out it was for the next day, but I somehow got my days mixed up) so I went in to talk to her. When I told Mrs. Blazzard what Mia was feeling, she said, "Oh. That breaks my heart." As a result, I started to cry. This is my little girl who loves school and now she doesn't want to go. Mrs. Blazzard said that she had been having difficulty already with the girls in her class being friendly and she had put some things in place, hopefully to help them become friends. She also said that Mia has been sitting by boys and she changed that. Mia had a great day the next day. She sat by Molly and they had fun together. I thought things were getting better.
Fast forward to yesterday. When Mia was eating breakfast, she kept saying her throat hurt. I suggested she drink some water - sometimes my throat hurts first thing in the morning. A little bit later, she said her stomach hurt. Being the compassionate and loving mom that I am, I told her that it was probably because she was hungry and for her to hurry because she was going to be late. As Mia and Gordon were headed out the door, I noticed that Mia was crying. She didn't want to talk to me about it. I went with her outside, so we could have some privacy and asked her what was going on. (Sometimes I think I must be so obtuse.) She told me that she hates going to school. That it is too hard to go without any friends. She said that she can't even play 4-square because she doesn't understand their rules. Everything is so different from Fox Hills. My heart broke for her. I thought she would be okay once she got to school (again with being obtuse). I told her that if things didn't get better during the day, I would come and pick her up and she could come home. I didn't get a phone call all day so I thought things were okay. When I picked the kids up from school, Mia handed me a note from her teacher, asking me to call her. Mia said she didn't know what it was about. Then she burst into tears and said, "I'm so sorry!" Of course I didn't know what she was talking about. She said, "I'm sorry. I was feeling so sad and I cut my hair." I just laughed about it - seriously, it is just hair. She didn't like me laughing about her hair.
Anyway, I was trying to figure out what was going on inside her little mind and her teacher called. She told me what I had already figured out - that Mia is really having a hard time at school. We are trying to figure out how to help her make friends. Every part of me wants to tell her yes, I will home school you. I don't know if that will teach her to run from her problems or if it will help her. Honestly, I am at a loss as to what I can do. I hate that she is struggling so much. She came into my room and just started sobbing. "It's no fair that we had to move to Kamas. I just wish we could go back to West Valley." It is a little bit hard for me too, because I can't say that I haven't felt that way since the move - not every day but I do at times feel like I wish we could have just stayed in West Valley. But, this is where we live now and we can either long for what we had or be happy for what we have.
Mrs. Blazzard did tell me that Mia said the only kid she likes playing with is Kameron. I asked if Kameron was a boy or a girl and he is a boy. I asked if he was a good kid and she said he is. I suggested to Mia that she get his phone number and we could invite him over to play. I also put her to bed earlier, since I think that is part of why she had such a bad yesterday. I really hope today goes better for her. I have been tearing up about this ever since yesterday morning.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fun in Francis

Over Labor Day Weekend, Francis had their "Frontier Days". This is a celebration for the settling of Francis. It started out with kids riding sheep.


I am not exactly certain who to feel sorry for. The kids who obviously didn't want to ride on these sheep or the sheep.

This boy wanted a second try.

See how this mom caught her son as he flew off the sheep?

This boy did the best of all the riders. He rode for so long.

His mom looks exceptionally proud of him. I think they all got a trophy for participating.

After riding the sheep, they brought out the calves. These little calves were so spirited. All of the kids were crying when they fell off. Maybe they thought it would be fun before they got on?

It was a little insane.




After riding the calves, the Rodeo Queen and her Attendants held animals and the kids by varying ages got to catch them. If they caught them, they kept them.

Here you can see Mia and Jared. They are next to their friends, Katelyn and Ethan.

Jared is really hoping for this chicken. He has grand ideas that he will be able to sell it if he catches it. Unfortunately for him, he didn't catch it.

They taped $5.00 to the hind end of this calf. You can see Mia chasing it. She got pretty close and then someone shoved her down.