Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving News

These guys sure had fun hunting on Thanksgiving morning. We ate the pheasant at our Thanksgiving dinner and it was tasty! Bruce, Joseph and Peter went with their cousins Joshua W. and Kaleb.

In the meantime, I was preparing dinner,
and Libby was drawing a picture, among other things.

Our meal turned out wonderfully, thank goodness.
The best part of the meal was the fresh apple cider. It's called liquid gold around these parts!

I took a long nap after dinner, and Bruce went horseback riding with Gary and Heidi, and then Peter and Kaleb. They took Lady, Mackee and Strawberry and Bruce said they all did great. We are still in the process of training them, so the more they go out the better, and we talk about "how they did" after every ride.

Later in the evening we watched Get Smart (very funny movie), and played games with Stephen and Kendra and family when they came over. We played categories, and this crazy board game where they made me jump from five feet off the ground blindfolded, and a "Famous Name" game. Despite family members getting a little too competitive (smile here), we had a really fun evening.

Well, Peter just came in to tell me the horses are ready, so I gotta go ride. Wahoo!

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Programs and Preludes

Mary finished her map of South America on Monday made out of play dough of every color. This uncluttered our fridge considerably, as Mary had put each color of play dough in a big bowl and stuffed the bowls all through the refrigerator. Gotta love it!

This is Libby at her 1st grade music program. It was titled The Turkeys vs. The Eagles. Libby was an Eagle, and her line was, "Listen here you turkey birds!" I love her innocence and willingness in this picture. "Unless you become as a little child.." comes to mind.

On Wednesday night we went with Jesse to Young Women in Excellence. The program involved all of the Laurels speaking about one of the YW values, and as they talked about it, they put together a fruit pizza, with each value color being represented by a piece of fruit (the frosting - white, blackberries - purple, pineapple - yellow, strawberries - red, blueberries - blue, etc.) It was so creative! It was a great program, and I think Jesse got some good ideas for projects she wants to do. She got to go to Twilight yesterday, and then came home and re-read the book (for the third time) in seven hours. She is a FAST reader, without loosing anything on the comprehension end.

Josh also had a program this week for an Honor Choir that he was in. The choir was composed of students that tried out and then came together for two evenings and two days of workshops with a special conductor and then a performance. It was a great concert and they sang beautifully. I thought what a treat it was for him to perform with enough male voices!

We re-scheduled Joshua's Eagle Court of Honor! It will be Saturday, January 3, 2009 (wow I wrote 2009!) at 6:00 pm at our chapel. You are all formally invited. :)

Peter got the most pieces of candy at his Den meeting for having his uniform, his book, and his tin can ready to make his drum. He's a good Cub Scouter! You have to know that I had nothing to do with this - he did that totally on his own.

The discussion around the dinner table tonight was about the resources our family had to offer others (our ward in particular) in times of need, besides money - which we don't have. It was really interesting to hear their answers. One of my answers was that we are a family of faith, with cheerfulness and optimism.

I recently saw this quote by Brigham Young, and I don't think these are exact words, but it something like this, "The riches of this people lie not in our assets, but in our ingenuity and industry."

I told about our friend Lane, who was inspired to organize a group of men to work for three hours to move two jack-knifed trailers off a mountain road and in the process, opened up a way for an ambulance to get by to go and rescue somebody higher up on the mountain who had fallen and broken his leg. Lane didn't know this at the time, but that somebody was Dave, his dear friend and next-door neighbor who had had a horse step on his leg and shatter his ankle, and cause a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula. Having already laid in the snow for seven hours on the mountain, if the ambulance had not gotten there when it did, Dave might not have made it through (this is a whole other story of miracles). Lane used ingenuity and industry to get those trailers moved, and quite possibly saved Dave's life.

As a side note, Lane said of the whole group of men standing around waiting for the tow trucks to come (which never did), only about half stepped up to help. The other half just stood on the side and made negative comments. An interesting parallel to the mathematics of the ten virgins, no?

I really took a lot of short-cuts on this story - there is more to it, so if you ever want to know, ask me (or Lane or Dave).

Finally, I am highly recommending you read this blog - Mormon Soprano. It has a video clip of Elder Neal A. Mawell's Devotional Talk in 1978. It is absolutely fascinating to hear him describe our day in such detail. You've just got to hear it - and even better, follow the link to the actual talk and read it. I found it amazing.

Also, I recommend this blog as well entitled Article VI. It's especially interesting in light of Elder Maxwell's words!

Have a good week everybody!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Old and New Missionaries

The weekend in pictures...
Our dear friends Todd & Kristie own a furniture store, and every year they invite a group of friends down to the store for a party. Todd is THE KING of fun games, and this was one that he talked all the guys into doing. The guy in the middle is Greg, and Bruce was the one in the middle right before this. Thanks Todd & Kristie for a very memorable evening of laughs and friendship!

Rosa got baptized!! This is such a wonderful story. Her husband Leonel got baptized into our Spanish Branch about a year and a half ago. He was a great convert, but his wife had no interest. The Elders said she couldn't get past Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. About six months after Leonel was baptized, their only daughter Caterina got baptized. The family then moved to a neighboring suburb for work purposes. She started working for my friend Gale, helping her in her new business. Gale and her husband Dan befriended Rosa and Leonel, and their influence and guidance helped Rosa start reading the Book of Mormon. Within a few weeks, she asked to be baptized. There are many other people and circumstances that also contributed, but it's too long to tell here.

Suffice it to say that Sean, pictured above with Rosa and Leonel, drove up from Utah with his fiance, to perform the baptism. The Spirit was so strong during the baptismal service. I'm so happy for this family, and can't wait to be in the temple in a year when they are sealed!

After the service, the hermanas of the branch Relief Society put on a dinner for all the guests. It was SO FUN to sit around and talk to some of the Hermanos from the 14th branch again.

As I said before, Sean drove up with Heidi, and also Stetson and Whitney. I had at least two or three people walk up to me after the dinner and tell me how fun Whitney was. Rosa told me she thought Whitney looked like a "princess".

Stetson & Whitney and Sean & Heidi stayed the night with us. We came back to our house and had fresh apple cider (they even tried apple cider floats), talked and played a game.

While enjoying the cider, we heard a knock on the window, and came to see what it was. We found Jesse and Brighton outside on the roof doing a dance for us through the window. You can't see it too well here, but it was so funny I had to at least get an image to help me remember it.

We had no idea a year ago when Sean and Stetson were here serving in our branch,

that they would be back with a fiance and a wife exactly one year later!

These are pictures from this afternoon before they left.

Jesse gave a great talk on Service this morning in Church. Here is a good quote from her talk:

Elder Russell C. Taylor of the First Quorum of the Seventy said, "Some mistakenly think that a commitment to service comes after a great spiritual experience. This is like the man who is cold, standing before the stove, and saying, 'Give me heat, and then I will put in some wood."

At the end of her talk she told a story of service in our branch and teared up as she bore a very sweet testimony. I'm so grateful for a daughter like Jesse.

And here's the NEW missionary part. Our nephew Devyn has been called to serve in the Washington D.C. South Mission! We are so excited for him. He opened the call down in Provo.

Here is the video of his parents hearing the call over the phone.

We drove 30 min to Stephen & Kendra's just to be there for this moment! Congratulations Devyn!! We are thrilled that you are "going forth" to share the wonderful good news of our Savior Jesus Christ and his gospel.

By the way, Mary's blog is Check it out!

One quick thought on today's Relief Society lesson on the Signs of the Second Coming. I was struck today by the fact that we know the Church will be strong, so will always have a body of Saints that we can turn to and be with. We can go through anything, as long as we have each other and the guidance of the Holy Ghost and prayer! Put me in the wagon train with the Saints - that is where our family will be found. And won't that be great!

I'm so glad to have this venue to record all the amazing experiences that we have all the time. Moments of joy, laughter, love, light and smiles. And yes, challenges in between. But these challenges are dwarfed by the happy experiences.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Libby looses her first tooth, and other updates...

This picture makes me want to throw my hat in the air and yell, "Wahoo!" it makes me so happy. I could look it for hours. Libby lost her first tooth! Here is her account:

Last night she went and asked Bruce every five minutes if it was loose enough to pull out. As you can see in the video, she is dancing around happy as a clam. I love the enthusiasm of children.

This beautiful girl went to her piano lesson last night and played Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. Her piano teacher leaned back in his chair and said, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" She said, "A politician." He replied, "Do you have a backup plan, such as being a piano teacher or a musician? I wish you could be at ___ (the private arts school at which he teaches)." It was a nice compliment from him.

Joseph had to do the DWA (Direct Writing Assessment) this week. Their practice writing assignments were passed around the class and the students graded the papers on a scale from one to four. Joseph's paper had only fours written all over the top of it. He really is a good writer. One of these days I'll publish something on this blog, if he'll let me. And maybe even if he won't...

This handsome fellow is up and moving around without crutches or a cast of any kind! He can't run yet, but the surgeon said that walking around is his physical therapy. We are so grateful this has healed so quickly. He is playing The Morning Breaks right now on the piano. I LOVE hearing my children play hymns.

Peter goes out and feeds the horses every day, which is a huge help to Bruce. He is gung-ho on Cub Scouts, asking me to sign things off constantly.

Mary got all made up on a Sunday afternoon with Jesse's help. She has a blog now - I'll have to get the address for you later.

Bruce is a busy beaver, getting all sorts of projects done around the house and the property. I married an incredible man. I don't want to say he makes me happy, because happiness comes from within, but he makes it incredible easy for me to bring out that happiness from within! Like looking at that picture of him and Libby at the top of the post... I just look at that and feel the warmth spread through me. Have I mentioned that I like this blog? :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Already into November!

I had a new experience this week - being on the other side of the table as the Teacher instead of the Parent at Parent/Teacher Conferences. I really enjoyed meeting the parents and putting the child with the parents. That was fascinating! The four hours each night went really fast. I really do love to meet people.

It took me away from home from 4-8 pm on Wed and Thurs., so that was hard. By Thursday night the house was in total chaos. Thank goodness I had Friday off. I took Libby on my lap and said, "I get to be with you all day today!"

On Thursday I took pictures of all my classes. These are the two wonderful teachers I taught with:
And some pictures of some of my classes.
I really had to talk them into taking these pictures.This class (below) loved throwing paper wads, and here they show them off. I can laugh about it now, even though I made them stay in the classroom after the bell rang on the last day.
The last night, walking out of the room, was tough. It gave me a small glimpse in to how women feel that have a career and come home and take care of children. What it also emphasized in my mind was that you care a lot about whatever it is you put your time into. I've given a lot of time, energy, thought and prayer to these kids for the last six weeks (perhaps not as much as I should have, but as much as my family commitments would allow), and what I found is that I cared deeply about what I was doing. Overall, it was a great experience, and I'm really grateful to have had the opportunity. And a bright spot is that I will be back again substituting in that class on Friday, as the teacher has a training that day, so I'll get to see them again. Yeah!

We left on Friday afternoon to go down to Utah for my Aunt Marzelle's funeral. I wanted to leave by noon on Friday, but the older kids didn't want to leave their classes. I finally conceded, thankful to have good students as children. In actuality, I really needed that time to play catch up around the house.

We left around four and got down to Provo at 10:30 pm. The party at the Robinson's was still in full swing. We were playing a game where you pass a disc back and forth between two teams and one person has to try to describe a word for the rest of their team to guess. Some funny moments:
- Grandma describing "kidney" beans
- Joseph describing "carbohydrates" as a C on the elemental table, and the Greek word for water (and this after being left out of the game at first because he was too young - ha ha)
- Jesse describing "happy as a clam" and saying "It's a simile", which made everyone laugh again about the kids being too young to play. (I wish I could remember everything Jarom and Craig said about this - they went off on it - it was hilarious).
- Mary had the word "unknown" and she started out by looking at the group and saying, "You don't know this". There was a pause, and then Josh Haycock pointed at her and said, "You're right, we don't!"
- Clarissa was so entertaining to watch, especially when her hubby was the one describing the word. The expressions on her face were priceless.

Then we sang some hymns and had some words and experiences shared from Grandma, Grandpa and Angie that were very inspiring. Mom and Dad looked so great, and it As we left, I felt that if we turned around and went back home the next morning, it would have been worth the drive just to be there for that two hours.

I love being with my brothers and sisters, and my parents. I feel, as Jesse's simile described, happy as a clam. Jeana, Clark, Julie, Angie, Chris and Craig were all there - 7 out of the 10 of us. And then Stetson and Whitney, Clarissa and Josh, Jarom, and our six kids. Darcy, Cristen and Lindsey all had dates (or close to it) that night, so they couldn't be there. Of all the things! We missed Cheryl also.

We slept at Sylvia's that night. They have a basement room circled with couches and spare bedroom downstairs which fit our family perfectly. She was so kind to let us use it. I enjoyed spending a few minutes the next morning with Sylvia, Lynn, Murlene, Emma and Stan.

We had a Whetten family brunch at Clarissa and Josh's - who were gracious hosts. It was so fun to see their cute and fun apartment. To see pictures of the morning, go to my Picasa Web Album.

The funeral was a wonderful tribute to Aunt Marzelle and her life. Rene gave her life sketch, and Cynthian told about her early life in Chupie. Sylvia spoke of Aunt Marzelle's gifts - obedience, gratitude, being a hostess, love of family, and peace. While she spoke, I thought of how similar these gifts are to her little brother Jean's. When Dad got up and said a few words, all were touched. He said that two words could be put on her gravestone that described her life, "She served". I love Aunt Marzelle, and I'm grateful for her love for me and being a great example of what kind of person I want to be.

Our trip home was long, but we made it home safely. I was grateful for Josh being able to drive! When we got home at midnight, Josh went upstairs and jumped on Bruce and made him yell. He thought there was an intruder in the house.

Bruce went hunting over the weekend with his friend Lane (who is also my fourth cousin, descended from Edward Stevenson, Mary Stevenson's brother).
They had a very harrowing experience, but toughed it out and made it out with elk meat in tow. Thank goodness they are home safely!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

End of October - and all that goes with it...

All is well here. We went to our English speaking Ward today. It was good for the family - all are excited to be back in this ward. I am too, but still struggling with not being in the Spanish Branch. Tears come easily if I start to think about it the least little bit and I have a huge ache in my heart. It's hard for me to leave.

I am going down to my Aunt Marzelle's funeral this weekend. She was a very special person to me, one of my closest Aunt's, and I am so happy for her to be with Uncle Murl (who passed on last year) and for her mortal journey to be over. Besides all the wonderful memories, which are the most important, she left Bruce and I with the beautiful quilt that we have slept under for the last 18+ years. It was a wonderful gift that she gave us for our wedding.

Bruce and Joseph went hunting Fri and Sat. Joseph got an elk, so we are grateful for that! They'll have to tell you more about it.Stetson and Whitney are coming up for Thanksgiving! Yeah!!! Open invitation to who else wants to come - we'd love to have you!

Libby was a centipede (see the end of this post) and Peter was a Ninja for Halloween. Mary was an M&M and Jesse dressed up as a black crayon, with three of her friends as orange, blue, and green crayons. They were really cute. Josh dressed up in the clothes he wore on the Handcart Trek he went on last summer. It was a mellow, and good, Halloween.

Yesterday Jesse and I refereed at a soccer tournament. I did four games, which was too many, as my left knee was really hurting by the end. But before that, it was fun to be out getting some exercise and earning some money at the same time. I missed being home with Mary, Peter and Libby, however.

Have a good week everyone.