Sunday, February 22, 2009

Miracles never cease

First of all, some corrections. Joseph did not spend 10 days on this marble track, he only spent one, and this is not the final version. He's still working on it. :)

Second of all, we went to a great basketball game last night! Even though the girls lost, it was a hard-fought game, and they made it all the way to that game - awesome job! What was most fun though, was to see the Mary Jean and Clark and their family cheering for their girls! That was so cool. I love that family. And welcome aboard Karissa!

And finally, a story about Peter. At that basketball game last night, Jesse and Mary came and got us because they said Peter was crying because his stomach hurt so bad. I went over to him, and he could barely talk. He had to whisper that it hurt really bad. I tried to have him stand up, but he didn't want to move. I waved Joseph to come down from the student section an help me carry Peter. Bruce met us up in the lobby, and Bruce and I took Peter to a Quick Care clinic about five minuets away. He was in bad shape at that clinic. He was getting more and more pale, and said that on a scale from one to ten, his pain was at a ten. Then I asked him if it hurt as bad as when he broke his arm, and he shook his head from side to side, no. So it wasn't quite at a ten!
I quizzed him about what he'd eaten and any unusual physical activity, but we couldn't pinpoint anything unusual.

The doctor finally came in, tried to touch his abdomen, and Peter jerked back. At that, the Doctor said we needed to take him to the ER because he suspected appendicitis. After asking for medication, they gave him a shot in the left quadricep of morphine and a nausea medication. Within a minute, his panic had subsided, and he was resting his head on the side of the wheelchair. They monitored him for about fifteen minutes, an then we took him in a wheelchair out to the car. When he got in the car, he sat up and said, "It's gone. It doesn't hurt anymore."

We thought it was just the morphine, so we went through the whole ER thing (2 more hours), but the pain never came back, not even when the ER Doctor pushed all over his belly. They also took a blood sample, and the white count was normal. Peter was all over the blood draw. He had his head up off the pillow watching every move of the phlebotomist. Different genes than Joseph, that's for sure!

We took him home, and he has been fine, with no sign of the pain returning. So what in the world was it that made him immobile with pain? I'm not sure, but I do know this. Another surgery would have been very hard on our financial situation, and just maybe, the Lord saw fit to heal him and not require him to have a surgery. I believe this is what happened. Now, I know there all SORTS of other logical explanations, and I may be writing later that it was something else, but I believe that a miracle happened and he was healed. Prayer does change things.

I also knew that if Peter did have a surgery, that it would all work out. I love the principle that all things work together for the good of those that live righteously. We can certainly live much more righteously, but I do feel that as our hearts are turned to the Lord, EVERY circumstance is one that will teach us, stretch us, or give us opportunities to serve and teach others. Every circumstance works together for our good. I know this is a true principle. When I have this firmly in mind, it's much easier to pray about any circumstance, because I can pray in faith that what I ask will be given, and yet allow the Lord's will to be done at the same time.

That said, I'm so grateful Peter is home running around, and not in a hospital bed today!

On a lighter note, Joseph and Bruce went about 2 hours north of here on a winter campout with the teachers. Actually, only one other teacher and the Bishop went, but they had a good time. They slept on the hay in the barn of the other young man's grandparents. It was 2 degrees outside! (That's crazy). They had a good time.

We also bought two new bull calves to put on Buttercup. One is a Jersey/Holstein cross, so he is brown with white spots, and he's just adorable. The other one is a Jersey and is just a little bit smaller version of Buttercup's own calf. It took a little doing, but she has accepted them now and they are nursing just fine. I'll get some pictures of them soon. We have run out of batteries for now!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Buttercup finally had a cow!

Hint: Turn the Music Player off for this post (or at least pause it for the videos). There's too much good stuff in the background on the videos, especially the llamas talking, the birds cooing, and the soft moo of the newborn calf.

Almost a week after Bruce predicted Buttercup would have her calf within the next two hours, Buttercup finally got that calf out! (We are beginners at this!)

But before I tell you about that, I have to record the following.

Here is a marble track that Joseph and Peter have been working on diligently over the last 10 days or so. This has been serious business. When the video was taken here, it had already been worked over by Libby and her friend Dallas (i.e. had to be rebuilt), and had been worked on for hours and hours. But here is the final version on video. It's pretty cool!

video

Pretty fun, huh?

I also want to always remember the Piano Recital we had on Tuesday night.
This is Maddy, one of my fun students, and I, as we played a duet. (You made the blog again Maddy!)
And this is Will, otherwise known as a Jedi Knight (see this blog post), standing in front of the Steinway Grand Piano that we got to play on during the recital. Will is in my Primary Class at Church, and he is just a hoot! He can't sit still to save his life, so I have to get creative in how to teach him, and he just grows on me week to week. I love this Jedi Knight!

After the official Recital, the other families left and our family stayed another hour, with each child begging to have a turn on the Steinway. It was amazing to play on this piano! Josh played Go the Distance, and was glowing afterward. Joseph relished playing his own composition on this piano, and Jesse couldn't contain herself. She was in tears at one point when she thought her turn was over and she wouldn't get another one! At one point, Josh, Joseph and Jesse all played Hundred Years together, on different pianos, and it made me cry it was so cool. (You can hear a snippet of Josh playing Hundred Years on the marble track video above!)

I want to congratulate Mary and Peter! They were the only ones that had their songs memorized, and they played them perfectly! Way to go guys. Yes - Peter played his song, with the fingers that are sticking out of his cast!

Have I put a picture of Peter on yet with his hot pink cast? You've got to see it! I'll get one on soon.

The venue for this Recital was a local music store that allows you to rent the Recital Hall for only $10. So, I figure we can go down to this store every month for Home Evening and have a family Piano Recital on a Steinway. The Taco Bell afterward contributed to everyone's happiness as well. :)

So, on to Buttercup. On Wednesday morning Bruce said, "She's going to have it today." This time, he was right. I have full pictures of it on Picasa, including the birth (not for the faint of heart) if you want to see it. But here are some highlights.
video

Thanks to my friend Wendy (mother of Jedi Will), who came over to see the birth and helped take pictures! They also took a little tour around the farm, with Jedi Will gathering the eggs
and feeding the llamas and the horses. Wendy commented, "When we lived in California we would pay to go see a farm like this." Needless to say, Farmer Bruce would rather show a four year old around the farm than just about anything else he can think of, as evidenced by this video below.

video
My friend DaraDee also stopped by a few hours after the calf was born, and this is little Abigail seeing the calf.

And this is the Sister Missionaries coming out to see the calf after our dinner together.
You can see a little piece of Peter's pink cast here! All the nurses were impressed with the choice of color, "A man not afraid to wear pink - we like that!"

The calf had a hard time figuring out how to nurse. Late last night Bruce finally had to put Buttercup in the stanchion so she would stand still enough to let the calf nurse. He had to do it again this morning. Hope they get the hang of it soon.

By the way, for the unenlightened (like me), here is the dictionary definition:

stan·chion (stnchn, -shn)

n.

1. An upright pole, post, or support.

2. A framework consisting of two or more vertical bars, used to secure cattle in a stall or at a feed trough.


AND, Bruce wanted me to inform you that Buttercup didn't have a "cow", she had a "bull calf".

Bull - male that has not been castrated
Heifer - a female before she has a calf
Steer - castrated male
Cow - a female after she has a calf

Now you know!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

3 Month Supply

Our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has asked it's members to gather a 3-months supply of food. Details are on providentliving.org.

This is interesting to me because scientists have recommended that if the bird flu were to mutate and become a human virus, the best way to protect yourself would be to stay in your home for 1-2 months. I've heard many scientists say over the years that it's not a matter of if, but when, this virus will mutate. I should get a lot more scientific and give you references to all that, but I don't have time right now to do that.

What I to do is share this list of dinner meals and supplies needed that I prepared today.

These are the ten dinner meals that I came up with:

Hawaiian Haystacks
Stroganoff
Roast w/Mashed Potatoes
Whetten Enchiladas
Spaghetti
Mexican Mixup
Arroz con Pollo
Ham Loaf
Vegetable Beef Soup (we call it Stone Soup)
Pizza

I made a complete list of everything needed for each meal, including spices and water. This is the list of supplies that I will need for 10 of each of these meals (which comes to 100 meals, a little over 3 months worth of meals.) Here it is:

Au Jous seasoning, 1-1/2 bottles (6 oz size)
Better than Bouillion Beef Base, 1-1/2 bottles (8 oz. size)
Beef, ground 80 lbs.
Bread crumbs, 13-1/2 cans bread crumbs (15 oz. size)
Butter, 7 pkgs of four cubes each
Carrots, 15 cups, diced
Celery, 10 cups diced
Cheddar Cheese, 75 cups, grated
Chicken Boullion, 3-1/2 bottles (8 oz. size)
Chicken breasts, 60
Chili beans, 30 cans
Chili powder, 1 bottle (4.5 oz size)
Chow mein noodles, 5 pkgs.
Crackers, saltines, 3 boxes at Costco
Cream of Celery soup, 10 cans
Cream of Chicken soup, 30 cans
Cream of Mushroom soup, 20 cans
Dry onion soup mix, 5 boxes
Eggs, 7-1/2 dozen
Flour, 95 cups white
French dressing, 5 bottles
Fritos, 10 large bags
Garlic, 1/6 jar of chopped garlic
Garlic powder, 1-1/3 jar (21 oz. size)
Ham, 5 Costco packages
Lawry's seasoning salt, 1-1/2 jar (16 oz. size)
Lettuce, 10 stalks romaine
Lime or lemon juice, 1/3 of an 8 oz. bottle
Milk, 2-3/4 gallons
Mozarella, 15 cups shredded
Saffola oil, 6 bottles (24 oz. size)
Olive oil, 1-1/2 bottles (24 oz. size)
Onions, 14 onions
Onion, minced 3.75 cups, or almost 2 jars of Costco size
Oregano
Paprika
Parmesan cheese, 3 bottles (8 oz. size)
Peas, 30 packages of 1 lb. each
Pepper, one can
Pepperoni, 20 cups
Pineapple Tidbits, 20 cans
Pizza sauce, 10 cans, 8 oz.
Potato Flakes, 3.5 cans (34 serving size)
Potatoes, red - 4 bags (10 lb. size)
Rice, 21.5 lbs.
Roasts, 10
Salt, 1 cup
Sausage, 30 lbs. pork
Sour cream, 3-1/2 tubs (3 lb. size)
Spaghetti noodles, 10 pkgs (2 lb size)
Spaghetti sauce, 20 cans
Stone, 1 scrubbed clean
Sugar, 1/2 cup
Thyme, 1/4 cup
Tomato paste, 2 cans (6 oz size)
Tomato soup, 10 cans
Tomato juice, 6 cans (48 oz size)
Tortillas, 7 pkgs (3 dozen size)
Water, 17-1/4 gallons
Yeast, .625 cups (6 cups in a 2 lb bag)

I have the complete spreadsheet, broken down into recipes and individual ingredients, in case anyone wants it. Just let me know and I'll send you the Excel file by email.

Breakfast and lunch meals would be in addition to this list.

Thanks to my friend DaraDee, and my sister Angie for giving me the idea and impetus, respectively, to do this! Love you guys!

I want to say a word about preparedness. I believe that the five virgins that had their oil the night that the bridegroom came, and he came much later than expected, had oil on hand because that was what the always did. It was part of their daily living, their routine, their habit, to always have extra oil on hand. It was just what they did. So the hour of the bridegroom coming didn't really matter. That wasn't important, because the five wise virgins lived in such a manner as to always be prepared. It's defined them, it's who they WERE.

I want to live like that. I don't care when the Bridegroom is going to come, I just want to be prepared in the best way I can, even if He never comes in my lifetime. I want to walk shoulder to shoulder in the next life with my Mother, my Grandmothers, my Great-Great Grandmothers, etc., who all thought that He might come in their lifetime. He didn't (or hasn't yet, in the case of my mother), but they all lived as to be ready for when He did come. I think that way of living, that having of enough oil is so valuable, that it shapes our lives such that we become who the Lord wants us to become, just by the act of being prepared, or working towards it.

The timing of what we're supposed to be prepared for, well, that is secondary. It's not really that important. The filling of the drops of oil, and always having it on hand as part of our daily ritual, as part of who we are, now THAT's important.

Now, if Buttercup would just get that calf out, we'd feel much better prepared! :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Life is about loving

Wow, I miss a week and there's so much to blog about that I will have to keep this post mainly to pictures.

The first big occasion was a week ago Friday night when we had a community celebration for the Special Olympians that were in town. For his Eagle Project, our good friend Devin planned and carried out the event. Part of the entertainment for the night was Josh and his friends singing the Star Spangled Banner, and an acapella number called "Breakfast at Tiffany's". The Show Choir from his High School also performed two numbers that were awesome. Jesse's Competition Clogging team also performed. At the end, they had the Special Olympics athletes come down on the floor and learn a line dance, along with anyone else who wanted to do it. There ended up being probably 200 to 250 people out on the gym floor doing line dances. The athletes were loving the dancing! One guy grabbed the microphone and started thanking everyone in Italian. I understood "magnifio America, and morte beni". It was awesome! There was so much energy out there and everyone was just grinning from ear to ear, laughing and having the greatest time!

A week ago Saturday, we spent the afternoon and evening with these dear people!
Bruce's brother Stephen and his wife Kendra decided to have a family gathering in honor of Devyn, our nephew, who was going to leave on a mission. Because of a weird schedule, he gave his talk in Church about a month ago, so during a family fireside on Saturday night, he gave his talk again. Other adults in the family also had the opportunity to give him advice for his mission. This was a marvelous meeting filled with the Spirit. I think there's no better setting than home for the bearing of testimonies.

Shawn and Janel drove all the way up from Utah to be here. And Michelle and Matthew flew in from Washington.I was about to take a picture of these guys from the other direction, and then decided the lighting was bad, so I walked around behind them.Michelle had to make a wise crack about getting their better half!The family got to meet Heidi, Sarah and Zach for the first time. We're so glad they came from Oregon to be there.This is what the cousins love to do at these gatherings. Hit the basement and hang out and play games!And here's the man of the hour! Devyn and Grandma,
and Devyn with his parents, Stephen and Kendra.
This is Devyn, now officially an Elder , going into the MTC. This Elder is the definition of what the bretheren want in a new missionary. He's intelligent, clean, humble, personable, well-versed in scripture and doctrine, filled with the Spirit and just an all-around wonderful person. What a good example he has set for our children. I'm so proud of him!

The day after this was Sunday, and Josh and Joseph sang "My Country Tis of Thee" with Connor and Drew for the special musical number in Church. It was really nice.


That evening we had Josh's Eagle Court of Honor.No broken bones this time!Our dear friends Todd, Fred and Larren spoke on the points of the Scout Law. Thank you so much for doing that!Jesse administered the oath.
video
This is the Eagle's Nest congratulating Josh.

Thank you to so many people who attended! We planned it so quickly that many people didn't hear about it in time. Please - if you didn't make it we me missed you, and apologize sincerely for the lack of better notice. It was one of those things where we knew we had to juts get it done.
All day the next day Bruce watched the slide show we had made of Josh, and then came in and said, "How come I'm so nostalgic for our chidren today?" We're both feeling like it's time to put the brakes on this train called "kids growing up".

On Monday evening we went over to Grandma and Grandpa's hotel and swam in their pool. Thank you for the invite, we really enjoyed it!

On Tuesday, I found out that Teresa, one of my best friends from high school, college and the many years in between, had to have some tumors removed from her leg. After finding out, I went in to Mary, who was home sick that day, and told her what I had just found out. She didn't say anything, she just reached over and gave me a hug. She sat and hugged me while I cried for a few minutes, and was a great comfort to me.

We were on pins and needles until yesterday, when she found out it was benign, not malignant. WHEW. What a relief. And it will save us a lot of money because I was headed out to Indiana for sure if she had received a bad diagnosis. When I told him the good news this afternoon, Josh said, "I have been praying for her. I said in my prayers, 'Please bless Teresa (I can't remember her last name, but You know who I'm talking about) that she will be a better person for the experience, no matter the outcome.'

On Wednesday, Buttercup, our cow, had her milk come in. Bruce thought the calf would be born within a couple of hours. Well, we're going on three 1/2 days, and still no calf! Hopefully it will be here soon...

On Thursday I got called in to sub at a local Middle School, and then Friday I also worked for my old team-teacher and taught her classes at the High School. I enjoyed teaching these two days, but it was baaaad, for the cleanliness of the house. What? If Mom's gone, it's a free-for-all? How does that happen? Easy enough, I guess.

Last night we went and played some games with our friends (The Way blog), and then went and saw Twilight (it finally arrived at the dollar theater). I thought it was a great adaption of the book!

This morning Jesse had a volleyball tournament. They lost the games in the morning but went on to win later in the afternoon. Bruce, Joshua, Joseph, and I all refereed a Futsal tournament. This was my first time to referee Futsal, and it was pretty fun! Futsal is basically soccer on a basketball court. I'm proud of myself for doing something new and just a bit scary.

After the morning events, I picked up Jesse and we drove the backroads to get to the local university to compete in her first official Clogging Competition this year.
video
They won a 1st place for this dance. Jesse is the one in the front with the number pinned onto her. Her hat was too low, so you can't see her face very well. That's something she'll have to fix for the next competition! It's so fun to watch her dance.

And, to bring us up to tonight, Josh went with Raigen to the Tip-Off Dance, and the theme was 70's!
I don't know where the guys came up with these outfits, but they were hilarious.Last week at his Court of Honor, I was SO disappointed that Josh didn't have his haircut. And now this week, I was glad he put it off, because it was totally 70's!Sorry, you gotta crank your neck on this one.
These girls are so beautiful, and they really did the 70's theme up right!
And the boys, well, bring on the disco!Peace, love and GQ looks.This was impromptu, but a lot of the parents showed up to take pictures over at the neighbors of all these great kids! That's why Josh has such good friends, because their parents are the salt of the earth, and we just love them all. (So how Josh came out so good is a mystery - he just CAME that way.) We ended up going over to chaperone at the dance, and boy, was there a difference between what these kids were wearing and what many others were wearing! Thank goodness for modest 70's prom dresses!

And amidst all this fun, inspiring, and wonderful activity, here is the comment I want to leave you with on this Valentine's Day:

Last week before school started, Bruce had Libby all wrapped up in his arms and playfully said to her, "Life is about eating Libby." Without missing a beat, she replied, "Life is about loving."

Now I swear that she said "Life is about loving Libby", but he swears that she said, "Life is about love." We simply can't agree on who was right! So we disagree agreeably, and choose to remember the gist of what she meant, that truly, life is about loving!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A small window into the life of Mary

Isn't she just beautiful! My word. I never imagined that my girls would be so beautiful.
For the last week, Mary has been working on this paper doll. As a homework assignment, she had to dress up her paper doll as a "Common Incan Woman of the Lowlands." Obviously, they have been studying the Incas.

In November, I went into her classoroom in my Cholita costume from Bolivia, and taught them about the modern day descendants of the Incas. That was a lot of fun!

Today in testimony meeting (a meeting where members of the Church have the opportunity to stand up and share their feelings about spiritual things - called a testimony), Mary got up and bore her testimony. She was very touched and started to cry as she said that she said that she wanted her family to know how much she loved them, and that she knew the Church was true. It was a very heartfelt testimony, and I was very touched by it! Thank you, Mary for sharing your testimony! I am so proud of you.

We were just discussing that Mary will be able to go to Girl's Camp in June. Wow! Only a couple more months of eleven for Mary (until May), and I'm enjoying every minute of it!