Saturday, May 30, 2009

Camping Cutie

A couple of weeks ago Diana and I went to the ward camp out. The boys thought about coming, but it was going to require so much more effort, that I wasn't sad when they decided to just stay home.

I kept debating about staying home myself, and finally at 4 o'clock I started throwing things in the car. A quick stop at the grocery store and Subway for a $5 dollar sub to split for dinner, and we were on our way.

It was in the 90's and I did not adequately prepare for how cold it would be up on Mount Charleston. As soon as we got there, I had to change to long pants and three shirts. Later I was sad that I forgot my hand warmers. But I survived.

Diana had a blast running around with the other kids, most of whom were boys. There were several different fire pits and at one point most of the adults were gathered at one, and the kids built up a huge bon fire at another fire pit. Finally some responsible adult noticed it and put a stop to the piling on of wood. It was quite a "Lord of the Flies" moment. What is it with boys and fire?



Look at the cool shot of Diana in the tree by the camp site. Such a Kodak moment.

Most of the group went on a hike, but I stayed back at camp. Diana found this awesome pine branch and brought it back for me. Looks like I am rubbing off on her and she is seeing "Y"s everywhere.


Here is a close up of the "Y" trophy. Thanks Diana, I loved it.

And what camp out would be complete with out a rock collection, that somehow is so valuable it can not be left on the mountain. Many of them are shaped like hearts, which of course can not be resisted.

Many of the people in our ward have RV's and camp trailers. Usually Jared puts a tent up for me, but this time we decided to just sleep in the van. I took my camp cot and laid it out over the seats. Then I filled in the gap between the seats so Diana could sleep next to me.

And finally a photo demonstrating "How many Elders does it take to back out a trailer?" Answer: However many are in the vicinity. This seems to be a male magnet kind of thing, that attracts everyone and their opinions.
All in all it was great fun. And so easy. I never even took anything out of the car. Maybe some day, I will have a RV, until then my van will be a good substitute.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hipstacular Progress

I have not said much about Jared for quite some time. Perhaps I have been afraid to jinx his progress, but things are finally starting to get back to normal. He no longer uses his crutches, walker, wheel chair, or cane. It is really quite amazing. He does walk with a limp that is due to the fact that his foot drops when he walks. That should go away in time.

Today we went to see the surgeon who did the hip replacement. He was so amazed to see how well he can walk by himself. Jared will still go to physical therapy twice a week for a couple more weeks, then it will drop to once a week. I will be so excited when I can stop writing out a check to PT each month for $100.

It is hard to believe that it has been almost a year since this whole ordeal began. Who have thunk it could go on this long.

He still has a lot of hard work ahead of him. He has missed a whole year of school. But that can be made up. He is still painfully thin, but hopefully we can fatten him up over the summer.

OK, now I will post pictures from the Pioneer Trek that our stake did a month ago. At this point Jared still had the cast on his leg to help straighten it out. I am so glad that I was able to get copies that were taken. Jared did not really share much with me about the trek. I hate the propensity teenage boys have to act like clams.

One thing he did share. The stake President told the group stories from the Willie Martin Handcart company. One of the stories was about a 9 year old boy who was in charge of getting his 3 year old brother to the top of a hill. He carried him for 24 hours and when he reached the top, the older brother laid down and died.

Several of the hills that our kids went up were so steep, that Jared had to get off of the hand cart. One of the young men in our ward carried him up each hill. Jared told me when he heard that story, it reminded him of his experience.

As a mother, that told me that the trip was worth it. If he could take his personal experience and relate it to the story, sounds like it made an impact on him.

And so against his permission I am publishing these pictures from the trek. Shhh! Don't tell him, OK. I think they are amazing pictures and I can not resist blogging about them.


One of the best things about these pictures is that he is smiling in all of them. Something I haven't seen for a long long time.

Here are a group of boys from our ward. Notice one of Jared's friends is borrowing the crutches. Also notice how much to tall they are for him.


Here he is making his way across one of the bridges. Even though he rode a lot of the time, he did a lot of walking, and he was beat the next day.



I love this picture from behind. He is way up there in the green shirt.

This picture could be made into a Mormon ad. Here is his Young Men's president supporting him so he doesn't fall. Pretty much sums up the purpose of the young men's program. So many analogies, such as the Saviour holding us up when we are too weak to make it alone.

At first he was shy about riding, but one of the leaders just plopped him on top and he got used to it.


It was painful also, as the ride was so bumpy.

Another good picture to show how as members we can carry each other's burdens. Sometimes it is our turn to ride and other times it is our turn to push and pull. But I believe we won't get out of this life without experiencing each way to grow.


There were 250 people who went on this trek. Quite the undertaking.


The first night, Jared was on a cart of a different ward. When he was hesitant, the leader told him look how many cute girls they have, you should milk this for all it is worth.

The girl in the blue apron pulling in front was on Jared's soccer team for several years.


It was really windy and a bit cold in the morning.


Here he is with his old friends, his crutches.


He looks a bit comfortable here. I wonder what they are saying to him.


I loved this picture and had to put it in.



Going up one more hill.
Talking with the Stake Presidency. They said that Jared helped lend reality to the trek.


Getting some instructions and hold his bag with a biscuit that was and example of how little they would get to eat for one day.


Looking good.

Crossing the water.

Boy this water is cold.
And so that is the latest progress report. I was so determined and happy that Jared could go on the trek. The more things we can do to get him back into normal teenage hood, the better.
I am cautiously optimistic again. Here's crossing my fingers that things continue to go well.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One more Post in which I make you hear and see about Women's Conference


I am going to try and finally get my notes from Women's Conference on here. It has only taken a few weeks, so I must doing well.

The theme this year was "The Strength of the Lord". Sis Rogers gave a wonderful talk about how the purpose of life is to become like God and so we must have agency and there must be opposition. Satan's goal is to make us miserable, thwart God's plan, and get us to give up our agency.

To survive these challenges we need more than our own strength, we need the Strength of the Lord.

She quotes Dallin H. Oaks when she said, "Adversity can be the means of obtaining blessings otherwise unattainable."

She shared with us that the hymn "Now Let Us Rejoice" was written right after all the persecution the saints went through in Missouri. It was written by W.W. Phelps in the cold winter while the Saints were struggling to survive in make shift tents. When put in that perspective, I am very impressed with his ability to look on the bright side. Surely it was a time when it seemed there was little to rejoice about. So she told us that in the strength of the Lord all things can be faced with joy.
Next I went to a class about finances called "Do we put our wages in a bag of holes?" Maybe that explains my financial difficulties, why didn't someone tell me sooner about not using a bag with holes? This was a good class and reminded us of all the things we know we should be doing. If you want to look at a good website to help you with finances, the BYU Finance department has developed a site at www.personalfinance.byu.edu. It has some really great resources and lessons you can do to improve your knowledge. Another website they mentioned is www.helpwithmycredit.org. One thing the teacher said was "You can pay now, or pay later, but you can't get around the law of the harvest."

Here's a shot of my sisters with their matching tote bags.

Next I went to a class titled "The Infinite Power of Hope." This was taught by Sis Tanner's husband and daughter. It was so fun to get a picture with her, but the class was really good, and we all know how much I could use a good dose of hope.

Her daughter started by showing us a picture of her hope chest. Then she shared what her mother always told her daughters which is "Every girl needs a chest, because without a chest you have no hope!" Pretty funny, huh.

Also she quoted Anne of Green Gables when she would say "My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes." And then Marilla would respond "To despair is to turn your back on God."

She said that we learn to hope, the way we learn to walk, one step at a time. And we need to cultivate companion virtues of hope: charity, gratitude, eternal perspective, and testimony.

Brother Tanner then spoke of how we have to hang on to the hope of Promises Afar Off. He quoted Hebrews 11:13

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."

I know there are times when we can not face today and so we must live for tomorrow.

He pointed out that we can "have clear faith in the ultimate outcomes." There is no way out but through.

He said Faith and Hope are twins but not identical. I thought that was very profound. The opposite of Faith is Doubt, and the opposite of Hope is Despair.

Also he said "You can live without love, but not without hope." He urged us to look for heroes of hope and embrace promises far off by expanding the horizon of hope.

He compared us to kids on a car trip when we go through trials, always asking how long will this take? That analogy made me smile.

We must embrace hope in Christ by clinging to our covenants.

We know we can trust and have faith because it has been written in blood.

Overall, we must hold fast to our promises how ever far off they may seem.

Next I went to a marriage class. The speaker there said that the Lord does not require hard and difficult things of us, just diligence in simple things.

By day two, my brain and body were starting to shut down. During one of the breaks my sister and I just hung out at the Marriot Center because we were to tired to walk anywhere else. I found a bench to lay out on for a minute of rest. This is my Ihavebeenstayinguptolateand sittinglisteningtolongandIneedanap face.

Then during the second half of the last class, I even managed to fall completely asleep. My sister snapped this shot of me. I do have skills when it comes to sleeping anywhere.

Before I fell asleep, I was listening to a great talk about seeking still waters and seeking living waters to help us face turbulent times.

She said that discouragement is a sign of spiritual dehydration. Also she told a story about one of her teenage sons. She said this particular son made her think that they should change their family motto from "Return with Honor" to "Don't be Stupid." So true.

Finally, L Tom Perry spoke to us about our responsibility to step up and help the image of the church. He quoted Will Rogers by saying "It's not what he doesn't know that bothers me, it is what he is sure about that just ain't so."

That is the problem for the church, so many people are sure of things about us that are not true. It was a very interesting talk and very different from any I have heard from General Authorities at Women's Conference. He did encourage us to use technology such as our blogs to help in this endeavor.

So as usual, it was simply wonderful and uplifting and practically perfect in every way. Any of you on the fence about going, should take the plunge next year.

I had to snap a shot of this display cabinet at Brick Oven. So wonderfully BYUish. I don't know why I don't have this BYU Barbie in my collection. Something to dream about, I suppose.

And last but certainly not least, I had to pose with my guys. I know it will be difficult to pick me out among the other players, but just try, K.

And so this brings our delightful documentation of Women's Conference to a close. Good news, peeps, next year is just 350 days away.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. To celebrate I have put together a short video. It has been a really long time since I made one of these. If you are a member of my family and I missed you this past year, don't worry I will get you next year. Also I didn't have time to put labels on the pictures, so you will just have to guess and enjoy the pictures without knowing what they are.

My mom has finished her chemo and has moved onto radiation. It seems to be going fairly well. She is very hopeful she will finish her treatments in time for a family reunion in July.

Mom I hope you have a nice day. Wish I could be there. Eat some cake for me.

video

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Slide Show Continues.

Here are some more fun pictures from Women's Conference.

This is a picture of Melvin Hammond and his wife Bonnie. He is a first cousin to my father in law. He is an emeritus seventy. I had met him one other time when he came and spoke at our Stake Conference in Vegas about 6 or 7 years ago. I was in the stake RS presidency and got to serve him dinner on the Saturday night of Stake Conference. He and his wife both spoke. One of the best parts was when he sang and his wife accompanied him. He has a beautiful singing voice. It was fun to meet him and get a picture with them as well.

Here I am with two of my sisters and we spent this class working on putting a blanket stitch on the edge of these fleece blankets. Jen sorry your eyes are closed. Wake up. No sleeping on the job. That comes later. This was a fun project and it was good to be part of all the service that goes on during the Conference.

On Thursday night we went to check out all the sharing stations. There were so many great ideas, it was hard to take it all in.

If any of you wanted to check out some great ideas, there are handouts online from the past 6 years. Go here to see details. It really is amazing all the work that goes into these presentations.


Here is one I took myself of me and my two sisters.


I still want to post some of the notes that I took. Maybe I will have some free time this week. We truly did have a fabulous time together.

Honey I shrunk the laundry.

I had a very productive Saturday. Diana helped me and we cleaned up most of the down stairs at my house. Of course the one thing I didn't get to the was the bathroom. Shucky Darn. Funny how that is always at the bottom of the list and gets put off until another time.

Diana and I went on a ward camp out last weekend and that pretty much tapped out my Saturday last week. Then I was gone so much this week, that my house was really looking like a bomb had gone off. And then there was the little thing I mentioned in my last post. So anywho, it was high time to make a dent in things, since we had reached a new low.

My picking up and straightening included doing the laundry. Somehow when I put the white shirts away, I mixed up who got which. To be clear, I have one husband of rather large stature, one 18 year old son who is a bit stalky, and one 15 year old son who is of the bean pole variety.

My husband told me that he was a bit concerned about rapid weight gain when he was unable to even get his arm into the arm of Jared's shirt. It took him a minute to figure out the problem. But examining the size revealed that it was not his shirt.

I of course found this extremely amusing. I even wish I had done it on purpose. Any of you looking for practical jokes to play on your husband might consider this as a viable option.

Housework and laundry are rather tedious and anything you can do to spice the activity up are worth it in my opinion.

Let me know, what kind of tricks have you tried on your family?

Friday, May 15, 2009

My latest reason for having a disgusting house of disorder.

I have been MIA in the blogosphere this week. Last week I posted almost everyday. Something of a record for me lately.

Part of my MIA status has to do with the fact that I have had to work quite a bit more than I usually do. But truth be told, I have sat at my computer, but have spent my cyber time on Facebook instead of blogging. Shocking, I know.

And what was I doing on Facebook? Updating my status? Connecting with long lost friends? No. I was wasting precious time on Bejeweled Blitz. This is a game that is ridiculously addicting. I am pretty sure it is of the devil. Doesn't even the name sound satanic?

And I am not even good at this game. But somehow when each game ends, I can not resist the temptation to try just one more time, to get a higher score. It is bad people, I tell you. And before you know it 30 minutes turns into half an hour and then suddenly you have sat there for hours.

At least when you blog, you have a lovely post to show for your time wasted and housework ignored. I can rationalize blogging into really being time spent on family history work/journal keeping. Right. But not matter how much I try I can not find a good excuse to spend hours switching jewels around to make them disappear.

Oh well, I am not even going to try any more to justify it. I will just embrace my latest addiction, at least it is calorie free.

What does it take to be a mother.

A friend of mine sent me an email asking for help with a young women's lesson. She was having an activity about mothers and wanted to know what qualities make a good mother.

Many have said more about this topic and much more eloquently, but this is what I came up with in the few short minutes I had to form a reply.

Being a mother is the hardest job on earth.

You need patience to keep from strangling your kids when they pour a gallon of oil on your kitchen floor.

You need courage to kill bugs or feed snakes or watch your kids walk into kindergarten the first day knowing they have to do it alone.

You need stamina to survive on 4 hours of sleep and one shower a week when your kids are newborns, and then you need it to get them to seminary or wait up for them to come home when they are teenagers.

You need communication skills,to talk baby talk or princess talk or text talk.

You need the ability to laugh when you want to cry and hope when all seems hopeless.

You need to be able to love the unlovable, soothe the unsoothable, and feed the child with a endless hunger.

You must stretch a dollar farther than elastoman.

You must be able to make a princess costume from three sequins, 2 pipe cleaners, and a bed sheet.

You must be a cheerleader to cheer your child on whether to victory or defeat.

In total it seems like an impossible job, but somehow, by doing the best you can your kids manage to grow up in spite of you and the many mistakes you make.

So what would your answer be to the question "What qualities do good mothers have?"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother of the Year

For a big laugh click here to see a coolio award I received.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Equally Yoked

Are you equally yoked with the Savior?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRENT!

Today is my baby's birthday. Even if he is 18, he will always be my baby.

It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting at work and received THE CALL. That was at about 3:00 on a Friday afternoon. My case worker called to tell me that a little boy would be waiting for us at LDSFS the very next day. We could pick him up at 1:00 TOMORROW. This was beyond exciting because we had been waiting to adopt for almost 4 years. And the day we were to pick him up was the day before Mother's Day.

After the call, I hung up the phone and tried to continue working. As if. There was no way I could concentrate. My husband was in school and I could not call him. I didn't want anyone else to know about this news before him. After about 20 minutes of ridiculousness, I told my boss I didn't feel well and went home.

I stopped at a Hallmark store and got one of those "It's a Boy" signs. I paced around our apartment. I looked at the boxes of clothes in my Baby Hope chest. Somehow I always knew that we would have a boy first. At one point I refused to go to any more baby showers, unless I bought something for myself as well. So the fact that we had such short notice was OK. I had everything. A car seat. A crib that had been sitting a box for 3 years. Boxes of clothes. Bottles. Diapers. I took things out and washed them.

Finally it was time to pick up my husband. He was surprised to see me because I should have been at work. Somehow I managed to make small talk all the way home. He walked in and saw the sign. I started jumping up and down. It was so good to have someone else know about this great news.

That night I had to go to a play practice for a play I was in at church. For some reason I really didn't want to tell anyone about our news yet. It was as if I told, it would break the spell and not really happen. So I just tried my best to act normal. Again as if. I stumbled over lines I had known for weeks. Every now and then I would go out in the hall and get a drink, and my excitement would just burst out and I would jump up and down again.

Somehow the hours passed. It is one of life's little ironies that the last good night of sleep you will have before you pick up your baby is not good at all because of the excitement.

Finally all was ready. Finally it was time. Finally all the forms and tests and interviews and years of waiting were over. We loaded the car seat into the car. And headed off, never to be the same again.

We arrived at the agency and spoke with the workers. They told us how sure our birth mother was that we were the family for her son.

At last it was time. They brought him in and placed him in my arms. Words are inadequate to express the joy of that moment. But as painful as the years of waiting and watching others have what I desperately wanted, the joy of that moment made it all worthwhile, and perhaps even more sweet.

He was perfect in every way. I still remember that first car ride home. Nervously watching him and wondering if he was OK.

We had told two of our friends at this point and they came over and visited. We called our families and shared the good news. Many hours were spent on the phone sharing our good fortune.

The first night went pretty well. And the next morning I dressed him in the cutest little outfit with a tie and we went to church.

Imagine the stir we made as we walked in with our very own baby. People were so happy for us. And again I wondered about the many Mother's Days spent in tears, and how now I was celebrating the best Mother's Day ever.

Honestly my family and friends were extremely worried about how I was going to survive another childless Mother's Day. The Lord must have known that I was at the end of my rope, because He blessed me with the most wonderful Mother's Day ever.

And I am forever grateful to a brave and selfless birth mother who wanted her son to have a mother and a father. Someday I know that we will meet and embrace each other. I look forward to that day.

And now eighteen years have come and gone. There have been good times and hard times. But I have been so blessed to have this son in my life.

I picked some of my favorite pictures of him to celebrate today.

I love this picture of his sweet babiness. Can you see his little whirlpool on the top of his head? He still has that today.
Here is he is in first grade. Missing front tooth and all.

These eyes could melt the coldest stone heart. So precious.


I loved cheering him on at football games. Hard to believe he is only 15 in this picture.

This was taken two days ago. He is one of the leads in the spring musical "The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree." He plays an English Lord named Bidwell. We went to see it Tuesday night and he did an amazing job. I love the way he can manipulate his eyebrow.
Now I must go and bake 65 cupcakes for the cast and crew tonight. Wish me luck! He will spend his birthday on stage. How fun!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Y Indeed?

I don't have a lot of time to post today, and so I thought I would share this thought provoking sign on the door to the women's locker room in the Richards Building.

It made me smile, and I love its BYUness. Someone has a sense of humor in the signage department. Don't ya think?

And seriously other than the benifits to your body and mind, I can't think of any reason to try and be fit, can you?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm just here for the food!

Eventually I will post about the notes I took in all the wonderfully uplifting classes I attended. But today's Women's Conference post is dedicated to one of the best things in life: food, glorious food.

For some reason I feel that I can spend ridiculous amounts of money for special treats I can't get anywhere else. You have already seen the pictures of the cheese curds and lemon custard ice cream I had on the way to Provo. Here are a few pictures of the wonderful delicacies I partook of during my two days at BYU.
These are the best yummy-i-licious spiced almonds. And of course they taste better in the blue and white paper cone. Last year I waited until the last day and stood in a ridiculously long line. But I learned from my mistakes and this year I grabbed some up the first morning. Good thing, because I never had the chance to buy lunch, so they had to sustain me all day long. We all missed lunch because we never wanted to stand in a long line, and so when the afternoon session was over we rushed to our favorite Italian place La Dolce Vita. Yes this is where I ate with Diana just two weeks ago. I got the pasta this time and it was yummy.
The next morning I had this divine mint brownie for breakfast. So good!!!

Later that day I had a delightful chicken taco salad for Costa Vida. Sadly I was so hungry that I ate it before I remembered to take a picture of it. Dang, I hate it when that happens.
Here is my sister Kris purchasing strawberries and whip cream for the crepes we would have for breakfast thanks to my sister Jen. We also had Nutella with the strawberry crepes. Heaven on earth, I tell ya. Just as good as IHOP.

And finally our two sister in laws joined us for a feast at Brick Oven. It was scrumptious pizza and conversation. Such good times. I am so blessed to have these wonderful women in my life. Glad to know I am stuck with them for eternity as well. There was much laughing and sharing and feasting. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
And don't you think great food makes everything better.