Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Playing in Pagosa....

during Christmas break -- Oh, what fun. With sledding right outside the back door and snow to our knees, we play until we're frozen solid, warm up inside with a cup of hot chocolate and new clothes, then outside again for tubing and "4-wheelering" (what Addy call 4-wheeling) .

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Sunday...

is always the best when we are visiting Grandpa J's ward to listen to the most beautiful and elaborate Christmas program -- I love it even more when Dad is the narrator. This year we stayed home (we are planning on a New Year's visit instead) and enjoyed the simplicity of getting dressed at home and going to our home ward. The program was simple yet sweet and I enjoyed singing in a special choir number. We were also grateful to have Harrison with us (even if he would not wear a vest to match the boys -- he, he!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas to you!!!!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and all the love and joy during this holiday season.

We LOVE Santa....

and we loved going to the North Pole Experience this weekend. The kids were giggly, giddy, full of enthusiasm and all aglow during our portal experience that took us up to the North Pole. Filling our tummies with a Holiday smorgasbord of salmon, turkey, ham, roast beef and Yummy sugar cookies with elf stew (hot cocoa) then busily helping the elf's' make toys for girls and boys while caroling-caroling-as-we-went made for a Santa night to remember. We even brought our friends along (Tara and her two little gals) so share in all our fun.

Mrs. Clause Rocks!

Shining stars of Elf school :-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Finally a freezing family smile...

was captured for our Holiday cards. Living up north with limited shopping has delayed our family Christmas pictures so despite the freezing cold (my lens was fogging over making for blurry pictures) and over a foot of snow (keeping our tootsies wet), we donned our garb (without our warm coats and mittens) and took some really fast pictures (bribing the kids that if they smiled for just one more second we would get some ice cream -- it is never too cold for ice cream). Not my best but still lots of fun. I am pumped that I was able to get one on one shots with my kids.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The best sacrament meeting of the year...

is always the Primary program. Indeed, it is wonderful to just sit all by my lonesome without having any child distraction but it is even more wonderful to sit proudly as each of your children say their part all by themselves and to hear them singing loudly so I can hear their individual voices. Here are some highlights:

After lots of practice Bo triumphantly pronounced "proclamation."
Addy would smile so sweetly each time she saw me watching her sing.
Kadan knew all the words to the songs and when bore his testimony of his baptism, he exclaimed, "I am a Son of God and know if I do my best to do what it right, I will always have the Spirit to be with me."
Hunter sang his heart out, with his hand outstretch towards his sides, eyes looking up towards heaven as he swayed side to side. Several individuals in the ward told me how much they enjoyed watching Hunter -- one said she was so touched that she cried. It was so sweet. I am definitely a proud mom.

Another fun thing in church today -- I was a pain in the tush before church, trying to get all the kids to church early (Ian was doing surgery). After feeling terrible about my orneriness, I prayed for forgiveness. My inspiration was that I needed to pray more earnestly and more frequently if I was to have the help of the Lord to be a calm and loving mom. Well, today I definitely had the opportunity. Ian was supposed to say the opening prayer but told the bishopric that he would not be there because of an emergency surgery. Yet, they forgot and had him in the program. So, at a moment, I volunteered to say the opening prayer for Ian. Then I was asked to say the closing prayer during Sunday School. Finally I was asked to say the opening prayer in Relief Society. It was awesome that I was given all these opportunities to raise my spirits and immediately practice obedience and faith.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Forget cleaning... Let's DANCE....

With Addy's hip swinging hula to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to Kadan's head banging rock out with uncle Dave's "Goodnight Quiet Noise" to Hunter's air guitar knee slide to "Achy Breaky Heart" and Bo's boogie tushy shake to "Save the Last Dance for Me" we giggled and twirled and slide and played. Times like this are definitely worth ignoring the sticky marshmallow floors and cracker crumb counters and piles of backpacks and jackets scattered around the living room. Now that the dance party is over, I am wishing that the cleaning fairy would magically appear. Anyone have one that I can borrow?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Now, only my boys would....

have one tape up his sisters and think it is funny (Kadan) and the other be horrified and try to rescue them immediately (Hunter).

Only girls would...

make a box fort and embellish it with flowers. Gotta love girls!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fasting and Faith....

brings about great blessings.

I woke up this morning and actually remembered that it was fast Sunday (we had Stake Conference last week so it was moved to the 2nd Sunday). I was so proud of myself and knew that as soon as I rose from the bed, I would feel nothing but the sweetness of the Spirit. But, try as I might (sang church music, read books with the kids, watched conference talks, listened to the Spoken Word, turned off the TV and listened to church music, prayed), it just didn't come. So, at noon I thought, "All I wanted was to feel the Spirit today and still nothing. Well, just bag it. I'm starved so I am going to get something to eat."

Just as soon as my rebellious, bratty spirit voiced it's mind, guilt crept in and I decided to just be obedient and continue my fast. I laid down in my bed, watched a movie of Hunter's 9th birthday and tried as hard as I could to continue fasting.

We arrived to church early and sat all together while I still waited. Sang the opening song and the sacrament song and waited. Had a wonderfully reverent sacrament (this rarely happens with my rambunctious family) and still nothing. Then the first counselor started to bear his testimony as he read from 3 Nephi and the coming of Christ. Immediately I thought of Mosiah chapter 24 that I just read in last week's scripture study. But still, I didn't feel the warm tingling and the strong feeling of the Comforter that I was seeking. Next was the testimony from our Bishop, Bishop Flake. He encouraged us to have joy and try to change just a little bit of us to be better. Both testimonies were beautiful but still, where was the Spirit that I so desperately wanted.

Just moments before the Bishop closed his testimony Kadan started to speak to me. Normally, I would sternly whisper, "Shh" but I feel inclined to listen as he whispered to me, "Mom, you know you are never alone in your home because you have your family. And you are never alone at school because you have your friends. And even when you are all by yourself, you are never alone because you have the Spirit (he taps his chest softly) deep within you."

I was immediately overwhelmed, flooded by the Spirit of Testimony, I tried hard to hold back the tears and knew that he was the answer to my prayers.

I walked to the pulpit and bore my testimony. I would like to bear that now. I know that through obedience to Heavenly Father's commandments that we will all be blessed. Yet, we need to be patient, we need to be happy in long suffering, we need to invite the Spirit into our lives and we will be blessed. I know that if I had not been obedient in fasting that I may not have had such a wonderfully spiritual experience today. That through faith, diligence and obedience my testimony was strengthened. I thank the Lord that my son was able to feel the Spirit and was able to answer my prayers.

I would like to share some more tidbits of spiritual messages and moments of epiphany that I learned today (with pictures to break up some of the monotony of all this typing) In Stake Conference, the beautiful lady with broken English that gave the opening prayer said, "And bless that we will make it to our DESTINY in safety." I am unsure if this woman realized what a beautiful message she relayed with her simple mistake of wording. Instead of destination, she said destiny. I pray that we can all make it to our Destiny is safety.
Hunter came up to me and said, "Mom, I have been honest and have told to truth for over 5 years now. I have not even told a lie." I hope that in 5 years from now I too can exclaim "I have been honest and truthful for over 5 years."

In singing "Love at Home" as the opening song in relief society the second verse starts, "In the cottage there is joy, when there's love at Home." It did not read, "In the mansion" or "In the beautiful 4000 sq ft English Tutor with a media room and a 6 car garage" it simply said, "In a cottage" -- a small, quaint, home maybe even in a bit of disrepair, you can find joy. Joy is found through families and love and the gospel. Not in money or large houses or extravagant clothes.
I always get nervous when I sing and my lips start to quiver -- very embarrassing. As a result, I have been choosing to avoid singing in church. On Friday, Theresa asked me to sing "Walk Tall You're a Daughter" and I accepted. Later I find out that she woke up early in the morning and had the impression that I needed to sing in Young Women's at the end of her lesson. I prayed numerous times to be able to sing with the spirit and without a quiver. As soon as I started singing so did the quiver. As a said a prayer in my heart, I had the impression to look into the faces of the girls and sing -- angles were with me and I sang the song more beautifully that I had ever sung before.
During the YW lesson, Theresa and Sister Henderson talked about the iron rod being straight not bent. For the first time I realized that this is for 2 reasons. One is because we know that for the righteous the journey to Eternal Life is straight and leads us unequivocally by the Word of God. Yet, the second thing I realized is that having a the pathway narrow and straight also helps so that fall away. Ultimately, if the path was curvy and made lots of bends, it would be harder for those that have strayed to find it. Instead, Heavenly Father, in his brilliance and forbearance, provided a straight way to return. For, just like the north star, even in the darkness of night, if you follow direction of that star, you will not wonder in circles and will find your way.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Trick-or-treat...Thank you...Merry Christmas....

Bo and Addy are Snow Angels, Kadan is Larry Fitzgerald and Hunter is Einstein.

Well, at least that is what Bo would say each time she went up to a door this year. I guess that any gift giving (whether it be candy or toys) makes Bo think of Christmas.

Halloween was fun this year -- lots of candy, tons of kids and fun with friends (the Johnson family). This Halloween, we finally found a neighborhood full of "regulars" (people that actually live here year round) and children so it made us think of the Michigan Halloween and running down the Mayes' street with a Kroger bag full of candy and homes changed to haunted mansions.
Now sing with me....
Halloween's coming Halloween's coming.
Ooo, Ooo, Ooo, Ooo, Ooo
Ghosts and Goblins
Witches and Bats
Will be after you... BOO!