Sunday, September 25, 2016

Andy's Special Birthday

We have had a huge weekend with Andy’s 8th birthday and his baptism.  His birthday happened to fall on a Friday where there was no school.  He had a perfect day!!  He played with friends all morning and then filled the house with boys in the afternoon at his party.  I had hoped to go out to dinner for his birthday, but even going out to Pizza Pie wasn’t more exciting to him than playing with his awesome birthday presents.

We had a Star Wars themed party, but we kept it quite simple with most of the entertainment being building and shooting marshmallow guns.  Caleb put the gun kits together and the boys had a great time making and remaking them in all shapes and forms.  Of course launching mini marshmallows at their friends was fun too! It was a very pleasant afternoon for us all! 

The day after his birthday Andy had the opportunity to be baptized.  It was a stake baptism, but there were only three total children being baptized so it was a small group and a sweet program.  I had the opportunity of speaking on the Holy Ghost.  I’ll attach the short talk at the end of this post just in case anyone else needs a baptism talk idea. Another fun part of the program was that they invited all of the primary age children in the congregation to come up and sing “When I am Baptized.” All of my children, even Caleb, came up and sang.  I loved having them participate.

Dave Low, who is a dear friend, conducted the meeting after Josh baptized Andy. Lonn (Josh’s dad) and Cody (my brother) served as the witnesses.  It is during these special priesthood events that I especially wish my dad was here.  The circle for his confirmation was small with Josh acting as voice and Dave (our friend and bishopric member), Lonn, Cody, Colby (my sisters husband) and Ralph Call (Andy’s primary teacher) standing in the circle.  Josh gave Andy a beautiful blessing.  Most importantly he was confirmed a member of Christ’s true church on the earth.

I always appreciate family who makes the effort to come and support us at special events.  My mom, Josh’s parents, my brother Cody and his wife Stephanie and their two children, my sister Connie her husband Colby and their two children, Josh’s brother Gabe and his wife Alexa and their son, and my Aunt Merle all came to offer their support.

Following Andy’s confirmation his primary teacher Ralph Call gave him a CTR clock he made with Andy’s baptism date on it.  Bro. Call encouraged Andy to remember the covenants he made at baptism for as long as it took for the oak that the clock is made out of to form, which is more than 100 years.  

We had a simple lunch of meatballs and rice following the baptism and about an hour later Andy headed to play a football game in Garland.  It was fun to have Gabe and Lexa join us in cheering him on.  It was one of the most fun games of the year with Andy’s team winning 20 to 18.  There was a cool energy at the game with the boys cheering each other on, knowing the win would make them region champs. 

One of my favorite moments came after the game when Andy’s friend, Henry, came up to him, hit him on the shoulder pads, threw his arms in the air and with his adorable high pitched and very excited voice said, “Andy, how does it feel to be region champs on your baptism day!!”  Of course Andy just smiled. 

Football is fun, but it was so important to me that the significance of the ordinance and covenants Andy made today was not overshadowed.  I know that joining God’s team is the most important team any of us will ever be on!!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Carrie's Bucket List

One thing I like to do in the fall is to make lists.  I’ve had fun over the past couple of weeks working on a list of 101 things to do before I die.  I started this list years ago but only got it about ½ of the way done.  This time it was easy for me to come up with 101 things and more.  I believe that this is an evolving list.  Just because it is on my list today doesn’t mean it will be a dream later, but I feel that the biggest problem with people achieving their dreams is that they don’t even know what they want.   Working on this list has prompted me to rethink our family vacations and plans for the next six years.  We only have six more spring breaks until Caleb graduates from high school.  There are so many things on the list that I want to do with my children.  Knowing what I want does help me to focus on achieving it!!

You will notice I’ve included many dreams that I’ve already accomplished.  I've bolded the items I still need to do.  I can’t have a bucket list without acknowledging all of the dreams in my life that have already been achieved. 

1. Get Married in the Temple
2. Have Five Children
3. Live in a nurturing, intimate relationship
4. Serve a full-time mission
5. Help bring someone to Christ through baptism
6. Learn another language
7. Graduate from College
8. Have $10,000/month passive income
9. Sail the virgin islands on a catamaran
10. Raft the Colorado through the Grand Canyon
11. Go to Havasupai
12. Go on a Hawaiian Cruise
13. Go to Samoa, Tonga and Fiji
14. Go to Tahiti
15. Go to the Holy Land (Israel)
16. Take my family to Disney World
17. Go to the Temple with each of my Children
18. Have my children go on missions
19. Travel across the country in an RV
20. Write my own life history
21. Sail in Greece
22. Vacation in Paris
23. Travel in Italy
24. Go to the Miss America Pageant live
25. See Wicked on Broadway
26. Take each of my children on a humanitarian experience
27. Have my boys become eagle scouts
28. Have my girls receive their young womanhood recognition
29. Receive a music (oboe) scholarship
30. Write an article for a magazine
31. Nurse my own baby
32. Have natural child birth
33. Write a book 
34. Create a family recipe book
35. Do temple work for an ancestor I found
36. Teach school
37. Tour the Book of Mormon lands  of Guatemala 
38. Sight see in Alaska
39. Build a new house
40. Participate in a musical
41. Stay at a Disney hotel
42. Be an Academy for Girls Counselor
43. Be an EFY Counselor
44. Be an EFY Speaker
45. Have a season ski pass
46. Ride in a hot air balloon
47. Ride in a helicopter
48. Ski in the Swiss Alps
49. See Mt. Rushmore
50. Go on an airboat ride to spot Alligators
51. Stand at Ground 0 in NYC
52. Go to the Price is Right
53. Drive through Hollywood
54. Stand on the Great Wall of China
55. Buy a brand new car  
56. See a dolphin in the wild
57. See a whale in the wild
58. See a bear in the wild
59. See an alligator in the wild
60. Get a masters degree
61. Invest in Real Estate
62. Go Sky Diving
63. Live in another country
64. Watch an Olympic competition live
65. See the Redwoods
66. Camp on a beach
67. Spend time on the Oregon Coast
68. Sleep in a house boat
69. Teach my children appreciation of music and fine arts
70. Teach my children to cook
71. Plan retreats for women/moms
72. Shake hands with the prophet
73. Hike through a rainforest
74. Teach a college class
75. Own a business
76. Sell a business
77. Go on a family cruise
78. Hold my own grand baby
79. Sing a solo
80. Play the drums in a band
81. Participate in an orchestra
82. Learn the ukulele or guitar
83. Travel in a convertible
84. Participate in the pageant in Nauvoo as a family
85. Take my children to the sacred grove
86. Take my children to the handcart pioneer sites
87. Volunteer in a homeless shelter
88. Take my children to Washington DC
89. Pay off my house
90. Be completely debt free
91. Walk the Streets of London
92. Explore Machu Picchu
93. Have a cleaning lady
94. Stay at an all inclusive resort
95. Stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon
96. Play at a Black Sand Beach
97. Pick wild mangos
98. Hike Angels Landing
99. Influence 1000’s to live a better life
100. Live without regret
101. Make a difference to humanity

Back to School

I’m not the kind of mom that cry’s when school starts.  I LOVE having my kids out learning, growing, making friends, experiencing life and progressing while I put our home back in order. I love to make goals and checklists in the Fall and to catch up on all of the things that I let go by the wayside during the summer. 

It is really amazing that they are growing so quickly!! This year is off to a GREAT start!  My kids each insist that they have the best teachers ever.  I am so grateful that my children attend such amazing schools. I agree!  They really do have fantastic teachers!! 

Caleb, 7th grade

Cara, 5th grade

Andy, 2nd grade

Ali, 1st grade

Johnny USU Lab Preschool or as we call it “Aggie Preschool”

What more could a person turning 39 ask for - than to be surrounded by her beautiful children?  And of course, chocolate zuchinni cake with cream cheese frosting. Growing up my birthday was always the first week of school.  I thought it was such a bummer.  Now having a birthday just after school starts is the best present ever! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Summer Wrap-Up

We were home and without company again in August and went to work with our SOS (Summer Of Service).  We did miss doing a program at the nursing home while we were out of town in June, but we hit the other projects.  We cleaned up Providence Canyon.  I could not believe how much trash was up there.  We went a very small distance and filled the back of our cars and all of our trash bags.  We went to the cemetery and picked up pinecones. Our final project was working in the local garden for refugees.  It was neat to see refugees hanging out and working, and to recognize that there are people with all types of life experiences right here in our little community.

I signed up for a program where the kids could bowl for free this summer (except the $3 each for shoe rental).  I thought I'd probably take them weekly, but we only made it once the entire summer! It was a fun outing, but the kids truly love being at home and playing with their friends!

Quite possibly the biggest highlight to the end of summer was tending our neighbors boxer dog, Gweniver.  We had her for about two weeks, and we all had a fantastic experience.  I'd hear the kids laughing and laughing in the mornings as they played with her.  She thinks of herself as a kid and fit right into the family.  I didn't mind her one bit.  If I knew we could get a perfectly trained and well mannered dog I think I could even talk Josh into it, but for now I'm perfectly happy being Gweny's second family! Gwen was even okay with Cara dressing her up daily. 

We are all supper excited about the new high school opening up just down the street. We toured it and were so impressed with how beautifully it has come together.  It is fun to have everything new and I’m super excited that my kids will never go to school more than a five minute drive from home!

My kids like being home more than anywhere else because when they are home they are constantly playing with their neighborhood friends.  Cara and Korinne are together most waking hours.  Korinne is like my third daughter.  She is over often enough that I have her help with chores.  I like them to play with friends because then the screen time, boredom battle is less intense.  We had fun, but they love their friends. 

Andy and Johnny are the luckiest with a whole posse of boys each of their ages.  Johnny and his friends can’t make good choices to save themselves, but they love each other and it is a rare moment when there is no one to play with.  Andy’s and his friends play sports, constantly.  When the weather is beautiful it is not unheard of for them to play outside all day long!

Cara and Korinne making their own doll cloths by hand.  They actually come up with some good stuff!

 When your mom is on the phone and your friends can't play you have to do something. 

I would love for all of my children to be little musicians.  I wish they ran home from school to practice the piano and their musical instruments.  Needless to say, they don't, but Ali has enjoyed learning the violin and piano this year.  The perfect weather and an outdoor recital made the end of summer recital one of my favorites!

It is always fun to hit a fair or two in the fall.  Ali and Cara are giving the long-horn a little love.

This is what my evenings in August looked like and I loved it! Andy was lucky enough to be chosen to play the center position on the second day of practice.  He has touched the ball on every single offensive game play of the season.  I love his position, but he is dying to do some tackling and hoping to play more defense.

Andy is smiling number 34 hanging out with his team on game day! 

Andy is finding so much joy and confidence in being part of this team. He is a quiet boy, but if anyone ask him about football he all of a sudden has a lot to say.  It is fun to see his passion!

The rest of the family has enjoyed visiting a variety of parks and cheering for Andy on Saturdays.  It is fun to see how proud of Andy Caleb is. 

We have had a nearly perfect summer!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

In the Saddle Again!

It has been almost four years since my dad died, and after letting the kids ride horses for a few minutes at Doug’s this summer, I decided I wanted to get in the saddle again.  I wasn’t scared, I just haven’t had the opportunity.  I called my parent’s friend, Lena, and she hooked us up with horses for everyone.  Of course I got the stubborn one.  He took me for quite a ride.  I wanted to gallop and he didn’t so he decided to get rid of me by suddenly stopping, ducking his head and throwing me off.  Fortunately I was far enough from everyone that they couldn’t see the tears in my eyes as I got back on. It took me a few weeks to recover.  My horse riding days might be over.  It wouldn’t be riding if I didn’t get thrown off!  

The kids liked it, but didn’t love it.  They would get on for a couple of minutes and then want to get off.  Then a few minutes later they’d ask to get back on.  Caleb got his horsemanship merit badge this summer.  That helped his confidence.  After a while Andy was brave enough to go without someone holding the lead rope too.  

Cara and Caleb trying to conquer their fears.

This is the only picture I have that proves Ali even got on.  She did ride though. 

Johnny liked the pony, but her really wanted to get on a full size horse like everyone else. 

Andy took the rains and did his best at riding on his own.