Friday, October 14, 2016

Francis Peak

Last Saturday David drove us up to Francis Peak.  The very winding, and at times steep, road up there was a little uncomfortable for Levi and I in the front seat of the truck but it was worth it.  Well, maybe not for Levi but it was for the rest of us.  I just had to make myself look the other way when we were driving on certain parts of the know....the parts where if you look you can see straight down the mountain!  
 But look at this.  So beautiful.  And it was fun to get high enough to play in the snow a bit.
 The domes behind Brigham look like little specks down here in civilization.   So it was fun to come up here and learn that they were ran and operated by the Federation Aviation Administration and The Air National Guard.  It's good to feel protected :)
 Not everything was covered in snow, though so of course there was some climbing.
 The boys immediately started to throw snowballs and rocks down the mountain and so Ruger had to join in.
So, cute Hyrum was not happy when he first learned we were going up to Francis Peak.  We had this hornet nest and its occupants, right outside the front of our house that no matter how many times David sprayed it down they just kept coming back.  None of us ever got stung but by the end of the summer Hyrum was pretty freaked out by well as bees.  

So when we told him we were going up a mountain he started to freak out a bit because he didn't want to run into bees.  So I told him that I had just read that for the first time some bees were now on the endangered list.  I reminded him about how very important bees are for our survival.  He then wanted to know all about why they were endangered and was happy to know that I never use chemicals in our garden for that exact reason (plus, I don't want us eating that poison.  But I did tell him that there were some places in the world where insects were so bad that it was really hard for people not to use pesticides).   

And guess what?  Before we left, he was telling me about how he really wishes that the bees would be safe now.  I sure do love this sensitive boy of mine.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Conference Weekend

David served in the Tulsa, Oklahoma mission for 2 years.  One of the states that he served in was Missouri.  He had the wonderful opportunity of serving in Lebanon where he met Susan.  I should have David get on here and write his own experience because I could never get it quite right.  Getting it into words that would describe how much he loved his experience there and especially Susan, just wouldn't turn out the way he truly feels.
 Susan and her husband, John, drove out to Utah to be able to attend one of the sessions for General Conference.  But before going to conference, some missionaries that they had grown close to (that have now left their missions and moved back home/college) over the years met up with them at In-N-Out Burger in Draper.  

The drive to Draper was nice, as David and I were able to just talk.  I love these simple things...especially when I notice that they are indeed special.

But seeing David and Susan together was so very special to watch.  It's not like I haven't known how close these 2 are.  David has spoken of her many times throughout our marriage.  When someone is able to teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then is able to baptise you in Jesus' name, well, I can only imagine.  Knowing Jesus the way that he did at this time in his life was rather new to himself.  I'm sure it was very personal to him to be able to share it with her at that time in his life.  And then to think of Susan's side of it.  How do you not have a special love and bond with someone who shares with you something so life altering as this? 

It has been years since she was baptized.  We have seen her here and there throughout the years and their bond just doesn't change.  It really is a sweet thing to witness.

It was also fun for me to hear John's accent.  It made me miss home!  And my dad...  I loved listening to him talk about the Church and how he saw things.  Reminded me so much of my own father.
And then there is conference weekend.  I look forward to it.  I need it every time it rolls around.
But I forgot just how hard it is to actually get things out of it with a toddler!  And sadly, the older boys just feed off of it.  As you can see, it wasn't long before they were rolling up in blankets and trying to smash into each other.  I also witnessed pushups, paper airplanes running into the ceiling fan, and food being thrown on the floor in different directions.  

Ok, so maybe the last one was me.  Hahahaha!  I have freeze dried corn that Ruger loves.  The other day I was so tired and he was sooooooo not!  I got desperate and was sitting on the ground feeding him by throwing the corn, one by one, in different directions to get him to run some of his energy off.  Yep, mother of the year here!  So I tried it again during conference and it worked like a charm!  He was finally quiet as he was running from corn piece to corn piece.  At one point, he got down on his hands and knees and picked up a piece of corn by his mouth.  We just giggled and giggled as he looked like a little chick pecking at his food!  

Interesting enough, the talk that spoke the most to my soul was the one about the difficult child.  Elder Nattress' talk couldn't have been more of what I needed for raising Ruger!  I told David that I was going to print out his talk and read it daily!  Ha!  But in all seriousness, I definitely walked away with the assurance that Ruger can have a great future.  

I am so tired all of the time.  He is so very active and there is not a day that goes by that he has not done SEVERAL things to danger his life.  There are days that I just don't understand how he doesn't learn to stop doing dangerous things when he knows he gets hurt.  But I also know that he doesn't feel things the same as everyone else.  But just to try to get whoever reads this to understand, that first conference session that lasted only 2 hours, yeah....  In that amount of time he bit into his tongue twice (once by falling on his own and the other as he had snuck down stairs.  Hyrum was trying to get him back up and unfortunately when Hyrum did that, he didn't have the strength to pick him up completely so he decided to just push him up the stairs.  Yeah, that lead to Ruger's head hitting one of the stairs as he was being pushed up which lead to Ruger biting into his tongue) and fell down the stairs!  We have a gate but he has figured out that if he pushes it hard enough, he can open it by himself.  He rarely can get enough strength to do it, but as you can see he was able to do it twice in 2 hours!

I'm getting off track but I did come away from that talk knowing that if I just keep on going...If I just try my hardest and if I can push a few words of wisdom in there here and there, he is going to make it.   He can not only reach adulthood but he can be a great leader too!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Serving Scouts

On Sunday evening, the boys were able to take a part of a Court of Honor with the Boy Scouts.  
 Brigham was able to receive rank of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second-Class, and First-Class.  He also received a few merit badges from the weeklong camp that he and Levi went to this past summer.
 Levi had already received his rank in Scout and Tenderfoot so he was presented his Second-Class and First-Class as well as a few merit badges.
 This is the active troup.  Adam (back row, right) is such a kind leader.  He has been to many campouts with these boys and we sure will  miss him when he leaves.  I hope that whoever replaces him will show the boys to be happy in life, as well as Scouts, as he has.  Karl (back row, left) has been newly called as their leader and has worked so very hard to get these boys where they are.  I know it is the boys who do the work but, I'm telling you, it is Karl who has really encouraged them to get there.  Levi was already on his way but the 11 year old Scout program was really struggling when Brigham was in it before coming into Boy Scouts.  They didn't have consistent leaders and so Brigham was very far behind.  That's not to say that David and I couldn't have been better about doing things at home with him though, because Luke (bottom row, second to left) received over 20 merit badges tonight all because his awesome parents worked hard with him even when he didn't have the leaders to help him.  His parents made it work.  They are good examples to David and I.
 Because they had ranked so much, Momma got pinned a lot that night!  It's hard to see in this picture but I received 6 of them.  
 The Scouts are going to be serving tonight during cleanup so I thought I would share some pictures that kinda relate.
 David took this one the day after the storm.  It rained all day long and so there was a lot of backed up water at the park by our house.
Grandma Helen came up to help with the cleanup effort on Saturday.  I stayed home with Ruger and Hyrum but I guess there was a small army helping.  I look at this picture and see that this must be true.  They are raking up debris in the road.  To me that means there is a lot of help at the actual sites where the tornado touched down if they are working on small things in the road.  Like I have said in past posts, I sure am grateful for the serving community we live in.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Boys, I've a feeling we're not in Utah anymore....

How in the heck does a girl, who grew up in Tornado Alley, never see a tornado in her life until she lives in UTAH?

I remember very well seeing the many aftereffects of tornados back home and even seeing a wall cloud once but never an actual formed tornado.

To be correct, I saw 2 funnel clouds yesterday and a tornado.  Let me tell you me tale of woe....
Ok, so it's not that bad but hey, if I can use a quote from the Lego Movie then I'm gonna!

So the older boys had been out of school for a little bit and were playing on their electronic devices.  The weather outside was starting to look awesome...
...ok, I'll stop.

But seriously, the weather outside looked so inviting.  And by inviting, I mean it looked like a storm was in the future... but that is exactly what I call inviting.  I LOVE STORMS!!!! So I had the boys go outside with me.  They immediately decided to go to Victory Park.  By the time that I had caught up with them at the park, it was sprinkling.  So we decided to start walking back.  By the time we got back it was raining.  The boys went inside and I stayed out on the porch.  

Everything just happened so quickly.

I look up in the sky and see this funnel cloud forming in the distance.  I yelled at the boys to come and see it.  They were amazed, thought it was cool, and went back inside.  Within seconds it disappeared just to form again.  It truly was fascinating.  Fascinating enough that I couldn't even break away to get my camera.  I just wanted to watch.  I slightly shift my eyes to the left and see all this debris floating in the air in slow motion.  I yell at the kids again to come and look.  It seriously looked like it was in slow motion, high in the air.  I still don't know what the debris was but the boys were amazed.  So they go back inside and I turn around long enough to make sure that they are watching Ruger just to turn around to walk on the porch again to see an actual tornado to my far left, right over the school!  And right over the school isn't really a good way to describe it.  Because it was all through it.  It was so different from the funnel cloud  because the funnel cloud was distinctive, white, and perfectly formed.  This tornado was huge, dark, and just whipping everything around.  I wasn't in a trance anymore and immediately ran inside, yelled at the kids to get in the bathtub and we were off.

The next is just humorous.  Can you imagine 5 people in a bathtub?  One of them being a teenage taller than me?  So we are huddled in there when Levi says, "Um, shouldn't we be in the basement?"  Hahahahahaha!  I still can't believe that totally went over my head.  This Oklahoma girl could only remember her tornado training from growing up.  There are no basements in the area I grew up and we were always told to get in the bathtub or in a hallway without any windows.

So off we crouched down into the basement.  We weren't down there too long when we heard the hail.  That is about the time that David called.  His office is in Harrisville and he just happened to go outside and saw the wall cloud hanging over Washington Terrace.  I told him there was a tornado and off he went to go home.  Unfortunately, this storm had knocked out a lot of power and so his normal 15 minute drive home took him about 45 minutes.

During his ride home, he would give us updates here and there.  We have emergency radios but for some reason nothing was coming up.  And I have to admit that for a second I doubted whether I really saw that tornado or not.  Maybe my emotions were getting to me and it was just a really bad windstorm.

But after everything calmed down, we saw the damage.  Just blocks away.
 There is no way that our camera can really show the damage done...or how beautiful the mountains and following rainbow was.  It's so weird.  So much damage and then you look to the mountains and I couldn't help but think of who was really in control in this moment.

 This is across from the church we attend.

 Maddie was afraid Ruger was cold while we were out and about so she put her coat on him.  Oh, I love that girl!
 The Seminary building is connected to the church.
This was the only damage as far as I could see.

Before we even went to see the damage, David was off trying to locate those who needed help.  I know this is bragging on him but it's me writing this (Alisa) and not David so that's ok, right? :)  I am so grateful for David's serving heart.  So grateful for the example he sets for our children and those around us.  He ended up finding us because the emergency personnel told him that they were still assessing the damage at that point.  But as we were walking around some friends from church, The Roberts, drove by and told us that the Red Cross was at the Senior Center and that people were donating food there.  So off David and Levi went.  Later David told me that there were quite a few members of our church up there helping.  Some of the men sent the Young Men out to check on the elderly.  So grateful for this community and the example that they are setting as well.

We were out of power for a while but it got us in bed early so hey, there's a plus!  While David and I were laying in bed and we were going through the details of the day, it was interesting to see the differences of what it was like for a husband to know there was a tornado near his family and him not being able to do anything about it.  Like him watching those families, whose homes were now uninhabitable, as they came into the Senior Center and how some where so upbeat.  Like they were cheering on everyone else.  And then other's looked, as he said, so "beat down."  And in no way was he judging between the 2.  It is just interesting seeing different reactions to similar circumstances.  It was just another realization to me that we are all so different and most importantly, we all hurt differently.  And that is ok.  I hope I remember that because I really want to love others even when it may seem like someone should or shouldn't be reacting to something the way I think they should or shouldn't.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Funny Children

I LOVE to tease my children about kissing them.  I think it is safe to say that there is not a day that goes by that I have not tried to kiss at least one of them.  It's so bad that even my 22 month old says, "Nuuu." when ever I ask him if he wants a kiss.  Maybe that should make me sad, but it cracks me up and makes me want to do it even more!

So, I also tease my kids that they need to stop growing up.  This means Levi has to stop growing hair on his legs and armpits.  He proudly showed me some hair under his arm the other day and then I quickly told him that I put a "curse" on him when he was a baby that he would NEVER be able to grow facial hair....especially a mustache.  Well, because they are nasty. 
There is the character on a YouTube channel that the boys love.  The channel is calling Studio C.  Jeremy has a very nasty, bushy mustache and the boys thinks its hilarious as I gross out everytime I watch him on the show.  

Sooooooooo, one night as David and I were getting the boys ready for bed, Hyrum told me that if I didn't stop trying to kiss him that he was going to grow a mustache.
This is what I got the following morning!

Darn smart kids!

Speaking of smart, funny kids....Levi gave his first talk in Sacrament Meeting last Sunday.  He spoke on The Family: A Proclamation To The World.  He got up to the pulpit and said, "First of all, this is going to be very short and not very good."  Ha!  What a way to break the ice.  It was short but I was proud of him for reading slowly and making his own personal comments here and there.  My favorite part was probably him telling us that each family member played an important role and that without each member, the family would crumble.  

Love my boys.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Missed Stuff

Just some things I haven't recorded.
 David went with the Boy Scouts on August 19th for a campout.
As you can see, Brigham was cold...and bored.  He's not a fan of camping but he and Levi went again last Friday night, and since they worked more on having fun than on passing things off, he enjoyed it a lot more.
David and I took Brigham to the Ogden Temple to do baptisms for the dead for the first time.  I had a few family names for him and it was a sweet experience.
Hyrum's Cub Scout group had their Raingutter Regatta.  Can you see his badge on his left upper arm?  Yep, that's back from Oklahoma.  I refuse to take it off and put the right one on.  Obviously, because it reminds me of home but also because Levi, Brigham, and now Hyrum have all worn this shirt.
Brigham got his hair cut and everytime they put gel or something in his hair, I just think it really brings out his eyes.  I often try to get him to fix his hair but he just won't.  So I made him a deal.  If he lets me fix his hair for one whole school week, I would get him a Fiiz (it's a pop/soda place where they put in all kinds of flavors.  And yes, it is killing me to write "soda."  But I'm only doing it to distinguish between the sound and the drink...which is exactly what the boys would be teasing me about if they were reading this. "Pop is a sound, not a drink!"  Yeah, yeah...).

 Like Ruger usually is when Daddy is home, they were outside.  It was so cute watching him do what Daddy was doing.  Made me think of the other boys when they were his age.  Always so fascinated with David and his tools.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

He will save us

In December of 2014, a perfect baby boy was placed into our home.  He was detoxing from drugs (and we think alcohol, though we can't prove it).  Within a month he was diagnosed with Harlequin Syndrome and had to have surgery for Pyloric Stenosis.  That, to most people, wouldn't describe the "perfect baby" but if you were to witness how calm he was considering what he was born into, you'd understand.  He continued to be that perfect baby until about 10 months old...when he turned into a walking terror but that's another story!  But I will say that I wondered for a while why in the world he just seemed to change so dramatically right after learning how to walk.  And I think it has to do with him not physically feeling things the same way as most people do.  It makes sense to me now why he rarely cried as a baby.  And why now, he is at full speed at all times now.  I think he doesn't fear things because he doesn't feel things like I wished he did.  Hence all his bruises and ability to do anything fearlessly because he doesn't understand consequences.  I think that before he could walk, he didn't know he could do whatever he wanted.  I never realized, until Ruger, how much little children learn from pain. It is one of the things that teaches them to stop doing something.  They learn from the consequence of physical pain.

Which makes me think of what I wanted to share.  Last Saturday, David and I were able to go to an adult session of Stake Conference.  I couldn't even tell you the last time we went together.  Usually only one of us goes while the other stays home with the kids.  It sure is nice having older boys that we can trust to take care of the little ones.

There was a member of the 70 that spoke to us that night.  I think his name was Elder Peterson.  He told us about how his wife came to him (when their youngest at the time was 7 years old...Hyrum was 7 when Ruger came into our lives) one day and said that they needed to do something about the orphans in Romania.  Elder Peterson was confused and not sure what they could really do being here in America.  Well, they ended up flying over there and one of their ways through the doors of an orphanage was because of his work.  His work had donated thousands of dollars to help this orphanage get a boiler.  This orphanage was not expecting them and refused to let them in until he made it clear that he worked for this company that had donated so much.  They reluctantly let them in.  He spoke of having to go through a room where there were many cribs crammed into a room with more than one baby in these cribs.  They were covered in urine and feces.  He said that as he was walking by one crib this tiny little hand reached out and wrapped itself around one of his fingers.  He spoke of how hard it was at that moment to keep it together and after prying this baby's hand off of his finger, he had to leave.  He couldn't stand staying in that room any longer.

When he got out into the halls he said that he asked Heavenly Father how He could let something like this happen to innocent babies.   I'm so grateful he shared the following experience.

He said he heard the Spirit tell him that He knew what was happening.  That He had been walking those very same halls.  He said that he instantly felt as if he needed to take off his shoes because he was actually in a very sacred place.

Can you imagine that?  A disgusting building where innocent children were not being taken care of?  Sacred?

I can't help but wonder how many times we miss important spiritual opportunities because we are too busy blaming God.  I know I've done it.  I did it for a long time while we lived in Oklahoma this last time.  It took me years to get passed, "What did I do wrong?" that lead to "There is no way a loving God would let so much hurt into someone's heart."  I blamed myself for it and then I blamed myself for believing in a God who wasn't listening.  Yet here I am today with an assurity, because of those exact experiences, that He truly does let things happen for OUR good.  And for the good of others.

I have a friend here who I am in close contact with because I can't let go of her hurt.  I won't.  She is in that dark spot where she feels not worthy of the things that she knows she has.  If I hadn't been through what I have been through, this friend of mine would be just another burden in life.  Someone who is always negative.  But because of what I have been through, I know she is anything but a burden.  She is God's child.  She is my sister.  And she is worth being saved.  Just like Ruger was worth being saved from his biological mother.  Just like those babies in Romania.

He will save us all if we accept His help.  And He'll do it in the best way that will prepare us for the life to come after this one.