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 perspective...like 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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

2016-2017 School Year

Last week we were able to go to the Junior High to get Levi and Brigham's schedule, locker combinations, and find classes.  But because that was the morning that within 1 hour we had 2 puke mishaps and diarrhea, before we were suppose to be up at the school, pictures never got taken.

Though that does remind me of an experience that I had that I meant to write on yesterday's post.  It was the beginning of my spiritual experiences that seemed to happen randomly throughout the week.  Those experiences kept me going.  Again, thank you Jesus!

So, I woke up to Ruger crying.  I always dread that first day, of getting him out of bed, right after David has left for the week.  Because it is so early in the morning, Ruger doesn't know he has left.  I swear it's like his face falls when I open up that door.  He knows that if Daddy is home, that Daddy is the one who is going to get him up.  So yeah, like Tuesday mornings usually go I wasn't all that anxious to get him out of bed.  But this time I got to open the door to the surprise of the wonderful smell of vomit.  Yeah, it was so bad that I just threw the pack-in-play away.  We had another one anyway, so I didn't feel that bad about it.

After giving him a bath and then feeding him, he has a diaper blowout.  I change his diaper and clothes and am about to get his shoes on when he pukes.  So another bath happens along with the 3rd clothes change.  Yes, all within the hour.  

At this point, all I can do is stop us all and say a prayer.  I asked Heavenly Father to please stop
Ruger from puking long enough to be able to do the school thing.  We spent over an hour at the school getting things in order as well as going over where Brigham's classes were a few times so that he felt more comfortable with the layout of the school.  Not once did Ruger puke or dirty his diaper.  The Lord truly was looking out for us.
 Last night was the elementary school's open house.  We went early in hopes of being able to talk to Hyrum's new teacher privately and even though we were the first there, it wasn't long before others were behind us.  So her and I had a meeting today after school today.  Turns out one of her children is medicated for ADD as well.  She had so many pointers for me and I quickly felt that Hyrum couldn't have been put into a better classroom than with Mrs. Cullimore this year.
 The first day of school finally arrived.
 There were a few indications that Brigham was a little nervous about the new school and new experience of having 8 different teachers, but I dropped them off early so that Levi could go over with him where his classes were again.  It was interesting that when we went last week to pick up schedules and stuff, Levi didn't even check to see where his classes were.  Oh the difference a year makes and you're a pro!
I wanted to capture the boy's personality with their shirts on the first day of school this year.  Levi's favorite pop is Coke (I hope Poppy doesn't disown him after seeing this picture:) while Brigham is obsessed with bacon.  But when I saw Hyrum's shirt at the store, I couldn't buy it fast enough!  This is just so him.  And he by far appreciated his shirt the most out of the 3 boys.

All in all, it was a good first day.  No mishaps.  I have a few friends who were struggling today with sending their kids off.  But like I have said before, I'm just so proud of these boys.  That's not to say that in the future it won't hit me hard but for now, I'm just so proud of who they are and I just know they are going to do the best that they can do.  They are going to be good examples to their peers.  And that is really all that I can ask for. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thank you, Jesus!

I hope I can put into words, what I have been feeling this past week, in a way that comes across as I feel them in my heart.  It's been a rough week.  Long and physically painful.  It started on Tuesday with Ruger puking and diarrhea.  By the middle of the week, Hyrum and I were dealing with the puking and body aches.  David learned that a close friend that he grew up with had passed away.  It was just a reminder that his best friend, Jered, from growing up in Provo had been dead for years and how much he missed him. 

For me, dealing with this while David was out of town was physically hard.  I physically hurt because of my own illness while at the same time scrubbing and cleaning more messes that seemed to just keep coming back.  I worried about David because I knew he was mentally struggling.

David was able to come home a day early for the funeral and then to take Levi and Brigham on a camping trip with the Boy Scouts.  If you witness how very attached Ruger is to his Daddy, you will understand when I say that this was quite the sacrifice for me!   Because that boy is smart.  And he knows when it's time for Daddy to come home.  I'm not joking.  He has this uncanning ability to start calling out for David just minutes before he comes home.  I'm not joking. He knows!  So having him come home just to leave quickly was hard on Ruger....and Mommy having to deal with it!  But David needed to go to this funeral.  To remember where he came from and how it made him a part of who he is today.  And the older boys needed their Dad to spend time with them (especially Brigham, I think.  He has really been pushing not camping since his week long Scout Camp this summer).

Levi ended up puking on Saturday, which I felt terrible about because he had been staying in a tent with other boys the night before.  It just didn't cross my mind that the sickness might still be cycling through our family.  I really thought we were done.  But as always, the Lord taught me through all of this.

First, I have amazingly good older boys.  They were so good to me when I was sick.  When it first hit me, it hit me hard.  Like I could hardly keep my eyes open, hard.  But Hyrum watched Ruger while I cleaned up puke and showered.  Levi and Brigham watched Ruger separately so that I could sleep.  And I know that the Lord was helping in this area.  If you know me, you know that there are some things I can't let go of and our kids being alone when they are young is one of them.  I should know that they will be fine but my mind will not let me stop thinking and worrying about it.  So normally, I would never be able to sleep while Ruger is up and about in the house with only his brothers around.  But the Lord reminded me again, after waking up, that my boys can handle more things than I allow my mind to accept.

Another thing about the boys that I want to add, without going into to much detail because its personal, was another confirmation on just how good these boys are.  They start school tomorrow so David gave them Father's Blessings last night.  Both he and I were taught, through the Spirit, just how special and valiant they all were in the pre-existence.

Secondly, I wanted to share something I learned while David and the older boys were camping.  I watched this video where a man by the name of Maurice Harker was teaching the importance of knowing what is right with us.  There is no way I can do justice to what he said but I will try to paraphrase as best as I can.

First, what really stuck out to me was that I need to change my way of thinking when I get down on myself for messing up again.  Or for not doing things that I know I should be doing.  But to start think about what is right about me.  Not what is wrong.  Satan has had thousands of years to figure out what will harm us the most and Maurice is convinced that Satan has figured out how to get in our heads, so to speak.   He said that Satan thinks something to the effect of, "I'm going to create a physiological concentration camp and I'm going to grab these would be great and noble ones and I'm going to remind them over and over and over again that they are too broken to be a great and noble one."  Wow.  I believe that is truth right there.

Second, I learned that I am a threat to Satan.  David and the boys are certainly a threat to Satan.  They are such good men and boys yet there are times in our lives when it just seems to be one thing after another that is beating us down.  Maurice spoke about how if you were to take all of Lucifer's followers and evenly divide them out you would have so and so number of evil spirits around us at all times.  But say you were a leader in a great army.  Would you evenly divide your soldiers or would you put a few on the weak ones and many more on the strong ones?  Again, paraphrasing but he said, "That is how much of a threat you are to the dark side.  So if this has been really hard for you its because you have scared a 7,000 year old military physiological genius.  You are intimidating that guy!"

So my conclusion?  Last week might have sucked but it taught me great lessons.  As my friends in the South would say, "Thank you, Jesus!"