Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We Are Family

I have a wonderful family, both blood related and through marriage. David and I were blessed to live by his side of the family for a while and now we are by mine. Neither of our families are perfect and yes, I'm sure we all irritate each other at times but I honestly feel really blessed. I mean, I have heard some real horror stories of "in-laws" and neither David nor I have them. We may "wonder" about certain things and why they happened but honestly, they are so minor. Most importantly, though, I think David and I have a good understanding that we were just raised by different parents so not all is going to be as we think it should and that is ok. Both sides of our family love the Lord and both are supportive family members. I got to really feel that this last weekend. First, Amanda and I went to Joplin, Missouri to get Levi some of his scouting stuff. She never seizes to amaze me when it comes to giving. While we were in the mall, she took Levi and Hyrum to the arcade...of course paying for their tokens because, well, that is typical Aunt Me-Me. I didn't ask her to do it and neither did the boys.Later that night, Daddy was outside getting ready to wash my Grandpa's truck. David's truck has not been working for weeks now and all we had to do was ask once if we could use Grandpa's truck for possible jobs for David to use. Well, when the jobs were over he still needed to get that truck going before giving the truck back and not once did we hear a complaint from my Grandparents. I like this picture because it is Brigham who is washing Poppy's truck. David and I think that he has Grandpa's body type. So many people tell me how he looks so much like Ronald and I agree but he's got my Grandpa's body through and through! A few days later was the Pelican Festival parade. All Levi was going to be doing was sitting on some hay on the back of a truck bed, waving. G&G. Nanny, Poppy, Amanda, Steve, Logan...they all came. While we were waiting for the parade to start I hear my Grandpa tell Brigham, "You know Brigham, I'm real proud of you getting all those Greens at your school. I know I keep telling you that, but I'm real proud of you." You see, sometimes just being there is good but sometimes saying the right things and letting someone know you are sincere is what is needed. Brigham's first 2 weeks of school was not good. His teacher goes by a color system with disciplining. Green is the best, Yellow is a verbal warning, Orange is a 10 minute time out at recess, Purple is no recess and a note to parents, and Pink is a visit to the office and calling in a parent. I was really worried about Brigham those first 2 weeks. He kept coming home with purples and nothing but negative notes from his teacher, Mrs. Goff. At first, I exploded at him, which of course just scared him and didn't help a bit. Then I started to listen to the spirit. We slowly worked a system at home going along with the system Mrs. Goff had at school. It was hard work on all our parts. It really was. Listening to your child whine because he can't play games on purple days and having to deal with a crabby child for the remainder of the evening is not fun! There were so many times I just wanted to give in and just let him get lost in some mind numbing play station game but the spirit kept whispering to me that I had to keep this up. I had to make him understand consequences. We had Family Home Evenings on choices. I had to patch things up with his teacher that seemed to really not like this hyper child of mine. I had to listen to the spirit that kept telling me that she was going through a rough time and that I needed to make my suggestions seem more like they were geared towards me changing and not her. I volunteered in his class. This may seem so silly to some but you have to have a truly hyper kid who gets distracted very easily to really understand this situation. I worked real hard on positive reinforcement and finally it payed off. He started to not only get better but actually come home with Greens! I didn't even think that was possible. I mean really, I'm not trying to be negative about Brigham but you have to understand how very hyper he is and not only that but what kid is not going to at least get one verbal warning throughout the day?! I called my family up the very first day of his improvement and my Dad said, "I'm not surprise because when Brigham puts his mind up to something...." Brigham must have overheard me telling David what my Dad said because the next day I overheard him telling one of my family members on the phone, "When I put my mind to something ......"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pelican Festival Parade

Today Levi was in his first parade. Grove has the "Pelican Festival" every year that includes the typical parade, carnival, and all kinds of booths to buy things from. Typical, yes, but I love small town festivals. Especially the parades. David and I have been to a few city parades and after a while we just stopped going because they were so long and political and well, boring! Small town parades are not long enough to be boring! Levi was on the cub scouts float with Daddy. I love this picture because of how close he was sitting next to Daddy. David said that he stayed like that the whole time. I can see him doing that. Levi is a cautious boy. He doesn't do a lot of dangerous things. He's a smart boy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Johnny Appleseed Day

Today I had the opportunity to spend most of the day with Levi's class celebrating Johnny Appleseed's legacy. I have to admit that I don't remember learning about him growing up and so I had to look him up on the Internet. It is kind of funny what is taught in school. When I asked Mrs. Eberle she told me of this man who is remembered as kind of a hillbilly (no shoes, wearing a pot as a hat...). That he went to Ohio and planted apple trees and in exchange from the locals they gave him food and a pot and so forth. It seemed kind of odd to me that they were making a day out of some man who planted trees but hey, who doesn't want an excuse for a party!?! So that is when I looked him up on the Internet. He really wasn't a hillbilly at all and was actually a missionary at times through his travel. He went about planting apple trees for people. He would leave and come back later to care for them, leaving others in charge while he was gone. He was a very generous man and would sometimes accept old clothes and such as payment. Sometimes he would receive "nice" things as payment but he only wore the old worn out clothes and gave away most of what he had to those who needed it more. His religious beliefs are a little odd, in my opinion, but he was truly an example of charity. Now that I know more about his man, well.... I'm really glad that I volunteered at the school today. Levi isn't the only one who is learning 1st grade material in this household!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Did I really say that?!

Tueseday was Brigham and Levi's first soccer game. It was also my first time uttering the words, "GO RIDGIES!" I have to admit that the second it came out of my mouth, I had to suppress a laugh. If only the Bulldog cheerleader in me of 15 years ago could hear me now yelling for my son's Ridgerunner team! They were the ultimate rival. How silly it all is now but I have to admit; it's still in me!
YMCA soccer is so fun because they don't keep score; at least not at this age. I love that! It's just all fun. In fact, I was really impressed that Levi's coach actually cheered for the other team when they would make a goal. That is the way sports should be, in my opinion. Now wait a second....did that just come from a die hard Bulldog fan of a few years ago? Anyways, Brigham's team practices for 30 minutes before the game. We were only there for a few minutes when Brigham started coughing up a storm and of course I had forgotten his asthma inhaler. So a mad dash to the house I went! I came back a few minutes after the game started and just as I had suspected, Brigham was fearless! He has never played soccer in his life but he just went after that ball like the active boy that I know. I loved watching him watch the other team members and him yelling, "GO, GO, GO!" Already a team player!

And once again, Levi and Brigham proved that they are complete opposites! This was the best picture I could get of him. Poor kid doesn't have an aggressive bone in his body! Of course that is what I love about my little "lovey dove" but Daddy is having to learn patience with our "in his own little world" boy. He seriously was cracking me up! At one point his team was running up the field towards the goal while he was looking up at the sky, spinning in circles! No joke! Oh, I love that boy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Since school started, our family is pretty much involved with something every day of the week now. Well, maybe not Thursdays.....just give it time! On some days we are doing a number of activities after school. Next Tuesday, Levi is suppose to be at 3 different activities at the same time! I think I am finally starting to feel the "pain" of those moms of older children who talk about how it was so much easier when the kids were younger....except I am finding something out about myself. I do much better, emotionally when I am busy. I hope I am not just masking "the real problem" by keeping myself so busy and not thinking but I have to say that since school has started I have noticed that I am doing much better, mentally. Once I realized this, I started volunteering for everything my children were involved in and a few others things, actually. One of the new tasks that I am taking on is a cub scout den leader assistant. Levi joined the cub scouts this year and he just can't wait to go on that "camp out" that he keeps talking about. You know the cub/boy scouts shirt that they wear...yeah, he calls that the "camp out shirt."
Today was the cub scout Fun-A-Ree. Up until today, cub scouts have been pretty boring for Levi. Just a bunch of meetings so he was thrilled that he got to do some fun stuff today. The Fun-A-Ree was free to the public but not a lot of people showed up so it was easy to hit all the stations in a short period of time which was nice because we could only stay for an hour and a half because of some other plans later that day.
Every time we go to a fair or some kind of event that has face painting, we never get to do it because it always has the longest lines. There was no line today!

Hyrum got impatient with the face painting so we went on to the next station of making a coloring book.

I'm not sure if the jumping/fun house has much to do with scouts but the boys weren't complaining!

Here the kids are racing some other kids from church (the Jones family , met us at the Fun-A-Ree). It really was the perfect day to do be outside.

And just as we finally made it to the actual cub scout stuff, my batteries died! Oh well! We had fun though!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hyrum's cowlick

Hyrum is seriously such a cute little guy. He's tiny for his age, doesn't speak well at all, still walks with his gut out, soft skin, huge eyes, tiny nose, dimple, and I can't get over how he looks the other way and sticks that bottom lip of his out when he doesn't want to do something...he just doesn't come off as a 2 year old. Strangers ask me how old his is and they are always surprised when I tell them. Auntie's nickname for him, Bitty, is just a perfect discription of him. But I took this picture of him tonight, in the bathtub, and realized that he does have one big kid trait; his cowlick. Even when I've just poured water on his head, out comes that cowlick! He has 2 cowlicks actually; each going a different direction but curling into each other so he always has a tuff of hair up in the back. To make it worse, its on the side of his head...not the middle! Auntie said the other day that maybe Hyrum will grow up in a generation where spikey hair will be cool so he can cover it up. I'm up for growing his hair out again so I can get those curls back! Oh, but then he won't be a kid at all will he? He will be completely baby....sounds so good to me....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Emergency Preparedness Fair

We live in Oklahoma but our Stake (The term stake comes from the prophet Isaiah, who prophesied that the latter-day Church would be like a tent, held secure by stakes - Isaiah 33:20; 54:2. Each stake is presided over by a stake president, assisted by two counselors) is in Arkansas. The Stake put on a community emergency preparedness fair today and even though we had to drive an hour and a half we still made it without the kids going crazy in the van. They actually did quite well on the way home too. There were all kinds of booths on preparing ourselves in an emergency, every family received a free 72 hour starter kit, free lunch, but most importantly (to the kids, at least) there were lots of entertainment! A penguin from the movie Madagascar and a bounce house got their attention right away. Brigham, whom we lovingly tell everyone he has a tapeworm because he is ALWAYS hungry, didn't even want any of the free lunch that was provided because he just wanted in that bounce house!
We have been to a lot of fairs and stuff that have had helicopters there but we have never seen one take off before so this was a first for all of us.
Here is one of those fake "smokehouses" that the firemen do for the kids (and some adults like me!). This was probably my favorite thing that we did because as the fireman was asking questions I realized that there were a few of the questions that my boys didn't know the answer to at the time. Here is Levi crawling under the smoke to get out of the house.
This one is kinda funny to me because not even the fireman in the front is looking at the camera for me!

Before this picture was taken, we did a drill on getting our live vests on (correctly) in 10 seconds!
I am really grateful that our Stake put this fair on and that so many within the community were willing to volunteer.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What I want you to know...

I have been debating for some time now about how I am going to make a difference in this time that we, as Americans, live in right now. I am so very proud that I live in a land that I can even write this but I am scared that that right may be taken away from me if things continue to change as it has been since September 11, 2001. In many ways, some Americans are better. Some Americans are more passionate and more aware. Some of us are more pitted against each other now, though. It scares me that family members and friends can't talk politics anymore without fear and/or anger getting in the way. The other night I was watching a TV show, Glenn Beck, when Brigham came out of his room and asked me, "What's a Marxist?" Wow! Can you imagine trying to explain that to a 5 year old? I was at a loss as to what to say to him. Then I started wondering if I really knew what is Marxism. I mean, I know it is very similar to communism. That it is government gone way too far. Government that says they want to help but ultimately hurts us by taking away our freedoms. But how do you explain that to a 5 year old and how to you explain it to him in a way that doesn't take away his RIGHT to make his own decision whether it is right or wrong or whether he should just agree with Mommy. So I studied. I know what I believe. I know what I am concerned with in our government that will affect Brigham someday if I don't do my part to speak up. I am continuing to study. I am writing my President. I am educating those around me of the things that I am learning and I am doing it in a respectful way so that they will want to listen. They will want to learn for themselves. So I have a question for you; do you know what you believe in?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


One of the nice things about living in Grove is that the lake (Grand Lake) is right there. If you go out of town in any direction it is going to lead you to the lake. Even though it is not, it kinda makes Grove feel like an island. I don't know if it is just an Oklahoma thing or if we live by the lake but you will often see turtles in bodies of water and on the road....well, trying to cross the road....which leads me to a childhood memory. I have always loved turtles. I don't know why. It's not like they are cute or anything but since I was old enough to drive I have had this fascination with "saving" turtles. If I would see one on the side of the road and especially if I saw one in the road, I would pull over pick it up and move it to the other side! When my dad found out I was doing this, he told me that every time he heard about me "saving" a turtle that he was purposely going to kill one! He didn't like me in the road like that with passing cars. All of us siblings have a joking and fun relationship with our father and so I just told him that if I get hit by a car and die doing it then he can have a turtle carved into my tombstone in remembrance.
On Saturday, the missionaries called to tell us that they found a turtle and wanted to know if we wanted it. I didn't want to keep him but I definitely wanted my kids to see the little guy and then us release him. So we kept him for a few hours and then went to the lake. Here is a picture of Hyrum telling Mr. turtle to go into the lake.

He didn't move so we took him out...

....and he decided he didn't want to have anything to do with the water and headed off towards the woods.

The kids were quickly not interested in our turtle friend anymore once they knew water and rocks were in the same vicinity. Brigham has been real interested in recycling things and so we used this opportunity to clean up the lake while we were there. We turned the turtle box into the "clean up the lake box." We stayed until it got dark, went home and gave the boys a much needed bath.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Enjoying a Saturday with Daddy

After much difficulties with job layoffs and such, David has been doing "his own thing" for a little bit now. Up until about 2 weeks ago, his work has been limited to wonderful members of our branch who have hired David for lawn care work and fixing up stuff in their homes. These last 2 weeks, however, have been filled with long days at a rental home in Jay. His first project outside of our church member friends! We very much need this work but it means long hours, unlike the typical 9-5. I can't complain, though. We are very blessed to live in a country that takes care of you while you are "down" and if it wasn't for unemployment benefits, well, we would have been quite the burden on our family. I also feel blessed that his name is getting out there and anyone who knows David's work ethics, well, he is a very hard worker. He's honest. So Saturday was to be another long day but I wasn't doing too well emotionally and Daddy called it a day much shorter than what he could have worked. He came home, I got some much needed alone time, and then off to the park we went! Children love the outdoors and I have not taken the boys outside near enough as I have in past summers. I really don't like the weather here in the summer and so I usually pawn off the duty to Daddy but I was just so happy to have us all together on this Saturday.

My monkey boys!

I love this picture! Besides Levi being so cute, I love the plants growing in the trunk.

Anytime that we go outside, Hyrum insists that he put on one of Daddy's hats. He points to his head and says, "ha(t) ha(t)"