Friday, December 31, 2010

Surprise!

The 29th is both David's birthday and our anniversary. I'm always afraid of David getting shafted, especially with Christmas so close by, so I try to do something unique for him. I didn't know just what I could do this year though, with being so busy.
A few Sunday's ago, Elder Grigg approached me and told me he wanted to have a surprise party for David. This is one of the things that I love about Elder Grigg so much; his love for our family and especially David. But I didn't want the typical surprise party so I wanted to think about it. Finally, I thought it would be fitting that David get a guys night out. For years, I was the one staying home with the kids and desperately needing my "outs" but now that David is kinda in my shoes I wanted to make sure he had time away from the kids. So, one the 28th, when he wasn't expecting it, Elder Grigg and I got Dad, Ronald, Podge and his uncle, Brother Houck, Brother and Sister Dooley (they are inseparable!) and the missionaries to meet at the local bowling alley. David said that he was completely surprised! He said that he recognized John's (Houck) truck in the parking lot and when he walked in and saw him with some of the the other guys figured there was some kind of Young Men's activity going on. Much to his surprise, it was all about him!
STRIKE!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A visit from the Brennan Family!

I went to a church college in Idaho and one thing I loved about living in Utah was that because of the abundance of members of the church there and church history sites, you are bound to have friends from college come through. I got to see and be around lots of my college friends. I knew that I was going to miss that when moving to Oklahoma. Never would I have guessed that it would be middle ground as many of my friends moved around these last few years. We have been blessed to have many friends and family members come and visit on their journeys across the United States. We were blessed with one of these reunions last night.
I met Ben, or as I call him - Bin, in college and he quickly became my best guy friend. I have always looked up to him, even if we tease each other all the time. We kept in touch over the years as we both moved to Utah at one point and then we both got married and ended up in Rexburg, Idaho- David and I as students while he and Laurel were teachers at BYU-Idaho (he was always the smart one!). This is when I really got to know Laurel and quickly fell in love with her. We moved away and eventually ended up in Utah and they did also over the years. Once again, David and I moved and I was sad to leave my dear friends again. I guess it goes to show that some friendships last through moves. I truly am grateful for this family....and I'm glad that their kids have grown up a bit because my boys LOVED those girls last night!
We had Family Home Evening with them last night and just as it always is with kids, we didn't have a lot of alone talk time with Ben and Laurel but we still got in a few good laughs.
Who needs serious group pictures?!
I already miss you guys!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I have been putting in 11-12 hour work days all week (except for Levi's birthday) so Christmas Eve was so nice when things started to slow down and I was home before 2:00 p.m. We headed off for Nanny and Poppy's house so the kids could make their gingerbread houses (or trains) and cookies for Santa. The littlest grandkids were the cutest with everything pretty much going in their mouths.
After Poppy's famous Christmas Eve burgers we headed off to the big room to get ready for the presents. I try my hardest every year to get something spiritual in before we rip open the presents but unfortunately most of the ADULTS, not children, are pretty unruly and ready for those presents. I used to get a special Christmas book geared towards the kids, to read right before opening all the gifts but since Barbara, David's step-mom (though David calls her mom. I've always thought it was neat that he never calls her his step mom) has been working for Deseret Book, we always get as Christmas gifts some kind of Christ centered book. I opened up our Christmas present from her and Steve early so that we could share with the family. They didn't let us down and I showed some pictures of Christ with a few scriptures before opening the presents.
Here are the kids waiting as the presents pile up and up and....
....spoiled much??????! Elder Rodriguez was looking at these pictures as I was putting them on the computer and he said, "Your family is ridiculous!" He then teased about adopting him into our family or waiting for Shaylee.....creepy, but I guess it is all about the presents! We got a good laugh considering it made me think of Shaylee's dad, Elton. His first Christmas that he spent with our family before he married April, he told her, "I'm sooo marring into this family!" after seeing how many presents are under the tree!
We had the boys open their gift from Uncle Chuck first since we all knew it would be their favorite. One blessing that I can see that comes from not having the same financial blessings as others is that my boys are not spoiled. We only bought them one gift; not that we would have even had to have done that with all that our family provided. But because we don't have a lot, we never have the new things. The Wii has been out for quite some time and just like any other kid, the boys have been wanting one for a long time. They looked forward to every Nanny and Poppy night or going over to Me-Maw and Poppy's house because they new they would get Wii time. I tell you all this because it can help you understand just how very excited they were to finally be getting one! Levi's exact words were, "IT'S A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS!"
My hat boy!
We had April and Elton's name for Christmas this year and I LOVE getting Elton crazy gifts. David got him a real gift (the DVD) and I got him some festive toilet paper......for some reason this morning, the inside of our van had been toilet papered.....not sure why......
Then this morning the boys woke up to Santa and Elder Grigg making us German pancakes. If you have never had them before, it is like having dessert for breakfast. Sooooooooooooo yummy!
Later we went over to Me-Maw and Poppy's house for our Christmas meal. I can't express how nice it has been to just be around the boys. I don't think that people realize just how busy I am. Even when I am at home, I am usually locked up in my bedroom trying to get homework done. A lot of the "nurturing" is coming from Daddy and there is a lot of guilt that comes from that....on both sides. But we know that this is what has to be done right now in our little family and we can't ignore the blessing that I have a job and that our kids don't have to go to day care and that we are both finally going to finish school. And I can say that because of our situation, I appreciate days like today when I just watch the boys and cuddle with my husband all the more than I would if life were easier.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My eight year old

From early this morning it has been rush, rush, rush. Not because of Christmas, though. My boss and I were complaining last week that Christmas was suppose to be about making cookies with your kids and enjoying time with family and how it just wasn't any fun this year. I made a deal with myself right then that I was going to get my 8 page paper done this last weekend and all my posts done for school so that I didn't have to worry about ANY homework the week of Christmas. I was successful and even though today was so rushed, it wasn't because of my homework! It was just work and I can deal with that because now when I come home this week it will be all about my little family. So after work, we had Levi's 8th birthday party. Before it got started, the kids went crazy with the balloons. Here is Chuck encouraging their screams!

Levi's first birthday party in Oklahoma was a Family Home Evening and it was fitting that on his 8th birthday, the year that he would be baptized, that it would land on a Monday. So I started FHE expressing my love for Levi and his kindness to others.
Friday was the boys last day of school for the year and since Levi wouldn't be in school on his birthday to be able to have goodies brought in for him and his class I decided to have a balloon bouquet (6 latex balloons with one mylar weighed down by chocolate kisses) sent in for him. This morning as I'm heading out the door to go to work, Levi asks me if I would bring home 1 balloon......for Spencer, the newest cousin. Typical Levi; he was going to give his balloons away to his cousins tonight.
On the FHE before or after our kid's birthday we always go through their scrapbooks to remember parts of their lives up to this point. It was so funny watching Hyrum pout because there were not pictures of him in there until the second to last page!

I love it when you catch pictures of excitement. Levi and Brigham LOVED the card that Uncle Chuck got for Levi!
Yes....those would be matches on Levi's cake.....
You might be a redneck if.....
As usual, the missionaries helped save the day. As we ran out of time with me being at work and David trying to get a paper done for school, they picked up the cake, dinner, and helped David make the candles (putting candle wax over the tips of the matches in hopes of trying to get them to last longer).
After everyone left, just Levi and I went out for dinner and a birthday treat. I was so emotionaly sappy tonight! Geez! That poor kid couldn't do anything without it just making my heart swell. I really do love that boy so much.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sweet Potatoes

Tonight was a relief.
A few months ago I was asked to sing in a play that some of us put on for the church tonight. It was over the parable of the ten virgins. There are so many little sentences here and there in the play along with certain songs that touch my heart over and over again. I feel that as I have been practicing and at our rehearsals that I have been a mess. The tears always seem so close to the surface and as you can imagine, that makes it hard for solos. But alas, tonight was the night......and I did it! I sang and said my parts without crying! That's not to say that I didn't cry through certain other parts. But that is ok....even if it was in front of other people. I'm just grateful it was in front of my church family. And speaking of church family.......I'm so grateful that I have a playful one! Sister Roberts was given a massive amount of sweet potatoes from a lady in the branch. Of course she is going to use most of them but why not have a little fun with just some of them. Here is Katie, our sly gal pal that was able to trick Tricia into thinking that she wanted to help her out by taking stuff to her car (when really she just wanted the keys!). That Katie is a smart one!
One of these days Tricia is really going to pay me back and I'm gonna be in trouble...........BUT IT WASN'T ME, TRICIA! I JUST TOOK THE PICTURES!!!!! Ok, maybe I put the sweet potatoe down your antenna........

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Caroling

Tricia invited our family to come with hers and the Bishop family to go Christmas Caroling tonight. The Wilson family started by coming and singing to our family. From our house we loaded up (with Mom's yummy homemade hot chocolate) and headed off to the Bishop's house. From there we visited 5 other families. Here we are in the Bridges home.And here is a more "natural" look to how the photo session really went!
My camera isn't the greatest and so most of my pictures didn't turn out well but I LOVE the look on the Cullings' faces in this picture. I sure do love my branch family!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Grove Branch Christmas Party


Tonight was our branch Christmas party. The boys were suppose to be in the Grove Christmas parade tonight for cub scouts but we would rather be with our church family and its a good thing too because it was very cold and windy tonight.
First we had dinner and from there the breakdowns began! Brigham and Levi were in the line for the food and began right away "play fighting." Nanny was a few people in front of us so she took Levi while I took Brigham. Well, Brigham took that as a punishment on just him and not Levi. This wasn't the case; they just needed to be separated. So when it was our turn to get our food of course stubborn Brigham wouldn't put anything on his plate. So I got his plate ready and as you probably guessed, he didn't like anything I picked out. He pouted the whole time at our table and wouldn't touch his food. But I just ignored it and enjoyed sitting with April and her family and in the midst of it all I caught this....
...Our three newest mammas (all holding each others babies!).
After our meal the kids were rounded up and got ready for the play.
I'm sooooo going to use this picture in the future as a tool in arranging Hyrum and Sofie's marriage!
Hyrum had a breakdown right in the middle of the play, which was fun, and Brigham had another one right as Santa was making his way in. Anna came right over to tell him that all was ok and that even if he didn't sit on his lap that Santa would know what he wanted because he was a good boy. I just love that woman!
I love my boys...even if they do make Christmas parties hard!

Shaylee's basketball game

Today was Shaylee's first basketball game. Her Daddy, Elton, played in high school and was good at it...still is, so naturally, he is the coach of her team with the help of his brother, Pat.
It was cute April pointing out that Shaylee has the same number as Daddy did in high school and then of course them playing in the same gym as daddy did.
Of course, I think she played wonderfully! Even if they didn't win! Most of the family was there which always makes it fun but the real fun was with the crazy boys! (See video following this post!) During Shaylee's first game, the boys did so well! They just sat on the bench with me (well, Hyrum was laying all over me but still, he was being quiet). Then the game got over and I gave them money to either get a drink or candy. Of course, that changed everything....but not at first. They stayed still as they ate and drank as we waited for Shaylee's next game. But then, Brigham got thirsty (he picked candy) and of course Poppy couldn't handle them wanting more so he sent them off with $5.00 to the concession stand. Shaylee went with them and Hyrum stayed with me. When they came back, Shaylee handed Poppy (my dad) one dollar and said, "I don't know why but they only gave me a dollar back." I was confused by that also but just then Brigham says to me, "We had 5 dollars so I could get 5 things!" Of course he didn't get 5 things but forget about the other 2 kids with him and how they wouldn't get 2 things like he did! So at this point, he had already had a bag of candy and now had gotten a pop and some more candy. All the grownups laughed at Brigham and thought it was cute. A few minutes go by and I look over and realize that Brigham's pop is a Mt. Dew!!! I don't like for my kids to have caffeine as it is let alone Mt. Dew! To top it all off, I compare Brigham to Hammy on Over the Hedge as it is because of his natural hyperness. Can you just imagine that boy with Mt. Dew?!

Crazy hyper boys

video

Monday, December 6, 2010

Prankin...I mean, celebrating a birthday with the little ones!

Today was a day off for me and I really enjoyed it. I got a lot done but was still able to spend a lot of time with my family. Usually it is just one or the other, not both, so today really was a perfect day in my book. I got all my errands done before Spencer came over for us to watch him. It seriously was so hard for me to put him down to get dinner cooked. I seriously was really close to ordering in food just so I could stay snuggled up to him before I had to leave for a Head Start meeting.
Here is Hyrum loving on Spencer. Later, Brigham asked to hold him. It was so sweet to me because Levi just naturally is fascinated and loves babies. Brigham doesn't really care that much but eventually he was the one who actually asked to hold Spencer. It really surprised me and it was really sweet to be able to tell Brigham, while he was holding Spencer, that he would be a good Daddy someday. I told him about the blessing that Daddy gave to me while I was pregnant with him. It is how I found out I was having a boy (which I wanted it to be a surprise!). In the blessing he told me of this child I was caring and how he was going to be this great father. I wish I could have caught on camera the huge proud smile on Brigham's face after hearing that.

For Family Home Evening tonight we decorated our Branch President's car....yes, we did this with our boys. WHAT EXAMPLES WE ARE! Starting our kids off prankin' young!
We have an amazing Branch President. Our little family loves him very much so it was so fun to do this for him. I hope it made him feel loved and appreciated. Just an example of his kindness. He is a podiatrist and I have been having problems with one of my heels. Being the giving man that he is he has been treating me at a very reduced rate. This morning I went to him for one of my shots and as I was leaving, ran into Tricia, Sydney, and Sofie. He was seeing Sydney for her warts. I went in with them for their appointment so I could spend some time with Tricia and do you think President Roberts said anything about his birthday? Of course not. But we found out anyway!
"HAPPY B-DAY BRANCH DADDY!"
Ok, to expound on our bad parenting skills, as we were pulling up to this parking lot in Fairland, Levi starting telling us that he didn't want to get out. Knowing how cautious of a child that he is (and responsible!) I figured he was hesitant of getting caught. Sure enough he was. I tried to quickly explain to him that it would be ok if we got caught because we were not doing anything bad to Matt's car. He eventually got out and helped. But as we were leaving he asked me, "What if there were video cameras?" I love my innocent boy! I had to then explain to him the difference between vandalizing some one's property and what we had done (we had gotten permission from Renee, Matt's wife, before doing this). I think we finally got him to understand.
But before we left the parking lot, David found Tricia's van. How could we not?!!!!!
Too bad it ended up being Shannon, her husband, driving that night! Serves us right! And definitely makes it even more funny!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful

I used to keep a journal that in each entry it started with, "I'm thankful for...." I was just thinking about that journal. Of course, that journal was kept in my Rexburg days and I had so much to be thankful for back then. But I also know that just because life isn't as easy as it was back then and the blessings in my life now are not as easily seen on the surface as it was back then; that I am blessed just the same now. It is time to start digging deeper and finding those blessings. So here is something that I am very thankful today.
I am thankful that I got sick....yes, sick! It started yesterday but I was was hoping I would sleep it off last night. I had plans for lunch with Valerie and Pounce in Fayetteville, Arkansas today and was really looking forward to the laughs. But this morning I woke up and it was much worse than last night. I wasn't running a fever or anything but my voice sounded horrible and I had a pounding headache. Laughing was certainly not going to help the matter at hand! So as I lay in bed thinking about my friends, the thought came to me that maybe Heavenly Father had it in His plans for me to be sick at that moment.
Because of Thanksgiving, I am in the middle of a 5 day off break from work. Instead of thinking of all the wonderful sleep that I will catch up on and playing with my kids and alone time spent with my husband, all I can think about is all that I can get done with and caught up on that I have been lacking lately. Starting from Wednesday night up until this morning, I have been doing just that. Yes, even on Thanksgiving day, I did not spend it being thankful as I should. I didn't even stay long at Grandma and Grandpa's house after dinner because of all that I wanted to get done, but of course blaming it on getting Hyrum home to get in his nap. It is funny the things that you will let yourself believe sometimes.
So here I am in bed this morning and realizing that just maybe it is in the Lord's hands that I be sick to calm myself down. I am really grateful for that because here I am at 1:00 in the afternoon and I can't tell you anything that I have gotten accomplished other than letting my body rest and spending time with my family.Here I am with Hyrum and David in Hyrum's new big boy twin bed. David was able to swap out work for this bed and as you can see everyone is enjoying it!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bitty Boo Time

I was at work the other day when these first few pictures were taken. They were too cute not to share! The missionaries came over and were washing David's truck as well as their car. Bitty came out after his nap and started to help them....by washing the pressure washer!
But he moved on to the car, eventually. The missionaries are such good sports. At one point, I guess he was opening up the gas door and washing in there also. Of course they let him do it!

Here Elder Grigg and Hyrum are doing some team work!

Today was Hyrum's Thanksgiving feast at the Head Start. All the parents got to go. They fed us real well.....and did you know that the pilgrims had Coke at their meal?????? Seriously, the food was real yummy, though.
Just a funny story. We were sitting across from one of Hyrum's classmates, Javen, and her parents. They told us a story that I had to put on here. The teachers at Head Start were taking pictures of each of the kids individually and having them pose as pilgrims. Javen, who is American Indian, informs them, "I am not a Pilgrim. I'm an Indian!" It was cute to hear them tell the story and her being so proud of her heritage!

Monday, November 22, 2010

David's flight

David has been wanting to fly in Matt Robert's plane for a while now and so when he offered to fly him to Fayetteville, Arkansas and then take him out to dinner he jumped right on it! You know, surprisingly enough I didn't worry about them crashing or anything....nope, my worry was that he would be on this plane and then get this wild hair and want to become a pilot! He has always liked the idea of being a pilot but I am happy to report that after this flight that he said that he is pretty sure that his sinus' would not be able to take it!
So, here are some of the pictures he took on Thursday and his take on it.....take it away, baby!This is Matt and I just before we took off for Fayettville. The plane behind us is the one we took.
With this being the first time going up in a small plain I was woundering what the etiquite was for this kind of a situation. Matt is a Dr. and has a nice home and family. His friend Sean came with us as well. Sean seems to be well off as well so I was a littel uneasey at the beginning trying to get Sean figured out. It was the same kind of uneaseyness that I think comes with meeting someone for the first time. I don't think what I was wearing helped the situation any because I had just come from working on someones home, so I was not very clean.
This is a quick shot of the farmland around Grove
Matt is on the right and Sean is on the left. The little multi color screen in the middle is the thing that we used for navigating our way to Fayetville.
This is a shot of the cloud cover around Grove. Soon after getting airborn we assended up through the cloud cover and this is what we saw for most of the flight.

This is a shot of us decending in to fayetville through the cloud cover. To me this was the most exciting part of the trip. The reason I say that is because this was the first time I had seen the need and usefull ness of having so many instruments.

This was a loner car that the airport let us use. Ididnt see what kind of BMW it was but i did see that it had less then 5000 miles on it. I couldn't help but think of James Bond as we were getting into the car. The whole experience was fantastic. If I didn't have the sinus issues that I have, I really think Alisa would have a reason to be concerned about me wanting to be a pilot.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Missionary Treat

Starting on Monday night, David and I were disappointed with some news that we were really hoping would change things for our family. As it seems it has been going for us since moving here, it has been one thing after another when it comes to disappointment. Until you are going through it, you really can't understand how very hard it can take hold on your marriage, patience with your children, relationships with your close friends, loss of focus in your jobs and responsibilities, and the list goes on. Disappointment can be so devastating in every aspect of your life. It is frustrating, hurtful, annoying, depressing, and at times amusing. Coming to terms with the fact that our little family is not "being picked on" has been a hard one for me. For so long I focused on what I did wrong and what I did to make Heavenly Father lose His trust in me. I have always relied on Heavenly Father's guidance. I relied on Him for everything. And it wasn't until last night, while speaking with my husband, that I realized that I have relied on Heavenly Father so much that I have stopped growing. I didn't think it was possible to rely on our Father in Heaven to much. Trust me, though. It is possible. No wonder I have lead a life of constant disappointments these last few years. Something I have come to realize is that when you rely to much on anyone or anything, you disable yourself. You lean so much on that other source that it becomes your crutch. Can you believe I am saying this....That my Father in Heaven has been my crutch?! Unbelievable, but He can be if you don't use one of His greatest gifts He ever gave us; our free agency to choose for ourselves. David said to me the other night, "All He cares about is us returning back to Him. All the rest is just fluff." He is so right! While I have been focusing on being exactly where the Lord wants me to be (physically and mentally) and thinking that He is ok with this or that, all He really ever wanted me to do was to make a decision! How simple! I have to start believing that if I make a decision that would hurt me or my family that He will find a way to get us out of it.
So the missionaries were here when we got our "bad news." I did not handle it well. I kept it as best together as I could while they were here but once they left, all hell broke lose in my soul of emotions. The following day David lost valuable tools that he uses when working on houses. During this time, David and I have been working on our new found wisdom and since the missionaries are often around, I'm sure they felt the odd spirit that has been about lately. Tonight these men brought David a "tool" gift and us treats. These men are on tight budgets and yet they did this for us. It really meant a lot to me tonight. This is how they acknowledged our pain. I hope their mommas read this and are so proud of them. It is times like this that I picture my boys on missions and hope they made the same decisions.