Friday, August 31, 2012

WARNING: Really Long Post!

The first day of school is always exciting, even if the older boys are getting to that age where they would rather stay home and play on the Wii and 3DS all day long.  This year started off (August 28) quite different, though.  
First, this is the first time I have sent my kids to school without meeting their teachers first.  They don't have a parent night until September 13th.  I would feel more comfortable with meeting the teachers first, but oh well.  I did get to meet Hyrum's kindergarten teacher though because she needed to test him on what he already knows.  They need to benchmark at 28 and he scored a 52......THANK YOU HEADSTART!  
Mrs. Cloward was young but honestly, I like them like that.  It is not always the case, but every time my boys have had a freshly out of college teacher, they have always been so good about being super excited about teaching.  I don't know if it is because their minds are still fresh with all that knowledge that they gained from college or if they just haven't been at it long enough to get bored :) but I sure do like those fresh college grads...
Second, our buses were taken away from us.  I want to say, first, that I am not one of those people screaming that we, as Americans, have a right to this and that.  This includes a school bus.  I know and realize that a school bus is a privilege not a right.  And I also know that our economy and government debt is a serious problem.  So naturally I could see how buses just might have to be cut.  And honestly, it doesn't really affect me because I am a stay at home Mom who can take and pick up my kids everyday, however....
I live in an apartment complex with a lot of single parents or homes where both parents are working.  Up until August 28th, the bus was the only way that the children of those parents could get to school.  In the Jordan school district, you have to be 1.5 miles or more from school in order to get a bus to come to you.  Technically we are 1.4 miles because of a new road that was put in last year.  However, there are no sidewalks on that road so we have to take the main road which makes it 1.7 miles.  There are so many problems with this.  First, we have kids as young as 5 years old walking this route.  Second, the first crossing that we come to didn't have a crosswalk or a crossing guard.  Mind you, this is a 5 lane (with the turning lane) very busy road.  There is NO WAY I would let my 5 year old walk that alone....heck, I wouldn't let my 9 year old walk it!  Third, if you have a Kindergartner and an older child going to the same school, technically you are walking that 1.7 miles 6 times a day since the kindergartner is only at school for 2 and half hours.  Now, add an asthmatic to that mix....NOT COOL!  Again, this isn't an issue for me.  I am so very blessed to stay home and have a reliable vehicle to get me to and from anywhere but what about all those single and/or working parents? 
I know that so many can say that "in their day" they had to walk much further.  I understand that.  But you know what?  We don't live in that day anymore.  Child molesters and kidnappers are so much more common today.  Just last year, about six or so blocks away from us, a middle school girl was walking home from school.  A man tried to abduct her but because she screamed, other children came running to her aid.  The man wasn't caught but my point is, if someone would do this is broad day light, what makes us think that our elementary school kids are safe walking alone? 
So, a bunch of parents from our apartment complex decided to get together a car pool.  Naturally, there are more kids that need rides than we have drivers.  We are still trying to work that out.  So, our first real objective was to get a cross walk and crossing guard at that first intersection.  One of the Moms here caused such a stink (getting on the news and repeatedly getting a hold of the school, school board members, and Mayor) that late, August 27th, they finally painted a cross walk!  Progress!  So, even though I can drive I went with a bunch of the parents to walk this route.  The reason for this is that the Mayor was going to show up at that first intersection to see what needed to be done.  He ended up walking with us the whole way, as well as our apartment manager (who had no kids of her own walking this route, mind you) and a guy running for the school board.  I am so very impressed with all that have supported us.

Riverton City Mayor with the boys on their first day of school.

As for ever making that walk again....I don't think so!  All I heard from Hyrum was, "I'm tired" "My feet hurt" "I'm thirsty" "Can you carry me?" "I'm hot" "This is soooooo long!" 
Well, we finally got a crossing guard and I take extra kids with me everyday.  Honestly, it felt really great being a part of something that I had to fight for.  My children play with those kids who are walking this route alone.  It would break our hearts if something ever happened to them walking to school.

Monday, August 27, 2012

He did it!

I can't believe I am actually getting to write this.....but David has his Master's Degree (through Ashford University).  He came home early today and told me how weird he felt not having to get on the computer to finish a paper or work on his next assignment.
 David and I celebrated on Saturday by going to a steakhouse, Christopher's, in Draper.  We splurged and got the real stuff; he a steak and me lobster.  HEAVEN!
Today was his official last day of class so I wanted to have a party for him.  Since it falls on a Monday I thought we could have family and friends over and then tie in a Family Home Evening.  This, however, was suppose to be a surprise!  David came home 2 hours early!  That is such a rarity in itself but the fact that it landed on a day like today.....REALLY?  Oh well, we still had a wonderful time.
 Here are a few fun things I found on Ebay to help us celebrate.
After we all had dinner, we gathered as many people as we could in the living room for FHE.  The West's as well as some parents and spouses are not pictured here but honestly I didn't feel at all overwelmed.  I knew that they all truly loved us and wanted to share in our joy.  
I gave a lesson on sacrifices and the rewards that always come afterwards.  I had each child pick a goal and gave them some peanuts.  With each peanut they were to toss them in the middle of the floor as things we can sacrifice in order to meet these goals.  This couldn't have been more perfect timing as David and I have sacrificed so much for his schooling and also that the boys are starting school tomorrow.  Perfect to show them that working hard in school leads to wonderful things!  In the end, all those peanuts (sacrifices) were rewarded with a Snickers bar (the goal or blessing).  In the end, really all those sacrifices ever were, were peanuts really.....All the those peanuts didn't compare in taste to the sweetness of the Snickers bar.

I am so proud of my husband.  He has really had to deal with so much more than most people do when going to college and finishing.  David was home schooled and because Helen is a firm believer of never forcing education on a child, naturally when Helen and Steve got divorced, David rebelled with the whole school thing and so she didn't force him to do any school work.  I could go on and on with how proud I am of him.  Like the fact that he tested on a elementary school level in mathematics when he first tried to get in college.  Or how he didn't even know how to type and so I had to do it for him in his early years of college.  Or how he achieved all of this with being dyslexic.  Or....well, now I just feel like I am bragging.  But I truly am so proud of him!  I am!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friends....what would we do without them?

 Brittany was in from California visiting family so I jumped on the chance to have lunch with my old college roommate.  It didn't seem right not having Charlene there to make sure that my pulled pork didn't have any fat chunks in it so I had to settle for shredded beef in my smothered burrito :)
Earlier this week Preston stayed the night with the boys.  We let them go to the park and stay out late with glow bracelets.

I am so grateful for the good friends that I have as well as my husband and children's friends.  Some last a lifetime.  Others just for a certain period in your life but you know what?  I don't think that any of them are any less special.  I was thinking back to how Brittany and I have stayed in touch since college and then I thought back to Amanda Bishop while we were living in Oklahoma and how we rarely talk anymore, yet she was essential to my staying sane while I was there.  Does that make her any less special?  Nope, because I desperately needed her friendship at that period of my life.  I needed Brittany's example while in college and for some reason we have made sure to keep in contact.
I am just so grateful right now for all of my past and present friends.  They shaped me and teach me more than they will ever realize, I'm sure.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Monarch Meadows Carnival

Our apartment complex held a "carnival" for its residents last night.  The boys got to enjoy free face painting, jump/bounce houses, games/prizes, dinner, snow cones, and cotton candy.  
I've said it before but even though I would love to have our own home, living in a nice apartment complex sure does have its perks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Introducing Neve

A few months ago I decided it would be nice for Nico to have a playmate.  I wanted to get an older cat at the Humane Society because 1) it would be less likely for the kids to kill and 2) everyone wants kittens so lets save a cat!  The boys and I went in the Humane Society knowing that I wanted a girl (to get more estrogen in this house!) and for her to be declawed.  The boys fell in love with Claire/Taylor fast!  Yes, she had 2 names.  Claire/Taylor was 5 years old and only knew Claire as her name.  The boys, however, insisted her name be Taylor.  I thought that was kind of mean since Claire was all she knew so David and I called her Claire while the boys stuck with Taylor.  I finally convinced Hyrum to call her Claire (or Cware as he says).  
Poor Cware didn't last long though.
She was the most patient cat.  The picture below was pretty typical of Hyrum with Claire.  She was a very scared cat and so was always running away.  However, she never bit and would just lay helpless if ever caught.  So the moment that Claire was caught, Hyrum would lay on her so she wouldn't get away!  Poor cat!  She shed like crazy so I would often see Claire hair all over Hyrum; always on his shirt.  I would then ask Hyrum, "Have you been trapping Claire again?"  He would then give me a sheepish grin.
As much as the boys loved Claire, I did not.  She drove me crazy with all her shedding and I don't know what it was with her paws but they would track Kitty Litter all through the house.  So I switched to a pellet system.  She didn't like it and started peeing all over things and then THAT WAS IT FOR ME!  I do not put up with cat pee!  To top it all off, Nico was HORRIBLE to Claire.  He was constantly attacking her and she would just lay over and take it!  Honestly, I'm surprised she didn't die of a heart attack between Nico attacking her and Hyrum laying on her all the time, before we took her back to the Humane Society.
I thought I was for sure done with getting another cat but then last month Hyrum and I were coming out of Wal-Mart and the Humane Society was set up outside with kittens ready to adopt.  I am such a sucker!  
Is she not the cutest thing?!
Ronald saw her the day we took her home and he said, "Of course you would pick the one with the broken tail!"  I can't help it...and yes, she has a broken tail.  In fact, it is broken in a couple of places and was chopped off so it is quite funny looking.  I think I will have the vet just completely chop it off when we get her declawed.
But the best part, Nico and Neve are best friends!  Nico is such a devil cat sometimes but he is so good to her.  It really is amazing because she will attack him and most of the time he just takes it, which is soooooo not his personality.  But when he gets to playing, he lets her have it.  She keeps coming back for more, though, so I'm not worried.

When we had to take Claire back, Hyrum was so sad.  He even cried about it so when we got this kitten he immediately wanted to call her Claire.  The older boys wanted something like snowball and every once in a while I would hear a Taylor get mixed in there.  Finally we settled on Neve, which is "snow" in Portuguese.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Brigham's Baptism

Today Brigham was baptized.  When David gave Brigham the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Lord was pleased with his decision to be baptized.  His blessing also told him that he knew right from wrong and that the Holy Ghost would be able to help him with choosing what was right.  Most importantly, as he chose the right he would then start to become the man that our Father in Heaven wanted him to be.

....but I never heard those words from my ears.
Let me explain.

When David first gave Brigham the gift of the Holy Ghost I was there with the rest of the people attending the baptism.  There is a part in the blessing that confirms the person a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  But David only said "the Church of Jesus Christ."  From then on, the blessing was a little awkward as it came off as if the Lord was only warning Brigham.  As the blessing was going on, David struggled with words and I felt as if the Lord was telling me that this child of mine was going to be more of a handful than I ever expected.
You have to understand how odd this all was to me.  Yes, Brigham is by far my hardest trial when it comes to my kids but David has always reassured me that all would be ok.  That it is actually a blessing that Brigham is so stubborn in his ways.  If we rear him up in the right direction now, then as a teenager he will never stray from the gospel.  I have seen this happen in recent years.  We will be with other children when they will dare him to do something dangerous and he flat out just tells them no.  Even when they call him a chicken!  When Brigham makes up his mind, well, it is made up.  The other thing that was odd to me was how difficult the blessing was for David.   My husband honestly gives the best blessings.  It is not just me.  I have had several other people tell me how amazing the blessings were that he gave to them.  I compare him to Joseph of Egypt because he just sees things and senses things that others don't.  This blessing however was so.....well, forced.
You can't imagine how truly grateful I was when David later told me that a member of the Bishopric pulled him aside, after the baptism, to tell him that he didn't use the correct wording at the beginning of the blessing and that it needed to be done again.  David said that the words just flowed after that.  It just proves to me that there is a designated way to how the Priesthood works.  It comes from the Lord and only the Lord.  The differences in the two blessings is proof of that.
Another neat thing that happened today:
We got to the Stake Center a half hour early but I realized I had forgotten Brigham's scriptures.  When the boys are baptized we like to get them scriptures and then have those that are at the baptism (or his get together afterwards) sign his scriptures with words of encouragement.  So I quickly went home and was very stressed as I couldn't find them.  Just then, Helen walks through our front door.  David found the scriptures  when everyone came to our house after the baptism for a lunch-in type thing but I realized, once the baptism started, that the real reason I was suppose to go home was to find Helen.  If I wouldn't have been there, she would not have known where to go for the baptism and would have missed it.

I am so grateful that today happened, the way that it happened.  I love learning things from the spirit.  I love it when the Lord puts me in my place.....tells me to calm down when those things that I am worried about isn't important.  When He reminds me that He has all things in place right where they should be...if I would just listen.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I support Chick-fil-A

After the backlash of Chick-fil-A's CEO Dan Cathy's comments on his support of traditional marriage, I am happy to report that our local Chick-fil-A had a huge turnout yesterday.  I drove by and people were lined up around the building to get in.  The cars were lined up almost back to the main road (passing several other businesses, mind you). Chills ran all over my arms as I realized how wonderful it is to live in a community that supports traditional marriage and free speech.

This morning, however, I got online to check out the outcome all around the United States and read that it wasn't just our community or the Bible Belt.  It was found everywhere!
"It's gone beyond anything I could have imagined," Mike Huckabee said.  "Every one of (the stores) that I know have reported record, historic sales yesterday. ... A lot of the stores ran out of chicken before the end of the day."  This is coming from the former presidental running mate for the Republican Party and Arkansas Governer.  He asked for the people who support Chick-fil-A to  come and buy their products on August 1st, dubbing it "Appreciation Day."  
I haven't felt this passionate about the public's response to something in a long time.  Yes, I would support this company just for the fact that they support traditional marriage but why I choose to go out of my way to eat there now is because of the ridiculous manner that certain organizations and people have attacked Chick-fil-A.  I thought it was wrong when certain people banned JC Penny, not to long ago, when they hired Ellen Degeneres (a very public lesbian).  In no way do I support banning of certain things just because they believe differently than I do.  And it is hypocritical that these same organizations that cried fowl (pun intended) of those who were against JC Penny are now (some of them) pitting against Chick-fil-A.  How is that any different?  It is not!  I believe with all my heart in free speech and no one should be persecuted because of it.
Now I will say that I wont support those that are unkind in there words.  I believe that people have every right to say what they want but that doesn't mean that I have to support the actual words that come out of their mouths.  
I love Ellen Degeneres.  I could care less that she is a lesbian and you know why?  Because she is kind about it.  I can't stand Rosie O'Donell.  You know why?  Because she is horribly rude about her beliefs.  That goes for all those supposed "Christians" that try to convince people that homosexuality is of the devil by telling those people that they are terrible human beings.  How do we expect to ever teach people what we believe to be true by not doing it with love?  And I think Dan Cathy did it perfectly by simply saying, "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit.  We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."  There was nothing unkind about his words.  Lets remember how important it is to teach with love besides....
"Don't judge me because I sin differently than you do."