Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Positively Elfish

There are some things this time of year that just naturally come to mind...like decorating with the family and thinking of past traditions you grew up with while adding your own.
But those past traditions make you think of home.  I soon was missing my Dad as I was thinking of his love for Christmas.  I get my love for "stupid" movies from my Dad, so naturally with the movie "ELF" being a Christmas movie while having that silly side to it, it is one of my Dad's all time favorites.  It is one of mine as well.  I wish Dad could have been with us tonight as I centered our FHE around this movie.
I'm not creative but I can copy really well.  So like I normally do, I get an idea and then go to the internet to actually put it all together.  I found this web sight that had 10 life lessons that Buddy the Elf teaches us throughout the movie.  Buddy is the most positive person and rarely lets things get him down so that is what I centered this FHE around.  Here are the 10 points:
1.  Take Risks
"Papa says my real father lives in a magical place far away...but the thing is, I've never left the North Pole."
2.  Show Affection
"Does somebody need a hug?"
3.  Make Smiling A Must
"I just like to smile!  Smiling's my favorite!"
4.  Spread Cheer
"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."
5.  Speak Your Mind
"If you can sing alone, you can sing in front of other people.  There's no difference."
6.   Be Yourself
"Actually, I'm human, but I was raised by elves."
7.  Don't Give Up
"I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel."
8.  Do What You Love
"First we'll make snow angels for two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle."
9.  Let Life Excite You
"Good News!  I saw a dog today!"
10.  Give Compliments
"Deb, you have such a pretty face.  You should be on a Christmas card!"

So each time we came to one of these lines, we paused the movie to talk about it and how it can make our life positive instead of all the negative that surrounds us.  FHE was such a blast tonight.  One of those ones that I'm pretty sure the boys will remember.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Fun

 Who needs the typical football game before your Thanksgiving meal when you can go dirt-biking?!

Stephen and Chloe - I love her face in this picture!
Hyrum (on the left of the picture) loved to feel the exhaust "puffing" out.  
Everyone who went got a chance to ride the bike but while they were waiting they passed the time by finding "treasures" on the foothills of Spanish Fork.
I wasn't there (I stayed home with Holly, Helen, and Rachel) but with all the "awesome"s that I heard when they got home and all the dirt that was covering them, it was obvious just how much they all loved their outing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that I look forward to.  I love it because it isn't centered around receiving or giving gifts.  I read online the other day that a survey was taken and over 50% of Americans would be just fine with skipping Christmas.  Now, maybe some of those people don't believe that Christ was our Savior but I imagine that the majority of them just didn't want to mess with all the festivities.  How sad that we get so stressed out surrounding a holiday that celebrates the most important birth on this Earth!  I truly believe that if we were to take out the "gifting" of Christmas, that it would be so much more meaningful and yes, much less stressful.
So, moving into our new home just a week before Thanksgiving couldn't be more fitting for our family.  It has brought many trials, but those trials could never cover up the big picture of a beautiful and safe home for our whole family.  I truly am so thankful for our home.
Today, Hyrum and Levi's classes had Thanksgiving parties at school.  If anyone in our family is going to complain about something it is almost always going to be Brigham so I was so proud of him when not one phrase was said of, "That's not fair!"
I didn't get to stay long at Hyrum's party because I was counting money for the PTA but from what I did get to see, Hyrum was loving it all.
Levi's was memorable.
First, let me tell you a little about our school and area.  There is only one house between us and the school (love it!) and we are surrounded by rentals (most of them being duplexes).  It is a very poor area and unfortunately with all those factors, the combination usually equals crime and people who just don't take care of where they live.   That may be stereotyping but I don't see how sugarcoating it really proves.  
The evening that David and I moved our stuff into our house young teenagers were driving by, stereos up as loud as can be and screaming out the windows.  We joked, "What in the world did we move ourselves into?" 
 A few years ago, I would have been so disappointed in myself for letting us move into such a neighborhood for fear of my children.  But I truly feel that we will be just fine and there is no denying my experience in the temple.  I was worried about the surroundings of our would be home and prayed to Heavenly Father just where we should live.  I didn't get anything at first.  But as I opened up some scriptures in front of me, the answer soon appeared.  It was clear that the Lord wanted me to use this as a missionary experience and to just love them.  Then the thought came to my mind that I would be the "neighborhood mom" as these young children living around me would know that I was always there even if their parents weren't. 
I have not worried a day since that experience.
So, back to Levi's party.  The school was built in the 1950's and it definitely looks and smells the part!  I have such a sensitive nose that it would be a hard adjustment for me to work there everyday, lets just say that.  But I LOVE the people in the front office and from what I see, the boy's have wonderful teachers.  
I walked into Levi's classroom and was put in charge of getting the snack/food table ready.  Mrs. B had sent out a letter asking the kids to bring healthy snacks....um, I'm pretty sure that Levi and the teacher are the only one's that brought healthy stuff because that table was loaded with crap!  I still can't believe that I saw THREE 2 liter pops of MOUNTAIN DEW VOLTAGE on the table.  Seriously?!  For Mrs. B's sake, I am so glad this party was at the end of the day.
Then we started the games.  There were 4 games and only 1 of them did not include junk food, but the kids were in heaven.  One of the games was a turkey version of "Chubby Bunny."  You put a large marshmallow in your mouth while saying, "Turkey Tom" three times.  You keep adding more and more marshmallows until you can't take it anymore.  When Mrs. B said we were going to play this game I immediately thought, "Oh no, I can just see one of these kids choking."  Little did I know that it would be my Levi!  He was in a group of 6 so instead of putting the marshmallows in their mouths one after another, each child put one in his mouth, said "Turkey Tom" and had to wait for all the kids to get their turn of their first marshmallow.  With all the goofing around and laughing it took quite some time for it to reach the first child again to get another marshmallow in their mouths.  As you can imagine, a lot of white saliva was running down the side of these kid's mouths.  The kids started holding their mouths like they were sore for holding them open for so long and Levi was determined to get the most in his mouth.  
-A little side-note....Levi is HORRIBLE about taking huge bites while eating.  We often have to get onto him about taking small bites and chewing slowly-
So he gets up to 4 marshmallows in his mouth, says "Turkey Tom" and starts jerking forward.  We hurry and get him to a trash can, he spits it out and says he is going to puke.

Luckily that didn't happen and we were able to make it to the drinking fountain in time for everything to settle.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Our home!

But to get here has taken a LOT of patience and faith.

So much has happened and is continuing to happen as we are adjusting to our new location and possibilities.  Before even getting here, odds were stacked against us.  Just as most people would attest to, when buying a home, it was just one thing after another trying to get in the way of this really happening.
First, our grant for our down payment didn't go through.  We knew we wouldn't have a down payment ready until after tax returns so we weren't even going to buy until then.  But we were told about this down payment grant, by the mortgage company we were going to use when we were going to buy a house in Oklahoma.  (This company just happened to be out of Salt Lake so when we moved here, we just thought we would stay with them)  We made it very clear that we could not buy a house without this grant and so after we found a great realtor, off to house hunting we went!  We made an offer on a house in Layton that was so stinkin' cute!  But as cute as it was, they wanted too much for it.  
When David and I walked into our house in Sunset, we knew almost immediately that this would be our home.  He fell in love with all the space and trees in the back yard while I loved the newness of the inside (even though it was build in 1944).  Our offer was accepted and after our "good faith" money was paid, our mortgage guy informs us that we don't meet the guidelines for the grant by $500.00.....A YEAR!  I know that these things have to have guidelines but seriously?  That close?  But honestly, the fact that the mortage guy didn't let us know that until it was set in stone really ticked me off.
I'm sure David would have found a way of it working out but I was ticked and stubborn.  We had made it very clear that we would not be buying a home without that grant because we didn't have the down payment.  So I guess we weren't getting the home.  That got the mortgage guy moving and he found a way for the money to be put on our home loan but that we would have to still pay $700.00 for the realtor or whatever it was.  Seriously, so much has happened that I'm not even sure what it was for but I do know that I was not paying it!  He got it waived and off we went running.  
By the time we would close on our house, we would still have 2 1/2 months left on our lease at Monarch Meadows Apartments. Honestly, I couldn't see anyone wanting to take over a lease for just that amount of time but it happened!  Our wonderful apartment complex staff led a guy to us and it all went fairly smoothly.
We start packing and find out 2 weeks before signing the papers for our house that David has to consolidate his student loans first.  Just one of those things that would have been nice to know before we set our move in date because we found out it would take 45 days at the very least for that to go through!  The mortgage company refused to budge on this and we had already sold our lease.
I have no doubt that so many of our friends would have let us move in with them until the paper work went through but we had already moved our kids out of so many schools, I just couldn't do that again and put them in another school for just a few weeks or month.
So our wonderful realtor got the owners to the new house to agree to rent to us until the paperwork went through.  We were so relieved....but it also meant that the money we had for a washer, dryer, and fridge would now be used for rent. But that is ok because David and I had already talked about the possiblitly of us taking out Home Depot or Lowes credit cards and just get them that way.  They have a "no interest" for 6 months program and that would work out perfectly for when our tax returns come in.  We got approved and even ordered our washer and dryer when our mortage guy scares us half to death by telling us that our loan might not go through now because getting those cards puts "dings" on our credit scores.  David returns our washer and dryer and all is well...except we are now living without a washer, dryer, and fridge.  Do you know how hard it is to feed your children healthy meals without a fridge?
 B U T......
Somewhere along all of this (before moving, actually) I realized that I can be really depressed about all of this or I can try to see the big picture.  Within a few days of taking this approach to our situation, I was soon led to the realization that the "big picture" wasn't just it.  There was so much more.  There were little blessings here and there that I was looking right past.  Let me share just a few.
-When we set up our move date we knew we had to do it all in one day.  We knew it was crazy but it was our only option because of when our guy that took over our lease needed to be in and when our house was available.  So we started our move at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday.  With it being on a work day, we didn't know if anyone other than Stephen would show up.  Stephen is just a blessing in its own.  We know we can always count on David's brother.  But amazingly, 3 people from our ward came to help.
-Another lady from our ward showed up and wanted to help.  She couldn't have been more of a God sent for me because just before she came, our dryer stopped working!  I was close to tears because I knew this was our last chance at using a washer and dryer since we wouldn't have one for quite some time in our new house.  She gladly took our laundry and got to work at her house.
-Tricia took our boys for 2 days and 1 night while we tried to get things settled in our new place.  She even washed the boy's clothes because she knew of our situation.
-When we arrived in Sunset, no one from our ward showed up to help us move in.  That would have been so hard but between us and Stephen, it went amazingly fast.  Christine and Mike came over after Mike got home from work, which finally relieved Stephen so he could go home.  Mike and David went to work on getting all the beds up while Christine and I went to work on the kitchen.  They bought us dinner and amazingly, I didn't cry that day!  Christine was so good for me.  I needed her to get me through that evening.  She even tried to get us a fridge.  I truly am blessed with the best of friends in the world!
So, after all of that....here are a few pictures.
 The attic was turned into 2 rooms as well as a few closets and an area for toys.
 This is part of mine and David's bedroom.  I love how these shelves were build into the wall.
 Our living room.
We are still working on the rest but it feels so good to be in this house.  It is so roomy and I love hearing the boys giggle as they throw soft balls down the stairs.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A House Divided

 (Hyrum and Levi)
These last few days have had me thinking a lot of our country.  On Monday, Silvercrest Elementary had 40 flags out on its front lawn as it represented the 40 men from Utah who have lost their lives since the war on terror began after September 11, 2001.  In front of each flag was a picture of that man describing how he served and died. 
Yesterday was our turn to choose the next President of the United States of America.  The majority of the population choose to keep President Barack Obama in office. 
During these last few days I have been thinking of David and his desire to join military forces.  I knew this was a desire of his when we first married, yet I was terrified of losing him to war.  And even though I grew up with the most patriotic man as a father, 2 grandfathers who retired from the Navy, and a boyfriend in the National Guard, I didn't receive my burning love for our country until after my children were born and David and I were married for a few years.  I remember softly crying, without the ability to stop, while watching a parade in St. Anthony, Idaho one July morning as the Vetrans walked past me.  From then on I have had this undeniable love for not only this great nation but those who serve under it.
I have come to understand that it is easy to admire and love those serving our country in military ranks but hard to feel that type of respect for those serving us politically.  Politicians are often demonized and certainly not trusted.  And though some of them have given us due reason, I am coming to understand that it is more important for me to have faith in them.  
I was reminded of that last night as we learned that President Barack Obama would continue being our President instead of electing Mitt Romney.
I thought Mitt Romney was going to win.  I really did.  I had such hope for what I knew he could do for our country.  But my thoughts on this man did not reflect the majority of the United States of America.  And you know what?  That is ok.  
I may be the one who is always reminding David and the boys to pray at the table or before bed but he is always the one to remind me to do the same when it is needed the most; in times of distress, need, and thankfulness.  And while I was not thankful that President Barack Obama was re-elected, I knew that we needed to pray for this man.  So as David became more and more stressed as the night went on last night, for once it was me who guided us to our knees.  
So, our home prays for President Barack Obama.  We pray that he will listen to the Lord, whom I know is whispering to him through the Holy Ghost.  We pray that he will not only listen to that prompting but also guide this great nation to the will of the Lord and not of man.
I may not support a lot of President Obama's beliefs but I certainly support him as President of the United States of America.  I will continue to pray for him and have faith that our nation can return to the Father's will.

Oh, and Brigham has been the sole Barack Obama supporter in our house throughout this election.  He couldn't tell you why he wanted him to win rather than Mitt Romney but I refused to squash his right to vocalize who he wanted to win last night.  It was kinda cute watching him get excited as he saw President Obama's electoral votes go up as the night went on :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Random Happenings

Just some random happenings...don't leave drawers open.  Something just might make a bed out of it.
 I love that Hyrum is still in that stage where he loves to help clean.  Here he is helping Grandma clean our windows, while Neve is checking it out (speaking of, check out her broken tail).
Levi and Brigham couldn't be any more different but I think that Hyrum is a good mixture of both.  One thing that probably makes me think this is because he loves doing what his brothers do.
 Levi had a book report due and was copying the cover of the book (below).  Hyrum just had to do the same.  Look at all those words that he copied (above)!  I was very impressed!
 So, of course, our Halloween candy is in abundance.  I usually make it last forever by only letting them have very little each day.  I pretty much don't care this time.  I took this picture because I wanted to remember Brigham's love of sour things.  It looks painful but he LOVES things sour.  Just like his momma, he even sucks on lemons :)
 I took this picture for 2 reasons.  I wanted to remember Levi's crazy hair style.  He honestly thinks it is cool.  Oh my.....that's all I have to say about that!
But I also wanted to get a picture of my Amalee before we move and I never see her again.  Levi LOVES babies and he is so cute with Amalee.  He can't stand her crying and will do anything to entertain her.  I can't wait to see him as a father. 
The kids didn't have school today so I wanted to take them to the park.  I thought that while I was there that I might as well get my walking in for the day.  So I asked Levi to watch over Hyrum while I walked around the park with Amalee.  I could see them the whole time but I also wanted to call my Grandma (Thatcher) while I was walking.  Sometimes cell phones are wonderful!  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am NOT a multitasker.  Trust me, pushing a stroller while talking on the phone is enough to distract me from full attention of my children who are playing right around me.  I know, its sad.  So, this was the first time I have put Levi in charge in this kind of way.  He always likes to entertain or be around Hyrum as it is, but he was so cute this morning as he knew he was in charge of him.  One time I looked over and Hyrum had fallen down in the grass.  Levi comes running over to him while yelling, "Are you ok??"  Of course he was fine; he was in the grass but Levi took his job seriously!
When I walk, I usually listen to music but lately I have been listening to books on tape.  I'm not a huge fan of Dr. Laura (I usually agree with her; I just don't agree with how she goes about telling people how she sees things.) but I saw this book titled In Praise Of Stay At Home Moms and knew I needed to listen.  So far, I have loved it as I am reminded of the decision David and I have made to have us raise our children and not day care workers.  When the kids were younger, mainly when I was pregnant, there were times that I didn't appreciate being home with them like I did when my hormones were in check.  But when they were in check, things were so good.  They still are as I get these little moments with my children that can't be replaced.  As hard as day care workers try, they can never replace Mommy and Daddy.  I love Amalee but I will never give her the type of full love and attention as Mommy and Daddy can.
Dr. Laura spoke of a mother who lost her middle child in his 20's.  She spoke of her heartache but also of her deep gratitude that she had stayed home with him while he was growing up.  Those many memories with him is what got her through those years after she lost him.  
Levi and Hyrum are very affectionate towards me, but Brigham isn't.  As I was listening to Dr. Laura, his smile came to mind.  Brigham will give me this certain smile every once in a while, as if to say, "I love you, Mom."  All those frustrating moments with him fade away when I see that smile directed toward me.  If I was working and trying to get everything else done in the time that I wasn't working, there is a good chance I would miss out on those smiles.  I would be too busy to notice, if they even happened at all. 
I want to be a perfect mother so badly sometimes but for the most part, I have accepted the kind of mother I am.  I am the type of mother who takes naps with her children instead of cleaning during that time.  I am the type of mother who makes home cooked meals but won't make them costumes.  I am the type of mother who stays home with them all summer long, without the break of school, but refuses to give up her alone nightly walks to a child asking her if they can tag along.  No, I am not that perfect mother but I do the best I can and I pray that they see that in me as they grow older and look for that special someone in their lives who will be the best mother that she knows how to be to their children.