Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tastes Like Possum!

So, the other day, a new friend of mine gave me a gift.  She warned me, before I opened it, that nothing I had gotten for Christmas could ever top this gift from her.  Her husband then chimed in that even if David had gotten me a 2 karat diamond that it could never compare...
Oh, how I love my new friend, Peggy Stevenson!
She knows my humor well and knows I will wear this shirt...yes, even in public!
I met Peggy our first Sunday at our new ward and then later found out she is the PTA president and only lives a few houses down.  She has the personality of my sister, April, and so naturally I want to be around her all the time.  She is witty and just cracks me up.
So about 2 or so weeks ago, she texts me to tell me how yucky she is feeling.  She says something like, "I knew I shouldn't have drank from the opossum waterhole!"  I texted back that I had a story to tell her about an opossum someday.
A few days later I was over at her house when I told her about how David, the boys, and the missionaries in Oklahoma had BBQ-ed an opossum because one of the Elders just had to "try everything Oklahoma" before he left to go home.  At the time, opossums were often getting into our trash.  David was often setting out traps to catch them and then, well, take care of them.  So, we had easy access to an opossum to make this wish come true for this missionary.  I, of course, was against this.  That is just nasty!  And I certainly didn't want my boys eating that but they begged and begged so I just gave in.   It wasn't too long after that, that I made a roast for dinner.  Hyrum has his meat on his plate, tastes it and declares, "Mmmmmm, tastes like possum!"  David and I hadn't laughed that hard in a looooong time!  We pictured us in a nice restaurant one day with our son and him declaring for all the world to hear that his meat tasted like possum and wondered how we would explain that to all around us.  Peggy, of course, thought that story was HILARIOUS....thus this shirt for Christmas!  Probably my favorite part of this shirt is that opossum is spelled wrong, but of course that is how we pronounce it, so it is perfect!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

We spent Christmas Eve with just our family today.  The older boys kept asking who we were spending it with (like we were going to change our mind:) and were disappointed when I said we were just going to be with each other but I really enjoyed it.  It was peaceful.  At about the time that I knew Dad would be making his famous Christmas Eve burgers (the only burgers I will eat, mind you), I did get homesick though.  I knew Mom and Dad's house would be bustling right about then. 

I tried, throughout the day, to make sure that the boys felt the spirit of Christmas.  We read a few books and scriptures about our Savior and all in all, I think we did well.  There have been Christmas pasts where I have felt disappointed in myself as I felt that I didn't focus enough on our Savior's birth, life, death, and resurrection.

 But on to the festivities!  The boys started building, with their presents, walls around themselves....and thanks to MeMaw, Poppy, Nanny, Poppy, and Uncle Chuck, the boys had PLENTY this year!
 My favorite reactions were from Brigham.  He is so animated as it is....add beloved Sonic the Hedgehog to the mix and you will get quite the show!
 By the time he opened up his Sonic slippers from MeMaw and Poppy, he was yelling, "Oh My Gosh!  You TOTALLY  have to take a picture of this!"
Hyrum is still so young that every present that was opened was the best present in the world.  I will really miss that when he grows up.
 My parents always got us new night gowns every year that we would wear Christmas Eve night.  They have continued to do this for not only their children but for the Grandchildren as well.  Hyrum would not leave me alone about putting on mine and insisted on us taking a picture together with our new nighties. 
Just a funny thing that I want to remember, so I'm recording it.  Growing up, we always called our night outfits, "night gowns."  It didn't matter if it was a pair of boxer shorts (I went through a phase where that it what I wore to bed every night) and a t-shirt or an actual night gown; we still called it a night gown.
Fast forward to the early years of mine and David's marriage.  One night, as we were getting ready for bed, I told him that he should get his night gown on.  He stopped dead in is tracks and just looked at me.  I honestly didn't know why he was giving me this expressionless face.  "What?"  I said.  "I don't wear night gowns." he said.  It took me a while to get it but then I just started cracking up!  I don't know if he thought I was playing a trick on him or what but to this day, I love telling people that story.  So, now I have changed my wording to nighties in this household of boys....though, I don't know if that is any better considering some people use that as in the naughty sleep wear :).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My 10 Year Old

Levi turned 10 today.  
Just like any parent whose first child reaches a significant number, I couldn't believe this day was already here.
 I was really struggling with my emotions most of the day, so to have all these very active boys in my home was a nice distraction.  We started opening presents right away so Daddy could have full reign of the kitchen while he cooked the pizza's (one with Levi's name written on it with pepperoni). 
I know that some kids get jealous of all the toys that the birthday kid gets, while they get nothing but it seems that is never the case in our house.  They all share everything so this next picture is PRICELESS!
Brigham kept saying, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!" while Levi opened up his Mario 3D Land for their 3DS (from Nanny and Poppy).  I wish I would have had the camera on video because it was sooooo entertaining!
 Then I had the boys dump out all our Legos and told them that I wanted them to build me something.  I wouldn't tell them what I was looking for.  I wanted them to be creative.  I gave them 15 minutes.  The boys came up with the typical boy stuff like ships to dinosaurs eating their prey and even a innocent pyramid....that changed into a pyramid with laser guns once he (Hyrum) saw what all the other boys were building.  After I gave them prizes for all their creative works, I had them try to get them to stack all their works on top of each other.  It all kept tumbling down, so I took over the pizzas and Daddy got his construction skills on!

Then the boys each got a turn at throwing a ball at the tower.  They first had to have the ball bounce over the Lego container to get to the tower, to make it a little harder.  And just like typical boys, they found it much funner to destroy the tower than to actually build it!
Sure do love this boy of mine.  He always seems to have a ton of friends, even with all our moving around.  We have only been here a month and he had a great turnout.  It would break my heart if no one showed up because of all our moving.

Levi is still so innocent at 10 years old.  He still believes in Santa Clause, is the most obedient 10 year old I know, and as I am writing this he is playing a board game with Hyrum just because Hyrum was sad that he couldn't get the Wii to work.  That is who he is...the greatest kid I could have ever asked for to introduce me to motherhood.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I continue to struggle since last Friday.  We are having issues with this house, which I will write about later, that have been our main concern for a while now.  But since Friday, it all seems so trivial.  When I think of all the junk that has happened with this house, it doesn't even upset me anymore.  I keep thinking of those poor kids who had to witness what they did in Connecticut.  I don't fear for those little ones that died.  In fact, as bad as this may sound, I am grateful they are gone.  I would never want my child to live through something like that; to forever remember and feel guilt about still being on this Earth while their teachers and classmates died.  But I can't stop thinking of those poor little ones that will forever remember that day.
On Sunday, David and I gave talks (the boys bore their testimonies).  The talks had been planned weeks in advance and yet they all fit perfectly into helping us all heal from last Friday.  Our RS and Sunday School lessons was on forgiveness and hope.  That cannot be a coincidence that this lesson was set to be taught, over a year ago, this exact Sunday.
So, I keep going back and forth.  Sad...then I feel blessed...heartbroken...then I feel peace.  Back and forth.  David finally just told me to get off the computer.  I had to stop reading about it all.  Why do some things hit someone so hard while others just give you a fleeting moment of sadness?  I am not sure but this one has really hit hard.
Today I was at the mall with Hyrum and we came across the mall Santa.  I asked him if Hyrum could just say hi.  I didn't want to pay for pictures so I wasn't sure if he or the workers around him would let Hyrum in. He gladly led Hyrum to his couch and put him on his lap.  The lady taking the pictures told me that the children could come anytime to see Santa; even if not purchasing pictures.  I just started to cry.  Oh how silly!  I can't believe I started to cry but I was so overcome with gratitude that there was still so much good left in the world.  Not everything is about money or power.
So, I decided I needed to include my talk so I can remember the good in the world the next time I am reminded of those teachers and children lost on Friday.  Just another "coincidence" that the talk happened to be based on the goodness of others?  I think not.


I have been asked to give a talk on the aspects of Christmas love and charity, and the effects it has on people. 
We hear and see the polar opposites of the outcomes of the Christmas season.  You hear of beautiful stories of people giving and then turn around and see grumpy faces at Wal-Mart as we are shopping for our loved ones.  I would like to focus of those beautiful stories.  I would like to share with you a story I read online:

“You only turn eight once and Chase Branscum of Owasso (Oklahoma) celebrated his birthday in big way.

The birthday boy received more than 500 gifts, but he won’t be taking any of them home with him.

“I already have toys and other kids don’t,” said Chase.

Chase decided to forgo a traditional party and birthday gifts to help other local boys and girls through a Toys for Tots toy drive.

“They don’t have toys and when they (don’t) have anything for Christmas they can’t play and they can’t have fun,” Chase told FOX23.

More than 100 guests showed up for his party which was held on Sunday, December 9th at the Rejoice Church North Campus Gymnasium in Owasso.

“He has a wonderful heart,” Chase’s mom, Tiffany Rowe, said.

Chase's mother says she was so proud of her son and humbled by his decision to make his birthday party about the community instead of himself.

“You want to raise your child to be generous and to think of someone other than themselves,” said Rowe, “Him doing this was a gift to me.”

The toys will go to the Owasso chapter of Toys for Tots, and the coordinator of that effort says the need is high this holiday season.

“(We’ll) probably give gifts to around 2,000 children,” Michelle Hayes said.

Local business owner, Danny Stockton, of Red Dot Laser Tag, decided to get involved and help with the benefit party after hearing about Chase’s generous plan. Children in attendance got to play laser tag, eat snacks and play games.

Chase’s friends told FOX23 the party was different in a good kind of way.

“I’m happy that other kids get things because some of them have never had Christmas,” said Chases’ friend, Kennedy.”

I was so amazed at this story for several reasons.  The realization that this boy was eight when he made this decision gives me great hope for the world that we live in.  We know (as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) that at this age, he becomes accountable for his actions.  This shows me that there is so much good still left in this world.  It also amazed me that this boy’s actions led to a business owner giving of his services for free to help a good cause.  Imagine all of the blessings that this business owner will receive because of his good deed.  I’m sure his sales will go up because people will want to support him.  I could be cynical and believe it was all for the publicity but I don’t believe that.  I believe that the Christmas spirit can and is felt by those around us, when led by wonderful examples.  Sometimes we need a push by a little boy or we are guided by a still, small voice of the Holy Ghost. 

Is it not amazing that another little boy, one that was born of such humble circumstances that he was born in a stable, could influence such an act as this eight year old boy from Oklahoma….thousands of years later? 

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”  St. Luke 2:7

Such a simple, humble birth and yet He was the most important birth that ever was and ever will be on this Earth.  His birth, life, death, and resurrection will be of more importance than of any historical figure to ever walk this Earth.  All will and has been centered around His life, whether those who walk this Earth believe it or not.  It can be denied over and over through the years, but it can not be changed.  He IS our Lord and Savior.

Last night at our ward Christmas party, a short movie was played about people giving of their hearts during the Christmas season.  It made me think of something that James E. Faust said, “We all enjoy giving and receiving presents. But there is a difference between presents and gifts. The true gifts may be part of ourselves—giving of the riches of the heart and mind—and therefore more enduring and of far greater worth than presents bought at the store.”

As our economy still suffers, lets not forget those who are less fortunate than we are.  I have witnessed experiences where a family needed Earthly necessities.  They were able to be a part of what seemed like “miracles” as a person or family randomly showed up to help.  I have talked with those who have felt completely hopeless in what life has offered them, just to find that they were wrong all along.  They knew this because a random act of kindness was shown to them by a neighbor or friend. 

I am a firm believer of angels.  I am grateful for them and I know I am surrounded by them.  But I believe those angels have flesh and bones and are around us everyday, physically.  Let us remember our brothers and sisters this Christmas season as we are rushing around forgetting what Christmas is all about.  Let us remember our humble Savior’s birth and what it has taught us.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Just some thoughts...

I had breakfast with Christine this morning and was reminded of a post I wrote, a week or so ago, about me realizing something about myself and why I parent the way I do.  Christine and I were talking about the young gunman who walked into an elementary school in Connecticut, last Friday, and killed 26 people.  We both spoke of our emotions throughout the weekend.  How senseless it all seemed to kill those little children the way that he did.  She told me of how she looked at her Christmas tree at one point and was so sad to think of those parents not being able to spend Christmas with their little ones.  I walked my children to school this morning and couldn't help but cautiously look at every parent that walked with their children.  Were they safe?  Were those parents wondering the same thing?
Christine and I talked of all that the children of today are exposed to in entertainment, whether it be movies or a PlayStation.  My "realizing" post made me wonder why I was so picky about why I am so protective of what my children watch.  I realized that I parent that way because of the way that movies leave an effect on my spirit.  Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than violence.  I wondered if it was God telling me to protect my kids by not letting them watch and play certain violent/dark entertainment or if it was just my uncomfortableness of the way it effects fear that it would do the same for my children.  I know now that both are true.  He expects me to protect my children from Satan's influence and He let me have certain experiences in my life that made me extra sensitive to violence because of this.
I am not a believer that God has His hands in all things.  If that were true there would never be a rape, murder, or any other horrible crime against other human beings.  I do, however, believe that if we let Him, he will be in everything to heal us after the crime was committed.  I also believe that He prepares us for those horrible crimes.  He cannot and will not take away our free agency.  He has to let those around us do what they will but He can place us in paths in our lives to help us better cope once the outcome has taken place.  I am truly grateful for this.
I have to admit that I am one of the rare members of my church that actually would rather have free agency taken away from me.  I can't stand to make mistakes.  I can't stand to have people upset with me.  I was such a chicken growing up that if my friends wanted me to do something I was uncomfortable with, I would tell my parents and have them tell me no; so I could blame it on them if my friends got mad.  I would much rather have someone tell me what to do.  But I also know that the only way we can prove our way back to our Father in heaven is by our actions in this life.  
And so, that is what makes me so grateful for those places that the Lord has placed me in so that I could be the parent I am today.  I am grateful He knows me and because of that I stand up for so much more than I ever did as a child/teenager.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I love living in Utah because we have family that lives here.

(Grandma was living with us until 2 Saturday's ago.  Hyrum is covered in his "going away/Christmas" present from Grandma, here.)

 And with all of the places I have lived during my life, most of the friends I have made through the church seem to have ties here in Utah.  Because of this, I get to benefit from their "passing throughs" and get to visit my friends often.  And with it being around that time of year of all the family filled holidays, those visits are in abundance!

Charlene and her family came to visit.  I love this girl so much so it was wonderful to find this in one of the corners hiding behind a chair!

 We tried to get all the kids off their electronic devices.  Then we would get back to talking, only to find the kids back on them once again!

 Before we knew it, it was time for the Wilhelmson family to leave, which is of course when they found something to do outside!  Stinkers!  They were throwing this green rock Levi had painted at Scout camp this summer.  I know they shouldn't have been throwing it but they were finally playing!

 Then Amanda Bishop came to visit with her little Ryder and Ashylnn from Idaho.  I was pulling this face for what seemed like forever as Brigham was trying to take the picture without laughing.  By the time he finally took it, I had such a headache!

I have been so blessed to have such great friendships that have lasted through the years.  I miss my friends but I love that we live in a time that our next visit is only a holiday away!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sunset Santa

I got up and made everyone pancakes....and then had David clean up while I went back to sleep! Oh, how I LOVE WEEKENDS!
 But as I lay down I heard all these sirens.  Of course, that didn't stop me from falling asleep though :)
About an hour later David came in the room and told me that Santa was riding a firetruck in front of our house!
 Oh my goodness, do I have the cutest boys (David included)?!
So, I went online to check the Sunset city website and found out that after Santa made his rounds through the streets of Sunset that he was going to the city offices to see the children.
As you can see, Brigham wouldn't take a picture with Santa....someone doesn't believe anymore :(

Today was one of those real peaceful Saturdays where you don't have anything that you have to do but still end up doing some things that make it fun and special.  LOVE those Saturdays!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I love realizing things about myself.  I couldn't always say that.  Maybe it was because I was a perfectionist and always saw the negative in myself rather than just realizing I saw things in a different way than others.  Maybe it was because other people were pointing them out to me and lets face it; no one likes to be told their faults.  I guess I still don't care to much to be told my faults but I definitely look at the things I now realize about myself as just that: things about myself. 
I realized that one of my parenting styles is due to my uncomfortableness with movies tonight, as I let my boys watch Star Wars for the first time tonight.  Yep, you read that right.  And it was only about 2 months ago that I let them watch all the PG Harry Potter movies.  Mind you, I wouldn't let Hyrum watch it but my 8 and almost 10 year old had to wait all this time for me to be comfortable with them watching these dark shows. 
I am extremely picky about what I and the boys watch.  I can't handle violence.  I really can't.  I would rather watch a sex scene in a movie rather than violence.  It makes total sense to me since violence is the worst sin you can commit (after denying God) but to most that always surprises people - when I feel comfortable enough around them to tell them that about myself.  Most people say that they don't feel that way because sexual sin is much more likely for them to commit than for them to harm/kill someone, thus them being more comfortable with violence than I am.  Makes sense to me also, but it doesn't change the way I feel about movies.
For some people, music is extremely powerful to them and in some cases it is for me also but nothing compares to the effect something can have on me like a movie.  I don't know why.  Violence, sex, cursing, revenge, inappropriate jokes, you name it, it stays with me long after the movie has ended....and that is why I am so picky about what I let the boys watch.
But I didn't realize that until tonight.
I really thought I was doing this PG thing (and as I mentioned, even some PG movies I haven't allowed until recently) because that is what the Lord wanted me to do for my children.  Maybe He does.....but maybe it also had very much to do with the way I view entertainment.
You know how people show love toward others by giving those close to them what they view as their love language (words of affirmation, service, gifts, quality time, or physical touch)?  I think I do that with parenting; at least in this tiny area of the way I parent.  Maybe we all do.
So that is what I learned about myself today.  It's not bad, it's not good.  It just is.
I am afraid of the way movies leave an impression on my spirit and so it shows in the way I parent when it comes to what I let my boys watch.