Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

We did our usual cemetery trip to find little ones whose graves are not decorated.  There is a cemetery not to far from where we live.  It was nicely decorated with flags on all the servicemen graves.  I was going to wait to give the boys a lesson on Memorial Day during FHE tonight but once we got out of the car and saw all those flags, I thought it was perfect time right then to make sure they knew what we were really remembering today.  David and I both feel it not necessary to have the formal FHE when it can be done more simply.  In fact, on Sunday, David and I were laying on the couch while the boys were making farting noises with their mouths on arms and legs.  They just giggled and giggled and as obnoxious as some would find it, it was so fun to listen to them have so much fun with something so simple.  David said to me, "This is a  REAL family home evening."

So I asked questions and they pretty much remembered what today is really about.  I went into more detail this year, though, with the holiday's history.  This is the part I love about parenthood.  It has made me learn important things.  Now our whole family knows that Memorial Day was once called Decoration Day before President Nixon officially made it a holiday.  Decoration Day started very simply in Waterloo, New York by a man who wanted to honor the dead after the Civil War.  He encouraged other business owners to shut down their shops long enough to decorate the graves of the fallen soldiers.  This simple act led to this great day that we now remember all those who have and still are serving this country, as well as most of us not working and getting to have family time.  I guess it some ways, it is sad that a lot of us don't know that this holiday isn't about an extra long weekend, but I do love that this holiday has led to a lot of family time since most of us don't have to work or go to school on this day.

Afterwards we went to In-Shape (health club) to enjoy the pool.  It was pretty cold outside with the wind but the kids didn't care, of course.

A wonderful day filled with thinking of those I know who have served and some who are still serving in our Militaries as well as remembering those I miss, that have passed on.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fart Orchestra

Our little fart orchestra!

Friday, May 24, 2013

End Of Year School Activities

The boys still have a week left of school but you know what that means...LOTS of end of year activities!
 On Thursday, Hyrum's class went to Save Mart for a tour.  They were shown just about every place in this grocery store that only the employees see.  It was so good for the kids to see all the hard work that goes into getting all that food on the shelf.  It sure made me realize it!
This morning was Hyrum's Kindergarten graduation.  He was so cute and beaming the whole time.  As the kids were piling in, I heard a lot of, "Hi, Mrs. A" or "Hi, Mrs. Adams" and of course, "Hi, Hyrum's mom."  I always felt quilty throughout the years as my volunteering efforts were very small because of small children still at home.  This year has felt so good and rewarding as I have volunteered in each of the boy's class Wednesday-Friday.
After my walk this morning, I headed over to the park to help with the 4th grade class party.  By the time I got there, they didn't need any help so I just watched Levi as he made these tunnels.  It was real fun seeing all the kids come up and "ooh" and "aww" over him being able to make holes under sand without the bridge caving in.
Our white boy trying to sing a Spanish song at Kindergarten graduation :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Friendly" Parents

I have been thinking a lot about my parents lately.  I think it started a few days ago.  We had just gotten back from somewhere, when Dushan followed us into our house.  He wanted a snack.  I let him have one and then he left.  David said to me, "That is one thing that I am very grateful you got from your family.  You will never hear me complain about how you always let the neighborhood kids come in."

It was such a wonderful thing for me to hear.  It felt good to be recognized in that I let a lot of kids come in our home, I guess because sometimes I wonder about the good I am doing.  Staying home can sometimes make you forget all that you are really doing in the Lord's work of taking care of His children.  And when you are one of the few parents around who stay home, you naturally start to look after other kids while you are outside with your own kids.  

But even more so, it felt so good to be compared to this aspect of how my parents raised me.  

All of my friends loved my parents, especially my Dad.  It is obvious to me why.  He is such a kid at heart and he loved to tease my friends just as much as they did him.  (To this day, Valerie still calls my Dad, "The Milk Man" or "The Jolly Green Giant" because when working at Little Debbies, there are certain colors you have to wear and that means both pants and shirt.  I guess his all white and all green days really stood out!) But I think it was more than that.  So many of my friends came from one parent homes.  I don't think I was necessarily extremely popular, I just think they gravitated to my home because it was a safe place and where they could actually see an involved father in the family unit.  My Mom has always been an "once she gets home, she stays home" type after work so she liked her alone time but I never once remember her turning away my friends.  I think that says so much because I know that when I want to be alone, well, I want to be alone!

So David's comment made me so grateful for parents who showed me how to love others who are not blood related.  My friends have always been so very important to me and I think my parents showed me the way to that type of love for my friends.

Then, a couple of days later, I went to go visiting teaching.  Each month has a certain topic to teach the women, but because last month was conference, I got to choose whatever I wanted to.  I don't think it a coincidence that I came across a talk given by Elder Scott.  He said, "As you center your home on the Savior, it will naturally become a refuge not only to your own family but also to friends who live in more difficult circumstances.  They will be drawn to the serenity they feel there.  Welcome such friends into your home.  They will blossom in that Christ-centered environment.  Become friends with your children's friends.  Be a worthy example to them."

By the time I graduated from High School, 4 of my friends were baptized into the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know I was a good example but I can't help but wonder if it was more that my parents helped in giving what my friends needed.  Love.  Follow that up with the Spirit and it will lead to great things.  I am so grateful I witnessed that growing up.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Muir Woods

Yesterday, we spent the day in Mill Valley (near San Francisco)  at Muir Woods.  I wanted to go there to see the Coast Redwoods but when I researched it, I saw that this could be a great hike as well.  We ended up not actually going into the park but found a trail just outside of it.
Most of it was shaded and it really wasn't that hot out so it was a perfect hike for me.  Bitty gets tired of hikes but for the most part, we all really enjoyed it.  We found and ate wild raspberries, the boys picked lots of flowers for me (I love that they still do that), and ate lunch on the trail.
Levi has been learning all kinds of things about the state of California so when we come across the Golden Poppy (the state flower) he was super excited.  Then Brigham said, "We should take a picture of the Poppy and send it to Poppy!"  I wonder if our extended family knows how much the boys talk about them.
This huge tree is one of the first things we saw just before entering the park.  I wanted to take a picture of Bitty inside it to show how big it was but he is a pretty cautious boy and was hesitant.  So I tried to turn it into a staged picture of him being "in a nest" which of course followed with Levi being a preditor...or maybe he was a parent bird.  Who knows.
After the hike we decided to go to the Muir Beach Overlook.  It was very windy and cold but made for absolutly beautiful views.
Driving on Hwy 1 was David's favorite part.  He has always wanted to drive along the coast.  He thought it was amazing to be just as far West as you could possibly be here.  There were lots of curves but it really was worth it.
Then we came across Stinson Beach and stopped there for some relaxing fun.  The water was way to cold but we definitely couldn't get the boys out of the sand.  I don't care to swim in the ocean but there is something so incredibly relaxing about just being on a windy beach and watching your family have imaginative fun.  Daddy started with trying to dig as deep as he could to try to reach water which lead to the boys making these hole/castles.  The object was to get them strong enough to withstand the oncoming waves.
On our way home we found spring water coming out of the mountain.  The boys loved doing this for the first time and Hyrum just went on and on about how good it tasted.

We were all so exhausted this morning.  ALL of us slept in, which is a miracle. 

What a perfect weekend.

Friday, May 17, 2013


I tend to stay away from new technology.  I guess I fear it.  I fear change, so if I am used to doing something manually and have the opportunity to learn a new way (with technology) well, I just don't want to.  It seems to take me forever to learn and I get frustrated with myself.  But even more so, I fear that if I rely too much on technology, I will forget how to do things manually.  Then what will I do (and my children because I never taught them how to do things without technology) when all these new gadgets are taken away from me (power outage, EMP, or financial crisis so where we cant afford our gadgets)?  

Just a little known fact about me.

But today I was grateful for my love of texting and the ease it brings.  I don't like talking on the phone so texting is perfect for me.  One of those things that I can't believe I waited so long to use.  I received a text from a friend in Utah that President Monson's wife had passed away this morning.  I got on my cell phone and started texting just about everyone on my list of contacts to tell them and ask for prayers of comfort for President Monson.  Very soon after, I heard beep after beep coming from my phone as most confirmed they got the message and that they would be praying.  It gave me such a wonderful feeling inside as I imagined President Monson having an amazing amount of peace at that moment.  I truly believe in the power of prayer.

Just a little cute thing this morning.  So, we have a neighbor boy that comes over every morning before school to get something to eat and play on the computer.  I know I probably shouldn't let them play before school but I do.  It's only for a few minutes so I don't feel too bad about it.  So, Dushan in on the computer, while the older boys are playing the PlayStation.  I got the text this morning and immediatly told the boys that they might want to pray for peace for President Monson.  I expected Dushan to ask who President Monson was but instead, he stopped his game right away, turned at me and said that he hopes that this man finds peace and a new wife soon.  It really was so sweet.  

And then I look over at my 2 older boys on the PlayStation who have stopped playing and are folding their arms in silent prayer.

But in case you want a laugh:

Hehehehehe!  This one has better sound quality.  ENJOY!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I openly expressed some beliefs the other night, with some new friends, that I normally would have either never expressed or would have waited until I had gotten to know them better.  After I had said what I did, I immediately was nervous.  Afraid that they didn't quite understand or worse, didn't feel the same way that I did.

Funny, how at 35 years old, I still care about how others see me.  But the difference between the now me and the me as a teenager is that feeling went away a lot quicker than expected.  Later that night, I went on a walk and mulled over our conversation and came to the conclusion that I was proud of my courage.  Not something I would normally say about myself, but it felt good tonight.

So, I think it is time that I put it in writing an issue I struggle with.  As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I believe in a few things different from the average Christian.  We are very similar in many ways, considering we are Christians and conservative, yet we have some radical beliefs.  I was reminded of this as I watched a documentary called "Stephen Fry in America."  At one point, Stephen Fry talks to a member of our church who tries to help Stephen Fry understand that we very much believe in scriptures and all that it teaches and support them in our conservative way but yet have these radical beliefs that we can become as God.

What?  We have the potential of God, himself?  Yes, radical to most Christians outside of our church.  We, however, find it hard to believe that as children of a loving Heavenly Father, that He would not want us to become as he.  Doesn't all earthly fathers want every opportunity for their children, if not more?  Yes, to me it makes perfect sense...but then again, I was raised Mormon.

This brings me to tonight's conversation.  We somehow got on the subject of gay/lesbian members of the church.  Members who have come out to say that they are, in fact, gay/lesbian but do not act on their desires.  Most have vowed to remain celibate for the remainder of their lives because of their belief that Heavenly Father does not approve of the acts of homosexuality. 

As we were talking about this, I couldn't help but feel that I needed to finally voice what I struggle with.  No, I'm not coming out that I am interested in women.  I am very much attracted to my husband and only my husband.  I do, however, struggle with thinking of someone having to spend their whole lives without completely and fully loving someone they feel they are forbidden to be with.  Think for a moment...take away all prejudices of how you may feel on the subject...isn't it sad to think about?  In all honesty, isn't it?  To have feelings that no matter how hard you try, you just can't change.  

So I tried on some courage and spoke of how much I admire members of the church who come out and say that they struggle with this desire that isn't what our Father in Heaven would want and actually do remain celibate. 

But then I went even further.  Confession time.  I struggle with not understanding why Heavenly Father doesn't approve of the desire.  I understand the importance of being able to procreate.  I really do but I also know that, as cheesy as it sounds, Love really is what makes the world go round.  It is what keeps us from killing, molesting, robbing, and hurting each other.  So if someone is good and kind, just as much as the Christian standing next to you, why would they be condemned just because of their sexual preference?  I don't know.  I honestly don't get it and it has really bothered me for some time that I don't.  I want to do and believe EVERYTHING that my Father in Heaven wants of me.

And so, I go on having faith that one day I will understand.  I go on believing in the words of Elder Holland, "I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have."  Those who support homosexuality would tell me I am just living in blind faith, as if it were an insult.  I, however, take that as a compliment.  Who is really being more open minded here?  There is a song by MercyMe called "One Trick Pony."  It talks of how non-believers love to point fingers at us Christians and say that we are close minded.  It says:

"If I hear just one more time
That I should try and be more open-minded
I think I just might scream
The world says this is all there is
Yet I believe the One who says there's life after this
Now tell me how much more open can my mind be?"

And I would like to add, we believe that a virgin gave birth to a boy that was fathered by God the Father.  Radical?  Open minded?  I say yes to both.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Stepping Back In Time

About 2 weeks ago, Brigham's class went to Lammersville School House.  It is an old school house that was moved inside Tracy city limits a few years ago.  It now shows the 3rd graders what an average day was like in 1876 for a school age child.  They have them dress up like a pioneer, eat what they would have eaten, raise and salute the flag, write with charcoal, sing old time songs, etc....
(an earlier Brigham Young, perhaps?)
The following week I was volunteering in Levi's class when Ms. Hadeit was teaching them about Sutter's Mill, which is about 2 hours from here.  Such good timing, I thought, so I had full plans of taking everyone there this Saturday but all the kids ending up getting sick at different times this weekend.

But today I went with Brigham's class on a walking field trip to the Tracy Historical Museum.  It is run by some older ladies who were quite stern with the kids.  The kids weren't the only ones scared!  But they got to help quilt, tin punch, write with metal nibs (instead of with an actual quail pen)
and make butter!
That was the coolest part for me to watch.  This lady had whipping cream in these mason jars and let the kids shake it like crazy.  They loved it and honestly, I didn't know that butter was so easily made...well, with modern day conveniences of being able to buy whipping cream straight from a very convenient grocery store :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Camping at Frank Raines Park

I really like to hike because of the peace that is felt and just being away from people.  Some people would say the same about camping but not me.  See, with hiking you get to come home and take a shower.  Yeah, I'm a wimp but it never fails that I get so worked up about it that by the time we have left, when camping, the big D comes along and once again I am reminded just how much I love real bathrooms and showers.

So when the boys have a chance to go camping without Mommy involved I am MORE than willing to get everything ready and pushing them out the door to go with Daddy.  I am sooooo thankful for Father/Son camp outs because then there is no way for David to try to talk me into camping with them.

Yesterday was our ward's Father/Son camp out at Frank Raines Park in Patterson.  Hyrum was sick so he stayed with me (it was really fun just having Bitty time.  Man, he's so cute when he is sick!) but according to all the boys, it was a lot of fun.
 This was part of a hike they all went on Saturday morning.
I love these other parts of the gospel.  I think of the gospel and naturally Christlike things come to mind, but then camp outs like this happen and I am reminded that sometimes just being around other Christians is such a blessing in itself.  And especially being around members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because with them I know my children are not going to be influenced by beer, a common camp out beverage.
Just another thing I am grateful for knowing about my faith.  Not drinking alcohol doesn't have to seem like one of those "don't" commandments.  Really, it just made my life a whole lot easier Friday night as I knew my boys were around a bunch of good examples of manhood.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

4th Grade Firefighter Visit

Today the 4th graders at South/West Park Elementary got a spray down from the local firefighters.  They, of course, taught them of fire safety beforehand.  They had this small version of a house that had several levels to it.  The firefighters showed how easy it was for a fire to start at the bottom and then to spread all the way to the top.  It was a reminder to me just how dangerous fire really is.  I love going to these things because of different perspectives you get.  I was talking to a mom next to me who says that she has her younger children open the windows on their own every once in a while just to make sure they are strong enough to get them open in case she was not near during a fire (and that was their only way to escape).  I am grateful for moms who open up about things like that because I just got through making sure Hyrum knew how to open our windows as well as getting the screens out.
But I'm sure the 4th graders were more interested in this:
(the townhouses behind them is where we live)
 That is one happy boy!
I think I am going to have to pack up Levi's long sleeved shirts.  It is a little chilly in the morning so he almost always puts on a long sleeved shirt for school but within a few hours it is hot.  To make it worse, he is always wearing his pull over OU sweater/jacket.  I tell him when he gets inside that he should take off that jacket but he refuses.  I don't see how he can stand it but he insists he is not hot.  Crazy kid!