Friday, October 20, 2017

Parrot Cove

We left our home in Utah on the 29th of September.  Maybe later I will journal about everything that happened.  Maybe.

Instead, I will journal something fun!
 Our last hotel stay, along the way, was in Garden City Kansas.  We got to play in an indoor water park called Parrot Cove.  It is connected to a hotel (part of the big slides actually started in the hotel, circled around outside and then came back in the hotel) and it was not busy at all.  It was a long trip, with some disappointments.  The boys deserved every bit of this little get away!


 Brigham and Levi

After 3 hotel stays, we were finally in Oklahoma!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Charlene and Rachel

Just a few days after we came home from visiting Oklahoma this summer, the boys and I met Charlene and her family at a park in Layton.
 All these cool "new" parks have stuff that even teenagers can play on!
 I'm always grateful when I get to see my college roommates.  That is one thing that I love about living in Utah.  Somehow Mormons always find their way to Utah so I get to see lots of friends!  Charlene was visiting from Texas and I had truly missed her.  It had been a few years since we had seen each other.
 The majority of our marriage, David and I have not lived by family.  So, I guess we are kind of used to it but it still feels a little weird not having Stephen, Holly, and their children living in Utah.  Grandma Helen lives in Provo but that is it.  No other family here and we have all missed not having the rest of the Adams here since they left for South Carolina.
 But Rachel graduated from high school and is going to BYU Idaho now!  She was staying in Utah for a little bit before heading off to Idaho.  She came over for church and dinner one day.
 A few days later, Ruger and I took her to SeaQuest.
After that, we went shopping and had lunch together.

I put  Charlene and Rachel together on here because they remind me of the Southern way of living.  I love it here for many reasons.  But I do miss the people of the South.  Talking with Rachel and Charlene was a good reminder of what our family will be living around starting next week.  I look forward to it.  I think the biggest thing I am looking forward to, when it comes to the people, is how open and willing they are to talk about their Savior in everyday settings.  I hope the boys pick up on that.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Farewell Talk

On Sunday, Levi gave the lesson in his Priesthood class.  David and I were the speakers in Sacrament meeting.  When Brother Olsen got up to introduce us, he said it was kinda like a "farewell talk" for us.  So for journal keeping, here it is:

When Clint asked us to speak, he graciously gave us an “out” with him knowing that we are packing and trying to get everything in order.  But he felt the topic couldn’t be better suited for our family.  And he was right.  The topic he asked us to speak on is Strengthening the Family and Home. 
I haven’t been feeling well lately.  I’ve been incredibly stressed and I felt like I didn’t have the time to prepare.  I’m a firm believer in saying “no” when your body and mind can give no more but I’d like to bear you my testimony that if there is even a small part of you than can serve when asked, you will be blessed with the knowledge that the Lord was preparing you in advance.  If you trust in Him, He will help you. 
At the ward dinner a few weekends ago, I was talking to Brother and Sister Allred.  They were asking me about our upcoming move.  They didn’t know it but I had been seriously struggling with our decision to move.  From the outside looking in, it was as close to a perfect outcome for our family.  But within our family, we all had our own doubts (well, maybe except for Ruger).  And all I have wanted to do for the last month or so is to fix it!  But in that moment of talking with the Allreds, it hit me.  I was not trusting the Lord. 
I teach my children in F.H.E. and in personal moments to trust the Lord.  I teach our children in Primary to trust the Lord.  And when I am speaking to them, I mean it.  But as I was talking to the Allreds, I realized that this past month I was just paying my Heavenly Father lip service.  I wasn’t truly trusting Him.  He was giving me sign after sign that this was His will and yet, over and over, I kept seeing all the things that could go wrong.  I needed to stop and truly trust Him.  Not just say with my mouth that I trust Him.
Brothers and Sisters, trust that your Father in Heaven loves you.  And because He loves you, He is going to provide ways to strengthen your home and family.  One of those ways will be providing testimonies of His servants next week in General Conference.  I challenge you to watch or listen to every session with the question of, “What is the Holy Ghost telling me right now to do for my family?”
Almost 20 years ago, Elder Robert D. Hales gave a talk in General Conference titled, “Strengthening Families: Our Sacred Duty.”  I would like to go over some advice that he gave to help identify areas that may need strengthening in your home. 
1.      1.  “Make our homes a safe place where each family member feels love and a sense of belonging.  Realize that each child has varying gifts and abilities; each is an individual requiring special love and care.”  Years ago I was in Relief Society when a sister told the class that her home was a “safe haven” from the world.  That phrase never left me.  David and I have truly tried to make sure that when our children walk through the front door to our many homes, that they know it is a safe haven.  Because we have set standards to what may enter our home, I have hoped that the Lord will help David and I with the rest.  Our home is not a perfect place, but with the Lord’s help it can be a safe haven for our family.
2.     2.  “When my sweetheart and I were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple, Elder Harold B. Lee gave us wise counsel: ““When you raise your voice in anger, the Spirit departs from your home.””  We must never, out of anger, lock the door of our home or our heart to our children.  Like the prodigal son, our children need to know that when they come to themselves, they can turn to us for love and council.”  David and I are far from perfect when it comes to these things that Elder Hales is suggesting.  So there is no judgement when I ask you to consider his advice.  In Proverbs 15:1 it says that, “a soft answer turneth away wrath.”  When has any of us listened to what others have said once anger was involved?  When has the Spirit stayed in a room or setting when sarcasm or unkind words were involved?  I would caution the youth to take this advice as well.  Not just the parents.
3.      3. “Spend individual time with our children, letting them choose the activity and the subject of conversation.  Block out distractions.”  I think this one is really important for our teenagers.  With so much distracting when it comes to technology, may I suggest using that very thing to get closer to your children.  David isn’t a huge gamer by any means but he does take time out to get on his phone to connect with the boys on a game that they are playing because he knows it is something they enjoy.  I personally don’t like games like that at all so I try to find other ways to have alone time with the boys.  Every once in a while, I will surprise them by checking them out of school so that we can have lunch together.  I think finding a middle ground for both parents and children is a great starting point.
4.      4. “Pray daily with our children.”  Our family always has nightly prayers.  But if a routine is not set, our morning prayers are often missed.  During the summer, our morning prayers rarely happen.  When school is in, it is usually a prayer said while I’m driving the older boys to school.  Is this ideal?  No.  But we are doing it!  I am just like many mothers who feel guilty a lot.  I know I should encourage my children to stop and pray with me before we even leave the house in the morning.  But can I share some advice with you that I was given once?  A friend once told me, “Be gentle with yourself.”  We are not perfect parents but we are trying.  Keep trying and be gentle with yourself.
5.     5.  “Read the scriptures together.  I remember my own mother and father reading the scriptures as we children sat on the floor and listened.  Sometimes they would ask, “What does that scripture mean to you?” or “How does it make you feel?”  Then they would listen to us as we responded in our own words.”  If I’m being honest, when our family has our nightly scripture reading and David asks questions like that, he is usually answered with silence.  But I’ve noticed that when he asks them those questions individually, he sometimes gets a response and we have hope that they were listening after all!  It wasn’t very long ago that we were reading about Ammon’s success in missionary work all because he served first.  David was able to share his testimony with our sons that when he served first on his mission, he was able to soften hearts a lot faster with others so that he could share his love of his Savior later. 
6.     6.  “Hold Family Home Evening every week.  As parents, we are sometimes too intimidated to teach or testify to our children.  I have been guilty of that in my own life.  Our children need to have us share spiritual feelings with them and to teach and bear testimony to them.”  I found this interesting because if I would have read this before having teenagers, it wouldn’t have rang as true to me as it does now.  When my children were real young, it was a matter of making sure that Family Home Evening even happened!  Once we got in the habit of having it every week, then the struggle seemed to be getting them to stay still for a lesson.  Over time, we realized that they were too active to have the types of “lessons” that we thought they should have.  So we adjusted.  Over time, we all looked forward to Family Home Evening every week…even if it may have had a lot to do with the treat that they knew would always follow.  But as my children have grown older, I can see exactly what Elder Hales was speaking of when he said that he had been guilty of being intimidated to testify to his children.  But I am learning that the bolder I am in bringing up gospel principles in Family Home Evening, as well as in random everyday situations, my children are learning that not only am I not perfect but that we can speak of spiritual things in places other than prayer and church.
7.     7.  “Teach our children the history of our ancestors and of our own family history.”  The Primary children listening today may remember this.  A few months ago I was teaching in sharing time about family history.  I put the full names of each of my children on the chalkboard.  I asked them what was similar.  One child answered that they all had the same middle and last names.  Another child said something to the effect of their first names being church/scripture names.  All of my children’s first names are Mormon pioneer names.  Levi and Ruger (whose real first name is Joseph) names are from family Mormon pioneer descendants.  Brigham and Hyrum are after Mormon pioneers David and I admired.  I love it when Brigham Young or Hyrum Smith is mentioned in church and pray that my boys are listening and learning of the men Brigham and Hyrum were.  That they have someone to look up to.  I love having Family Home Evening where David and I will mention Levi Hancock and the great sacrificed he made as one of the earliest pioneers.  I look forward to when Ruger gets older and we will be able to share with him the stories of my great grandfather, Joseph.  Stories of his patience as he waited for the missionaries to come to Oklahoma to teach him. Ruger may not share his blood but he shares the same spiritual DNA.  Your children may not be named after a family member but they do share you and your ancestors spiritual DNA!
8.    8.   “Act with faith: don’t react with fear.  When our teenagers begin testing family values, parents need to go to the Lord for guidance on the specific needs of each family member.  This is the time for added love and support and to reinforce your teachings on how to make choices.  It is frightening to allow our children to learn from the mistakes they may make, but their willingness to choose the Lord’s way and family values is greater when the choice comes from within than when we attempt to force those values upon them.  The Lord’s way of love and acceptance is better than Satan’s way of force and coercion, especially in rearing teenagers.
9.     9.  Those listening may feel as if this talk is geared to young families but #9 is what really made me so very grateful for having the opportunity to study this talk.  I read this talk and then felt prompted to listen to the recording of him giving this talk.  This part of the talk is where Elder Hales began to get emotional and it was given for those with teenagers or with those whose children are out of the house as well.  He said, “While we may despair when, after all we can do, some of our children stray from the path of righteousness, the words of Orson F. Whitney can comfort us: “Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold.  Either in this life or the life to come, they will return.  They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving (mother’s and) father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain.  Pray for our careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with our faith.  Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.”  As I said earlier, this part of his talk touched my heart so very much.  The hope it gives is more comforting than anything I read in his talk.  Trust in the Lord that justice will be served and that beautiful mercy will follow.
10. 10.  “What if you are single or have not been blessed with children?  Do you need to be concerned about the counsel regarding families?  Yes.  It is something we all need to learn in earth life.  Unmarried adult members can often lend a special kind of strength to the family, becoming a tremendous source of support, acceptance, and love to their families and the families of those around them.  I want to express my appreciation for those in my own extended family who have guided me by their example and testimony.  Sometimes extended family members can say things parents cannot say without starting an argument.  After a long heart-to-heart discussion with her mother, one young woman said, “It would be awful to tell you and Dad I had done something wrong.  But it would be worse to tell Aunt Susan.  I just couldn’t let her down.””  This made me think of my sister, April.  April has a niece on her husband’s side of the family who looks up to her.  One time this niece’s mother told April that if her daughter does something that she is not supposed to do, he daughter’s fear is not what her parents will do but the fear is if April will find out!

       Everything in parentheses is what Elder Hales said.  The rest were my thoughts.  I ended the talk with my testimony.  I spoke of my appreciation of Heavenly Father’s knowledge of placing us in family here on Earth.  How it makes sense to me.  How I think it also includes our church families.  How some of us are not blessed to live so close to relatives, which makes church family all the more important.  On the way to church, we passed Tyson’s street.  Ruger says, “Hi Tyson.  I like you.”  We get to church and Ruger runs off like he usually does.  Abrie takes him and sits him down right next to her and even though my mother in law is there to help, I know Ruger is safe while David and I are speaking to the church because many will actually be watching him.  David and I are up on the stand when we realize Hyrum is just sitting in a pew by himself looking around and confused.  “Grandma” Eva tries to get his attention that he can sit with her while David and I are mouthing to him that he can sit there or by Grandma Adams.  He is still confused so while Sacrament meeting has already started I get down from the stand to talk to Hyrum but before I can even do that, Kristen says, “He can sit with us.”  As David and I are waiting to speak, I look down at Eva and she is mouthing to me, “I. Love. You.”  These people are our church family.  I’m so grateful I can trust in them.  I’m so grateful that Heavenly Father set it up that way.  I believe that when we pass through the veil and move on from this earthly life, that we are going to be pleasantly surprised how similar it is going to be there.                                                                                                                                                     (Tyson is Levi and Brigham's friend.  Abrie just left Young Womens and is now one of our Primary teachers.  Kristen is the mother of one of Hyrum's closest friends.  And Grandma Eva is a lady in our ward that my children took to instantly.) 


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bonneville Shoreline Trail

As beautiful as these pictures are, they do not do justice for how incredible it was to witness in person.
 Last week, it finally cooled down and rained one morning.  Because it was raining, I drove Hyrum to school.  So I figured Ruger and I should get some shopping done since we were already in the van.  But as I was driving I couldn't stop looking at the mountains!  It looked as if the clouds were rolling down the mountains!  Buy the time I had driven close enough to the mountains to get in it, the cloud coverage had changed dramatically.  I was sad that I couldn't get the "rolling clouds" in picture but it still made for a beautiful drive.  
 Ruger and I got out of the van for an impromptu hike.  The smell was amazing!  The only thing I can describe it as was Christmas.  It really reminded me of Christmas. 

  Throughout our "hike" I would pick random grass, flowers, shrubs, and other stuff and smell it to try to figure out where that smell was coming from.  I still don't know what it is called but this is the one that I finally figured out was making such an amazing smell.

More Randomness

Levi shaved for the first time the other day.
It was pretty much a family event!

I have teased the boys for years now that they are never to grow facial hair.  That I put a curse on them when they were a baby so that it wasn't even possible.  Of course, that led to them telling me that they were going to grow mustaches just for me (because they know I think mustaches are gross).

And to be honest, Brigham probably could have shaved before Levi.  But since he's the oldest and Brigham still hasn't asked...

But it is funny how different Brigham and Levi's bodies are.  They are only 18 months apart but Brigham's facial hair became more apparent before Levi.  Yet Levi shot up in height way before Brigham did.  Levi has had the deepest voice for quite a while, while Brigham's is still the same.  They look completely different from each other.  They act so very differently.
But anyways, on to the cute little ones.  One morning Hyrum was getting ready for school and Ruger got in trouble for something and was sent to his room.  Just before Hyrum left for school, I got Ruger out so he could watch him walk to school.  I opened the door and he jumped out at me and said, "Roar!" with this shirt over his head.  He then told me he was a "Geico."  
We went to Brigham City's Peach Days on a Saturday to find Maddie's booth.  She had written a book with some other classmates and Joy Spraycar.  Maddie and Joy had a tiny new fan that day!  After we bought the book and went home I found a metal bookmark, shirt, and necklace added to the bag that the book was put in.  As always, Ruger wiggled his way into a new friend's heart.  It was super sweet of Joy to give him all that.
Since we were there, we decided to let the boys ride on the rides.  I am not a fan of these types of fairs just because it usually is in summer and is super hot and gross.  Plus, always crowded but I did so incredibly well.  I didn't realize it until David called to check up on me.  We had split up (me with the younger and he with the older) so that the boys could enjoy it more.  I truly appreciate that my husband knows me so well and will do anything for me to make me feel safe.
As always, Ruger was fearless and wanted on every ride!
The only ride I rode with them was the tea cups and I regretted it!  I am such a wimp but I seriously thought I was going to throw up!
Look at all those people in the background!  It was very crowded!
The next day, Ruger wore his necklace, from Maddie, to stake conference.
Just a cute picture to end it with!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pioneer Trek 2017

Levi went on a "pioneer trek" reenactment this summer.  It's a way for the youth to get a better sense of what the Mormon pioneers did and went through as they were driven out of many states because of what they believed.  There are so many sad and terrible stories that happened to the pioneers along their journeys.  But there were also many miracles.  The spirit of those miracles is what I pray Levi gained from this trip.

They walked over 30 miles, pushed handcarts, played pioneer games, sang, had devotionals, and much more all while trying to be as authentic as possible.  They acted, ate, and dressed the part with the exception of wearing good shoes and sunscreen. 
The youth and leaders met up at the church early in the morning before heading off in a bus to start their trek in Wyoming.  
This was the "family" that he was assigned to.
The following are picture that someone from our Stake took.  I'll let Levi describe them later.  But I'll end my part of this journaling with what the trek mission statement was:

“As beneficiaries of a rich legacy of faith, passed down to us by devoted and stalwart pioneers; we resolve to honor and do our part to preserve that legacy as we “Turn our Hearts” to those noble pioneers by walking in their footsteps and sharing their stories of faith, sacrifice and obedience.
Our desire is to experience increased appreciation for these steadfast and faithful saints and, in turn, develop a greater perspective and determination to meet the challenges we will encounter in our own lives, that we may likewise leave a rich legacy of faith for those that follow us.

May our faith include the assurance that we are beloved sons and daughters of God and that He will sustain us through the trials we will face just as He did those noble pioneers who came before us.”

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Summer Stuff 2

A few weeks ago we had to sell our trampoline and as you can imagine, there were some boys not happy about it.  Honestly, I wasn't ready for it to go just yet but this is what happens when you have to get ready to move.
A few weeks before we left for our Oklahoma vacation, Hyrum had a few more friends over that weren't able to come over the last time we had his friends over for one of the trampoline get togethers.  
Levi, Brigham, and Maddie talked Maddie's mom into taking them to Wal-Mart and letting them run free in the store.  Brigham came back with a certain story that we had to have a little "talk" about but other than that they certainly had fun and came back with, as you can see, some interesting stuff.
Zoey was visiting from Texas so the original 3 were able to get together again like last summer.
On August 21st was a solar eclipse.  Hyrum had been asking for me to get special glasses way before the actual eclipse and I wish I could say that I did but....luckily Matt saved the day!  He came across the street with his welding glasses/helmet.  In a few minutes, Justin and Jett were over as well.  Once again, we sure are going to miss our neighbors!
Later that night we were able to go the the elementary school to meet Hyrum's new teacher, Mrs. Robertson.
The following day, I had a 9th grader, 8th grader, and ...
...a 5th grader!
The following day was an inspection for our house so Ruger and I went to a park to play.  He is way too brave for his own good at times.  But every once in a while he would say, "Mom, help!"  So I would go over to him and he would say, "No help!"
Cute little stinker!