Saturday, May 31, 2014

Walking With Angels

Utah county has an incredible organization called United Angels Foundation that gives support to children of all disabilities and their families. We were able to attend their "Walk with Angels" fundraiser today and are so glad that we could. Some of our extended family members were able to come do it with us which made it even more special. Before the actual walk began the announcer said, "we call this our walk with angels because we truly believe that all these children with different disabilities are angels." I had just been begging and pleading and dragging my very stubborn Nash man to get off the bouncy house and come join the walk. I looked around and saw several parents dealing with the same thing. Kids not wanting to comply or be interrupted in their fun. Some parents were struggling to push wheelchairs through the grass. Others were trying to keep all of their other children from running off. Some of the kids had to be carried, pulled in wagons or pushed in strollers. Everyone started lining up behind the start line but not us because Nash wanted to be up by all of the cool characters. So we sat in the shade and watched the parade of "angels" and their families walk by. At first appearance they didn't look like angels, at least not the cherubic, glowing, always pleasant, well behaved kind of angels. But they are angels. They are angels because they come here in imperfect bodies (which can't be an easy thing) to teach us, their families and friends how to give and how we need to live. These kids have a way of reminding us who we really are, what is truly important and who we have the potential to become. Raising children, even if they don't have "special needs" is a challenging and life changing experience. (In my mind everyone has "special needs" or ways they could use a little extra love. Some needs are just more apparent than others.) I am amazed at what my kids have taught me about myself. Nash is an especially great teacher, he knows just how to get me outside of my comfort zone. Some days he can really push me to my limit but as I look back on struggles we've had and continue to have I can actually see the growth and feel the joy and satisfaction that come with that growth. It is true, they are angels. We really walked with a lot of angels today and it was awesome!

 Nash meet his dream girl..."Snowflake" a.k.a. SnowWhite

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hamster Tragedy

Once there was a little girl who had two hamsters, Tootsie and Sucker.  Her parents told her she could have her hamsters as long as she took care of them. She did a great job playing with them, feeding them, making sure they had water and cleaning out their cage. Sadly one day about a year later one of the hamsters passed away after eating some play dough. Shortly after that the little girl got busy with school, piano and friends. Her mom started having to feed the remaining hamster, clean out its cage and talk to it so it wouldn't be lonely. One day while cleaning out the hamster cage the kind mother remembered the deal and told the little girl that if she didn't start taking care of the hamster again it would be gone. Apparently the little girl didn't think the mom was serious. After all everyone loved the hamster even if was starving and stinky. Well one day the mom got brave and sold the hamster to a little boy who was excited to take care of it. Several days went by when suddenly the moment the mother had been dreading came. The little girl asked where her hamster was. The kind mother told her the truth, but suddenly the mother was not kind anymore.  Now she was the meanest most cold hearted mother in the world. The little girl cried a lot and moped around missing her hamster for days. The mother cried too and had some sleepless nights. The mother felt really horrible especially when the girls teacher called to see why the girl had been so sad at school. Just when the mother was about to call the boy who now owned the hamster to see if she could buy it back, the handsome dad came to the rescue.  He stepped into the middle of the drama promising both the mother and the girl  that this was a good learning experience. He explained once again why the hamster was gone and what we could do to learn from it. He also promised the girl that if she kept up on her other responsibilities during the winter she could try again with a new pet in the spring. It still hurt for awhile but the little girl started looking forward the getting a bunny in the spring. Then one day the girl said "Mom I can't believe you gave my hamster away!" The mom said, "Neither can I!" Then they both laughed.
Oh the hard lessons we learn!  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

First Day of School 2013

Can you believe it?!
It's hard to believe our Brynlee cakes is in 2nd grade!
Time flies!
But Bryn is a little smarty and is so ready to be back in school!
 The boys weren't very excited about her leaving for school...
Sad day for them loosing their leader of all thing fun, good thing school doesn't last all day!

Cassie likes school too!
My favorite part of the first day of school: Milk n' cookies tell me all about it time!
Bryn was so happy to report that not only is her teacher the oldest teacher in the school, but the nicest too! (Funny story: We went to the school to find out who Brynlee's teacher was, not knowing any of the 2nd grade teachers at all, not even their names. We found her name on the list under Mrs. Alldredge. As we were walking away Bryn said, "I am so lucky! I always get the teacher I want!"
Me:"Maybe your lucky because you always want what you get."
Bryn:"Mom, that makes no sense at all!"
Hopefully someday it will!
One of my favorite quotes is "Happiness isn't about getting what you want, its about wanting what you get."
I digress, now back to Mrs. Alldredge...
She sent Bryn home with a fun M&M game to play to help her tell me all about the first day.
Brynlee is so excited that her teacher has a lot of cats just like Nana! One of them is even going to have kittens that her teacher might bring to class....if that doesn't get you excited for school I don't know what will! =)

Now you are really not going to believe it because
our Nashie baby is in kindergarten!
Maybe I should stop calling him that.
As you can see, he was thrilled to get his picture taken
I couldn't beg or bribe him to smile.
Once going to school was on his mind that is all he wanted to do!
And he wanted to wear his crown to school.
Ridge and I took him so I could see his classroom and meet his new teachers. He is going to a small group kindergarten that is not at our home school.
When we got there all of the little kindergarteners were playing on the playground outside the classroom doors waiting for the teachers to come. The boys jumped right in the mix. At first it was sweet to watch them, but then I started to have a panic attack.
How could I leave him at the strange school we had never been to with teachers that I had never met?! How could I leave him there without his big sister being just across the hall?!
It was really hard for me!
 We met the teachers and they seemed nice but I stuck around as long as I could.
Finally after they told me twice I could leave I did.
It wasn't a happy ride for me or Ridge!
Ridge cried and cried that he wanted to go to school with Nash and I cried because I hated leaving my baby on his own! I didn't expect it to be so hard for me to let Nash go to kindergarten especially since he went to three years of preschool! It shouldn't be anything new but I hadn't realized how having Brynlee there at the same school, looking in on him every once in awhile and giving me updates all the time about what she saw him doing had been so important!
I need to make friends with some kids at his school who can tell me what he does there!
By the time his bus brought him home I was so relieved!
He made it through the day and came home with a smile on his face!

Ridge was so happy to see him!
They yelled each others names and hugged for like at least a full minute!
It was like he just got back from a two year mission or something!

It makes me so happy that they love each other so much!
 So my new plan is to hold Nash back next year and then send Ridge to school a year early so they can be in the same grade! Just kidding but that would be awesome!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

2013 School Theme

For this years back to school theme we choose
Diligent = having or showing care and conscientiousness in one's work or duties;
characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic energy. 

Food for thought taken from a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard
"Honeybees are driven to pollinate, gather nectar, and condense the nectar into honey. It is their magnificent obsession imprinted into their genetic makeup by our Creator. It is estimated that to produce just one pound (0.45 kg) of honey, the average hive of 20,000 to 60,000 bees must collectively visit millions of flowers and travel the equivalent of two times around the world. Over its short lifetime of just a few weeks to four months, a single honeybee’s contribution of honey to its hive is a mere one-twelfth of one teaspoon.
Though seemingly insignificant when compared to the total, each bee’s one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey is vital to the life of the hive. The bees depend on each other. Work that would be overwhelming for a few bees to do becomes lighter because all of the bees faithfully do their part...
We are to love God and to love and care for our neighbors as ourselves. Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together, united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us—our families, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens...
These simple, daily acts of service may not seem like much in and of themselves, but when considered collectively they become just like the one-twelfth teaspoon of honey contributed by a single bee to the hive. There is power in our love for God and for His children, and when that love is tangibly manifest in millions of acts of Christian kindness, it will sweeten and nourish the world How do we ingrain this love of Christ into our hearts? There is one simple daily practice that can make a difference...
That simple practice is: In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. Stay focused, just like the honeybees focus on the flowers from which to gather nectar and pollen. If you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible.
We had a fantastic discussion about being diligent and got all fired up for this school year.
At least with Brynlee (the boys apparently lost interest!)

As a family we will be following Elder Ballards counsel and praying for opportunities to be diligent in service everyday. It will be fun to share our experiences at dinner each night.
It's going to be a sweet school year!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Labor Day to Remember

 Everyone was up early today so we decided to go for a family jog!
Brady pushed the boys in the stroller and Brynlee and I ran after them.
We could smell the beginning of autumn in the nice cool morning air
three beautiful bucks ran across the road in front of us and made dad's heart beat a little faster!
We ran across Hog Hallow, down the hill and across Westfield road which happens to be one of my favorite streets because it is lined with horse pastures, beautiful green fields and trees. Then we started the climb back up Pfeifferhorn and around to Matterhorn again.
 We were enjoying being outside and feeling those good exercise endorphins running through us so much that when we reached our driveway we decided to ditch the stroller, grab the camera and head up the hill for a little hike.
We barely made it out of the driveway and the boys were already stopping to smell the flowers! :)
 Nash also stopped to tell Shadow hello
 Some beautiful storm clouds came rolling in so we stopped for a picture with them too!

 I love watching our children run wild and free!
It is such a blessing to be able to enjoy the beauty that is all around us!

 What a view! We could tell it was going to be a great day!
 Even with all of her arthritis Cassie girl made the climb.
She wasn't about to miss out on the fun and we're glad she didn't!
After we got home we hurried to get the yard work and our chores done so we could head up to Strawberry Reservoir for some more fun.
 Brady and I have a special hunt planned for this fall so we did a little bit of target shooting.

The children found lots of ways to keep entertained! 

A favorite of the boys was throwing rocks in the water!
 Brynlee went to work taking beautiful pictures.
Turns out she is a great photographer!
Here are some of her pictures...

 The boys REALLY wanted to have their picture taken with me!

Everything was going great until dad got a little too close to the scope on his muzzle loader!
That thing kicks hard! Luckily he is tough (and a good sport to let Bryn take pictures!)
After that we made our way out to the water...
 Bryn caught the first and biggest fish of the day!
She likes fish in the water much better than on the boat! 

Ridge gets SO excited when its his turn to reel a fish in!
I still haven't figured out what it is about fish that makes those boys so happy but whatever it is,
it works! Look at those happy faces!
 Nash didn't have the best luck this trip, his fish kept getting off. 
That's okay though because he likes to sit on my lap and help me drive the boat!
It was such a beautiful evening! I really should have taken more pictures. Strawberry is amazing! Just before the sun set the water got really calm and glassy and we could see big black storm clouds and lightening off in the distance. As we pulled the boat out we watched a group of mama deer and their babies eating the grass and drinking at a spot where there was a little inlet. The sun set as we drove down the canyon into Heber. By the time we started down Provo canyon the sky was black and an amazing lightening show began. Everything would be black and then all of the sudden the sky would light up and the rugged silhouette of the mountains would appear in the sky for just an instant before it all went dark again!
God makes the most amazing shows ever!
The kids fell peacefully asleep in the back seat while Brady and I listened to Unchained Melody, Stand By Me, and a bunch of "our songs". By the time we got to Provo it was pouring rain.
It was so romantic that I decided to tell Brady all about the book "Jane Eyre" that I recently read and loved! I did my best to describe it to him, but how can you explain a masterpiece in twenty minutes?!
He mostly just rolled his eyes at me which made me laugh because it looked so funny with a big band-aid stuck between them! Eventually we made it home put the kids to bed and glued his cut closed but you can see why I needed to blog about it so quickly! It was an awesome day!