Sunday, December 30, 2012

Small Things

We had a very full December with parties, events, school choir and band concerts, Breakfast with Santa, Zoo Lights, playing with cousins and lots of delicious Christmas cookies! We played Lasertag with my sister's family and saw movies and played games with grandparents.  The Oregon Zoo was ablaze with twinkling lights that were stunning and beautiful to behold. And in all the excitement and fun in the month of December it's interesting to note that my favorite moment was a quiet Saturday morning spent walking on the river path in the wintry air.  As we walked along in the cloudy chill we laughed and sang, and we build each other up with talk of kindness.  It doesn't happen very often, but when we pause and are still, long enough to truely hear each other, we find paradise in the small things in life.  

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Summer Fun

So, I haven't blogged much lately.  Busy summer, I guess.  I didn't stress myself too much, but we had lots and lots of fun.  Here's a few of our favorite memories from summer:

Lake Shasta: We rented a boat for the day and with my brother Eric. He and I insisted that we have lunch on top if this huge, muddy hill.  By the time we made it to the top I had fallen down twice and was covered in mud, but still determined to have fun.  The Shasta Lake Caverns were also beautiful and amazing!

Endless days at Amazon Pool: I honestly got a little tired of this, but the kids had fun swimming, tanning and playing in the sand while I talked to friends or read a book.

Leaburg Fish Hatchery:  Don't know what it is, but we love this little hangout.  We usually bring a picnic and find a grassy spot to eat and watch and feed all the fish and sturgeon swimming in the ponds.  We wander down to the river and wade in or invariably throw rocks, because we all know there's something magical about throwing rocks into water, right?  If only for a moment, it turns us back into silly, playful children.

Boise: I know it sounds lame, but the kids and I drove across Oregon to meet up with my sister, Kristen and her 2 kids.  It was a "no husbands" adventure the turned out to be a blast!  We went to the water slides and ate lots of good food and won some money playing scratch offs and stayed up late talking and laughing.  We didn't stay in the nicest part of town though.  When we went to bed the first night the boys looked out he window and saw a bright marque that said, "Naughty school girl party tonight".  Then asked, " What's a naughty school girl party?". That was an interesting one to explain!

Playing at Sahalie Falls and Belknap Hot Springs:  We hiked back behind the Falls and stood up on the precipice of the waterfall.  Hearing the roar and feeling the rush of the spray was exhilarating!  I could have stayed all day, but we wanted to go to Belknap.  We hiked around behind the hot springs and watched the kids play tag in the big fields and just took in the beautiful scenery:  it's gorgeous!

Ah summer, adieu!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Trek 2012: ZION or BUSTos

This year Dan and I were asked to be "Ma and Pa" to a family of 10 kids that we had never met and lead them in an LDS pioneer simulation up a mountain in central Oregon.  Being apprehensive about hiking 27 miles and pulling a handcart up and down 3000 elevation feet, we were more than a little unsure about whether we should do this.  But being committed to serving in this capacity we, with more than a few worries, persevered and led our new "family" for 4 days in the heat, dust and dirt.  We pushed a handcart on a rough dirt trail, over rocks,and through bushes, with ticks crawling on more than a few of us.  We made and broke camp each day ,(barely) sleeping on thin pads and repacking our handcarts each day. I, and many others, developed blisters, treated and taped them, and walked on.   If I stopped my story right there most people would (and have) said, "you couldn't pay me enough to do that".

But my story doesn't end there...

With no electronics, no cell service, no TV, or recorded music there were no distractions.  I found this "simpler life" so incredibly joyful.  Just me, my husband, my "kids" and God to lead the way.  I learned to lean on Him and to trust Him in a way I never needed to in my life.  I had been entrusted with a huge responsibility of being a "Ma" to all these teenagers and I wanted so very desperately to say the things they needed to hear, and to love them in a way that they would feel loved.  I prayed for guidance.  I wanted to be able to walk on and be a good example to my family and inspire them to be the best they could be.  I prayed for strength and perseverance. I wanted to keep up the spirits of my family so they would have the strength to keep walking.  I prayed for inspiration.  And I wanted to be able to keep this up for 4 days and make it to the end.  I prayed for sleep.

And my prayers were answered.  I felt God's love for each and every one of His children.  He loves me and He loves you! He is only waiting for us to ask, to have faith, and to TRUST HIM.

And I learned to be so very thankful for the comforts of my life and for the sacrifice of pioneers that came before me.  I learned to love without reservation and without fear of acceptance.  I learned faith, patience and inner strength.  I learned what God's and angels' hands feel like, guiding me in the right direction.  I know more assuredly how my Savior helps and heals and loves.

Was it difficult?  Yes, very.  Did I miss my fluffy, cozy bed and my toilet and shower?  Uh, ya. Were there times when I was miserable and utterly exhausted?  For sure.  Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat!

To feel God's love that intimately is worth any sacrifice I could ever make.  Because it was He, even Jesus Christ, that sacrificed everything, so that we might come back and live with God again.

It was SO worth it.

Monday, March 19, 2012


The land where 3 of my 4 children were born, is our spring break destination. We lived in San Antonio for 7 years and we are headed back for a visit. While planning our vacation I am reminded of all the things I love about San Antonio and Texas.

1. Spring wildflowers, especially bluebonnets!
2. The food!!! Papasitos, Rudy's, Zio's, La Maidleline, Taco Cabana...etc. (It's so good that I'll probably gain back the 10 lbs I've just lost.)
3. The missions. Everyone tells you to see the Alamo, which is awesome, but you would be remiss if you didn't see some of the other missions in the area.
4. Family and friends I have there.
5. Lost Maples State Park--amazing in the fall!!!
6. Sea World, Six Flags and many other amusement type parks.
7. The Hill Counrty and Fredrickburg--beautiful and charming.
8. South Padre Island--a great place to swim in the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico.
9. Canyon Lake. You can dive right from the rocky shore into deep, pristine water.
10. The Riverwalk. While it's especially humid, the unique and and colorful ambiance is inviting and fun to experience, especially on a riverboat tour.

I can't wait to leave this rainy, cold weather and take in the 80 degree sunshine that's waiting for me... Yee Ha!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Olivia's Baptism

Olivia was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on February 4, 2012. She was nervous when she got up to sing "When I Am Baptized", with her friend Jada Loganomoce, but Jada reached over and held Olivia's hand throughout the song. It was so sweet! They looked and sounded like little angels!

Olivia was also nervous when she stepped into the font, but when she stepped out she said, "Mom, it was so great! I want to do it again! I thought it was going to be scary, but it wasn't. I felt warm and happy!". I'm so proud of her for taking this important step in Heavenly Father's Plan. Together, as a family, we will return home to our Father in Heaven. We are His children, and He loves each one of us!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Food in Jars

I thought it would be fun to make soup in a jar for Christmas gifts this year, so searched long and hard for good recipes. When I finally found one that looked good I decided to do a trial run before I gave it out to all my friends. Well it's a good thing I did, because it was awful!

So then I decided to do cookies in a jar. They are not as healthy as soup, but that failed, so I had to move on. When I finally found one that looked good I didn't have time to try it out. So I only gave a few jars out and crossed my fingers that they would be good. Fast forward a few weeks and the reviews came in: they were fantastic! So I had to try them myself, and sure enough, they are wonderfully delicious! So here is the recipe: .

Try them and see what you think.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Little Reminiscing...

This is how big my sweet Olivia was when we moved to Oregon in July 2007! She was just a little baby!
I also found this absolutely delicious little jem of her sleeping on the stairs, of our then brand-new house.
And this is her now... Happy 8th Birthday Olivia! I CANNOT believe how time has flown in the past 5 five years!
Here's a bonus pic of the 3 kids in 2007. Why, oh why, do they have to grow up soooooo fast! It's really one of the great cruelties of life. But, I guess I do want them to grow and learn and be the fantastic people that they are. I LOVE MY KIDS!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Fun

We love to swim in the morass of wrapping paper and bows (that always get chucked across the room, as tradition).

This was the first year that Daphne got into the excitement, and took her turn opening presents with pure joy. We all take turns so everyone gets to see what everyone else gets (and so it lasts longer).

Olivia was so excited to get a Fijit Friend from Santa!
Best of all was the last 2 presents, one for Savannah and one for Liam. They were each wrapped in 4 different boxes, and when they got to the last one it was an iTouch! They were obviously thrilled!

The very last gift was marked "From Jesus". Inside was a sheet of paper that said, "Eternal Life". This is the greatest of all the gifts of God. I am so thankful for my Savior and His humble birth. Because of His life we can return to live with our Father again. Mery Christmas!