Back to School Dinner 2014–Speak Softly and Listen

My girls are too cute, they request the same thing every year for our Back to School Dinner.  Prosciutto alfredo, breads with dipping sauces, brussel sprouts, a fancy drink, and a treat. I like to spend my time on the creating our new family theme and decorating. So for the dinner I head down to an italian market, pick up the nice pasta, alfredo sauce, baked cake, bread, and fancy drink. So there is very little cooking involved.

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This year I made the decor represent last year’s theme and this year’s theme. In 2011 it was Jesus said love everyone, in 2012 Be strong and of good courage, in 2013 Let your light so shine, and this year Speak softly and listen. I told the girls that they did such a beautiful job of letting their lights shine this past year that I bought them their own star. (Yes! These are the same ones that Nie uses in her dinners, I’m a copy cat). What is with my girls stealing my favorite color, blue is MY favorite color! They all have different shades that they love the most, and sweet Cameron’s is YELLOW!

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Alright so this is how I taught, “Speak softly and listen…” Which I should have entitled, “Speak softly and listen TO EACH OTHER.” I didn’t mean that I want soft-spoken girls, I like how they speak their mind, and loudly. I meant as a family, to each other, that we need to STOP, speak softly, and really listen to each other. I played a soundtrack of the ocean really loud and tried to yell what I was teaching over the waves. Then I walked around the table to each of them and whispered it softly in their ears. I asked them which one they heard better and they all responded with the whisper. I taught them that our house really is a busy loud beautiful ocean. So when we feel frustrated with each other, or tired, or annoyed that we need to do this. To be loving, stop, speak softly, and really listen to each other. I need to do this as a mother more as well. I always get this as a print to display in the busiest part of our home. I also like to bring it up during breakfast time and ask them how they are doing with the theme.

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It was such a sweet, peaceful dinner. Which never happens in our home!! Someone is always screaming!! So it really was a special night.

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We ended the night with back to school blessing from their Daddy. Oh man you should have seen their faces! They were all just beaming as he gave them a blessing, with the biggest smiles. These four girls are strong, important girls. We are lucky parents I tell you. Even on the nights that everyone is screaming at the dinner table.

Summer 2014 Part 4 & Final

September 2nd, 2014 in About Me

Our summer always ends with the same event, well at least for the past five years it has. The Sheepdog Festival at Solider Hollow. We always go and watch the same shows with the girls. That include cool dog tricks, dogs jumping into water, dogs herding sheep, wild animals, etc. We always enjoy the cooler air and dream about how we want to live in that area one day.

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Before the last day of our summer we did a few other things here and there. Tyler’s parents came back from their wonderful year in Detroit on their mission. It was so fun to hear about their year and see how they were in person. The girls sure do love spending time with them when they come. I think their favorite thing to do with them is to just talk and hold hands with them.

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The newest member of the family was blessed when they were here. Look at the fabulous cousin picture we got! haha

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We went to fun breakfasts with Daddy, played at parks with friends, were brave and did two more hikes. I could only fit in one night of the Timp Story Festival (man I wish I could make it to the whole thing). I need to come back and tell you about two new storytellers we discovered, you’ll love them. The girls had fun going with their sweet grandparents.

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What else….oh the lemonade stand. I always tell the girls they can do one lemonade stand during the summer. I put it off as long as I can. I don’t mind making drinks and treats with my girls. It’s just the standing out there and selling it, I am not a fan! But they had a lot of fun. Abby, Cameron, and Shae each picked a flavor of cake cookies to make. I hadn’t had those things in forever and they are so easy to make.

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The annual back to school fashion show is always something the girls get excited for. When I pulled out their new fall clothes they politely ask me, “Uh mom, where is the color?” I have no idea why I bought such gray/white/black clothes this year! Oh well.

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This past weekend we also ended summer with our third annual customer appreciation night. Tyler always does a movie in the park, and this year it was 3 Amigos. The girls passed out promptly in the car after the movie.

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I have one quick thing I wanted to mention lastly. If you live in Utah, have you heard of the Pop Shop that opened in Riverton?  It’s a cute shop that is perfect for a morning smoothie, morning energy soda fix, after school snack, birthday treat, cheer someone up delivery, date night, girls night out, meeting for book club, yadda yadda. The other thing I really like about them is their menu is SMART! It has things for breakfast, food for a quick lunch/dinner, sodas, amazing cookies, milkshakes, etc. AND they have things for the cold weather and warm weather. In the winter you’ll have to go for different hot cocoas and warm breakfast waffles.

You can always fan them on facebook so you can learn more about them. We have needed a place like this!

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Summer 2014 Part 3

August 14th, 2014 in About Me

I really want to be a hiking family. I really want to feel strong, not be skinny, not to make my body look like it has never had kids, I just want to feel stronger. Man these kids keep me busy, this year I really wanted to be a hiking family. For our first hike if it had not been for my sister and brother in law I would have given up and gone back down the mountain. But we did Scout Falls. I also started sliding down the side of the mountain with Reagan hooked onto the front of me. True story. The second hike we went to, the girls just wanted to play. I felt so frustrated and was snapping at them to GET A MOVE ON. Then I realized we were all miserable and gave up. I sat on a log in a field and I kid you not, the girls played in that field for two full hours. It was wonderful. For our last hike (yes it was hard, and yes I decided it is our last one for this season) I had a group of oriental tourists help us up and down the hike. You know…what do you want from me? They were worried about me. I had 3 little old ladies, 2 little old men, and their two daughters offer to help. So I said yes yes yes. It was a wonderful hike and fun getting to know new people. But I do not think this was the year for us to become a hiking family. I SHALL TRY AGAIN!

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One of those pictures is of Tyler jumping off a bridge. Which was NOT his idea like everyone thought when I posted it. During date night I was telling Tyler that I really one day was to check bridge jumping off my list. And he told me of his old days jumping off bridges in his birthday suit. So one night for date night (date nights also have been a favorite part of my summer) we went on a hike. At the end of the hike I noticed some people jumping off the other side of a damn into the lake. I wanted to do it! I did not want to climb the locked gates over the water. But I did it. Tyler didn’t think I was really going to jump in, but I did! And it was so much fun! Summer was full of a lot of great date nights.

Summer was also full of lots of yummy treats. I forgot I had given them this blue ice cream. On the next day when they went #2 I just about died and took them to instacare. But then I remembered the blue ice cream. Gross.

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Summer was full of visitors from Seattle, some of my favorite people in the world. I loved how my kids were so taken with them and really bonded with them right away. Family is important.

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I went to a couple concerts this summer. One with my love Emily to see Neon Trees. Oh my do they put on a good show. And oh my was I a tired woman the day after. I went to a hip hop concert on the Rooftop with my brothers. We were having so much fun and I was screaming to loud, and jumping so much, and dancing SO FANTASTICALLY. That I might have had a wee bit of an accident. Listen, I’ve had four kids, its ok. Courtney, thank you, I loved that night.

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Summer has been spent with weekly visits to see my nephew Rex and lovin on him. The days have been spent doing some Yoga. The days have been spent getting to know sweet women at girls camp and getting together with friends. Summer has been full of cookies bake offs and cookie wars. Summer has been spent doing swimming lessons and attending Art Festivals. Summer has been great.

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Lastly, my husband worked his butt off this summer. This has been a very busy, business growing, super stressful summer. I am so thankful to my husband and his hard work. He is wonderful. HE ALSO NEEDS A BREAK.

Summer 2014 Part 2

August 13th, 2014 in About Me

Lets leave where I left off, summer has been great, but also has had a lot of this:

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One of my kids is really good and leaving passive aggressive notes under my door. And one is really great and climbing on things and screaming until someone gets her down.

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Summer has been full of reading. There have been many trips to the bookstore. My girls are both really into a certain series. Abby is finishing up the last book of The Sisters Grimm and there have been tears about it ending. She already has it planned when she will start to re-read them again. If a movie was to come out based on these books, we would be at the first showing. Cameron picked a series that has a billion books in it, it is never ending, so she will not know this sadness yet!

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There were many summer playdates with friends but also days filled with playing with sisters. That I think is when I am the happiest as a mom, when my girls have days where they get along so well. They happen a lot, but sadly not every day.

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Summer is the busiest time for Tyler and his business. So it is not the time to do a vacation so we do summer camps. We always do one at the Natural History Museum of Utah. This was Abby’s 5th year of attending those, always a favorite. This year we tried 3 other new ones; a Farm Camp at Peterson’s Farm, a claymation camp at SpyHop, and a Club U camp at the University of Utah. Feel free to email me with questions about camps, I will give you good notes and opinions. But my girls had a ball.

During camp the babies (I guess I can’t say babies anymore, maybe the littles?) and I had fun on the town. Hikes, Build a Bear for the first time, back to school shopping, bakeries, museums, and parks. We had so much fun and really missed naptimes. Shae felt special receiving her potty trained box from grandma. She carries that thing around with her all day.

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Personally my favorite days of summer this year were the rainy ones. They reminded me of the rainy season in Costa Rica. It made me just move slower and relax. Best of all, we always went out to splash in the puddles when they were done. Or if you were Reagan you ran around outside naked with one shoe in the rain. I HAVE GIVEN UP PEOPLE, SHE CAN DO WHAT SHE WANTS.

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Summer 2014 Part 1

August 12th, 2014 in About Me

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Hey guess what, that isn’t my yard. It’s the yard of the neighbor’s two doors down. Its amazing, my yard is borderline trashy. So where do we pose for pictures? Someone else’s yard. No shame in that friends!

So, summer, summer, summer. This summer I wanted to start feeling emotionally better. And with some help, I have. hallelujah! The girls were in year round school and so a lot of there summer didn’t feel like summer because they were in school. But I snapped a picture on their last days. Cameron had an end of year program for kindergarten where they sang songs. Lots of songs, and we all danced at the end. Abby looks so grown up, cut it out Abby.

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A highlight of the summer was sewing lessons from grandma. So far they have made pj pants, clothes for their American Girl dolls, sleeping bags for their American Girl dolls, little patchwork blankets, snakes, and pillowcases. Sewing I think is something Abby could really love. It must skip a generation because sewing makes me say very bad words and throw things.

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Summer has also been spent doing things with grandparents and uncles around town. Fishing with grandpa, I remember doing that, it is a special sweet thing.

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Summer has also been full of THIS CHILD GETTING INTO TROUBLE. But then she at the same time is just the most fun sweetest thing. She just has the best personality in the world. I mean look below she SHARES cups of water with Rocco! She takes a drink, sits it down, he takes a drink, then she does. If only she could stop screaming, pushing, and biting people at nursery and do the same.

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Young Women Activity Ideas

August 11th, 2014 in Parties

I brought these games to do at our girls camp. But I know they would work well for a Young Women Activity Idea or as a 10 minute opening to an activity. Most of these are getting to know you friendship type ideas.

Getting to Know You Better VolleyBall

So basically you sharpie up a white volleyball with random questions. When the girls toss it back and forth wherever their left thumb lands, they have to answer that question!

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Me TOO! String Game

So for this game you need to think up more simple questions. For example: favorite music, favorite color, last book you read, your favorite social media app, last place you went on vacation, etc. Questions that the girls can answer in a second and that they could have other people have the same answer. So when a girl answer the questions if other girls have the same answer they raise their hand and say me too. Then you pass the string around. It soon creates a big spiderweb and you see how much everyone has in common with each other.

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The last thing I brought to camp was a print out of…

Jump Roping Rhymes, Hand Clapping Rhymes, and Hopscotch Layouts

It is fun for the girls to do old school playground games!

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Also I’m not sure where to put this. But during camp I had up a bulletin board with the girls’ pictures on it. Every night I put up a new sticky note thanking them for something they did that day. One day I wrote down 3 amazing things about them. AND!! LISTEN!! I did not say anything about looks or use the word sweet. The girls need to know REAL things that are wonderful about them that are on the inside of them.

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Those are my random Young Women Activity Ideas that you could use for girls camp or just a weekday activity.

Sorry I didn’t save the exact list of questions on any of these activities, you can think them up, makes it more fun that way.

Hold Strong

August 10th, 2014 in About Me

This year I was asked to be the girls camp director. When we moved here the church asked us to teach the youth Sunday School. Before that I had never worked with the youth before. So I was way excited but also nervous!

I spoke in church on it and I am going to share my talk with a couple of pictures: 

There are many parts of my testimony that need strengthening and work. But there are a couple things that I know so well in my heart that I can testify are true. And I can tell you with certainty that when you work hard at your calling—not always perfectly—but when you put the time, sacrifice, work into your calling your life will be blessed.

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This year has been a huge year of growth for our business. Earlier in the year we were asked to go to youth conference and it was being held just one or two weeks after opening our first actual location for our business. When we realized youth conference would be so soon after this I knew right away that it was a test and an opportunity for blessings. Tyler and I have learned through our marriage that when we sacrifice and work at our callings and pay our tithing it directly affects the best months of growth in our business. So when I was asked to be the girls camp director I was so excited and also knew it was another opportunity for blessing for my family. This time along with our business being blessed my testimony and my soul was blessed beyond measure. Because of my week at girls camp and being around your girls for a week my family’s lives have been blessed.

I know, that if you are called to be the Laurel President or the Beehive counselor or a visiting teacher or a sunday school teacher. That if you work hard at your calling, that you will be blessed. If you remember to learn to love those you serve, to get to know them, to prepare your meetings or lessons, to pray for guidance on how to help those you serve. That you will be blessed.

Elder Eyring gave a talk once based on a question a man had asked him:

“Not long ago, a young man I did not know approached me in a crowded place. He said quietly but with great intensity: “Elder Eyring, I have just been called as the president of my elders quorum. What advice do you have for me?” I was sure that what he needed to know and to feel I couldn’t give him there, with the people rushing past us. And so I said, “I will give you my counsel in general conference.”

The whole talk is beautiful and gives so much great advice but I wanted to highlight this part:
“You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands. His work is to bless His Father’s spirit children with the opportunity to choose eternal life. So, your calling is to bless lives. That will be true even in the most ordinary tasks you are assigned and in moments when you might be doing something not apparently connected to your call. Just the way you smile or the way you offer to help someone can build their faith. And should you forget who you are, just the way you speak and the way you behave can destroy faith.

Your call has eternal consequences for others and for you. In the world to come, thousands may call your name blessed, even more than the people you serve here. They will be the ancestors and the descendants of those who chose eternal life because of something you said or did, or even what you were.”
Church callings are important. My children have and will continue to need nursery leaders that love them and make them feel safe and happy and loved at church. My girls have and need primary teachers that bear testimony to them every week. They need to learn things from the lines of the primary songs. One day they will need a group of women that love them as their young women leaders. Your girls have leaders and a very special young women president that really love them. And spend so much time caring for them in young womens. I’m crossing my fingers that one day my four girls get leaders like these leaders and this young womens president. This generation needs it more than ever. Tyler and I are both the type of people that like to handle things ourselves and can be kind of private and not like people too much in our business. And as our girls’ parents we are the most important people to teach them and raise them. But I have learned that with this generation and with this world. That I do need others to help them. They need the strength of those that serve them at church to also make it so them return back Home.

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I told the girls this during testimony meeting at camp but I knew for a couple months before being called as the camp leader that I would be called. My mind has a way of prepping me for things I think. So I knew that I needed to get to know those I was going to serve. I would talk to them after teaching them in sunday school, make sure I got to know them. I had tons of them over to babysit in the months leading up to going to camp. Some came to help me with my kids’ birthday parties. One of the bad things about me is that I can take too long to warm up to people. So I would have felt very inadequate and nervous to be the camp director if I had not known all the girls so well. So I’m so glad I received personal revelation and could prep for this.

I’m in the mom stage of making sure everyone is fed and survives. I have one daughter that I have to always be in the same room with or she would seriously hurt herself. So my life right now is to make sure my girls survive each day. So I have a very hard time pulling myself away from that and looking at my girls as a big picture. You know what I can do to help them become strong women and daughters of God. What I should be doing for them towards the big picture.

Girls camp helped me come so close to the savior by showing me what I need to start doing or continue doing and even stop doing with my girls for their eternal salvation. And I was blessed by that because of your 17 daughters. Each of your daughters, all 17 of them, taught me so much about my 4 daughters. Your girls are amazing. I will be a very lucky mom if my girls grow up to be like your daughters. Attending girls camp brought me so close to the savior that my family spiritually will benefit hopefully their entire lives will benefit from my time at girls camp.

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I spend so much time making sure that my girls lives are happy. I worry about if they are getting the best math lessons, I drive them all the way to sugarhouse to attend a math school. I talk with the teachers to make sure how they are progressing, if they are incorporating enough stem into their lessons. Asking when they will be starting some computer programming. I do the same thing with their dance and their theatre. And different aspects of their education. Sometimes I can go overboard but I also know I am trying to raise smart, strong, and girls with a nice self esteem and self worth.

But it donned on my during girls camp. Lots of times I get so wrapped up in other things that their spirituality is not getting the same care. I need to be even more wrapped up in how their spirits are doing and their testimonies. Are we studying the scriptures in the right way that really help them, how are our FHE doing, is personal prayer a really deep rooted habit for them? Right now with who are children are, and what their lines ups are in the last generation. Those things need to be the very highest on my to do lists and lists of concerns.

And I will tell you the main thing I learned from them and from your girls that has changed my life….

Right before camp I wanted to do one thing to get away and have some me time before we left. So I met up with two friends of mine for lunch. They are both 10 years older than me. One has 4 girls just like me and another has 3 girls, about half of them teenagers. They are both women I look up to a lot. They told me how some of their oldest girls were getting their patriarchal blessings. And how it was such a rewarding mom moment. That they just sat back and listened to the words of their daughters’ blessing and were in awe. In both blessings their girls were referred to as warriors. Warriors that fought with Micheal at the front lines in the war in heaven. And that are the very strongest who are now warriors here on earth for God.  I know that they both were inspired to tell me this because it is something I carried in my heart all through girls camp.

These girls are warriors sent for the last days. Their spirits are strong and shine bright. Being with them taught me how I want to raise my daughters. I’d be so proud if they grew to be like these wonderful 17 girls.

I truly believe *our* small children right now are the very last warriors to be sent down. They are the strongest. And right now since they are still so young Satan is attacking *us* the parents. He doesn’t want our kids growing up in the church. He is fighting so strong to get todays parents of the last warriors of the church to leave.

I have felt him working on me. I will hold strong. I will up my game. I am the mother of four warriors. Even if I don’t understand everything I will hold on until I can meet God. My job is to get everyone home. I’m not going anywhere.

This church IS true, hold strong my friends. The other mothers of warriors. I love you, let’s pray for strength! It’s game time.

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It is time to read our scriptures every day and not miss a day. It is time that we have FHE every week. There is no time for forgetting, we have to do it, its time. Right now is the time. What I learned from girls camp is that it is time for me to shape up and get to work. Satan the past few months I can feel is working so horribly strong on me that I have to do all that I can to counteract that. I can’t be lazy with anything.

So the girls and I attended camp at Heber Valley Girls Camp. Which is a very cool place. Cabins with bunks, showers, bathrooms, so clean. I like that kind of camping. I’ve only camped once in the past 10 years so I am glad we went to this camp. Gordon B. Hinckley really wanted to buy land for girls camp, it was really important to him. So the church bought this land and it is dedicated and has tons of missionary couples called to serve on it. There really is such a strong spirit just from the land itself. But one of the main things about the camp that makes it fun is the challenge course. There are 6 different courses I think and our stake was assigned one of them. I went to a training the first day of camp to learn one of the stations really well. So that when it was our ward and another ward’s turn on Thursday that I could lead one of the stations by myself. And other leaders from other wards ran the other stations. The challenge course has 6 or 7 different stations in it from ziplining to my station which was called Shark Island. The youth did this at youth conference with Brother Ekins. It is where you are all standing on a platform and you have to get to another platform. And there is just a rope hanging in the middle that can get you from one platform to another platform. But all the space in between is infested by sharks. So you have to figure out how to get the rope over to your group and then all safely cross over. So since our girls had done it before the exercise took like 5 minutes and we had a lot of time to spare. So we really got to talk to each other for awhile about how that exercise related to the gospel. Like how the first platform was sinking and how you can compare that to the world. That the rope is Christ and the atonement, how the sharks are Satan or our temptation. How the final platform is getting back home to heaven.

But there were two things that I know that I should share with you more in detail and that we ars youth and also as adults really need to remember in our lives.

First is the girls, if they fell in the water, in the shark infested water. They were allowed to try again, to try as many times as they wanted. When we had the lesson after the exercise I taught them that. We have a kind God, we don’t have a God that we fail or stubble or mess up and fall into the waters and he says oh too bad, next person’s turn. Our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother and our brother Jesus and the Holy Ghost want us home so badly. And they are KIND and loving. They let us climb out of the shark waters and try again and again. As members of the church, as brothers and sisters we can help each other come to the surface of the dark murky shark water. But we ourselves have to grab ahold of that rope to grab ahold of the atonement and try again.

The other thing that I loved in this exercise is the spotters. There were 3 girls that got to get a turn to swing across but at times they were allowed to be in the shark water to be a spotter and it didn’t count. The sharks would not get them, I told them that somehow magically they were walking on the water. But these spotters weren’t to touch the person trying to swing across unless it looked like they were going to fall and hurt themselves. And also they at the end when they were swinging into the safety place. Two of them were on both sides to help support their shoulders back and head. And then one at home to grab them by the waist and help them land on the platform.

The spotters in this exercise were just the most special thing to explain. Let me read you a part of this talk by Elder Holland which is called The Ministry of Angels:

“God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children. Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.”

We all have spotters in our lives that are our angels. I during a hard time in my life a year year and half ago had my grandmother around me who passed away a couple years ago around me a lot. After she helped me through a hard time in my life, when I was out of the dark. I had the prompting that I needed to take the oldest granddaughter from each of her son’s families out to dinner. I am the oldest cousin on both sides by quite a few years. So these oldest granddaughters some of them are still in high school and some in college. But I just got to know them a bit more and took them to dinner, each separately. Then for Christmas a couple months later I sent them a package. I sent them a print from Annie Henrie who paints because pieces of women with angels helping them in the background. Along with the picture I enclosed this talk and that their grandma wanted them to know that she was their angel and to teach this to their little sisters one day.

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A girl in the other ward that was doing the challenge course along with us, her mom passed away not too long ago, when she was 12. She told the group that she could feel her mom so strongly during that challenge course. That she could feel her mom there helping her through these kind of scary parts of the challenge course. Her mom is her angel to help support her.

This church is true and we all have spotters in our lives that love us and want us back home.

Lastly I told the girls that when you swing into the safety platform. When you finally get back home. It is going to be beautiful. you will have arms there waiting just so excited to hold you and hug you and tell you they love you. Your Heavenly Father and Mother, your brother Jesus, the holy ghost, all your ancestors that have helped be your angels, your family members that have passed. It is going to be the best feeling we will ever experience. So when you feel alone or that you want to stray from the path just picture that in your mind, when we get back home.

I want to let you know that our testimony meeting was beautiful, the spirit was so strong. Many of your girls talked about how much they loved their families. You are so important to them. I have a testimony that we, their parents and youth leaders and aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas were saved at the last day to be THEIR spotters here on this earth. There is a lot of strength in us that we don’t realize. Right now is the time so be so strong, I know that it is in each of us. I have a testimony that we are loved by many people above. That it is our job to get our families home. That this church will help us hold on strong and get home. I love our church for that.

 

Summer Visitors—the best part

August 10th, 2014 in About Me

Ok, I’m back! The most exciting thing that happened during the week of family being here was….

BECCA HAD HER BABY!

She just blogged her birth story so you will have to read it. (find it here)

It was so exciting (for everyone but Becca) to be on the edge of meeting a new nephew/cousin the whole week. Its hard when family lives in different spots around the country. Sometimes you don’t feel very close, which makes me sad. But when we are all together it feels wonderful. And to see how much everyone cared about Becca and meeting her sweet new baby. You knew everyone loved each other so much. It was so cute to see the 15 year old boy down to the 1 year old girl excited for the baby to come.

I adored being in the labor room with her. Which is so odd because I’m terrified of labor, even though I’ve done it four times.

Baby Rex is the the most adorable, sweet souled, little man out there. I’m in HECKA LOVE.

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And I loved having his big sisters with me for a couple days while he came into the world. Well I thought everyday that week he was going to come, so his big sisters were with us a lot. Which is such fun for everyone. Such good sweet girlies.

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Best week of the summer by far!

 

 

Summer Visitors

August 5th, 2014 in About Me

YOU GUYS! Summer is crazy! We aren’t even doing vacations, not even *A* vacation and it is still jam packed. Also Reagan is on a mission to break one of her bones or crack open her head every day. So I can’t take any time for a hobby. When I leave her with a babysitter this is how the instructions to them go: “If you go outside, she will try to run into the middle of the road. If you try to play in the front yard, she will try to jump into the window wells. If you go to the park, she will climb to the highest part, and try to fly off. If you go to the pool she will try to go as deep as she can and throw herself under. If you do not block off the upstairs she will try to swim in toilets. If you are not STARING RIGHT AT HER she will try to climb on the stove and turn it on. She will in fact climb onto the kitchen table and hang off the chandelier. Any knives in the house or scissors she somehow will find and try to make music with them. Basically if you are not staring right at her, she will be trying to hurt herself.” Then I leave and pray that she survives someone else watching her.

So I don’t have too much of what you would call free time. Or what you would call down time. During her naptime  of course I am very productive and gets lots done. I cry. I breathe. I collapse onto the couch and cannot move.

Oh but we love her, she is the life of everything. But the family blog has been pretty empty because I just have -0- time.

A highlight of the summer so far has been the California cousins coming to visit. Usually we go to see them, this time we got lucky and they came to us! The girls got to skip the last few days of their school year so they could spend time with them.

I think what I loved the most is that everyone is at the perfect stage and ages right now. Cameron and their youngest that is a boy still play together really well. Abby and their daughter just are best friends. Both of their teenagers are in fun sweet teenager stages. We love being around those two. (These two were one of the biggest reasons I married Tyler, I love these two so much!) And look at how sweet they were with my babies:

oldercousins

zackandcameron nicoleandgirls kidsattemple allieandreagan

brownboys

Daybreak is a really fun place to live. So we went to the river, ziplining park, canoeing on the lake, walks to the temple. Such a perfect place to live for when you have visitors in town. Free things and not long drives, can’t beat that! Whenever we go to California Tyler’s brother plans a fun camping trip for us. So when they came to visit us we wanted to do something. Although camping would be way too much for me to pull off! So we just rented some wave-runners and went to the prettiest part of Utah (we think!), Eden.

Tyler and his oldest nephew had a ball. It was fun to see them have so much fun. I tricked kids into getting onto the wave-runners and having fun. I got everyone to go on and everyone had a great day. The babies went from wading in the water to eating pirate booty non stop in their chairs.

pineview jetskiing

lazyjetskiing

nicoleandreagan

cousinsnotfuzzy

I think we have spent the last four 4th of Julys together, I love it, I want to do that forever. Our favorite parts of the 4th were watching Uncle Ryan dance with the fireworks. And sweet Shae’s reactions to the fireworks.

4thsky 4thofjulyshaeandemma lydiaandzack

 

We had such a wonderful time with everyone. But that isn’t even the most exciting thing that happened during that week. I will be back to tell you what that was soon!

cousins

Dance Year Al fin !

June 20th, 2014 in About Me

Wow it sure is a relief when dance season is done. It gets so intense at the end of the year. No let me take that back this year was the first year I didn’t feel stressed. Abby has been dancing for 6 years now. So it only took six years, wow I am a slow learner.

They performed at Kingsbury Hall and love everything about it. Hanging out with their friends backstage, performing, the finale with all their friends. Tyler is always surprised to see how happy Abby looks on stage. And Cameron, man, she has that performance face down pat!

 

abbydance camerondance

Abby finished her first year on dance team. It was a relaxed dance team program where they do a competition, but just for fun. Then their other performances are at fun festivals and old folk homes. Dancing gives her a very big boost of self esteem and happy endorphins. For Cameron it helps her learn to focus. After a summer off we are an even busier dance year next year!

 

For the grandmas I have links to the girls’ dances. Abby’s is here and Cameron’s is here.