Sunday, January 31, 2010

Seth's Special Sunday

I am a happy mom today. Because he is 12, Seth was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood today. He has really taken this seriously and has done a lot to prepare. Earlier in the week, the Bishop asked him to speak in church and also asked him if he would recite his favorite Article of Faith in Primary. Seth agreed but was so, so nervous.

Seth was sitting up on the stand for his talk, and the Bishop had him come up to the podium to get his Primary Advancement certificate. Then, the Bishop asked Seth to go ahead and recite his Article of Faith. Sitting in the front of the chapel, we could see the panic flash on Seth's face. He calmly stepped to the mic and said he would recite the 13th A of F, which is the longest and most would say the most difficult. He raised his hand to grab the pulpit, and I could see it shaking. He had practiced this over and over as he had planned to share it in Primary, but when he went to say it, he only got out 'We believe...' He stopped, and paused. I drew my breath and waited, I could see he was drawing a blank. Then he took a deep breath. He said, 'No, I'm going to do a different one. I'm going to do the 1st." He then recited it flawlessly. He went on to give a nice talk about Faith in Christ before he was finally done. I think he was extremely relieved to be done!! I was extremely relieved to see him stop shaking and not pass out. :)

John was able to confer Seth with the AP. There are few things cooler than that for a wife and mom.

Sadly, the Martins had to head for home and we were sad to see them go. It makes times like this more special when you can share it with family. Overall, a great weekend! I am so grateful for the Gospel that teaches us the importance of family and teaches us the Plan of Salvation.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Martins Are in the House

Because of Seth's 12th birthday, the Martin Family came over from Page for the weekend. The Martins have 4 boys, so I will just say that it is often loud. :) I love it!! I snapped a couple of pics when they were indoors...
Rex, Jebb, and Jackson went to the upstairs cubby so they could pick their own movie to watch. These 3 hang pretty tight. I heard Jackson talking about Rex a few days earlier. He explained that when they got together they would play and play, then they would fight, then they would play some more. So true. Rex gets treated like a brother-good and bad! :)
When the older boys would come inside, they would warm up playing Rock Band. They wouldn't play too long, as they all like to play the drums (of course Gabe manages to play them often).

Elise and Bo hung put quite a bit this trip. Seth and Corbin were outside a large chunk of the time doing this type of stuff:

Although the little guys couldn't dig, they managed to find their own spot under the picnic table. It was perfect fo them!

When evening finally arrived, Seth was SO excited because it was FINALLY time to celebrate his birthday. This meant opening his presents (thanks for making me look bad btw Martins! ;)) He was especially excited to see what was in the big box that had been mailed to him by G&G Ross. It ended up being a special treasure box that Papa Ross had made for him. the letter was really cool and pretty funny--Seth read it to all of us. :) I think Papa has his work cut out for him as all of the grandkids are hoping they too will receive a special chest.

We blew out the candles, had some cake, and Grandma even let us get a picture of her with Seth. Then we put him thru the spanking machine! Good times. Luckily the kids were merciful. It was such a nice night and it was so fun to hang with the cousins. I think it was worth the wait for Seth-he had a great time.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snowdown 2010

Tonight was the annual Snowdown Parade. John took the big kids and I took this pic before they left. This year's theme was 'Life's a Beach,' hence the swimming clothing. There are festivities that go on for several days, but we don't attend too many things. The parade is always at night and lots of hot air balloons are in it. It's super cool when they fire up the burners as they go by (it's warm too!) Sadly, the camera died and John only got one shot at the actual parade.

I had a parenting moment tonight when everyone got home. Gabe hopped on my bed and told me about some of his friends he ran into at the parade. His buddies were with some 8th grade girls that had apparently busted into their parent's liquor cabinet. They mixed a bunch of OJ and vodka up to drink while they were at the parade. Gabe said he realized what was going on and that the girls were drunk, so he told his friends, 'I'm outta here.' Well, his buddies actually left with him. Shwew.

Of course I was a little wide-eyed, but also glad that Gabe removed himself from that situation. I was talking with my little sis about it and we laughed a little bit sharing stories of our own experiences at Gabe's age. I guess this is the time when all kids are going to test the waters and see where they want to be. The choices they make right now are so important, even though they are deceptively innocent seeming. Of course I hope my kids continue to make good choices, but if they don't, I hope they will 'course correct' without too much carnage. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a parent, but I realize more and more how important it is to be an engaged one. I pray that I will be up to the task.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Seth is 12

Today is Seth's 12th birthday. In our family, 12 is an important birthday for boys. This is the age when boys are ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. I posted previously about the Faith in God Program he has participated in. I am glad to note that he completed all of his requirements to finish that. He also let me know just yesterday that he completed the Book of Mormon. I am really proud of Seth for reading it on his own (He said he really liked Enos).

Seth has grown a lot this last year. I think he is a brilliant young man. He has a huge heart and is so generous. It isn't always easy to be the second son, but he has carved out his own identity and is such an asset to our family. I am so impressed with Seth in his role as 'big-brother.' He always looks out for the little guys and is proud to have them around.

When Seth was a baby, he was really colicky. He would cry for several hours every night. There was nothing I could do to help him, and he would scream like he was ticked!! I wondered if this was a sign of things to come! Luckily, he eventually outgrew the colic, but he still could have a flaring temper when provoked. When Seth was 5 or 6 years old he decided to work on his temper. He would pray each night to be able to control his temper and he tried hard to be aware of it. And he got better. This has been an ongoing pattern with Seth. He has the integrity to recognize when he is in the wrong, and he has the character to try to make himself better. I respect that so much about him.

Seth is just fun to hang out with. He is smart and funny. John and I got to take him out to dinner tonight as we will be having the cake and birthday stuff over the weekend. We stopped in a shop downtown and we were cracking ourselves up trying on fun hats. We had a great time and Seth even shared his dessert with us.

Happy Birthday Seth! I am so proud of the young man you are becoming. 12 is an important milestone in your life and I am glad to see you are choosing the right path. I love you!!! I am excited to watch you learn and grow as you enter the Young Man phase of life. I look forward to the man you will grow into...but I'm not in any rush for it to happen just yet!

What is Working Well on Wednesday

Both daughters and mothers-in-law are happier after you take them for a pedicure.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The First Game

Today was Gabe's first basketball game and it happened to be against Miller Middle School (the 'other' Middle School in town). It was at Miller and they let the whole school out to watch the game, so I was feeling the pressure for ol' Gabe. :) It was a close game and I enjoyed watching Gabe play on the 'A Team' as the only 7th grader. He is not the best player on the team, but he is the tallest. ;) One thing that I enjoy about Gabe is that he is a hustler and is coachable.

Man, I am a lousy and lazy sports photographer. This is the only decent shot I got from my seat in the bleachers. Gabe is on the far right in a black jersey. And yes, the Miller kid is a lot taller than him.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Burn Bling

Last night as I was cooking dinner...wait I should just stop right there and say, I have been cooking dinner a lot lately. What is going on? I need to eat out more. I think this post will illustrate why. OK, moving on. So last night. Me. Cooking.

I heated up some olive oil and plunked some chicken into it. There was apparently some ice on it, and it proceeded to splatter like crazy. I reached for the pan to move it from the stove, and a large boiling drop (a large drop, mind you) of olive oil popped up onto my palm, near my thumb. Yeeouch! It burned. After the though occurred to me to just turn off the flame with the knob on the stove, I did so, then I washed off the oil. It still burned. A lot. I don't like burns, dang it!

I held ice on the spot as I continued to cook dinner. Then once dinner was done (we had fettuchine alfredo, chicken, and veggies-yum!), I continued to keep a tight grip on a piece of ice while we ate. It still hurt. boohoo. What could I do? After loading the dishes, I decided to turn to one of my favorite sites for tips and advise on just about any illness or health problem. Earth Clinic has all kinds of cool solutions for what ails you.

I went straight to the 'ailment' section under the letter B and sure enough, I found an amazing fix for my burn. At first read, it seemed strange, even outrageous! But as I thought about it for a moment, I realized the pure GENIUS that was this cure.

Aluminum Foil. Yes, aluminum foil! Crazy, right?!! Aluminum foil? How can it help a burn? Well, it happens to be an outstanding conductor of heat. When you put it against something hot, it will conduct any heat from the point of contact until it can't hold anymore thermal energy. The stored energy then dissapates into a cooler mass (usually air) so more can be conducted from the heat source. In other words, if you put the foil on your burn, the heat gets wicked out into the air. I was getting ready to cut up my aloe vera plant, so before I did, I thought I'd give this a shot. The science made sense!

I don't know if I explained that very well, so I thought I should show pictures.

I wrapped the foil around my thumb to kind of hold it in place on my palm. Look how shiny! So lovely.

I then tried a sleeker styling. Less foil, but still immensely effective. How about that BLING, baby?! Pretty flashy, huh?

I know it sounds odd, but it REALLY did work!! I felt the relief almost instantly and after about a half an hour, I took the foil off and my palm didn't hurt any more! Pretty cool! In fact, I thought it looked so cool, I just might start wearing foil around all the time.

Bling badda Bling and no more BURN!

Friday, January 22, 2010


WOWZA! It is really snowing, and snowing, and snowing. A lot. We are in the midst of a true winter storm. It has been snowing now for days and shows no signs of stopping and will not stop until tomorrow (or so we've heard). School was cancelled today and the kids enjoyed every minute of it, oh, well, most of it.

There is a darling quirky thing we have discovered about our home. During snowstorms that produce any significant accumulation, our well (the well we get our water from) shorts out and renders us waterless. It's always good for brushing up on our survival skills. Today we learned to fill the toilet tanks using this stuff...

And viola, we have water! The kids had fun helping me with this process for a while, but eventually grew tired of carrying buckets downstairs to fill the toilet tanks. So I helped them shift their focus. I got Elise and Jackson to go out and shovel off the trampoline.
And they did a great job until they got distracted by this guy. It looked a lot more fun to ride than to shovel.
John was trying to 'blaze a trail' for the 'well guy' who was coming to see if he could fix our lack-of-water problem. The snow is about 4 feet deep in the backyard. When John jumped of the snowmobile, he was instantly buried up to his waist. Crazy! Elise waded through the snow to check it all out.
After digging around for a while, they cleared a spot for the well guy to do his thing.
Hooray! You never realize how much you appreciate running water until it's gone for a while.

A few more snow shots. Seth stood out by our picnic bench which is a good place to see how much snow has fallen. This is from the last two days. It's kinda hard to tell, but his knee is at the same level at the top of the table.
Seth disappeared outside for a while before coming in to find me. He was excited to show me the snow cave he had built.
I love it when my kids enjoy playing out in the snow. I love it even more when I can get the water for the hot chocolate from the kitchen sink.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WWWW (What's Working Well this Wednesday)


Having 5 children is a blessing and a challenge. There are a lot of us and sometimes it presents logistical problems. One problem we constantly came up with was trying to remember whose turn it was to pray. We say Family Prayer each morning before heading out to meet the day and the last thing we need at that time is an argument.

With 5 kids and 2 parents, the solution seemed almost too obvious (too bad it took me so long to see it!). We have assigned each person in the family to a day of the week. Gabe-Monday, Seth-Tuesday, Elise-Wednesday, Jackson-Thursday, and Jebb-Friday. Of course John and I get to have the weekends.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Faith In God for Boys

When each child in our church turns 8, they receive a copy of this book. It is titled "Faith in God for Boys" (or Girls, as the case may be). It is full of projects, goals, and ideas to help the Primary Child grow and develop their faith over the next 4 years. There are also basic requirements like Praying Daily, Reading Scriptures, Keeping the Commandments, Honoring Parents, Paying Tithing, and Attending Meetings. You are also asked to Memorize the Articles of Faith.

The activities in the guidebook focus on 3 areas:
1) Learning and Living the Gospel
2) Serving Others and
3) Developing Talents.
See Booklet Here

All really great things for a 8-11 year old to focus on. The boys also have a section they complete when they are 11 called Preparing for the Priesthood. The idea is to finish a set number of goals by the end of your 11th year in order 'finish' your Faith in God book and recieve the award (the 'award' is simply a signature from the Bishop at the back of the book).

It's a great program. It really is. But today I am ready to throw the book out the window!!

I have an 11 year old that is only a week and a half away from turning 12. Seth has been really great about working in this over the years (OK, I'll admit we have been 'end-loaded' so to speak, meaning many of the goals that should be spread over the years have been done in the last 6 months). Until today. With only 2 or 3 more things to do, we have for some reason hit a wall and it is making me a little crazy!

I've done pretty well at keeping my cool and gently encouraging, but man-oh-man, it is taking all I've got! Never have I seen a kid take 10 minutes to walk 4 feet to get his scriptures. Then take 10 more minutes to find one verse! What the heck?! I am taking deep breaths and faking a smile by this point!!

I struggle in my own mind with this. It is not 'Faith in God for Moms,' it is 'Faith in God for Boys.' Am I being too pushy or controlling insisting we sit down and review what my son might work on? Seth has been quite good about it for the most part. I do have to remind him, but once I do, he has worked on each goal on his own. But how much should I 'remind' him? And if he does NOT want to do it (like today), should I just let it go? With only 1 1/2 weeks left? I don't know.

One reason I have pushed more than I maybe should has to do with the fact that the Faith in God for Boys is a program that is completely ignored for young boys. Our daughter who is also working in the for Girls, has bi-weekly activities to work specifically in the book. They call it 'Achievement Days.' I guess without scouting, the girls focus more on the spiritual things. I imagine that the Scout Leaders should have helped these boys pass off in their Oh wait, I can't complain too much, as I was Seth's Webelos Leader and I am now in the Primary Presidency. Darn it! So I guess I have been called to Push. Well, Seth did earn his Webelo and even his Arrow of Light. (See how I am trying to prove I wasn't a totally slack leader and parent...) But I digress (I wonder why my kids can't stay on task?.....digress).

Back to Today. Big brick wall. So close to the end.

So I did what any smart parent would do. I slyly called John over, showed him what we were doing, smiled and nodded for a few more minutes, and quietly slinked away. I know it sounds like I am quitting, and I am. For some reason, I have found if you change it up a bit (translation: let John take a whack at it) sometimes it is enough to help the kid shift out of neutral. And it worked. John was able to help Seth accomplish 2 goals. Yippee! That leaves only one lone goal to do--oh ya, there are still several Articles of Faith to be memorized, but Seth is SOOO close!!!
With only a short time until he turns 12, I hope Seth will finish up without having me get too pushy. I know that "finishing" your Faith in God book does not mean you will now have Faith in God, but I do think there is value in completing the requirements to get that signature from the Bishop. I am proud of Seth and all he has accomplished on his own and I hope he won't get too ornery with me if I help him wrap it all up before next week!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Afternoon

Not only is it the day leading into the weekend, Friday is also the day that Jebb gets to stay home from preschool and he and I get to hang out together. John let Jebb and I tag along when he went to visit a job sight. The crew is building a bigger bridge acrossed this creek. The photos aren't very good, but I wasn't allowed to go near the sight without a hard hat.

John too had no hard hat, so he and Jebb visit about the job from a distance. I think it's going all right, it's hard to tell from far away. ;)

Fridays are also early release at school, so we hustled home to meet the bus.

The best thing about Friday Afternoon is that it means we will soon all be together for the weekend. I like hanging out with my family and I am glad they still like hanging out with me-I hope it lasts. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Parenting is Tricky--No Lie

We had a little child raising incident this week. In the evening, Jebb (age 4) walked into my room while I was talking to John and Seth about some trivial matter. I glanced at Jebb and while there was nothing glaringly out of place, I glanced back at him because something about him didn't look quite right.

On closer inspection, I couldn't decide if it was simply a case of him dragging his feet on the carpet while wearing socks (i.e. super static hair that made it kinda stick to his forehead) or if it was something more...mischievous. As I continued to stare, I decided on the latter. A chunk of his bangs was definitely shorter than they had been the last time I saw him. I went in for the confrontation.

"Jebb, did you cut your hair?" I said in firm voice.

He sized me up in a glance. He could see I was onto him. He went for the deflection of blame. "No." Looking around the room. "Seth did it." Well, he fingered Seth so quickly and effortlessly, I (for a moment) believed him.

Until Seth answered "Uh, no I didn't Jebb." so calmly and matter-of-fact-ly that I knew the accusation was out in Left Field.


Jebb's cool facade starts to crumble at this point and he starts to cry a little bit (a typical reaction to an emotionally stressful event for him lately).

"Jebb," John chimes in cool as a cucumber, "Jebb, did you cut your hair?"

The water works really get going now. "No Dad. I didn't do it."

"Then who did Jebb?"

"No one." Crying abates as he looks to see if we are buying what he is selling.

"Jebb. Your bangs are shorter. Who cut them?" John asks.

Crying resumes. "Jackson cut my hair."

By this time, John was doing such a good job with the inquisition that I let him carry on. I went in our bathroom to look for evidence of the deed. I immediately saw the scissors on the counter, but I didn't find any stray locks. Fairly strong circumstantial evidence. Someone had the sophistication to clean up the hair. Very telling. I wanted to know how it went down and what parties were involved.

I finished up the conversation with Seth as John took Jebb by the hand and went downstairs to find Jackson (age 6, and Jebb's #1 partner in most things).

I guess it went something like this.

John took Jebb into Grandma's room where he found Jackson, Elise, and Grandma hanging out.

"Jackson, did you cut Jebb's hair?"

Jackson looked over at Jebb. Then back to John. He gleaned the fact that this was not a good situation. "I didn't cut your hair Jebb."

"Yes you did." came Jebb's convincing reply.

Jackson could see the tears on Jebb's cheeks and wanted nothing to do with it. He appealed straight to John. "Dad, I did not cut Jebb's hair."

Jebb didn't wait for John to decided. He jumped quickly out of the pan and into the fire. He scanned the room. "Elise did it. She cut my hair."

Everyone other than Jebb was on to it by then.

Elise calmly said "No, I didn't Jebb" as she eyed him with a steely gaze.

"It was Grandma." Jebb blurted out, his tone more desperate now.

Grandma had a hearty laugh at this then said sweetly, "No, honey, it wasn't me."

Jebb looked up at John who was still holding his hand and returned to tears in earnest.

John led Jebb out of the Grandma's room and back up the stairs. As they walked John let Jebb know that he would be getting a spank. And if he didn't decide to tell the truth, he would be getting another one. This really got Jebb crying, as spanks for him are extreeeeemely few and far between (he's the spoiled baby, right?).

Jebb tried now in earnest to convince John he was innocent. He pleaded and cried and insisted over and over that he had not cut his hair. John got to our room and looked at me. He quietly asked me, "You're sure he cut his hair, right?" I wasn't sure. I looked again. Jebb was so adamant about it that I began to doubt my judgement. Upon reinspection, it was clear that someone had taken scissors to his bangs. But John and I had the same thought, Jebb seemed so passionate about his innocence, it made us second guess ourselves.

Jebb was still insisting he hadn't done it when John spanked him the first time. John gave him one last chance to come clean, but he stuck with his story. After the second spank, John calmly got down on Jebb's level, looked him in the eyes, and calmly asked him if he had cut his own hair.

"YES!" Cry, cry, cry, "I cut it!" More crying. John took Jebb in his arms and hugged him. He assured him that even though he might get in trouble for doing things wrong, he would get in double trouble for lying about it. Jebb just cried and nodded through tears. We sent him to cry it out on a chair in our room.

"He was so insistent that I wanted to believe him," John said. I too wanted to believe little Jebb. It's no fun to bust your kid lying. It's even less fun to realize that He didn't hesitate to throw anyone and everyone under the bus.

When he finally settled down (he cried for quite a while), I went over to talk to him. To me, this is a time in a child's life when they are very teachable. Jebb had been compelled to be humbled, but he had finally admitted he had done wrong. It's an opportunity not to be wasted. We talked in simple and firm terms of how it is important to tell the truth. Mom and Dad want to be able to believe your words. If you lie about being naughty, you will get in lots more trouble.

When I asked him who always knew if he lied, he immediately came up with himself. When I asked who else ALWAYS knows, he paused, looked down, and said 'Jesus knows.' This is when we talked about prayer and telling Heavenly Father we are sorry, then deciding not to do it any more.

Even though he is only 4, I know Jebb understood what we talked about (even if only at a 4 year old level). I also know he will not be perfectly honest from this day forward, but I do hope he will be more honest. I felt a sweet spirit when he and I knelt together and Jebb said a simple little prayer. I am so grateful for the Gospel and for the fact that it is for ALL of us. The Atonement is real!! How wonderful to know that we can repent and do better! It is a lesson that Jebb, and everyone, will learn over and over in this life. Parenting can be tricky, and I hope that this time at least, we all learned a little something. :)

He sure looks cute with his new buzz!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I am a Woman of Leisure

I got a fun phone call the other day. My sweet friend Patty J called to see if I wanted to go skiing with a few gals. I had to think about it for about .002 seconds. Yes! I did want to go!

I haven't really skiied much since learning how a few years back. I did learn to snowboard when John and I first got married, but found it difficult to go once we started having kiddos. Once those same kiddos got big enough to ski themselves, I decided I'd better learn so I wouldn't be the only non-skiier in the family. So back in '06 I took a women's ski clinic on Wednesdays. I had never, ever been skiing before that (I am a true Arizona girl I guess!)!

Patty and Lanae were actually registered for the same Wed. clinic. It was so fun to see them up there each week. Here we all are back then.

Flash forward to 2010....

Lucy came along today as well, making it a fun foursome. I got this pic of us on the chair lift. My head looks enormous and literally overshadows everyone else--how rude! Anyhoo. The weather was ideal and it was SO not crowded. Perfect...except for the fact that I need a new ski outfit--mine is so 2006. ;)

I had a really great morning up on the mountain. For my first day of the season (other than bunny-hilling it with the littles) it couldn't have been better. I only went once last year and I gotta say it, I was feeling it in the ol' quads!! But oh how sweet it was! How lucky am I to be able to enjoy a day like that?! I have to give a special thanks to my good husband, John (poor guy sent me a text on his way to a meeting, way to keep your nose to the ol' grindstone babe--someone has to support my lifestyle!)