Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tithing for Jackson

Today we got to church and were sitting in our row when Jackson asked me if he could borrow a pen. I looked over to see that he was filling out a tithing receipt. Having just gone through Tithing Settlement I knew he didn't owe anything and thought he must just want to fill out a slip.

"Jackson, you don't owe any tithing."

"Ya mom, I owe tithing on the $5 dollars I got this week."

"Where did you get $5? Did Grandma give you more money?"

"No, Mom. I earned $5 from selling a bunch of my stuff at school. I was broke."

Uh, I had nothing to say because my brain was wondering: 1-What did he sell? 2-Did he sell anything valuable for under $5?

Just then the meeting started and I figured we would talk about it later.

"Jackson, just bring the slip home and we will figure it out together."

He insisted on filling in his name, then stuck it away in his scripture case.

That kid! :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

For the New Year 2012

I pretty much stink at keeping New Year's Resolutions, so I tend to avoid making them. This year I had an idea while attending Relief Society and I think I'm going to give it a go.

This year we will be studying the life of George Albert Smith, an early Prophet and President of our church. I really like the fact that we study a different Prophet each year, as it helps me get to know them. I am always intensely impressed with their seemingly timeless wisdom and direction. After the intro to GAS, it seems that this year will be no different.

From the manual:
When he was 34 years old, George Albert Smith made a list of resolutions that he called his “personal creed”—11 ideals that he committed to live by:

“I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor.

“I would visit the sick and afflicted and inspire in them a desire for faith to be healed.

“I would teach the truth to the understanding and blessing of all mankind.

“I would seek out the erring one and try to win him back to a righteous and a happy life.

“I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right.

“I would live with the masses and help to solve their problems that their earth life may be happy.

“I would avoid the publicity of high positions and discourage the flattery of thoughtless friends.

“I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend.

“I would overcome the tendency to selfishness and jealousy and rejoice in the successes of all the children of my Heavenly Father.

“I would not be an enemy to any living soul.

“Knowing that the Redeemer of mankind has offered to the world the only plan that will fully develop us and make us really happy here and hereafter, I feel it not only a duty but also a blessed privilege to disseminate this truth.”

As I read through the ideals our teacher had printed and posted on the chalkboard, I was incredibly moved at what an amazing person GAS must have been to come up with these 11 ideals. I decided they were worth pondering all year long. So this year, I will try to incorporate these ideals into our lives. I figure if each month I write one up and talk about it in FHE, it can't hurt. ;)

Thanks George Albert Smith. I am looking forward to spending the year with you.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

We Call Him Chuey

Kristine went to Denver over Thanksgiving and sometime while out shopping with her granddaughters, she came across this little hairball.
John's brother called and asked if they could buy him for Grandma (apparently she told them she LOVED him, although she told us the same day that she didn't want him). We asked them to wait at least 5 days to be sure that it was something she really wanted. The next day we got a text from the youngest g-daughter telling us they had purchased the dog and it would be fine because they would keep him in Denver if it was a problem.

I was not happy.

It is really fun to see puppies and want to get them, but there is a reality that comes with that. Sadly, because he was bought from a puppy mill type place, he was very sick (strangely, they still charged full price) having both kennel cough and parasites. But the deal was done and Kristine brought him home after her visit up North. He was on medicine that needed to be administered several times a day. And he was not potty trained. It didn't take long for Kristine's trailer to have multiple messes. Not pleasant.

There was some confusion and discrepancy on his name. It started out as Jack (Papa's name), but Kristine said she really didn't want that, so we changed it to Jake when he got to Durango. The granddaughter that helped pick out the dog really wanted it to be Jack, and Kristine started calling the hairball that again. It was a little confusing, but mostly annoying to me. I stayed out of it because I never talked to the little hairball.

Of course, only a couple of weeks after her return, Kristine went to the hospital for her Gall Bladder. Coincidentally, the only thing I asked for at Christmas was to have all of the floors in my house professionally cleaned. Carpet and tile. It wasn't cheap, but I was ridiculously happy about having it done. And the very day after it was done, the hairball was now staying with us. And he wasn't any closer to being potty trained than he had been before. Luckily, the kennel cough was gone, so he could be around our dog, Daisy, but he still had a lingering gagging thing he did.

Well, we immediately went into potty training mode and he did pretty well. Actually, he seemed really smart and started to catch on.

He was here through the Holidays and getting into the Spirit of Christmas, I scratched his belly a couple of times. There was still the confusion with the whole Jack/Jake thing and I didn't like it. I wasn't that fond of the name Jake, but I had no desire to call a sickly dog after my beloved Father in Law, especially if the dog was going to die. I just couldn't go there. So I called him 'hey'. Not that I was talking a lot to the hairball, but I did have to let him out to tinkle, or entice him to try a chew stick instead of my dresser leg.

As much as I was trying not to be attached to him, I had to admit that I was starting to like the hairball. He was smart, he didn't bark, he liked to follow me around, and he wasn't having accidents on the floors hardly at all. Right after Christmas he had some major constipation and I had to eh-hem (I can't believe I am writing about this...) help him and clean his little bum. He must have been in a lot pain, but he didn't cry or try to run away. He just looked up at me through his hairball hair and looked so very sad and helpless. He let me fix him up and I wrapped him in a little towel and took him to my room.

Of course I called John and told him I couldn't believe what I just had to do to a strange hairball, and could you believe this how I was spending Christmas break?! OK, I admit it was pretty funny talking about it. And dang it, he was so, so well behaved about it all. And gosh darn it, before I knew it, I had to admit that I started to like him. He was a cute hairball that looked like a rat when wet-in an adorable, sad, sickly, cute kind of way. I had tried not to get attached, but after you do what I had to, it kind of bonds you. And it wasn't really his fault that no one potty trained him or kept him healthy. Poor little sucker.

After that, he kind of took a liking to me too. He followed me around and napped in the sun that comes through my bedroom window. But I still wasn't calling him by name and I knew we must decide this.

While the Martins were here, Theo mentioned that the little hairball's hair was just like Chewbaca, the Wookie. I looked at him and thought they were right. "How about Chuey?" I casually asked. Gabe, Seth, and Elise were all there and they started repeating the name to see how it fit. And it seemed like it did. We noted that while small, hairball certainly had the heart of a Wookie. Gabe declared, "His name is SO Chuey." Other people in the room voiced their agreement. But I wasn't sure. I didn't want a third name to throw into the mix. We needed to pick just one name and stick to it.

John talked to Kristine the next day and she seemed all right with the idea (she had actually started calling him Yoda when she first brought him home, so I guess we weren't that far off). I just left it alone, but now it seems like everyone is calling the hairball Chuey, and he responds (I'm telling you-he is really pretty dang smart).

So Chuey it is. As much as I tried to not get attached, I like the hairball. He's smart and cute in a wookie kind of way. The kids love him, but most importantly, I think he makes Grandma Kristine happy. I do hope this last round of medicine will get rid of his cough, because I want him to be healthy and happy.

Oh shoot, he just peed in the office. CHUUUUEEEEEYYYYYY!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Update on Kristine

Grandma Kristine has been staying at our house since Christmas. It has worked out well. She lives in her room in the basement where she has her own bathroom and most importantly, her own TV. The kids love to go hang out with her and are really great at helping her out.

Sidenote: I just have to say that my husband is amazing. I hope my sons treat me half as well as he treats his mom. Elise also is endlessly good at helping Kristine. She is patient and kind-just like her dad.

While I am glad to have Kristine with us, I find it stressful in a mother-of-kids kind of way. I cringe that she gives them endless cookies and candy while letting them watch TV in her room for hours. I don't like discovering that they are watching TV in her bed an hour past their bedtime. Dumb, little stuff. But I try hard to let her do her thing and stay out of her hair. We have had a couple of different ladies helping her out in the past, taking her on errands, or helping her clean her trailer. Fortunately now, our niece Kenna has agreed to come and help her. I am really happy about this, as it helps Kristine stay independent and Kenna is really excellent at working with her.

Right after Christmas we had a visiting nurse come and it lit a fire under Kristine. She let Kristine know that if she wants to stay independent, she needs to be up and walking. Well, she got up and was walking around! It was good. The Physical Therapist came to visit that week as well, and she was concerned that she is at a risk for falling because she walks so unsteady. She told her to march with high knees down the hall and back each day so she can get better at balancing. Elise patiently holds her hands and walks her back and forth.

Just before New Years, she was getting restless at our house and wanted to move back to her trailer. I didn't think she was ready, but I didn't argue with her. I admit that it hurts my feelings when she tells everyone that she has over-stayed her welcome at her daughter-in-law's house. I am not sure what I do to convey that, but I imagine I must. (??) I would want to be in my own space too if I were her, so we let her call her friend to help her pack up her things and take them over to her trailer. This was just after the New Year.

The visiting nurse and the PT came to see her the very next day and I sent them both to the trailer. I told them both that she had decided to move out, but that I thought she ought to still be here. Kenna came for the appointments and told me that the nurse and the PT after evaluating her, said she is NOT ready to be on her own. John was surprised at this, as he feels like she is up to speed with her activity before her hospital stay. I agree with the nurses. I think she needs to get stronger before she goes back on her own. She is at a crossroads (this is according to the PT) where she either needs to get up and move around, or her body will soon not be able to do so.

So after being back in her trailer for just a day, she is back in our house. We will take it a week at a time and the PT will let us know how she feels Kristine is progressing. Kenna comes over and helps her organize her medications, takes her to the store, and will be here when the PT comes on Friday. I think it is the best arrangement that we can have under the circumstances. I hope she is able to keep moving so she can get back on her own, but until then, the kids like the "secret" supply of treats.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rest In Peace Grandma Peters

Today Dorothy Buck Peters, my grandma, passed away. She had been living in a nursing home in South Jordan near my mom. She leaves behind 5 children, the oldest being my mom, followed by 4 boys. I remember visiting her out in California where she lived with my Grandpa. It was like visiting a zoo as they always had many exotic animals around. The ones I remember most were the 20+ spider monkeys that were in a cage by their home. My grandpa was the only on that could go near them safely. Grandma told me it was because they thought he was the head monkey. I thought that was funny. They also had emus, snakes, super chickens, bison, cockatoos, and lots of other random creatures.

She always seemed pretty chipper to me and was quick to giggle. The last few years she was in a lot of pain and I am glad that she isn't suffering anymore. My sisters and I would comment that Grandma Peters was like the energizer Grandma. So many times she seemed close to the end of her life, only to bounce back and recover. When she moved to Utah, my sibling Weston was hired to take care of her which Grandma told me that she really enjoyed. She would show us the soap carvings made by him. I am grateful that Weston could learn of her life and tell us about it at a family reunion.

I know my Grandma must be really proud of my mom and the woman that she is. She took such good care of my Grandma in her last years. Although it is not surprising, it is still really wonderful to see how dedicated my mom is. She visited my Grandma every day and baked yellow cupcakes for her so she would always have one. I think it must be hard for her because my Grandma didn't bounce back and stay longer this time. I know she is in a better place and no longer in pain, and that is a comfort. God be with you til we meet again.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Boys are Weird

Tonight Gabe, Seth, and our neighbor Jared went down to the pond to have a Roman Candle fight. It's just as dangerous as it sounds. Boys lighting, then shooting, Roman candles as one another. For fun!(??)!

I am at least able to say that they took some safety precautions. They wore their helmets and goggles that they use for paint balling. But do I need to state the obvious, that paint balls are not ON FIRE or EXPLODING?!

From the house, it looked like a lost scene from Harry Potter, where wizards shot spells at one another on the frozen lake. There were plenty of loud bangs and bright, flying fireballs. I would occasionally open the window to listen for cries of pain, only to hear jubilant laughter. John went down to check on them after a while (thank goodness!) He returned to tell me that it was likely all of the fish we put in the pond this fall would now be dead. I guess the boys didn't know we had restocked it and they took great pleasure in throwing fireworks into a hole in the ice. Actually, they first BLEW a hole in the ice, then dropped said firecrackers into the water. I'll admit that it is fascinating to watch the fuses burn underwater, then blow up. Sadly, I don't think the fish enjoy it as much as we do.

After it was all over, Gabe and Seth came up to the house to clean up and get to bed. I could't help but notice that they both walked around with enormous grins, and Seth would just spontaneously crack up now and then. After griping to him about the holes melted into his new track pants, I asked him how it was. He answered without hesitation that this had to be the funnest night of his life.

I just don't get it! Pants melting, welts appearing, hair almost burning, and it's the best night ever? Really? Boys are so weird!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

I ditched church today. Well, I went to Sacrament meeting, but then I was perfectly content to be the one to take Grandma Kristine home! I needed a nap and I couldn't wait to get home and close my eyes! :)

Last night we had our traditional New Year's Party. It's weird because every year (this one especially) we go back and forth on having it, but every year we do. With Grandma staying at our house and John traveling out of town last week, I let the stress get the better of me and was feeling a little under the weather. Yesterday morning we were literally wondering if we should go ahead and have the party.

We had already gotten out the fireworks, and bought a bunch of food, so of course, we decided to do it! I know it is obnoxious to be so last minute, but that is just how we had to roll this week with everything going on. There was a pleasant coincidence with a family we know (the ones we spent Christmas Eve with). Tammy is from my home town and her family was all in town for the baptism of her son, so I got to invite some old HS friends over too. I was so glad they could come.

There was a bit of a mishap with the fireworks. I happily call it a mishap, because it had the makings of a Greek tragedy (OK, maybe that is overstating it just a smidge). But it certainly could have been really bad. Seth and Hank were in charge of fireworks this year and when loading the launcher, one of the fireworks must have been loaded backwards, and failed to launch. It instead exploded in the launcher, igniting a whole bunch of other fireworks. I was watching from the upstairs window and my heart instantly about to pop out of my chest. Everyone ran inside and Seth and Hank took off as well. Gladly, everyone was OK, and it ended up being only an exciting, bright, loud explosion. Ugg.

Other than that, it was our typical night, food at 7, piƱata at 8, fireworks at 9, then we were ready to ring in the East Coast New Year at 10PM! During the night I paused and looked around and felt really grateful for the many good people we have in our lives.

This year we did something similar to last year, in that we let the teenagers stay up until the actual New Year! ;) I know, we are CRAZY, right? They played dancing games on the wii and snacked on some food until midnight drew near. One of the kids here is a gal we adore, Mikayla. She is actually a New Year's baby, so we sang Happy Birthday to her just after midnight. I also tried something new this year by having them do Wish Lanterns.

You write your wish, light the lantern, then watch it float away into the New Year (Elise wished for a hedgehog). It had been windy all day and I thought we wouldn't be able to do it, but luckily, it calmed down just in time.

I think the kids liked setting them off. They were sure beautiful!

So goodbye to 2011, hello 2012! I hope you're a good one! :)