Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Service and "A" Time.

 My Mother-in-law is so cool.  I am so blessed to be a member of this K family.  They are amazing to me.  I have been bragging about my Mother-in-law ever since I returned home from Idaho.  She constantly amazes me.  One brief example:  since we were there for a funeral, there were a lot of relatives there that we hadn't seen in a while.  Mom answered the door for one such relative.  In the course of their conversation, Mom was asked how many grandchildren she had.  She replied, "16, but only 13 of them were able to be here."  She was talking about MY three kids.  No qualifications or exclusions.  She just counts them as her grandkids and she treats them as such.  I cannot express how much that means to me.  I hope that I can be just like her.

Another cool thing that Mom does is have a service for the grandchildren (and children) to participate in each year.  This year, it was making school kits for disadvantaged children throughout the world.  Since we were not planning to visit Idaho any time during the holidays, she shipped a box to us.  The kids were so excited.
 We first organized all the items so that we could then make kits.
 It quickly became an assembly line and each child was able to fill the bags with the necessary school supplies.
 The next day was our last day to have all four kids together.  We went to a yogurt place and hung out at the park.  It was a lot of fun.  These four are so good together and I am glad that they have each other as they grow up.  I am truly blessed.  I frequently still mourn for the loss of our baby, but I just have to look at these four smiling faces and remember that I have been truly blessed with children that I love.
 After our outing, we had a sibling present exchange.  The four won't be together again until March.  CK and I will see A much more frequently, but we usually fly to see A when K, C, and J are with their dad.  So any gifts to or from A were done November 23rd instead.  It was fun.

CK told me that I had to include a picture of me.  I guess he is right, there aren't a lot of pictures that have me in them....I usually am the photographer.  :)

Friday, November 25, 2011


 We were lucky enough to get to go to Nauvoo, IL with our family this last weekend.  It is a long drive.  We drove Friday for 11 hours and stayed overnight in St. Louis and picked up A Saturday morning.  We then drove to Nauvoo (about 3 more hours).

This is what we first saw as we came into the city:  the temple.  It was so beautiful and the Spirit both within and without was amazing.  Right after we got there, CK dropped K and I off to take her in to do baptisms for the dead.  What a great experience.  My daughter becomes so loving and so amazing when she is in the temple.  It is a great evidence of the special spirit that is there.  CK took the other three kids.
 After the temple, we went on a carriage ride through the surrounding country.  The Spirit was strong on this ride, too.  It was cold, but we bundled up and loved it. 

 After the carriage ride, we went back to our condo that we were renting.  We prepared dinner and then left K babysitting (I LOVE having a babysitter!) and CK and I went to the temple.  This was part of why we chose to go to Nauvoo.  My awesome Valentine's Day gift from CK was a picture of the Nauvoo temple with the promise that we would go there together sometime before the next Valentine's Day (which is also A's birthday!).  I am so grateful that we got to go there together.  It was very special and I can't wait until Valentine's Day so I can find out which temple we will go to in 2012!

After the temple, we gathered our happy kids and went to Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo, a very well done musical.  We loved it.  The kids loved it and are still singing the songs.
 After the musical, we went out for dinner (for those still hungry) and dessert. 
 The next day was Sunday.  After church, we went to the Visitor's Center.  I loved having all four kids together, learning about Nauvoo and feeling the Spirit.
 After the Visitor's Center, we stopped at the temple.  It was sooooooooooooo cold and windy, but we wanted family pictures there together.

 We got this next one by setting the camera across the street on self-timer.  It was amazing that it worked well.  J is just being silly, but always someone is silly.
Dinner at the condo:
 Isn't the temple beautiful at night?  One of my very favorite moments of this whole trip was this night.  As we were driving home, we stopped down the hill from the temple, looking towards the beautiful lights, and sang together, "I Love to See the Temple."  All four kids cited this moment as one of their favorites of this trip.  It was a very touching opportunity.
Another cool thing about the temple is that J would get so excited EVERY time we saw the temple.  We saw it dozens and dozens of times, but he would shout and get excited every time we could see it, far or near.  He pointed it out every time.  I hope he always has this great love for the temple.

Once we got to the condo, we had a family testimony meeting, then each of us wrote of our thoughts and feelings while being in Nauvoo.  Then, we played some family games.  It was great!  I absolutely love having all four kids together.  It is an opportunity that we don't get often and I cherish it when it happens.
 The next morning, we rode a wagon through the town.  This was a touching point:  the Trail of Tears.  It is where the pioneers lined up to leave Nauvoo and cross the river.  This is where they could see the temple that they worked so hard on and were leaving.  What a difficult time.

 After Nauvoo, we went to Carthage jail.  This is where the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred.  He fell from this very window after he was shot.  I am grateful that we got to go there.

 This is a bullet hole in the door that was shot by the mob that came to kill the prophet.  And, this is another view of the window where he fell.
After Carthage, we drove 10 hours and stopped for the night and then drove another 5 hours home the next day.

Now, K, C, and J are with their dad and CK, A, and I are in Idaho.  CK's grandpa passed away and we are here for the funeral.  It is crazy to have had just one short day at home to unpack, do laundry, and repack.  Also, we will end up being in 10 states in 8 days.  CRAZY!!!  This doesn't even include states that we fly over.  So worth it, though.  I am LOVING being here in Idaho.  I love CK's family and I am so grateful for the love they show me and our three kids that aren't with us today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


 C never liked football.  I tried and tried to teach him what was going on.  But, no.  He didn't like it.  I was okay with that.  He is his own person.  This year, about five months ago, he decided he liked it.  He loves watching it.  He loves playing it at recess.  He loves playing it with CK.  He loves it.  I decided that the true test of his new-found love of football was to allow him to play flag football this season.  Not quite as much pressure.  Not quite as much danger.  And, we'd see if he really liked it.

He was disappointed when coach put him as running back.  He wanted to be a receiver.  He is short and fast and running back really was a good call for him.  The first game was a disaster.  I don't even know if his team even ever made a first down while the other team scored a lot.  30-0 a lot.  It was a depressing game for C's first football game ever.  He got one great run on the openning play and that was it.

His coach is REALLY great, however, and he rallied these kids and they practiced and they came out ready to play last Saturday.  I was impressed with their resilliance.

In the first game, C scored 3 running touchdowns!!!!  He was so happy.  Many of the pictures are blurry since I am trying to watch and document at the same time.  He was on cloud nine.  It was great!

I think I actually got a picture of him during all three touchdown runs.  Final score 20-0, us.  A welcome change.  The second game was more even.  C did not score a touchdown in that one, but his team did well.  They worked together and won that game by a touchdown (thanks to a great block at the end of the game).  It was a close one.  C did have some great runs and he is good about noticing where the ball is and where it is going and blocking for his teammates. 

I am impressed.  And, mostly importantly, C loves it!  He loved it even with the loss and he loved it even more with the wins.  It is great to see the happiness on his face, even after practices.  We are blessed.

Staining the fence

 Our good neighbor recently rebuilt the fence between our yards.  Although the fence was a little old before, it was still functional (we thought), but our neighbor was excited about this project (we did pay half of the materials, but the did 99% of the work).  After the fence was done, CK and I went and bought stain and more brushes.  We planned to stain on a Saturday with the kids.  It rained.  We planned a Family Home Evening with the kids.  It rained.  After doing this 3-5 times, we finally had a day with no rain in the forecast AND the kids.  So...out we went.

 The kids really did a great job.  There was only a little complaining (far less than we expected) and a LOT of working.  I was very impressed with them.  It was great to complete this project together as a family.  And, I love working outdoors, especially when we finally have some decent weather (still quite chilly that morning, but decent!).

 CK is humoring me with these pictures.  Can't you tell he just wants to get back to work?

We ran out of stain.  I think having the kids stain meant a lot of extra drips on the ground, but we may have run out anyway.   It is now done. I wish I had a picture of it finished.  I bought more stain last week and CK stained while I helped with a wedding reception on Saturday.  He is such a good man.  I am so blessed.