Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh darn... she's awake!!"

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Moving Experience

Yippeee!!!

Mom & Dad are officially residents of the state of Idaho -- again! Last week we drove to Montana and, with a packed moving truck, said good-bye to Big Sky Country and hello to Potato Valley. Dad said good-bye to full time employment and hello to full time harassing Mom. Their four children are saying good-bye to driving several hours over treacherous (winter) roads to visit them and hello to dropping by any time we want. (It's still a long drive for Wees who lives in the midwest.)

It's a good thing.

The move went well. Mom & Dad are extremely organized and efficient (no, I didn't inherit either of those traits, unfortunately) and everything moved along like clock-work. The guys from the ward that came to help load the truck LOVED them because everything was ready and waiting for them when they arrived. (How often does that happen?!?) Mom & Dad had cleaned as they packed, so there was very little left for me to wipe down. When it came time to close the doors for the last time and head to the title company, we realized we had finished an hour early!! Again I ask, how often does that happen?!?

The drive south was amazing. The roads were clear, the skies were blue (go ahead and sing Wild Montana Skies --I love John Denver) and the wild flowers were stunning. All-in-all it was a grand adventure.

Welcome home, Mom & Dad!!




Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hiking With the Bugs

We live in a HUGE stake. Thirteen wards to be exact. That makes some logistics of girl's camp a little difficult.

This year, the stake leaders decided that to take that many girls on hikes while at camp was going to be too hard, so they left it up to the ward leaders to plan and carry out the hikes on the ward level and on the ward's time. Of course, for novice camp directors (like me) this is a lot of added stress. Not only do I have to figure out how to put a successful camp experience together, but now I have to find an appropriate hike that fits within the travel rules of the stake. I have lived in this area most of my life, and when we go hiking, we go to Montana. That is too far to take the girls. I have been asking (begging) people for opinions on hikes. I have been dreaming about hikes and I have been growing ulcers over hikes.

Finally, FINALLY, a friend gave me a brochure on a state park that is only 45 minutes away that has hiking trails. I found a loop that measures 5 miles that didn't seem to gain or lose too much elevation (translation: it's a flat hike!). I asked my family to go on a trial hike with me and two out of three willingly agreed. Today was the trial. We packed our knap-sack with water and snacks and headed out the door.

What a wonderful day!! The weather was beautiful. I think it was the warmest day we've had yet this year. The sky was clear with wispy clouds and there was a slight breeze blowing to keep us cool. We hiked around a lake and next to a river full of geese, ducks, swans and pelicans. Oh! I can't forget the fishermen! (There's world class fishing in these parts.) The worst part of hiking next to the water was the mosquitoes! They were HORRIBLE!!! But we kept moving and once we got past the large bodies of water, they were tolerable.

We think we saw a wolf in a meadow. We told a ranger and she thinks it was just a coyote -- maybe it was --but it was an awfully big coyote. (We didn't hang around watching it.)

It turns out this will be an excellent hike for my girls. Adam made the entire 5 miles on his own, stopping only a couple times for water and snacks. Aly found it a little more difficult, but only because she "hates nature" and couldn't wait to get back to the car. (I think she was just hot and tired.)



Adam is a budding photographer. I let him play with my Kodak digital camera a lot.

The wildflowers in this field haven't bloomed in years. They are blooming now thanks to the very wet spring we've had.

Sweet Sixteen

My baby just turned 16!!

Where did the time go? How is it that the time we have left with her (living with us) is shorter than the time I have left on my driver's licence?

Aly was a miracle child for us. We tried for 3 years before I gave birth to her, and how we loved her when she arrived!!! She was a princess from the get-go. She let me dress her in frilly, fru-fru dresses with big bows on her (very) bald head and lacy bonnets as well. She always loved playing with her dollies and loved watching Barney. Her bestest friends were her cousin Keara and a darling little boy named Conrad.


The first 6 years of her life were spent in Oregon and she made lasting friendships that endure til today. Some of these friends talk about one of the first memories they have of Aly: She was running through a field of grass but she was "prancing" instead -- her very own version of running. (Poor kid never won a race, but she sure looked cute!)

Aly didn't have an aggressive bone in her body. When she was little, she didn't fight back when other kids picked on her. I have a memory of Aly when she was 6 (right after we moved to Idaho) being chased by our friend's little girl, who was two. This little girl was banging plastic toy dishes together and saying, "I'm gonna give you a whoopin'!" while she was chasing her. Poor Aly just screamed and ran for her life. We still tease her about that.

Aly has always embraced the performing arts. She started dancing in kindergarten and still dances today. It hasn't always been easy. She has a slight learning disability that makes spacial issues difficult. Dancing has been the thing that has made life a little easier. I don't think she'd be doing as well in school today if she hadn't been dancing. She is now taking private ballet classes to work on technique and form, so she can improve her talent.


Aly has been doing well in making good choices. We approve of her friends and their activities. When she hangs out with them, I know that she will act according to the values she has been taught. Of course I worry... any parent who doesn't worry is asking for trouble... but I know that when push comes to shove, she'll do what's right.



AND NOW SHE'S OLD ENOUGH TO DATE!!

Have mercy!!

Did I already ask this... WHERE DID THE TIME GO?



Aly, Alyssa, Alyssa Shalae.... WE LOVE YOU!!!

This is the pearl ring she got from us for her birthday. It is to remind her to stay morally clean.
(Sorry the picture is on its side. Don't know how it happened and I'm too tired to play with it!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rockin' The Boat

My husband has said one word for the past three months... "BOAT!!"

So....

Today I caved to his begging and pleading and we took the boat out for the first time since the snow melted. (Remember it snowed last Wednesday?!?) I certainly didn't have time to spend the afternoon on the lake. Tomorrow is Aly's 16th birthday and there are some important details I still need to complete. PLUS we still haven't finalized her plans for the birthday party that will be Friday night. PLUS, I still have several projects for Girl's Camp hanging over my shoulder. PLUS, I have to prepare a meal to take to a lady I visit teach (who is in her last weeks of life).

Just to name a few...

In spite of it all, I knew it was important for us to go. AND I'M SO GLAD WE DID!!! It was just what I needed. It was a little slice of heaven to be out on the water enjoying each other's company... no stress, no deadlines, no conflicts. It was an almost perfect afternoon. (It would have been perfect if the water had been warm enough to get in and if the wind hadn't been blowing quite so hard. )

This was the first time I took my "good camera" on the boat and I was pleased with some of the photos . Enjoy.....






The creepiest part of the day was when Rachael (who was sitting in the front of the boat with Aly) yelled, "Hey! I think there's a snake in the water!"

WHAT!?!?!

We have gone to this resevoir for almost three years now and we have never seen anything like this. We powered the boat slowly over and sure enough, it was a small snake, gliding along the water's surface. I was too stunned to grab the camera and it slithered away. We floated away as well and continued having fun making big wake and jumping it.

On the way back to the dock, however, I spied another one in the water. This one was much bigger and seemed to be lighter in color. We sidled up to it and was shocked (to say the least) to discover that it was a very large RATTLE SNAKE!!

HOLY CRAP!!

Apparently we were bothering it while I tried to take some photos because it coiled itself up a couple times. If you look closely at the photo, you'll see the rattle.


(Do you wanna come boating with us now?)

(The next pictures are after we got the boat out of the water and Adam and Calvin went back to the dock.)


Watch this video. You may be surprised. I have watched this kid (Vince Mira) several times (on similar vids) and I am having a very hard time reconciling the kid in the interview to the kid behind the mic. If you like Johnny Cash, you might like this guy....


Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Guy

I'm not one given to sentimentality... I'm just not one of those gushy kind of people. (I'm also not very good at expressing my feelings with clarity.) However, in light of it being Father's Day today and Calvin's birthday in one week, I thought I'd let you know exactly why I love him and why he's my Knight in Shining Armor:


** Calvin is a Knight in Shining Armor and he treats me like I am his queen. We have been married for 20+ years and this man still opens my car door for me. His mantra is "I'll do anything for you!" Calvin knows that my love language is "quality time" and he's very willing to share his with me. He takes me on dates regularly and even volunteers to go with me on boring errands to Walmart -- just so we can spend time together. Ahhh... so sweet!

** Fatherhood wears well on Calvin. He has taken this calling very seriously and tries to be the best dad he can. He takes Aly to breakfast every Saturday morning... just the two of them. They spend 1/2 hour to 45 minutes just talking over scrambled eggs or French toast. Sometimes the conversation is serious, sometimes it's just "how was your week?" It's time they both look forward to.
Adam also gets solo Dad time. Tuesday nights, while Aly & I are at YW, he takes Adam out to ice cream; or to the park to ride bikes or play catch. He wants the kids need to know he's there for them... no matter what.

** Calvin has an extremely strong testimony of the Gospel. He doesn't flaunt it or wear it on his sleeve, but you can see it in his actions. He is constantly telling us, "No matter what, the church is true." He is the driving force behind our family scripture study, daily family prayer and regular family home evening.

** Calvin has a very strong work ethic. He has always provided a nice living for our family, but knows the right balance between work and having fun. Even though he puts in over 60 hours a week (between building his business and teaching for an online university) we know that evenings and weekends belong to us.

For these reasons, and many more, I love my guy!!

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!

Family Wedding

My cousin Thomas got married this weekend. This gave us a reason for the family on my mom's side to get together and get reaquainted. It's always fun seeing them. I enjoyed spending my time talking with cousins and aunts and uncles that I don't get to see very often. I also had a great time playing "photog" to Uncle Karl who was looking for a nice portrait of himself. (I think we got one or two good pics!!)

I have put a slide show of some of the pictures I took here. This is for my bro and sisters who weren't able to come. Incidentally, I have decided that (with help from mom) I will try to put together a family reunion for next summer. But I won't even think about doing it until I'm back from camp....




http://picasaweb.google.com/adoptdreams/ThomasMeganSWedding

Saturday, June 14, 2008

T-Ball

I've been a little slow downloading pictures this week. These are from Adam's first T-ball game. (He got to play catcher, which he was very excited about. Until the inning got too long, then he asked the coach if he could just go sit down for a while.)







Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nostalgia

I went out with two friends last night after our YW activity. My friends are 10 years younger and had a different growing up experience in pop-culture than me. I was a teen in the 80's when they were just kids!! We were discussing different trends and fashions and I brought up the shampoo called "Gee Your Hair Smells Terriffic."

Do you remember that?

My friends didn't.

I tried to describe the goofy ads, but that is something you have to see to get the whole effect. So today, I tried to find one and had no luck. Too bad. That would have been fun to see.

Instead, I found these. Enjoy the walk down memory lane:


(As a teen, I LOVED these ads with David Naughton. He was soooo cute!!)

June or January?

Today is June 11.

It's snowing and 36 degrees.

They are having a sweltering heat wave on the East Coast, walking around in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. Air conditioners are running over time.

I have to get out the winter coats and I turned the gas fireplace on. We'll be staying indoors today.

I think I'm ready to move to NYC. I'm tired of winter.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

First Kiss

A friend of Aly's recently came over to visit and delightedly confided to me, "I had my first kiss!!" She was so excited. (Wild horses will never get me to reveal the true identity of this girl!!)

As she told me the particulars (who, where, etc.) it took me back many many years to my own first kiss. Fortunately for all of us here today, I won't divulge the gory details of that moment because they were truly horrible. (Calvin was not my first kiss.)

......

I mean it... HORRIBLE!!!

.......

In fact, I try not to talk about that period of my life, except under certain conditions. I had a lot of embarrassing moments that year -- I wrecked my parent's car while driving the boy I liked around; I had a man expose himself through the living room window of a house where I was babysitting; and this kissing thing...


However, talking to my young friend made me think about other people -- what was your first kiss like? Was it horrible like mine? Was it the coolest thing ever -- like my friend? Was it scary? I think we all have "First Kiss" stories and they are all different.

For those of us growing up watching shows like Brady Bunch, we envisioned our first kiss to be soft, romantic and oh so .... safe. You remember Marsha's first kiss don't you? It was Desi Arnaz, Jr.!

"I'll never wash this cheek again!" she declared as she walked through her house in a daze.














(Don't forget Bobby's first kiss!! He thought he caught the mumps from Mary Ingalls! I guess that's not exactly safe is it?)

Several years later, the kisses weren't so safe as we watched Cory and Topanga swab each other's tonsils week after week after week....





A few years after that all bets were off as our daughters watched "stars" like Brittany Spears and Lindsay Lohan (among others) make out with anyone of any gender. (Notice the change of verb: "to kiss" is now "make out")

Ahhh.... the loss of innocence! At least here, in my little safe corner of the world, there are still some Marsha Brady moments available!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Our Trip with Pictures

We're back from our week in Oregon!! We had a great time. It was so nice to go back and visit. It really felt like home.

After we left the Portland area, we drove over to Newport (on the coast) where we used to live. We were sad that we only had about 24 hours to be there (okay, LESS!!), but we fit in as many activities as we could. There was a ward activity for the graduating seniors the night we were there, so we were excited to go and catch up with old friends.

When we left Newport, Calvin decided that he wanted to save money and drive all the way home... a fourteen hour drive IN ONE DAY!!! On the way, I kept pointing out cheap motels (like Motel 6), saying, "That's only $50 a night!" but he was determined to sleep in his own bed. We rolled into town at 3:30 a.m. and stumbled into bed at 3:45. It was good to sleep in my own bed.

Here are a few pictures I took on our trip:






















Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge













Aly & Adam at the zoo in Portland
















Aly & her cousin Keara.























Aly & Adam with the reflection of the Portland Temple in the pool









Aly loves Oregon!!














We stopped for a family photo along the road to the coast.
















We had to watch the sea lions in the Bay. Adam loved it!!















The Yaquina (Ya - KWIN- uh) Bay Bridge in Newport.
















Calvin (I Love this photo!!)















Calvin & Adam follow the outgoing tide.























This is as far out as Aly would go.















My favorite lighthouse ... EVER!! The Yaquina Head Lighthouse.




















The olbigatory photo that proves that I was on the trip. It was very cold with gale force winds. Who cares? I was on the coast!!!



(For even more photos... 170 to be exact... click here. Of course, you won't know most of the people in them, so you might not want to!!)