Jun 29, 2014

Guest Blog: Let Freedom Sing by Prima Donna Updated

I was going to write a new post for you, really I was, but then Princess added all these amazing pics from Prima Donna's show (thanks, Bossy!) so I decided to leave this one up for one more day so you could stop back and see them.

I wanted to give you a few more details on the show. Prima Donna wrote 5 original songs with one being a rap and one was a patriotic medley of songs she borrowed like "You're a Grand Old Flag and America the Beautiful." All in the public domain, of course.

But my favorites were the ones she wrote. Gamer filmed the entire show. If I can figure out how to cut a song for you, I will and post it later in the week. This first pic is the final scene with Prima Donna playing the part of Betsy Ross. The second one shows the patriots taking the Declaration to King George. The next one has Ben Franklin with the kite (Curly) talking with George Washington and convincing him to be in charge of the army. After that is the writing of the Declaration with Sport playing the part of John Adams. Then right after that are Sport and Crafty as John and Abigail Adams.

The Drama Queen played the part of Grandma and she sat on the stage during the entire show. She was the old version of Betsy. The last pic shows the finale again with them all spread out.  Look for the grandkids and Baby Doll and Scout.

We had about 75 people in our audience so there was plenty of clapping going on. Such a fun (and exhausting!) project! I wish you could have all been there!


 My Gold Award is finally over!  For the last two weeks I have devoted my life to this project.  I wrote a musical for the 4th of July and let kids participate.  It was lots of fun!

 The kids did a great job.  The last couple of days have been hectic getting ready for tonight.  We spent all of last night making sets and getting props together.

Finally the day came.  This morning was dress rehearsal and we were all surprised when Dad came in with head mics for the leads!  We were so surprised and so thankful!

Today was spent getting last minute things together.  Finally it was time for the performance.

 All of my actors did so well and there were only a few mistakes.  I was so proud.  I don't know if I am relieved or sad that it is over.

 I loved this experience but it was lots of work.   I'm glad I can move on with my life now.  It was a great way to kick off the 4th of July.

Jun 28, 2014

Let Freedom Sing!

I know I talk about Scouts all the time, but I just have to share this one with you. Prima Donna has been working on her Gold Award project for about 6 months now. She wrote a musical (including all the music) and rounded up a bunch of kids.

We have been having rehearsals at the library for the past two weeks and now we are finally ready for the show! We have a dress rehearsal in the morning and we have been making scenery and props for the last couple of days. It was an interesting thing to do on her birthday yesterday! Did I tell you she turned 16 and had her very first date today? Maybe I can get her to tell you that story in a day or two, when we can breathe again.

There is still so much to do! She needs to make a program and we have to put the hinges on the backs of the scenery after we get them to the church and set them up on the stage. We made 20 or so little muskets out of pvc and electrical tape. I'll post some pics of all that tomorrow with scenes from the actual play.

Drama Queen and I made about 30 tri-corn hats out of paper.

Her songs are just so cute! If you live close by, come to our stake center Saturday night at 7:00 and enjoy her little show. It should only be about half an hour or 45 minutes and the kids are so cute!

I should know, a bunch of them are mine.

Jun 26, 2014

Blast from the Past - Selfies

I know we have had the discussion about "selfies" before. But I just want you to know that in spite of the fact that I think they are a little ridiculous, my kids think they are awesome!

As you can see, Princess is way ahead of the game because I found all these in my picture stash from 2008. She is obviously a trendsetter.

How can you say "no" to that beautiful face?!

Jun 25, 2014

Letters from Teach in Texas

We are less than two months now! Teach will be home so soon. But she certainly isn't taking a break at the end. This is what she told me this week.

The Lord is the leader in this great battle and He truly wants us to succeed as we are humble enough to ask for His help and guidance during Thursday planning. I have NEVER come so close to reaching all of my key indicator goals as we did this week. We exceeded most of our goals and fell short by a bit on a few of our goals. We had a goal to have two baptism dates and we both extended the invitation to be baptized yesterday to two of Heavenly Father's children, but they still are holding back. Last night at 7:47 we were faced with 2 more other lessons to teach, 1 work of salvation lesson, 1 contact, and 5 copies of the Book of Mormon to hand out in order to reach our goals. We asked that the Lord would help us move heaven and earth and we were able to teach 1 WOS lesson, 1 other lesson, make 2 contacts, and give out 4 BOM. 

We got home at 9:00 and were saddened that we didn't reach that other lesson goal and the hardest part of it was that the Lord gave us an opportunity to teach a lady on the street and we contacted her but we didn't teach her! We were both on our knees last night pleading for forgiveness, and we have resolved to ALWAYS share restored truths. Always. There is just no reason not to. The Lord is here to help us reach our goals. We just have to act on the opportunities. The joy of repentance is that there is no missed blessings, only missed opportunities. I feel blessed that we have been given another week to stretch forward and reach our goals.

She was super excited to attend a baptism this week of this cute girl they helped teach.

I love attending baptisms. As cliche as it sounds it really is the best part of being a missionary because the joy and the Spirit that fills the room when someone is making a covenant with God (even if they do come up from the water choking and slipping) you just know that they are thrilled. (:
It was so fun to attend the baptism. (: There were so many missionaries there and she just looked so happy! (: It was SOOOO cool.(:

Oh, and a side note. We are going to my favorite food place in all of Texas for lunch today (because we discovered there is one in our area. (: Jersey Mike's. It's a sandwich place. yummmm. (: (:

Can't wait to visit Texas and see all these awesome places and meet all these amazing people.

Jun 24, 2014

Guest Blog - Dancing by Princess

 I threw myself to the floor again, it’s not a typical thing for ballet but I was playing the part of Mulan and it was definitely necessary. I got up as awkwardly as I could, but it wasn’t enough. I had learned too well to throw myself around gracefully. “You look like a ballerina!” Prima Donna called from her seat at the mirror. I gave her a look; I am a ballerina.

I went home and practiced falling over and over, by this point my knees were collages of purples and browns but I had to get this right. I had been selected as the main dancer in the production number, and I was going to do it to my best ability.

The tops of my feet scabbed up as I continually rolled through them to try and take the blow off my knees. In my front room, I practiced my landing over and over, trying to force my body out of the habit of being graceful. I’m sure anyone who saw me through the window would have thought I was insane: falling, getting up and doing it again in an even more horrendous fashion, I must have looked like a nutcase.
At the next rehearsal the choreographer added to the number, and with the new addition came more falls and more pain. Near the beginning, the other dancers were supposed to fling me to the floor. While I’m sure they meant well, their efforts never did enough and I was forced to slam myself to the ground harder than humanly healthy. On these occasions I would often get a good gasp from the younger girls in the room. They looked in awe at me, the lead, just giving all she had to her part. Each little girl saw me, purposely putting myself in pain, and they envied me. I know, because I had been one of them.
I had seen the older girls taking off their pointe shoes, and I wanted them more than anything. Yes, I knew my feet would bleed, that if I landed wrong once I would break bones and never be able to dance again, that I had to commit to the art. I chose that path. I lost all outside friends, I had my studio girls, the ones I would dance with for hours on end. Of course I loved them, even though all I knew was their first and last names and how many pirouettes they could land from fifth. I knew what it was like to look into the mirror, and see only the imperfections: knees too bent, leg turned in, bun too far to the left. It continued on: butt too big, neck too short, arch too low. But it was the life I choose. It was the life I wanted.
The first performance of Mulan came closer and with it so did the tension. Regardless of all the practices, the pieces were not ready. That day, I had fear beating through me; it happens sometimes, I just fear the shoes, the floor, the teachers. This was not a good time. I tried my best to do my dances but I literally shook with terror. I would not look at myself, I would not eat the pizza they brought to rehearsal, I just continued to dance. The studio director pulled me aside. She told me I was not doing well enough, that if I didn’t step it up, I didn’t deserve the part. She told me to fake confidence, even if I had none. I told her I would try harder, that I would live up to her expectations. I went home and cried, for my own faults, for her harsh words, for the fear that I would ruin the performance for everyone.
Then it came, the first number. No one else cared as much as I did, this wasn’t a life changing event. Just another dance, we had done thousands, why was this one any different? I stood backstage, full of happiness. I know it sounds crazy, that after all of that, I still loved to dance. I still looked forward to getting on that stage. I rolled through my pointe shoes one last time and took my spot in the light.
I danced. I smiled. I lived the part. I was Mulan, I was that girl who no one thought was good enough, who didn’t even recognize her own reflection. I lost myself in the dance, and I loved every second of it. My heart was pumping and my face was beaming. I was doing what I loved.
We won first place with a 99%. I was thrilled, but it was nothing to compare with how it felt. That moment changed my life, it shaped who I was. It made me happy, it reminded me why I danced. It made it all worth it.

Jun 23, 2014

Mormon Miracle Pageant

I just love the Manti temple!

Did I ever tell you that is where my sweetie and I were sealed? We were married in a church in 1983 and then we went to the temple in 1985 when Bossy was about 8 months old. She was sealed to us, but she wouldn't keep her little hand on top of ours, so finally my mom was called over and she held down her hand until the ordinance was completed. So typically Bossy. She always did want to do things her own way even as a baby. (Love you, Bossy!)

We all went down to see the Mormon Miracle Pageant on Saturday night. We stopped by to see my MIL on the way and finally arrived in Manti around 8:30. The crowd was fairly light for a weekend and we didn't have any trouble finding a good seat. I ran into someone I knew from high school and chatted for a while and then we settled down to wait for it to get dark.

It started getting cooler, and thankfully, the kids all had jackets and we also brought a stack of blankets. I'm sure we were all quite the sight snuggled up together! We loved the performance (as always) and were hesitant to leave. I could never understand those who get up in the last 10 minutes and make their way to their cars just to avoid traffic.

Anyway, my sweetie was a little annoyed, he was more than ready to get on the road, but by the time we all got loaded, the lines were already long. It took us half an hour to leave Manti. Scout was dying to go to the potty, so she and Drama Queen ran across the road to Miller's Drive In while we waited at the corner. Even though we were directed onto the street, we only moved a couple hundred feet and they were still able to reload before we got anywhere. OK, they had to run a little...

We arrived home just after 2:00 AM. It was a late night and we were awfully silly by the time we pulled into the driveway. I had grabbed a local paper in the convenience store and we laughed at the small-town politics all the way home while I read it cover-to-cover to my sweetie to keep him awake.

Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if we would have stayed "small-town" and my sweetie would have taken over the plumbing business from his dad when he was invited.

 Things sure would have been different! We definitely would have gotten home from the pageant much earlier...

Jun 21, 2014

Sport's Birthday Party

We survived Sport's birthday party!

He had about 15 friends here for 3 hours. We served hot dogs my sweetie cooked on the grill and chips. The boys played basketball and volleyball. Then we made the pvc bows and arrows that we made at Pack Meeting a while back. The boys had fun with those until a couple of boys decided to tape rocks into their tips and then shoot them at the other boys. We quickly changed the activity.

They had cupcakes that Princess made and then my sweetie built a fire in the fire pit and they made Wolf-ems. Princess's friend invented the Wolf-em stick and he is actually making quite a bit of money for a new invention as a 17-year-old.

The sticks are made to form a pop-can biscuit over the end and then it is cooked over coals. It turns out like a little dough basket and then it can be filled with pudding or pie filling and whipped cream. The kids loved them even though it took us a while to make one for everyone since we only have 4 sticks and two of them belong to Bossy's family.

We sent the boys out the door with a bag of darkside Skittles. Sport was pretty happy even though he had to miss his baseball game. The team lost by two points without him and they are now out of the tournament.

Time to move on to the next sport... Curly and Sport are taking tennis lessons to get them by until football starts. I'm so glad they love them all. Life would be pretty boring if we had to concentrate on just one thing.

Jun 20, 2014

My Life Has Changed

My phone has been dying a slow and prolonged death for some time now. It's been so frustrating because if I try to text,
sometimes the words are wrong or a couple of times my phone has even sent the text to the wrong person in my contacts list!

But I've resisted getting a new phone. I just didn't want a phone that was smarter than me! Then my sweetie came home early and Bosssy showed up at my door so we went to Best Buy and two hours later, I was the terrified owner of a new Samsung Galaxy 5, according to the salesperson, the coolest phone ever made.

Even though Bossy did all the set up, I'm still nervous about learning how to use it. I hate to admit that I'm really not that great with computers. I limp along as best I can and when I need help, I'm great at bugging my kids until they solve my problems.

So we will see. I can sort of text now, but there are just so many options and features it makes my head spin. But at least now with the GPS in my smartphone, I know which way it's going!

Jun 19, 2014

Blast from the Past - Primary Program 2006

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, every year the Primary kids do a program in Sacrament meeting. Usually the kids will all sing songs together and everyone will have a short speaking part, but in 2006, my cute little girls (Crafty, Princess, and Prima Donna) were asked to sing together as a trio.

I couldn't remember the name of the song, but when I asked the girls, they knew. It was "My Testimony Grows." This was a huge deal for them because they were singing in front of about 300 people and all by themselves. Even Grandma came up to share in the excitement!

My sweetie wanted them to look like sisters, so he bought them all matching dresses. They did a fabulous job, of course!

We took some other pictures that day and I really wanted to share them with you too. This first one is my sweetie holding two sleeping babies. The little red-headed girl is Scout and the shirt-less boy is Taco. They were so close in size then even though Scout was nearly a year old and Taco was almost 2. Bossy struggled to get him to gain much weight that first couple of years and in this picture, they look almost like twins.

This is a picture of me trying to blow all that beautiful auburn hair out of Scout's eyes. Her bangs always did grow incredibly fast!

And I couldn't resist this cute pic of Sport. He had just gotten his first pair of glasses and they were a bit big on his small face. He was not even 3 1/2 yet.

Hope you enjoyed our little blast from the past. I just love looking through the old pictures and sharing some of them with you!

Jun 18, 2014

Guest Blogger: Belated Story of the Actual Choirside by Elder Dog Walker

Okay, everybody. I know that it's been a few months, but I did promise that I would tell you all about the Choirside that happened in March. It was really great to perform in front of an audience in the chapel at the Salt Lake City Granite Stake Center. What happened that time was when I was riding with my family down to the Granite Stake Center and we parked there and I got out to find the managers and missionaries from Kauri Sue Hamilton to do our last rehearsal of our lines for reading the lines of the Redeemer of Israel Hymn.

Before we ever did our performance there were a whole bunch of Special Need students that did their parts of the meeting before it was our turn to perform. Like some of the kids were singing other good hymns and then doing a lecture on the projector screen that helped everyone in the audience, including the special need kids to understand and know that the Church is true and that some things in our world can be related to what we are learning daily in a life.  

Anyway, right when the speaker was done with his lecture and testimony, it was now our turn to perform our narration on Redeemer of Israel. I was asked to narrate the 4th verse of that hymn and right when the missionaries and I were narrating the first four hymns, it made us feel like that we were doing such a great job to narrate and let everyone in the audience to think it's amazing to hear something be narrated rather than just be sung. Then right after I narrated the four verse, we all started to sing the last two verses of Redeemer of Israel. When the meeting was over and he closing prayer was said, we went to the gym where they had refreshments of a cup of water and a variety of cookies. The Choirside was a great opportunity to attend in that month and I've been remembering for a while and I still want to remember it for the rest of my life.
Anyway, I just wanted to point out a quick thing that happened just recently on my mission. The summer classes at Hartvigsen have started and I finally get to serve my mission in the summer and I'm still hopping to help serve at another seminary that has summer classes. I hope you all have been praying for me. It's totally great to be a missionary, and a missionary should keep a promise like telling the actual story about the Choirside. I hope you enjoyed. :)

Jun 17, 2014

Letters from Teach in Texas

Teach is getting ready for a baptism this weekend! She is super excited about it.

The work is progressing. D is being baptized this week in the Denton YSA and when she came to church yesterday she was beaming! She truly has had her eyes opened to the truth and direction that comes from knowing the gospel. She brought her boyfriend to church with her and she is so excited to be baptized on Saturday. It has been a whirlwind getting all of the arrangements made and having the teaching passed to the Elders, but I know with all of my heart that the right decision was made. She will prosper in the YSA and as long as she keeps her job she will still attend church in our ward and we will work with the ward council to ensure she has uplifting experiences!

Even with her success she is not sitting around waiting. She is moving forward and looking for new people who will listen while she shares the gospel.

We set a goal as a district this week to baptize 3 of Heavenly Father's children in the month of July. We feel that the V family could be the souls that help us reach that goal. M the mother is embracing the light of the gospel. We were inspired to invite her to a ward service project for a member on the same street as M. She came with her 12-year-old son bright and early and helped- working shoulder to shoulder with the members of the ward and feeling the Spirit of service. There was a noticeable difference in M at church and especially as she left the Relief Society at the end of the block I knew that she was happier. She could feel the influence of the Spirit in her life and could make life changing decisions based on that feeling. 

The missionaries do so much service! It is so good for them to look to the needs of others first. That is a skill and talent that can bless their lives long after their missions are over. This is only part of what they accomplished this week.

The trailer is a double wide and the foundation has eroded so much and the metal frame that supports it is so twisted that the middle part of the house (where the double wide meets) has a 1-inch crack and if you look down you can see the ground outside. The house had a sewage leak so then you've basically got the sewage leak going under the house and then the toxins from ... sewage ... coming back up through the crack and they are breathing that air. Thus they are all ill and struggling to feel the Spirit. Three years ago the mom passed away from cancer and then around that same time they lost a brother to cancer as well. There is SO much heart ache and despair. yet, they are trying to be happy. They do the best with what they have. 

My task when we went over to help on Monday was a special one. The father gave permission for the relief society and one other person to go back and clean his bathroom. So the RSP choose me. It was just so humbling, Mom. I am so grateful that I was raised in a home that even though it wasn't always tidy... it was clean. We weren't living in conditions like that. Yet, the RSP said that when we go into their home we truly are protected. I don't even KNOW what kinda things my hands touched, but the Spirit just kinda wafts over you and you can just... you know it's all going to be ok. After his wife died, the husband didn't throw away any of the medical stuff from her home care so I got to go through and discard medicine bottles, bandages, all sorts of things. It was just heart breaking. There was at least a foot of garbage and things stacked on the counter and by the time we left it looked almost livable. If you ignore the hole in the ground and the mold on the ceiling. Service is my favorite. I hope we can bring hope to this family. I really do. I laid in my bed that night on the brink of tears because my heart just hurts for them. It's so sad to see when hope has been lost.

Did you know that Teach will only be gone for 9 more weeks? Time is just flying by. She is just doing so much good in the world.

Jun 16, 2014

Happy Fathers' Day

We had a big party here for my dad today. My sweetie graciously agreed to celebrate Fathers' Day last Sunday for himself so we could get everyone together. We served 34 people BBQ chicken and hot dogs. It was fun and actually pretty relaxing as far as big parties go.

Sport on the mound
So many things are going on in my life right now, I could write several posts a day. As it is, I'm barely able to put together one. Prima Donna's Gold Award project starts tomorrow and we are taking Scout to Girl Scout Camp in the morning. And you already heard about the unplanned baseball tournament and Sport's birthday party. And last night was the big dance recital. When I have time to download the pics, I will share that with you too.

Our amazing neighbor, Steve James, and his son, Adam, are helping Prima Donna with the music for her Gold project. We were at their home until after midnight recording preliminary songs so they could make them amazing. Steve is kindly donating his time which is really worth big money to help her be successful. Such good people.

Then I had to mostly repack Scout's bags for camp tomorrow. She didn't even check the sizes of the stuff she put in there. A bunch of the clothes weren't even hers! Then I wrote her 5 letters, one for each day of camp. Have you ever done that? It's so hard predicting what might happen during the week...

I wrote my letter to Teach and now I'm trying to make all sorts of lame excuses for not writing you a decent post tonight. Hopefully things will settle down a bit tomorrow.

A girl can hope, can't she?

Jun 15, 2014

Closing Ceremonies

I thought baseball was over. Really I did. We had Sport's team party scheduled for last night after we finished the season near the bottom of the league. Curly's coach has even gone AWOL. (I think he's actually on vacation.), but things are definitely wrapping up.

So we had a nice picnic at the practice field. Sport's coach grilled hot dogs and Princess made dozens of cupcakes. That same day they put out the bracketing for the tournament. All minor league teams had been included, even ours! Even though we had our team party and we handed out trophies and pictures and medals at the park today... Sport, Burrito, and Curly, were all chosen as All-Stars for their teams!...

Baseball is not over.

But it's more complicated than that. Sport has a birthday party scheduled for Friday, and we have passed out more than 20 invitations to his school friends who are now out of school. After looking at the bracketing, it's almost impossible for us to not have a game on Friday night. And it's impossible to cancel the party, so even if they play, Sport will have to miss the game.

Life is full of difficult things. Sometimes we can fix them and sometimes we just can't.

And those are the ones that give me stress.

Jun 13, 2014

Last Day of Kindergarten

Today was Curly's last day of kindergarten. I was thinking how happy I would be to be done with dropping him off every day at lunch time.

In Utah, kindergarten is typically half a day which is a hassle. It's much easier to just send all the kids together and then let them come home together. And honestly, I have done kindergarten 3 years in a row because Scout had her turn two years ago and then I took care of Taco and Burrito all last year which meant driving Burrito every day.

But I digress...

So in honor of our last day, Curly and I walked to school. He had an awards program and I wanted to be there. The first thing his teacher did was play a little slide show she had put together from the beginning of the year. I was surprised how much he had grown!

Now maybe I'm just pre-menopausal, but for a minute I was actually SAD that he was leaving kindergarten. There was definitely a part of me that wanted him to stay little for a while longer. Now that he is officially a 1st grader, Baby Doll is my only preschooler.

He stood so big and tall as he received one of only two Golden Sneaker awards in his class and then again when he received the Soaring Leader award.

Sport and Scout will be out of school tomorrow. Then it will be official.

Summer vacation!

Jun 12, 2014

Blast from the Past: Back to School Pics (2006)

Dog Walker
Drama Queen
We have a tradition that every year we take the kids' pictures on the first day of school. The pics are always the last thing they do before they head off, so we take them by the front door. When I was searching through, I happened to find these.

In 2006, Drama Queen would have just been starting her senior year in high school.

Teach was a Sophomore.

The Dog Walker was 12 years old and in the 7th grade.

Prima Donna
Princess was in the 4th grade and Prima Donna was in 3rd.

I'm sad to say that Crafty would have been in kindergarten and I can't seem to find a picture of her by the door. They start kindergarten about a week later than the rest of the elementary-aged kids. I can't believe I would have missed that one!

Crafty from that same week
Love the fun pic of Princess
Now I want to show you the bloopers. My kids are so goofy sometimes, and in 7th grade, this was typical Dog Walker. Both pics were taken before we finally got the one I showed you above.

Smile for the camera, Dog Walker!

Let's try again...