Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Emma's First Day of School

Emma started Kindergarten this year. What a milestone! What a big girl! I went a little picture crazy to keep me excited and happy. I did NOT want to put a damper on her happy day by being teary. I didn't want her to think there was anything sad or upsetting about her growing up into such a fine young lady.

Sara wanted in on the picture fun too. These girls are so funny together!

They tried to match themselves today, which I loved. So cute!

Daddy came home from work early so we could all walk Emma to her first day together. He helped me stay away from the teary place as well.

We got there early enough for her to play on the playground for a bit.

In front of her classroom.

In the shade.

She was so excited. At one point, I heard her comforting another little girl that was crying and nervous. I was so proud of how kind and brave she was being.

Her seat is right next to Peyton- her best friend from pre-school!

She didn't know I was taking these. I loved her candid little faces.

We made it without shedding any tears. We got a bit weepy on the way home, but it wasn't too bad. I had a heavy heart all day.

Coming home. She can't find me.
First day all done.
After this, we went and got some ice cream as a first day of school treat. We then headed to our ward garden to do some work, came home to have dinner and do homework, and then crashed in bed after a nice little interview of her first day at school. It was along and emotional day- but happy overall.

Sara's First Day of School

Sara went to her first day of Pre-School yesterday. She even picked out her own clothes and did her own hair. She refused any help from me, but she looks great, so I suppose I wasn't needed.

She wanted a special picture of her back-pack, that is twice her size. She loves it, and so do I.

She had a great first day complete with snacks (that she got to bring!), play-doh, singing, playing, learning, and best of all, PAINTING!

She is such a big girl. I missed her while she was gone even with Emma and Jack keeping me company. Do you love how she came home with her shoes on the wrong feet...
After the excitement of the big day, I decided to tape some interviews with my new school girls. Here is Sara's.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Day in History

9 Years Ago Today:

I was preparing for my first Fall Semester of college. I had one summer block under my belt, which consisted mostly of simple classes so I could get into the college swing of things. I had been told that the only Physical Science class I would need for my music degree would be Acoustics (makes sense, no?), but I really wanted to take Astronomy anyway and even felt the Spirit tell me to do so. I had no idea that decision would lead me to the best friend I have ever had, and my eternal companion. God is funny that way, I suppose.

8 Years Ago Today:

Ross and I were driving back to Idaho together. He had gone to California for the summer break, and I had gone to Utah. We met up in Salt Lake where we waited together at the Conference Center to watch the sister missionaries file into Temple Square so Ross could catch of glimpse of his beloved. The rest of the day we spent together. Just as we had pretty much every other day that summer. He was my best friend- someone I felt closer to than anyone else in the world at the time- with the exception of a beloved roommate who hated Ross..... He had just helped me through the ending of a pretty serious relationship, and I admit to hoping at times that I would be able to do the same for him at some point. Turns out he made his move 3 months later, AFTER I had given up hope of him doing so.

7 Years Ago Today:

Ross and I got married. I would like to say it was the best day of my life, but it kind of wasn't. I don't know of any other wedding having so much go wrong. It was pretty ridiculous. There were grumpy family members- which was a nice welcome to my married name. There was a last minute, crazy expensive limo purchased with an almost to the limit credit card that was necessitated by a last minute demand from an aforementioned grumpy family member. There was a lack of proper decor due to my low budget and short time-frame because of school and work. There was a lack of guests due to having to place the wedding on a Tuesday. Not to mention the fact that the sealer not only called me by the wrong name TWICE, but happened to choose the NAME OF ROSS'S EX. That was good times. Jerk. My cake was a mess. It tasted good, but it looked awful. I would have cried when I saw it, but I was so used to things going wrong that day that I just laughed and shrugged my shoulders. We were late to the reception because.... um..... traffic. There were other things that made the day stressful and less fun than it could have been- but in the end, we both said yes over a sacred altar in a sacred place which resulted in an Eternal marrriage. Yay!

This is also the night when I discovered Ross's deep dark secret- his SNORING! Seriously, I could have really used a heads-up there! :)

6 Years Ago Today:

I was pregnant with Emma and dreadfully sick. Ross was leaving for the military in a week. We were trying to figure out how to plan our living arrangements for when he finished Basic Training, but were positive he wouldn't go to Mississippi anymore since we had just watched the apartment complex we almost put a deposit on crumble to the ground after Katrina ripped through Biloxi. We thought we would be together again in 6 weeks. We had no idea we were about to be separated for 9 months. We had no idea I was about to go through an entire pregnancy on my own. We had no idea Ross was about to acquire a life changing disorder. We had no idea. We just had no idea.

5 Years Ago Today:

We were living in Rexburg, and had no idea why. Having no idea seemed to be a theme of our marriage. Ross had come home from the military 2 months before, and we felt led to Idaho. We still didn't know for a long time there, but looking back, I know EXACTLY why the Lord sent us there. Rexburg is where we reconnected as a couple. Rexburg is where Ross learned to be a father. Rexburg is where we established our first home as a family. We had to be away from other family members in order for this to occur. We had both been through so much the previous year, and we had become rather independant through those separate trials. We needed Rexburg to bring us back together. We spent this day eating Fongs and watching a movie on our tiny TV on our camp chairs. Good times.

4 Years Ago Today:

I had just found out I was pregnant with Sara, only we kept calling her Little Brother because we were sure I was carrying a boy. I planned this for our anniversary. It was a rough year on the financial field but we tried to make the most of it. We were happy to be back in Utah, and happy to be expecting again.

3 Years Ago Today:

This was not the best anniversary ever. We were in a crisis at the time. The big D word was being thrown around, and might have been utilized had we not had two beautiful children to protect. We had just purchased a home which we had felt inspired to do, and then Ross became pretty much unemployed right after. Awesome. We were fighting all the dang time, and I was trying to find some way to supplement our income while Ross searched for another job. His condition makes it hard for him to get hired because of his medical history and his prescription showing up as meth-like drugs on urine tests. It was amazing how many of our other marital problems resolved once he got his job at the VA, but that didn't take place until a while later. This was a rough year. They all seemed to be rough years, but this one just about broke us.

2 Years Ago Today:

We had just returned from an awesome trip to Portland, and we had just lost a baby to miscarriage. Other than that, we were kind of in shock at this point. It seemed like the first time since we got engaged that we weren't facing some ginormous trial. Our entire marriage was like a waiting game as we struggled through one (or 12) things to the next, and then all the sudden the waves of anguish subsided, and everything was good, and we had no idea what to do with ourselves. This was a nice problem to have. I was weepy that entire day as I kept thinking back to how close we were to severring our marriage bonds the year befpre. I was so in love with Ross and our family and so grateful we had made it through all that stuff with our covenants intact.

1 Year Ago Today:

Jack was a few months old, and we were still in the baby-euphoria stage. I was starting to feel the pangs of post-partum, but for the most part, we were still wondering when our next big trial would hit. Aisde from the pregnancy of the previous year, everything had been calm and good for us. It was an eery feeling. We were too accustomed to drama, I suppose. This was a laid back, but lovely day with my beloved.


I am more in love with Ross than ever before. Our anniversary started at midnight, and we chatted and snuggled until the wee hours of the morning about our early years hence the constant thoughts that have led to this post. I had hoped he would stay home from work to celebrate our lucky #7 day with me, but he is fulfilling his husband responsibilities.

Ross, I love you so much. You truly are my very best friend. I love our relationship. We are such an odd mixture of two very different worlds, but we are so similar in the most important ways. You are the most amazing father. The way you love our children melts my heart. You are never more attractive than when you are loving on our babies. I love that we never seem to stop laughing. Even in the temple... We share so many inside jokes, and we know each other to the point of mind reading. We still fight, but I am even grateful for that because it means we will be making up at some point.... Neither of us is perfect, but I feel like I get a tinsy bit closer to that goal every year because of your influence on me. You are wonderful, and I am so grateful that I decided to take a challenging but unneeded class in my first year of college. I am certain my Acoustics Lab partner would not have been nearly as deserving of my assets. ;)

For those who made it to the end of this monstrosity and are dying for more juicy posts of our love, here are some tasty treats from past years. Enjoy! :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why My Home Teacher is Better Than Your Home Teacher: Reason #63

There was a panic in my house yesterday. I admit to shedding a few tears and shaking a tiny bit over the matter. While I was getting ready to head to my morning exercise group, my girls came in to my room screaming that there was a GIANT spider in their room. I told them to get a shoe and squish it, but they assured me it was far too big for a shoe, and it had orange hair and they were too scared. Can you imagine what I thought it was?
Needless to say, my arachnaphobic self was NOT going ANYWHERE near such a BEAST. I believed it possible because I have seen a couple of them while out running. Each time I have screamed and jumped and prayed and (possibly slightly, involuntarily soiled myself. TMI?). I
immediately instructed Emma, the bravest person in the house at the time, to go and close her bedroom door.

While she was accomplishing this terrifying task, I did the only thing a good mother would do in a situation like this- I called my husband and asked him to drive all the way home from Salt Lake and kill the 8 legged intruder and then hold me while I cried for a bit, and then fumigate our entire neighborhood.

He refused. Rude!

Apparently he has better things to do with his day than squish spiders for his wife who is controlled by her childish fears. What is up with that?!

When my knight in armor lost a bit of his shine, I decided to continue getting ready for my exercise group, and planned to find a way to stay out of my house until Ross could come home. Shopping, visiting, long walk on the beach- whatever it took, I was NOT coming back to a home that also housed a tarantula.

As we were walking to the park to meet up with the other ladies in the exercise group, I was stopped by my home teacher. Ross had called him to be the arachnid slayer by proxy.

I was so embarrassed. I WAS SO EMBARRASSED!!

So Pierre came over, asked where the unwanted vermin was, and headed up the stairs to slay our dragon-like foe. And he did a great job.

It looked a little something like this.

Did I mention that I had failed to enter the room and see the miscreant for myself? Yeah- big hairy spider, my foot! I could have handled this guy.

My self-loathing and blushing was out of control at this point, but Pierre, the Home Teacher of the Century, found it hilarious and if he was judging me for my ridiculousness, he was kind enough to keep it to himself. He caught the insect (NOT arachnid) in a cup and taught the girls a few things about him, and headed on his way.

Our hero! :)

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Summer of Storms

This summer has been crazy out here with the thunder storms. I have never known a wetter season in Utah. Our little neck of the woods has been hit especially hard, and one Sunday, a storm hit in just the right spot with just the right magnitude that caused quite the stir.

We were watching a movie when we heard it start to rain, and then heard the raining turn to pouring, and then heard the pouring turn into craziness. It was like looking into a wall of water. It was a very intense microburst that lasted about half an hour before it let back up into the pouring, and then the raining, and then the wet cloudiness that preceded the storm.

Here are some pictures of the aftermath. These were taken from the KSL news feed.

This is the storm front that caused the damage. A literal moving wall of water.

I took these from a friend down the street from me.

Here is one of the news segments. Our favorite Miss Mandy is in the blue hoodie, and the girls falling in the sink hole are in our ward.

This is what appeared in the newspaper. The picture features ward members.

As you can see, it was quite the event. We have a little over 100 houses in our ward boundaries, and 25 of them sustained damage. Once we bailed out our window well and ensured no more water would leak into our basement, we hit the streets with our buckets and shovels to see who needed our help.

It was amazing.

A lot of damage, but so much love. People were running everywhere trying to help their neighbors. Apparently, we were not the only ones who had thought to give assistance elsewhere. We joked about it being a spontaneous ward activity, but that isn't to say the assistance was given to only church members. We were all out there bailing buckets and shoveling mud and picking up shattered glass.

Once one house would get under control, a few would be chosen to finish it up while the rest moved on to the next residence in need.

It was amazing. Did I already say that? It's true. I have never felt so much love and neighborly concern in my life.

There are a lot of homes in our area that are empty due to foreclosures and short-sales, but that didn't keep us out. The Elders in the ward broke in to as many of those houses as possible to save them from damage, especially when they learned that the fire department was breaking windows to get into houses of that nature in other areas.

There was one house hit really bad- 2 feet of water in the basement- whose owners were out of town and would be for at least another week. Someone got in touch with them and got the OK to do what was needed while they worked on deciding how to proceed. We got into that house, sucked out all the water and found to our dismay that ALL her laundry was now covered in mud and dirty water, and a bunch of cardboard boxes marked "Stephanie's Childhood Memories", and "Stephanie's Scrapbooks", and "Special Old Photos" were soaked. Tragic.

While the men got to work getting mud and the rest of the water out, us women got to work trying to save the treasures. We dried off the photos and laid them out to be saved from damage and did what we could to salvage our ward sister's memories.

It was amazing. Such service. Such devotion. Such special care for a family who was not even present to offer help or thanks of any kind. I loved it. Is that weird?

When all the pictures and letters and awards and everything else was sorted and laid out to dry, we all went home taking a load or 3 of laundry to re-wash for the stricken and absent family.

That day of service was incredible, and it just deepened my love for this ward that I already felt was as close to Zion as possible. I love this area. I love these people. I don't necessarily love the drive to get out here, the cookie cutter homes, or the soil that refuses to let things be green- but all of that is MORE than worth the privilege to live among so many stalwart and loving saints.

I truly feel we are here for a reason, and I never want to leave. When the time comes for us to move on, it will be a very hard and painful decision. The people here are truly the disciples of Christ trying to live his gospel as best they can. I feel honored to be numbered among them, and hope to one day deserve such friends.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Happy Pyroneer Day

These are the requested pictures of our annual fiery tribute to our pioneer predecessors. There aren't any really great ones which is why they haven't been posted yet. Enjoy.

Some day I will have a nice camera and get good sparkler shots...

Oh, I was wrong- there was one good one. Feel free to steal and print it.