Thursday, February 26, 2015

A heart

Death.

It's been a topic on my mind a lot lately.

I recently watched How to Die in Oregon while I folded laundry.  I cried throughout the movie. It was really hard for me to watch the mental and physical suffering of the individuals and their families.

Today Piper and I talked about dogs and I mentioned that she used to have a dog and that she loved him very much.  I told her that he was black and big and she loved to lay on him.  His name was Diamond.  She just listened.  I'm not sure that she remembers him.  I realized that we are coming up on the one year anniversary of his death.

Then yesterday Mike updated me on the wife of his professor.  She is dying of cancer.  They don't believe she will live much longer.  I keep having images of her in a hospital bed with her husband sitting next to her.  The images are less clear than the grief I feel in my heart.  

Thoughts of Laila's death keep popping up in my mind and I remember the night as if it happened yesterday.  It is such a painful thing to relive in my mind.

Since moving here I've struggled, not having my support system near, not being able to visit Laila, and not really having anyone here to talk to about Laila. I feel as though I've managed my feelings well but this past week I had a harder time and I found myself unable to sleep one night thinking about her and wishing I could feel her presence.  I prayed that night that I could just have some kind of reassurance of her nearness and of God's awareness of me.

Today I woke up to a beautiful, white world.  I opened the back door to take a picture and my eyes immediately settled on a piece of ice sitting right by the door.

A heart.

Piper snatched it up and ate it.  But not before I got a picture.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Forts and firepits

The boys have been building forts in the backyard lately.  They have gotten progressively more involved as time has gone on.  Eventually our yard started to look like a trash pit.  Then there started to be problems with the neighbor boys fighting over the fort and so I decided it was time to be done with the forts.  There will be no more forts made in our backyard.  Today the ice and snow and rain finally stopped and while the high was only in the low 30's, I decided it was time for us to take the forts down and clean up the mess.  I had no idea how much of a mess it was until I got outside to help them clean it up.  Apparently the boys allowed the neighbor kids to drag in trash from the forest behind out house.  They learned a difficult lesson today that when it is in your yard, you ultimately are responsible to take care of it (and clean it).  They didn't think it was quite fair that they had to clean it all up without the help of the neighbors who helped make the mess.  Now our yard is off-limits for awhile and no little neighbor kids are allowed back there for awhile.  I was so irritated with the buckets of junk I threw away.

We have piles of logs and sticks in our yard from the boys and piles of wood from the business so I bought a fire pit and we set it up so we could burn some of the wood and get warm when our hands got too cold.  I think it softened the disappointment of having to clean up the mess by having a fire.












Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ice storms, Valentine's Day, Scouts


I have a huge amount of photos to post this time around.  

Let me say, I've been making blog books for family history purposes and as I go through the previous years I am reminded once again that I am not funny anymore.  I used to be witty and had funny things to say regularly but that seems to have left my writing and I can't ever seem to find anything funny to say anymore.  It's kind of sad.  So, all my posts are rather mundane and boring now--lists of what we do on a weekly basis.  One day I might rediscover some humor in myself but for now, I'll just continue to give pictures and an update.  

Mike and I went on our first date in ages on Friday.  We have canceled every date night leading up to this one because someone has ended up being sick, and not just sick, but contagious.  Finally, we seemed to be getting past it all so we got a babysitter and had a lovely evening together.  We came home to discover that Eli had thrown up while we were away.  Sigh.  Mike wasn't feeling great either so he and Eli stayed home from church on Sunday.  Sunday night Will complained about a sore throat and he had been terribly stuffy for days and complained off and on about his ear so I woke up Monday morning and set up a doctor's appointment for him.  We were supposed to get a nice ice storm starting early Monday so I scheduled the earliest appointment possible.  It was a holiday and I was surprised that the doctor's office was even open but they were able to get us in before they closed early for the day.  We drove to the doctor's office with ice pellets coming down steadily and by the time we got done at the doctor we had to re-scrape the windows.  Will ended up having a sinus infection and a double ear infection with a good amount of puss in his ears.  Poor kid.  He hasn't been able to hear us for days.  This is a pretty common thing for Will.  He gets super stuffy and then for weeks he appears to be ignoring us when we talk to him but he literally cannot hear us.  The doctor has come up with a plan to help us figure out how to help Will.

Monday it rained ice pellets all day long.  We got a fair amount of ice covering the roads--perhaps a half an inch.  Will was determined to make an ice slide so he spent hours shoveling all the ice.  He finally came in a begged for help so I paused making dinner and Mike paused doing homework and we went to help him.  That night it snowed a little but not a lot.  The next morning Will went right outside to finish his slide.  His first run down he broke his sled and came him just so disappointed, trying not to cry.  I tried to find some metal bowls and pans for him to use but he went down on his knees and totally biffed it, scraping and bruising his face and getting a swollen lip.  He came inside crying, saying that his four hours spent on the slide was a complete waste.  I don't think he went back outside the rest of the day.  It was pretty sad.  Eli also biffed it and got a bloody nose and lip and scratched face.  Ice slides just are not the same as snow slides....

  
The ice storm made the world beautiful and I had to get some pictures.  








My pictures did not upload in order so I'll go back to our icy week later...

In other news, the boys have been working hard to complete their Wolf and Bear requirements.  Will is turning ten next month so he needs to get his Bear at the coming pack meeting.  We've worked hard and he should be getting a basketball belt loop, Good manners belt loop, his religious square knot, his Bear, and FIVE (yes, five) arrow points.  

Isaac only became a Wolf in August and we haven't been feeling rushed to complete things.  He's made amazing progress and only has a couple of requirements to complete and then should get at least one arrow point, if not two soon.  He also has his religious square knot completed and his basketball belt loop completed.  His leaders are really pushing to have him finish his Wolf by the Blue and Gold Banquet, which is coming up in March.  It has been somewhat frustrating for me because I feel like he has plenty of time to finish and I don't like the idea of passing things off just to get them done quickly.  I guess I just don't see the necessity of him finishing six months early.  
 We have been trying to be better at Sunday activities, having the boys write in their journals, play games together, having piano lessons from Mike, etc.  Mike has fond memories of baking with his sister on Sundays so he told the boys they should start baking.  It was fun for me to find the boys all in the kitchen making cookies together.
 Piper is the cutest little girl.  Seriously.  I can't get over how cute she is.  She has this big Minnie Mouse that she loves and she loves bubbles as well.  She asked me to blow bubbles for her and then set her Minnie right next to her and she would lean over and ask, "You like the bubbles, Minnie?  Get them!"  It was so cute.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not but Piper doesn't like clothes.  She doesn't like to wear socks or shoes either.  She prefers to run around with only a diaper but if she must wear clothes she wants it to be a tutu or pajamas.  She is pretty particular about her pajamas too.  You can see in the next couple of pictures that she prefers her pink pajama dress.  I've taken these pictures on different days and she is always wearing these pajamas.  I try every day to convince her to wear clothes and I usually just end up letting her wear pajamas unless we have to go somewhere.  And when her pink pajama dress has been worn for days at a time, I have to hide them from her so she won't throw a fit and insist on wearing it again, at which point she moves onto her purple pajama dress.  Oh, and almost every single nap time she insists on taking off whatever clothes I have convinced her to wear and put pajamas on.  I can sometimes bargain with her and let her change into pajamas if she will let me put her clothes back on after her nap.  Doesn't her legs get cold?!  It's winter time for heavens sake.  Sheesh.  Crazy girl.
 And she has awesome hair.
 Our icy days have resulted in school being cancelled all week long.  The boys have played too much computer and so I decided to try and get them doing something else today.  We had left over straws and q-tips from Valentine's Day so Mike came up with the idea of cutting holes out of paper plates in various sizes and then having the boys shout the q-tips through.  They loved it.

 Valentine's Day was a good day.  Mike and Piper bought me flowers, which was very sweet.  We had both sets of missionaries over that night so I spent a lot of the day cooking a special Valentine's meal.
 We had pink salad dressing (delicious!),
 a salad with craisens, apples, almonds, avocado, cheese, and bacon bits.
 Love Potion was our beverage
 Heart-shaped garlic bread as a side,
 and lasagna for the main dish, followed by raspberry brownies (Isaac's favorite).

We challenged the Elders to a game of Cupid's Arrow--everyone had to shoot q-tips out of straws and see who could get the most q-tips on a plate.  The game eventually just became a q-tip shooting fight.


 And finally, some more pictures of the kids playing outside.





 Our backyard is becoming filled with large stick forts.  The boys can't even carry the logs by themselves.  They sneak through the broken slats in the fence to the woods on the other side and carry out huge logs which they then build forts with.  I'm sure the neighbors all think we are crazy, white-trash folks but all the neighbor kids are so happy to be in our yard building these crazy structures.
And that's it folks.  If you made it this far you are awesome!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Little Designers

One of our hopes in starting our business was to provide the opportunity for our boys to have a job, eventually.  We thought perhaps we could teach them how to do some of the work and it could be a great way to help them earn money for their missions.  We have three boys to help get on missions and I am a huge, huge believer in missionaries paying for their missions.  I have no idea where this business will take us and if it will ever be profitable enough to do more than pay ourselves back for the machine we bought.  I hope so, but who knows?

Even if we never do any more than what we are currently doing, it's been a good growing experience for our family.  I've seen so many positive things come from this risk we've taken.  One of the awesome things that has come from this experience is watching the boys get so excited and use their creative juices.

I've talked about the school being totally ridiculous and this is a perfect example:  Will was in class during Math instruction.  The teacher gave the class time to work on some problems.  Will finished his problems early and decided to quietly wait for the teacher to give further instruction.  He pulled out his pencil and paper and drew an idea for something we could cut out.  He got tattled on for drawing and his teacher yelled at him telling him that was not an appropriate way to spend his time and marked his planner down.  Seriously so stupid.  Anyway, I think it's so funny and annoying that he got in trouble for drawing.  But it's cool that he was drawing up ideas for our business.


Two nights ago all three boys came down stairs with sketch pads and pencils to show us their sketches for new products.  They were so cute and actually had some really great ideas that Mike and I will try to incorporate.

Finally, Eli was home all week with pink eye last week.  I was working on a sketch for a new product.  It's a dragon shooting flames out of his mouth and the textured background is flames.  (similar to my whale idea but instead of swirls, flames).  Eli sat down next to me and worked on his own dragon and flames.  I had to take pictures because I wanted to remember that cute moment where he sat by me working on his masterpiece.





It is really rewarding for me to create something someone might want in their home.  It's also really rewarding to work along side Mike and the boys.  It's pretty awesome.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Officially the end of the basketball seaon

You know, I sit down to write these posts and the first thing that comes to mind to write is, "This week has been busy" but then I realize that I probably wrote that same phrase last week and the week before and the one before that as well.  Life just really is busy!  

I went to the doctor for my hives and he concluded that I wasn't allergic to anything except for ragweed and that wasn't causing the hives.  He said that most of the time you don't even know what is the cause of the hives but quite often it is from an infection.  So, his best guess was that the respiratory infection I had in December was the cause of my hives.  He put me on Zyrtec twice a day for two months and then once a day for a month at which point I will stop taking the medicine and see if the hives come back.  The hives were seriously so bad.  I've had rashes before but nothing like this.  It was horrible.  I'm so thankful to not have them anymore!

Isaac got better from all his sicknesses and then we had two germ free days followed by Eli waking up on Tuesday with pink eye.  He stayed home the rest of the week.  He was pretty bored so I had to get creative in coming up with things to keep him entertained so he didn't play the computer all day.  We ended up canceling on the babysitter for date night as well as cancelling a play date.  It was pretty frustrating.  I honestly think that all the sickness, which has been constant since the beginning of December, has really taken it's toll on me.  It has been the longest germ filled winter we've ever had and I honestly had to hold back the tears at the end of the week when Eli didn't get better in time for our outing with friends or for our date night.  Anyway, as of yesterday morning no one had any fevers, pink eye, coughs, earaches, hives, or anything else.  I'm crossing my fingers that the rest of us don't suddenly wake up with pink eye this week.  If you are sick of reading post after post about sickness, imagine how we feel!  

Saturday was officially our last day of basketball games.  We had four games to attend again.  Isaac's team made it into the championships.  They won their first game but lost the second game, taking second place in the league.  They were pretty disappointed but we all went out for pizza together following the game and by the time we finished lunch they had all forgotten the loss.  I feel so grateful that Isaac had the chance to be on this team.  The boys on the team were so kind and happy and come from such good families.  I couldn't imagine a better group of little boys for Isaac to spend his time with on a weekly basis.  I feel so thankful for the coach and the calm way in which he taught the boys.  It was just so pleasant to watch them each week with their good attitudes and happy spirits. I was really sad when the season ended and Isaac wouldn't have the chance to hang out with these boys still on a regular basis.  These are the types of kids I've wanted him to make friends with.  





Will had a different experience this season.  His team was less than ideal.  What I really was proud of though was when one of the mom's came up to Will and said, "Will, can I take you home with me?  You are just so pleasant and happy all the time!"  It is true.  I wish I had taken a video of him playing because he literally had a smile on his face the entire duration of the game.  He just loved playing and didn't allow himself to get caught up in the bad attitudes of his teammates or become disappointed by all the games lost.  On Saturday his team lost their fist game but won their second game and I was so grateful that he got to end his season with a win!  They won three games the entire season.  Will has gotten to be a good little defender and he drew a foul at one point and got to shoot his first free throws.  He was so nervous and so excited at the same time.  He kept telling everyone after his game, "I got to do my first free throw."  Both boys have decided they want to play again next year so I need to find them some basketball camps to go to so that they can improve before next try-outs.
 We had a break between Isaac's two games but not enough time to go home so Mike surprised the boys with a trip to Krispy Kreme doughnuts


 Isaac biffed it coming up the stairs on the bleachers during Will's game and got a nice bruise on his face and nose.



 Besides the games, practices, and sickness, I've had a lot going on for my calling as well as a lot for the business.  I always wonder how I am going to accomplish all I need to accomplish and then somehow it gets done and I know that is only possible with help from the Lord.  I still struggle to find the time or motivation to exercise and lose weight and my house has really suffered lately but I find that I am generally satisfied each night when I think over my productivity during the day.

Mike wants to add his two cents to this post.  He has been working like crazy lately.  School work and the business are taking over every bit of free time.  He is such a hard worker.  He had a birthday this past week and I was too busy to do anything for his birthday.  I felt pretty bad about it but he was a good sport and says he doesn't even care.  The boys want to have a minecraft party for him so I think I'll see what I can come up with but I'm not sure when we will celebrate because he is worried about not having time for the party with all his assignments.  I was really thankful for him this weekend.  He has four assignments to finish and doesn't do homework ever on Sunday.  I know he was worried about finishing them but he went to every single basketball game on Saturday and even went to get pizza with us.  He gave the boys his full attention.  I'm so thankful for a husband who knows where his priorities should be and who believes that if he puts his family first, the Lord will help in the other areas of his life.

I love my little family.