Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Getting Ready

I'm getting ready for our trip to Virginia and I wanted to download the last of my pictures and do a post and just my luck I can't find my camera cord anywhere! I know how you feel Shawna!

Last week I even got to go on Ashley's field trip unexpectedly when she woke up not feeling the best (surprise surprise). I was a good mom and cancelled my plans to walk behind her with cough drops, Kleenex and Tylenol just in case. Only one cough drop was used but the Kleenex came in handy when another student got a bloody nose. I'll post the pictures when my camera gets up and rolling.

So my list of things to do before the trip keeps growing. Some of the things I had to take care of were ....

1. Getting Jacob some shorts and pants that fit him. After Jacob coming down the stairs one too many times in something that is toooo tight I figured that it was time to do some shopping. Amid protests about having to try things on too many times we got a few things. Sunday I spent the afternoon hemming them all up. After all that work I was glad that he would have some new things to wear that would fit him.

He wore one of the shorts yesterday. I had cut them where he insisted that they be.

They are tooo short.

Dang it. It's not like I can add material back again.

There's 10 dollars down the drain.

He's wearing a second pair today. It's one of those plaid looking ones and will be a little hard to match. We finally got a shirt that kinda goes and then Jeff was thinking his shoes didn't match. (What 10 year old boy cares about whether his shoes match or not). Ashley, our fashionista, looked at him when he came downstairs and said "Do you like those?"...."I don't like those, I think they look funny."


2. We had to get tennis shoes for Ashley since her only pair had holes that went right through to the socks. (She kept telling me they were beat up but I didn't believe her until I saw the hole.)

Do you know how hard it is to find shoes in a size 10 that aren't princesses, Dora or some other similar kiddy theme that she is sooo done with.

Jeff tried to suggest some sparkly Strawberry shortcake shoes that were identical to the ones she had a couple of years ago.

She wasn't having it.

After 3 stores we settled on shoes with Hannah Montana on them.

3. Taylor needed at least ONE pair of pants that actually fit him.

Suit pants don't count.

Taylor thought he had a old pair from his cousin that he liked but he couldn't find them. So on Saturday we had to wrestle, cajole and insist that Taylor buy a pair of jeans that weren't high waters. He complained that they were itchy, they were stiff, they were claustrophobic and bugged him.

He really needs a 28 waist and a 32 inch length but was there any in that size?


So we settled with a 30 X 32 and he'll have to wear a belt and cinch it up. The disgusted way he looks at them I know that it'll be a fight to get him to wear them.

This morning after asking him for the 10th time to unpack his bags from his campout (over a week ago) he found his cousins old pants that he likes.

So much for the pants we bought him.

So I'm off to shop, pack, clean and get ready for our trip. We were hoping for a tour of "Obama's house" as Ashley puts it while we were there but it's closed for tours due to the high demand. I guess if everyone can't come through no one can or something like that. It's OK we'll be glad to see what we can see and visit with family.

It'll also be nice to pass the Relief Society notebook for a little bit and just focus on my family. Sharla it's coming your way (hee hee).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Flat Stanley and a blast from the past

Ashley had a school project where she made Flat Stanley and then had to mail him to someone (preferably out of state) to take him on adventures. Ashley decided to mail him to her grandparents who live in Virginia. She was thrilled when they emailed her the pictures of Flat Stanley's adventures in the capital on Sunday.

I tried to download all their pictures but shutterfly is wise to us bloggers and they only lets you save the first picture in the slide show. So if you would like to follow Flat Stanley's adventures you'll have to follow the link.

Shutterfly | Shared Picture DetailAs

And now for a blast from the past. I'm beginning to love facebook for the fact that I've been able to look in on a bunch of people from the past that I've lost contact with (which is almost all of them). We can see a snapshot of how our families are doing in a glance and make a little bit of contact. I really don't have time for it but I'll comment here and there. (For those who send me invitations don't be offended I ignore them all indiscriminately.)

A friend of mine that I went to high school with uploaded some pictures of us growing up. It was so fun to see these. This is a picture of my last year at girls camp. We were serving as leaders my senior year and I got to hear "Brother Beaulieu" come speak as he was just home from his mission. (never knowing he's end up being my husband, hee hee).

This is some random picture of me and Joann Watson (Anderson). I don't know what we're doing but don't you love the tucked and rolled up pants and the permed hair.

This was when I was on the Youth Conference committee. I worked with the Cowan's sitting in the front right hand side. I loved them. We just got to see them visit our ward when Meagan Curl's baby was blessed (that's her parents)

Notice all the floral on the ties as well:)

This last picture is again from girls camp we were doing a fashion show to teach the girls about modesty. I'll try and describe what's being worn in order from left to right. There is a tube top, I am wearing a Teddy (again with the rolled up pant legs and shirt sleeves), the next was spaghetti straps, a halter top, fish net stockings, Shawna sporting bell bottoms (there were bells on her pants) and a double breasted suit.

Fun times. Fun times.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Parties and field trips

Tuesday was Saint Patrick's day and I was able to help a little with a party in Jacob's class. Mrs. Reese is part Irish and has her birthday the day after St. Patrick's day so she always does a big celebration.

When I came in she already had everything set up and ready to go.

She had the kids make little leprechaun hats as we listened to Irish music. My job was to distribute tape, help when needed and then help paper clip the hat to their heads. Then re-paper clip them when they fell off. And then re-paper clip them again. Some boys had very short hair, I had to have some of them get on their knees because I couldn't reach them and I skewered one boy wearing corn rows (sorry). Surprisingly some of the girls had the hardest time keeping their hat in their hair too.

The menu for the day was corned beef and cabbage, scones, green M&M's (so generously bought by the teacher in the M&M store for 12.95 a pound, ouch) She also served herbal tea so the kids could experience it. Jacob was very curious about the tea and since it was herbal I told him it would be fine if he wanted to try it.

This is what Jacob thought of the tea. Curiosity replaced by disgust. Hee Hee Hee.

Yesterday I got to go with Taylor to a band competition at Ramona High School. While we were there he wondered if we would see his cousin J.J., we never did but he still had fun. Here is some of his band friends.

A few parents came and I got to see Taylor perform with his band in the auditorium. Luckily Taylor was sitting on the edge so I could see him the whole time. He's on the left and is the tallest one in the row. They were judged on their performance and then they went over to another room to be tested on their sight reading skills. No parents were allowed in this one so I sat out with a couple of the other parents and talked about high school, the engineering program marching band and stuff like that.

After Taylor came out we found out that his band received a rating of "Excellent" which is one under "Superior". We went over and bought Taylor a pin that he could wear and then I hung out with him a little while he ate lunch. I left him a little early so he could hang out with his friends and I could do a couple of errands. Good thing because when I got home the school called and Ashley was in the office feeling sick.

I brought her home and then I had to get ready for the Relief Society Birthday dinner and celebration that night. Luckily her illness cut out dance class, but I had promised them I would bring our projector but realized that it was in Jeff's car and his car was in the shop. So that afternoon I had to run down and get it from the shop and then get it to the church. Then I rushed home and fed the kids and then ran back over to the church.

Our HFPE committee put on a wonderful evening and a great program.

The most important part of the dinner....dessert.

Music was a big part of the program. We had 2 wonderful pianists, a harpist..and the young women sang. We had a variety of speakers and got to get to know people better than we did before.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The thermometer - best friend and biggest ally

This has been my best friend and biggest ally almost every morning before school this year.

For some reason I have children (one in particular) who never seems to feel well in the morning when they wake up. They struggle to get out of bed, they flop on the floor when I'm trying to encourage them to get dressed all the while they are insisting that they feel sick in the hopes that I will let them stay home from school. "Mom I need the thermometer!" they say.

The rule in our house is that if you don't have a fever or have been throwing up you don't get to stay home from school. (Though I have been known to let children stay home for severe cold symptoms that make any schoolwork next to impossible). Since nobody had colds, nobody has thrown up they know that the thermometer is the only ticket for them to stay home.

Mom might be swayed, mom doesn't know for sure if they are really sick but the thermometer is always right, never lies and is the ultimate judge.

This morning my "best friend" was used 5 times to prove to two children multiple times that they weren't sick enough to stay home from school. It has been accused of being broken, being wrong because it dropped on the floor or giving a wrong reading because they just ate cereal. I had one child make a last ditch effort as we were walking out the door. In the end the thermometer prevailed and everyone is at school.

I got out of the house with only a note to a teacher about a scraped knee. I didn't ask the teacher to excuse them from all physical activity outside (which they wanted me to do) but I did say that my child was complaining about it...and I added the fact that this child insisted I write her a note about it. (You can try and guess which child this was).

So now I'm off to a peaceful, TV free day of laundry. What joy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And these are the days of our lives...

So some more catching up to do. I was uploading my random pictures for the last little while...

OK so this day Taylor was supposed to go out to a remote area and do a field study for his science class. It couldn't be around houses or where people normally go...OK like that's easy to find around here. Much time was wasted driving around trying to find a good spot just to be rejected by Taylor for being "too close to people". Luckily I hooked up with Shaney and we each took a turn bringing the boys to Sycamore canyon. We were hoping to see animals but all we saw were insects, birds, and a beware of rattlesnakes sign. (Comforting) We saw coyote droppings which consisted mostly of rabbit fur but we never saw coyote's or rabbits. Anyways at least they got their observations done.

Notice Jacob in the waaaay back totally fed up with our "hiking" and walking back to the car on his own.

Here we have Jacob's cake entry for this years blue and gold dinner. The theme was red white and blue so his cake is supposed to be featuring fireworks. He won an award for it but he lost it before we got home. (Not too suprising) So lets say he got the award for..."best use of candy?". By the way Ashley was veeeerrrry upset that we were using HER rainbow candy that had been sitting in the cupboard for months...that she never had any interest in any time we got the candy out...that she could care less about until she saw it on the cake and wanted us to rip it off IMMEDIATELY. Luckily we got her calmed down enough to get out the door with it. Whew!

OK so here is the next night. This actually was a crazy day. I went to the stake women's conference early in the morning, which was great, then came home for about 45minutes before Jeff and I went to the Kiser/McClellan wedding. Our navigation system actually kept taking us to an entrance that we couldn't get in to the complex and we ended up being 40 minutes late and missing the ceremony. Though we were there in spirit as the father of the groom's cell phone goes off in the middle of the wedding as Jeff tried to call to see how to get in. Hee Hee. Sorry brother Kiser. From the reception (which they did a great job on) we went straight to Jeff's kickoff dinner out in Upland. We had a great dinner and then there were some awards. My pictures of Jeff getting his awards came out too dark so you'll just have to imagine it. The highlight was him making number 3 in the office last year. Way to go honey! Note I am wearing the "other" blue dress from Norstroms that I had to go back to the store to take the tag off of after sitting in my car for a month. (what a hastle)

Here is a recent picture of our lovely pond in the backyard. Every year when it starts to rain it fills up with water...which turns green. Eventually I get a bucket and drain it...and then it fills up again in the next rain storm. So I haven't emptied it since the last rain storm so now Ashley has discovered how fun it is to stir it around with a stick and watch the green stuff swirl around. Nice.

This was Sharla and I's big idea for a fundraiser for our boys to earn some of their own money for scout camp. I admit it's much easier to just pay for it and call it all good. But we thought it would be better to give them an opportunity to do some work and earn some of the money themselves. So Bea (in the ward) has a grove of tangerine and orange trees in her back yard that she offered anyone to come and pick. So after school that's where we were...picking fruit to let the boys sell for scout camp. Though the whole thing has been a lot of work it's been a good lesson for the boys about work, sales, the value of money, tithing and stepping out of your comfort zone. I mentioned to Taylor as he got another "no" that this is what being a missionary probably will feel like. He told me that for him the hard part is asking people to pay for something. He thinks that sharing a message for free will be easier...so we shall see.

We still have a bunch of bags of oranges and tangerines in the garage...anyone want any???... Anyone?

So this was a fun night. It was my sister's birthday and we went to the Canyon Club to celebrate. It was a place where you bought dinner and then watched a concert. Since I've missed like every one of Angela's birthday's as an adult I thought we'de make it a priority to go. The food probably wasn't worth the price but I had a lot of fun and was glad we went. Thanks Jeff for braving the 2 hours drive and all:)

The band that was playing was English Beat, they're music is considered ska, new wave and reggae. I remember them from when I was growing up and knew some of the songs from my KROQ days...(Mirror in the bathroom, Twist and Crawl, I Confess) Angela knew them because I used to play that kind of music when she was younger. The crowd was pretty thin while we were eating dinner but as soon as the concert was starting the place was packed. Since we ate we got to sit in comfy chairs the whole time. I had to admit that the crowd was a lot of us white, late 30 somethings and older. Angela said she felt old for the first time when the guy at our table guessed her in her mid 30's. I told her not to be offended that just when the music was popular:). My favorite was the short, bigger guy with no rythm dancing spastically in front of his cute, petite date? I would've loved to know what she was really thinking. Thanks for inviting us Angela.

Two days later I was flying out for Emilee's funeral. I stayed at Elaine and Leonard's with my mom. Those of you who have come up with me to Women's conference should remember them. (They're the greatest). I flew in with enough time to help with the set up on Sunday night with the rest of the family.

I was suprised with how many people were at the viewing the night before the funeral. I would guess over 200-300 showed up. People were very nice and David and the boys held up really well considering.

The next morning was another viewing followed by the funeral. All of us family took up almost the entire middle section of the chapel. There were people from all over the country who came to pay their last respects. I thought the speakers did an awesome job at the funeral (including uncle Leonard).

When we got to the graveside service we were greeted by a bagpiper (Uncle David's friend) which set the tone. The pall bearers brought her over (her oldest son is in the middle) and then her husband David dedicated the grave.

I have to say that I was amazed at David's calm peaceful demeanor during this whole time. I could'nt imagine myself or Jeff in his place but he expressed his assurance that though he doesn't know details he knows that the Lord is watching out for him and in the end things will work out.

He shared some of the most touching and spiritual things that have happened during this hard time that has sustained him, given him hope and helping him to remain peaceful during such a difficult time. It's another testimony to me of how powerful being strong in your faith is in helping you get through tough things.

One example was that the bishop offered a prayer requesting that the snow hold off until after the services and again the tender mercies of the Lord were manifest when it the first flakes didn't come down until David was leaving the gravesite.

Here is my cousin Lori, who I went to college with as well, and her cute matching girls. I guess she used to match all their clothes until the oldest got into junior high.

Here's some of the 120 or so odd family at the luncheon afterwards...with uncle Larry covering his stomach with the tablecloth so we wouldn't see it in the picture. Thank you relief society, I know that's no small feat.

After the luncheon those of us who could came back to my aunt Elaines for a more private get together. Here is my uncle Roger who has become known for falling asleep at events. So I couldn't resist a picture of him asleep...along with crazy uncle Larry pretending he's asleep:).

The last family member left by 9:00 and then my mom and I wounded down for bed and got ready to fly back home the next morning.

When I flew into Utah everything was dry and brown. By the time I was leaving everything was white and I got my first experience of scraping snow and ice off my windows so I could drive.

I was so lucky that getting there and getting home was very smooth both ways. With all the traveling mishaps I've had in the past I was very grateful for this. I was able to fly into John Wayne by 12:00 and get to long term parking, get my car and drive to the kids school by 1:15 which I didn't think I could do. I came home to a clean house, and a cute homemade sign that Jeff made with the kids at family home evening the night before.

Jeff is always super-dad when I'm gone. Maybe I should leave more often :)

The only way you can tell if I'm out of town is by looking at Ashley's hair. Hee hee.

Seriously I came home to a clean house, happy well fed, slightly spoiled kids.

So today I spent the day in my gym clothes doing laundry and Relief Society damage control. Sheesh you can't even miss one Sunday;0). I never did get to the gym...I gave up and got dressed for reals at like 3:30.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

March 4th "Forth"

As some of you know my cousin's wife Emilee has been battling stage 4 breast cancer for the past 6 years. She came down last month to California briefly for a visit. Our time together was short but I was grateful for it. After her trip she had a quick decline and past away yesterday morning.

I've been following her blog. Her sister in law took over for her at the end and this is what she wrote...

"Our sweet Emilee passed away this morning around 8:00 a.m. We rejoice she is relieved from pain and is in the arms of those who went before her who are welcoming her and watching over her. It is a comfort she passed on March 4th, as she has always “marched forth” through life's adventures and through her cancer journey. Now she is marching forth to her calling in heaven."

I first met Emilee when I was going to BYU. I bumped into her and my cousin David, on one of their first dates. I had seen David and his dates before (including one of my roommates) but this was different. As Jeff would come up to BYU to visit me we would go on double dates with David and Emilee. It was fun to experience dating, getting serious then marrying our spouses together. They jumped the gun on us and got married about 4 months before us and then started their family right away. Emilee always told me in those early years to "hurry up and have children, because they are such a joy" Gratefully she didn't wait as long as I did because none of us knew how much shorter her time would be with them. We've enjoyed visiting with them when we would come up to Utah and we've enjoyed them as they came to visit us when they would take California trips.

After Emilee was diagnosed with cancer she was able to enjoy trips all over the world, adventures and some good years with her husband and children due to the medications that kept the cancer somewhat under control. For the past couple of years she's undergone numerous proceedures and rounds of chemo along with the emotional and physical suffering that comes with it.

Throughout her trials I have seen her become better instead of bitter. The first time she visited us after her mastectomy she said "Do you want to see my scar?" and she showed me. She was very open and honest with her illness and her feelings. She acknowledged it and then continued marching forth...not letting it stop her.

She had her times of feeling depressed and anxious but in the end she always came off striving to have more trust in the Lord and faith that everything would be OK. When I saw her last she had just been able to go on a whale watching tour that morning. The whales that are normally only seen from a distance came so close to their boat and stayed so long the naturalist was completely amazed. He said that there hadn't been a trip like it in over 4 years and he told the passengers to not let anyone else know about it because it was so rare. Was it a coincindence? I don't think so. As she was describing her experience she was moved to tears with the gratitude that she had to observe God's creatures that day.

For one thing it was a wake up call to me to appreciate my life more, and be more grateful. For another thing it confirmed to me something that I learned in Relief Society...the blacker the trials the brighter our blessings seem. The key to seeing our blessings during our blackest times is a grateful heart. Emilee has let her suffering bring her closer to her family and to the Lord. I will look to her as an example as I pass through my own trials of life.

We love you Emilee, and we'll miss you!