Monday, June 29, 2009

Finally!

I have been wanting to chop my hair for at least 5 months - just waiting for it to get long enough to donate to Locks of Love. It's the 2nd time I've done it & I LOVE the feeling once it comes off. The freedom! I was getting so tired of spending 10 minutes blow-drying it because it's not only long, but super-thick. Thanks to my sista Trisha for hacking it off for me. I LOVE IT! My family all got hair cuts as well today and are feeling the summer-hair love :)




Seriously, people, THAT is how thick my hair is. Think about how much less shampoo & conditioner I'll have to go through now! :)


McKinley's cute new 'do!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Temple, Graduation/Birthday BBQ

...And, so begins a full month of extra-busyness. From this past weekend to the weekend of July 18th, we are completely booked!

So, this weekend was packed with lots of fun. It started with Jason's parents coming Friday afternoon with our niece, Sedona, & nephew, Payson. We headed over to Herriman Days. It was a bit chilly, but lots of fun! We saw some cool old cars, rode some fun rides, got face paintings, and ate pizza! That night, we watched "The Ultimate Gift", which was really good, with our niece & nephew.

Saturday was packed with events! I made french toast that morning for the crew and we sang happy birthday to my now 32-year-old sweetheart! Then the St. George Hamiltons (Jason's brother & his family) came & it was off to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple open house. We met the Edward family there & enjoyed walking through the new temple. It was beautiful & I think we all felt the spirit.

After the temple, we came back, had lunch and the kids had a good time playing outside in the water while Jason went birthday shopping with his bro. I also helped my 2 older nieces with their cute blogs. Then it was BBQ time! We had way too much yummy food - watermelon, corn on the cob, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, veggies, frog-eye salad, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and of course cake & ice cream for the birthday boy! It was great to visit with everyone and enjoy the company. That night, we watched the Herriman Days fireworks.

Sunday (this morning), Jason woke up and fixed his famous pancakes. They all headed out about 10am this morning & we were sad to see them go, but we'll see them the next couple weeks.

Thanks everyone for the memories & supporting my sweetheart!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Perspective.

The past week or so has included some frustrating times for me.

They involved some everyday frustrations: huge milk spill, syrup spill, many water "experiments" gone astray, pen on my couches, sand all over my house, destroying of some nursery visual aids, a disappointing printing of a scrapbook project that I had put countless hours & money into, screaming, fighting and seemingly never-ending whining.

And one non-everyday frustration that involved a dog vs. a Jaguar: A lady in our neighborhood hit our dog Tundra (who seems to be fine), but a piece of her Jaguar got broken off in the process at a cost to us of $170 (and yes, we checked with our insurance who said we are at fault). Sigh..not exactly our favorite thing to deal with right now.

Most of it is nothing major, but it's been hard for me to deal with. Maybe because Jason was gone for 4 days & I was doing it alone, but I definitely had some tears and "time-outs". Still, at the end of the day, I cannot help but think of all of my family & friends around me - those who have lost babies and children, a sister who faces these things (x4 kids!) alone every day without hope of having a husband come home & take over, friends who don't share many of these frustrations but deal with a heavier burden of wondering if they will ever be able to have children at all, a friend who has a tiny daughter with special physical & mental needs, those who have dealt with abuse, who barely have enough money to put food on the table. And, so I seem to hear them ask, "Really, Heidi, is that all you are worried about? Is that your great burden? Pick it up, and be thankful to bear it."

And so...I take a deep breath, dry my tears, and instead of praying "why me?" I pray "thank you Lord! I am so blessed!"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fathers in my Life

I thought I'd follow the pattern I set for Mother's Day & write about qualities I admire in the fathers of my life. I have been very blessed and I'm so thankful!

My Sweetheart
-Patience. I know a mom is supposed to have the lion's share of this quality, but I don't think that's quite how it is in our parenting. Jason is such a patient person - much more than me. He will have a parenting situation that would have made me get so frustrated, but he is patient and usually handles the situation much better than I would have. Even when he's trying to do a project (most recently our sprinkling system), he was so patient when McKinley would constantly come over and ask to help him. He would find projects for her to do, or just let her sit there & talk to him and ask him her endless "whys?" while he worked.

-The ability to teach. I've been noticing so much lately how much Jason teaches our children. He taught them how to go up & down the stairs. Zippers, shoes, tricycles, games...our children would not know half of their skills were it not for their father (or at least it would take much longer). McKinley is constantly saying "Daddy teached me" It goes with patience, but he has this ability to get on their level and work on it until they get it & then he is a great cheerleader. I love him for this quality. I see his handiwork in my children's lives every day.

-Cuddling. Some dads don't really see this as their roles, but Jason is every inch a teddy bear with his children. He loves to just sit or lay with them, cuddle, play with their hair, rub their back, read them a book. I think nothing makes him happier than in the morning when we're all in our bed, cuddling, talking, laughing, and giving him endless hugs and kisses.

-Time. He is so devoted to our family. The primary reason he went into the finance industry, instead the the health industry which he might have enjoyed more, was to be home more and have a regular schedule. He loves being at home with his family. He loves spending time with us, and that makes us feel so loved and important. He loves to take McKinley and do things - fishing, to the store, wherever, on little dates and she LOVES IT. He's been gone for the past few days on a scout camp and we sure have been missing his presence. McKinley turned to me yesterday and said "Mom, I want daddy to come home." Well, that says it all. We all adore daddy.

-Love. The most important thing. He shows in so many ways that he loves his Savior, he loves his wife, he loves his children, he loves life.

McKinley says she loves her dad "because I play with him a lot," "dancing on the stage," "putting sunscreen on when I was a baby"(??)..."because I love him so much that he loves me."

I love you sweetheart. THANK YOU for being such a wonderful daddy.

My Dad
-Family Vacations & outings. Oh...so many memorable family vacations. Disneyland - multiple times, camping, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Moab - white water rafting, Spirit Lake, (just to name a few), not to mention our many skiing trips and Lagoon days. He spent the time, money, effort, and sanity to make sure we had many wonderful family vacations. Also, for each of our middle school graduations (when we were 14), if we got good grades, my dad took us each on a trip. Recently, on our drive from Phoenix with my sisters, we all reminisced about each of our trips with dad. It was a lot of fun to hear their experiences. Mine consisted of a trip to Orlando (my first plane ride) - we went to Disney World, Epcot Center, the Kennedy Space Center, and at I remember watching old movies and eating Cup-O-Noodles in our hotel room. Dad certainly didn't take us on these trips for his own health. I still don't what what gave him the idea, but it was a wonderful time that I'll always remember.

-Good Health. My dad has ALWAYS been an example of good health and exercise. Every few years or so, my dad has run a marathon & I always enjoyed when I went and could cheer him on when I was younger. It took quite a few years for the "running bug" to catch me (until college), but I absolutely know that I wouldn't be into the athletic endeavors that I enjoy were it not for the example of my dad. I hope this is a trait I can emulate and pass on to my children.

-Good grades. My dad was always a stickler for good grades. He knew our potential and he pushed us to achieve the best we could. As much as I complained about his "striving for perfection" when I was younger, I truly sought his approval and did really well as a result. It opened many doors for me & I was able to get an academic scholarship at Snow my first year. This dedication also spilled over into many parts of my life because it wasn't just about getting good grades - it was about doing my best.

-Structure. Sundays consisted of church, family council, family home evening, going to grandma Potts, and "interviews" with dad about the week, how we were doing, etc. Weekdays started VERY early with scriptures and family prayer. Again, I complained A LOT growing up, but I was EXTREMELY blessed to have this structure, this time as a family and spiritual armor that helped me face my growing up years, and I am trying to incorporate much of it into my own family.

Thank you, dad, for putting up with the drama of 4 girls. I KNOW it wasn't easy dealing with issues of earrings, makeup, phone calls to boys (we weren't allowed to call boys), maturation "issues":), dating, curfews, and boyfriends, but you did it. And I love you for it. (and it appears we're going to get our turn soon :)

McKinley says she loves her Grandpa Potts "because he loves me, because he tickles me, because he does the spider to me."

Grandpa Tew
-Family memories. Much of my memories of Grandpa Tew are of water-skiing & camping. He was always the one to drive the boat, tongue halfway out of his mouth. He loves sitting around the campfire, singing songs while my mom plays the guitar, and telling stories.

-Knowledge. Jason says that my Grandpa Tew is a genius - and I think he's right! He will AMAZE you with the knowledge he has. That man has a basement FULL of books. And the thing isn't just that he has read them, but that he REMEMBERS them. He's 81 years old! That's not to mention the memory he has of childhood stories, not to mention jokes and soliloquies. One time, he dared us to give him ANY topic and he would think of a joke related to that topic - he did it! I sure wish he passed his mind on to me, but maybe it will show up in one of my children.

McKinley loves "GG (grandpa) Tew" because he loves to give her hugs when she comes over to their house.
We were reading a book the other day & it asked who were the priesthood holders they most looked up to in their life. Jason's answer was my Grandpa Tew (his dad is not a member of our church). He really looks up to him and so do I. Love you Grandpa!
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Class Dismissed!

Today I am giving a shout-out to my sweetheart. He went to his LAST class today to earn his MBA! He seemed excited, but I'm pretty sure I'm just as stoked! He had classes on Friday nights & Saturday mornings, so now WE HAVE OUR WEEKENDS BACK! HOORAY!

I am so proud of him. He has never really enjoyed reading, but I have to say that he was completely dedicated and stayed up way into the morning on many nights making sure that all his classwork was done - no cutting corners for him (even though I tried to tempt him many times)! He was also determined not to sacrifice family time for school and waited until the girls went to bed & he had a little time with me before he started to study. In addition, he never studied on Sunday. I think those 2 things really helped him and he finishes with a fantastic GPA.

He didn't walk for graduation, so I feel a bit bad that there hasn't been near enough fanfare involved for this AMAZING accomplishment. We did make him a sign today, though, & had it on our garage. I LOVE YOU BABE! I am so thankful for your innumerable sacrifices to earn this degree to help our family.

YOU DID IT!

Masters of Business Administration at the Utah State University John M. Huntsman School of Business

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Great Divorce

I finished reading The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis last week. I think I'm going to add to my bucket list to read all of his works. Like 5 times. I know with this book I could have read it 10 times already and still not have gotten everything, which is crazy because it's only 125 pages. His books are just so RICH in detail and doctrine. No wonder they're quoted all the time in general conference - even though he's not LDS. I have read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series (many times), The Screwtape Letters, and now The Great Divorce. I think my next ventures for him are going to be Mere Christianity and Letters to Children.

So, for The Great Divorce, here's some background - It's set as if the narrator has died and was taken with other spirits on a flying bus to a large, beautiful world. Yet, the spirits are not yet meant for that world. The blades of grass hurt their feet as if they're walking on pins and rain feels like bullets to them. They are met on a huge meadow by large, solid people who try to convince them to come up the mountain and partake of the joy of Jesus Christ. But the narrator witnesses many excuses as to why the spirits won't come. I'm going to take a few examples I thought were interesting:

-Pride. The first example the narrator witnesses is of a ghost who is met by a solid spirit he knew in earth life as his employee and who he knew committed a horrible sin. And he felt like he had been good all his life. In the end, he chose not to go with the solid spirit: "I'm not coming, see? I'd rather be damned than go along with you. I came here to get my rights, see?" And, so he chose not to go to heaven and be with Jesus and have joy because he thought he was better than others there.

-Unbelief. Another ghost tried to talk the narrator into leaving because he thought it was all a scam. He tried to tell the narrator that Heaven and Hell were really run by the same institution - and the perception of the difference between the two was all an illusion & that there was no war between heaven & hell: "...if there's a real war why don't they do anything? Don't you see that if the official version were true these chaps up here would attack and sweep the Town (hell) out of existence? They've got the strength. Obviously the last thing they want is to end their so-called 'war.' The whole game depends on keeping it going."

-Shame. One ghost (a woman) would not go with the Solid Spirit because she felt so bad that she was just a ghost and not a solid spirit yet and she couldn't make the journey until she was like the glorious solid people: "How can I go out like this among a lot of people with solid bodies? It's far worse than going out with nothing on would have been on earth." The solid spirit's answer: "An hour hence and you will not care. Don't you remember on earth - there were things too hot to touch with your finger but you could drink them all right? Shame is like that. If you will accept it - if you will drink the cup to the bottom - you will find it very nourishing; but try to do anything else with it and it scalds." Still, in the end, she chose not to go because she compared herself to the other solid spirits, and gave up her joy for it.

-Misdirected love. The narrator said this was one of the most painful meetings he witnessed. It was between a woman ghost and her brother as the Bright Spirit. She immediately wanted to see her son who had died when he was young. The Bright Spirit assured her she could as soon as she stopped focusing on him and started focusing on the Savior instead: "You're treating God only as a means to Michael. But the whole thickening treatment consists in learning to want God for His own sake." Still, the woman insisted that all she wanted was her boy & she could hardly love God for taking away her son. The spirit said "He had to take Michael away...He wanted your merely instinctive love for your child to turn into something better. He wanted you to love Michael as He understands love. you cannot love a fellow-creature till you love God." In the end, the woman would not hear of it. She would rather live with her son in hell than change her heart and focus of her love and have him in heaven.
There was another example of this with a husband and wife. She had passed on many years before him and greeted him in all her beauty and glory. He wondered if she had missed him & was miserable all these years. She said no - that she had been happy and in love and fulfilled in the love of Jesus. He was jealous and upset that she had not been miserable without him, that she did not need him. She said "What needs could I have now that I have all? I am full now, not empty. I am in Love Himself, not lonely. Strong, not weak. You shall be the same. come and see. We shall have no need for one another now; we can begin to love truly."

So - the bottom line that I take away from this book is what I have been trying to focus on and truly write in my heart lately: that I need to focus on my relationship with my Savior above ALL else. As educational as it is to watch some TV programs, as righteous as it is to want to keep my home in order, and even as noble as it is to care for my children and husband, I need to FOCUS ON MY SAVIOR first. Everything and everyone else can be taken away. He is the only one that remains. So, I ask myself how I know if I am putting Him first - making sure that I am not leaning too much on anything or anyone else? Do I go to Him with my happiness, with my misery, with my concerns, with my questions? More importantly, am I obeying the answers? These are questions I am going to continue working on. I sure have a long way to go...

Here's a couple more quotes that I personally can directly apply from this book:

"The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words 'Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.' There is always something they insist on keeping, even at the price of misery. There is always something they prefer to joy - that is, to reality. Ye see it easily enough in a spoiled child that would sooner miss its play and its supper than say it was sorry and be friends. Ye call it the Sulks. But in adult life it has a hundred fine names - ... Revenge and Injured Merit and Self-Respect and Tragic Greatness and Proper Pride."

"There are two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says , in the end 'Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened."

So- here's to giving my heart and will to Jesus in THIS LIFE, so that I don't wait to have joy and peace until I die. I can have it NOW!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

May 2009 Slideshow

So, here's the slideshow from last month. Comcast changed something with their online storage, so if you want the newsletter, comment or e-mail me & I'll send it to you each month. Below is the slideshow, although I was so sad when one of my memory cards with lots of pictures from Mapleton Canyon, time with Tiffany, and our BBQ at the Hoffman's was wiped out :(
Here's the slideshow from May 1-24, though:
video

McKINLEY: We love our McKinley! Here are some of her latest adventures:

-We saw a beautiful rainbow one day & McKinley said “Mom – the rainbow helps us to remember that Jesus loves us.” Maybe she does listen to scripture stories after all!
-McKinley’s latest trick is snapping! We didn’t think she’d catch on so fast, but she’s a snapping queen now!
-Another one of McKinley’s latest things is when she or someone else can’t find something, she says “maybe it walked away!”
-We were on the freeway headed to grandma’s house & McKinley asked where all the cars were going. Mom said “I don’t know.” McKinley said “Yes you do! They’re going to grandma’s house too!”
-We were looking at the moon one night & mom asked McKinley why the moon is big sometimes & small sometimes. She said “I don’t know. Does it melt?”
-One of the preschool days that mom taught was on calling 911. We talked about it for a little while & Heidi had to go in the other room to get something & she heard McKinley tell the others “Yeah guys – you got to call 911 when your mom or dad dies.” Hmm – obviously I wasn’t getting the right message across.
-For some reason McKinley likes to bring everyday items to show & tell. When mom was teaching, one day she brought an eraser and one day she brought a sandal. She talked about how each item works and how special it is & where she got it from. It’s rather entertaining.
-We were looking for mother’s day cards & listening to the ones that had music when you opened them. We looked over & saw McKinley opening the regular cards & putting her ear close to the card with a frustrated, puzzled look on her face. She kept opening & closing them until we told her that not all cards are musical.
-Mom was fixing McKinley’s hair one day & pulled too hard. Mom said she was trying to be gentle. McKinley said “No you’re not!! You’re trying to be…bad-ful!”
-We were listening to the My Turn on Earth soundtrack & it had the song about the war in heaven & Satan and Jesus and McKinley had lots of questions about it. We talked about agency and how Jesus wants us to be happy and Satan wants us to be sad. Mom then segued into asking McKinley to do something & knowing how that makes Jesus happy. She said “Yeah cuz Satan doesn’t obey his mommy!”
-Most every night when mom starts to cook, McKinley shows up right by her side & says “Can I help you mom?” & she is so good to help with whatever mom has for her to do. She loves stirring & pouring things into the pot.
-McKinley came to mom & said “mom- my pets – come look!” She came to look and got to see lots of ants in our basement that McKinley was affectionately claiming as her pets.
-McKinley asked for cookies in the morning & mom told her she could only have 1. She said “You can have 1, but I get to have 3 because I’m 3 years old.”
-McKinley was looking at her birthday book from her first year when she was a baby. She said she wanted to be a baby again. Mom asked why. She said “because it was sooooo fun!”
-The girls were in the back playing in the sprinkler. Mom & dad peeked down on them from their room & they saw McKinley turn off the water. Then, when Ireland came close & was looking down on it, she started it up again & got Ireland soaked!
-McKinley & Ireland were so cute – singing twinkle, twinkle to the baby in mom’s tummy.
-Mom was fixing McKinley’s hair one day & getting really frustrated that she kept moving around. She had to keep telling her to stop moving! McKinley said “Can I move my eyes mom?
-McKinley brought Tundra inside one day & was so proud of herself. She said “Look mommy! I brushed Tundra’s hair!” Sure enough, there was mom’s hairbrush, full of dog fur.
-Jason had to show McKinley how to pee outside in the middle of the night when we went camping. Ever since that time, she keeps thinking she can pee outside, even when we’ve told her multiple times that it’s only when we’re camping.
-McKinley still has many nightmares & we have said special prayers that the Holy Ghost will be with her & protect her & help her to have good dreams. McKinley has been remembering her dreams more & more, though, & they’re so fun to hear. One day it was about Dragon Tales. Another day, she said we were all camping in the mountains and Elmo was with us and he was shaving. She’s so funny!

IRELAND: Here’s what our sweet, stubborn, wonderful Ireland has been up to this past month:
-When Ireland gives hugs, she puts her head on your chest and says “awwhhhh
-When Ireland gets hurt, she comes to you crying and said “Ireland hurt. Sorry!”
-Ireland has witnessed a few of mom’s puking “episodes.” The other day, she was leaning over the toilet & mom couldn’t figure out what she was doing until she got closer and heard her making puking noises. I guess imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?
-Ireland just didn’t know what to do at the dog park with so many dogs running around. She kept yelling & pointing at them “Sit! Sit!”
-We’re pretty sure that Ireland thinks Sydney’s name is hyphenated because she never says it any other way: “Sydney-Quiet!”
-When Ireland is in a contrary mood, she says DON’T or NO to EVERYthing. We were trying to get her to say the prayer one day when she was cranky and it went something like this- Mom: Dear Heavenly Father… Ireland: DON’T Heavenly Father!, Mom: Thank you for the day… Ireland: DON’T Thank you!... And on until we finished the prayer. It wasn’t exactly the most reverent prayer she’s ever said.
-Ireland has gotten a little too attached to her blanket lately. She wants it with her a lot when she’s around the house. The other day mom was getting ready in her bathroom when she looks over & sees Ireland watching herself in the mirror, hugging her blanket, saying “My blanket… I love my blanket…”
-Ireland’s favorite book lately is Green Eggs & Ham. She will bring us the book and say “Sam I am! Sam I am!”
-When Ireland won’t give mommy hugs or kisses, sometimes mommy pouts & sticks out her bottom lip. Now, when Ireland won’t do what we ask, she beats us to the punch - sticking out her bottom lip.
-We’ve been having some problems with Ireland hitting and pushing lately. She’s understanding time out quite a bit more.
-If mom doesn’t catch her, Ireland usually dumps out her milk and cereal all over when she’s done with breakfast. One morning it was especially bad – all over the table & all over her. Mom unsnapped her from the seat & she stood up and said “TA DA!”
-Ireland has been getting into the utensils lately. She can reach without a stool and she thinks it’s very fun to get all the knives out at once.