Monday, November 21, 2011

5th Generation Gerald

FHE tonight was our annual Gerald the Grateful Turkey activity. I love that the girls look forward to this every year. We traced McKinley's foot for the body (this year we used cardboard because I couldn't find any brown construction paper) and then we traced everyone's hands in various colors & wrote the things we were thankful for. It's fun to go back and compare turkeys - seeing how some things we're grateful for have changed (5 years ago, Ireland was thankful for mommy's milk, this year she's thankful for swimming :), and others stay constant - like family.
Here are some things our family is grateful for this year (with my "expanded version" at the end)...

KEZIA (the first three were what she said & I helped her with the last two):
-Jesus (she actually said this twice)
-Halloween Candy (yup... :)
- Books
-Teddy Bear & Piggy

-Beach (??)
-Heart that's happy


-Dirt Bike
-House & Job
-Fishing & Food


-Living in Cedar. Actual quote from my blog back in January of 2009: "Saturday morning we took off and went through Beaver, Parowan, and Cedar City. This was getting a little too far away from my family for me and I'm not as much of a fan of the red-rock-cedar-trees-sagebrush area, but there were a few lots I might consider."
It's amazing how moving to a place that you never saw yourself or your family can change you. I still do greatly miss my family. That is a heartache. I wish they would all just move down here! And - at the same time, I am truly growing. I am loving this place & the people here. The mountains, the clear air, the stars at night, and - yes - even the red rocks have seeped a bit into my soul. And... really... how can you NOT love a place that looks like THIS?:

-Jason's Job. This kind of goes along with living in Cedar, but really, it needs it's own recognition. For the past 8 months, we've been able to live in our own place and buy our own food with our own money. That sounds kind of simple, but it hasn't always been that way & I cannot say how thankful I am that we are in a place of self-sufficiency - and even able to start paying forward the generosity we've been given the past couple years. It's a double-blessing that Jason really enjoys his job and the people he works with and the flexibility and & benefits his job offers. I am also thankful that his job allows me to stay at home with the girls. So - so thankful for this.

-My daughters & husband. I am in a place right now that I am truly enjoying watching my girls grow. I enjoy their individual personalities. I enjoy being with them. I am SO thankful for their presence in my life. That Heavenly Father trusted me to take care of them and raise them and teach them and love them. I love & am thankful for McKinley's thoughtfulness. Ireland's zest for life. Kezia's sweet little voice. Life with them can be a roller coaster, but I'm learning to enjoy the ride :)
We have a picture frame somewhere in a box (lots of stuff still in boxes over here) that says "Best Friends" and has an engagement picture of Jason & I in it. I can't say how TRULY thankful I am to have married my best friend. There is nothing I cannot tell this man. To be able to cry with him, laugh with him, pray with him, dream with him... well - it's truly one of my greatest blessings on this earth.

-Prayer. For Christmas last year, I got a book I've been wanting - "The Power of a Praying Woman," by Stormie Omartian. It has really opened my eyes to what I've been missing in my prayers. It's helped me to see what may be holding me back from a closer relationship with my Savior. And it's really helped. I am SO thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my Maker each day and gain strength, patience, perspective, humility, and trust. My heart is changing as I try to look at this time in prayer with anticipation rather than a "to-do" kind of feeling.

-Internet & Cell phones. The other day McKinley made some kind of comment about the "olden days" - referring to the time when Jason & I were kids. I laughed, but as I thought about it, I realize that it's true. We kind of lived in the "dark ages" - no internet. no cell phones. no digital cameras. How did we survive? OK - we survived just fine & I know that there are plenty of times that technology does more harm that good (and honestly, there have been plenty of times I've wanted to throw a computer or cell phone out the window), but I am still thankful for the good stuff. I'm thankful for Skype, where we can see & talk to family. I'm thankful for cell phones - they make me feel safer as I travel - and they make coordinating life a lot easier. I'm so thankful that SO much information is at my fingertips. Remember when you wanted to find something out & you had to either go to the library & check out a book on that subject, or ask someone & hope what they said was true? yeah... I'm glad it's not like that now. I'm thankful for catching up with old friends, sharing pictures with people near & far... oh - I could go on, but the bottom line is that I am thankful I live in this day & age with so many opportunities and advances.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

LOTS to talk about!

Well, I mentioned it in the newsletter, but it deserves its own post. We bought 2 lots! I guess it's been about 3 weeks ago. The lots are in Enoch and we had looked at various homes or lots in that neighborhood the entire time we were searching. I loved the neighborhood the first time we saw it. It just so happened that the 2 lots we were looking at went into foreclosure & after much discussion & prayer, we made an offer & it was accepted that same day. So- we are the proud owners of 2 beautiful lots.
We're not absolutely sure if we'll be building right away with the snow flying so much already, but it's SO nice to stop looking & have a light at the end of the tunnel. We are at the end of finalizing our building plans & we've been up WAAAY too late at night, trying to make sure the plans have all that we want in there. Each lot is a little over a 1/2 acre, so we will have plenty of room. The lots are side-by-side at the end of a cul-de-sac, so we're not sure we'll be using the other one, or just keeping it as an investment. They back up to a huge farm field and a gorgeous view of the mountains. Our soon-to-be neighbor said that he saw a fox and a badger in his backyard just a few days before, so that will be exciting & fun. The other nice thing is that it will be about 6 minutes to Jason's work. Hooray for having him home at lunchtime!
Anyway, we are SUPER-excited! Here are some pics...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oct Newsletter & Aug-Oct Pics

Okay. I think this is how I'm going to do my newsletters & slideshows from now on. I'm going to do my regular newsletters and then just do a Picasa slideshow each month (this month I have a slideshow from Aug-Oct since I hadn't posted those pictures yet). I will do a quarterly Muvee Slideshow for myself, since it's too big to upload. I'm sad you won't be able to see it with the music & everything, but this way, you can download any pics you like (and there are some cute ones from the Aug-Oct pics).
SO - there you have it. Here is October's Newsletter & the Picasa link (warning 3 months of pics= a LOT). Okay - and I guess I have EXCEEDED my limit for pictures on blogger. Wow. I'm pulling them from Picasa, but not sure how it's going to turn out.

October 2011

From August-Oct 2011
FAMILY: What a fun-filled month October was! It started in Salt Lake. We were up there attending Mike Johnson’s wedding. That weekend was general conference & we enjoyed listening at the Potts’ & Edwards’ homes. On Saturday afternoon – between sessions – we had a birthday party for Kezia. Cindy made a cute cake & everyone brought something for a yummy BBQ. That night, we had a girls’ night with the sisters while the boys went to priesthood session. We painted nails, watched a movie & just gabbed. We left for home Sunday morning, stopping to visit and eat lunch with the Bensons in Provo. On Sunday the 9th, we had a very nice dinner at the Bealers. They got out the China & everything! They are great friends & we had a great time with them. The 10th was Columbus Day & Jason had it off work, so we took a hike up at the top of Kolob Canyon – the Timberline trail. It was just a beautiful, perfect morning & a fun hike. The 11th was our Ward Night of Music & our family went. The Young Women performed our camp “Pioneer” song & we also got to hear lots of other neat numbers- and eat cookies afterwards. It was fun! Our BIG news this month is that we bought 2 lots in Enoch!! They are in Legacy Estates. We walked through 3 homes this month & nothing felt quite right. We had been looking at these lots since we moved here, but they just barely went up as foreclosures & we were able to get a really good deal for them - $35k for a little over an acre all together. It all went very fast. We made an offer one day, the bank made a counter the same day, and we accepted. Then we closed the next week. We are VERY excited & are currently working on finalizing our home plans! J We don’t think we’ll be able to really start building before the snow really flies, but we are excited to be moving forward! On the 14th, we decided to go camping overnight. We had just fixed our truck ($350) & weren’t wanting to push it or use too much gas, so we went over to 3 Peaks Recreation Area in Enoch. It was really fun & nice. Kind of warm & dry, but tons of trails for Jason to ride on & a perfect spot to camp. We invited the Bealers over for dinner that night & had fun eating chili, roasting hot dogs & marshmallows, playing games & just visiting. That night, Ireland was sick a few times, so that wasn’t fun, but it was still worth it to get out in the trailer one last time this year! On the 20th, the Bensons came to visit for fall break! What a wonderful time we had: throwing together a birthday celebration for Brent J, trying to get the kids to bed every night (they were SO excited to be together!), having grown-up get-togethers after the kids went to bed – in one of our bedrooms – playing games (Cranium – boys cheat!), talking, laughing, Plenty of Hiking: Cedar Breaks, Cascade Falls, Kanarra Falls (The daddies took the oldest child), and Timberline trail up Kolob Canyon, Date night – dinner & a movie, Discovery Park, CC Aquatic Center, Logan & Kezia’s 2nd birthday party, Karaoke party, etc. It was a tight fit in our little 3-bedroom twin home with all 11 of us, but we made it work & we loved having our best friends over. On the 25th (while mom was at YW), daddy took the girls to SUU to get free ice cream, meet Thor the Thunderbird and see some basketball. They had fun! The 26th was Kezia’s 2nd birthday! See her section for more details, but it was a fun day & we love our little 2-year-old! The 28th was McKinley’s school’s Halloween Carnival, so the girls got dressed up in their costumes and we supported the PTA & bought tickets & played games. It was pretty crowded, but we had fun running into friends & the girls had fun playing games & earning prizes. On Saturday, we were going to go to the Livestock & Heritage Festival & got all ready & into the van, but a couple houses up from us, they were having a yard sale. We stopped & found out it was a lady in our ward that had passed away, so we stayed to help clean out her home & make trips to the D.I. They were very generous & gave us (for a VERY small price) a twin bed, 3 solid wood dressers & lots of other odds& ends – including a tank & goldfish that they didn’t know what to do with. 3 of the fish died by the next day. We bought some more, 2 of which have died. So – as of right now, we have 1 big goldfish, 2 small ones, a sucker fish, and a golden snail. Let’s hope they hang on! Also on that Saturday, Jason took the older girls to an SUU football game & we had neighbors move in on the other side of us, so we helped them move in. We’re excited that they have 2 girls that are close to Ireland & Kezi’s ages! On Sunday, the 30th, we carved pumpkins & roasted seeds. On the 31st it was Halloween! McKinley was a Batgirl, Ireland was a witch (with a light-up skirt) and Kezia was Stinkerbell (a combination of a skunk & tinkerbell) The girls had fun trick-or-treating with daddy this year. They got lots of candy & unfortunately, we only had about 15 trick-or-treaters, so we were left with a lot of extra candy.

From August-Oct 2011
JASON: Jason worked a lot this month on getting his truck fixed & his bike fixed, so he could go ride. He had a lot of fun riding at 3 peaks & hopes to go back & do some more exploring. He also has been busy working with Heidi on the details of their home plans. Jason has gotten to take the girls to SUU to get free ice cream & see basketball & also to a SUU football game. Fun times!! He also had fun hiking with McKinley, Brent & Zach & taking the girls trick-or-treating this month!

From August-Oct 2011
HEIDI: Heidi has enjoyed some time off from training this month – sleeping in on Saturdays J Things have gotten into more of a routine with the girls school & she’s thankful for that. She’s LOVING the weather this month. Just perfectly beautiful and cool. On the 13th, she went down to St. George with the young women & young men to the temple to do baptisms. She got to hand towels to the girls. It was really neat and a lot of fun. We went & got fries & ice cream afterward! She also was in charge of a Perosnal Progress pumpkin-painting with popcorn and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies night! J She really enjoyed having the Bensons come down – especially date night. She read a fun book – Stardust – this month, and was working most of the month on finishing Kezia’s birthday book – which is finally done & here! Now she can focus on the upcoming holidays!

From August-Oct 2011
McKINLEY: -McKinley had a fun month at school. She went on 2 field trips – one to the Parowan Pumpkin Patch and the other to the SUU Art Exhibit. Fun! The 2nd week was red ribbon week & she got to have crazy socks, dress like a rock star, wear red, and have crazy hair, too. Lots of fun! And at the end of the month, we got to go to her Halloween Carnival at school (she won a book there!) & she saw lots of friends and her teacher there & got to show off her costume, since they don’t allow costumes at school. Mom got to help out in McKinley’s classroom on Halloween afternoon & watch some of the things she does in class & help with her Halloween party. It was a lot of fun!

-McKinley loves to cut vegetables for her choice chore – and put them into our veggie tray. She’s really good at it, too! She did cut her thumb one time, but has been very careful ever since.

-We are working on McKinley’s temper this month. When she gets angry, she scrunches her eyes up, her head starts shaking & she tends to growl at her sister or mom. She’s been getting a bit more cayenne pepper this month & has learned to curb her anger before she says mean things.

-McKinley loves surprises. She is so good at them. One day McKinley got it into her head that she was going to do a surprise for the family. She planned it the night before & even did a checklist that she wouldn’t let us see. The next morning, mom woke her up at 7am, like she asked & she wouldn’t let anyone into the kitchen till she was ready. When we went in, she had breakfast all set out, cereal, bowls, etc – and had made everyone a glass of chocolate milk. It was so sweet. Thank you McKinley!!

-McKinley has had a couple interesting dreams this past month: 1. She dreamt about Grandpa Tew. She said he had black hair, so she wasn’t sure it was him, but she didn’t think he knew she was there. 2. One morning at breakfast, McKinley wanted to find out everyone else’s dreams before she would tell hers & then she wasn’t sure she wanted to. But she finally did. She said in her dream, there was a big meeting with Jesus and lots of people were there. She said Jesus was on a big stage. And there were angels all around. McKinley didn’t think her mom was coming & was worried, but then mom finally got there & she was so glad & she cried. Then we went in the van to get the rest of the family and we drove up to heaven (and we had either Zach or Michael in the van, too). And we didn’t get to see heaven, but we were driving there. (what a sweet, special dream!!)

-At the ward night of music, one man played the accordion & invited kids to come dance. McKinley & Ireland were the only ones from the ward & they were kind of shy, but they did a great job & danced a cute little jig!

-McKinley & Ireland were also in the primary program at the end of the month. McKinley did SUCH a great job!! She just beamed up there – smiling & singing – and said her parts into the microphone really well. We were cheering her on in the congregation. GREAT job McKinley! We’re so proud of you!

-The people that sit at McKinley’s table at school are Elliot and Jared. McKinley likes to talk about them a lot and about playing princess at recess and about how Mrs. Jones says to write her letters J

-McKinley was Batgirl for Halloween & had fun running around trying to save everyone. She got LOTS of candy!!

From August-Oct 2011

-Ireland had quite a rough month. At the beginning of the month, she thought it would be a fun idea to walk around on all fours and rub her nose on the carpet. She even got McKinley to rub hers a little bit, too. Mom warned her it would hurt, but she kept doing it & then afterwards, her whole nose was raw. It took a couple weeks for it to completely heal L And – trying to explain what happened to her nose. About a week after the “nose incident”, after we had put the girls to bed, there was a screaming cry. Ireland walked out of her room with lots of blood streaming down her face. We quickly cleaned her up & found where the blood was coming from – a cut on her head. She said she had been trying to jump down off the little table in their bedroom & bonked her head. So – she had a red, raw nose, and bandage on her head for a few days L We’re just thankful she’s OK.

-One day after Ireland woke up, she sniffed & said “Mom – I have strong boogers right now”

-The girls were playing with the lemon juice in the fridge one day & mom decided to let them see how it tasted. She squirted some into Ireland’s mouth & she got the funny look on her face & said “I don’t like it! It’s too Sprite! I like sweet!” (she seems to call sour things sprite-y. Maybe because of the lemon & lime on the side of the Sprite?)

-Ireland had to give some money from her piggy bank this month to help pay for glue and toothpaste that she wasted & made a mess with.

-When we were camping & were in the trailer, Ireland said she would keep an eye on Kezia for me. Mom said that was great. Then she said “Which eye should I use mom?”

-We were shopping at Walmart and got some trick-or-treat bags for the girls. Ireland wanted to hold hers. At checkout, Mom was putting things on the conveyer belt & focusing on paying, when she looked over & saw Ireland “trick-or-treating” from the candy section at the checkout. There were about 20 things in her bag that we had to put back! J

-Ireland is still loving preschool & mom has been working with her more on reading – especially with BOB books. She knows most of the sounds, but sometimes has a hard time focusing. She is really good & quick at putting the sounds together, though! She also is learning the sight word “the” and can sound out “It” and “Is”. She gets SOOOO excited when she puts sounds together. She will sound out “I-t” and then scream & jump up & down & say “Mom –I read ‘it’! I can read! I can read!” And she does that for every word or phrase! J She is one excited learner!

-Ireland LOVED it when the Bensons came to play. She spent a lot of time with her good friend Sienna!

-One morning, we found one of our fishes dead & we were sad. Mom was getting breakfast out & Ireland said “mom – I don’t like them to get dead.”

-Ireland was in the primary program at the end of the month – along with McKInley. Ireland had a hard time sitting still and facing forward, but we did see her try to sing a couple of the songs & she did a great job saying her part into the microphone. Good job Ireland!

-Ireland was a witch for Halloween & her skirt had fiber-optics on it, so she told everyone “I’m a light-up witch for Halloween!” She had a preschool party the Thursday before Halloween & had so much fun & got lots of candy. She also got lots of candy on Halloween night & everyone thought she was so cute. She even got to wear some of mom’s make-up!

From August-Oct 2011

-Happy #2 Birthday Kezi-Boo! She woke up way too early on her birthday, but we did sing to her & let her “break-through” to the next year and daddy made her pancakes for breakfast. It has snowed about 3 inches the night before her birthday, so it was COLD! She loved wearing her sparkly crown. That morning we went to the library and got lots of books. Then it was naptime and then after daddy got home, we went to McDonald’s to play because it was too cold for the park & had chicken nuggets. Then we went home for cake & ice cream. She got lots of fun gifts, including some blocks, books and a ball from mom & dad, and clothes and coloring things from Grandma Devenish, and a Dora guitar from Grandma Potts, and some cute Owl PJs from the Bensons. Happy Birthday beautiful girl!!

-Kezia LOVES pointing out tractors, fire trucks, and airplanes.

-We’ve had to put Kezia in time out a few times this month. She keeps thinking it’s fun to climb up on the counter and get into the vitamin/medicine cabinet. We’ve also had to put a lock on the fridge.

-One night, Kezia kept getting out of her crib, so we had to lock the door. She finally fell asleep – with her fingers poking out the bottom of the door. We went to open the door & had a really hard time getting it to open with the little straight key. We were worried about not being able to open it from the outside – and she didn’t know how to open it from the inside. After much prayer, the door finally opened & we were able to put her back to bed. After that we switched the lock to the outside.

-From the neighbors, we got a twin bed for Ireland, so we decided to finally move out Kezia’s portable crib & have her sleep in the toddler bed. The first few nights were pretty rough & she kept getting out, but she has gotten used to it & has done really well now! Good job big girl!

-Kezia still is getting into the upper cabinets, even with time-out. One day, Mom came into the kitchen, finding Kezia with the chocolate chips out and eating them.

-Kezia, just like her daddy, LOVES Wheat Chex. Even when she can choose between a sweet cereal & Wheat Chex, she will choose Wheat Chex.

-Kezi likes to say “guess what?” over & over. She never really has a response when you say “what?”

-Kezia needs to eat 2 bites of dinner before she gets a fruit for dinner. We usually have peaches. Kezia didn’t want to eat 2 bites of dinner, but she went & got cans of peaches out for mom to give her anyway.

-On the day after Kezi’s birthday, McKinley told her it wasn’t her birthday anymore & she got very upset, yelling “NO! It’s MY birthday!!”

-The day after Kezia’s birthday, we had a bit of a scare. It was the morning & mom heard crying from Kezia’s room. Ireland & Kezia had been playing in there & mom comforted Kezia, but she was really clingy afterward. Finally, mom sat her down on the leather chair & said “Kezia, I love you – you are 2 years old now & I can’t be carrying you around everywhere.” When Kezia got off the seat, she noticed blood on the back of the seat & asked where it came from. Ireland said “Kezia!” Mom looked at the back of Kezia’s head. It was COVERED in blood. The back part of her hair – her jacket – her shirt – were soaked in bright-red blood. She looked like she was ready for a gruesome Halloween party. Mom gave her a bath & found the source of the bleeding on the back of her head. She called Jason & he came home & checked it out. He cut the hair around it & made sure it was clean & we called his sister, Kim, to make sure we didn’t need to go to the ER. It ended up scabbing & healing, but was sore for a couple days & she didn’t want to lay down on it. We’re so thankful she’s OK!!

-One morning mom was doing her scripture study. It was 6:15am. She heard a door slam and little running footsteps. It was Kezia. Running. She got to mom & said “Pancakes!!” Did I mention it was 6:15am?

-Whenever you ask Kezia what she dreamed about, she will say “Teddy Bear & Piggy.” (the stuffed animals she sleeps with)

-Kezia is sad most times when she doesn’t get to say the prayer. After someone else says it, she will bow her said and say in a sad, crying voice “Heavely Father… thank thee” and if no one folds there arms, she will sob some more and say louder “Hevnly Fater – thank thee!” We are working on patience & taking turns J

-Kezia was Stinkerbell for Halloween. She had black clothes, skunk ears & a tail, green wings and a wand. She didn’t like to wear her costume for more than 5 minutes, but she was sure a cute Stinkerbell while it lasted! She went with daddy trick-or-treating for about an hour before she wanted to come home.