Monday, July 2, 2018

🇨🇦 Canada Day 🇨🇦

It was a very different Canada Day for us this year.  We didn't get out to my parents as we always do.  Things just didn't work out this year.  I really missed my little 8 minute parade and the beef and beans.  Also it was on a Sunday this year.  Where I grew up the celebration is always moved to the Saturday, here where I live it wasn't.  We tried to do a few things that we felt were still Sabbath appropriate to celebrate.  Dave hung up a flag for us.
We wore our red and white to church.  Leah had to work, but she dressed patriotic as well.

I love singing all 4 verses of O Canada in church.  I wish we did more often.  Jared and Amber had invited us for burgers at their camp site after church.  Dave had a few things to finish up, then we walked through the show and shine before going to eat.  The burgers were delicious.  I tried making the same Jell-O that probably everyone in Canada did yesterday.  :)  I am not artistic at all, but it was good enough you could tell what I was going for.

We stayed for a little while after eating, went for a walk, and then left in time to make sure we were home when Leah got home.  As we got to the top of the hill and got cell service back I saw I had a message from Leah.  She was home early and wanted to know if she should come to the campground.  Too bad I didn't have service.  We got home and played some games, read, read scriptures, and watched a movie.  After we went back into town to watch the fireworks.  I really enjoy fireworks.

It turned out to be a nice day, just very different from our usual.  And I missed our tradition.  Next year!!  I am so thankful to live in this country.  We are a great nation.  Cora had fun with her friends.  They had a ward potluck.  Actually a different ward but in YSA they ward hop for potlucks all the time.  She then walked to the fireworks and after went to a few different houses and played games until 4 in the morning. She was extremely tired when I called to chat this morning. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

School Wrap Up

  Sunday was our Stake Standard Night.  It was a little longer than I had thought,  but excellent.  Touched on really great topics and the speaker got good interaction from the girls.  And of course Emily and Leah got to spent the evening together.  What could be better.

Blake and Leah are all done school and ready for summer.  Leah had her last exam Monday.  Before Leah got her license she had talked about wanting to pick up lunch for Blake and drive to his school and have a little lunch date.  After her exam she decided it would be a perfect day.  She picked up Subway and a Slurpee and then went to eat with Blake.  We had opted him out of sex-ed and so she decided to bring him home with her after.  Might as well study here as at the school. Blake's final exam was Tuesday and last day of school was Wednesday.

Tuesday Leah loaded up a bunch of friends and headed to town to watch Incredibles 2.  She does so good with the stick that I don't worry anymore.  I worry about her on the road but not with the stick.  They had an absolute blast.  She made it back just at little late for YW's that night.  For the activity it was combined.  They were going skeet shooting.  Leah and Blake had really looked forward to the activity.  Last minute, Dave asked me to go with him.  I didn't think I should since I wasn't invited, but Dave convinced me that since they were his guns and he knew I wanted pictures, it would be OK.  I felt a little uncomfortable, but had fun anyways.  I even hit one target.  Blake, Dave and Leah did well and hit a few.

It was a fun night.

There were awards and a talent show Wednesday.  Blake made the honor roll and his talent was to play the John Cena theme song with two recorder and his nose.  The kids all thought it was quite awesome. The school was then treated to lunch from the Lion's Club and we came home.
Blake was in desperate need of a haircut.  We were not sure when we would be able to get him to town again.  Blake decided he was just going to buzz it for the summer.  Leah wanted to give a try at cutting it, Blake said that was fine since if she messed up he was planning to buzz anyways.  Leah did not even know how to use the clippers.  We had a little bit of free time before Blake's game and Leah gave it a whirl. Despite his face they had fun and he enjoyed teasing her.

Leah did a good enough job that Blake is leaving it.  For a while anyways. 

Then off to his last soccer game last night.  They didn't win, but Blake has learned a lot and really liked his coach and team.  He had a blast playing with his friends.

 Blake and Leah are enjoying their jobs for the summer.  Leah has more plans then she will ever fit in with friends for the summer and Blake is looking forward to hanging out, swim lessons, and sleeping in.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Get Together

Leah had been planning a get together with her friends for a few weeks.  She would not call it a party because she said that was to much pressure to make sure everyone had a good time.  A get together they could come and hang out, play games, and have snacks.  It took some coordinating with all their work and sports schedules. When we had first started planning it looked like it was going to be very hot.  Leah wanted it later in the evening so they could play night games outside. But of course when the day arrived it was cooler and raining. As they started to trickle in they played some Dutch Blitz. Dave made a ton of popcorn and we had other treats out as well.  Once everyone was here, they had some snacks and then played balloon volleyball with fly swatters.

It was determined that they thought it would be just dry enough to walk to Grandma's yard and play some games.  (They needed hiding places and we only have an open field)  The kids started finding all our gum boots and trying them on to see what they could wear.  We gave them ice cream cones with magic shell to eat as they walked over.

They had a blast.  We warned them about the electric fence and to not go into Jared's yard.  They didn't listen to either one.  They headed straight to the fence so see how much of a jolt they could get.  Dave asked me if I had expected anything else when I told them.  I suppose not.  They stayed out till it was very dark and came back wet and happy. They had a few more snacks and got set up for one last game.

I think it was a successful get together.  We hope to do it again in a few months.  This is such a great group of kids.  We feel so blessed that these kids have found each other.  They are a joy to be around, love getting together, and are a lot of fun.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

7 Day Social Media Fast

On June 3rd the youth and their parents were invited to a a worldwide devotional with President Nelson and his wife. For one month before the youth had been asked to read their scriptures and pray daily about what they needed to hear that night.  It was a fantastic devotional.  President Nelson asked (several times):
"My question tonight to every one of you between the ages of 12 and 18 is this: Would you like to be a big part of the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth today?
Would you like to help gather Israel during these precious latter days? Would you, who are the elect, be willing to help find the elect who have not heard the message of the restored gospel? Would you like to be among those “swift messengers” of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke?5
Now, participating in the gathering of Israel will require some sacrifice on your part."
He proceeded to give the youth 5 things to help them to prepare to enlist in the Lord's Battalion to gather Israel.  The first was to hold a seven day fast from social media.  After the meeting as we were eating refreshments one person asked exactly what was social media, FaceBook, SnapChat and Instagram?  I told them that I thought it was a decision that each family was going to need to go home and figure out for themselves.  And that is just what we did.  We personally decided to do it as a family, not just our kids, and because the prophet had earlier said to disengage from our phones we decided that it was all social media, games, and video.  Leah went one step more and chose not to even text, except her family, and only when needed. 
Here is what we learned from this experience.  We learned that for us the problem is YouTube videos and games.  My kids can waste a lot of time on YouTube if we let them.  And they are only allowed 1 hour a day on screens, but still. Dave and I like to play a few games on our phones at the end of the day, or as I wait during sports practices.  Time wasted that we could be doing more productive things.  Our kids aren't interested in FB and are not allowed SnapChat.  So it was just Instagram.  Blake has an account but rarely goes on.  For Leah it is not just a fake friendship thing.  She has been very selective in who follows her and knows almost every single one of them personally.  And talks to them often if not daily.  It is how she has built such a large group of friends and can go anywhere in Southern Albert and know people.  All her friends are in a different town and she really missed talking to them as she doesn't see them much, but her and Emily did talk on the phone most days. I went on 4 times. 1. To see Maycie open her mission call. 2. To ask a question about a local business. 3. To check for answers. 4 To look up the pool schedule. So while there are definitely down sides and things we need to watch out for there is also good in social media.  All of Cora's FHE, ward, and party info is done through FB.  We just need to be wise and sparing in our use.  There were moments this past week when the kids were antsy and I would have loved to have them just text their friends or play some games, but we toughed it out.  Sometimes playing card games or reading together.
Another thing was, we were once again pleased with the friends our kids have chosen.  President Nelson did not say we needed to start immediately, in fact he said, "Please think about it. Don't answer just yet."  Then went on to explain more of what he was asking them to enlist in. But every one of our kids' closest friends chose to step up and join the battalion immediately.  No hesitation.  They were going to follow the prophet now! These are a strong, good group of kids that support and strengthen each other.  Some of their other friends voiced that they thought the idea was stupid, or that they were just telling their parents they were doing it, but really just turning off notifications while parents were around.  Thankful for the good friends my kids surround themselves with.
We were fortunate the next Sunday to hear a little background.  We were invited to a special broadcast again with Pres. and Sis. Nelson.  (Also Elder Rasbad and his wife.  Another excellent evening)  Sis Nelson talked about what it was like to be married to and live with the prophet as he was getting revelation.  She mentioned the revelation for the youth the week before and told how the adversary was really working against them to deliver the message and invitation the the youth.  She said, "we were literally lucky to be alive."  Satan wants these kids.  He will do anything to distract and lure them away. It is time!! We have to step up and be fully engaged, be fully committed. Cora said in her meeting with the prophet he basically said there is no fence, we have to choose which side of the valley we are going to stand on. As we were coming home from the second broadcast I mentioned something that I had realized a while back while in the temple. Satan is commanded by the power of Jesus Christ to leave and he has to obey.  He has to be obedient to that power.  We have that power.  If we stay faithful, if we stay worthy, if we stay strong, if we stay on that covenant path, we have that power.  We have the power through Jesus Christ to command Satan to leave us alone.  And he must obey. Blake said that in the change room at school quite often the boys will start talking about inappropriate things.  He has started singing Primary songs to himself to block it out. He is asking the adversary to leave him alone.  It works.
We learned our personally distractions and have made steps to be better.  We are continuing to work on the other 4 steps we were given that evening.  But Dave and I are very pleased with the decision our kids have made.  They said yes.  Yes, they want to be a part of the Lord's Battalion, battalion how cool is that, they are literally joining an army to gather Israel.
If you made it this far I would really like to know ( if you also did the fast) how it went and what you learned. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Congrats to Leah!!

Last week we were all on a 7 day social media fast.  I will blog about that soon, but I need to pull my thought together about it first.  But we had some fun things happen.  Cora came down so that Leah could use her car to take her drivers test.  She drove down Monday night, but went straight to Maycie's house because Maycie had just opened her mission call.  (Going to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) We all went to bed before Cora got here.  The next morning, Cora and I went for a walk, did some baking, and then picked up Leah from school.  We had her practice a little bit more, looked out for playground zones and then they took a break before the test to play on the playground.  My girls are such kids still.  I love it.

These two are always so happy to see each other.

Leah took her test and passed!!  I now have another errand runner around the house, and we have taken advantage already.

She has gotten herself to work and it has been lovely.  The one thing she did not want to do at all was be the person that took in the recycling.  Too bad Leah.  It is her job now.  The next day we ran into town early for Dr. appointments and groceries, then Cora headed back up to her house for a party.  She is still loving Edmonton, the YSA, and everything.  Has a great bunch of friends and working two jobs.  Cora got to see the National Canada and Scotland Rugby game this last weekend. Our local pool has opened up for the summer and Blake is loving it again.  Most nights he stay after school to swim for a few hours.

He has been offered a little job doing some yard work with a lady in our ward.  His first day was Saturday and he came home tired and thrilled with his first pay check.  Said he wants to buy some bacon so he can literally bring home the bacon.  We have been working on weeding our trees and getting the cages around them.  Every few days we find new ones that we thought had died.  The weather as been hot and dry, we need rain.  

Monday, June 4, 2018

Mckay and Josie

This weekend we attended my nephew's wedding.  It was a perfect, simple, elegant wedding.  My sister in law did a fabulous job.  We drove down Friday night for the family dinner, which was wonderful.  The next morning Dave and Leah got up early to get Leah back up to work.  She had been told that it was no problem and she would not have to work that weekend and then weirdly she was scheduled.  For two weeks she had put in request for time off, texted both her bosses, talked to one and nothing.  So Dave drove her back.  As soon as she got to work, one of her bosses was very confused why she was there.  She explained she was still on the schedule.  He didn't think that was right since she had requested it long ago and it was a family wedding.  He said she could go very early and they were able to make it for the wedding and reception.  They were on the road longer than she worked, but at least she showed responsibility and they were able to make it.  It was a nice wedding.  After as we are walking back out of the sealing room and down the hall, I glanced to the right and then did a double take.  Standing there was Bishop Causse.  He had a few men with him and they just had us pass quickly by.  It was cool.  Mckay's car broke down Saturday morning.  After the wedding, Dave and Nicole's brother Sean spent many, many hours trying to repair it.  They quickly came in to wash up and get to the reception, then back at it.  Cannon and Levi helped in between their other duties.  The reception was also wonderful.  Nicole had made a ton of granola and it was a hit in the fruit and yogurt parfaits.  Plus delicious little cookies. We did most of the clean up that night, there will not be much left for them to do today. Friday was also my parents anniversary, Saturday was Cannon and Nicole's and Sunday was my Dad's 70th.  We stayed out one more day to celebrate his birthday with him, then drove straight back for the Youth Devotional.  Josie is a very neat girl and they have so much in common.  We are happy to add her to our family and look forward to getting to know her better.  Congratulation Mckay and Josie!!  It was a really great weekend.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Soccer plus

I have been trying to sit down and blog about Blake's soccer for a few weeks now and time is just flying.  And now I find myself behind, so I am just giving a quick update on things going on.  
Blake is really loving being back in soccer this spring.  This year he has a lot of his friends on his team and is enjoying being with them.  He is keeper again and does an excellent job.  It still makes me a bit nervous, just in case others get angry at him but they don't.  His teammates are mostly really good as a team and play well together.  Dave says he is actually nervous when Blake is NOT keeper.  

A few weeks ago, Cora was able to get enough time off work to travel to Idaho with Grandpa and Grandma Smith for Justin's farewell.  We were very thankful to them for taking her.  We were a little sad as my entire family was together except Dave, Leah, Blake and I.  It has been to many year since we were all in one place together.  Cora had a blast.  She absolutely loves her cousins and looks forward each year to the week they get to spend together.  Here are the triplets.  Justin is going to Belgium/Netherlands, Kailey is going to Chile, and Cora's papers are almost ready to submit.

It was a weekend of making memories as they have 2 years till they will see each other again.

On her way back through we was able to spend one day with her.  We had the other kids skip their YM/YW and soccer so we could spend some time as a family.  It was a perfect evening.

We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the rabbits and gophers had not eaten all our trees.  We had quite a few out there.  We have been busy building cages to make sure that the wildlife do not finish what they started.

Blake had his track meet this week.  He is going to zones for triple jump.  Although he keeps telling me that it is not an accomplishment because no one was very good and only 5 people were in it.  I think he is still excited to go.  I was busy running javelin and didn't get to watch any of his events except the relay.  They placed second. (Again I think there was only 2 teams.)

We have had some hot hot days already.  I think we skipped spring.  And crazy but we went from flood to drought in like 2 days.  Leah has started work and says it is fantastic.  She really enjoys it.  We have had a lot of car trouble lately.  Every one of our cars has something wrong with it.  We are down to almost one car, which is difficult in the country with Dave's long hours, Leah's work, and Blake's sports.  Dave is trying to figure out the problems and fix them when he has time.  Last week we needed groceries and a few things that I needed to get instead of just sending a list with Dave as usual.  Leah did not have seminary or school.  So I went to work with Dave at 4:30 in the morning, dropped him off, and went to a park to take a nap.  Then walked around, talked to my mom and Cora for a while, ran into Rachel and then ate my picnic lunch.  I then got groceries and read for a bit and went to pick up Dave. We got home at 6 p.m..  Leah got Blake up, made him breakfast and got him on the bus.  Let me know he got home and made dinner.  Then I ran Blake up to soccer practice. It was a long day, not as bad as I had thought, wouldn't want to do it often, but we are doing what we can. Just shake my head. Now we just pray that Dave can figure out what needs to be done and we can find parts fairly cheap.  Good luck to us on that one.