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. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Moving Cora

Last Friday we picked Leah up from school and headed up to see Cora. She was moving to a new house for the summer and we went up to help move the big stuff and to see her new place.  It was a quick trip again, but we did stay over this time.  When we arrived, Cora had already taken a load over and had everything else in her front room.  Except the bed which she needed tools to take apart.  She was an excellent moving person.  We loaded up the bed, file cabinet, desk and a few more boxes, and her food, then over to the new house. She is only a couple of blocks away from the old house, and we did it all in that one trip.  She has picked a cute little place with nice roommates.  Cora is missing Maycie, but has stayed busy.  She is really enjoying Gap and summer Institute will start back up next week.  We got a few things sorted out and her bed set-up and made, met a couple of the new room mates, and then back to the hotel for a late snack.  I had brought up yogurt and Cora's favorite muffins.  We then decided to do a late drive to see the skyline and some cool bridges the.  The next morning Dave and Blake went for a short swim.  Blake said it was a disappointing pool, only came to Dave's waist.  We ate breakfast and checked out.  Leah needed black jeans for her work and so we went to the mall to find some.  Cora and Leah are the only ones that enjoy shopping, but Blake and Dave entertained themselves.  Weirdos!! :)

After, Cora had a farmers market that she wanted to check out.  It is only 3 k from her house, we were going to walk, but were running out of time to get there and back and have Cora on time for work.  It was a really neat market.  When we were finished there we had lunch quickly and then said good-bye.  Our Tahoe is giving us trouble, but we made it home safely.  It was a fun quick trip, but so good to see Cora and spend some time with her.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Little This... Little That

Dave's new job is going well so far.  Most days he enjoys the challenge and the new things he is learning.  He has had a few workers that he is over thank his boss for hiring him.  I thought that was kinda cool.  I sometimes feel like a single mom, because of his long hours.  He is up by 4:30 a.m. and off to work and home by 6 in the evening.  Tho to be honest if he sleeps past 3:30 I consider it a good night.  He has really taken to heart the talk that Pres. Nelson gave on personal revelation.  He enjoys studying his scriptures before work and praying on the way.  Dave said that many times he has been shown the direction to take at work as he thinks and ponders in the morning.  We have started calving and have quiet a few little ones running around out there.  Dave and Jared are constantly checking for flooding and making sure they are all OK

Cora loves working at Gap.  She has had a few compliments from customers and much praise from her employer.  She is loving all the time that her roommates spend together and is a little sad as they are all leaving next week.  We will go up and move her into another apartment.  This one has more windows and she will have her own room. Although she will really miss Maycie.  She is a little excited and a little nervous for this move, but she will be in the same ward and a lot of her friends are staying for the summer.  We were sad that she was not coming home for the summer, but she felt like Edmonton was were she needed to be.  She has also started working on her mission papers.

Leah had a recheck of the cyst in her thigh yesterday.  Nothing has changed, furthering their believe that she has had it her whole life.  The Dr. did tell her it would be best for her not to play extreme football.  Leah was OK with that.  :)  He did warn her about skiing tho.  She had her first date last weekend.  They went ax throwing and she had a blast.  This weekend she gets to attend her first priest/laurel conference, and is really looking forward to it.  Gas prices are so ridiculously high that we have not been running her around as much.  Leah has had to choice which rugby games to see.  But she has been good and understanding about it.  The other day she came home with a science test.  She had studied hard for it and was very disappointed when her mark came back at 54%.  A month into this semester her teacher told the class that she actually was not supposed to teach science, years ago the parents had gotten together and complained about her teaching and now wasn't supposed to.  How that slipped by I'm not sure.   Anyways the principal started sitting in on the classes that he could to help the students.  She brought her test home and Dave sat down with her for over two hours to figure it all out.  They only got half way through the test, it was bedtime, and Dave had found 3 mistakes the teacher made. Leah had also found one at school.  Long story short, the next day after Leah talked to the principal, the math teacher (it is a physics unit) and the science teacher she had brought her mark up to a 70.  Crazy!! But good for her.

Blake is in the middle of archery and badminton.  Really enjoying both.  He will soon start soccer, if the snow ever melts.  He has been wearing his night braces for his feet and we are seeing a lot of improvement. The braces strap his feet in and keep them flat during sleep, so the back muscle can't stiffen up.  He hardly has pain anymore in his feet.  Just his tendon hurts and they don't know what to do about that. He has really taken what his teachers told him on his last report card and improved his grades.  Blake is now pulling high 80s and 90s.  He is pretty sure he want to be an engineer when he grows up.  Leah had a really special moment with him a few weeks ago.  Dave and I were gone.  Leah texted me this, 'We were watching Prince of Egypt and Moses parts the Red Sea and Blake was like holy he has the power of God.  And he started crying and was like" I have the power of God!"  It was the sweetest thing.  My heart'.  I thought that was pretty cool. They seem to finally be finding a rhythm of thing they can get along about.  We have more good days than bad.  It has been nice. It is fun to see him maturing and growing.  He loves so many things it is fun.  But he is still my little boy, he hugs us all often and always makes sure that everyone knows that he loves them.

I am just same oh same oh.  Doing laundry, cleaning house, making bread,lunches, meals, running kids around.  Enjoying the warm days that we get and being with my family.