Friday, August 25, 2017

Leah's Patriarchal Blessing

A few years ago, Leah had decided that she wanted to get her blessing just before high school.  When it happened that she was going to trek and EFY the same summer she thought that it would help to be the perfect time.  She felt she would be on a spiritual high from those experiences and it would be good timing for her blessing.  While she was at EFY, Leah had one of her friends invite her to a party.  In our family we have stayed away from high school parties, because it is always a big drinking party.  On the way home, Leah mentioned that she had been invited and had told them that she would not be going, but thanks for the invite and she hoped they had a good time.  Leah did not even ask us about the party.  She made a decision on her own.  A lot more went into the conversation with her friend, but it doesn't matter and in the end she understood.  So as Leah is telling me this, I reminded her that she would not have been able to go anyways.  That was the night she had an appointment for her blessing.  Leah got very emotional, broke down crying and said to me, "So Monday, at 7 as they are lighting the fire, as they are all arriving at ______'s house, I will be sitting down at the stake patriarch's and getting revelation from my Heavenly Father.  Revelation that will guide my life.  This is were my life splints from the decisions of my friends.  How telling Monday at 7 will be"  I have to admit, I got a little teary myself as she was saying all this.  I was very proud of her.  It was a beautiful blessing, with lots of things she needed to hear and help she will need.  I love this crazy, fun girl.  She has a lot going for her and is a true blessing to us.  I can't wait to see her future friends and family and to watch her fulfill the wonderful things from her blessings.  Leah is a cherished daughter of God and has no problem standing up for what she knows is right.  I hope that strength never leaves her.  She is going to need it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

EFY for Leah

We were able to take Leah to EFY this year.  She asked Emily if she wanted to go as well.  We left Sunday morning.  It was so fun to talk and be with these two all the way down.  I had decided this year, since I didn't want to leave Blake alone that I would travel down and drop off, then travel down again and pick up.  Natalie and I had so much fun together.  
We got in late Sunday night.  Check into our hotel and found somewhere to eat.  Then we went for a walk along the river and looked at the temple.

The next morning we got ready and drove the girls to Rexburg.  They got all checked in and found the place they would be staying.

We meet their roommates for the week and some of the moms.  All the girls instantly felt close and it was nice.  We had gotten them snacks for the week before checking in.  So a quick lunch and we left them to meet with their councilor and have a blast.

Leah loved every minute of it.  She had many fun people in her company.  They have been keeping in contact so far.

She absolutely LOVED the speakers.  Leah took so many notes and learned so much.  She enjoyed all the activities and the down time with her roommates at night.

She wasn't quite as talkative as Cora had been when we picked her up, but they were also pretty tired.  She tried out for the variety show and just missed getting in.  But I was glad she took a chance.  Also they sang in the EFY choir.  It was another amazing, testimony building experience for her. She continues to tell us stories when things pop into her head and when she gets a text from the group chat set up by all of them.  Friday, Natalie and I drove back down.  Time went quickly.  We had over 36 hours in a car together and never ran out of things to say.  Early Saturday morning we picked up Leah and Emily.  We were so happy to see them.  We drove straight to the temple and had them to baptisms before we left.  One of their friends came with them, and they passed many on the way out.  It meant a later start for us, but I love ending with a temple visit.

After was another quick stop to buy snacks for the way home and breakfast for the girls, back home we came.

We loved hearing their experiences and all about the fun they had.  Both really want to go again next year.  :/  We will have to see.  About 3/4 into the trip, they both crashed.

I am so glad we were able to have Leah experience this.  It is a wonderful opportunity and such a faith building experience.  Leah has said many times that she is so glad she got this boost before starting high school in a few weeks.  She continues to read her journal from EFY and study the scriptures as she was challenged.  It will be good for her to keep these good habits up.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

And Blake is 12!!

Blake had a great birthday.  He had a few days of celebrating.  Natalie and I headed back down to Idaho to get Leah and Emily from EFY on Friday.  I was a little nervous about Blake being alone so long as Cora and Dave had to work.  So I ended up taking him to Toone's house where he hung out most of the day.  Blake and Avery took down a shed and watched a movie, they had a great time together.  Dave picked him up in the later afternoon.  Dave then took Cora and Blake out on the boat. They were out for a few hours.  When it was time to come in they had to run up to gas up the boat and got a treat.  Saturday, his birthday, Dave had a work party at the corn maze.  Blake and Dave did some work in the morning, then off to the maze.  I guess they got lots of good food there and after went swimming with lots of water slides.  Cora was with friends and didn't go with them.  The boys got back only a few minutes before Leah and I got home.  Sunday morning he opened his presents.  Dave got him the knife he wanted, even tho it makes me nervous and he got tickets to see Imagine Dragons.

In our church, when a young man turns 12, if he is worthy, he is ordained to the priesthood.  This is a very special time for him.  Most of our family was able to come.  Dave gave him a very nice blessing.

After church everyone was invited to our house for dinner.  Toone's were not able to make it to church because of other responsibilities, but came right after.  I had tried to think of something quick and easy since I was coming in late the night before.  We kept it simple. Levi artistically arranged our vegetables for us. :)

People stayed and talked for a while.  After we did a quick clean up.  Nicole, Dad and Mom had done most of it before they left.  It was a wonderful day.  I am very thankful to all that brought stuff and helped me get it on.  It was a really nice day.

Monday Blake had his birthday party.  I had found a great escape package online.  Set up like you would a murder mystery party.  All that he invited were able to come.

I think they had fun doing the escape.  Leah helped me set it up in three rooms.  They were given 45 mins to do it.  It took them about and hour and 15.

After we served banana splits and then they played a few more fun games.

We really stretched his birthday out.  It was all really fun.  Blake can be a little pill to his sister, but I always get many compliments from other parents.  It gives me hope.  Really he is a good kid.  He loves working with his dad and loves to drive the tractor.  Sometimes it is hard to get him going, but once he is working, he works hard and long hours.  He is kind and generous and we love having him in our family.  I love the young man he is turning into and can't wait to see what else he accomplishes in his life.  Happy Birthday Blake!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


We had the opportunity to go on trek this last week.  Dave and I went as Ma and Pa and we were lucky that all of our kids were able to go.  Since Dave and I were going to be there and Blake's birthday is so close they let him go as well.  I took one picture and accidentally deleted it.  So that's cool.  In the months leading up to trek, I was very nervous about the heat.  Heat does not like me.  I was worried about getting heat stroke and being useless to my family.  Which is exactly what happened.  Everyday about 1:30 I would start to feel the headache come, followed by the vision blurs and nausea.  When we finally got to camp I would lay down and let everyone take care of things until about 8 when I felt I could move without throwing up.  I was disappointed in myself. I had some fun games and some chats planned for my trek family.  But I had wonderful Aunts and Grandparents and Dave that took over and helped.  And lots of other great Ma's in my company that helped with food prep.  Because of the heat, I don't think I would do it again.  No point when I can't do much.  But is was neat to experience.  This was my first ever and it was fun to have my whole family there.
We arrived Tuesday night and found out who our families would be.  All of my kids were so excited about the families they were put into.  After each claimed to have the best family.  Cora got to go with Maycie and Leah was with Emily.  Blake got a wonderful group that he really loved.  I instantly bonded with our Aunts.  We decided they were my sisters, not Dave's :)  They will definitely be life long friends. We set up our camps, had a fireside and went to bed.
Wednesday we ate and packed up then started on our way.  Our first hill was a massive one.  It was so neat to see some of my trek sons and my own son, running up and down that huge mountainous, rocky hill to help others with their carts. It was a long, hot day.  By the time we reached camp I was ready to go home.  I really did not know how I was going to keep going, feeling the way I did.  The boys got us set up, my Aunts and Grandma made dinner.  My 'kids' mingled with some other groups and then we had another fireside.  We slept out under the stars.  It was really beautiful.
 After a good sleep, the next morning I was ready to go again.  A little stiff, but had renewed determination.  Those pioneers really went through a lot.  Our first thing of the day was the reenactment of the river crossing at Sweet Water.  This was by far my favorite one.  It is so dry that it was actually just a little creek that we went through, but since we were actively participating it seemed more real.  Those young boys were amazing. It was a bit easier of a day to start out with.  We did not go as far and had a slower pace, until the women's pull.  That was SO hard, but it was really neat to see all the sisters come together and support each other, over and over with each cart. We really can do hard things. Shortly after the pull we reached camp.  Almost no shade this spot and it was hard to keep the nausea under control.  There were many sick this time.  One man in my company was a Dr, and he was gone most of the afternoon attending to different people.  Again a good dinner and fireside.  Cora, Maycie, Leah, and Emily sang at this one.  They did a great job and Cora and Maycie were even asked to sing for their company later.
Friday it was time to come back down.  We had climbed so far up the mountain.  It was more of a criss cross path, so not to bad going down.  We wandered through beautiful pastures and gorgeous trees.  I tried to rest in the shade every chance I got.  At our lunch break Thursday we got a group together to play poisonous stump.  A game Steve and Kita taught us after their trek.  It was a huge hit and we had lot of kids come join us.  (See I could have been a good Ma when I didn't feel like dying) Friday we had a big group that came to find us to play again.  It was cool.  I could hear my girl's singing very loud with their companies.  We reached camp finally. This night dinner was catered.  Also some lovely company set up a hair washing station.  That cold water did wonders for me.  I recovered faster than any other day.  Friday I was able to spend time with my trek family, really get to know others in my company, and do some fun things.  There was another fireside by our regional seventy and his wife.  They are amazing.  Followed by a dance, and homemade donuts.  After we stayed up playing games until about 1.  It was so fun.
 Saturday we ate, got packed up and had a testimony meeting.  After that is was only about a 1/2 hour walk to the top of the hill for us to reach 'Zion'.  Many people had come to watch their kids come in.  It was so neat to come over that ridge.  Then we all pulled down and around in a circle.
The people that put this on are amazing.  It truly was such a wonderful experience.  All my kids said they would turn around and do it again the next day.  Even Dave said he would do it again.  If it was only about 19 degrees, I would as well.  I have definitely learned to appreciate more what my ancestors had to go through.  Cora said she also gained an appreciation....for pants! :) They were exceptional people. I am very thankful for the opportunity that we had to do this.  It was such a joy to listen to our kids talk the whole 3 1/2 hours home about their awesome families and what they did and experienced.  Two more things.
Right before the women's pull, Natalie found me to tell me that Leah had been hurt.  She was walking through the field and suddenly got blurry vision, headache, and almost blacked out.  They stopped her on the trail and gave her a blessing.  Leah said at first she wanted Dave to give it to her, but then realized that her trek Pa was taking care of her and he needed to do it.  Right there on the side as the other carts were going by.  She said that was a really cool experience for her.  That is just what the pioneers had to do.
Dave and I got called down to Blake's family Friday morning.  He had been playing ninja warrior the night before and gotten stabbed with a stick.  It was the tiniest prick ever.  But apparently it was just in the perfect spot.  His Pa was also a Dr.  Thankfully.  He said it had bleed inside all night and had completely stiffened up.  Blake couldn't move it at all.  We stayed with him for about a half hour, trying to stretch it and loosen things up.  He had some Advil, but it was just not going to be walked on.  They said he would need to get a ride for the day.  Blake was so disappointing.  He wanted to walk. There were many people sick and injured and they still had to go on.  So for him to get a ride it was pretty bad.  He practiced stretching it all day, Dave gave him a blessing, and by the dance he was able to walk a little.  Saturday he limped out of camp, so happy to be back. He is still limping and it's tender, but he is recovering.