Wednesday, December 25, 2013

We have just had a wonderful Christmas.  We have some consistent traditions we do on Christmas.  After the Christmas Eve celebration at Mom and Dad's we let the kids all sleep in one of the bedrooms and watch a movie we let them open that night.  Tiffany get the food ready for the breakfast on Chrsitmas morning.  We always have a breakfast cassorle and sticky buns.  We have set up two Christmad trees.  We set up a "Family History" tree in the front room and thekids get to decorate a tree in the basement.  We have homemade ornaments for the tree upstairs.  we have framed some pictures of our ancestors.  the kids get to decorte the tree downstairs with the ornambnets they have collected over the years.  we set up the presents in the basement and spend most of our time down there playing with whatever and watching movies.  Tiffanys Mom and grandma come over for breakfast and my Mom and Dad visit when they make it.  they travels to all the homes and visit the grandkids.  Our living in Tooele started the process of having mom and dad travel rather than having us travel to them.  We celebrated Joseph Smiths Birthday (the 23rd) with a big turkey dinner and have leftovers for Christmas dinner.  This way Christmas is relaxing for everybody.

I have completed the Seminary process.  I'm still waiting for the feedback they have promised to provide me.  I taught for 30 min a three different occassions.  It went OK but was rough.  It was so rough I had considered quitting and not coming back.  they let me teach a complete class period for 2 weeks.  they observd me at the first and last class.  In the last class they had the students take a survey about my teaching attempt.  I thought they were not as favorable as I had hoped.  Tiffany thought they were OK.  One of of the students thought I was tacky.  Some thought I over prepared others thought I did not prepare enough.  I'm not sure what this will lead to but I have learned a lot.

Tiffany was reassigned from primary to the YM Presidency.  She is now the secretary.  She is very excited.  She has been in the Primary for 3 years.  it has been fun being in Primary with her.  I will miss having her around.  She gets ti be in Young Women with Emma and Eve.  I consider this a tender mercy.  She has a great group of friends that she is serving with.  They will do a lot of good.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I had another opportunity to teach in seminary when the teacher called in sick.  They had me teach until a sub could be available.  I taught 2 Nephi 26.  I was not prepared.  I had a feeling that I should prepare a lesson to compare my lesson with what the teacher would do.  That is how I started the lesson is talking about following promptings.  It went better than my first attempt.  The Principal  took over after a while.  He did not say anything.  I hope it went as well as I thought.  I get to teach Enos 1 and Words of Mormon/Mosiah 1.  I feel confident about Enos not so confident about the others yet.  I have not spent much time on the other lesson.  I hope this goes as well I as I see it happening.  the Seminary experience and work challenges have all been very humbling to me.  I hope I learn whatever I need to from these experiences. 

Emma and eve have challenged me to get my Young Women's Personal Progress award with them.  I have already started the book when I was in the BIshopric so I could get more fmailiar with the program.  I'm working on Faith right now.  all the journal entries will hopefully get me in a habit of right in the journal more.

Tiffany and I recently had a discussion that I hope will help her.  She sees the world very differntly tyhan I.  She is always concerned with doing enough and not offending.  i offend people all the time and feel like I'm doing good things.  she will wonder while she is doing something that is good if there is something that would be better to do.  this makes her exhausted and always feeling like she is not doing enough.  I dont know anyone who does more good than Tiffany.  I also dont know anyone who is more critical of herself.  I think our discussion has helped her some.  She seems to be able to relax a bit more and be happy with what she has accomplished.  Some day she will see how great she is.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'm taking the institute class "Teaching Seminary".  The classes are great.  I have been assigned to do my pre-service teaching at Herriman high.  I was hoping I would be assigned to teach at Riverton High.  That is where they were teaching last semester.  Chad Bailey was trying to get me assigned to teach in his class but they have changed how they want the teachers to teach.  He feels like he is out of date.  it didn't matter because Herriman is the school they are teaching at in the South end of the valley.  I had the option to teach at Kearns or Olympus.  I chose Herriman.  I have been assigned to Cole Neilsen.  This is his second year.  He moved down from Logan.  He makes teaching look very easy.  I had my first attempt last Thursday.  I thought I was prepared.  I created a few PowerPoint slides like Bro. Neilsen had done with his class in the past.  AS soon as I got up front I found out I had not prepared the correct way.  I prepared for a Sunday School lesson.  Seminary is very different.  The transition from Bro. Neilsen to me was very rocky.  I stuttered, I did not have the best questions for the kids, I did not use the best object lessons.  It was a very humbling experience.  I get observed in 3 weeks so I have time to fix a few things.  All the suggestions Bro. Neilsen gave me came directly from the handbook we have been studying all semester.  I don;t know why I did consult the handbook before I taught.  I think most of what the handbook teaches seems obvious but I didn't apply the handbook so maybe it is not as obvious as I thought.  I don't know what I will learn or if I'm expected to learn much from this experience but I hope I'm able to figure that out before it is over.

We had a fun experience at the last BYU game.  I took Hyrum to see the BYU v Boise State.  AJ and Jacob were there so Hyrum had more than the game to keep him entertained.  Hyrum is starting to understand football more which makes it all fun.  I normally sit by Mark and Lincoln on the same bench Dad but very far down the bench.  At least it feels like this.  Normally Mark is so commited to talking to Lincoln that I feel a bit isolated.  This time Kimberly came so Mark did not hav anyone to talk football so we were able to discuss the game.  It was great to have that experience.  I don't get a chance to talk to MArk often.  Our relationship is not a strong as I wish it were.  Any opportunity to stregthen it is welcomed.

Hyrum is participating in a 100 years of scouting celebration.  He is part of a Cub Scout choir.  They have been practicing downtown at the Conference Center.  It has been a large time commitment.   They have been practicing a few nights a week for 3-4 hours.  they perform this coming Tuesday.  hyrum had an accident at the last practice yesterday.  they were running off the stage and Hyrum tripped on a fog machine and feel and hit his head on some pipes.  Tiffany went downtown and picked him up.  They were very concerned about him and wheeled him out on a wheelchair.  He came home and we played XBox for a while to make sure he did not fall asleep.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tiffany is a wonder woman to be around.  she gets inspriation all the time of ways we can be of help to others.  We were driving a few days ago and she decided we needed to call our Stake President and offer to help with his backyard.  they are going to have a wedding reception in the backyard and needed some help getting it ready.  We went to their home for FHE and spent 3 hours cutting, pruning, removing all sorts of debris.  the kids worked very hard.  I was proud of them.

I'm still struggling a bit with giving Hod to Adam.  He loves it and can;t wait to be able to work on it when he returns from his mission.  he came by a year ago asking about the truck.  He was planning on the truck being his Senior gift.  the Lever's have started a tradition of taking large trip once the kids graduate High School.  Rather than take a trip he was going to fix up the truck.  he did not tell me this.  he just sheepishly asked about the truck.  So I told him i would sell it to him for $3000.  They declined and I later found out what he wanted to do.  I've thought about selling Hod but I could never bring myself to do it.  Tiffany has been anxious for years to try and organize the garage.  I always told her we can't really organize the garage until we figure out what we are going to so with the truck.  Now that they truck is gone we started getting the garage organized.  we are bringing in a guy to build shelves.  Same guy who built the Lever's shelves.  To prep, Tiffany wanted to paint the garage.  That is what we did today.  we did a decent job.  I'm ready for this project to be done.  every time I look to the East side of the garage I think of that blue truck.

So far so good with the soccer season.  We tied our first game.  We normally lose the first game.  the kids forget how to play but they remembers in time to tie the game towards the end.


There once was a land where everyone baked yummy food for the whole city.  Many families were good at baking different things.  People would travel from all over the land to this city and buy the yummy treats.  there was a family that lived on the very far edge of the city that was known for making the best cupcakes in the area.  They made many different cupcakes.  The cupcake they sold the most was a strawberry cupcake with strawberry frosting.  it took a lot to make the cupcakes.  This family had all the boys go the wheat fields every day so they would have enough wheat to make flour for the cupcakes.  all the women would make the cupcakes and also had to do all the berry picking.  On day one of the daughters, Mari, went to the strawberry bucket and noticed they were almost out of strawberries.  It was her job to organize the girls and for a strawberry picking party.  They decided that they would go tomorrow and pick strawberries.  The got their berry picking cloaks, baskets, and brought their violins so they could sing the berry picking songs.  They went to the place that they normally collect berries and notices that there were no berries in the strawberry fields to be picked.  Someone picked at the strawberries and did not leave any behind.  This worried Mari and her sisters but it did not worry Mari's mom.  Mari's mom remembers hearing her mother talk about strawberry fields in the forest.  They normally did not go to the forest for two reasons.  The always had enough strawberries closer to the city and the forest has always been a scary place.  There were stories about people going missing in the forest.  Mari's mom was not afraid so they went into the forest looking for strawberries.  The traveled deep into the forest.  They traveled farther than she every had before.  Mari was scared of all the different shapes and shadows that she saw in the forest.  She held onto her mother's hand and kept walking.  After a long journey they came to an opening in the forest.  The opening a small part of a valley.  When Mari looked into the valley all she saw were strawberry plants.  they covered the valley floor.  All the women began to pick strawberries.  The strawberries were some of the biggest, reddest, and sweetest strawberries Mari had ever tasted.  As they were picking the strawberries some of the women began to scream.  Soon all the women were screaming.  Mari could not tell why they were screaming until she saw him.  From among the strawberries rose a man.  He was thin and tall and had dark skin.  His skin was rough like a tree bark.  He had mean looking eyes.  All the women were very afraid expect for Mari's Mom.  All the other women were ready run away from this man but Mari's Mom walked towards this man.  The man told them all that they mist stop picking the strawberries.  They must go home and never return.  Many of the women began to leave but Mari's Mom asked him why they must go.  The man told her that he is a Wood Fairy and guardian over the forest and especially these strawberries.  They must go home a never return.  Mari's Mom asked him why he was so mad.  The Wood Fairy glared at her and Mari's Mom smiled back.  Mari's Mom was known throughout all the kingdom for her smile.  She was friends with everybody and found ways to help everyone feel good and special.  Normally all she had to do was smile.  Mari's Mom's smile caused the Wood Fairy to stop being mean.  She asked why he was mean and Wood Fairy explained that he was sad.  He could see from the edge of his forest all the fun the family was having in making cupcakes and using strawberries.  He was always sad to see them having so much fun with the strawberries because they are a favorite of his and the cupcakes look so very good.  Mari's Mom explained that he was always welcome to come and help in any way he can.  This made the Wood Fairy smile but he was still sad as he explained he can't leave the forest.  Mari thought for a moment and then asked her Mom if they could come and visit the Wood Fairy and bring some strawberry cupcakes.  They all thought that was a great idea.  They decided that they would come back every year and have a strawberry party.  The Wood Fairy was very happy and suggested they take some strawberries home to bake into their cupcakes.  They began to pick strawberries and the Wood Fairy stopped them again.  he had a better way.  He flicked his wrist and a wood flute appeared in his hands.  he began to play his flute and the strawberries plucked themselves from the bushes and began to dance there way into the waiting baskets.  The women danced while he played his tune and the strawberries bounce and danced there way to the baskets.  they left with more strawberries than they could use and handed out fresh strawberries to anyone they saw on the way home to the kingdom.  They all kept there promise and returned every year at that time to visit with the Wood Fairy and have a strawberry party.  the men would take the day off from the fields and come to enjoy the Strawberry Party.  They developed a long friendship with the Wood Fairy that lasted forever.  The family and Wood Fairy had these wonder parties for many year thanks to Mari's Mom.  When the Wood Fairy tried to scare them away Mari's Mom stopped, smiled, and asked why he was sad.  She wanted to try and make a friend..  Her kindness and her friendship made all the difference.
Soccer season has begun.  I hope the season goes well.  We have a few new kids this year.  we held our first practice and it went well.  I had to remind the kids that I'm a loud coach.  we have our jerseys and we are missing one.  I have yet to have a season where we get all the jerseys we need to have.   I hope we get the jerseys before the season starts on the 22nd.  I hope we can get through the season without an event with the parents on either side.

We had our youth conference reunion.  We had fun making up games int he backyard.  the kids ahd fun, we only had a few kids not make the bbq.  We had fun and our kids seemed to enjoy our youth conference family.

We took the Bryants and the Ludlows to the cabin with us this past weekend.  We had fun.  The kids were very active when we were trying to get them to bed.  they were trying to tell each other ghost stories.  I took control and made up a story loosley based on Monty Python and the search for the Holy Grail.  It as very long and did the trick.  in the morning we went down to the river.  the Lever's had started a dam in the river earlier this year and we spent about an hour building to it.  It has made part of the river very swift.  Mari fell into the shallow slow part of the river nad struggled a bit.  She could have stood up but she tried to swim.  She was very imbarrassed and wanted to go back to the cabin.  Tiffany took her back and let her take off her shirt becasue she was cold.  Mari was concerned about be

Monday, July 15, 2013

Youth Conference was a success.  the Stake did a great job this year.  They made it very easy.  we were able to prepare quickly for the YC due to past experience.  We found out that we took the spot of a brother who was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer go.  He came up later as part of the medical team.  We started the day at the stake center.  We separated into families.  We were family #20.  the very last to be organized.  We had a great family.  A really good group of kids that meshed well.  We went through the neighborhood by the stake center recreating the first few chapters in the BOM.  We wondered a bit.  tried to negotiate for the brass plates. we got a treasure and ate some chocolate.  they recreated the iron rod in the church by 2700 w.  they turned the lights off and had us hold a silver painted pvc pipe.  They took use through the create a spacious building.  I think the folks who got to play the part of the evil temptresses had the most fun.  We got to eat some cake by the tree of life.  They then shuttled us on into cars and we headed up the mountain.  We had the familiar schedule after that.  we played some games all of which had lessons applicable to the gospel.  We blindfolded the kids and had them follow two voices to try and figure out which to listen to get back to the family.  We had them try to communicate without talking and get organized.  We "Crossed the River Sidon" on planks of wood, we ran relays with buckets on the ends of poles to represent the balance needed between temporal and spiritual, we had a great battle with swimming noodles.  One of the most powerful events was the burying of swords.  they had the kids paint wood short swords and asked that they right a short coming/sin that they are willing to sacrifice like the Anti Nephi Lehis.  We then buried the swords.  they did the recreation of Abinabi in front of King Noah, the Savior coming in the middle of the night, and Moroni burying the plates.  From beginning to end it was a great experience.  the Stake had everything set up and we needed to do was not mess it up.  Emma seemed to have a good experience.  I'm glad that we did not mess it up for her.  YC can be very different when your parents are their.

Adam is now in the MTC.  We gave a great talk before he left.  We invited ourselves to his setting apart.  It was a great experience.  He is very concerned about trying to learn French.  He said that I sent him a letter when I was serving in Canada.  I was going to ask him what ot said but I forgot.  I gave him a letter I give to the missionaries leaving a Ward of what I wish I knew before I left for a mission.  I wonder how it compared.

Summer is going by too fast.  The older the kids get the more busy we are.  We have not yet had the chance to go to the cabin overnight.  we went up for the work day but not since then.  Emma had three weeks of camps and now she in nannying for Max for a few weeks.  Eve is making good use of her summer by trying to recipes.  He is turning into a good baker.  She does not cook too much but is doing good cookies, muffins, cupcakes.  Hyrum is trying to enjoy rugby.  He signed up thinking he would be tackling somebody.  The U8 are touch.  I think he is getting bored with touch.  I'm not sure he will play next year but we will leave that option open to him.  Mari is just happy to be here.  She is funny like most of the kids are at her age.  She made up a new songs that she often sings.

"South America, South America, South America
Jump, Jump, Jump
South America, South America, South America
Everybody's moving in
South America, South America, South America"
Jump, Jump, Jump
South America, South America, South America
Let's all go have some fun."

I hsbe no idea where she got the song from but it sure in funny.

I have been spending a lot of time trying to get our scrapbooks up to date.  I have been creating collages to send to Costco.  We have given up on the cutting and pasting that we used used to do.  I spent a few months loading all of our pictures from 2007 - 2012 on the Costco website and then create collages out of them.  I'm half way through 2011.  Each year costs us about $150.  I hope it comes together well.  I feel some pressure to make sure I include the right pictures.  I end up not using about 20-25% of the pictures we have taken.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Things have become really busy as we get prepared for Youth Conference.  we are hoping that we and the kids in our YC family are prepared.  The BoM YC will be very different this year.  they have tried to simplify it and take out many of the activities that made the youth uncomfortable in the past.  We have another week to get ready.  Tiffany and I put together a basic plan for our activities.  I hope they come together well.  in the past we tried to provide a benefit, create opportunities for the Spirit and then just the the Spirit work on the youth.  I struggle to sleep in a tent which is unfortunate becasue I love the outdoors.  I love the mountains but I think the cabin has made me soft.  I think the main reason I dread a Scoutmaster calling to because I would be required to camp so often.

Father's day was great.  these and kids and Tiffany do a great job in making me feel special.  They got me some wonderful gifts.  They gave me a puzzle of the BYU Football stadium, a few crafts, Hyrum gave me a mug that he wrote on, and Tiffany made up the wall in the masement with the pictures of the teams I have coached.  It was a good day.  We did not do much.

These kids are growing up too fast.  With emma going into the 9th grade and Mari starting school I wonder if I'm ready to transition into the next phase of parenting.  I really love having young kids in the home.  Mari loves to cuddle which helps me squeeze out every last bit of this stage that I can.  I'm glad these kids are part of our family.  I cut Hyrum's hair today.  Tiffany lets be buzz his head in the Summer.  He asked that we put an Airbender arrow in his arrow.  I did my best.  We will buzz his had completely before Sunday but for a week he is an Airbender.

Monday, June 10, 2013

We took Mom and Dad and Grandmother out to dinner tonight at Johnnie Carino's.  We were a month late in celebrating Dad's birthday.  It is great to be able to spend some time with them.  The waiter tried to make a connection with Hyrum and let him order some interesting combination of italian sodas.  I think hyrum will be sick.  He has already stated that he is not feeling good.  He drank about 6 glasses and most of them were combinations that should have gone together.

We had to go buy a new cellphone today.  Emma dropped the home phone in a cup of soup.  Luckily Tiffany was able to find a used cellphone for cheap.  It was going to cost around $400 for a new phone but Tiffany found one for $30.  She can always find a bargain.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Gave Tiffany a blessing tonight.  She has been concerned about a few things.  What employment she should consider, how to help her Mom with her troubles, and a few other things.  It is always a wonderful experience to be able to provide that benefit for her.  We did the blessing after the kids ahd gone to bed.  Mari was having a hrd time sleeping.  She took a nap during our family movie tonight.  I introduced the kids to Rudy.  Mari was struggling to get to sleep so we watcj Phineas and Ferb on Netflix using the laptop.  She is now in bed doing well.

I forgot to mention yesterday that Int he Celestial room at the temple Adam mentioned a letter I sent to him when I was serving a mission.  He said it was 5 pages long.  I hope it was something good.  He seemed to think it was good and worthwhile.  I'm confident he will be a great missionary.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

We have had a really fun weekend so far.  A bit of a rough week at work.  Not a lot going on that can be measured.  that doesn't matter now because the week has been great.  Adam took his Endowment out yesterday at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple.  He seemed really excited to be starting the process to go on a mission.  He will have his farewell talk at the end of the month.  It has been fun to see the his progress as he begins to focus on leaving for the MTC.  We had Mom and Dad, Grandmother Mildred, Mark and Kim and than Tiffany and I.  There is always a special spirit at a live Endowment of someone I know.  Wondering hpw they are taking it all in. Afterwards we took pictures.  Mom and Dad took Grandmother, Tiffany and I to Dickey's BBQ.  It was really nice.  i have felt like I have not been getting equal time with them when compared to my siblings.  it was fun to have one on one time with them. 

This morning was cabin work day.  We did the normal shoveling rocks for the roads.  Dad likes to go to the cabin work days in June and august even though we are only required to go to one of them.  i think this comes from his being the President of the Association years ago.  I was planning on going with Dad but the rest of the family decided they wanted to come.  We had not yet opened the cabin for they er so there was a lot of cleaning that needed to be done.  Keith came too.  He is consistent in coming to at least of the work days.  The girls cleaned the cabin while the guys shoveled rocks.  We did not stay after the work was done because we needed to get of the mountain for one of hyrum's Rugby matches.  They have these really neat blue and orange jerseys.  Hyrum fills out the jersey very well.  he looks like a rugby player.  The kids did very well.  We need to share the ball more but I'm sure they will figure it out.  hyrum came very close to a try.  He has had a growth spurt lately and has found it hard to run at full speed.  He did very well.  It was a fun experience.  We played AJ's Alpine team.  They are a lot smaller than our boys.  We have more 8 year olds and they are playing with 7 year olds.  We played them twice and beat them both times.  It was fun and very hot.  There are not many teams at this age group so we play the same teams every week.  Tonight we went to the Bailey's and had a BBQ they called a Meat Fest.  We had these when we were in the Bishopric.  We would have the Bishopric over and everyone would bring their best BBQ.  it is always good food.  We brought pulled pork which I did not think was very good.  It was leftover from emma's end of year party.  we normally try to do something fancy but we did not have time due to the days activities.  Everyone seems to enjoy it.  we had chicken, pork ribs, brisket, steak, and lot of other non meat products.  this time around we had the current Bishopric come too.  We are starting a new tradition in having these meals at least 3 times a year.  It is always fun to get together with the guys.  Russ Young reminded me of one of their families favorite moments from the Mindi Meadows Ward.  hyrum has liked to give his testimony during Fast Sundays and one of his earlier testimonies focused on trying to be a good boy.  the exact words he spoke, that the Youngs love, is "Don't hit, don't hit, don't throw.  in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."  We had been trying to help him remember to not hit his sisters and not to throw balls in the house and it came out during his testimony.  there are many experiences like that with hyrum and testimonies.  He used to give testimonies that were hilarious.  it was a challenge to keep a straight face on the stand while he was giving his testimony.  he has been a bit more focused on his testimony delivery.  Tomorrow should be a normal Sunday.  Meeting, a good meal, and a family movie.