Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A place I have travelled


The Redwoods August 2008

I'm not a world wide traveller. I've been to a few places near and far but this one is at the top of my list of recommended places to visit and if you live anywhere close to me you can even do this as a road trip! (My kids and I did it a few summers ago)

The Redwood National Park is found along the beautiful rugged coast of California. The park headquarters are located in Cresent City, Calif.
It is home to the world's tallest trees and is in the running for a place in the 7 natural wonders of North America. In fact if you really want you can visit this site and vote for what you think are the top 7 yourself!

Speaking of Natural Wonders- being able to see first hand something so amazing that I know was made by God's hand has an awe inspiring effect. I've seen the Aurora Borealis and it really is nature at its finest. I'd love to see all of these wonders someday!

Here is a fun list of "US Wonders"
How many have you seen?

17 Mile Drive
49 Mile Scenic Drive
Albany City Hall
Alcatraz Island
American Museum of Natural History
Angel Island State Park
Aquarium of the Bay
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
AT&T Baseball Park
Balboa Park Miniature Train
Bayou’s of Louisiana
Beach Blanket Babylon
Botanic Garden at Tilden Regional Parks
Brooklyn Historical Society
Bryce Canyon
Cable Cars of San Francisco
Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma
California Auto Museum
California Palace of the Legion of Honor
California State Capitol Building
California State Capitol Museum
California State Indian Museum
California State Railroad Museum
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Casa del Herrero
Coit Tower
Crocker Art Museum
Devils Tower
Discovery Park
Disney California Adventure Park
Disneyland Park
DL Bliss State Park
Echo Park
El Presidio de Santa Bárbara
Fairytale Town Sacramento
Getty Villa
Golden Vine Winery
Governors Mansion State Park
Grace Cathedral
Grand Canyon in Arizona
Grand Tetons
Griffith Observatory
Guggenheim Museum
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Iolani Palace
K Street Mall
Kailua Kona Makalawena – Pu’u Ali’i Bay
Kawai Nui Marsh
Kennedy Space Center
La Brea Tar Pits

Six of my very "little" children surrounded by giant sequoias!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Favorite Movie-

I'm not going to go as far as to say this is my favorite, because to have a favorite I would need a comprehensive list of movies from which to choose from and for me that just isn't the case. Like I've said before I have an incredibly hard time staying awake for movies and have spent more than a few dollars on uncomfortable "naps" at the movie theatre. It's not that I don't like movies, in fact I'm very easily entertained and the movie that I am listing today as my "favorite" proves that!


I don't really know why, but for me this movie just doesn't get old. I laugh even thinking about parts of this movie and honestly if you want to judge/evaluate my personality based on this choice, I'm ok with that because I already know that my sense of humor is a little warped. I do have seven kids remember!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Songs that make me cry...

I first heard this song at Woman's conference in Utah, probably about 10-12 years ago. Although I can be a very emotional person, sharing my feeling about being adopted has never really been an overly emotional subject. So, I was totally taken back by the very strong feelings that this song brought out in me. Michael McLean wrote this song and although he doesn't have the best singing voice in the world he sure knows how to write very touching and meaningful lyrics.
I have never met my birth mother and most likely won't in this life by choice, but I am, and will always be, very grateful to her for the sacrifice that she made by giving me up and sending me to my family. Someday when life's complications are over and our Savior and loving Father in heaven have sorted everything out, I hope to have a chance to thank her and tell her that I love her for being such a strong woman and providing me with an incredible opportunity to be part of an eternal family.
I don't listen to this song very often but when I do it gets me every time!
So, here it is...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pictures of things that make me happy! - day 5

Ok- so here are some pictures that make me happy...

These handsome young men.
These lovely ladies

Sam and Harley... just makes me smile!
G and G Davidson- Every time we leave their house they come out and wave goodbye until we're down at the end of the road. I love these two, they are the best!
Double rainbow!!!
Babies make me happy!

Logan's pass- a very "Happy" place
Christmas time!!

Skiing with my family!

Running makes me happy especially with Mark!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Something I am looking forward to!

STOP, can you guess what I'm really looking forward to?

In 10 more days someone will be HOME to stay for a whole month!!!
You guessed it, MARYN is coming home. I can't wait!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Family- parents and siblings

By them I was taught to work hard, to serve and care for others and above all to stay faithful even in times of hardship and trial.
My Dad was a high school math teacher and a mason. At 73 years old he is still laying brick and is in high demand for his artistic and beautiful work. I have fond memories and battle wounds to show for my days working along side my Dad on construction sites. He also spent a lot of his teaching years coaching basketball in the small town where I grew up. After many years coaching the boys he made the switch to coaching the girls when my sister and I were in high school. I loved having him for a coach and have great memories of those times.
I have never heard my Dad be critical of another person and he is always the first one to lend a helping hand to someone in need.
Nine years ago this month my Dad under went a live donor liver transplant at the U of A hospital. My brother Ron was the donor. After a lot of pain and many struggles he made a full recovery. I love my Dad and I'm so grateful that on his birthday, 42 years ago, he and my Mom chose me and brought me into their lives!

My Mom is Gold!! I love her and appreciate her for so many reasons. I'll name a few...
She taught me to love and appreciate beautiful music.
She is so smart and is always learning new things.
She loves the scriptures and reads them everyday.
She taught me how to work.
She is so resourceful.
She is full of FAITH.
I have always said that had I been a pioneer, I would have wanted my Mom in my company because their is nothing that she can't make, do, or figure out. She never complains and will work until the job is done no matter how long it takes or how hard it is.
My Mom has sacrificed so much to give me a life that I know I otherwise never would have had. I'm so grateful that she lives her life close to the Spirit and that she taught me how to do the same.

Just a little bit about each of my siblings.

Brent lives in New Mexico and works in airport security. He has four kids- Kennedy, Madison, Nelson and Bailey. They live in Magrath with their mom Sheila. Brent baptized me and taught me how to drive!

Mark lives in Augusta, Georgia and is married to Geri. They have 5 kids- Krista,(who is married to Evan) Matt, Scott, Graham and Hannah and 2 adorable grandsons-Thatcher and Levi. Mark is a chemical engineer and I think he works for Nutrisweet? If that's not right it's one of those artificial sweeteners! Though Mark and I aren't that close in age- our kids are. Our older kids have great memories of their older kids as they lived in Fort Saskatchewan before they moved away to Georgia.

Ron is married to Teresa and they live in Colorado Springs. They have two kids- Tanner and Tara. Ron is in the US Air Force and he holds the highest rank that a civilian officer can hold- don't ask me what his Title is- I just know he's pretty important!! One of my favorite memories of Ron was the time he let me curl his hair on a band trip... it was the early eighties and his longish blonde curly hair was the envy of everyone on that trip!! (ok maybe not the guys, but the girls for sure!!)

Ken lives at home in Magrath. He works at Nutters in Lethbridge and is the sweetest, most dependable guy you'll ever meet. Ken has a HUGE movie collection which makes him a pretty popular guy with all the grandkids.

Suzanne lives in Salt Lake City, she just recently got a new job working for Volunteers of America AND she goes to school full time AND she is MOM to five fantastic kids -Yuki, Isabel, Micah, Camille and Maggie. Suzanne and I are two years and 1 day apart in age. She is the sister who I will always regret not getting along with better as a young child, but who I gratefully connected with as a teenager. I will always wish that we could live closer to each other because she is my only sister and I miss her AND neither of us is very good about staying in touch.

What a cute bunch! This is a picture of my family just before I was adopted. My oldest brother Brent is standing right in front of my Dad. Mark is on the far right. The twins Ken and Ron are in front of my Mom and my one and only sister is in my Mom's arms. The girl beside my Mom is Donna Thompson who was a neighbor and one of our favorite babysitters. As you can see my parents had their hands full!

This picture is my family- minus my two older brothers who died as infants- and my three younger brothers who of course weren't born yet.
After I came along my Mom and Dad had three more boys... Brian, Trevor, and Keith

Below is my younger brother Brian and his lovely wife Linda. They are expecting their first babies- twin girls!! Linda's water broke last week and she is only 29 weeks, so she is in the hospital and is taking medication to help the babies lungs and brains develop quickly. Our prayers are with Brian, Linda and their babies.
Brian and Linda live in Denver.

This is my brother Trevor. He lives in Ogden with his fabulous wife Jeannie and their four kiddos - Parker, Morgan, Jonah and Kate. Trevor is a chiropractor and if he lived closer I would let him work his magic on my back but only because he's my brother!!!
Keith is the baby of our family and of course he holds a very special place in my heart!! I was ten years old when Keith was born and I was soooo sure that he was going to be a girl that I bawled my eyes out when my Dad came to my class room at school to tell me that the baby had been born and it was another boy!! It didn't take very long to decide that I could love him even though I didn't get the little sister that I was hoping for. Keith was born with fragile X syndrome which is a form of mental retardation. He is a lot like a Downs syndrome child but with different physical traits. Basically he is adorable! I can't even begin to tell you all the life lessons I've been taught because Keith is my brother. He is such a blessing to our family and is a constant reminder that Heavenly Father knows what our family needed and we needed Keith!

The very little picture below (I can't figure out how to make the scanner do it's thing) is of Keith and I at his graduation in 1996. He asked me to be his "date" for Grad and I gladly accepted!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Something that stresses me out

Finding time to get everything that needs to be done accomplished.
It's funny because just yesterday in Sacrament Meeting the High Councilman gave a talk on this exact subject and it was also discussed in Sunday School and Relief Society. It seems to be an ongoing issue for so many of us.
If I don't have enough hours in a day to do all that I need to do why am I spending time on this blog of all things? Because we all need balance... that was the take home message from Sundays meetings and I know that when I try to live a balanced life my stress level is decreased and though I still may not get everything done everyday, I am a happier person, a better wife, a kinder mother and a real friend.
Balance is important, but a lesson that I seem to have to keep learning through trial and error is that dedicated, consistent personal worship of our Savior is paramount to being a happy, productive, stress free individual. I KNOW that is true. Studying the scriptures everyday and praying for guidance in all that I do is what helps me stay grounded. When I neglect these basic simple truths in my everyday life I get STRESSED.
A few weeks ago I went to Texas to visit Maryn and then spent a week with my Sister In Laws at the Houston Quilt Show. It was a great time and I was glad for the break from my real life, which at times can be a bit out of control. Here is what happened though. Because I have been given the awesome opportunity to teach seminary each day, a large portion of my time is spent reading, studying and pondering the scriptures. I pray before I begin my preperations, sometimes as I prepare and always after I am done to acknowledge the Lords hand in helping me accomplish the task. When I was gone I took my scriptures with the intent to read each day, it didn't happen. I tried for the first few days, but soon forgot as the fun and excitement of the holiday took over. On my flight home with several free hours spent on the plane and in airports I read a lot and tried to make up for my lack of time spent doing concentrated daily reading. Well it doesn't work. The days missed were done and I found myself feeling stressed and uptight and farther from the Spirit than I had felt in months. Don't get me wrong, holidays are for fun and we all need time off from our regular lives, but when we neglect what is MOST important in our lives, things get off track fast.
So, before this gets way too long for even me to read, let me just say this:
Something that STRESSES ME OUT is not taking time everyday to read the scriptures and pray. It's that simple! Go do it for yourself, it will change your whole day... I promise!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What could possibly be the longest 15 day challenge ever...!

In all my spare moments (and yes I do have a few moments) I have been enjoying the commentary on a friends blog as she is doing the "15 day challenge" and because she has encouraged all to "jump on the wagon" I have decided to do just that... like the title to this post states, this could possible be the longest 15 day challenge EVER, but I'm still going to give it a try!
Here are the details:

Day 1 - Self portrait picture and 15 interesting facts

Day 2- Something that stresses you out
Day 3-Your siblings and parents
Day 4- Something you're looking forward to
Day 5- pictures of things that make you happy
Day 6- A song that makes you cry and why

Day 7-Favorite movies
Day 8-A place you've traveled to
Day 9- Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs
Day 10-Something you're afraid of
Day 11-Favorite tv shows
Day 12-What you believe
Day 13-Goals
Day 14-Some pictures you love
Day 15- pictures of your Dream house

So here goes the 15 interesting facts about me:

1. I haven't needed or used an alarm to wake myself up in the morning for well over 20 years. My internal clock was always set for about 6 to 6:15 am and never failed me. These days it's more like 5 am... read on to find out why. (and no, I'm not pregnant!)

2. After 21 years of having little children by my side, on my back, on my lap, and in my face. I have finally graduated to being a Stay at Home Mom sans Kids! ( just while they are all off to school!)

3. I love being the first person to walk in freshly fallen snow and even though I complain bitterly about living in what was, for one day last winter, "the coldest place on earth" I do enjoy the peace and beauty of crisp white snow at insanely early hours of the morning!

4. In August I was called to be a Seminary teacher and besides the complete chaos that has found it's way into my home life, I am loving it and learning so much! (this should help explain #1)

5. Fresh flowers are my fav and i am not afraid to buy them for myself!

6. I can't remember the last time I didn't fall asleep at the movie theater.

7. I could never live in a house with plain white walls... I'm pretty sure it has something to do with living in a place where it is winter for 8 months of the year.

8. I really really want to learn to scuba dive.

9. Apparently my jaw pops when I chew... everyone can hear it but me!

10. Mice freak me out!

11. I hardly ever make my bed... but it does get made everyday. Thanks Mark!

12. My first two children are born on April 1st exactly two years apart. The next one was born two years later on May 1st and after that I honestly have to refer to a list in my wallet to get all the dates right!

13. I like to ski but secretly would rather be a snowboarder.

14. When I was 14 I hiked to the top of Old Chief and back down in white canvas Keds They went in the garbage when I was finished.

15. Fifteen is a lot of facts and I'm really not very interesting!

Yikes, that took way too long.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Yes really these are some highlights of summer 2010!

By the end of the summer ALL seven of my kids were at home! It was great to all be together again. Maryn went back to Texas at the end of August, but we loved having her home for a whole month. This first pictures is out of order, but it definitely was the real "Highlight" of the summer!
Russell got home from his mission in Utah!!
(I don't have very many pictures and none from the actual day that he arrived, it's a long story, and didn't happen at all as we had planned... it was really late at night... cut me some slack!!)

What's summer without a trip to the Zoo?
Their was a " new to us" dinosaur park... Dallin LOVED it!
Logans' Pass in all it's beauty!
Sam had fun swimming in the lake this year.

Young Mens camp... yup that's snow in July
Max and Jordan trying to stay warm and dry.

We grew some veggies.

Max had jaw surgery
It was a really big deal but with it all behind him he is happy with the results!
Some classic slip and sliding in the back yard!
We did a mini tri at the Fairbanks cabin. Sooo much fun!
Julie made a quilt for a Young Womans project.
Sam and Dallin - I love this picture!
Mark took the kids camping in Jasper for a few days... first time for Shaina, Dallin and Sam. They can't wait to do it again next year!
Their you have it, my summer 2010 update in October!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The making of a Canada flag

I thought I would try a little trip down memory lane and show you what Canada Day 1998 looked like...
We decided to have the kids help us make a big Canada flag on our drive way. It was fun but I remember that once we got the red painted on everyone was moving on to other things and Mark and I were left to finish the job. The picture isn't great and I couldn't get it to scan to just the picture size (technologically challenged!) so you might not even be able to tell, but in our rush to get the project finished we quickly chalked in the white and called it good! It lasted a long time on the driveway, well at least the red part did, and it was a fun family memory that the older kids talk about and have said on more than one Canada Day afternoon that we should repeat...

Fast forward to Canada Day 2010... 12 years later. We got around to doing it again!
Julie and I went on a bike ride/ yoga adventure with Georganne and Jessilyn that morning and before leaving I mentioned to Mark that I would be happy to pick up the supplies if he wanted to get the kids involved in painting a flag. Mark is by far the more artistically inclined parent in our family and I knew that leaving him with the job of getting it all laid out and ready to go would be the right decision. I was really proud of him for taking these pictures of the process even if secretly I would have liked to have had more of him taping it all out and being the total type A kinda guy that he is when it comes to these sorts of things...!

Shaina, Dallin, Sam and the neighbor kids painting the red part.
Julie and I got home just as they were starting the white and once again we helped Mark finish it up as the little kids had moved on to "other things"!
Julie taking advantage of the photo opportunity!
After everything is all cleaned up and put away.
A good job done and Mark takes a nap.
It's now July the 20 and the flag is still there, a bit faded but with all the rain we've had I'm a bit surprised that it's held out as well as it has.
Just incase you wanted to make your own flag someday here's what you'll need:

A nice sunny Canada day (or any day that you're feeling a little patriotic!)
Red and white tempra paint with a little dish soap mixed in for easier clean up.
The biggest foam craft brushes I could find.
Ice cream buckets
painters tape
5 to 7 willing children
One very creative/type A husband

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day and Maryn, just in case you weren't home sick enough, here are the flowers!!!

Fathers Day is just about the only day that I begrudge Mark being the Bishop...
We don't get to do the proverbial make breakfast in bed for Dad because he is gone to meetings long before any normal human being is awake on a Sunday morning! While everyone else goes home with their Dads' after church on Sunday to relax and enjoy time together we go home alone. This Father's Day was no exception. After meetings I started to prepare a meal that took a little extra effort and I knew Mark would be thrilled to eat! I got most of it ready thinking that he would be home at a decent time given that it was Father's Day and really who could need/want his attention more than his family? I couldn't do much more without just going ahead and eating without him, and the kids were all starting to get hungry so I decided to put the shish kebabs on the grill and if he wasn't home we would just go ahead and eat...
These were really good!
The table was set I called the kids to come eat and just as I asked Dallin to say the blessing guess who walked in the door?
Just a bit later than usual but just to make me feel like a real complainer, he apologized and said that he had taken some extra time to go visit with an elderly widowed sister in the ward!
The moral of the story is, yes, their usually is someone who needs the bishop more than we do and until you learn not to be bitter about that it makes being the Bishops family challenging... we are learning!!

The kids gave Mark some hugs and other great things and I gave him a few fun things too.
One of which was the traditional Father's Day tie! (which he loves by the way!)
I insisted on a Father's Day photo and got almost everyone looking happily at the camera!
It was a good day and next year, after having done this for three times now, I will lower my expectations considerably and have a long long Sunday afternoon NAP!

Hey Maryn!
These pictures are just for you... Here are the flowers.
They look really pretty right now, lots of purple, just the way flowers should be!!

We are counting down the days till you get home.

Have a great day!