Friday, November 29, 2013

Gratitude Week: Mothers

Having discussed fathers, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the blessing that is mothers.

My mother is my hero.  I want to be as wonderful as she is.  She would tell me that she wants me to be better, but I have to shoot for something first.  She is so giving and selfless. 

My mother raised ten children and she did a magnificent job.  She made time for each and every one of us, and she always came to our events and supported us in what we chose to do.  She taught me about love and faith and steadfastness in adversity. 

She loves my father and treats him with respect.  They occasionally disagree, but I have never heard them argue. 

Now that she's a grandma, and she only has a couple kids left at home, she often baby-sits her grandchildren and she is always there when we need her assistance.  She'll drop anything for her children and she loves to serve others.

One time, I asked my mother what she was going to do when she didn't have any children left at home.  I imagined that she would say something like "Oh, read some books, relax, enjoy the quiet...etc."  However, what she actually said surprised me.  She told me, "I would like to serve in the community more.  I don't think I do enough."  That made me realize how far I have to go. 

Currently she has begun to help out more in the community.  She helps by playing piano for children's programs, setting up musicals, and creating costumes.  She is a homemaker to the fullest sense of the word, and though she received her degree as a nurse, she has spent her life being a mother.

My mother-in-law is also an amazing woman.  She has seven of her own children, and though there have been many difficulties in her life, she has done her best to make it work for her family.  She loves her children and adores her grandson (Kevin, he's the only one she has so far).  She has spent time and money to travel across the country to visit us and would do it more often if she could. 

She welcomed me into their family, and I've never had a "bad mother-in-law" experience.  Grig adores his mother and likes to listen to what she has to say.  She home-schooled most of her children and has tried to do what was best for them. 

I am trying to be a good mother like the wonderful women in my life.  Mothers, especially stay-at-home mothers, often don't receive any gratitude.  Single mothers also have it very difficult.  They are trying to raise their children and earn an income at the same time.  Not an easy task.

Children often simply expect the love and kindness that is so freely given, and never thank their mothers for the sacrifices that they make.  The house is cleaned, the cooking done, the dishes washed, and the laundry done and folded without any thanks.  Being a mother isn't always easy, but eventually we thank you for it.

It just takes us going through the same thing to realize all that you have done. 

We love you, mothers!  Thank you for all you do!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gratitude Week: Children

Today I'm grateful for children.

Often today, society has told us that we should do what we want to do first, and then after that, if you still have time, maybe have one child. 

I believe that is false.  Children are the greatest joy any person can have.  Kevin has brought some frustration, yes, but that is so miniscule compared to the blessings that have come from having him.  Children are a lot of work, but they are such a great joy.  I want to have vacations WITH my children, not FROM my children.

When Grig and I got married, we made the decision together to not wait to have children.  We prayed about it, and we believed that it was the right thing to do.  Every set of parents should make that decision between them and the Lord and do it when it feels right.  For us it was the right time, right away.  Kevin came just slightly over nine months after we were married. 

Things have worked out.  We had enough money to pay off our hospital bills completely, and we haven't really struggled since.  I know that was a blessing from God because we obeyed his commandment to 'multiply and replenish the earth.'  It is a commandment that has never been revoked. 

Kevin is such a joy.  He has a smile that just lights up my life.  He is so adventurous and happy.  Every day he learns new things, and sometimes I learn them with him. 

I have five wonderful, living nieces and a nephew.   Each of them is a joy to be around, and I am so happy that Kevin has wonderful cousins to play with. 

Grig and I would like more children, and we're letting it happen in the Lord's time.  Kevin will be a wonderful older brother.  He has a lot of love to give.  Sometimes, too much love for the dog and she has to go hide. 

He is intelligent and caring. He loves to make us laugh.  I'm pretty sure his purpose in this life is to bring joy to those around him.  I can't wait for him to grow up and for us to become friends, so I can get to know him as the incredible adult that he is going to be.  However, I am enjoying the time I have with him now and I don't want to miss a single moment. 

I have wanted to be a mother my whole life.  I got a college degree, but right now I am living my dream.  Kevin is all I could have hoped for, and I love him with all my heart. 

I understand that some people are unable to have children that desperately want them, and my heart breaks for these parents.  Know that we are thinking of you and praying that your dreams will come true as well. 

I'm grateful for children.  Teaching them is my profession and raising them is my dream.  Their innocence brings joy into my life, and I love the way the world becomes simple in their eyes.  May we all work to preserve their innocence and teach them to be responsible, hard-working, loving adults.
My little drummer boy

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gratitude Week: Fathers

Today, I want to express my gratitude for fathers.

Often in today's society, fathers are either completely absent in media, or they act like complete morons.  My father was neither.  He was a dedicated man who provided for his wife and children.  He tried to spend as much time as possible with us, and he is a respected man in the community.

I never wondered if my father loved me.  I knew it.  One of my favorite memories with my father is driving to a nearby town, just me and him.  Our alone time was precious to me, and I cherished our conversation together.

In discipline, he was firm, but loving.  He treated my mother like a priceless gift and wouldn't tolerate any disrespect toward her.  When they drive on car trips, they hold hands, and he often opens and closes doors for her.

He would make us laugh until we cried and he loved to watch movies with us.

Grig's father is equally wonderful.  I've only known him for a relatively short time, but he has worked hard his whole life to provide for his family.  He often travels to far distant countries to care for their cattle so his family can have enough money to live off of.  He loves his children, and constantly prays and worries for them.

He has taught his children a love and respect for nature, and how to be self-sufficient.

Both of our fathers dearly love their grandson, Kevin.  They look forward to his visiting and enjoy watching him on our (near) weekly skypes.  They take pride in his accomplishments, and love him as the special little boy he is.

Grig is also a dedicated husband and father.  He loves to spend time with me and Kevin.  He sometimes takes time off of work to do so (link to that blog here) and never regrets his actions.  It's important to him that Kevin and I know how much he loves us.  He works currently 66+ hours a week to provide for us, and wants to be the best person he can be.

At night, the three of us play in the bed and he makes Kevin laugh so hard he gets hiccups.  Grig always tries to do the right thing, and he is a dedicated and loyal husband.  I trust him and love him with all of my heart in the knowledge that he would never do anything to hurt me.

He holds open doors for me, looks for ways to make my life easier, and carries heavy things so I don't have to (which has taken some getting used to, because I am highly independent).  He treats me like royalty.  He protects me, which also has taken some getting used to.  He is a true man in every sense of the word, and he has helped me discover my own sense of womanhood.

Kevin loves his father and is always thrilled when he comes home.

Fathers are necessary in our society.  Not just fathers in name, but also in action.  One lady made a really profound comment on Sunday, which I wanted to repeat.

She said: Children need fathers.  If that need is not fulfilled in a healthy way, they will find a way to fulfill it which may not be as healthy.  They may find other young people who are not the best examples to take the place of a real father.

It's true.  Fathers are not optional.  Children need to learn the things that only fathers can teach them.  Some people don't have the opportunity to have fathers in their homes through no fault of their own. However, then the community can step in and help provide good male role-models for these children.  It's not quite the same, but it goes a long way.

I'm so grateful for fathers.  I'm grateful for my earthly father (and father-in-law) and for my Eternal Father.  Here is a beautiful video that I'd recommend you go watch about fathers.

On this Thanksgiving week, I want to express my thanks to fathers everywhere.  Maybe society doesn't respect you or thank you as you deserve, but your children and your grandchildren will be grateful for the sacrifices that you make for them.

Fathers, thank you.  I'm so grateful for you and all you do.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mormon Monday: Gratitude

This week is Thanksgiving!  So, I thought I would tell you the LDS doctrine on gratitude.

We believe that God expects us to show him our gratitude.  In one scripture, it says:

Doctrine and Covenants: 59:21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.

Heavenly Father gives us everything.  However, often we are like ungrateful, entitled children.  We believe that we DESERVE blessings and that God should give them to us simply because we want them.  Luckily for us, God doesn't work that way.

He has complete and perfect knowledge of the best way to parent each of us.  He knows when we should wait for things, He knows when we need them immediately.  It is simply our responsibility to recognize the blessings from our Heavenly Father and thank him for them.

HIis goal in this life is for all of us to reach perfection.  Trials and conflicts make us grow.  For my post on why bad things happen, click here.  Our Heavenly Father doesn't let anything happen without a reason.  

Often we are blessed beyond our wildest dreams and when that happens, we often forget to thank the one who caused it to happen. 

There is an old story I know of.  A man was working on his roof one day, when he suddenly felt himself slipping.  Knowing that if he fell, he would tumble to his death, he quickly prayed, "God save me!"

As he went off the edge, his shirt caught on a nail and he stuck.  He breathed a sigh of relief, looked back up at the sky and said, "Never mind, Lord, I saved myself."

There is another scripture I love.  It's a King talking to his people about why they should be grateful to God. It says: 

19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!
 20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
 21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
 22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
 23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
 24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
 25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.
 I love this because it is so true!  We get everything from the Lord, and no matter what we do to try and serve him, he just blesses us more.  We are eternally in His debt.  

This week I'm going to be posting blogs about things I am grateful the Lord gave me.  I have so much in my life, and often I am always looking toward the future and saying, "Oh, when this happens, I'll be happier."

I should be happier today.  I have so many blessings and so few troubles.  I need to let the Lord know that I have recognized His hand in my life, and I am grateful for it. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sound of Music Musical

So, yesterday was an exciting day!  We drove for a few hours to get to my parents' home.  We were going up to watch Sound of Music.  The high school was performing it and my brother was playing Rolfe, the really nice Austrian boy who ratted out the family in the cemetery...yeah.  He's the hero of the show for sure.

My favorite part of the musical was probably Kevin dancing and singing with the cast.  The musical was well-done and they had a lot of talent.  My brother did a fantastic job.  It's weird to see him in a musical and watch him kiss a girl.  Really, I'm having a hard time believing that he is the same little baby who used to totter around the house after me.  Crazy that he's so grown up.

After he kissed the girl, my niece began yelling, "Ew!  He kissed a girl!  That's the grossest thing I've ever seen!  Did you see that?"  It was pretty funny.  We all laughed really hard.  

Kevin did great during the first half of the musical.  He watched with rapt attention and danced and sang.  However, at about 8:30, he started getting really tired.  It was his bedtime, so he didn't want to stay awake anymore.  I tried to help him go to sleep, but there was too much going on.

So, we went into the hall and got to know the 'nuns'.  They all thought that Kevin was pretty much the cutest baby ever.  I think he was making them re-think their 'vows'.  Everyone in the cast did a fantastic job.  It was a very nicely done performance.  I didn't see as much of the second half as I wanted because Kevin is crazy, but what I did see was amazing!

At the end, when everyone was clapping, Kevin and I came back in.  He started clapping as we entered the auditorium, up the aisle to our seats, and he didn't stop clapping until after the music stopped. 

Overall, we had a nice trip.  We just barely got home.  There was a really sad part of the trip, but I'm not going to talk about that quite yet. My grandparents were really nice to take me with them to see the musical.  It was nice to be able to support my brother.

I did miss my husband though.  I kind of like him (a lot).  It's hard to be away from him for that long.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pain in the Neck

Yesterday, I woke up and realized that I had been sleeping funny.  I felt like I had a kink in my neck, and it was painful to move.

I didn't get much done yesterday because it was hard to look down or sideways.  I managed to do the dishes, straighten up the house a bit, and do laundry, but that was about it.  I felt kind of awful. 

The vet came yesterday to give Dakota her yearly check-up.  She told me that my dog is in a lot of pain.  She's old, and her back legs sometimes shake.  I chalked it up to weakness, but she told me that was actually a sign of pain.  For as much pain as the doctor thinks she's in, she is awfully patient with the baby falling on her.  She's an excellent dog, and we're going to do what we can.

Grig came home shortly after the vet left, and he was very nice and heated a cloth for my neck.  By the time bed came around I was feeling better. 

Kevin wasn't sleeping well last night, so I didn't sleep well.  However, I was feeling better until at some point this morning, around 2:30 a.m., he dropped onto my chest.  It startled me and I jerked.  Pain shot through my neck and I gave a cry.  Grig quickly woke up and asked if everything was okay.  I told him what had happened, and I think we both dropped back to sleep after that. 

However, twenty minutes later, I was startled to consciousness by the feeling of pain in my neck growing.  The pressure was pretty painful and I started trying to roll onto my side to get off of it.  The only problem was....I couldn't move.  My labored breathing woke Grig up again, and he helped me sit up.  Shortly afterward I started to feel better, but he was concerned.  He told me maybe he should take the day off. 

I told him I was fine and we didn't have time for me to be incapacitated.  I was going to visit my parents today and watch my little brother perform in Sound of Music.  I told him I would be fine.  He didn't look very convinced.  However, after a warm towel on my neck and a relaxing bath, I do feel much better now. 

He still wants me to go to the chiropractor, but we'll see how I feel later.  I don't have much time today before I leave, so I only want to go if I absolutely need to.

I'm a bit stubborn at times, but I really am feeling better. 

Sometimes I exasperate my husband.  Whoops.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Little Rant and an Update on NaNoWriMo

Whew, this is a late blog today.

It's because I'm kind of ticked. 

I'm a big fan of Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, and for some reason today I felt like going and finding out what his critics were saying.  Okay, you have to understand that I know Cesar Millan isn't a perfect man and sometimes while training he makes mistakes.  However, as I've read his critics' arguments, for the most part they all follow the reward training technique.  They often have similar views on dogs but they are arguing semantics.  Anyway, as I've been reading their criticisms, I've slowly being getting more and more angry.  I want to tell them that I have issues with their methods, but I have a personal rule not to get into fights on youtube or other social media.

So, briefly, I'm going to tell you why I have an issue with the rewards system.  I was taught to train my dogs by a wonderful dog trainer.  He didn't use treats. He told me, "Dogs should do what you want them to do for affection, not for food.  They should do it because you want them to do it, not because they are going to get rewarded for it."

As an elementary school teacher, I heard many of the same arguments that I hear about dog training.  I was told not to use rewards and to establish "rules, boundaries, and limitations"-to use Cesar's rules.  Children and dogs do best when they know what the rules are and they are asked to live them with love.

However, the whole world is telling us to use rewards to make our dogs listen to us.  This is why we have a nation of extremely obese dogs and children.  These children have learned that they are all winners, and many of them don't know how to deal with challenges.  In the real world, not everyone gets the job.  They often don't even call you back. Children are not being taught to deal with limitations or rules.  They are being told that they are wonderful human beings, which is great, but that other people will make life easier for them so they don't have to struggle, which isn't so great.

I love dogs and I love children.  They are very different creatures, but both need boundaries.  They shouldn't do things because they are going to get rewarded for it.  Dogs do well if you shower them with affection after they follow the rules.  They don't need treats.  Children do well if they know that you love them and you are establishing rules because it will keep them safe.  They don't really need treats either.

All this talk about 'established scientific methods' drives me nuts. I watched the lady on Animal Planet's "It Me or the Dog," and I couldn't stand her methods.  She was constantly getting mad at the people for the way they were acting, and I watched her storm out of the house a few times because she didn't want to deal with them.  Maybe her methods do work, but I certainly didn't want to learn from someone so unbalanced.

Enough of the rant.  Now I want to tell you how I'm doing with my goal.  I feel better now.

Basically, I wanted to tell you how my goal is going of writing 2,000 words a day.  Some days it is going really well, other days not so well.

Currently, I am at 25,263 words. I'm really enjoying writing, and it has been really fun to have a goal to work on every day.  My story is finally past the beginning, and I'm really starting to get into the meat of the action.  It's been a fun way to keep in touch with friends that I haven't talked to in a while.  Actually, I'm still not really talking to them, but I can check up on their word count and it feels like we're doing something together.  That's been fun.

I'm going to do it.  I've still got a long way to go and only ten days left, but I'm going to get it accomplished.  Thanks for the love and support and for those of you who have been faithful readers.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mondays Never Go As Expected

Yesterday morning started off weird.  I woke up at 7:15, which is the time usually Kevin wakes me up. However, he was still sound asleep.  I thought to myself, "Awesome!  I can go get stuff done before he wakes up!"

Kevin sprawled

I left and went to my living room where I blogged.  I finished blogging and Kevin was still sleeping.  I thought, "It's really unusual for him to sleep in this late."  So, I went to the restroom.  While I was in there, I heard a loud sound which was followed by a dog crying out in pain several times.  I was worried that the dog downstairs (Anna a sweet little lab mix) had been hit by a car. 

I hurried out of the bathroom and rushed outside, leaving Kevin and Dakota in the house.  I didn't see a dog on the road, which relieved me at first, but I saw Anna's owner.  I said, relieved, "I thought I heard a dog yelping."

She turned to me with her cell phone to her ear and a stricken expression on her face and said, "Anna got hit by a car!"

I asked her to let me see the dog.  I've worked at a vet's office for a couple years and I completed three years of college to become a veterinarian, so I have some experience.  Mostly however, I just think that my neighbor needed someone there.

Anna was up and walking around, which was a good sign.  She let me run my hands over her body, and I put pressure as I went.  She never yelped, which was another good sign.  I did however find that she had a bloody lip, which we cleaned off with a wet paper towel, and an abrasion on her arm where the fur had been scraped off.  Other than that she seemed fine, if extremely nervous. 

She did not want to go back outside.  However, after we looked her over, we decided that she was in pretty good condition for having impacted a car.  We put on her leash and walked her outside, where I was relieved to see her eyes dilate normally.  I told her owner to keep an eye on her and if she noticed anything to take her to the vet.  Maybe she should have gone anyway, but I know that my neighbor isn't really a wealthy person. 

Anyway, as I came back inside of my house, Kevin was still sleeping. He woke up shortly thereafter. I am convinced that he stayed asleep that morning so that I could go be with my neighbor when she was all alone and stressed. 

We also had a lunch party with our cousins.  Kevin and I invited them over that morning to come and eat lunch with us.  As we were preparing for their arrival, another neighbor came over to borrow our printer and talk for a while.

That was fun, but Kevin was getting kind of grumpy when she left and just before our next guests arrived.  He kept chewing on his fingers, so I gave him some baby tylenol to help with his teething.  Sunday, his second tooth emerged.  He now has a top tooth and a bottom tooth. I think more may be on the way.

My aunt and her children arrived, but I forgot that they were scared of dogs.  So, we invited them in.  They were so cute.  Dakota just ignored them, but they very cautiously walked around her and jumped on the couch to be out of her reach.  They were pretty petrified at the beginning.  We had a lot of fun eating, playing with toys, practicing their piano, and reading books together.  They gradually got over their fear of the dog.  By the end, the oldest boy was walking her around on her leash and the other two kept asking to pet her.  We had a great time!

As soon as they left, Kevin fell asleep.  He'd been awake since 8:30 and he finally crashed at 2:30.  He slept until his dad got home, woke up briefly, then resumed his nap until I woke him up at 6:00.  Since we are trying to go to bed at 7:00, we thought waking him up might be good.

We had new neighbors moving in next door, so Grig was helping them move in while I stayed in with the sleeping baby.  We were going to go shopping after Grig got home, but since he ended up helping haul couches and boxes, we ended up only going to Sam's Club and Smith's.  We wanted fried chicken!

All in all, the day didn't go as planned, but for the most part ended up better than we ever could have hoped for.  We love to serve others, and it is wonderful how many opportunities we have from living in this apartment complex.

Life is good.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mormon Monday: What is the Book of Mormon?

Officially, our church is known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  So why does everyone call us Mormons?

It is because of The Book of Mormon.  The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.

We believe that God loves ALL of his children.  He doesn't just love the Jews or the Israelites, the Catholics or the Protestants, the Christians or the Muslims.  He loves everyone, including those who don't believe in him.

After Christ was resurrected, we believe, and I know this to be true for myself, that Christ also visited his other children in other parts of the world.  He had saved everyone, not just his followers in Jerusalem, so wouldn't He want to show himself to more than just one continent?

The Book of Mormon is an ancient record from the people on the American continent.  It also testifies that Christ is the Savior of the world.  God has said that by "two or three witnesses every word may be established."  Matthew 18:16

The Bible is a marvelous and wonderful book that could never be replaced.  It is the testimony of Jesus Christ's life, and his workings while He was alive on the Earth.  However, it is only one book.  People have translated the same scripture to mean a million different things.  If you have a board and you put a single nail through it, you can spin the board in any number of different directions.  However, if you have a second nail, and you put it through the board, the board cannot go anywhere.  With two sets of scriptures, the scriptures can only have the meaning that God intended for them to have. 

The Book of Mormon is the record of the seed of Joseph of Egypt.  Ezekiel 37: 16-17 They were his descendents that came from Jerusalem to the American continent.  It is their lives, their testimonies, their prophesies, and their accounts of our Savior and his ministry among them.

When their last prophet died, he buried the record in a hill.

Joseph Smith was guided by the Lord to find this record and translated it by the power of God.  He was an unlearned farm boy.  The messages in this book have guided me throughout my life to do good things for others, to improve myself, and to draw closer to God.  As I've read the Book of Mormon and the Bible together, my understanding of the doctrine of Christ has become clearer, and my testimony that Christ was the son of God and did indeed live become stronger. If the Book of Mormon was something evil, I don't think it would bring me closer to God. I think it would drive me further away from him.

There is a promise at the end of the Book of Mormon.  It says: (Moroni 10:4-5)
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
In this promise, we are told that if we read the Book of Mormon and pray with all the sincerity of our hearts to know if it is really a book of scripture and from God, that He will tell you in your heart whether or not it is true.

I have done this experiment.  I have prayed to ask God if The Book of Mormon is from Him.  I testify that I know it is another testament of Jesus Christ.  I have felt the peace of His Spirit as I have read it, and I cannot deny my testimony that this book was translated through the power of God.  I know if you read it, you can find that same testimony.  This book, along with the restored church of God, has brought peace and certainty into my life during these tumultuous days.  I know what my path is, and if I follow it I will be protected no matter what comes.

I wish the same happiness and certainty for you.  That is what the Book of Mormon is and that is what it has brought me. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

What to Do When Trapped in the House?

Snow can be a wonderful thing.  People love to ski, sled, and play in it.  Having grown up in the west my whole life, snow was a common sight.  From the months of September through April, we usually had snow on the ground.

I love snow for Christmas, and I really like the first few snowfalls.  I love really, really deep snow.  However, after five or six months, I usually start getting a little tired of it.  By that point, it usually gets black, hard, and disgusting.  The February through April snow if often too stubborn to melt, but not good enough to do anything else with.  It basically becomes frozen mud-ice.

I am pretty excited today, because it is snowing right now.  I'm excited for Kevin to learn to play in the snow.  I'm excited to take him sledding and to build snowmen with him.  

The snow has come pretty late this year.  Usually by Halloween, there is already snow on the ground and we are already half-way through November.  The snow might be around to stay.

Which brings up a new difficulty.  Usually, when Kevin and I get bored, we head outside.  We go on walks or go play on the playground.

Kevin is too young to enjoy some indoor activities, but too old to keep his attention on things for long.  Some days I am struggling to find age-appropriate things for us to do together.  Especially when I'm trying to get things done.

I would love to hear some ideas that other people have had to activities to do with an eleven-month-old who can walk.

We play soccer and we play with toys a bit, but I'm running out of ideas. He likes to help clean and do dishes, but often 'helping' turns into 'getting hurt' or 'not helping'.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions that have worked for you.  Otherwise, it's going to be a long winter.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Day at the Dog Park

Dakota's first dog friend, Meg
I have been watching some "Dog Whisperer" lately.  I really respect Cesar Millan, and he's helped me solve many a problem with my dogs.

Lately, I found out that we have a dog park nearby.  I really wanted to take Dakota there, but she has always been strange dog aggressive.  If the dog is accepted into the pack, she's fine, but if it is a strange, dominant dog, she usually will attack them.

Recently I discovered that this was because she is scared.  She is not attacking because she is mean or aggressive, she is simply insecure around other dogs.  I knew that somehow I had caused this, but it wasn't until recently that I figured it out. As a pack leader, I need to protect the members of my pack.  If a strange dog came running toward my baby, I would put myself in the way and protect him.  However, I usually forced the dog to go and greet a new dog, so the dog never learned to trust me to take care of her when strange dogs were around.. 

So, lately, if a dog is too high of energy, I block the dog until it calms down and then I correct Dakota if she growls. 

Yesterday, I felt we were ready.  Grig, Kevin, and I went with her to the dog park.  I was a little nervous, but I told myself it was going to go well. 

Amazingly, it did!  I was excited.  When we first arrived, there were some high-energy dogs barking and yapping, so we didn't bring her in until they left.  Once we did bring her in, she was immediately greeted by a gentle old labrador.  Her owner told me that she is a therapy dog and is great for helping dogs like Dakota get over their anti-social behavior.  It was a great start.

Dakota had a few altercations, but I was able to quickly correct her, and eventually she started to get it.  She stopped growling and only snapped a little warning snap if the dog was getting too friendly.  Other than that, she seemed to really enjoy herself. 

I was hoping that she'd eventually start playing, but we'll try again.  Having no fights was a great first step!

Afterward, we walked home, and had a great conversation.  We met some great people there, and we made some new friends, human and dog. 

Dakota made some new friends!
I think we're going to go again.  Ideally would be frequently, but with our busy schedule, once or twice a week is probably all we can hope for.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Birthday Present for a Friend

 This week my friend's birthday was on Monday.  She is a single-mom struggling to make ends meet, so I decided we were going to throw a birthday party for her.  I asked her Sunday what she wanted to eat and she told me "Corn Beef and Cabbage."

Having never even EATEN that before, I wasn't sure how to go about it, but I agreed.  I also asked her what kind of cake she wanted and she told me she didn't like cake.

She likes pie.  Pumpkin pie, to be exact.

I'd never made that before either, but I agreed.  So, the next night, on her birthday, she and her three daughters came to eat with us.  We only have four chairs so it was interesting, but we were able to figure it out.  We ended up using a lawn chair, a small end table, and borrowing a chair from them.

I found a recipe earlier in the day for a crock pot version of the corn beef and cabbage, and that turned out quite good.  For the pumpkin pie recipe, I called my aunt and she gave me some excellent tips.  I actually usually don't really like pumpkin pie, and I really liked this pie.

The dinner was a lot of fun.  Afterwards, lit candles on the pie, sang "Happy Birthday" and she blew them out.  I think she had a good time.
This picture is from the internet.  I forgot to take pictures of the actual event.

The next night, for his present to her, Grig offered to take her kids to the local zoo while she relaxed with me.  I was browning a bunch of hamburger when she came, and she relaxed and played sudoku while I finished.  Then, afterward I had finished, we played card games.  She said that at first she had a hard time relaxing, but after a little while she was able to enjoy herself. 

It was nice to be able to spend time with them and help her have a good birthday.  We've been trying to help out as much as we can, so we were grateful that we were able to help her Special Day be awesome!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How the Internet has Changed!
I was just watching a commercial on youtube, and suddenly there was a hashtag at the end of it. What?  Businesses are now using twitter?  That blew my mind a little bit.

I remember a few years ago, when I came home from my mission, I was startled to see facebook pages at the ends of all the commercials.  I've been on facebook since the very beginning of facebook.  I liked it because it was so much more private than myspace, and it was a good way to stay in touch with my college friends.  When I first got on it, only college students could use it. You had to verify that you were an actual student with you college e-mail before they would let you join. 

However, in 2010, thing had abruptly changed!  Suddenly, everyone (including Wal-mart) was on facebook.  My nifty little college social room had become a world-wide social network.  That was a little bit of a mental adjustment for me.

Then came twitter.  I still am not a part of twitter; I just don't see the point.  If someone wants to tell me why it's a good thing, I'd gladly like to know.  It just seems like a way to tell people what you are doing ALL THE TIME. 

Just now, I looked up the top 15 most popular social networking sites.  Crazy.  I'm surprised that myspace is still on the list.  I didn't even know anyone was using it anymore.

I remember when I was in fourth grade, we had computers at our school.  However, there was no internet on them.  They had some typing games and learning games, but that was it.  That was the year Accelerated Reader was introduced as well.

Then, sometime between then and sixth grade, the internet really began to pick up steam.  I remember a time when I wanted to learn something, I had to go to the library, dictionary, or encyclopedia to find it, and often there wasn't much information about it.

I love wikipedia.  That's one of my favorite parts of the internet. 

I'm not that old (at least I think), but the world has changed during my lifetime.  When I was a kid, we had a computer in our house, but that was because my grandpa owned a computer store and had kept on top of current trends.  We've always been very electronically minded.  The games were simple, but fun.  Now there are games so real that they use so much ram they cause your computer to crash.  The graphics are extraordinary and the CGI in movies is incredible!

It will be interesting to see what happens next.  I'm sure there will be bad changes, but I am also sure there will be wonderful changes coming, and those are the ones I'm excited to see.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mormon Monday: Loving God More than the World

Yesterday, I received my new calling in my ward.  I am now the second Sunday in the month Relief Society teacher. 

For those of you who may not be familiar with our church I'll clear up a couple things about those sentences.

In our church, there is no paid clergy.  The members of our church are given "callings" which are assignments that we believe we receive from the Lord.  The leaders who have already been called pray to know which person should be placed in which assignment.  This occurs all the way up to the President of the church.  There is no calling given by man.  We believe that every person is asked to serve by the Lord himself.  And because it is the Lord calling, we gladly give our time for free.

Relief Society is the women's organization in the church. It is led by women and as people become members of the church, if they are women they instantly become part of the largest women's organization in the world.

We go to church for three hours each Sunday.  The first hour is Sacrament Meeting, where we take the bread and water in remembrance of our Savior.  The second hour is Sunday School where we learn about doctrines of the Gospel.  During the third hour, the men and women separate to go to Priesthood and Relief Society.  I love Relief Society.  It is always a wonderful time to hear from other women and to feel the spirit. 

So, every second Sunday of each month I have now been asked to teach a lesson in Relief Society. 

Yesterday was my first opportunity.  I taught about how we should love the Lord more than the world.  It ended up being a powerful lesson because of the testimonies that the sisters shared.  I told the following story that I wanted to share with you.

A while ago, about five years or so, I was attending school at Utah State University.  I loved it there.  I loved the beautiful city of Logan, and I loved my jobs.  I was going to school full-time and working part-time for a veterinarian and part-time at the local zoo. 

However, one day my supervisor at the zoo came to me and told me a full-time position had become available at the zoo.  He told me that he wanted to give the job to me, but that I could think about it. 

I considered it very seriously.  I loved my work at the zoo.  However, if I took the job, I would have to give up my other job at the vet clinic, and I would have to take night-classes instead of day-classes. 

On the upside, it was doable, and I was being offered more money that I could imagine at that time.  It seemed like a huge amount!

So, as I was talking to my dad about it and discussing my options with him, I told him that I was going to pray and try to receive an answer that evening about what I should do.  He told me that I should pray about going on a mission too.

"Okay," I remember saying, "I'll just toss that in the pot while I'm at it."

I prayed sincerely, and then I opened up the scriptures.  I landed on a missionary verse.  I closed the scriptures and tried again.  I landed on another missionary verse.  This happened several more times.  I finally closed my scriptures and asked my Heavenly Father if I was supposed to serve a mission.

The answer was undeniably yes.

So, I left both my jobs, my unfinished degree, and I went on a mission.

That mission changed my life for the better.

Due to that mission, I ended up changing schools, I ended up changing majors, and I ended up finding my husband.  Now, I am happily married with a wonderful little boy living in a wonderful place, and I couldn't be more joyful.  The Lord knows what we need.  Occasionally I wonder what my life would have been like if I had taken that job.  I would undeniably be richer in the world's wealth, but spiritually I wonder how desolate I would be.

We believe that the Lord and His will should always come first in our lives.  Unlike Esau, who traded his birthright for porridge, we believe that the blessings of the gospel far outweigh any temporal or instant gratification.

The Lord has a plan for your life.  Never trade the blessings that come from following the Lord for money, fame, or fortune.  The Lord takes care of his followers, and the blessings that come from obeying him are more than worth it.

If you have any questions that you want me to answer on the next Mormon Monday, please ask them on the comments below.  Thank you. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

What Do You Do When Your Snake Gets Loose?

Yesterday, about 2:00, I was playing with the baby in his room, when the dog suddenly started acting funny.  Her ears went up, and she began staring intently toward the kitchen. 

Dakota is a very expressive dog.  When she needs something, she will come and sit in front of you and stare into your eyes.  She'll do that if she needs a drink, is hungry, or needs to go outside.  We're still learning her language.  However, this was not a 'I need something' pose.  This was 'something's in our house' pose.  I instantly became alert.

I walked out with her, and she showed a reluctance to enter the living room.  That was just odd.  I was suddenly worried that someone had broken into our house, but as I took in our family room, no one was there.  I chalked it up to her being weird, and we went on with our playtime.

However, a while later, as Kevin and I were dancing around I happened to look over at the snake's cage.  When we first bought the cage, there was a hole in the top, but we had sealed it shut with duct tape and it had never been a problem.  However, I noticed that the duct tape was pushed up and there was a big hole there.

At first, I thought, "Great, Grig left a hole open."  Then I realized that he would never do that.  Fear filled me as I suddenly knew only one person/creature/thing could have done that.

The snake himself.

Praying that he was still in his cage, I began a thorough search of the environment.  He is a master at hiding after all.  However, I became more frantic as my search revealed nothing.  I placed the lid back on the cage and began to search around.  I looked on each shelf of the bookcase, in the entertainment center, in the dog kennel, under the couch, in the cushions, in my boots, and every other place I could think of.

I couldn't find him anywhere.  At that point, I kneeled down and began to pray.  I looked in every place the entered my mind, but at that point, I really wanted Grig to be home.  It was hard to look in places while Kevin was trying to get into everything.  So, we sat down on the couch and I read some scriptures to him.  Then, we watched "Little People" until Grig got home so that I didn't implode.

I was really worried.  Snakes were notoriously difficult to find.  Part of me thought that Oryx was gone forever, but part of me felt peace that we would find him.

When Grig got home, I told him the bad news.  He searched the cage again and then helped me look around the apartment.  What I was really worried about was that he would migrate to another apartment and then we would get our manager in trouble.  We also didn't want him to die, be injured, or be lost indefinitely.  We kept praying and looking throughout the night, but we just couldn't find him.

As we went to bed, we said our nightly prayers and we again asked that we would be able to find him.  I had found a neat article online about what to do when your snake escapes, so we set out a box and put a thawed mouse in it to hopefully draw him out.

I called my parents to let them know what had happened so that they could pray for us and maybe give us advice.  I was sure my dad had lost a snake or two in his time.  He is the reptile man after all.

After Kevin and Grig fell asleep, I was laying in bed wide-awake, and I decided to go look one more time.  I couldn't remember if I had checked the bottom bookshelf.  So, I went back out and did so.


Then, I thought about a stack of papers that we have between the printer and the entertainment center wall.  I pulled those out so I could look between them.  I put the biggest ream of paper on the ground.  It still had its original packing around it.  I looked between all the papers, and sadly began to put them back where they went.  I hadn't found him.

As I went to pick up the biggest ream of paper, the packaging around the paper broke open, and some of the papers fell out, as I went to pick them up, I was startled to see white, scaly coils in between the paper.

It was Oryx!  He had been right below the cage the whole time sleeping inside of the ream of paper.

It was a miracle.  I immediately went in to show Grig so that he wouldn't be stressed anymore.  He told me that after I fed Oryx, that I should wake him up again so that we could thank Heavenly Father.  I agreed.  I quickly fed Oryx, placed him back in his cage, and put books on top of the hole as a temporary block until we can do something more permanent.

Then we went back and expressed our gratitude to our Father in Heaven.  We knew we had only found Oryx because of him.  He could have been lost forever, killed, or hurt.  He was just sleeping.  In fact, I think he was kind of annoyed that I woke him up.

He's a very sweet snake.  We don't get him out as often as we should, but we do love him.  We would have missed him sorely if we'd never have found him.

The Lord truly does answer prayers.  Sometimes, it just takes some work on our part.

It's true what they say though.  You really don't value what you have until you think you've lost it forever.

Us with our snake

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Taking Work Off for Family

Last week, Grig came home and said, "I have a surprise for you, Emma!"

Loving surprises, I said, "Oh, yeah?"

He grinned and said, "I'm taking next Saturday off of work!"

My reaction was probably not what he had hoped. Instead of being super excited, I was a bit hesitant about the idea.

I always had a really hard time missing work or school.  Unless I was deathly ill (or having a baby) there just didn't seem like a good excuse for it.  It was always really important to me that my employers should know how much I cared about my job, and I never wanted to disappoint them or my teachers.

So, I expressed my concern to Grig.  We talked about it for a while and he told me his view on things. 

You need to understand that Grig isn't taking off regular scheduled work time.  He's been working 60 hour weeks for the last few weeks and he's exhausted.  We have about three hours a night to enjoy each other's company, and that time goes really quick. Kevin doesn't get to see his dad very much when that happens.  Grig is only supposed to be work Monday-Thursday for 10 hour shifts.  Instead, because it is the Christmas season, he has been asked, along with the rest of the workers, to also work Friday and Saturday.

Which is great because of the extra money, but not so great for family time.

It has always been very important to Grig that his family comes first. He feels that he has a job so that he can support and care for his family, and have money to spend time with them.  If he's working so much that he never sees his family, the job is taking up too much time.

He expressed this to me when we talked about it. I was grateful that he wanted to spend time with us, but we both agreed he shouldn't take too much time off.  The busy season will soon be over, and then work will slow down for him.

I think he made the right decision after all.  I think as we continue to put importance upon spending time as a family, we will not struggle with some of the marital difficulties that some families have.  I have become more excited, the more I think about the upcoming Saturday.
Kevin loves Daddy Time!
I love spending time with my husband, and he's been working hard enough that we can afford for him to take one day off.

The real question is, can we afford for him not to?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Our Aloe Vera Plant

Just before Kevin was born, Grig decided to buy me a plant.  Due to the fact that we generally weren't very good at keeping plants alive, we decided to get a very sturdy one.  We decided on an Aloe Vera.

Our poor Aloe Vera came to us in a small pot. It was about 2 in. x 2 in. x 4 in. in volume.  It was big enough when we first bought it, but the plant continued to grow.  We kept saying that we were going to get a bigger pot, but we never did.  We would water it occasionally, and it continued to grow.  Eventually, the dirt in the small pot simply wasn't big enough for the poor plant.  When we looked inside of the pot, there was very little dirt left, but somehow, the plant continued to survive.

All the soil left on the plant when we transplanted it

Last week, we finally buckled down and went to a local thrift store.  We were able to find a much larger plant pot and then we went to Lowe's and bought potting soil.  It was one of the few places we could find it at this time of year. 

We took our poor little plant and removed it from the small confines where it had lived for over a year and transplanted it to a much bigger pot with fresh soil.  Almost immediately, the plant looked better.  

Now, almost a week later, here's the plant:
Much happier plant
What's the point of all this?

Sometimes I treat other people like I treated that Aloe Vera plant.  I am well aware that they are in distress, but I'm too busy or I don't know how to help.  Somehow they manage to survive, but it is not because of me. When we see someone in need and we have the capability to help, we need to do what we can. 

I've been trying to do better at that.  I think we acted soon enough to save the life of our plant.  May we do the same with our neighbors and friends.

Also, I really am bad at taking care of plants.  Dogs are much easier for some reason.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Danger of Carrying Too Much

Sunday morning, I went out to get our groceries from the night before.  It was non-perishable stuff, but we'd left it in the car overnight because we didn't have the energy to bring it up to the apartment Saturday after we returned from shopping.  So, while Grig was in the shower, I ran out to the car, and got the groceries.  I had bags on both hands and it was fairly heavy, but I'm strong so I wasn't too worried.

I walked across the snow (it had snowed that morning) and up the stairs.  I began to try and go faster.  I was making excellent progress up the stairs when I tripped on my skirt!

I fell forward and rapped my knee sharply against the edge of the stairs.  Pain shot through my leg, and I froze for a second.  Then, I got back up to my feet and went back inside.  I put the groceries away and went about my business for a while before I decided to take a look at my knee. 

It was fairly bruised. It was also swollen and protruding.  It was beautiful.  Or something.

Anyway, it hurt for a while.  Sunday, it was so sensitive that I couldn't even touch it.  Today it's doing much better. 

Sometimes I try to do way to much at one time.  I think I can take care of everything all by myself, that I don't need the help of others.  Marriage has been very good for me.  It's helped me to learn to depend on other people, and that they won't let me down. 

When I had my c-section, it was a little difficult because I'm used to walking things off.  I've been very healthy most of my life, and if I was injured, it didn't slow me down for long. 

After the c-section, I could barely walk.  I had to depend on a lot of people to help me, and I still probably tried to do too much.  However, because so many people helped to carry me along (and the baby since I couldn't pick him up for a few days) I was able to make it through it.

It's hard to say no.  I like to help people, and I have a really hard time not helping if I think I can.  The problem is, if you always say yes, you end up eventually tripping and falling.  Be careful not to help others so much that you end up injuring yourself in the process. 

If you're piling other people's stresses on you, let them go.  Let them do as much as they can, do what you can, and then don't stress about it.  You've done what you can.  You don't need to carry all the groceries up the stairs.  It doesn't do us any good to serve if we can't walk afterward.

Sometimes it's okay to make more than one trip, or to ask others to help you.  They certainly won't think less of you for it, and they'll feel happy you gave them an opportunity to serve you.

Don't be like me
and end up with an injured knee.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mormon Monday: Why Mormons Try to be Missionaries

I've decided that from now on, I'm going to have a "Mormon Monday" where I answer questions about why members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints act or believe the way we do.  I thought it was fitting to have this be the first topic.  If you have questions you want me to address, please comment below, and I will definitely answer your questions.

In the Latter-day-Saint (Mormon) faith we are often instructed by our leaders (frequently) to share the gospel with those who haven't yet received it.  I think sometimes, people from other churches don't understand what drives us to do so.

I don't receive tax benefits from sharing the gospel.  I don't have to pay less tithing depending on how many people I help enter the church.  I don't even get a guaranteed place in heaven for doing so.

We try to share the gospel out of love for our brothers and sisters.  We honestly believe that we have something wonderful that would bless the lives of every single person on earth if they would accept it.

Yesterday, we had a wonderful speaker at church.  He was talking to us about Hastening the Work of Salvation (that was the topic).  He said that when we are rushing or in a hurry, it is difficult to feeling the spirit.  I totally agree.  When I am in a rush because I am late for something, I am usually stressed out.  It is hard to listen to any feelings of peace or promptings I may receive from the Spirit.  So, his point wasn't that we should be rushing around trying to share the gospel.  He said that he felt hastening meant to immediately act upon inspiration that we receive from the Holy Ghost. 

I loved that!  Sometimes, I've been nudged by the Spirit to talk to people about the gospel and because I immediately listened, I found out that they had questions that I was able to answer for them.  They were able to understand more about what we believe because I didn't hesitate.

Another speaker shared that for us, helping someone be baptized isn't the personal success.  The success for us should be inviting them to do things with us.  As we give others the opportunity to come and see what our church is about, they are then able to choose whether or not they want to learn more.

Sometimes, even though Mormons are commanded to share the gospel, we are scared to talk about it.  It's not because we don't believe in it with all our hearts.  It's not because we don't think that you would love it too if you gave it a chance.  It's because we are afraid that you will reject it and us.  We are afraid that if we put something out in the open that we hold sacred, we will be repulsed and persecuted by our friends.  

However, I am beginning to learn that if people like me and are my friends, they already like the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is part of me.  They can see it through my actions and by what I do.  If those around me don't dislike me for living the gospel, why would they reject the information that explains why I am the way I am?

It's always a personal choice.  If I offer, and they're not interested, that doesn't mean they hate me.  It simply means that they have chosen a different path for now.

Another speaker said something fantastic that I also wanted to share.  He said, "We need to be offering something that is worth more than what we're asking people to give up."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints does require a lot from its members.  However, we believe that it is the true church of Christ on the earth.  Christ is our head, it is not a man-made church.  We believe that it isn't the church that is requiring those things of us, but God himself.  In return for keeping God's commandments, we are blessed more than we can imagine.

There are a lot of sacrifices that Heavenly Father asks me to make, but in return He offers me everything that is pure and holy.  When I give up a pittance to gain a kingdom, where is the sacrifice?  And why wouldn't I want my brothers and sisters (everyone else on this Earth) to be there with me?

So, that is why we Mormons share the gospel.  That's why so many of our young men and women are serving full-time (two year long) missions that they are paying for themselves.  It is a commandment from God, yes, but it is because He loves all his children and wants them to have the same blessings that we are receiving.  When we view it from the same light, we are offering our most precious possession to those who don't have it yet.

The gospel of Jesus Christ has brought me so much joy in my life.  It has sealed my forever to my husband and children.  If I continue to remain faithful throughout my life, I will be with my family forever.  I have peace in my life because I know that regardless of how wicked the world becomes, I am on the Lord's side, and if I continue my current path, everything will turn out all right in the end.  That's a great comfort when the whole world seems to be going to pot.  I want those around me to experience that same peace.  It is your choice to accept or reject what we are offering.  However, if I don't tell you what I believe, how will you know whether or not you want it?

That is why I am a missionary for my church and will be until the day I die.

This picture is from when I was a full-time missionary

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Highlights

Okay, so I said I wasn't going to reveal Kevin's costume yet, and that I was going to wait for the vlog tomorrow.  So, be very excited!  It's very cute. 

I will give you some hints though. 

We had an exciting evening last night.  First, at 5:30 p.m. we went to a Trunk or Treat.  Kevin had a great time.  He walked around in his nice warm costume and followed other kids all around the parking lot.  He was so confused.  People would hold out their bowls of candy for him to take something, and he would stare blankly at the bowl and then look at the people as though to say, "What do you want from me?"

At first, we would grab the candy for him and put it in his small Easter bucket that we converted into a Halloween bucket.  Then, we went inside the church for an Alic in Wonderland Halloween party.  The people in charge did a great job!  There was all sorts of fun games for the children.  Lots and lots of sugar was handed out.  We ate some great cupcakes after Kevin won a cupcake walk.  Basically, there were paper plates taped to the floor, and Kevin would walk from one to the next while the music played.  When the music stopped, the children stopped.  Then, if they called the number of the paper plate he was standing on, he got to go get a cupcake.  We helped him eat it. 

He's only eleven months old, after all.  He only has one tooth!

Then, we got some apple juice.  Kevin loves apple juice. 

We only stayed at the party until 6:30 p.m.  Then, we went Trick-or-Treating at my Grandparent's home.  As we approached the door, I came up with a fantastic idea.  We put Kevin on the ground in front of the door, put his Halloween bucket next to him, rang the doorbell, and ran.  We hid in the bushes just off the front porch.  Kevin was busy pulling his candy out of his bucket when my Grandma opened the door.  She looked really confused when she found a baby on her porch all alone.  It took her a second to recognize Kevin, then she started laughing.  We emerged about then.  She ran and got her camera.

We spent a few minutes there and then we went Trick-or-Treating around her cul-de-sac.  It was here that Kevin started to understand the concept.  He started taking a piece of candy from their bowl and putting it in his own.  Sometimes he didn't want to let it go when he'd grabbed it, but he had a great time.  It was kind of cold, but he was bundled up warmly.  I think Grig was the only real cold one.  I had a nice warm cloak on. 

While we were Trick-or-Treating, we passed another child who was also wearing an African animal themed costume.  Kevin was prey while she was a predator.  We joked around with her mom that she was going to eat our baby.  Her mom joked back that she would hold her back.  As she walked away, we heard the girl say, "Mom, I'm not a REAL animal."  Grig and I laughed a lot about that.

Other than Kevin trying to get inside everyone's homes when we knocked on the door, it went really smoothly.  Then, after skyping with my parents at my grandparent's home, we went back to our apartment complex.  Then, Grig and Havelock took Kevin out for a few more houses while I played watchdog to the door. 

Grig got to bed awfully late considering he was supposed to be at work by 4 a.m.  However, it was a fantastic night.  We all had a great time!  I think Kevin really enjoyed his first Halloween.

I sure did.
Yes, Kevin was some kind of African Animal...see if you can guess which!