Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Unreasonable Expectations

Taking others for granted is never something we try to do, it just happens.

I think we all like to be comfortable. We like people to act in certain predictable ways, and nothing upsets us more than when someone does something unexpectedly unpleasant.

It is difficult for us to look at things from other people's perspectives and understand why they do the things they do. Even if we are told the reasons, we often still don't understand or empathize with them. It is so much easier to look down on someone and see the right answer when you aren't the one asking the question.

No one deserves to be taken for granted. Even if I'm married to Grig for a hundred years, I still want to be surprised by him and I want to learn more about him. I don't expect him to be perfect, but I often still have overly-high expectations for what I want him to accomplish.

I'm starting to realize that what I want my husband to do doesn't really matter. I should be trying to find out what he wants to do, what his goals are, and then support him in his efforts to attain them. If he's always trying to fulfill my expectations, he will never be happy with himself.

Someone once told me that when a man and a woman go into marriage, they should talk about their expectations for each other before hand. Sometimes we think that we don't have expectations for other people, but that just isn't true. We expect people to behave a certain way in public, and when they don't behave that way, we quickly judge them or criticize them.

People often have extenuating circumstances that we had cannot possibly be aware of. I'm not saying that we should excuse all behavior, but it is important to try and see things from other people's perspectives.

When Grig and I were talking about marriage, we discussed our expectations for each other. I expected him to have a job and to provide for our family. He told me that he expected me to be a good mother and to raise our son in righteousness. We felt like those were reasonable expectations to have.

Then we talked about what we expected from ourselves. My list was much longer than his list. I have very high expectations of what I think I should be doing, and I am often disappointed when I don't accomplish those goals. This can be very frustrating for me.

Grig, on the other hand, had a more laid-back view on what he should be getting done. I don't know if this is a typical man/woman relationship, but I get the feeling that it is. It is probably one of the things that make men and women so compatible with each other. We help to balance each other out.

I like to be very structured and to get things done. Grig likes to have "planned unplanned time" where he can relax and do what he wants. We've worked on getting both thing accomplished. Neither way is the better way, it is just different ways of doing things.

As I've come to understand my own unreasonable expectations for others, I've learned to let things go. People can't fulfill your expectations if they don't even know what they are, and really they shouldn't be obligated to do so. People are too busy trying to figure out what they expect from themselves, and to accomplish those things. I believe that the majority of people are trying to do what's right, and if we gave them half a chance, they would do it.

Though there is a loud group of people who want to do bad things, the quiet majority still continue to try and be true to what they believe is moral and good.

Allowing others to be true to their beliefs while showing love and understanding of their different views and cultures is a way that we can come to understand each other. Don't take those closest to you for granted. Everyone has hidden layers that protect them and things that they are striving to accomplish. Help others accomplish their own goals instead of creating goals for them to accomplish.

It will cause you less stress anyway.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Lesson I Learned from a Cockroach

This morning, I woke up early (at about 3:30 a.m.) and couldn't go back to sleep. So, I decided to make Grig breakfast and do a few other things before he got up.

Things were going well. The pancakes were cooking and I was loading the dishwasher. Suddenly, as I opened the cupboard to put something away, I caught a flash of movement. To my disgust, I recognized a cockroach.

I quickly emptied that cupboard and crushed the cockroach. It has been months since we've seen any sign of cockroaches, and though the manager had told me that some of the other apartments had been harboring them, I had hoped that we had seen the last of them in our apartment. Hopefully there aren't anymore, but I can't be sure.

In trying to figure out what to blog about today, I kept feeling frustrated about the cockroaches. You work really hard to keep your home clean so that the cockroaches have no place to live, but sometimes after months of not seeing any cockroaches you grow a bit complacent. You think the danger is over and you don't have to take the same precautions anymore.

Cockroaches are just like sin. Often we try really hard to overcome particular sins, and after a few months, we relax because we think that we are immune from temptation anymore. The truth is, you never can relax. We are in a battle against the devil. If we relax our guard for an instant, sin will creep back into our lives like cockroaches. Often you won't even know they are there until it's too late.

If you do find cockroaches in your life, don't be discouraged. Having a cockroach doesn't mean you are a terrible person, or that your home is filthy. We weren't the ones who brought the cockroaches into our home, and often our personal struggles are the results of other's actions. We can't always help our circumstances, but there are things that we can do to counteract them.

There are things you can do to protect your home and family from cockroaches, but if the infestation becomes too serious, it can require outside help (the exterminator). Sometimes when we get caught up in serious sins like addiction, we can become so "infested" that we need to seek outward assistance. No one judges people for calling in an exterminator when things get out of hand. Likewise, we should only support those who are seeking aid for struggles that they are facing. Whether it is sin, mental disorders, or physical ailments, we should do our best to help others and support them when they seek assistance. The very fact that they desire aid should let us know that they are trying their best and they didn't mean to allow their homes to become infested.

So, if your home (whether it be your actual house or your personal life) has an infestation of cockroaches, don't be afraid to seek help or give it where it is needed.

That's the lesson that a cockroach taught me this morning.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mormon Monday: Love One Another

The other day I had an interesting, special experience.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we are taught to love everyone. However, that is not always an easy thing.

The other day, I was interacting with some people I didn't know, and when I met one of them, my general impression was somewhat negative. As I continued to work with this woman, I really didn't like the fact that I kept having these critical thoughts and feelings. Finally, sick of thinking that way, I began to pray that I would be able to feel the love that the Lord felt for her.

It was nearly instantaneous.Immediately, a warm feeling began to fill me. The difference was incredible. I don't know if I can accurately describe this, but I've had a few opportunities in my life to feel a little bit of what the Lord feels for His children, and the feeling is overpowering. It's like someone fills my chest with hot air, to the point that I almost burst.

I was immediately able to love this woman and the thought entered my mind as I looked at her face, "She's had a hard life." Empathy and love quickly replaced any judgmental or critical feelings I had felt for this incredible daughter of God.
John 13:34
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
It is often easy to love those that love us, but we are being asked to do so much more. As much as parents want their children to get along, our Heavenly Father wants that for us as well. I can testify that I know that Heavenly Father loves all of His children. No matter what mistakes they have made or bad decisions that they have chosen. Obviously I'm not yet at the point I want to be, but I'm trying to learn to love everyone I meet. 

Sometimes it is tricky to disagree but still love. People sometimes make choices or say things that I feel very strongly opposed to. However, it is okay to disagree with others. Sometimes disagreeing is how we show love.

If someone is about to walk into a deep pit full of spikes is it love to let them fall just because it's their life and they should be able to choose whatever they want? Or do you show love by warning them and trying to help them steer clear of the danger? Then, if they decide to walk in the pit anyway, do you show love by letting them sit and bleed or do you try to help them out?

I'm trying to help other people steer clear of dangers by loving them enough to warn them. The world is getting more dangerous and subtle by the day. Often the dangers aren't as obvious as a pit filled with spikes, but they are no less deadly in a spiritual sense.

Let us all show love to those around us and pray daily to feel the love of the Lord for those around us. When you love someone, it is a lot easier to be patient with their choices and mistakes.

I do love all of you. I'm working on following the Savior and treating others as He would.

Most importantly, pray to feel the Lord's love for yourself. Often it is easy to rip ourselves down and ask why God would even love us, but I can promise you that He does. The love that we feel for our children, families, and pets isn't even the tip of the iceberg compared to what the Lord feels for you. Don't give up on him. He is standing with His arms outstretched to gather us all.

D&C 88:63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Changes Within

Last night, we were watching Kevin play, when we suddenly realized that he's gotten kind of tall. He's been walking so long, that somehow we missed the fact that he's growing. When he was younger, we had some safety in what he could reach and what he couldn't reach. He could only reach the second shelf of the bookshelf, and he could barely do that. However, now he can reach the third shelf and grab things off of it. He has also begun to climb on it. Scary.

It seems like only yesterday he turned one...
Kevin's grandparents don't live very close to us anymore (my parents are much closer than Grig's parents) and so when they see him, they make comments about how old he is getting. However, to me, it seems like he never ages. I do notice developmental things that he is learning, but when I try to think back on when he was a baby, it is difficult to think of him any differently than he is now.

This seems to be the case in all aspects of life though. Within myself, I hardly ever notice me changing, and often if I do, I resist the change. It's difficult to want to be different, because I rather like myself. That was one of the hardest things about serving a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was really concerned that it would change me, and I would become a different person.

This stressed me out for a few weeks, but the Lord had asked me to go on a mission (through personal prayer and scripture study), so I was determined to do it.

A couple days before I left, I was set apart to be a missionary by my Stake President. In the blessing, as he laid his hands upon my head, he was inspired to tell me, "The mission won't change you, but it will define who you are."

That was a balm to my soul. Throughout my mission, I often didn't notice the subtle changes that were occurring within me, but my mission president would occasionally comment that he could see the changes and he was proud of me.

When I returned home, I wasn't a completely different person. I still enjoyed the same things and still had the same friends, but I simply had more self-control and a more empathetic and loving view of the world. The mission helped define what was actually me, and what was simply things that I liked.

A similar situation can occur in marriage, I think. Sometimes because we see our spouse everyday, we don't always see how they are improving and growing. We begin to take them for granted, or we become critical because we only see the mistakes that they and their fallacies. It does me good to occasionally take a step back and think about the man I married and how much he has grown over the past couple of years. It helps to keep me from taking him for granted because I can see how much he is trying to progress and come closer to the Lord. Sometimes I try and tell him the improvements that I have seen as well.

It's nice when he tells me the same too.

Sometimes looking back is the only way to see how far you've come. Sometimes when we try and see the Lord's hand in our past, we can truly appreciate where we are in the present.

Try to look for the improvement in others and in yourself. It helps when I know that I'm not stuck in one place and that I am moving forward.

Sometimes the hardest changes to see are the changes that occur within the walls of our own homes.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Rabbit Story

On Saturday, we were invited by our relatives to go to a Easter egg hunt/bunny chase. We decided it sounded like fun, and we thought that Kevin would like to chase some rabbits.

We got there a few minutes late, but Kevin was still able to participate in the Easter egg hunt. He quickly found one blue egg, and that was all he wanted. Children are so simple at this age.

We didn't have a problem with him carrying his hard-boiled egg around and other kids were grabbing the eggs, so we mostly just wandered and let him go where he wanted until it was time for the bunny chase.

For the bunny chase, they separated the kids into age groups. The 0-2 age group was my favorite. As you could see from this week's video, most of the kids really didn't get it. The people in charge said, "Ready...set...go!" and the kids took off running, but it was more of a running for joy and freedom than after any rabbits. A couple of the kids spotted the rabbits, but they were more interested in petting them than picking them up. We saw one or two pick them up, but when the rabbits began scrabbling for freedom, the kids quickly let them go. 

Eventually some of the 2-year-olds grabbed the available rabbits and the first round was over. Each age group had two chances. Kevin never did chase a rabbit. He saw them at one point while his dad was holding him before the race began, but after that, he just wanted to do his own thing. 

Following the 0-2 group, they had 3-5, 6-8, 9-11, and 12-14. We had some cousins participating, and one of them caught a female rabbit. Then, to my surprise, they announced the mother's race. 

I knew we couldn't keep the rabbit, but I couldn't resist trying. My cousin who had already caught the other rabbit (who lived on a farm), informed me they would take it if we caught one. So, with an out in case I succeeded, I pulled up at the start line. I quickly selected my target (a rabbit, not a chicken, though those were also available), and focused.

As the announcer yelled, "Go!" we all took off. I wasn't the first to reach the rabbit. The first woman did a sliding tackle which the bunny leaped away from. Then I almost got the rabbit, but it slipped out of my fingers. Scrambling to my feet, I dived on the rabbit, and gently pushed its shoulders to the ground, pinning it. The lady who had reached it first was right behind me, and she jumped in and landed with her arm around it. 

Though I had reached it first, she had it in her arms, and she could have taken it, but she gave it to me. That was nice of her. When I told her that she could take it, she shrugged it off and said that they already had two. 

Oh well. Now I had a rabbit. 

Though we toyed with the idea of keeping it (it was really cute), we decided to give it to my cousins instead. It turned out I had caught a boy, while my younger cousin had caught a girl. 


My boy rabbit is now named Bilbo (they named it), and we found out yesterday that the female rabbit just gave birth. She had been pregnant when they caught her. 

Now my cousins have 8-10 rabbits. 

Ha ha. Hope they're okay with that. 

It was a pretty awesome race.

If you haven't seen the video, feel free to click on the link below and watch it. I slow-mowed it so that you could see that I WAS there first.

Oh, the adventures we have.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Which Came First: The Asthma or the Cold?

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a sore throat and it felt like I was having a hard time breathing. I figured it was just an asthmatic reaction because we left the window open all night. I figured it would go away as I went throughout the day.

However, instead of improving, it kept getting worse. I took my inhaler a couple of times, and though that helped me breath better, it didn't fix my cough. As the day progressed, my voice dropped a couple of octaves and I began to get a headache from all the coughing.

Last night, I had been planning on going to play soccer, but around 8:00 p.m., I began to feel feverish. I coughed all night long.

At some point during the night, I awoke to find the room much darker than normal. I asked Grig what time it was, and he realized that the power had turned off. He went and got his cell phone so that he would still have an alarm for work (it turned out it was about 11:30 p.m.), and we went back to sleep.

Or at least, I tried to. However, between my coughing and my mind trying to figure out the correct way to slice a watermelon, I was having a hard time going back to sleep. Then, when I did sleep, my dreams were chaotic, random images that exhausted me.

At 12:34 a.m., the power came back on, which was a relief. I don't like worrying about the things in the refrigerator.

Needless to say, when Grig got up this morning at 4:00 a.m., I was all too ready to get up with him. I might try going back to sleep in a few minutes, but at this point, I am feeling much better sitting up and breathing.

This all just made me wonder if my allergic reaction induced asthma caused my lungs to be weakened enough to catch this cold, or if the cold just perpetuated my asthma. As it is, I still am having trouble drawing deep breathes.

I think my fever has broken now, and I feel better. Sorry if this sounded whiny, it wasn't meant to be. I just try to keep you informed about my life.

Kevin slept really well last night. He woke up for a minute during the power outage, but after eating for a moment, he fell back asleep and we returned him to his bed. He spent most of the night in his own bed!

That was pretty exciting.

Oh, and if anyone knows the correct and easiest way to slice a watermelon, I'd love to hear it. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kevin's First Words

Kevin's been making leaps and jumps lately in the development department.

The last couple of days, we're pretty sure he's been saying "dog". He will point at Dakota, and say what sounds like "dog", and then he will make his sound for dogs, which is panting. In Kevin's mind, dogs don't bark, they pant. In the case of our dog, he's right.

We can now add dog to the words he already knows. He says ball, dad, mom, want this?, yes, hi, and bye. He may know a few others, but we haven't been able to figure them out yet. He babbles quite a bit. He's awfully fun.

Kevin also seems to be understanding more and more. I'll ask him a question and he'll nod enthusiastically if it is something he wants. If it isn't, he'll shake his head. He doesn't say no very often though, because I usually don't ask him about things he doesn't want.

He makes excellent animal noises, but he didn't have much choice, being my son and all. He pants like a dog, moos like a cow, does an impressive neigh for a horse, growls for most other carnivores, and whistles at birds. He hasn't got cats or pigs down yet, but we're making progress.

In the food department, we've been figuring out what he consistently likes as well. He always likes burritos. In fact, if you put anything in a tortilla he's likely to eat it. He likes eggs, cooked in almost any way, and he likes ramen soup. If I put veggies and meat in it, he'll even eat some of those. Grig made stir-fry the other night, and we were happy to see Kevin eat broccoli. He doesn't much like carrots though. He tends to like rice, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He also loves ham sandwiches. There are some things that he won't touch though, like cheerios. Sometimes he just looks at something and decides he hates it, and he won't try it for all the world. Hopefully that doesn't continue.

Adapting to this baby has been a great learning experience. Kevin is a wonderful, happy child, though teething can make him a bit grumpy. Currently, he has most of his teeth now, though he is missing his premolars on the top, and his canines and lateral incisors on the bottom. For a long time, he's just had two teeth in the center of the bottom of his mouth, and it's been adorable! However, yesterday, I noticed the teeth next to them are beginning to penetrate the gums. Soon, my little baby won't have rodent-teeth anymore.

Kevin is a lot of fun. He likes to ride Grig, Havelock, and I like horses, and he loves to play with balls. He is always excited when we take him outside, and he loves almost all animals (sheep still scare him a little). He's cautious, but brave. He's not afraid to try things, but he doesn't want to get hurt. He's not really shy still, and he loves people.

We have a great little guy, and we're grateful for him.

We wouldn't want him any other way.
You can see his two bottom teeth in this picture. I'll miss that.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mormon Monday: By Small and Simple Things

Happy Easter!

We had a great day yesterday. We ate Easter candy, had a great service at church, and went to my grandparents for dinner afterward. 

Like many of you, I was trying to direct my thoughts toward the Savior yesterday. Before church, we listened to the following talk. It is one of my favorite about our Savior, Jesus Christ.

This is the shorter 4 minute version, but the longer version is also on youtube under "None Were with Him". This really changed the way I think about the Savior's atonement.

It is kind of amazing how such simple things lead to such incredible moments. In the Book of Mormon, there is the story about a prophet named Lehi who was leading his family through the wilderness and looking for guidance. One morning, he woke up and found a strange object, shaped like a ball outside of his tent door. If he and his family followed the counsel and commandments of God, this compass pointed the way they should go through the wilderness. However, if they sinned, it would no longer point the way.They called this compass a Liahona.

Last night, I was reading my scriptures, and I read the following versus (Alma 37:38-46):
 38 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director—or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it. 39 And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness. 40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day. 41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey; 42 Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions. 43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual. 44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land. 45 And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise. 46 O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.
I was contemplating this last night. Our Savior's death might seem like a small thing to people who don't understand it. I mean, people die every day. However (Alma 37:6-7):
 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth  confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
The Lord's death may seem a small thing, but by dying and then being resurrecting, our Savior opened the way for the rest of us to follow in His footsteps and to gain eternal life! He died so that we could live.

There are so many things in my life that seem like small things. Just this last week, my husband and I were praying about whether we should move to a different apartment complex. Grig was playing outside with Kevin, when suddenly he saw a neighbor and good friend of ours, and he was impressed by the Spirit that we needed to stay in the apartment because she still needed us. I had been feeling similar impressions that we weren't supposed to move at this time. This seems like a momentous decision for us, but the answer came in small and simple ways.  

The Lord uses small and simple things to testify of the truthfulness of the gospel and to lead people to the Savior. Sometimes it is a simple conversation with a friend where a word sticks out to us, or something wonderful that we read. Sometimes it is searching through the scriptures. The Lord will not leave us alone. It is simply up to us to listen to the small, still voice of the Spirit that will help us know where we are supposed to go, and what we are supposed to do in order to find peace and happiness on this earth.

I know that Jesus Christ did live.

I know that he suffered for our sins, died on the cross, and was resurrected on the third day.

I know that as we turn to him for comfort and guidance, that we will find guidance and peace on this earth.

The Lord has a plan for each of us. If we listen to that still, small voice and do those small and simple things, we will be amazed at where the Lord can take us and the incredible things that each of us can accomplish! We are each small and sometimes I feel insignificant, but with the Lord's help, I know I can do amazing things. This is true for everyone.

By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. I know that is true, and I have seen it in my life many times. Don't look for great miracles. Keep an eye open for the small details and you will truly know that Christ is present in all facets of your life.

Finally, here is the Easter message that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) put out for this Easter season. It's quite powerful.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Libraries are Awesome!

There are few places that I like more than a library, especially a well-stocked one.

We have an incredible library in our town, and last night we went to visit it again. It is the best library that I know of. Granted, previously I came from much smaller towns with much smaller libraries, but when I would come to this city to visit my grandma when I was younger, she would sometimes take us to the library to check out books on her library card.

I remember one particular summer when we visited, we were able to stay for a week. I think I read nearly 20 books. I remember that summer with fondness.

There is just something about a place dedicated to learning that makes me super happy. I walk into a library and take a deep breath and smell the wonderful scent of books. I could spend hours scanning the interior and looking through the selection.

However, last night, as Grig was taking his turn browsing books while I watched Kevin, I was letting Kevin play on the computers that they had there for children. He was playing a color game with Elmo and every time Elmo would talk, Kevin would laugh. It was really fun, and we were having a good time.

Suddenly, disaster struck! A particularly abhorrent smell wafted to my nostrils. Uh oh. I quickly checked Kevin's diaper. A minor explosion had occurred, and we had to quickly find Grig and check out. We hadn't brought a diaper bag with us (Kevin had already had two explosions that day, so we thought that we would be okay), so we drove home to clean him up.

That ended our library trip for the night, but Grig is currently reading the Percy Jackson series (that I own), and I had already made my selection before the crisis occurred. It all worked out fine.

Libraries are pretty awesome. Digital software is fine and dandy, but nothing can replace the papered word for me. I like to touch the pages, flip them back and forth, and, most importantly, smell the books. Books have a wonderful, unappreciated odor.

Yes, I may be strange, but books were my best friends for years. Now, they simply serve as an occasional break. I enjoy reading, but I do it with much more moderation now.

Moderation in all things, right?

That's something I'm learning...especially at the library where it would be so easy to grab more books than you need.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Culture Shock

It is very rare for someone to marry and not experience a bit of culture shock.

Regardless of whether the two are next door neighbors or from different countries, culture is present in every individual's life. The way your parents do things is part of  your culture, and no two parents do things the same way.

I have several family members who have married incredible people from different countries. They are making it work, even though there have been a lot of differences to overcome and work through.

Personally, I love learning about other cultures and I like to know how other people think. My own situation isn't nearly as complicated as learning a new language or an ancient way of life.

I simply grew up on the western side of the United States while my husband grew up on the eastern side.

For the most part, things haven't been too shocking. We have really good communication, and we've been able to find compromises for most things. If you want some examples of things that have come up in our marriage though, I'll give you a few.

Grig calls his mother's sister awnt (aunt), while I refer to my mother's sister as ant (aunt). This has been a family joke for a while, but we finally decided to try to refer to the people on his side of the family his way, and my side of the family my way. That way, we figure that the kids will know who is related to whom. It's been working so far, but we'll see how things go.

Another difference that has emerged is Grig's desire to have the children call me ma'am. In his culture, that is a term of respect, and he wants to the children to respect me. From my point-of-view, that is something that you say to an older woman that you don't know very well to show respect. It seems distancing to me, but I have decided that if that is important to him, I can live with it.

These seem like tiny things, but in a lot of marriages, cultural differences like this can tear relationships apart. It is important to put the other person's desires before your own in order to make a marriage work. Like I said before, we talk a lot and we have great senses of humor. I am extremely stubborn occasionally, but with the help of the Lord we've been able to make it through every disagreement.

Grig and I don't fight and argue. We do disagree, which I think is healthy for a relationship. For a long time, we had an ongoing 'argument' (more of a fun disagreement really) about whether bears or wolves were smarter. That is, until Grig decided he likes wolverines more than bears anyway, and the joke was pretty much dropped.

Though we each came from a different parental culture, our goal all along has been to form a new, wonderful culture between the two of us. Part of the excitement in marriage is trying to figure out how WE want to do things, not how our parents did it. We may borrow heavily from our own experience, or make up new things all together, but as we decide together, it brings us a lot closer.

There is NO ONE RIGHT WAY to do things within a home. There is not one single right way to raise children, celebrate Christmas (or any other holiday), or earn a living. (There is one way to get to heaven, through following our Savior, but that journey is different for each of us.) When people tell you how to raise your children, understand that the method their teaching you worked for them, but it may not work for you. Talk to your spouse, pray, and follow your instincts. Listen to your children. Allow them to grow in their own way. No child is exactly like another, and you may need to have different forms of discipline for each.

Discover how to make your spouse feel loved, and then take time to do something special for them. As we become less involved in what we want, and more involved in making those in our lives happy, we become happier ourselves.

Don't let culture shock get in your way. Instead, try to understand and come to love that culture as much as you have come to understand and love your spouse. Their culture, history, and mistakes have turned them into who they are today. Love the whole package, and work on growing and improving together.

Please share with me your experiences of times that you have overcome culture shock in your marriage. I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


This week, I've been making an renewed effort to accomplish my goals.

I've been slacking a bit lately because I've been playing games for the last couple of weeks, and I decided on Sunday while I was trying to decide what I needed to improve in my life that I needed to have a game-fast this week. I needed to give more attention to my family and less to games. That isn't to say that I was playing them all day, but I was playing them too much.

My fast this week has helped a lot. I've been able to do more scripture study and spend more time with Kevin and Grig.

However, the problem is that when I drop one distraction it is hard for me to not to get distracted with something else.

So, this week, Kevin and I have been watching Superman. We've been watching the animated series and some of the animated movies they've made. Excellent films. He seems to like them too. We don't watch them all day, but we do watch a couple during the day. This frustrates me, because it seems like I always have to be mildly addicted to something. It's just so hard to just not have any entertainment at all.

Then, yesterday, I was reading a conference talk for my scripture study and I read the following phrase from a talk called "The Joyful Burden of Discipleship":
What of our earthly possessions? We can see what a tornado can do with them in just minutes. It is so important for each of us to strive to lay up our spiritual treasures in heaven—using our time, talents, and agency in service to God.
This talk was referring to the Oklahoma Tornado that happened a little while ago. It made me stop and think about my earthly possessions. What would I miss if I lost them?

I might miss my computer. Not because of the games or movies, but because of the journal articles and pictures. I would miss my dog and our snake.

However, if I made it through a natural disaster with my son and my husband (and brother-in-law), I would be wealthy beyond belief. Really, nothing matters but family. Nothing we own, watch, or enjoy can possibly compare the the worth of our families.

Distractions are easily gained (and not so easily dismissed), but they pale in comparison to the worth of any living soul. I am continuing to make my family my highest priority, even above my own wants and desires. That is who God is, and if I want to be like him, I need to be able to put aside earthly things for the greater good. My time should be used in building up myself, my family, and those around me to come closer to God.

That doesn't make the journey easy, but it does make it worth it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Unforeseen Blessings

When Grig and I decided to get married, Grig honestly informed me that he had a school debt. He tried to pay off as much of it as he could before we were married, but we still had quite a bit left when we tied the knot.

That didn't really matter to me. It was important that Grig had gotten an education, and money isn't really all that important to me. We've been able to get by, and we've paid off a lot of the debt already. It was never really a big issue between us, but to my surprise this became a blessing.

We are contemplating moving when our contract expires in a few months. We aren't planning on moving far; we simply want to find someplace cheaper if at all possible.

In our musings about the future, I began looking at homes. I signed up for a site that offers homes for sale, and the next day I was contacted by a representative. He told me he wanted to help us get pre-approved for a loan, just in case we felt like we wanted to buy a home.

I decided, sure. Why not?

He did a credit check on both of us, and to my surprise informed us that only one of us had a credit score, and it wasn't me.

I had helped pay for a car before and I had always consistently paid my bills, so why didn't I have a credit score, and why did Grig have one?

I'm still not sure about my side of that issue, but it turns out that Grig has a pretty good credit score because he loaned money from the government for school and we have always been punctual in paying off our debt.

Who knew that something that seemed to be a trial could also be such an extraordinary blessing?

Isn't that funny how life works sometimes? You spend months trying to rid yourselves of a problem, only to find out that it is a blessing in disguise? We probably aren't going to buy a house right now, but it was nice to know that we could if we needed to. I might have to get a credit card after all, just to build up a line of credit for myself. We don't really like them, so we haven't had them before. I thought my phone bill and everything else I had been paying for would have been sufficient.


The Lord works in mysterious ways, and it is always for our benefit and growth. I'm reminded of that every day, but for some strange reason, it still surprises me.

No purpose behind this picture. I just love it.
Kevin is still sleeping well in his bed, by the way. Last night, after brushing his teeth, saying his prayers, and having his dad read him a story, he went and climbed into his bed. It was almost a tear-free thing, except that one point he flung himself backward and hit his head on the wooden bar. He quickly got over it and went to sleep.

We are pretty blessed. I'm a pretty grateful person these days. Compared to so many others, what do I have to complain about?  And yet, sometimes I still do. I'm working on that, as well as on so many other things.

Have a great day and look for those unforeseen blessings!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Real Jurassic Park; Vlog 23

Mormon Monday:Listening to Promptings

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that God still can and does talk to each and everyone of us. His voice is a small, still voice, and he usually communicates through the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes in this world it is hard to hear that small voice because there are so many other voices shouting at us. Sometimes it is hard for us to find a quiet place where we can try and hear what the Lord wants us to do, but it is possible.

This video was created by the church and illustrates this principle in a marvelous way.

We've been trying to get Kevin to move out of our bed and into his own for a while. Everything we've tried hasn't worked. We don't own a crib, but we've been borrowing a pack 'n play from my parents, but Kevin refuses to sleep there, so we haven't been sure what to do.

A couple weeks ago, we were given the opportunity by some kind people to purchase a crib. When we were trying to decide what to buy, I felt that maybe we should try a toddler bed. Kevin is able to easily get off of our bed, so the thought occurred to me that if he didn't feel contained he might actually sleep on his own bed.

So, Friday we went crib shopping. We had been planning on buying a cheap 4-in-one type crib from Wal-mart, but then we decided to check out a local baby store first. They had some very nice cribs that were all WAY out of our price range. Then, the store clerk informed us that they had a nice little toddler bed that was on sale for around $100. It was made of some pretty nice pine wood, and we really liked the look of it. It should last us for several children.

We purchased it and then were able to find a less expensive option for a mattress at Wal-mart. We felt very blessed.

The best part of this story?

That night, for the first time, Kevin fell asleep in his own bed!

This picture was actually taken the next day during his nap! Success!

It took a little while. At first, I tried to force him to lay down, but then I felt like I should stop doing that, and instead hum to him and just keeping him from getting off the bed. As I did so, his head began to droop and soon he collapsed on my arms, deeply asleep. The feeling of success and gratitude at that moment was incredible!

Saturday he took a really good nap in his bed again, and Saturday night he went right to sleep there. We are letting him get into our bed when he wakes up in the middle of the night, but only for a few days. We're taking steps.

Last night, he didn't want to sleep there, but as his daddy came in and helped, he was able to fall asleep again last night. That was a pretty tender moment as Kevin clung to Grig's neck while he started falling asleep.

I really feel like this was an answer to prayers and I'm glad that we listened to this prompting to try a toddler bed. It would have been very sad if we had paid for a crib and Kevin had never used it. He loves to play on his new bed, and it is easy to stay next to him until he falls asleep.

It is so important to listen for guidance. As we do so, I can testify that the Lord does care about every aspect of our lives, but we need to listen in order to hear His words. Sometimes following the Spirit can be frightening, especially when you don't know for sure how things are going to turn out. However, as we exercise faith we will never be left alone and things will work out!

I've experienced this enough in my life to know that the Lord is real and He does speak to us. I know that this is true, and that He loves each and everyone of His children. It is our choice whether or not we follow His counsel, but as we do, we will be led to peace and happiness.

And in this case....more sleep.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Did You Know I'm an Introvert?

The other day we were talking about something with Havelock, when suddenly he blurted out, "It's just that you two are introverts!"

That kind of stopped me in my tracks.

I'm an introvert? What?

I'd always considered myself an outgoing type of person. One time when my parent's car broke down, my parents decided to let me drive home with the tow truck driver because I was the only one of my siblings that would actually talk to him.

The google dictionary defines introverts as:
a shy, reticent, and typically self-centered person.
If that is the definition of introverts, then I definitely don't think I'm introverted. However, according to other people, being an introvert has little to do with being shy (or selfish). According to another source:

Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.

This actually explains me pretty well. Though there are exceptions to this, I really like to think of myself as an extroverted-introvert. I love people and I like to be around them....for small periods of time. However, small groups of people can be energizing to me, especially if they are family or friends.

Large groups of people, on the other hand, can be very draining to me. When I was a kid, we would have these huge Thanksgiving celebrations with lots of extended family that I didn't always know that well. Sometimes, me and a couple of my other siblings would go hide in the closet, turn off the lights, lay on the floor, and sing. My dad got pretty upset that we weren't socializing, and honestly I've grown out of hiding from social situations, but at the time it seemed necessary. Large groups of people are still pretty overwhelming, but I can muscle through it and enjoy it much better than I used to.

I really like having my alone time. If I don't get some down-time away from people, I can get pretty tired. I do get energized from being around my husband, son, and other close family and friends. I also love having company over and I try to do it frequently. In general though, I also really like the moment when the house is empty again and we can relax.

According to this same source, an extrovert is a person who gains energy from being around people. I don't think I've ever been that way.

This was a surprising realization for me.

Socializing has always kind of been an issue for me. Knowing and understand social cues as well as what is appropriate in social situations has always been a struggle. Those actions don't just come naturally for me. I've had to learn how best to react when people say certain things and how to respond to different information so that I don't offend people. It often takes a lot of concentration for me to behave appropriately around other people. I'm not sure what that says about me.

I do love people and I like spending time with others. Please don't take this as a suggestion that you stay away so you don't drain my energy. Rather, this was just a surprising realization for me that helps me to understand myself better so I can better use my energy when I am around others.

Hopefully this can help someone else understand themselves better as well.

Are you an extroverted or an introverted person? How do you get energy? Tell me in the comments. I'm interested to know.
Growing up in a large family doesn't make you an extrovert. Surprise!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pride and Asthma

Growing up, I never had a problem with asthma. There are people in my family who had it, but I was blessed to never have an issue with it.

However, when I went on my mission in 2008, I suddenly found myself with difficulty breathing. Someone told me that Austin, Texas is the allergen capital of the world, and in my case it seemed to have been true. As missionaries, you are encouraged to exercise early in the morning, and my companion loved to run, so we would go out fairly early to run through the safe neighborhood that we lived in.

The first week I was there, it felt like I could run forever. I grew up in a high-altitude state, and so you would usually run short of breath before your muscles began to ache. However, in Texas, I could breathe and run and run and my muscles gave out before my air did.

At least, that's the way it was for the first week.

Then, suddenly, I found myself wheezing when I ran. It was a bizarre thing. This continued on and off during my 19 month mission in Texas. Some months I would be just fine, and other times I would struggle to breathe. My companions would often encourage me to go to the doctor, but I would brush off their advice with a bit of stubborn willfulness. (I actually am quite stubborn, in case you didn't know. This is especially true where matters of health are concerned. I don't like to go to the doctor unless I'm dying.)

Some seasons my asthma would be nonexistent, and others it would be awful. When I got hom from my mission and returned to school, my breathing only got worse. For that semester, I was wheezing and struggling to breathe nearly constantly. This really stressed one of my roommates out, and finally I was convinced to go to the doctor's and get my breathing checked out.

They tested me and gave me an inhaler. What a wonderful device! Suddenly, I could breathe again, and I didn't realize how much I had missed that.

I still don't have to use it constantly. This spring season seems to be kind of awful for me, but generally I don't have to use the inhaler at all. This is why I'm pretty sure my asthma is allergy induced as opposed to exercise.

Isn't it funny what our pride will do to us? It is so simple to have an inhaler, and no one judges me because I have a shortness of breath. Why was I so stubborn about it? I'm much happier when I can breathe, and I rather like being able to do so. The people around me are happier when I can breathe too,

I wonder what other areas of my life I'm not 'breathing' in because of stubborn pride. Where am I not seeking the help I need because I don't want to go see the person who could help me?

Breathing is kind of a vital thing. It was no one's fault but my own that I wasn't able to do it. There is a reason the Savior spoke out against pride.

It can kill us if we're not careful.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Forcing Myself to Go

For the last couple of weeks, I've been meaning to go play indoor soccer with the women in our congregation. Every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. they've been playing, and since I love soccer, I really wanted to go. However, there are a few problems with the timing.

The first problem is generally we go to bed at 8:00, or at least, that's the time we're supposed to go to bed. Grig isn't getting up quite as early anymore, but in order to get 8 hours of sleep we're supposed to be in bed by 8. That's the main problem. If I go, Grig has to watch Kevin, and usually that would entail staying up to do it.

The second problem was that last week we were sick. I was not doing well on Tuesday, so I chose not to go spreading lovely germs to everyone.

However, last night I didn't have an excuse. Yes, it was still after bedtime, but Grig had told me that he wanted me to go, and I REALLY wanted to go. However, I was also feeling lazy, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to go. It's hard when the time finally comes to push yourself to go do something, even if you do want to do it. It's easy to be like, "Oh, I'll just go next week." However, I had told the women I was going to come, so that was motivating for me. Luckily, Kevin fell asleep before I even left, so we felt like that was a huge success! We were hoping that Grig could go to sleep too and they would both still be sleeping when I returned home.

I took off a few minutes late, but it's pretty close to our apartment, so I made it in good time. It didn't take long for us to get set-up, and then we began to play.

This is an older picture (pre-marriage), but I thought it fit well.
I had a lot of fun! We played four on four and it was great exercise. I found out that I don't make a good forward (though I did score one point) because I used to play sweeper in high school. I'm used to hanging back and watching to prevent the ball from going into our space. It took some prodding, but I was managing to overcome those instincts by the end of the game.

I also discovered I probably talk way too much during the game itself. Hopefully the other women weren't annoyed.

Needless to say, I lost track of time. At 10:00 p.m., we called it a night. I checked my phone, and I didn't have any missed calls or texts from Grig, so I ran to Wal-mart quickly and bought a few things. I thought I was going to be able to go home, take a shower, and go to bed.

However, when I got home, I was greeted by a happy Kevin. He had woken up only about a 1/2 hour after I left. Grig had to stay up with him until 10, when Havelock came out and watched him until I returned home at 10:20. Grig still wasn't asleep when I came home and he had a headache. It was nice of Havelock to help out, but I felt bad.

We managed to get up okay this morning, but after showering and doing a few things, Kevin insisted that I go back to bed.

I don't regret going (though Grig might regret that I went). I almost didn't go, but sometimes it's really worth it to do so. I badly needed the exercise, and I had a lot of fun. Hopefully I can go again next week, but we'll have to see. We might need to figure something else out for Kevin so that Grig can get more sleep.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Messing Up Dakota's Fur

So, we had an exciting weekend with lots of trips down to visit friends.

Saturday night, I came back after one of those trips to find Havelock and Grig playing games. Kevin was soon involved with the fun as well, so I decided to clip the dog again.

The lack of fur around our house since the last clipping has been incredible! We still occasionally find a long piece, but the vacuum has sucked up most of it. I think we might keep her fur this length permanently. Last time, I clipped her fur to 1/2 of an inch, and  this time I decided to go even further. I wasn't sure how short to cut it, but I found the shortest clipper guard I could find and began to shave right down the middle of her back.

That was a mistake.

It turns out that that particular guard was actually a guard for shaving, not clipping. It went right to the skin. It kept getting clogged and I decided to go a little longer. I ended up using a 3/8 inch guard instead.

So, her fur looks great now, except for a long three inch stripe down her back where the fur is shorter. It doesn't look that bad, but I still wish I hadn't done it. However, how do you learn if you don't make mistakes?

It is interesting though, that every time I look at her, my eyes first look at the shorter stripe on her back. Other people don't even notice it is there, but sometimes it's the only thing I see.

I feel like we're like that sometimes with our mistakes.

To us, they seem to be glaringly obvious and we might feel like everyone is staring at them. However, if we stand back a few feet we can either notice how small the impact truly is, or see how it has affected us positively in the long run.

Look for the good in yourself and in others. The rest of her fur looks fantastic if I can just learn to look beyond the small stripe of error. The best part is, it will grow out, and then know one will ever know that I messed up.

Except that I just posted this on the internet, so it will last forever.

Be careful what you post too.

See? You can barely see it!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kevin Ruined his Friend at Baby Animal Days; Vlog 22

Mormon Monday: What is General Conference?

This weekend, I was able to view the 184th semi-annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons). It was a spiritual feast. It is all available online, if you didn't have a chance to view it.

Here's a link:

However, as I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about this morning, I realized many people may not even know what General Conference is, and why we make such a big deal about it. Curious, I looked up the history of conference. Here's my source, if you want to read the original document.

On June 9, 1830, Joseph Smith called the original General Conference of the church to order. There were only 27 members present. These conferences were seen as essential, as it was an opportunity for the church to hear from God's holy prophet and to learn what the Lord had to say concerning the entire church.

As the early pioneers moved from state to state to escape persecution, they continued the tradition of having conference. However, it wasn't until 1840 that conference became a semi-annual event. There was even a conference held in Great Britian that year.

However, during the western exodus of the church, conference was temporarily paused. There were a few meetings held along the trail, but the official conference didn't begin again until 1848 in Salt Lake City. At first, the church members didn't have an official place for meeting. The first meeting in Salt Lake was actually held in a bowery! That didn't last long though. The saints quickly began work on the Tabernacle that still sits on temple square today. It 1867 it was completed and held its first General Conference meeting.

Meetings continued in other areas as well. There were times that General Conference wasn't help at all, as flu epidemics raged and world wars occurred. However, the tradition continued, despite opposition.

In the 1900's, technology began to make conference available to a wider and more distant audience. This was an incredible blessing. Today, members all over the world can hear the conference talks in their own language and in their own homes thanks to internet, television, and radio.

One of the greatest problems in Christ's time was the inability to regularly meet with the early Christian saints. The apostles spent most of their time traveling back and forth trying to get rid of false traditions and teachings. They were continually squashing wild-fires that the errors of men would create. This is originally what led to the removal of the true gospel on the Earth. Once the apostles had all been killed, men mingled Christ's teachings with their own opinions and ideas. This is why so many awful things were done by people professing to be followers of Christ in those days.

A restoration, not a revision, of the true gospel of Christ was necessary. We truly believe that God and His Son, Jesus Christ, visited Joseph Smith and ordained him to be a modern-day prophet. We believe that President Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet today.

If you knew that you could go and listen to Moses, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob and hear what God wanted to tell you today, would anything stop you from going there?

I testify that President Monson holds the same authority that these ancient men did. We go to conference to hear a prophet of God tell us what God wants us to do and how we can retain peace and hope in these turbulent times. Technology has made it so easy to listen to the prophet of the Lord if we will just open our ears and hear.

If you don't know that he is a prophet, ask the only person who can tell you: God, himself. Pray with all your enery, and tell God that if this man is a prophet, that you will follow his counsel and be joined with God's church. I promise that if you pray with real intent, and listen as President Monson speaks, that you will receive and answer.

I did, and I know this to be true. No amount of evidence in opposition of it could ever convince me otherwise, because I have learned by the Spirit that President Monson is a prophet of God. It was impressed very clearly upon me when I prayed about it, and I know I received an answer.

Hear the words of the prophet and follow his counsel. You will never regret it.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Baby Animal Days!

Yesterday, Grig had the day off (because his company was out of parts) and so we decided to go to a local event entitled "Baby Animal Days." 

Kevin was grumpy when he woke up, and so we were glad to get out of the house. For a small admission fee, we were able to see chicks, lambs, kids, ducklings, colts, calves, and bear cubs!

I was super excited about the bear cubs, and on the site it said to get there early so you didn't have to wait in line too long. Due to this, I felt rushed and was stressed how when we didn't leave at the planned time. Then, when we got to the park, I was determined to speed-walk to the bear enclosure so we didn't have to wait too long.  However, half way there, Grig reminded me by example that we were there for Kevin, not for me. I remembered that rushing isn't fun for anyone, and how could I enjoy the day if I was wasting our time rushing from place to place. 

Even slowing down, we still got there fairly early with only a good 1/2 hour wait. When all was said and done, it was a little bit of a let-down. You didn't actually get to hold the bear cubs (which admittedly would probably have traumatized the poor things to let so many people touch them), but I had been really excited to at least pet one. They didn't really let you too near. 

They were very cute, but not as cute as our bear cub:

Here's Kevin trying on his bear mask. After that he only enjoyed throwing it on the ground.
Mama bear and baby bear. Don't mess with the baby.
After we went through that line, we walked around and visited a lot of other baby animals. My favorite part was a stall with a couple of calves. They were ignoring everyone and standing far away from the bystanders. I mooed softly at a calf and extended a finger. Its attention shifted to me. Then, after I mooed again, it lowed back and walked toward me and began to suck on my finger. That was a lot of fun. I was feeling pretty good that I was able to coax it over to where Kevin could pet it. It's always fun to have a baby animal sucking on your fingers too. 

At least I think so.

Kevin probably enjoyed the calves, chicks, chickens, horses, and donkeys the best. He would pat the other animals, but he didn't seem as interested, especially when the mama sheep was trying to head-butt everyone who came near her lamb. Here are some other pictures we took:

Kevin and the baby chick. He really liked that one.

Kevin loved this donkey. 
After we had visited most of the baby animals, we went on a train ride. During the wait, Kevin got really grumpy, but once we got on the train, it was his favorite part. He cried when we finished the ride and wanted to remain in his seat. If not for the long line behind us, we probably would have let him.

Our family on the train.
Next, we bought some cotton candy and visited some historical sites. One of Grig's favorite parts was when we were in a root-cellar and some kids who were coming down asked, "Does someone live here?"

Grig responded, "We do! Get out of our house!"

The adults that were with the kids laughed and said, "Cellar trolls!" It was pretty funny. We then climbed back up and let them enter.

On our way out, we walked across a bridge. Kevin had been able to feed chickens grass and so had gotten over his slump and was happy again. I took some fun pictures on that bridge.

 It turned out to be a great time! I'll add some video on tomorrow's blog. We have a lot more footage where this came from!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Scaring Kevin

So, today I was watching Julian Smith (a youtube star) with Kevin.

Usually, Kevin LOVES Julian Smith and will sing along with the music videos that Julian has created. Kevin has been kind of grumpy this morning (he's either still recovering from being sick, or he's teething), so I was trying to cheer him up.

Today however, we were watching a particular episode called Creepy Santa Doll. If you want to watch it so you know what I'm talking about, here is the link:

(Spoilers below for those of you who haven't seen this:)

This video is about a little Santa doll that keeps following Julian around until finally he decides to throw it in the fire. After the small version gets burned up, a larger version appears that makes Julian scream.

Today, I noticed toward the end of the video, Kevin had been sitting happily in my lap when suddenly as the larger version of the Santa appeared, he started climbing up to stand on my lap and hug me around the neck. Surprised at this sign of fear (he's watched this episode quite a few times and never reacted this way before), I decided I would have some fun.

As the large Santa began talking, I grabbed Kevin and made a loud noise. Kevin screamed in pure terror and began to cry. He clung to my neck and wailed in terror. I felt really bad, but it was also really funny. It is strange how quickly children change. He's never done anything like that before, and now I've probably traumatized the poor kid into being terrified of Santa forever.

Anyway, there's a lesson for you.

Don't scare your babies when they're already exhibiting symptoms of fear. I've done it before, and usually he thinks it's funny, but today he did not. It could be that he already wasn't feeling well, but I feel pretty bad about it.

Grig doesn't have work again today, so we're going to go to Baby Animal Days. We're pretty excited (or at least I am). There are supposed to be baby bears there too.

I'll probably blog about that tomorrow.

This is my official apology.

Sorry, Kevin.
This is the last time I scared Kevin. I threw him into a ball pit when he wasn't ready yet. Whoops.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Watching Signs in a Cornfield

After visiting with friends over last weekend, I couldn't help but think I should share this story with everyone. This may possibly be the greatest adventure I ever had the privilege of being part of. For those of you who've heard this story before, I'm sure it's worth a repeat. This story takes place in Nauvoo, Illinois almost a decade ago. This is posted almost entirely from my journal the day after. 

Friends' names have been omitted to protect those involved.

Watching Signs in a Cornfield 

This was a very exciting night.  One of my friends came up with the ingenious idea of watching Signs in a cornfield.  So, after I worked in the haunted house (which was extremely fun, if a little slow that night) I came back just in time to see a different friend come running down the hall with a aluminum-foil hat on her head saying, “Go make your hat!”  In one scene in Signs, they put on aluminum-foil hats so the aliens can’t read their brains.  We all looked pretty funny.  We all packed our blankets, my laptop, chairs, and ourselves into our friend's little car and then we went to find a cornfield.  
Here's me with my awesome hat!
Our cramming into the car was not well done.  The heaviest person (me) was on top of everyone else, and it was extremely uncomfortable for all of us.  We went to the cornfield that they had picked out earlier that day, but someone had cut it down!  So we drove around for 15-20 minutes more looking for a cornfield.  Eventually we stopped up on a hill where our handcarts had stopped and a brave friend and I went to see if the corn on the other side of the open area was still there.  It was a really terrifying walk.  We were half-way across, when suddenly the bush next to us began to shake and move.  It was shaken by a rather large something, and it definitely was not the wind.  I took a picture of the bush, hoping maybe I could see what it was, but whatever it was had already left.  So, we continued across, more than a little frightened.  When we got to the corn, it was all cut down, and we couldn't see the other, more timid girls walking across that open grassy area.  So, we headed back.  Evidently the other girls had begun to get worried about us, but said when they all stopped and listened, they could here me talking.  We piled back in, in a more comfortable position for us all, and then we drove around until we came to another corn field. Half of it was plowed, but the rest was still standing. We parked the car and walked onto the corn that had already been plowed, set the laptop in front of the remaining standing corn on a chair, set down our hot-pink lawn chairs, put on our aluminum-foil hats, and began to watch Signs.  

In all honesty, the corn creeped me out much worse than the movie did.  The movie, especially the scene where he is out at night chasing the alien through the corn, only made me more aware of how much the corn was moving.   Certain times, I am fairly positive that it wasn't just the wind moving the corn.  My brave friend and I, who were on the edge, heard cracking noises as something walked through.  It was probably only a raccoon, or something small like that, but it added to the terror of the evening. 

If that wasn't enough, then we had the best part of the evening happen.  As we were sitting there, we suddenly became aware of lights shining on us.  We looked back and saw a police car, sitting on the edge of the road, shining a spotlight on us.  The visualization here is really funny.  We were in the middle of the demolished corn sitting in front of corn in a straight, unmoving row on hot pink lawn chairs with aluminum-foil hats.  All you could see from the road was our backs. We began to get a little nervous as he didn't leave, and someone said, “Maybe we should go talk to him.”  However, as someone began to get up, he drove away, and we thought, “That’s that.”

My friend took this picture later. This is what the police officer saw.

However, around 10 minutes later, he came back...with another police car in tow.  Now we were a lot more nervous.  We began to get up, but he drove right onto the field and hiding in his car shined a spotlight into our faces.  

“Hello,” we said, knowing how ridiculous we looked.  I removed my hat to look a little more sane.  

“So, what’s going on here?” he asked. 

I replied, "We're watching a movie. It's about aliens that land in corn fields."

He asked us who our ringleader was. We replied that we were all in it together.

The officer then asked where we were from.  There was an awkward pause, and then I said, “The JSA,” and someone else added, “The Joseph Smith Academy.”  We all kind of waited breathlessly until he said, “Not my JSA students?” (As a side note, the JSA is no longer in existence. We were one of the last groups who were able to live there for a semester.)

Instantly we all breathed a sigh of relief.  Then he said, "So, explain this again?”  Again we told him that we wanted to watch Signs in a cornfield. We asked him if he had seen it, and he said, "No." As the other officer walked up, the first one asked, "So, what's up the the hats?"

One of us replied, "That's to keep the aliens from reading our minds." After a long awkward pause, he then said, “Well, maybe I didn't need back-up, but put yourselves in my position!  I rather face a guy with a gun any day, than face a bunch of girls in aluminum foil hats.”  He was pretty funny.  I was really glad he laughed at us.  At one point, he did ask, “So, did all of you fit in that little car?”  Someone answered, “Yes,” but he didn't make a big deal about it.  

He then asked the other officer if there was anything else he needed to know.  The other officer laughingly shook his head.  We asked it we were doing something bad.  He said, “Well, it’s not good.”  He then asked us how long the movie would be.  We told him about an hour left.  He said okay. He told us not to start any fires, and then they left us.  For a while the two police cars sat there talking.  I wonder what they were saying.  The visual image of all of us sitting there facing the corn on our hotpink lawn chairs wearing tinfoil hats still gives me the giggles. I had them throughout the rest of the movie as I thought about him telling the other police officers about the crazy thing a bunch of girls were doing. 

I thought it was the funniest thing that had ever happened, but a few others were taking it more seriously. They figured we could have gotten in huge trouble for trespassing, but I figured the worst that would happen is he would ask us to leave.  I think the hats made us crazy enough that he just thought, “Oh, it’s just a bunch of harmless girls.”  He was a funny guy.  I’m glad we didn't get in trouble. 

The battery eventually died too early because of the long pause, and so we finished the movie in our usual hangout bedroom.  It was really funny.

One last past of the story.

I wrote and told my family about this fantastic story and sent them a picture of our view of the cornfield. The next day, my father sent me the picture back and said, "Look what I found in your cornfield." 

If you look really closely at the dark spot in the center of the picture, then you see this:

For a moment I was really freaked out, but then I realized it was photo-shopped. I enjoyed freaking the other girls out with it though.

And that's the Infamous Cornfield Story.

I hope you enjoyed it!