Saturday, May 31, 2014

Climbing King; Vlog 27

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dental Appointment

This morning I had a dentist appointment, so I didn't have time to write until now.

Yesterday, we went to the eye doctor and got Grig some new glasses. His were broken by Kevin as well, and unlike mine, they were not repairable. We brought mine as well and they were able to put a new screw in and straighten them out (mostly). They still have a mildly broken hinge, but I can wear them on my face, so they're almost as good as new.

Grig selected some pretty interesting glasses. I don't want to spoil anything, but we'll show you a picture as soon as they come in. I think you'll be pretty amazed! ;)

They told me that my teeth looked pretty good, though I have some mild cavities that need to be filled in. I've always really liked the dentist for some reason. Perhaps it was because I came from a large family and it was nice to have one on one attention with someone focusing on me for a while. Who knows?

They also told me that they could tell I wasn't from Utah because my teeth looked good. I'm not sure what that says about Utah teeth. There was a television set up on the ceiling so I watched people build tree-houses while they cleaned my teeth.

My aunt and uncle were nice enough to take Kevin while I had my appointment. He loves playing with his cousins. He thinks it's pretty great.

It's nice to have my glasses fixed and my teeth checked.

I've spent a lot of the day editing my grandpa's life history as well. We're almost finished with it! That's pretty exciting, and it has been awesome to read. I'm excited for the rest of my family to be able to read it too.
Kevin is crazy as usual. I'm still trying to figure out how to keep him off the dog kennel and away from the computer.

We love this kid.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Broken Glasses and Root Canals

Yesterday, we had an exciting day. In the morning we had pest control come to spray for cockroaches (we haven't seen many lately, but they were doing our whole building, so that was great!) I was frantically trying to finish cleaning before they got here, and finished just in time.

Then, we had cousins come over to play with Kevin. He loves his cousins so much, but after a busy morning with a picnic and playing on the playground, he was worn out, so he fell asleep while they were still here. We had a lot of fun though.

Then, Grig had to go straight from work to the dentist. Poor guy. That was a long day for him. He started work at 4:00 a.m., went straight to the dentist at 3:40 p.m., got home about 5:15, and then had another couple of meetings at 6:00 p.m.. At the dentist, they performed a root canal and numbed up his tongue and jaw.

I felt pretty bad for him, but I was grateful to have him home.

Tonight, he has an eye doctor appointment, and I'm going to take my glasses in to get them repaired as well. On Saturday, we were tired, and so Grig and I took a nap on the floor of Kevin's room while he played. I still had my glasses on from the morning (I usually wear contacts), and I foolishly played them somewhere where he could reach them. When I woke up, I couldn't find them, and being blind I had to ask Grig to locate them.

When he found them, it wasn't good. A screw was missing and they were horribly bent out of shape. He couldn't find one of the lenses. Well, I went and put my contacts back in, and cleaned Kevin's room and located the missing lens, but not the screw.

The after-effects of the carnage
I wasn't mad at him, I just wished that I hadn't left my glasses where he could reach them.

Live and learn, I guess.

This last week, I also shaved the dog. Previously, I've clipped her, but this time I went to an 1/8 of an inch. This is what Dakota looks like with no hair:

She's much happier and much cooler. She doesn't pant hardly at all now, and she is far more relaxed. She doesn't look too bad either, if I do say so myself.

Summer is almost here, and our apartment is growing warmer by the day.

I love summer, but with no air-conditioning, the house can get pretty warm. I'm probably going to cut Kevin's hair again before we leave too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Huge Goats and Pill Bugs

Yesterday, Kevin and I had quite the adventure. We scheduled with some ladies in our ward (congregation) to go visiting teaching (which is basically  where you go and visit them, sometimes with a brief spiritual thought, with the intent of seeing how they are doing and if they need any help).

Grig had the car at work, and so Kevin and I were going to be picked up by another lady in the ward who is assigned to go with me. However, as we were waiting for her to show up, she called me and told me that the morning had just gone crazy and she wouldn't be able to come.

I quickly assured her that I wasn't upset and that those things happen. The two women I was visiting were easily in walking distance, so Kevin and I decided to go by ourselves. He would be my companion for the day. Kevin set the pace and we began to walk.

Three captured pill bugs later (though he had to drop one in order to pick up a stick), we really hadn't made it very far down the sidewalk.
Luckily, the first sister I had intended to see was not answering her phone, so we had a few extra minutes to get to the second sister, which worked out great since she was closer anyway.

Eventually, after Kevin squashed an ant and a may-fly, we made it to her home. We enjoyed our visit, though she had a large robotic dinosaur that half frightened and half fascinated Kevin. 

After that visit we walked a few more blocks to see the second lady. We had a good chat with her as well, and Kevin enjoyed himself with playing with her toys. 

At that point, he was starting to act tired, and so we decided to head home. However, we passed another friend's home, and they invited us to come play for a minute. Kevin was looking eager, and I decided it sounded like fun. 

We stayed there for a while, while he enjoyed playing with the children and I enjoyed chatting to the mother. After not too long, however, he started telling me he was getting tired. So, we decided to head home again.

However, as we walked past another home, I followed an impulse and went and knocked on the door. This particular home was actually also a goat farm. When our ward helps people financially, it often will ask them to come and help milk the goats as a way to earn the money. I have kind of wanted to go just for fun. 

I vaguely knew the people, but not very well. Anyway, the man opened the door and we asked if Kevin could see his goats. He couldn't hear me at first, so I had to speak up a bit louder. After he could hear me, he invited us in and sent us through the house and out the back door. He also told us that if we stuck around for a while, we could watch him feed the goats, because it was almost feeding time.

We followed the trail that led from the backdoor to some sheds and were greeted by cute little baby nubian goats. Kevin was a little nervous at first, but eventually, he was brave enough to approach the gate and touch them. As we stroked the little ones though, I was shocked to see a humongous animal behind them. I realized it was the father, and it was huge!

I have never seen a goat this big. It was the size of a small horse or a large great dane!  
This isn't actually the goat, I think the one I saw was a little bigger than this, but I wanted to let you see that goats do grow this big! Click on the picture to follow the link to its original source. 
The females were only about half the size of the male. They were all very sweet and tame. We stayed long enough to watch him bottle feed the youngest goats, and then we headed home. 

After a long drink, Kevin quickly fell asleep. He was wiped out, but he'd had a great time. It had ended up being a three-hour trip. 

I really enjoyed myself as well. It's nice to get out every once in a while. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hot and Cold Rivers

One of the things that we are looking forward to on our trip back east, is swimming in the river. The rivers on the east coast are quite warm. Last time we were there, we went in May and I could have stayed in the water all day. This year, we are going in June, and Grig says the water can be as warm as a bathtub.

Conversely, the river water where we live is very cold, especially since the snow is still melting in the mountains. The run-off makes the rivers quite chilly. This weekend when we went to visit the geese again (see this week's video), we decided to go swimming since it was fairly warm the week before. However, when we showed up at the dam this time, the water was much deeper and chillier.

Though Kevin and I waded into it a few times, Grig found it much too cold. We enjoyed ourselves though.

I'm used to swimming in cold water. I've never had anything else. As long as you keep moving, your body adjusts to it. It is rare that the water doesn't eventually feel warm to me after a while.

When I was a kid, we used to go to this swimming pool where they had a cool tub and a hot tub. The cold tub was freezing and the hot tub was pretty hot (thus the names), and our favorite game as kids was to run back and forth between the two and see if we could stand the temperature change.

Now I know that's not very good for your nerves, but we found it pretty fun as kids for some reason.

Grig and I were discussing why it is that water feels warmer after you are swimming around in it for a while. I tried to research to see if my theory was correct, but I haven't found anything to confirm or deny it yet.

My theory is that as you enter cold water, you blood kind of pulls inward to keep your core temperature warm. So, your limbs are allowed to cool down a bit. As your limbs cool, the temperature of the water doesn't change, but your arms are cooler and so the water feels warmer simply by contrast.

That's my theory anyway. If anyone finds anything to prove or disprove that, I'd be happy to read it. Sometimes I just go through life guessing why things work.

That's pretty much it for today. We're just super-excited for our trip!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Monday

Last night, we went with some family members to the cemetery in town where many of my ancestors are buried.

When I was a kid, I thought Memorial Day was kind of boring. We went to a lot of cemeteries to pay our respects to departed ancestors, and when I was a kid, it seemed like we were visiting their graves forever! Yesterday, I was pleased to discover that my attitude now is vastly different from what is was then.

Lately, I've been editing my grandfather's life history and in the process I've been learning about many of my family that used to live in this area. When we went up to the cemetery yesterday, we saw many names that I recognized. Instead of them simply being names on a rock, they were suddenly memorials of people who I knew something about.

I realized with surprise that my whole perspective of Memorial Day had changed. I don't have very many relatives who actually served in the military, but I feel like Memorial Day is also a day to remember those who sacrificed in other ways as well.

Without my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., I wouldn't be here. They sacrificed a lot to raise their children and come to this country where they could be free to live the way they felt was right.

As I looked around at other graves as well, I felt sorrow for parents who had lost their children and children who had lost their parents. Everyone of those graves was now a person to me, no matter when they had died.
At one point as we studied a grave of a six-year-old boy who had only died last year, I was surprised to find tears in my eyes. My heart ached for the loss of this child and for his poor family.

I am so grateful that I have the Plan of Salvation so I know that death isn't permanent and our separation from family is only temporary. I don't know how people can survive loss of family without that knowledge. It would be super depressing.

I know I can be with my family forever, and eventually I will be able to meet these incredible people who made it possible for me to be alive.

As you honor your heritage today, don't just visit their graves, but maybe learn a little more about them as well. As I've learned more about my ancestors, they have become more than just names to me, they have become people that I love.

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Game Fast

Occasionally, I have to put myself on game (or other entertainment) fasts, meaning that I don't watch/play them for a week.

Usually I decide to do this when I worry that my consumption is taking time away from more important things, like my family or other duties I have.

This week, I've been fasting all computer games, internet or otherwise. I've really enjoyed it actually. I've gotten more work done on animating and family history than I have in a month or so. Sometimes it is nice to just put away the entertainment and work on projects instead.

The other thing I love about fasting like this, is that I regain my sense of control over my life. If every time I turn on the computer I have to play a game, am I really in control?

Taking a break once in a while shows me that I control how much time I spend on something. I have a tendency toward addictive behavior occasionally (especially where entertainment is concerned), and fasting from things that I might be on the verge of getting addicted to puts a stop to any addictions that may be forming.

Why am I sharing this?

Well, if is works for me and helps me keep control of my life, it might work for someone else. If there is something in your life that you are thinking about all the time or spending a lot of time on and it's not family , maybe try to take a break from it for a week.

I have really noticed a difference this week in myself and Kevin. We've been playing more too, and I've been paying more attention to the little things he's doing.

That's not to say that normally I'm a terrible mother and I play games all day, but eliminating games completely does give me more time for my son.

And who wouldn't want to spend more time with this kid?
The one down-side is that now I don't feel like I get a break. Now, when I finish something, I think, "What should I do now?" and the answer is usually, "Oh, I should work on this project." So, I am getting a little stressed out because my mind feels like I'm working all the time.

So, will I continue the fast indefinitely? No.

Games and entertainment have their place as well. It's all about finding the right balance in your life. It's okay to occasionally play games as long as I limit the amount of time I spend on them and always puts Kevin's needs first.

The fast just helps me to regain control and reprioritize. I am very grateful that I practice these occasionally.

I think this is the same principal behind why our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has a monthly food fast. Food is a good thing, but when we can control our desire and impulse for it, we become stronger and gain more self-control.

I feel stronger at the end of this week.

If you want to try this, feel free. It wasn't my idea originally. God thought it up first. If you think it will help you, please try it. There's nothing like knowing you are stronger than your impulses.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kevin's Superpower

Once upon a time, there was a young married couple who desperately wanted to have children.

Thankfully, their prayers were answered, and the mother delivered (via c-section) an incredible, handsome son who they named Kevin.

The new parents rejoiced, for they now knew that the greatest joy awaited them: the joy of parenthood.

They loved every second with their son, even when he drove them a little crazy!

However, it turned out that they had given birth to no ordinary baby. Instead, the were given the opportunity to raise a child with an incredible super-power: the ability to climb anything!

At first, this was a point of pride for Kevin's parents. At a mere ten months, he was already climbing on and off couches and beds. However, at seventeen months, things were beginning to get a little more intense.

One day, Kevin realized his time had come. He looked over and spotted the dog in a sound sleep.
(She didn't really drink this. She just fell asleep with it laying next to her, and we thought it was hilarious.)
Kevin realized that the time had come to invade and conquer her home! Before his mother could blink, Kevin was climbing the dog kennel.

 Kevin's parents were proud and horrified at the same time. Their last secure stronghold (the computer desk) was now under attack from their incredible toddler. No matter what they tried, the security of the desk was compromised. If they moved the kennel away, Kevin was tall enough to reach the printer chord. If they left the kennel alone, they couldn't prevent their son from climbing on top of it and trying to jump off.

The frazzled parents wondered what they could possibly do. They decided to take their son outside to burn off some energy.

Then, they carelessly stated the oft-repeated curse..."At least it couldn't get worse...right?"


The mother and father were now concerned. Unfortunately, along with his climbing abilities, Kevin had not received super strength (though he was pretty tough). They now faced the unanswerable question that every parent with a male offspring had uttered: how could they keep their son safe?

Their friends and family told them that boys will be boys, and you can't be there all the time. They could only pray that their son would be kept safe while he practiced his superpower and monitor the use the best they could.

Really, what else can parents do?

And hopefully, they lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It Only Takes a Moment

A few weeks ago, I had an interesting experience. It wasn't disastrous or anything, it just scared me a bit.

We were at Deseret Industries (or DI), which is an awesome thrift store. Kevin, Grig, and I were helping Havelock buy somethings before he moved into his new apartment.

Kevin and I were taking a look at baby boy swimming trunks because we're going to be swimming this summer. Kevin was walking next to me and I spotted a really cute pair of trunks. I glanced away from Kevin and glanced back and he was gone!

I had always thought mothers were silly when they couldn't find their children among clothing racks. Now I know better. The low-hanging clothing shields tiny children from view and they can be just on the other side of it and invisible.

When I saw that Kevin was gone, my heart stopped for a second. I tried to calm myself by reassuring my brain that Kevin was just on the other side and I'd find him quickly. However, as I walked around the rack of clothing, he wasn't there!

Now I was getting a bit panicked. I looked everywhere, and I just couldn't see him.

It probably only took me a minute or so, but it felt like the longest minute of my life. When I found him, he was just standing a couple racks over with his arms dangling at his side and a smile on his face that loudly pronounced that he was up to no good. One of Kevin's favorite games is to go hide and wait for you to find him, and when you do he laughs and thinks it is great fun. This time it wasn't so fun for me. He was just fine and I was very relieved, but it took a while for my heart rate to go back down.

I'm ashamed to admit that their was a part of my mind that never thought I was going to be one of those people who lost their children in the clothing at stores. I thought that was just something that happened to kids with disobedient children (although I do remember it was great fun to hide from my mother in the racks. It was like a giant playground).

Being a mother is very humbling. Sometimes judgements you didn't even know you had are exposed and turned on their heads. It really only takes a moment for kids to take off. It doesn't matter how careful you are, it can happen to anyone, especially when your son enjoys playing games where he hides from you.

It really only takes a moment.

I am so grateful that he was fine and we quickly found him. 

We have a fantastic kid and I don't want anything to happen to him, but he does like to get into trouble sometimes. I'm not always going to be able to be there to protect him, but hopefully we can raise him to make good choices when he's on his own and we're not there to watch over him.

I know I'll be even more careful next time we're at the store and less likely to think that other mothers were being careless when their kids got lost. I only have one to keep track of, what's my excuse?

Or maybe we'll just stick to book shopping. 

It's a lot easier to find kids around the shelves of books (and more enjoyable for me).

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Planning a Trip

Last night for Family Home Evening, Grig and I sat down and began planning for the trip we are taking next month. Kevin hasn't seen his paternal grandparents since May of last year, and we decided our family trip this year would be to go and visit them.

We are super excited about it, but as traced the route in our atlas, I began to realize how long this trip really is. We'll be crossing 11 states from start to finish! That's crazy. I told Kevin last night that by the time he is two he is going to have visited more states than I had at the age of 18. He's already been to Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Texas (kind of, he was in the womb at the time, so I don't know if that last one counts. He was there, he just couldn't see anything). We're going to be adding quite a few more states to that list before long.

Grig and I are very similar. We're not very detailed trip planners. However, last night as we were tracing our route, we began to think of places that we wanted to stop at while we traveled. We listed off a couple, but mostly we just want to kind of fly by the seat of our pants.

That's not to say that we haven't planned at all. We know how far we're going to be traveling each day, and approximately what our start times and stopping times will be. We've already reserved our hotel (we have family we are going to be staying with the other nights), and we're planning on completing our 34 hour trip in 3 days.

Car trip! Whoohoo!

We'll see how it goes.

During that time, I probably will be taking a vacation from blogging as well, though there may be occasional updates. We are planning on taking lots of videos and pictures as we drive across the country.

We're pretty stoked. I love road-trips, and we like visiting family as well. We are excited to visit Grig's parents' home and spend time with Kevin's aunts and uncles as well. We are also looking forward to seeing his great-grandma.

As we've been planning, I've been trying really hard to avoid getting stressed about the trip. We have a limited amount of funds for it, but after careful calculations, we found out that we would be saving between $300-$600 by driving instead of flying. Traveling time will be longer, but the only decent priced tickets I could find had a 24 hour layover anyway, so at least we'll be moving and exploring instead of sitting in an airport.

There are a few things we still need to buy before we can leave, so we're hoping that doesn't deplete our funds too much.

Overall though, we've been very blessed and we're very grateful that we are able to go on this trip. We're planning on packing food to take with us so that we don't have to pay to eat out a lot as well. If we're conservative about our cash, we should be just fine!

Who knows? This might become a yearly tradition!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mormon Monday: Why Do Mormons Have Church for 3 Hours?

Sometimes, when I talk to people of other religions, they seem intrigued by our church until they hear it lasts for three hours.

Immediately, they get a little less interested at the idea. I mean, why would someone go to church for that long?

I love church. There are Sundays where the three hours seem to last a long time, but usually it goes pretty quick for me. Those days when church seems to drag on is usually because Kevin didn't want to sit still and was getting pretty grumpy.

For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. Mormons) church meetings are separated into three parts.

The first meeting is the most important meeting. We call it Sacrament Meeting. This is where we partake (eat and drink) of the emblems (the bread and water) that renew our covenants (promises) that we made when we chose to be baptized. This is a ordinance, so it is performed exactly the same way every Sunday. When we eat and drink of the bread and water in remembrance of our Savior, we are promising to always remember him, keep his commandments, and take his name upon us as disciples of Christ. It is a very sacred thing, and the main reason that we meet together. Each Sunday, following the Sacrament, we also have a couple speakers (regular people from the ward, there is no paid clergy), and some musical numbers.

The next meeting is Sunday school. We are separated by age. Eighteen and up goes to the adult class, while the kids younger than that are separated by year in primary. In this class we learn about the scriptures and teachings of the prophets. This year we are studying the Old Testament. The younger primary kids (3-8) meet in a large group and have a lesson and music time, while the older kids meet in age group classes.

The last 50 minutes are spent in classes separated by gender. I love this hour a lot! The women meet in what is called Relief Society, the men meet in what is called Priesthood, the teenagers meet in Young Men's and Young Women's, and the kids in primary switch with the kids 8-12 now meeting in the larger group and the younger kids having class.

There is also a class called Nursery, which is for toddlers age 18 months to 2. When they turn three they go to primary. Kevin isn't quite old enough for Nursery, but they told us we could start taking him in anyway. He's only a couple weeks away anyway. He loves it for the most part.

Yesterday I was playing piano for primary. During the third hour, the lady who was leading the music asked me to go with her to nursery for singing time. I wasn't sure if I should because Kevin was in there, and it might make him sad for me to come in and then leave, but finally I said yes. They're just so adorable, I couldn't help but want to come.

Kevin did cry, but he stopped crying long enought to sing a few songs, and right before we left they pulled out the snacks and I was forgotten. It was good to see him doing so well.

Each of these meetings are important for different reasons. They unite us as brothers and sisters in Christ and help strengthen my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When my grandparents were kids, they spread these meetings out throughout the week. However, at one point, they felt that it would be easier on everyone to just have them in a solid chunk, and I agree. I would rather go to church once then have to come back later in the day for a second meeting.

It allows more time on Sunday for family time, and we love that.

I know that church is important. Some people think that they can gain all the spirituality they need on their own, but I disagree. My testimony is strengthened when I hear the testimonies of those around me. It is a fantastic opportunity to hear what others have to say and learn from them.

I'm grateful that we have so much church. It helps me be a disciple of Christ all week long and not just on Sunday. I want the Spirit to be with me all the time, and not just at church. In going to church for three hours, I make a habit of giving my time to the Lord, and I know that I am blessed in return.

I go to church for three hours because I love my Savior, and I love to learn more about Him.

Why do you choose to go to church?

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Randomness that is Youtube

Yesterday I was contemplating what a strange thing youtube is. It's like America's Funniest Home Videos combined with The Truman Show, except that people know you're watching their every move. It also seems the weirder the personality, the more popular they are.

It is also weird which strange things become popular, or 'go viral'. Nyan Cat is a good example of this. Who knew a cat head on a pop-tart with rainbows shooting out of its behind would get several million views.


I'm currently working on an animation for youtube. It stars a cartoon corgi puppy. We'll see how it does. I'm also working on a project for my cousin, so that's why I haven't done much with Dragon and the Wolf lately.

Here's a brief sampling I was playing around with:

My new animation program and I are really beginning to understand each other. Usually, after I've spent hours trying to do something, it suddenly clicks and when I finally figure out how to do it, I think, "Wow! That's really simple."

It's a great program. Pretty intuitive and user-friendly.

The main problem I'm having with animation right now is finding time to work on it. I  haven't been doing as good with getting up lately (due to a few long nights with Kevin), but either I'm going to have to start getting up with Grig again, or I'm going to come out at night when the two of them are sleeping and I can't.

I find that happens quite frequently.

I love animating. My main problem at this point is backgrounds. I'm not so good with them, and I'm not as interested in drawing them as I am in drawing the animals and such. However, the more I practice, the better I get, so I guess I'll overcome that obstacle too.

There are definite advantages to youtube and things like it. It is nice to be able to keep in touch that way and show awesome videos to friends, family, and perfectly random strangers. However, the more scandalous ads that pop up in the sidebar make us think about maybe purchasing some adblockers. We like youtube, but if the images that appear on it get much worse, we might have to take our videos and go somewhere else.

We'll see what the future holds.

For now, we rather like the randomness that is youtube.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kevin Loves Birds

Lately we've been playing outside more as the weather has turned nicer. One thing that I really love about my son, is how much he LOVES birds.

Whenever Kevin sees a bird, he starts whistling in and out. Yesterday we spent a lot of the morning chasing robins across the field. They would hold still until he would get pretty close, and then they would fly away. It was very fun and frustrating for the little guy.

The other day we went to a duck pond. Kevin was a bit tired (it was almost nap time), but he was so excited to see the ducks and ducklings. He wanted to touch them so badly. As he ran toward them, he would cackle with excitement. However, whenever he would get close to them on the grass, they would waddle into the water and out of his reach. That didn't deter him though. He tried to step right out into the water with them.

I had to grab him and pull him away. That was very sad for him. He broke down in tears and sobbed. It was very cute and sad. Later three ducks came running onto the playground that was near the pond. The children spotted them, and they converged upon the ducks like wolves on a deer. The ducks looked up just in time and took off for the water with the toddling pack behind them. I laughed pretty hard.

Yesterday, Grig, Kevin, and I went to a place with a lot of ducks and geese. It's called Third Dam. We brought some old bread we had and Kevin got to feed it to the geese. He loved that! He didn't even get bitten by any geese. The geese would walk away if he got too close. We also waded into the river and it wasn't too cold!

We had a great time. We ran out of bread far too quickly. Next time we'll have to bring more. Kevin couldn't get enough of the birds. He eventually started getting tired and hungry, but by then Grig and I were hungry too, so it worked out great.

We all had a great time. I really enjoyed myself as well. It's nice that summer is finally here. I've missed swimming and being outdoors. We took some great video as well. Expect to see it this Saturday!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Diamonds, Vacuums, and Hindsight

The other day, my sisters and I were talking about wedding rings, and I was reminded of a story that occurred several years ago.

One day, my mother looked down at her ring and realized that the diamond was missing from it. She knew it hadn't been gone too long, but she searched around the house and couldn't find the diamond anywhere. So, she pulled the vacuum bag out of the vacuum and stored it in the closet until she had a chance to go through it and see if the diamond was in it.

However, a few years passed and the bag sat in the closet untouched. My mother got a new diamond for her ring, and the bag was temporarily forgotten.

Then, one day, I was looking for something to do and my mother remembered the vacuum bag. She asked me if I wanted to look through the dirt and stuff in the vacuum for the diamond. I quickly agreed to do it. It sounded like fun to me. (I'm kind of a strange person).

So, we spread out a sheet on the floor and I dumped out the bag. I spent the next couple of hours combing through lint, dirt, and other unmentionables. I kind of enjoy meticulous tasks that don't require much thought because I enjoy thinking about other things while I'm doing them. Imagine my delight however, when suddenly I saw something glinting in my hands.

I had actually found the tiny diamond amid all the garbage! I was pretty excited and raced upstairs to show my mother. We cleaned it off and after discussing the event with my father, they offered me a reward for my hard work.

I could either have $10 or a giant candy cane.

Guess which one I picked.

I picked the candy cane.

I was in high school. I should have known that I could have bought a couple candy canes with the ten bucks, but money has never really been that important to me. At the time, the candy sounded much better.

Hindsight is always 20/20. Now I probably would have taken the money (or definitely would have taken the money), but my shortsightedness at the time told me that I could have candy that instant.

How often do we give up something of worth in order to get something instantly?

Probably way too often.

The diamond isn't going to waste. It will be used eventually. I just think my decision was pretty hilarious.

Happy Mother's Day, by the way. I haven't mentioned too much about it, but it definitely was on our thoughts this weekend. That's one of the reasons we went to my parents' home to visit. I hope all of you mothers had a fantastic day and your kids were nice to you. Also, to those of you who find Mother's Day painful for one reason or another, I send you my love. Not everyone is a mother or has a mother to celebrate.

For those of you who feel this way, know that you have been mothered or motherly to someone, and you do make a difference in our lives. I consider many wonderful women to have been motherly to me, and they have made a huge impact in my life.

We love you!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It Was the Best of Nights, It Was the Worst of Nights

Sunday night, after a long day, Kevin was ready to go to sleep.

He crashed at 7:30 p.m., which is a little earlier than usual, but after a long weekend trip to visit family, he was tired. He hadn't slept very well Saturday night, so we were hoping he would be tired enough to sleep.

What do you do with a sleepless baby?
He seemed to be doing fine. At 9:30 p.m., we went to bed, and he was sleeping in his own bed. We quickly drifted off to sleep, feeling pretty good about the way the night was going.

What felt like a long time later, I began to have restless dreams. In my dreams, I was nursing Kevin, but he wouldn't go to sleep. I dreamed that if I fed him with the correct combination, he would stay asleep, but I kept getting the wrong order. Frustrated, I finally woke up fully to realize that it wasn't a dream, and Kevin was wide awake. He would nurse for a few minutes, and then cry. I didn't know what was wrong, but after a few more minutes of this, I was feeling tired and a bit grumpy.

At that point, Grig woke up and volunteered to take the baby for a while. Fearing that he was in pain from teething, he said he was also going to give him some Tylenol. I agreed, and I dozed off again. An hour or so later, he returned with the baby, and I tried to help Kevin fall asleep. However, now the dog was up and panting, so Grig couldn't sleep either. Finally, at 1:30 a.m., he decided he might as well take the baby out.

At that point, I finally stopped being selfish. "No," I told him. "You have to get up at 4:00 a.m., but I can sleep in. I'll take the baby and the dog so you can go to sleep."

So, Kevin, Dakota, and I went out into the living room.

It was a long night. I turned on Kevin's videos, and he sat quite happily on my lap, but he just didn't want to sleep. As tiring as it was, we enjoyed our time together, and it really wasn't that hard to stay awake with him. I had a pretty good time.

At 3:50 a.m., Kevin finally gave up the fight and fell asleep. Wearily, we went back into the bedroom, and I laid Kevin on our bed and tried to go to sleep. However, by that point, though I felt exhausted, i couldn't sleep anymore. It wasn't until Grig left for work that I finally managed to go back to sleep.

We slept pretty good at that point, and then at 9:30 a.m. I was awoken to Kevin pounding on our bedroom door, ready to go out and play.

I don't know why he had such a hard time sleeping those two nights, but last night he slept much better. We all did, in fact.

Kevin's spoiled us. He's always been a good sleeper, so we haven't had too many of these sleepless nights. Strangely, he sleeps worse now than he did as a baby. I'm about ready the wean the boy. At 17 months, he doesn't need to be waking up every four hours or so.

It's going to be a hard transition for him, but we know he can do it.

He's a pretty cool kid. Even after frustrating nights like this, we wouldn't give him up for anything.

That's what being a parent's all about.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mormon Monday: The Miracle of the Church Shoes

We went to my parents' home this weekend. 

We had a great time, and Kevin really enjoyed playing with his cousins. It was nice and relaxing. It was warm enough for the most part that Dakota got to stay outside, and I saw her rolling around in the grass with delight. She's missed being outside sometimes, I think. At night she came inside so she didn't freeze to death. She survived the trip none the worse.

Everything went well until we were returning home Sunday morning. As we were packing, Grig asked me if I had seen his Sunday shoes. I told him I hadn't. We looked around, but assumed the shoes were in his suitcase. We were in a hurry because I was trying to get back in time for church. I had to teach in Relief Society and I didn't want to miss it.

However, when we got home after the three hour return trip, we couldn't find Grig's shoes anywhere. Both he and I looked through the suitcase, but the shoes were nowhere to be seen.

With horror, we realized that we had left his shoes at my parents' home. He didn't have any other Sunday-type shoes, so he put on his bright white wedding shoes, and we reluctantly decided we were probably going to have to buy him another pair of black Sunday shoes. It would be cheaper than mailing or driving to get them, and he couldn't really do without them.

I told Grig I didn't think anyone would even notice his shoes, but he was convinced he was going to be made fun of. I bet him that no one was going to talk about them. Unfortunately, the first person we met at church pointed at Grig's shoes and said, "I'll trade you shoes!"

And he wasn't the only one. Lots of people commented on his shoes.

Grig was right. I was wrong. People did notice.

However, that night, Grig came in the room and said, "Thanks for finding my shoes!"

Confused, I asked him what he was talking about. He told me that he had just found his shoes in the middle of the living room floor, and had assumed that I had found them and placed them there.

I told him that I hadn't seen them anywhere, and I didn't know how they'd gotten there. We wracked our brains, but neither of us could remember seeing the shoes before he found them in the middle of the floor.

I am convinced that it is a miracle.

Many people don't think that miracles occur in our day, but I testify that they do. A Book of Mormon prophet (named Mormon) said (Mormon 9:18-21):
18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
 19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
 20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
 21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.  
Miracles do occur in our day, even if it is something simple like a pair of shoes appearing where we could have sworn they didn't exist before. The Lord loves his children, and if we believe in him and have faith in him, anything is possible.

I know this is true.

Even if we did find out how the shoes got there, that wouldn't make the event any less of a miracle in my eyes. We were praying to find the shoes, and we did. That is enough for me.

The Lord is very kind to us.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Funerals, Soccer, and Travel

On Wednesday, I played prelude and postlude for a funeral. I was pretty worried about it, but it went really well. I was pleased that I didn’t seem to ruin the spirit of the event, and the family was appreciative. I found out something interesting about myself though.

I didn’t know the individual who had passed away, but as his family and friends talked about him, I found myself crying in sympathy. I didn’t know that I do that. It is interesting to know that other people’s emotions can affect me in that way.

It’s pretty tough to lose a family member. That is one of my worst fears. I dread the time that someone I love will have to leave me, even though I know it’s only for a short time and that death is not the end. I guess I still need to work on my faith.

Yesterday, I played two soccer games. I have been to practices most Tuesdays for the last few weeks, but we had two games in a row, and then we drove three hours to visit family. The games were intense, and I had a great time. We lost both games, though we were ahead for most of the first one. The second one, I think we played better, but we still lost by 5. I had a good time, but Grig was a little upset by the different rules. He didn’t like the fact that you couldn’t kick it high, or the fact that you couldn’t enter the box around the goal. That’s probably what cost us the first game.

My favorite moment was when I was playing goalie, and I blocked around 10 goals in a row. It was an intense couple minutes, and I ended up pulling the tissue around my scar from my c-section, but it was awesome. I felt like a champ!

After the games ended, we got in the car, picked up the dog and our luggage, and took off. It was about 10:30 p.m. when we left, and we didn’t reach our destination until about 1:30 a.m.  Kevin and Dakota slept the whole way, Grig read to me, and I drove. As I was driving, I could feel my muscles stiffening up. That wasn't so much fun. By the time we got to my parents' home, my legs ached and I was tired.
Kevin and Dakota can sleep almost anywhere.
I usually drive on long trips because Grig likes to read to me in the car, and I like it when he does so. We've been reading C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, and we finished the second book last night. It is quite good, if occasionally long-winded. 

Dakota (because it is finally warm enough) was asked to sleep outside last night. It rained, but she was just fine this morning. In fact, I caught her rolling in the grass when it warmed up a little more. I think she is enjoying being outside, despite the weather.

There may not be a video tomorrow, but I'll try to get one made for Monday. We're going to be relaxing over the weekend and enjoying our time with family.

Thank you for those of you who've responded to my post yesterday. I appreciate your thoughts. I'll give them careful consideration. 


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Finding My "Niche"

Recently, my mother sent me an article about blogging. I'm always happy with constructive criticism, and one thing the author of the article talked about was 'finding your niche', something that you know a lot about, are excited about, and are interested in.

I have a few things that qualify under that topic:

My church
My family (and by extension, my life)
(I'm sure there's more, but that's what I thought about off the top of my head.)

Interestingly, though one it's one of the things that I've always been in love with, I haven't done much with animals on this blog. Mostly, I've focused on religion and my family. I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate my love of animals further into this blog. Mostly, it's been fairly unstructured, except for Mormon Monday, but I want to try and change that a little bit. Some days it's difficult to think of things to write about.

I've been working on this blog daily for nine months. If it were a baby, it would be ready to be born now.

With over 20,000 views, perhaps it's time for a revamp.

I'll have to think about it over this weekend. Perhaps I'll update the layout a bit and think about how to make it more exciting and interesting. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know!

Meanwhile, more exciting things should be coming on our youtube channel. We've got some great ideas for some videos (not just videos of Kevin, but those will continue as well). We will be taking a long road-trip in June, so we may have a short hiatus during that period, but we'll see.

Again, I'd love suggestions. We really appreciate those of you who have stuck with us over the last few months. We love having you as part of our lives!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Missing Appointments

Monday, we'd had a pretty busy day. Mid-way through the day, a friend of mine called. She was wondering if I could baby-sit her daughter all day on Tuesday while she went to a job training, and I was only too happy to help out. Her daughter is a sweet little girl, and Kevin loves having her over.

When she asked, I felt like maybe I should check my planner, but I ignored the thought. I was fairly certain I didn't have anything on Tuesday, and I didn't think I needed to check.

That night, after Grig and I were finally sitting down to relax, I suddenly realized with horror that I had forgotten all about my dentist appointment that day! It was too late to call the office, but I resolved to do so first thing in the morning. As I stewed and stressed over the missed appointment, I couldn't help but think that if I had just checked my planner like I thought about doing, I would have been reminded about it.

Luckily, the office wasn't upset, and they rescheduled with me. I was very grateful that they did so. If seems like they won't even charge us a fee, which would be a huge blessing.

I hate missing things. I hated sleeping through classes in college, and I hate forgetting about things that I tell people I'm going to do.

Yesterday's babysitting went really well. Kevin had a great time. He's a sweet little guy. They took alternating naps, which meant I never got any alone time, which was a little difficult for me, but we still had a good time and we got a lot done.

Last night, after Kevin fell asleep, I went and played soccer again. It is a lot of fun, and the girls there are super nice. There was one funny moment when a younger woman came in, and an older sister said, "You're probably too young to play. You have to be at least 31."

I said, "What?"

Someone else quickly corrected her. She had thought that it was for 31+ year olds. Luckily it was for women 18 and up or I would have had to leave. It turns out that most of the ladies there are older than 31 though. They don't seem like it.

Not that 31 is that old.

Today, I'm doing something kind of scary.

Sunday, when I was asking a woman in her ward if she needed a ride to church, she told me she couldn't go because her ex-husband died. I expressed my sympathies and asked if there was anything she needed.

She said, "Do you know anyone who plays piano? We need someone to play the prelude and postlude music."

I have a principle that says that if I offer to help, I have to be willing to actually help. So, I admitted that I play piano. She then informed me that her ex-husband wasn't overly religious, but he was patriotic, so patriotic music would be fine.

I've never really played piano for a funeral. I hope I don't ruin it. My grandma loaned me some patriotic sheet music, and hopefully I can do okay.

This week has been kind of crazy, but it's just going to get crazier. Wish me good luck!
This picture has nothing to do with the blog post, but I just love it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Havelock Moved Out and Other Updates

Kevin, saying goodbye to his cousin.
This weekend was one of some pretty big changes. One of my sisters moved across the country while my brother-in-law Havelock, who has been living with us for some time, moved into his own apartment.

On her way through, my sister stopped to say goodbye to us. Kevin enjoyed playing with his cousin for a little while. It was nice to see her before she and her family left.

 I avoided showing you her face because she's not my kid, and I don't have permission (yet) to show her on our blog. These are cute pictures anyway though.
Before we moved into our current apartment, we felt inspired to ask Havelock if he wanted to come live with us. He had been wanting to come to the west coast for some time, but hadn't had the opportunity. He accepted, and so we decided to get a three bedroom apartment.

Living with Havelock has been a great experience. He and he nephew are really good friends, and we all learned a lot from each other. Sometimes it was challenging to have someone else live with us, but it was definitely worth it.

As he prepared to leave, I experienced my first taste of what it's like to send your kids off to college. It's a little scary, because after they leave, they're kind of on their own. You just kind of have to trust in them and the Lord that they're going to be okay. I'd always kind of assumed parents couldn't wait to get their kids out of the house once they turned 18, but now I understand that letting your kids leave is also an exercise on faith.
Here's a picture of us with Havelock and our snake.

I'm sure Havelock will be just fine. All of us have matured since he came to live with us, and I think he's really enjoying the college life, even though he's not going to college. He's just learning to be independent. He felt like it was time to move out, and so he got his own apartment up on campus. Luckily, campus allows non-students to live in their apartments.

Dakota (our dog) was in a lot of pain Sunday night. I woke up to hear her panting at a million miles an hour. Thinking she needed to go outside, I took her out, but after we came in, she continued to pant. She calmed down a little bit, but a couple of house later I woke up to hear her breathing very quickly again. Grig took her out, (I was busy with Kevin), and he said he thought she was in pain from her arthritis because she didn't really need to go and she was hobbling down the stairs.

She laid down on the floor in obvious distress. So, after I finished feeding Kevin, I got off the bed and laid next to her. I proceeded to give her a full-body massage. As I worked on her sore muscles, her breathing slowed and she fell asleep.

She was able to sleep the rest of the night, but the next day, she was still very still and sore.

So...last night I gave her a bath. She's funny, because she doesn't like to get into the bathtub, but once she's in there, she'll relax and lay down in the water. I massaged soap into her fur and gave her another massage as she relaxed in the water.  When we finished, I dried her off and she was a completely different dog! She went running around the house and for the rest of the evening, she was relaxed. She didn't even pant. It was bizarre because she pants all the time, but she was so quiet that I had to keep looking around to find where she was.

I'm glad that helped her so much. We might need to look into getting her some pain meds. Poor girl. At almost 14 years old, she's starting to fall apart. I guess that's what happens when animals and people age. Grig and I are trying to decide if we should get another dog before she leaves us, or after. It's a hard decision to make, and hard to think about her dying at all.

We'll at least wait to think about it until after our trip back east this summer. We're going to be driving across the entire country to visit family. I'm pretty excited. I love road trips, though we're not sure if Kevin is going to. It's going to be at least 32 hours on the road.

Well, that's about it for now. It's been a crazy few days, and this week is looking to be equally crazy, but good!

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Boy and His Snake; Vlog 25

Mormon Monday: Taking Time for the One

On Sunday, Grig and I watched a video about the life of President Thomas S. Monson, the current prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. Here's a link if you're interested as well:

It was an interesting video, but one thing stuck out more than anything else to me. Time and time again, President Monson would be in a meeting and receive inspiration to leave the meeting and go help someone.

There was one story in particular that caught my attention. A little girl was dying of cancer, and she and her parents felt like she needed to have a blessing from an apostle. After prayerful consideration, they decided to travel to Salt Lake and have the then Elder Monson give their daughter a blessing.

However, her condition worsened and they were unable to make the journey. Instead, Elder Monson was assigned to come to their area to speak to the saints there. This girl and her parents were sure that the Lord had sent Elder Monson to their region so that their daughter could receive the blessing she desired. Elder Monson was approached about going to visit the girl over 80 miles away, but after looking at his schedule, he felt he simply didn't have time. He had too many meetings.

However, as he sat in one of those meetings, these words came strongly into his mind. "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:14)

He quickly reorganized his schedule so that he could be at that home the next day.

The girl passed away soon after, but he talked about how strong the spirit was in that home, and what an incredible experience it was.

This story made me think. How often do we get carried away in the duties of our churches (whatever church we may belong to) and overlook a need right in front of us because we are trying to fulfill our obligations. 

This story reminded me that the church was put on the earth to bring all of us to Christ and to come to know and love our brothers and sisters. The individuals should always come before the church. The church was made for the individuals, not the other way around. If we are neglecting our brothers and sisters because we are too busy with our church callings, then even if we are keeping all the other commandments we are not doing the Lord's will. We need to be careful that we don't get so caught up in "being righteous" that we forget to open our eyes and listen for the Spirit to guide us. 

The Lord always took his time to see to the needs of individuals.

We need to do the same. 

It's something I'm determined to work on as well.