Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dyeing Easter Eggs

So far, our Easter schedule is working out great.

Yesterday, we spent nearly the whole day cleaning our house. For only having lived here for a couple of months, you wouldn't think it was that dirty. Some of what we cleaned was from the previous occupants. Grig washed the windows on the outside and the difference is spectacular!

The house feels great, and I would nearly feel comfortable letting the Savior come and visit. That was the whole point.

After we finished cleaning, we dyed Easter eggs. It was Kevin's first time, and he loved it!

He dropped his first egg into our plastic cups of dye, causing the fluid to slosh everywhere. After that, he was more careful. He was really excited when he pulled the first egg out and it had turned blue.

After his second egg was finished, though, he told us the eggs were done and he didn't want to dye them anymore. He had a great time, though.
Here are all of our eggs. From left to right (we had two eggs each, we put our eggs in the same column) you have Kevin's eggs, my eggs, Grig's eggs, and Argent's eggs. She left just before we remembered to take pictures.

Today, we were going to go on a family hike, but Grig and I ended up make a hike to the temple instead. That was also appropriate, we felt, because mountains are often symbolic of temples in the scriptures. We still want to go on a hike this week, but we ran out of time today. Grig had a fishing appointment with a friend, and by the time we returned home, it was nearly time for him to leave.

We put some desks together that a family member had given us, and reorganized some furniture.

Things looked pretty great afterward.

We're still hoping to be able to go on a hike at some point this week. We're looking forward to it.

For anyone who's wondering why Grig is at home instead of at work, it is not his fault. They told everyone in his department not to come in this week. They use the excuse that they don't have enough parts, but some of Grig's co-workers told him that they do this nearly every year to match the kids' Spring Break. He'll be back to work next week, and even though we don't appreciate the reduced paycheck, we are grateful to have him around so much. We've been having a fun time.

It's made Easter week that much more special!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mormon Monday: New Easter Traditions

As a fairly new married couple (only three years so far), we are still establishing family traditions.

One of the things that we really wanted to do was to make Easter less about bunnies and more about Christ. We wanted to focus the whole week on the Savior and what he did for us. So, after a discussion last Monday, we came up with the following plan for every day of this week:

Palm Sunday:

This is the day Christ rode into Jerusalem.

Put this scripture in an Easter egg and hide it for Adam to find.

Mark 11: 1-11

We then go outside and find the best plant that we would give to the Savior. We can press our flower or leaf in the pages of a book to flatten it.

Cleansing Monday:

This is the day Christ cleansed the temple.

Hide this scripture in an Easter egg and hide it for Adam to find.

Mark 11:12-19

After reading the scripture, we “cleanse” the house. Everyone helps to make the house as temple clean as possible. Once everyone has helped, we dye Easter eggs for FHE.

Teaching Tuesday:

This is the day that Christ delivered his last sermon about the last days and contended with the Pharisees.

Hide this scripture in an Easter egg and hide it for Adam to find.

Mark 11: 20-Mark 13:37

As a family, go on a hike up a mountain and read these scriptures.

Bring figs (or fig newtons) and talk about the fig tree.

Service Wednesday

This is the day that the woman anointed Christ with perfume and Judas Iscariot contrived to betray the Savior.

Place this scripture in an Easter egg and hide it for Adam to find.

Mark 14:1-11

Do an act of service for someone as the woman did for the Savior. List reasons why we love each family member and we’re glad they’re part of our family. Play family game such as hide and seek or capture the flag.

Passover Thursday

This is the day of the last supper and the Passover.

Place this scripture in an Easter egg and hide it for Adam to find.

Mark 14:12-51

Eat lamb, fish, and unleavened bread. Drink grapejuice (or grape-flavored kool-aid).

Good Friday

This is the day that Christ was crucified.

Mark 14:53-15:45

Watch video To This End Was I Born. Can also watch church bible videos.

Do Easter egg hunt! Explain how eggs symbolize Christ’s rebirth (resurrection) that will be celebrated on Sunday.

Holy Saturday

Mark 15:46-47; 1 Peter 4:6; D&C 138

This is when Christ was in the tomb. He was also preaching to the dead. For this day, we’ll spend some time working on family history and watching family videos.

Easter Sunday

This is the resurrection of the Savior. Have Easter treats Sunday morning when the children wake up. 

Have the following scripture in one of the eggs.

Mark 16: 1-20

Read scripture as a family and watch videos about the Savior. Sing hymns. Eat candy.

So, that's our plan. So far it's going pretty well. We have been cleaning all morning, and we're taking our first break. Feel free to steal any of our ideas. Our hope is that as we focus on the Savior this week, that Easter will have more significance and will be more about Jesus Christ.

Portrait of Christ smiling

Friday, March 20, 2015

New Betta and Other Changes

We have a new betta fish.

I wish I could say that it was because the first one was doing so well that we decided to purchase another, but that would be untrue.

Ichimaru Gin died yesterday.

In fact, yesterday was kind of a rough day for me.

I got a lot of wonderful things done, but between killing the fish and a couple of other things, I was a pretty sad puppy. Sometimes it's really nice to have a kind husband who can just hold you when you cry and doesn't blame you for killing your fish, even when he liked him too.

So, evidently there is this thing called temperature shock. If you put the fish into water that differs too much from the water they are currently in, they can go into shock and die very quickly. The water doesn't even have to be dangerously warm. If just has to be different. Yesterday, I changed Gin's water and put him back in his tank.

He began to swim around, and in retrospect, I realize that he was swimming frantically. Then he began to jump at the surface of the water. I had never seen him do that before and it bothered me. I wasn't sure if he was happy because the water was clean, or if something was wrong.

I don't know all that much about fish.

Anyway, within a couple of minutes he seemed to have settled down near the plants at the bottom, and I figured he was okay. However, a few seconds later, I saw that he was only his side and not moving. I quickly got him out of his vase and tried to help him, but I was too late.

It's probably stupid, but I was pretty sad. I really liked Gin. He was a fun little guy and I didn't mean to kill him.

Kevin doesn't understand death at his age. When I told him that I had accidentally killed his fish, he said, "Yay!" and clapped his hands. It was kind of funny. However, when I told him that his fish was gone, he got pretty sad.

I couldn't bear the sight of the empty bowl, so when Grig got home I asked him if we could go get another fish. He agreed and we headed off to Petsmart.

So, here is our new fish. We named him Abarai Renji.

It's just Renji for short. We're hoping to keep him alive much longer than Gin. He's a really beauty. Renji is a half-moon betta, and he's a little bit shyer than Gin was, but he's starting to get comfortable.

Yesterday, we also picked up our new toilet. After a lot of discussion and some internet searches, we got it put together. Here is the finished product:
Goodbye, leaky, non-flushing toilet!

That was a good way to end yesterday evening.

Whenever I start to feel sad or overwhelmed, I have a couple of wonderful helpers who always perk my spirits up.

The other day, I made a blanket fort for Kevin. After we made it, Kevin and I were playing when I suddenly looked around and realized that Arkhon was missing. I called for him, and to my surprise, he came out of the fort.

I think he liked it even more than Kevin did.
Dakota and Arkhon are finally friends I think. They sometimes play together, though he can still drive her nuts.

It's obvious that he loves her, and sometimes, just sometimes, you can tell she loves him back.

Why else would she let him use her as a pillow?
I have a lot of blessings, and I'm so grateful for our new home. Little by little, it's really starting to look great.

It been great having my sister-in-law (Argent) here. She's been super-helpful, and I've really enjoyed getting to know her better.

There are always trials, but we know we'll make it through them, as long as we stick together.
It helps when you wake up your husband before you take a selfie.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Life with an Old Dog

Two nights ago, Dakota got in big trouble.

Beautiful Old Dog
Often when we go to sleep, she just stays out in the living room. We've never had trouble with her doing that, and so we don't worry about it.

However, the other night we had fried chicken. Evidently the smells coming from the trashcan were too much for the old girl. I woke up at about 1:30 a.m. to the sounds of her stressed panting coming from the living room. Thinking she needed to go outside, I asked Grig (which I shouldn't have done, but I don't always think well when I first wake up) to go let her outside. He got up, and Dakota came scrambling into the room and immediately laid down. Then I heard Grig make an angry sound.

Dakota had gotten into the trash, and after eating chicken bones and moldy meatballs, and suddenly needed to use the bathroom. Who knows why (said with sarcasm).

So, when Grig walked out, he found to puddles and one pile of poop. I got up to clean it up so Grig could go back to bed and Dakota slept the rest of the night outside. It's been fairly warm and she has a good coat on her, so she did just fine.

Then, yesterday we decided to go on a walk. I wasn't going to bring Dakota because she's so old and sore, but she refused to be left behind. So, we brought her with us. We weren't intending to walk very far, but two blocks away from our home we found a wallet on the ground. We looked through it to find some information about the owner, and though we found a driver's license and address, it was too far away for us to return (walking) and so we decided to take it to the police station that I had seen the other day. I knew it was within ten blocks, so we decided to find it.

It turned out to be exactly 1.3 miles away. She did okay on the way there, but on the way back, she was really struggling. I felt bad, but we only had only one way to get home.

She made it, but she was super-tired when we got there. She drank and then collapsed on the floor and said she was never moving again.

What a trooper. She reminded me of the scripture (Mark 14:38) "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

She a little sore today, but doing pretty well. Hopefully the guy got his wallet back from the police department.

Sometimes it's a bit of a struggle to have an older dog. She can't hear as well and she can be a bit of a stinker (quite literally sometimes), but I wouldn't give her away for the world. She been with me through a lot. She doesn't have long probably, but we're going to cherish the time we have. Even when it isn't always a good time, it's still time, and we get to spend it with her.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Review Wednesday: The Shadow Rising

The Shadow Rising
Author: Robert Jordan
Length: 980 pages
(My) Rating: PG13

The Shadow Rising is one of my favorite books in the Wheel of Time series. It was a happy addition for me after The Dragon Reborn, which had caused me to wonder if my favorite character had gone insane. The Shadow Rising really explained a lot of his actions in the previous book.

Rand has now accepted that he is the Dragon Reborn. Having conquered Tear, he now travels with the Aiel into The Waste to see if he can achieve their loyalty as well. As he proves himself to this hardened people with their strange culture, he learns more about his own history and future. 

Egwene is also experiencing training with the Aiel, while Mat is compelled to come with them in order to save his own life. They both are permanently changed by what they will experience..

Meanwhile, Perrin travels to the Two Rivers to save his home from White Cloaks by giving himself up. Unable to prevent the woman he loves from following him, he must struggle with her stubbornness as he fights his own internal struggle with the wolves. Once he reaches his home, he is surprised to find that it is filled Trollocs and other horrors. He must put aside his own plans and become the leader and hero that he was meant to be.

The Shadow Rising does a great job of giving each character equal time and really moving the plot along. I really enjoy the Aiel and most aspects of their culture. Though it is probably one of the most foreign cultures that Jordan creates, I feel like it might be the one he put the most love into as well. 

The history of the Aiel is revealed in an interesting and different way, and all of the characters experience fascinating growth. 

As well-written as all of his series, The Shadow Rising stands out in my mind as one of the books that has a lot of really important events told concisely . While some of the later books begin to drag a little, The Shadow Reborn is fast-paced and interesting. I can't think of any complaints that I had in this book. 

This is really the one where Mat, Perrin, and Egwene begin to grow as characters and becomes far more interesting. 

Though it is the longest book yet, I find that it is a pretty quick read that I have a hard time putting down. 


On my scale, this book is probably PG13. There is very little in the way of sexual content though the Aiel are not shy about nudity. However, though nudity is mentioned, it is not described. This particular book contains violence, but again it usually fairly non-graphic. Though there are plenty of descriptions, Jordan does not dwell on the blood or violence. The violence is an integral part of the story, but not the reason for the story. 

The world that Robert Jordan has created also has its own swear words, which are inoffensive in general. There are a few British swear words that have made their way into the book, but those are few and far between. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mormon Monday: Prayer

This weekend, we went and visited my family in Idaho. The twins (two of my younger sisters) did a great job with their homecoming talks. It was both sad and happy to see how much they've grown individually.

Sad, because they've grown apart a bit, but happy because they're becoming individuals and starting to live their own lives. I can't really understand what it is like for them; I've never been a twin. However, I am praying that they both find individual happiness wherever life will take them. 

During church, my dad taught a lesson about prayer.

Sometimes I think that prayer is really misunderstood. We start a prayer like we're ordering a pizza. We tell our Heavenly Father what we want, and then hang up, expecting prompt delivery. 

However, prayer isn't like that. The LDS bible dictionary entry on prayer expresses it really well. 

As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.
Often prayer is thought to be us convincing our Heavenly Father of what we want. It is meant to be the opposite. The Lord knows what's best for us, and he's not going to give us confirmation of something that won't be best for us.

The purpose of prayer is to bring our will in line with our Heavenly Father's. Whenever I have been able to do that, it have been able to receive an answer much more quickly and with a lot more confidence that I'm doing the right thing.

It is also important to ask the right questions. A while ago, Grig was looking for a job, and after six months, he hadn't found one. It was becoming very difficult for him, and however much we prayed about where he was supposed to work, we simply weren't getting an answer. However, when we asked the question of where he was supposed to go to school, the answer came very quickly and within three days he had a job and we were moving.

It is also important to do your part. You can't just pray and expect the Lord to take care of everything. We have to do our best, and then He will take care of the rest.

Prayer has changed my life. I've received so many answers that have brought me so much happiness. I know prayer works and that anyone can pray. If we are truly trying and seeking answers, the Lord will provide.

I know this is true. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Twin Mission Homecoming

On Tuesday, my sister came home from her mission. Her twin, my other younger sister, had also been out on a mission, but due to health problems with her knee had to come home early.

Tomorrow, we are traveling to Idaho to hear them talk about their missions and to see them again. I'm pretty excited to see them, but they sure have changed since they were little.

Sometimes I think that this is how I remember them best:

They sure have changed since 1997, when this image was taken. When they were little they had super curly hair, and they were pretty funny. I loved being able to have a baby on each hip and feeling really strong. 

One of the memories that I laugh about now, if when I was in 4th or 5th grade and it was  Valentine's Day. I really loved candy when I was a kid, and I knew that this was going to be the last year that all of my classmates gave me goodies. 

I intended to eat the candy that I received slowly, so I could savor this final Valentine's gift. I knew I was unlikely to ever receive such a wonderful horde again, so I rationed out how much I was going to eat and how long I was going to make it last. 

It seems pretty silly now, but for some reason is meant a lot to me at the time. 

So, when I came home from school to find that all my candy had been eaten by the twins, I was super angry. I raged and I cried and didn't know if I'd ever be able to forgive them for eating my precious candy. 

I'm over it, though I think I terrified them for a while. I had a pretty good temper when I was a kid. 

Hopefully that isn't the only memory of me that they have. 

It will be good to visit with family. I miss them when I don't see them for a while. My sister-in-law, who has decided to be called Argent, is staying with our dogs over the weekend, so we can travel without our puking puppy. That's very kind of her. 

On Wednesday, I called home and one of the twins answered the phone. I knew the younger twin wasn't coming home until Thursday night, so I talked to the older one for a while. Suddenly, the sister I was talking to stopped and asked me if I knew who I was talking to. I told her, and she laughed. I was actually talking to the younger twin. She had come home on Tuesday night, and not Thursday night. I was pretty glad I'd called home, even though I'd had the dates wrong. It was good to talk to her over the phone. 

We look forward to seeing both of them tomorrow. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why I've Been Gone

It's nearly been two weeks since I last blogged. For those of you who eagerly look forward to my blogs every day (if there is anyone like that out there), I sincerely apologize.

My mother-in-law drove clear across the country to drop my sister-in-law off at our home. My sister-in-law, who has yet to pick her pseudonym will be living with us for the next while. My mother-in-law also was able to stay with us for a week and a half, and we had a great time while she was here.

However, we also had a very busy time, and with all the commotion and fun, I haven't really had a chance to blog much.

We really enjoyed having Grig's mother come and visit us. We did a lot of fun things with her, and we were sad to see her leave this morning.

We did some pretty fun activities while she was in town.

It snowed last week, and for the first time, Kevin was able to build a real snowman (with some help, of course).

Awesome snowman.

The dogs were wanting to help too.

One of the nicest things that happened for Grig and I occurred last Thursday through Friday. Grig's mom was very kind and stayed with Kevin overnight while Grig and I went to a place called Anniversary Inn. It is a themed hotel, and we were able to stay at the Swiss Family Robinson room. We are especially grateful that she allowed us to celebrate our anniversary and Valentine's Day while she was here.

Here's some pictures of our room.

Grig loved this plecostomus. 

We had a great time here, and we really loved the two person Jacuzzi. It was very relaxing.

The next day, we went to Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. It was really fun to spend some one on one time with my husband, though we missed Kevin. We were sure that he would have loved the zoo, but it was nice to have time alone with Grig.

 We also got a chance to test our our new camera and it took some extraordinary closeups of some of the animals.

 At one point, we were looking for the tiger, and we couldn't find it. So, we turned around to leave and found the tiger ten feet over our heads staring down at us. It was so close we could smell it, and it kind of scared me a little. They had a catwalk built over the trail and signs telling people not to climb on it.
Here he is scenting the air.

Here's my favorite!

I liked this picture I took.
We got back home late Friday night.

We also gotten a lot of projects done while Grig's mother was here. She's been very kind and helped us out with quite a few things.

Kevin was pretty sad to have his grandma leave. They really enjoyed each other's company. Tonight he was asking after Grandma. He loves her very much.

Thanks for everything, Grandma! We love you!