Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why We're Not Going to the Grand Canyon

A couple months ago, Grig decided he needed a vacation. I agree. He's been working really hard, and has been in near-constant pain for the last couple of months.

We decided that we would take our vacation after he finishes his class. We didn't have enough money this year to go back to Virginia, so we decided that we were going to go to the Grand Canyon. We picked our week, but everytime we went to make reservations (we were just going to camp there for $18 a day), we hesitated and decided not too. Soon we found that there are campsites that don't allow reservations, and we decided to try our luck with those. They are first come, first serve, and we felt good about gambling on getting a spot.

We had a bit in savings, and so we weren't too worried about paying for our trip to Arizona, especially since there is an extra payday in May for us.

However, the more I thought about it, the more the Grand Canyon began to feel wrong. Grig and I talked about it, and we decided that we probably should just stay close to home and go camping nearby. It would be a lot cheaper, we could bring the dogs, and if something was forgotten or something went wrong, we could just go home.

Once we had decided that, I began to feel a lot better.

And that's when things started to go wrong.

First, we found out that the L5 vertebrae in Grig's back is out of alignment. It has a really technical name, but essentially it means that he is in pain all the time and his only options are stretches or surgery. We're hoping he can build the strength back up without fusing his vertebrae together, but we'll see what the Lord has planned. Anyway, so that took some of our savings.

Then, a few days after that discovery, the battery light came on in the car. Our registration was expiring anyway, so when we took the car in for a safety inspection, we had them check that as well. It turns out that our alternator was dying. We ended up having to buy a new one, and then register that car for another $60+.

There went our entire savings. Then, we found out that Grig doesn't have work next week. Sometimes Grig's employer is very frustrating. They will just tell all their employees not to come in and they won't pay them for the time off. It can make things pretty scary.

Now, the extra paycheck in May is just going to be a regular paycheck to make up for the 1/2 of a paycheck in June.

This blog isn't written to complain, but rather to explain our situation.

We'd decided before all these bad things happened that we should stay closer to home, and now we know why.

I am so grateful that we were listening to the Spirit. I'm so glad we didn't make reservations at the Grand Canyon. If we had, we wouldn't have money to pay for our bills, and we would have been in trouble. We'll have more opportunities to go there, but for now, we can enjoy this wonderful home that we've been blessed with.

We can be grateful that my husband has a job, and is still capable of working and going to school.

We can be grateful that we have sufficient money to pay our bills and buy groceries. We can be grateful that my sister-in-law lives with us and helps out as much as she can.

We have so many blessings that every time I start to worry about money, I feel a little guilty. I KNOW the Lord will provide, but sometimes I can't help but stress. I don't like living paycheck to paycheck. It is stressful, but it also makes me much more aware of the blessings that the Lord gives us.

Though I am a bit disappointed, I am grateful that we're not going to the Grand Canyon this year. If we had to have car problems again, we do have money right now to take care of them, and that is also a blessing.

So, yeah, our vacation isn't going to be what we planned, but we're still going to have fun anyway. As long as I'm with Grig and Kevin, we can pretty much do anything and have a good time.

Kevin's face doesn't look like he's having a good time :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Book Review Wednesday: Song in the Silence

Song in the Silence: The Tale of Lanen Kaelar
Author: Elizabeth Kerner
Length: 384 pages
(My) Rating: PG13
Click here to purchase
Many people haven't heard of this book, or the two that follow it. Personally, this is one of my all-time favorite books. 

Lanen Kaelar is an orphan. Her mother abandoned her when she was a baby, and the man who she thought was her father has just passed away. All of her life, she has wanted to travel and in her heart she feels drawn to meet the true-dragons, who may not be real. At the death of her father, she finally is free to follow her dreams. 

However, as she leaves her home, she learns that she isn't who she thinks she is. Her father is actual a man who, even before she was born, promised her to demons and is bent on fulfilling that promise. If that wasn't enough, she finds her way to the true dragons, and finds herself entangled in romance, fate, and destiny. 

This book is really well written. I think I first read it around 2003, and there are a few strange things that might make people uncomfortable. 

*Spoiler*, (Lanen falls in love with a dragon, though it is resolved really well.) 

The book is fast-paced and exciting. Humans are the real villains in this story, and as many enemies as Lanen finds, she also finds a number of allies, human and otherwise. 

The characters are interesting, and the mythology is fun. I really like that the deities in the book (the Lady and the Wind) are very proactive in the protagonists' lives. They are directing events, and it is very obvious that things are happening for a reason. 

I love Lanen. She is a fun protagonist. She is described as not particularly beautiful, but full of life. She is not a Mary Sue, and I like that about her. She is not a good swordswoman, though she is tall and strong. I think she reminded me a bit of myself.

I also really like the dragons. They are not perfect, but she portrays them really well as an older, longer-lived race. It is fun to hear the conversations between the humans and the dragons. 

I would recommend this book to everyone. There are a couple things that bother me, but the intimate scenes are very vague and non-specific. So, though it bothered me on a moral level that a couple in the story were intimate before marriage, there were no visuals to go with the fact, so I found it still readable. 

Other than that, and some swearing, I have no qualms about this book or series. It constantly surprised me, and was not your run-of-the-mill fantasy about dragons. I'm still holding out hope that the author will publish more of these. They are delightful!

Parental Guide

I would rate this book PG-13 on my scale. There is swearing, but it is at a PG-13 level (no f-words or worse). There is violence, but usually it is not very descriptive. Much of the violence occurs to dragons or demons. 

As far as sexual content goes, there is a scene where a man tries to seduce a woman using amulets. The woman resists and nothing really happens, which is great because later you find out they're related. That was a little disturbing, but more because the man is a complete dirtbag. There is also, as I mentioned early, some intimacy between characters, but there is no description of the events, which I really appreciate. These two characters are also married shortly thereafter. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dog Parties and Memorial Day

We've had a fun weekend! 

Friday, we had a friend come and stay with us for the weekend. She has dark hair, half-pricked ears, walks around on all fours, and sometimes whines. 

She is Arkhon's (spayed) girlfriend, and her name is Sophie.
This is possibly my favorite picture that I have ever taken.
Sophie's flexibility is impressive.

 She stayed with us from Friday -Monday. She and Arkhon had a great time. He was pretty exhausted by the time she went home. It was also really nice to have Grig home for an extra day.

Saturday, we had some friends over, and they brought Arkhon's brother along with them. For a few hours, we had four dogs in our house and backyard. It was pretty fun, but also hardened my resolve that we will never have more than two adult dogs at a time. More than that gets kind of crazy.

(I said that to my grandpa, and he told me that more than zero dogs is crazy. I laughed. He doesn't like dogs very much, but we get along just fine.)
Two brothers playing. 
Arkhon and his brother. Arkhon's brother is the one closer to the front. I gave him a haircut Friday too. 

Dakota is still the queen of the house. One bark from her, and everyone immediately calms down. 
 For the most part things went well. Occasionally, there was a bit of jealousy, but everyone played together and had a great time.
Kevin loved having Sophie over!

As always, he and Arkhon are best friends.
 Monday, we left home for a bit and went to spend time with family, both living and dead. Kevin had a really good time, which surprised me. When I was younger, I thought going to the cemetery was kind of boring. Now I enjoy it a lot more, especially since I'm beginning to know more about the people that we were visiting.
Kevin in front of some family graves. 
I had a lot of thoughts about Memorial Day, and some friends and family on my mind who I know have lost loved ones recently. I hope that the day brought joyful memories instead of agonizing pain from separation.

It is interesting how disconnecting we often are with our ancestors. We give little thought to how we got where we are today, or the people who are still influencing the way we've been raised and who've we've become.

I'm trying to learn about my ancestors. Not just their names, but who they really are. I don't always do a good job of researching, but I'm learning. The more I learn about my ancestors,the more I realize that they are real people who are quite a bit like me.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I hope you had a chance to honor those who've gone before and left us their legacy. I can only hope I am representing my ancestors well and that they're watching me with pride, and not shame. I'm still a work in progress, but I know as I look to their examples, that I'll keep making improvements.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's Raining, It's Pouring

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing really well.

Kevin and I were getting out on walks, I was keeping a schedule, and I was nearly getting everything done on my list.

It felt great!

"And then came the rain" -and I quote from Rock-a-Doodle.
For the past couple of weeks, it seems like it has been pouring every day. It has made it difficult to do anything for some reason. I think we started getting cabin fever. Even the dogs weren't allowed outside as much, and it was causing the energy levels in our home to rise.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love a good, WARM rain. I like to go out and splash in puddles and get soaking wet and dirty. However, spring rains are not warm. In fact, it's been snowing in the mountains. We're super grateful for it, but it makes me cold, and once I get cold it takes forever to get warm again.

On top of the rain, my schedule got thrown off from some late nights of baby-sitting. We were happy to help, but it's hard to get up at 6:00 a.m. when I don't get to bed until 3:00 a.m.

As well as I do on small amounts of sleep, I've never been very good at the actual waking up part. I sleep very deeply, and so it takes my brain a while to emerge once I actually fall asleep. I sleep through most alarm clocks.
If I hit snooze one time, it's like my brain says, "That noise is now irrelevant. You can ignore it from now on." My cell phone alarms are one of the few things that consistently wake me up. I try not to use them unless I absolutely intend to get up when it goes off, or it becomes irrelevant noise too.

My first few years of college, it got so bad that I had radio static turned on full blast, and often I couldn't even hear that. This problem of mine made me late to a few classes and late to work occasionally. Not a good thing, and I still feel awful about it.

Okay...that was a really long tangent.

Anyway, it finally stopped raining yesterday, so Kevin, Arkhon, and I went on a walk. It was beautiful. We stopped to visit some friendly horses, and Kevin got a little scared when I brought him close to them, which surprised me, but they were awfully big! He finally worked up enough courage to pet one on the nose and then he pulled his arms back really quickly. Arkhon got to say hello to them too, but he was just as nervous as Kevin was.

After that, we went to a neighbor's house, and Arkhon got to play with his friend, a big Siberian husky. Kevin calls him, "Batman Dog." His real name is Lakota. Arkhon and Lakota are best friends and they ran all around our neighbor's yard. We have some pretty great neighbors. As soon as the dogs started to play, Kevin said, "I play too!" I let him out of the stroller and immediately he was chasing the dogs around the yard. Everything went well until he got knocked over, and the husky sailed over his head, clipping Kevin's head with his back paw. Kevin cried for a minute, got a "Mommy Kiss" and went right back to playing.
This dog looks a bit like "Batman Dog"
"Batman Dog" is so big that he can put Arkhon's whole head into his mouth. Arkhon always comes home with a wet, slimy head and a big grin. He loves playing with other dogs.

Our crazy puppy
After we came home, we started to clean the house. At the time when Grig usually comes home, I got a call from him, where he informed me that we had a flat tire.


I had been planning on mowing the lawn with a lawn mower that some other neighbors were willing to let us borrow until our new mower arrived.

Did I mention we have great neighbors?

However, in light of his news, I decided to leave Kevin with Argent, and go get the mowing done while it wasn't raining. Clouds were starting to appear, and I knew I didn't have much time.

I left Kevin inside and ran over. I started mowing and things were going well. After about 15 minutes, Argent came outside with a worried look on her face.

She informed me that Kevin had fallen asleep. I told her that was okay, it would make watching him easier. She's very sweet and expressed her concern that I wouldn't get any sleep that night. At the moment, I was just happy that he was calm while I was working.

He continued to mow and completed the front yard.

Then, I moved on to the backyard. As I began, I was hit with a few drops of rain. Praying that it wouldn't really get going until I finished, I hastened my pace.

I finished just before the rain began to really come down. Our lawn looks pretty good now, if I do say so myself. It's still lacking in grass in a few spots, but that will be fixed in time.

Today we had a clear sunny morning and Kevin and I went to play in the backyard. He had a great time, and I got some weeding done. I think our garden may be sprouting something besides weeds! It's hard to say, and only time will tell.

Things are going well for us, except for car troubles, but what else is new? We were planning on going on a vacation this summer to the Grand Canyon, but in light of car repairs, I think we're just going to go camping locally. It will be fun and much cheaper.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Thoughts on Motherhood and Infertility

I have been writing a lot lately about how much things have changed over the last couple of years. This post is written, in part, for Mother's Day this week, but also as a way to vent some feelings.

It is hard to believe how old my baby's getting. Today we were playing, and he holds up his hands and says, "Whoa, whoa, whoa." He obviously thought we needed to take a break.

It was really cute, and everyday he is understanding and communicating better.

I love my little guy.

It's not always easy to be a stay-at-home mom, but to be honest, it's all I've ever wanted. Whenever life gets kind of aggravating, and I find myself losing patience with my son, I have to remind myself that not only is this what I asked for, but I want more of the crazy little tykes.

In all honesty, we've been struggling for a while to get pregnant again. It's been over two years since we started trying. I can never fully understand what couples with infertility go through because I have Kevin, but I will say empathy has grown profoundly toward you, and you have my respect.

The hard thing is, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with us, and every month I get my hopes up, and then they are crushed. I have struggled to have faith and to put my trust in the Lord, but every time I've heard someone announce they're pregnant, or seen a new-born baby, pain strikes at my heart and I weep internally. I truly am happy for them, but I also sorrow because my empty arms ache to hold a little one.

Kevin is less of a baby every day. He helps me and hinders me, but he is slowly learning. The man that is inside him continues to emerge, and though it's a wonderful journey, it can be a somewhat sad one as well. I wouldn't change him for the world, but I desperately want him to have younger siblings. He's going to be such a great big brother.

I was born into a family with ten children. My parents are incredible people and my mother was blessed to be able to stay home with us. I've always wanted a big family. When Grig asked me how many kids I wanted, I told him, "Eight."

I asked him how many he wanted, and he told me, "Four or five."

We've gotten to the point now where we're happy with as many as the Lord will send us.

We've talked about adoption, but we haven't felt that the time was right for that yet, either. That doesn't mean it's out of the question, it just means "not now."

We feel that the time is drawing near for the next baby to come to our home, and I am trying to keep having faith. It is difficult, but I have learned a lot from this trial. I've learned to appreciate Kevin so much more, and it's been great to get to know him one on one.

He has taught me a lot.

I've also learned that it's easy to have faith for a while, but after months and months, it becomes difficult. Doubt begins to creep in, and we wonder if something isn't wrong with us. It is easy to wonder if we're doing something wrong, and we begin to look internally instead of externally to the source of all hope and truth.

I have also learned to lean more on my husband. He is a great man, and has been a huge support to me throughout all of this. I've never loved him more, but I also know that my love for him will continue to grow. He is a great provider and protector for our family. He is also a great father. Kevin looks forward eagerly all day for his dad to come home and play with him.

Being a mom is challenging. I never thought I would struggle with infertility. Kevin came so quickly after we were married that the nurses dubbed me "fertile myrtle." I thought it was funny, and I thought we'd have lots of children right in a row.

Obviously that isn't what's best for our family. I know the Lord has a plan for us, and that things will happen when they are supposed to. I know the Lord wants us, and when we have righteous desires he opens the way for us to do as He has commanded.

We will have more children. I know this is true. I just have to keep up my faith.

For all of those who struggle or who have struggled with infertility, know that you are in my prayers. There are many things I have not yet experienced in this life, but there is someone who has. Turn to your Heavenly Father, and through Christ's grace we can find comfort as we struggle in this life.

I have.

Future Baby

I see you there,
In your mother's arms.
She holds you close 
and you gaze at her.

Your love and adoration
prick my very soul,
and inside I sob
longing for my own.

My arms ache for a tiny form
to nestle inside of them.
My heart hurts as those around me
ignore my pain.

They don't know I'm suffering. 
They don't know I'm bereft.
They can't see through my mask
and water leaks through the cracks.

Then light fills me
I begin to glow.
Assurance has come
The doubt dissipates like dew.

 I can see you
Your hair dark
Your soul is pure
Your eyes meet mine

You are coming
And I await
With arms outstretched 
Ready to gather you home.

*I was feeling compelled to write poetry. I don't like to share poetry usually, because if I write it, it's intensely personal. Please forgive my lack of form. The thoughts didn't want to be restricted.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book Review Wednesday: The Magician's Nephew

The Magician's Nephew
Author: C. S. Lewis
Length: 208 pages
(My) Rating: G

Link to book here

Though The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first book that C. S. Lewis wrote, chronologically The Magician's Nephew is the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia

C. S. Lewis is a very talented writer. Though his books are written using simple language and with children in mind, there is a depth to them that I rarely find in other books. 

Nearly everything in The Magician's Nephew is allegorical, and that makes it even more interesting to read as an adult. Having read this book when I was much younger, it was fun to approach it again and read it with a more mature perspective. 

Lewis writes with an older style and for those who are used to modern books, it could be fairly easy to get bogged down in detail occasionally. This book starts off a little slowly with two children who become friends over their neighboring fence and decide to explore a crawl-space that runs all through their street. 

While trying to sneak into an abandoned house, they instead find themselves in the boy's attic where he's been forbidden to go. He is confronted by his uncle, who is a magician. The uncle tricks the boy and his friend into traveling to another world where he makes a dreadful mistake.

This book delves into the creation of Narnia and provides an explanation for a lot of the things you'll find in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, such as where the light-post came from. It also contains the origin story for the White Witch and how she came to exist in Narnia. Aslan, as always, is an incredible symbol for Christ.

I highly recommend this book for all ages. Even if you aren't religious, it's a great fantasy story.

Parental Guide 

On my scale, this book is probably G.

There are no swear words in this book, and no sexual content. It is written for younger readers, and though it might be a bit intense at times, I feel that it is completely appropriate. It could be read aloud to any age, and I think they would enjoy it. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Backyard is a Wonderful Thing

This post isn't written to rub the fact that we have a backyard in your face.

I just wanted to point that out at the very beginning.

However, I am super grateful for our backyard, and even though it's been a lot of work, things are finally starting to look better.

That's not to say that we're done with it. In fact, our yard is currently in badly need of a haircut, but we haven't yet bought the trimmers.

It's been kind of weird actually. We decided on a lawnmower, and Grig went to the store to buy it. Both times he tried, his card would not work. There was plenty of money on the card, it just wouldn't work.

Every time since then, when I've planned to go to the store and pick up the lawnmower, it's been raining. We're not complaining, since it's free watering, but it does discourage lawn mowing. There's probably some reason we weren't supposed to buy it yet. I'm sure someday we'll know what that is.

Meanwhile, our grass keeps growing. Grig kind of likes how our backyard looks like a jungle right now. My only complaint is that it's getting hard to find the dog poop.

Oh well.

I love this picture!
Strangely, there are still bare patches, so it adds a lot of variety to our yard. We're hoping to re-seed those patches, but if we leave the grass alone, maybe it will go to seed and we won't have to?

It's worth hoping for.

Kevin, the dogs, and I spent some time outside today, and I finally had to bring the camera out because they were all being really cute.

It was a good day to take pictures. They were all super-photogenic.

It's such a nice thing to go outside, and not have to worry about keeping Kevin out of the road. I love just letting him run around and do his own thing, and not having to have the dogs leashed all the time. We love our house and we're super grateful to our Heavenly Father.

Later in the afternoon, Grig and Kevin climbed trees together. I wasn't here or I probably would have joined them. Or I might have taken pictures. They are really cute when they play together.

On a completely unrelated note, since some of you have been wondering, we still have our snake. He is getting bigger.

Kevin loves his snake. He becomes very sad when we put it away without letting him play with it. We have to keep reminding him to be gentle, and he's learning. Oryx (our snake) is getting a lot bigger. We might need to buy him a new cage soon.

Our fish is also still alive. I haven't killed Renji yet, and he's now lived longer than Gin. That's made me pretty happy.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mormon Monday: Where Your Treasure Is

Yesterday, in Sunday School, we were reading Luke 12: 34 and for some reason it really hit me. This particular scripture says:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Lately, we've gotten a bunch of car ads that have contests in them. You know, the ones where if you scratch off the number and it matches the number inside of the ad, you win something? Well, both times, we've won something.

We haven't taken turned them in. The first one, we didn't have time, and the second one, it was too far away.

Later, I talked to a friend, and she told me that she won a spin on the wheel and got five dollars. That was probably the same thing we won, and so I decided that I shouldn't worry about it anyway.

That didn't stop my mind from wondering what I'd do if we won $25,000.

Part of me likes to plan, so I thought, "How would I spend that money?"

We'd probably replace our roof (though we actually got it repaired on Friday, so that's not as much of a crisis anymore). We'd build a fence around our yard, and pay off Jacob's school debt. We'd put the rest into savings, except for enough to go on a trip to Virginia to visit family.

However, if you think about money for too long, especially free money that requires no work, you start thinking of other ways that you can earn money.

I applied for a job to be an adjunct teacher at BYU-Idaho. I wasn't accepted, but that extra money would have been really nice. Grig and I are not dying at the moment, but we're also don't have as much in savings as we'd like to. I have been a bit stressed about money lately, and so it's pretty easy to have it in my thoughts a lot.

The rest of the Luke chapter talks about how if we seek the kingdom of God first, everything else will be provided. It also stresses the fact that temporal treasures don't last forever, but the blessings and treasures that the Lord will provide us if we're faithful, will last for all eternity.

It helped put things into perspective for me. We've already been trying to live faithfully, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded that money is really nothing.

It is necessary to live on, right now, but eventually it will become obsolete. When that day comes, where are will my treasures be?

I've been combining our family videos from the day we got married onto dvds.

It has been a joy to watch Kevin change from a small baby into the adorable toddler that he is. It is hard to believe that so much has happened in the last three years. I have so many blessings, and occasionally when stresses for the future come, and forget about all the blessings.

I am going to make more of an effort to worry less about money, and more about helping others and serving my Heavenly Father. I know that as I do my best, and follow the promptings that I am given, that the Lord will guide me and will sustain our family.

Grig works really hard for us everyday, and I need to be more supportive and grateful to him as well. Sometimes when he gets home from work, it is hard not to say, "Take Kevin, I need a break." I need to remember that he needs to feel welcome, loved, and appreciated when he gets home.

It's nice to learn things I need to work on. It keeps things in perspective.

Matthew 6:19, 21, Our hearts are found with the things we treasure 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Book Review Wednesday: Pawn of Prophecy

Pawn of Prophecy
Author: David Eddings
Length: 262 pages
(My) Rating: PG
Click here to purchase book
This book series is one that I've enjoyed for a long time. Having finished, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, I felt the urge to read this one again. Pawn of Prophecy is the first book in David Eddings The Belgariad series. 

The book is excellent. It is written for a younger audience, and there are a few times where the writing isn't the best, but I highly enjoy these books. 

For the most part, the writing is concise and the world interesting. David Eddings' story takes place in what would seem a medieval time setting, but instead takes place on a completely imagined world which is ruled over by seven gods, each who have their own people.  

The story begins with a young boy named Garion who is being raised on a farm by his aunt. He lives a simple life, though occasionally, he sees a dark hooded figure watching him. As events unfold, his quiet normalcy is sent spinning into chaos and he finds out that his aunt and the old storyteller aren't who they appear to be. As he is dragged behind them into a quest that he doesn't understand, he begins to question who he is as well. 

The characters are, for the most part, well written and interesting. I especially like Garion's Aunt Pol, who is the most prominent female character in the story. I really came to love her when I read Polgara the Sorceress, but that is a different book entirely. 

This first book is very exciting and fast-paced. Eddings does a good job of creating not only a world, but a history, and he meshes some very different cultures that have similarities to real-life cultures (i.e. the French, the English, and the Romans.) 

His characters a likable, and as Garion discovers the world around him, more information is revealed about his past and the quest that he and his companions are engaged upon. 

I really like the way that the gods are active characters in this story. They are very real, and for the most part, have a positive impact on the humans around them. 

I have read this story a lot, and recommend it to fantasy lovers everywhere. 

Parental Guide:

On my scale, this book is probably G.

There are no swear words in this book, and no sexual content. There is some violence, which is explained with a bit of detail, but I don't feel as though it glorifies the violence. Instead, it seems to be trying to impress how terrible it really is. It could be read aloud to any age, and I think they would enjoy it. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Boy and His Dog

It seems such a short time ago that we decided to purchase a small puppy. 

He was a lot of work, but I enjoyed (almost) every minute of it. It's been fun to watch our toddler and our puppy grow up together, and I am pretty proud of both of them. 

Both Kevin and the puppy have certainly grown since last September. As of November, I started taking pictures of them in the same chair so that we could see more easily the changes in both the boy and his dog. 

So, here is a brief set of pictures to show exactly how much they have changed. 

 Mostly, the dog has gotten a lot bigger, while Kevin has matured a bit as well. And yes, I did Photoshop t-shirts on Kevin in a couple of the pictures. Don't want my son exposed after all. :)

Kevin loves his puppy. He loves his old dog as well, but she doesn't play very much. Kevin and Arkhon chase each other around almost all day and they really like to wrestle. One of their favorite games is for Kevin to hide under a blanket and Arkhon to try and get him out. Kevin laughs and laughs and you can tell that Arkhon is having a good time too. If he gets his nose under the blanket, he'll lick Kevin and tickle him.
Whenever we watch a youtube clip of a dog, Kevin immediately looks around to find Arkhon.

Arkhon is now completely housetrained. It has been a while since he's had an accident.

Dakota, on the other hand, has had a couple in the last few months. She's getting old, after all.

Arkhon has stopped chewing on toys, and now that the grass is longer, he isn't digging in the backyard anymore either. His main issue at the moment is that he gets really excited and will jump on people still, but we're working on it. He's a smart boy, and I'm confident that he'll get it as he matures and calms down.

We still haven't neutered him, but we have trained him not to hump, which is huge for me, because that's always been my least favorite part of male dogs. He occasionally will get too excited when he's playing with other dogs and try it on them, but we stop that pretty quickly. He's super submissive to other dogs and gets along with nearly every one of them.

However, he's also getting a good growl and bark on him. When people come in front of our house, he lets off a deep growl and then a good deep bark.

It's nice to have a guard dog around to keep my son safe.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mormon Monday: A Super Miracle

I have once again decided to attempt to manage my time better. So, Kevin and I went on a walk today.

As we were leaving, I opened the stroller and found Kevin's Superman toy that has been missing for a while. He was pretty excited to see it, and so I handed it too him. It was a gift from my parents, and it is one of Kevin's absolute favorite toys.

It essentially looks like this: link

I felt like maybe I shouldn't bring it, because he was likely to lose it, but I shrugged the feeling off and told myself that I'd notice if he dropped it.

We left poor Dakota home, because she's too sore to walk very far, and I wanted to run.

And run we did.

Every time I stopped, Kevin would say, "3..2..1..go!" If I didn't run immediately, he would say, "Mom, I said 3,2,1, go!" Until I ran again, he would continue protesting. It was fun, but I haven't really ran in a while, so I quickly became tired. Arkhon helped pull the stroller though, so I felt pretty good.

Needless to say, I quickly forgot about the toy that was in my son's hands. After a while, we took a break and I handed him an apple and drank some water.

We made a large circle of our neighborhood. We went about five blocks south, one block west, and then looped back toward home. On the way we stopped at a neighborhood park. Kevin played for a while and I stretched and ate my apple. Arkhon was pretty tired, but he'd gotten to swim in a canal for a bit, so he was pretty happy too.

After we played for a while, we walked a different way home, and (after stopping at a neighbor's for a  while to let Arkhon play with their dog) we went home.

About an hour later, I suddenly remembered the Superman toy.

With a sinking sensation, I realized that I hadn't seen it for a while, and Kevin had most definitely not brought it home.

I left Kevin with Argent and retraced my steps. I went all the way back to the canal, but I didn't want to leave them alone for too long, and so, I returned home without finding the toy.

I was pretty sad about it, and a bit angry at myself for bringing it with us.

When Grig came home from work, I told him the sad news.

Then, I took the car to go grocery shopping. On the way, I decided to retrace my steps with the car in the hopes that I might see the toy. It was a far-fetched hope, but I was praying, and I felt like I might be able to find the toy.

I drove five blocks south without any sign of the toy. Then I turned west. In the middle of the block, I spotted something lying in the middle of the sidewalk. With joy, I quickly pulled the car over, and ran to look.

It was Kevin's toy!

Three hours later, and I had found it in the middle of the sidewalk. It is a miracle that no one had moved it, and that it was somewhere that I could spot from the road.

I finished grocery shopping and returned the toy to Kevin's grateful arms. We then had a prayer and thanked our Heavenly Father for helping us to find the toy. (I had said a few already, but we decided to say another one).

There's a happy kid :)
If you think that Heavenly Father doesn't care about the little things in your life, and you shouldn't bother him with them, please think again and remember a story about a Superman toy. It probably wasn't that big of a deal if we lost it, but it meant a lot to Kevin, and I was praying pretty hard to find that toy. If it means something to you, it means something to Him.

I know I was guided to it, and that my Father in Heaven allowed us to find it again.

Miracles do happen today, and they happen everyday. Sometimes, we have to just be willing to pray and then do our part. If we do that, great things will happen and we will be able to see His hands in our lives.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.