Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

I love Christmas. I always have. I love the decorations. I love the music. I love the food. I love the activities. But most of all, I love the feeling. There is something in the air at Christmastime. It is almost magical. This feeling turns a bad mood happy and makes even the grumpiest person turn up the corners of their mouth, even just slightly. I believe in Santa and in the generosity he teaches, and even in the rewarding of good behavior. Most importantly, I believe in Christ and the celebration of His birth that ultimately lies at the heart of the entire holiday. Truly, it is the spirit of Christ that fills the air with goodness, kindness and generosity at the end of each year. I am so thankful to God for the gift of His Son. It is Christ who taught me to love, to give and to treat others with kindness and respect. He is the reason for the season and the motivating factor in my life. And so, it is with that spirit in mind that I wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope that as you end this blessed day, you can name the acts of kindness, hope and charity that have filled your life this year as I can mine. May the true spirit of Christmas dwell in our hearts every day throughout the coming year~~

Saturday, November 14, 2009

the other Eric

I have to admit, I have Linsey to thank for this post. I love reading the cute dialogues she posts about funny things her daughter says. I often don't think of recording it when my kids say cute things. But, today, Eric said a few really cute things, so here goes:
At the volleyball game, I had some leftover Halloween candy for the kids to snack on. Eric had already had several, so when I told him 'no more,' he responded ,'you won't be my best mom anymore.' I let him know that he would still be 'my best Eric' even if he didn't like my decision.

Then later at the hotel, I came out of the bathroom and he asked 'mom, do you want to see my other Eric?' 'Sure' I replied, not sure what that might mean. He walked up to the full length mirror/closet door and said 'see, the other Eric.'

Friday, November 13, 2009

State and sports

Mary and the Bravettes played some great volleyball today but came up only a few points shy of the win. She did a great job and is truly a very talented player. She and Jim will go to Oregon again next weekend for her official visit--it's my first day teaching at the high school, so I am not sure if I am going to be able to go or not. I thoroughly enjoyed cheering for Mary in volleyball and for Bill in football this season. Billy's wrestling begins soon and I can't wait to go to his matches to cheer him on!
Amelie ends her little basketball games tomorrow. And I think I heard wind of some soccer that Eric is old enough to play! That will be fun! Poor kids, with the love for sports that Jim and I have I just hope that they don't feel we brainwashed/pushed them too much in their athletics! It's good for you, though--keeps you in shape and helps you develop skills like working with others and being a team player.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Going to State

Check out Mary's volleyball team!! Going to State!!!! It was a great game and Mary, of course, played awesome!

http://www.keci.com/pages/4194460.php
Click on either NewsChannelSPorts on the right or Sports on the left. It was the 10pm news on Nov 5

Here is the newspaper article about their game.
http://www.dailyinterlake.com/sports/local_montana/article_c22c8874-caa5-11de-a34d-001cc4c03286.html

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mary's volleyball news report link

Here is the link to watch the news report on Mary and her game last night. Just look for NewsChannel Sports 10/27/09 and click on the play icon. She was also in our newspaper in two pictures and led in digs and aces last night. Way to go, Mary!
http://www.keci.com/pages/4194460.php

Tiffany and Mckayli's visit


Jim and I had known for a month or so, but Mary and Billy were sure taken by surprise when Tiffany, her mom and her daughter Mckayli came to visit this past weekend. Mary was surprised at her volleyball tournament in Missoula. Billy got the shock on Saturday night. It was so neat to see Tiffany and be able to really visit with her--the last time we saw her was at her wedding, a week before she delivered Mckayli. So, there really wasn't much time to visit and we had yet to meet the newest member of the family. Mckayli is a doll and everyone took right to her, even Uncle Tanner. Any time she started crying, he would rush over as if to see what he could do to help her. He loved giving her kisses, as did all of us. Eric wanted to know every minute where Tiffany was. Amelie just wanted to hold her little niece and even called some of her kindergarten friends to tell them that her baby niece was here and that meant she was Aunt Amelie.
See my facebook for more pictures of our visit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What a day!

A lot of great stuff happened today, so I am just going to go through and report on it all.
This morning, I took the second day of Parisi speed school classes--it's the free intro week at the gym. It was a great workout--totally different from what I usually do. In fact, sometimes, when I am in step class (which I really do enjoy), my eyes will wander tot he clock and a curse a little under my breath that only 5 minutes has gone by and we 'get' to go through the routine one more time. But today, the Parisi class was over long before I thought an hour had truly passed!I am a little sore--my quads, my lats and delts. It's a great program!
Then, once I got home, as a light and wet snow fell, we said goodbye to Tiffany and Mckayli after having had a wonderful few days visiting with them. They were on their way to Missoula to watch Billy's last football game of his freshman year. It was a very good game--His team won 21-15 and he played pretty much the entire game. I have really missed watching the last couple games as they were all away in Missoula. I did help a few other moms help make lunches for him and his team the night before and that was a great opportunity! He is such a great young man. I am so thrilled that he did so well tonight. Now it is on to wrestling . . .
Well, after Tiffany left, Jim, Tanner and I headed to Eric's Joy School for the Halloween program. They sang a few Halloween songs and paraded in their costumes. They were so cute!! Eric is such a cute kid! There is nothing like it when just lately, every so often he will tell me when I am helping him do something, 'Mom, you are the best Mom ever!' It just makes my heart melt and makes me want to try even harder to be a better Mom.
Then, after work and Amelie's first Dentist's appointment and some Pampered business, Jim, Amelie, Eric, Tanner and I headed across town to Glacier High for Mary's last region game. Last time we played Glacier, it was at Flathead High and we lost in 5 very intense games. Tonight, we won the first two games fairly easily--we were ahead the whole time and there wasn't much worry. However, in the 3rd game, they rose up and it was close--27-25, I think, was the final score. So, going into the 4th game, I was already on edge and anxious. It was neck and neck the entire time. Finally at 22 a piece, we finished the game, set and match. Yeah!! It was thrilling. We may see them again next week for playoffs, too! Oh boy!! Thanks to so many friends who came out to cheer!
After the game, Mary was on a local radio that broadcast the game. It was her second time on the radio but first time live. Plus, last week, the Flathead Beacon did an article on her for their newspaper (see the link to read the article). As well, the news covered the game highlights and showed a dig and a hit by Mary!!! She is a superstar and we love her so much!! We are blessed with six truly wonderful children! They are by far, our pride and joy!

Check it out: http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/faces_mary_allen/13665/

We should be able to post a link to the news report tomorrow~

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Congrats, Mary!




We really are so thrilled that Mary decided to live with us this year! She is such an awesome young woman and a tremendous daughter! She is so spunky and lovable that everyone has taken to her like paper to glue. She was voted co-captain of her Varsity Volleyball team and has truly shone on the court (and off). She is now being actively recruited by several colleges and it is so exciting. And with ample reason . . . she is Top Ten in three areas in the State volleyball stats: #1 in Passing, #9 in digs (a pass from a hit) and #9 in kills per game. She NEVER subs out and is just doing a phenomenal job on the court. She is a great athlete with drive and determination. I am so proud of her accomplishments and know she will succeed! Way to go, Maren-ens!
If you would like to check out some photos, go to mtmediaplus.com and find games with the Flathead Bravette's Varsity team. There should be some good ones against Big Sky. You can also see some of Billy playing football (Flathead Braves Freshman Team) against Missoula teams. This guy is good--

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A new school year



This fall has brought some excitement with the new school year. A week and a half before school began, I was hired by Kalispell Middle School to teach two periods a day of French. I teach a seventh grade class and then an eighth grade class. It's only a twelve week class, so I just give them the basics and hopefully instill in them a love for the language and people--enough that when they have the chance, they will take French in High School.
Billy not only started seminary this year (the Book of Mormon!) but he is also in his first year at Flathead High School as a Freshman Brave. Mary started her Senior year as a Bravette, Amelie started kindergarten at Peterson Elementary and Eric started Joy School. Needless to say, it has been crazy busy and quite an adjustment to have so many activities going. Mary is the Varsity Volleyball Co-Captain and is truly tearing up the court with her kills, digs, serves and serve receives! Billy is doing a great job on the football field as a Defensive Back. He's a real hustler and a great asset to his team. He is also about ready to get his Eagle Scout stuff together, which is awesome! Amelie is in a free cross-country program run by a local bank. She will start basketball with the Parks and Rec program in October. I haven't heard yet if I am going to be coaching again, but I sort of hope so!
So all in all, the school year has been full of new and exciting events and we wouldn't have it any other way!!

We're Grandparents!



Tiffany always joked about making me a young Grandma!! On July 31 at 12:2?, Mckayli Tiffany Abel was born in Mesa, AZ. She weighed in at lbs. and was inches long. (I think I remember but am waiting for Tiffany to help me fill in the blanks with the EXACTS so I don't totally mess it up :) She is a doll and I am SUPER jealous of everyone who gets to hold her and take care of her since I have yet to see her in person. Tiffany was induced on Thursday night and everything went very well. Baby Mckayli is totally adorable and has done well from day one. She is now old enough to go out to church and other outings with her mom and dad. From the adorable photos and updates from Tiffany, Mckayli is growing stronger and bigger every day. I cannot wait to see her in person!!!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tiffany and Brian's Wedding



The excitement of July did not stop after camping--we returned, get cleaned up and started the drive south to get to Tiffany's wedding. She and Brian decided to get married about a month or so earlier, so we all did our best to get things in order to be there with her to celebrate. It took Billy, Amelie, Eric, Tanner and me 2 LONG days to drive. We left Monday afternoon and I drove all night, stopping to take naps as needed, of course. I slept at my sister Becky's in Utah that next morning while the kids played with their cousins. Then we took off again that evening and I drove again most of the night. That is certainly the best way to get through Hoover Dam quickly--there was no traffic at night!
Amelie, Tanner and I got to go to Tiffany's bridal shower that Wednesday evening. Amelie loved being the little sister and wanted to be there beside Tiffany all night to help her. It was really cute! Then on Thursday Amelie and I again helped decorate for the wedding and reception in the cultural hall of a church just down the street from Tiffany's mom's house. I got to visit with my sister-in-laws Susan and Debbie who also had come to help. Friday morning came quickly as we all got ready for the big day. We took a few pictures before the wedding and then more after. Tiffany looked beautiful and Brian was very handsome. I had made bowties for Eric and Tanner which worked out very well. Amelie wore her Flower Girl dress from Adam and Cynthia's wedding, with a few modificiations (I added a purple ribbon around the waist.) Mary had a beautiful dress that Tiffany found for her and Billy had on a snazzy new suit. Amelie did a great job walking down the aisle, scattering white flower petals. Then, Brian's little brother came carrying the rings. We actually had one false start because Mary had gone to the bathroom when they originally started, so they had everyone go back and start again. Tiffany's Bishop married them in a short and simple but sweet ceremony. We waited around for about an hour before heading to another chapel for a family luncheon that Brian's mom Peggy had organized. It was wonderful. They had decorated the gym--on each table were pictures of Brian and Tiffany framed, a stuffed red and white love dog, love candies, chocolates and nuts. The lunch was fabulous--her sister runs a catering business, I think, and wow, it was so good! That evening was the reception where Jim and I got to stand in the receiving line with the other parents and the newlyweds. It was so nice to meet some of Tiffany's friends as I had heard their names and now had a face to go with the name. Tiffany did very well--a little tired, of course and a little sore from all the standing, but otherwise feeling good and so beautiful. Secretly, I was kinda hoping she might go into labor only for selfish reasons as I really wanted to be there when the baby was born. She was actually induced the following Friday. But I'll leave that story for the next post. It was a long but wonderful day with a smiling, happy daughter and a just-as-happy new son-in-law to add to the Allen family tree.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Family campout



After we got home from Trek, Mary took off for Volleyball Team Camp in Oregon for the entire week, Jim returned to work and Billy, Amelie, Eric, Tanner and I went camping in Glacier National Park with my sister Becky and her family and my Mom. It was a great week despite the rain the first three days. We went up to Logan Pass and hiked around and we hiked Avalanche Lake all 5 miles, I think it was, with all the kids--we didn't realize just how hard the hike would be for the little ones, but Amelie and Eric even made it--with some coaxing from Billy and me! We stayed at FishCreek Campground and hiked around there and enjoyed the beach to Lake Macdonald that was just down from our campsite. I love camping and being out in nature! We all had a wonderful time with our family enjoying the beautiful creations that Heavenly Father has given us.

Trek Report


So I have slacked off a bit--actually, I have not been sitting around. Just the opposite. I haven't had enough time to sit and write as I would like because I have been so crazy busy! July was a whirlwind of events starting with the Kalispell Stake Youth Trek where Jim and I were a Ma & Pa and Mary and Billy were children in other families. It was absolutely awesome! I was asked (a few hours before) to speak at the Post Trek Fireside so I will post my thoughts on that here:
When the Trek was announced, I have to admit, I was one who secretly wanted to go and so I volunteered for the journals—something I knew I could do—to get as involved as I could.Then when Brother Westover asked my husband and me to be on the activities committee, I was thrilled to be able to help.It was neat to discuss and plan the activities and study about the Pioneers and what they went through and then try to find ways to share those experiences, and more importantly the feelings and lessons that the Pioneers went through, with the youth.
About 3 or 4 weeks before trek, at a stake mtg, we were discussing the Ma’s and Pa’s and that we needed to replace some who were no longer able to make it. That’s when Bro Allen and I were asked to step in—we already were planning to be there to do the activities, so it was an easier transition and though I knew it would be a lot more work, I was so excited for the opportunity to be there with the youth for what was perhaps one of the neatest experiences I have ever had.
I have to admit that before the idea of Trek came out, whenever a pioneer story was told I only listened half-heartedly, thinking that it really didn’t apply to me and since history wasn’t my strength (don’t tell my husband—he was a history major!), I would start to tune out. Since my involvement with trek, my perspective has changed completely. After having pulled the cart and gone through a scaled down version of experiences that they might have faced, I now have an inkling of any understanding and appreciation for the things the Pioneers must have faced. And most of all, I am so thankful not only for what they were willing to endure, but what they established: a legacy of hope for a better world where they were free from persecution to worship as they pleased.(Ether 12:4)
It didn’t take long to realize we had a very special group of youth in our family. Our first trial was crossing the river—twice. We saw the cart in front of us break and so as we took the lead, our youth stepped up to the challenge 100%. They scouted out and then after several attempts, found the best way to get up out of the water, straight up the 7 or 8 foot bank and onto the trail. And once our cart was up, they were not done. It amazed me how willing our family was to help cart after cart and pass on what worked to those behind them. They taught me from the very first day what it means to serve one another as the Pioneers must also have had to help and serve each other.
My favorite part of trek is hard to choose. We learned a lot about the Pioneers, but perhaps my most spiritual experience was the Woman’s Pull. First, to watch the YM and men leave was humbling and hard. I sat there and imagined what those Pioneer women must have felt as they watched their husbands and sons leave to defend their country, not knowing if they would see them again or not. And then, as we got our carts ready to go, and pulled them without our YM, I know our family realized right away just how much work our men had been doing. But it also taught me a few other lessons: if need be, we can do it ourselves. Whatever challenges arise, it is easier if we are a whole family unit. But, if we have to, we CAN make it ourselves. Pioneer women had to be strong, not just physically but just as important, spiritually and mentally. And the other thing I learned from this experience was the power of uplifting music. We certainly did not sound the best—as we huffed and puffed and belted out as many of the words of the song as we could between breaths, but something about the messages and the spirit of music kept us going. I know that had we stopped singing, we would have been tempted to stop pushing and pulling.
I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ and that they have provided for us the gospel principles and teachings that will lead us back to them. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to participate in Trek. What a great body of youth we have in this stake and what an awesome opportunity this was to teach me about the Pioneers so that now I can relate better to their stories and experiences. I understand better now what it might have been like—timesed by about a million.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Land of the Free!


Happy 4th of July! I am so thankful that I live in such a wonderful country that, despite it's problems, is a land that promotes freedom and opportunities galore for its citizens. I love the United States of America and feel so blessed to enjoy all the rights and privileges it affords. I am also especially grateful for a husband who served in the Army to help defend those freedoms I enjoy. His loyalty and patriotism continues every day as he keeps our country's borders safe. He is an amazing man and a wonderful example to us all, especially to our children, of his love for this land and for the Lord who set it aside as a Promised Land. May we live up to that title and always fight for the right.

Happy Birthday Amelie!


So I am a little behind--I'll make up for it as much as I can as quickly as I can.
On June 28, Amelie turned 5. It is hard to believe that this little girl who loves to write her letters, wrestle with her siblings (especially Billy), make play-doh ice cream sundaes for us all and plan and host more parties than I could ever handle is now five. She is so excited! We had her party the day after her birthday. She is still very much a Princess, so we went with that theme again--and since the weather was perfect, we ended the party playing on the slip n' slide and in the kiddy pool in our backyard. It was a wonderful celebration and she is a tremendous little girl. She thrives on being a good helper and is always trying to help Tanner walk, climb, eat, . . . She loves to play with both her little brothers and her big brother and sisters. She was thrilled to be Tiffany's flower girl and to help her at her bridal shower. Amelie is a sweet, sweet girl and I am so very thankful that she is a part of our family!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Trek and Walking


Our stake is doing a pioneer trek this summer in lieu of Youth Conference. Jim and I were asked to be on the Activities Committee for Trek months ago and have been meeting and planning and meeting some more for quite a while. Last Sunday, though, we were asked to step in as a Ma and Pa as several couples had to back out. We were thrilled to help out. We will have a family of 101-12 children as we trek about 25 miles over 3 1/2 days. Yesterday we went to a Ma and Pa Training in the area where we will be going with trek and got to pull the handcarts about 2 1/2 miles and made dutch oven stew and rolls--nothing beats cooking in the outdoors, but this was exceptional! Pulling the cart wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be--except when we had to go down a hill, over logs and rocks, and then back up again. I made a pioneer skirt that I wore and it was great, except for when we were trying to push the cart up the hill. I kept stepping on my skirt! I'll have to think of some ways to remedy that before we get to the real deal. We also played games(my part of the planning :) and were well taught and instructed on our duties as Mas and Pas. We had a wonderful time with the other Mas and Pas and are really looking forward to Trek in July!

Not only was it a wonderful day of training, but right after we got there, Tanner actually took his first few steps all on his own! Since then, we have been prompting him to walk more and more on his own and he is doing great! He's such a happy kid, except when he squeals (it's high-pitched and loud!) and when four teeth are all trying to cut through at the same time (right now!)--poor kiddo! Here are his walking efforts from today.
video

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Volleyball Victory

Mary has been very busy playing volleyball this summer already. She participated in both the Glacier an Flathead High volleyball camps and on Friday, she played on the Flathead Varsity team at the Glacier Volleyball tournament. She did VERY well. Her team placed second, losing only to a team from Helena. Mary is a very talented volleyball player and we love to watch her play! Way to go Mary!
video

President's Award


Billy finished the 8th grade at Kalispell Middle School on June 10 and was awarded the President's Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence. He did very well in school and worked hard to keep his grades up. I really enjoyed working with him, too, on assignments. I miss being in the classroom, so helping Billy out not only was enjoyable, but also helped curb my teaching 'fix.' Billy is a great young man and a wonderful son! We love him very much and are so proud of his academic accomplishments this year. He will enter academia in August as a Flathead Brave Freshman. He also starts seminary this coming year--lots of great excitement to come!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Amelie is such a character! Now that Tanner can walk with help, she gets her arms under his armpits and hauls him around the house. She even tried taking him up the stairs today while I was in the shower. She left him half way up--where I found him 5 minutes later trying desperately to get his chubby little legs up to the next step. She now knows NEVER to take him on the stairs and I am reminded that it is still safer to have Tanner in the bathroom with me when I shower (this was a first today.) But Tanner is really getting around. He walks along furniture and chairs and he crawls to get to more furniture and chairs. Eric was having a blast with him this afternoon as he ran to and from the couch, right around Tanner. The two boys were laughing and having a great time together. It was so fun to watch! Her is a clip of Tanner 'walking' with his walker.
video

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tanner is crawling!!


After several weeks of rocking, pulling his feet up below him and general balance issues, Tanner has finally figured out how to crawl! It is so cute to watch him scoot across the room now. He loves to pull himself up on anything--chairs, couch, table, cabinets, tv stand and stairs. Now we have to be sure that the basement door is always closed and every little thing is off the floor in case he gets to it and tries to eat it. Making it to this milestone has been monumental for Tanner. He is a little less clingy and much more free to go wherever he wants, within reason. I'll have pictures and even a video soon! (I didn't realize I hadn't downloaded them to the computer when I started posting this.) Way to go, Tanner boy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Congratulations, Tiffins!


A week ago, we started our journey down to Mesa, AZ to celebrate a most momentous event with our oldest. Tiffany. Tiffany graduated from Mesa High School on Thursday, May 21, 2009 in a crazy, crazy rain storm! We were so excited to be there with Tiffany and celebrate but the weather would not cooperate. So, I took Amelie, Eric and Tanner, who were practically soaked through, to the car right after we watched Tiffany walk in and sit down. The others stayed and though I was jealous, I knew it was too wet and cold for the little ones. We played in the car while everyone else watched the ceremony. Even though I didn't get to see Tiffany walk across the stage, I was so proud of her--we all are. Graduating from high school is a big deal and she did it well--she worked hard for her grades and played hard for her teams and now she is done and moves on to bigger mountains of accomplishment.
Tiffany is a sweet young woman with so much to look forward to in life. Her smile will brighten a room and her laughter is so contagious, no one can avoid joining her. We love her so very much and are so proud of her for graduating from high school!! Way to go, Tiffins!!!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eric turns 3


Happy 3rd Birthday, Eric!
Eric is a vivacious, charismatic, moody, hilarious, talkative, cuddly, loving and wonderful little boy. He is trying to grow up fast to catch up to both Amelie and Billy. In size, he isn't doing so well--the doctor thinks something is going wrong in his little body as he only grew an inch in an entire year and fell from 95th percentile to below 5oth in just one year. I try not to worry too much, but it is bothersome as we impatiently wait for lab results...but that wasn't where I wanted to focus my attention on this post.
Eric is a fast learner. He LOVES to pray to his Heavenly Father. He loves nursery and playgroup and being with friends. He'll talk your ear off if he isn't pretending to be shy or in a bad mood.
Right now, Eric loves Cars. he was all into pirates until about a month ago when he suddenly switched his attention and efforts to cars. So, we did a Cars birthday. I am not artistic, so to decorate the Cars Lightening McQueen shaped cake that we borrowed from some dear friends was a nightmare and stressor--I think I yelled a few times at the kids, only because I was feeling so unskilled as I tried to get the icing to go where it was supposed to, etc. But it all worked out and Eric recognized it, so that's all that counts. We had some friends over, played games, ate cake and ice cream and had a blast. Eric is certainly a blessing in our family and we are so thankful for his loving nature and wonderful hugs and kisses. Happy Birthday, little man!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Knee Surgery

When Mary was here for Spring break, I got to work out a little more than usual--Jim was off to spend more time with her, so he was also here to watch the kids while I went to the gym. Our elliptical at home isn't working anymore, so I was thrilled to be able to go workout. I promise, I wasn't overdoing it. I also played volleyball with a group twice while Mary was here at the church. It was great fun. However, at the end of the week--that Friday night, I was starting to feel sore in my left knee and right heel. I just thought I had pulled something and put heat on it and took a few Ibuprofen. After two weeks of real pain (and I have a high pain tolerance, so you know this was real pain), I finally decided it wasn't going away on its own I got a referral and saw a knee doc. I had my first MRI--it wasn't scary, either, though I only had to be in the tube up to my waist. Instead of a meniscus tear as originally thought, the doc told me I had a piece of cartilage about the size of a nickel floating around getting stuck where it shouldn't be and that was causing the pain. So, on Monday, he went in arthroscopically and got rid of not one, not two but three pieces of cartilage that had broken off. Normally, he would have fully repaired teh spot where the cartilage had been, but that would mean a 6-8 week recovery on crutches. Not with three little kids and a teenager! I may be fine with the make-do fix, or when I have a few months to sit and do nothing, I may reconsider the repair. All in all, though, my surgery went well and I only had crutches for 2 1/2 days. Now, I am working on bending. I get stitches out on Wednesday. I'll post some pics then.

Happy Birthday, Billy!


Billy turned 14 on April 28. I can't believe that I met him just before he turned 8 and was baptized. It feels we have been family longer. I am so thankful for him and for his acceptance of me in his life and his desire to come live with us. I know it must be tough to be away from his mom and older sisters, but in all honesty, he is a tremendous big brother. Sure, he loves to have siblings younger and smaller that he can pick on after years of being the youngest and the recipient of much teasing himself. But aside from the teasing, he loves to shower his younger brothers and sister with love and attention. Amelie couldn't wait until he got back from Spring Break this year so he could teach her more wrestling moves :) Eric loves to play sword fight with Billy. Billy is also a great helper around the house and is even putting his hours in babysitting as his big sisters have done for him. Billy even lets the kids 'play' x-box with him with the extra controllers while he zooms around like nobody's business. Billy has done well in school this year and continues to impress me with his righteous desires. He loves to bear his testimony and we love to hear him and watch his tremendous example of goodness emanate through our home. We love you so much Billy! This Sunday, Jim will ordain him to be a teacher. What a blessing he is in our lives.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Run, Billy, Run!


Billy is in track right now and doing great! He is running the 100 m the 1oo m Hurdles, the 400m and the 800m. He is doing really well and enjoying it. It can sometimes take a long time for his heat, especially when there are 5-8 heats for the 100m and 100m hurdles. Still, it's so fun to watch him and cheer him on. He is a great kid!! Last Friday we got to watch him in Whitefish--it was a nice day, too and I came home with some pink arms. We got there just as the 100m dash was beginning so we didn't get to talk to Billy before he raced. We weren't sure when he was racing, either, or what he was wearing, aside from the green and orange track top. You know your son is changing and growing when you look down the track and go 'I think that might be him! No, it can't be--Oh wait, it is him!!' He looked taller and older than both Jim and I thought until we saw him close up. He is growing and changing so fast from a boy to a young man. It is a great honor and privilege to be able to watch him develop into a wonderful young man~~Run, Billy, Run!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Journals


I love writing--it comes with being an English Major. I especially love writing in my journal. I was really good for a very long time. I decided on my 12th birthday that I would write every single day--and I did for over 10 years. Once I got home from my mission, I don't know if I was just burnt out or what, but I slacked off. It was maybe once a week, which was fine, but then it got to be once a month or every other month.
Just after Eric was born, we moved to Carlsbad, NM for a little while. I had no calling and was in the Mother's room a lot. During sacrament it was fine because I could still listen--and I am pretty sure I got more out of the meeting when I was in there than when I was in the chapel--less distractions. However, during Relief Society, I had nothing to listen to. I started bringing my journal with me and writing while I nursed. I did much better. Then, I slacked off again.
I am back to not doing as well as I would like, so when a friend told me she uses ldsjournal.com to keep updated on her journal writing, I thought I would check it out. It is so neat! I started last night and wrote a lot! They have prompts to get you going, personal info to record and so much more--and it's free. It even sends you a reminder to write. It is all personal and private, so you can write exactly what you want. I am excited to see if this helps get me back on the bandwagon!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Getting ready for Easter





Amelie has been so excited for Easter. Every day for the past few weeks, she has asked me if it was Easter yet and how much longer we have until Easter. She and Eric got to take a picture with the Easter Bunny at WalMart today and they were both ecstatic. They know the Easter Bunny is coming and are just as excited about this as they were about Santa at Christmas. But at Christmas, I am very careful to always point out that Santa isn't why Christmas is important, but the celebration of the birth of our Savior. As we were driving home tonight and taling about all the activities we are going to be doing tomorrow to celebrate Easter, I stopped and asked them if they knew why we have Easter. No, I don't, Amelie replied. So, I took a minute and explained that we celebrate the atonement and resurrection of the Savior at Easter and these gifts are what help us so we can fully repent since Jesus paid the price for what we have done wrong when we repent and do all we can to be better. Amelie was so amazed that Jesus would pay for us. (She's into paying and understands what it means to give up money for something she wants.) I think she is starting to get it--it's like I saw a little light bulb start to flicker in her bright little mind. Eric didn't quite grasp what I was saying, but he will. What a blessing to be able to teach these little spirits and watch as they gain their own understanding of gospel principles.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Logic of a little boy

Eric & Amelie say the funniest and cutest things. I need to write them down as soon as they say them because as much as I think I could never forget their witty remarks, I am getting old and more and more forgetful. Here are the two I do remember:
Eric has a habit of sticking his fingers in other people's mouths. It started when he was a baby--while nursing, he would find my mouth. It probably didn't help that I would sit and kiss his fingers while he nursed. Anyway, the other day, he put his fingers in Tanner's mouth, and Tanner, being a typical teething 8 month old, bit him. Eric promptly stated, "We need a new baby!" I asked, "One who doesn't bite you?" "Yes!" he emphatically replied.

Amelie came down to the basement as I was organizing my Pampered Chef desk and said, "Mom, may I have my own Pampered Chef when I get big? I really want my own, just like you. Then we could both be Pampered Chefs!"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Billy's Wonderful Accomplishments


Billy is such a wonderful young man! He has done some tremendous things lately. First, he made honor roll again for the second trimester's report. He has been working hard this year to keep his grades up to all A's and B's and has done just that--in fact, they are mostly all A's. It is awesome! We just got the listing in the newspaper, too, so we cut it out and it is hanging on the refrigerator right now in his honor. Way to go, Bill-Bill!

Billy had his last wrestling competition today--State Wrestling Championships. He wrestled in 3 of 5 possible matches and got his first pin of the season!! He's won on points, but hadn't pinned anyone yet this year. That was awesome. I was sitting at the top of the second set of bleachers--very high up-and Jim was kneeling by the mats--I could hear Jim's cheering as clear as day. We are all so thrilled for Billy, for the time and effort he puts in to learning and practicing to achieve these wonderful accomplishments. We love you, kiddo!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's not my fault--is it? :)



So on Tuesday while I taught Amelie's joy school about the joy of trying new things (we made kites, ate green eggs and ham and tried somersaults, and learned about diamonds and the letter V), Jim took Eric to an eye doctor appointment. He stands so close to the TV that despite the objections that it may just be a kid thing, we figured we were better safe than sorry. He had no signs like Amelie did (she would go cross-eyed when eating), except for standing too close to the ole boob tube. Jim returns 2 1/2 hours later with Eric porting some cool plastic sunglasses. Sure enough, he needs glasses. I guess he is as blind as Amelie--far sighted. I may have horrible eyes, but I am near-sighted. That is the entire opposite problem, so it couldn't be my faulty eyes that I am passing on to my children, could it?
Some time next week, we will get Eric's glasses in and see how he reacts. Jim picked out the frame all on his own and chose the same ones our friend's little four year old has :) He did a great job and we will post pics of our new four-eyes as soon as he gets them.

Mary is here!

Amelie has been so excited for Mary to get here for Spring Break. She cleaned up her room and made up her sleeping bag next to it so Mary could stay with her. When Mary got here last night, Amelie, after attacking her with hugs, told her, 'There is something I forgot to ask you on the phone--will you still in my room with me?' Mary, being the wonderful big sister that she is agreed to have a sisters sleepover with her. Amelie is ecstatic!
We got to watch Billy wrestle today--matches are not long but look like they drain every ounce of energy out of those boys! He came in second in his weight class. He is such a good boy! We love being able to travel around to watch him compete! Mary had never seen him wrestle before, so that was cool--we cheered louder than anyone when he was out on the mat. Go Billy!
Eric loves to cuddle with his big sister and has taken to sitting onher lap a lot. That's nice because he often doesn't get to sit on my lap anymore because I am holding Tanner.
Tanner has taken to Mary, too. He is such a happy baby and Mary got to hear his belly laugh today. She is so good with her little siblings and Tanner is no different. We are so thrilled to be able to have her with us, even if it's just for a week.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I'm a 9-12er, are you?

If you aren't sure what I am talking about, you have to start watching Glenn Beck on Fox News. This is not a political stand, but a united stand of American citizens who believe in the truths and values that build the foundation of our country. When I taught American Lit, I always thought it was interesting that one of the first pieces they had included in the textbook was the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and his 13 Virtues. I made sure I focused on these and often had students write about a virtue and why it was important to them. Well, Glenn Beck has asked America to stand together, no matter what our religious or political views are. I remember 9-11 vividly and he has asked us to remember who we were and how we felt and what we did the day after: 9-12. He has also put together 9 principles and 12 values that I believe wholeheartedly. I am taking the 6 month challenge to work on being that person and standing for what I believe in because I want to make a positive difference in this nation--in the world--and I am not alone.

"... I am here to tell you something important: You are not alone, and if you believe in a majority of these nine principles then keep watching because I am going to prove it to you to.
1. America is good place, not perfect, but good.
2. I believe in God and He is the center of my life.
3. I must try to be a better, more honest person than I was yesterday.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority.
5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and not a guarantee of equal results.
7. I work hard for what I have. I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
8. It is not un-American for me to disagree or share my personal opinion.
9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them. They answer to me.

I didn't pull these out of thin air. I borrowed from scripture. I got them from the Founding Fathers. And honestly, a lot of these principles are just common sense.
This is not a partisan thing. This is not about elephant or donkey, liberal or conservative. This is about Americans making their voices heard.
Now it is time for Step 2 and we add the 12 Values.
They are:
• Honesty• Reverence• Hope• Thrift• Humility• Charity• Sincerity• Moderation• Hard work• Courage• Personal responsibility• Friendship" (from Glenn Beck)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sibling Love

After Amelie passed out Valentine's cards to us all, Billy told her, 'Oh Amelie, I'm sorry but I didn't get anything for you.' She got very sad (we weren't prepared for that!) and even told him, 'That makes me so sad, Billy.' So, bless his sweet, sweet heart, Billy went downstairs and put together a little card for his baby sister. He even wrapped a quarter in it. She was so happy--not for the money but that he had seen how much it would mean to her to get a simple little card from him that he took the time to put one together for her. There is nothing like the love and devotion shared between brothers and sisters!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Amelie made a point of making a Valentine for each of us this year. She tells me, 'Mom, Valnetine's Day is my favorite because it's for the people I love.' I got all my scrapbook paper, pens, stickers, stamps and cut-outs out and she went to town. I gave her some ideas on her first one, but she did all the rest totally on her own. They each sat in their own gift bag, also decorated, along the windowsill next to her seat at the dinner table for a week. She handed them out on Saturday at dinner and realized she had not done Dad's yet. So, this afternoon, she set out to make the biggest and best for her Dad. She was so excited to give it to him when she was done, but he was napping. Finally, I told her she could go check and see if he was awake, but that if he wasn't, she could just leave it beside him. You should have seen the enthusiasm on her face! She loves to be creative and shre her love with her family!
I gave her a little gift of Tinkerbll lip glosses for Valentine's (the boys all got a little container of M&M's) and though she was a little sad that her gift wasn't chocolate (go figure), she has enjoyed them. However, after a few minutes, she turned to me and said, 'But mom, I didn't get you anything for Valentine's Day.' 'That's okay, Amelie, you don't have to get me anything.' "Don't look, Mom--I am going to make your gift right now.' She turned to her easel and drew two faces--one with glasses and one without. She wrote Mom over the one without and Amelie over her's. "Okay, Mom, now you can look--Happy Valentine's Day!' It was the sweetest gift I could have ever been given by this little angel.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Be Patient

I have never been a very patient person. I want thing and I want them now. Perhaps that was the lesson Heavenly Father was trying to teach me in waiting for my Prince Charming to arrive. I complained to Him a lot and begged and pleaded to hurry up and let me meet him. Obviously, my way was not His way and I had to simply wait it out until the time was right. And when I met Jim, I knew there was something different there--I couldn't wait until he responded to my emails (we met on LDS Singles.com). And once we started dating, I couldn't stop thinking about him, talking about him, . . . Waiting for the next time we would see each other to come was excruciating. (We lived nearly an hour apart.) Despite Heavenly Father's efforts, I still was not learning patience as I should. And then we had to wait for a letter to come from the First Presidency so we could marry in the temple. It came rather quickly, though, so it wasn't as painful a wait as it might have been.
More lessons in patience came not quite a year later when our little Amelie was born. I love being a mom, please don't get me wrong, but I was not prepared for the lessons it would teach me. Patience is still one of the biggest and most difficult qualities I have needed and am still working toward developing. My husband and all six wonderful children get the brunt of my training and I am so sorry for that, but I am learning slowly...oh so slowly to be patient.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy half birthday, Tanner!


Tanner is six months old today. When I took him to the doctor for his check-up, we learned that he is 22lbs. 1 1/2 ounces and 28 inches long. That puts him around the 98th percentile in both height and weight. The doctor figures Tanner will grow to be about 6'2" or 6'3". He had to have three shots, plus the first of two flu shots. They usually don't give them until 6 months old and even though we are at the end of January, there is still a fair amount of winter left here in Montana. Plus, the doctor told me that there have been several critical cases here in the Flathead County with babies and the flu and one fatal incident in Missoula, so I was more than ready to go ahead with the flu shots. Amelie almost joined her brother crying as she watched. She knew what was coming as we had been talking about it for a few days. Eric didn't even look--he poked his head out the door and kept an eye on the hallway while Tanner got poked. And even Tanner didn't cry for long. Once the nurse was done and I cuddled him, he settled down,nursed and took a nap. That's the way we like it! What a brave boy--and very healthy. And lastly, the lump that had been on his right hand just under the ring finger is either gone or so small, neither the doctor nor I could feel it at all anymore. Yeah!~ Both the doctor and nurse commented on how content and happy Tanner was. He is a very happy boy for the most part. And when he is upset and tired, you know it. The doctor told me he was perfect and I have to agree! WE love our Tanner boy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Follow-up on Mr. Gunny Bag


For those of you who commented about Mr. Gunny Bag, I thought I would give you an update on how well he worked. Amelie was so worried that once she and I had gone through and organized all her toys, she has still played, but all I have to do is say that I think I hear Mr. Gunny Bag coming and she and Eric rush to pick up whatever toys they see on the floor. And at Joy School, it was just as effective! The kids cleaned up in a record 40 seconds AND they loved to hear Mr. Gunny Bag cry because they had picked everything up, so there were no toys for him to eat. I am amazed at how well this worked. Basically, I took a white garbage bag and Amelie and Eric helped draw hair, eyes and nose on him with permanent markers. I drew the mouth around the opening, which pulls shut once he 'eats' a toy. What a miracle this plastic garbage bag has been for us!

Words of a two year old



I have to tell you that life with a two year old boy is never dull. He dresses up as either superman or a pirate. (He thinks he is Captain Jack Sparrow even though he really has no idea who that is.) He lugs around the two pirate sets of toys he owns and says Argh! He'll take on anyone in a sword fight. And with his cape on, he carries around the superman figure he got as a baby and cries, 'Superman to the rescue!' before darting off to save the world.
But what is even more entertaining are the phrases he picks up on and uses. I told him what was for breakfast one day and he obviously did not like what I had said because he folded his arms across his chest and stated emphatically, "That is impossible!"
One night while eating dinner, he turned to me ans said, "Thanks for dinner, mom. It is delightful!"
Tonight, I insisted that he eat his dinner before he got dessert. He, of course, did not like that and told me, "Mom, you are driving me nuts!" Sadly, I am pretty sure he heard that one from my lips :(
He is so smart and funny and all boy--we are so glad he is a part of our family.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mr. Gunny

As part of Amelie's Joy School, we are introducing a Mr. Gunny Bag this week (lucky me, I get to teach). Mr. Gunny bag is a pillowcase that we are going to draw a face on and I am going to put a drawstring around the opening as his mouth. Any toy that Mr. Gunny finds on the floor, he eats. He may give it back if the kids are good, but if he eats it a second time, it is gone indefintely. Amelie, Eric and I have been talking a great deal about Mr. Gunny all week. Amelie has been quite worried about when he is going to come to her room and I assured her we would not see him until she and I had properly cleaned her room together so as to give her a fresh start. I don't think she has decided if she likes or desn't like Mr. Gunny--sometimes he scares her (the idea of missing toys, really) and sometimes, she is excited to prove that she can keep her room picked up.
So, in preparation for Mr. Gunny's arrival, the kids and I cleaned their rooms and categorized their toys--Princess toys here, baby doll stuff here, play food here, guns, swords and bats here, balls here, cars, airplanes and trains here, ... you get the idea. And finally, tonight, we finished. I am just praying that they keep their rooms picked up now--I have been threatening to do something like Mr. Gunny for a long time and now, thanks to Joy School, I will be implementing it. So, let's hope Mr. Gunny is going on a diet!