Friday, March 31, 2017

Preston's Hero

Mike set up our quilting frames before he left for work. I am making a blanket for Gregory. He will be born in April. Yay! I have a lot of this fabric left. Sharon gave it to us awhile ago, a whole box of 'cabin' fabric. I thought I might as well use it for the new baby. This is the same fabric on Stockton and Preston's bed. Also the same fabric I made blankets for them last year, although the back of this one will be different. I hope I tied the quilt close enough. I didn't want to put the ties on the moose, and I liked how this looked. I'm just worried the ties are a little too far apart. Hopefully it will be okay.
When I was cleaning out Preston's backpack I found this essay he wrote about Mike. It is so cute. I love the relationship he has with his dad.

I have a hero in my life, and it is easily my dad. He is very smart (and awesome). He is never afraid to try something new. He's the best dad I've ever known, and I'm lucky he's mine.

My dad is very fun to have around. He often plays games with me, makes crafts, and knows a lot about computers. I enjoy that he likes to have fun with me. It's always nice paling a short game of table tennis, or watching a movie with him.

My hero, my dad, can make things, fix things and helps me with anything I do. It's good that he not only does it, but does it with a good attitude. On a school break, I sometimes help him build stuff or take things apart. He helps me when I need to make a project, and that's something I appreciate.

He has taught me a few lessons in life. He teaches me to keep trying, until you make it. He also taught me nothing is impossible (Well, almost nothing). I have used those lessons throughout my life.

Mike Smith, my dad, is my hero. No, he doesn't have superpowers or save lives on a daily basis, but he cares for my family, and others too. I always enjoy having him around.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


I wanted to put a picture up of Stockton's ACT score, because it is just that amazing. Sure wish I could say he got his smarts from me.
Stockton and I checked Preston out of school a little early today. We headed down to BYU to do drylands training. The pool finally closed yesterday. It will be interesting to see where and how they practice. Preston had fun playing on the gymnastic equipment until it was his turn. He did great with the older kids. His coach talked to me afterwords and said that Preston stepped it up being with the older kids, maybe he should be with them more often. Well....I'm not sure that would always be the case. Mostly I don't want to check him out of school on a regular basis.

We stopped by Bowl from Heaven or something like that. Preston and I stopped here yesterday after diving. Their acai bowl's are so good!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


So, Stockton didn't win his election. This was a primary election and the top two make it to the finals. Stockton knew he had an uphill battle, he was running against popular people. The girl he was running against has close to 2,000 followers on Instagram. Compare that with Stockton's 200 or so. I think if he was able to get to the part with the skits or panels, he would have had a great shot. Stockton shines in front of people. The thing I'm going to miss most about Stockton running is seeing Stockton so excited about something. I have never seen that from him before. Makes me sad because he would have been amazing. I am more angry at Mr. Packer than sad that Stockton lost the election though. Mr. Packer is over the student government people. Stockton likes him and has made comments about how he thinks Mr. Packer likes him and would like to see him in student government. When Stockton was filling out his paperwork, and there was a lot, he had to answer a weird question. The question was, 'If you lose would you be willing to run for Senior class?'. I thought that was such an irrelevant question. Stockton thought about it a lot, and we talked about it a lot. The reason Stockton wanted to run for Attorney General was because that is what Mike was when he went to Alta. There isn't an Attorney General for senior class, and Stockton felt that he would be taking someone's spot. I told Stockton to check the 'no' box. I said, "You could always run if you want to, but then you won't feel like you have to." Anyways, after the results were announced and Stockton found out he didn't make the finals Mr. Packer said, "First of all, I want you to know I'm proud of you for putting yourself out there. I would never have had the courage to do that when I was in high school. I was just a geeky band kid. I do want you to know that those of you who chose not to run for senior class and didn't win that Alta made the right decision because that just shows you wanted to be a big shot and you didn't want to serve Alta." I was totally annoyed with that comment. Stockton didn't run to be a big shot. He knew it was a long shot to win, but wanted to give it a chance. Plus, wouldn't it be more likely you wanted to be a big shot if you kept running? Way to kick the kids when they are down Mr. Packer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Stockton had a little bit of trouble getting his signs handed out. He was hoping to get a freshman to hold one of his signs. The problem was, everyone he asked in our ward was already carrying a sign for someone else in the ward. There are four people in our ward running. Stockton went to school early and was able to get some friends to hold them, so that was nice, he just was hoping it would be in the younger age group. Stockton didn't get back one of his shirts yesterday from his friend, Jove. Hopefully Jove wore the shirt again, but Stockton didn't see him all day; so who knows what happened with that. Stockton had to campaign during both lunches. He wasn't looking forward to it, but he ended up enjoying it. Stockton said everything went really well. He always knew the right thing to say in different situations. He didn't want to bother anyone, but enough people came up and talked to him that he didn't have to. He has been really happy with his campaign. He likes the Zelda theme and everyone loves his posters. He said, "Even if I don't win, at least my campaign is something I don't have to be embarrassed about."

I took Stockton straight to diving. Diving was cancelled yesterday, so we went today. Stockton looked exhausted by the time I got in there. They were still discussing the previous meet. Stockton said he was so tired and couldn't keep his eyes opened, but he felt fine once he hit the water.

I had my weigh-in today. I was a little disappointed with the results. I lost a lot of weight, 16.7 pounds; but I also lost muscle. What? We lift a lot of weights in class, so that was weird. They said that I wasn't eating enough protein. I tried to do what Michael said. I cut out all sugar, grain, dairy and fruits. I ate a lot. Mostly eggs, chicken, fish and vegetables. Still, they said that I lost 7 pounds of muscle. That is discouraging. He said my body fat loss would have been more if I hadn't lost any muscle. I lost 3 1/2% body fat. Last time I lost 8% body fat. I tried harder to follow his eating plan exactly this time, so I'm frustrated about that. No way I won this contest! I did lose 9.3 pounds of fat tissue, maybe they'll go off of that result instead. Oh well. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

First Day of Campaigning

I dropped Stockton off at school early so he could get his signs and shirts handed out to the people who agreed to wear them. Stockton said everything went really well today. People really loved his signs and his campaign. I was a nervous wreck today. Stockton had a $150 budget. We needed six signs for the posters. They were $13 each, $20 to get them laminated. That would have taken most of his budget. Mike decided against lamination while we were at the dive meet. We were thinking we needed the lamination to help the posters stand up. Mike got a foam poster board that Stockton rubber cemented the signs to. It worked great. What we didn't think about was how the lamination would help in the rain. Around 10:00 it started raining really bad. Pouring hard. I was so worried that someone who was holding his sign would have seminary and the signs would be all the way ruined. Turns out, Ryuhei had seminary. He broke one of the handles running and trying not to ruin the sign. That's okay, the handles could be fixed. He ended up leaving the sign in a teacher's classroom because the handle broke. That was weird because it was only the sword part, not anything that you really had to hold. I wonder when he had seminary. Hopefully it was at the end of the day. Mike and Stockton were able to fix the handle when they got home.

Stockton seemed really happy with how the campaigning went today. Yay! Stockton's cousin, Brandon, is also running for a student body office at his school. Their campaigning started today too. Shannon sent me this picture of Brandon's booth. The difference is, they only get one day to campaign. Maybe just lunch, I don't know. Brandon found out after school that he didn't make it. That's too bad. All that work for just a few minutes chance.
Brandon's booth
Stockton was telling me about his drama class today. They were doing improve at the end and had to do a worst parent ever skit. When it was Stockton's turn he yelled, "Honey, I'm going to 'take your child to work day'!" He then leaned down and picked up an imaginary baby. He talked to the baby as he was walking away saying, "You get to see what your daddy does at Planned Parenthood." Stockton said the class busted up laughing, even the teacher. It is always good to get the teacher to laugh at you! As Stockton was taking his seat he heard a kid say, "I'm voting for him for sure now!"

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fingernails and Posters

I worked on my primary lesson and went to choir practice this morning. Jorja did the girls' nails before they left. She does such a good job. The girls really seem to like them.
Jorja & Ella
 Jorja, Abby & Ella
 How cool is this!?! Jorja has a plate that says 'coachella'. Works perfectly for our Ella.
 Jorja, Abby, Ella
 Ella's fingers
 Jorja & Abby
 Abby's fingers
 Jorja & Amelia
 Jorja, Ella, Abby, Amelia
 Abby & Amelia
Mike and Stockton worked hard on Stockton's signs and shirts. They made the handle of the signs into swords. It looks so good! They used a yard stick and 3D printed the handle. Mike had some black stuff he wrapped around the bottom. Mike kept burning his hands hot glueing the black thing, but the end result is awesome. Stockton and I tried to get a non-awkward picture of him with his sign. It's hard to get a good picture with the entire sign and handle!
 Stockton's signs ready to go!
It was also really hard to get a picture of the three signs lined up. I asked Mike if he could hold my back so I didn't fall. I also had my feet wrapped around the railings. Well.....Mike is being Mike. Stockton took a picture of the chaos.
Mike & Stephanie
 Stockton with sign and shirt
Campaigning starts tomorrow! AHHHH! Nerve-wracking!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

1st* and 33

Stockton and Preston had an AAU dive meet today at the University of Utah. It is Zones. The top six finishers with a high enough qualifying score get to go to Nationals. This year Nationals are in San Antonio, Texas over Memorial Day weekend. Stockton didn't want to dive on Sunday, so he dove his one meter with the 18-19 year olds. He did great! I put a lot of videos on here, just couldn't help myself. Usually Stockton HATES voluntaries, which are just the basic dives. Front dive, back dive, inward dive, reverse dive. It's funny they are called voluntaries, because it is not voluntary to do them. Anyways, Stockton did great! Probably his best meet he has ever had.
Stockton ~ inward dive
Stockton ~ reverse dive
Stockton ~ inward 1 1/2
Stockton ~ back 1 1/2
Stockton ~ inward 1 1/2
Stockton ~ front 2 1/2
Stockton went straight from competing on one meter to warming up on three meter. While he was warming up, I saw him hurry across the pool. I noticed they were giving out awards. I was super excited because I thought there was a chance he would take first. I was paying attention to the other scores, and I really thought he had it. Then they had these three guys on the podium and no Stockton. I was confused.
The lady in the picture above turned around and noticed Stockton. She gave him a medal and a certificate. He took 5th/last. I couldn't believe it. To say I was shocked was an understatement. Stockton walked to me and held up his certificates and medal. I asked him what happened. He said he didn't know.
Diving is such a mental sport. Stockton got back on the board to finish his 3 meter warm-up. His first dive his legs flopped. I was wondering if he was thinking, "I had my best meet and still take last? What is the point?" Anyways, later we learned that the reason Stockton took last was because he was diving "exhibition". He was diving with older kids. You would think that would be a disadvantage and they wouldn't punish you for that. We were able to look up everybody's scores. Stockton took first by over fifteen points. It kind of makes me mad. Stockton has never taken first at a big meet before. He's taken first at the neighborhood meets, but not something like this. He didn't get the opportunity to stand on the top of the podium. Plus, he had to stand in the last place spot. Then he had to compete in 3 meter. He didn't do as well in 3 meter. I think if he had known he finished first it might have changed things a bit.
Stockton ~ reverse
Stockton ~ reverse 1 1/2
There is a big difference in the judging for Stockton's group and the judging for Preston's group. Here is a good example.
Stockton ~ inward 2 1/2
Preston ~ front dive
Preston ~ back jump
My favorite, Preston ~ inward
Preston scored 5s on that dive. I am super proud of him though. Yesterday he kept balking on that dive. This time he did it without any hesitation. I didn't get his front jump. It was so cute and good!
We went to Red Robin after the meet. All four of us were quite exhausted. Mike missed Stockton's one meter competition. He was looking at times of copy stores and realized that he needed to go to Office Max and be there by 2:00. He left and was able to get Stockton's signs printed up while Stockton was doing the meet. I told him that I think Stockton would rather have the signs done then to have him watch the meet. Too bad he missed it though, since Stockton did so well. It is a relief to have the signs printed out though.

As we were getting out of the car to go in the house Bubs drove up. We watched his kids tonight. Bubs and Ange went to a concert. We had the kids sleepover. Mike and Stockton worked on Stockton's signs the rest of the night. They decided to make the handle look like a sword, using the 3D printer. I think it will look great! Stockton also got his ACT results. He earned a 33. I videoed him opening the envelope, just like a mission call. Too bad the video wouldn't upload. Stockton was happy with his score. Wow. Today was a long day.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Nathan Hale

Mr. Packer texted Stockton back at 4:33 in the morning approving Stockton's signs. Haha! At least they got approved.

Preston had his wax museum today. He was Nathan Hale. Mike found clothes for him to wear. The vest is a little big, but come on . . . fourth child - this is as good as it's going to get!
Preston ~ Nathan Hale
Preston's speech
After school Stockton and Preston had warm ups for the AAU diving competition tomorrow. It wasn't too crowded, so that was nice. Preston was a little scared to do his inward. He balked several times. We talked about it on the way home. Tomorrow he just needs to go out there and throw it. If you balk, you automatically get two points taken off of each judges score. You don't want to do that at all!
Preston's inward
Stockton reverse 1 1/2
We stopped and picked up some pizza on the way home. Mike and Stockton worked on campaign stuff the rest of the day. It was my brother John's birthday. He liked the socks I gave him. Yay! Hope he gets a relaxing weekend for his birthday present.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Campaign Posters

Stockton worked on his posters for a long time. He has to get them approved by 7:45 tomorrow morning. He sent a text of his designs to Mr. Packer just before 10:00. I think they turned out great. We still need to get them printed somewhere.
Posters/hand held signs
 Shirt design

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Numb Mouth

I had my cavities filled today. Luckily Fabrizio was the one to do it. As he was sticking the needle in my mouth he said, "I wish your brother was doing this part." When he got his hand out of my mouth I said I would have kicked him! I did not like that at all. My lips and tongue was numb for several hours. My bottom lip felt really dry. I kept trying to lick it but it felt like I couldn't get my tongue to work. I looked in the mirror and my tongue was halfway to my chin, I couldn't even feel it! I tried to drink water out of my water bottle, kind of a straw thing. Didn't work out so well.

We had a tree guy come and look at pruning our apple trees. They were supposed to come at 8:00 this morning, but didn't show up. I called at 10:00 and left a voice mail. He called back. He felt so bad. He remembered talking to me, but the appointment didn't get into the system. He came over at 7:00 tonight. He was really nice. It is going to be expensive, but the tree branches are out of control and we don't want our trees to die. They are going to come and do the trimming on April 6.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Officially Running

Well, he did it folks. Stockton turned in all his paperwork to run for a student body officer. He picked attorney general, because that is what Mike was when he went to Alta. Stockton had to get letters of recommendations, teacher recommendations, report card, write an essay, create a platform and most hilarious to me - make posters announcing the inauguration assembly. Clever. Especially clever to have them make a poster before the candidates get whittled down next week.
Stockton's platform
 Inauguration poster, obviously
Stockton got official letters of recommendation from Mike Masters and Nate Wixom. They wrote nice things about him. Stockton's essay was hilarious, especially the last paragraph. The last paragraph was asking them to come up with an assembly activity. This was Stockton's:

Students could be given the chance to participate through a new assembly activity. Two volunteers from each class could be selected from the audience to participate in a high-fiving competition as part of the spirit bowl. Hyping up such a simple activity would generate school spirit. The participants are placed at each end of the basketball court, and once the audience is silent, the students begin to run toward each other. All the pressure rides on a single instant of delivery. Once the high five is executed, the respective class erupts in cheer, and faculty members act as judges through score cards. The top ranking classes receive the most points, and school spirit is created in a comical fashion.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Tiny Fly

Jorja was worried about lunch today, so I talked her into letting me check her out. I haven't had lunch with her for a long time and it was the first day of Spring! I talked Jorja into going to Blue Lemon instead of Leatherbys. I didn't know if I could find anything to eat at Leatherbys. Too bad Jorja found a fly in her hamburger! It was a tiny fly, a gnat really; but Jorja wouldn't touch her food after that! Jorja said today had gone better than she expected. She learned she could stand on her own and be okay. What a great thing to learn! I was happy for her because she really didn't want to go to school today. After lunch we went to Seagull Book, DI, and the library. Jorja was able to find the book she needed for English class. I dropped her back at school to finish her day, ran home to get Stockton's diving bag, and was able to make it to Stockton's school just in time. Yay!

Preston didn't have scouts today because of pack meeting on Thursday, so he came to diving today. We did the double diving switch, so I was at BYU for a long time. I'm getting anxious for my exercise/eating challenge to end. The class ends on Saturday, but he said the weigh ins will probably be Wednesday or Thursday. I can't wait! I registered Stockton for all five of his AP classes today. Well, not for his classes, but for the tests. He has had such a hard year. He has done great though. Stockton studies really hard. I am so proud of him.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Back Home

We had a short trip to the cabin. We cleaned up this morning and headed home. We stopped by 11:00 church in Afton on the way. Jorja was sad. Katlyn told her yesterday that they needed a break from each other. I tried to get ahold of Katlyn's mom so I could let her know Jorja wouldn't be coming to church, but I couldn't reach her. I just sent her a text. I asked Matt and Sam if they could drop Jorja off at home before they went to church. Hailey's family picked Jorja up and took her to their ward. Hailey was speaking in sacrament meeting, so that worked out well. I talked to Jorja for a long time tonight. She'll be okay. I'm sure she and Katlyn will be okay in about a week, still it's hard. Middle school is not fun.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Got the Snowmobile

Mike and I left early this morning to go pick up a snowmobile from the shop. Mike dropped it off at Christmas time and it was finally (hopefully) repaired. It was hard getting it on the trailer, but we managed. The snowmobile and the trailer and now both safely tucked away in the cabin garage. It was nice when that task was over, I'm glad we got it done right away. 

The rest of the day was spent playing games and homework. Well, Stockton was doing homework. I helped Preston come up with his speech for the wax museum on Friday. He is going to be Nathan Hale. Stockton worked on homework most of the day. He had a lot of history to do. Mike, Preston and I played games. Preston won Starfarers of Catan. That was fun. He was very famous.
We also played Preston's pirate legacy game he got for Christmas. We started it for real today. It was a lot less confusing when we were able to really play. I didn't do well, but it was fun. Preston is anxious to play it again.

Friday, March 17, 2017

No Parking

Wow! What a day! We planned on going to the cabin today. Yesterday Jorja found out that her first softball practice of the season would be on Saturday. She didn't want to miss that. Also, Katlyn is going to be singing in sacrament meeting and she wanted to watch her. We agreed to let her stay home. She is going to sleep at Matt and Sam's house. I texted Katlyn's mom and she said it would be great for Jorja to go to church with them and she would bring her back when they were done. Yay!

I totally forgot about volunteering in Preston's class. I had lunch plans with my cousins. I texted them and we were able to push back lunch until noon. Still, I was late. To make matters worse, an NCAA basketball game was going on AND so was Comic Con! There was no parking anywhere! I usually park in the City Creek parking garage. I drove around that thing for a half an hour looking for a spot. Several other cars were doing the same thing. I finally gave up and found a parking meter a few blocks away. I ran all the way to Blue Lemon and were able to see Heather and Jordyn for a few minutes. I had asked them to get their food. Jordyn wanted to know if they could buy my lunch. I told her no. I wasn't 100% positive I would find anywhere to park. Anyways, I'm glad I saw them for a few minutes. Jordyn had to leave after a bit - tax season. I was able to talk to Heather for a little longer. It is so nice. I LOVE my cousins!

On the way home I was getting texts from Jorja asking if she could go to a friends after school. I could only look at the texts at lights. When I realized that I never met this friend before I texted, "I'd rather you just come home. Only because I'm going to be out of town. I'd rather meet her first before you go to her house or before she is over when we're gone. Sorry." Jorja sent a text back and called right when I walked in the door. I handed the phone to Mike because I really needed to go to the bathroom. Mike told her she could go to the friends. I was so mad! Jorja and I texted back and forth for awhile. Jorja was confused because Dad said yes. I was confused because I didn't realize she was asking him the same thing I already told her no for. Another one of my texts, "It is super stressful for me to not know where you are. I agreed to let you stay, but I don't like it. I don't want to be worried that you are dead in a ditch somewhere. Let's be honest, how many times have you made plans with your friends and then I have to pick you up anyway? Remember the last time you went to Classic?"Anyways, we ended up compromising. I talked to Kiyara's mom on the phone for awhile. She promised me she wouldn't murder Jorja. I let her know that I couldn't be a backup to get them. Kiyara's mom was really nice and probably thought I was a crazy person.

Our drive to the cabin was uneventful - yay! We made it around 10:00. Preston was cute working on Mike's laptop the entire way. He did RPG maker and played Geometry Dash. Made the trip go fast for him!
I always, always, always love being at the cabin. Today is no exception. It is so nice here! It doesn't look like we will be able to sled though. Lots of snow, but lots of dirt. Oh well, it will be nice anyway.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Heritage Park

I dropped Stockton off at BYU, then came straight home. Mike brought Preston and took both of the boys home. I had a Relief Society activity that I wanted to go to. We went to "This is the Place" at Heritage Park. Sister Madson works there. She dresses up as a pioneer and tells their story. She did great and it was fun to see her. Afterwords we went to the Beehive House where they had fresh bread and jam. I skipped out on that and went straight to the quilt and lace exhibit. The first quilt I saw was hilarious. I ran down to get the Bradley girls to see.
Here are a few other random quilts I took a picture of.
 This one is not old, but I liked it.
I rode both ways with Megan Bradley. She brought her daughters Zoe, Quinn, and Georgia with her. It was fun to talk with them. I love that family!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bowling Flop

I went to the dentist this morning and have two, maybe three cavities. Boo! I switched dentist awhile back and I haven't been too happy. I switched because Mike's (my brother) friend moved up here to work. He seems great, the problem is . . . I don't get to see him! Every time I have scheduled an appointment, they stick me with a random dentist. The first time I caught it. When the dentist came in I asked if he was Fabrizio. He wasn't. This time the doctor came in so fast. I don't really know Fabrizio, so I couldn't recognize him. Once the dentist had his hands in my mouth I noticed his jacket said Dibbles. I didn't know what to do then. To top it all off, the dental hygienist is creepy. He's not doing anything wrong, but for some reason he creeps me out. He takes forever, explaining everything. I'm sure some people like that, and some of what he says is interesting; but it is annoying when I spend one hour with him and less than five with the actual dentist. I think what creeps me out most is he touches my shoulder. I don't know why that bothers me, but it does. He touches it like we are good friends and are sharing in on a joke. I'm just thinking I want to get out of here as soon as possible. I had this guy last time. When I went to set up the next appointment I told him I wanted it with Fabrizio. He said, "He doesn't work on the days that I do." Silently I was cheering inside. I said, "That's okay. I'm only here to see Fabrizio." Anyways. Today I had Todd and NOT Fabrizio. I had to schedule my cavity fixing appointment. I told Todd I wanted it with Fabrizio and that Fabrizio was the only reason I was here. I told him my brother asked me to go to him. He has now made note of it on several computer screens so hopefully they will see. It seems to me that the hygentists just grab whatever dentist is walking by. If the dentists are paid by commission, that doesn't seem really fair. At least he will get the commission for my cavities that I am not happy about. I have never had this many cavities before. I have only had one cavity in my life. All of a sudden when I am going to this new office I have THREE cavities! Coincidence? I wonder . . . 

I took Preston to diving today. He tried to do a front flip. He has been able to do these before, but not with the proper technique. He practiced for a bit in the water before they brought him on the board. Here are his two attempts. (On a side note, I have no idea why the video hasn't been working on blogger. I don't know if it is just my computer, or everyones. BOO!)
First attempt = back flop
Preston's coach told him it was okay, and that everyones second attempt always goes better.
Second attempt = belly flop
Preston was a little sad. He tried so hard not to cry. I told him he could pick anywhere to eat. He wanted Little Caesars. He sat with a cheese pizza box on his lap all the way home from Provo. He was eating pizza on the way too.

While we were gone, Mike took Stockton bowling. They had a great time. Stockton won the first game and Mike won the second. Funny how Mike only took a picture of the score on the second game. Although I would take a picture if I scored 155!
 2nd game

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi Day

I love pi day! Except when I am doing a no sugar, no dairy, no grain challenge. Dang it! I did buy pizza, chocolate pie and lemon meringue pie for the rest of the family. I didn't have anything note worthy. Mike and I did go out to lunch though. I had wanted to go to this fish place that I drive by all the time. We met there only to find a sign on the door saying they had closed for good. Instead we went to Village Inn. I saw several people walk up to the door, so I'm guessing this was a recent closing.

Mike helped Preston 3-D print a pi pencil holder. It has the digits of pi around the cup. Turned out really cute. Preston loves it.
Stockton went to a Young Mens service project and Jorja did a service scavenger hunt. Jorja and Ebony vacuumed our front porch. Nice.

Monday, March 13, 2017


So this happened yesterday . . .
I'm going to Virginia to see my brothers! I haven't asked them yet, so hopefully they are okay with it. I saw a cheep flight deal that was expiring in ten minutes. It was way too late to call my brothers. I had been looking at flights for awhile, so I just jumped. Hopefully Brett and Rachel don't mind that I am crashing their anniversary. Also, I really wanted to go to a baseball game with my brothers. There is only one game while I'm there and it is on a Tuesday. I forgot that John has to go to work and he lives two hours away! Dang it! Well, it will be fun no matter what happens.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sabbath Eggs

Wow! Today was a crazy, busy day. Mike made crepes in the morning. We decorated Easter Eggs. Maysen loves to decorate eggs and we haven't done it for years! I always hated boiling the eggs. Well, now the Instant Pot makes it so easy. This is the last time Maysen will be home before Easter, so we decided to do it today. The kids had great fun. I'm glad we did this.
Maysen, Stockton, Jorja, Mike, Preston
 Maysen, Stockton, Jorja
 My kids are so creative. I think these are all Stockton's.
I spent the morning preparing for my primary lesson. After we finished the eggs, I hurried to choir practice, we were singing in sacrament meeting. I also gave a talk today. I'm tired. Luckily Mike took Maysen back to Logan for me. I wasn't up to the drive, especially since I need to get up at 4:15 tomorrow and today was daylight savings! Anyway, my talk went really well. Afterwords the Bishop shook my hand and said, "Wonderful talk. Your delivery, the things you said, everything was great. I want you to know I agree with everything you said." He was shaking my hand this entire time, but for some reason I was a bit worried where he was leading. I said, "But?...." He laughed and said, "No 'but', it was great." Whew! I was a little nervous for a bit. I actually had my entire talk written, which I don't usually do. I read parts, like the story of the blind man my dad told at my Aunt Sue's funeral. I can't write like he does! When it came to the personal stories, I didn't use my notes, so it might not be word for word. I do wish I had copies of some of my other talks, especially the one on the sacrament. Our Bishop in Georgia was very big on giving talks without notes, so that is what I did back there. Anyway, I write my kids talks on here, so it is only fair I put this one here too. Who knows, I might want to look back and read it someday. The cool beggar story is word for word by my dad from my Aunt Sue's funeral. The Sabbath day traditions in Christ's time I got from The Mortal Messiah by Bruce R. McConkie. Anyway, here it is.....

There once was a beggar in one of the narrow streets of Jerusalem. He had been blind from his birth. As Jesus approached, he lifted up his cup in hopes of receiving a coin. Jesus knelt down beside him and the beggar again lifted his cup, waiting for the tinkle of the coin in his cup. Instead Jesus spits in the dirt. Over and over again he spit in the dirt until he has a handful of mud. He then takes the mud and rubs it in the beggar's eyes. I'm sure the beggar was startled. He asks for a coin and he gets mud in the eyes. Then he hears a gentle voice say: "Go, wash your eyes in the pool of Siloam." From all appearances, he had every right to be angry. Mud smeared in his eyes. Why should he have to go and wash it off? He didn't put it there. It took quite an effort for this beggar to leave his post and feel his way to the pool of Siloam. He could have refused. He could have cursed this stranger for this insult, for this abuse, for this slap in the face with a fist full of mud. But he didn't. Instead, the record says, he did as he was told, he was humbly obedient, and it says he came back seeing. (John 9:1-7) He asks for a coin, he receives his vision.

All of us are beggars with tin cups before the Lord. In our blindness, we pray for coins. If we can just hear the tinkle of the coin in our cups we'll be happy. But the Lord sometimes seemingly ignores our prayers and pleadings. Instead, the Lord spits on the ground and he rubs mud in our face. We are offended. We asked for a coin and is this any way to answer? Then the gentle voice, without apology, says: "Go, wash your eyes in the pool Siloam." But we don't want to. It takes a great effort to obey this command, and why should we, anyway, when we have been treated so unfairly? But, if we are humble, we will be obedient. And if we are obedient, we will come back seeing.

A person with mud in his face may say that he is through with God. "Look what I get for my efforts," he says. "I want coins, I get mud." And so, in his pride, he may ignore the simple commands of the Lord, and in so doing, remains forever blind.

I was blessed to be raised by a master teacher. One who was able to make the scriptures come alive and relatable to my own life. This story of the blind man is my favorite of all of my father's teachings. I think about it often. I think about it when I ask for my coins. I think about it when mud has been smeared in my eyes. But mostly, I think about how this story relates to the principle of obedience.

A few weeks ago I was asked to share my thoughts on the Sabbath day. Naturally I have been thinking a lot about different teachings from my father. When Christ was on the earth, Sabbath day observance was strictly enforced. With the punishment being death. The problem was the Sabbath day was no longer enforced by God's laws, but it was enforced using the laws of man.

For example:

  • You could not set a broken bone because no healing was to be done. A plaster might be worn if it was to prevent the wound from getting worse, but not to heal it.
  • You could not light a fire to cook with because that was too much like work.
  • You could not put out a fire if it was burning down your house because again, work.
  • You could eat an egg that was laid by your chicken if it was your only chicken and was not used for laying but for fattening. Then it would be like a pet dropped something. If you had ore than one chicken it would be like you were in the poultry business and all your eggs would need to be thrown away.
  • You could not tie shoes because that takes two hands, but you could untie them because that takes only one.
  • You could spit on the road or rocks, but you could not spit on dirt because that would be watering the ground and something might grow.
  • You could not walk through a garden or field because seeds might fall to the ground and that would be planting.
  • You could not visit a synagogue in a neighboring tow because you were only allowed to travel 2,000 cubits from your property. But, you could tie a rope between houses so all the houses would be considered part of your property. Or, on Friday you could put food for two meals 2,000 cubits away and declare that part of your dwelling, then you could go 2,000 cubits farther.
  • You could not write two letters because that might make a word. You could not write a letter on a corner of each wall or on two leaves of a writing tablet, because they might be read together. You could write in sand or dust because the writing wouldn't remain. You could write if your hand was turned upside down. You could write with your foot, or your mouth, or your elbow.
  • If you threw an object in the air and caught it with the same hand that was a sin. If you caught it with the other hand, that was debatable. If you caught it in your mouth and ate it that was okay because the object no longer existed.  ----On and on with these rules.
It is quite obvious to all of us in this room that these were man-made laws. Christ really irritated the Pharisees by breaking these laws. He walked through fields with his disciples and plucked corn. He healed on the Sabbath and even asked a man he healed to take up his bed. That was forbidden. You were not allowed to carry anything heavier than a fig. The blind man I talked about earlier was healed on the Sabbath. Not only that, but Christ spit in the dirt to make the clay to rub in the poor man's eyes. We need to be careful to not be like the Pharisees and have the Sabbath day ruled by lists of dos and don'ts.

I now struggle with my memory. It is quite maddening. When I think back to my time in Young Womens I have a few memories. I remember that I adored the Young Womens president. I remember that I was not liked by the girls in my ward, that was made abundantly clear on several occasions. I only remember one lesson. It was the Sunday before the AP tests and I had three AP classes. I was scared, stressed and overwhelmed. I brought flashcards to class and was quietly looking at them in the back of the classroom. The class was being substituted by the Young Women president's husband, who happened to be a member of the bishopric. He noticed what I was doing and called me out on it. Granted, I should to have been studying during class and i would be extremely annoyed with my girls if they did that to me. Luckily I have only taught angels, so I didn't have to worry about that. Anyway, this bishopric member announced to everyone that I was breaking the Sabbath. I was kind of confused because I thought he had every right to admonish me for studying in class,s but I thought breaking the Sabbath was a stretch. He then asked me questions about my date the night before until he found out I came home after midnight. Again, he announced to everyone that I had broken the Sabbath because I was out too late the night before. I don't remember everything he said to me, but I do remember that I left that classroom in tears and completely humiliated. How sad that this is my main memory of my class experience in Young Womens. At church our job is to teach and to guide, not to belittle and condemn.

Our family moved from Georgia several years ago. While we were there we talked a lot about keeping the Sabbath day holy. We were living in an area where we had different values than the people around us. It was common for birthday parties to be held on Sunday. Shortly after we moved here, Jorja invited Audrey to church with us. She must have been 8 or 9 years old at the time. As we were walking home that Sunday, Audrey asked if she could come over and play. I automatically responded with, "Oh sweetie, Sunday is our family day, but you are welcome to come over another day." Audrey just smiled and I watched her skip away. I stood there stunned. I thought, "This precious child just spent three hours of her free time at church with us. She has no brothers or sisters to play with at home and I told her she couldn't come over?" I felt like I was a Pharisee. I was following a to-do list for Sunday activities, to pausing to find out what Heavenly Father would want me to do. I decided then and there that as far as Audrey was concerned, she would be considered a part of our family on the Sabbath day.

My favorite story of keeping the Sabbath day holy was told to me by my dad's cousin, Chris. My dad was very close to his cousins growing up, despite them living in California and not being members of the church. Chris was extremely involved in competitive soccer. One year they had a really good team and Chris was sure they would win the championship. Their best player happened to be LDS. She did not play on Sunday. Christ was aware of our customs and allowed her to miss the Sunday games. When the brackets for the biggest tournament of the year were posted, Chris realized the play-in game for the championship was going to be on Sunday. Chris was 100% convinced they would lose without their star player. He was also 100% convinced they would win if she did play. Before this Sunday game Chris talked to her. He said, "I want you to ask your parents if you can play in Sundays game. If you are willing to do this for me, I will go to your church with you for three months." Chris laughed as he told this to me and said, "I don't know where those words came from, they just came out of my mouth!" The girl played. They won. They won the championship. Chris went to church every Sunday for three months, and even wore a tie.

I love the gospel. One of the things I love most about this gospel is everything is individualized. You take the sacrament as an individual, you get baptized as an individual. It makes sense that keeping the Sabbath day holy is an individual responsibility. What Heavenly Father requires of me might be different than what he requires of you. Not everything in this world is black and white. Steve Young, a well known football player, struggled with his decision to play football on Sunday. Much good has come with him as an ambassador for the church. I believe that Heavenly Father is pleased with physicians who give their time to care for the physically wounded, because illness and injury sure don't worry about the Sabbath day. I remember Brother Gordon Kimball saying to me once that the members of the church use Sabbath day observance and the principle of modesty more to judge other members than to show their devotion to Christ. We need to be kind. We need to be humble and prayerfully ponder and ask Heavenly Father what we can do to best show him our devotion, love and thankfulness on the Sabbath day; then have the courage to follow through with our inspiration.

I love this quote by Neal A. Maxwell.

The submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's altar. The many other things we "give" are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God's will, then we re really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pictures in the Dark

Jorja and her friends went out to eat at Chuck-A-Rama today. She wanted her friends to come over after, but I wouldn't let her. It is daylight savings tomorrow and we want to decorate Easter eggs before church. Our plan was to decorate them tonight, but Jorja really wanted to go to dinner with her friends. The compromise was she had to come home early. Pretty sweet deal for her. Anyway, here are the pictures Jorja took yesterday. The first one is my favorite. It's funny because it looks like it was taken the same time as the two below, but it wasn't. I just like it, so I put it first.
 Jorja & Allison
 Jorja & Hailey
 Jorja, Hailey, Allison, Katlyn
 Jorja, Hailey, Katlyn, Allison
 Hailey, Jorja, Katlyn, Allison
 Jorja, Hailey, Allison, Katlyn
 No idea what is going on here, pretty sure they crashed.
 Jorja, Hailey, Allison, Katlyn
 Hailey & Katlyn
 Jorja & Katlyn
 Jorja & Katlyn's nose
 Jorja & Katlyn
 Hailey & Allison
Maysen and I ran errands today. We did her laser hair appointment, which she didn't like. We sent packages, which she liked. We spent a lot of time looking at possible classes for next year. Registration is a few weeks away. Yikes!