Thursday, August 12, 2010

Easter 2010

Easter, is my favorite holiday....

for obvious reasons. It is a reminder that we have reason to have hope and joy in this life that can sometimes feel so full of pain and sorrow. It reminds me that all the pain and sorrow that can seem so overbearing is not without reason. More importantly, we do not have to bear that pain and grief alone because someone bore it for us a long time ago.

My mom had this picture hung on the refrigerator door when I was growing up. She always pointed out how the door did not have a knob on the Savior's side. She would remind us that because of the precious gift of free agency that Heavenly Father has given us, it is our responsibility to open the door and let the Savior into our lives...

We just have to remember to turn to him, open the door, let him in and let go of the grief and pain he already suffered for us. He is always there, patiently waiting. I was and am fascinated with this picture. When I am going through some trial in my life, my mother's words resound through me and into my heart and will remind me to drop to my knees and open the door from within.

You may wonder why I have a pic of this place setting here with my Easter post. It is a precious gift that my grandma Mary Kay gave me. It is china that has been in her family, my family, for over 100 years! It was her grandmother's, who passed it on to her mother and then herself. I remember getting to eat off it at special occasions. I would look at it and think of all of the generations of my family who sat around at similar special occasions and enjoy each others company. What stories that china could tell if it could talk!

Those who know my dad know he is a HUGE family history buff. Although it has not rubbed off on me to start doing the physical research, I do love the spirit of it all. I love to hear the stories of sacrifice and just living of my ancestors! I am grateful for my early ancestors who fought and died in the revolutionary and civil wars. Who trekked across the plains and most importantly, found the gospel of Jesus Christ and righteously taught and nutured their children so I could enjoy the blessings in my life today.

This china symbolizes that to me, a long chain of my family heritage. I never imagined it would be mine since I have 2 aunts. Fortunately for me they were not as interested in it. When my grandfather passed away and my grandma had to move she offered me this china. I was so honored!!! What a precious gift. It seems especially fitting to use it at Easter time knowing that because of the great gift from my Savior, I will get to meet my ancestors some day and be able to personally thank them!!!

On a more personal family note, here are some pics from our Easter celebration....

Grandma is in the dark... Why didn't I take a pic of her in front of the china? I AM going to do that the next get together!!

It's hard to pin down Kierstin and Bradley for some traditions now, but here are some of

Bryce with his Easter cache!

Brian "scored a bullseye" with his

Tyson was the first to discover all the fun!

And of course, egg decorating the night before

We are so happy to have Mary, Ann and Patty join us for so many special occasions! We sure love you!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday Tyson!!!

Tyson's 3rd Birthday...
March 11, 2010

Of course, waking up to bday decor and his favorite breakfast..
chocolate chip pancakes
(with a warmer upper wisher on it of course!)

It was to be understood, mom, that Tyson would definately help make his own cake...
chocolate of course!

Definitely can make 3 for all to see!

Trip to the park, to swing to his heart's content
and play with Faith, his favorite friend!!

It really was a very happy day at Disneyland....
hardly any lines and fireworks at the end.

Happy Birthday to Ty...
my darling little guy!!

Love you!

Monday, June 7, 2010


As I'm doing my workout this morning and Tyson is doing "kung fu" (my workout with me);

Tyson: "Mom, why do we squeeze are buns for anyway?"

Me: "mmmmmmmmm, uhhhhhhh..."

Tyson: "To make them stronger?"

Me: "yep, that's it, to make them stronger."

Tyson: "Why do you want strong buns?"

Me: "mmmmm, uhhhhh..."

Tyson: "I know, to do poops better!"

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Happy 100th Birthday Cub Scouts!!

The scouting program has been a part of my whole entire life. When I was little, my dad was always involved in the scouting program in some way. He put his heart and soul into it as he does with every calling he is given.

I remember wishing I was a boy so I could spend more time with my dad. He started out in the program before he had sons in the program. By the time my brothers got into the program, he was definately an expert. My brothers had their eagles before they knew what was happening; and they mean that literally. He was always saying what a wonderful program it is.

It somehow rubbed off on me. Since no one else had a clue about Cub Scouts, I volunteered to be over it when I was called as first counsellor in the Primary Presidency almost 13 years ago. I knew I had a wonderful resourse to refer to, good old dad.

Dad was a wonderful resourse and a great encouragement and testimony to how valuable the scouting program can be in a young man's life. Little did I know how much it would impact my life as I would have 4 boys of my own.

Almost 13 years later I have been a den leader or committee chairperson straight; with only 1 break, a year and a half ago when we moved to Murrieta. The ward we were renting in called me to Young Women's which I loved for the 6 months we were there. I should have known it was the wrong ward. We ended up buying a house in a different ward and was called right away to be the Bear leader.

I have to bear testimony to the wonderful program that scouting is. I have been to regional LDS scouting meetings where general authorities have said that "the scouting program is inspired of God." I bear testimony that it is true. What a wonderful program that teaches boys to be good citizens, family members, friends, to have good life skills and most importantly, that God is at the center of it all!!! It really goes hand in hand with preparing young boys to get ready for the priesthood.

I think it is sad that it is one of the hardest callings to fill. I think that people don't get the proper training and don't catch the whole vision. I am also discouraged that the world is discounting it's value. Take a good look at the program and you'll see what I'm talking about.

This year is the 100th birthday of the Cub Scouting Program. For Blue & Gold dinner we had a cake decorating contest. The boys had to come up with the design. This is Bryce's cake....

These are pics from our trip to the Police Station. This is always one of my favorite tours. I'll never forget the first group of boys I took to the jail in H.B. It was a larger facility than the one in Murrieta designed for a longer stay. I took the boys through and after viewing the "sobering room" and seeing how the shower areas and bathroom lacked privacy (there were windows for the gaurds to check on them) the officer doing the tour asked the boys if they'd like to go into the jail cell, complete with bars and everything. I thought they'd all jump at the chance; they all were quiet and said not really. I had to go in the cell myself and practically pull them in to get a pic. I was amazed. They all come away saying they NEVER want to go to jail! Best kind of field trip, lesson learned!

Bryce's group (which Brian got to tag along) was a little more light hearted about it. They don't really have a jail there, it's just a holding facility until they can trasnfer to the county jail.

They loved the officers showing off the motorbikes. The officers were great displaying all their "gear." They clocked one of the boys with their radar (he could run 7 miles per hour) and showed off their guns and shot guns and sirens (can you tell from the pic?). They did not get a tazer demonstration although they were shocked to learn that officers in training actually have to be tazered and sprayed with pepper spray in the face as part of their trainings. One boy asked "why on earth would you let them do that to you?!" The officers were ever so patient answering all questions.

Yes, 8-10 year old boys are rambunctious, energetic with a half minute attention span, but this program puts them on the right track to learning how to have a successful life. It's been so fun to actually share this program with my boys, first Bradley and now Bryce. I look forward to sharing Brian & Tyson's experiences with them as well! I'm grateful for this wonderful tool Heavenly Father has given to help young men prepare for life.

Happy 100th Brithday Scouts!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy 10th Birthday Bryce!

Bryce officially took the step out of his boyhood into the pre-teen waters
on January 13, 2010....
Yes, Bryce turned 10 in '10.
The cool thing about Bryce's birthday is he will turn 11 in 2011,
12 in 2012, 13 in 2013...etc.
That's the perk of being a millenial baby, it's easy to calculate your age.
He has also offically hit the double digit mark, sad but true.
No more little boy; he's approaching the whole evolution of life
the crystalis stage otherwise known as the teenage years.
We started off the big day with his favorite breakfast, chocolate chip pancakes with
whipped cream please and a "warmer upper" birthday candle to make
sure he is prepared for the real thing!
Since it hit a school day we celebrated with the family...
Steak and potatos....
and wait... not cake but cheesecake for me, if you please!!
(Bryce adores cheesecake)

Birthday wishes... will come true (pfeew!)

You may be getting bigger, but not big enough to escape dad's bday spankings!!
Friday, we had a sleepover birthday party with a few friends...

Can you guess the theme?

For those of you that may not be x-box 360 savy- (I envy you, boy I do!)-
this cake is an exact replica of a controller if I do say so myself!!!
Well, at least he could tell what it was!

Overall I think we must say he had a fun start to his 1oth year, gaming all the day into the night!! Bryce is all about games of every kind. More importantly he is all about winning games of every kind. He is competitve to the bone! He is a mini-Danny in every way! Don't get between them in any kind of game! He loves board games, ball games, word games and especially video games! He is all about fun and loving life. He has a very easy going personality. He's easy to please with a very kind and sensitive heart. He is a delightful addition to our family. I can't imagine life without my Brycee! I can't wait to see what life has in store for you! I know you will do amazing things and stay true to who you are!

Happiest of Brithdays Bryce!

May ALL your dreams come true!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Check on My Faith

Like I have stated before, this blog is for the purpose of perserving a piece of the Baak Family history. It is a journal of things going on in our family. A tangible history that my kids especially, can reflect upon. May it stir the feelings and emotions the experiences we have shared evoked within us.

I treasure many of the memories created in my family while growing up. I have had some profound spiritual experiences when I was very young that kept me spiritually grounded as I grew older and went through what I call "the finding process" of my life. It is that period of life when you really internalize everything you have been told and learned from your parents, and those around you, and decide for yourself if they are really true.

I have had several people tell me over the years that if they had been raised to believe something, most specifically, the gospel, they would believe it is true too. That is not true. After a certain point, typically in the teenage years, you begin to question everything around you. You decide for yourself if you are really going to accept the beliefs presented to you or choose a different route. We all come to that fork in the road.

Fortunately, I was able to have several experiences within my family when I was young that testified to me that the teachings of the gospel that my parents presented to me were true. Most importantly, they taught me the process that I could discover for myself, if those principles were really true. I went through that process and have learned for myself it is.

I am truly grateful to my parents for working hard to teach me the princples of the gospel and creating an environment where I could discover the truthfulness of its teachings.

I am striving to create that with my children now. I want them to remember these experiences. I had a chance to share one with them recently and I want them to remeber it....

Right before Thanksgiving, Danny finished up a job and got paid for it. He gave me the check to deposit in the bank. I happened to be on my way out taking Tyson and Tiki for a walk. I didn't want to go back in the house so I folded it up and put it in my back pocket, like I do most things. We walked all the way across our neighborhood and into a different block and back. We came home and I did several household chores all around the house and in the garage.

A few hours later I decided I had better go to the bank and deposit the check; it was gone. It was not in my back pocket or in the place where I usually kept checks for deposit. Nor was it in my purse. I searched all around the house where I had been and in the garage. I checked the trash, under beds, every nook and crany. I was fairly certain that I had put it in my back pocket but desperately hoped I might have put it somewhere else and forgotten I had.

After I had searched all over, high and low, in and out, I had a last desperate thought that I had put it on the counter and Danny and taken it to deposit it instead. I admit, I really didn't want to ask because if he didn't have it, it would mean I had been irresponsible and the dreaded reality of what I was pretty sure had happened, would be real.

I asked Danny... no, he didn't have it. My heart sunk and I knew that it must have fallen out of my pocket along the way of my walk. I was especially distressed since it was a mildly windy day and the only place I had stopped was in front of the bridge to nowhere. There is a beautiful bridge that leads into nowhere, the wilderness, as we call it, behind our house. They were supposed to build several more houses back there but they ran out of funds. I had stopped with Tiki and Tyson in front of that spot. I was afraid it had blown out into the wilderness since the wind was blowing that way.

I go back the way I had went straining my eyes at every single little spec that could be a folded up check. What were the odds of finding it? Very slight but worth a search. When I couldn't find it, Danny went out to try to look for it, to no avail.

Danny could ask for another check but how would that look about how responsible he (rather me) is. Plus, it would take a few days and we could really use the money now.

I ask the one person to find it that I KNOW can find it. I got down on my knees in my bedroom and pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me find the check rather than make an object lesson out of it for me. I told him I knew he knew where it was and that he could have it returned to me.

By this time, it is time to pick up the kids from school. I am running a little late. I strain my eyes on all sides of the road for a piece of paper. I especially look at the intersection of the bridge to nowhere. I can't see it anywhere. I go pick up Kierstin. I am running her back home before I pick up Bryce and Brian all the while searching. When I get to the corner of the turn into our neighborhood and the bridge to nowhere what do I see? On the ground on the corner, right in the middle of the grassy area is a folded piece of paper resisting the breeze pushing against it. I startle Kierstin by telling her to jump out and grab that piece of paper....

Do I even need to tell you that it was the check? Do I need to even say that it WAS an ABSOLUTE answer to my prayer? That Heavenly Father is mindful of each one of us and all of our trivial little problems? Do I need to tell you that I walked by, biked by and drove twice by that very spot all the while searching? Is this not PROOF that Heavenly Father ABSOLUTELY, CERTAINLY AND FOR REAL answered my prayer? I attest to you that he did!! There are no coincidences in life. I have lived through too many of these kinds of experiences to tell you that God is REAL. He bestows tender mercies upon me so many times. Would it have been devestating to not find the check? No. Danny could have asked for another one. Would it have been a good lesson for me to be more responsible, Absolutely!! But Heavenly Father bestowed a tender mercy upon me even though I was careless as he has done so many times before.

This was truly a tangible example of the Lord answering my prayers and in a way that I could share it with my kids. They could see how crazy it was for me to have been able to find that check, hours later on a breezy day. It was like it was put right there, at that moment for me to find . I would like to thank the helper angel that did it. Mostly, I want to express gratitude to a tender Father in Heaven who expressed his love to me that day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thanksgiving 2009

Bryce was writing a paper for school on his family Thanksgiving traditions. He chose to talk about how we go to the desert dirt bike riding. Funny, I didn't really consider it a "tradition" before, but he's right. For the last 5 years we have been going with Danny's brother Dave and his family out to the desert to go dirt biking.

I have to admit I really do look forward to going every year. This year, we weren't sure we would be able to go. But we managed to go at the last minute. We we were all happy to be able to go.

Not only do we enjoy riding the dirt bikes, but we love visitng with Dave, Linda and whichever their kids are able to make it. We have the full on Thanksgiving meal in the desert. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, salad, the full spread. This year it was especially tasty!!

We have gone to Johnson's dry Lake Bed in Lucerne Valley for several years. However, that has got CRAZY crowded. Last time we were they they had to med-lift someone out. We decided to try over in Yucca Valley by Joshua tree again. We had went there 2 years ago and enjoyed it. It was a good pic. Not crowded, Joshua Tree was close by and the weather was GORGEOUS!!

Danny's dad and brother Derek with his 2 kids, Ben & Ava met us on Friday and stayed till Saturday with us. Good times had by all...

Dave & Linda with Danny, Bryce & Brain

Bradley with a friend he met that was a friend of Dave's son.

Bryce & Brain, Again..

Kierstin & Ann Marie
(I missed Sam!! She must have went back for 2nds! boo)

Danny & Derek & Fred working on "quadzilla"

Brian got to ride the quad solo this year! He was excited

we could hardly pry him off it.

When we did, this is where he would be,
next to Bryce in front of gaming of course.

The face of fun!

When it was Ava's turn to ride the quad. Ben & Brian got in some
air soft time!

Tyson would hitch a ride with whomever he could.
Especially with Opa on quadzilla!!

Another satisfied rider!

Unfortunately, this is the only pic I got of Bryce waiting to take a turn on the 90.
He became really proficient on it this time. WHOOT Bryce!!

Boy + dirt = FUN!!

Boy + Dirt + Dog + Friend your age = GOOD TIMES!!

I realize I didn't do such a great job taking pics this time around. You'll have to take my word for it that fun was had by all!