Sunday, December 14, 2008

A real THANKFUL Thanksgiving 2008.

I finally posted the fanstical "trip" part of our Thanksgiving but I didn't really post the important part, the THANKFUL part of it.

As I've said before, I am blogging mostly to keep a family history of sorts for my kids to look back on. So this blog is mostly for my children. I want them to realize how much we truly have to be thankful for in a year where they think they've lost most all they held dear.

We sure have had a year full of surprises this year with most of it being that this time last year we had absolutely NO intentions of moving away from Huntington Beach. If you were to have told us that we would be somewhere else by this time next year we would have told you you were sorely mistaken. We LOVED our home, family and friends that surrounded us there. In fact, I must admit, I had pretty much told everyone that I loved living there and would only move if an angel came down and told me to.

That is pretty close to what happened. It really was a miracle that we were able to sell our house within 2 months of deciding to do so and within 3 weeks of putting it on the market narrowly missing the real financial crash of the summer!! All of this was done because of motivation by the Prophet's continual counsel to get out of debt, get out of debt, and prepare for your future. It weighed constantly on our mind. We our grateful the Lord helped us in doing so.

Although we LOVE our dear friends and family in H.B. and miss them sorely, we have been blessed to have a more certain mortal future for our family which is important too.

I am thankful for all the lessons we are learning from this move. That a house is only a shell, the family within is what makes a home. When I am within the walls of our new house going about life with my kids, I feel at home and at peace and love, the same as in our old home. My heart aches for the friends and things comfortable and familiar that we've left behind but not for the nicer material aspects of our old home. I am so grateful that we are all in one place, together.

I am so thankful that I am able to stay home and be a homemaker. I must admit, I used to look for other words to describe my occupation in the beginning. I now proudly write HOMEMAKER on my job description. What an honor it is to be able to create a safe haven for those whom I love and cherish.

I am every day grateful for the health and strength of me and my family. That is HUGE! There are so many that are not. I think of that almost every day of my life and as long as I am able I will serve the Lord with what he gives of me. I love that song "Because I have been Given Much."

I am so thankful for a husband who loves me and supports me but most importantly that he holds and honors his Priesthood. He has a testimony and delights in sharing it which is such a tremendous example to 4 budding missionary boys and a potential missionary daughter. He works hard and makes sure we have fun.

I am so thankful for kids that are choosing to learn more about the gospel. They strive hard to do what's right and are a good example to their friends. I love each one of them. I'm so blessed to have been entrusted with 5 strong spirits who teach me every day!

I am so thankful for parents who raised me in the gospel but more importantly were a good example to me. My dad is the epitomy of service and kindness. He truly taught me how the church and its programs are meant to work. My mother taught me to always do my duty to God and that it is to God we answer, not man. THANKS!

I am thankful for friends who uplift and support me. I am such a people person. I love to surround myself with others who will help strengthen and uplift me by example and in whom I can share and know that I'm not alone in my struggles. Which brings me to my next point...

the scriptures. I LOVE that those ancient prophets followed the Lord's instructions and were so willing to give us a piece of thier lives. Heavenly Father could have just given us a book of instructions/commandments and said "follow these or else." But instead, he gives us beautiful example of fellow brothers and sisters who started off as ordinary but had faith in the Lord and became extraordinary. They are so relateable and make me feel like I can do this too. (Gotto luv Mohonrimoriancumr & Alma the Younger)

I'm thankful for prayer, where would I be without a lifeline to my Father in Heaven? He's bailed me out of so many bad circumstances.

Boy am I SO grateful to live in these fulness of the times! What a privilege it is to not only live in a time when I have all the gospel keys but the peace and comfort I get that even though things are going to get hard there will ALWAYS be the gospel on the earth and those who believe - HUGE!

And to live in this country and enjoy so many freedoms and the company of so many people who even though they may not go to an lds church, still have values and believe in God.

It all sums up to being thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. How do people live without it especially when you hit those tough times. I guess people are so busy and caught up in those busy times of life they can push aside those thoughts and not think of it. However, when it gets down to the end, it's funny to see how most people really are frantically trying to stave off death or finally come to terms and search out God. I've seen it first hand in my grandfather. I'm grateful to have a peace of mind NOW. I bear my testimony, that we have so very much to be grateful for and it did not come by chance. Rather there is a Father in Heaven who loves us and looks after us and has bestowed these many kindesses upon us for which I am truly grateful.

But I want to let my kids know that this move was a BLESSING for our family. Dad and I had been listening to the Prophet speak over and over about getting out of debt and becoming prepared for the future. We were not at that point. The future was uncertain and that was so weighing and scary and heavy. We felt we needed to do something. After much consideration, prayer and fasting we made that decision

Friday, December 5, 2008


So after funning it up in Phoenix, we headed out for Pie Town, New Mexico Tuesday morning. The drive from Phoenix to New Mexico is BEAUTIFUL!! There were the "Charlie Brown" cactuses everwhere. (that's what we call them cuz they look like the cactus that Snoopy's brother Spike is always standing next too.) And it wasn't just brown, dead, flat desert like the first part of the drive. The hills were covered with different type flora and fauna we hadn't seen and volcanic rock was everywhere. We went via Globe, AZ which meant we went through all the Indian Territories. At every little town you'd see a sign that said it was established in 1880 or 1890s. It was obvious all of these towns were centered around mining. You could see old abandoned mind shafts dotting the hills with a rundown shack every now and then. You wondered what would possess someone to choose that random spot, in the middle of nowhere, to put down roots and stop digging. Did they have kids? How many actually found something? What a hard life that must have been! I would HATE being a miner.
Driving through Globe was interesting. The town was established at the turn of the century and it was obvious it was/still is a mining town. Before you drive into town you see half of the mountainside in various states of deconstruction as they are looking for what?.. I looked it up and they mind silver. Then you drive into town and a big huge mining plant is perched up atop the town itself. You can see how hard mining really is. The town looked just ragged and beaten down. Various states of disrepare but people were still hustling and bustling about. Life in the same country, but so different from ours.

Then we drove through Hell's Canyon which was just gorgeous! At first we thought it was part of the Grand Canyon but I guess not. It looked almost like that with the red & even green rock cut away by a river way down below! It was so fascinating to see the power of water and mother nature. Plus it was all Indian Country. I thought of my mom serving as a missionary somewhere around there. I'm sorry that I did not take more pictures to chronicle it all but I was busy keeping Tyson entertained and being entertained myself by the countryside.

the last part of the drive can only be described as "The Plains." I, (and my kids) come from Pioneer stock. We had ancestors on my mom & dad's sides that crossed the plains with the Mormon Pioneers in the 1840s. When I was a kid I just imagined it as this flat piece of land, not big deal. It is really easy to see why they are called "the Plains." There are no mountains really around just a random hill here and there (which some of them I really wonder what is underneath there. I truthfully would not be surprised if someone found some sort of ancient structures underneath some of those odd random hills. Really, they just poke up, all alone, out of nowhere! I think of the ancient, Book of Mormon civilizations) It kind of slopes down into the west. They are blanketed in this fluffy looking yellow prarie grass. It's very soft on the eye.

However, on closer inspection, when you look off of the nice, paved road, you see how very rocky and rough those plains are. That yes, there are no mountains but some rather long inclining UPWARD hills that are rocky and filled with brush! How did they get through it all! How very uncomfortable those wagon rides must have been, especially on those with child or just had children. My heart really swelled with gratitude to my forebears who suffered much and I am reaping the rewards!! I hope you really ponder that, my kids who come from the same stock! Fortunately, as I was reflecting upon this, I did take a pic of what some of it looked like. I hope your eyes are drawn toward it someday, Brian, and you really think on it too~

After about a 6 hour drive, we reach Aunt Darlene & Uncle Doug's ranch. It is beautiful!! I am so sorry to report that I did not take nearly as many pics of it as I intended. We just got a new video camera and I was so intent on taking videos I forgot to get out my camera enough. So I apologize in advance, that I did not get nearly enough pics of the ranch or especially of all our fam together and I missed Daren & Nikole's fam completely & Jennifer.
Oh well, we'll just concentrate on what I did get.
Here are Aunt Darlene & Uncle Doug, our gracious hosts who planned for us the PERFECT Thanksgiving, truly. We even had snow on Thansgiving day just like Uncle Doug promised. I have to admit, I was rather skeptical, especially when it started raining that morning which later turned into the promised snow. I'm embarrased to admit, my kids haven't really ever seen a real snowfall before. Living in Utah, till I was 12, I laughed at those CA kids, and now I've made some. But oh how we enjoyed the snow! I'm sorry to report I didn't get a pic but I got lots of videos. I"ll have to see if I can put that on to view.

In attendance were grandma Nancy & Grandpa Del, Jennifer - Aunt Darlene's daughter (Danny's niece) it was so good to see her! Daren & Nikole & family, Uncle Doug Lee Nick from Salt Lake City came and Aunt Debbie & Uncle Desi & family actually took the train all the way from Chicago!! It was so fun to see them. We hadn't in a couple of years. Debbie spoiled us all with her fab cooking!

Doug & Darlene were nice enough to let us bring the dirt bikes. Bradley, Nick & Uncle Doug were glued to those bikes riding around, and around, and around those 160 acres, even in the snow. Thanks Uncle Doug from Brian & Bryce for giving us rides!! Nick, Uncle Doug & Bradley

All my boys love dirtbikes. Bradley wakes up in the morning, puts his helmet & gear on and ONLY comes off to eat or when nature calls.

Bryce actually learned to ride the 90 this time. Dad & are are so proud of you! You were so proud of yourself. Brian will hitch a ride with anyone that is willing.
Doug & Brian &Dad with Tyson & Bryce standing

This was Tyson's first time really being on a dirtbike. I was sure he'd like it and boy was I right!! In fact, he liked it too much! Can you like something too much? The answer is YES! To the point of driving mom and dad crazy! As you can see, Tyson's face with dad on the bike was like, why are we stopping? This is Tyson when he had to get off...

Yes, Tyson pitches the full on, throw yourself on the floor, not caring if he hurts himself fits . This is what he was like when he had to get off the bike. For a whole 1/2 hour straight!! Grandpa Del looked at him and says "isn't there anything we can do?" Unfortunately, I am not a novice at fit pitching. Kierstin & Brian were experts at it. However, they never pitched a fit without regard to if they got hurt! Unfortunately, there really isn't anything you can do at 18 months old. They just aren't old enough to understand consequences. So he pretty much cried it out and then, when he's calm, mommy and daddy tell him that it was inappropriate and he sits in thinking time.

Needless to say, we were not looking forward to putting him on the bike the next day. It was almost worse to let him have a ride. Cuz although he would constantly nag us by saying 'ada' (motorcycle), at least he wouldn't pitch an all out fit. That and the fact it was FREEZING outside thanksgiving day, via the snow and he did not want to wear his jacket. But finally, dad knowing how fun it is to ride and not wanting to deny him, convinced him if he'd put his jacket, hat & stuff on he could ride the "ada". He rode until his cheeks were purple, again, pitched a fit and this was the end result...

Danny and I are not going to have a restful life!

We brought our trailer to stay at Doug & Darlene's. They had a houseful with Jennifer & Gpa Del & Nancy. They had a mobile home on the lot they lived in until the log cabin was done. Debbie & Daren families stayed there. We were very comfy in our trailer. Doug & Darlene have made a little trailer hitch facility where people can bring there horses and stay. So nice! They even have a small facility with a toilet, laundry hookups and a shower. I wish I would have got a pic of it. At first the boys were nervous to go potty in there since they thought they'd be seen but then they realized you can see out but no one can see in. I realized what a stroke of genius that was when I was prviliged to take a shower in there one early morning. I was able to look out into the beautiful sunrise while I was taking a shower! You almost feel a sense of gitty naughtiness!

I failed to mention their cabin. Which again, shame on me, I didn't get pics of. It's GORGEOUS! It's everything a log cabin should be with wood floors, a woodburning stove that keeps the whole house toasty and warm, a beautiful kitchen with soapstone countertops that weigh 4,000 lbs. Doug said after they put them in, they went out and came home to find the island had literally sunk into the crawlspace under the cabin. They called out the guys who jacked it up and had to reinforce it underneath! The whole ranch is meticulously kept just like their Nuevo ranch. Everything Doug & Darlene do is just tops. It was just gorgeous!

Darlne even got the horse out for the kids to ride. They LOVED it:

Tyson w/Darlene Brian w/Darlene

Bryce w/Darlene Brad trying it himself

Sadie, Deb's daughter & Austen with the forever grin!!

(she's really growing into a lovely girl!)

Darlne actually gave Bradley & Kierstin actual instruction with Kierstin getting a go at it herself. Unfortunately, I didn't get her pic. But Darlene said she was a natural!!
Kierstin, Tiki, Brad, Brian & Austin

Tyson, Brian & Austin
I'm so sad I didn't take more pics. I thought I had gotten so good. Oh well, I was having too much fun. Here are a few I managed to get:
Grandpa Del enjoying the view
One of the ways we wiled away the hours..
Uncle Desi, Gma Nancy & Aunt Darlene

A group shot (not all of us) in front of the cabin.
We planned on leaving Friday but satyed an extra day until Saturday cuz we were having so much fun. We were going to stop at John's on the way to break up the drive again but when we got to Phoenix it was 6:30 and tyson had fallen asleep. Danny wasn't tired so we decided to push on through to home. That way Tyson could sleep through it all, which he did and we were grateful for. We drove comfy in our nice van. Just a wonderful trip! Thanks to all of you who made it so. Thanks to Uncle Doug & Aunt Darlene and their hospitality!! We won't forget our wonderful 2008 Thanksgiving!


So after months of waiting, literally, our much anticipated thanksgiving family vacation was here. Aunt Darlene and Uncle Doug Williams had invited us up to their 160 acre horse ranch in Pie Town, New Mexico. (we can gather the origin of the name as their is more cattle & horses then the population of 300 people)

With the move and everything, we didn't get to take a real family vacation this summer so we were all definately ready for this (although we were not looking forward to the 12 hour drive pulling the trailer.)

Fortunately, my brother John, his lovely wife Allison & their boys Alan & Hyrum, live at the exact halfway point between here and there. It was perfect since I haven't ever been to see my brother in Phoenix (I mean who goes to Phoenix just to go?) They agreed to put up with us for a whole day and 2 nights. It would be fun... if we got there with our sanity intact.

Mostly we were concerned for Tyson. He HATES the car, just like Kierstin did at that age. When she gets frustrated with his tantrums in the car we roll our eyes and tell her we are reliving her life in dejavu!! Now she has a taste of her own medicine.

How were we to survive the 6 hour trek? In style of course...

We just let Tyson drive...problem solved!! (j/k for all you concerned mothers this was taken when we were actually at the ranch, lots of land, no other vehicles around).

This is how we survived... see the blank stares?
Portable DVD system of course that the gamecube can plug into.... nice thing about it?....
2 seperate screens that can play 2 seperate DVDs so not everyone has to watch Max and Ruby the whole way there and back. Although we LOVE Max and Ruby, we've read the Rosemary Wells books for years and were delighted when they made it a cartoon. Tyson can't live without it. We couldn't live without it on our trip! Of course you have to have yummy snacks to top it off.

We left Sunday, an hour and a half after church and arrived about 6 hours later in Phoenix just in time for some yummy dumpling soup Allison made for us (I need that recipe) and bed.

The next day, Bryce saw a hill behind their house (several tracts away) and suggested we all hike it that day. John & Allison informed us it is actually a popular hiking trek so we all loaded up and went.

It a perfect AZ day to go hiking.... about 78 degrees intead of 178 degrees!! It was about a mile up.

Off we trekked, Alan was feeling so well but he was quite the trooper. Even the dogs came, ours, Tiki and their corgie, Buddy. He sure got a workout carrying snacks and waterbottles in his doggie backpack (can you see it in the pic on far left?) John & Alison claim, corgies were trained cattle dogs and he needs the extra workoout.... hmmmmmmmmmm.?
Tyson was sure ready to stretch his legs after an all day drive the day before. Dad leads the way,
for a while....

I wish I could have ridden up there in style!

Bryce & Brian led the way. We had to practically run to keep up. At about this point, we still had about 1/3 way to go but Tyson had enough. Dad took him back and apparently got a good workout the way down as he fell asleep as soon as he hit dad's shoulder. They had made it a little past the half way point so it was a good workout.
The rest of us made it to the top and a fantastic panoramic view of Pheonix. John infomred me that is NOT smog in the background, it's desert dust. I didn't realize how large Phoenix is. I guess it's the 5th largest city in the US? Amazing that many people would want to live there. They must be there for the same reason John & Alison are, he loves his job.
We got back and had pizza. Danny helped John get the ceiling fan working he'd installed in the boys rooms last summer. We had lots of fun visiting, and playing games and cards.
Thanks for putting up with us John & Alison. We loved visiting with you!!

Veteran's Day in Murrieta

Still backtracking....

The kids got Veteran's Day off this year even though it was on a Tuesday. Dad had to work. (thanks dad!) I wanted to get OUT of the house and do something with the kids. I am NOT a homebody. I love being outside and DOING things.

So I got on the ever faithful internet and discovered that the City of Murrieta has a Veterans Day parade in Old Town section not far from our home. Better yet, they were going to have some vintage WWII jets do a fly over! Well, ever since the air show, Tyson has been an even more die hard fan of planes. In fact, that is one of the only 3 real words he'll say. He won't even say da-da, right now. He calls him ma (sorry dad!)

Only hitch, it was in 9 in the morning... I knew the older kids would want to sleep in. Brian was interested and I was going out with Tyson too. Of course when I went in at 8:15 to see if Bradley and Bryce wanted to go, no way, it'll be crowded anyway! I told Brian it might be crowded so we could go home any time he got bored. I didn't know what to expect our first year.

So we drive the couple miles to old town, no traffic really to speak of. I was wondering if I was in the right place as it was fairly easy to park. Yet, their were people lining the streets. We picked our spot, got a muffin & some chocolate milk

We sat down just in time for the much anticipated event....

As you can see, they flew low enough for us to see their markings so we could know what kind of jets they were if we knew our stuff, we didn't but they were still marvelous to us, especially Tyson.. this is how he felt about it...
They flew past 3 times. I don't know what it is but there is something exhiliarating about seeing jets fly over, some feeling of patriotism.

Of course there were other fun things to see... Army jeeps

flags, and of course, the faithful who serve us and help keep our freedom free!!

We stayed for about 40 mintues until, like I promised Brian, we left when he got tired of it all. While we missed our sister and 2 brothers, it was a fun ecursion for mom, Ty & Brain. I was really impressed by the fun things our new hometown puts together!
We made it up to everyone else by taking them to lunch.

Our Aunts, we LUV EM!

We're backtracking a bit..... November 9, 2008

We invited our 2 of our AWESOME AUNTS out to celebrate their birthdays...
Aunt Ann, on the left, who Kierstin shares a birthday with, Oct. 22 + 12 years!!
Aunt Mary, on the right, her birthday
is 2 weeks later on November 8. So we got together to express our love
for them and celebrate the most special days of the year... the days
they were born.

What a blessing they are in our lives. They have helped me practically raise my kids, given me a moment's sanity by offering up their babysitting services on so many, many occasions! (WOW, does KIERSTIN owe them A LOT of babysitting!!) They given me encouragement and are so helpful and considerate. What would I do without them!! (I shudder to think)

Here they are, blowing out another wish for another great chapter to their lives!

What do they get in return?.....

Why the biggest fan club in the world of course!

We love you AUNTS MARY & Aunt ANN!!