Sunday, November 22, 2009

Camping at Cuyamaca

A purchase that we made that went a little above our means but I don't feel so guilty about is our trailer. I had always been camping as a kid. My dad took us to all sorts of little nooks and crannies that were off the beaten path when we lived in Utah.

I treasure all those memories. Even the ones where we had to set up the tent (you know the old fashioned kind where everyone has to have a pole to hold onto until they all get set up!) in the rain. When it was hard to get the fire going cuz it was too wet. Half the tent falling down in the night. Ahh, what adventure!

So when I married Danny and he said he liked to go camping we got all the gear. Which proved to be useful since he ended up being scout master for the next 7 years.

However, when he decided to get back into dirt bikes and we went out into the middle of nowhere, which was really terrific, don't get me wrong, until I asked where the bathroom facility was and he handed me the tp and a shovel! And come to find out, most ORV sites are like that, self contained. It was easy to talk me into the trailer.

In any case, I do feel guilty we don't take it out enough. So I planned a little weekend trip in mid October. I just chose some random state park in San Diego county since I haven't really been anywhere there except the beach camping, which I prefer Northern sites to southern in beach camping.

I was curious, and hopeful that it would be somewhat forested (I'm not fond of desert camping unless we have the dirt bikes)

I have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised. We arrived in the dark of night. Managed to find our spot, make a fire, roast s'mores and settle down for a pleasant night. It seemed like it would be pretty at night. It was really lovely in the morning.

It was called Lake Cyamaca, although we camped in the campground a few miles up. Unfortunately it had been 90% ravaged by the 2003 San Diego fires. Trees that were 500 years old had died although some were making a comeback. It was so interesting to see this once majestic forest, although just devasted, was making a comeback.

That morning, some firefighters came through the camp advertising a fundraising BBQ they were having that afternoon. We had planned on eating in the historic town of Julian but decided since someone was going to get our money it would be nice to give it to a good cause. Plus, I heard firefighters new how to BBQ so we decided to test it. We were rewarded by an incredible meal for a killer price. We gave the extra money we would have spent as a donation to the firehouse. It was so fun!

Here are the pics in random order...

Dad and Brad enjoying a yummy BBQ

Super Yummy BBQ!!
(FYI, firefighters can sure make a killer cooking fire!)

Even Tyson and Brian dug in!

Kierstin's going to kill me for posting this one..
Sorry Kierst, it's the only proof I have you were with us!
(note, be more camera friendly next time!)

Danny, Bryce, Brian, Ty & Myself were fortunate enuogh to get in on the ranger guided hike.
He explained all the history of the area and how the forest was making a comeback.

For miles and miles, this is what you see. You can just imagine how lush and beautiful it must have been. However, you can see all the shorter greenery coming in to make a comeback.
It's really mother nature reinventing herself, wonderous!

What has Brian been caughting eating one too many of? Hmmm....

Proof that boys never tire of being "king of the mountain!"

Tyson was dead asleep when we got there. Never know it by this pic.
He perked right up when he heard the words "fire and s'mores!"

Have to have proof mom was there too!

K Bryce, I think you're having a little too much wild & crazy fun!!

What boy doesn't love a good fire?
Especially one they helped dad build.

I think this is proof enough of the fun we had.
Can't have fun without getting down and dirty tootsies!!

The Scooter

The other day Bryce asked me if I remembered something that happened a couple of years ago that really was one of those unusual moments with a lesson learned. Since this blog is used mostly for a journal of what goes on in our family, I thought I would start documenting some of these little past moments so that they will be down for my kids to reflect on.

This is what Bryce wanted me to relate...

About 3 years ago I was sitting downstairs one morning at about 9:00 a.m. in our living room. Bradley comes running down the stairs with tears in his eyes. He was about 9 at the time. I thought he had fallen out of bed (he slept on the top bunk) or something. He finally calmed down a bit and breathed out that he just saw some guy take his scooter off our front porch! His room window was above the front porch. Since he slept on the top bunk he happened to look down and see this happen.

I should mention that Bradley had lost his first scooter and saved his own money to buy this one. So you can imagine how he was feeling.

I throw open the door and ran out to the street to take a look and sure enough, there was the kid making his way down the street.

I ran into the house, got my keys, started the car and raced down the street after him. By that time he was out on the main street but I was a mom on a mission. I caught up to him, rolled down the window and asked him who's scooter he had? I KNOW I caught him off gaurd. He stuttered around and I rephrased the question, "what the heck did he think he was doing taking my son's scooter."

He stammered around and finally lamely said "I was late to work and saw it on your porch and took it." I asked him where he worked, he said Juice it Up, which was in that general direction. I told him to hand over the scooter and he better give me his mother's real phone number right away or I was calling the police.

He gave me a number. I called it right away (thank goodness I brought my purse with phone.) It was the wrong number!! I told him to think carefully again, he gave me her name and number. He said she was at work. I got a voice mail and left a message for her to call me right away.

I let the kid walk the rest of the way to work. The mom called me an hour later. I related what had happened. She was apologetic and cited that he had been hanging around the "wrong crowd" recently and his behavior had been off. She said she would have him come and apologize to Bradley.

Did he ever... no. I was disgusted by that. I guess I should have called her back. But I didn't. In fact, Bradley's scooter was stolen several months later. I have to admit I wonder if it was him.

In any case, we all had a good discussion about stealing and how wrong it is.

We discusssed the lessons learned:

#1: How do the poor victims feel? Bradley felt so bad. He worked so hard for the money for that scooter!
#2: How dumb to do something like that. Eventually, you get caught doing something wrong and you have to pay for it in some way. I could have called the police and he would have had it on his record for a while, for what, a dumb scooter!

#3: Even if no person on earth catches you, Heavenly Father knows and then you really pay!

#4: One bad thing leads to another. If he had gotten away with taking the scooter. What was he going to tell his mom about where he got it. He would have had to lie!

#5: It's important what friends you hang around with. They can persuade you to do bad things!
I prayed that day that my kids would remember that lesson and help them to prevent them from falling prey to doing something like that themselves!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Price of Forgiveness? ... A Corn Dog.

As you know, I have 4 boys and 1 girl. I have grown up with a dad who served in some various scout position my whole growing up life. I have served consistantly in the Cub Scout program for the past 12 years. Having said that, I have to say that I have come to somewhat understand and appreciate certain aspects of the boy pyschie.

Here is an example of the appreciation I've learned;

I was at the ball field a couple of weeks ago watching one son play ball. I had another son and his friend with me, who were waiting for their game to start. I observed them over on the other side of the field tagging eachother with a baseball. I baseball mind you, not a t-ball; difference being the baseball is rather harder than the t-ball.

Of course, with my mom eye, I could see where this was going. However, the boys should be old enough by now to have figured it out for themselves. But being boys, fun overrules common sense. So this goes on for a little while until my son's friend catches him offguard and pegs him in the shoulder blade a little harder than intended. Sure enough, reflex boy action kicks in and my son turns around and pegs his friend with the ball pretty hard. Yes, that hurt!

My son, is of course, apologetic but to no avail. He turns and looks in my direction. We make that mother-son non-verbal contact of "I saw the whole thing!" I raise an eyebrow and turn away.

10 minutes later he comes over and sits besides me and announces he has lost one of his best friends. I tell him I'm sure it isn't that bad. "Yes it is. I said I was sorry and he said he didn't forgive me!" I tell him it would probably take me a while to forgive him too when I was writhing in pain. Of course my son wasn't convinced.

I bit later I give him a few $$ to go over and get a hotdog to eat and suggest that he take some of the $$ and get his friend one too. He looked at me dubiously and said "why would I do that when he's not even my friend? Besides, I wanted a hot chocolate too." I gave him the "raised eyebrow" and told him to suit himself but that was all the money I had.

I while later I notice my son walking over to his non-friend and handing him corn dog; in essense a peace offering. Said friend takes the proffered corn dog. No words spoken. A few minutes later, my son and his "nonfriend" are at least sitting in the same bleacher section.

By the time my other son was done with his game my son and his friend were standing next to eachother. I left the field to take the first son home.

When I came back to the game later on to watch the end and pick him up I notice the two laughing it up and talking as normal. I chuckle and relate all that had happened to the friends' father.

His response... "They had their first fight? Cool!" (typical)

You may find this boring and trivial but I am sitting here busting up. I have really come to love this about the boy physcie. For the most part they can have a tiff or blow up one moment and the next it's all forgiven and forgotten and back to the next match! I have to admit, and from some personal experience I must admit, that this is not so true of girls. Definately a saving grace!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy 15th Birthday Kierstin!!

My darling little daughter 15 years ago

October 22, 1994.

My sweet girl on her baptism day
7 years ago!

My beautiful 15 year old young woman!!

How does that happen? That I have a 15 year old Sophmore in High School?!#
I was just in high school myself, at least it feels like it; I admittedly know I don't look it. I remember vividly looking at moms saying, I don't feel like I'm thirty or forty something. It seems like yesterday! I used to really look at them and wonder at that. Like how could you not feel like it when you so look like it? I really used to scoff to myself. Now I KNOW and most of all feel what they meant. I am them, now!

Now I'm looking at my daughter, my precious gift from God and wondering, did I do a good enough job and I'm freaking out! I only have 2 1/2 more years and she's off on her own, to start her own life. To use the tools that I've hopefully helped her acquire to be able to navigate her way through her own life! She's almost all grown up and leaving me!

I remember those "old" ladies stopping me in the grocery lines and telling me to "treasure the time when they're young cuz it goes so fast!" As my daughter is pitching a MAJOR fit in the checkout line because I won't let her buy some candy. At that moment in time it was hard to not think "how am I going to miss this! It can't possibly go by fast enough!" Wisdom comes from experience, full circle. And here I am, the old lady, echoing those sentiments to the next generation. It does go by so incredibly fast.

It really hits when you look back through those captured moments in time. The cards she wrote, the books she made me, the pictures of those special moments and even walking past the little girl section at Target and knowing I'm past all those special moments! They really are times to be treasured!

And how I treasure them! Kierstin, you have really turned out to be a gem! It used to annoy me to no end that you would refuse to try things or do things but I realize now, that you are very selective about what you endeavor to do because you apply yourself 100% in what you choose to do. You expect to excel and do not settle for less. What a great characteristic that is going to serve you so well in life!

It took patience to suffer through your meticulous way of doing things. Erasing things over and over cuz it wasn't just the way you wanted. Reading things and asking questions over and over again to make sure you understood the task at hand. Now I am so proud of you and your excellence in school and achieving a 4.o GPA!!

I used to get so frustrated with your stubborn side when you would refuse to ride in the stroller, sit in the high chair or ride in the car seat. You didn't care what other kids were doing, you wanted it your way. Now I am so grateful for that obstinance as you apply it to not giving in to what the current fashions or trends are. You are not in the least bit swayed to do something if you do not feel it's right and you don't care what others think!

You are amazing in every way. I am so enjoying watching you bloom into this righteous daughter of God. I feel privileged to be your mother and appreciate the lessons you teach me. It is now my prayer you may continue on the path you're on! I LOVE you and always will!


Kierstin's Birthday Celebration!

Started with the traditional favorite bday breakfast with
birthday wish warmer upper!
(even though it was 5:30 am before seminary!)

Then... it was off to DLand after school
(since you don't want to miss for fear of falling behind
so got to admire you for that!)

Got her $72 credit to spend as she wishes!

Feel so fortunate Kierstin thought it would be a fun birthday to hang
with her mom for the evening (thanks to Brad & Dad for holding down the fort at home!)

Met up with Aunt Ann who shares the same bday as Kierstin!
Ann was 12 when I was expecting Kierstin.
When she found out my due date was her bday she was ever so excited and kept saying
"that would be such an awesome bday present if my niece was born on my bday!"
Just proves, wishes do come true!

Kierstin putting her ASL to the test.
(Erin, what's the sign?)

The happiest place on earth!!

Prepare to be soaked!

Me and my littlest sister! It always amazes me to see her in pics.
She'll always be 12 to me!
The following Sunday we had Ann, my sister Mary and my Aunt Jayna over
for birthday celebrations!

Mary, Jayna, Kierstin & Ann!
Happy Birthday to my favorite girlies!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fred's Birthday

July 30, 2009, was Fred's 30th birthday. His wife Teri, threw a birthday bash for him the Saturday before. All of us that live around came to celebrate.

I have to say that you can see where Danny gets his good looks from! Fred sure looks good for 70!

In case you don't know, "Opa" means grandpa in Dutch. Fred is full blown Dutch. He lived through the Natzi occupation of his country Holland. He was 8 years old then and really has some amazing stories to tell. He came with his family to America when he was 16 years old.

Several years ago, I was browsing through the church book store and came across a little journal called "Grandpa, tell me your story." It was a little journal for granparents to give to their grandchildren reminiscing their childhood memories. There was a page for each day of the year and asked the grandparent to relate a specific story about his life. Such as "tell me about your favorite teacher." "Tell me a favorite story with your maternal grandma." "What was your favorite pasttime as a child." I had a strong impression to pick one up and give it to Fred to fill out. I had a feeling that he would complete it. I picked one up for all of the other grandparents too. It was around Christmas time. I gave each one to the grandparents telling them that it would be their Christmas present to us the following year.

Sure enough, the following Christmas Fred handed me back the completed book! What a treasure! The kids have absolutely LOVED to hear stories about Opa. Everything from finding out that he owned a sailboat and loved to sail when he was young, to purposely step in cowpies when he was young (you read it right) because it was warm on his toes, to more serious things like what he witnessed during the Natzi occupation in Holland. We are thrilled to have it, it is priceless.

Fred is an awesome Opa. He is always thinking of fun things to do with the kids and is always calling to just talk to them to see how they are doing. They love him. They are so lucky to have such a wonderfully thoughtful Opa.

The kids in attendance: Derek, Debbie, Fred, Danny & Daren

getting all the grandkids to cooperate for a pic is not easy.

I think this was as good as it got. At least everyone was in it!
Happy Birthday and Every day Fred!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I LOVE my job!

I have been blessed to be able to stay at home, full time, with my kids for the past 15 years, their whole lives. That really, truly is a tremendous blessing in this day and age; especially, having lived in Orange County, CA, one of the most expensive places to live. AND the fact that Danny is self-employed. He has worked really hard all these years to make sure that I can stay home with my kids. I am so thankful that he understands the value of mom being home at all times. That there are those special little life moments whern you here the spirit whisper that it is an opportune moment to plant the seed of an invaluable lesson in their hearts.

It has been so valuable to be able to be at the kids' school and work in the classroom. To get to know the environment that they are in away from home. To get a glimpse of what they go through. It has helped me help shape their way into forging some really great frienships. It has helped me understand that I need to cut them some slack cuz their teacher is a little to harsh. I can do a sneak drive by at recess to see that maybe it's not that "nobody will play with them," but rather they just don't want to play what everyone else is playing. Cuz for sure every time I drove by for the last two weeks you were playing happily with someone!

It is also the peace and comfort of knowing that if you don't feel good, or forgot something, or something just goes wrong, you know there is someone to rescue you. I can say that because that is how I always felt. Even though we may not have always seen eye to eye, I felt emmense peace and comfort in knowing that mom was there for me.

I am not, by any means, saying I am better than the mother that has to go out and work, no way. We all do what we have to do. We listen to the spirit and we are all meant to follow a different course. In fact, I am facing, in this economy, the fact that I need to do something that will help contribute monetarily to my family now. With the economy the way it is, missions, colleges, marriage and the fact that we'd like to retire someday, it just has become a necessity.

So I guess, I have been thinking of the tremendous blessing that I have been able to enjoy for these last years. Most importantly, I think I have become aware of what an emmense blessing it has been when there have definately been many times when I have been pressured into feeling like I don't do enough because I do not help my family out in any temporal ways. During those times, I have prayed and the answer has been clear to me that what I was doing was of more value than I realized. I have been grateful for those sweet assurances. The job of mother is really a partnership in helping the work of our Heavenly Father go forward. What can be more important than that? NOTHING. So of course, that is why we are led to feel so pressured and insecure about our role.

I am writing this personal note, because my blog, is really a journal for my family. I am hopefully going to be able to give a copy to each child. When Kierstin reads through this, and she is feeling the same pressure and having the same doubts, she will realize that she was not alone in feeling this and that mother is to be first and foremost in her life. Even though we do still feel it is important for her to get her college education.

I am writing this so that when my 4 boys read this, they will realize they must do all they can to help their wives to stay home with their kids like their dad did for them. They had that blessing and they owe it to their kids if it in their ability after doing all they can do. For without the support of the husband, mom's job seems just such an insurmountable task.

So, I want to express my gratitude at being able to being able to give my all to the best job in the world!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Flip Flop from flip flops?!!!

Everyone who knows me knows this about me......
Like it says......... I LOVE flip flops!
You can hardly find me wearing anything else, especially living in sunny southern CA.
Rain or shine, flip flops are fine.
This is my closet....
It has to be REALLY cold or we have to be doing a pretty knarly hike for me to even consider covering my feet. I can't stand shoes! I would wear flip flops to the gym if I could, seriously.
I'm not so sure my husband is so fond of this fettish. What would give me that idea? Here is Friday's phone conversation...
"Hi dear. How's work?"
"It was good. I'm on my way home." (he commutes now)
"When will you be home?"
"About 45 minutes... Hey, I was listening to this radio show and they were talking about how it's probably not a good idea to wear flip flops all the time."
"Really, why is that?"
"Apparently they pick up all sorts of bacteria. You can bring them into your home and make you really sick!"
"Really?" (sardonically)
"Yeah. You should probably make sure you get new ones pretty often. "(that actually was some advice to consider).
"Huh. Well, I heard that theory before too. However, the time I heard it I heard the opposing side call in and say the same goes for any type of shoe. All shoes pick up bacteria. They suggested everyone should leave their shoes at the door. So I guess really, we shouldn't be wearing shoes in the house."
"Yeah, well." Conversation over.
"See you soon dear."
you should know, Danny wears his shoes ALL the time and does not like going into homes where you have to take them off at the door.
You should also know that Danny has baby soft feet! They are really to envy.
Mine are rough and tough kind of feet, like a construction workers hands but worse. I try really hard to make sure that my heels are not always dirty and cracked and super dry but it really is a tough battle. Needless to say, they are very calloused and not fun to rub up next to in bed.
Maybe I should take this as a hint? I guess I may be losing the battle.
No, I'm sorry, can NEVER get rid of my flip flops. But I guess I should consider a rougher pumice stone!
Sorry dear!!
** DISCLAIMER... This is not EXACLTY how the conversation went down but the main gist of it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bradley Turns 12!!

I have tried to scan pics of Brad as a baby in this post but our new scanner is UNCOPERATIVE!!!
So, I will post later when I have time to figure it out!!
(the frustration rather than joy of new electronics!!)

When Bradley was first born I would look at the deacons passing the sacrament, I would
look at Bradley and think "that will be you someday too soon!"
Too true, TOO SOON!!
I don't know how time flies by but it does. My darling, dimpled baby boy is growing

into a handsome, dimpled young man.

He's smart, cute (not just cuz I'm his mom), courteous, outgoing, a social bug

AND he's as tall as me..... at 12!!
Somehow I thought this day would take a bit longer.

Mostly I look at him and see the wonderful young man that he is and the even
more wonderful man he will become.

Bradley had his Priesthood interview a week before his birthday.
He passed, with one thing to take care of....

This is Bradley before

This is Bradley after...

Can you tell what's different?
(thank you Bishop!)

Of course I will always love Bradley, no matter the hairstyle.
You'll have to ask him why on earth it took him this long to tame
that mane of curly hairtastrophe!!

So Obedient (in the end)

Such a great example to your 3 younger brothers!

Bradley's actual birthday was on Sunday so he was able to receive the Priesthood on his actual birthday. I know the important thing is that you receive it at all, but it does make it more memorable.
They do the Priesthood ordination in the home with a member or two of the Bishopric presiding along with the family.
Of course all if us, your immediate family, were there and Ann, Mary & Patty Shepard.
My parents and Michael came all the way from Utah for the ordination.
Actually, my dad has been so excited he has seriously been talking about how he was planning to come for it for almost a year.... NO EXAGERATION!

For any of you that know my dad, you know what a very jolly guy he is. Jolly is the perfect word because it expresses the fact that he's not just inwardly happy but outwardly happy as well. He is always so possitive and up. But when he is excited about something, he really shows it. Needless to say, it is super fun to share exciting news with my dad cuz he will literally, jump up and down and scream (literally) for joy with you.

In any case, it rubbed off on Bradley. He felt it and it made it seem all the more special!!
Dad even gave him a family history book about how each of the Davis line joined the gospel.
Super special!

Only bummer, I forgot to take a pic of my mom. She has always been so supportive and let me know from an early age how important the Priesthood is and that it does not in any way demean women that they don't receive it. Women play a different and just as important roll.
I knew that it was important and wanted it in my life always. After all, she'd say. Men don't bless themselves with it, they can only bless others.

And of course I found a man who honors and respects his Priesthood. He has been a good example for Bradley to see. I know that he loves his dad and wants to emulate him in every way and that is one reason he has decided to live worthy to hold it himself.
Brother Fronk, who was presiding, asked that dad and I bear our testimonies of the Priesthood. Dad asked Grandpa Robin to bear his too. Then, dad ordained you to the Aaronic Preisthood, office of deacon. Then your new scout leader, Brother Morris and your new Quorum President, Ben Cole, bore their testimonies. It was a very lovely ordination.

And worthy you are Brad!! We love you so much and are so grateful you are on the right path.

Happy Birthday and every day!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kierstin & Renee

The hardest part of moving is knowing how much you will so miss your friends. Those kind of friends you've spent a lifetime building all of those treasured life moments with.

Kierstin and Renee have been friends since Renee moved into our ward when she was only 2.
Renee is our official daughter #2.

Where there was Kierstin, there was Renee, where you saw Renee, there was Kierstin.
Renee shared Kierstin's bedroom, had her own floorspace. She had followed the same rules, and would get called out for treating Bradley like a real brother. She was even called on to giveblessings and family prayers.

Unfortunately, she does not get to come over as often as we like now. However, when she does, it's back to the same ol' same ol'.

Renee likes to "cook something up" when she comes over
(although I must admit sometimes it turns out better than others.
Lesson learned last time; you need to turn off the heat before
you add the rice cripspies or they get a bit too crispy!!)

These monkey cupcakes were the bomb this visit...Renee found them in a magazine.

Renee likes to wear her creations!!

(this pic doesn't show the lovely brown glob against the black! Giggle!!)

Final result...

They were so darling!
(cupcakes too)

I don't know if you can see, but they each had a different expression!
So clever! If it was me, they'd all had looked like the one in the magazine!

This dead one, was my fav!

Renee's birthday is July 3. We had a surprise belated birthday cake...

Who me?... I'm sure she wished she could be closer!

Cathching up with an old friend, Callie Campbell

They're oh so cool, in the pool!All good friends need "s'more" good times like this!!

You know you're good friends when you don't really have to "do" anything

to enjoy eachother's company!

Love you Renee, come again soon!