Sunday, November 3, 2013

Weekly update

Ryder is totally potty trained except for wiping his own bottom. Well, the other day I was wiping him and I said, “Pretty soon you’ll be old enough to wipe your own bottom.” Ryder responded with, “Woah, I can’t do that!”

Earlier this week Ryder had a friend, Owen Thomas over to play. While they were playing upstairs, I heard a loud noise/bang. As I was on my way upstairs to investigate, I heard one of them yell from the play room, "Don't worry, we'll clean it up."

Conversation with Ryder the day after Halloween:
Me: "Ryder, if you want a piece of candy you have to eat lunch first."
Ryder: "I already had one."
Me: (Thinking to myself) "Yah, who am I fooling here....?"

Ryder was licking the ranch dressing (from pizza) off his fingers. I told him to use a napkin instead. He said, “No, I can just do this.” And then he proceeded to continue to lick all the ranch off of his fingers.

I was getting ready to go on an errand, and I told Ryder to get ready and put his shoes on. He looked at me and said, “You can’t go in your toes, that’s CRAZY!” (I was barefoot.)

When we were carving pumpkins for Family Home Evening he kept saying over and over, “That’s nasty!” or “Well, well, well, what we’ve got here!!”

Ryder just came down to tattle on Trevor about something. Trevor was supposed to be changing and he started playing with Legos instead. So Ryder came down and told dad, “Trevor is playing with Legos.” So dad yelled upstairs, “Trev.” And Ryder then said to your dad, “You’re going to have to go upstairs.” (It turns out Ryder tried to “discipline” Trevor and smashed his legos, so Trevor hit him. But the funny, or not so funny thing, is when Ryder said, “When I smashed them he cried.”)

The other day he wanted to play a game on the Ipad. He very matter of fact told me, “I’m going to play Jet Pack…I’m going to die.”

The week started off with our spooky dinner. It turned out so good! I loved it. I definitely can’t wait to have this be an annual tradition. After the spooky dinner we read some books that had glow in the dark pages. We kept the lights turned off and we all shined our lights on the page with flashlights to “activate” the page, then we’d turn the flashlight off to see it glow. I loved it. Tanner even complimented me and thanked me for all the hard work that I spent putting it all together. He also thanked me for decorating the house. That made me so happy. JWe also got news that President Craig Olson passed away after a long battle with colon cancer. He served as a counselor to President Don Evans in the Mountain View Stake Presidency a few years ago. That was when President Cowan was the other counselor. This week was crazy busy so I was really glad that Coach Callison cancelled all evening wrestling practices for Tanner.

Monday our Suburban didn’t start AGAIN. I politely called the dealership and told them that the starter that they had just replaced last month never sounded right, seemed to be having problems last week, and now my car wouldn’t start at all that morning. They thought it was my battery. So over the next 2 days, your dad took the battery out, and took it in to be tested. Sure enough, the battery was completely dead. Much to our dismay, the 3 year battery that we bought was just 2 months out of the 3 year warranty. We are just so lucky, aren’t we? So we put in the new battery, and I still felt like the starter didn’t sound right. Well, I was right!! (I’m not happy I was right.) The Suburban didn’t start again Saturday morning. I’m so frustrated by this whole thing. So now I get to call them again tomorrow. Now we’ve had all 3 cars in the shop about 5 times in the last 2 months. UGH! On a good note, I got to take a meal into a new sister in our ward with Amy Rasmussen on Monday night. Her name is Jessica Barker. They moved in by the Thomas family. They have expressed more than once how friendly they feel our ward is. They told the bishopric that if they didn’t come to church in their last ward, no one would notice. Well, if they don’t come to church here, people always drop by to visit them…people know them! J She just had a baby and her husband is out of town with work for the next couple months, and she has had some health problems. So we have been going in to help a lot. She commented to me that when her daughter didn’t go to mutual to stay home and help her, that Sister Klepinger came right over to bring stuff by. I love that! Mondays are always busy as Trevor also has piano and football practice. Monday night we carved pumpkins for FHE. We did a bat and Jango Fett from Star Wars.

Tuesday Ryder had Owen Thomas come over to play and they had a great great time!! They got along famously and laughed the whole time. I also had a “Review of Existing Data” meeting at Ryder’s speech therapy preschool at Entz. Basically I met with the teacher, speech therapist and a regular teacher at the school. We discussed his goals and his progress so far. They basically said he is doing awesome and will probably be graduated from the program (kicked out) this month. They are going to re-evaluate him in the next couple weeks, but I don’t think it’s going to change their mind. And to be honest, even though he’s still pretty behind, he’s doing really well. He’s got a lot of vocabulary, but right now struggles with comprehension of what he’s saying. With a lot of work, that will come. We just have to stay on him. There are test results now that say that speech delayed kids typically struggle in school later on. I’m a little worried about what to do with him for the rest of the school year, but I’m just going to keep asking around. It will be good for him to be around “typical talkers” anyways. Trevor also had football practice. Your dad taught his class at MCC as usual. On a sad note, we got news that morning that Brother George Kiene passed away. We will miss him so much. And my heart just aches for sweet, sweet Karen.

Wednesday, Trevor had his first Battle of the Books competition. He did well. His team only missed one question and is tied for 2nd place right now. The team in 1st place didn’t miss any questions. I was very proud of how well his team did. He conferred with his team each time and they seemed very confident on every answer (except the one they missed). Ryder also had his regular music class. He got to dress up in his Halloween costume…which he loved! He is a fireman this year. Then he went to a friend’s house, Landon Broadbent, to play some more. This was great for me because I was able to finish up your Christmas package and get it mailed off. I have been working like a crazy person for the last couple days to get the last couple things I needed and mailed off so you would have it in time. The shipping place said I needed to have it mailed by the end of October to get to you in time for Christmas. I was totally awesome and got it ALL DONE!! I even sent presents for your companion. I didn’t know if you would have the same one or not, but I couldn’t handle your companion (whomever it might be) not possibly getting anything, so I sent pretty much 2 of everything. You will see it labeled simply “Elder” in the box. That night for mutual and scouts Tanner, Trevor and your dad went to the stake center to watch a special broadcast about the church doing scouting for 100 years. I haven’t watched it, but I have heard from several people, including your dad, that it was amazing. There was even a musical number about “Mom got the Eagle but they gave me the badge” or something like that. I am proud to say that my three Eagles I think worked very hard for their badges. You boys were awesome, worked hard and learned a lot. I recorded it off of BYUTV to watch. Tanner left a little early to pass out fliers for the ward chili cookoff on Saturday.

Thursday was Halloween. The Spuhlers have a neighborhood party every year with popcorn, snow cones, hot dogs, games, a bouncer, etc. They put fliers on every house in the ward boundaries about it. So we started off with going to that. I also dressed up and was very proud of my costume. I dressed up like Flo from Progessive Insurance. I pulled the costume off very well if I do say so myself. I even had the bright red lipstick and blue headband. (I do think I need a wider headband though.) Trevor went as a gladiator (Tanner’s old costume), and Ryder was a fireman again. Dad couldn’t come with us because he had to teach his class. Ryder had such a great time in the bouncer with his friends Calvin and Landon. He did NOT want to leave. While we were at the party Trevor left with Sister Thomas to go meet up with Clayton and some other friends in the Triana neighborhood. He hung out at their neighborhood party for a while and then they trick or treated for a long time. They ended up at our house with a TON of candy. They weighed it to see how much. Trevor had 5 lbs. 10 oz. Clayton had just under 5 lbs. I don’t know how Trevor ended up with so much. Tanner met us at the Spuhlers and watched Ryder so I could visit. What a good son. When Ryder wanted a drink, we left to go to Bishops. You have to pay for hot dogs and drinks at the Spuhlers party. (It’s a donation thing really.) But at Bishop Goodman’s house they BBQ hot dogs and hamburgers and have homemade root beer for everyone that comes by trick or treating. What a treat that was! That was yummy! Then when we got home, I took Ryder trick or treating while Tanner handed out candy. We finished up about the time your dad got home. Ryder was so cute. At first he tried to give people candy back when they gave him some. But it didn’t take him long to get the hang of it. He was very good and always said “thank you.” We ended up going with Brylee and Sister Palmer and that was fun. We started out with the Krummenacher’s neighborhood and Ryder’s bucket was completely full. So we dumped out his bucket and went up and down out street. I can’t believe how he didn’t get tired. We didn’t have as many trick or treaters as usual so we had a ton of candy leftover. Brent Spencer dressed up like Fred from Scooby Doo. On my goodness, you should have seen the wig he was wearing. It was awesome. He looked hilarious! Pam said that’s why she married him, because he used to have hair like that. Haha Tanner went to a party that night with some friends. He had a great time. He didn’t dress up like last week.

Friday I went to the temple to do initiatories. I made a commitment to go to the temple weekly. I also committed to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. After school, I ran some errands with Tanner. We went to the mall to get him some jeans and get me a new watch battery. We also went to the library and to Costco to get your new glasses. I’m so bummed they didn’t make it into your last package. Tanner also had a little “discussion” with me about how he doesn’t like to drive with me because I “freak out.” I told him that he needed to be more teachable when I correct him like his brothers were, especially Chase. So he got upset and called Dad. Dad told him that both his brothers said I was harder to drive with but they learned to deal with it and that if I wanted to drive that he better learn to deal with it too. Sorry. Later that night, we hung out here at home while Tanner, Nate and their friend Kyle went to some haunted houses at Fiesta Mall. They met this really creepy guy that really freaked out Nate. In fact, to quote Nate, “That was scarier than the haunted houses!” The story is so funny to hear him tell it. I will have Tanner write you and tell you what happened. Your dad and I stayed home and watched a movie, “42” about Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League baseball. It was so inspirational.

Saturday, your dad and I both went to the gym. I went to Brent’s spinning class and then ran a mile on the treadmill. I hadn’t been to the gym all week, so it was good to get back there. Your dad works out at Fitness Works now. He runs up to the gym (approx. 4 miles), lifts weights, and then runs back. We then went to Trevor’s flag football game. They won 51 to 0. It was their first win. It was good for them to play so well. Last week they lost by 2. We then came home and did some jobs and got ready for the chili cookoff. We also got to google hangout/chat with Jordan for about an hour. Tanner told him about our “conversation about driving” and he basically confirmed what Dad said. That I “hold the roof and brake on my side,” but that you just deal with it. Was I really that bad? Jordan seems to be doing okay. He says he is doing pretty good in his classes. He goes to a lot of parties.

My friend, Angela, that I knew from BYU, who lives in Washington DC is thinking about moving here. She came here this weekend to check things out and had Matt Winters show her around some houses for sale. So I went to look at some houses with her and Matt. Later we all went to the chili cookoff. It was a huge success. I invited several people from the neighborhood. Leah Boyd and her daughter Regina and her husband Eddie came. Eddie came, helped Daniel Palmer set up the lights in the park and even made chili. On a good note, one of the neighbors came up to me and said, “Hey I need to come to one of your ladies meetings. I haven’t been able to come the last couple times you’ve invited me.” Bonus!! And also, it seemed that there were a lot of non-members from elsewhere in the ward. We had a fishing booth, cupcake walk, snow cones, cotton candy, train rides, etc. My friend who came brought her 2 kids. Her son has autism and is a little odd sometimes. But he came up to her and said, “I want to move to this ward, everyone is so nice.” Tanner went to another Halloween party with Nate and friends so your dad and I just hung out and watched another movie, “World War Z.” I’ve decided that we are going out on a real date next and Tanner needs to babysit! J We actually could have on Saturday, but I was really tired.

Church today was so great. Kim Hale (Dallin Hale’s dad) was called to be an advisor in the Teacher’s Quorum. Tanner seems excited about that. Tanner also got 2 new Sunday School teachers. He was REALLY excited about that. He has had Sister Rivington every year. Don’t get me wrong, she is great and he has liked her. But he was ready for a change. His new teachers are Zach Martin (newly returned missionary) and Jake Heywood (Valerie Goodman’s husband and Shey Heywood’s brother). I always love fast and testimony meeting. Your dad bore a beautiful testimony about how he knows Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be happy. Then Sister Kiene got up and bore her testimony. She just wept. She said that she “didn’t know it would be so hard” for George to be gone. He has had dementia for a while and so she has mourned him “being gone” for a while now. She also said that with her knowledge of the plan of salvation that she didn’t realize how hard it would be. But she said it is still so hard. And then she apologized to all of us for crying in her sweet “Sister Kiene” way. I think she gave all of us about 10 hugs each today. Then Brother Shaun Allen got up and talked about how his dad had passed away Friday night. We had no idea. He had been joking with us and helping out so much at the chili cookoff on Saturday, I had no idea that pain he was in. He just wept and was sweet as he talked about how grateful he was for the gospel. He said if Sister Kiene didn’t have the gospel in her life that he could imagine her still in a church somewhere. But he said he was so grateful for being born in the covenant—being born in the church. He said he was fearful of what his life would be without the gospel. He doesn’t know if he would be married or have kids. He said he didn’t think you would find him in a church because of the “selfish” person he could be. It was so beautiful to hear him express how grateful he was for the covenants his parents had made and for the plan of salvation. And one other thing, I don’t remember who shared it, but I loved it. They said we need to remember that we can get through trials no matter what they are because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are there helping us along the way. It reminded me of a scripture that Elder McGrath shared on facebook earlier this week: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)

I also helped substitute in Sunbeams today. When I was coloring with them after the lesson, Andi McDowell told me, “My picture is better than yours.” I told her that I thought both of our pictures looked good. Her response to that was, “Mmmm, no, I think mine is better.” Another funny story is that we made “shakers” because the lesson was on music. We talked about how music can make us happy and how music shows Heavenly Father we love him. Jenna Van Leuven taught it and she brought cups, filled them with noodles and then we just put a lid of sorts over the top. We then shook them in class as we sang songs. After class Maycie Rasmussen ran down the hall and yelled to Amy “Mom, I made a cup of noodles.” I explained that it was a music shaker. So hilarious!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bike Accident

As some of you know, I started riding a bike for recreational purposes about a year ago.  It has been a great way to exercise and I have enjoyed learning all about cycling.  I have a good friend, Craig Schafer, who has been riding bikes for many years.  He has been a real friend in helping me to know what equipment to purchase and teaching me the rules and etiquette of cycling.  However, on the morning of August 5, 2011, Craig was not able to ride so I decided to head out by myself.  I left the house before 5 am and rode a few miles away where another group of riders usually meets up.  No one was there and after waiting for 5 minutes or so, I decided to just go by myself.

The route I choose to ride had a bike lane and always had other cyclists.  I saw lots of other riders; however, I didn't hook up with any groups preferring to ride solo and push myself through my workout.  After a good workout of about 30 miles, I was heading home around 6:30 am feeling good about my decision to ride even though I had to go it alone.  I was riding past a large Boeing plant that frequently had lots of morning traffic as workers hurried to their job.  I am always careful in this area because cars are often moving into the bike lane as they make their turn into the parking lot.  I was headed west bound and I noticed a car in the east bound left turn lane and I supposed they were waiting for myself and possibly other traffic to clear before turning.  I was traveling about 22-23 mph and the car suddenly turned right in front of me.  I didn't have much time to react but I recall yelling loudly and slamming on my brakes.  I was able to stop a few feet short of the car but my momentum threw me over my handlebars and I slammed into the right front part of the vehicle.  My left leg landed in front of the right front tire and the tire went over my leg.  As soon as my leg was free, I pulled back from the car and laid down on the street.  I felt excruciating pain in my right shoulder area and my left leg and I think I was pretty vocal about the pain I was feeling.

The driver of the car stopped immediately and got out of his car to check on me.  He called 911 and then apologized for not seeing me.  Soon other people were on the scene including other cyclists who stopped to offer assistance.  Someone asked if there was anyone they could call for me.  I asked them to call Camille although I knew she would be very worried getting this phone call.  The paramedics arrived soon and began to assess my situation.  They took one look at my shoulder and knew something was not right.  They put on a neck brace and strapped me to a board (which is very uncomfortable by the way).  Camille arrived just as they were loading me into the ambulance.  She was able to see me for a second before we headed for the hospital.  I remember asking her to check on my bike and to see if the driver was cited by the police.
Road rash
Soft tissue damage

Left Ankle

At the hospital, we spent a lot of time waiting for doctors, taking x-rays, having an MRI, and a myriad of other things that were deemed necessary to find out what was wrong.  They determined that I had separated my right shoulder (a few days later, the orthopedic surgeon diagnosed it as a 3rd degree separation) and had some soft tissue damage on my lower right back, and some road rash and bruising on my left leg.  They sent me home with some good pain medication and told me to see an orthopedic doctor in a couple days.  While at the hospital, Craig stopped by to pay me a visit.  I could tell he felt bad about not being with me on the ride but it probably wouldn't have made any difference.  He called a friend and they were able to give me a priesthood blessing before I left the hospital.

Ready to go home
My bike took a few hundred dollars to repair.  In addition, the doctors at the hospital cut off my riding bibs and jersey and my helmet was slightly damaged.  Fortunately,

My recovery has been much better than expected.  I heard from some that recovery was extremely difficult and painful but my experience was as good as could be expected.  I only took one pain pill after leaving the hospital and I had my arm out of the sling within a couple days.  The shoulder was sore and my mobility was limited but I had very little pain and recovered fairly quickly.  I couldn't run for several weeks and I didn't get back on my bike for a couple months but all things considered, the accident could have been much worse, my injuries could have been much worse, and my recovery could have been much more difficult.  I believe the priesthood blessing I received directly aided in my recovery and limited the amount of pain I had to endure.  Although I would prefer to not experience an accident such as this, I believe I was watched over and protected so as to be able to accomplish other things in my life.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tender Mercies

A few weeks ago (June 18th), I had the opportunity to hike Mt Humphreys with Tanner, my brother Shad, and my nephew Riley.  I had talked about doing this hike several times over the past few years but had never actually gotten it done so I was grateful that my brother Shad invited me to come along.  I really love the outdoors and this hike was a reminder of how much I have missed backpacking the past couple years.  We left Mesa at 6 am so we could get to the trialhead in Flagstaff at a decent time and begin hiking.  I think we started hiking around 9:30.  The weather was perfect - a little cool but not cold.
Here are Tanner and I at the trail head - 9.6 miles round trip with a beginning elevation of 9,300 and ending at the summit with an elevation of 12,633.

Tanner and his cousin Riley taking a water break along the trail.

My brother Shad on the trail.  Still lots of snow but very little actually on the trail.

The views were beautiful!

Here we are after reaching the saddle.  It was very windy and the temperature was cooler thus the additional layer of clothing.

Here are Tanner and I after reaching the summit.  We sat down behind some wind breaks, ate some food and water, and enjoyed the fantastic 360 degree views.  We spent about 30 minutes at the summit before heading back down the trail.

Although downhill, the hike back to the trail head was challenging and required you to pay attention to all the rocks and tree roots in the trail.  At one point, our group got off the main trail.  As we made our way back to the trail, we had to descend a steep area that was covered in loose rocks and sand.  My footing slipped and I reached my hands back to catch myself.  In the process, the back of my head smacked a large boulder.  As I sat down on the ground with my head spinning, blood began to run over my head.  My brother began to get out his first aid kit when up the mountain came another hiker.  He came upon us within a minute of the accident and he immediately started to assess the situation.  None of us had seen this guy before so my brother started to question him by asking if he was a doctor.  He said that he was a nurse and that he was a volunteer with the forest service.  He and my brother cleaned the wound on my head, applied pressure to stop the bleeding, and bandaged it so I could continue down the mountain.

Later as I pondered about this experience, I felt very blessed that my brother had packed an excellent first aid kit and that a skilled nurse had happened upon us almost immediately.  This experienced reminded me once again of the tender mercies of my Heavenly Father and how He is constantly aware of me and my needs.  Although my injuries were minor, I was watched over and my needs were met allowing me to continue on my hike and enjoy the day with my family.  This has happened repeatedly during the course of my life.  I feel like the Jaredites did as recorded in Ether 6:12 - "...And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Another busy week as we transition from school schedule to summer schedule.  Here's an update on where everyone's at these days.

Chase is quickly becoming very independent and feels he needs his parents less and less.  We are glad that he's such a good and responsible young man and he continues to make good choices in his life.  He just completed the 11th grade and was able to attend Prom with a young lady from our ward.  He enjoys singing in the choir and was accepted into the Chorale Choir for next year (nice job Chase!).  We were able to attend the Rock 'N Roll concert that the music department held a few weeks back and all the choirs did a great job.  It was a fun evening with lots of fun music and dancing.  Chase is currently occupied with studying for the ACT test which he will take in a week.  He starts training this week for his lifeguard job at Big Surf water park (the job starts the following week so long as he passes the training).  He was also recently called to serve as the 1st assistant in the Priest's Quorum at church.

Jordan has started early morning football practice as he prepares for his first year playing for the high school team.  He has practice every day at 5:30 am and then he had an additional football camp that he attended at another high school for 3 evenings.  He has been pretty sore from lifting weights and doing lots of cardio work but he seems to be enjoying being a part of the team.  As a sophomore, Jordan was in choir for the first time this year and learned a lot about singing.  He was reluctant to take choir but I think he really enjoyed it (not sure he will admit it though).  So much so that he decided to take choir again next year!  He participated in the Rock 'N Roll concert as well and did a great job.  Jordan continues to be a voracious reader, devouring books whenever he can.  He is a very attentive older brother to Ryder and loves to spend time tending to his every need (explains why Ryder is spoiled beyond belief).

Since completing the 7th grade in Jr. High, Tanner has been very busy with friends and parties.  Seems like he is always off going somewhere with some group of kids.  Fortunately, he runs with a good group of kids and they all keep each other in line.  He continues to grow like a weed and we have trouble keeping him in clothes and shoes that fit him.  He is now taller than Camille and Chase with no sign of stopping.  Tanner just completed his first season of Juniors baseball in Little League.  This was his first time playing on a regulation size field and he adjusted well.  His team had a great season although they didn't fare well in the end of season tournament.  This week, Tanner is beginning a 2 week baseball hitting camp with one of his friends and he has been exploring the option of club baseball.  Tanner has continued his creative ways - some of his creations rival McGyver.  He received several different styles of duct tape as a present and has found many different things to make including wallets and shoes.  He also is starting a Junior Lifeguarding program next week with the city pools.

Trevor is a unique spirit who loves to play with his toys and his friends.  Fortunately, two of his good friends live just around the corner.  These 3 guys can usually be found together at one of their homes playing with toys, swimming, playing video games, legos, or doing something else that they dream up.  Having friends close by at this age has been a real blessing for Trevor since he is sometimes "too little" for his bigger brothers.  Trevor just finished the 3rd grade which included the infamous Rain Forest program.  This involves Trevor making a hand puppet to resemble one of the animals that reside in the rain forest.  Camille loves (not!) this part of the 3rd grade curriculum.  It involves a lot of time and effort mostly from the parent(s).  However, when all was said and done, the puppet turned out great and the program was a success.  Trevor was one of the narrators for the program and he did an excellent job (as did all the kids).  Trevor just finished his first season of Minors Little League baseball.  He showed steady improvement and his team had a successful year.    This summer Trevor has been taking swim lessons, attending basketball camp and will go to cub scout day camp at the end of this week.

Ryder is such a joy and a blessing to our family.  He is adored by his brothers and as mentioned before, completely spoiled.  He is finally starting to get some teeth which has slowed his appetite somewhat but he continues to be a happy, loving toddler.  He LOVES to be outside - just mention the word "outside" and he lights up.  He loves shooting hoops, feeding rocks to the dogs, playing in his car and on his slide, splashing in the dog's water dish, anything outside!  Sometimes he will press his face up to the back door like he wants to come in but if you open the door, he squeals and runs away inviting you to follow and play.  He will spend hours outside pausing only for a few moments to get a drink of water.
He sometimes get confused when feeding the dogs a bisquit  - "Do I eat this?"


Here's his basketball shooting form.  We're going to have to work on this!

Camille and I spend most of our time just trying to keep up with all the events mentioned above.  Camille is an angel to put up with all the testosterone in our home.  She is great at teaching our kids about the details that I often forget (like that tan and gray don't match).  She is the chorister in Primary and does a fabulous job.  Her love for music and for the children is very evident as she teaches songs each week.  She rarely misses a day at the gym, she loves her book clubs and her bunko group, but she always puts us first and we would certainly be lost without her.  She was able to attend Women's Conference at BYU this year with some friends and with Suzanne.  She had a great time and I'm sure it was a nice break from the boys.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Journal writing

I have need to repent.  No, this will not be an all-inclusive confession but I have felt an strong urge to make an improvement in my life specifically in the area of journal writing.  I have been setting a very poor example for my children and for others that may or may not know whether I keep a consistent journal.  But as my mother would say, "I was raised differently."  And she, of course, would be correct.  I was raised in a home where journal writing was stressed and where my mother was and still is the queen of journal writing.  As a youth, I wrote in my journal at least once a week albeit many times under duress.  Nonetheless, my journal "chore" was done.  I believed my parents and felt of the importance of keeping a journal.  I imagined myself a modern-day Moroni writing to my posterity who would in some future day look back and be grateful that they had a faithful ancestor who shared great wisdom and knowledge through their journal writings.  However, the amount of writing I actually did would put me in the same category as Chemish.

Many of my entries revolved around my daily activities and the results of various sporting events in which I had either participated or viewed.  I do have some entries that contain who I had a crush on that week and an admission or two of some of my youthful indiscretions.  I have read much of my previous entries and the only knowledge I can glean is...on second thought, maybe not.

As a full-time missionary, I believe I improved not only the consistency of my journal writing, but also the content of my entries.  Writing a journal became something different - it was more about how keeping a journal helped my development and less about how my writings would help someone else.  My journal writing provided a private way to express my feelings and frustrations, to discover and expand my character, and to give substance to my dreams.  I continued my journal writing after my mission while I attended undergraduate and graduate school.  Gradually, I wrote less and less, sometimes going several months between entries.  As the frequency became less and less, I found that the content of my writing became more of the travel log of my youth.  Sometimes I would convince myself that I didn't have time to write since it would involve trying to "catch-up" with all the daily happenings.  Several years ago, some of my journal writing was entered in this blog as an electronic history of my life and that of my family.  But the past couple years, my journal writing has been virtually nonexistent.  My time has been occupied by work, family, church, hobbies, media distractions, and a host of other demands.

As my children reached an appropriate age, my wife and I encouraged them to keep a journal.  In fact, similar to my own upbringing, we included "Write in your journal" on their list of Sunday duties.  Some weeks it is a pleasant experience as they write about the happenings of the week but often it is a struggle as we enforce the rule and try to help them see the value in journal writing.  For several months now, my older children have complained about their journal writing  and vocally questioned why they should be required to write when I neglected this supposed important duty.  I always had a excuse about how busy I was what with my Sunday church duties and the other demands on my time.  However, it was just that - an excuse.

In addition to my kids' gentle (or not so gentle) rebuke, I was provided another reminder of my journal neglect when our high councilor spoke last week.  His remarks were centered around a talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf about refocusing our efforts on things that matter most.  I was reminded about how many television shows and sporting events I had made time for while I neglected things that matter most to me or that should matter most to me.  Journal writing is one of those neglected items.

I have recommitted myself to keeping a consistent journal.  I will make sure my journal writing takes priority over things that don't matter.  I know that developing this habit will benefit me and I'm hopeful that my example will help my children see the importance of this latter day commandment.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Birthday & Baptism

Hard to believe but our once little Trevor turned 8 years old last month.  For our family, that means two things: baptism and birthday party!!  Our family tradition is to go out for dinner and the birthday boy gets to pick the location.  Trevor picked one of his favorites - California Pizza Kitchen.  We all had a yummy dinner and Trevor was treated to a special birthday sundae!

Trevor then participated in another family tradition where we hide his birthday gifts around the house and he has to find them.  He got a little frustrated and disappointed after finding several presents (cub scout stuff and books) but not the one he was anticipating.  It was all good after he discovered a new Nintendo DSi (something he had been requesting for quite some time).

On February 27th, Trevor was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He has been preparing for this day for quite some time (a special shout-out to all his primary teachers) and he was excited for this event.  Prior to the baptism, I was talking with a member of our stake presidency and he made a reference to the fact that this was our 4th child to be baptized.  He didn't imply this but I got to thinking that some people might suppose that the experience becomes less special because we've participated in several baptisms.  To the contrary, each child's baptism has been a unique experience and something that never gets old or mundane.  It is a special thing to be able to perform a baptism and to help another individual partake of a saving ordinance of the gospel.  I especially look forward to talking to each son after the baptism to get their perspective on what just took place.  Trevor explained that he felt clean and happy.  However, he was concerned that the confirmation was going to take a "long time" since he was anxious to go home.  We were glad to have several family members in attendance including Grandma and Grandpa Campbell, Grandma Bonnie, Aunt Janel and Tynan, Uncle Shad, Aunt Jodi, Owen and Nya.

Later that evening, we all went to dinner at Fuddruckers.  It was nice to be able to spend time with family and we were grateful for everyone's support of Trevor and our family.

The following weekend, we held a birthday party for Trevor and 10 of his friends.  We went to Golfland where the boys played video games, ate pizza and cake, played laser tag and finished things off with a round of minature golf.  Everyone had a great time and Trevor enjoyed the attention showered on him and the fun presents everyone brought.  I'm just glad these events only happen once every few years - these kids have a ton of energy (does that make me sound old?).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ragnar Relay 2010

One more check mark on the bucket list - I was able to participate in the Del Sol Ragnar Relay!  The whole event was very well done and I really enjoyed getting to know the members of my team and cheering them on to success.  For those that don't know, the Ragnar is 204 miles (Prescott, AZ to Mesa, AZ) and you run with a team of 12 individuals who are divided into into 2 vehicles.  Each individual runs 3 legs which vary in length from 3 - 9 miles.  Our team was called the Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins (see the movie Elf) and consisted of friends of Glade and Laurie Smith who organized us into a team.  I was invited to join this team because Camille and Laurie are in the same Bunko group.
Our team started Friday morning at 7:30 am.  Thursday night, Van #1 headed to Prescott together where they stayed in a hotel.  I'm told that it was a brisk 28 degrees when they woke up and it didn't get a lot warmer at the start of the race.  Glade was the first runner so he got the freezing cold, early morning run. After Glade, Julie went, then Jake, Janice, Laurie, and Charlotte. Our vehicle, which had runners Jay, Dave, Janelle, Brett, myself and Kristine,  left Mesa around 8:30 am or so on Friday morning since we didn't start our legs until about 1 pm.

The first van did great although they somehow didn't arrive at the end of Jake's run for 10 minutes.  However, they handed off to Jay only 5-10 minutes behind schedule.  Van #1 went to Wickenburg to get a shower, some food and hopefully some rest.  Jay flew through his run averaging under a 7 minute mile over the 4.6 mile run.  That seemed to inspire everyone and we all had good runs making up several minutes by the time we handed back to Van #1.

My run was the longest at 8.5 miles.  At this point in the relay, we were on a dirt road which was great for safety and for impact on the joints but the dust from all the vehicles was a bit annoying.  In addition, there were 2 washes that had running water in them.  Fortunately, the race organizers allowed me to ride in the vehicle through the wash.  I completed the run in 1 hour 7 minutes or about a 7:51 average.  I felt good after the run knowing that I still had lots left in the tank for my next 2 runs.

After we handed off to Van #1 in Congress, AZ, we headed into Wickenburg to use the hotel rooms that Laurie reserved for our team.  We ate dinner at Denny's, took a shower and crashed for a couple hours.  Before long, it was time to head back out for our the leg of our run.  We barely made it in time for Jay to take the exchange from Charlotte.

Towards the end of Dave's run, a runner on another team was hit by a vehicle while crossing the highway.  Both our vehicle and Dave were past the accident so it didn't effect our ability to keep going but most teams were behind us when the road was closed.  We continued our exchanges up to exchange point 22 which is where I was to begin my second run.  The race organizers stopped all the runners at this exchange point and said we all had to drive to exchange 24 where the race director would let us know how to proceed.  So my 2nd leg and Kristine's 2nd leg were cancelled.  Because of the timing of these events, Van #1 was not at exchange point 24 yet.  The race director determined to let the race continue beginning at exchange 24 so we decided that I would run leg 25 in place of my 2nd leg.  I was not mentally prepared for this leg and I hadn't even studied the map.  I had a vague idea of the length of the leg (turned out to be 8.5 miles) but no idea about the elevation.
I was finally able to get started on my run around 5:30 am on Saturday morning.  This was a difficult leg with a fair amount of uphill climbing but I felt pretty good throughout the run.  Camille was coming to pick me up after this leg (so I could be to Trevor's baptism - see next post) so I had Kristine call her to let her know of the changes in the race.  Around mile 3-4, I see Camille on the side of the road cheering me on!   What a supportive wife to get up in the early hours to pick me up and then she stands out in the dark and cold in her pj's cheering me on!  I finished the leg averaging about a 8:30 mile - not great but not too bad all things considered.
I went home, showered and ate before heading off with Trevor for his baptism.  Right after the baptism ended, I called my team to see how things were going and if they needed me to come back and run my 3rd leg.  They had shifted things around such that I was not needed to run but Camille and I headed to the finish line so the whole team could finish together.  We met up with other team members and waited at the finish line for Kristine.  When she arrived, we all ran, limped, shuffled (you get the idea) together across the finish line.  We received our finisher medals and took some pictures before heading back home.
Unfortunately, the runner that was hit early Saturday morning died a few days later.  He was a senior at a high school in Phoenix and his accident kind of left a dark cloud over the event.  In spite of this trajedy, our team had a great time and we are already making plans to participate next year.