Monday, September 24, 2007

Darth ping-pong?

Well, Mr. Invention is at it again. Check out how Tanner rigged up his ping pong paddles. He took it right from Star Wars Episode 1 and Darth Maul. He was seriously trying to play. I couldn't help but smile (and laugh) at this.

Quickly going into debt

Trevor has become quite the soccer player. Jerel told Trevor that he would pay him $1.00 for every goal that he scored. He thought he was safe since Trevor only scored like one goal all season last year. Two weeks ago, Trevor scored one goal. Jerel happily paid him his money. Last week, Trevor scored SIX goals--yes, that's right, SIX! And to think we have about 8 more games in the season. Maybe Jerel needs to start budgeting now for the rest of the season. :) If Trevor keeps this up, we'll be going into debt to pay him off.

You would think Jerel would learn. When Tanner was this age, his coach told him that his dad would pay him $1.00 for every goal they scored (without checking with us first). We weren't that worried until Tanner scored 8 goals in one of his first games. I still remember him yelling out what we owed him after each goal, "That's 8 dollars, Dad!"

You can see in the first couple pictures what Trevor does after he scores a goal. He clenches his fists and pumps his arms in a "we are the champion" like move. So cute!

Jodi's baby shower

Last weekend, Megi (Jerel's sister) and I threw a baby shower for Jodi, another sister-in-law. She is married to Shad, Jerel's brother. (Now that we've got the family tree out of the way.) I had a "great" idea to make cupcakes with fondant bows on top that looked like little package bows. Everything was great until they all tipped over as I was carefully loading them into the car. I really don't know what happened. One minute I'm setting the box down on the seat, the next thing I know, they are all tipped over and fallen apart. I should have taken a picture of the mess so you can really appreciate the magnitude of the disaster. The whole 25 minute drive to Jodi's house I tried to calm down and not be so upset. It helped that I called my mom like 4 times. Well, by the time I got there, I had the attitude of "Well, what can you do? No use being upset over it. Just set up as fast as you can and maybe I'll have time to fix those stupid cupcakes." I didn't think I would be able to because it took me hours to make them in the first place. (I'm kind of a perfectionist.) As it all turns out, I was able to redo some of them and they turned out looking okay. I felt really blessed. Well, enough about me.

The shower turned out great. Jodi had many friends come and give her some of the cutest gifts possible. Some of the outfits were to die for. And you should have seen the fancy burp rags. One was all trimmed in purple fur. Lindy, another sister-in-law, made a darling blanket and Rinez, Jerel's mom, made a sweet little dress. In fact, many of the gifts were homemade. It just shows you how much these people love Jodi. Megi did a great job with the invitations. (And we can't forget that her husband, Ty, helped make them too--what a guy!) And between the two of us, the decorations turned out pretty good too. Megi put up the cutest little trivia questions around the room about Shad and Jodi. I loved it! What a great idea. She also brought some cute little dolls to set up on a table. (I really struggle with talent in the decorating area, so it was so sweet of my friends to lend me serving dishes and ideas in this area. You know who you are, Jenn, Laura, Glenna, and Pam, so my deepest thanks!) I had a great time planning and making most of the food. Food is one my favorite hobbies--making it and eating it. :) So here's a bunch of pictures so you can get a gist of it all. Double click on the pictures to get a close-up view. You can read the signs better that way. (I'll snapfish more to those interested.)

The picture to the left is before the disaster. And the picture below is what they looked like after I did my quick fix-it job.

Cute handmade card.

I just love the brown skirt that Jodi is holding up--Nya will look darling in it. I'm holding the purple furry burp rag. Megi looking pretty as usual, and I just couldn't resist on cute little Skyler. Also, check out the darling blanket Lindy made.

You're just not smart enough . . . so there!

K, warning, long post---but OH, SOOOO worth it to read!!

We had the greatest Stake Conference last week. We were blessed to have a visit from an apostle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who was accompanied by Elder Wilford W. Andersen from the Seventy. At the Saturday night adult session, Elder Andersen told us that we need to have more humility. He said that humility is not recognition of our weakness; it is an understanding of the true source of our strength or power. He also said that faith without works is dead--and he really means work! He told us that often we want others to do the work. An example of this is when we as members pray that the missionaries will be sent to those souls searching for the true gospel. And the missionaries pray that the members will help them find those souls looking for truth. Both are praying for someone else to do the work. WE need to do the work. We are not supposed to ask Heavenly Father to bless our neighbor who is struggling, but we are to ask Heavenly Father to help us be humble and willing so that He can use us to be a blessing in that person's life. He also told us that because we live the gospel, we are spared a lot of trouble and sadness in our life.

Elder Holland was amazing. He talked about an author, Elie Wiesel, who wrote a book called "Night." The author was a Holocaust survivor and wrote about his experiences. Several years ago when Elder Holland was president of BYU, he invited Mr. Wiesel to speak to the students. Elder Holland related the term "Night" to all of our despair, sadness, trials, etc. He said that "the night will pass because this is a gospel of light." He told us if we are tempted to leave the church in our struggles and want to tell the Lord that we've had it, then we better not dare. In fact he said it in a very strong, forceful, almost yelling voice, "DON'T YOU DARE GIVE UP!" and "DON'T YOU DARE LEAVE THIS CHURCH!" He even was shaking his hand at us. I know it's hard to describe, but it was spoken with such conviction, emotion and testimony that you only felt love and hope as he spoke. He told us that "we will be happy again." He went on to say, "When hard times come, square your shoulders, pull up your socks, and endure. Just face it and you will pull through."

He then told us emphatically again, "DON'T YOU DARE tell yourself that God doesn't love you." He said that when we cry, God cries. He told us that every single prophet in history, including the Savior, had to deal with very hard times but they endured. He asked us if we think that God didn't love Joseph Smith. We all, of course, know that He did. Look at all the trials that Joseph Smith went through. He lost children, was tarred and feathered, was sick, and was ultimately killed. Do we even think for a second that Heavenly Father didn't love him? Elder Holland then repeated the comparison that if God loves his prophets, and they go through so much, then how can we say he doesn't love us when we go through trials. He shared that President Hinckley is very sick, tired, lonely, etc. and yet do we even believe for a second that he is not loved by God. Of course, not. We know the truth. I just know he spoke truth and comfort. He then related the story of Jesus calming the stormy seas and quoted the scripture, "Peace be still." That has always been one of my favorites. I even have a picture of it in my music room.

Elder Holland finished by saying that "when we are in stormy weather, we need the man who can control the winds and the waves. Who is this man--indeed!" He mentioned that his favorite name for Jesus is in Revelations 22:16 where He is called "the bright and morning star" (which is the sun). This was then related back to our "nights" that affect us. And what better way to fight "the night" than "the sun." They changed the closing song to "Behold Tis Eventide." The words of that song "Oh, Savior stay this night with me. . ." just were so beautiful after his talk on our own "nights."

And here's the best part of Stake Conference. Okay, on Sunday morning Jordan was determined to shake Elder Holland's hand. So we got up and left for stake conference at 6:45 arriving at about 7:05 a.m. It didn't even start until 10:00. We were able to get seats in the chapel. As Elder Holland spoke to the youth he said that the youth need to pay a tithing of sorts with their lives. He just wants 10 years (whether it be ages 12-22 or 14-24) of their lives to be devoted to the gospel. He wanted them to devote these years to listening to their leaders and parents and do the things they ask of them and teach them to do. The gist was basically "Adults know better!" He then finished off by saying, (now this is the best part):

"We've been your age. You haven't been ours. We know more. We have more experience. You're just not smart enough to make some decisions on your own. . . so there!!" Everyone laughed, but we knew he meant business by what he said. He, like President Hinckley, has a great sense of humor. He had a great way of connecting with the youth. I noticed all of my kids perk up and listen intently as he was speaking, even though we had been there for 5 hours. In fact, all the youth around me were listening intently to what he had to say.

He ended his talk with a blessing on all of us. It was very touching, and I don't know if there was a dry eye among all who were there. Oh, I wish you all could have been there, it was so beautiful. Jordan said it best, "You could feel the Spirit so strong as he spoke."

Well, Jordan was up on that stand shaking Elder Holland's hand as soon as the Amen was said on the closing prayer. (Tanner and Trevor followed their brother's example and quickly went up on the stand to shake hands also.) I love that he dreams of shaking an Apostle's hand and not some movie star's. Chase also got to shake his hand since he was sitting in the foyer with friends when Elder Holland walked into the building. He shook every youth's hand that was there. And one more cute side note story. Trevor obviously was feeling the spirit too, because in the middle of Elder Holland's talk, he came up to me and fervently expressed that he needed to go up and "bear his testimonies" too. So he bore his testimony to me and then went down the row and told Jerel too. There was also some other drama that Trevor went through, but you'll have to ask me about that one. It's not fit for a blog. lol

Sunday, September 23, 2007

We were put on notice

About a month ago, our stake had a Standards Night. Usually this is for the young men and women, but this year it was for parents and leaders of the youth. The meeting was really good so I decided to write about it.

President Cowan, a counselor in the Stake Presidency, explained the reason why they decided to have Standards Night for the adults this year. He shared an experience from the summer. As the mother's were dropping off their girls at the stake center for girl's camp, he and the Stake Young Women's President noticed what the mothers were wearing. They were appalled. It was decided that if we as parents and adults are not setting a good example for our youth, then it won't matter how many times they are taught what is right.

We heard from several speakers which included members of our Stake Presidency and the Bishop of our stake's singles ward. They talked about the woes of pornography. The Bishop of the singles ward said about 25% of his members are under disciplinary action, most of it stemming from pornography. President Cowan (who works for the school board) quoted results from a survey that showed a high percentage of young adults don't have any interpersonal skills; skills that will be needed on their missions, jobs, etc. Experts have speculated that this is partially a result of the amount of texting that goes on between people nowadays. The survey also showed a high percentage of kids have never worked and saved money for a major purchase, have never made their beds or mowed a lawn. So I guess it's okay to have a chore chart--even though my kids complain that none of their friends have to do jobs.

Lately I have been feeling I was too strict on what I let my kids watch on TV and at the movies. Many of my kids' friends come from good, strong, religious families, and they are allowed to see some movies that my kids are not allowed to. I was starting to feel like I needed to lighten up. But now I feel like we are doing okay. They are not going to die if they don't see a certain movie. But I also learned that I need to let my kids fail more. Life is about learning from our struggles and mistakes. If I shelter them and save them all the time, then they never have the chance to learn and grow.

So basically, we as adults were put on notice to model the behavior we expect in our children, to not be afraid to let our kids fail, and to be more aware of what our kids are doing. Sage and timely advice in this troubled world that we are required to live in but not of.

Brace your face update

Well, here's some updates on our kids and braces. As I mentioned before, Tanner is just starting his nightmare--I mean braces experience--and . . . drum roll please . . . Chase got his braces OFF on September 11th! Here's a picture of Tanner with his palette expander. I get to "turn the key" on the device every night.

And here's Chase. Look how expensive, I mean great, his teeth look now. He now wears a retainer all day and night. He has actually been really good at wearing it. The orthodontist gave him some balloons and a bag of candy/food that is now "legal" for him to eat, such as popcorn, skittles, snickers, etc.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Chase, you're the man!!

A few weeks ago our neighbor, Fran Walton, came to the door with a card and two cartons of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. She then asked for Chase. When Chase came to the door she proceeded to thank him for being such a gentleman to her and her daughter, Clara. She was bringing the ice cream over as a thank you gift. She then laughed and said, "I can tell by the confused look on your face that you have no idea what I'm talking about."

She then proceeded to remind him of a few weeks earlier, when he opened the door for her and Clara at church. She said that she noticed that he came back to do it and put a little extra thought and effort into it. (It wasn't a case of him being there already.) She was very impressed by his thoughtfulness and wanted to thank him for his gentlemanly act. He thanked her graciously and while beaming said, "That's what my Uncle Paul said to do to get all the girls. They love stuff like that." Thanks Uncle Paul! I guess "you're the man" too. lol

Here's the note. It's great.

p.s. That same day we were at church and Fran's husband, Gary, opened the door for me.
I exclaimed to Fran, "Hey Fran, Gary just opened the door for me and he's an old man!"
Gary then said, "I've been Fran trained."

Game over . . . you're old

Here's some more fun stuff from Jerel's birthday. Jerel received many fun birthday cards from family and friends--well I guess Shad and Jodi's was a sympathy card, but it still counts. We all laughed so hard when we saw them. I just wanted to share a few.

And so it begins . . .

It seems that we are the recipients of toilet papering and other pranks by a number of girls on a frequent basis. I guess when you have cute boys, that's just going to happen. :) Well, last night Chase and his friend, Hunter Knight, decided to go pull a prank. Jerel needed to pick up something from our good friends, the Davis'. Chase and Hunter decided to tag along. The Davis' have a daughter their age (Sabrina) and they are all friends. While Jerel went inside, Chase and Hunter, in a very covert manner, covered their entire lawn with a loaf of bread. They also used another loaf of bread on their roof. No one even knew they were there and had no idea what was going on outside.

Later on I was on the phone with Natalie, the mom, as she went out and discovered the "loafing." She laughed and said she should put a sign outside on her lawn that said, "I loaf you." The whole time we were on the phone, she didn't even notice Chase and Hunter were still there and hiding in Jerel's car. She had NO idea they were even there! I didn't realize all of this and accidentally mentioned something about Chase coming over with Jerel. She said, "Chase and Hunter are over here?" Well, she put two and two together.

Well, of course, I'm sure you know what happened next. . .

About 10:30 pm Chase gets a text message telling him to come over to Sarah's (another neighbor girl.) Chase texted back and said he needed to get up early to go to the BYU game and was going to bed. The girls texted back, "Never mind." As Chase is telling me this I mention, "They're probably toilet papering our house right now and that's their way to get you to come out and notice." Sure enough--I was right. Chase walked out and caught them. But it was a toilet papering job unlike any other we've had before. In addition to the toilet paper, they covered our lawn in tons of notes all folded up in fancy ways like girls do. The girls wanted Chase to open them all up and read them right then and there. Here's a few pictures of some of them. These girls are so funny.

Well, Saturday morning was an early start for all of us. Jordan had to leave for his football game at 6:00 am, and Jerel, Chase and Tanner left shortly after that to head to the BYU/UCLA game. I figured I would pick up all the toilet paper when we got back from Jordan's game. When we got home, the yard was all cleaned up. I said to the boys, "I wonder who cleaned up our yard?" Trevor then said, "I know, maybe Heavenly Father did it!" Sounds good to me! :)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A good example to me.

I am very proud of my boys and their love of the gospel. They often go up and bear their testimonies on Fast Sunday. They are good examples to me. Even though I don't usually get nervous about commenting in church or giving talks, etc. it seems that long periods of time go by before I get up and bear my testimony in sacrament meeting. In fact, I think the last time I bore my testimony was in May. I was called 15 minutes before we left for church and asked to talk on the Aaronic Priesthood and bear my testimony about it in sacrament meeting. (The assigned speaker for sacrament meeting became ill and was not able to attend.) While I was a bit nervous to get up and speak in church with a few minutes notice, I was grateful for the opportunity to bear my testimony. (In fact, if my memory serves me right, I believe Chase was the youth speaker in sacrament meeting that day also. Jerel also filled in last minute in Primary Sharing Time and did a presentation on the Aaronic Priesthood too. What good guys I have surrounding me.)

A few months ago all 4 of my boys got up to bear their testimonies. A gentleman was visiting our ward for a baby blessing and was very touched by this. He came up and commented on what good boys we have and was very impressed by this. We do have great boys!

But the thing that prompted me the most to right this post was last Sunday. Jordan got up and bore one of the sweetest testimonies that I have ever heard from him. He testified of his love for the Savior and how he felt about the atonement. He was very emotional as he spoke about the suffering that Jesus went through for us in the Garden of Gethsemane and how he bled from very pore. He truly felt the Spirit that day--as did the rest of us. I had many people come up to me and tell me that Jordan's testimony touched them.

I am going to follow my sons' examples and bear testimony of the gospel more often.

This is what FHE is all about!

Family Home Evening. . . sometimes I wonder if anything we teach ever sinks in. Family Home Evening IS worth it, right? lol I do have a testimony of FHE and am glad that our kids are getting old enough to participate and do more. Tanner and Trevor did a great job teaching us the lesson with some puppets that they made (thanks Grandma Nez). Tanner was very thorough and read several scripture references. Jordan and Trevor also led the opening and closing songs. I'm hoping they can learn how to lead music properly so they can actually help when it's their turn in priesthood--and not just wave their arms around. Chase was . . . um . . . just bored . . . actually he led us in a great family prayer. (I like to tease Chase about his stereotypical "bored teenager" persona that he puts on sometimes, but he isn't like that all the time. Actually, I think he does it to make me laugh--or bug me.)

FHE can get crazy at times, but it's worth it--at least I think so!

Just like dad

Tanner wanted to help Jerel fix our leaking shower head this weekend. As you can see from the pictures, he really got into it. I love the picture where he has one eye closed and is making sure Jerel has everything all matched up correctly.

This story reminded my mom of when Chase was about 2 or 3. Jerel was putting together a new kitchen table, and Chase ran to his Fisher Price Toolbench and got his "tools" to help. He was so cute with his big plastic screwdrivers. This is one of her favorite memories.

I am so grateful that Jerel is such a good handyman. He saves us so much money by doing these little home repairs himself. And if he doesn't know how to do something, he isn't afraid to learn and try it anyway. I think he gets this great quality from his dad.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My latest creation

This is my latest cake from my cake decorating classes. I made over 40 roses and rosebuds in fondant. I love the look of fondant roses, but I don't know if it's worth all the time it takes to make just one. There are several steps involved which can become very tedious work. It took me hours and hours and hours to make these flowers. In the close-up of the flowers you can see the detail of them better. (You can also click on the pictures and it will show a close-up view.)

I'm getting better at fondant and these two cakes turned out looking pretty smooth. I also love the ruffle border. It may be my new favorite border. This was also my first attempt at a tiered cake.