Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nathan's Not so Secret Admirer

I am loving the whole Christmas season!  School doesn't let out until Friday and I really wish it was sooner because the best part is when the family can spend time together.

Eva has been performing 2-4 times a week since Thanksgiving.  She sings with show choir, accompanied for them a bit, went to a Temple Square with Chamber Strings, and several other venues.  I haven't seen any of those performances because she drives (yay!) and I have been carting other people around. She was asked by a lady in our ward to play three songs on her violin for the Eagles group.  This was a little new because they wanted her to write a biography they could read for an introduction--it was fun to realize that she has performed enough that she has some impressive highlights.  They paid her generously because they knew she was trying to earn money for her orchestra trip to California.  The women were very kind and gracious. One of them followed us out and asked Eva to autograph and date her program.  She kept saying, "I never understand why people don't get the autographs of performers when they are just starting out because they are worth more than any autograph given when someone is famous." Eva and I were amused.  She also had her cross country banquet last night.  She received a plaque for the Leila Kemp award, a special award they give an athlete who works through pain/injury to help the team. She felt a little guilty because it is a special award and they gave it to her last year, too.  Eva did do something quite remarkable this year, though.  Because of her stress fracture she had to take some time off, but the doctor cleared her for light running the day before districts and she ran a PR at districts, without which her team would not likely have been able to run together at state.  She also got the a Purple Heart award which they give to an athlete who is not a captain but who supports the team like a captain.  She is a natural leader.  

Last Friday after our ward party some boys were outside knocking icicles off the building and Ethan knocked one off and it hit his head.  He had a good sized cut, enough to nearly need stitches!  Poor guy.  On Sundays I have to get to church early so I can warm-up on the organ a bit and play for the choir and he has to be there early to prepare the sacrament so Eva drops us off and brings everyone else when the meeting starts.  A few ward members told me that Ethan will stand at the back door and open it for people as they arrive.  I love that kid!

Ivy's primary teacher told me that Ivy has matured a lot the past couple of weeks.  It's true.  She's still fun, but she is definitely a bit calmer.  It's fun to see them grow up! A couple of summers ago Ivy took some lessons from a great high school violinist.  She liked learning the violin but she wouldn't practice so we stopped lessons after just a little while.  This fall she decided she wanted to play with the elementary orchestra.  She skipped the elementary orchestra and started with the intermediate, knowing she may have to go back to the beginning when the music got a bit more difficult.  Then she sat first chair in the fall.  When Eva pointed it out to me I didn't think much of it because I know the director rotates the kids around there but the orchestra director interjected and said that actually Ivy is a real leader for her. I was glad Ivy helped her and then kind of forgot about it.  Last week Ivy had another orchestra concert and sat first chair again!  I payed close attention and was very impressed because I could see that she really knew what she was doing.  Her bow hold looks almost as good as the kids who are probably getting private lessons and her rhythm and musicality is great.  I spent most of the performance ordering how we could get private lessons for her.  Several times when she is practicing someone (Vince, Ethan, a piano student, or ward member) will tilt their head, look around and inquire about Eva's whereabouts and say "Is that Ivy on the piano?!"  She's not where Eva is now for sure, but something has happened and she is sounding impressive.

Nathan loves the snow.  He and Ivy and there new little friends spend all their free time somewhere in the field behind the house sledding.  They LOVE sledding!  We had a new family in the ward and Nathan and Ivy each have a new friend.  This is exciting for them, because while they have always had lots of good friends to play with they haven't had a friend close to home that was like a best friend.  Now they do and it has been great in many ways.  Sunday I sat on the stand for the whole meeting because there was a rest hymn.  I marveled at how my kids had grown up to be able to sit through Sacrament meeting without an adult on the bench...  

Nathan's new little friend also has a couple of little sisters.  Partway through the meeting the little sister, age 6-7 gets up and walks out for a drink or something.  On the way out she reaches into our bench and pokes Nathan.  He looks a bit confused but just smiles at her.  On her way back in she reaches in and pushes him on the arm.  He just grinned up at her again, and then looked at Ethan next to him in bewilderment. I am losing it on the stand, trying not to laugh out loud.  The people sitting behind the kids are in the same boat.  A few minutes later she gets up again and when she walks by she nearly slugs Nathan and Ethan catches him when he topples over.  So funny to see the look on Nathan's face.  He is completely confused but he's so kind hearted that he still looks up to smile at her but by the time he sitting back up she is gone.  While she was put I guess he needed to use the restroom and he didn't return before she got back.  She walked in, slowed down as she approached our bench, looked, nearly stopped and looked.  Her feet are taking her past the bench and she still doesn't see him so she actually walked backwards a ways before she returned to her seat.  So when we get home one of the girls asks, "What is up with that little girl pushing Nathan at church?"  I responded that it looks like Nathan has an admirer.  Ethan has a fun twinkle in his eye and he nods his head vigorously.  Some of his friends had noticed too and were asking him about Nathan's skills with the ladies.  Nathan was still a bit confused.  Poor kid. 

Yesterday was also our wedding anniversary.  We have had a beautiful 18 years together.  Vince is the most patient person I know.  His kindness, love, and faith continue to strengthen and teach me.  Vince sent me beautiful flowers but we will have to go on a special date next week sometime because we have had kid stuff, holiday stuff, Bishop stuff, work stuff, etc and it wouldn't be any fun to try to squeeze in anything else!  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ivy's Big Day

This week Ivy was recognized for her Reflections in 3D and Musical Composition.  She will go to the district level in both categories.  If I were really clever I would post a recording of her playing her composition, but I've only recently figured out how to post pictures so I'll be satisfied with that.  Her composition won first place and her 3D placed fourth place.  This was the least goofiest picture I could get of her...

I found this picture a couple of weeks ago and had to share it:
I love it!  There is Eva (6) holding Nathan. She has always been the sweet, nurturing, responsible helper.  This was taken the day Nathan was blessed.  I can remember being so thrilled to have him home after his stay in the NICU and loving that he had put on enough weight to be filling his clothes out a bit.  Next to them is Ivy (2).  Ivy was has always been a fun-loving little girl; I adore her baby chubbies and pink cheeks.  She always had rosy cheeks and bright eyes!  Ethan (4) has his trademark mischievous grin.  Every time I saw that grin I had to wonder what he was thinking!  He has always been an innovator, which at this age was disconcerting, but over the years has become a trait I really value!  They all have a tan because they played hard outside hours every day. It's so fun to think about how they have "grown into" their personalities as they have matured.  They are each so different and have such special talents.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Calf-Path

A friend made reference to this poem on her blog so I looked it up; it's great!  It's intriguing to ponder why I do some things and if some habits, traditions are not as valuable as they might seem.  I apologize that it's not recorded here spaced properly line by line.

The Calf-Path

  by Sam Foss
One day through the primeval wood A calf walked home as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled,
And I infer the calf is dead. 

But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.

The trail was taken up next day,
By a lone dog that passed that way;

And then a wise bell-wether sheep
Pursued the trail o'er vale and steep,

And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bell-wethers always do.

And from that day, o'er hill and glade.
Through those old woods a path was made. 
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged, and turned, and bent about,

And uttered words of righteous wrath,
Because 'twas such a crooked path;

But still they followed—do not laugh—
The first migrations of that calf,

And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked. 
This forest path became a lane,
that bent and turned and turned again;

This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load

Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.

And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf. 
The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street;

And this, before men were aware,
A city's crowded thoroughfare.

And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;

And men two centuries and a half,
Trod in the footsteps of that calf. 
Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed the zigzag calf about

And o'er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.

A Hundred thousand men were led,
By one calf near three centuries dead.

They followed still his crooked way,
And lost one hundred years a day;

For thus such reverence is lent,
To well established precedent. 

A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;

For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,

And work away from sun to sun,
To do what other men have done.

They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,

And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.

They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move.

But how the wise old wood gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf.

Ah, many things this tale might teach—
But I am not ordained to preach.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Poor Nathan

Nathan had a fun, inspiring week.....until I posted about it.  Then things went downhill.  He cut his finger chopping potatoes, scraped his foot that night...  But the worst was Friday at school when he was chasing a basketball up a couple of stairs in PE and slipped, hitting his mouth on the edge of a stair.  His two front teeth went through his lip.  The dentist said his teeth look OK and we will just wait for the lip to heal but there is extra pink around it thus morning so we are at the Instacare to make sure there is no infection.  Poor guy.  It looks so painful!  It's VERY swollen, especially if you see the side view.  If you look close you can see the two exit wounds from his big teeth.  Inside the lip is super bad!

But he's still smiling!

Other than that the week was fairly uneventful.  Our Subaru is dying.  We are going to donate it this week.  The engine is leaking oil into the antifreeze.  We are sad we won't have it anymore but so grateful we had it this long.  We prayed it would last through speech and it went way past that.  We feel blessed!  Eva is disappointed, however.  I can't blame her!  We will just get to share cars  :)

I had a cool experience with a student this week.  She is an early advanced student and encountered a hemiola in her music.  This is where there is a duple rhythm paired with a triplet rhythm.  In this case the right hand was playing eighth notes while the left hand was playing triplets.  It is very difficult to teach, learn, and play.  Generally, I will explain, demonstrate, play it with the student slowly, etc.  several times over the course of several weeks before the student can begin to show some independent success with the concept.  Most students have to go through this learning process every time it appears for two to three or more pieces before they are able to figure it out entirely on their own.  It's very challenging.  This week, however, we came to a hemiola and I explained it, demonstrated it a couple of times and then asked the student to try it.  She played it perfectly!  The first time!  I asked her to play it a couple more times because I was sure it was a fluke but it was perfect every time.  We continued the piece, encountering two more instances and she sight-read the rhythm correctly each time.  I'm still blown away!  It made my week!!  I'm always impressed with what kids can learn--they all have special talents and it's fun to see them find/develop them.  I'm lucky because I get to see it's with my own kids, kids at school, and piano students.  It's inspiring!!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

About Nathan

Sunday I got to substitute Nathan's primary class.  It was a blast!  I love subbing at church!  We were in the hall and a newer member of the ward was there as well.  He has a son in the same Primary class and asked Nathan, "What's your name?"  Nathan answered and was then asked, "What's your last name?"  He replied, "Olcott".  The dad quickly made the connection and said, "Oh, your the Bishop's son!"  Nathan immediately pointed at me and said, "Yeah.  But my MOM'S the Organist!"  He has a great perspective!

Yesterday at Cub Scouts they were painting their tool boxes at their leader's house.  There were two scouts unable to make it last week and Nathan wanted to be sure they could come so he collected them and one other and the boys walked to scouts together.  (The leader lives in a different neighborhood).  He LOVES scouts!  I was teaching piano while this was all taking place and I knew one of the boys was coming to our house afterwards for 10-15 minutes but when the noys came back they had the friend's three year old brother with them.  I'm still not sure why, but Nathan took care of that little one.  He kept him busy, shared the treat his leader had given him, etc.  I work with his leader at school and she told me this morning that Nathan is a natural nurturer.  He was making sure that the boys who weren't there last time knew exactly what to do and commented on how kind he is about it. I can see Nathan growing into a great missionary!  

Here's a picture of Nathan with his toolbox:

Today Nathan wasn't feeling well and stayed home from school.  As I'm walking out of the school, I answer my cell phone and Nathan says, "Do you want some scrambled eggs?"  I told him I was on my way home and that when I got there I would make him some eggs if he wanted.  He told me he already ate some but that there was more if I wanted.  I then wondered, "How many eggs did you scramble?" I was relieved when he told me three but concerned when he stated, "I boiled some too."  I know I haven't taught him that, so I asked him if he knew how to boil eggs.  He answered that there were instructions in his scout book.  I then wanted to know how many eggs he 'boiled'.  He boiled 14.  I was relieved.  Again.  And had giggles that were making my eyes tear up.  I was starting to find the whole conversation a bit taxing--I wasn't sure if  I should be concerned or amused.  I rushed home and found a very proud kid, some yummy scrambled eggs which I gladly ate, and 14 runny hard boiled eggs.  He was confused about the part that said Bring to a boil and THEN simmer 15 minutes.  We reboiled them and he just finished eating one.  

Right now he is peeling potatoes to boil.  That's in the scout book too.  I guess he wants me to sign stuff.  And he's not sick.  But I'm feeling like a nap sounds good today so maybe he can take care of stuff for me while I take one!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Summary #4

This week I have noticed people spontaneously doing kind things for each other.

Eva's friend had surgery and she has been spending time with her and taking her small gifts.  The poor girl had to stay home for 10 days or so.  Eva also had three performances this week: an assembly, an evening school thing and a violin recital.  I don't worry about the assemblies but I missed the other school thing because I was visiting teaching.  I consoled myself by rationalizing that the girl performs a ton and I'm lucky to get to see her play so much!

This week as Ivy was walking home from school one day she heard Ethan's voice behind her saying, "Hand over the violin!" as if he were a robber.  She gave it to him and he carried it all the way home for her.  I love when they look put for each other!  Ethan has also helped Nathan with his homework this week which has been nice for me!

Ivy is loving playing with the elementary orchestra.  She has been super helpful this week.  She helped Nathan with homework a few times and one night she rushed to take the trash out for me just because it was full-- I appreciated that she noticed and just took care of it.  That's the kind of week we've had.  People just helping out and being kind.  

Nathan built a toolbox at scouts this week. Next week they will paint their toolboxes.  Nathan is very proud of it!  I will try to post a picture of him with the finished product.  

I have been praying hard for a girl from Tooele serving a mission in Tacloban Philipines.  I know her a bit because she is a brilliant vocalist and I had the pleasure of accompanying her once or twice.  She's a wonderful person and she is still unaccounted for after the huge weather event.  I've been praying that her family will get word soon, that all the missionaries will soon be accounted for, and for the Philippine people.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sunday Summary #3 (Belated)

We had piano recitals this week.  Ivy played Friday night with the rest of my students and Eva played Saturday.  They were both fantastic!

Ethan went scuba diving with the scouts on Saturday.  

Nathan got another 100% on his spelling test.  Two in a row!  He also gave me a lengthy list to mail Santa this year.  I believe this is the first Santa list he has ever written himself.  

And of course it was Halloween, which means I have to make extra trips to the store all week!  On Wednesday we ran there for something and saw pumpkins were 50 cents each so we selected several.  I was teaching on Thursday but the kids came home from school and carved them without ant help.  They also cleaned up the entire mess!  

Here's Eva's pumpkin:

And Ethan's:

Ivy's on the left and Nathan's on the right:

I was impressed with their carving skills!

Last Sunday I was out of town for the day/night and Vince was gone most of the day and the kids did this:

I LOVE the photos!  It was a great surprise!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Bind Up Their Wounds

I enjoy reading talks from the Priesthood session.  This talk was given by President Eyring.

"You and the priesthood bearers you are called to lead can have at least three assurances. First, the Lord will give you, if you ask, the feelings of compassion He feels for those in need. Second, He will provide others, like the innkeeper, to join with you in your service. And third, the Lord, like the good Samaritan, will more than recompense all who join in giving help to those in need."

I loved this quote because I see it evidence of it daily with Vince's calling.  There are always people available to help when he needs it.  People are always willing to serve and look out for each other.  Being a Bishop's wife has just strengthened my testimony that everyone wants to give their best and works toward that end.  If we fall short it's because we maybe get a bit distracted, worn down, or aren't aware of needs we may be able to help with; however, when presented with opportunities people will always choose to serve!  

"He knows whose wife was near the breaking point because her husband was unable to find time to do what she needed done to care for her needs. He knows which children would be blessed by seeing their father go one more time to help others or if the children needed the feeling that they matter to their father enough for him to spend time with them that day. But He also knows who needs the invitation to serve but might not appear to be a likely or willing candidate.  You cannot know all your quorum members perfectly well, but God does. So, as you have done so many times, you prayed to know whom to ask to help serve others. The Lord knows who will be blessed by being asked to help and whose family will be blessed by not being asked. That is the revelation you can expect to come to you as you lead in the priesthood."
This part is comforting to me.  I always worried about how hard it would be to have my husband serve in a calling that took him out of the home as much as this one does, but it really isn't bad.  He's gone more than he's here and some things take longer to resolve (ie broken cars and dishwashers and if you came to our house now you would see wall patches that have been in progress for weeks) but I find that I am generally calmer and more patient about pretty much everything.  When I was washing dishes by hand for so long I mostly felt a calm strength every time my hands entered the warm water.  Instead of my very dry skin drying out even more due to the constant washing, my skin actually improved.  Walking to school was pleasurable and I was somehow never late.  There are more blessings to serving than not and I know that when a I really need Vince the Lord will have him home.
"... you cannot help people repair spiritual damage unless your own faith is vibrant. That means far more than reading the scriptures regularly and praying over them. The prayer in the moment and quick glances in the scriptures are not preparation enough. The reassurance of what you will need comes with this counsel from the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants: “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.”2That promise can be claimed only if we “treasure up” the words of life and do it continually. The treasuring part of that scripture has meant for me a matter of feeling something about the words."
I like the idea of "vibrant faith".  Miriam Webster defines vibrant as "having or showing great life, activity, and energy; very bright and strong; loud and powerful".  It's a beautiful imagery for me to ponder.  I'm not sure my faith could always be described as showing great energy or being very bright.  I also love the the counsel to treasure up the words of life continually.  I like how he describes this as feeling something about the words.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.”3


Trying to post pictures...

Here's a shot of Eva running at state:

Here is Eva with her team at state.  She is second from the left:

If this works I can post more each week so I'm crossing my fingers!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Summary #2

What a week!

Eva was the busiest this week.  OK, maybe every week!  She ran at state on Wednesday.  I think she enjoyed herself but she was really hurting and I'm glad she can rest and let her leg completely heal.  Nathan, Vince and a I all got to watch her run.  She also had a choir concert and an orchestra concert. Two different nights.  Between the two of them she had two violin solos, a kazoo solo, accompanied two pieces for a choir, sang three songs with her show choir, and played an additional 6 pieces with chamber strings and orchestra.  Then on Friday night she took Nathan to the school Halloween dance so I could go to the temple.  She's amazing!

Ethan was invited Friday to go to the BYU/Boise State game with his cousin D.  That was definitely the highlight of his week!  As an added bonus, BYU won the game!  Last night was the Halloween church dance.  He's been telling Eva for weeks that no way was he going to go and she has tried everything she could think of to convince him.  He made friends with several of the boys on the cross country team this summer and she even enlisted their help.  At one point they were going to kidnap him but they couldn't get all the logistics worked out.  Thursday at the orchestra concert the boys were trying to convince him and he told them he didn't have a dance card.  They said it was no big deal, you just go see your bishop.  Eva piped up, "The Bishop is his DAD!"  "You don't even have to leave the house!" they exclaimed. Finally, an hour before the dance, he said he would go if only he had a costume.  Eva produced one within five minutes.  Then he was sure he had her-- he didn't have a dance card and we all knew the Bishop was at the hospital, he had been there all afternoon, and wasn't coming home soon.  She tried to call a counselor but there was no answer so we arranged with Vince that they would bring an unsigned card and text him when they got there and he would step out and sign the card.  So he went.  The team even convinced (he says forced) him to ask a girl to dance.  After that the first girl brought her friend over, introduced her to Ethan, and then left so Ethan reluctantly danced with that girl too.  Hopefully it wasn't as terrible as he had imagined!

Ivy was excited to play in the orchestra concert.  She sat first violin first chair which was a surprise to us all!  The director doesn't do real chairs in the elementary orchestras but she did say that Ivy is a leader which is one reason she ended up there.  Ivy is clearly enjoying orchestra!  The toughest part about it was her costume.  I dislike Halloween (costumes stress me out) and there wasn't much time to figure this out.  We made her a purple minion hat (it still needs some work) and she wore a purple shirt.  She loved it but it was strange.  At the concert I noticed she had holes in her jeans.  Nice.  But she let us know when she got home after 4:00 that her violin had a bad string and wouldn't tune, I had to teach until 5:30, and she needed a costume assembled and had to be at the school by 6:30.  So that meant when I finished teaching we had to track down a string, run to the store for costume inspiration, grab a few supplies, come home and throw something together, and drive to the school in one hour.  I was quite proud of myself until I saw holes in her pants.  Oh well! Ivy also got to go to the drive-in with friends Friday night.  She loved that!

Nathan got 100% on his spelling test this week.  This was great news he and a I celebrated because, honestly, it was a busy week and we didn't get to study as much as usual.  He also got 100% on his book report which he was very proud of.  His teacher said she would love to have 100% book reports on hand to show parents in future years what is expected if students wanted to donate them.  Nathan was thrilled that he could donate his!  I was a little sad because the project was a bit of a milestone for him and I thought it would be nice to file it away for him but it was obviously important to him and he was soooo proud that it was an option that I just smiled, put my arm around him, and told him I was proud of him for being so thoughtful and generous to his teacher.  He just smiled his giant toothy smile with his eyes lit up and returned it the next day.  I love that boy!  He dressed as Ironman Friday night and went to his school dance with Eva.  He was disappointed he didn't get to stay long (I can't blame Eva because I know she was tired and the dance is basically very loud music and hundreds of kids in costumes running and chasing each other around the gym) but he was there long enough to see all his friends, eat two hot dogs, and see his principal dressed as a zombie so I think he was there long enough!  Saturday he went to the church history museum with the cub scouts.  He said that was kind of boring.

So now you know all about what I did this week!  The temple was lovely and I feel blessed I was able to go.  This morning is our Primary program.  Ivy's last one.  When that is over I am headed down to Annabella (by Richfield) because I have an old friend there I'm very worried about.  I'm praying the Spirit will go with me and she will be able to feel the presence of a loving Heavenly Father.  Life is hard sometimes.  I'll stay the night and come home tomorrow morning.  If you think of it my friend could use extra prayers.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I have been working my way through conference the past few weeks.  I haven't hardly begun to really study any of it but I already have a favorite talk, one that made my spirit sing.  It's "Be Meek and Lowly of Heart" by Elder Soares.  My favorite pieces:

"The Apostle Paul taught that meekness is a fruit of the Spirit.4 Therefore, it can most easily be attained if we “live in the Spirit.”5 And to live in the Spirit, our lifestyle must reflect righteousness before the Lord."  I guess I hadn't given much thought to meekness being a fruit of the Spirit but when I read, hear, or ponder that thought I feel like smiling.

"Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness, showing strength, serenity, healthy self-worth, and self-control."  I love these attributes, and have been working at developing them the past several years.  I especially love the four S words: strength, serenity, self-worth, and self-control.  I think one of the hardest for me has been serenity but I feel like I'm beginning to feel it.

"President Lorenzo Snow, the fifth prophet of our dispensation, taught, “It is our duty to try to be perfect, … to improve each day, and look upon our course last week and do things better this week; do things better today than we did them yesterday.”11 So the first step to becoming meek is to improve day by day."  Actually I loved all of President Snow's thoughts but I was touched by the gentle reminder that we need only work one day at a time.

I loved the story about Brother Mahlangu, who attended church "through the window" because his country did not allow him to be part of the congregation.  I take so much for granted.  It is a true spirit of meekness that a person would want to learn of Christ so much that he would willing and graciously sit outside an open window, alone, subject to adverse weather!  And some days I complain in my head about finding/taking time to read my scriptures...  So now when those thoughts come I can remember Brother Mahlangu's example.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Summary

I'm giving up on writing any kind of synopsis of our lives since my last post.  Here's news from the past week!😊

Eva's orthopedist said her stress fracture was healed enough to run.  Sort of.  What he said was to jog on grass and train on a bike and to let pain be her guide at the region race.  What Eva heard was to let pain be her guide. She ran region Wednesday and qualified for state.  Her entire cross country team gets to go to state and she is thrilled.  But I can tell she's hurting because she has been icing a lot and she seems tired all the time.  State is this Wednesday so hopefully she will have time after that to fully recover!

Ethan had a big Court of Honor Wednesday night.  He got his Star rank and is working on his Life.  He received several merit badges.  The Scoutmaster made a point of telling everyone how helpful Ethan is.  He has diligently worked to help other boys receive their merit badges and advance their ranks.  We are so proud of him!  Ethan also had a birthday Sunday.  He's 14 now and was ordained a teacher last week.  On Monday I went to his Parent /Teacher conference and was impressed again with his phenomenally high math and science scores.  His core test results rival kids two grades above him.  Which is great since he wants to be an engineer one day.  I love seeing him work hard to develop his talents.

Ivy started taking piano lessons from me this fall.  This has bee a bit of an adjustment for her because I do things a bit differently than her old teacher and since she is an intermediate student I expect things to be learned/polished better than she is used to.  She is really improving!  She practices diligently and she is doing quality work.  She is enjoying orchestra and toying with the idea of private violin lessons.  We'll see.

Nathan LOVES school this year!  This is exciting for all of us!  Nathan has been going to school for over 7 years and has disliked every day until this year.  I can remember him hiding from me when the bus would come to take him to preschool and having to carry him to the bus kicking and screaming every time.  Things have been better than that for a long time but it is a huge relief to have him looking forward to school and learning!  It makes mornings and homework so much easier!

After several months of no dishwasher and some car trouble things are improving.  Vince fixed our dishwasher yesterday.  Washing dishes isn't the end of the world but after three months without it I know it will be easier to keep up with everything with a functional dishwasher!  It turns out that our Expedition may not need a transmission after all.  For now anyway.  We are halfway through a month long trial to see if new transmission fluid solves the problem and this week it's looking really good!  I think this is a tender mercy because we and a couple of mechanics were certain it needed a new transmission but after waiting and praying about what we should do we were all inspired to try this instead...a little miracle for us.  We'll take it!

Monday, May 27, 2013


This is a picture of my Brother Brian, his wife Marcella, and their four kids.  They live in Moore, Oklahoma.  Last week they survived the F5 tornado that hit their town.  Marcella managed to get her their three oldest kids checked out of school and home to the next door neighbor's underground storm shelter before the storm hit.  It was scary!  These are pictures of the inside and outside of the storm shelter:

They were trapped in the storm shelter for a hour and a half before neighbors were able to remove the walls that had fallen on top of their shelter so they could get out.  It must have been a long 90 minutes!  When they got out, they saw devastation.

Here's the house of the neighbors who owned the shelter:

Here's an aerial view of their neighborhood.  His home is located in the upper left hand corner to the right of the red canopy.  It looks untouched.  The shelter they used is located to the rear of the canopy between it and the destroyed house.  You cannot see the shelter from the air.   

Here's some pictures of their home from the ground:

They waited a long week for their appointment yesterday with their insurance agent.  The van was totaled.  Their house has some serious structural problems and will have to be stripped to the frame and foundation and rebuilt.  In addition to that, they will have to replace all beds, mattresses, bedding, curtains, linens, clothing, etc. that was affected due to shattering glass blowing in and becoming embedded in the fabrics.  None of that is salvageable.

The task is expensive and daunting.  Our thoughts and prayers have been with them as we pray that they will be blessed with peace and clear minds as they make major decisions with regard to their property and family!

My sister set up a fundraising site to help them cover deductibles, belongings, etc.  My kids are going to help me construct quilts for the four kids this summer.  If you are looking for a way to help out with the recovery or think you might be able to contribute please consider this:  http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/oklahoma-tornado-recovery/61088

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Congratulations Ethan!

Last week Ethan was recognized for his great cotizenship and character.  He received the Mayor's Community Youth Recognition Award last Wednesday!  He was nominated by his English teacher and then selected by the city.  He was recognized at a City Council meeting with several other recipients and then a picture was published in the paper.

I was waiting to post on my blog about it because I was hoping to receive a copy of the nomination form with all the complimentary words his teacher submitted, but I never received it.

I remember that Ethan was recognized for being a helpful son and brother, for his respect for parental authority.  He helps in the community by helping neighbors with yardwork, shoveling walks in the winter for single mothers, and helping neighbors move.  He's a fantastic student.  ..... OK, what the city rep read was waaaay better but you get the idea.

What I love about Ethan is his compassionate, empathetic nature.  I remember a mother of one of his classmates in second grade stopping to thank me because her daughter was having a difficult time at school, feeling left out at recess.  She said that Ethan came to this girl from across the playground to invite her to play with him and his friends.  Just recently Ethan noticed a little boy drop his treat at a church activity and quickly gave the boy his own treat.  During Spring Break we went on a family hiking trip and Ethan spent much of his hiking time walking with and taking car o his little cousin, R.  You don't have to look long to find Ethan doing something for someone else!

Another great thing about Ethan is he takes his responsibilities seriously.  When he is given an assignment you can count on him to finish it and do a great job.  I love this at home, because when he deep cleans a room he gets all the edges and corners!  He loves to serve in his priesthood quorum and faithfully attends all his meetings.  

Ethan is really smart!  He's a quick learner and he likes to research and learn new things.  When we read scriptures I am impressed with his innate ability to understand symbolism and relate scriptures to everyday life.  He has a goal to serve a mission and become a mechanical engineer.  I know Ethan can do whatever he wants because of his hard working, selfless nature!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


After approximately $7000 of clinic fees, 225 hours of sessions, another 450 hours of driving, over 17,000 miles, for the last 3 years......

Nathan attended his LAST speech appointment at the University of Utah last night!!!

He was soooo pleased!  Jubilant!  Excited!  He got a diploma which he is rightfully very proud of!!

We are all thrilled but it hasn't sunk in all the way for me yet.  I keep catching myself planning around this Friday's nonexistent speech appointment.  And I have to say that while the costs have been almost too extreme for our family, the benefits are supreme.  There is no price too great for me as a mother to pay in order to experience:

  • Understanding my son--when we started three years ago Nathan was 90% unintelligible.  We could not communicate during the long drives because I could not work to understand him while driving safely.  I could barely communicate with him under perfect conditions!
  • Watching him begin to develop true friendships.  Nathan has always been blessed with other little boys who liked to play with him, but he couldn't fully engage because his speech was so poor...now he can really play!
  • Our growing faith.  This is priceless.  I have grown because there were so many times I wondered how we could continue and we were always blessed with the means and the time!  More than that, Nathan and I had a few close calls in traffic, weather, etc. when we knew we had been protected.  Several times in the winter, Nathan would be nervous about the road conditions and while I concentrated in the road, he would pray.  And I could understand his prayers!
  • This last year and a half I would leave the radio off and Nathan and I would talk.  Or I would listen to him visit with his friend who also started coming to speech.  Beautiful!
  • This past year Nathan worked really hard on narratives, being able to communicate a story or event in  an organized way that would make sense to a listener.  This was really challenging. The first time I knew he was really understanding the process and applying the clinic work in his everyday life was when we were on the way home from speech one night and Nathan told his nonmember friend who was going to speech with us all about our church.  He talked for over twenty minutes about our beliefs, his classes, his teachers, our callings, ...     It was like when his tongue finally loosed all he wanted to do was share the gospel!
  • Seeing his confidence build and his self-esteem grow!

Congratulations Nathan!  We are so lucky you are in our family and we are proud of you and your hard work!!