Thursday, October 25, 2012

How I know my sons will never scrapbookers be

About a week ago, The Men in the household loaded up our trusty minivan and made the long trek to South Bend, Indiana for the BYU vs Notre Dame football game.  ( Not North Bend as one may have incorrectly called it ).

Just before the merry crew left the drive way, I ran out with camera in hand, along with spare batteries and an empty memory card.  " Be sure to take lots of pictures"  In my mind's eye, I imagined snap shots full of fun, great memories of the boys bonding while they traveled together.

After the game on Saturday night I was speaking with James and asked if he took plenty of pictures.  
" I dunno-- the boys had the camera the whole time, I'll have to ask them." Red flag number one.

The second red flag came when all of the boys were wondering why they would take a bunch of 
pictures of themselves.  Crazy?!?

So, my disappointment wasn't too great when I finally got my hands on the memory card, NOT full of memories.  Here are a few of the " awesome " snapshots.

Yep, my boys will never scrapbookers be, at least they have the memories and some male bonding.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Family Fun

A few quick pictures of the random happiness in our lives...
 Brandon turned 10 this month, which means he moved up from Bears to Weblos.  This is him receiving his Bear Claw, for passing off all 24 requirements 

 The previously mentioned Birthday Boy-- trying to blow out candles that re-light, it was a big hit

 Another birthday picture-- friends included this time

 It wouldn't be a Saturday without one or more soccer games included
 B doing her best to help her team bring it home.  They won 2 out of 3 games-- good job ladies!
 Simple Sunday afternoon-- the boys throw a ball around and the girls have taken up photography to fill the afternoons
 A picture while taking pictures

Guess what B is going to be for Halloween this year?  This pic was taken just before her Halloween Orchestra Concert-- cutest busy B ever!

Monday, October 8, 2012


A few months ago I had a prompting to purchase an external hard drive.  Within a few weeks, our computer crashed and all of my priceless pictures were saved on the back up drive.  I was so relieved, until the hard drive crashed as well.

Luckily, Baylie told me she had saved all of the pictures onto the computer once it was restored.  Whew!  I was in a somewhat peaceful state of  mind until I needed some family photos.  No problem, I thought, they are all right here on the computer.   It was all good until I tried opening folder after folder and realized, most of the pictures did not transfer from one place to another and many photos were lost in the process.

I was heart broken.  I mean, what are the chances of a computer and a hard drive crashing within weeks of each other? Especially since said hard drive was supposed to be extra super duper?

I had also saved a bunch of pictures to a memory stick a few month earlier.  I went to my secret hiding place for special stuff I thought my kids knew nothing about, but much to my surprise... they had invaded and stolen my memory stick.  No one knows who took it or where it went, but it is gone and long forgotten by the little thieves.

So, yesterday, after talking about homecoming and no batteries in the camera, along with missing memory sticks and crashed hard drives, I decided to transfer as many pictures as I could to my new hard drive and hope it sticks this time.

As I was looking through the photos and sorting them into folders, I realized how quickly my kids have grown.  I reflected on the time I had spent working with my Grandma on her life history.  She didn't like going through her old photographs, she was very reluctant to provide me with pictures to add to her history.  When I finally pressed her on the issue, she told me it was because it made her homesick.  I got a little taste of that homesick feeling myself last night.  

My kids have grown so quickly.  My Grandma also used to tell me to enjoy my kids while they were young because they would be grown and gone before I knew it.  I really didn't believe her at the time.  I had three little boys under three years of age, all in diapers and a husband in medical school, or in other words, never home.  Add three more to the mix in another five years and we had six wonderful children that overwhelmed me with their love, demands and needs.  I didn't think they would ever grow up, let alone leave!

However, this weekend two of my boys went out for homecoming together, another is away at college.  Jeremy will be preparing to leave for a mission within the year.  Time has definitely passed by quickly and it seems to be speeding up as my sweet little children are leaving as quickly as they came in.  

  So, here are a few of the recovered pictures from past to present and back again.  From Brandon's first soccer ball, to Alex becoming a deacon and pictures of my beautiful daughters.  Jeremy and Alex covered in rust after a long hard days work at the Trembath Ranches, along with Kyle playing soccer ( surprise! ) There are even pictures from way back when Alex used to smile, it's been along time since we've seen that.

A picture truly is worth a thousand words.  
And... Grandma was right- they grew up before I knew it!

 My three Eagle Scouts and their Grandpa ( you can see where Alex gets his smile from )
 The one picture we were able to take of Alex on graduation day.
 Cute girlies
 Alex in last years Fall Festival
 My first Eagle Scout
 My rugby player
 Oh, they had a blast sanding down rusty fences for our adopted Grandparents- The Trembaths
 Missionary in the making
 Soccer Champ
 Kenz doing her favorite thing
 Pretty Princess
 All snuggled and warm
 My sweet Bee
 Where did this little fella go?
 Oh, there he is... on a soccer field, what a surprise!
 The Alex I miss so  much
 Our first deacon... not so short anymore.  He is now six feet tall!
 Always an ice cream lover!
 One of Brandon's first soccer balls--see the look on his face? Love at first sight! He literally learned to kick a soccer ball one week after he learned to walk.  Tells you something, doesn't it?
 Good Old Jerma!
 Coolio-- just chillin by the river in Wyoming
 Sweetest baby picture-ever!
Getting close to being all grown up

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bicycle Parenting 101

Bicycle Parenting 101

Over the past few years I have been interested by various books being published about different parenting styles. I have wondered if any of them apply to me.

I have never been a Tiger Mom, too much work. There ar
e days I am sure my children would compare me to Mommy Dearest. And I certainly hope I am not a helicopter parent.

The more I've thought about it, I have an official, self-im
posed label: Bicycle parent. I actually have come to appreciate the analogy of the name over the past few days.

When we first have kiddos, we load them on the back of our bikes and cart them around. Or, maybe in the back of one of those bike trailers, which always made me nervous, the kids in there seem so vulnerable to some rec
kless teenage driver zooming around the corner.

Later, when they have proven themselves a bit more indep
endent, they are given a trike, Big Wheel, some sort of plastic, Made in China contraption that we as parents spend a lot of time pushing and pulling, all while our oblivious toddler thinks they are doing all the work.

( Yep, that's Brandon, riding a bike sans training wheels at about 2 1/2 yrs old )

Eventually our childr
en graduate to a little tiny bike with training wheels. They are coordinated enough at this stage in life that they can move the thing by themselves, but still need the safety of a watchful parent along with training wheels to steady them on their adventurous rides around the cul-de-sac.

Sooner or later, we have moved from iddy biddy bike to a fairly good sized bike and the child is ready to go it alone. The training wheels are removed and mom or dad run along side of the bike, holding on, encouraging all t
he way. Until, eventually, we as parents excitedly let go and and a wobbly frightened child becomes a wobbly independent child, beaming from ear to ear. We cheer and congratulate, we feel accomplished, but our job is far from over.

We still have to harass/insist helmets are worn, safety rules are followed, and we certainly don't want our children riding their bikes in traffic. Eventually, the rules have been engrained enough, our child can take a bike ride with friends or to school. Or, like my boys, go on eternal 50 mile bike rides with their scout troop. And we let them go, confident in their abilities.

Hopefully, all of the lessons will be retained and our children will go on to riding their bikes in dressed in suits and ties, or maybe in a skirt and blouse, in a far away land as they serve missions.

And, eventually, they will be the parent, running along side a bike, cheering their children on and teaching them the same lessons handed down from one parent to another.

Just as we eventually get to the point we can cheer and encourage our kids, and have enough confidence to let go of the bike seat, the same goes for parenting.

As a baby, we would never expect our child go it alone in the world. We keep them close and safe, near to us, buckled in with helmets. As toddlers, we start to see a little independence, but not enough to go it alone.

I think of my youngest sister, who at the age of 3 or 4 loved the exhilarating freedom that came from taking her Big Wheel allll the way down to the very bottom of our street, no brakes, just the wind blowing in her hair. Eventually, my mom would realize she had escaped and tell me to go all the way to the bottom of the block and bring her home. This was not a feat I ever looked forward to. Not only did I have to go clear down the street to find her, I had to push her, and her big wheel, all the way to the top. She refused to walk, or to peddle, or to help in any way at all. She wanted the same free ride she got going down. It would take 4-ever! Obviously, we couldn't just leave her down there all night ( although there were days I would have liked to! )

We would also never leave a young child alone to face the cold evening winds of the world alone. Too much freedom too soon can have disastrous consequences. We still have to safe guard our children, and sometimes push and pull a Big Wheel all the way up a street for their protection.

Eventually, that same sister of mine, defiantly taught herself how to ride a bike in a matter of minutes just to prove all of the neighbor kids she could in fact ride a bike without training wheels all by herself. It happened so fast, my parents were shocked. There are days I look at my children and think " Hmmm, your that independent already huh?" I don't know if we are always ready to let go of the bike seat, but we have to give our child the opportunity for independence.

We would never take over riding a bike for our child so they wouldn't fall and get hurt or because they might do it all wrong and mess up. We wouldn't want to rob them of the ability to ride a bike and the freedom that comes with it.

I pride myself in giving my children as many opportunities to explore and gain confidence as possible. My job as a parent is to make sure my child can safely ride a bike, not prevent them from that great childhood rite of passage all in the name of protecting them.

So, now my boys are off riding 50 milers, and I am proud of them, as I am each of my children in their independence. I have one heading off to college, another one driving like a pro, and another son who can hardly wait to have keys of his own. My lovely daughters are learning valuable skills as well. And Brandon? If anyone was ever under the impression he isn't independent, pull up a chair, I have stories to tell.

There are still times they need to stop and ask for help along their path in life. One night Mikenzie rode her bike up the long hill to our home from a friends house. It was colder, darker and farther from home than she had expected. Two blocks away, she stopped at a loving neighbors home and asked if she could warm up inside. Not only was she welcomed in, she was given hot cocoa and warm, loving environment where she was comforted. Thank you Johnston Family!!

I also remember two little neighbor boys knocking on my mom's door one hot summer day begging for a cool drink of water. They were welcomed in as well.

We as parents count on family and friends along the way offering our kids a quick pit stop where they can warm up, or if needed, to cool down. I am so grateful for the village surrounding my children who also encourage and cheer for my family.

One example that thrilled my girls and is an example of my finely tuned, expert parenting style ( ha, ha ), was the day I had them go into the beauty salon, state their names and phone numbers and wait to be seated all while I watched from the waiting area. Baylie was so proud of herself she commented " I'm so glad you made me do that even though I was afraid, now all I need is a ride and some cash and I can get my hair cut all by myself. " Lesson learned!

I enjoy seeing my children grow and learn how to become expert bike riders in life. After all, when they have grown a foot or two, they will need those skills to serve The Lord, not only riding bikes as missionaries, but as life long servants who are capable and confident.

Be grateful!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Waiting and waiting and waiting on The Lord

When Alex was 10 months old, I fretted over how slowly he was learning to walk. I just knew he was behind the curb. Mikenzie took FORever to potty train, at one point I wondered if it would ever happen. Each of my children had one milestone or another that I had to wait for. Some surpassed their siblings, Brandon for example learned to walk at 10 months and was kicking a soccer ball around the house within a week. Jeremy infamously said " More... pizza... Dad" at 16 months and was speaking in full paragraphs by 24 months.

As I reflect on these memories, I have come to realize, that yes, each milestone was reached, eventually. Not always when I wanted it to happen ( especially with the potty training thing, I tell ya, that will melt your brain! ) but they did happen. There are still milestones for my children to reach and some of them are not moving along at a quick enough clip for my liking. Some are not staying on the exact path I had planned for them... c'mon people, THIS way!! I have always been the fearless leader of our happy little tribe, now everyone has an opinion?

Now, I look around at my little life and wonder, why is Heavenly Father taking soooo long to send blessing x or opportunity y? I have done a, b, c and d just for extra credit and yet, the blessings I so desperately seek sure seem to be taking a long time to arrive gift wrapped on my front porch. Then I realize, the Lord truly does have a time frame built especially for me ( and my children ) and I need to learn humility and patience.

And the more I live with, deal with and try to enjoy these teenage Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde's on a daily basis, I have come to truly appreciate two gifts our Heavenly Father extends to us: free agency and patience. The ability He has to just let us stumble along in life, regardless of our determination to take the longest, most difficult route, complaining all the way about how hard life is, that's amazing. Even more so, He does it patiently.

I find myself getting ready to let my first little fledgling out of the nest and boy do James and I have volumes of great advice to give the boy. We could talk for hours and hours... he could care less. He is ready to spread his wings and take a few flights on his own. I am so worried about him scraping his knees and missing the right exits in life. But then I think of Heavenly Father, patiently watching each of us, swirling around in the big sky, lost and confused, insisting we know the best way. And He lets us, ready with loving direction whenever we are ready to humble ourselves. I realize too, all of that great advice we have, we earned every drop of it... by scraping our knees and missing an exit or two on the freeway of life. We are still here. Not as ambitious, energetic or naive, but hopefully a little wiser.

So I look to My Father in Heaven and thank Him for the great blessings of free agency I have been afforded, along with His endless patience with me. I in turn need to extend patience to my children and let them fly around, get a little dizzy, maybe even get lost for a bit and realize the milestones will come, sooner or later. Waiting on the Lord to help shape my children into the people that He knows is best, even though I seem to think I have a pretty good idea.

Free agency and patience on His part, trust and patience on my part.

Be grateful!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Epic Fail.....

Almost to 19 years ago James and I jumped outta the frying pan and into the fire.  We welcomed our first little bundle of joy into our home and into our hearts. I was thrilled I had a son.  I had always wanted an older brother and relished in the fact all of my children could say they had a big brother, warts and all.  As I held that little baby boy in my arms, I was overwhelmed and excited at all that lay ahead for our little family.  When the nurses packed us up and wheeled me out to the car while I held a blue blanket full of new life, I couldn't believe they would let me take such a precious soul out into the world.  That is when it really hit me, I was his mother.

Fast forward past the T-ball games, baptism, pine wood derby's, Eagle Scout court of  honor, first job, band concerts, high school ... all the way to today.  I am now looking at a six foot, hairy, bundle of potential.  

I recognize this more now than the first day I saw that little baby with a head full of dark hair that looked just like his grandpa.  I had no idea the bumpy roller coaster ride that lay ahead.  

I am at a crossroads in life with my first son.  I can look to the left and see all that we have been through together in this rough and tumble world.  The first day of school, the first bike ride, the day he leaned all the way back while trying to lick an ice cream cone and it fell flat on his face.  I laughed and asked him " Alex , what are you doing ?"  His reply?  " I'm sitting here with ice cream all over my face, what does it look like I'm doing?"  That pretty much sums up my serious, intense, life kinda sucks, it doesn't matter if the glass is half full or half empty, it's going to spill all over me anyway, oldest child.

To my left I see so many wonderful memories and fun times.  Just tonight as we all sat around the dinner table, I thought to myself how much I will miss seeing all four of my boys in their white undershirts at Sunday dinner.   It is kind of a default, little recognized tradition in our home.  The boys taking off their white dress shirts after church and spending the rest of the day in white undershirts and P.J. bottoms.

As I look to the right, the pathway seems so daunting to all of us.  It is time for me to release that little boy of mine into the world.  I have done my job well, I have raised a son who can go out and survive and provide for himself.  He is smart, hard working, good looking and determined.  He is by all accounts a success thus far.  It is time to let go and yet it breaks my heart to see him go, onto to succeed where I may have failed. 

I picture myself standing at this crossroad in life, recognizing I will be coming back to it five more times over the next few years.  As I approach the threshold leading Alex into his great and wonderful adventure, my heart rejoices and it breaks.

He tells me he won't serve a mission, that it isn't " right " for him.  He thinks of buying cars way beyond his ability to afford at 18.  He feels forced into college.  He is angry and hurt over things I have no control over.  I truly feel sadness completely wash over me as the choices I would make for him are not the ones he wants.  The pathway seems so clear to me and yet, he is taking the longer, harder and more painful path.  I want so much for him to learn from my mistakes instead of repeating them.  And yet... he is as stubborn and hard headed as his parents were at 19.

So, as I stand at the cross roads and look back at the last 19 years, I can only hope and pray that when we skip forward another 20 years, I can laugh at myself then as I do now when I think of the stress I felt when Alex walked at 12 months and not at 11.  Maybe I will see him serve a mission at 19. 3 years instead of 18. 11.  I hope to find him happy and fulfilled at 40. 

Am I an epic failure?  I truly feel that way tonight.  I guess I won't know the measure of my success for years to come, it sure is hard to gauge when you are right in the middle of the most difficult challenge one will ever face in this mortal life, raising Heavenly Father's sons and daughters to reach their greatest potential.

So, while James and I are still in the middle of the fire and finding ourselves getting a little singed around the edges, and the heat a lot hotter than we thought it would be 20 years ago, I can be proud and grateful for that little boy that has become a great young man. 


Friday, March 23, 2012

It should be me

This is who I think I need to keep up with...

The Girl in a Whirl
by ‘Dr. Sue’
(a.k.a. Vickie Gunther)

Look at me, look at me, look at me now!
You could do what I do
If you only knew how.

I study the scriptures one hour each day;
I bake,
I upholster,
I scrub,
and I pray.

I always keep all the commandments completely;
I speak to my little ones gently and sweetly.
I help in their classrooms!
I sew all they wear!
I drive them to practice!
I cut all their hair!

I memorize names of the General Authorities;
I focus on things to be done by priorities.
I play the piano!
I bless with my talents!
My toilets all sparkle!
My checkbooks all balance!

Each week every child gets a one-on-one date;
I attend all my meetings (on time! Never late!)
I’m taking a class on the teachings of Paul,
But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all …

I track my bad habits ‘til each is abolished;
Our t-shirts are ironed!
My toenails are polished!

Our family home evenings are always delightful;
The lessons I give are both fun and insightful.
I do genealogy faithfully, too.
It’s easy to do all the things that I do!

I rise each day early, refreshed and awake;
I know all the names of each youth in my stake!
I read to my children!
I help all my neighbors!
I bless the community, too, with my labors.

I exercise and I cook menus gourmet;
My visiting teaching is done the first day!
(I also go do it for someone who missed hers.
It’s the least I can do for my cherished ward sisters.)

I chart resolutions and check off each goal;
I seek each “lost lamb” on my Primary roll.
I can home-grown produce each summer and fall.
But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all …

I write in my journal!
I sing in the choir!
Each day, I write “thank you’s” to those I admire.

My sons were all Eagles when they were fourteen!
My kids get straight A’s!
And their bedrooms are clean!

I have a home business to help make some money;
I always look beautifully groomed for my honey.
I go to the temple at least once a week;
I change the car’s tires!
I fix the sink’s leak!

I grind my own wheat and I bake all our bread;
I have all our meals planned out six months ahead.
I make sure I rotate our two-years’ supply;
My shopping for Christmas is done by July!

These things are not hard;
It’s good if you do them;
You can if you try!
Just set goals and pursue them!

It’s easy to do all the things that I do!
If you plan and work smart, you can do them all, too!
It’s easy!” she said …

… and then she dropped dead.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What a wonderful life

I recently watched an interesting show on OWN, you know the new and improved Oprah show. This particular show was an interview with women who are Hassidic Jews. I was inspired, impressed and even a bit envious. I was a nanny for a Kosher Jewish family and was impressed with their deep symbolism and faith. This interview added another layer to my high opinion of the Jewish faith.

The women explained how they live their lives with complete devotion to God. Every action of everyday is meant to show respect and love towards God. From the clothes they wear to the food they eat to their prayers they pray, everything is directed towards recognizing God in their lives. Even a simple door frame holds a mezuzah, ( yeah, I Googled that one ) reminding them of their faith.

A few things that stood out most to me was the absence of all influences from the outside world. No TV, no magazines, no radio, no internet. Ah-maze-ing! Their children spend time reading, educating and bonding as a family. Oprah gave an astounding fact that the average American child spends 7 1/2 hours a day on screen time. The Jewish mothers were shocked and wondered where children would get so much time and if they were not in school.

Oprah then asked some of the children if they recognized famous singer's/actor's names. Nothing but blank stares, the names meant absolutely nothing to them. How would it be? I personally would love to not know most actors names-- how do we as a society hold them in such high regard? For the most part, they are the purveyors of the junk we don't want in our homes! How does a society pay a football player millions of dollars and a veteran just above minimum wage?

None of the children had seen or watched a television, an older child said he could almost imagine what one would look like, but that was about as far as it went. This, as three of my children were laying on a couch watching TV, another two were on computers and the last one playing on a Kindle.

What a wonderful way to live! I think most of us would love to completely shelter our children from a majority of the worldly influences we almost unknowingly allow into our lives and homes. How many times have I vacuumed around children who are not working or helping or studying, but are watching a show that I am not the biggest fan of. I just shake my head and continue to vacuum and vow to make them turn it all off... once I am done cleaning... by myself. I will admit, the TV is a great babysitter but sometimes, it is more of a paralyzing crutch than I would like. I admired that these families were actually using the God given time they are blessed with to focus in on things that actually matter, not the Emmy's or the latest teen actress sent to rehab, but on their family. I sadly, cannot say I have done enough in that area of my/our life.

Another point that was made was in the absence of magazines, TV , etc. A young girl is not pressured by what the world considers beautiful. She is able to become the beautiful girl/woman that she truly is inside, instead of forcing herself into some box, which is usually too small and ill fitting, even for the most perfect of us. What a blessing it is to these young women to not have an ounce of worldly influence on them.

I reflected on this as I spoke with my mother, who now in her mid- sixties, was lamenting to me that she was only able to squeeze two of her three work outs in for the day. How she felt lazy and was worried about the calories she had eaten that day. And I wondered, don't we ever get too old for this? As long as I can remember, my mom has been on a diet, was always exercising and considered herself fat. She used to say she was the size of the side of a barn and sang out " Fatty Fatty two by four..." She had these horrible cartoon stickers scattered around the house of very overweight women in bikini's with skin and fat oozing out from all directions. This is not what our Heavenly Father sees when he looks at his beautiful daughters, why is that all we can see? Was that really how my dear mother saw herself? Did she forget she was a daughter of God? Seriously, don't we ever get too old for the low self esteem of our teenage years?

I have seen many a friend struggle with anorexia. Why ladies? Two things stick out to me on this one. A- No where in the history of the world or in the scriptures have we ever seen women starve themselves so a number on the scale can deem them worthy. It is amazing how an obsession becomes an addiction which evolves into an illness. B- Part of me says you are an adult, if you want to abuse your body, go right ahead. Again, aren't we a little too old for such things of naught? I have never attended a funeral where it was said " If only this dear sister had lost 20 pounds, THEN her life would have meant something "

It saddens me really and I do feel empathy for my dear friends. Believe me, I have spoken many a berating word to myself as I have struggled with Hashimoto's disease. I will tell you now, I would rather get my chubby self onto a treadmill and run three healthy 12 minute miles, than find myself so thin and weak I cannot walk a block or two with my children.

My mind continues to reflect on this intriguing interview of these remarkable women. Their demeanor was as modest as their dress. They were the true meaning of beautiful womanhood. Virtuous and lovely. They had a peaceful glow about them, something that cannot be purchased or created out in our vanity laden society. If it weren't for the whole Christian thing getting in the way, I would almost consider moving across the country to Crown Heights just to raise my family in such a wonderful environment. Especially my daughters ( the whole beard and dark hat/clothes thing is not quite as appealing to me for my sons, sorry! ).

I am inspired and hope to improve my life through their wonderful examples.

Be Grateful!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

January 2012

When I first sat down to write this post, I thought January hadn't been too very busy for us. Then, I looked at our calendar and thought to myself
" That's where January went!"

This is the first year in quite sometime our Christmas break wasn't extended by an additional week due to school closings because of winter weather. Yippee!!

I guess I should start at the very beginning... yep, it's a very good place to start.

New Years Eve.

For the first year in a looong time, there weren't any kids around. Every child was gone for the night with friends or church activities. Alex worked and then went to the Stake Dance that Jeremy and Kyle were attending. Mikenzie was at a ward activity for Beehives and Deacons. Baylie and Brandon were both at friends houses. It was kind of weird. So, James and I ended up getting Chinese take out and spending an unexpected quiet night home alone.

January 10th was Jeremy's 17th birthday. He chose to have an extra expensive Christmas gift, so the gifts for his birthday were minimal, but it's Jeremy and he was totally cool with that. We had an ice cream cake and he, being a wrestler, had cut calories all day long so he could have a piece. Such dedication!

Jeremy was also able to present his Eagle Scout project to the board, it was accepted, so we all know what that means... Driver's License!!

On the 13-14th, after days and days of gorgeous weather, James went to the Klondike with the scouts. It was the only cold weekend of the entire month! He had a good time, despite the cold. Nothing a little hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls can't fix!

On the 21st, after attending a baby shower, watching Brandon play basketball and taking Kyle to soccer practice, I got a phone call from Jeremy who was at a wrestling tournament. Second match in and he had his second concussion in six weeks. NOT good at all. He was very upset, as he had just made Varsity that week and was looking forward to lettering as a junior. That, and his girlfriend, yes, his girlfriend, was there watching. He lost both matches and was benched for head injuries. Not a good day for Jeremy. The following Wednesday, he was told by the doc, no exercise, no nothing for four long weeks. He accepted it at first, but Jeremy is kind of a slow burner, so the more it set it, the more upset he became.

Later that Saturday, James attended the three youngest's piano recital while I picked Jeremy up from the meet. He thought he was driving himself home, uh... no.

It has been 10 days and he has yet to make it through a full day of school. I think this is going to be a long, difficult time for Jeremy. He has worked so hard to reach his goals and they all seem to be in jeopardy right now, specifically, Rugby and Varsity Football, as well as grades.

On the 23rd, Alex and Jeremy had a band concert. It is so fun to see the two of them in the same band. Jeremy came home from the concert completely exhausted. Bright lights and loud sounds don't do him well these days.

Last Saturday, the 28th was a dream filled day for Brandon. He had the Pinewood Derby-- after all those years of watching his brothers, it was finally his turn to feel the thrill of watching his hand crafted car cruise down those sweet lanes at the local church gym.

However, shortly into the races, Brandon had to leave to go play basketball. Such torture. He told me he was dedicating his game to.... no, not his Mom, none other than Jimmer, of course!

It was a great day for Brandon, full of fun. His car lost, his team lost, but good memories are what he has of that day.

So, kind of a busy, productive month. I was released as YW Camp Director ( mini yay) It was one of those callings that never quite fit right and I had a feeling I would never really fulfill it. Mikenzie was disappointed, but she will have a great 3rd year at camp!

Onto to February...