The Cutest Blog on the Block

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christian 2010

12-17-10 Mrs. Bernbaum (Christian's teacher), told Glenn that she hopes that her boys turn out to be like Christian. She said he is such a good kid, well behaved, kind and thoughtful.
11-17-10 Elected as class Ambassador
If he likens you to a hobbit, that is a compliment. Don't feel bad.
Collects pocket knifes.
He is a fan of Lord of the Rings, Robin Hood and anything involving bows, arrows, heros and wars.
Christian made it onto a club soccer team. He plays flag football too. He loves being active and having lots of things to go to.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Welcome to Canada!

We woke up to TONS of snow today. This is what I pictured a Canadian winter to be like. It is our first real snow storm.

The Peruvians next door didn't even bother to leave their home this morning. Though they didn't seem to mind hanging several pictures last night past the accepted "hang your pictures when your house connects to someones" time frame.


Warrick modeling a jacket that Uncle Stafford wore in the 70's. Pure vintage!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Swimming with Dad - Thanksgiving



The starting line-up.

Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

3 large dates
1/2 c white raisins
1 cup cashew nuts, soaked for 3-5 hours, then set out to dry (I didn't have enough so I added raw sunflower seeds to equal a cup.)
3/4 cup soaked pecans, soaked and dried

1/4 c maple syrup
1 1/3 cup oats
1 t vanilla
1 t butter (can omit this)
1 T raw honey or agave
Carob Chips

Blend fruit and nuts in a food processor until chunks are small. Then add the rest and blend. Can make into cookies and freeze for later.

This is one you can eat with reckless abandon on the couch without feeling badly - that is until the dates kick in and you're spending quality time in the nearest bathroom.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Primary Program Practice

Every ward has a kid who opts to sing an octive lower. Except they only go about 6 1/2 notes down and tend to sing a few decibels above everyone else. That kid makes the program complete.

Snow is flitting from the sky.

I don't know what flitting means, but neither do you, so I think it will work here just fine.

I think I have not stopped being cold since we entered Canada.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ottawa - Canada's Capitol

Glenn had meetings in Ottawa and the boys had a day off school so we the four of us tagged along.

While Glenn was in Meetings, the boys and I went to the Museum of Civilization, the War Museum and even killed some time in McDonalds Play Area where we met a nice woman who got their life histories of all the places they have lived.

The Children's Museum in the Museum of Civilization was fun for the boys. Stafford preferred the History of the Horse Exhibit in the adult section of the museum. We walked through it several times and he exclaimed at all the horses each time.

Porter and Warrick's favorite part was making clay sculptures.


Christian spent at least 30 minutes playing African drums in the African exhibit. There was an African-Canadian woman there teaching people and Christian got a few private lessons. He loved it. I have to admit that was one of my favorite parts of the museum too. She was soooo good. I love the rhythm.

Warrick on stage as "The Owl".


Arabian Knights and a highjacker.





The War Museum
Before we came Christian's teacher read a book about a bear in the war museum. A girl sent it to her dad while he was fighting in WWI. He died and they sent it to his family along with a note that his 7 yo son had written to him. War is so sad.


This bear didn't look as sad as the other.


I think the two highlights were seeing real soldiers and chasing each other around and between two columns. Notice Warrick squished in between the older boys.




On our way out of town we stopped by Parliament.


On our way to Ottawa, Glenn was amazed to see a sign that said, "Glen Small Road". It is one thing to have a sign with your first or last name, but both is unbelievable. We stopped on our way home to take a picture. Upon closer inspection...

I shouldn't have to break a sweat to get my can opener to work!

Our Toronto Beginnings

After reading Holly's blog. I have decided that a blog is a great way to keep the memories alive of raising a family. Thanks Hol, but please forgive me if I copy your format. Please say you won't be mad and will still sit by me at Pizza Factory when we re-unite. (Whenever that will be.)

This is an email I sent out after we arrive in Canada. I've added to it a bit.

I sit down to attempt to write what we have been doing lately. There are so many stories floating around in my head that I don't know which to speak of and which to leave out.

About 50 miles out of Springville our van/trailer fish-tailed. I don't think Glenn and I can quite explain the predicament we were in and exactly how crazy our van was swerving and screeching. Nor can we count how many times we switched lanes without signaling. We were both certain we were going to roll. When we were still. We sat in our van in the thick quiet of terror. ("the thick quiet of terror" That's quite poetic if I say so myself. I should write that down.) So we sit in "the thick quiet of terror". 50 miles down and 2250 to go. Glenn and I both were wondering how we could possibly make it. Every time we went over 60mph or went down hill, the dreaded swerving would begin. It was never to the extent as the first because practice makes perfect and Glenn got quite good at learning how to come out of a fish-tail. As you know, we did not perish (Perish is a word that I choose to use a lot on the Sabbath.). We made it to Glenn's sister LaDonna's house in Cheyenne and the next morning spent a couple of hours pulling out the contents of our trailer and repacking them. I was so relieved to find that the swerving had ceased. (Ceased is another Sunday word.)

The rest of the trip was fairly mellow compared to that first day. We stopped in Winter Quarters, Nauvoo, and Kirtland. (Traveling across Ohio took two hours longer than it should have, but I don't want to talk about it.)

Monday October 4th we arrived in Canada. We have been here less than a week and I'm enjoying it all. It is a big adventure. I have not experienced being homesick, yet. I'm not sure if I will.

Some highlights and thoughts are

When people say a place is multi-cultural they mean, you will often be the only white person around.

People have been very friendly to both us and our kids.

They have a very complex garbage system and the garbage people are like the soup Nazis from Seinfeld. If you don't pack it the way it should be or put
it in one of the three specific bins then "no garbage for you!" and they leave it. I am waiting to see if we get our garbage taken this morning. I hope so. We had to sneak garbage to Glenn's work last week. I just want to tell them that at the rate we American's throw away waste in Utah, they may as well stop trying. We're going to start filling up their landfills soon.  I'm kidding.  There are recycling facilities here, just not as organized and larger cities have more resources.

When Americans see all of our boys, they say "bless your heart", or "you poor thing", but the Asians here say, "So cute!" One even exclaimed. "Four boys! You lucky!" In a very thick accent.

We have flocks of Canadian Geese that fly over our house. It is impressive. They are so huge and they fly low. I love that.

We are happy to have our cat here. We almost didn't bring her.  She is a comfort to me and our boys. But somehow she found a mouse and left it on the porch - in half. So gross, but that's our girl. If there is a mouse within a mile radius, it will end up on our porch.

One day, I looked out the window and thought I saw her, but then took a double take and realized it was a black squirrel. Christian has set some traps for them - unsuccessful so far.

It is so fun to see the boys play with the neighborhood kids. I love that their parents were born in interesting places.

There are lots of 1st generation immigrants.

People seem to be very accepting.

We are trying out the school here. It is 100 yards away. That will be a new experience.

The food here is different. Even the Twix candy bars have the same name, but don't taste as good. Oreos have the same disappointment. Other things taste better. McDonalds has a different menu that caters to the more "multi-cultural" crowd.


Love,
Kelly

Ps I forgot to mention church. We arrived just as the Chinese ward was in between classes. then when we sat at our pew there were only chinese hymn books. porter was distraught that we were the only ones there that couldn't speak chinese. most people have accents and maybe he couldn't understand them? That really stressed my little 7yo out.

Fast and testimony meeting was complete with an Iranian man breaking into Farsi at the pulpit. He made his statement more emotional by flailing his arms, throwing his head back and closing his eyes - you don't see that in Utah. It really livened up the meeting.


This is a townhouse. We live in 1/3 of it. A family from Peru lives in the middle and on the opposite end is our landlord and two little girls that the boys love to play with.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Porter 2010

  • Very sensitive.
  • Loves physical labor and can be easily talked into hauling things around and being a helper. He used to work the hardest at picking berries when he was 3. He would get poked by a thorn and whisper "ouch", but would keep picking.
  • Can't stop asking Grandpa about the airforce and war tactics in general.
  • Has been counting down his birthday for seven months.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Good, Better, Best

Ironically since we started homeschooling we are being pulled in so many different directions. There are social,educational, and enriching opportunities each week. This is something I'm working on balancing. It is so hard to decide what is good, better and best. Once decided, it is important to only do the best; there is not time for every good thing.

A friend of mine sent this quote to me today. I think it is great and I'm posting it so I have it in a central location.
May 2002 conference talk by Elder Wirthlin

"I do not know of another period in the history of the world that has been so filled with such a variety of entangling nets. Our lives are so easily filled with appointments, meetings, and tasks. It is so easy to get caught in a multitude of nets that sometimes even a suggestion of breaking free of them can be threatening and even frightening to us.

Brothers and sisters, we can spend a lifetime whirling about at a feverish pace, checking off list after list of things that in the end really don’t matter.

That we do a lot may not be so important. That we focus the energy of our minds, our hearts, and our souls on those things of eternal significance—that is essential.

As the clatter and clamor of life bustle about us, we hear shouting to “come here” and to “go there.” In the midst of the noise and seductive voices that compete for our time and interest, a solitary figure stands on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, calling quietly to us, “Follow me."

Now when I figure out how to do this better I will let you know.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

College Memory

You might want to read the post below before you read this one. It explains why I'm telling this story.

My dog's discovery of an elk leg has triggered a memory from college that I want to write before it fades from my memory.
I was at my first year at USU and visiting some friends from high school. I won't name names (Chelsea and Sheree) but somehow we aquired a deer leg and somehow we decided on a great way to spend an afternoon. Their apartment was on a busy corner where lots of college students walked on their way to campus. We put the leg strategically in the middle of the path, tied white floss to it and pulled the string through their partially opened window. Hidden inside their frontroom we watched and waited. We watched as the students noticed that the large stick in the path was actually a deer leg. They usually pointed it out to a friend and that is when we jerked on the string. Description won't do the scene justice. Picture America's Funniest Videos in real life. A jump and a squeel followed by a split second of frenzy. Even the guys jumped a bit before they acted like nothing happened and continued on their way. I smile even now just thinking of it.

The freedom of youth is knowing how to spend an afternoon with a deer leg and having a great time doing it.

That is Quite A Stick You Have There!

More Mountain Adventures

Our dog was MIA - long story. I was sitting out on the front porch in hopes she would grace us with her prescence. Eventually she came putting up the street with the largest stick I've ever seen her carry. I think, "Wow, that's quite a stick!" I'm happy for her. She likes to chew on them to pass the time. As she got closer, I realize that the stick has a hoof. The stick was an elk leg.


I'm currently sitting on my porch. And now the elk leg is sitting in the middle of our driveway. The mail lady is approaching. I have a choice, smile and act like it isn't there or try to explain why I have not moved it. Or tie some floss around it and yank it just when she gets close enough to notice it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Kung Fu Yoga

We had a dance party with one song playing, "Kung Fu Fighting". It was right before bedtime so to calm everyone down I had them lay in savasana (yoga corpse pose) and led them in relaxation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Animal Reports Really are Important

I am home without Glenn. It is late at night. Our dog, Hermey, starts barking like crazy. It is a different bark than usual. She is practically hanging herself on her leash because she is pulling so hard on her rope. I get concerned. I turn off all the inside lights so I can see out there better. Across a patch of trees in our back yard there is a red fox. It is frozen and starring at the dog. The dog is still going mad. I decide the barking must stop. I've heard that if you make yourself look bigger than you are (never a fun thing for a woman to do) that animals can be intimidated. I burst out onto our deck in my best football line-backer stance in hopes the fox will scamper off to it's home. All I see is thick darkness beyond the trees. I know something is still there because the dog is incessantly barking. Hermey is trying to tell me something. As I stand on the deck starring out into nothing, I hear a woman cry in distress. Yes, I was certain. It was very clear. This is not a good sign for another woman standing alone in the dark so I do what any good Samaritan wouldn't do and I run for the house. My fight or flight mechanism kicked in and there was no stopping me. I figured if I could just survive long enough to get inside then at that point I could figure out how to save that poor woman. So I slammed the door behind me and locked the deadbolt. (Kids are still sleeping soundly and have no clue of the chaos that is beginning to form around them.) I rush to a window that is closer to the cry and then I realize that the cry now has a bit of a barking quality to it. Those of you who paid attention in third grade to Bobby's animal report about foxes know that foxes sometimes make a crying sound. (I didn't pay attention because I was busy watching Jennifer Hedlund twist her new stud earrings again and again since she just got them pierced.) I looked up online to see what I could learn about red foxes. "Often carriers of rabies..." Yikes! I went out to try to bring Hermey into the garage. Before I could get her into the garage, she got loose and ran off into the dark mountain terrain. Last time we were at the vet they accidently gave her two rabies shots - probably a good thing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Boys, Girls, Ducks

Warrick and I "raced" down the stairs and he won.

He said, "Boys run faster than girls." Pause. "Girls run faster than Ducks."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Trials

In 1968 a marathon runner by the name of John Stephen Akhwari represented Tanzania in an international competition. “A little over an hour after [the winner] had crossed the finish line, John Stephen Akhwari … approached the stadium, the last man to complete the journey. [Though suffering from fatigue, leg cramps, dehydration, and disorientation,] a voice called from within to go on, and so he went on. Afterwards, it was written, ‘Today we have seen a young African runner who symbolizes the finest in human spirit, a performance that gives meaning to the word courage.’ For some, the only reward is a personal one. [There are no medals, only] the knowledge that they finished what they set out to do” (The Last African Runner, Olympiad Series, written, directed, and produced by Bud Greenspan, Cappy Productions, 1976, videocassette). When asked why he would complete a race he could never win, Akhwari replied, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; my country sent me to finish the race.”

He knew who he was—an athlete representing the country of Tanzania. He knew his purpose—to finish the race. He knew that he had to endure to the finish, so that he could honorably return home to Tanzania. Our mission in life is much the same. We were not sent by Father in Heaven just to be born. We were sent to endure and return to Him with honor.

The challenge is overcome the trials that we meet along the way.

Last conference Elder Clayton spoke about three sources of trials.
1. Natural Causes (natural disasters, physical disabilities, illness)
2. The Sin of Others (addiction, abuse, gossip and unkindness)
3. Our own Sins

The first two are harder to accept than the last because we can be living be keeping the commandments and living as God would have us and still suffer the effects of those things. It is natural to ask why.

The prophet, President Kimball explains it really well. He said, "Is there not wisdom in his giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls? Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?

"If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith.

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things … righteousness … wickedness … holiness … misery … good … bad. …” (2 Nephi 2:11.)

"There are people who are bitter as they watch loved ones suffer agonies and interminable pain and physical torture. Some would charge the Lord with unkindness, indifference, and injustice. We are so incompetent to judge! …

Imagine if the power of a person's prayers and priesthood were limitless even though our understanding is limited. I might heal people who should die. I might relieve people of suffering who should suffer. I fear I would frustrate the purposes of God.

"Had I limitless power, and yet limited vision and understanding, I might have saved Abinadi from the flames of fire when he was burned at the stake, and in doing so I might have irreparably damaged him. He died a martyr and went to a martyr’s reward—exaltation.

"I would likely have protected Paul against his woes if my power were boundless. I would surely have healed his “thorn in the flesh.” [2 Corinthians 12:7.] And in doing so I might have foiled the Lord’s program. Thrice he offered prayers, asking the Lord to remove the “thorn” from him, but the Lord did not so answer his prayers [see 2 Corinthians 12:7–10]. Paul many times could have lost himself if he had been eloquent, well, handsome, and free from the things that made him humble. …

"I fear that had I been in Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844, I might have deflected the bullets that pierced the body of the Prophet and the Patriarch. I might have saved them from the sufferings and agony, but lost to them the martyr’s death and reward. I am glad I did not have to make that decision.

"With such uncontrolled power, I surely would have felt to protect Christ from the agony in Gethsemane, the insults, the thorny crown, the indignities in the court, the physical injuries. I would have administered to his wounds and healed them, giving him cooling water instead of vinegar. I might have saved him from suffering and death, and lost to the world his atoning sacrifice."

Trials are in our lives to help our progression. We do not always understand them, but God does.

President Brigham Young said, "Let us alone, and we will send Elders to the uttermost parts of the earth, and gather out Israel, wherever they are; and if you persecute us, we will do it the quicker, because we are naturally dull when let alone, and are disposed to take a little sleep, a little slumber, and a little rest. If you let us alone, we will do it a little more leisurely; but if you persecute us, we will sit up nights to preach the Gospel."

We can't choose if we have trials, but we can choose how we react to them.

In Alma 62:41 is says, "But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their aafflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility."

I really like this scripture because there was a group of people who had challenges and hardships. Some of them came away from the trial better people and some who had the same difficulities chose to harden their hearts. They didn't use the opportunity to become better. You may as well, if you have trials try to gain something from it.

Elder Talmage wrote, "No pang that is suffered by man or woman upon the earth will be without its compensating effect … if it be met with patience.”
Not every trial will be for our benifit automatically. Notice the qualifier above, "if met with patience." We have a choice about how we deal with our challenges.

Joseph Smith was counceled "My son, apeace be unto thy soul; thine badversity and thine afflictions shall be but a csmall moment;
And then, if thou aendure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." (Docterine and Covenants 121:7-8)

We need to remember who we are and that we are here for only a short period in time.

The prophet Joseph Smith counciled to have faith, have courage and to hold on. I really like the last one - hold on. Because sometimes that's all that we can do; just tie a knot at the end of the rope and hold on until the storm passes.

It doesn't matter what our trials are. It just matters what we do with them.

Some trials are taken away quickly. And with some trials we are given the opportunity to develop patience, humility, and faith.

I'm thankful to the early saints. The ones that remained faithful. There were some that said it was too much. They lost sight of who they were and what they were to do. Over a centurey has passed and their small moment has come and gone. How blessed are those that held on!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Amazing Women Inspire

I was online looking at some really cute clothes and I saw this athlete of the year. I cried. Then I went to her blotg RachelColeman.com and I cried again. What an example! I have families that are close to me that have children with disablilities and I watch them and I think they are amazing. Rachel is no exception. Check out this link. It is inspiring.
Athleta Chi » Rachel Coleman
Maybe by learning from these amazing moms we can learn that we can make a difference in our little world too.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Homeschool Highlights

We use Math-U-See for Porter. There are little videos that explain the concepts and then the teacher's manual has fun ideas, stories and worksheets to reinforce what they have learned. Today, when we watched the video, we made an event of it. We popped popcorn and cuddled in a blanket. Porter is also working on making the armpit fart sound with his knee.

Christian is working on multiplication. Instead of flashcards we use a website that drills the facts. Christian begs to do this. They compete against other kids that are online. They race and the faster they answer, the faster they go. If they get one wrong then they are delayed. It really is quite fun and I find myself wathing over his shoulder to see what place he will come in. You can find it at arcademicskillbuilders.com - great practice.

Warrick attends preschool. When I picked him up today and asked what he learned. He looked at me with a furrowed brow, "Nothing," as though that was a silly thing to assume. He sure had a great time though and I guess that is worth the $50.


Stafford ends most sentences with "mom". And is unhealthily obsessed with horses.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What did you do today?

You know as well as I know that vitamin D is very good for you and that it comes from sun shining on the skin. If you don't know that then you should. Even Oprah knows this. Anyway, in attempt to get my vitamin D, I went out in the sun. I felt bad for our dog and so I let her sit out on the front porch with me. I had my phone and a great book and watched as the kids were sledding down our front yard. (Yes, it's that steep.) Well, when I had soaked up my fill of vitamin D I gathered my book and gathered my phone... wait, where was my phone? I searched all of my pockets thrice. Then I glanced at our large dog down the street bugging some construction workers. I had a hunch. I went and got our home phone to dial my cell phone. I couldn't hear a thing, but it turns out that the construction workers heard something ring from inside our dog's head.  It's not everyday that you see a first dog with a ringing head. Yes, that "dear" dog of our swiped my phone and ran away. I finally got it back and other than slobber and snow getting into it, it still works fairly well.

Well, later that night we had family come over for a football game. Have you ever heard the term "swinging from the rafters"? If you have not then you need to take some vitamin D and get out of the house more. My husband and I mention how well the boys were playing. Then I realize something must be amiss. I called to them and asked them what they were doing. "Just swinging," the four year old answers. Swinging?

"What are you Swinging on?"

"A sheet," was the nonchalant answer.

"What is the sheet tied to?" I ask bracing myself for the answer. It was tied to the railing on the stairs - the closest thing we have to rafters. They were having a ball. Sadly, we had to put a stop to the party.

What a day.