Sunday, June 17, 2018


Baby #2 has graduated!  I got a little emotional when she started walking out onto the field...can't believe our 18 years with this girl has flown by so quickly.  I'm excited for her next life adventure at BYU-Idaho but I hate that my kids have to grow up so quickly! 

walking with her two besties

the graduate!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

so many little time to type

We are fast approaching the end of the school year!  Brynne graduates on June 8!!  She's pretty excited and so ready to be done with school for the summer.  The rest of the kids have four days after her but they are full of variety shows, BBQs, and a field trip - no learning will be taking place.  Of course.

We have had the busiest two weeks - I think I made dinner just a handful of times because it was chaotic.  All the end-of-school high stuff has to wrap up before graduation.  Just this past week we had orchestra banquet, track banquet, violin recital, and strings play-in, not to mention a youth temple trip for Josh and Brynne and then our own temple date on Friday.  Last night I was seriously so exhausted...but silly me I said, "why don't we have your Bishopric and their families over for waffles after church".  So we spent the evening cooking bacon and going to the store for vital waffle toppings such as Nutella.  We're feeding 25 people for dinner tonight, as it turned out the missionaries needed food and so did the Stake President, who's family is out of town. ;-)

I've been waiting patiently to be released - it's weird to be in limbo.  The first week of Josh as Bishop and me as RSP was interesting, overwhelming, and tiring.  So much to talk about and discuss.  It's hard to support him and still do my own calling.  We need to talk about things other than church - so it will be good when I get released.  But on the other hand, it's been fun to have a lot of no-holds conversations.  We can talk about virtually everything related to our ward right now!  I listened to a podcast recently that said we are at our best at the beginning of a new project because we are giving it our full heart and attention.  That's where Josh is right now and it shows.  He's trying to get things organized before we leave for 20 days in June/July so he's pretty busy.

The past 6 months have been a barrage of information from the church.  I've been thinking about what it all means and I feel like the following things are going on:

1.  our church leaders are very concerned for our youth and want the Bishops to have more time with them.  They are freeing up his time in order to help this happen.
2.  our church leaders are warning us that we cannot withstand the last days if our testimonies and conversions are not solid.  We have to invest the time to do this, AND help our kids with this.
3.  The Bishops have too many things going on in general and it's time for the general population of the church to do more - not every problem has to be solved by the Bishop - thus ministering and the functioning of the EQP and RSP as mini-Bishoprics.  They are tasked with taking on a lot of the responsibilities previously reserved for the Bishop.
4.  We need to learn to seek and receive personal revelation - this will be a vital skill for us to have - and necessary to truly minister.
5.  The Lord is giving us tools and processes to prepare us but we have to take advantage of them: family history work and temple attendance being two key ones.

And as I've observed families in our area I find that busyness is a key issue with making time for family.  Most families I know with kids older than 12 do not eat dinner as a family often.  Most families that I know skip family home evening on Monday nights (they do something on Sunday typically).  I feel like this is a problem because it reduces the actual amount of time spent together as a family.  Yes it checks the "have FHE" box, but I think part of the purpose of reserving Monday night as family night is to extend time together.  I also think that as the world's views on what is normal and good veers so far from what the Lord teaches us, we need both quantity and quality time spent with our kids to combat those views.

So those are some thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head.

In other things....
I've started making plans to homeschool Kenna and Natalie again next fall.  This is one of those things that I wasn't planning on doing two months ago, but the Lord has definitely been working on my heart and I have had a complete 180 change in my willingness and excitement about doing this.  For whatever reason - this is the path our family needs to take next year and in order for that to happen the Lord had to put me in the frame of mind to be willing to do that.

I have a cute girl in my ward who was a horticulture major and spent 10 years working in nurseries.  She came and checked out my yard and then we went shopping for plants together.  It was so helpful to have someone along who knew the plants and had ideas and then even suggested the best ones to purchase quality-wise.  I bought 15 plants and had Josh and Logan plant them yesterday.  Some Rhododendrons for down below by the creek, some laurels for a hedge between us and our neighbors (they started a hedge with four plants on their side - I'm continuing with some on my side of the fence).  And some heather, boxwoods, star Jasmin, and other things here and there.  I'm excited for next year when they should take off and grow!  Next task is I'm supposed to go to the nursery every month or so and see what perennials are blooming and get some that I like for color all summer long!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Prom 2018 is in the Bag

Prom came at the end of April. Brynne went with her good friend and now boyfriend, Parker.  They looked amazing and had such a good time with their group of friends.

Man these kids grow up fast.  I still remember the first time I figured out who Parker was.  We went to a Christmas Mother-Daughter Tea held by someone in our ward.  We'd only lived here a month.  The house was over-flowing with moms and daughters...and one 14 year old boy in a suit.  He was surrounded by every teenage girl in the room and I thought, "that right there is a very smart boy".  He'd apparently asked his mom if he could go with her and she didn't see why not!

Anyway, photos of my lovely Brynne and her date...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

In like a lion...

I recently heard about a podcast called "Leading LDS" and was intrigued by the title and started listening to it.  It is seriously super good.  I'm not big into podcasts.  They are like non-fiction books to me - I like to be able to skim through and pick up the good parts and jump ahead if I'm feeling bogged down.  That's harder to do with  an audio anything.  But this podcast - it's gold.  I've listened to probably 8 episodes.  My favorites so far are the interviews with Whitney Johnson (SO GOOD!), Dave Crenshaw, and Brad Wilcox.  I also like Brett McKay (founder of the Art of Manliness website - if you're familiar with that).  I've listened to several interviews with Relief Society Presidents that are pretty good - I've gotten some good ideas from listening to those as well.  And there was one more - I can't remember the name of the guy who was interviewed but the title was about bearing the counseling burden - that one surprised me by how good it was.  Anyway, if you want ideas for how to be a better teacher or leader in the church - this is the podcast for you - no matter your calling!  I think you can get gems from all of them.

I know we are technically only halfway through March, but it's flying so fast I know it will be April after I blink.  Josh and I got the flu - we think the actual flu.  I was sick for a full week and then he started...and then I spent the week he was sick feeling so tired.  Like, two naps a day and no motivation to do anything.  Now I'm starting to feel better but he is still super tired.  So the first half of March was kind of a wash in terms of getting anything done.  Thank goodness the kids have been mostly healthy.  Only Faith got sick and she bounced back a lot faster.

Brynne and Logan had their first track meet.  Brynne is set up to have a stellar season.  Her coaches are drooling over her skills and her muscles - she is in excellent shape right now and peak condition.  Her opening time in the 200 was three seconds better than mine my senior year - so I'm looking forward to seeing what she can do.  She's been encouraged to try a new race this year - 100H.  That's more technical and she is enjoying the challenge.
Logan has fallen in love with Pole Vaulting.  He's also planning to do javelin.  His coaches have tried to figure out what ELSE he should do - everyone pretty much needs a running event.  At his first meet they had him do the 100M and the 800M.  He hated the 800 but the coaches said his form is so good and he's strong - they want him to do distance.  He's not thrilled.  He was tired his first meet after that long race and so scratched his three pole vaulting attempts.  However, his practice heights would have netted him 3rd place at the meet if he'd pulled those off.  Pole vaulting is something that takes years to develop - we heard that most freshmen pole vaulters don't really even compete because the skills take so long to develop.  But he really enjoys it and has the upper body strength to pull it off so I think that will be fun to watch.
He's doing well as a freshman - he's well-known (thanks to being Brynne's little brother) so his social life at track is better than wrestling.  Plus I think there's a better quality of teammate on the track team  - he will enjoy this more than wrestling.  I heard from another mom in the ward that her son didn't like the wrestling kids either - so I guess he wasn't the only one unhappy with some of the culture of that team.  Anyway - all that to say that he's off to a good start with track and field.

photo by GPHS track coach - at their first meet

Kenna participated in Battle of the Books and got 4th in the school competition.  Just barely missed making it to the finals.  Their team did really well considering one of the girls ONLY READ ONE BOOK out of the 10 or so that they were supposed to read, so Kenna and Megan had to carry the bulk of the load.  I don't know why that girl even did it.

Did I tell you Logan's Brain Bowl team got 2nd place at their competition in February?   
(Jenny, that's Derek Potts sitting next to Logan)

Brynne went to Eugene for an Orchestra Festival/competition on Friday - her school placed 2nd.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Brynne and Luke

Girl's Choice Dance...
So grateful for Luke's parents who took pictures for us.  I was at a meeting when Brynne left to go pick up Luke and didn't get to see how lovely she looked.  Luke is a stellar kid from our ward.  He and Brynne have become good friends the past year.  So fun!

Do you Hear the Words that are coming out of my mouth?

Last week I spoke in Sacrament meeting on the topic of developing a relationship with our Savior.  Tonight Josh and I are speaking in Stake Conference about receiving personal revelation for our family.  I don't know if we've figured out what the stake president had in mind, but we have our talk prepared and I'll be glad when it's over.  Too many talks for me this month!  I think I've earned a 10 year hiatus.

The kids have been super busy.  Brynne's job at McDonald's was crazy this month - she worked 5 days a week, for two weeks in a row.  This week she got a breather and was so grateful.  Track and Field starts on Monday and both Brynne and Logan are participating.  Logan has developed an interest in pole vault and javelin - so that will be interesting to see.  Today Brynne had her solo ensemble event at SOU in Ashland and, lucky for us, Logan's Brain Bowl event was also at SOU.  So we spent the morning down there and got to see both kids.  They did great.  Still waiting on results for Logan's team.  It snowed all the way down there, but warmed up enough to melt by the time we left.  Still, super fun to see those snow flakes scurrying around.  Tonight Brynne has her winter ball - I'll try to get ahold of pictures later.

Logan finished wrestling.  I can't tell how much he likes it.  He almost didn't wrestle this year, but it's good exercise and he enjoys the technical aspects of it - just not the locker-room talk I think.

Kenna's moving along with her violin studies.  She also enjoys sounding out songs on the piano.  She's competing in Battle of the Books next week.

Natalie's still loving practicing piano.  I love that she never whines about it.  She's so excited about her birthday next week.  It's the start of birthday season for us.  I think we are having an actual birthday party.  I realized it's going to be her first.  Does that make me a bad mom?

Faith had some moderate hearing loss for a few months due to a cold.  It drove me crazy!  She would look at me with such a blank look while I was speaking to her and I could tell she wasn't comprehending a word!  Luckily it seems to have improved finally.

Did I mention on the blog that Brynne was accepted to BYU-Idaho?  That was where she wanted to go.  We are waiting to find out her track so we can make plans.  It's so strange to think that child #2 is going to be flying the coop soon.  I'm not sure I like this growing up business.

Christmas 2017

What with the wedding and everything, we planned for a quiet Christmas at home and it was exactly what we needed.  The award for best gift went to Logan - who gave Josh a box inside a box inside a box inside a box.  And that was it.  Josh loved it!