Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or treat

Vampire and her little bat

Gracie and Izzy and their daddies
This year we had our annual Halloween dinner and trick or treat festivities.  We had a few friends who called to see if they could join us and we happily said yes.  I made chili, Colleen made corn bread and mummy dogs, and Liz brought toppings and Jennifer brought a fruit salad.  It was all super tasty and it was fun to eat together!
Wolverine, Thor, Batman, Superman and ElasticGIrl
Liz and I sat on the porch handing out candy and the rest of the folks hit the streets.  There were lots of people out and we had fun watching everyone and admiring the cute costumes!
also known as Shannon, Hannah, Alyssa, Hannah and Chelsea

watch mom....I can fly!
Another holiday celebrated....check :)
Sister Bear and WonderWoman!!

Field Trip

Yesterday Dad was a chaperone on Ethan's field trip.  They went to DC to the Lockheed center and then to the Air and Space Smithsonian.  They had a good day and learned lots of neat stuff.
Grace had chess club after school so it was a long day with everyone gone.  I started a water exercise class so I went to that and then swam laps.  It's pretty fun and luckily the water isn't too cold.  I hate cold water!
They got back from the field trip too late to drive home and back out for our wednesday night activites so Lu and I met them close to church for a quick burger and then we went to the 100 year of scouting commemorative broadcast.  It was very inspiring.  It was celebrating the partnership of scouting (which is older than 100 years ) and the church (also older :) ) I am happy and grateful for a program that emphasizes honor and service for my boy.  Ethan was so tired I don't know if he got much out of the broadcast but he enjoyed the brownies and running around in the dark outside after.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

halloween in Utah ( I shamelessly steal pictures)

cute cereal boxes

Sierra and Friends

Sister Bear!

Kenz and Noah

Reggie, Andrea, Tal and Jakob

Tatum and her pumpkin


Yesterday R had a dentist appt.  No cavities! Yay!  Anyway that meant he was home pretty early so he and Ethan went mountain biking in the late afternoon.  They had a very good time.
Ethan "was an animal" according to his dad, and hit the trail several times!
I'm glad when R spends time with the kids.  It's really important.  The role of a father has such an impact on the lives of his children.
While he was gone Grace and I went to the barn for her lesson.  I think I want to take lessons.  I know I want to, I'm just thinking about can we do it?  should I do it?  am I too old?

Then we came home and had FHE.  Dinner was good, spaghetti and meatballs, dessert was burnt :( happens.  H saved the day and made cookies.  We watched part of a BYU address I had really liked, it didn't go over very well so we bailed and played "Camp", which Ethan, Grace and I enjoyed.  Ethan won.  It's not often perfect but we try.

these aren't my words...but I wish they were

I want to be more like Mary.

Mary is such a hero to me.  I could study her and study her.  She has so much to teach us.  Woman to woman.

I am fascinated by her reaction to the Angel Gabriel.  A response like this one is hard to come by in the scriptures.  I wonder to myself, “Shannon, if an angel came to you, what would you do?  What would be your first, very raw, response?”  Would you be like Mary?  Or would you be like others and be afraid, and doubt, and wonder if they came to the wrong person, or brought the wrong message?”
“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee:  blessed art thou among women.  And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.”  (Luke 1:28-29)
I find it so interesting that Luke mentions that she was “troubled at his saying”, not “troubled at the angel”, of which Luke had no problem showing that Zacharias was earlier in the same chapter.  Mary was clearly a righteous young woman who knew much about the coming Messiah.  The verses that soon follow show that Mary understood the promised prophecies and at the moment was able to testify many things about him.  She would have known that the Messiah was to be born through the royal lineage of David, of which she was.  She knew that she was a qualified candidate for such a sacred position.  And in this unexpected moment, she was able to process the message of the angel, not just the shock of him being there.  What a prepared young woman she was!  Clearly, she already had faith in such things.
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.  And the angel departed from her.”  (Luke 1:38)
She didn’t ask for a sign, or proof.  She just submitted.  I don’t think this is a response that could come without the kind of faith that you have been developing for a long time.  I can only imagine that if an angel appeared to me, I would reveal a lot about myself and where I really stood.
I would love to know more about her.  I would love to hear what she was like, to hear stories.  Such a beautiful example of all of the young woman values.  Of faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity and virtue.


She never doubted, wondered or wavered at the Angel’s announcement to her.   Mary didn’t know the details of how she would fulfill the mission she was given, nor did she understand the full meaning of it.  But she trusted, believed and then acted on it.


She clearly had a testimony that life existed on the other side of the veil just as much as on this side.  She showed no need to gather her bearings that an angel actually existed.  She would have understood that Gabriel was a spirit, just as she was.  Both spirit children of Heavenly Father with divine potentials.


Mary never said, as others had, that she did not have the capacity to do this assignment.  She fully offered herself:  ”Behold the handmaid of the Lord“.  She believed that she could, even if she didn’t know how she would.  This is the ultimate sign of humility.  Sometimes we thing that saying we can’t do something is humility, but perhaps it is actually pride.  Saying we can’t is doubting who we really are, and what the Atonement is really capable of doing in our lives.  Saying we can is fully submitting and then praying like crazy for the help to do it.


She clearly knew about angels, about the Messiah, and the prophecies surrounding the coming of the Lord.   After she arrived to Elisabeth’s home,  she was able to quote several prophecies, in what is now commonly known as Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:4655).  Also, the knowledge deeply rooted in her was able to steady her in an unexpected moment.  Her reaction to the Angel was so revealing of things she already knew.  That same knowledge would surely give her strength during her unexpected pregnancy, almost losing Joseph, her long journey to Bethlehem, the less than favorable birthing circumstance, having strangers suddenly appear to see her child, and her sudden announcement to escape Bethlehem because of Herod’s evil doings.


When Gabriel first appeared to her, his salutation was: “Hail thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee:  blessed art thou among women”  (Luke 1:28).  You don’t earn this title without a long history of proving yourself.  She must have been so righteous, and from the Premortal Life to Mortality!  For she was chosen long before she ever came to earth.  What a powerful spirit she was.  She had used her agency to become stronger and stronger, not weaker.  What a great example to all women!  Plus, Joseph had chosen her to be his wife!  The best description of Joseph is that he was a “just” man (Matthew 1:19).  If you are “just”, then justice or the law is on your side – you aren’t depending on mercy, you have done what is right.  Therefore, Joseph was a very righteous man, one who highly valued God’s laws and commandments.  And he had chosen Mary to be his wife.  He wouldn’t have wanted anything other than someone like her.


At the very beginning of her pregnancy, she traveled to where Elisabeth was and stayed with her for 3 months.  Before being pregnant myself, I didn’t appreciate how difficult of a journey that could have been for her, but it doesn’t seem that something be hard ever stopped Mary.  She did things because they were right, not because they were convenient.


I have often wondered how difficult it would have been for her to start showing her pregnancy.  Certainly a few heads were turned and a few gossiping interpretations were exchanged.  For someone so pure, and so committed to her standards, how would it have felt to know that others thought such things of you?  Integrity comes from the word “integer” which means “whole”.  So if you have integrity, you wholly live what you believe.  And who is a better example of that than Mary?  So to know that you are being accused of something so sacred to you… she must have kept a lot of feelings in.


Salutations and introductions of her highlighted her purity.  ”To a virgin, espoused to a man” (Luke 1:27), “And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin (1 Nephi 11:13).  And it is her purity that qualified her for this sacred role.  If she would have lost her purity, she would have forfeited this opportunity.  I wonder how hard Satan had worked on her, as he is constantly trying to unravel God’s plan.  But Mary was pure, and purity brings power.  And that confidence that comes when you feel pure before God, would impact how she felt before the Angel and in accepting this call.  Its not just about being virtuous, its about being confident before God.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Yesterday was the primary program.  The children were sweet and did a good job.  My favorite was the last song they sang "A Child's Prayer", they knew their parts and sang really well.  Despite waking up at 7:50 we still were all dressed and clean and cheerfully sitting in the pew at 8:50, a small Sunday morning miracle especially considering we drive about 20 minutes to get to church.

Grace had Jackie come home with her after church.  The two girls played very nicely.  She got a rainbow loom, the newest craft craze, early this week and has been churning out bracelets like crazy.

Our home teachers came yesterday.  Always a treat to get a visit from Pete and Joey.

I had a stake meeting so had to leave in the afternoon.  R took charge of dinner (hot pockets) and took a bike ride in the neighborhood.  Lu played at the playground with friends and Ethan played football with the boys, they all spent a lot of time outside.  We did a lot of camp planning (for camp 2014) lots to do!

On the way to the meeting I got a ticket :(  Big sadness. I was going 54 in a 40 zone, got a warning for that but I had the wrong registration in my car and got a $50 ticket for that.  Darn it!

This morning I went to the audiologist.  Rob has been saying my hearing is bad, and he was right.  I didn't quite reach the mark on anything and have a more significant loss in my left ear than my right.  The good news is it's not quite bad enough that a hearing aide is warranted at this point.  The bad news is it will be someday.  The audiologist said it is likely from the multiple courses of radioactive iodine I had to kill my cancer.  So that's a good trade off...I am alive these 22 + years and I can't hear annoying car squeaks, the down side is I can't hear the kids well in the car behind me and some conversations are hard to hear..but that's a small price to pay.

Tonight for FHE R is making dutch oven stuffed apples ! Yumm! Can't wait.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday night

Homecoming is tonight. There was a lot of leading up to it festivities. First we  went to Allysa's. Hannah did everyone's hair and the girls got ready. Then we went to Ledos for dinner. The original four met up with more and had a fun time. 5 moms took another booth and ate and watched and talked.

After we took them to the dance. I walked in and was so impressed with the beautiful decorations. We got literally 3 phone calls from the principal this week explaining "appropriate dancing" and letting parents know they would be called if their child didn't adhere to the rules. I hope they stick to it. Hannah and her friends and many other girls looked nice. There is a good more than half that dress like street walkers. Alyssa's mom and Gabby's mom parked in the front of the school to watch the show of girls walking in  and to gasp at the indecency. I didn't join them. It is a sad state our youth are in.
Well I hope Han and her friends have a good time, she's growing up (insert small sniff)

Saturday day

Ethan and Rob started the day with a scout hike. They did orienteering and passed off their five miler!  Rob saved the day, when they got there an orienteering course had not been prepared so he quickly put one together.  It is a rank requirement so they were able to do that then have the hike.
In the afternoon Lu and I went to pony games! Super fun!
She liked riding with a bunch of other kids a lot.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday night

Fun Fall Flowers!!

We had a extra special date night tonight.  Pres. Sakai had a dinner for all the leaders who put our Palmyra trip on.  It was on Solomon's Island and it was a lot of fun to see everyone from around the stake.  It was fun to dress up too.  Afterwards he gave me one of the center pieces to take home.  It's so perfect for the season! I love it!
Miss Z driving home from her spa day :)

homecoming week

Hannah and Alyssa
Every day this week has been a different themed dress up day.  Hannah has enjoyed each one!  Luckily we have lots of random stuff around and she's been able to mostly find outfits at home :)
Darth Hannah and Darth Bear
Last night was our stake auxiliary training.  We have been preparing for many weeks and I felt like the Lord blessed us and the evening went well.  Last year I was the last speaker and my time got shorten so much that I pretty much just bore my testimony.  This year I was first and poor Becky got the short time.  I spoke too long but other than that it was fine.  Next year we will use timers :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Trunk or Treat

Tonight was trunk or treat at the church.  It was pretty fun.  Hannah was superman.  She helped with the planning and the setting up and running some booths.
Grace was a vampire.  She was not too thrilled when I made her cape but after she was all dressed she liked it and said thank you.
Arden, Maggie and Grace
She had a fun time running around and playing games and eating treats.
Lydia was such a cute little minion, she happily posed for a picture!
Bub and Dad stayed home.  He had a big project due at school tomorrow.  Everyone had to make a guitar out of recycled parts.
hard at work in the driveway when we got home
I was a doubter but in the end he had a pretty cool one that made some different sounds.


Poor Z went to the vet this morning. She did not like it. When she came home she quickly fell asleep on the couch. When I looked over at her she reminded me of this neverending story character:

In other news yesterday after work Rob met some friends at the lake to mountain bike around it. At the end of their ride he had a head on collision with another bicyclist. Thankfully he was not seriously injured but he is awful sore with hurt teeth, jaw, shoulder, sternum, and neck :( I'm grateful he's okay.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Super hero day for homecoming week!

in the barn
As Monday's go it was a nice one.  The weather is cooling but it's all fallish. I  love driving around and seeing the always gorgeous trees changing colors.

I drove Katherine to her appointment today.  Again, always fun.  We had a good visit up and back.  I am sorry she has such chronic pain but glad for the time to chat and drive we have from time to time.

Ethan had a baseball game. Rob went with and then after the two of them went out to eat.

Grace had riding lessons.  Her posture is really getting good.  After we went grocery shopping.
keeping each other warm

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday worship

Grace and Maggie playing in the parking lot after church
We had a really good sacrament meeting today, I love it always but good speakers make it even better.  Jared Williams spoke, he's leaving on a mission to Argentina in 2 weeks.  That boy is well prepared, he did a great job and was so confident and dynamic.  18 years old and he's ready to go out and serve the Lord.  I told Ethan that we had to train him up to be ready.  He said he didn't want to be trained up, which is silly of course he does.

Marriner Merrill was our high council speaker and he did an awesome job.  He spoke about the Book of Mormon.  Some of the highlights were:
He said there are three reasons to read the Book of Mormon.
1. it is the keystone,
it is a witness of Christ.
it is the keystone of doctrine
it is the keystone of testimony.
He told a fun story from his mission to Ukraine.  He and his companion were buying an orange and talking with the vendor when from the stall next to them the woman selling whatever began to talk to them. Her Russian was very poor yet she was very interested.  They gave her a Book of Mormon and in it was an invitation to come to church.  Much to their surprise she came and they began to teach her.  At one point they invited her to read 3 Nephi 11 (a favorite chapter), she misunderstood and thought that was the only chapter she could read that week so she read it over and over and over again.  When they next met with her, and sat in her humble kitchen, around her table, she shared with them her testimony of Christ.  Bro Merrill said it was so powerful as if she all but saw with her own eyes the sacred events and because she paid the price of really reading and pondering and studying she received that personal revelation that the Book of Mormon was true, and that Jesus Christ is her Savior.  Even now, years later while hearing the account it was very touching and I felt the Spirit's witness.

2.  It was written for our day.
All the writers, the prophet historians who kept the sacred record knew that it was not for them or that time but that it would be saved for the last days.  As a result we should read it and search for the lessons that are relevant and helpful for today's problems/challenges.

3." Reading the Book of Mormon will bring a man close to God, by abiding by it's principles, than by any other book".

and a promised blessing:
“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (Ensign, May 1980, p. 67).

We have not always done well at reading with the children every day.  But we have always had it as a goal.  And there is no time like today to really do the job right!
picnic lunch in the back yard on a beautiful fall day
After church today Maggie came to play with Grace.    Hannah and I are making dinner for Alyssa's family as her mom had surgery and Bub has math to do.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

3 things

Hannah and Hannah randomly tried the same dress on at the same time!
1. We went to the mall today.  We met Hannah's friends Hannah and Shannon.  The girls were looking for homecoming dresses.  All three found them at JCP.  They had fun trying dresses on.  After finding our dresses we went to boca di beppo for lunch.  They tricked us, they had a 4.99 for lunch sign and then when we got there it turned out it doesn't run on the weekend.   Anyway we had 8 of us and ate family style.  The food was good but not excellent and the service was adequate but not outstanding.  The girls had a lot of fun shopping and eating together.  I thought it was too much money but otherwise fun.

After lunch we did a little more shopping and got some staples. Hannah got two pair of jeans for $30 that fit nicely, and Lu got a jacket for $19.  Ethan was tortured as he hates the mall.  He was rewarded with a book from BAM on the way home.
Hannah, Hannah and Shannon
2. Rob got back from his high adventure and I am happy to report he had a very good time.  He had some worries before he left and none of the problems happened.  He enjoyed biking and the boys were great.  Yay! I am glad.

3. Tonight we went to Chaiya and Dylan's wedding. It was in the Callihan's back yard and it was so pretty. It was rainy and drizzly on and off and the reception was in the backyard but no one minded.  It was beautiful and so fun to be out and to visit with good friends. It was just a happy occasion.

Pumpkin Fun

Penny Jane, Tatum and Reggie at the pumpkin patch!  So cute!

We must have been at the pumpkin patch at the same time, just 3 time zones apart.  If we lived in the same place we could have gone together!  

Friday, October 18, 2013

day off school

We didn't have school today.  I don't know why but we always welcome a day off.  Hannah went to school to decorate the freshman hall for homecoming week.   Grace and Ethan and I cleaned the basement.  It was a wreck.
When we were done with that we had a number of errands to do.  We got boo'd the other night and so we needed to get the supplies to return the favor.  We took Han to get a hair cut, bought shoes for Ethan and Grace and went to Sweet Frog.
On the way home we decided we wanted to have some fall fun and go to a hay maze.  Ethan called Eric to see if he wanted to go with us and we picked him up and were off.
The maze was pretty fun.  The boys ran around on their own, which made me a little nervous but I called R and he thought it was fine.  They didn't get lost so I guess that's a success.  Lu and I were partners.  We bought some pumpkins and apples and enjoyed the fall weather.
On the way home we stopped by a cute little store that sells local goods.  I bought sausage and eggs and bread, it made a yummy dinner but was too expensive.
When we got home the boys threw the football around and played video games.  After dinner Grace and I walked down to the neighbors 2nd annual "walk in" movie.   There were a lot of folks there and it was fun to socialize.  Lu likes running around with friends in the neighborhood.
Meanwhile R is off on a high adventure with the teachers.  They have been camping,  mountain biking and fishing.  Tomorrow they will go to a zombie run then head home.  I think it's going well.  He said he slept well last night and that his cobbler turned out well.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Poor little Lu was home from school today with a fever.  She spent the day on the couch and is now snoring next to me in bed.  Poor thing, I hate when the kids are sick.

This evening Ethan had his last baseball game.  It went well...ok not really, I don't enjoy baseball but it was good to try it out and he did pretty well.  He's pretty athletic, which is nice.

When we go home we ate a late dinner and then I helped Hannah finish her paintings for homecoming week.  She did a great job, I just helped a little with the backgrounds.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

time trials

Grace has been trying to convince me that riding her bike to the bus stop will save her lots of time in the morning.  We live about 7 houses from the bus stop.   I have told her that by the time she opens the garage and puts on her helmet and gets down the road she could have walked there.

Anyway, this morning we decided to settle the debate once and for all.  On the mornings we drive the STEM carpool we have a lot of extra time in the morning and today was one of those mornings.

So first we did the bike.  I started the stop watch when she was at the door. She had to open the garage, get her bike out, get her hemet and ride to the corner.  1min.19.29 sec.  Then she put everything away and she started at the door again and walked to the bus stop.  She did a kind of jogish thing for the first two houses and then walked.  1min 22.11 sec.  So she was right, it is quicker...barely.

Sadly for her we are still going for the walking in case of a bus dash emergency plan because how does the bike get back??
Mom has to schlep it.  For 3/10ths of a second I think it's not worth it. And honestly we are mostly the first ones at the bus stop every morning anyway.  In fact sometimes she rides her bike down and back 10 times, puts the bike away and then walks to the bus stop and is still early.

A better back up plan is I drive her if we miss the bus.