Thursday, July 31, 2014


Today I read "Four", the fourth book in the "Divergent" series.  Enjoyed it.  In honor of that I am doing a series of "4"s.  Random.

Four things I ate today:
mango, orange pork chops
home made mashed potatoes
peanut butter oreos

Four chores I did today:
4 loads of laundry
1 cleaning of the kitchen
one dinner made
1 bathroom cleaned

Four things I did to get ready for our trip:
went to Michaels
packed one suitcase
the above mentioned laundry
talked to Val about food

Four things I watched:
BYU devotional
swimming kids (for four hours at the pool)

Four things I talked to the kids about:
Hannah's history assignment
Ethan's hair cut
Grace's gerbils and fish needing a cage cleaning
Grace's swim progress

Four things I regretted:
not exercising
eating the above mentioned oreos
getting mad at Lu and giving her a spanking
that I have so much clutter

Four things I enjoyed:
swimming with the kids
making a surprise for the babies
talking on the phone to R as he drove to work
thinking about the new grand coming

Four things people said to me today:
Val: " Tanner has a soccer tournament on the 15th"
Mom: " Chinese buffet sounds like a good idea"
Laura: "Just dive in quick it's less cold that way"
PV: "excellent counsel Sister ____"

Four things I hope to accomplish before the end of this year:
Sub at least 20 days...for airfare
get back to exercising, I was doing well right before school ended but
finally crochet something
declutter the kitchen

Four jobs I need to do tomorrow
drop off keys for the pet sitters
take boy for a hair cut

Four things I am looking forward to on our upcoming vacation:
hiking to the viking castle
going to Zupas
eating some fish that R and Greg catch
meeting Scarlett and playing with the babies

Four animals I like:
dolphins (and on the Baynet today there was video of a pod swimming right by Solomons Island)

Four things I am putting off:
paying some bills
recovering the chairs in the bedroom with the fabric I bought a year ago

Four summer sounds I like:
the conversation of owls and frogs in the night
the splash of kids playing in the pool
the crunch that shoes make on a  hike in the woods
the crack of a crab claw breaking

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

pioneer day continues

Tonight our ward had a social.  It was pretty fun.  We had treats and told the stories of our people.  There weren't a ton of people there, as one would expect at the end of July, however all who came had a nice time.  We took Arden and Ashby with us and all the kids enjoyed running around and playing.

In other news we are getting ready for our two week trip to the west coast.  We're really looking forward to it.  Of course there is the getting ready work which is not so fun and to make it even better we discovered that Lu has lice. (insert huge heaving sigh).  After camp we were warned and I checked her head and actually bought shampoo and treated her despite not seeing anything.  Then she got itchy.  I checked and rechecked her head and never saw anything.  Today I checked again and there it was ...a gross little bugger. So we spent two hours on her very thick hair and the rest of the day washing bedding and stuffies and pillows and vacuuming.  I think we are good.  I know from sad experience that they are sneaky little critters so I will treat everyone and everything...then we will repeat on Saturday and then in the middle of next week.  It's over kill but better safe than sorry.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

shots and swimming and Scarlett

Ethan got two shots today.  A booster and a meningitis.  He was very brave.  After he picked a treat. At CVS there are a lot of choices so he got a cool remote control car and some orange crush.  A far cry from the sucker or ice cream cone of yesteryear.

Hannah and Joseph
The kids spent some time at the pool.  A favorite summer pastime. Tonight Hannah went to youth district, Grace went home teaching and fishing with her dad and Ethan set up his fantasy football team.
We get to meet this little pumpkin next week! Counting down the days!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy memories

Can't wait to see these guys!!!


Last night we were skyping, 5 of us squished on the couch & 4 of them sharing two chairs with a cute little blond and a cute little brunette popping up and down, then Penny made an announcement: she's going to be a big sister!!! We are so excited and thrilled!

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Hannah, Aubrey, Chelsea when it's all done
 Today during church they called up youth to share their experiences.  It was another amazing time.  Everyone felt the spirit as the talked and testified.  Again amazing amazing young people.
pioneer games!

loved the ruffles on her cute skirt!

Monty and Jethro
(best trail bosses ever!)

cute Kate Blair, love her!

loading the wagons

more pulling

family prayer

Sabrina and Kate
off to Ohio State and BYU
we'll miss them!

Ben and Lydia, so sweet

our fearless leaders
Pres. Williams, Pres. Sakai, Pres. Volk


 We prepared, we went, we played and walked and cried.  We survived and we'd go again! It was awesome.  Mostly.  The port a potty, not so awesome, especially that last day.  Phew! The no running water, even less awesome but the rest was really great.

I'm sure I'll post many more pictures when we see them all but right now just a quick sampling.  Hannah and her family.  She said it was the best family ever.  She loved her ma and pa and got along well with all the other youth.  I am really glad.  The first day they arrived and assembled the handcarts then took off on the trail.  The weather was gorgeous.  72 and overcast.  It did rain on us a bit in the beginning of the walk but what a tremendous blessing that cool weather was.  There were some really really hard parts and the youth were amazing.  They walked until around 1-2am.  After that everyone collapsed into a tired heap and slept with the cows in the pasture.    Day one was also the woman's pull and the blind folded walk.
 Day 2 was more walking in the morning with great games and fun in the afternoon and a dance in the evening.
Day 3 we had a scavenger hunt, solo time, a testimony meeting, more trekking and we were done!!
TREK was such an amazing experience for the youth.  They accomplished really hard things and learned so much.  It was also amazing for the leaders.  I personally felt like I learned and grew a lot.  It was, and always is, such a joy to work along side the other leaders in the stake and to spend time with the youth.  I marvel and am in awe of how good they are, how hard they try, and all they accomplish. The thing about trek is that really all pretenses are stripped away.  You are put out there, in nature, with no running water and sometimes no toilets (only facili-trees) and there is lots of stuff to do to keep things going and to keep everyone alive and it's hard.  Yet the prevailing attitude was one of great cheer and gratitude.  There were things that didn't go as planned and times when folks were tired and considered getting cranky but we were all there with the same goal and were working together. Many times I was overwhelmed with gratitude to Heavenly Father.  The weather was so perfect.  At night the sky was breathtaking.  No one was seriously hurt, it was great.
Hannah and dad
A couple special moments: watching Hannah at the women's pull.  She was in the yoke and pulling so hard.  She never complained, never gave up.  That was again the prevailing theme.  I didn't hear any complaints from those girls  She said before they started she prayed so hard, and they prayed as a family many many times and they knew they had help.

Last day lunch time.  I was walking around camp and it was like stepping back in time.  Phenomenal. As I walked around visiting with the different families I was offered food many times.  "Would you like a french fry?" , "Do you want to try our scones?"  These kids had been walking and working hard for many days, living on pioneer rations and yet they wanted to share.  It was humbling to me.  At first I said no, I didn't want to take what little they had, but then I saw the disappointment and started saying yes and complimenting their cooking and enjoying with them the fruits of their efforts.  It was very special.

Watching our two girls with some special needs being so lovingly taken care of.  At one point Lydia, a sweet pretty girl with both CP and Autism didn't want to walk across a stream.  Without missing a beat her big brother Ben scooped her up "like a princess" and carried her across. These kids truly were taking care of each other, concerned about each other, loving each other.

our trekkers
For the most part the youth were so good and so obedient.  There was some trouble with one boy (and when I say some trouble I kind of mean a lot of trouble- he was pretty egregious in his conduct)  It came to the point where we thought we'd send him home but first we wanted to have him meet with his Bishop (who fortunately was there) and talk to his ma and pa.  Larry and I were late getting to the scene and we walked up upon his ma sitting quietly on a stump, surrounded by her husband and 3 other priesthood holders giving her a blessing.  We stopped and bowed our heads and joined our prayers and faith with theirs. Miracles happened at that moment and the power of the priesthood and the faith in our little grove was tangible.  Brother Merrill, sitting across the stream and hidden by some trees, not knowing what was happening said he felt something and looked over and saw with amazement the sight that caused that feeling to envelop him.  The ma and pa next to their camp also knelt and prayed at the same time and knew the Savior was there.  When they finished we quietly walked up and shared hugs and encouragement then found a quiet spot to decide.  After counciling together, and kneeling together in the tall grass and asking the Lord what He would have us do we all knew that he should stay.  We owed it to his ma and pa to end on a good note instead of one feeling discouraged and like they had failed. We wanted to give him another chance.  Papa said to me once that the place where we have the most opportunity to learn to be Christ-like is with our family.  Forgiving and giving them a chance to forgive. Growing and giving the chance for growth.  This is so true.  It's easy to think "whatever" when you are comfortable and busy with your own life but when it's right there and you can't escape and it's not comfortable then it's not easy.  Frankly I was squarely in the "come pick him up right now" camp, mainly because I was worried about the other 14 kids and the ma and pa and the other families and kids and people who had worked so hard and wanted to be there.  In this case the Savior was worried about "the one".  And "the one" was that boy.  Also "the one" was his ma who felt like a failure and had a chance to turn things around.  "The one" was the trail boss who said I am not that man who feels such anger I will not feel that and gave it up to Him.  "The one" was me who needs to learn to be more like Him, and who learns so slowly.  "The one" is each of us.
It did end well enough and I was glad.    Not long after that, before the testimony meeting I was sitting by myself in the shade and opened up my scriptures, not to a place I had been reading and read Moroni 6: 7 And they were strict to observe that there should be ano iniquityamong them; and whoso was found to commit iniquity, and bthreewitnesses of the church did condemn them before the celders, and if they repented not, and dconfessed not, their names were eblotted out, and they were not fnumbered among the people of Christ.
 But aas oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with realbintent, they were cforgiven.
 And their meetings were aconducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the bpower of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.
we survived!
The Lord in his infinite goodness accepts us back as oft as we will come.  What a miraculous blessing!

We kept a tally.  At the start we wondered would there be 17 trek miracles (like the movie title?)  What would happen?  Well, there were 17 and more.  Hearts and lives were changed for the better. I don't know why the Lord blesses us so, except I do know, we are His children and He loves us! I am so grateful and happy.

And we saw a bear.  It's true.  Walking in the woods.  A black bear.  Apparently east of the Mississippi bears don't eat people (according to Mark) um hmm,  idk about that...we were, however largely ignored after the first curious glance and not eaten so that was good.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

last day of Grace week

Grace did some pretty fun things this week.  Today Michelle took her to the pool with her girls, and the McCombs and the Streeter girls.  Pretty fun.  Then they played at her house.  

Grace didn't get to do all the things she wanted because we've been busy getting things ready and we've had some rough moments, that had nothing to do with getting ready and everything to do with being a precocious and sometimes snarky 9 year old :)

Anyway, she really wanted to go to Golden Corral so tonight I took her.  Cotton Candy for dinner is a two thumbs up event!

Getting ready is right on schedule.  I have a short list of things to do tomorrow.  I really hope Hannah's clothes fit her.  She didn't try anything on as she's been gone for weeks now.  

Last night I could not sleep.  It was so strange.  I wasn't worried about anything, I was on schedule for the things I wanted to get done and felt fine yet the hours ticked by.  Rob snoring quietly by my side.  Z curled up in a little ball.  Millie occasionally thumping the floor with her tail.  I was up until after 3.  It wasn't particularly unpleasant.  I did some reading on my phone, played that stupid 2048 which I am pretty sure I will never solve, did some thinking and some praying.  It was however very out of character as I rarely have any trouble sleeping at all.  This morning I woke up fine and the day went fine and now it's 10 o'clock and I am no more tired than any other night.  Weird.

Also, secret character flaw revealed: when I am getting ready to go somewhere, big, not like to the library, the getting ready is so much work and such a pain in the neck that I often decide that I just don't even want to go.  I have to force myself and am always glad in the end that we went but I can totally see why/how homebodies just like to stay put.  ...and when there are back to back trips, even ones I really want to take it's even worse!

Thank Heaven for little boys!

I have the cutest nephews!
Deo (almost 2) , Joneaux (almost 5)
Can't wait to see them at our family reunion!!
Noah (age 1)
Can I just say I wish we lived next door?
Reggie (age 4)
Also excited for the other 3, Tanner, Spencer and Jakob.

Also I miss my boy and can't wait to see him. 

Monday, July 21, 2014


pile-it program
We've been making a list, checking it twice and then checking it again.  Also making piles of stuff not to forget.  Feeding just shy of 200 youth and ma's and pa's on the trail and just doing my tiny part to make sure trek goes well is a biggish endeavor.  We've got piles of pioneer clothes, food stuff, letters, camping gear and I don't know what else all around the house.  ....meanwhile we are trying to get the house clean and welcoming for Nana and Abba and UB.....meanwhile Grace is trying to keep herself occupied, to find stuff for me to do with her, to talk to me all day and pester me being a cheerful companion.  She finally broke out her legos and that has been a lot of fun....and there is nothing like a million legos laying around to really make a house look neat and tidy and company ready.
bird rescue
We did shopping today. A big check mark off the list of getting ready.  We dropped Z at the spa and almost stepped on this little guy who fell out of his nest.  A rescue effort was launched that took up a bit of our morning but who could walk away from a little feathered friend in need?
kings island
Hannah and Ethan got to go to King's Island today with Abba. I don't know for sure but I bet they are having a great time.

Grace went to Maggie's and I went visiting teaching late in the afternoon.

Grace shared with me an interesting although completely false memory she has.  She wants to be allowed to stay home alone for a while.  While trying to convince me she was ready she "reminded" me that last time Tate was here Dani and I let her baby-sit.  Oh really??
She claims that we were going to go to lunch but Tate was napping and she, Grace, didn't want to go, so we let her stay home but didn't even tell her Tate was home.  Not only that but we left her working with felt and then T woke up and wandered out and asked where everyone was so she, Grace, had to watch her unexpectedly until we got home.
Yet she is insistent.

So, Dani and I left a 9 year old to baby sit a 4 year old without telling either one and further we left her with a sharp tool to stab away at some felt while we were out enjoying a leisurely lunch.  That's her story and she's sticking with it.

One more story, this one illustrating how much we love our dumb dog.  I was sitting on the couch sorting legos with Grace while Z was at the spa.  Grace sighed and said "I sure miss Z don't you?"  Yep.  (she had been gone about 2 hours at that point).  Crazy dog.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


This evening we had a welcome to the neighborhood dessert party for the Ely's at the Buxtons. Super fun.  I love our little 'hood and the good friends we have here.

This morning I went to visit the Anacostia Ward.  It is very special to go to the differnet wards and meet with the YW and their leaders.  I marvel at the wonderful people we have around the stake and the varied back grounds they come from and talents they have.  Each sweet sister brings something special and is magnified and lifted as she serves and shares.  It's a great and wonderful process and one I feel blessed to participate in for myself and to witness in others.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

pink ladies, and black-eyed susans

We worked in the yard today. When I say we I actually mean I helped, which is not too typical. The weather was agreeable and our flowers are pretty so it wasn't too bad. Plus Bub is out of town so that left only me.
The Activity Day girls went to see the summer stock production of Grease. Grace said she loved it and it was sooo much fun! I love her A-day leaders they are so on the ball and sweet.
Maggie, Summer, Arden, Izzy, Jackie, Morgan and Grace
I did some more Trek sewing. I'm kind of the female version of the man who fixes stuff with duct tape and wd- 40 when it comes to sewing. It's a winging it pattern less ordeal.
This evening we went with the Zawadas to dinner then to Sweet Frog. 
In Ohio Ethan threw up. Big surprise. He is fine and they are enjoying their visit though we miss them.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The children are enjoying what they consider the best week of the year. Nana and Abba week.
Hannah reports that Bub has been golfing a lot and that he and Abba are watching movies. She has been baking and shopping and they went to the art museum and have enjoyed a lot of swimming. 


Our drive home from Michigan was long but we survived nicely.
Wednesday Grace went to Julia's ice skating birthday party which she reported  was super fun. We also took dinner to baby Alva and her family.
Today I've been working on trek clothing. I'm very worried about Hannah's fitting since she won't try them on until after I am gone. Hopefully they will get here early enough that Nana can make ajustments If needed.
Tonight we had our last trek meeting. Seems like all our ducks are lined up nicely. Now we just pray a lot and work hard.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Today was the funeral of Francis Henry Thacker.  It was a very lovely service.  I actually enjoyed the stories and memories so much.  He was a good, hard working man.  I can't imagine living in the same place for 98 years.  He made such a impact on his community and in his family and did so much good during his 9 decades on the farm.
After the service the church served a very nice luncheon.  It was tasty and we had a nice time visiting with everyone.
I like this picture of me and Ethan and Hannah.  Ethan told me he has my eulogy ready.  "Mom, she was nice.  She was short, but her prayers were not  Thanks for coming. "  I laughed.
Uncle Brain, we love him.
Kids and grandparents.
After the service we all went back to the farm.  We did some more visiting.  The kids rode the gator around.  We looked at pictures. 

Michigan is gorgeous and the weather has been perfect.   It's so green and I love the wildflowers that are growing all over the place.  The sweatpeas are my favorite!