Wednesday, May 30, 2012

YW Camp On My Mind

I have a few days left to prepare.  Next week is all about YW Camp!  I am excited!  Is that because I have never gone as a leader...LOL.  It will be fun.  I will MAKE it fun.  Oh yes, I will!

The Camp theme this year is "Hold On" D&C 121:7-9.  We were asked to make flags for each Branch/Ward.  We went with an owl theme.  So cute!  The owls were my idea.  I was thinking... Branch... branch... Albany... "Owl"bany... owl on a branch... Okay.  I am a nerd.  But the flag is adorable!  There is a tree with lots of branches and a uniquely made (and colorful) owl for each YW and leader.  The flag will say "Albany Branch YW" and "Hold On to WHOOO You Are". 

Here's the shirt I made.  We all made our own (even those not going to camp).  Each owl (on the flag and shirts) has the same shape, just differing colors/patterns.  They are unique!  EEK!  So cute!

I need to start packing.  I need to make sure I get everything together before Sunday.  Monday morning I will be going down with our only YCL(Youth Camp Leader) a day earlier than most.  I need to make sure I have all the necessities and fun stuff we will need.

My worries:

I am worried about getting exhausted.  I swear that I am tired half of the time anymore.  I will just need to drag myself around a bit and stay positive.  Right?!

I am also a little worried about only having 2 girls with me the entire week.  We only have 5 girls attending.  One is a YCL, 2 are going on the 4th Year Trip (we will not see them until Thurs), and then there are the 2 stuck with me.  I hope these 2 ladies have fun.  My goal is to make it fun and memorable.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summertime Begins!

The kids have been out of school for more than a week.  I must admit that last week we did a whole lot of nothing.  No house work, no fun stuff, no nothing. I allowed the kids to "chill" the way they wanted to and they ended up engrossed in one form of media or another.  Why can't they just play outside on their 40 acres?

Yesterday we started our week by swimming at the pool in Albany for Memorial Day.  It was great having daddy off for the day.  We went ahead and bought a season pass to the pool, so we will be swimming also.  I think we will be visiting the library a ton, as well. 

Today we are officially starting our summer routine:  daily chores (house and farm), homework assignments (reading, etc.), restricted media time (TV, computer, video games), and mandatory outside time.  Apparently if we do not plan out their time, they will do nothing but play video games, play on the computer, or watch TV all day.  I feel a bit like a dictator.  But I want to teach them that we have to get something accomplished each day.

My mom will be getting back home in 2 days, so we have a lot of housework to do before then.  All I need is to overwhelm her BEFORE she even spends one full day with us again.  We have been working all morning, are currently taking a break, and will continue to clean this afternoon.  Cursed housework!!!

Neighbor From Hades Update:  We have had very little to do with him for weeks and weeks.  He continues to lock his gate whether or not he is home.  I suppose we might get a wild hair and decide to go up for a visit or take something.  Yeah, right!  Every time we drive past or are outside, he childishly and blatantly turns his head so he will not have to see us.  Not that we are hurt or anything. Its nice to have him avoiding us as much as we wish to avoid him.  I feel safer this way.

Yesterday morning he drives up our driveway to "talk" to my husband.  Apparently he believes we have not returned a wrench and some Jurassic Park DVDs he forced us to borrow (which we returned via his mailbox).  And he was upset that we didn't respond to a letter he wrote to us.  Which we did not get.  He called us thieves and cursed at us.  Dan asked him to leave and he cursed and screamed that we should never step foot on his property.  Which we never had and never will. 

Dan thought he would give him another wrench the same size, despite the fact he remembers returning the borrowed one.  We found that same wrench in our mailbox last night.  UGGH!  The man is completely mental!!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Break On the Farm

I haven't posted in awhile.  Whoops!  I have been busy with end of the school year stuff and the first week of summer vacation.  And my husband is officially living here, so I have been enjoying that immensely!  I kinda like having him around for some reason... ;)

Farm News:  We now have 2 little ewes (female sheep), Bella and her new "sister" Meadow.  Meadow has been here for nearly 2 weeks and is adjusting fine.  At first she was a bit freaky.  Not only is she HUGE next to Bella (momma milk, I suppose), but she had been out to pasture all her life and was NOT tame.  At all!  She would go barreling through, ramming her head against fences, to get away from us, etc.  Thank heavens for Bella!  Meadow has been used to being a part of the flock and follwing all they did.  Bella is very tame and lovey, so Meadow has learned to tolerate me and follow me into her pens.  I still am not allowed to touch her, but she doesn't freak out when I am nearby.

Bella and Meadow
Meadow being shy

All of the other animals are doing well.  They are growing quickly!  Our chickens look like adults.  The roosters (there are 3, oh heavens!) are starting to crow a bit, fight a bit, and one is even "acting his part".  Blech!  We will keep one, maybe two.

Our chickens are growing up nicely

Capt'n Dudley Haddock (Cole named him) is watching over his ladies

The twins are so cute and fun!  They are into everything and are little Houdinis!  We have to make sure their enclosures are VERY secure!  They love playing around, climbing on everything, and head-butting anything.  Emma made the mistake of playing "head-butt" with the twins one afternoon.  She ended up regretting it (sore bum and forehead)!

Cheese & Sprinkles are growing quickly and loving life

The twins love torturing the cats (head butting them), and Ruby is ever vigilant

Fun stuff:  We got are garden going with tomatoes, swiss chard, green beans, yellow squash, zuchini, cucumbers, and watermelons.  Yum!  It was HARD WORK (especially when the ground hasn't been worked in a few years)!  We had to till several times, hoe into into rows, plant, and mulch it (straw).  But it looks nice.  We cannot wait to get some veggies!

We now officially have baby grapes!  We have 3-4 old Concord grape vines going strong.  How awesome will it be to have fresh juice and jam?!

A nice close up, the bunch is about 2 1/2 inches long

Glorious, glorious grapes!

The coolest thing...

We have a PEAR TREE that is producing highly!  We didn't even know we had a pear tree!

AND we have TWO.... drum roll, please... APPLE TREES!  Woohoo!  I am just a bit excited.  Can't you tell?

Okay, okay.  The fuits are only about 1 inch long right now.  But how cool is that?!

I should probably say something about my kids... they love summer!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

This Week...

Dan is nearly done with all his traveling.  WOOHOO!  He has been here so little since we've moved that he feels like a visitor.  But when he gets back from Venezuela (Thursday), he will be officially working from home.  He has all his equipment here.  We will just need to set up his office and he's good to go.  Now, where do we put his office...
He has been doing phenomenal at work!  He has impressed his bosses at his local company, which is owned by Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc. (they own a ton of smaller chemical companies).  He had a meeting with the "big wigs" of Tessenderlo Kerley last month and blew them away.  He gave a presentation that was dubbed "the best presentation" they had ever seen.  He's a smarty-pants!  They basically had low expectations for his first year.  I think they are seeing that he is very good at what he does.  I think he is pretty awesome.  That's just me.
The kids are doing well and nearly out of school.  Their last day is this FRIDAY!  Lucky me!  They are excited to be doing a whole lot of nothing, that's what they think anyway.  They will be doing lots of farm labor..... Mwah-ha-ha (that's my evil laugh)!   It should be SO much fun getting them to work hard... Yeah, right!
I am focused on 1.  decorating of the front porch and 2.  all things Girl's Camp.  I am such a nerd.  Seriously.  So here's what I did so far for the front porch...
Mom and I painted an old horse trough that is otherwise useless (holes in bottom) the same color as our front door.  We plan to fill it with soil (duh) and climbing roses, hence the trellis.
A plant stand next to the door made from and old ladder.  I want to add more white distressing.
This will be a hanger for a potted plant.  I found all these rusty pieces in the barn.  It is essentially a large pulley wheel with metal bracket and a smaller double pulley.  Notice the cool hooky thing on the rope?!
Close up of the double pulley.  I love it!

Purchased for a quarter, and full of possibilities...  We have several old windows now to work with!

Post Mother's Day Musings

Yesterday was Mother's Day.  Yeah, me!  The kids worked very hard on trying to make it the best they could.  They were really missing daddy (and so was I).  Daddy always makes Mother's Day a really big deal and makes lots of secret plans with the kids to make it perfect.  Cleaning, presents, flowers... breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert... PERFECT! 

The kids did their best, though.  They cleaned on Saturday morning and AGAIN on Saturday night AFTER I was in bed (they sent me to bed at 8pm, not to leave my room for ANY reason).  Coolness!  As I came down the stairs, I was required to have my ticket punched and a grand curtain (blanket on the stairwell) was opened to bring me down to the amazing "spread" at the table.  They made Grammie and I a breakfast of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, Orange Juice, and Ants-On-A-Log!  I know you are jealous!  They also picked fresh flowers from the yard (yes, they had approval), made us home-made cards, and put on a dance for us.  They worked very hard!  Sweet babies.

After Church, Dallin made us lunch (fish sandwiches) and dinner (Spaghetti w/ meat sauce and cheesy garlic bread).  We had dessert after dinner.  Amish-made Peach Pie and Strawberry-Rhubarb pie with choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  YUM-O!  Dallin worked especially hard on cooking and trying to keep the peace in the home.  He's such a sweetheart!

I was very pleased with all the effort they put in and was grateful for such loving children.  I could have done without the messes that inevitably happen and the noise and commotion from a rowdy, happy brood.  But I love them, nonetheless.  They are precious!

I spent way too much time in my room yesterday.  I just wanted a break.  I sewed for about 2 hours.  Note to self:  do not attempt to make your own patterns anymore!  I made an apron, because I have been wanting one that fits well really badly.  Except this one doesn't quite fit as well as I'd like, hence the need for a pattern!  GRRR!

I went to bed exceptionally early (like at 7) and just laid there.  To be honest, I was feeling sorry for myself a little.  I REALLY felt tired of the mommy gig sans-daddy.  And I REALLY miss my husband.  Not so much the effort he puts in for Mother's Day, but everything else.  Freakishly enough, I miss his SMELL most of all.  If you know me very well, you know I am weird about smells.  Psycho, really.  Its my thing, good smells anyway.  So I just laid there, missing his smell and feeling sorry for myself.  I miss him!

Blah, blah, blah...  GET over it, woman!

This morning:  1.  Get up at 7 (heavens, they let me sleep that late?) 2.  do a load of dishes (there is easily another load awaiting me now) 3.  prepare goat babas, and feed the twins 4.  let out chickies and feed them... All before 8am

One of the chickens was left out all night long (the kids tried, right?!), thank heavens it was still alive.  Upon opening the broader house, a swarm of flying chickens attacked me.  They were starving and had only yucky water left to drink.  After cleaning their feeding trays, filling them, and dropping them in the chicken run, they attacked with a vengeance.  Their waterers needed cleaning and filling, but apparently they were not too thirsty.   I was only swarmed twice.

The cat was apparently wishing me a belated Mother's Day.  She left a nice fresh one right in the grass, in the path to and from the chicken house.  Nice!  I nearly stepped in it half a dozen times.  Sigh...

Happy Belated Mother's Day to ALL the lovely ladies out there!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Missouri?! Part 2

The events over the past few weeks have really strengthened my testimony and have been truly uplifting.  They have solidified my testimony that we have been inspired to move here.  The experiences that my oldest son alone has had recently are enough reason to have come.  He has a greater desire to do what is right and an unshakable testimony in the validity of a living prophet today. 

After reflection, I have noted some changes in our life now versus a few months prior.  I feel closer to the spirit overall.  Mind you, it is likely that I have been greatly humbled to be living so far away from my husband at present (He is currently on his way to Venezuela for 10 days).  And it is always humbling to have a new calling ( I LOVE YW!). However, there is more to it than that.

One thing I do not miss:  that feeling of "keeping up with the Joneses".  Firstly, there are no neighbors to keep up with (we obviously do not associate with our 'mental' neighbor).  And everyone is poorer here, including ourselves (due to a house payment back in TX).  But it is just refreshing to be in an area where I am not tempting to go shopping and find good deals or to covet the belongings of others.  I feel it is easier to stay away from those temptations.  I even feel like I could go grocery shopping in my pjs and no one would care.  SO nice!

Lately, I have been taught the hard way to avoid judging others and keep my mouth shut.  I had a prideful "I am so well trained to be a leader" attitude when we moved here that was completely inappropriate.  I am since trying my best to watch my thoughts and try to see the best in everyone around me.  There has been contention here due to others judging others, backbiting, and taking offense.  I was a part of some of that.  I am trying my best to change my attitude and repent of my tendencies to find fault in others and to be negative.

It has been refreshing to have true "work" to do outside.  I love that we see a natural cause and effect in the natural world around us.  Imagine.  If you put a seed in the ground and tend it, it grows.  If you love and care for animals, they thrive and love you in return.  Duh, Amie!  I know.  It still does not mean that these things are not little miracles!

I also love watching valiant youth sharing their talents and being the best examples.  I watch these kids and feel so much hope for the future of the Church.  They are so spiritually strong, despite their trials and the difficult world we live in.  I have been honored to have the opportunity to serve in YW and to have been associated with them all.

We love it here.  Its as simple as that.  I miss my family and friends back in Texas.  Very badly.  But I know that this is where we are supposed to be.  And I rejoice in that knowledge.  I can see my children raising their own children here.  They love the fresh air, beauty of nature, and simplicity of life here.  We love Missouri.

The Kansas City Temple Dedication

Yesterday was the dedication of the Kansas City Temple.  It was such a lovely day!  I am so excited to have a temple so close now!

My oldest 3 children were able to attend, but we had to go to 2 different sessions.  Dan took the oldest 3 to the second session and Mom and I took the little ones to a nearby park.  Afterward, our Branch President and his angel wife took the kids home with them.  We were able to watch the last session without children and it was so peaceful! 

President Monson performed the dedication.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland accompanied him.  It was so amazing to hear these 2 brethren speak! 

During the second session, President Monson told the youth that he had never seen a better Youth Cultural Celebration.  They all seemed to be beaming with joy at his remark!  During both (second and last) sessions he told the youth that he was pleased with these type of Events.  He wants the youth to unite and have spiritual experiences together.  He gave pronounced prophetic blessings to the faithful temple attenders in this area.  He also encouraged us to use the temple often and use it as a symbol of our lives.

Elder Holland spoke about the significance of the Liberty, MO area in the second session.  He mentioned about the experience Joseph Smith had in Liberty Jail and how the ground had truly been consecrated by his sacrifices and the amazing revelations he had there.  He compared it to a temple experience.  In the last session, he spoke of the sacrifices of the Saints in this area so long ago.  He said that spirits on the other side of the veil are rejoicing that a temple is now in this land of Zion.

I absolutely LOVED that Elder Holland was there with President Monson.  I recently read an old speech that Elder Holland had given as a CES Devotional in 2008.  It was entitled, "Lessons From Liberty Jail".   How very fitting that he should attend! It really hit me that Joseph Smith suffered so much there at Liberty Jail and that through this suffering, so much good was achieved.  That talk gave me a better perspective on trials and tribulation.  (It also really seemed to answer a question I had about the exact location of the Kansas City Temple.) 

If you are interested in reading it, here's a link...,4945,538-1-4543-1,00.html

If you'd rather watch it, here's another...

We are eagerly awaiting our opportunity to do some work in the temple!  First on our list... my grandfather (Papaw).  He requested that Dallin do his temple baptism before his death.  He was too sick to be baptised then, but truly wanted it.  Now we can get that work done!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Of One Heart in the Heartland"

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  The Youth of the Kansas City Temple District performed in the Youth Cultural Celebration for their prophet.  It was fantastic!

President Thomas S. Monson presided and made the opening remarks.  He repeated a statement he made in 2008. "I am an advocate for such events.  They enable our youth to participate in something they truly find unforgettable.  The friendships they form and the memories they make will be theirs forever." He continued by reminding the youth that they should record in their journals the feelings they had.  He promised them that this would be an experience that would always be with them and that they will gladly tell their children and grandchildren about it one day.

The performance was wonderful.  The youth did their parts with zeal and near perfection.  It was so touching to be able to see the Prophet's responses and emotions.  He was excited, enthusiastic, and playful.  And he showed a great love for the youth. 

We had perfect seats.  we could see our Branch youth clearly as they danced AND see the Prophet very well.  I watched his reactions to one song in particular: "We Believe", written by Jenny Phillips.  He was overcome with emotion as the youth sang about their commitment to being virtuous despite the evil of this day.  So was I!

Here is a youtube video of the song with words.  Beautiful!

As a special treat, Kenneth Cope sang "Broken" for the portion about the Joplin Recovery.  Here's a youtube of that song.

As amazing as the entire performance was, I was even more amazed after speaking to my husband.  Basically all that day had been completely chaotic.  First off, the venue was planned for 1500 kids.  By the performance date 3600 kids wished to perform!  Over 500 had decided to join in on the fun within the last week.  And the kids never actually were able to do a complete run-through of the performance, due to many factors.  Their dress rehearsal was their performance!  But you could not tell.  They did so well!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'm Going! Woohoo!

Update:  Our Branch President obtained 6 more tickets from the Stake.  He is giving me 2 tickets, so I can take Aubree!  Woohoo!  We are SO EXCITED!  I cannot wait to see our awesome Youth perform.  I am even more excited to have 2 of my children in the presence of our Prophet!  We love you, President Monson!

Happy dancing...