Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer Fun: Bowling

My kids love bowling. I've found two programs that let them bowl this summer:
Fat Cats and
Kids Bowl Free The Kids Bowl Free link has centers all over the US!
Let me know if you sign your kids up.
This picture is Jane bowling last summer. She is the only one of my kids that didn't beat my score! 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Song: God Bless America

This Sunday Song is in honor of all veterans. God Bless America I'm adding a photo of my dad during his Navy years, taken around 1970.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Which way?

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten in the car, only to get half way somewhere and not know where I'm going or how to get there. I know I have a doctor appointment or a visit with a friend at 10am, so I jump in the car, only to realize I'm not sure what the address is or the name of the place. I'm so grateful for cell phones! Hi, it's Pam... I'm on my way... what is the address again? 
To prevent this, I write down appointments, complete with name, address, and phone number. I also use Google maps to plan trips, even local ones, if I'm going somewhere I'm unfamiliar with.  
What promoted this post? I'm off to the Casual Blogger Conference and I want to get there without getting lost!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Forward this to everyone!

Virus warnings. Food contamination. Crime warnings. Someone said something offensive. Gang warnings. End of the world warnings. Political propaganda. Conspiracies. Weather pattern revelations.
What do these have in common? People (because they are a good guy making a stand!) forward (it is quick, easy and it doesn't cost anything!) these emails (because they are helpful!) to everyone (because they care!) in their address book (because you are their friend!).
Please, before forwarding, be sure your email is not just an urban legend. Try snopes. Awesome website. It reveals what is true and what is bogus. Beware what you read. Surprise! It may not be what you were expecting. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chickens and more chicks

We have 12 chickens that are now over a year old. A few weeks ago, we picked up 12 more chicks. We purchased white, tan and black ones. The black ones are proud looking fluffy chicks. They are all friendly. Jane, just six years old, loves to pick them up. The new chicks are in the shed coop where the older ones were last year. The older ones are now in a A-frame coop Jay built, with plenty of room for them to roam outside. In the bottom picture, you can see the PVC pipe across the coop for the chickens to roost on at night. There is a loft there for the chickens to lay eggs in. Egg production from the year old ones has increased since the weather has gotten warmer... even if it has been rainier and cooler than usual. My teenager hasn't been able to eat every egg the day it was laid. Having chickens has been a fun step toward self-reliance. The kids seem to enjoy it too. We don't hear complaining about helping keep the chicken coop clean either--I think Jared likes eating all the eggs he can!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Review 1: The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is set in Nazi Germany in 1939. I like not only the story, but the writing style. It is about real people living in difficult times. Liesel is a young girl who steals books in a time when books are dangerous and are being burned by the Nazis. This is a time when decisions are important and sometimes disastrous, though the end results may not be evident immediately. When I read this book a few years ago for a book club, I checked it out of the library but when it came across my son’s school list of books he needed to read, I bought a copy. It is one we all should read.
Warning: there is some swearing, mostly in German.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Song: I Cannot Find My Way

Sunday Song: I Cannot Find My Way by Michael Mclean
This is a Christmas song and maybe I should have waited to post it. The truth is that we can all feel lost, no matter what time of year it is. May heaven's angels watch over us and help us all find the way to Him.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Night at the Museum

It was a fun night. I took the girls to a sleep-over with the Girl Scouts at Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. Good thing it was indoors, since the weather was awful. The boys’ camp-out at a neighbor’s home was canceled, because it was so bad.
It was supposed to be me and Jo, but one of the other girl scouts got sick and couldn’t come. I got a call from the troop leader asking if Jane wanted to come. She did! Jo was a little jealous, but I explained that this was not a one-time thing, but the beginning of the two of them doing Girl Scouts together. Really, she was more upset that her friend was not going than that her sister was.
I highly recommend going to these with your kids! The museum has some great exhibits and awesome dinosaur displays. We went on a guided tour of the museum. One of the paleontologists’ talked with them for a while. Then they tried to dig a dinosaur out of a cup of plaster with a nail. It was harder than the girls could stand. They lost patience with it and began banging the ‘fossil’ on the floor! I think this was the only thing the girls got in trouble for this trip! They played in an Erosion Table (sand and water). They made a paper dinosaur using origami. The scavenger hunt was fast and furious. Then, mercifully, it was time for bed. Jo picked the spot, after careful consideration of where the scary dinosaurs were. Most of her friends were on the other side of the hallway, but she didn’t care. She didn’t want to be near the T-Rex! Even where we were, it took some doing to keep her calm and get her to sleep. Jane was exhausted and was out quickly, but was totally glued to me the entire night. Thank goodness for the air mattress. It was a real lifesaver. Morning didn’t come quickly enough!
They did a quick rotation of stations: scratching their names in Egyptian hieroglyphics into stone; chatting with the lead paleontologist; making a plaster ‘fossil’; and putting together a T-Rex puzzle.
I had considered staying longer and walking around the farm or gardens, which we have never been to, but the day was rainy and cold, so we came home as soon as the Sleep-over was over. We’ll be going back again sometime this summer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Dad's Passing: 2002

Flashback to May 20, 2002, a Monday: I am at home, anxiously waiting for a phone call from my husband, who is at the hospital with the rest of his family, while his mother is having surgery to remove uterine cancer. I have a nursing baby and little preschool kids and didn’t want to be at the hospital for hours with them. The phone rings, instead of Jay, it is my step-mom’s brother, whose sad duty is was to tell me my Dad had a heart attack and passed away. I try to stay calm. Just as I’m thinking I’m going to have to get in the car and go to the hospital, because my husband’s cell phone has to be turned off in the area they are waiting in, he calls me. He has bad news. He says they took his mom back, only to find the cancer had spread everywhere. They closed her up and gave her six months to live. (She lived only three, but that is another story). I tell him my bad news. There is nothing like getting slammed with a 2 x 4; unless it is getting hit twice with a 2 x 4.
I think that was one of the hardest weeks of my life. I mourned the loss of two parents that week. Eight years later, I still feel the loss. Healing is a funny process. Grief is like an onion, layer upon layer, sometimes being peeled away at unexpected times. Its grief rings are many, yet each is smaller than the last. If we see the onion from the inside out, those are our healing layers, getting bigger each layer.
My Dad was a good guy. Just look at him with Jayson and John. This was at the Hite family reunion in Idaho in 1999. As much as I love him, God loves him more. Miss you, Dad. Love you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ethan Stacy

It has been a week now since Ethan Stacy was first reported missing and then later found dead. This crime has hurt our community. It has broken our hearts to hear the details of Ethan’s last few days. We wonder how anyone could dig so deep to call forth every ounce of evil in themselves to do the horrible things that were done to that little cute boy.
Now the FBI has gotten involved with the case. They are analyzing and examining electronic evidence. This was spurred, in part, by Stephanie Sloop’s posting of a photo on facebook of her son, Ethan Stacy playing video games with Nathan Sloop. In this photo Ethan’s face is swollen and bruised. The caption for the photo reads, “My two favorite boys playing video games together.”
I have to wonder how a mother could post this photo… how does a mother not see the swollen, red face? How does she pretend everything is okay? How does she let a man who has beat her son sit beside him?
I look at my own kids and pray for the protection of angels for them. I pray for that protection for all the little children in our community. I pray that as mothers, we can stand up for righteousness in all situations, especially in regard to our children. May we always have the strength to protect them. May we never put out children in situations that could hurt them. If we should ever find ourselves and our children in the presence of evil, may we be able to call forth every ounce of love and strength to cast it out of our lives.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Song: The Touch of the Masters Hand

Sunday Song: The Touch of the Masters Hand.
This is in memory of my dad. This was one of his favorite stories. On the 20th this week, it will be eight years since his passing. Miss you, Dad!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dragons in the Sky

Maybe it is only because John and I just went to see the movie, How to Train your Dragon, but doesn’t this cloud look like a dragon? Does anyone else see it? I enjoy looking at clouds, to see what I can find there.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Visiting Teaching

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the women visit each other. This is called Visiting Teaching. I love Visiting Teaching. My Visiting Teaching partner and I have a set appointment every month (the second Wednesday) when we go. It is wonderful to sit and visit, to chat and to learn from each other.
We just had our Visiting Teaching Conference, which is a meeting where we are encouraged to get out and visit our sisters and friends. It was an uplifting meeting. Wendy Onricek spoke about an experience she had, when she felt the love of a visiting teacher. Bishop Hyer spoke about the Parable of the Good Samaritan. He compared the idea that the road to Jericho is downhill and sometimes we feel our lives are going in that direction, too. It seems whenever we are down, Satan beats on us, just as the thieves beat the man until he was “half dead”. Then “by chance” there came “a certain priest” Bishop Hyer said this could be clueless men. “but a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came…” This Samaritan was on a journey, did not come “by chance.” He was prepared with (healing) oil, bandages and wine (refreshment, food). It was his responsibility and he “took care” of the injured and the beaten down. The Samaritan then asked the host to “Take care of him” and promised to “come again”.
Visiting Teaching is just like this parable. Bishop Hyer asked us to be mindful of our stewardship. With our specific assignment to Visit Teach, comes accountability. We need to look beyond the greeting, “Hi. How are you?” “Fine… fine… fine” We need to pray for guidance to see the need and to be able to help. Then we need to return and report. I wondered how often I do something for someone but then forget to follow-up.
If you don’t like your partner or those you visit: “Do the best you can until the love grows.”
Are we doing the meaningful? Sometimes it is the small things that matter the most. They are the things that say, “I was just thinking about you.” Little acts of service mean you care. A text, an email, a phone call, a note, a hug, a cookie; none are big things, yet they reach out to those who need uplifting. Stay close to the spirit so you know when and what to do. Prayer and daily scripture study is important. It is our communication with Heavenly Father. “The Scriptures guide us, teach us the things we need to do—that day.”
I hope each of you understand the importance of doing your Visiting Teaching!

Here is a link to the Parable in the Scriptures 

Here is an Ensign article about the Parable

Here is a depiction of the Parable

Here is President Monson discussing the Parable and how it applies to us today.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Family Search

Have you registered for the new Family Search website yet? If not, here is the link. It is an amazing website with lots of tools for researching your family lines.
If you have kids 14 years or older, they are also encouraged to register and get started on genealogy. It is a positive, life-long hobby. We took some time at our last family home evening, registered our teenagers and discussed why family history is important.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother's Day

My husband went out of his way to make Mother’s Day nice for me. I got breakfast (fruit smoothies and Reece peanut butter cups) in bed. We went to church, then I relaxed while he made dinner, not only for us, but for his dad, my mom and my brother. I was excited to receive an almond tree as a gift. Jo is so sweet, she always makes a cute card whenever there is a holiday or birthday.
I’m grateful to have my children. Each one has taught me so much. In church we discussed reasons why some women don’t like Mother’s Day. For some, it is a painful reminder that they do not have children (yet). Others have lost precious babies. My heart goes out to those women.
For some of us, though, Mother’s Day is difficult because we compare our imperfect selves to others—who often seem perfect. We worry we aren’t enough. We internalize guilt because we don’t do this or that like Sister Molly Mormon Mom does. We also have Satan whispering in our ear that we aren’t good enough (that liar!).
Some ways we can combat the myth of the perfect mom:
Say something nice to yourself in the mirror in the morning
Stop negative talk- children need a positive example of positive self-talk
Recognize gifts and abilities
Write down talents
“Perfection is a journey and we only need to do our best. When you are doing your best you are acceptable before the Lord.” Trudi Brown
I challenge each of you to write a list of the things you do well… I believe your list is longer than you think it is.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Golden Spike

We went to the reenactment of the Driving of the Last Spike. Everyone in the family was able to come, except Jayson, who had his last end-of-the-year exam in Salt Lake City. It was a bit windy, but happily there was no rain or snow. We arrived in plenty of time to get close to the action. We set up our camp chairs right up to the rope. Some people were in period dress costumes, which was fun to see. John and Jo were able to talk with a ‘railroad representative’ and hold one of the spikes they later used.
They welcomed everyone and we said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the National Anthem. I always love doing that. Kyle Wyatt, Historian, spoke about the “binding together of our nation with ribbons of steel.” They laid a memorial wreath and had a moment of silence. The taps were played. Then it was time for the reenactment.
The Locomotives Jupiter and #119 showed off their engines, speeches were given and spikes pounded into place.
The kids had fun. It was interesting to see the engines up close. When we got on #119, I took a picture of John with my cell phone. It took me a few seconds to get it to camera mode. The engineer onboard asked me if I was texting. I laughed and thought, yeah, I’m going to climb up an engine, following my kids, and be so disconnected as to be texting while I’m doing it!?
It was fun and something everyone should do—at least once.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Song Mary, Did You Know?

Happy Mothers Day!
This Sunday Song is dedicated to all mothers... our babies are special, with a God-given mission to do.
Mary, Did You Know?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

State Convention

Jay and I spent almost the entire day in Salt Lake City at the State Democratic Party Convention. The theme was Hope not hate. We left the house at 8am, parked at the LDS conference Center and walked over to the Salt Palace. We registered as delegates and separated to go to our difference Caucus Meetings. Jay attended the Labor Caucus and I attended the Women’s Caucus. Mostly it was different candidates coming in and introducing themselves. It was interesting to learn more about each of them. The main meeting started, this included many committee reports, the keynote speaker (Congressman Steny Hoyer) and nominations of candidates. Are you surprised to learn the meeting went into overtime? We cast our votes for the only race had a voice in: Christopher Stout and Sam Granato.
Here is the link to the Utah Democratic Party
We went to lunch at Lamb’s Grill on Main Street. It is a nice, quiet place with wonderful food. It is plain torture to watch my husband eat the delicious looking bread, but when my salad with pepper chicken, I didn’t care. It was terrific!
I hope you participated in the political process, regardless of which side of the Salt Palace you were on. The candidates need more than your vote on Election Day, they need to hear from you long before then. Put signs in your yard. Offer to drive elderly to the polls on Election Day. Get involved in whatever way you can. Our country needs our involvement… badly.

Friday, May 7, 2010

No TV Zone, Day Five

We are adjusting, but I allowed the kids to watch a movie (a DVD, not cable TV) when I had to be gone all morning yesterday. They are now watching another movie, as I am getting ready for work. We have four TVs. I’m seriously considering getting rid of half of them. I admit I miss my TV keeping me company. It is a good thing that I unplugged it, because there have been a few times when I’ve sat down and started looking for the remote before remembering: It is No TV week!
What did you ask? Where did I go yesterday? My son had a test he needed to take for his online school. I drove him to Salt Lake City, found the address (only had to turn around once) and dropped him off. I spent a little time at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building working on family history. I connected a few people in my family history file and requested that my new ID that came with the be merged with my old ID from the old website. This will allow me to work with the file easier. I’m excited that they have already approved the request. I’m taking little steps toward working on my family history!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Where is my Clarion?

I am the editor for ICAN’s newsletter, the Clarion. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that since we haven’t had an issue out since the fall. It was supposed to go out a couple of months ago. The printer decided she couldn’t handle our needs anymore. This meant calling new printers, asking questions, getting bids, applying for a new post office mailing permit and just when I thought we’d pulled it altogether the new printer drops a bombshell: they don’t want to do the layout. Yes, on the phone they said they could do it, but really, they don’t have the time. Guess what I discovered? I have Microsoft Publisher on my computer. I hadn’t ever used it before this week. Now I have many hours of experience on it. The newsletter is almost complete, just making the final edits. This is one project I will be glad to have off my hands… until the next issue. The second time doing something is usually easier than the first, I’m hoping. 
The answer to "Where is my Clarion?" "in the mail (soon, I promise)"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No TV Zone

I’ve declared my house a No-TV zone for the week. This announcement was met with groans and some unhappiness. The kids seem to be adjusting okay, but I’ve had a larger than normal amount of requests to go places or have friends over. Usually the answer to that is no. I tell the kids, “find something to do or I’ll find something for you to do.” If I find them something, it will usually be cleaning. They are avoiding that at all costs. My husband is annoyed that No TV doesn’t also mean No Screen. No screen is no computers, no mp3, no DS, no video games, no electronics, period. I didn’t go that extreme, though I did take away the Wii. We’ll see what happens this week. So far they are spending more time outside. But then today is a nice day. I’m not sure what tomorrow will look like, since I haven’t watched the news… maybe that is why I’m in a better mood.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Song 3: High on the Mountain Top

I’ve heard this song several times recently, in different places, and love it. I think this version is as beautiful to watch as to listen to. Hope you enjoy it. High on the Mountain Top

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Family History Miracle

Tonight, our church announced a new local program focusing on family history, Strengthening Your Link. This will be a long term program, unlike the Elijah project we did a few years ago, which was fast and furious work. The Elijah project was my first dive into family history. When my dad passed away in 2002, he left me all his genealogy work he had done. I dug this out when we did the Elijah project and over the past four years, have added names to my file during two family reunions, when I went to my grandfather’s funeral and during a research trip back east. I gradually stopped working on research and let the file sit. Then my computer’s mother board burned up last fall. I was able to take the hard drive out and transfer the info to my new laptop, but seemed unable to find many files, including my PAF file. PAF stand for Personal Ancestral File. I tried not to panic about it, choosing instead to believe it was around somewhere. I should have it on a jump drive, too, but I could not seem to find that, either. Two weeks ago I felt strongly that I needed to stop wasting time on stupid things (like games on facebook) and use that time more wisely (like on family history). I deleted my games and prayed that I would be able to find the files. I couldn’t bring myself to start over—there was too much information that could not be gathered again easily.
As I sat listening to the wonderful talks on family history, I knew I needed to pick this hobby back up and make it a part of my daily life again… if only I could find my PAF file. I again prayed I’d be able to find the file.
I came home, read a book to my kids and tucked them in bed. Then I pulled out my laptop to try one more time to find the PAF file. I opened the program and directed it to search out any files, like I had done many times before, only this time I chose a directory where I recently found other files I needed. It soon popped up. I had found the one I needed! I know it was an answer to a prayer, because of a desire to reach back to find my ancestors and make a connection. There are 1,280 names of my family in that file. I’m doing the happy dance and saying a prayer of gratitude. Thank you!