Tuesday, February 28, 2017

January and February

From November until May, I cannot get warm.
Even my bones have cores of ice. But you
are a house on fire, an internal combustion system,
Sriracha sauce/ jalapeƱo poppers/Thai curry. I stay up
late, read until you’re asleep, so I can slip my icy feet,
frozen toes, under the smoldering log of your torso.
Even in the dark, you radiate. I am a cold front, a polar low
coming down from the arctic. And you, why you,
you’re the sun. 

- Barbara Crooker, Weather Systems

#1 - 1:00 Church

Our family digs a later church time, especially during the winter.  It gives us so much more time to play in the morning.  Unfortunately, some of us don't get enough sleep the night before (see last picture).

#2 - Cold Temperatures and Flooding

We've spent the past few weeks limping out of the worst winter Boise has seen in 40 years.  40 years!  Lucky us.  I've never been more grateful to see the sun and feel the warmth.  

We're not out of the woods yet.  There has been severe flooding all around Idaho and some of it close to home (fortunately, not OUR home).  Last week the ice melted enough that we could walk our old path to the Boise River and we were shocked to see it so high.  Greg and I drove up to Arrowrock Dam for the first time, checking out the levels of the reservoir.  We have no idea what is normal or what to expect.  

Truthfully, we have been exceptionally blessed.  No roof damage (many neighbors had ice dams and flooding), no leaks, our scrupulous furnace finally got her act together and our cars never got stuck.  There were so many nights I wanted to hug my car and cover her up with a blanket.  Greg spent January helping dig out neighbors.  And the boys and I spent many evenings clearing ice along the road gutters to keep the drains working.  

#3 - Winter Camp Out

In the middle of this coldness, my two oldest boys had their annual winter camp out.  Greg told me later it was like camping in a snow cloud.  They couldn't see more than 20 feet in front of them and everything was frozen (including them!)

The boys made snow caves (more like snow coffins).  Some were more impressive than others.  And in the end, both of them climbed into Dad's tent for the night and ditched their cave.   

#4 - First Sacrament Meeting Talk

In my church, youth over the age of 12 are often invited to speak to the church congregation.  This is a big deal, and it can be intimidating - speaking to such a large group of people.  James was asked to speak in the middle of February and he absolutely NAILED IT!!

His voice was clear.  He looked up at the audience, he cracked jokes, had everyone laughing and by the end there was a lovely spirit in the meeting.  This kid can perform under pressure and he does it with flair.  Excellent introduction into public speaking.  

#5 - Valentines Day

This year I need to record why Greg gets me flowers for Valentines Day.  Because I really wish he wouldn't.  

I don't like to buy flowers around Valentines Day because I'm cheap and I hate how the price goes up.  So I always ask my better half to delay and get me flowers for our anniversary instead.  He doesn't listen.  

He gets me flowers so the kids can see them.  It's important.  Greg wants our children see how much he loves his wife.  Because this is what a husband should be doing for his wife, all the while hoping they grow up expecting and performing similar acts of love for their significant others.  If they work hard, make good decisions, and listen to the wise counsel of family, they might end up as lucky as him.   

And when Greg gives me this kind of logic, any argument of mine goes right out the window.  I adore him.

The other highlight this year was Andrew's surprise package from a best friend back in Utah.  Andrew - the boy who has already sworn off marriage, sworn off girls in general and thinks kissing is gross - couldn't stop smiling for days when he got the package from Anya.  

Friday, February 17, 2017

During 8th Grade Lunch Break

Our reaction was a mixed bag between awe and magnificence, along with parental freak out and massive uneasiness.  


Saturday, February 11, 2017

San Diego 2017

We had flooding rains the first 3 days - leftovers from earlier in the month.  Parts of the freeway were a little scary with potential closures.  But we really didn't care.  We were so used to sub freezing temperatures in Idaho.  50 degrees felt like heaven!

It was refreshing to see San Diego looking so green again, especially after many weeks this summer of dead brown hills.  The second half of our trip was glorious and sunny!

The video below was shot at the outlets at the Mexican border.  We waited out a particularly hard rain while singing our family's most crazy songs.   

We found these North Face shirts on clearance at the outlet.  We bought one for my dad and Roo - perfect memory of their trip.

(Above) Oh yes - that's Hoarders on pause in the background.  The 2-hr season finale was on while we were there and it took us 4 days to get through it.  I'm missing the season already.

Our cute niece, Courtney (fellow fan) is on an LDS mission in Missouri and she writes that every day of her mission is an episode of Hoarders.  She walks into horrible, smelly homes with piles of garbage everywhere.  But the minute she sits down with the people she is overwhelmed with a great deal of love and a strong desire to help them as much as possible.  She's a smart girl - she's channeling those therapy skills from watching countless episodes.

So if I ever had any doubts this show isn't beneficial for my children.... Ha! 

Our drive to Los Angeles (that horrible city).  Check out the snow in the background - a result from the tremendous rains/floods hitting California lately.  I have never seen snow on these mountains before.  It was beautiful!  (even though Los Angeles is NOT).

And then there was Disneyland.  Oh my Disneyland!

It's been 5 years since we were here.  That's about how frequently we can handle it.  Our goal is to make it one more time before James leaves on his mission.  

Cars Land was a definite highlight.  It was touching to see my slightly cynical second son's eyes go wide and hear his awe struck expression, "Mom, they did a really good job here." 

(Below) I got a few people looking at me with raised eyebrows.  And I highly doubt my personal protest against Disney for their lawsuit against VidAngel will do a single thing.  But I will not be silent against corrupt, immoral practices.  

(Below) When you have to pull out a heavy sword but you don't dare let go of your cotton candy.  #priorities.

(Above) By sheer good luck, we ran into one of Pretty Girl's best friends from Utah.  It was awesome!  The two girls hung out for a few hours and rode a bunch of rides together. It was Cloud 9 for a while.

(Below) See that net behind our table.  It's effectively blocking where Disney is building Star Wars Land.  But this is ME they're trying to block.  And I have sons who think their "geekness" surpasses Mom's.  So of course we found a way around it.  And what we could see - it looks beyond our wildest dreams!  Like we were visiting Tatooine.  Yeah, this is going to epic.   

Our trip back home was less than epic.  Major protests at the airports.  I was grateful the protesters were peaceful and cordial to my little children struggling to pass their picket lines with heavy suitcases.  

We got trapped in the middle of Delta's computer disaster.  Our trip home took 12 hours, sleeping in various airports along the way.  And they lost Greg's bags.  Horrible stuff - but grateful to get home when all was over.  

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Personal Darkness and the Hiawatha Trail

Recently the LDS Church released an inspirational clip that was filmed up in Northern Idaho.  Specifically, it was filmed on the Hiawatha Trail.  I nearly fell off my seat at the 2:11 mark when I realized where they were.

From that point on it was hard for me to focus on the message without losing myself in the scenery - including the very awesome tunnel for which I've already set aside head lamps (one for each child and parent).  4 more months.  4 more months.  4 more months... 

"We may feel confident that we are ready to face challenges, only to find that our preparations have been insufficient... We must act, expecting that the Lord will fulfill his promise to lift us from the darkness, if we draw near unto Him." - Elder Stanfill